Penta: "The height of insult ... to her femininity"

As has been previously noted here at BMG, there is an election for Mayor of Medford next month.  The office has been occupied by Michael McGlynn for two decades, but he’s retiring, so it’s a wide-open contest between former Medford City Councillor and budget director Stephanie Muccini-Burke, and current Medford City Councillor Bob Penta.

Penta is a controversial guy, to say the least.  He was nearly incoherent at a forum on Obamacare a few years back, but he sure was mad based on something he read on the internet.  (Seriously.  Read the post.)  And now it emerges that he has expressed some attitudes that are, well … antiquated is perhaps a good word for it.  Give a listen to Councillor Penta at a City Council meeting from January of 2001.

Now, maybe there’s a perfectly good explanation for this.  Maybe this excerpt was taken way out of context, or something, so that there’s actually a perfectly sensible reason that a grown man holding elective office would, in the 21st century, refer to a building contractor who happens to be female as “a lady contractor – excuse me, a lady, woman-owned contractor,” who is “trying to make her stamp in a man’s world,” and declare that her bidding on a particular job (or something – the context isn’t entirely clear) is “the height of insult to her profession and to her femininity,” because she had the temerity to “alleg[e] that she knows more than a man … in this world of building and construction.”

If so, I’d sure like to know what it is.

Notes on How People Think About Climate Change

I attended two climate change lectures recently. One lecture was titled “Clean and Cheap: How Americans Think About Energy in an Age of Global Warming” on 9/17/15 at MIT with David Konisky, Indiana University and the other was “Disruptive Ideas: Public Intellectuals in the Climate Debate” on 9/24/15 at Tufts with Matthew Nisbet, Northeastern.

Konisky and his research partner, Stephen Ansolabehere of Harvard, based their work on more than ten years of polling data on the electrical energy future consumers and voters want. They found that 70-80% want to reduce fossil fuel use and increase renewables and that this is stable over time, that people consider local environmental harm more than economic cost when making energy decisions, and that attitudes are not driven by their consideration of global harm from greenhouse gas pollution.

Nisbet sees the climate change debate as a wicked problem, one we cannot end but merely manage with so many different ways to approach that it serves as a mirror for our own values. He identifies three kinds of public intellectual stances among current climate activists:
ecological activists: a problem of globalization and capitalism with Nature as the ultimate measure; smart growth reformers: climate as market failure, Nature can be stretched; and ecomodernists: climate is an energy and innovation problem, Nature is more resilient than we think.

Nisbet’s slides and related reading list from this lecture are available at

I wonder what the polling information and public intellectual position would be if we prefaced these discussions with the actual USA energy context:
energy generation for everything, including transportation, has plateaued at or below 100 quads btus per year for the last 20 years and we get useful work or exergy out of less than 40% of the energy we count in that 100 quads or less, “rejecting” about 60% of the energy we produce.

Here are my rough notes from both presentations:

Clean and Cheap: How Americans Think About Energy in an Age of Global Warming
David Konisky, Indiana University

Americans want to reduce fossil fuels increase renewables, a stable opinion over time [since at least the first oil crisis, his research looks at polling data from last decade]
Perception of enviro harm stronger (local not global) than economic cost, true for all energy sources
Attitudes not driven by climate change
Concern about local enviro impact and enviro costs help explain support for EPA regs rather than other measures [cap and trade, carbon tax]

Global warming did not correlate with attitudes for/against nukes
10+ year public opinion project: what future do consumers and voters want? (Electricity only)
70-80% want renewables and this is stable over time
Very few want all of the above or less energy used overall

People consider costs and harms not the energy source itself – economic costs and social costs
In polls people think that renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels from 2002 on and that renewables create little enviro harm
People have relative harm about right but don’t have relative costs of renewables correct.
Once you determine how people feel about their perceptions of harms and costs, you have explained 90% of their attitudes. Energy is not a political party question. Weight of harm (local) is much more important than cost (2-3x), in opinion. Global warming is close to zero although it is beginning to come into play.

People don’t care and won’t pay for climate change so that is not the lever.
People support regulatory cap at 75-80%
Cap and trade 45-55%
Carbon tax 25-55%
Most supportive of least efficient method possibly because it affects them locally and because people do not see the link with cap and trade or carbon tax

Climate change is not enough
To reduce carbon go after co-pollutants such as soot and mercury, privilege local over global because that’s what people care about.

