Speaking at DreamWorks Animation, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to curbing gun violence by calling on the "responsibility" of the entertainment industry.
President Obama has pushed very strongly over the past year for stricter gun control legislation, but not even the regulation thought most likely to succeed - universal background checks - made it through Congress. As a result, he is turning to leaders in entertainment to avoid "glorifying" violence.
"We've got to make sure that we're not glorifying it because the stories you tell shape our children's outlook and their lives," Obama said.
"The stories we tell matter. And you tell stories more powerfully than anybody else on the earth," Obama said.
Nobody is arguing that children should be protected from excessive portrayals of violence. That principle underlies the legal age limitations on violent movies and video games.
Perhaps the ratings system that imposes those limits is in need of reform, but it is not up to Hollywood alone to protect America's children. After all, curious kids can secretly obtain access to depravity of all kinds in the Internet age despite the best hopes of their parents.
Although many agree that entertainment media influence real life gun violence, no scientific study has conclusively demonstrated causality between the two. It is hard to draw a direct arrow from Breaking Bad to a real-life, fully-grown murderer who watches it. There is only correlation.
(There is also no reason to definitively conclude that gun violence is different from other types of violence depicted in the media (see: Dexter), even in the case of mass murder.)
In the absence of certainty, it is more important than ever to emphasize personal responsibility and free agency.
President Obama's complete remarks at DreamWorks are available here.
Cancer patients are being dropped from their health insurance plans, the “keep your doctor” mantra touted by Obama turned out to be a lie, the website is a disaster, rising healthcare costs are making the Affordable Care Act not so affordable, and the list goes on and on. With so much negative Obamacare coverage in the news, it’s no wonder that one “nonpartisan” group has been given a $1.1 million grant to create a database of success stories (unlike, you know, these).
Over to you, Fox News:
Families USA, which describes itself on its website as a non-profit dedicated to “the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans,” received the $1,100,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Oct. 4.
The grant, which was first reported by CapitolCityProject.com, is meant to help Families USA expand the database of “real people” sharing their stories of enrolling in ObamaCare. Families USA solicits such stories on its website, asking Americans to submit their examples of how they are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act to educate others.
“The best way to do that is to tell your story, giving a real example of the status quo and the impact of change,” the website says.
As one would expect, the group is hardly “nonpartisan.” According to Capitol City Project, the group has close ties to the administration and Enroll America.
With all the negative press and one delay after another being announced, the administration would, I'm sure, desperately welcome such a database. After all, Obama recently said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Summit, “We obviously are going to have to remarket and rebrand,” which he said would be “challenging in this political environment.” But the 'challenge' of doing so may have less to do with the political environment than with the law itself.
America’s Thanksgiving tables yesterday may have looked a bit different than, say, the 1950s. The changing family dynamics is a fact the New York Times is applauding in a new piece glorifying the increasing diversity of American households, be it blended families, same-sex partnerships or cohabitation.
From “The Changing American Family”:
The typical American family, if it ever lived anywhere but on Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving canvas, has become as multilayered and full of surprises as a holiday turducken — the all-American seasonal portmanteau of deboned turkey, duck and chicken.
While diversity is something to encourage, I believe in the home there is still no greater institution than the traditional family. It provides stability and comfort – especially for children growing up in uncertain climates.
Granted, the Times piece did begin to suggest family was still a cherished institution. But, that suggestion was quickly clarified.
“It’s the backbone of how we live,” said David Anderson, 52, an insurance claims adjuster from Chicago. “It means everything,” said Linda McAdam, 28, who is in human resources on Long Island.
Yes, everything, and sometimes too many things. “It’s almost like a weight,” said Rob Fee, 26, a financial analyst in San Francisco, “a heavy weight.” Or as the comedian George Burns said, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”
A large part of this “weight” or burden, according to the Times, is the cost of raising a child.
The nation’s birthrate today is half what it was in 1960.
One big reason is the soaring cost of ushering offspring to functional independence. According to the Department of Agriculture, the average middle-class couple will spend $241,080 to raise a child to age 18. Factor in four years of college and maybe graduate school, or a parentally subsidized internship with the local theater company, and say hello to your million-dollar bundle of oh joy.
To wrap up, the Times has encouraged the breakdown of the traditional family and put a price on children.
What, pray tell, is wrong with the white picket fence? America is founded on tradition and our strong families are a major part of our country’s success. Family is something to strive for, not avoid.
