Friday, April 20, 2018

The opioid epidemic is really a fentanyl epidemic—and we don’t need all the hype

By SJ Otto
At least a few times a week we hear of “The U.S. opioid epidemic.” The news is full of scary statistics, with staggering death tolls. Some news outlets claim this is one of the deadliest drug epidemics since the 1960s. But as with the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s, not all the news we got was accurate. If we could believe all the hype and hysteria the mainstream news media fed us, at times we should have seen the country fall apart with so many people using these dangerous drugs. But America has endured from one drug epidemic to the next.
What is being called the “U.S. Opioid Epidemic” should really be called the “fentanyl epidemic.” With all the deaths that are being reported, most are attributed to street drugs mixed with fentanyl. The latest celebrity to die from fentanyl was Prince. The singer was using the common painkiller Vicodin when, unbeknownst to him, it was laced with fentanyl. The obvious conclusion is that he bought bootlegged Vicodin and it was laced with fentanyl. Police are finding that drug all over the streets, even in cocaine.
According to the National Safety Council, “Over 42,000 Americans died of opioid overdose in 2016, and government and public health officials are scrambling to find effective ways to reverse this frightening trend.” Such death statistics are constantly thrown at us by the mainstream news media. But what seems to be coming across more and more often is the fact that fentanyl is largely responsible for many of these deaths.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is supposedly cheap and easy to make. It is real powerful and is added to all kinds of street narcotics to boost their potency. The problem with this drug is that it is extremely potent.

According to Wikipedia, “fentanyl is about 75 times stronger than morphine for a given amount. Some fentanyl analogues may be as much as 10,000 times stronger than morphine.” Street heroin, in the past century, has always led some people to die from overdoses. For a regular dose of heroin to a non-addict is usually about half a grain. An addict will need several grains. That is a really small amount. For the same amount of fentanyl for the non-addict and addict, to get the same affects as heroin would require amounts that are no more than specs. A spec of salt or a single salt crystal would be the amount of fentanyl an addict might need to get high. It would not take much more than that to kill a person, addict or non-addict.

In the last few decades heroin has been sold in powder form, either in grams or “spoons” or “spoonful.” Recently some heroin has been stamped into pills. But the drug is almost always diluted or cut with other powders to stretch it out and make it appear as if the buyer is getting way more than they really get. Mostly milk sugar and quinine are used to stretch the heroin out. In the past, these powders have usually range from 10 percent to one percent heroin. So the user puts as much as a quarter gram, half or even a whole gram, when in reality the heroin is no more than a few pinches mixed with a lot of non-active powder. Some of the heroin today may be more potent and cheaper than in the past. The danger comes when a user buys heroin that is way more potent than usual. Other factors can contribute to an overdose, such as being drunk when shooting up. Alcohol and heroin are a deadly combination and should always be avoided.
In the case of fentanyl, the drug is so potent it almost has to be cut to prevent an overdose. And because it is so potent, it takes just a little too much, in a powder, to kill a person. It’s hard for the user to really understand how much of the drug they are using, especially when mixed with heroin, fake pharmaceuticals and non-narcotics such as cocaine.
The whole idea that doctors are the culprits, because they are writing too many prescriptions and luring people into addiction is ludicrous. Supposedly, according to recent news reports, people run out of their prescriptions and then head for the nearest heroin dealer. There are a lot of holes in this scenario. Overall this nation needs to be looking into stopping fentanyl and needs to stop wasting time chasing doctors who write too many pain killer prescriptions. There are plenty of people who need legitimate prescriptions for pain killers. There is no need to insist that the average person will become a heroin addict simply because he or she has a prescription to a common pain killer, such as Vicodin or Lortab. Such opioids are relatively harmless when prescribed for pain. We do need to spend public funds on drug rehabilitation for people who have serious problems or for addicts who want to quit. Funding for prevention also makes sense. What we don’t need is a lot of new regulations that make it harder for pain patients to get the medicine they need. We also don’t need more laws to punish people for having a drug problem. We don’t need more drug testing to throw addicts off of public assistance. Most of all we don’t need the hysteria that results from the hype and actions of politicians over these drug epidemics. We need to use common sense. In the 1980s we filled the prisons with people whose only crime was having a drug problem. Such laws created problems we are still trying to fix today. Recent statements and actions by our President Donald Trump make no sense at all, such as capital punishment for drug dealers. We need cooler heads and people who have common sense working on this epidemic and not reckless politicians.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Failure of Welfare Reform

