By Kasson

This marks the 209th school shooting since Columbine in April 1999. That’s about once a month for the last 19 years. 163rd since Virginia Tech in April 2007, once every 3.5 weeks for almost 11 years. It’s the 114th since Sandy Hook in December 2012, once every 2.5 weeks for 5 straight years. And it is the 7th in 2018, once a week.

What are the only 2 major pieces of gun legislation since Columbine in 1999? In 2004 the Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to expire, and in 2005 Congress passed a law preventing gun manufacturers from being sued for negligence. That’s it. That’s the sum total Congress has done regarding gun legislation.

What will it take for meaningful reform to slow down these shootings? We all know the answer; no action will be taken. If nothing was done when 15 were killed at Columbine, or when 33 were killed at Virginia Tech, or when 20 first graders and 8 others were slaughtered in Newtown, CT; nothing will be done now that at least 17 were killed in Florida.

When a bump-stock to effectively turn a semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic rifle was used in Las Vegas to kill 58 and injure 851, legislators on both sides of the aisle came out FOR common sense laws banning that loophole. Yet five months later, no action has been taken.

Solving this is going to take comprehensive reform. It is going to take better healthcare to treat mental illness. It is going to take society destigmatizing mental illness. And it is going to take common sense gun laws to prevent the most dangerous weapons from legally reaching the hands of the most dangerous people in our society.


One final note, in no longer so hushed racial undertones blacks, and Mexicans, and Muslims are blamed for the violence in this country. By and large these school shootings (and mass shootings in general) are done by white middle to upper-class students and adults with legally acquired weapons.

Notice how it is always mental illness when it is performed by white middle class Americans, but if a crime is committed by someone who is black, or Muslim, or Mexican, or atheist, it is their race or creed that is at fault. People don’t want to believe that someone like them can commit atrocities so it is always something else to blame, and they choose the most obvious difference from their views, or actions, or looks, and when there is nothing left only then does it shift to mental illness.


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By Kasson

This has been a busy week in the life of the President. Probably the biggest week in my lifetime, with several major bombshells coming out every day. But lurking in the background has been an undoing of a major protection of the Internet.

During the Obama administration the Internet was classified as a Title II service, which makes them similar to a public utility. They provide you service and you have complete access to any website you want. And that access cannot be blocked or impeded beyond the general Internet speed that you pay for. Basically Comcast cannot choose to slow down Netflix or YouTube to a crawl and speed up their own competing service. Today the FCC ended that classification.

Think of Internet service in this way as similar to the electric company. They charge you for the electricity you use and other service fees. But they cannot dictate how you use that electricity. They cannot say “you must buy Joe Blow’s Air Conditioner, because we will not power any other brand of air conditioner. Or maybe they will allow it, but they won’t provide enough electricity to power it on the hottest of summer days.

The reasons these protections are needed is Internet providers are near monopolies everywhere they exist. There are seldom more than one or two options to provide fast Internet service in any given area. You have no choice, so if Company A decides to have terrible business practices there is no alternative you can choose from.

If the Internet Service Providers (Comcast, Time Warner/Spectrum, Verizon get their way, which they just passed a major hurdle in doing so, the Internet will slowly become a much different place. We are already seeing data caps for service in which you are already paying for a set speed. Ultimately the goal is to sell the Internet like cable TV. You buy a package and you can view those websites like channels, or you can pay for the “unlimited plan” which gives you access to the whole Internet Before that, they will likely use the new rules to limit speeds for competing websites. Time Warner who owns CNN may limit speeds or access to view Fox News.

If you think that seems outlandish, it’s not. This was already starting to pop up before the Obama administration outlawed it. Netflix was being throttled, their speed was being restricted so that you couldn’t watch HD by several major ISPs Some of these ISPs were even demanding payments from Netflix to unthrottle their access to their customers.

I won’t even go into the billions of dollars that the US government paid these companies to build out a fiber network in the 1990’s that, they then took the money and refused to build out the network.

Similar to the law passed earlier this year which allowed ISPs to sell your digital information. No one supports these changes except the ISPs themselves, who donate many millions of dollars to political candidates. Not the citizens, not the websites and content makers, only the ISPs. The ISPs with some of the lowest consumer approval rankings of any corporations, because they have no reason to keep the customer happy. They have a monopoly.

