On September 11, 2012, a terrorist attack occurred at the American consulate in Benghazi. During the attack, US Ambassador Chris Stevens and an additional three Americans doing work in the country were killed, while the Obama Administration and US State Department watched without action. Releases of data and investigations have shown that there were requests from those on the ground for additional support and protection and that fears of an attack were prominent. The Obama Administration, including the President himself, have done their best to avoid discussing the issue and avoided direct answers on whether or not they dropped the ball in this foreign issue. Though the ebb and flow of popularity in this case and foreign security lapse continues, it simply will not go away, much to the President’s dismay.

Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has complicated the issue a bit in recent weeks with her testimony in front of Congress. The question of what she knew and when she knew it has been crucial to many foreign policy focused individuals and those that are interested in finding the answers to questions of responsibility. Secretary Clinton angrily referred to the case and her role in it with confusion and, arguably, an attitude of incoherent anger at why scrutiny has fallen to her. Records show that the Secretary signed off on a memo noting the need for more security, though she has been confusing at best at defining her role.

Some will disagree but it appears that the most intense speculation regarding Benghazi has come in light of electoral politics and how this will play out in future elections. There was, of course, the presidential debate of yesterday where semantics seemed to be at play more than the actual root of causation into the attacks. Now, Secretary Clinton appears to be hedging her bets as to where and when to admit guilt in her failings. A 2016 Presidential run is likely and she has, in many polls, been seen as the front contender for the Democratic nomination. It is likely that she is avoiding straightforward answers as a way to protect this nomination and decrease her potential liability as a candidate, though nothing seems to stop the Clinton Machine.

Only time will tell whether or not the Former Secretary and Senator will be impacted by her role in Benghazi, but, it should. If a US consulate requests aid and is not given it, the answer of why should be expounded upon quite readily. These are individuals doing work that is important to national security and need to be treated with the utmost respect and protection. The fact that we failed these individuals, including Ambassador Stevens, is a slight to American Foreign Policy and must be met head on with a demand for answers, no matter how they may impact future elections.

In the glory days of the 1980s and 1990s rock and roll hair band era, Guns ‘N Roses blazed a trail of musical genius and behavioral debauchery matched by few and survived by even less. The exploits of Axl Rose, Slash, and Company made for endless tabloid fodder at each and every destination on a series of world tours.

In November of 1991, it was announced that GnR guitarist Izzy Stradlin had “left the band”. While conflicting accounts exist as to the reasons behind this exodus, the event did cause noted American philosopher Dennis Miller to wonder what exactly a guy had to do to get kicked out of Guns ‘N Roses. (WARNING – the Miller standup routine is not safe for work, children, or those of the fragile eardrum persuasion.)

I was reminded of Izzy’s exodus when I read of the numerous accounts of Russian intelligence services (KGB, GRU, etc) repeatedly contacting their CIA and FBI counterparts to warn them of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s status as a potentially radicalized Islamic terrorist.

One of the most prevalent arguments about what was missed in the build-up to 9/11 was the stark realization that the intelligence and law enforcement agencies of the United States government failed to “connect the dots” required to get a picture of a potential attack before it happened. Promises were made to close this gap. The Chinese wall between the CIA and FBI was allegedly torn down in order to facilitate information sharing amongst sister agencies. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

So, we have Russians telling us Tsarnaev is a bad dude worthy of watching. Here’s my question: how bad of a reputation does a guy have to earn in order for the Russian intelligence services to deem him worthy of passing on to the CIA/FBI? I’m not an expert in internal Russian conflicts, but I can hazard a guess that Tsarnaev was a problem child in Russia too.

It would be different if this was the first time the US had missed a warning about a specific individual who subsequently carried out a terrorist attack on American soil. Anyone remember Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab? Oh, yeah. His father dimed him out to the US Embassy in Abuja about one month before he lit his shorts on fire in an attempt to bring down a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas Eve 2009.

To be ignorant of a threat because of a lack of knowledge is excusable. To be ignorant of that same threat despite a wealth of indications and warnings cannot be excused under any circumstances. To paraphrase an adage from the Revolutionary War, “Learn Or Die”.

There’s No Flip-Flopping in Politics

In an interview this week with the Fox Business Network, Republican Senator and CPAC straw poll winner Rand Paul of Kentucky left many of his supporters shaking their heads in confusion with a single statement. With words uttered in an off the cuff interview, Paul also provided those on the left a bit jubilant over a perceived flip-flop of position. Paul asserted, when asked about the immediacy of a threat in relation to drone usage that, “I never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or policeman kills him.” The poster child for the effort to push for recognition of civil liberties over drone usage and a critic of the Obama Administration’s position on these weapons of war and surveillance, this change seemed completely out of character and disappointing to many.

