Tag Archives: guns

Strained

On September 1, several new laws went into effect here in Texas – 666 to be exact; a number that surely makes evangelicals tremble.  Some, like Senate Bill 968, which bans “vaccine passports”, became law immediately when Gov. Greg Abbott signed them in June.  Others, such as House Bill 2730, which deals with eminent domain, go into effect January 1, 2022.

Overall, it appears that some of them are designed to oppress the basic human and constitutional rights of certain groups.  The Texas State Legislature meets every two years and, in 2019, their principal goal was to loosen gun restrictions even more than they already were.  Those of us who aren’t obsessed with firearms (meaning we don’t suffer from Pencil-Penis Syndrome) wondered how much more lax these rules could become.  Stupidity never ceases to amaze me, and conservatives in the Texas State House always deliver.

This year’s session, though, has raised eyebrows and tempers across the nation – and mainly because of two of those 666 laws in particular.  One deals with voting and the other with abortion.  Abortion has always been an open wound for social and religious conservatives.  To them it’s worse than the growing economic inequalities in the country, the prescription drug epidemic, or the fact that so many children in the U.S. live in poverty.  Pro-life conservatives are “pro-life” – up to the time that baby is born.  Once it pops out of the placental oven, it’s pretty much on its own.

Known as the “fetal heartbeat” bill, it is the most ardent assault upon reproductive freedom since the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.  It bans abortions no matter the circumstance (including rape, incest and danger to the mother’s life) after the sixth week of pregnancy, which is usually before most women learn they’re pregnant.  It bears that moniker because an embryonic heartbeat allegedly can be detected at the sixth week.  In reality, the heart hasn’t developed by that point; only the muscles that eventually will become the heart have formed.  The term is misleading.  The sound of a heartbeat is generated by the opening and closing of the heart valves.  Those valves haven’t formed yet at 6 weeks.  When someone detects this so-called “fetal heartbeat”, it’s the sound generated by the ultrasound machine.  But self-righteous conservatives in the Texas State Legislature don’t see it that way.  It doesn’t conform to their narrow view of reality.  In other words, a group of (mostly male) politicians have decided they know more about human development and reproductive health care than actual medical professionals.

But the “fetal heartbeat” law goes even further – allowing anyone who assists in an abortion after that sixth week to be held liable as a criminal accessory and sued for up to $10,000.  This isn’t aimed strictly at those in the medical industry.  Giving a woman a ride to an abortion clinic, for example, opens them to criminal charges under this law; which means cab drivers are subject.  Perhaps comforting a woman after the abortion could be considered criminal.  Would a plumber who repairs water pipes in a women’s health clinic be deemed a criminal?  It’s not the state that would bring the charges; the $10,000 penalty is for any individual who files suit under the law.  Thus, if someone is upset (gets their feelings hurt) because of an abortion, they’re entitled for up to $10,000 compensation.

I’m upset there’s so much stupidity in the world.  Where’s my financial compensation?

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a blow to abortion rights when it refused to take up the new Texas law for consideration.  Previously, it’s overturned similar laws passed by other states.  But for the past few years, conservatives have been pushing these draconian measures for the mere sake of having the High Court review the Roe v. Wade decision and ultimately overturn it.  The Court’s refusal to examine this Texas law is a blatant nod to right-wing extremists who feel divinely appointed to control other people’s lives.

The other new law gaining notoriety is Senate Bill 1, which targets the voting process.  SB 1 limits the early voting period and bans 24-hour and drive-through voting.  The drive-through voting idea was proposed last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 elections.  Perhaps the most alarming feature of this law is that it allows poll watchers greater access.  Voter intimidation is not just rude; it’s felonious.  But don’t tell that to Abbott and the rest of the Republican mafia in Texas who symbolize ongoing efforts by conservatives nationwide to undermine the right to vote – the very genesis of democratic societies.  It’s something we’ve tried to instill in other countries, such as…well, Iraq and Afghanistan.  But, just like the World War II generation moved Heaven and Earth to stop fascism in Europe, yet did nothing to end it here in the U.S., conservatives want people in developing nations to be able to vote in clean and fair elections – without putting the same amount of effort at home.

