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2007 May 05 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Why I Don’t Belong To The NRA

I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment, and have owned weapons my entire adult life, but you have to know when to draw the line: NRA opposes bill to stop gun sales to terror suspects.

I would like to see the list of terror suspects limited to those who actually have some connection to terrorism, and not simply to political activism, but if they are on the list, the sale shouldn’t take place. Maybe they shouldn’t be on the list, but this may be one of the few ways they will find out they are suspected of something, rather than finding out while they are trying to catch an airplane. The law allows for the appeal of the decision.

If there is a solid reason for someone’s name being on the list, I really would prefer that they not be sold an autoloading rifle and a thousand rounds of ammunition. I would also note that the license to purchase explosives is also covered by this bill.

Now, does anyone wonder why I don’t belong to the National Rifle Association?

May 5, 2007   9 Comments


The people of the United States invested a large chunk of tax dollars to the cause of teaching me Russian. In exchange for that money I was required to read Soviet periodicals and books, to listen to Soviet radio, and to watch Soviet films and television. After almost eight years of doing that, I know something about propaganda.

If you want an easier path to understanding propaganda, just look at press releases of any kind, from any organization. You will almost never see a purely informational press release, even if it is to announce an informational report. How many times have you compared the press release with the report and discovered they have “buried the lede” to convince you that the report says something it doesn’t?

To truly be propaganda, the purpose must be to alter the truth. Advocacy is not automatically propaganda, if you are “advocating” the truth. The most blatant propaganda substitutes opinion for facts. The purpose of propaganda is to alter the truth and hide the facts to further a goal.

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May 5, 2007   2 Comments

With A Wimper

The St. Petersburg Times article about the regular session of the Florida legislature is aptly titled: It’s over, but incomplete.

They already have a special session scheduled for June 12th, focusing on screwing up the property tax system. They are Republans, they can’t leave taxes alone until they only affect the poor.

May 5, 2007   2 Comments

Plastered Paris

She got off easy.

Some people may wonder about the conditions, but they obviously haven’t had a recent DWI/DUI. Three years probation, $1,500 fine, alcohol program, suspended license, and an official charge of reckless driving is some good lawyering, which is why she pled guilty.

She was given a warning in January about driving with a suspended license, you or I would have been in jail after that one, and had our car impounded.

In this latest episode she was driving with a suspended license, driving without headlights at night, and speeding. She has not enrolled in an alcohol program, she arrived late to court, she presented bogus testimony. You or I would be facing 3 years in jail without the parole or probation option.

The judge wasn’t going to give her a break of any kind, and probably wanted to impose the three years after the hearing, but chose to simply approve the prosecutor’s recommendation. This was a probation hearing and she violated her probation on multiple points. She tossed out any of the lesser options because this was a probation hearing.

Her claim of not understanding the rules of her license suspension are absurd – hey, you can’t drive. You have to jump through the hoops before the privilege of operating a motor vehicle on the public roads is restored. If you want a “work exemption” you have to apply for it.

She was treated differently, because she could afford multiple attorneys to work for her. She is probably going to have her license revoked after the February incident, because she still hasn’t answered those charges, and she will probably receive more jail time because she has violated parole on the initial charge.

She was given the opportunity to avoid jail and she choose to violate the conditions of her probation. She obviously didn’t understand that she was being shown leniency, so now society has to teach her what she has never learned: there are consequences for your actions.

May 5, 2007   6 Comments

The Queen’s Visit

She’s here for the Kentucky Derby, okay. She’s a dyed in the wool horse person and owns some very respectable stock. Her granddaughter [Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Phillips] is currently ranked as the best dressage rider in the world.

It is highly doubtful she will appear anywhere near the Shrubbery as she wants to kill him for what his visit to Britain did to her mother’s garden. What kind of idiot land’s helicopters on the Queen Mum’s roses – the Shrubbery.

She can’t be all that pleased about having to put up with the tourist stuff in Virginia and listening to Darth Cheney, but it’s the price she pays for another chance to see Derby, and maybe buy some horses.

Update: She’s forced to attend a state dinner on Monday. That must be annoying. If I was on the Secret Service detail I’d be worried.

May 5, 2007   10 Comments

Cinco de Mayo


It is interesting that Wikipedia has had to “lock” its Cinco de Mayo page. I suspect it may be related to the sudden appearance of sites opposing the celebration of this semi-holiday.

In Mexico Cinco de Mayo or Batalla de Puebla, is only a really big celebration in the state of Puebla, where the battle took place.

The Mexican army won the Batalla de Puebla on May the 5th, 1862, but the French went on to Mexico City in 1863 after receiving reinforcements and installed Emperor Maximilian.

It has the status of St. Patrick’s Day in the US, an excuse to eat different food, and drink different booze, and be obnoxious show an interest in other cultures.

Margaritas, tacos, and the destruction of piñatas, that’s what it is really about.

Update: There’s always one person who understands the true meaning in California.

May 5, 2007   1 Comment