Sunday, December 30, 2012

I'm A Fiscal Cliff Claven!

In all those restaurant rescue shows on TV, I've yet to see one where the owners complaint was that taxes were killing his/her business. It always seems to come down to poor management. Must be an Obama conspiracy...rather glaring that that is never the cause...

Can you imagine a country the size of America going over some imaginary fiscal cliff for want of a 4% tax hike on America's Filthy Rich? (Ferrerman note: That's the title of a new reality show that I'm pitching to whoever will listen. I'm not having much luck though. I keep hearing this is well-covered on the nightly news, cable news, commercials, and various HGTV programs. Rich people are very popular now as they have figured out ways to increase their fortunes in a lackluster economy AND get people to support them and blame POOR PEOPLE for, well, EVERYTHING! Pretty neat trick. They almost got one of their billionaires elected president by the very people they've made poor, even though they tried ridiculously hard to piss those people off! Another neat but stupid trick.)

I don't comprehend the fiscal cliff nonsense. I suspect it's more Washington smoke and mirrors. Is this the one where the republicans vote that we don't pay our debts (those fiscal conservatives!) and the economy tanks again and we install a white guy in office? Or, is this the one where, if we tax the rich people, they get mad and crash the economy- AGAIN!- because it worked out really well for them the last time? Or, is it both? It's hard to keep up.

I've admitted before that I don't understand the tax rate stuff with rich people. It seems to me that, when one is playing at a certain level, one has accountants to ensure that one doesn't pay any taxes or, as scant little as possible. So, 35 or 39% might as well be one million percent because you are not paying anything anyways. I've long suspected that it's one of those deals where it's the thought that counts. Like- asking people to pay 4 more percent of nothing is a slap in the face of one's butler and they just won't stand for that!

If the House, which evidently holds the purse strings of our country, don't want to pay off our debts, why should anyone pay off their debts? Seriously- credit card debt is a HUGE problem for millions of people. Quit paying Visa and you'll free up tons of money each month to spend and stimulate the economy. You'll probably lose your miles though so, think about that.

However, if the GOP has taught us anything during Obama's reign of terror, it's that spending is bad. Free of debt, you must curtail spending on everything but guns. Cut the arts. DO NOT go to the movies! Cut aide to women and children. The wife and those lazy, non-working children will be just fine and better persons for it. Cut education. Teachers make too much! Take that money and go to the Casinos! They are the poor man's Wall Street. But, above all, buy guns. The Second Amendment (are their really others???) says we are all militia. This means we should all buy guns. It says so right there.

Sheesh. I don't know when Somalia became our role model but, it seems that's what the House and the GOP want. I told you I don't understand this shit. Does anyone?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Manufacturing Mayhem

For decades the US has armed small countries to support our interests in a region. There's been that but, make no mistake it's been for fun and profit as well. Mostly profit, really. The fun is that R&D gets to research and develop the capabilities of weaponry when we have no wars of our own to fight, using the flesh and blood of others. Sometimes arms can be traded for hostages. See: Iran Contra.

There's about 315 million people in this country. Given that we're friendly with our neighbors to the North and the South and have the finest military the world has ever known protecting us, it's just marketing genius that we  be supplied with guns to protect us from each other. I'm sure that's covered in The Second Amendment. Isn't everything? Here it is:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"

See? It's there. And NO gay marriage! Just like Jesus and the founders wanted it. 

Whether it's school shootings or car-jackings, we are reminded every day that we are in danger and the only solution is to arm ourselves to the teeth. It's an arms race.

Depending upon where you live, this is a very dangerous country. It's hard to argue that. Most of us will live long lives without ever being robbed or physically threatened where life or death is suddenly decided but, some among us deal with that nearly every day. Some do live in fear. 

But, not enough of us do, I think, from an NRA or gun manufacturers perspective. The tens of millions of Americans who do not own guns (or only one) are a market desperately needing to be tapped by them. Tapped and flooded would be ideal. 