The war is not over, and this particular battle has just begun, but without a strong commitment to net neutrality, financial interests will ultimately prevail and the citizen will lose.

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By Kasson


Poll Closing Times:


6pm (EST): 
Indiana (11), Expected to go to Romney, would not be killer to Romney if it goes Obama.


7pm (EST):

Florida (29), Virginia (13), New Hampshire (4), Florida is a MUST win for Romney. Virginia Going for Romney makes his path easier. New Hampshire is up for grabs but unlikely going to decide the election.


7:30pm (EST): 

Ohio(18), The most important race in the election. It gets much tougher for the loser of this state.


8pm (EST): 

Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20), Both are likely Obama, but if Romney can win one or both, Obama will have a long election night.
Once these polls have come in the night should be much clearer. Though some states may be too close to call well into the night or even further.


9pm (EST):
Wisconsin (17), Colorado (9), Almost every scenario for Romney Winning, has him winning Colorado. Wisconsin is Likely Obama, but one potential stretch goal for Romney.


10pm (EST):
Iowa (6), Nevada (6), These swing states are smaller but probably critical for Romney to win.


By this point in the night the winner will probably be fairly obvious or we will be looking at a really close race.
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By Kasson

Special Thanks to RealClearPolitics.com for the map generator.



This is our 2012 election prediction. If Barack Obama has a good night he might also pick up Virginia and Florida. If Mitt Romney has a good night he will pick up Ohio and Colorado, giving him just enough (275-263) to win the election.

The prediction for the Senate is Democrats (and Democrat siding independents)  will hold 53 seats. Republicans will hold 47.

We predict the Republican party to hold a healthy margin in the House of Representatives. Republicans holding 239 seats, Democrats holding 196 seats.

We will see tomorrow night how closely these predictions hold.

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By Wink

We at the Winkest Link were stupid enough to believe that the House of Representatives would eventually see the light and just pass raising the debt ceiling. To all presidents of both parties this has always been a formality in the past. But now morons run the House, so we at W-L will have to delay the follow-up to our ‘Voter Fraud’ article to make time to beg for two-cents worth of maturity from the GOP. Here goes….


Dear GOP: (I will address the GOP directly, and not the teabaggers, because teabaggers are to thoughtful discussion what Neanderthals are to aeronautics…. “Ugh… me not get joke”) This is so stupid. Just raise the debt ceiling already. Don’t attach anything to it, just pass it.

This is not a budget bill, this is just (to paraphrase Ronald Reagan) ‘housekeeping.’

Raise the debt ceiling already, we can argue about the budget later.

The debt ceiling is arbitrary and should be totally non-controversial. Only one other country on the planet even has one. It is a made-up number.

For this stupid “principle” you would trash the U.S. economy? Especially when we are trying to recover from this last recession?

The only reason it is controversial is because the teabaggers want all conflicts to go nuclear. They control about 80 of the 535 House seats, but they have John Boehner’s private parts in a vice. He cannot breathe without their approval.

Boehner must be the weakest speaker in modern times. He knows additional taxes are needed to help the budget, but he dare not whisper that….

Teabaggers don’t know and don’t care about our responsibilities to maintain our standing in the world/financial community. Don’t know, don’t care.

Interest rates will rise on everybody, including you and me and the small businesses the GOP so often claims to care about.

This is the REAL job-killer. If a business can’t afford to borrow money, they can’t grow the company, or hire people.

Raising the debt ceiling should be perfunctory. We must pay our bills. This is not the same as passing a budget, it is simply paying our bills.

Teabaggers want every issue with Obama to be nuclear war. That is not real governance. Certainly not MATURE governance.

Raise the debt ceiling already. And raise it to at least 2013 so we don’t have to go through this B.S. again during election year 2012.



Additional Comments

By Kasson

Ostensibly (I like that word), the reason for Republican’s insistence on balancing the budget is to prevent economic and financial collapse in the future.  This is a noble goal, and that is why it works in the polls.But if the purpose is to prevent economic collapse, why would they flirt with it now?  Neither side is willing to take a bitter pill.

