Ask Your Doctor If Hiatus Is Right For You

I’m taking a bit of a break but you know me, I may find some interesting graffiti to share … back in a week or so. Be good!

Fuck The System

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Good News Friday

I totally forgot about last week’s Good News Friday post. Sorry!

Before jumping into the good stuff I have a sad follow-up to a recent Good News Friday post. This adorable baby giraffe was born at Bright’s Zoo in East Tennessee Aug. 7 and made the Tennessee Good News but I am sad to report that the animal died very suddenly Wednesday evening. Cause of death is still unknown. Let’s all pay some respect to the short life of this sweet creature:

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RIP. Your life was too short. Condolences to the zoo staff, as well. I understand they had grown quite attached to the little fella.

On to the good news:

• A progressive candidate in Arizona has an awesome message for pro-lifers wanting him to come between women and their medical decisions:

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• A federal judge has struck down Florida’s ban on gay marriage.

• A North Carolina judge has ruled that the state’s school vouchers program is unconstitutional, and has ordered the state to retrieve the taxpayer funds it distributed. Said the judge:

“The General Assembly fails the children of North Carolina when they are sent with public taxpayer money to private schools that have no legal obligation to teach them anything,” Hobgood said.

• Sarah Palin’s influence seems to have dissipated like a fart in the breeze.

• UK regulators have ruled the phrase “clean coal” is misleading, and have ordered U.S. coal giant Peabody Energy to remove it from their advertising.

• New York teenager Kenneth Shinozuka invented a wearable sensor device that alerts caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients when their patients are walking around. Shinozuka’s grandfather suffers from the disease.

• Tech billionaires Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are supporting a Washington State initiative requiring criminal background checks for all gun show and online firearms purchases. Stupidly, there’s a competing measure supported by gun loons that only requires background checks for licensed firearms dealers. However, they have not matched the fundraising power of the stronger measure.

• Bank of America will pay $16.65 billion to settle claims related to the mortgage meltdown.

• The largest conservation land purchase in Texas history is finally complete, thanks to the oil spill money: some 17,000 acres of coastal prairie, known as Powderhorn Ranch, has been preserved from development. It’s located near the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, a place I visited some 30 years ago, and found to be absolutely spectacular.

• Images of a militarized police force coming out of Ferguson, MO have shocked the nation. Enter Georgia Democratic Congressman Rep. Hank Johnson, who is working on legislation that would change how the Pentagon sends its military surplus to local police forces. This should be a bipartisan no-brainer, seeing as how Republicans are as repulsed by the concept of a militarized police as Democrats. But …. this being our do-nothing Congress ….

• Kentucky candidate for U.S. Senate Alison Lundergan Grimes has picked up the endorsement of the United Mine Workers.

• A judge has ruled that Maryland’s gun control law banning military-style assault weapons is constitutional.

• Another gay football player has come out.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Murfreesboro’s city council voted not to allow guns on city greenways.

• Nashville Mayor Karl Dean announced his support of same-sex marriage.

This week’s video: jazz guitar virtuoso Chris Standring. This not like any pool party I’ve ever attended:

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More Follow-Up Questions, Please

This is why I watch Aljazeera America:

Ah, those pesky “follow-up questions.” Don’t see them too often from the likes of Chuck Todd or David Gregory.

The fact of the matter is, when you ask the follow-up questions it becomes apparent that Republicans are not only legislating shit they don’t understand, they’re legislating shit they never bothered to think about. “Why would a woman want to get an abortion?” “Well gee now, I’ve never thought about that …”

Maybe you should, asshole. This should be asked of every anti-choice politician. If they can’t answer it they need to get to the end of the line.

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Memory Hole: Militarized Police Edition

I’m glad the Ferguson protests have sparked a debate about our militarized police. When I first heard the reports I immediately thought of this post I did back in March 2008. Though the post was ostensibly about CBS’ “60 Minutes” journalistic failure, the point relevant here is that the Pentagon had developed a crowd-control device called the “Active Denial System” which, thanks to blasted government bureaucracy, had yet to be deployed. Even though “60 Minutes” — and the Pentagon — were just certain we needed to use this new weapon in Iraq, of all places. Can you imagine!

But the Pentagon tipped its hand in its promotional video, which did not show this fancy new weapon used in a foreign land. Nope, it showed the Active Denial System deployed on anti-war protesters here at home.

From the post:

The “Active Denial System” is a non-lethal “ray gun” which zaps its target with super high-frequency radio waves. In other words, it’s a crowd control device. Gee, now I wonder how the government would use something like that?

Perhaps we have a little clue in the Pentagon’s demonstration video, which they aired as part of last night’s segment. The clip shows a group of people carrying signs that read “Love For All,” “End The War” and “World Peace.”

Coming soon to a police department near you? I can only imagine.

From gun loonz carting military assault rifles at Walmart and Kroger to armored vehicles manned by local police departments, the lesson is clear: Be careful what weapons of war you choose, taxpayers. They will soon appear in your own backyards.

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Tennessee Gun Report

Another “freak accident” killed a four-year-old in Tennessee this week. Amazing how these “freak accidents” happen every week, isn’t it?

• August 19, 2014:

The family of a 68-year-old Blount County man who was accidentally shot and killed by a Sheriff’s deputy last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Details of the incident, which I dimly remember from last year, are a stunning example of our “shoot first” mentality run amok:

Ragland was conducting a property check at 1856 Mentor Road in Louisville following two reported burglaries at the rental property that week. At about the same time, Taylor was making his own check inside the garage.

