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    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    CNN - Students want chance to defend themselves

    Sent from Bombastic4000@gmail.com's mobile device from http://www.cnn.com.

    Students want chance to defend themselves


    "Would you rather just sit there and cower underneath a desk when someone executes you or would you rather have a chance to defend your life? That's what it really boils down to."

    Michael Flitcraft, a 23-year-old sophomore at the University of Cincinnati, has become a leading advocate for college students to carry weapons on campus. He's an organizer for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a grass-roots organization that was formed after last year's Virginia Tech massacre that left 32 college students and professors dead.

    The group boasts more than 25,000 members.

    Standing on the Cincinnati campus, Flitcraft calmly explained he is licensed to carry a weapon in Ohio. He wants to carry his gun on campus to defend himself from potential killers, but by law he can't.

    "To me it makes no sense that I can defend myself legally over there," he said, pointing to the city streets. "But I am a felon if I step on the grass over here."

    The issue of guns on campuses has intensified over the last year in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings and picked up again after the more recent killings at Northern Illinois University. Lawmakers in at least nine states are considering legislation to allow guns on campus. Other states have struck down legislation.

    Utah is the only state to allow weapons at all public universities. Colorado allows students at universities to carry weapons, except the main university campus in Boulder. In Virginia, Blue Ridge Community College allows students with a proper concealed-weapons permit to be armed.

    For many, allowing college students to carry a gun is a tricky and complex issue.

    "I don't think the answer to bullets flying is to send more bullets flying," said Gene Ferrara, the police chief at the University of Cincinnati. "My belief is we ought to be focusing on what we do to prevent the shooting from starting."

    Ferrara was a Cincinnati cop for more than a dozen years before he became chief of police at the university. He also said that there are practical concerns from a law enforcement perspective: If you're responding to the scene of a shooting, how do you sort out who is the bad guy and who is the heroic student with a permit?

    "The other side of that, I shoot everybody with a gun who doesn't have a uniform on and I then I end up shooting somebody who was a citizen with a carry permit," Ferrara said.

    He says education and outreach are key and that providing students with safe and anonymous ways to report suspicious behavior can go a long way in preventing violence. "All of the research shows someone knew before the shooting started that the shooting was going to happen."

    At the University of Cincinnati, most of the students who spoke to CNN said the idea of guns on campus scares them. "I think that it is completely absurd," said senior Jacob Metz.

    Freshman Lauren Reams added, "It shocks me."

    Security officials insist that young adults are safer on campus than just about anywhere else. Since the so-called Texas Tower shootings at the University of Texas in 1966 when 17 people were killed, there have been about a dozen shootings at colleges or universities.

    At Weber State University in Utah where students can carry concealed weapons, professor Ron Holt said a weapon provides added protection from potential gunmen. "I see carrying a concealed firearm as a kind of life insurance policy; 99.99 times you will never need it," he said.

    Flitcraft and other students across the nation who support gun rights say they won't give up. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus has established a page on the social network site Facebook. They don't want all students to be armed; what they're pushing for is for students 21 and older who are licensed gun owners to have the right to carry guns on campus.

    The group is busy planning a protest for later this month in which students who support guns on campus will come to school wearing empty holsters.

    "What is a better situation: Someone coming in and shooting in a classroom [or] someone in that classroom having a chance to defend their life and take out that threat?" Flitcraft said.

    Mccain

    There are dark roadr ahead

    Reuters - McCain would hike drug costs for wealthy Americans

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    McCain would hike drug costs for wealthy Americans

    Tuesday, Apr 15, 2008 9:27AM UTC

    By Steve Holland

    PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain will outline economic proposals on Tuesday that would increase drug costs for wealthy seniors and freeze billions in government spending for a year.

    McCain economic advisers told reporters in a conference call on Monday that the Arizona senator will make the proposals in a major economic speech in Pittsburgh that will emphasize a conservative point of view toward repairing the U.S. economy.

    In Washington, McCain said he believes the economy is in a recession, and regardless of the technical term, many Americans are hurting.

    McCain, accused by his Democratic rivals of lacking a strong understanding of the economy, will give what economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin called a "big and ambitious" speech that will touch on taxes, spending, trade, health care, education and energy issues.

