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On the end of the background check bill

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 12:38 AM EDT
On the end of the background check bill story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - According to a recent poll, a huge majority of the American people--near 95 percent--thought having universal background checks in order to buy a gun was a good idea.

Yesterday, the Senate defeated the measure, 54-45.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it was a nearly unmatched act of political cowardice.


Golfers routinely wear the logos of the companies who sponsor them on their caps and shirts. Why not Congress?

It's time to compel the members of our Congress  to make it clear to one and all who not only sponsors them, but who owns them.

The logos or patches of big oil, pharmaceuticals, the healthcare industry, defense contractors, or the National Rifle Association...whatever..ought to sewn onto the lapels, breast pockets, and sleeves of their tailor-made suits.

Yesterday the United States Senate, in a shocking disconnect with the people they're elected to serve, shot down a measure that would have expanded background checks on buyers at gun shows, on the Internet, and other commercially advertised sales.

The proposal would not have infringed one iota—not one—on the Second Amendment.

The bill itself was drawn by two pro-gun senators—Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Republican Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.

It had one goal in mind: To help keep guns out of the hands of  criminals and the mentally ill.

How skullduggerous is that?

A report in the New York Times yesterday documented how effortless it is for criminals to buy weapons on the internet. The Times referred to one web site in particular that offers tens of thousands of private guns sales.

The report went on to say that many of both the buyers and sellers were criminals, and that some of the guns had been used to kill.

Background checks would have gotten in the way of that syndrome. It was common-sense legislation of the highest order.

So, without a real peg on which to hang their objections, the NRA's Senate's hit men began making up lies about the bill.

Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, among others, said the bill would bring about a national gun registry. Well, just not true.

Federal law already prohibits such a thing. And the bill itself addressed that very question.

But people believe what they want to hear, and conservative talk show hosts were suddenly painting pictures of federal agents bashing in doors to confiscate guns of law abiding citizens.

Yesterday, Senator Cruz conceded the bill wouldn't do what he was warning everyone about, but said—and I love this—that it might encourage some effort on some future date to create a registry.

No. The truth is, he either didn't read the bill, or he was lying. And, again, he wasn't the only one.

And for them, the NRA patches ought to be stapled to their foreheads.

For them, the tragedies like those in Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; Blacksburg, Virginia; and elsewhere, and the count-em-out-loud 270 Americans who are shot every day are problems that belong to somebody else.

Here's what former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who is still recovering from her near fatal wounds from a couple of years ago, said yesterday after the senate vote.

"These Senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying, and outside spending.”

Giffords may have trouble speaking as the result of being shot.. But she can still think and she knows what she's talking about.

If all this wasn't so desperately tragic, one could almost think of it as some kind of political joke.

But as King Henry VII said 500 years ago, "the trouble with political jokes is, they get elected."

He was right.

There's a bunch of them in the United States Senate right now.

And if we can't vote them out, at the very least they should be required to wear the logos of those who own them. Enough is enough.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.
On the end of the background check bill
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Last Update on April 17, 2014 17:08 GMT


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits last week rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000. Jobless claims continue to be near pre-recession levels despite the slight increase.

The Labor Department says that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell 4,750 to 312,000. That is the lowest four-week average since October 2007, just two months before the Great Recession started. The average has fallen by 53,500 applications over the past 12 months.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The current level of claims suggests that employers are holding on their workers with the expectation of stronger economic growth ahead.

Employers added 192,000 jobs in March and 197,000 in February, the Labor Department reported. Hiring has picked up after a slowdown caused by severe winter weather.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for the second straight week as the spring home-buying season begins.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.27 percent from 4.34 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.33 percent from 3.38 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago.

Many analysts have been expecting an improving economy to lift the housing market, which has been recovering over the past two years. But housing has struggled to maintain momentum. Rising home prices and higher mortgage rates have held back some potential home buyers. Others have had trouble qualifying for mortgages.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Investment bank Goldman Sachs says its first-quarter earnings fell as fixed income trading slumped.

The bank earned $1.9 billion in the quarter, down 11 percent from the same period a year earlier when it made $2.2 billion.

The earnings were equivalent to $4.02 a share. Analysts polled by FactSet had predicted earnings of $3.49 a share.

Revenue totaled $9.3 billion, down 8 percent from a year earlier, when the bank generated revenue of $10.1 billion. The latest quarterly revenue beat analysts' expectations of $8.7 billion.

Goldman's stock rose $2.78, or 1.8 percent, to $160 in pre-market trading.


NEW YORK (AP) -- PepsiCo reports a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit as the company slashed costs and sold more snacks around the world.

The company, which makes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Mountain Dew and Tropicana, says global snack volume rose 2 percent while beverages were even from a year ago.

In its closely watched North American beverage unit, PepsiCo Inc. says volume was even. Growth in other drinks offset a 1 percent decline in sodas.

For the quarter, the company earned $1.22 billion, or 79 cents per share. Not including one-time items, it earned 83 cents per share, above the 75 cents per share Wall Street expected.

A year ago, it earned $1.08 billion, or 69 cents per share.

Revenue edged up to $12.62 billion, higher than the $12.39 billion analysts expected.


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Toy maker Mattel says weak sales of Barbie and markdowns to clear out excess inventory left over from a sluggish holiday season led to an unexpected first-quarter loss.

Toy makers are facing a weak environment globally due to the uncertain economy and popularity of electronic gadgets.

The largest U.S. toy maker says its net loss for the three months ended March 31 totaled $11.2 million, or 3 cents per share. That compares with net income of $38.5 million, or 11 cents per share last year. Analysts expected earnings of 7 cents per share.

The company which makes Disney Princess dolls and Hot Wheels cars says revenue fell 5 percent to $946.2 million. Analysts expected $947.6 million. Barbie revenue dropped 14 percent.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Target is vastly expanding the goods that are available to order by subscription as it fends off its biggest non-traditional retail rival, Amazon.com.

The nation's second-largest discounter first dabbled with subscriptions last September, trying to win over haggard parents with 150 baby care products.

That program has been expanded more than tenfold this week to nearly 1,600 items across a much wider array of consumer goods. Everything from beauty products and pet supplies, to home office supplies like printer ink, are now available through subscription.

Target, based in Minneapolis, is playing catch up in the subscription arena, which has exploded as companies test consumer appetites for almost every niche, from socks to razors, to clothing and entertainment.

Washington Times