Friday, June 29, 2012

Justice Roberts Lives Up to His Title.

There's supposed  to be a reason these people are called justices.

There's an underlying concept which precludes them from being labeled lackeys or yes-men, groupies or roadies or toadies.

And the concept is justice.

The six men and three women who comprise the United States Supreme Court are tasked with one lofty burden: to interpret a two-hundred-year-old document which was penned during an era when status meant your teeth matched your coffee table and your doctor knocked a little off the bill if you brought in your own leeches.

And, just like a toddler who requires a little touching up after learning to use the commode, our constitution has needed a little Spray-n-Wash to eradicate some nasty slavery and women's rights stains.

But ultimately, these nine robed elders have repeatedly stood exposed in the drafty political wilderness, left to ponder profound issues without the benefit of either precedent or even one of those magic stones Joseph Smith was allowed to use.

Have the Supremes acted less loftily in the past, pandering to the politics of those who anointed them? You bet they have. Clarence Thomas hasn't participated in oral arguments for six years. Hasn't spoken a gull durn word. Thomas claims that since he's usually already decided cases prior to entertaining oral arguments, he finds no need to ask questions.

But come on—six years? It's comforting to know that Justice Thomas has opted for the multiple choice approach to constitutional law, checking option "c" on everything or peaking over at Alito's paper.

Then there's Antonin Scalia. This guy actually went duck hunting with Dick Cheney in 2009! Keep in mind, this was after VeePee Vader had sprayed another of his cronies with a lead facial while shooting at some sort of fowl in 2006, so not only was it a blazing conflict of interest for Scalia to fraternize with the very personification of evil, it was downright hazardous to the justice's face and neck.

Chief Justice John Roberts has also toed the Republican party line since donning our nation's highest smock in 2005. A Bush appointee, Roberts has supported restrictions on physician-assisted suicide and abortion, and the abolition of limits on corporate campaign donations. He's effectively presided over the most conservative Supreme Court in living memory.

But maybe this is a referee-type make-up call since Roberts so badly butchered President Obama's inaugural oath. Prior to hearing that he'd cast the deciding vote in favor of affirming the Affordable Healthcare Act, I thought there was a better chance that Rush Limbaugh would turn away a Dominican boy standing on his doorstep holding a pepperoni and percocet pizza.

Or that Sarah Palin would read Tiger Beat without moving her lips.

But maybe John Roberts is walking the walk on this one and pursuing a higher good. A couple of weeks ago I read Justice by Michael Sandel, a political philosophy professor at Harvard University. Using various examples, he examines, the necessary ingredients for a just society. 

In one case, let's assume that you are allowed to start from scratch, to formulate whatever rules you deem necessary to create your own society. In fact, you're beginning with so little information that you don't know where you'll personally land once the rules are established. Will you be a wealthy landowner? Will you live on the streets?

You have no idea, and hence you must establish your system accordingly.

In another scenario, you are a member of a community in which everyone is equally prosperous. Quality and quantity abound; no one desires even the slightest modifications to this Utopia...except one person.

A single child is imprisoned in a dark basement, cold and starving, suffering untold misery somewhere in your society. In fact, the reason your people are thriving is solely based upon the hardship of this one kid.

In your opinion, does your community's well being outweigh the pain and torture suffered by the child?

Justice says no, it doesn't. And apparently, so does Justice Roberts.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are You Gonna Eat That?

Finally, some good news...ish.

The first seafood caught off Japan's Fukushima coastline since last year's nuclear disaster went on sale Monday.

Excellent...I suppose. Octopus and whelk, a kind of marine snail, were chosen for the initial shipments because testing for radioactive cesium consistently measured no detectable amounts.

Okay, when they say the stuff went on sale, do they mean it was "on sale" or "for sale"? You know what I mean? While a couple of extra plutonium-inspired legs may render a meatier "nano-pus" or even a "deca-pus," I can see how a loyal customer base may have bid bye-bye to bi-valves, and it may require a little carrot to get that horse trotting again.

Personally, I think I'll wait a couple more decades before dispatching any type of severed tentacle down my pie shoot. Or anything named after a guy who hosted a TV show I was forced to watch while my grandparents babysat me.

It would have helped if I'd been allowed to drink whiskey and water while watching old white people waltz in leisure suits, like my grandfolks did every Saturday night at eight. Enough sweet liquor can make an accordion sound like Jimmy Freaking Page.

