A gun at the supermarket

A gun nut walked into a Kroger supermarket in Charlottesville, Va., recently, holding a loaded AR-15.

People were terrified.

He wasn’t arrested, because he didn’t break any law (from WVIR-TV):

Charlottesville police say the man who showed up at a Kroger grocery store with a loaded gun wanted to make a point.  On Sunday, an unidentified 22-year-old man carried a loaded AR-15 into the Kroger store on Emmet Street and Hydraulic Road, sparking not only a scare for customers and employees but also a 2nd Amendment debate.

Charlottesville police drew their guns on the man after witnesses reported he brought a gun into the store. They restrained the man to ask him questions, but released him after they confirmed he is not a convicted felon, owned the gun legally and it was not concealed.

Police say he was cooperative and did nothing illegal. Officers did find a note in his pocket spelling out his intent to express his 2nd Amendment rights. Police say they could not release man’s name because he was not arrested.

Let’s try to ignore the fact, as hard as it is, that the guy belongs in jail or in a mental institution. Given the shootings in Newtown and Aurora, people are going to be terrified when someone walks into a public place brandishing a semiautomatic rifle. And let’s ignore the fact that if the police aren’t going to arrest him, this is, at the least, a case of:

1) Disturbing the peace
2) Reckless endangerment
3) Creating a public nuisance

Let’s focus on what would happen in NRA heaven.

A guy walks into a supermarket carrying a loaded AR-15. Second amendment lovers, all packing heat, sense danger, pull out their guns and start blazing away.

Multiple deaths ensue. And then the NRA says now is not the time to talk about gun regulation, because that’s using a tragedy for political gain.

Oh, and think about the note in the pocket.

Why did he have “a note in his pocket spelling out his intent to express his 2nd Amendment rights.”

I suspect it’s because he anticipated the possibility that this little fun gun run was going to end up in a shootout with him dead.

‘Seven Nation Army’: The world’s sports anthem

On Super Bowl Sunday, when the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers, expect a lot of this:

For all you old people, the song is “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. It came out in 2003, made it to No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Rock list by the summer and began to fade out.

But Ravens fans voted in 2011 from a list of five songs to make it the anthem played to rally the crowd.

It took them long enough.

When we were living in Europe, we heard it all the time when watching football (soccer) games on the TV in Belgium and England. I remember my son saying “That’s ‘Seven Nation Army” when we were watching a match in Belgium. (I used to think the song was called “I’m Going to Witchita.”)

When the World Cup was held in Germany in 2006, you couldn’t get away from the song.

So how did a simple tune created by these guys …


… become a stadium anthem for global sports?

Last year, Deadspin had the definitive history.

In short, it started when a bunch of Belgians, who traveled to Italy for football match, started singing it at a bar then landed drunk at a football match to cheer their team, Brugges, against the Italians, beginning the chant when Brugges scored.  It thrived in Brugges after that. Eventually, an Italian team traveled to Brugges and heard the fans chant it there and liked it so much, they got their fans in Italy to go with it.

It eventually spread in America because college band directors found it simple, but exciting enough to get a crowd worked up.

And now it’s the anthem used everywhere. Here it is at the Euro2008 final between Germany and Spain:

Here it is at the 2010 Ohio State/Michigan game:

And here it is in Rome after Italy won the World Cup in 2006:

I heard it at the Louisville/Georgetown basketball game in Washington last week.

So checkout the Deadspin article here.

And here’s the original:

Pretty soon, all the attention is going to be focused on who sings the national anthem at the Super Bowl. But “Seven Nation Army” is the song that’s going to get the crowd worked up.

Voyages to the moon: for real

There are people who think the 1969 moon landing of Apollo 11 and every moon mission after that were hoaxes, filmed in a television studio somewhere on Earth.

I never believed that, by the way.

I think the Apollo moon missions were among the greatest scientific achievements in history. Even the ill-fated Apollo 13 (why you would designate 13 to any voyage astounds me, just for the bad karma of the number) was a great moment in exploration, because three guys went to the moon, their space ship blew up halfway there, and a bunch of guys with crew cuts, horned-rim glasses and slide rules somehow figured out a way to get all three of them back alive.

I digress. S G Collins of the Netherlands says a moon hoax was impossible because we didn’t have the technology to fake it. Not space technology. Film technology.

He did make a point here that I wondered about. In 1968, Stanley Kubrick released “2001: A Space Odyssey.” If anyone could have done a hoax, he could have, right?

I don’t know. Here’s the moon scene from “2001.”

Having seen the video from the moon landings, the “2001” scene doesn’t quite cut it (from a reality TV perspective).

But think about this: The Iranians said they put a monkey in space today. Must have sucked for that monkey. But we’re now at the point where even Iran is able to put something up in the air. And we haven’t been back to the moon since Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt went up there in 1972 on Apollo 17.

People who are now 40 have never had a manned moon mission happen in their lifetime.

That’s sad. I’d prefer we in the U.S. don’t wait until the Iranians, the Russians, the Chinese or the European Union send people up there. Because the man on the moon is a purely American achievement.

Obama and Clinton

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton did an interview with “60 Minutes.” Seems like just an Obama “Thank you” for four years of service, but I’m sure the folks a few blocks away from me around the Washington Mall are going to turn this into a Obama disses Biden frenzy.