People generally have the harms correct but not costs


Disruptive Ideas: Public Intellectuals in the Climate Debate
Matthew Nisbet, Northeastern

Shift from enviro, economic threat to a public health threat now with a moral framing (the Pope)
Perception is affected by framing or context
About a quarter of the population are stuck in their opinion, 2/3 of that quarter alarmed and 1/3 dismissive.
Dismissives are angered by the national security frame but have a high risk perception that feeds into the energy security frame
Design to Win (2007) Nathan Cummings Foundation – carbon price needed and we have the technology needed
Matthew Nisbet’s 2013 Shorenstein Center (Harvard) paper on McKibben

Why We Disagree about Climate Change by Mike Hulme – it’s a wicked problem, one we cannot end but merely manage with many different ways to approach it and serves as a mirror for our own values
Climate justice arises around 2010 – a market problem not solvable through the current market nor through technology
Andrew Revkin argues for energy access, people’s energy, for human development
Politics of the Earth – book on how people look at environmental issues (by John Dryzek)
Nisbet identifies three kinds of climate activists – ecological activists: a problem of globalization and capitalism with Nature as the ultimate measure; smart growth reformers – climate as market failure, Nature can be stretched; ecomodernists – climate is an energy and innovation problem, Nature is more resilient than we think: Ecomodernist Manifesto
Now working on a book about public intellectuals on wider social issues
We need more synthesis and synergy across the disciplines – all his work


I know Matthew and his work is expanding beyond climate change to the role of public intellectuals in society on a wide variety of issues. Should be interesting.

Medford Mayoral Candidate Bob Penta's views on woman

Hello All:


Check out this link of Mayoral Candidate Bob Penta of Medford insulting a woman contractor who was before the Medford City Council on

January 23, 2001. This man’s behavior is so offensive to woman.



WOW !  House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy just said he is not the right man to be the face of the Republican Party.  He  announced at the Conference meeting that he didn’t believe he could get 218 votes needed when the vote is taken on October 29.

The Republican Party as we know it is in meltdown.  Stay tuned.

Fred Rich LaRiccia

How Much Does The Press Care About Race and Policing?


On October 7, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary of the Massachusetts legislature held a marathon hearing on “Protected Classes. Privacy, and Data Collection Legislation”.

To be fair, and the Boston Herald both reproduced an AP wire report from Steven LeBlanc that there was a hearing. But the AP mentioned only the part of the agenda dealing with a bill to ban transgender discrimination in places of public accommodation.

I’m not going to argue that transgender rights aren’t important. They matter a lot. But it’s astounding that, in a year when race and policing have been, you know, kind of in the news, only the Bay State Banner gave decent coverage to the fact that the vast majority of the bills considered at the hearing were about police, profiling, warrants and race. In the Boston Globe’s “Politics” section, they had room for two fawning profiles of elected Democrats (Attorney-General Maura Healey has “indefatigable drive and charisma“, and House Speaker Bob DeLeo has a “slimmed-down and healthier” look), but race and policing didn’t get a look in this time.

So this is what happened regarding racial profiling; I’ll follow up with further posts about the many bills on police surveillance.

A viable approach to gun control

Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, D-NY, introduced an approach to gun control that works — mandatory liability insurance (emphasis mine):

House Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) has introduced a bill that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance.

The Firearm Risk Protection Act, unveiled Friday, would require gun buyers to have liability insurance coverage before being allowed to purchase a weapon, and would impose a fine of $10,000 if an owner is found not to have it. Service members and law enforcement officers, however, would be exempt from the requirement.

While I disagree with the exemption for service members and law enforcement officers, I think this approach is workable and addresses virtually all Second Amendment concerns that so often block effective gun control legislation. Even Forbes magazine (not exactly a liberal left-wing rag) likes it.

Massachusetts once again leads the way on this in a 2013 bill filed by David Linksky:

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts gun owners would be required to purchase liability insurance in case their firearm was ever used to injure someone under a bill being filed at the Statehouse.

Not surprisingly, the insurance industry and the NRA oppose this — sounds like it’s a good idea.

