That opened a door and Connecticut quickly walked through it. Near the third year anniversary of the Sandy Hook gun massacre in one of its towns, the state banned gun sales to individuals on terrorist watch lists. This is after Congress again refused to ban such sales federally to individuals on the no-fly list. Other states were considering their own bans.
Danger to the President: A story that should have made more headlines was a scathing report on a broken Secret Service. It notes several examples in which unscreened individuals were permitted near President Obama, including an armed man with an arrest record who shared an elevator ride.
With high attrition and very low morale, the Secret Service is a scandal and a danger, as noted by a Republican Congressman: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the Oversight Committee, said the report should spur further action by the Obama administration. “The situation is getting worse not better,” he said. “The president is in jeopardy, and he better personally get involved in fixing this.”
Republicans share the blame since their Congress cut Secret Service funding in 2011 more severely than ever before. But it's more than the GOPers wet dream self-fulfilling prophesy of a federal agency doing badly after they decimated it with budget cuts. It's a cultural problem that goes back at least to hungover agents guarding President Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963. And by the way, terrorists read the news.
launched an investigation into murders of aboriginal women, revealing horrifying statistics. In the US, the ability of tribes to police their own lands is under threat, along with their sovereignty.
As for the related issue of sports teams names that insult Native Americans, the relentless move away from them gained a powerful corporate supporter in Addidas, that pledged financial support to schools that dump their offensive names and mascots.
There is not a one-to-one correspondence with the two nations of rich and the rest to our deep bipolar political divide, but there is clearly a political effect in one group: less educated white working class/ low middle class men, particularly older, particularly in the South and the rustbelt, but also scattered nearly everywhere in the US they can still afford to live.
Exploiting insecurity and shrinking opportunities and income by blaming "foreigners" especially of other races is a time-tested tactic of Republican elites, though it appears to have gotten beyond their control.
The plight of this group however was emphasized by new statistics that show it is the only category of Americans to show a decline in life expectancy. Suicide and drug abuse appear to be chief causes. One analyst (quoted in this analysis by Paul Krugman) theorized it's because they have lost the narrative of their lives.
Well, that's a simplistic way to put it, but it hints at the situation. The nature of American divisions in class and geography inspired yet another map with cute names for the divisions--income, racial and therefore cultural and political--that befuddle attempts to figure out just what is happening to this dangerously disunited United States.
The federal government is not blameless in this disenchantment, especially among the white working class, according to this thoughtful article. Though the situation is also rife with paradox and double binds.
As for the income inequality issue itself, Bernie Sanders continues to talk about it, but thanks to terrorist attacks (even though most terrorist incidents in the US since 2004 have been by right wing zealots) and the general xenophobic tenor fueled by GOPer candidates, it hasn't emerged yet as a big campaign issue.
But when it was a hotter topic, there was this guy who decides to raise the minimum wage in his company to $70 grand a year. It made a nice Twitter-type splash. Then somebody did a follow-up. How's that company doing now, after that rash deed? Well, pretty damn good actually.
Obesity in America: A stroll through a shopping mall this season should provide graphic support to the reality that, compared to a generation or two ago, there are not only more Americans, they each take up more space. One new study suggests that increasing obesity in children may be related not only to Big Gulps but too many antibiotics. There are, at least statistically, other factors besides high calorie food.
Another public health issue continues to be GMO crops. While often cited as an anti-science stance, the concern is not so much over the crops themselves as the herbicides used to make them viable--a demonstrable health problem.
No Education Left Behind: Few things have been as damaging to American public schools than the so-called No Child Left Behind mandates. Here in CA they decimated arts programs among others, so that high school graduates are unprepared for entire areas of college. They decimated social studies and civics education, which one writer links to the rise in domestic terrorism. Well, finally it's on the decline with the new federal Education law, easing test mandates and increasing state control.
It's Not Your Grandad's Nuclear War: New threats like the latest permutations of terrorism get the attention and focus fears, but bad old fashioned nuclear war is still a much bigger threat.
nuclear torpedo, which is remarkably dangerous not only for its yield but its ability to operate independently. They can also detonate offshore and create huge tsunami tidal waves that themselves can destroy coastal cities.
This at the same time as GOPer candidates bluster includes advocating actions which would lead directly to war with Russia.