The following is in rebuttal to the very many articles by the likes of such writers as Cal Thomas, who are jumping all over welfare reform as an example of great conservative politics. The only problem the reform is a disaster as the following article shows: By SJ Otto

From Slate:

If you want a sense of how thoroughly America’s welfare system has decayed thanks to the reforms Bill Clinton signed into law two decades ago, consider Arizona.
Despite being home to one of the nation’s most crushing child poverty rates, the state has all but stopped giving cash assistance to its needy. During 2014, for every 100 poor families with children in Arizonajust 8 families received aid. And even that tiny fraction is likely to shrink. Last year, while trying to chip away at a $1 billion budget deficit, lawmakers lowered the maximum amount of time Arizonans could receive welfare payments before being kicked off the rolls permanently—it’s now just 12 months.
This was a first. Most states enforce a five-year time limit. Some, including Arizona, have gone as low as two years. None had tried the one-year-and-you’re-out approach.
For the rest click here.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Science March was cold and windy in Wichita

By SJ Otto
The March for Science was fairly small this year, maybe about 20 people, here in Wichita, KS. It was real cold and windy. The March was this Saturday at the Historic Courthouse stairs. The local march was sponsored by the Air Capital Sceptics.
Science Marches were conducted all across the country Saturday, April 14.

From CNN:
Crowds turned out in cities around the world Saturday for the second annual March for Science.
Saturday's crowds were notably smaller than those that showed up for the first march in April 2017, but attendees expressed as much optimism and hope as they did last year.
According to the non-partisan March for Science organization, the main event was set to take place in Washington, while more than 230 satellite events were scheduled around the world in different forms, be they marches, rallies or science exhibitions.
"There definitely aren't as many people present this year, but the people and speakers here are equally as passionate to help advocate for science," said Mackenzie Mittleman, 24, who attended the march in Washington for a second year.

For the rest click here.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Syrian Researcher: Focusing on an Alleged Chemical Attack Ignores War’s Ongoing Deaths by Airstrikes, Bullets

I have come across several people on the left who believe we should take a stand against the Bashar al-Assad (بشار اسد) Regime and some have even suggested supporting the Free Syrian Army, which the US has been supporting. There are a few points they try to make. Most have claimed they are not supporting US imperialism and yet they believe we should demand Assad step down. That is the same position the US takes and as far as I am concerned the US has no authority to tell a foreign leader to step down. Some of these so-called leftists are claiming that the slaughter of his own people is unjustifiable and we should take up the cause to get rid of him. I don't actually support Assad, but I oppose the FSA because it is a reactionary faction, similar to the Nicaraguan Contras. They are mostly Islamists. I am not an Islamist. I don't support Islamist revolutionaries. Many of those people would kill us if we went to Syria. I refuse to take up the causes of US imperialism. They plan to put puppet governments all over the Middle East. That does not help anyone. One thing I will not support is the imperialist efforts to replace Assad with a puppet government. - SJ Otto

As the United Nations Security Council holds an emergency session over the growing prospect of a war between Russia and the U.S., after President Trump threatened U.S. strikes in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, we get response from Syrian-Canadian writer Yazan al-Saadi. “Let’s remind everyone that the U.S. is striking Syria already. You have more than 2,000 soldiers on the ground. There are bases.” He adds, “For me, as a Syrian, I see it as an occupation, just like how I see the Russians are an occupation on the country.” Regarding the alleged chemical attack in Syria, he says, “This ignores the fact that most deaths are happening through conventional means,” such as airstrikes.

For the rest of this article click here.

Friday, April 13, 2018

May Day and other events planned by DSA

By SJ Otto
May Day is coming and Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) members will be attending a May Day celebration at the Machinist Hall, put on by the Wichita and Hutchinson Labor Federation. The event will be free, but those who want to attend must RSVP, 316-941-4061. The event will be April 26th, 6pm at the Machinist Hall. All this was decided at the last DSA board meeting April 8.
Also the Peace and Social Justice Center will be showing films on the Actual May Day, Tuesday, May 1, including Maestra.[1]  
DSA will be taking part in the Science March from 11am to 2pm, this Saturday, at the Sedgwick County Courthouse.
DSA has plans to print and sell T-shirt that we can wear to such events as the Junteenth Celebration, which DSA will take part in this year. The design for the shirts were voted on at last week's meeting.
DSA members are still working out the details of the weekend campout in Eisenhower State Park, May 18-20. DSA Chapters from all the surrounding states will be there. There will be officials from the national DSA organization at this event. There will be several educational events, such as Jim Philip's giving a history of socialism here in the US. There will be plenty of time for swimming and other fun activities.
They will also be taking part in PRIDE Day.
DSA is considering a possible information table at this year's Junteenth Celebration.
(Remember that any mistakes or correction can be fixed in this article. Just leave a note at the e-male above.)