This approach uses market mechanisms to influence the behavior of gun owners (and sellers). For example, parents of killers who effectively act as accessories to murder by providing them with weapons would face severe financial obstacles. Gun owners like the Tennessee family whose unlocked shotgun was used by their 11 year old to kill an 8 year old neighbor would face similarly severe penalties in addition to whatever criminal charges they face (the concept of charging the child instead of his father strikes me as utterly insane, but then again we’re talking about Tennessee).

We use mandatory liability insurance to manage malpractice, reckless driving, building maintenance, and a host of other ills that plague society. This approach will work for gun violence.

I hope that this gets more attention from our Democratic candidates as our election season develops.


” I know her heart.  We need her leadership, not just here in America, but all over the world.  She is tireless in her advocacy for those who have been left out and left behind.  She is ready to be President on day one.  Hillary Clinton has my wholehearted endorsement, and I plan to work and campaign for her to see that she is elected the next President of the United States.”                    CONGRESSMAN  JOHN  LEWIS

Fred Rich LaRiccia



Boston 2030

Imagine Boston 2030 is an intriguing crowdsourcing concept that is being proposed by Mayor Marty Walsh. As WBUR explains:

“We are really looking at it being a holistic, comprehensive city planning effort, so it’s moving beyond just land use and it’s not really just focused on zoning,” Imagine Boston 2030 executive director Sara Myerson said in a phone interview. “It’s really thinking about all of the components of the city — ranging from education to health and safety to arts and culture to prosperity and equity — as we think about what is the city we want to see in the future.”

To that end, the city on Wednesday launched a mobile platform called Textizen that allows people to submit their ideas via text message.

The program is includes a survey element:

Asks people to complete the following sentence: “My life in 2030 will be better with…” by texting one of the following choices to 617-860-3745:

a) Housing I can afford
b) Safer neighborhoods
c) Better transportation options
d) Quality education for all
e) A more environmentally friendly city
f) Great parks and public spaces
g) A more innovative and creative city
h) Expanded job opportunities
i) More vibrant neighborhoods

Those who submit a response will then be asked a series of follow-up questions, including, “What do you think is Boston’s biggest challenge to overcome?” and “What’s your big idea for making Boston a better place to live in 2030?”

I encourage everyone here to fill it out, it takes under two minutes, and to chime in here with their free form answer to those last two questions.

What is our biggest challenge and what’s your big idea for solving it?

Clinton opposes TPP

Hillary Clinton today announced her opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership deal citing concerns about Asian currency manipulation, pharmaceutical price gauging, labor and environmental issues.

This leaves Joe Biden as the only potential Democratic candidate to support TPP.

Republicans Bush and Rubio support TPP, Trump and Carson are opposed and Fiorina is undecided.

Clinton will explain her position tonight in a PBS interview.

This race is getting very interesting very fast.  Fasten your seatbelts everyone.  We’re all in for a bumpy ride.  Damn, but I do love politics !

Fred Rich LaRiccia

Joke revue addendum: Scott Brown still thinks he's relevant

So, this is pretty funny.

Brown’s comments come as he looks to position himself as a potential kingmaker in the New Hampshire GOP presidential primary, inviting all Republican candidates to his home as part of his “No B.S. BBQ” series.

Brown said he speaks to the candidates regularly — including Donald Trump just last week, saying he told the front-runner to “act more presidential” and focus on policy.

“We’re doing it with every candidate who wants to come,” Brown said. In addition to Fiorina, he said he expects visits from Jeb Bush, Trump, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio. “I’ll make an endorsement probably mid-January. Anyone who comes here will be under consideration. Anyone who doesn’t, won’t.”

Pardon me while I LMAO.  Brown, a kingmaker in New Hampshire?  Could someone remind me which New Hampshire election he won?  Of course, Brown already knows all about kings and queens … maybe this time, instead of meeting them, he’ll make them!

Anyway, talk of a possible Brown endorsement comes just as another endorsement he already made – this one for one of those ridiculous diet products – has landed him in potential legal trouble.

A nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown broke the law by failing to disclose his financial interest in AdvoCare, a nutritional product he endorsed on Facebook and in other communications to his supporters.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, alleges that Brown failed to disclose that he is, or was, a distributor for AdvoCare, and that his son-in-law is currently a distributor of the product.