The moral implications notwithstanding, broken or nontraditional families can also have a negative impact on the country’s economic growth. Children without fathers, for instance, are much more likely to grow up in poverty, abuse drugs and alcohol or go to prison.
But, the New York Times is only concerned with diversity and making the Thanksgiving table as “multilayered” as possible.
Each year the TSA collects an average of $465,000 in unclaimed money from security checkpoints across the country. And right now it is used for civil aviation security. But one congressman, Jeff Miller (R-FL), is looking to change how that money is being spent.
The TSA Loose Change Act has 43 cosponsors and should come up for a vote next week in the House. It requires the TSA to spend all unclaimed money on lounges for members of the military and their families. As of right now the TSA is spending it slowly on their civil aviation security. It collected $531,000 in 2012, but as of March 2013 had only spent $6,500 of it. This new bill would direct the money to groups that help fund airport lounges for the military, which is described in the bill as a place for rest and recuperation for military and their families.
Currently, the USO is the only organization operating airport lounges for military service members and their families. This bill would help to raise the number of groups doing so. What a great idea to pay thanks to our members of the military.
The principles America was founded on have paved the way for the freedoms and privileges each citizen is thankful for today. At the heart of conservatism, is the recognition that many of these founding ideals are worth fighting to preserve.
In the words of John Quincy Adams: "Posterity--you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
So in the spirit of preserving today’s blessings for tomorrow’s Americans, let’s take a look at ten things the Founding Fathers would be fighting against in the 21st century.
1. President Obama’s Power Grabs
“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.” - Thomas Jefferson
2. Increased Taxation
The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. — James Madison
3. Adult Children
Congratulations, 26-year-olds today can now stay on their parents health insurance and prolong adolescence. By the age of 26, George Washington had already worked as an official surveyor for Virginia, fought in the French and Indian War and climbed to the rank of Colonel.
4. Breakdown of the Family
Marriage is an institution, which may properly be deemed to arise from the law of nature.…It distributes the whole of society into families, and creates a permanent union of interests, and a mutual guardianship of the same. It binds children by indissoluble ties, and adds new securities to the good order of society, by connecting the happiness of the whole family with the good behavior of all. It furnishes additional motives for honest industry and economy in private life, and for a deeper love of the country of our birth. - Joseph Story
5. Foreign Involvement
“It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.” -George Washington
6. Chicago’s Gun Laws
"To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them." -George Mason
7. Religious Intolerance
“The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right.” -James Madison
8. Direct Election of Senators
"The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote." U.S. Constitution Article I, section 3.
9. The National Debt
“No pecuniary consideration is more urgent than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt; on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of the time more valuable.” -George Washington
10. The Federal Reserve
"Paper is poverty...it is only the ghost of money, and not money.” -Thomas Jefferson
Even Mike Tyson cannot ignore how poorly the Obamacare rollout has gone. Speaking in an interview with Piers Morgan on Monday, the former heavyweight champion of the world spared no punches in his criticism of the plan's implementation.
I was for it 100 percent, but we had to come to the reality that it didn't work.
Tyson also expressed disappointment in the president following his repeated lies about people being able to keep their current healthcare plans. Tyson did say, however, that he believes the president serves as a positive role model for young African-Americans, including his son.
The editorial team here at Townhall would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Here's some of the things we're thankful for this year:
Every year when I sit down to write my sentences for our team “grateful-for post,” I get overwhelmed trying to fit it all into a few words. I have been blessed beyond what I could have every imagined. I’m grateful for my health, my family, loyal friends, a safe place to live, my work, a good boss and helpful colleagues, nutritious food and I’m thankful every day that I live in the United States of America. This country I call home is the only place in the world capable of fostering the many opportunities I have been blessed to take advantage at this point in my life. Also, let’s not forget many in our armed forces won’t be at home with their families today, but instead overseas protecting our freedoms so we can eat our meals in peace surrounded by the people we love. I am thankful today and every day for many blessings. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!
- Katie Pavlich, News Editor
I am exceptionally thankful for a strong and supportive family, a network of amazing friends, two jobs I love, colleagues I like and respect, and another year of health and happiness. Even for 2013's frustrations, I'm thankful -- mindful of the charge to give thanks in all things. Here's to a memorable day of food, family, friendship and football. Happy Thanksgiving!
