Friday, October 31, 2014

Officer Darren Wilson Unlikely To Face Civil Rights Charges in Brown Case

According to The Washington Post, it appears highly unlikely that civil rights charges will be levied against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown on August 9, 2014 resulting in protests and riots by residents.  “The evidence at this point does not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson,” said one person briefed on the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

Many supporters of Brown fully expected there to be no state-level indictment of Wilson, but they were hoping for a more positive result from the Justice Department after a full and fair review.  According to the Washington Post justice spokesman Brian Fallon said the case remains open and any discussion of its results is premature.  Fallon went on to say, “This is an irresponsible report by The Washington Post that is based on idle speculation.”

Monday, May 7, 2012

Can We Put The Same Sex Marriage Issue To Rest Already! Enough Is Enough!

Vice President Joe Biden
May 7, 2012 By: D.DiFrancesco
Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday he was "absolutely comfortable" with the idea of same-gender marriage.
"I just think that the good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is all about, it is a simple proposition: Who do you love? Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person who love?" Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
He then followed up with, "I think 'Will and Grace' did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody has ever done," , referring to the former NBC comedy.
So what is wrong with the Vice President’s comments?  Nothing!  Whether this is his view or the view of the administration is totally irrelevant.   What it shows is that the Vice President at least, holds the same opinion that most contemporary thinking Americans have, that the LGBT community deserves the same rights and respect that the heterosexual community currently enjoys.
Those that oppose these rights are typically our evangelical brothers and sisters as well as  those otherwise predisposed toward religion intermingling with all things.  These very same individuals will cry for the separation of church and state while plotting to inject their religious views into our public lives.  Unfortunately, you can't have it both ways.
The founding fathers worked very hard to keep their religious views out of the public realm.  Did their views ever influence their decisions...probably simply because they were human, but those such as Thomas Jefferson made a committed effort to avoid religious influence in public policy.  We should do the same at any cost.
Same Sex Marriage - Getty Images/Comstock
Those that take the anti-gay marriage viewpoint are ultimately denying not just marital  rights, but the civil rights of this segment of our population.  Doing so is not going to make them go away, no matter how hard they try.  So why then as a nation shouldn't we embrace them, they are our brothers and sisters, and fellow human beings after all.
Long term, what affect with any of this have on the religious right?  Absolutely none!  Heterosexuals will always be heterosexuals, and homosexuals will still be homosexual.  A marital equality law will in no way change that.  All it will do is give legal rights to same sex partners that they don't currently have.  That in my view, is a good thing and does not infringe on my rights at all, but instead enhances another's life.
Why Vice President Biden's comments have been such a focus of media attention is beyond me.  For all of the flack that he takes for his misstatements, this time I think that he is spot on.
Take religion out of the same sex marriage issue and it becomes a non-issue instantly.  Equal rights are equal rights for all under the constitution so lets separate church and state from the issue, as it should be, and put this to rest once and for all.
What side do you take on the issue?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Education, The Political Pawn That Could Lead To The Downfall Of America

April 27, 2012  By D. DiFrancesco
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." 
Thomas Jefferson
President Thomas Jefferson
For all of his faults, Thomas Jefferson was a huge proponent of free public education up through and including university education.  He viewed educating the populace as one of, if not the most important safeguards to preserving our democracy.
Why is it then that education is always one of the first things that gets put on the chopping block when budget discussions occur.
1786 August 13. (to George Wythe) "I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness...Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [tyranny, oppression, etc.] and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance."
Thomas Jefferson
For the first time in our history, our children are receiving less of an education than previous generations did.  In a country as great as ours, this is an absolute disgrace.
If you want to see examples of this, you need to look no further than this weeks headlines. Contained within you will find examples of our nations educational system being used as a pawn for political gain, and in some cases profit.
The Washington Post reports, House approves student loan plan; White House vows veto over health fund depletion,  Please tell me how bankrupting college students before they even get to truly contribute to society is in this nations best interest!  What we are looking at is the Republican Party tying their student loan plan to an attempt to destroy the President's health care initiative.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Has President Obama Overstepped His Constitutional Authority As Republicans Claim?

President Barack Obama
April 25, 2012
By: D. DiFrancesco
We Can’t Wait - President Obama's slogan signifying the administrations unwillingness to wait for Congress to decide on domestic policy issues.
President Obama is not letting congressional gridlock slow our economic growth.
"Without a doubt, the most urgent challenge that we face right now is getting our economy to grow faster and to create more jobs…. we can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will."
- President Barack Obama, October 24, 2011
Is President Barack Obama's willingness to use all of the tools at his disposal, and in the process bypassing Congress, appropriate in light of the ongoing gridlock caused by the extreme partisanship and inflexibility that exists in the right wing of the Republican Party?
Selfishly, I would say yes, but does history support this?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hatred Has No Place In American Politics Unless You Are A Republican

April 23, 2012
Like anything else, when you repeat something often enough, there will be an element in society that starts to believe it.  This is the case with the repeated statements that try to portray President Barack Obama as anti-American.
Rocker and Republican Mouthpiece Ted Nugent
Symptomatic of the problem would be comments made recently by rocker Ted Nugent at the NRA convention in St. Louis on April 14, 2012.
Nugent's statement that the Obama administration is a "vile, evil America-hating administration" that is "wiping its ass with the Constitution" and his claim that "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year", were not uncharacteristic seeing that he has spewed similar hate talk in 2007.
What is disturbing, and should be to everyone regardless of party affiliation, is that this type of commentary is tolerated.  Lets look at the words and actions of those who portend to speak for the Republican party.
In a prepared statement, Romney's campaign, in response to Nugent's comments said that, "Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil."

Read the complete story at my new blog site.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do Higher Income Tax Rates Produce Lower Unemployment? History Says They Do!

April 18, 2012
By: D. DiFrancesco
Out of my own curiosity, I decided to look at the relationship between the top income tax rates by year and the annual unemployment rate.  My conclusions are based on the years 1950 through 2011.  I would also like to state that I am neither an accountant nor an economist so the statements I am making are my personal opinion based on what I see in the numbers.
The figures used for my conclusions were derived from two sources, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Tax Policy Center.
In the process of doing this analysis I learned some things which I found pretty fascinating...
  • The top tax rate during the 61  years being reviewed  occurred in 1953 with a rate of 92% and ironically, the annual unemployment rate was the lowest of any of the years sampled at 2.93%.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mitt Romney, Wayne LaPierre, and the NRA Perfect Together...None Of Them Can Tell The Truth

National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre
Back in November of 2011, then executive vice president of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre said, "It's bad politics to be on the wrong side of the Second Amendment at election time.  They're [Democrats] trying to fog the issue through the 2012 election and deceive gun owners into thinking he's [President Obama]  something he's not, which is pro-Second Amendment."
As expected the portrayal of President Obama as being anti-gun is resurfacing as the 2012 Presidential election nears, with Mitt Romney jumping on the pro-gun bandwagon in an attempt to score brownie points with the NRA and its now president Wayne LaPierre.
Romney speaking at the Annual National Rifle Association Convention in St. Louis on April 13, 2012 said, "We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners. President Obama has not. I will."