[1] Join us to celebrate International Workers’ Day with a potluck and a recent Cuban film,  Maestra (Teacher). Maestra explores the personal testimonies of the young women who taught literacy in rural communities across Cuba during the Cuban Literacy Campaign of 1961, when 250,000 volunteers taught 700,000 people to read and write in one year. Please bring food to share–we have place settings. We’ll also have information about the Pastors for Peace yearly Cuba Caravan.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Radio ads appeal to greed and voter stupidity

By SJ Otto
Some smarmy under-handed conservative group is running dozens of ads every day, on NPR (National Public Radio), trying to tell us that we need to let the "elected" officials in Kansas decide how much school funding Kansas schools need. These new adds are filled with inaccurate information, appeals to personal greed and fear mongering.

These ads imply that it is unfair to let the "unelected" supreme court justices decide how much money we really need for our schools. And they go into fear mongering—warning listeners that property taxes could double or we may end up paying more than 10 percent sales tax (which is close to what we pay now).
As someone who actually works for the school system, I have watched while our past Governor Sam Brownback, gutted our schools and cheated Kansas youth out of the quality education that the generation before them had. The damage that Brownback did will take years to fix. But not if the people who run the ads get their way. As with the rest of the nation, we have an obligation to provide a reasonable and adequate education to every citizen of both Kansas and this country. In the long run, allowing poorly educated citizens to mature, vote, work and live in our society is very dangerous. We already have seen what the poorly educated citizens have done to the office of the president. We have a man who was elected by those poorly educated and easily fooled into believing a $billionaire con man would be an ally of the working class. Our president today has done nothing but take the rights of working people away and has done all he can to make sure that employers have all the rights and all the decision making power over working people who have been stripped of any rights or control over their jobs.
Trying to educate on the cheap is irresponsible and just plane wrong. There are too many people who whine about having to educate someone else's kid. They need to get over it. A lot of the politicians who have gotten elected over the last 10 years have been counting on the less educated and the gullible. When these folks get elected we all pay.
We need to stand up to the big money and greedy political people who have wrecked havoc on our school systems and want to continue this mistreatment of our young. We need to be responsible for education all citizens, so they can enter the work place with the knowledge they need to function well, the ability to understand the system they live under and the ability to see a con job when they vote.

Pix by NBC News.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Class, race, and U.S. wealth inequality

Originally published: Reports from the Economic Front (January 3, 2018)  
People tend to have a distorted picture of U.S. capitalism’s operation, believing that the great majority of Americans are doing well, benefiting from the system’s long-term growth and profit generation. Unfortunately, this is not true. Median wealth has been declining, leaving growing numbers of working people increasingly vulnerable to the ups and downs of economic activity and poorly positioned to enjoy a secure retirement. Moreover, this general trend masks a profound racial wealth divide, with people of color disproportionally suffering from a loss of wealth and insecurity.

A distorted picture of wealth inequality

In a 2011 article, based on 2005 national survey data, Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely demonstrate how little Americans know about the extent of wealth inequality. The figure below (labeled Fig. 2) shows the actual distribution of wealth in that year compared to what survey respondents thought it was, as well as their ideal wealth distribution. As the authors explain:
respondents vastly underestimated the actual level of wealth inequality in the United States, believing that the wealthiest quintile held about 59% of the wealth when the actual number is closer to 84%. More interesting, respondents constructed ideal wealth distributions that were far more equitable than even their erroneously low estimates of the actual distribution, reporting a desire for the top quintile to own just 32% of the wealth. These desires for more equal distributions of wealth took the form of moving money from the top quintile to the bottom three quintiles, while leaving the second quintile unchanged, evincing a greater concern for the less fortunate than the more fortunate.