Like most of the nation, Texas is still in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic with a resurgence of infections and increasing hospitalizations.  This past February the Texas power grid system almost completely collapsed with the onset of Winter Storm Uri.  Scores of people died.  Much of the rest of the state’s infrastructure – mostly roads and bridges – are in dire need of repair or replacement.  And, of course, all those children in Texas and across the nation who are uninsured…doesn’t pro-life also mean taking care of them?

The new gaggle of laws has a few other gems – good and bad.  HB 1535 allows people to utilize marijuana for medicinal purposes.  SB 224 simplifies access to the Supplemental Assistance Program for older and disabled citizens; individuals can forgo the normally required interviews and have a shortened application process.  Now this measure is what I would deem pro-life!

On the other hand, we have HB 2497, which establishes an “1836 Project” committee produce educational materials dedicated to Texas history.  In 1836, the Battle of the Alamo launched Texas’ separation from México.  It’s in contrast to the “1619 Project”, which examines U.S. history from the arrival of enslaved Africans.

Moreover, HB 3979 limits teachers from discussing current events and systemic racism in class.  The bill also prevents students from receiving class credit for participating in civic engagement and – wait for it – bans teaching of the aforementioned “1619 Project”.

I attribute these social studies bills as efforts by White conservatives to undermine the true history of the United States; that Native Americans were more civilized and intellectual than many realize; that the “founding fathers” weren’t devout Christians; and that the Civil War really was about keeping an entire race of people enslaved and not states’ rights.  Like the presidency of Donald Trump, it’s a strike back against decades of progressive thought and ambition.

I never know what to think of these right-wing fools in elected office.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to put up that sign on my front lawn offering free rides to abortion clinics.

2 Comments

Filed under Essays

Saddest Quote of the Week – May 29, 2021

“There’s a numbness I imagine some of us are feeling, because there’s a sameness to this. Anywhere, USA. It just feels like this happens over and over and over again. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.  It begs the damn question: What the hell is going on in the United States of America?”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, after a mass shooting at a rail yard in San José

The attack – which took 10 lives, including the gunman – is the 232nd mass shooting in the U.S. this year.

5 Comments

Filed under News

Guns, Votes and Demented Priorities

Last week the state of Texas loosened gun restrictions.  That’s almost incomprehensible in a state that already boasts some of the most relaxed (weakest) firearm regulations in the nation.  But, for the hamster-dick right-wing extremists that dominate the Texas state legislature, any kind of gun restriction is a prospect more terrifying than a bunch of angry Black and Brown women storming into a Proud Boys meeting armed with attitudes and hair brushes.

And that’s pretty much who comprises both the Texas state legislature and the Proud Boys: old and middle-aged White men pissed off the world is no longer theirs to play with.  Thus, they assert control the only way they know how – with guns.

Now, in Texas, people no longer need a license or even proper training to tote a firearm anywhere within the state’s 268,597 sm. (695,663 km).

Gosh, what could possibly go wrong?

Gun rights advocates have always proclaimed that responsible firearm owners have nothing to fear and the general public has nothing to fear from responsible firearm owners.  But they’ve also screamed that any measure of regulation is a step towards elimination.  They’ve warned about those proverbial “slippery slope” dilemmas, even though any nearby slope is slippery because of all the spittle flying out their chapped lips from screaming about gun rules.

Someone with more than half a brain stop the madness!

Contrast that shenanigans with the new voting regulations – restrictions – the same state legislature imposed shortly before then.  Those rules limit early voting hours, ban drive-through voting and require large counties to redistribute polling places that could move sites away from areas with more Hispanic and Black residents.

The voting measures don’t surprise me.  Ever since Barack Obama won his first election – fairly, legitimately and without question – legions of (mostly White) conservatives in state legislatures around the country have done everything they could to ensure that never happens again.

Conservatives have spouted the usual rhetoric about protecting the integrity of the voting process, just as they claim the need to protect their right (their right) to own firearms.  I’ve noticed many of those old men – allegedly tough and strong – always express some degree of paranoia; their fear of someone invading their property and hurting their loved ones.  Therefore, their guns are readily available.  Stupid, paranoid people in the U.S. always reach for their guns and Christian Bibles when things look scary.

