So we had a memorial service for my mom Sunday that was pretty kick-ass, if I say so myself. It included Baba au Rhum miniatures that made me think I had died and gone to heaven . . . an amazing video (let me know if you’re doing a big birthday party or wedding anniversary and I’ll show you what this guy did for us and give you his email) . . . and Charles’ brother, a Catholic priest, who, when he got up from the audience to speak to the largely Jewish crowd, said he imagined my mom and dad and stepfather (also Jewish) and Charles (Catholic, but lapsed, and gay) – were now all likely in paradise having a fine and stylish old time together. As he returned to his seat, I couldn’t helping noting (with a smile, of course) that according to the Pope it was not at all clear any of them would gain admission. To which he shot back – with a quiet conviction I get a little choked up recalling – “It’s not his call.”


Opines People for the American Way president Michael Keegan: “I am angry at Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not because he hid a personal secret from the public and from his own family, but because he did so while working to deny thousands of California citizens the right to have legal families at all. . . . [N]obody in state office has done more to hold back marriage equality for more people.”


Mike M.: “I watched both the first and second Maddow from yesterday’s post and was amazed at the constant chant that guns were responsible for the problem. Not one peep about the myriad of issues that are destroying black communities across the US (far too many to mention here, but all aptly documented and known, if not acknowledged, by all). I guess it’s easier to blame inanimate objects (and the companies that sell them) than to tackle the real causes of the problem. It makes me sad for our country when I see everyone dodging the tough issues (the ones that need to be addressed for us to succeed as a nation) for the easy out ‘blame the gun not the person using it.’ I am not a gun owner or fan of them, but even I can see the misdirection of this story.”

☞ No question, the story did not attempt to list – let alone solve – all the complex and inter-related issues that lead to poverty, misery, addiction and crime.

But the NRA was in town and the story – which never purported to be all-encompassing – was about what its efforts had done to a large number of its residents.

Did Mike come away from the story thinking Pennsylvania, and the other states that do this, are right to block cities from passing more restrictive gun laws?

To keep the gun show loophole open?

To allow anyone to buy semiautomatic weapons with 31-bullet clips?

(Even nuclear weapons are not THEMSELVES a problem, but does anyone doubt that it’s a good idea to try to keep them from proliferating? Especially in certain neighborhoods?)

If Mike was already on my side of these issues when he watched the clips, as I suspect he was, then we’re in total agreement – and certainly as regards guns being just one piece of the problem. But to me, those clips showed guns are, in places like Homewood, a really important piece.

What would be the downside of allowing the people in the affected area, if they so chose, to attempt to tackle that piece?

How dare the NRA fight so hard to prevent sensible balance when it comes to gun safety?

The same way the tobacco industry fought so hard so long to prevent restrictions on marketing the leading cause of preventable death – that’s how.


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