Let's not kid ourselves. The NRA is nothing but a lobbying service for the gun makers. If you want to argue that "unions were a good thing back in the day but got too big for their britches..." you should really believe that the same argument could be made about the NRA and it's original intent to support hunting, sport shooting and gun safety. Funny thing but, the same folks who want to throw unions out with the bathwater are staunch supporters of all things NRA. There's NO danger of hunting being outlawed or gun safety being rejected, yet the NRA goes on and on. 

In 1996, in Port Arthur, Australia, a man killed 35 people and wounded 23 with a Colt AR15, equipped with 30 round magazines. Read about that, here: 

The  massacre  horrified Australia and they acted to severely restrict gun ownership.They haven't had a massacre since.

Here in America, earlier this month, 20 six year olds and six adults were murdered by a young man with a similar weapon. We were horrified but, we went out and bought more guns.

Wayne LaPierre, spokes-shill for the NRA and the gun manufacturers came out of hiding after a week and stated that the thing to do would be to arm all teachers and school personnel. And, of course, buy more guns!

Can you imagine the republican outrage if our African-American president had suggested arming teachers (who just months ago were Union thugs) or stated that putting armed police/security guards in every school was the solution? Good grief! With the fiscal cliff bullshit looming as we speak, that would be as insane as it is impractical. 

I imagine LaPierre has some outrage in his Kevlar-wrapped heart for what happened and some degree of sympathy for the dead. I might be wrong about that though. Rather, I think he saw opportunity and free publicity. 

We are a nation of people who can sell snow to Eskimos. Add patriotism and the 2A to that and the innate desire of most men (and many women) to be John Wayne and you've got a recipe for consumerism that cannot be beat. 

We can try though. We can try harder. There are 26 bodies- 20 of them as small as your children's- torn grotesquely apart by some motherfucker, also in his grave-  who now has other motherfuckers preaching the sanctity of the 2A as the solution rather than the cause. 

More, more and more...

Neither Jesus or the founders would have approved. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012


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Fine Print?

With the merits, demerits and total misunderstandings of the Second Amendment in the news, there seems to be a renewed interest in insurrection among the second place finishers from last months presidential election. First there was the on-line petitioning for secession. Like all such petitions, it was simply symbolic though, I'd bet a few folks thought they had checkmated the president. Hoisted by his own petard? No.

Here's the 2A as ratified by congress and the states:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Somehow some people find overthrowing a tyrannical Federal government in those words. I can't find it. Can you? It's not implied, hinted at or even written in invisible ink between the lines. To be Ferrer, some writings of the time by our founders discussed a right of people to rise up against tyranny but, also to be Ferrer, I think our founders were taking up for their right to do so, at the time. They weren't saying that we should make a regular occurrence of this revolution business. Why should they have?

Were we to have a revolution today, it would be an insult to every revolution in history as well as every future revolution. We would be the laughing stock of every nation, ever. 

See, every revolution I can think of was necessary. The masses were persecuted in Russia, China, France and Cuba. Kings and Monarchies were the ruling class and the masses scraped by with zero hope of representative change. When you ain't got nothing, you've got nothing to lose. Why not fight back? 

In the case of three of the above, the folks traded their dire circumstances for communism. The brochure did not mention they would be trading one brand of oppression for an other. The salesmen always gloss over that part. And those revolutions weren't keen on retaining any right for the people to exhibit any dissatisfaction with the new bosses. In fact, they took away the guns they had so freely handed out before the revolt and got pretty serious about locking up folks who looked like trouble. A little disingenuous of them, I think. 

The rest of the world knows we have no legitimate reason to revolt. Unlike the four countries mentioned, people are still sneaking into this country to partake in our wonderfulness. That ought to tell you something. There is this and that wrong here but, anybody can do this or that and live very well in this country. Hell- anything goes here! You can live like a drug dealer here just by dealing drugs or getting into venture capitalism. It doesn't really matter. The laws here make both possible. We've really got little to complain about in a historical context.

So, our wannabe-revolutionaries have to make stuff up. They don't like our president. Oh- it's NOT because he's black! Why that just has NOTHING to do with it! No, it's because he's a dictator...communist...socialist...secret Muslim...Kenyan...yada...fucking...yada...but, NOT because he's black. How could anyone get that idea that it's racial with all those so-definitive strikes against him?  I mean- really?

