Monthly Archives: June 2009

Don’t Think Of An Elephant…

I’ve been kicking around the internets for quite some time, long enough to have learned a little about how people argue or debate, and probably long enough to recognise when doing so is futile…no matter how well framed, how nicely supported by facts, or how diplomatically presented, many of us are already forming a rebuttal long before we’ve finished reading someone’s side of an issue.  Its not always done with malice, some people just like the mental exercise, and I will tolerate that to a point, especially if the issue isn’t particularly important to me at that moment.  To clarify, I would be much more patient arguing about, say, steroid use in professional sports, than I would be on  matters  like war, choice, or immigration.

Some of us, however, do not give in to cynicism, and work hard to find ways to communicate with those they disagree with.  I’m not one of those people.  John Lamb, of Hispanic Nashville, is one of those people.  Periodically, he will share something he is writing with me, looking for input on language or just in need of a sounding board.  I always appreciate the fact that he places some value on my opinion.  (Or, he stuck me in an email group long ago, and hasn’t bothered to remove my addy from it) :)

John recently offered two letters he was about to send to certain elected officials, (something most of us don’t do enough) and I asked him if I could share my favorite here at The Chronicles:

“I ask you to see the American in every immigrant this year, including immigrants without visas.
How can a Republican support a pathway to legal status for those who have none?
The same way Republicans live in the Constitutional and Congressional framework of bankruptcy, which sees the future paying customer in the face of penniless misfortune.
The same way Republicans live in the legal framework of statutes of limitations, which see the future upright citizen in the face of every crime.
I know you have traditionally emphasized enforcement first.  I ask you now to see the other side – what good there is in these potential Americans who live among us.
And I ask you to do something with that vision – this year.
Please support an immigration reform measure that rewards good behavior even in the face of bad.  Focusing only on the bad in people would return us to debtors’ prisons and worse if we applied that approach outside the context of immigration.
By the way, if you want to help the most deserving immigrants without visas, the successful high school students are a good start.  The Dream Act is for dedicated kids who have no individual culpability but have demonstrated tremendous personal responsibility – like becoming valedictorian of their high school class.  And they have no adult identity other than being an American – and that’s not an exaggeration in the case of kids who haven’t even been told of their legal status, or lack thereof.  Surely you can see the future Americans in these kids.  Maybe you can even see the future Americans in their parents.
If your thought is that they can be Americans if they leave here and try again, think of Anne Frank – her father Otto tried to get here legally twice and was denied.  For some people there is no legal route, so please do something about that, too.
One last thing – the Constitutional grant of authority to Congress in the areas of bankruptcy and citizenship are in the same corner of that precious American document.  Maybe our citizenship laws could learn a thing or two from our bankruptcy laws.  If you would be a part of that, I would be grateful.
Thanks for taking the time to read this letter.
Sincerely, your constituent from Nolensville, Tennessee,”

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Open Letter To Josh Evans

In light of your recent letter advocating for the right to carry concealed weapons into Legislative Plaza, the better to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, I feel compelled to exercise my First Amendment rights a little…

Lets be real about this for a minute, okay?  Seriously, all of this high minded talk about Constitutional integrity has little to do with this proposal, or with any of the ridiculous gun laws enacted here in Tennessee.  What the grown-ups know is this:  you and too many other men still have a childish fascination with guns.  I get it, I really do.  They are beautiful things, aren’t they?  All shiny and phallic and powerful.  Western pop culture has convinced you all that all your tiny fears will end if you are armed with The Right Gun.  I saw Dirty Harry.  Wasn’t it cool when he had a bead on that bad guy’s head and asked “feel lucky, punk?”  Then BOOM! BOOM!  No more bad guy.  Awesome.

As I said, the grown-ups know differently.  We know that if someone is intent on taking you out, it won’t be at 20 paces in some pasture.  They won’t seek to exchange gunfire.  They will either put you in the crosshairs of a good scope, and take you from a safe distance, or, they will simply walk up and pull the trigger so fast that you will have no time to react.  That is the real world of gunplay.  I’ll bet dollars to donuts that if some deranged gunman walked into your church service and opened fire, (which, if memory serves, happened to a bunch of nice folks in Knoxville recently) your first inclination will be to seek cover, not return fire.  That takes a set of balls, and quite a bit of training.  Everyone ain’t cut out for that.  Inviting guns into Legislative Plaza, especially given the state of politics around these parts, is beyond irresponsible.  Ask Harvey Milk’s family.  Or Bill Gwatney’s.