"It was crisp when I bit into it, and it tasted so good," said Yasuhiro Yoshida, who overseas the seafood section at a supermarket in coastal Fukushima.

Crisp? Let's hope it was cooked.

Don't get me wrong; I'm very happy for these people who've endured over a year of economic turmoil and personal hardship.

I just think I might stick with cheeseburgers a tad bit longer.

Is it ever a good idea to be the first person "back in the saddle," the first consumer of a good previously deemed too dangerous to indulge in? Should we so readily subject ourselves or our beloved to seemingly benign situations which nonetheless produce tiny yet intense shrieks of subconscious panic?

I'm here to help. Some people enjoy stamp collecting or only buying coffee from people who are almost naked. I get off on saving lives, so here goes:

Probably not a good idea to get the discount laser eye surgery, especially if you have to use some sort of coupon like the kind that come in the mail in booklets. Look, I understand that someone had to drum up business from graduating at the bottom of his class, but I'm not going to let him slice into my iris any more than I'm going to use the coupon on the next page for half-priced nachos on Thursday nights after ten.

If you're at Safeway shopping for condoms and you see some in a bin with DVDs and recess balls, keep walking. They're probably defective. So go ahead and treat yourself to a Dr. Pepper for saying no to the flesh eating bacteria of your next liaison.

If you're looking for some budget-conscious entertainment for your kid's birthday party, be careful. The clown may claim that he passes the savings on to you by utilizing body paint to simulate clothing, but that's when it's a good time to use that convenient safety net of, "Get the hell out of my house, Gacy."

You know those carnivals that come around every once-in-a-while and set up all their stuff in grocery store parking lots? Yeah, stay away from those. The rides are older than Mitt Romney's jeans and the corndogs are made of Crisco and chipmunk ankles.

Lastly, avoid anything by the side of the road bearing a "free" sign. Usually, there's a highly compelling, fully organic reason for that recliner or couch to be exiled to the curbside and you don't want to be saddled with a beanbag chair that looks awesome in your man cave but smells like pea soup and burnt chest hair.

Understand these are merely the paranoid caveats of a wary consumer; results may vary.

But I still wouldn't be eating that seafood quite yet.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tea Party Racism Stirs the Republican Martini.


Last weekend at a Republican party convention at the Missoula, Montana Hilton, an outhouse labeled "Obama Presidential Library" was plunked down in the middle of the hotel parking lot.

Ha! Good one.

The exterior of the portable comfort station was riddled with fake bullet holes. Inside, a pretend birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama was stamped "bullshit," and jotted on the wall was the message, "For a good time, call 800-Michelle (crossed out), Hillary (crossed out) and Pelosi (circled in red)."

Yep, nothing cracks me up like the magical recipe of toilet humor, racism and misogyny. Keeps things light.

I'm starting to smell the singe of my own eyebrows so I should probably drag my canvas camp chair a couple of feet back from America's political bonfire...again.

It's been growing for a while; new logs have been added before the old ones have died, a few stray Styrofoam cups here, a Twix wrapper there. But now, someone's showed up drunk with bad intentions and a five-gallon can of ninety-two octane unleaded.

Politics is a dirty game—always has been.

While campaigning for John Kennedy during the 1960 presidential race, Harry Truman quipped, "If you vote for Nixon, you ought to go to hell."

Wow, such harsh words from a former commander-in-chief. At least it's not an order, it's more of a friendly suggestion.

In 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote that President Adams possessed "a hideous hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

Come on now, Tom. You said this while wearing a wig.

A Republican pamphlet, in 1828, referred to Democrat Andrew Jackson as "a gambler, a slave trader and the husband of a really fat wife."

Jackson never forgave his opponents for such slander, vehemently denying that he'd ever gambled or traded slaves.

So it should come as no surprise that current day political vitriol—the "Willie Hortoning" of Michael Dukakis or the "swift boating" of John Kerry—relies on the same negativity for success that it's leaned on for centuries.

But here's the dangerous difference between now and every other era: The deadly combination of multi-million-dollar advertising pitches, combined with America's three-pixel attention span, assures that our country's massive cross section of lazy voters will cast their ballot based on thirty-second sound snippets wedged between American Idol contestants.

To exacerbate the systemic dysfunction, these information McNuggets will be promoted by groups like American Crossroads, seemingly benign organizations controlled and funded anonymously by corporate special interests.

In other words, we'll eat the Big Mac, but we won't know who made it.