Strangely, though, they’ve long since recognized the power of the vote.  Voting is actually more powerful and with longer lasting effects than firearms.  A bullet could kill someone.  A vote can put someone in office who will enact legislation that may alter society for decades.

And thus, they are scared.

It’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so serious.  Right-wing extremists always seem to forget – or perhaps, never truly understood – that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the first amendment for a reason.  You vote first to enact and ensure change in society.  Then again, as I stated above, perhaps they do understand the significance of voting – and that’s why they do what they can to assure that only people with their similar and limited intellectual prowess can vote.  With their guns and Bibles by their sides.

My parents told me of seeing television footage of White police officials attacking Black citizens protesting against discrimination and segregation laws and trying to vote in the Deep South in the 1950s and 60s.  I recall my father, in particular, telling me that the former Soviet Union would display those images on their own TVs and point out this was an example of democracy.

The U.S. always promoted itself as a beacon of democracy; a government of and by the people.

I’ve seen those black-and-white images of 1950s and 1960s America in various retrospectives of a time how we used to be.  Considering what conservative-dominated states legislatures have done to voting and gun laws in recent years, I keep seeing those old images in contemporary colors.

3 Comments

Filed under Essays

Worst Quotes of the Week – April 10, 2021

“When a group of sad, disenfranchised people who have been left out of the modern economy show up at your office, you don’t have to listen to their complaints.  Not for a second. Why would you?”

Tucker Carlson, in a mocking rant about the January 6 Capitol Hill riots

April 6 marked exactly three months since the event.  Carlson added: “For those of you are not good at dates or don’t have calendars, this is the day that we pause to remember the White supremacist QAnon insurrection, that came so very close to toppling our government and ending this democracy forever.”

“We have a major under-incarceration problem in America.  And it’s only getting worse.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, presenting his solution to rising crime in the U.S.

The U.S. has approximately 2.3 million people incarcerated, or roughly 698 people per every 100,000; the highest rate in the developed world.

“They simply let me use it as a security retreat because they knew the threat that I was under. And I was basically under presidential threat without presidential security in terms of the number of threats I was getting.”

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association, describing how he often sought refuge on a friend’s yacht after notable mass shootings

LaPierre made the revelation in a deposition during the NRA’s bankruptcy hearing.

“When I see people walking outside, often alone with no one anywhere near them, wearing a mask, my primary reactions are disappointment and sadness.  I am disappointed because I expected better from my fellow Americans. I never thought most Americans would be governed by irrational fears and unquestioning obedience to authority. I have come to realize that I had a somewhat romanticized view of my countrymen.”

Dennis Prager, expressing frustration that so many people continue to wear masks

He also declared: “If you wear a mask, you do so in the belief that you are protecting yourself (and others) from COVID-19. So, then, why do you care if I don’t wear a mask?”

2 Comments

Filed under News

Best Quotes of the Week – April 10, 2021

“Enough prayers.  Time for some action.”

President Joe Biden, announcing new gun control measures

Calling gun violence in the U.S. an “international embarrassment”, Biden has directed the Justice Department to draft model legislation that would make it easier for states to pass gun control laws, meant to bar people from accessing firearms if they pose a threat to themselves or others.

“I heard the governor of South Dakota recently saying, ‘This isn’t infrastructure – it’s got money for pipes.’  Well, we believe that pipes are infrastructure, because you need water to live, and too many families now live with the threat of lead poisoning.”

Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation, regarding efforts by the Biden Administration to start rebuilding all features of the nation’s infrastructure

2 Comments

Filed under News

Worst Quotes of the Week – April 3, 2021

“I own an AR-15. If there’s a natural disaster in South Carolina where the cops can’t protect my neighborhood, my house will be the last one that the gang will come to because I can defend myself.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, during a discussion with FOX News’ Chris Wallace about last week’s mass shooting at a supermarket in Colorado

“But the last vestige of the pro-American meritocracy still standing was the U.S. military. From the progressive perspective, the military was too masculine, had way too many Republicans, and a dangerous knack of turning minorities into patriotic, self-reliant conservatives. This could not stand.  Michelle Obama’s decision to make military spouses her top initiative as First Lady was the first clue that they had their sights set on the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Rachel Campos-Duffy, on FOX News Primetime, April 1

Campos-Duffy was a member of MTV’s “Real World – San Francisco” cast in 1994 where her conservative views often put her at odds with her housemates.  I actually recall seeing her on that show.