Paul himself has spent most of the subsequent post-interview hours working to negate the impact of his statements. He has continued to assert that his position has not changed and that his comments were misunderstood rather than an actual representation of his mindset and beliefs on the usage of drones (a common and go-to phrase for those politicians and public figures back tracking). Rand Paul reiterated his filibuster tested drones position in several statements, both from his own mouth and through spokespeople. He argued that in normal crime circumstances, a drone should never be used on controlling crime. Rather, the only time such a device should be initiated is when there is large, imminent, and serious national security threat.

Senator Paul, like his father, Ron Paul has become an almost niche market political icon in the Republican Party and a man perceived as a strong adherer to the U.S. Constitution. His aforementioned thirteen hour filibuster on the issue of drone usage by the Obama Administration developed into a virtual poster child for younger conservatives and some libertarians alike. It is no surprise, then, that this same group was a bit disturbed and deflated by his change in position.

No one will fully understand whether or not Senator Rand Paul simply misspoke regarding his position or changed a solid foundation of his political relevance, as no one’s true beliefs can be ascertained from the statements that they make. Yet, for many, this is another example of a political figure that promised a different kind of hope and change of the Republican variety to disappoint a grown constituency. Further, it is a testament to the media’s impact on politics and technology’s influence on the perception of our leaders. In an instant, Paul released a sound byte that will most likely haunt him for years and races to come. Nothing can be taken back in this highly technology driven world, and a reputation can be built or decimated in a short time span, right or wrong. Only time will tell how much of a detriment this statement will be to any political efforts, but chances are this is not the last we hear of it.

What do you think about Senator Rand Paul, drones, and the overall tone of the debate? Do you think his statement was a misstep or a tested political belief?

This picture literally cries out for a caption contest.

The issue of abortion is a contentious one and virtually everyone who has come across the issue, even at a base level, has an opinion. Regardless of whether you are a strong pro-choicer or an avid pro-lifer, Republican or Democrat, the recent case of Dr. Gosnell out of Philadelphia should astound, frustrate, and shock you. For many, however, the mention of Dr. Gosnell may not achieve an emotional relevance at all. Rather, it will leave many asking ” Doctor who?”

Dr. Kermit Gosnell ran an abortion clinic in Philadelphia that has been likened to a shop of horrors rather than a place for medical treatment. Women allege that Dr. Gosnell would perform induced abortions, often late in pregnancy, and deliver babies that he would then end the lives of. Women were not treated with respect or dignity, but as if they were animals. He has been accused of using improper medical techniques in both the abortion and the subsequent aftercare, if there even was any administered. Past patients suffered infertility issues, infections, and some even died from the lack of care that they received. Currently, the 72 year old doctor is being charged with murder of a woman and attempted murder, both serious charges that carry with them the extreme weight of the law.

Women, both black and white, were treated by Dr. Gosnell at his Philadelphia abortion office. They were not, however, met with the same approach. Past patients alleged that black women were ushered into a dark and dingy room where respect was at a premium. White women, in contrast, were said to be taken into an office that was substantially better, though not great. When abortions were performed, it was alleged that many of the children were born alive, moving their arms and reaching out for comfort. It was then that the Doctor and staff would heinously break necks, twist limbs, and cut spines in order to end the life of the little being.

What is appalling about this case, aside from the graphic nature, is that there has been such a lack of coverage. Both Republican leaning news outlets and those that may have a liberal agenda have both failed the American public in covering this issue. At its basis, yes, this case is about abortion and when it is right or morally wrong to end the life of a fetus, or baby, through medical means. But, at the heart, this case is about racism, the treatment of the poor, and the loss of empowerment of hundreds of women who want to Dr. Gosnell to end their pregnancy.

