America’s history is written in blood and sacrifice. We have two holidays—Memorial Day and Veterans Day—which commemorate the sacrifices made by our military. But, we have only two national martyrs whom we acknowledge with holidays: Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Both of our great martyrs died trying to expiate the sins of slavery and racism. Without their work, the America in which we live would be unrecognizable. In fact, there might very well be no America, as it would have split along the fissures caused by one of its two original sins, that of slavery.
Which is why it’s quite curious that Chris Hayes, on his show last night, brought up the memories of Dr. King and Rosa Parks when speaking of NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
I got to meet with the President yesterday and I wanted to share with you this drawing that I presented him with. It’s a pencil drawing of the president in front of his ancestral home and the White House. It was by Brian Fogarty a school teacher from Co Tipperary now living in Galway.
Henry with Brian
This morning’s email:
I hope you are well. Remember the picture I sent you that I gave to the President in March? Well, the artist got a letter from the President thanking him for the portrait! I attach a copy of it for you and also a link to Brian’s Facebook page.
President Barack Obama signs letters from children backstage after signing executive orders and unveiling new gun control proposals as part of the Administration’s response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings, and other tragedies, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Jan. 16, 2013. The children wrote the President letters in the wake of the Newtown tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama signs executive orders on gun violence flanked by 8-year old letter writer Hinna Zeejah (L), 10-year old letter writer Taejah Goode (3rd L), 11-year old letter writer Julia Stokes and 8-year old letter writer Grant Fritz (R)
Julia and Taejah’s letters
President Barack Obama signs letters written by Hinna Zeejah, Grant Fritz, Julia Stokes, and Teja Goode backstage in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium after unveiling new gun control proposals as part of the Administration’s response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings, and other tragedies, Jan. 16. The children wrote to President Obama in the wake of the Newtown tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety. (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama in the Connecticut Post: As a society, our first task must be to care for our children – to shield them from harm and give them the tools they need not only to pursue their dreams, but to help build this country. That is how we will be judged. And in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, it’s clear we have a long way to go.
That’s why, last month, I asked Vice President Biden to lead an effort to come up with concrete steps we can take right now to keep our kids safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. And on Wednesday, I put forward a specific set of proposals based on Joe’s recommendations. Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence – if even one life can be saved – we have an obligation to try.
As President, I’m committed to doing my part. That’s why I signed 23 executive actions giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.
Random old pic – Pete Souza: “Following remarks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the fiscal cliff negotiations, the President greets a couple of OMB workers as he walked back across on West Executive Avenue as he walked back to the West Wing of the White House. He gave them an elbow-bump, because he had just put Purell on his hands.” (Photo by Pete Souza, Dec. 31, 2012)
Sunday: The President has no public events scheduled
Monday: Will participate in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony at the White House
Will spend the rest of the week in Washington, DC and attend meetings at the White House
A word from Bobfr:
Letter sent to PBO and VP Biden ….
Dear Mr President,
300+ million guns in the possession of folk in America is way beyond the proverbial ‘horse has left the barn.’ It would be great to ban anyone other than the military & police organizations from owning semi-automatic weapons, but I think you have a much more pragmatic way of addressing that issue and several other gun violence significant challenges.
You and your legal advisers are way more sophisticated than I ever will be so please forgive if you’ve already considered the following.
1. Focus on the ‘well regulated’ clause of the 2nd Amendment and leverage it to issue and enforce substantial reforms via Executive Order – i.e., use the law of the land to maximum extent rather than rely on new legislation (for all the reasons we know how intractable that path currently is);
2. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as every gun being registered and accounted for at all times;
3. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as each person in possession of a gun is properly trained, certified, licensed, free of any criminal record, & insured for liability for unintended or illegal harm they might cause;
4. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as any person owning more than one gun was properly trained, certified and licensed for EACH gun and that their liability insurance covered EACH gun;
5. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as ensuring that each gun owner had their certification and license to possess every gun they own be renewed on an annual basis;
6. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as an accounting of every round of ammunition (as well as the equipment and components for assembling ammunition) a licensed gun owner purchased with limits set on the frequency of purchase no less stringent than the purchase of ‘Sudafed’;
7. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as any violation of the use of a gun, any conviction for DUI, any conviction for assault of any form, any conviction for use of illegal drugs, and any conviction for any form of violent threat or crime automatically results in confiscation of any gun, ammunition, etc., in possession of the offender.
These pragmatic steps do not infringe on ‘2nd Amendment’ rights. These pragmatic steps do not require anyone to surrender whatever type of gun they have.
These pragmatic steps require any person in possession of one or more guns to prove they are properly trained, licensed and insured – requirements no more onerous than those drivers of automobiles, operators of a vast range of equipment, school bus drivers, etc., must adhere.
All those other activities do not have as their intended consequence killing. Only a gun has that intended consequence.
So, it is merely reasonable that the operator of a gun meet at least as rigorous a set of training, license and insurance responsibilities given that that device has ONLY ONE intended outcome – DEATH.
NYT: President Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly in the coming months on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system that would include a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week.
Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats will propose the changes in one comprehensive bill, the officials said, resisting efforts by some Republicans to break the overhaul into smaller pieces — separately addressing young illegal immigrants, migrant farmworkers or highly skilled foreigners — which might be easier for reluctant members of their party to accept.
NYT: As lawmakers take to the Sunday shows to express their opinions on President Obama’s cabinet nominations, Colin L. Powell, the retired general and former secretary of state, will join NBC’s “Meet the Press” to voice his support for Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense.
NBC will also feature a roundtable discussion of Washington’s next debates on the debt ceiling and more with Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark and Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor.
:roll: —-> Senator John McCain and Senator Joe Manchin will appear on CBS’s “Face the Nation” to share their views on Mr. Obama’s national security picks…..