Cutting Edge: New ideas / Sharp opinions
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Pittsburgh's One Man's Tofu blog: "After a long delay due to construction overruns, the Road to Justice (otherwise known as the Trayvon Martin Freeway) has finally been opened to traffic ... It's taken 45 days since the death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of a local 'neighborhood watch' vigilante for the authorities to levy charges against George Zimmerman. Forty-five days which, we point out, Zimmerman spent free to walk the streets -- although he apparently dared not do so ...
"Much of the delay in charging Zimmerman springs from Florida's so-called 'stand your ground' law, which permits meek, frightened gun owners to kill anyone who gives them the willies."
The Black Youth Project website is all over the Trayvon Martin case, but it also plays up black-on-black violence: "When will we stop killing our own people? The black-on-black murdering must stop! When will we stand up and say enough is enough? The police can't fix the problem; we as a people have to fix the problem or watch our children be murdered in the street.
"It's hard for family members or friends to call the police on one another, but the problem needs to be fixed. ...How can you expect the police to solve a case [when] no one comes out to speak up about who is doing the killing?"
Florida's stand-your-ground law is now notorious, which occasions Alternet to examine "six awful GOP laws that may harm Florida forever." One gives the state control over all firearm regulation "to the exclusion of all existing and future county, city, town or municipal ordinances."
"Anti-gun forces and local officials were outraged. One effect of the law is that Tampa city officials cannot ban handguns near the site of this summer's Republican National Convention ... So while the city council is banning hatchets, knives, pepper spray, chains and water guns during the GOP gathering, anybody can carry a gun near the convention unimpeded.
"Another provision of the law: ... No longer can police ask people to check their weapons before entering the state capitol itself. Adding insult to injury, many lawmakers spent taxpayer money to install emergency alert buttons on their phones, just in case someone starts shooting."
In a New York Times op-ed, Joseph P. Kennedy II urges Congress to limit oil speculation, warning that "speculators dominate the trading of oil futures. ... The oil futures markets routinely trade more than one billion barrels of oil per day. Given that the entire world produces only around 85 million actual 'wet' barrels a day, this means that more than 90 percent of trading involves speculators' exchanging 'paper' barrels with one another.
"Because of speculation, today's oil prices of about $100 a barrel have become disconnected from the costs of extraction, which average $11 a barrel worldwide. Pure speculators account for as much as 40 percent of that high price, according to testimony that Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, gave to Congress last year."
As Americans file their taxes, Matt Miller in The Washington Post considers the lies both major political parties tell about taxes:
"The big Republican lie is that we don't need to raise taxes at all, even as the boomers retire and we double the number of people on Social Security and Medicare. The big Democratic lie is that we can get America's fiscal house in order by raising taxes only on people who earn more than $250,000 a year."
The Congressional Budget Office has been clear in saying that taxes must be raised to cover entitlements, and they must be raised on more than the super rich. But neither party will admit it. Mr. Miller writes: "If we had a serious third voice in the presidential campaign, [Mitt] Romney and [Barack] Obama wouldn't be able to sustain these deceptions."
First Published April 15, 2012 12:00 am