Archive for the ‘A Nice Little Rant’ Category

An Oakland (Calif.) police officer works the scene of a homicide.

So, how many of you here in Georgia need feel the need to be able to buy several handguns as often as you want, you know, for hunting purposes? I can tell you how many times I’ve looked out my back door, saw a seven-point buck and brought it down with my Saturday Night Special.

It’s no big secret that Georgia is gun happy—this is a pending bill in the state House that would allowed to carry concealed weapons in bars, public schools, most government buildings, college campuses and places of worship; as you will remember from Sunday School, Jesus was really big supporter of the right to shoot the crap out of your enemies.

It is also true that Georgia is the gun purveyor to U.S. criminals, and has been so for several years. My friend and former SF State Journalism School classmate Cecily Burt put together a great piece for today’s Oakland Tribune about how lax gun laws in Georgia and other states lead to gun crimes across the country, especially California:

Follow the Guns: From Georgia to Bay Area Streets

On April 13, 2009, Crystal Erin Davis walked into the Cherokee Gun and Pawn shop on Knox Bridge Highway in Canton, Ga., and bought a Cobra Enterprises .38-caliber pistol, commonly known as a Saturday night special. She filled out paperwork that said the gun was hers.

“But in fact Davis bought the weapon—and, on other days, 20 others—for her boyfriend, Jeffrey Martin Colon-Moore, a Vallejo, Calif., native and ex-convict who could not legally buy guns from licensed dealers. He sold and shipped the firearms by overnight delivery to buyers in the Bay Area that spring.

“Those buyers, in turn, put the weapons in the wrong hands.

“About 15 of the 125 guns Moore’s crew bought from gun stores or gun shows have since been recovered by law enforcement. While none has been directly traced to a killing, they’ve been taken from parolees after car chases, from juveniles after a robbery and from a car searched after a fatal shooting at a San Francisco nightclub.

“The story of those guns—which emerges from a federal trafficking case—provides a rare view of the ways criminals get firearms, and just how easy it can be. It also helps explain why, when Oakland police seize an average of 1,200 to 1,500 firearms every year, there is a steady supply to replace them.

“ ‘It is definitely frustrating,’ said Sgt. Nishant Joshi, head of the Oakland Police Department’s Gangs/Guns Intelligence Task Force. ‘A lot of guns come from out of state, a lot of straw purchases. Guns are not manufactured in Oakland. There’s no big warehouse in Oakland where you go in and buy what you want.’

“Instead, there are a variety of black-market sellers, receiving guns from states with less stringent gun laws. In California and many other states, buyers undergo background checks and a waiting period before they can take home a gun. But in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada—some of the biggest sources of illegal guns in California—there is no waiting period. Those states also allow person-to-person sales without paperwork.”

Great work, Cecily. The absurd gun laws—pending and existing—in Georgia need to be changed, but the odds of that happening in this redder than red state is just about nil. There’s no talking sense to some folks.

University of Georgia’s star tailback Isaiah Crowell was arrested last night on weapons charges. Bulldog fans are unsettled.

In a related incident, many folks in the state are up in arms today because a 19-year-old was on arrested on charges of possessing a concealed weapon, having a weapon in a school zone and having an altered ID mark on that weapon (the serial number was scratched off). Half the state is ready to throw the book at this young man while the other half is rushing to his defense. What makes this one college sophomore’s fate so riveting to so many people? Maybe it’s because he’s the University of Georgia’s star tailback Isaiah Crowell.


According to sports talk radio and the Atlanta Journal-Consitution, Georgia head football coach Mark Richt has had enough of the talented but pain-in-the-ass Crowell and booted him off the team.


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OK, so I was straightening up the garage the other day, opening boxes to find out what was in them (yeah, I didn’t label everything the last time I moved and am still trying to find missing items). In the process of pulling out some tools from crate, the boy—who was standing over my shoulder, not helping—asked what a certain item was.

Feeling like a being a pain in the butt, I put on  my best Bogart impression and told him, “The stuff that dreams are made of.”

I got a blank stare.

And I heard crickets. No, seriously, there are crickets all over this part of Georgia.

This began a thoroughly detailed—and unappreciated—dissertation on Humphrey Bogart and his movies.

Blank stare, continued.

“He was in some of the greatest movies ever. He was in ‘The Maltese Falcon.’ You know that movie, don’t you?”

Crickets. And the stare.


Ah, I’m getting through to him.

“He played tough-guy roles. You know what that means, right?”

He scrunched up his nose and thought for a moment. “Oh, you mean like Taylor Lautner?”

Crickets and a blank stare.

Bogart and Lautnery: great movie tough guys.

