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President Barack Obama attends the Sandy Hook interfaith vigil at Newtown High School in Newtown, Conn., Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012.
In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine.
But the initial move is plenty routine:
President Barack Obama will on Wednesday announce the first step on gun control following the Newtown school shootings: an interagency task force, led by Vice President Joe Biden, charged with guiding the administration’s continuing response.

The 11:45 a.m. announcement will be the third time in five days Obama has addressed the massacre that killed 20 first-graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. And it will follow a call on Friday for “meaningful action” and his Sunday pledge to use the White House to “engage” Americans to prevent mass shootings.

According to a White House official, the president likely won’t make significant policy announcements but will instead explain how his administration will determine what to do next.

Obama spoke Monday with Biden and three Cabinet secretaries – Attorney General Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — “to begin looking at ways the country can respond to the tragedy in Newtown,” the White House said.

Ladies and gentlemen, the good old fashioned intergovernmental task force. In other words, don't expect any legislative push right away.

Which is...sad methinks. This would be one of those moments where a bit of governmental overreach would probably do some good. Where a sticking your neck out might be a good thing. Yes, I know pragmatists will hemm and haw about getting "something" done no matter how miniscule. Possibly, in our best hopes, a commission of government officers will somehow find a way to stand for something big. Something important. Perhaps they will quickly come up with a series of executive orders or something that will maybe at least make some kind of meager progress.

But, it does really speak to a lack of imagination from this White House that the first response to a slaughter of children is a 'task force' to figure out what to do. It sucks for Joe Biden too. He can add this task force to his other one for the Middle Class which had its last meeting and report two and half years ago. I guess that worked out and now our middle class is awesome. May as well do it again.

President Obama said in Newtown:

We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I was so encouraged by the speech. Here's hoping (9+ / 0-)

    something still breaks through.

    Task force.  Meh!

    End the wars! Single payer now!

    by HCKAD on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:45:48 AM PST

  •  He's 0-for-2 this week (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherjon, samanthab

    First the budget negotiations and now public safety- Mr. Mediocre.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:59:32 AM PST

    •  Empty Promises, or Talk is Cheap (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      US Blues, J M F

      As are task forces. I'd expect this from a CEO looking for ways to pretend to be responsive to employee concerns about chronic workplace harrassment, not from a president who has nothing to lose from taking meaningful action in his second term.

      The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

      by teacherjon on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:38:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

        His handling of the MMJ issue is a data point for me- he said he'd leave it alone, but his DOJ and DEA closed dispensaries left and right.

        Obama needs to be a man of his word.

        "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

        by US Blues on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:30:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Suspension of the rules H.RES.827 (5+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure but I think Pete Sessions from TX has effectively shut out any controversial legislation in the house for the rest of this year. With rules suspension a 2/3 majority is required to pass and no amendments are allowed.

  •  The 1% are a silent, deadly and powerful lot- n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, tobendaro, maryabein, J M F

    Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

    by RF on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:07:32 AM PST

  •  having worked in local govt, my entire career, (4+ / 0-)

    I can speak to the effectiveness ineffectiveness of task forces. They are the easiest way for politicians to pass the buck and get the issue deep sixed out of sight. Most of the time, the members of such task forces included people who had a lot to gain or lose by changes in the laws.  For that reason, they tended to end up being the same thing as rinsing dirty laundry in cold, dirty water.  In the end, it still was the same dirty laundry.


    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:12:46 AM PST

  •  Oh Mr. President, with the death of so many (5+ / 0-)

    small (and adult) innocents, how can you be so timid? I rarely agree with your caution, but this time your timidity is unconscionable, shocking and disheartening.

    If these little kids death only shakes you up enough to shed a tear or 2 on tee vee and not do something NOW within one week of their grizzly deaths, then all your tears and words are nothing but offensive to this CT resident.

    The time is NOW, today.