“It’s time to teach corporate America that if they attack Georgia or any state like it for doing what they did to secure their right to vote, these corporations are going to face the wrath of GOP officials as well as the tens of millions of American consumers who support them. That means lobbyists and CEOs, they need to be told in no uncertain terms if you try to help the left rig elections, we’re going to punish you.”

Laura Ingraham, reacting to protests by corporations over Georgia’s new voting restrictions

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Tweet of the Week – March 27, 2021


Sen. Mike Rounds

2 Comments

Filed under News

Best Quotes of the Week – March 27, 2021

Protestors in Atlanta earlier this week

“If racism and acts of violence are prevalent, we need to bring that to the forefront and not sweep it under the rug.”

Margaret Ann Kercher, a lawyer in Austin, Texas, on recent attacks on Asian-Americans

“We live here. We pay taxes. We work here. This is our life.  This is a country of immigrants, all of the immigrants, so there is nothing we can do better than love each other, than work together.”

Xiaoxu Zheng, a 36-year-old medical researcher at Georgia State University, commenting on the rise in anti-Asian violence over the past year

Zheng who has been in the U.S. for 10 years and lives in suburban Atlanta with his wife and two children, said the protest was his first political event.

“They had lived through an unprecedented planetary pandemic, but they could not survive this: they could not outlive America’s gun epidemic. That proved more fatal than the virus.”

John Pavlovitz, in an essay on the recent gun violence in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Video of the Week – January 30, 2021

Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Green stalked and verbally assailed David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, earlier this week.  The alphamore congresswoman from Georgia ran and apparently won on her far-right extremist views, including that recent school shootings were hoaxes designed to restrict gun.  Like most right-wing idiots, Taylor-Green puts guns above the value of human lives.  For his part, young Mr. Hogg showed true character by ignoring the screeching banshee following him.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Best and Worst News of the Week – January 16, 2021

The National Rifle Association (NRA) – the gun rights group that places the value of firearms above the welfare of human beings – has filed for bankruptcy.  The organization, which is two burning crosses shy of a hate group, came under fire (pun deliberately intended) by New York State Attorney General Leticia James for allegedly diverting millions of dollars for personal trips and other questionable expenditures.  That someone dared to question the inner workings of the NRA is probably only slightly more upsetting than the fact a Negro woman is at the forefront of the challenge.

The worst news – at least for me – is that the NRA has now filed paperwork to incorporate in my home state of Texas, a move that doesn’t surprise me.  Like most states run by Republican legislatures, Texas values the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution more than the 1st (which guarantees free speech and the right to vote for EVERYONE) and the sanctity of life itself (except when said life is still inside the womb).

Texas Governor Greg Abbott embraced the NRA with open bullets by tweeting: “Welcome to Texas – a state that safeguards the 2nd Amendment.”

Of course he would say that!

For this pencil-penis crowd of perpetually angry and entitled mostly White men and their cavern-vagina female acolytes, the right to own firearms of any and all kinds became brutally clear after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.  Yet another deranged White male decided to ambush an elementary school and kill 20 children and 6 teachers, before – as cowards are wont to do – turning the gun on himself.  Since the killer supposedly had a learning disability, many had wanted doctors to be able to dissect and examine his brain.  I said they should dissect and examine the brain of his mother, who had collected a slew of guns and kept them in her house with that “disabled” son.  He had killed her first.

The NRA’s response to the massacre was a familiar refrain: guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  Yes, they do.  But the fact a “disabled” young man could get his hands on these guns is more disturbing than the hamster-dick gang either realizes or wants to admit.

And despite the horror of helpless little children being slaughtered – nothing happened.  No new legislation at either the state or federal level; no funding for mental health services; no campaign to educate people on the reckless use of firearms.  Nothing.

Thus the discussion was over; it was done.  The nation had unwittingly accepted the massacre of truly innocent children as acceptable.  So there was nothing more to talk about.

In closing let us pray for all of the children who sacrificed their lives so a bunch of angry old men could keep their fucking guns.

Image: Copyranter

Leave a comment

Filed under News