Ehhh, I don't really take talk of secession and revolution seriously. It all comes from internet typehards and slave state congressmen who probably know no one really cares about what they say. It's a lot of tough talk that is surprisingly easy to say with a straight face by some folks. It's said with no shame though. Imagine one of our secessionists visiting North Korea, Cuba or some third world country in Africa and complaining about the need for revolution in America. .I don't know if one of those citizens would laugh or cry. I wouldn't blame them if they cooked them and fed their village. 

Of course, because of the recent massacre of six year olds in Connecticut, the president is talking of the need for gun control. As any strict constitutionalist  can tell you, that means a total gun ban. (even though that's not at all what it means) and, as the 2A says; (quoting here?) "Them's fightin' words!"  

Ya know what would happen after a bloody revolution, if these gun nutters were to win? They'd take your guns away so you couldn't use 'em against them. That's not in the brochure. It never is. Just like it's not in our Constitution.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

How the mighty have fallen!

I had heard a few years ago that he was the second or third richest person in Illinois, behind Oprah Winfrey, who was/is number one. Recently, with that in mind, I went to the Google to see if that were true.

Nope. Not anymore. While not among the poorest, he's now many, many millions shy of the lead. There were details of fraud and the defaulting on a $39 million loan from a major bank. A bank he owned had also closed. Twenty of his business's were in bankruptcy. He, his wife and their children were being sued and also filing personal and corporate bankruptcies. With ties to India, their passports had been confiscated by the authorities.

Dude fucked up.

Twenty years ago I worked for the man. It was hard to get him to admit this though. He tried extremely hard to believe that I worked for my brother-in-law. He tried to convince me of this. As if I wouldn't know! But, he also tried to convince the IRS of this. They, like me and my BIL, knew better.

The guy (I'll call him. "Apu") was the poster boy for greed. Though a pleasant, intelligent man, he was so obsessed with money that it was sadly comical. If I had a dollar for every time I heard him exclaim: "THAT IS NOT SAVING ME MONEY!!!!" I'd have a few million myself. "Saving (him) money" was his not spending it on bills for services rendered or arbitrarily cheating people out of theirs. In my case he tried to portray me as an independent contractor to keep me off his payroll and prevent him from being an employer, responsible for his share of my taxes, etc. Though a multi-millionaire at the time and an employer of a few hundred people, this literally saved him a couple thousand dollars. WINNING!

I guaran-fucking-tee this asshole was as excited about screwing- oops! SAVING!- someone out of a few thousand dollars as he would be clearing a million in a business deal. It was all about the same to him. In my case, it was his fantasy that I was an independent contractor responsible for my own taxes. In my BIL's case (and many others) it was simply a matter of not paying him for his services. You see, him having to pay for things WAS NOT SAVING HIM MONEY!!!! What part of that did people not understand???

Well, all of it. He was always verrrryyyy slooooowwww in paying my BIL, Johnny.  He was stringing Johnny along. When Johnny completed work for him and went to collect payment, Apu would promise to pay and then reward Johnny with more work. Johnny didn't like Apu being so slow to pay but, he would eventually get around to parting with payment. Johnny was happy to have the work. He did distress over that plus having to negotiate every transaction. For example, if a job would cost Johnny $2,000 to perform (material, labor, profit...) Apu would immediately ask that Johnny do the work for $1,000. The method to his madness was cutting the price in half. I suggested to Johnny that he double his bids, let Apu "win" by doing his thing and make the fair profit at his real price. Then everyone is happy! YAY!

Well, I'm no business major. Does it show? Negotiation- bartering- is typical of other cultures. Indians are really in love with it. However, simply cutting an offer in half isn't exactly the art of the deal. On Pawn Stars, Rick will go to a grand, hoping to get it for an item being sold to him but, will go to $1500 if he can get it because he knows that's a fair price for him and the seller. That's Rick though. Apu would have no idea what Johnny's should be. He just knew any price was too high and slavery was illegal (DAMMIT!) and just to cut the price in half...