Cases involving abortion, or the topic itself, are definitely a moral one but the media need not assess their own position in covering the topic. It is as if there is a perpetual agenda at both Republican and Liberal news outlets that there can be no coverage on abortion without taking a side. Wrong. To not cover a case as major and vital, as well as gruesome, such as this trial is disturbing in that it highlights the weaknesses of a media that may not know how to cover without bias. Liberal outlets fear that they may be weakening their argument with a sick and twisted abortion doctor while Republican stations fear the mention of the Gosnell’s African-American ethnicity may backfire and make them appear racist rather than pro-life. The result has been a virtually silent media who choose cases like Jody Arias, the media-buzzing defendant of the week, rather than this heinous man. The case against Dr. Gosnell, then, is equally about abortion and murder, as it is about the failure once again of a well-entrenched, agenda-driven media. All who are not covering, for whatever reason, should truly be ashamed.

These suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings entered this nation and received asylum: one with permanent residency, the other with citizenship just last year. The irony of the circumstance is baffling to anyone who isn’t an utter sociopath.

This opens a big can of worms because of the latest efforts and thoughts for establishing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but will these conditions alter the way we proceed? It should.

There are many LEGAL immigrants in the United States such as students, working professionals, family members, etc. who have done everything right. They filled out the paperwork, paid their fees, some even pay taxes, and stay out of trouble. When or how did it become a good idea to put illegal aliens in front of contributing members of our nation? And this is before we even get into the financial drain they are on our government.

Back to the drawing board, but where do we start? And where do we draw the line?

There has been much discussion about how to handle the Boston Marathon Bomber currently in custody after the recent IED attack and manhunt in Boston.  The Obama Administration announced today, not shockingly, that it would not be treating him as an “enemy combatant” but be prosecuting the suspect in US civilian criminal court. The term “enemy combatant” was popularly used in classifying terrorists or those with suspected ties under the Bush Administration. According to US Law, however, there has to be a clear and definitive link between the terrorist organization and the alleged enemy combatant. The burden of proof has to be substantial and leaves little room for interpretation. Such a designation would mean that there could be an indefinite period of detention.  Those classified as such would be allowed to challenge the designation in an impartial ruling, an amazing feature of our laws.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect along with his brother who led police, FBI, and other law enforcement on a car chase across Boston and neighboring Watertown was charged in front of a Federal Magistrate and yes, he was given Miranda Rights. It is in these rights that appears to be the most concern for lawmakers, both those who agree and who disagree. Republican Lindsay Graham asserted that he believed holding off on administering Miranda Rights would lead to the possibility of vital information that could lead to other convictions and information. He has led a pack of Republicans eager to find out more and gather information, whether or not it is admissible in Federal Court. Senator Graham asserted that we need time to put a puzzle together, to understand what has happened and that more time is necessary, asserting that he wants a hold during thirty days without a lawyer, when habeas corpus rights take effect. He also asserted that this is clearly a “mass terrorist attack” and that the ties between terroristic organizations and the suspect are not only clear but deserves more inquiry in the aforementioned setting.

It may surprise some but I tend to agree with the President in his position, in this case (shocking as it may seem). I truly understand the need and the want to garner as much information as possible and can sympathize with the Senator’s position. I do not know a sane American who wouldn’t want the most information to come from the bombing suspect. I also, however, believe in the Constitution of the United States and the rule of law. As angering as it may seem, this heinous young man is a U.S. citizen, as such he should be afforded the rights of this country. Further, legal experts and administrative officials from both the current administration and the past have argued that there is no legal justification for this classification. It is also unclear whether or not it is even possible or legal to detain a US citizen indefinitely (enter the Constitution again) even if they are labeled an enemy combatant.

I humbly believe that the President and the Justice Department are doing the best with what they have. The decision may not sit well with those who want justice to be swift and forceful, but it is important to not sacrifice constitutional liberties and intent. Further, to sacrifice principle in a time of passion may leave us with a more lasting wound than the horrible attack waged on the city of Boston. What say you? Do you agree with the Obama Administration and Eric Holder’s decision? Or do you believe that “enemy combatant” is a label that is justified and appropriate?

The President seemed angrier about the failure of the Toomey-Manchin gun bill than he demonstrated during the post-attack press conference. He threw a fit like a child who was told he had lost the little league game, stamping about and pouting before a nation. He had given it his all, and by all I mean his best show of hysterical political threats, staging, and lighting. Yet, it seemed to fall short on Republicans (and some Democrats) alike who thought constitutional liberties were more important than bowing to the popularity of the President.