Daily Fantasy Sports Gambling is a Con & We're the Marks

Turn on a TV or radio and it’s impossible to avoid the flood of new ads for DraftKings and FanDuel, “daily fantasy sports” gambling sites They’re working hand-in-hand with professional sports leagues like MLB and the NFL and advertising partners in sports media, investing hundreds of millions of dollars pushing the idea that anyone can win big. In reality, the sites are no different than casinos, the lottery, or day trading stocks, dependent on a vast pool of losers to fuel winnings for a select few – and there’s new evidence they may be skipping the games altogether & directly stealing money through insider trading.

Attorney General Maura Healey is currently investigating DraftKings, headquartered in Boston in part because Massachusetts is one of 45 states that have not yet regulated daily fantasy sports gambling websites. It’s incredible that for all the decades of debate and legal wragling over casinos, daily fantasy sports gambling has snuck in and started raking in profits before lawmakers can even turn the lights on.

How big is the new daily fantasy sports racket? Enormous, and as Bloomberg’s Joshua Brustein reports, the average fan hyped in the ads has virtually no shot to win big:

FanDuel and DraftKings, the two main services, will bring in a combined $60 million in entry fees in the first week of the NFL season, according to Adam Krejcik, a partner at Eilers Research. Sports books in Las Vegas, by contrast, are expected to handle about $30 million.

To get to the size their investors are expecting requires a continuous stream of new players lured by ever-increasing prize pools with the help of muscular advertising campaigns. These ads never spell out a simple truth about daily fantasy competitions: While any player might get lucky on the back of a handful of entries, over time nearly all of the prize money flows to a tiny elite equipped with elaborate statistical modeling and automated tools that can manage hundreds of entries at once and identify the weakest opponents.

Even if that was the limit of it, daily fantasy sports would be a rip-off.

Expert calls out conflicts of interest in MA testing plans

Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, who moved here from Ohio to take over the state’s top education job, chairs the governing board that developed the PARCC exams being considered by the state board of education as a replacement for our existing MCAS student achievement tests. He is also charged with recommending which of the two tests Massachusetts should use in the future. Even the partisan Pioneer Institute, which normally puts positions of the Republican administration ahead of reason, says he should recuse himself from the process. As Dave McGeney of the Peabody School Committee separately observed to WBUR:

“You cannot be the person whose job it is to determine in all honesty and objectivity whether or not the PARCC test is going to be a better test than the MCAS test and be the person who is the chairman of the board of governors of that entity,” McGeney said in a recent interview. “It defies logic. It flies in the face of reason.…”

Now, in an open letter to the Governor published in the WaPo, Massachusetts education expert Rebecca Steinitz (parent, writer, editor and literacy consultant in Massachusetts urban high schools, previously an English professor and director of the freshman writing program at Ohio Wesleyan University, and director of the high school teacher education program at Lesley University’s School of Education, and a friend of mine) alleges “shenanigans” in the ongoing evaluation process. In a piece headlined “Massachusetts officials are ‘recklessly pushing’ the state into the PARCC test” (and “Something Is Rotten In The State Of Massachusetts” when the same piece appeared on WBUR) she wrote “Even as the DESE drags its heels on releasing actual data, it appears to have become a propaganda arm for PARCC.” Steinitz cited slanted presentations, delays in releasing information, and opaque management. She concluded:

In fact, the Commonwealth is not united behind the PARCC tests. While 54 percent of Massachusetts districts chose to adopt PARCC this year, their choice seems as likely to have been dictated by anxiety about the future and by the promise of “no risk” as by enthusiasm. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Teachers Association opposes PARCC, and State Rep. Marjorie Decker and 53 co-sponsors have filed a bill that would place a three-year moratorium on adopting the PARCC test.

So, Gov. Baker, is this really the moment to hand over our children’s futures to the PARCC Consortium, which has already proven itself to be less than transparent and accountable to the people of Massachusetts? It’s also worth noting that membership in the consortium has fallen from 24 states and the District of Columbia to 11 states and the District, of which as few as six may actually administer the PARCC next year. Is this really the engine we want driving our education system?

Chester is trying to walk with his shoelaces tied together by refusing to recuse himself from what is obviously a conflict of interest. That’s not allowed in school. A time out, like that suggested by Decker and her colleagues, is a sensible response from the grown-ups.


nearly a half century ago, just two weeks before he was assassinated on June 6, 1968 during a speech in Roseburg, Oregon —  the very site of the recent community college massacre.  How many more martyrs do people and this Congress need before they act ?