Ever since a 2010 United States Supreme Court ruling enabled unlimited donations by corporations to political action committees, adverts will saturate our airwaves and the Kool-Aid will flow in the streets like never before.

It's the perfect storm. The Tea Party has emerged as America's racist backlash against its first black president. Intolerance and ignorance have blossomed to a bloom not seen since a wholesome Saturday night in Mississippi meant a pickup, a German Shepherd and a baseball bat.

Outhouses in Montana. Faux reporters and congressmen interrupting the President's speeches and governors finger wagging in his face.

That's disrespect not previously displayed for any President in America's history...and it's racism, pure and simple.

Republicans, what's the endgame here? Are you going to stand by and watch your party, with its centuries-old traditions of moderation and compromise, be callously hijacked by these faux patriots, these zealots?

As we speak, your candidate, Mitt Romney, is bending over so far for these folks, I thought I caught a glimpse of his limited edition underwear. Are you prepared to sell your ideals to the Joe the Plumbers, Sarah Palins and Karl Roves?

I thought you were smarter than that.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Title IX Drives Painful Wedge Between Fathers and Daughters.

"Dad, just say the word...any time, any place."

Ever since she learned to dribble a Scooby Doo playground ball, she's enjoyed taking me on. "You were trying your hardest, right?"

"Absolutely," I replied, but by the time she was around fourteen, yes, I really was trying my hardest. Nonetheless, that arrogant, little Limbaugh embedded in my psyche whispered in my ear that my daughter would never defeat me in a game of one-on-one. No freaking way. As long as an iron lung wasn't part of my IKEA bedroom set, I'd handle it.

And then, a couple of months ago, right after her junior year basketball season ended, she challenged me again. "So, big guy, when are we playing?" She peered slightly down at me from her five-foot, ten-inch altitude. I gazed back, my game face betraying the anxiety that yes, the moment had arrived.

I surveyed those wiry arms and spindly legs which had formed over seventeen years of perpetual motion...and gave her my answer:

"Umm, yeah. I don't think I'm available...umm...ever."

Hey, if the Supreme Court can opt not to hear a case, I can opt not to play, right?

It's too bad she's yet to discover premium music, because she forfeited a golden opportunity slap her dad with a lyrical uppercut from Rush, one of his favorite bands:

"If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

I had chosen.

This week marks the fortieth anniversary of Title IX, a federal mandate enacted to prohibit sex discrimination in education. Practically speaking, June 23, 1972 signified the beginning of equal resource allocation for male and female athletics at all academic institutions.

Prior to Title IX's ratification, girls' and women's athletics existed predominately on "club" levels. My own alma mater and bastion of progressive thought, the University of Washington, boasted fourteen varsity men's programs in 1972.

How many women's teams would you guess wore the name "Huskies" across their chests back then? Half? Nope. Okay, how about just the big ones, like basketball, softball and volleyball? Sorry.

If you had chosen the most common answer in Trivial Pursuit—zero—you would have been correct.

I suppose 1972 wasn't too far removed from an era when physical exertion was considered dangerous to fragile female constitutions. After all, thirty-six hours of excruciating labor pales in comparison to a nasty floor rash from diving after a loose ball.

Let's see...what else was going on back in '72? As I recall, girls in my fourth grade class had recently been permitted to add pantsuits as appropriate scholarly attire. Although denim hadn't yet been allowed to tightly paint their lower extremities, I vividly recollect several brightly colored polyester outfits leaving my wheezing ass in the dust on field day.

It was akin to watching the backsides of four Carol Bradys and two Shirley Partridges accelerate into the distance, their shag hairdos bouncing in perfect synchronicity to their flopping jacket flaps.

Ironically, had our class decided to form boys' and girls' varsity track teams, the boys would've been pummeled in every event yet would still enjoy the cool uniforms and free blue Gatorade to which the girls weren't entitled.

During the 1972 Munich Olympics, Mark Spitz swam to a record seven gold metals despite the considerable drag of a cumbersome yet totally sweet mustache. American women also competed in swimming events at those games, but only those fortunate enough to attend one of the handful of colleges fielding women's varsity swim teams.

Any other female Olympic hopefuls trained at the Y during the three to five PM lap swim, dodging stray noodles, water wings and octogenarian tortoise people.

Even after the law's passage, equity emerged at a snail's pace. A lot of courageous women filed a lot of unpopular lawsuits, and girls' basketball didn't hit the big time until the socks had grown considerably shorter and the shorts considerably longer.

