The Widdershins

Archive for January 6th, 2014


Good morning, Widdershins! Apologies for the New Year’s Eve flail while stuck in the Internet dead zone. Fredster, thanks for covering!

From the various comments around the blog, it seems that I am in the majority when I say that 2013 blew the big one in many respects. I did have some good times, but the year end was especially rough professionally. I am looking forward to a new year with new challenges and a new perspective.

From a political point of view, here are some things that I’d like to forget from The Year That Was:

  • The horribly mismanaged rollout of Remember when people thought Obama was such a cool and forward-looking President, the master of modern technology?
  • The government shutdown. Once again, those in need paid while the Tea Party postured for its delusional base.
  • The hysteria over the royal baby. Good grief, people, read a book. I have to wonder what would have happened if that baby were ugly? (Hmmm, what age is too young for plastic surgery?)
  • The Ryan-Murray budget. Why, why does ANYONE still listen to Paul Ryan?
  • Speaking of Ryan: All the Republican appointees Obama has put in place. Chuck Hagel, Barack? REALLY?!
  • The many, many, MANY American mass shootings this past year. One is too many; we had 27.  A bit more on this:

Since 1968, at least 1.4 million Americans have been killed by guns—more than all the U.S.’s accumulated war dead in that same period. Any way you look at it, 2013 was another killer year for arms manufacturers and armed bullies.

There is much debate over how to define a “mass shooting.” The FBI classifies a mass murder as four fatalities, not including the killer. Mother Jones uses that, plus several situational criteria, for a mass shooting. The Redditors at “Guns Are Cool” considers any time four people are shot (not killed) a mass shooting, and with good reason: “The most obscene incidents of gun violence usually do not make the mainstream news at all.”

Even by the stringent federal criteria—which we use below, representing but a fraction of all U.S. victims of gun violence—this has been a bloody year.

Indeed, our 2013 victories were so significant that major news outlets are taking note. The New York Times, MSNBC, TIME Magazine, and Mother Jones, among others, reported on the rising tide of pro-life legislation and cited AUL as the pro-life group “perhaps most responsible for the barrage of new state laws.”

Last year alone, AUL:

  • helped enact 16 pro-life laws across the nation, bringing the total for the last three years to over 60;
  • answered approximately 1000 requests for information and assistance, building momentum for this coming year;
  • filed 21 amicus curiae briefs in courts to defend life; and
  • received online and media mentions over 1.2 million times, defending life in the court of public opinion.

No wonder so many of us described 2013 as “meh,” “annoying,” and “forgettable.” Let’s hope there is more like this in 2014…here’s an email Hillary sent me. (Okay, she might have sent it to a couple of other people too. ;-))

Over the past decade, I have marveled at how quickly the [Clinton] Foundation has grown, and how much good it has done. And I know the best is yet to come.

We have big plans for 2014. Our new Too Small to Fail initiative will help parents give our youngest children a good start in school and in life. No Ceilings will take on what I believe is the great unfinished business of the 21st century — helping women and girls achieve full participation in every aspect of our society. And we’re going to take a look at economic development issues as well, particularly how to help young people get the skills and support they need to find good and fulfilling jobs. Across all our initiatives, we’ll be helping more people in more places solve problems and seize opportunities faster, leaner, and better.

I am really excited that the Clinton Foundation is shifting its focus to women and children. You can tell that Hillary, now in the private sector, is turning her specific attention to this organization, because these are the issues she has always cared about, and always addressed, in any position she’s ever been in.

And will she run again? Of course she will. This is how she’s both keeping her hand in public works, and staying away from Obama and his sh*tty foreign and domestic policies.

I know a lot of you have weighed in already on what you’d like to forget about 2013, but please feel free to repeat yourself or add to your list. Otherwise, this is an open thread.

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January 2014

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