Greed really can be a sickness. If beating a poor man out of a few thousand is as important to you as making a million dollars, you have a problem. The problem is that you are an asshole. So many rich people are. It perturbed me then, as now, that so many people tend to shrug people like Apu or the Koch brothers off by saying: "Well, that's how they get rich..." as if that justified it. That is the method to the madness. The madness is good.

I burned Apu and the bridge behind me to him by consulting with the IRS at tax time. I had given this guy every chance to do right and include me on his payroll but, he resisted. That wasn't saving him money, after all. I put these wheels in motion when he laid me off in an attempt to get me to come back to work for less pay. That wasn't going to happen. I knew that the IRS would agree that I was an employee. To determine these things they have a list of 20 questions about your employment that prove whether one is an independent contractor or an employee. I was all twenty. I was an employee.

This cut my tax burden in half. They went after him for the other half. I kinda liked the lovely irony of that.

I don't know exactly how bad off he is right now but, bankruptcies, frozen assets, foreclosures and lawsuits might pale in comparison to the ignominy of a Ferrerman not saving him money!!!! Oh my...

Johnny refuses to discuss how much Apu beat him out of. I think we're talking five figures. It hurts, for sure. He should have paid closer attention to what had happened to me and to his own former boss's refusal to work again for "that chiseler". That's human nature. It's easy for us to look at the plight of others and tell ourselves that that won't happen to me. 

I learned a lesson. Greed is not good. It's not good for me and it's not good for you. OK, I knew that going in but I really learned it after that. Apu was a thief. He stole big and he stole small. He simply lived to steal. He wasn't a drug dealer or a gangster but he had the soul of one. That would be no soul at all, for those of you scoring at home.

I guess there's one good thing in his favor right now: he won't get soaked by Obama when The Bush Tax Cuts For Rich People expire. That'll save him money...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Worst Apocalypse Ever!

The other side of the coin of guns is the very real possibility (likelihood?) of a complete breakdown of society. One that probably doesn't involve zombies or revolution as a result of a Black president taxing our wealthiest citizens. The HORROR....

Yep, there was another show about preppers and their readiness for the myriad of apocalypses that we face. This one, on The History Channel, got in under the wire for the Mayan Apocalypse which didn't actually happen, by the way. (Ferrerman note: The day ain't over yet though...)

There are plenty of people prepared to live underground in the event of any sort of catastrophe. Sheesh- I couldn't do that. I'm a bit claustrophobic. I hope to be cremated- after I die, that is.

I guess these bunkers are good to go for most any tragedy, man-made or nature induced. If you've got the money, several companies can hook you up with whatever level of subterranean comfort you can afford.  A former Navy SEAL discussed people going animal, usually within 72 hours of an occurrence like a hurricane or a severe earthquake. Most would probably go animal sooner so, his advice was to plan ahead and take off as soon as possible and avoid the rush. Forget about the interstates as everyone would have the same idea. One fella was prepared to bicycle with his shotgun and family from California to Texas. I don't know why Texas. Maybe to link up with other crazies?

Though it's a good idea to be prepared for trouble, the vast majority of us are too busy trying to make it through each day and week to worry or afford several months worth of provisions. When you think about it, what wouldn't you need in troubled times? We're so used to fresh drinking water that the thought that the taps might run dry is far from our minds. Who would give a thought to showers and toilet flushing? A human can go 40 days without food but only four without water. Potable water will be a huge necessity in most scenarios. Plus, since we're Americans, many assholes will still insist on washing their SUV's.

Then there is the complete breakdown of law and order which will surely follow. If folks think it's bad now when it takes minutes for cops to respond, wait until phone service is out of commission and no one hears your plea for help. It's already happened in New Orleans during Katrina. People found out pretty quick that they were on their own. The logistics of a catastrophe are fairly easy to predict if you think, for example, about a severe snowstorm in your town. Services can grind to a halt.

Part and parcel of probably every prepper is firepower. Would way too much ammo be enough? Should I get more? The reality is you will have to kill people. Many (most) would have no problem killing you for your food or water. You might rethink semi-automatic rifles then. That nice couple down the street might not be so nice after all. And you might not like to have them over for dinner like in the old days. It would be every man, every family, for themselves. It won't be pretty. If you thought life was cheap in the city, wait until home values drop in your suburb to, whoever has the biggest gun.