For the rest click here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.- be prepared for a lot of phony speeches

By SJ Otto
 Today Ceremonies and other events are being held nationwide to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Of course most of us remember him as the leading figure of the civil rights struggle that lead to the end of "Jim Crow" laws, racial segregation and the guaranteed right for all people of all races to vote.
The other thing he is known for is his philosophy of non-violence.
King was a major mover and shaker in the civil rights movement, but that is not all he did. He also wrestled with such topics as poverty and ending the Vietnam War. I emphasis the last two things because politicians of all stripes will be giving speeches, today, on King and his work with the civil rights movement. They will focus on his commitment to using non-violence to accomplish his goals. Politicians today love a man of peace because conservatives are all about violence and intimidation to get what they want. Some conservatives have openly carried guns as a form of intimidation while protesting against Muslim Mosques. That happened here in Wichita in May of 2016. Then there were the heavy handed police attacks on the peaceful protests of the Occupy Movement. Oakland police used violence against some protesters back in 2012. So the idea of a group of political activist who will always reject violence is a wonderful thing for the conservatives who oppose most of what our modern protesters stand for.

As for poverty and inequality, no conservative Republican is going to champion that cause. And some Democrats are just as bad as Republicans. Today we have one of the  most crass champions of the rich and their greed, as well as open hostility to those who are working poor or those living in poverty, President Donald Trump. As King once said:

"We have come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. The poor are less often dismissed from our conscience today by being branded as inferior and incompetent. We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands it does not eliminate all poverty."

This is not something that our Idiot 'n Chief, Trump would ever embrace. And almost all of our Kansas politicians, including our very own Representative Ron Estes would not touch the quote with a 10 foot pole. Today we have some of the nastiest-classist anti-poor leaders this country and the world have ever seen. Greed is rampant and guarded by our present day Republican Party. The country has moved very far away from the ideas and goals that King professed.
Another area sure to be disputed was King's dislike of the Vietnam War. According to The New York Times:

" Fifty years ago today — and one year to the day before his assassination — the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the most politically charged speech of his life at Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan. It was a blistering attack on the government’s conduct of the Vietnam War that, among other things, compared American tactics to those of the Nazis during World War II.
The speech drew widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum, including from this newspaper. Other civil rights leaders, who supported the war and sought to retain President Lyndon B. Johnson as a political ally, distanced themselves from Dr. King."

Today this nation is involved in wars all over the world. We occupy Iraq and Afghanistan. We are involved in wars in Yemen and Syria. This nation is addicted to war and there is almost no opposition to it at all, especially missing is anything from the Democrats. This nation hasn't been so found of war since World War II. Our culture and even our advertisements are full of pro-war messages.
So be prepared for some of the most hyped up, hypocritical and phony praise for Martin Luther King Jr. This is America, an anti-poor and pro-war nation. We have collectively ignored most of the advice from King and we are paying for it.

Pix by The Atlantic.
To be clear, I'm endorsing this event. 

Members of the community continue to support WSU's The Sunflower newspaper

Letter to the Editor — Sandy West

March 31, 2018 
From The Sunflower (Wichita State University):

As a Wichita State alumnus, who worked closely with the university administration and Student Government Association in a variety of capacities as a student, including as a reporter for The Sunflower, I have to say I have never been so disgusted with my alma mater as I am now.
Perhaps it is because back then, WSU administrators and the SGA understood that WSU is a public institution – that taxpayers and tuition-paying students are stakeholders, and that as such, backroom deals and the ominous threats more common in private industry have no place on a college campus. Perhaps it is because the administration lacked hubris and did not believe that they and they alone controlled the narrative. Perhaps it is because the administration respected the independent press and wasn’t threatened by oversight.