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OK, so with the kids starting middle school, and with the girl already having a Facebook page (she’s too young for it, in my opinion, but her mom gave her the go-ahead), I have started to explain to them the damage that cyber bullying can do. She is 11, but I can already see the “mean girls” attitudes starting to show themselves in some of her friends (as a guy, I was oblivious to this while in school, so I couldn’t say when it usually starts). When I told her (the boy was happily zoning out with some game on his iTouch), she seemed genuinely shocked by what kinds of torment is dished out “all in good fun” and the harm it can cause.

So when I came across this item this morning, it made me think immediately of what I have been trying to convey to my kids and to not let it stand unchallenged (from WTAE-Pittsburgh):

Jennifer McKendrick, a self-employed photographer in Indian County, Pa. is a photographer who, among other things, shoots portraits for the local high school yearbook. When, by happenstance, she saw four high school seniors bullying other kids on an anonymous Facebook page that went beyond just name-calling, she decided to do something about it.

“It was beyond ‘your clothes are ugly’ or ‘you don’t have any brand clothes’ or ‘you are ugly, your hair is not right.’ It was vicious. It was talking about sexuality,” McKendrick said.

McKendrick was scheduled to take the four senior girls’ yearbook portraits but instead keeping the appointments, she took screen shots of the online comments and sent them to her clients’ parents, saying she saw their children’s behavior on the Internet and was canceling their sessions and refunding their $200 deposits.

“I got a couple responses that said ‘thank you for letting them know,’ that they were unaware what was going on and that they would take care of it,” said McKendrick.

Below is an example of a letter that McKendrick sent to parents:

“I am writing to cancel your shoot scheduled _________ due to some recent events brought to my attention. After stumbling upon a Facebook page called (name removed), I witnessed mean and cruel behavior coming from _______. I am returning your depositing of $212.00 and I’m afraid you will need to find another photographer for your daughters senior photos. I want to protect the image of my business and the mean and hurtful things she has said on there is not the type of client I want to represent my business. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and I hope you understand my reasons for doing so. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this matter any further.”

Good show, Ms. McKendrick. I hope you get much more business for taking this stand and losing four sessions. I also hope those four girls learned something, too.

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Stephen Fry, the English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, takes a look at the Iron Bowl—the annual football game between Auburn University and the University of Alabama—and experiences culture shock. His take-away:


I really don’t know of anything sums up America better. It’s simultaneously preposterous, incredibly laughable, impressive, charming, ridiculous, expensive, overpopulated, wonderful . . . American.”

He has a point:


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Still not sure what America’s recent credit downgrade by Standard & Poor’s really means? Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explains . . . and it’s pretty scary . . .



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Are you going through Harry Potter withdrawals now that Voldemort and the Death Eaters have been vanquished? My daughter, who loves the series, will simply read the books and watch the DVDs over and over again. Since J.K. Rowling says she isn’t going to write any more Potter tomes, there are some who are picking up the slack, having put some deep thought into addressing the reality wizards & witches face in the post-Wizard War world, developing a blueprint for moving forward. Seriously.

But it didn’t all end. After the end-game battle, there are still many issues facing the wizards and witches of the magical world.

The folks over at Foreign Policy have posted a white paper, written by the director of Human Rights Watch, the executive director of the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict and the director of national security and joint warfare at the U.S. Marine Corps War College, addressing the Big Four issues:


. . . But if history teaches us anything (consider the bitter legacy still lingering from the 17th-century Goblin Wars or the recent experience of American Muggles in Iraq and Afghanistan), it is that the defeat of Voldemort by Harry Potter may have been the easy part. Indeed, one might even say it was child’s play. The hard work of postwar stabilization still lies ahead [in] . . . four pillars of post-conflict reconstruction: security, governance and participation, urgent social and economic needs, and justice and reconciliation.”

They really get down into the weeds of post-conflict magical world, citing recent reference points in offering suggestions on how to deal with sticky questions. If you are a Potter fan, I truly do recommend taking a few minutes to read this. It might also be helpful to show your teens and tweens who have read Potter and ask them if they can see any similarities to what’s going on in our own Muggle world (there’s a lot more than you might have imagined).

And if you have even a few more minutes to spare, check out the comments… some people really do have too much time on their hands.

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This is supposed to make you to want to have anything to do with them?


OK, so yeah, here in the South, girls like this are unabashedly walking around in public. It’s like there’s an infestation or something. I hope they find a cure before the girl, 11 now, becomes infected.

(Those of you who are not from or living in the South and don’t recognize the landmarks in the video—including the 10-foot-tall statue of head football coach Nick Saban—this comes from the University of Alabama).


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