Well, looks like we dodged the bullet with this Mayan one. SCAMPS! They punked us! We've got the fiscal cliff to look forward too though. I think we'll get punked on that, too.

You just never know....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Polite Society

"An armed society is a polite society"

Prove it.

Many gun fanciers cite our Old West as 'evidence' of this. Given that most of our common knowledge of the Old West is via television and movies, how could anyone possibly think this? Our Old West is largely mythological but, if barroom shootouts are any one's idea of "polite" then I'd like to know what they consider to be impolite.  Samuel Colt's .45 caliber revolver was known as "the peacemaker" and "the great equalizer", as in "God made man, but Sam Colt made them equal". I suspect that meant that little men could fight back against bigger, bullying men by shooting them in the back. It appears there weren't so many of the shootouts at high noon between two well-matched rivals as we've been led to believe.

My state is poised to become the 50th state in the nation to pass a form of concealed carry of handguns. I'm not against it. The reality is that Chicago is one of the most dangerous cities in the country, if not the world. Lots of crime. Good people should be able to defend themselves. Sad but true.

But, ya know, where I live in the suburbs, my life is not likely to be threatened by anyone whether they have a gun or not. Violent crime is pretty rare here. Sure, it could happen. I just cannot fathom a situation that would reasonably occur where I should readily carry a gun. I'm rather thick-skinned so, no need to force people to be polite to me. I'm quick-witted too so, in a battle of wits, most of my adversaries are over-matched. Real life, like Topix Boot Hill, is full of the metaphorical bodies of those who have tried to go up against The Ferrerman....

Anyways... I don't fancy a town here where everyone is toting firearms. We're supposed to be well past that and, in most of the country were have been for the several generations we've been removed frpm Dodge City and Tombstone. It's really been in the last 20-30 years that this gun madness has been deemed 'necessary' in our social fabric. The 60's and 70's of my youth weren't like this. Guns were something we saw on TV and really thought of as foreign in a sense and peculiar to the cops shows on TV and, of course, bank robbers and Mafia hit men in real life. As much as I had liked westerns and cop shows back in the day, I never really foresaw the time when I would have need for a gun.

That's the thing- the need. We should be beyond that in society by now, with our standing armies and police forces. Cops have always been armed here even though most criminals they were chasing probably were not. That's kind of a holdover from the old west too where, the town marshal had to be ready for anything and him being armed was a deterrent for many folks. Cops aren't necessarily the deterrent they used to be. Jail isn't either. For some, it's a way of life. That's been a big change too in the last generation. Crime seems to be a lot more profitable.

There are big bucks in all aspects of this. Violent crime creates an arms race. As criminals arm and get bolder, citizens feel the need to be armed as well. It's pretty easy to see that gun manufacturers profit greatly from this. So do security companies. The NRA went from being promoters of gun safety and hunting to a radical force in politics. Street gangs went from public nuisances  to criminal enterprises- like Mafia's but with more color and no virtuous Don Corleone's. It got crazy realquick, didn't it? Who's idea was this?

I don't know about a conspiracy but, we are a consumer driven society. Guns are fun and sexy and useful in that they can protect you. The trouble is, they are needed to protect us from others with guns. We the people created this. I think the invisible hand of the free market helped but, somehow, we let it happen. However it happened, I don't see it coming to a halt any time soon. Guns are too big of a business. In this economy and certainly in this political climate, I don't see a sudden parting of the blood red sea of gun play that may one day be looked at wistfully as something that maybe should have happened in the form of a complete ban and confiscation.
Right now, within hours of the massacre of  20 children and six adults in Connecticut, we had gunners on the right not wanting to discuss any notion of gun control and, when pressed, desiring only to argue that the killers weapon of choice was not an assault rifle... Well, fuck me a running- semantics! Loopholes! Where did they learn that?

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

See? There you go! If that doesn't settle gay marriage and the abortion debate, I don't know what will!