Let’s put to rest the notion that the SGA vote, planned and plotted by university officials — including Vice President of Student Affairs Teri Hall, and the SGA President — financially knee-capping The Sunflower was anything but retaliation for the excellent work of the student staffers, who despite ongoing threats from administrators, reported on financial deal-making intentionally kept from the public eye. Those students had the courage to report on arrangements between university officials and private developers – including a member of the State Board of Regents – that this year will see a transfer of millions of dollars from university coffers to the pockets of those developers. Student reporters have pursued stories about the development of publicly owned land to the benefit of corporate interests and private-sector financial benefactors. They wrote about artificially inflated enrollment figures.
Student reporters also wrote human interest stories, covered sports, clubs, events and recorded the daily history at Wichita State.
Student reporters wrote stories that informed us – the taxpaying public, tuition-paying students, and alumni who poured our hearts and souls into WSU long before Hall, John Bardo, or any current administrator set foot on campus – because we are entitled to know, because WE paid the bills.
After repeated threats over the past year to withdraw student fee funding from The Sunflower – a revenue stream that is historically non-controversial due its status as a STUDENT-RUN newspaper – Hall promised in an email (addressed to administrators at WSU) to “fix” the (funding) problem that is The Sunflower. That would be the same Hall, who: after one year on the job, secured a $100,000 increase in the student fee allocation to heroffice while simultaneously stripping The Sunflower of $80,000; reportedly said in an SGA meeting on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, that students have no business questioning how her student fee allocation is spent; who appears to lack a fundamental understanding of how The Sunflower fits into the structure at WSU; who seemed unable to comprehend the difference between KU/Lawrence and WSU/Wichita in a telephone conversation with me;  and who belligerently defends the initial decision to conduct an SGA Student Fees Committee meeting behind closed doors. Hall has repeatedly sworn that stripping funding for The Sunflower was not retribution despite her email promise to “fix” The Sunflower problem, and despite it being single largest cut to a campus organization – which coincidentally is the entity most reviled by university administrators. Apparently, Hall, the SGA and WSU administrators expect everyone to disbelieve the truth plainly before their eyes.
If this really is all about fiscal responsibility, perhaps someone can explain how the SGA passed its own $256,000 allocation? Or why Hall deserves an extra $100,000 – and why no one is allowed to question it?
I hope Mr. Bardo takes some time to reflect on this situation before forwarding a student fees budget designed to destroy the 123-year-old campus institution that is The Sunflower.
No vibrant, exciting and welcoming university in America lacks a student newspaper. The majority of those papers, whether strategically independent or not, rely on student fees. Most universities are run by intellectually honest people who understand their campus and community market enough to know when there are limitations on the prospects for ad revenue. The argument that The Sunflower can simply make up lost student fees in ad revenue is specious and stupid.
Most university administrations don’t, in conjunction with the student government, declare war on student newspapers they don’t like in order to justify destroying those organizations. Regardless of all claims to the contrary, that is EXACTLY what has happened at WSU.
Hall and others may think they have “fixed” their problem. They would be wise to realize those of us standing with The Sunflower and on the side of good and open governance aren’t going anywhere.
—Sandy West, WSU ’89 ’91
Professional journalist (Arkansas City Traveler, Wichita Business Journal, Orange County Business Journal, Associated Press, Money), writer

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Help stop a dangerous anti-abortion bill

From Julie A. Burkhart, Founder & CEO, Trust Women Foundation:
You’ve seen the news, 5 states in the last 5 days have introduced or passed extreme, punitive and dangerous bills limiting abortion rights even further. Here in Kansas, we know how destructive and dangerous these laws are.
Now the Kansas legislature is adding an appropriations amendment that would outlaw embryonic research from fetal tissue. To add insult to injury, anti-choice Rep. Steve Fitzgerald compared fetal tissue research to the atrocities of the holocaust during WWII.
Not only is Rep. Fitzgerald’s comparison abhorrent, false and cruel, but his proposed amendment would outlaw any research that uses tissue samples from fetuses. His amendment severely limits innovate research that could help all kind of patients, including those trying to get pregnant.
Kansas has always been a state that supports science and seeks to innovate and find solid solutions. This bill is a step away from the pioneering spirit of Kansas, as well as a blatant attempt to win anti-choice points on the Senate floor.
We need folks to urge the Approriations Committee to vote NO! on Rep. Fitzgerald’s amendment, Sec. 101 in SB 269:
Representative Troy Waymaster               785-296-7672  
Representative Richard Proehl                  785-296-7639   
Ranking Minority            
Representative Kathy Wolfe-Moore           785-296-0424     
Representative John Alcala                      785-296-7371      
Representative Clay Aurand                     785-296-7637     
Representative Barbara Ballard                785-296-7697     
Representative Tom Burroughs                 785-296-8153     
Representative Sydney Carlin                   785-296-7657     
Representative J.R Claeys                        785-296-7670     
Representative Susan Concannon             785-296-7644     
Representative Henry Helgerson              785-296-7668      
Representative Kyle Hoffman                   785-296-7643      
Representative Steven Johnson                785-296-7696     
Representative Kevin Jones                      785-296-6287     
Representative Jan Kessinger                   785 296-7436      
Representative Brenda Landwehr              785-296-7488      
Representative Fred Patton                      785-296-7460       
Representative Eber Phelps                      785-296-4683      
Representative Brad Ralph                       785-296-7501       
Representative Don Schroeder                  785-296-7500      
Representative Bill Sutton                        785-296-7676      
Representative Sean Tarwater                  785-296-7685      
Representative Kristey Williams                316 775-1440         
States across the country have seen a dangerous course of anti-choice laws introduced or passed in just the last week. We need to make sure our state doesn’t fall prey to inaccurate information, horrific comparisons and lies that make it into our laws here in Kansas.
Please call these lawmakers and tell them to vote NO on Sec. 101 in SB 269, because lies should not be part of our laws! 
Thank you for all you do,

