Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Thursday News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 29, 2010

— Why pepper spray is better than guns for dealing with bears:

Moving slowly, naturally, trying not to alarm the bears, the group backed up until they could scramble above the trail to a rocky platform.

The mother bear passed below, one cub in tow, “but the second one stopped. Then all of a sudden he started coming at us, and I thought, ‘Ooohh, no.’ ”

The hikers shouted, clapped their hands, but the yearling kept on.

At 40 yards, [zookeeper Jack] Hanna unleashed a haze of pepper spray – “but there was wind, and it didn’t do a thing.”

At 20 yards, he let loose a brief burst again, and the bear just shook his head and kept on coming.

At 10 yards, “I unloaded it right into his face,” Hanna said. The bear stopped like he’d hit a wall, pawed at his face, turned and ran.


“Personally,” he said, “I’m not for this new rule that allows people to carry guns in Glacier. Somebody’s going to get hurt. If I’d shot that cub, and it’d started squealing, I’d have had a heck of a time with that mama bear.”

“If I’d had a gun, there’d have been a trainwreck,” he said. “The mother would’ve taken me right out.”

Guns are lethal, he said, but too often they only wound. Guns also are hard to aim in a crisis, but pepper spray shoots out a wide mist.

“It’s hard to miss,” he said.

Saul Friedman explodes a few of Pete Peterson’s favorite lies concerning Social Security, and closes with this passage:

Economist Dean Baker, director of the CEPR noted that so far the commission seems to be considering only benefit cuts: “There is a great deal of talk in policy circles about cutting Social Security, but very little discussion of the financial situation of those affected by the cuts.”

A poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, commissioned by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, found that only two percent of Americans believe Social Security is a major cause of the deficit and 78 percent oppose raising the retirement age.

There are easier fixes that won’t cut benefits: Obama proposed the simplest solution when he was running for president and before he became enamored with turning the cheek of compromise. At the moment, as I mentioned, the Social Security payroll tax is imposed on the first $106,800 of earnings, which means the most affluent executives pay no more than their secretaries. Obama proposed raising the cap to $250,000 while lowering the taxes for many workers.

The National Committee poll found that 50 percent of Americans, including some high wage-earners, favored solving Social Security’s future problem by removing the cap. The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein said the Congressional Budget Office estimates removing the cap would raise $100 billion a year in revenues. And it would solve Social Security’s future shortfall. Even the most affluent figures, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, have suggested removing the cap. Social Security could also raise money by being allowed to invest in higher-yielding Treasury bonds rather than the lower yielding special bonds.

You can do some research on how to solve Social Security’s 30 year financial problem by playing the Social Security game at the site of the American Academy of Actuaries. It shows how removing the cap would more than solve the program. But we Social Security advocates need you to understand that if the present version of the Republican Party regains control of Congress, its leaders and its candidates have promised to kill the nation’s finest contribution to social justice. They will dance on Social Security’s grave rather than celebrate its diamond jubilee.

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One Response to “Thursday News Roundup”

  1. Charles II said

    I can see it now: Bear Tasers.

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