    Read these names again and again, Mr. President, until you do something

    - Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
    - Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
    - Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
    - Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
    - Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
    - Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
    - Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
    - Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
    - Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
    - Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
    - Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
    - Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
    - James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
    - Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
    - Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
    - Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
    - Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
    - Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
    - Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
    - Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
    - Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
    - Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
    - Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
    - Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
    - Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
    - Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female

    "Say little, do much" (Pirkei Avot 1:15)

    by hester on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:14:07 AM PST

  •  Top Down ain't gonna cut it....This has got to be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a Bottoms Up effort......Thanx DC people get killed waiting around for your sorry asses.

  •  I guess if you've ignored (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the work, findings, proposals of the gun safety lobby, overwhelmed as it is by the NRA and other like-minded groups, then perhaps you need to begin anew looking for "answers" to this problem.

    Over my adult lifetime I have read and listened to many proposals to ban assault weapons, tax ammo, and otherwise insure weapons of mass murder are not so easily obtainable by those who would use them in that manner.  I am sure already drafted legislation is on the shelf ready to be dusted off and introduced.

    Is this not a problem that has not already been effectively addressed in hundreds of civilized nations?  

    A task force.  Meaningful action.  Obama is such an empty suit supporter of the status quo.

  •  Ignoring the real problem (0+ / 0-)

    There was already an assault weapons ban in CT.    A lot of good that did.

    I hope he actually does something about mental health care in this country.   Despite mental health issues being the proximal cause of this tragedy, guns are getting all the attention.  


    •  Says who? How the hell are you able (0+ / 0-)

      to diagnose him? You're just restating the NRA argument, "Guns don't kill people..." If you are paraphrasing the NRA on a lefty website, something has gone awry.

      •  I can, the Hell, READ. (0+ / 0-)

        Says his brother and his uncle.

        Adam Lanza was taking the antipsychotic fanapt, meaning that he was psychotic, and that he was under the influence of a drug that has a side effect of making some people psychotic and violent.

        I don't have to diagnose him.   His doctor did that.  I can, however, the hell,... READ..  Try it sometime.  You might like it.

        New York Magazine wrote a piece about shooter Adam Lanza's supposed "aspergers" syndrome as a "red herring" meant to distract from the real problem (guns, of course, the subject goes without mentioning).

        Inside the piece though they report Adam Lanza's uncle said the boy was prescribed Fanapt, a controversial anti-psychotic medicine.

        Fanapt was the subject of a Bloomberg report when it passed regulators, after previously getting the "nonapproval" stamp.
        The main cited reason for the rejection was that it caused severe heart problems in enough patients to cause a stir.
        Maybe more importantly, though, Fanapt is one of a many drugs the FDA pumped out with an ability to exact the opposite desired effect on people: that is, you know,

        inducing rather than inhibiting psychosis and aggressive behavior.
        The Hell.

        PS:  Why are we saying, "The Hell", again?   Not sure what this does for the conversation, but was following your lead.

    •  He had money. He was getting some of the (0+ / 0-)

      best mental health care available. Whatever we can do to fix mental health care (which is in terrible shape, I agree) is unlikely to do much to people like him. Fanapt is a pretty standard anti-schizophrenia drug. It has side effects but all anti-psychotics do. His problem was probably schizophrenia, not the drug.

  •  When the going gets tough (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the tough form a committee.  Standard corporate stalling tactic.

  •  thanks BBB, i'm with 'ya. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    an inspirational speech, an uninspiring decision.

    America...where we fight over who can be allowed to have a marriage license but don't give a shit about who can have an assault rifle.

    by dear occupant on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:04:21 AM PST

  •  It's how Obama works (0+ / 0-)

    The work of the task force will be to solidify public consensus.  That's why Biden, who is personally popular, and who was on the Judiciary Committee when the assault weapons ban was passed in 1994, is heading the committee.  That will move the "Overton window" in the right direction, allowing what might have seemed impossible a year ago.

    I am not a fan of this approach all the time, but for this particular issue, it may be the right approach.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:06:06 AM PST

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