Sigh. It's a bit vague, isn't it? Lot's of folks kinda bypass the militia portion, which was very important at the time but, not so much now. Citizens had the need to band together at the time to combat Kings  who might (did) oppress or to battle Indians. And hunting? That was THE way of putting meat on the table in 1776. The founders had no reason to believe that would ever be different. Hunting was not in question at the time. Crime? Given the unreliability of the single shot muskets of the day, if you missed, you better have a sword or knife on hand. I would have done all of my robbing with one. I bet others would have too. The founders could not have envisioned the weapons of today or the vast millions of people using and misusing them today. Smart men but, not a one of them was Nostradamus. It's disingenuous to have expected them to be. The 2A could have been worded better but, it sufficed for the time. It needs to be re-written, as soon as possible. What will the world be like 200 years from now? We don't know now just as they didn't know then. We just know now to be afraid, very afraid...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Can we talk?

Last night, before bed, I watched an old episode of COPS. In this episode, paramedics had been called  to the trailer of an older woman who was in some sort of distress. The police arrived and were informed by rescue personnel that the woman was living in squalor and the smell was sickening. The police officer retrieved a respirator from the trunk of his car and entered the home. The trailer was wall-to-wall trash and cat poop. Part of the smell was a dead cat which, we would later learn, the woman wondered if placing the cat in the freezer wouldn't be a good idea. The officer noticed maggots crawling on his shoe as he interviewed the woman. It was an unbelievable, filthy mess. Who in their right mind would live like that?

Indeed. Who in their right mind?

After the horrific carnage in Newton, I'm glad to hear so many people are talking about mental health. The woman on TV was not a poor housekeeper. She knew- seemed to know- her home was beyond messy. Something wasn't right to her but, if you think putting a dead animal in your freezer is a solution to one problem, the rest of the problem is lost on you.

Well, it's COPS. There's no background on peoples lives in the reality series and no follow-ups on what became of them so, we don't know how she lived her life and how it brought her to live, at that moment, in such incredible filth. Who knows if she had once been normal and how she slipped into mental illness. That's clearly what it is- mental illness. I've never seen the show "Hoarders" and don't want to but, it seems that people living like that is quite common. It's not to be mocked or exploited to sell hair care products but, that's entertainment.

Let's remember that the killer in Connecticut was 20 years old. He wasn't a gang banger or a punk kid with an attitude. He was clearly mentally ill. He wasn't some asshole on the internet angry about taxes or a black president and willing to take up arms. He was somebody's kid. Somebody's very damaged kid.

Imagine your worst day. Multiply it by one thousand and maybe then you'll scratch the surface of the depth of the depravity it takes to take a rifle to a school and literally blow away young children whom you do not know. This must be what this kid's mind dealt with every fucking day. Maybe some meds helped. Perhaps some made things worse.  He's dead so, we'll never know. We might not have ever known even if he had not killed himself. Why would we expect that he could explain himself?

There's about 315 million people in this country. The odds are there are hundreds of thousands of them that are as bad off as he was. Maybe millions. How many people do you know who, properly medicated, are maybe just a little bit odd? You don't know. How many could go off similar to this if they went off their medication or took too many or weren't ever prescribed at all? There's no way of knowing and we need to address that.

We need to restrict access to guns, for sure. But, just as important, we need to make mental health access far less restrictive. It's for the good of society. It's one thing to try and keep firearms out of the hands of people like Adam Lanza and that is a good thing. I assume his folks were aware of his mental condition and addressed that. Tragically, they could not foresee his murderous rampage. Tragically, the mother at least, could not see that keeping weapons around the house was not a good idea. Whatever his day-to-day existence was like, this was not a child who should have been left alone with a pistol. He could easily have just taken his own life. Tragedy in itself but, no other people and families would have been harmed.

Weren't many of us thinking that? Reasonable people don't think of that as a viable solution on the front end. It's normal, I guess, to think about that after the fact. What if...

Right now I don't know the extent of the help Adam Lanza received. My mind keeps coming back to the mom foolishly keeping guns around the house knowing full well that her youngest was quite damaged. This compromised her safety as well as his. With guns out of the equation we don't know what does happen but, we now know what doesn't happen.

It's too late to undo that. But, it's not too late to do every reasonable thing we can think of to prevent some other sick child or adult from crossing that line into hell on earth.