The bill, which went down in a Senate vote 46-54, would have greatly expanded background checks for gun purchases. The bill was considered a compromise, with background checks to include internet sales and private gun show but excluding most family and friend transactions (I guess I would want every legal gun seller to be my friend ASAP). To many, this seems like a great thing in that background checks are being thought of as a way to help protect innocents. Opponents recognize, though, that adding an impediment to legal gun ownership and registration will only strengthen the criminals and leave more Americans vulnerable. Beyond that, history and political science theorists explain that a great deal of change is incremental. Give up a bit here and a bit there and suddenly there is nothing left to give. Paranoia? No. Recognition of the way those who want to steal power succeed? Yes!

What I think surprised the President most, and excited me, was that his pageantry did not work. Parading a political victim of gun violence (Ms. Giffords) and the victims of a heinous school massacre did little more than to cause him shame, arguably. I am sick of watching his seeming adherence to the use of human props to approve his bills and positions. Yes, I know both sides do it…but it makes it no less frustrating. What Louise in Louisiana or Mary in Maine went through is not as relevant as the big picture; the impact of legislation. In a time when it seems that appealing to the seemingly popular idea is more important than actually doing what is right, I felt a sense of pride that individuals were standing up and saying sorry Mr. Obama, not today. Well done… for now.

In the wake of the Boston Bombings, there have been several quasi-internet and news outlets that have come up with their own theories of what really happened that day on the streets of a beautiful Eastern city. While some say it was the work of a leftist wing of an environmentalist party, others blame the Tea Partiers, and still others say this is the work of an insider of the American government. I am an individual who believes in absorbing first and judging later, really gathering the facts, and yes, I tend to believe those with boots on the ground (including our military, police officers, etc.) before jumping to radical conclusions. Yet, in the day when technology moves as fast as information, I find myself intrigued and fascinated by these conspiracy theorists. Here is why:

First, I have always believed that a healthy skepticism about authority is good. No one should simply absorb and not process like lemmings. They should take in all of the evidence they are presented with and really think about what is occurring around them. It is not unheard of for the government to cover up important information (ENTER BENGHAZI) and not paint a full picture. Sometimes, this is necessary in order to protect classified information from preventing an arrest or further inquiry. Sometimes it’s to save face (no… never in American history… right?) The government and media should not be able to feed us information without us questioning, respectful of innocent lives that have been lost.

What the problem becomes in this day and age is that everyone fancies themselves the next blogger extraordinaire or the future Matt Drudge. Yet, in an age where everyone can be an expert, with a few clicks of a keypad, we have become all too ready to jump to conclusions. We must be wary that a healthy skepticism is different than using an event to fit your agenda (right and left!). Expedience is crucial but recklessness is not. Assuming this was an inside job may not be the conspiratorial basis at all, as the Blaze explains. Not to sound too professorial or lecture (though I can… if you want… but I’ll spare you… I forgot my teleprompter anyway), I caution that we question while respecting those who have been suffering. Americans are humans first, compatriots second, and maybe (self-admitted) politicos third.

In the wake of the “tragedy” (TERRORISM!) in Boston, it may be hard to begin to think about politics and political divisions again. Yet, it is in this country that we are ALLOWED and ABLE to have the discussions and the disagreements openly that individuals in other countries simply are not allowed to have. So, with that said, I begin my first post-Boston Marathon Attack post.

Recent weeks and political movements on Capitol Hill have seen major issues come to the forefront. Gun control and immigration are among the two most divisive, important, and impactful of these legislative discussions. As Republicans attempt to hold firm (at least SOME of them), there is a strong effort being pushed upon the side of Democrats for coalition building and compromise. I am a true believer negotiation and compromise can be a great thing, when it is right and just. Yet, I am also a believer that standing your ground when popular opinion may be opposing you, is equally as important.

Now enter Speaker John Boehner. The man with tear ducts that are conveniently equipped with a gushing feature is once again straying from Party desire. The far right wing branch and the more moderate Republicans on Capitol Hill see him beginning to wane and fear sacrifices on important features of legislation that are important to the Party. Boehner, who appears at times to be more of a peacemaker than solid ground holder, is making waves once again by sending the message that the Haskert Rule is once again out. For those who do not know, the Haskert Rule is the practice of not voting unless a majority of the Republican Party representatives are in favor. Though not written, it is an important rule I believe in maintaining cohesion and making sure that the message of the party remains somewhat controlled and represented.

Boehner has not been a fan of this rule, or so it appears, asserting that it really isn’t a rule in the first place. No, maybe not Sir, but swaying to far from the Party message and catering too far has not gotten us very far with this President. Republicans, no matter how solid their effort, are still seen as the villains. Why not, then, standup for the GOP? Why not wait until the Party believes it’s time to compromise? You may not agree with it Sir, but compromising too far beyond the beliefs of the party and that which they were sent to Washington to represent just divides a party in favor of trying to appease a party and Administrative leadership that will never be satisfied. Time to take a stand…even if you may get your pillow wet with tears.