Forty years later, most young female athletes likely hold no inkling of the dismal state of women's athletics during the reign of Tricky Dick Nixon and before. My seventeen-year-old daughter believes that trotting onto the court through a tunnel of cheerleaders as the band plays and the public address announcer calls out her name is a prima facie birthright, something which has been around since Fred Flinstone shaved with a bumblebee-filled clam shell.

It's my duty to impress upon her the impact of Title IX and the sacrifices others have made which have opened the door...

...for her to school my sorry ass in one-on-one.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Eighteen Father's Days: What I've Learned.

Sunday is Father's Day.

It'll be my eighteenth paternal celebration, but make no mistake—I'm not an expert.

All along this climb, every time I've felt a solid foothold beneath my crampon, the rock has crumbled and I've dangled by my fingertips over the abyss of parental disequilibrium.

In other words, each time I've thought I've figured out how to deal with my kids, they've changed the password on me.

I've never been the type of dad who stands equipped with the perfect word or two to motivate my children. Whether its concocting a split-second consequence for disrespectful behavior or conjuring the ideal phrase to console a child's raw heartbreak, I haven't exactly excelled.

Quick with a one-liner? I've got that one covered, but it's a tactic which I've often utilized as a distraction rather than a solution.

But, oh, how I've learned. As cliché as it sounds, the wisdom my two daughters have imparted upon my leathery old carcass overwhelms any amount of knowledge I've barked at them from the south end of our IKEA sectional.

Yep, eighteen years, eighteen Father's Days and thousands of pointers, both monumental and obscure. Here are a few, but they're certainly not in chronological order:

When your kids are little, like meatloaf-sized-little, they possess a fire-hose-like ability to spray you with their bodily fluids. Yes, girls can do it, too. And that's why the Roman centurion approach works when changing his or her diaper—one Pamper in each hand. The sword hand maneuvers the child, wipes and blow dries if necessary, while the shield hand staves off biological attack.

Keep your face and head at an angle not vulnerable to a direct salvo. I sustained a direct hit once, and completed the diaper change looking like Popeye.

Don't adopt your kids' phrases and slang terms. You may think it sounds cool and hip, but it doesn't. I tried this once, when I told my daughter how well her basketball dribbling was going. I said something like, "Yo, those drizzle moves are mos' def' hella sick."

The last time she looked at me like that, I was at Target trying on skinny jeans.

If your kid says she's going to throw up, believe it. Don't try to talk her out of it with some lame "mind over matter" lecture. In the time it would've taken you to fetch the metal punch bowl, you opted for the Vince Freaking Lombardi approach, and now you're trying to sop up half-digested Sprite and saltine stew from the soaked thighs of her Power Puff Girl jammies.

Try to read them books in which you're also interested, like anything Dr. Seuss. Otherwise, you'll be tempted to skip ahead. You're child will notice, because she's memorized every book to make it seem like she knows how to read. She will then brand you a loser who believes in cutting corners.

If you let them watch too many Disney movies, they'll try to relate them to real-life scenarios. I realized this when my four-year-old saw an elderly lady with osteoporosis and loudly remarked, "Look, Dad. It's a hunchback."

Always bring food and water, no matter how small the excursion. I've been burned too many times walking to the mailbox with my daughter and not packing a baggie of cheddar goldfish.

Invest in one of those stadium chairs which provides back support when placed on bleachers or metal folding chairs. Most middle school band concerts outlast a '78 Springsteen show.

If your kid's been invited to a birthday party but you don't know the parents, it's not necessary to hang out the whole time and make small talk. Just shake hands with the dad while casually scanning his ankle area for any type of home monitoring device. After you've ascertained that no clowns are coming later, go home and take a nice nap.

Never go to Chuck E. Cheese's. Ever. Make excuses. Lie if you must, but do not enter that smarmy palace of Babylon.

Happy Father's Day, all you dads and granddads and step dads and foster dads. Have a relaxing Sunday because if you don't, I will turn this car around.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Romney: "Firefighters and Teachers are Bankrupting America."

"I'm optimistic about the ability of the American people to do the right thing right now. What happened yesterday is just another signal—and it will echo throughout the country. What you're seeing is the people in Wisconsin...they looked at the record of a strong conservative who cut back on the size of government, who helped bring down taxes, who said we have to reform public sector unions that have asked for too much."
 -Mitt Romney, speaking at a fundraiser in San Antonio, Texas, June 6

Yup. I have to admit, I do agree with presumptive candidate Romney on this one—we, the people, do possess the ability to do the right thing.