- Guy Benson, Senior Political Editor
“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community”
Though Bonhoeffer says this in the context of spiritual gifts and faith, standing alone, the quote carries just as much weight. It’s a reminder to be thankful for all of God’s gifts—none of which are too small or ordinary to celebrate. Personally, some of the many things I am thankful for include: family, friends, food, shelter, clean water, the Greek Orthodox faith and community, health, employment, education, democracy, our veterans and U.S. citizenship.
I hope that you, too, will remember to be thankful for all of the "ordinary" and "small" gifts in your life—today and every day. Happy Thanksgiving!
- Leah Barkoukis, Assistant Editor Townhall.com/Townhall Magazine
Thanksgiving is a holiday for good times and cheer, but it's also the holiday on which Americans everywhere can reflect on what good fortunes they've had in life. And we all can find something for which we can be truly thankful.
I'm thankful for my family, whether they are family by blood or by choice. If I didn't have their love and support I would not be the person I am today.
Thanksgiving - and the upcoming Christmas season - is a time to think of those who aren't as fortunate as us, and give generously. There are many who haven't had the good fortune that we have had. Helping provide the needy with charity is especially important during the holiday season, as the weather turns colder.
We should all be thankful for the volunteer men and women of America's armed forces, who have taken up the legacy of those who fought to secure the freedom of the greatest country in the world.
- Kevin Glass, Managing Editor
I am thankful for all of my family, but in particular I am thankful for my wife and three children. There really is no one else I'd rather be with on Thanksgiving Day, or any day. I am also thankful for Fresno State's so-far undefeated football season, my new opportunity here at Townhall Magazine, and the Lost Dog Cafe that just opened near my home. That is some great pizza!
- Conn Carroll, Managing Editor for Townhall Magazine
What am I thankful for? Quite a lot, actually. I’m thankful for my supportive family, my friends, and my health. Special shout-out to my father who had the misfortune of reading and editing practically every word I ever wrote when I first started working here a few years back. Luckily I don’t harass him as much anymore. Thanks for the encouragement, Pops. Also, I’m grateful to all the men and women who serve our country in uniform, at home and around the globe. They are the ones who truly make this nation great. And finally, I’m thankful to Him -- for his forgiveness and many blessings. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Now go eat, relax, and watch football.
- Dan Doherty, Deputy News Editor
2013 has proved to be very interesting; and while I’m especially grateful for my loving and supportive family and friends, I’m particularly thankful this year for life’s challenges. From hardships come humility, strength, and resolve. Obstacles make way for new opportunities often times unimaginable or unforeseen. Pain strengthens your faith and opens your eyes to all the wonderful blessings God gives. I am thankful for all the bumps in the road that make life worth living.
As a relative newbie to Townhall, I am thankful for the tremendous team of talented colleagues I have the privilege of calling friends. I remember daily the brave men, women and families who sacrifice everything to protect our freedom, and I truly appreciate people who just smile to make the world a kinder place.
I wish you and yours a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
- Amanda Muñoz, Office & Human Resources Manager
This year my Thanksgiving will be one where I reflect on all of the love in my life. My friends, my family and boyfriend all make my life a joy. Although I won’t be heading home to Massachusetts this year, I am lucky enough to have a wonderful family to spend Turkey Day with here. When I think of all the changes over this past year, I can’t help but be thankful to have a job that I love, coworkers who make coming to work a pleasure every day, and a great support system at home. This year is about love for me; and I couldn’t be more grateful for having so much love in my life. Thank you everyone for making this past year so great!
- Heather Ginsberg, Web Editor
This year, I’m thankful for being able to write about issues I’m passionate about and working with fun coworkers who let me decorate the office with Royal Wedding flags. I’m also thankful for all the pro-life victories we’ve had this year, particularly in the great state of Texas. I’m thankful for our readers and social media followers, who often share inspiring insight into the topics we cover. Finally, I’m thankful for my encouraging family and friends, who aren’t afraid to share story ideas! Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
- Cortney O’Brien, Web Editor
I’m really not that good at being sentimental, so I’m just going to make a list of all the things I am thankful for this year. In no particular order, I am thankful for: my job at Townhall, my coworkers, my brother, ice hockey (and my college’s team being nationally ranked this season), Providence College, airplanes, the crepe truck outside of the Townhall office, the Order of Preachers, America, Skype, StubHub, the Dominican House of Studies, Twitter, my family, my friends, Snapchat, my L.L. Bean boots, Maine, iPhones, and freedom.
