Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – April 26, 2013

The horrific Boston Marathon Bombing has many in the media calling for the death penalty for the surviving accused perpetrator. Obviously now is as good a time as any for us to think about the death penalty itself. Meanwhile there are now six Democratic senators retiring from the Senate making 2014 a very important year. And finally, Congress has found a way to circumvent the impact of sequestration so that there won’t be flight delays – but what about everything else?

No Matter What You Call It

The arrest and arraignment of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has occasioned the call for the death penalty. Elected officials, media commentators and public opinion seems be frighteningly disposed to put this man to death.

So now is a good time to remember that the United States is one of the few remaining countries to engage in government-sanctioned murder. There are over 140 countries that have outlawed capital punishment, but by clinging to this bit of bloody justice this country joins countries like China, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan in equating death with justice.

The irony of those who would deny women the right to choose whether or not have an abortion calling themselves “pro-life” while they call for the state to murder someone or simply stand by without protest is exponentially ironic. This society should be better than this.
Killing someone because they committed a crime does not sound like justice. It sounds like revenge.

More Drama on the Way

This past week Montana Senator Max Baucus announced that he will not run for reelection in 2014. That makes six – count them – 6 Democratic senate seats that will be vacant in the 2014 election. If the Teapublicans were to run the table and keep all of their vacant and incumbent seats and peel off the six Democratic seats they will have the majority in the Senate.

If that happens President Obama will be left with learning to become ambidextrous with his veto pen – as he will have little else to do. If you think that the Teapublicans have been negative and obstructionist over the last 5 ½ years, I am sure we haven’t seen the Teapublicans at their tantrum worst if they obtain the majority in the House and the Senate.
While November 4, 2014 seems like it is a long way away, it really isn’t. Circle that date on your calendar now and get ready to vote like your life depends on it…..because in reality it does.

Selective Strangulation

When sequestration kicked in at the beginning of March there was immediate concern that the federal government would immediately grind to a halt. That this did not happen was seen by delusional Teapublicans as proving that the draconian budget cuts imposed by this monstrous, self-imposed suicide mechanism called sequestration weren’t really that bad.

Thoughtful observers have always known that sequestration began the slow strangulation of the federal, state and local governments. The impact has not been immediate but there are already longer lines at veterans’ hospitals, staff cuts in social service agencies and law enforcement agencies are sending their officers home.

This past week the Federal Aviation Agency began furloughing air traffic controllers and that has led to excruciating flight delays across the country. And miraculously, because of the inconvenience to (mostly) business travelers and potential damage to the profits in the airline industry, Congress has acted to restore funding to the FAA that will allow air traffic controllers to work without interruption.

But don’t you wonder why the veterans awaiting critical care, children requiring vital social services and law enforcement agencies that protect us all aren’t as much as priority.

And meanwhile the governmental structure of the United States slowly succumbs to this slow strangulation called sequestration.

Have a great weekend!

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