And that's where Mitt and I get sucked to opposite poles like we've strapped on magnet-filled backpacks. Shoot, I missed his awkward attempt at a high-five.

Mittens, in his rosy diatribe, was referring to Wisconsin's unsuccessful attempt to recall Governor Scott Walker. Just to recap, as one of Walker's first executive mandates, he'd decided to strip the state's public employees of their collective bargaining rights.

Before the aromatic droplets of lemony fresh Pledge had dried on his new IKEA desk, before he'd even figured out how to log into his email, Walker was staring out the window at hordes of pitchfork-toting teachers, and, ironically, torch-bearing firefighters.

The teachers had approached the capitol steps in an orderly manner because, you know, you never run with forks.

A bit of history: Prior to the first education unions of the early twentieth century, teacher pay was meager but it was one of the few professional jobs open to women. Working conditions were dismal, with class sizes often eighty or more students, and tenure wasn't transferable; it was only available for as long as she remained at a particular school. In fact, tenure had evolved as one of the few perks available to those who were paid low wages—not just teachers.

Pensions or health benefits? Ha! good one.

The International Association of Firefighters was formed in 1918. Apparently, these guys grew tired of working eighty-four-hour weeks and twenty-four-hour shifts, earning twenty-nine cents per hour and covering their faces with wet towels before sprinting into a wall of fire.

Pensions or health benefits? Hey, if you can afford a wet towel, you can afford a wire brush to denude the charred skin from your third degree burns, you smoke-hacking divas.

Okay, look. I'm not some Stalinist pinko who thinks that public sector unions are perfect. Just like their adversaries in state executive branches, leadership has proven vulnerable to corrupt influences. And dead weight will endure as a by-product of the job security ensured by membership.

But here's the thing: America's middle class, and its prosperity, can be attributed to its labor unions. The fair wages, retirements and healthcare created after World War II allowed for a new quality of life for tens of millions of our citizens.

When your boss asked you to throw that cardboard box of uranium in the dumpster on your way out, you could finally tell him, "I'm going to need to go ahead and not do that."

Your eight-year-old daughter could finally play with the lawn darts, rather than weld a minimum of three hundred per shift.

And now, candidate Romney sings the praises of a man who's temporarily stifled his opposition. With all the lip service paid to educational improvements and higher test scores, I wonder if Governor Walker will allocate more resources to education now that the teachers' union is off his back.


I wonder if, now that Wisconsin's firefighters have been stifled, Walker will back legislation to support first responders. I'd assume that, in light of recent threats posed by chemical, biological, and even nuclear attacks, he would become emergency workers' staunchest ally now that they're out of the way.

But I don't think so.

Thanks for weighing in on this issue, Governor Romney. I'm appalled at your response...but not surprised.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Great Guy I Happen to Know.

My Dad turned seventy-nine yesterday.

Hopefully, he won't mind my sharing that number, because hey, that slide rule is already out of its slip-cover! (that's an homage to old school computing technology, which he can appreciate).

He's had quite a stint on this planet. It seems like he's been around a long time, yet as the son of a man who wasn't yet thirty when I was born, I'm startled at how an innocent string of tomorrows and next weeks has transformed into decades and generations.

He was born in Aberdeen, Washington, on June 4, 1933. It was the height of the Great Depression, the onset of Hitler's tyranny in Europe and still five years before the debuts of Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.

Shirley Temple was still, you know, Shirley Temple.

He graduated from Sumner High School in 1951 and enrolled at Central Washington College of Education where he met and quickly married my mom. About thirty seconds later, my brother arrived.

That's the two of them, just before my dad deployed to an Air Force radar site in Alaska which was so remote, the locals considered Wasilla an urban center of liberal elites.

These days, our government is capable of gathering enemy intelligence with any number of high tech methods, from spying with cool remote-controlled model airplanes to waterboarding, but back in the 1950s, things were slightly different.

With the Cold War at its apex and Soviet-American relations more precarious than Mitt Romney's negotiations with his dog prior to a Yosemite road trip, my dad's charge was to perform Paul Revere-like duties when and if the Russians decided to squat in American airspace and kick off World War III.

His and his colleagues' singular task was so very simple: scramble American interceptors and alert the mainland prior to being rendered into salty, pink vapor by a Soviet nuclear candygram.

Stressful? Maybe a little.

Obviously, he survived that hell hole and returned home to build his own personal Dream Team.