Ragland told investigators he saw a broken window and went to investigate it, then shined his flashlight inside and saw a man with a gun. He said he shouted at the man and fired repeated shots, killing Taylor.

Stunningly bad form by a Sheriff’s deputy, though plenty of gun loons have made the same mistake, and come on places like my blog to defend their actions. “Heck yeah if I see someone on mah properteee I’m a-shootin’ ‘em!”

Fucking idiots. We live in a country where we value property more than people. So yes, DO tell me how “pro life” y’all are. You aren’t pro-life, you’re just materialistic jerks.

• August 18, 2014:

A man driving on Nashville’s Ellington Parkway flashed a lighter that looked like a small gun at another driver in a road rage incident. He was arrested:

According to an affidavit, the victim was driving south on Ellington Parkway when a green Toyota Camry kept speeding up and slowing down in front of him.

The victim told police the driver, later identified as Anthony Raymer, pointed a small metallic copper-colored handgun at him when he tried to pass the Camry.

• August 17, 2014:

1- A four-year-old Clarksville boy has died after finding a gun and shooting himself in the chest.

2- Seventy-eight-year-old Bobby Russell had apparently been stewing for 40 years over that time back in the ’80s he sold his Englewood package store to Bill Haney. He showed up and shot Russell Haney, and then found and fatally shot 80-year-old Bill Culberson, who was also involved with the store. Armed society, polite society:

Russell was an original owner of the package store and seemed to have an obsession with the fact that he had once owned it, said Guy.

Old people and guns. About as wonderful as old people and cars.

• August 13, 2014:

A thrift shop in Springfield is offering discounts to valid gun permit holders for some weird reason.

• August 12, 2014:

One of our most responsible gun owners evah responsibly forgot all about the loaded .380 with a round chambered that was in their carry-on bag at the Nashville airport.

• And closing out the week: not Tennessee related at all but if you need a laugh, check out the Amazon.com reviews for “My Parents Open Carry.” They are delightful.

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Did GA’s Liberal Gun Laws Enable A Hate Crime?

Starting to look that way:

Araim, who was Muslim, and her three female companions were wearing hijab, the traditional Islamic head covering that symbolizes modesty for women in public, her nephew, Omar Araim, said Monday.

Whether Lampien saw Araim and the other women before the shooting was not clear. Neither the Helen police nor the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case Sunday, responded to requests for information Monday. The Helen police deleted information about the shooting posted Sunday on the department’s Facebook page.

Information is still sketchy at this point. But it explains why Lampien was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Usually these things are written off as “tragic accidents.”

It would be nice to get a little national attention to this case. The scrutiny afforded by the glare of a national spotlight would help make sure the investigation is thorough and nothing is being swept under the rug.

Of course, our national news media is unable to walk and chew gum at the same time, and right now they’re focused solely on Ferguson, Mo.

And yes, it’s really hard for the gun loons to defend these liberal “guns everywhere” laws, when someone can potentially use them to perpetrate a hate crime. More guns = more shootings. Plain and simple.

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In Guns-Everywhere Georgia, A Tourist Dies

[UPDATE]:

Some information about the victim: a newly-naturalized U.S. citizen, native of Iraq. She was wearing a hijab, as were the other women with her.

Has me wondering if this was accidental after all. Which makes the “guns everywhere” law all the more odious: racist assholes can pick off their victims and no one can do a damn thing about it until it’s too late.

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Georgia’s “guns everywhere” law went into effect less than two months ago and in the tourist town of Helen, a tragic gun accident resulted in the death of a visitor from Texas:

A Texas woman died late Saturday after she was struck by a stray gunshot in the town of Helen in North Georgia.

Police said the bullet came from a small-caliber handgun carried by a 53-year-old man from Jasper, Ga. The gun accidentally discharged, and the bullet traveled across Helen’s tourist-laden Main Street and struck the woman in the side.

Bystanders attempted to administer first aid, police said, but authorities pronounced the woman dead at the scene.

The shooting took place outside the Old Heidelberg restaurant and bar, one of many Bavarian-themed businesses in Helen, a town of about 500 residents in White County, 90 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. The town’s main route, Ga. 75, is often crowded with visitors, many of them motorcyclists attracted by the area’s twisting mountainous roads.

[...]

The shooting occurred less than two months after a new law took effect in Georgia that greatly extended gun owners’ rights to carry weapons in public places. Bars are among the locations covered by House Bill 60.

The shooter was Glenn Patrick Lampien, who has since been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Apparently the bullet first shot Lampien in the hand, before traveling across the street to hit the still-unidentified woman.

On Twitter, an Open Carry Georgia dweeb said HB60 wasn’t to blame because Lampien’s gun fired “on a public street.” Meanwhile, from the AJC story, the gun loons are rushing to defend the law:

In an online forum sponsored by GeorgiaPacking.org, a gun-rights advocacy group, one commenter said Sunday: “Of course, HB 60 will be blamed.”

Yes, that’s because people carrying guns don’t magically teleport themselves from restaurants to bars to churches to wherever they’re going. They must travel the public streets. And accidents happen. You morons.

If Glenn Patrick Lampien wasn’t legally allowed to carry his gun with him everywhere, a tourist from Texas would still be alive, enjoying the Bavarian-themed town of Helen, Georgia.

I am not going to Georgia. Ever. For anything.

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