    Holtz-Eakin and another economic adviser, Carly Fiorina, former chief of Hewlett-Packard, said McCain will propose reducing spending in the federal government's Medicare prescription drug program.

    He would require older couples making $160,000 to pay higher premiums for the benefit if they are enrolled in the program.

    Many conservative Republicans have criticized the drug program, a product of the Bush administration, as too large a benefit and believe it should be scaled back.

    Holtz-Eakin said the plan would save billions of dollars that could be returned to taxpayers or put to a better use.

    McCain will also call for a one-year freeze in many areas of the federal government -- but not the U.S. military and veterans benefits and pension programs for the poor and elderly -- in order to conduct a review of every federal program, department and agency to determine if it is needed, Fiorina said.

    This is part of McCain's effort to restrain government spending, a frequent topic for him on the campaign trail. He will repeat his vow that, if elected in November over either Democrat Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, he would veto any legislation that includes what he considers wasteful spending projects.

    McCain would require that the results of every review of the various parts of the federal government be posted on the Internet.

    McCain will also charge his Democratic opponents with preparing to raise taxes on virtually all Americans with their ambitious spending proposals.

    Fiorina said McCain will also lay out some ideas on helping wean America's dependence on foreign oil.

    He will repeat a pledge from last week that if elected, he would order the federal government to stop putting oil into a depository known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve because he believes purchasing the oil contributes to higher pump prices, Fiorina said.

    Reuters - McCain calls for temporary suspension of gas tax

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    McCain calls for temporary suspension of gas tax

    Tuesday, Apr 15, 2008 2:4PM UTC

    PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain called on Tuesday for the U.S. Congress to suspend the 18.4 percent federal tax on gasoline to ease prices at the pump for Americans.

    "Americans need relief right now from high gas prices. John McCain will act immediately to reduce the pain of high gas prices," his campaign said ahead of an economic speech McCain was delivering in Pittsburgh.

    McCain called on Congress to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day at the end of May to Labor Day at the beginning of September.

    McCain reiterated that he would also like to stop filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an emergency supply of oil for use in case of major disruptions, because filling now at a time of high prices is driving up the price of gasoline even higher.

    McCain will also said he would end policies that he believes add to higher transportation and food costs, such as ethanol subsidies, tariff barriers and sugar quotas.

    At the White House, spokeswoman Dana Perino declined to comment on McCain's specific proposals but said, "What Sen. McCain is saying today is that he is for lower taxes and looking for ways to do that."

    (Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Lori Santos)

    China

    I go to bed now

    CNN - Report: China led world executions in 2007

    Sent from Bombastic4000@gmail.com's mobile device from http://www.cnn.com.

    Report: China led world executions in 2007


    China reduced the number of executions it carried out last year but still executed more people than any other country in the world, Amnesty International said Tuesday in its annual report on the death penalty worldwide.

    Iran remains the country with the second-highest number of executions, with 377 killings that included a man stoned for adultery, the human rights group said.

    The number of American executions fell to its lowest level in about 15 years, putting it fifth in the world with 42, Amnesty officials said.

    Amnesty analysts said that early in 2007 China reformed the way capital cases are handled, leading to a substantial reduction in executions. They said at least 470 people were put to death, from 1,010 in 2006. But they cautioned that the actual number is undoubtedly higher, and warned that any drop may be temporary.

    Piers Bannister, a death penalty researcher at Amnesty, said the group fears that the slowdown is only a "logjam" that will lead to a rise in executions once a review by China's top court of all capital cases is concluded.

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing did not respond to requests for comment on the findings in the Amnesty report. The ministry has said in the past that Amnesty is "biased and hostile toward China."

    More than 60 offenses in China are punishable by the death penalty, including drug trafficking and embezzlement, Bannister said.

    Amnesty reported that three countries -- Iran, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia -- put people under the age of 18 to death, the youngest a 13-year-old executed in Iran in April.

    Amnesty's report cited research by other groups claiming the number of people put to death in China was much higher, with some research indicating that as many as 6,000 people may have been executed in 2007. Death penalty figures are treated as a state secret in China.

    In all, at least 3,347 people were sentenced to death in 51 countries, and as many as 27,500 people are estimated to be on death row, Amnesty said.

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