Check it out:

A quick quiz: which son in this image would later vote twice for George W. Bush and which one would pursue a career in the fashion industry?

I included this picture of me because my parents didn't take many of their third and final child. It could be because I looked a lot like my brother and what's the use of doubling the work?

It's okay, I'm not bitter that they even chose to photograph my brother next to a tire. What compelling composition.

That's me again:

Like I said, some Civil War-era horses got their pictures taken more frequently, so I'm going to overcompensate a smidge. By the way, I don't remember asking for a train wreck cake. I must have been obsessed with something I'd seen on the news.

And I'm not sure how this one got in here. It's an angst-riddled portrait of me during the grunge era.

Oh, hang on, I'm sorry. That's my sister around '75 or '76. She was obviously totally stoked for America's impending bicentennial.

I didn't include many pictures of my dad in this piece because he was in even fewer than I; you see, he took the pictures. Every birthday, every holiday, every sporting event:

What the hell? How did a tennis-playing Jimmy Osmond get next to our raspberry bush?

My dad's a survivor. He grabbed prostate cancer by the throat and threw it out of his life. He endured the pain and emptiness of losing our mom, his wife of forty-three years, without conceding his existence as well.

The man would give his life for me, but I'm really glad it didn't come to that, and instead he gave me that huge plasma screen TV after he upgraded.

Happy birthday, Lionel Haywood. You deserve it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

America's Gun Laws Are Killing Us.

Contrary to the lay of our polarized political landscape, cold blooded murder can't be painted with a red- or blue-dipped brush.

When a man like Ian Stawicki, someone with a history of assault, mental illness and permission to carry a concealed handgun, saunters into a bohemian coffee house in Seattle—one from which he'd been ejected several times for his threatening behavior—and empties his weapons into every carbon-based organism within point-blank range, it's difficult to view his savagery through a constitutional prism.

Why, then, must our society's epidemic of handgun-inspired slaughter be eternally politicized? Why do we endlessly debate in the Op/Ed columns and talk radio while we wonder if maybe we or our children will be the next winners of this anti-lottery while shopping for iPod cables at Target.

Like Groundhog Day, we wait for the next time when we will again stand in gape-mouthed horror at another Columbine or Virginia Tech or four-year-old who found something under Mom and Dad's bed and decided to try it out.

But nothing changes.

People are dying because of America's gun laws. When our founding patriarchs jotted out the framework of the Bill of Rights on a rough parchment cocktail napkin, they decided it might behoove them to be able to form a quick local militia or two.

All it took for Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin was a peak down the bar at a group of obnoxious Redcoats downing Jagermeister shots and trying to get the bar maid to freak dance with them.

In those days, the state-of-the-art military equalizer was the musket. All a soldier had to do to pop a cap in some punk's ass was open the cartridge, push the striker forward and pour a small amount of powder into the flash pan, push the frissen back, hold the weapon muzzle-up, pour in the rest of the powder, insert a lead ball, wad the barrel, remove the ramrod and place it in the storage pipe, raise the musket to firing position, pull back the hammer, aim and fire.

Wow, I can't believe it's already lunch time. On average, reloading and firing an eighteenth century musket took fifteen seconds.

Now, let's request a little assistance from Doc Brown of the Back to the Future trilogy and insert Tom and Ben into the DeLorean for a trip to 2012 and place them on stools at the bar of Seattle's Café Racer.

If someone had walked in carrying a musket, even if it had been previously loaded, he would surely have been rushed by the bar's patrons upon hoisting the heavy firearm. Instead, our two forefathers' last breaths would have been spent witnessing the savage capabilities of futuristic handguns, each of which were easily concealed for optimum surprise.

Is that really what they had in mind?

I'm not proposing to rid society of all firearms. But how about if we start with the handguns?

Look, I have a family and I understand the necessity for protecting them and our home against invaders with bad intentions. But how about using a rifle? Is it really necessary to play Miami Vice by replacing your Pillow Pet with a Luger, when a shotgun serves your purposes fairly decisively?

Last I checked, "NRA" didn't stand for "National Nine-Millimeter Glock Association."

People get really angry about this. They think Barack Obama wants to personally knock on their door and ask for all their firearms, and yeah, go ahead and throw in your awesome Supersoaker squirt gun while you're at it.

That's not going to happen. As much as folks like Terrible Ted Nugent want you to believe it, no one is assaulting your right to assault people who assault you.

So Ted, just relax, but not enough that your Derringer falls out of that place where they'll never find it.