I think of it this way.  The United States has a cancer (the national debt).  Everyone agrees that in the short, medium, and long terms we need to deal with it to prevent it from metastasizing at least any worse than it has.  But I don’t feel the solution is to go on a murderous, suicidal rampage, taking out the global economy.  Sure it would “fix” the problem of debt.  But it is like curing an ice cream headache by shooting yourself in the head.  Solves the pain, sure, but it isn’t forward looking.  You need to look ahead and plan for the future.  Think of the consequences of your choices.

I am confident something will get passed, albeit it wont be a solution anyone likes.  They punted on the problem for too long, and now have to accept a less than desirable outcome.  You know it’s bad when NFL owners are laughing at the inability of congress to come to some sort of deal.

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By Wink

The press seems obligated to report a certain number of ‘happy stories’ every day. They search and search for these, because they know that war stories and cancer stories become a bit of a buzz-kill, and after a while people will tune you out.

Some days the ‘happy story’ comes easy. Every Thanksgiving the President will ‘pardon’ a turkey. This always makes the local and national news.

Boring. Stupid. Happy.

Same with Easter. The President and his wife invite some kids over. The kids scramble around the White House lawn scooping up eggs.

It turns out that these are ceremonial, wooden, Easter eggs. This is not new, but I probably didn’t know about the wooden eggs because I DON’T CARE. The ‘happy stories’ bore me.

Fox cares. Fox cares about everything the Obama’s do.

Every day the Fox writers are assigned one duty: Find any story and turn it into a way to rip the President and his wife.

Even a stupid, boring, Easter story.

Conservatives love to say all other networks are simply liberal mouthpieces. When “W” was president, did NBC/CNN/etc. ever do anything like this? http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-national/fox-news-takes-serious-issue-with-the-white-house-easter-egg-roll-event-video

Likewise, did Fox complain about Laura and George Bush when they held 8 consecutive Easter egg events, also with wooden eggs? Hint….no, they didn’t.

If you care (and I don’t know why anyone would care), here are the facts surrounding this years’ Easter Egg hunt at the White House…..

  1. The eggs were certified hardwood, not particle board. Certified hardwood is just like any other wood, but comes from sustainable forests.
  2. The ‘particle board’ mentioned is the cardboard box that the eggs come in, which is still not really particle board, but it isn’t normal hardwood either. (The box is also certified wood.)
  3. The 85,000 eggs were NOT signed by Michelle and Barack Obama, The names were just stamped on them. (It would be a little time-consuming to sign 85,000 wooden eggs.)
  4. The White House egg-rolling event actually uses hard-boiled eggs, so yes, there were real eggs there. The wooden eggs are given as souvenirs to the families who attend the event, and also sold online with proceeds going to the National Park Foundation.

But Fox does continue to validate the “We Report – You Decide” motto. The full motto is …

“WE REPORT 50% fact and 50% bulls**t, YOU DECIDE which is which.”

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I generally try to think of myself as someone who follows the news.  The only thing I don’t typically watch is television news, unless a major event is happening.  I read the papers, follow the websites, etc.  But something must have slipped through the cracks.

Apparently, Rep. Michele Bachmann made a misstatement about early American history.  She claimed that of New Hampshire, “You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world at Lexington and Concord.” We all know that happened in Texas with T. Boone Crockett exclaiming “Remember the Armadillo.” I don’t remember why the Armadillo was so important, but I guess Mexico wanted it or something.

I only heard of this mistake, when she said that the reporting of her mistake shows and obvious bias in the media. It must be news to her that I, a self-proclaimed follower of the news, had not heard of her mistake, until she used it to claim the bias.

Thankfully, she provided an example. She mentioned that during the 2008 campaign Barrack Obama, had claimed “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.” Again, we all know there are 52 States, excluding Canada (that’s a Province). She claimed this wasn’t reported in the media. First of all, how did she hear about it if it wasn’t reported? Second of all, I heard it many times when it happened. Yet, I didn’t hear her statement.

Where is the bias now?

