Monday, April 20, 2009

Obama - Accidental Gun Salesman of the Year?

I have been amused. dismayed, and fascinated since the election of our latest president.  Sales of guns in "large retail outlets" have risen more than 39% since the beginning of the year.  

During hard economic times when most industries are experiencing unusual hardships, why are many types of businesses related to weaponry experiencing some of their best sales periods?

And what does President Obama have to do with it?  

Before the election, many conservative pundits and entertainers did a bang-up job of attracting the attention of many conservative voters that otherwise lacked passion for some of the core conservative issues (i.e. certain foreign policy and economic issues, among others).  It is not to say that these voters were no longer interested in these traditional issues, but that the situations had become very dire and they may have been willing to consider a change in direction for the country.

These conservative pundits (both amateur and professional) filled up the airwaves and bandwidth with incessant chatter about then Senator Obama's stance on gun control.  Some of these voices went  as far as to say that Obama was going to immediately rid the nation of guns (would that be such a horrible thing, honestly?).  These efforts were so effective in scaring the population that in October 2008, rifle and firearm sales were up by 14% from the previous year.  This is BEFORE the actual election, and before the introduction of any sort of legislation by Obama or other Democrats in the new session.

In Cobb County, Georgia, there has been an extremely high increase in permit applications - the numbers show that there were 3,238 applications in 2007.  Compare this to 7,576 in 2008.  The 2009 figures promise to be just as dazzling.

With the types of reasonable, "common-sense" gun control measures that President Obama supports, all of law-abiding citizens in this country that want to use guns for self-protection or hunting will still be able to do so.  Those that are interested in paramilitary group start-ups might have a bit more trouble.

So, everyone who has participated in this frenzy should just feel a little silly because the best of them was "got".   If I were one of  these people, I would be asking myself what kind of nonsense has been going on behind my back while I was stocking up on ammo and stockpiling weapons in my secret underground cellar in my backyard...  

Perhaps, just perhaps, there are more important issues to be dealt with.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Found: Money - Would you keep it?

A driver in San Diego found a little over $700 while driving on the Interstate.  There were some drug-running suspects on the loose and they let some of the money fly out of their window, which is how it ended up on the road.  

The driver is keeping the money and considers this to be a lucky event.... would you keep the money?  What about some of the people who say that this money is drug money?

I, personally, think that this person is 100% correct in keeping the money.  I recall all of the old sayings:  "possession in 9/10ths of the law" and "finders keepers, losers weepers".  In this case, the weeping loser is the government :-)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Our adversion to "profanity"

I was reading a book about language today, and came across a very interesting concept. The book did not discuss this in detail, and I was unable to come across any reliable internet sources to read further, so I will be left on my own to think about this one:

Is our aversion to profanity simply a well-ingrained superstition?

Different cultures deal with profanity differently, and in those cultures different things are considered vulgar or profane.

What I could determine, simply by the definition of "profane" is that it is an old word and definitely religious in origin.

Could it be that we should sit back and think about why we think certain things are profane? What do we think will happen to us? I am talking about more than what we think our friends, co-workers, or family might say behind our back... Is there a bigger fear that we have about saying certain things? Are we like the old believers in Greek mythology, thinking that we will be struck by lightening?

I am interested to hear other thoughts on this issue.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This post is dedicated to all of those American women who frown sympathetically when the conversation turns to the Muslim women in Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia.  You know what I'm talking about, when someone says that "at least we have it better than they do."  

Well, yes, we do have it better than they do, in certain ways.  However - not to burst your bubble - I would like to point out that we are not quite as "liberated" as we would like to think we are.  We are foolish for not seeing the hypocrisy, as obvious as it is.

There are tons of reasons I can point out, but here is one case:

Yes, the virgin who sells her virginity online for millions of dollars.  This post is not about her, nor the Australian pervert who bought it.  It IS about the American society that finds this interesting.  It IS about the talk shows where people debate whether she really is a virgin or not.

My dear ladies, this is not much different than a dowry being paid to a family for a daughter's VIRGIN hand in marriage.  The "community" still gossips about whether she really was a virgin or not.  The only difference is in this case, the daughter gets the money and doesn't have to stay with the smelly old guy.