As I sit to write this, I am at a loss for words. This is not necessarily unheard of for a writer (or at least me) but today is different. As I sit here, information is coming in regarding the bombings in Boston. There are no words to describe what I am seeing. Information coming in sporadically; blood on the screen. It is a horrific scene and though normally I am political, today I am just an American.

There has been speculation that this was related to terrorism. Others who say it is too early to tell. No matter what, I cannot help but feel immensely saddened and frustrated. I could wrap up this article here and say that the world is cruel, people are evil, and there is no hope. But, that would be a lie.

The images on the screen are powerful. I see racers running away from the violent act in a state of confusion, some of them falling down. I see blood and, quite frankly, gore. Yet, as I watch again… the same scene… I see immense acts of courage. There is a man being ushered to the side where safety is believed to be by what I can only imagine is a stranger. In another glimpse of the same scene I see a man taking off his shirt quickly to place upon the wound of a woman who is stunned and scared mouthing the words “What just happened?” Neon clothed men and women, with the race and police, are running toward what could be equated to a war zone while ushering victims to safety. Everywhere I look and watch as the horrific details come in, I do not see moments despair that are left unanswered. Rather I see hope.

This scene has reminded me that life can be looked at in two different ways. I am not negating the sheer tragedy of this event, and the lives lost or forever impacted. Maybe it’s my safe distance away or my voyeur like view of what is happening, but what I see is hope and promise. We are Americans. We are strong. We are proud. We are helpful. In a world that usually focuses on what divides us, what I see today is nothing short of unifying. In times like these I can only say two things: May God protect them all and yes, today we are all Americans.

Condoleeza Rice was provided a membership to Augusta National, a premier golfing location that plays host to the Masters tournament. This is a huge honor (or so I am told… I personally prefer football but I digress) that is only magnified by the golf club’s history. In the past, the club has not allowed women to become members and has had a past that has been called racist and sexist. The former Secretary of State is only the second woman to be awarded membership, both females being admitted within the last year.

As a woman, I find this to be a huge step in the journey toward acceptance and equality of pursuits. Yet, there are those on the left that have provided harsh criticism to Rice and her acceptance of the green jacket. Things like traitor and turncoat are among the nicer of objections to her membership, which goes beyond confusing to downright frustrating.

I am a woman. I am proud to be a woman, no matter what discrimination I may or may not run into. I have been faced with looks of confusion when I walked into a political science class dominated by males and actually had an opinion that was coherent and did not revolve around what casserole to bake (the looks only became more puzzled when I then asserted I was a conservative and not a bra-burning, tree-hugging, non-armpit shaving female). Most of the time, however, the reception was warm and welcoming. I learned early on, and due to my own ignorance I admit, not to jump to conclusion about discrimination, sexism, and racism. I learned that sometimes it takes proving yourself by being who you are that is trailblazing and breaks barriers, not becoming angry at a person who is learning to break down their own internal prejudices.

That is why this outrage on the left angers me. I am not a woman of color, but I am a female who sees this as a wonderful chance for growth. Augusta National is taking a step in the right direction, in my opinion. They are opening their doors to females and women of color. They are setting a precedent, and turning from their practices of the past and moving forward. Maybe they chose a high profile, smart, educated woman because they wanted her to get them clout in the media or maybe they chose her for membership because she, in and of herself, is all of those things. Why should we not celebrate a woman breaking ground instead of breaking her down? Why does the left say they want change and then slam an institution because they have made that change? Should they have not responded to the criticism that was placed upon them? Would that not have been worse? The beauty of the past and precedent is that it CAN be changed and I applaud Secretary Rice for opening the door for women of the future. Well done.

The University of Virginia saw a practical joke turn into relative hysteria recently when technology turned a harmless discussion into campus wide panic. The subject of the jest was alcohol, which just should not be joked about on a college campus (or potentially on Capitol Hill… but I digress). Specifically, one student mentioned to her friend that she was at the campus police station because there was a random raid on campus searching dorms for the illusive underage drinker and their stash of alcoholic potables.  What started out as a private joke was then shared with a few others, and then a few others, and in just moments the fear and panic of a potential raid saw alcohol being dumped throughout the campus (who knew so many college students drank?)

