Democrat makes brilliant grab for the gun-nut vote

The junior senator from Virginia has turned a potential felony into a brilliant marketing move. Yesterday one of Democratic Sen. Jim Webb’s aides got busted  for taking a loaded weapon belonging to the lawmaker into a Senate office building. Today Sen. Webb explained he felt the need to carry a gun to protect himself.

I believe it’s important, it’s important for me personally and for a lot of people in a situation that I am in, to be able to defend myself and my family,” said the veteran and former Reagan cabinet member.

Now that’s taking away a Republican issue.

If nothing else it pretty much guarantees that Webb will carry Texas should he ever be masochistic enough to run for president. As of today Texas seems to have removed whatever remaining limits the state had on being able to shoot your fellow human being.

A law signed today by Gov. Rick Perry allows for the reasonable use of lethal force if an intruder is:

  1. Committing certain violent crimes, such as murder or sexual assault, or is attempting to commit such crimes
  2. Unlawfully trying to enter a protected place
  3. Unlawfully trying to remove a person from a protected place.

OK, I can sort of see #’s 1 & 3. But No. 2 suggests I can shoot anyone who comes to my house and bugs me. “Look out honey! It’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses!”

Master Sgt. Big Brother Collateral Damage (USArmy) is our official ambassador to Gun-Nut Nation and even he gets nervous whenever they broaden the “right to shoot” laws. He’s already spent enough time in a country filled with untrained amateurs who felt no compuntction about firing their weapons. It was called Iraq.

“Other state’s are trying to abolish the death penalty… mine’s putting in an express lane.” — Ron White, one of my favorite comedians, on his home state of Texas.

(Graphic via Star Spangled Ice Cream.)

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Jury duty shakes my faith in humanity

As even a casual observer can tell I am not all that impressed by humanity en masse. Singularly, we shows signs of brilliance. Collectively I’m not sure how we ever made out of the swamps, let alone down from the trees. So you can imagine my feelings of dread as I and 13 others chosen pretty much at random from the Boston-area gene pool sat down to come up with a verdict after 10 days of a trial on the scintilating topic of the rights to run a golf course. Simply put, the high-bidder for a contract to run a city course charged favoritism after he didn’t get said contract. The city of course denied this. Although very ably represented the city had the drawback of having to put on the stand several people who are among the veracity challenged, or so I thought. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who thought this and within an hour we had reached a verdict. I was deeply impressed at the insight of my fellow jurors who were about as much of a demographic cross-section as you could want. By the end of the entire process I would have to say it was cynical preconceptions 0, actual experience 1.

Fortunately, before this could sink in and change my outlook of the world I came across the following about the George Bush Desert Classic:

Half of US still believes Iraq had WMD

According to a Harris Poll taken last month, a full 50% of U.S. respondents said they believe Iraq did have the forbidden arms when U.S. troops invaded in March 2003. What makes this even better: That’s up 14% since last year. The interesting question that this raises for me is, oddly enough, not given this level of credibility how is it the nation is not awash in deeds to the Golden Gate Bridge (housing bubble? what housing bubble?). No, what I want to know is how it is that the president’s approval ratings are so low if half of us think that the invasion of Iraq actually made sense? Furthermore, what has happened in the last year to give this idea more — not less — plausibility? Y’know the White House keeps complaining that the press is only reporting the bad news out of Iraq. Well, if this is the result they ought to be cheering each time another bombing is reported.

Or, in the words of one of my beloved Texas aphorisims: “You keep giving them books and giving them books and they keep chewing on the covers.”

While this might lead some to despair, I choose to follow the advice of Mencken: “Life may not be exactly pleasant, but it is at least not dull. Heave yourself into Hell today, and you may miss, tomorrow or next day, another Scopes trial, or another War to End War, or perchance a rich and buxom widow with all her first husband’s clothes. There are always more Hardings hatching. I advocate hanging on as long as possible.”

When Grillz are outlawed, only outlaws will wear Grillz

The Arlington, TX, school board says students may no longer wear mouth jewelry known as “grillz” — shiny teeth caps — or the earlobe-stretching practice known as “gauging.”

I have to figure that Arlington, TX, (isn’t that the home of Hank Hill?) has to have the greatest school system on earth.  Every other educational problem has to have been solved otherwise they wouldn’t have the free time to devote to this. I admit I am a tad prejudiced on these matters. Collateral Damage is a graduate of Hope High School in Providence, RI (the only school ever to live up to truth in advertising laws), which was such a bucolic learning place that even today I can look back and say with pride, “hey, there was only one shooting on campus the entire time I was there.” And we knew from ridiculous attire. This was back in 70s when there was an even greater need for  fashion police among the teen age set then there is today. But not once did it ever occur to me that a crackdown on tube tops and tight polyester would improve our educations. If only I’d known.

“We want to instill in them a sense of modesty and a sense of community,” said school board trustee Gloria Pena. “We’re preparing them for the work force, and in the work force there are rules.”

Ah ha. This is about preparing people to be good little worker drones who won’t rock the boat and will help create community that values conformity over all else. Well, those are definitely time-honored educational principles.

And on behalf of every company that makes and/or sells Grillz I would like to thank the Arlington School Board for giving the kind of product endorsement that you can only hope for.

Ernie K-Doe for PRESIDENT!!

EKDThose of you with a lot stored in your musical memory banks will doubtless remember Mr. K-Doe as a great New Orleans R&B singer whose biggest hit was 1961's "Mother-in-Law." You will be glad to know that Mr. K-Doe has now embarked on a second career and is running for mayor of The Crescent City despite the not-inconsiderable drawback of having died five years ago. His hat was tossed into the ring last Saturday by his widow, Antointette K-Doe. According to Reuters, Mrs. K-Doe announced at a rally outside the Mother-in-Law Lounge, the nightclub that bears the name of K-Doe's biggest hit song: "He's the only one qualified — that's my opinion. He gets the job done. The guy has soul."

Although a spokesman for incumbent Mayor Ray Nagin blasted Mrs K-Doe's assertion, representatives for the Almighty would not confirm or deny the existence of Mr. K-Doe's soul.

Further quothing Reuters:

The campaign is vintage K-Doe, the self-proclaimed "Emperor of the World" who died in July 2001 at 65 after a colourful music career. His campaign T-shirts feature him grinning with his trademark long hair cascading over his shoulders, decked out as Uncle Sam. "Vote K-Doe Vote," they blare.

kinky!One thing working in Mr. K-Doe's favor is New Orlean's long tradition of high voter turnout among his natural constituency: the dead. Should Mr. K-Doe get elected this could bode well for fellow Gulf Coast musician/politico Kinky Friedman who, although alive, is running for governor of Texas under the platform of Why The Hell Not? And who are we to argue with that?

This seems to be quite the year for election slogans. In the current nailbiter over in Italy opponents Silvio Berlusconi (motto: putting the ill in Il Duce) are wearing t-shirts that say: "I'm a coglione." Although I'm pretty sure they say it in Italian. A coglione, as you are doubtless aware, is the Italian word for testicles, bloody idiot, dickhead or moron. (That's according to the Agency France Presse and I'll have to take their word for it. I took two semesters of Italian in college and now can barely pronounce La Cosa Nostra.) The opposition adopted the word after Berlusconi accused any one who opposed him of being a … well, you know. Posters now abound throughout Italy saying: "Better to be a coglione than to vote for Berlusconi."

BTW, Pollsters have declined to say which candidate carried the all important "Former Pope" vote — although their holinesses have endorsed Ernie K-Doe.