Look, Josh, I have some guns.  Periodically (once a year or so) I take them out, fire them at targets, then lovingly clean them, apply a thin coat of oil, and I put them away.  Its a fun two hours or so.  Heres the thing, Sport.  I also periodically go around and start all of my small engines during the Winter.  I apply lube to the working parts of my tractors.  I change the oil in my vehicles on a regular basis.  These are important tools in my life.  Yes, including the guns.  When I travel with my family, I carry one in the car.  (I don’t give a rats ass if I have a legal right to do so from State to State.  If I point and fire my weapon at someone to protect me and mine, I’m well past the point of worrying what law Enforcement might do to me.).  A few years back, a wounded buck showed up on the property and I had to put him down.  I am thankful that I wasn’t forced to do this with a machete.  Messy as hell, huh?

So, I firmly and completely side with those that believe we have a right to own a gun.  Then, if y’all don’t mind, I’m pretty much done talking about them.  Sure, every once in awhile, someone will be over that I think might appreciate a well made firearm, and I will show him or her my stuff.  Thankfully, in my life, I have more friends that will show real appreciation for a 18v cordless drill, or a bad-ass chain saw, or tractor implement.  Because those things have way way way more real life applications.  The grown ups can relate.  My friend Rock Solid has a lawn tractor with fucking front end suspension, dammit.  It has a heavy metal deck, a long, thick, black roll bar, and a cupholder.  I covet this machine.  I could care less if he purchased an Uzi.  Even still, Joshie, him and I don’t meet three days a week to practice mowing stripes in our lawns.  We haven’t formed a political PAC or organization that makes sure we have a right to own these tools.  The thing is, you can have my mower without prying it from my cold, dead fingers.

Josh, my boy, I have a little secret to share with ya.  An obsession with guns doesn’t make you appear more manly.  The women aren’t impressed.  I promise you that.  A good sense of humor will get you laid long before displaying your arsenal will.  A paycheck helps too, btw.

So, what else you got?  See, we have quite a few well-armed, unemployed people here in our County.  We have terrible issues with drug and alcohol abuse.  We aren’t attracting employers or encouraging entrepreneurs that can make a real difference to the quality of life here.  We have way too many single moms, that, if asked, would sooner claim a right to affordable medical care for their children than to own a 9mm handgun.  Our farms are disappearing, and our brightest children move away to make their living.  Your constituents need you.  They need you to know what their priorities are, and they would appreciate it if you worked hard to make their lives a little easier.

It truly is time for you to man up a little.

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I Thought These Things Happened In Threes…

Good Grief.  Now Billy Mays has gone and died. At 50, folks.  Farrah, Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, Gov Mark Sanford, (oh, sorry, he just wishes he were dead) and now television’s most famous pitchman. Thats four, and I think I’m missing someone who passed recently.   Its weird, I seldom if ever comment on celebrity deaths, I could usually care less about celebrities in the first place…but this has been an ambitious run for the Grim Reaper.

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Pepe Escobar Breaks Down The Iranian Election

Pretty striking parallels, if you ask me, to a certain republic South of Canada, North of Mexico…

H/T:  Notes From The Underground

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FGF- Remembering A Better Time, MJ

No brainer for this one, huh?  I picked this because of the intro featuring Cosby and Tommy Smothers:

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Michael Jackson, Dead At 50

The Los Angeles Times has reported that Michael Jackson has died after slipping into a coma.  More later.

UPDATED:  Sorry, he was 50, not 52.

I was a kid when the Jackson Five broke.  I was a fan, and i will always think that “Off The Wall” was one of the best albums ever.  My memories of Michael will never include any of the bizzare legal battles he fought.  He was a genius, pure and simple.  He influenced countless musicians and entertainers.  His music brought a great deal of joy to my life.  I’m pretty sure I can moonwalk.  Ok, not really.

You were a kid, Michael, at the age of 50.  Thanks for creating music that i still sing along with, even after all these years.

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Someone Else’s Angel Now

Farrah, you were beautiful, confident, talented.  You will be missed.

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