Fred Rich LaRiccia

National Rifle Association: "A voice for criminals"

NYT Op-Ed contributor Alan Berlow lays out what any reasonable observer has known for years: the National Rifle Association is primarily the lobbying arm of the gun manufacturing industry, and supports crime and criminals because that makes people buy more guns.

“[T]he N.R.A. was no longer the voice of law-abiding gun owners, but rather a voice for criminals.”

Americans should understand the outsize role the N.R.A. plays, not only in thwarting sensible gun safety laws but also in undermining law enforcement by abetting gun traffickers, criminal gun dealers and criminal gun users

Read the whole piece here.


The hypocrisy of allowing alcohol ads on the MBTA

It’s looking like the MBTA, which has refused advertisements from groups that educate patients about medical marijuana, may start allowing makers of a highly addictive drug to advertise their wares on the T. From WBUR:

As the MBTA looks to aggressively increase its advertising revenue, Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve appears to be laying the groundwork for a proposal to reverse the T’s ban on alcohol advertisements.

The transit agency banned all alcohol ads in 2012, but Shortsleeve told the T’s control board on Monday that allowing alcohol ads was one of the recommendations he was looking at as the T seeks to double ad revenue in the next few years.

While this would certainly raise revenue — the alcohol industry is very well-heeled and always seeking to get more consumers, especially heavy consumers — it wouldn’t be worth it. If you only know me from my work on marijuana legalization, this stance may surprise you, but I’m actually not in favor of advertising for any recreational drug, whether that’s alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or otherwise.

Our country and state have a serious problem with alcohol abuse and addiction (for example, Massachusetts is in the top quartile for alcohol poisoning deaths), and ads almost always glorify drinking with sex appeal and other misleading messages (and no sort of warning of its side effects, like we have for prescription drug ads). We realized this was a bad thing for tobacco and banned those advertisements on television and many other media, but paradoxically don’t do the same with alcohol, which is more dangerous in many ways.

If we want to reduce alcohol abuse and addiction, we should be doing more to restrict alcohol advertising, treating it the way we do tobacco. Re-opening the MBTA to alcohol advertising won’t single-handedly cause addiction, but it’s a step in the wrong direction. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ~$1.3 million in ad revenue raised by the T ends up costing the state far more in substance abuse treatment, lost productivity, and worsened health.


for his Benghazi email gaffe that exposed congressional Republican corruption and hypocrisy.

I think President Clinton should appoint the inept, word salad next House Speaker McCarthy Ambassador to Hungria !  :)

Fred Rich LaRiccia


Joke Revue: "Americans Opposed to Being Shot Seek Representation in Washington"


Americans Opposed to Being Shot Seek Representation in Washington

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – Americans who are opposed to being shot, a constituency that has historically failed to find representation in Washington, are making a new effort to make its controversial ideas heard in the nation’s capital.

“When you bring up the idea of not wanting to be shot with members of Congress, there’s always been pushback,” Carol Foyler, founder of the lobbying group Americans Opposed to Being Shot, said. “Their reaction has been, basically, ‘Not being shot: who’s going to support something like that?’”

Foyler, however, believes that the right to not be shot, much like women’s right to vote, the right to same-sex marriage, and other rights that were deemed controversial in their day, may be an idea whose time has finally come.

“For years, we’ve been talking about the right to not be shot and people have been looking at us like we’re out of our minds,” she said. “But recent polls show that a vast majority of Americans, in fact, do not want to be shot.”

While Foyler and other anti-being-shot activists believe that Washington may finally be receptive to their radical ideas, Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association, is doubtful. “People who don’t want to be shot are a very narrow interest group,” he said.