- Christine Rousselle, Web Editor
Protip from my Dad: ‘find what you love to do and get paid to do it.' I love fresh perspectives, hearing people's stories, writing and promoting, what I think, can help people live fuller lives. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the opportunity to do what I love every day. For working with colleagues who are both focused and fun. For being back on the east coast near my family. For new opportunities to grow. And for daily reminders that life is all about loving and serving the people around you.
- Sarah Seman, Web Editor
I am thankful for my mother and sister, as well as our health. I am thankful for America and my loving community. I am thankful to have a roof over my head, access to technology, a durable pair of shoes, somewhere safe to sleep, something to eat, and something to drink. I am thankful to be young and independent and unburdened by debt at a time when many are struggling.
I am thankful for my time at Townhall, where I have learned and grown so much. The editorial staff makes me excited to come to work every day. I am thankful to continue my life's adventure in the Middle East next year.
I am thankful for my father, who passed two years ago but whose memory still graces my every day. I am thankful to God, the source of all goodness, for all of the blessings I have had as well as those to come.
- Nicole Bailey, Editorial Intern
This video is old news (in fact, I’m sure you’ve already seen it) but if you haven’t take two minutes out of your day and watch it. Stories like these will warm your heart.
Katie says this is the proper way to address bullying. She’s right, of course, but how many students are actually willing -- and brave enough -- to defend a defenseless kid in such a public manner? If this video doesn’t improve your holiday, I’m not sure what will. Simply amazing:
Happy Thanksgiving, all!
To college students at the University of Central Arkansas, Obamacare just became a little bit more alluring. While the nation's economy might not be so hot, that doesn't mean the federal government has forgotten the power of incentives.
Take a look at what this reportedly federally granted group is using to promote application sign-ups:
The Weekly Standard has more:
The Obamacare event took place at the University of Central Arkansas last weekend. It was hosted by a group called the Living Affected Corporation, which apparently has received a grant from the federal government to educate the public about Obamacare.
The event organizer spilled out a bag of condoms -- as a couple whoops and hollers could be heard from the small crowd.
Then she says, "Ok, if anyone wants a paper application," but she interrupts herself to pickup condoms that had fallen on the floor. "I have those as well."
"So when you're leaving, you can stop by my table and I'll give you whatever -- condoms -- that box has a bunch in it. Anyway ... Our corporation, LA Corp ... And I'm waiting on my dental dams and female condom order that still hasn't come in. If you ever need condoms, let me know because we have thousands -- boxes of magnums, we get magnums a lot. So here is the prize table."
The condom give-away was a training event with young Democrats, I'm told.
What to say, hmmm...Thanks Obamacare?
Republican approval ratings are in the toilet and the 2014 midterm elections are right around the corner. In addition, 2016 is already on the campaign strategy table and donors aren't wasting any time writing big checks. If Republicans want to win, they're going to need a plan and longtime GOP strategist Ford O'Connell has a controversial one ready.
In his new book, Hail Mary: The 10-Step Playbook For Republican Recovery, O'Connell offers the GOP 10 rules about how to take on controversial issues that split not only Democrats and Republicans, but the Republican Party itself. His four main themes are the following:
-"Hug the Gays"; embrace them and make them part of the political base.
-Reform the GOP primary process to make it a little more like the Lincoln Douglass debates and less like a deathmatch version of "Survivor".
-Reach out to nontraditional and Leftist media. End the Reagan fetish.
-Come to terms with the fact that Ronald Reagan and the Reagan coalition are dead and not coming back
In his book, O'Connell describes the state of the GOP in football terms.
"Fourth and long. If this were a football game, that's where the Republicans would be right now. We are on our fourth down in the fourth quarter and trailing by a few touchdowns on the scoreboard," he writes. "Even now, in the fifth year of an Obama presidency, we're still hanging in there. But the odds are getting longer. And the consequences are potentially severe."
O'Connell's ideas in the book are controversial, he takes on abortion, voter ignorance, gay rights, immigration and even Ronald Reagan, but provides important campaign strategy against Democrats who have been winning for years.
Department of Homeland Security Stacked With Pro-Amnesty Attorneys Ahead of Illegal Immigration Fight | Katie Pavlich
Obama: Oh no, the Failure of Obamacare Doesn't Reflect my Management Style at All | Sarah Jean Seman