This hysteria could be seen as a joke gone too far and hilariously so. But, as I often do, I think about this reaction in a larger context. I cannot help but think that in moments of crisis there is a sheer need to act and react without true thought. Hysteria, as is human, turns to a need for self-preservation but often in the moments following a crisis the actions are clouded by misjudgment. And now, for the political connection (shocking I know):

Think about the reaction to gun violence in this country. When a tragic incident like Sandy Hook or the Aurora Colorado shooting, to name a few, arises, the nation panics. Get rid of the alcohol now and that will solve the problem! Or, more apt in this, get rid of the weapons! That will clear the problem! Then, upon reflection, (as I’m sure a few pouting Freshmen had when they realized their stash of alcohol they had worked so hard to smuggle was gone), the hysteria seems almost comical in its reactionary disproportion. A bit of thought, a little research, and a look at the RA station would have seen that no raids were taking place. But, in the same way that so many students cleared their haul to make sure that nothing occurred, the citizens of this country may be giving up rights to arms that they can never get back.

What the UVA practical joke teaches is more than just a funny way to get a reaction on a college campus. It is a microcosm of sorts for the national reaction to incidents of tragedy, fear, or crisis. In a moment of weakness we give things up, quickly and without true thought for the consequences. The result, like the alcohol in the dumpster, are powers and rights that may never be able to be regained.

The big news on Capitol Hill today is the Toomey-Manchin “deal” on background checks for gun purchases. Whether or not this “deal” will actually become law is anyone’s guess. Personally I believe the “deal” will follow the Shakespearian path in that it will be full of sound and fury but end up signifying a bit less than nothing at all.

You see, Dear Reader, the debate fueled by the Sandy Hook tragedy has very little to do with firearms or how many bullets can be jammed into a magazine. No legislation – pending or otherwise – will or can do anything to prevent similar violent acts from being visited upon similar people in similar places. The fact of the matter is the condition which drove Adam Lanza to commit 26 murders won’t show up on any background check contained in any gun-control legislation – pending or enacted.

Simply put,  Adam Lanza was crazy. James Holmes lives in Looneyville. So does Seung-Hui Cho. Ditto Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. The type and scope of the various strains of mental illnesses which afflicted the aforementioned individuals can be argued. The fact they were insane is not in question.

We’ve come a long way as a society in the way we treat the mentally ill. Great strides have been in medical science which enables people previously remanded to institutions to live productive lives in society – as long as they take their medications and refill them as required. There is no mechanism in place to force these people to remain medicated. Advocates of mainstreaming would object to such a mechanism and they would be right to do so. Never the less, the fact is that mentally ill people with violent tendencies pose a danger to themselves and those around them. No amount of gun control or ammunition limits is going to change that.

I do not put myself out as one having an answer to these questions. That said, the current debate is focusing on the wrong issues. I’m tired of a President using recently buried children as a platform from which to launch an anti-firearm agenda which he and his party have been pursing for years. His shameless use of a tragedy for political gain borders on the obscene.

Above all else I wish my President would tackle the underlying cause of the Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Colorado shootings and show some actual leadership rather than falling back to his default setting. Gun-control is a safe issue for him to campaign on. Mental health issues? Not so much. Does anyone know if crazy is covered under Obamacare? I doubt it.

Here’s the bottom line: Obama and Company can pass all the gun control legislation they want. They can ban all the “assault weapons” on their list. They can limit ammunition to single shot magazines. All this won’t do a damn thing to prevent the next Lanza from shooting up a school full of kids. Unless and until the crazy is dealt with, dealing with guns won’t matter at all.

Fox News is making headlines once again. This time, it is not the other press outlets that are taking shots at the cable news station, and its affiliates, but the legal system. FoxNews.com writer Jana Winter is facing potential jail time for her reporting on the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting. Winter received breaking information from a law enforcement officer in the hours following the movie massacre. This information she then reported. The information came from a law enforcement agent that was supposed to be keeping information classified.

When the information was released, attorneys were up at arms. They asserted that with this information, Winter had tainted the jury pool and that ultimately, the shooter would never get a fair trial because of her reporting. Suddenly, Fox News found itself in the midst of a legal battle with Winter facing potential jail time for clinging tight to her sources.

First and foremost, Winter should be praised for sticking to her guns (no offense intended… just a saying… calm down leftists) and adhering to her role as a reporter and her belief in free press. What others would cave under, she has stood strong. Secondly, this is a case that should not fall by the wayside. It should not just remain in the hidden stories that come low on the importance list. The fact that a Colorado judge will rule whether keeping sources confidential is an offense punishable by law is downright scary.

