Beltway Insider: Gun Control Now; North Korea Declares War; Marriage Equality Arguments; Sequester Sting; Easter Celebrations

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President Obama pressed forward the issue of gun control this week as he reiterated his dedication to gun reform vowing to those devastated by the Newtown tragedy that “we would not forget.”

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, dropped two percentage points, to 46% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President rose a two percentage point to 47%.

During a meeting with a group of teachers, parents and friends who had lost someone at the hands of gun violence, President Obama explained, “If we can save one child, one parent, one town from experiencing the same grief. We have an obligation to do it.”

Congress is preparing to move on several possible gun reform packages presented by the judiciary committee which are now in debate. The reforms ranging from universal background checks to barring the sale of high capacity magazine are part of a group of reforms which are currently under debate are not controversial and will seem to some as not enough. The reforms, like any movement geared at protecting and bettering society, will take time for all too fully realize its value.

North Korean Declares War

Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea, has officially signed an order that declared war against the United States and South Korea. The unpredictable thirty year-old leader is apparently retaliating for the use of the United States Nuclear Stealth Bomber in a joint exercise with the South Koreans.

Kim Jong-un has released several propaganda videos that are mixed with actual missile capabilities leaving all uncertain of the actual capabilities of North Korea’s arsenal.  An unsuccessful nuclear attack in February resulted in harsh sanctions and verbal reprimands from leaders around the world. The range of North Korea’s short, mid and long range weapons systems has yet to be known although Kim Jong-un maintains the weapons can reach United States Military installations.

Marriage Equality Arguments Begin

The Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments this week on Marriage Equality. The highest court in the land is hearing the case, based on a case presented to them for consideration, which stemmed from a 2008 amendment to the California Constitution that declared “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

The nine Justices have been very vocal, of whether the case should have even been granted a docket number, and have already made statements voicing concern. With the Justices spilt, which they very often are on issues that involve state matters, this case, while it may represent a growing need for recognition of same sex rights, it is brought to the court as a single state case.

The case appears reduced to a two possibilities. The first, simply dismissing the case, which is an open admission they acted quickly and or are having second thoughts, and is called, “improvidently granted.”  Or rendering a decision on the case, which is where the case, independent of what personal views one holds on same sex attraction, muddies.

The choice is a ruling that enacts a federal same-sex marriage law for each state which could cause an avalanche of appeals or a ruling that allows each state to enact its own laws as they see fit. The court rarely involves itself in state issues.

Supporters and protestors lined the streets outside the Supreme Court as well as utilizing the vast social media platforms and networks as increasingly large segments of the populations used Facebook to show their support for same sex marriage, changing the tagline of the movement to equality in marriage.

The decision in this case will likely to be handed down in June 2013.

Feeling the Sequester Sting

Most Americans, other than Federal employees, have yet to feel the Sequester sting.

The Sequester is the term used to refer to cuts in federal spending aimed at reducing the national deficit by 1.2trillion dollars over ten years.  Those spending cuts, like any person tightening the budget belt, are gathered across the board. In the home budget simple cuts, which may seem drastic at first, are reduced to improve the overall financial standing.

The Sequester, barring any action from this congress or others, will reduce the federal deficit. Spending cuts are across the board in both defense and domestic programs. The choice has always been difficult especially for a people whose leader appears committed to raising those from poverty levels to a secure middle class. As the Sequester targets domestic programs those receiving any type of assistance may lose or not qualify. Federal employees will be forced into immediately furloughs which could become a standard forced four day work week.

While most believe the Pentagon has no cap defense contract spending in place, those bloated, over-inflated and much ridiculed contracts of the 1990’s, have since been reigned in and are somewhat under control. The Sequester will drastically cut the defense programs over the next ten years which through trickle down could create more employed.

As the Sequester moves into 2014 and further, the cuts may become more obvious, and will, as the deficit reduction efforts continue, begin to impact every citizen in some way. Air travelers could find themselves in long lines has the Airport Security program is cut by 323million; Any involvement with the United States government which if it isn’t frustrating enough will, over the next ten years, become a constant source of frustration as the Sequester continues to deeply have an effect on until all feel the sting.

World Celebrates Easter

Faiths of the world are celebrating, for those follow Biblical precepts, the holiest of holidays.

Newly installed Pope Francis led the estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholic believers around in the world in the traditional Easter Mass celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The first Easter mass of the recently appointed Pope is also his first opportunity to present the message of Jesus Christ to the world. Pope Francis has appeared humble, since his early March election as the first non-European Pope in over 1200 years, as photographs of him participating in a foot washing ceremony, signifying Biblical humility of the anointed, to care for those in most need.

He has also been inviting the commoners into his morning mass, those whom Christ would refer to as the lowest in world’s estimation. From all accounts he has yet to move into the papal residence and performed the holy Easter Vigil in simple vestments, not suiting up in the more regal dress of his predecessors.  His Easter Vigil message centered on reacquainting oneself with Christ; trusting Christ even in the dark times and hope as Christ never fails.

The Jewish faith celebrates the eight days of Passover. The Passover signifies the safety of the children of Israel during their exodus from Egyptian enslavement and begins with a traditional Seder, where four cups of wine, eating matza, and other symbolic foods placed on traditional Passover Seder Plate and relaxing or reclining in celebration. The Passover traditions are also dependent on the branch of Judaism practiced.

Judeo Christians around the world also celebrate Easter sharing the same beliefs of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For more information on President Obama: www.whitehouse.gov 

Sources: The Washington Times, The Washington Post, Wikipedia, The New York Times

 

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