Julie A. Burkhart
Founder & CEO
Trust Women Foundation
Trust Women Foundation
5107 E. Kellogg Drive
Wichita, KS. 67218

Trust Women Wichita
5107 E. Kellogg Drive
Wichita, KS. 67218

Trust Women Oklahoma City
1240 S.W. 44th St.
Oklahoma City, OK. 73109

Trust Women Seattle
1325 4th Ave, Suite 1240
Seattle, WA 98101

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Do people really need to carry such big guns everywhere they go?

By SJ Otto
These are strange times we live in, at least for those of us who grew up in a time when handguns were strictly forbidden to be carried.  Until I was 13 years old, I lived in St. Louis and hand guns in Missouri were hard to buy and getting a permit to carrying them was even harder to come by.
Then I moved to Kansas where it was a lot easier to buy handguns. I had to be 21, but that is all it took.
Since the Cowboy days, which I often see on TV, the idea of carrying a gun for protection fell out of favor by the 20th century. According to Wikipedia:

“Concealed weapons bans were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813. (In those days open carry of weapons for self-defense was considered acceptable; concealed carry was denounced as the practice of criminals.) By 1859, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, and Ohio had followed suit. By the end of the nineteenth century, similar laws were passed in places such as Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma, which protected some gun rights in their state constitutions. Before the mid 1900s, most U.S. states had passed concealed carry laws rather than banning weapons completely.”

By 1990 all of that began to swing back the other way. It started with a few states allowing people to buy a conceal and carry permit. In Kansas, as many other states, a one day eight-hour approved class, was all that was needed to buy the right to carry a hand gun. Since that time, almost all states now allow people to carry guns. Most don’t require a lengthy class.  
Since 2015, Kansans can now carry a gun with no permit at all. It is perfectly legal to put a gun in someone’s pocket and carry it around.
I used to carry a gun in the late 1970s and it was not legal at that time. For a while I carried a derringer in my pocket wrapped in a handkerchief. Later I lost that gun and bought a 22 pistol. It was small enough I could carry that gun the same way.
Today we live in a paranoid society where about half the people are packing a gun. And unlike the small unnoticeable guns I carried, they seem to feel a need for a large high powered pistol which needs some kind of clever holster that can be concealed somewhere on the person. Just recently I noticed an article about Tomi Lahren, a right-wing commentator, plugging Alexo Athletica leggings, which are meant to conceal a person’s firearm as they exercise. She and many other gun nuts need exotic holsters to carry what amounts to a small cannon on their person. And who really needs a gun on them when they are in a gym exercising?
It wasn’t much of an inconvenience for me to carry a gun in my front pocket. And I never needed it everywhere I went. There a plenty of places I went where I didn’t feel I needed a gun. There seems to be this new mindset that people need really big guns, such as a 44 magnum and they need them everywhere they go. I certainly couldn’t carry such a gun in my front pocket. And I have to wonder how wise such a big gun is?
My smaller guns were just as protective as those big mini-canons most of these gun nuts like to carry. The bigger calibers are not that accurate. If the barrels are long enough to give as person some accuracy they want, then the guns is bulky, heavy and hard to conceal. A small short barreled 22 can be very accurate. If used properly they can be just as deadly as any other gun. And they are easy to conceal. They are not cumbersome and they are not uncomfortable.
I can now legally carry my 22 pistol, which easily fits in my front pocket. But after all these years I just don’t really feel I need it. Maybe I can carry it to places that I feel are unsafe, but I don’t need to take it to a gym when I exorcise.
Gun dealers are making a fortune off of the fear and paranoia of a lot of US citizens these days. I’m not completely against people carrying guns, but I do feel that an 8 hour safety class is ridiculous. I like that poor people can now carry a gun. The permits cost $300 and a lot of poorer people can’t afford that. But we have reached a point where people’s attitude is “if I have a gun or a permit, I should not get in trouble just for shooting the wrong person.” There have been a few cases here a women was surprised people didn’t want her to shoot a shop-lifter. These permits should not be, as James Bond once said, “a license to kill.”
There are a lot of people who really should not be carrying guns. They can just as easily shoot a bystander as the crook they are aiming at. And that does not make me feel safe.
There needs to be cheap permits that anyone can afford, along with a real training class requirement that makes it clear to a person that they can be held accountable for what they do with a gun.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The March For Our Lives is proof that this Generation can’t be stopped