Press agents and media outlets have faced this journey before (just ask Judith Miller). The problem comes that we are still having this talk. If the media becomes transparent, with all sources being revealed or forced to be revealed, our nation becomes a weaker one. The press and media are meant to serve as a check on the branches of government, institutions, private companies, etc. Though they often fail (and may becoming an advocate for certain political parties and issues…), this should not undermine the rights that they should have. This is a clear attack on the First Amendment and this case will hold a great deal of weight in both showing the power of the courts and, I believe, weaken our nation as a whole. This is not about one source but about one amendment and that is the most pressing reason to care, even if other outlets are not making it a priority.

Texas leads the way once again

In an event envisioned and promoted by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle before his untimely passing, Texas educators were afforded the opportunity to train and be involved in a concealed carry class where they learned the rules and regulations of what is safe gun control. Those who completed the live ammunition and rounds portion qualified for full concealed carry and permits. This class, though, was more than just another concealed carry class. It, I believe, sends a message that whatever is popular or loudly expounded by those in power will not scare away those who want to take responsibility for their own safety and their own lives. That is a beautiful thing and truly American.

Gun safety is a serious issue when it comes to protecting children especially. I cringe, though, when the left and those advocates of stiff restrictions believe that our children will be much safer in an environment where no one is trained to handle a weapon or where there is no protective device available. I am not one of those zealots living in the woods clinging to my gun and waiting for the apocalypse. But, the vast majority of gun advocates are not either. We are a people who believe that taking away guns from law abiding citizens and greatly restricting access to them only helps to strengthen the criminals while leaving lawful citizens and our children unprotected.

What is amazing about Texas is not so much that they offered this class, for free, but that so many are unafraid to standup (Go Texas!). In an age where political correctness comes often at the cost of open discussion and action, those educators who participated have said, “Enough is enough.” They do not care what is popular among the few but loudest of mouths on Capitol Hill, and in the corners of popular culture, even in the educational unions who lobby on their behalf (just kidding about the last one). Their attendance was a challenge to what is becoming socially acceptable and I pray (yes… pray… to God…unapologetically…take a moment and let that sink in) that it will continue across the country.

North Korea is promising military action and missile strikes. According to reports on the ground, the North Korean military has moved missiles close to the coast, where they are in range of hitting a US base in Guam as well as other locations. The region is on guard as they try to figure out what it is possible, what is probable, and what is a young leader puffing his feathers.

The media and political pundits alike are dealing with this issue and wading through the process of understanding, and eve political parties are divided on the issue. While some believe that this is just an attempt at a show of strength with no real backing, others believe it is a threat that we should take seriously. Both camps believe that an attack on the US is unlikely, but it is the attack on allies and our military basis that appears to be the most concerning. Specifically, South Korea and the pacific Island nations are of the utmost concern. But, the real fear is what our response would be and if we have the leadership in power to handle such a crisis if it were to come to fruition.

My criticism of the President is about as well hidden as the President’s ego. I believe at times that even when his intention might be true, his truth is in line with an ideology and political system that is a complete distortion of what this nation was founded on. If there was to be an attack, or an attempted attack, on any nation, I fear what our response would be. Benghazi was just one example of when this administration chose to at best deem a request for assistance and a military concern, and at worse completely ignore it. Then what would make me have confidence that he would be able to stand up in the event something actually did happen? When it comes to fooling the American public into a false sense of security, this President is amazing. When it comes to foreign relations, he fails substantially.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the U.S. border with Mexico was as secure as it had been in years. Touting her own departments accomplished, she asserted that in all of the twenty years she has worked the border that it has never been more secure than it is today. This came much to the anger of lawmakers and border patrol agents (apparently who are not hallucinating like Secretary Napolitano) who are using facts to back their arguments.

Arrests on the border are up over ten percent since last year alone. Not only that, but the number of active arrests sits at over 150,000 per year, but that probably does not matter to the Secretary who sees an increase in arrests as making it safer… rather than an increase in illegal activity. Couple this with reports on the ground from Border and Custom agents who not only are seeing their arrest numbers go up, but also illegal traffic into states as well.