Perhaps with Obamacare money won't be an impediment to folks with mentally ill children. That is one thing he can do as our president. Make it easy to get help.

Restrict assault weapons. Yada-fucking-yada there are already enough laws... Well, we need a few more and we need to get serious about them. We've already created an America that is more violent than any other first world nation and the fact is we do need guns to protect ourselves, from ourselves. We made that happen. Crime does pay. It pays the NRA and the gun manufacturers. They sell fear and business is good.

Well, that's for another day. Feel for the children and adults whom Adam Lanza slaughtered. But, feel for him too. It wasn't the way he wanted to go out in life. Speak his name. I don't think he was out to have his name live in infamy. I think he just wanted out, in the worst way possible. Think of him as your own child or sibling and treat him as such. Make sure they get all the help they need. Think, before it gets to that point with the next child.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Coffins and coffers

A woman friend of mine whom I have known since third grade made a good point today, after the latest school shooting.

She said: "Hunters should quit the NRA en mass. They are being used."

Indeed, they are. Hunters did not do this horror in Connecticut. The NRA certainly wouldn't sanction it. But, with their obsession to arm America at any and all costs, they are, indeed, part of the problem.

There's no danger to the sport of hunting being eliminated. The seasons go on as they always have and they always will. Shooting deer and elk is not the problem in America. Shooting children, shoppers and spouses is. If you are a hunter, why give your money and membership support to an organization that really isn't concerned with hunting? Wayne La Pierre spoke before the election and told his members that Barack Obama WOULD take away their guns, if given a second term. Would. No uncertain terms. Obama wouldn't stop them from hunting. Heck, the only gun control issue he addressed in his first term was allowing citizens to carry in National Parks. That's not the action of a totalitarian dictator like the NRA and others love to paint Obama as. Only an idiot could see it as a clever ruse...

This is why I get angry with the gun-nutters. They want it all and they want NO restrictions. As it says in the Second Amendment...shall not be infringed... And they take that to mean, no restrictions whatsoever. Full-auto? Yep. Carry anywhere? Yep. Permits? No. School shootings? No, but, we have a way to deal with them...

There is an arms race in this country. Is it absurd to think that the gun manufacturers don't quietly see Sandy Hook as a marketing opportunity? They are selling fear and business is good. Fear drives their sales and fills their coffers. Without the fear of mass murderers and gangs of dark tinted people shooting up neighborhoods (that aren't but could be your neighborhood next) the gun  culture is a niche of sportsmen and folks who like to shoot and it is nowhere near as profitable as it could be.

They won't be happy until this nation is Somalia but with white people. A nation of folks toting the very latest in firepower and yearning for more. No way, you say? We are a society of consumers. Why would this surprise anyone?

The nutters were quick to say that 'if the teachers had been armed...'

Odd, but these are generally the same folks who try to tell us that public school teachers and their unions have failed society. Now they want them armed? Well, of course! A new market.

Guns are a product. Half of marketing is creating a need for your product where there is none or should be none. You have to sell your product to survive! Seemingly 'bad publicity' like Sandy Hook is 'good' for them. The world got that much more frightening and ugly. We the people have to protect ourselves. This, is just another reason why...

Cry for the children and grown ups in Connecticut. Not too far away, in that state, in New York state and elsewhere in America and the world, they are smiling. Sales are going to rise. The Second Amendment will come under attack but be strengthened by politicians and pundits. Business is good...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hook ups

I should be offended. Perhaps you should be too.

I discovered a new junk-TV show- well, new to me. "Repo Games" is, of course on SPIKE TV. It's a game show actually and not to be confused with that awful show where they recreate repossessions with all the authenticity of the Wrestlers from the WWE. Repo Games involves real people, behind in their car payments whose vehicles are to be legally repossessed.

The switch is, if they answer three of five questions correctly, their car is paid off and they keep it. Get three wrong and the car is towed away, something that was going to happen anyway. It's not a bad deal.  But, is it exploitation? Is it dragging out the private failings of people  already on hard times, for the entertainment of others?

Yes, of course it is.

But, folks can choose to not participate and just go ahead and let their car be towed and take the hit to their credit rating or scramble to get the cash to get it out of impound and never suffer the indignity of appearing on reality television. Seriously now, what would you do?

