Sunday, 29 July 2012

A Scalia Moment

What Supreme Court Judge Scalia hinted at on the Sunday talk show episode....if you paid attention to it....was that he (and only he).....could entertain some alternate vision of gun regulation in America.  He didn't want to say what it would be....but he was open to the idea.

What happens?  Well....spring of 2013...there's going to be this fair sized group of Republicans in the house and senate.  They will come around to the idea of automatic rifles of a certain type....AR15 and AK47 types.....being limited in sales to law enforcement only.  Course, that would still leave tens of thousands of these weapons probably floating around America.  For a brief weekend....in front of the public and media folks....they'd look like they were helping to fix a problem.

Then some shooting would occur with a pistol, and life would just go on.  The fact that ninety-nine percent of all shootings/murders....are done by pistol, and not by automatic rifle....really doesn't get fixed by a ban on assault rifles.

Now, if you did start to restart mental hospitals to be run by states, and allow folks to be put away for being dangerous....that might carve out a fair-sized chunk of shootings in America.  But I'm guessing folks wouldn't want 40k people a year.....locked up in some state mental institute.

That Little Drug Issue

Today, after running over most regular news....I caught this glimpse of an odd thing in Colorado....over the shooter kid.  He actually was seeing a mental health doctor on the campus....while doing his student activities.  Well...this doctor....came around about seven years ago and got into a small bit of trouble....prescribing drugs for herself, her husband and a employee under her.  The drugs?  Well....Vicodin, Xanax, Lorazepam and Ambien.

So you look over these four drugs.  All four....if taken past normal accepted levels....create problems.....some to the extreme.

A guy could sit and ponder over this.  A kid comes along with some small mental issues and meet up with the right mental health doctor, who likes the use of drugs in treating people.  The kid already takes some drugs....but the new doctor tosses out a prescription or two, and the kid combines the drugs.  Because this is a university type clinic and it's run on the cheap....at best, I'd guess the kid might visit the doctor for a face-to-face maybe once a month.

You take a kid....pump him up on Vicodin or Ambien....say double or triple the normal daily dose.  Then he watches some Batman movie fifteen times a week.  He goes to class....does minimal work, and retreats to his apartment to refocus on his Batman theme.  It only take six to eight months of this to create a mess out of nothing.

The odds of doctor serving time?  The prescription count will be the magic moment.  I'd doubt that she'd get more than two years in prison if she did prescribe beyond the norm.  The kid?  He might be lucky and just get life in a mental institute....claiming he was insane at the time.

Guns being an issue?  Well....this takes the mess to a new prospective.  How many doped up folks are walking the streets of America....on Ambien or Vicodin or Xanax?  You'd hope they just watch CSP*N, Gomer Pyle, or the Food Network.  But the truth is.....you just don't know.

And the last item to ponder?  Well....free health care is coming for a bunch of folks.  Free drugs will be part of the deal.  If you confessed to some mental health doctor of some issues.....you could drug-up and get some great prescriptions....maybe more than what you'd need.  Your only hope is that a doctor is kinda anti-drug and finds some natural ways to fix your issue.


Could Have Been....Would Have Been

Just a moment of history and how things could have been.

On 29 October 1929....a fair-sized collapse of Wall Street occurred.  It would be a very fair statement to say that the entire stock market for the previous decade had been heated-up and reacting to public belief in absolute gains....when the true business sector was not progressing at that rate.  Rich people were getting rich.  Middle-class people were getting rich.  And the working class all had jobs, and were paying taxes.

Standing in the middle of this surge and soon-to-be-fall....was Herbert Hoover.  The best description of Hoover was given by President Coolidge....."wonder-boy".  Hoover was an engineer by trade, and generally felt that a good plan, with massive enthusiasm....usually fixed things.  To be honest, Hoover had as much understanding of the US economy.....as some shrimp fisherman has knowledge over nuclear technology.  So he invited a number of people who said they knew something....bits and pieces to be more precise, and generally....to build and mount his policy.  Whatever Hoover used over 1930 to the fall of 1932....was never a clear answer, and generally little to do with the failed banks.

Over this three year period, Hoover made various speeches and gave encouragement....but his policies were generally limited in nature.  The public works concept that we always associate with FDR?  Well....it actually started with Hoover.  He did try to kick half-a-million Mexicans out of the US...to bring work back into US hands....but then there weren't that many Americans willing to do work that Mexicans had done before (sound familiar?).  Finally, Hoover jumped onboard with the idea of having the largest income tax increase in American history....in 1932....having top-wage earners now pay 63 percent of their income to the US government.  You can figure the math, but just over sixty cents of any dollar you made as a top-grade earner....was yanked away.  Folks resorted to hiding their income.

So along comes the choice in 1932's election.  There's no doubt that FDR was going to fix whatever "wonder-boy" couldn't fix.  Programs were the key.  The media hyped up all the various programs.  Folks bought into everything suggested.  When FDR came around to outlaw the private ownership of gold in the US....this was to fix a "problem". When poverty was identified as a problem.....social security became the "fix".  When folks thought the military budget was bloated....almost a third of the Pentagon budget was cut over a two year period.

From 1932 election period to the the 1936 election period?  Nothing much really transpired.  The programs were all in effect and folks really couldn't say much of anything except nothing was seeming to work, and the depression was still in effect.

Somewhere out in Louisiana....over this period....Governor and then later Senator....Huey Long was shocking the regular people of Louisiana.  He had this odd vision of "share the wealth".  He'd take wealth from the rich and from companies....and just share it with the public.  In 1935, Huey Long was a household name throughout the south, and via radio.....was becoming a national topic.  For the 1936 election....Huey was likely to be running in the primary season against FDR (as a Democrat).  One of two scenarios would likely have occurred.

Huey would have gained enough wins throughout the south....that he might have been able to edge FDR out and be the national Democratic candidate for President.  If not.....he would have forced enough concessions and likely been the VP for FDR or sitting in the cabinet in some capacity.

So you can imagine 1937 and beyond with possibly President Huey Long in charge....a guy who would have turbo-charged the New Deal period, and gone to extremes on sharing the wealth.

A funny happen in 1935 though....Senator Huey Long was shot.  A simmering dispute over Long's pay-back involving a re-districting plan....had upset a relative of the guy who would be screwed over by a vastly different district plan.

Huey Long never makes it into the 1936 election season....never runs in the primaries....never has a chance to bring up this major share the wealth concept.  History falls into line with FDR, and marches on.