Most of us are still stuck in the 1700's, whether we would like to admit it or not.  We fool ourselves into thinking that things have changed, but they have not changed as much as we think they have.   Women still talk about other women who are more sexually liberated as whores, but yet men are valued for their conquests.  What's new?  What's old?   

More on this subject later...  I have plenty more to say.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Are Children's Lives Really Harder?

This post is inspired by an article today on the BBC, entitled "Selfish Adults 'Damage Childhood' ".  The article cites a study that concludes, among many other observations, that children have more difficult lives than they had in the past.  

I suspect that British society is similar enough to American society that I can make some basic comparisons without sounding ridiculous.   But first, let me just say, that this sounds like a pile of baloney!

My children, for example, have it MUCH easier in many ways than I did growing up.  Our society overprotects them.  They can't play outside without direct adult supervision.  Instead, they are surrounded by  vast seas of computers, game consoles, books and toys.  Our middle class lifestyle, like most Western households, affords them a comfortable supply of decent clothes to wear.  They are also fortunate enough to have musical instruments to play and access to quality instruction.  In addition, they go to a public school (with no cost), where they have an arguable sufficient education.  Finally, there are extra activities such as Boy Scouts, Chorus, etc...

They don't have to walk to school in the snow, worry about where dinner is coming from tonight, wonder if they will make it to work on time, worry about their boss being angry with them for not working fast enough, etc...  

Have any of you ever read David Copperfield?  Well, if you have then you know that kids these days have it much easier than they did in the 1800's (i.e. not having to get jobs at 8 years old).   There are many, many children in developing countries that still live in conditions not unlike those of David Copperfield.  

Let's get some perspective!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Responsibility of a Writer

I was listening to an interview with an author a few days ago and he mentioned briefly the responsibility that writers have to tell the truth.

This struck me.  I don't think he was referring to some sort of cultural or societal obligation or expectation.  It was more of a moral obligation that a writer should feel to tell the truth about the subject.  I thought about this, and wondered if it could be taken a step further.

The historical and cultural value of writing is huge.  We can study past civilizations and cultures through their writings.  Through their writings, we can learn about how their society functioned and what their values were.  In modern times, we learn through writings.  We learn from reading the newspaper, novels, textbooks and (of course!) blogs.  Perhaps some of the things that we learn from these sources are not "true" per se, in that the facts can be proven or disproven, but all of these writings serve as a way to hold our society together and advance as a civilization together.  

So this led me to think about the responsibility of a writer to tell stories as they truly see it - without holding back.  And the responsibility that you and I have to write, as much as we can.  There is a distinct value in everything written, and it should not be discounted.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

When Rape is "Misconduct"

I originally heard about this news story on NPR (January 28, I believe).  The article that I am referring to for this blog posting can be found on LA Times:

The CIA Chief in Algeria has been accused of using a kind of date rape drug to drug two women and rape them at his residence.  If that were not bad enough, he is also accused of taking many photographs of the women (allegedly found at his hotel room in Washington, DC).  

According to the NPR news story, one of the women was actually married and was friends with the CIA Chief.  The shock, shame and humiliation that she must have felt when she awoke in his bed the next day is hard to imagine.

The reason that this story infuriates me is because the US CIA spokesperson issued this statement:  "CIA would take seriously, and follow up vigorously, any allegation of misconduct." 

"Misconduct".  The female reporters on NPR actually used the word "impropriety".  We have a huge problem here when rape is described as misconduct or impropriety.  All of the women across our country should be outraged upon hearing this language used to describe one of the worst violations of human rights that a woman can experience.

If this were a homeless man accused of multiple rapes outside of Underground Atlanta, or some other downtown location, he would likely be in a jail cell waiting for his trial.  But, when it comes to a high ranking government official accused of "misconduct" and "impropriety" outside of our borders, he gets to remain comfortable - and hope that the various agencies involved won't be able to figure out who has jurisdiction.

Does anyone else find this outrageous?