To be forgiving to Bachmann, I know when it is you that make a mistake it feels if the whole world is closing in and making notice of the error, but the bias here doesn’t lie in the media’s hands, the bias is you perceiving yourself as more important than you really are.

The rest of the world could care less about that quip, there are many more telling quotes.

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Tonight we are live-blogging the election results (“how boring” you say).  We are going to keep a lighthearted look at these returns and keep it fun, while still providing information.  If you want serious, there are about 5000 other sources you can look to.  The blogging will start to ramp up at 7 p.m. Central Time, but will be starting now.

10:32 [Kasson]: Well Bristol Palin apparently moved on tonight.

10:19 [Wink]:  The nation is following this very-very closely.  Unless ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is on….

10:02 [Wink]:  The curse of victory. Republicans, like the Dems before them, will let this alleged power go to their heads.

9:30 [Kasson]: Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin are on Fox News right now, and it was actually a nice, cordial  conversation. Although I found it funny when Sarah Palin suggested that the “Neanderthals verbally attacking” female candidates on both sides need to “evolve.”   Is that a belief in evolution I hear?

9:27 [Kasson]: It looks like Rhode Islanders (sounds like an NBA team), are voting down the state name change, I guess this should be taken as a referendum against our suggestions.

9:16 [Kasson]: That Michele Bachman interview with Chris Mathews was a classic in the disconnect (though noise may have played a factor.

9:03 [Wink]:  O’Donnell can tour with Palin. That would bring the total IQ up to about 115…

8:48 [Kasson]: Interesting “concession” speech by Christine O’Donnell.  If you weren’t paying attention, you would think she won.  Are there bigger things planned for her?

8:44 [Wink]:  While the red states get redder, the blue states become truly blue.

8:13 [Wink]:  GOP will control the House, the Dems may hold onto the Senate.

8:02 [Kasson]: Republicans are now projected to take control of the House.


7:43 [Kasson]: You know what they say about pundits, they make a “pun out of you ‘nd it”

7:37 [Wink]:  But back to the Rhode Island thing… rename it? How about ‘Rhode Schlolar’ (Rhodes Collar?)or ‘Rhode Hard and Put Away Wet’ or (irony intended) ‘The Colossus of Rhode’

7:35 [Cessna]: West Virginia projected to go Democrat, according to pundits this was a key win for Democrats to keep the Senate.

7:23 [Kasson]: How about Apple Juice, an an All-American drink, also healthy (and cheap, you never know in this economy).

7:19 [Cessna]: For the 2008 election, we toasted Barack Obama’s win with eggnog. This election’s drink of choice? Tears.

7:13 [Wink]: Election Night, 2010. We know that each and every election season you look forward to tracking the inner thoughts of the Winkest Link team.  Kick back and enjoy. We will give you a blow-by-blow as the evening progresses. For example, the pizza is delicious…

7:10 [Cessna]: So a Democrat in Delaware won their House seat. Is that a surprise, even in a Republican Takeover year?

7:00 [Cessna]: I was going to say something like that or “Rhode Landlocked,” but in all reality, Rhode Island is nothing. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

6:57 [Kasson]: Welcome Wink, glad to see you helping better the country.  Cessna, is bringing us his geography trivia informing me that in fact Rhode Island is not an island.  Does that make it an isthmus?

6:53 CST [Wink] Sorry for the late arrival. I was boosting the economy of the local pizza mart.  Just doing my part.

6:40 CST [Cessna]: Rhode Not An Island?

6:36 CST [Kasson]: Interesting ballot issue of the moment.  Rhode Island is voting to change their name, any suggestions?

6:33 CST [Cessna]: Rob Portman projected to win Ohio Senate seat. So much for my help in my Political Science 230 class, Mr. Fisher.

6:26 CST [Kasson]: I love it when results are called before any votes are tallied,  This includes (D) Leahy in Vermont and (R) DeMint in South Carolina.

6:17 CST [Cessna]: Early lead for Republicans in House 11-1. This is a bad sign for Dems since polls that have closed by now are on the East Coast, which is majority Democratic, usually.

6:15 CST [Kasson]: The first polls are now closed.  First predictions: Senate after election Dems-52 Republicans-48 House: this is way crazier to predict,  Republicans-228 Dems 210

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