By SJ Otto
Will support from the NRA finally cost politicians their jobs? Should they get their resumes out and start looking for new employment? Some people think they should.  The March for Our Lives events last weekend points to such trends. About 200,000 students marched across the country with such slogans as “Not one more,” “Vote them out” and “The NRA has got to go!” according to the Huff Post. It won't take a lot of those voting students to turn the tables on Republicans in the tight races that they mostly won, in the last election.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

March for Our Lives was a big success in Wichita.

By SJ Otto

A March for Our Lives took place today, in Wichita, and it was probably one of the largest marches I've seen in several years. One thing that stands out for this march run is that it was run mostly by, and largely attended by high school students. A few thousand people Marched from Park Elementary School to the old Sedgwick County Courthouse.
People also marched in other cities across the country.
The marchers had many slogans, including "this is what democracy looks like" and "say no to the NRA (National Riffle Association)."
"We've been patient long enough," said Camille Pierce, one of the students who spoke at the rally. "That's 17 lives taken, 17 futures gone. We want change and we need change."
She pointed out that using a knife or a shotgun would not have killed as many as an assault riffle (AR-15 rifle) did.
"If you take blood money from the NRA we will not re-elect you," she added.
Politicians who did come to the really included Rep. Jason Probst, D-Hutchinson. He said the country has done “little more than shrug our shoulders” since 1999 and again in 2005. ‎
"Any one of those events should have spawned action," he said. "This is a movement of students in action."
Rep Gail Finney-D‎, was also present at the rally. Later a speaker was heard to ask, "where is Ron Estes?" Of course Republican Representative Estes could not be bothered with the needs of our young future voters.
Nathan Dominguez, another high school student who spoke at the event, called for 17 second of silence for the 17 students shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
"Representatives sit in big fancy chairs and except blood money from the NRA," Dominguez said. "They say this is just a big liberal plot. But we will not stop."
Almost all the speakers said that registering to vote and then voting is a major action that young people need to take part in. Some students at the march expressed frustration that they are too young to vote. There were at least a thousand students attending the march, just here in Wichita, which has been a traditional strong hold for conservative politics and a gun friendly city and state. If these young people actually stay interested in this issue, the balance of Republican power may actually shift in the years to come.
Other rallies, in other cities, also drew heavy crowds. According to CNN:

"Survivors of the deadly shooting rampage at a Parkland, Florida, high school led thousands Saturday in March for Our Lives on Washington, delivering impassioned pleas to the nation for stricter gun control laws.
Building on the momentum of last week's National School Walkout, these members of a generation raised with gun violence have rallied Americans around their cause while honoring the 17 students and faculty members killed February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School."

If the momentum from these marches continues and these students stay active in politics, this could represent the largest shift in politics, both in Kansas and the US, in the last 30 years.

A Band played music at the courthouse.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

White House Learns Its Tip-Robbing Plan Will Rob Waiters!

Guess What Happened Next?

This is one more example of an act that is designed to take autonomy away from working people. The Trump folks seem terrified at the thought of a working person controlling any part of their own life. This allows a boss to completely control what waiters and waitresses do with their time and tips. They want all workers de-fanged and helpless against the control of their over-lords an overseers—their bosses. -SJ Otto

From New York:

The Trump administration is changing labor law so as to allow restaurants to control their employee tip pool. When you’re enacting a regulatory change like this, you have to follow procedures, which include an analysis of its effects. The analysis showed that the thing anybody could guess would happen when you let the boss control the tip pool would happen: The employees would get a lot less of it. In this case, waiters, waitresses, and dishwashers would lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars.
What happened next? If your guess is, the Trump administration decided not to implement this change because it doesn’t want to steal from working-class people, you probably haven’t been following the Republican Party very closely for the last few decades. No, the real response was to omit the analysis.
For the rest click here.