I'd go for it. The questions are surprisingly hard and surprisingly easy. It's general knowledge stuff, the stuff that you know and are surprised that others do not. The hosts are two engaging, very big guys, Josh Lewis and Tom Detone, who evidently are professional repo men, not actors. They are very personable guys who really make the show. They are there to take people's cars away and that can bring out the worst in people so, it helps a lot (I think) that you better think one, two and several times about thinking that you can kick either one's ass, no matter how upset you are. I imagine there is some other security involved...just in case. If not, there is a camera crew of perhaps ten guys that might help out. A lot of these people do come out of the house angry. However, they KNEW repossession was an inevitability without the show. With the show, it's 15 minutes of *fame* on TV and the best chance of keeping your car and paying it off. In non-TV life, the repo man rolls up quickly and quietly and wake up the next day realizing you know have to walk to- everywhere. Thanks to their size and demeanor, Josh and Tom seem to be able to defuse any situation. The cameras help a lot too! Like any reality show a lot happens that winds up on the cutting room floor. I think the hosts calm these folks down because nearly all get it together enough to have some fun during the Q & A. Some losers accept the agony of defeat and some get angry again. The winners are ecstatic.

Exploitative? Yes. We're not seeing people at their best. If they had known the repo show people were coming, they might have showered and dressed for the occasion. The victims are not the best and brightest this country has to offer. But, if you've ever seen the "Jaywalking" segment of "The Tonight Show", those knuckleheads aren't either. Those folks don't have anything to lose but a few moments of their dignity. We get a harsh scan of these car owner's lives though. These are people whose lives have been kicked around before. This might be their best shot at winning, something. You can't help but root for most of these people. They may not be too smart but they are just trying to get by in life. And, if keeping and getting a 4 to 12 year old car off gets them that much further in life, why not?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

If I was a master thief, perhaps I'd rob them?

These days, the closest anyone is going to get to being an Evil Genius is to become an internet troll.

Sure, your lair will be in the proverbial mom's basement but, the world doesn't have to know that. Just don't admit to anything true and you'll be just fine.

Like the toddler who covers his eyes and thinks that you can't see him, trolls think they have everyone fooled. Well, yeah, they pretty much do but, that's more so because nobody really cares who they are.

A friend alerted me to a Dr. Phil show about "catfishing".  I'm not much on Dr. Phil so, it's no surprise I missed the episode but, I am familiar with the term. I looked at some clips on-line from the episode. Evidently a woman had gone to great internet lengths to romance some other women, convincing them that she was a man named "Shaun". Who does something like this? Why?

Topix trolls aren't too far removed from these sad gigolos, in search of lonely hearts. Just more gregarious maybe? Having been so high-profile on Topix myself, I've been the object of the ire of several trolls. Or, just one? It's really hard to say, ya know, because they're...evil genius's!

Troll gender is often assumed or taken at the troll's word. But, just as the ladies on Dr. Phil were sure they were falling in love with a man, I'm sure my stalker Sam (for example) is a man. I mean- why would he lie about that?

That was sarcasm, by the way.

No offense to women but, Sam has bitch written all over him. I'm not being mean. I just don't think a man stalks another man like that. Maybe a gay man does. Sam is either a very disgruntled woman or a very disgruntled gay man. A straight male just does not make a four year commitment to stalking me or any other man on the internet or in real life. Sheesh- come on!

It was similar with Angelique770 who claimed womanhood and read like one but, might have been a gay man too. Who knows? Unless you meet all these people in real life, you pretty much have to take them at unseen face value. I can still keep my liberal card and point out that a lot of gay men do have feminine qualities. This would be because they do ya know.

It's like being anyone or any number of people on the threads. If you really think you are fooling anyone, you are- you're fooling yourself. That's where these Evil Genius Trolls come in. I mean- to have a secret identity- ON THE INTERNET- wow... But, not just to have one but, BE A MASTER OF DISGUISE...and be anyone you any time! There's not a lot of fucking idiots that can pull that off!

More sarcasm...

Sigh. People's sad lives. Some just can't limit themselves to one.