The Obama Administration and its minions appear to be more concerned with catering to illegal immigrants (Vote Democrat… in a country you’re not a citizen of) than actually seeing this as a problem. Not only does it saturate the workforce with underpaid and undocumented workers, but it puts citizens at jeopardy as well. Illegal immigration means workers taking jobs that could (and should) belong to native citizens and taxation is virtually impossible, which the Obama Administration does not seem to mind. These individuals are at a higher risk of being trafficked and put into abusive working conditions because of their status as well. Furthermore, crossing the border is dangerous to our agents, our communities, and the individual’s crossing as well.

What does the Obama Administration seem to care about though? The term “illegal.” Somehow, someone who crosses the border (illegally) without the proper documentation (illegal) or rights (illegal) to do so is supposed to be referred to as “undocumented” rather than what they are: illegal! Semantics can take a backseat, President Obama, for realism any time now.

What is there not to be happy about? The U.S. has added eighty-eight thousand new jobs in March (all hail the Great One) and the unemployment rate has dropped a tenth of a percentage from 7.7 to 7.6. We are on the road to recovery (insert Obama love song here). Anyone who disagreed with the enthusiasm would be just ridiculous or (in the words of a confused grandpa I like to call Joe Biden) unpatriotic, right? Wrong. The Administration is sure to have a field day with these “improvements,” touting economic recovery while twisting reality. But, these numbers are far from amazing and are downright troubling.

Sure, adding eighty-eight thousand jobs is amazing as adding one job is progress. But not when you consider that the vast majority of these jobs are in the lower end of the pay scale (still a job I recognize that) and that the growth has slowed when compared with the previous six months. Further, the unemployment number has also dropped due to workers who have become frustrated with the job market and a lack of employment opportunities and have simply stopped looking. Therefore, it is a deceiving number that will surely be exploited by the left and the right will expound upon, hopefully, to some effect.

The downturn in the economy, and continued struggling, does not cause a positive outlook on the future. America is struggling internally, externally, economically and socially. What is highly disappointing and scary is the way in which our President (I guess I have to claim him, too) is completely oblivious. Golf trips, vacations with the family, sound great for a guy in Tucson on his last rodeo before retirement. Not for our President, who has treated this job as a gig rather than a position since the beginning. While the American people continue to struggle, he only compounds the problem with a nonchalant-ness and cavalier attitude that is beyond my comprehension. A better economy would be great, but a more in-touch leader would be amazing. Chances are we will not be seeing major, positive changes in either for quite some time.

A judge has now approved the use of the ‘Morning After Pill’ for over the counter consumption by girls of any age. Available at grocery store pharmacies and other locations, the pill was once only attainable with a driver’s license and acquisition through a licensed pharmacist.  Now, in this latest ruling, the precedent has been set that such a pill that will actually stop the female egg from being potentially fertilized post-intercourse would be made available to any female, regardless of age. Though some on the left will tout this as one step closer to equality for women (I mean when was the last time men had to worry about getting pregnant… that is the argument right?), I fear for what we are teaching our young, independent women of tomorrow and girls of today.

Do not get me wrong. I think that accessibility to medications and other treatment aids is a beautiful thing. Rather than having to wade through the red tape of bureaucratically driven healthcare just to get to some medications that are the equivalent of Tylenol can be frustrating and angering. But, as this medication (if you can call it that) or medical aid (still not seeming fit), it may be time to question not what just advancements in technology and access to drugs can gain us, but what they are teaching us as well.

As a young(er) woman, I have heard the stories regarding unwanted pregnancies, unplanned pregnancies, and unexpected conception (unexpected may be the wrong term… but you catch my drift). I understand the frustration and fear that can arise. But, when we are provided with a tool that can stop that process, does it not make behavior more risky and provide young women with an aid in escaping consequences for actions. I still believe in strong independent women who can think for themselves and who can work hard to become whatever it is they develop the abilities for. This, however, does not mean I cannot believe that access to this pill is a bad thing (a woman? On the right? Yes we do exist). It is providing women, and young men as well, with the ability to act knowing that there is a potential out if something were to um… go awry.

This is an especially harmful message when we provide it to our young girls in society. As parents, there is an effort made to teach right from wrong. This pill is providing an undermining to that teaching. I got the talk growing up about premarital sex and the consequences of it, including the “…or a baby” threat. It undermines women as well and, I believe, their role as being mothers. If you do not want a baby, hey take this pill and it will go away. It is not about providing young women with options but once again an attempt to undermine who they are by making issues regarding their care and their futures nothing more than about their ovaries. Quite frankly, it is sickening and frightening.