Daniel Kurtzman:

“The story says that Donald Trump gets so little sleep, he actually suffers from sleep deprivation. Then again, so do most people who think about Donald Trump becoming president.” –Jimmy Fallon

“NSA leaker Edward Snowden joined Twitter yesterday, and immediately got more followers than the NSA. Which raises an interesting question: Who’s following the NSA on Twitter?” –Jimmy Fallon

“While visiting America, Pope Francis secretly met with Kim Davis, the county clerk who denied marriage licenses to gay couples. At first she refused to meet with the Pope because she was told, ‘There’s a guy in a dress named Francis here to see you.’” –Conan O’Brien

“Governor Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign is angrily insisting that the “Duck Dynasty” cast supports him and not Donald Trump. And that is the current report on the state of the Bobby Jindal campaign.” –Conan O’Brien

“After their meeting got off to a tense start, Obama and Putin wound up talking for 90 minutes, and Putin described the talks as ‘surprisingly open.’ Putin said it was the most productive conversation he’d ever had with someone who wasn’t tied to a chair.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump came out with this proposal for a new tax plan yesterday. Just like a real presidential candidate would do! It’s kind of adorable.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Under Trump you won’t have to pay any income taxes if you make less than $25,000 a year, if you and your spouse make under $50,000 a year, and if you capture an illegal Mexican you won’t pay any taxes at all.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Pope Francis wrapped up his trip to the U.S., and while he was in Philadelphia, the Pope visited a prison. He said he couldn’t believe how dirty and overcrowded it was, then his assistant said, ‘This is just the Amtrak station, we haven’t gotten to the prison yet.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“Jeb Bush said last week that Democrats often win the black vote because they tell people ‘we’ll take care of you with free stuff.’ Whereas Democrats actually win the black vote because Republicans keep saying stuff like that.” –Seth Meyers

“Yesterday as Pope Francis rode down Fifth Avenue, Donald Trump actually stepped out of Trump Tower with his son, Donald Jr., and got booed by the crowd. Then Trump was like, ‘I guess they really don’t like you Donald, Jr.!’” –Jimmy Fallon

“House Speaker John Boehner announced that he is resigning from Congress. When he heard Congress lost Boehner, John McCain said, ‘Oh I got a little blue pill for that.’ ‘No, BOEHNER. We lost House Speaker Boehner!’ It’s pronounced Bay-ner.” –Jimmy Fallon

“And in a speech yesterday, Pope Francis urged American bishops to ‘flee the temptation of narcissism.’ Then bishops were like, ‘Oooh! He’s talking about us!’ –Jimmy Fallon


at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire.

She held a Town Meeting and took questions  on a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues.

The breadth and depth of her experience, knowledge and leadership was apparent to all as she received many standing ovations.

The most moving testimony came when she addressed gun violence and introduced the mother of Dylan, a young boy killed at the Newtown elementary school in Connecticut.  Dylan’s mom stayed composed in calling on us all to fight the NRA and help pass gun safety laws.  It was Hillary that got choked up and lost it.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the room by the time she finished speaking.

On her way out I had a chance to speak with her on the rope line.  I showed her a photo of my daughter, Heather, an honors graduate of her alma mater, Wellesley College.  She held my hand, looked me in the eye, and commented how beautiful she was.  I thanked her for championing education reform including the re-financing of college debt.  She was so warm and gracious.

I was smitten and I resolved then and there to re-double my efforts to elect this extraordinary leader our next President.

Fred Rich LaRiccia

Wonk Post: Democratic Presidential Support by Demographic

From Pew:

MOE: 5.3% for Democratic RV sample; 5.7% for Democratic probable primary sample.


President  Obama should call out the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre in a national televised debate on guns.

Historically, debates have been useful in crystalizing complex issues from the founding of the Republic to the Civil War.  In our lifetime, the first televised Kennedy – Nixon debate helped shape the outcome of a presidential election.

Every year in America there are 30,00 deaths attributed to gun violence.  One – third of those are murders and two – thirds are suicides.  This is clearly a public health issue yet Republicans in Congress refuse to fund needed research to document the root causes of this epidemic.

Status quo, spineless, demagogic politicians who throw up their hands by saying : ” stuff happens ” are todays moral equivalent of the proverbial ostrich sticking its’ head in the sand.  Common sense gun safety measures like universal background checks to screen out the mentally ill and criminal domestic violence are supported by 90% of the American people.  Yet the money and lobbying power of the NRA paralyzes Congress from passing meaningful corrective legislation.

If the NRA is so confident in their version of the Second Amendment let them put it to the test by proving it in the court of public opinion.  I am confident that once the American people understand the arguments they will speak out and force Congress to act.

It is long past time to put an end to this madness once and for all.

Fred Rich LaRiccia