Daily Archives: Dec. 26, 2012

Are Americans more homicidal than everyone else?

“Compare the rate of murder by gun in the United States to the rate in any other advanced industrial nation, and you’re forced to draw one of two conclusions: Either there are far more homicidal people in this country than just about anyplace else on Earth, or far more guns,” columnist Harold Meyerson wrote. “We must either be home to more people who succumb to murderous rage or who kill out of the coldest of calculations, or it’s easier to pick up a gun and start shooting here than in any comparable country.” Meyerson noted that there are 3.2 gun homicides per 100,000 residents in the United States, while only 0.1 per 100,000 in France, Britain and Australia. “Want to argue that we have 32 times the rate of dangerous mental illness that they have in Australia?”

Expect more raiding of state’s transportation plan

The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and other groups want the state to stop raiding the transportation program to cover its budget shortfalls. “Dedicated transportation funding streams should only be used for the transportation program,” the chamber’s 2013 agenda states. But Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Mike King indicated last week that he is ready and willing for the state to continue using his department as a piggy bank. He told the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce that his agency has money it will be willing to offer to cover budget shortfalls for the next fiscal year or two, the Hutchinson News reported. “We’ll be asked to give money up for other uses,” King said. He said his department can get by because of low bid prices, inflation and bonding rates. “We’re ahead of the game on the cost side,” he said. But former KDOT Secretary Deb Miller warned when she resigned a year ago that continuing to raid the transportation plan could jeopardize the 10-year highway plan.

Best of the worst political gaffes

U.S. News and World Report rounded up the top 10 political gaffes of the past election, including Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” and Richard Mourdock’s what “God intended” comments about abortion, Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” video put-down and “binders full of women” reference, and President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” phrase and open-mike assurance to then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that Obama would have “more flexibility” after re-election. And no gaffes roundup would be complete without Vice President Joe Biden, who made the list with his shocking warning to black voters that Romney would “put y’all back in chains.” GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich also won a spot for saying that “by the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon.”