Remember a little more than four years ago how the pundit class said how much these two hated each other?

Stupid is as stupid does: a gun nut tribute to MLK

Sometimes, people tell me about something they heard on the news that sounds like they’ve been taken in by a parody. So I kind of listen, nod and completely erase it from memory the minute they leave. And then I find out it’s real.

Like a few days ago, when a friend said that some gun nut went on TV and said if Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, he would support the gun-rights crowd when they had their Gun Appreciation Day.

There’s no way anyone in his right mind could have said that. Because there’s one pretty obvious reason Martin Luther King Jr. isn’t alive today:

The bullet exploded in his face.

You heard it, too, right?

So anyone who knows anything about King would know that guns were anathema to him. No one would have the audacity to say that the preacher of non-violence would find nothing wrong with everyone in America getting a gun and shooting it out.

Then I saw this:

He really said it. And he really said that if blacks had guns at the country’s founding, there wouldn’t have been slavery.

Wrong! If blacks had guns at the country’s founding, there would be no black people in America today, because they would have been slaughtered.

(Ask a native American how resistance to whites played out historically.)

And what the hell is wrong with the CNN moderator here? Isn’t that kind of idiocy something that would lead someone like … let’s say … Walter Cronkite to cut the mic and apologize to viewers for insulting their intelligence?

I watched this and thought about how you should treat someone like this. And I can only make this comparison.

Let’s say you’re a kid and have been sent away to summer camp by your parents. And you have to share a cabin with seven other kids. One of those kids is a pain in the ass, but you and your six other cabin mates, who get along fine, try to be civil to the jerk.

Then, one night, the kid craps the bed.

The immediate group response is to gang up on the kid and yell, “What the hell is your problem!?” (We’re kids. We can’t think beyond hating this obnoxious little prick, and the smell in the cabin, and the idea that somehow the camp counselors are going to make us clean up the mess.) And you as a group tell the people in charge that you don’t want this kid in your cabin anymore.

That’s how the guy who crapped himself on TV should have been treated. The CNN commentator should have yelled at him. CNN should ban him from ever appearing on TV again. There’s enough stupidity on TV. His statement didn’t cross the line. It nuked it.

Stupid people tricks (and one smart baby)

I was steered to this video from Balloon Juice

… and I’m thinking that maybe the awesomeness that I’m supposed to be feeling by watching it is outweighed by the sense that a lot of these people are out of their minds, because what they’re doing could have gone really bad really quickly.

Especially anything involving leaping from high places, because it sent me back to this video of a bungee jumper who ended up landing in a crocodile infested river.

You notice that some of the people in this video are on crutches or in wheelchairs, which leaves me with the sense that maybe the first time they tried these stunts, they weren’t … oh, I don’t know … crippled!

But I’m cool with the finale of the baby going down the carpeted stairs. My son used to do the same thing on a wood staircase before he could walk. He’s now in his 20s, and I’m pretty sure he still has the sense not to jump off of cliffs.

By the way, the baseball catch in Tampa is a fake (I posted on it in October 2011), which leads me to believe some of the other clips here are fake as well.)

Fox News asks: “What’s your porn name?”

Fox News provides a guide to porn names:

Yeah, the segment went on longer than necessary, not to mention the guy is kind of creepy. (His unrestrained glee proves he catalogs the box of porn he has stashed in the closet.)

And really, Megyn Kelly already is a pretty good porn name (considering the alternative is Noah Ardsley). Here, look:

Megyn Kelly and Muffin Hunt in “Foxes and Friends”

But Kelly is too restrictive on the formation of the porn name. Let’s not limit it to your first pet and the first street you lived on. (Like, who remembers the first street they lived on?)

Make it any pet and any street you lived on.

And that leads to my porn name:

Ninja Barbie.

The movie would go something like this:

And then, they take off their clothes.

The unborn and the church hospital suit

An interesting lawsuit is happening in Colorado, and an odd defense is being used by a Catholic Church-run hospital. (From assorted news outlets):

Lori Stodghill was 31-years old, seven-months pregnant with twin boys and feeling sick when she arrived at St. Thomas More hospital in Cañon City on New Year’s Day 2006. She was vomiting and short of breath and she passed out as she was being wheeled into an examination room. Medical staff tried to resuscitate her but, as became clear only later, a main artery feeding her lungs was clogged and the clog led to a massive heart attack. Stodghill’s obstetrician, Dr. Pelham Staples, who also happened to be the obstetrician on call for emergencies that night, never answered a page. His patient died at the hospital less than an hour after she arrived and her twins died in her womb.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Stodghill’s husband Jeremy, a prison guard, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on behalf of himself and the couple’s then-two-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Staples should have made it to the hospital, his lawyers argued, or at least instructed the frantic emergency room staff to perform a caesarian-section. The procedure likely would not have saved the mother, a testifying expert said, but it may have saved the twins.

The church’s defense?

The hospital, and the healthcare provider that runs it, Catholic Health Initiatives, which operated 78 Catholic hospitals in 17 states, have argued that nothing could have been done to save Ms Stodghill.

But despite claiming to follow the directives of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that states the sanctity of life begins ‘from the moment of conception until death,’ Catholic Health’s lawyers have turned the teachings of the Church on their head in their defense against the twins’ deaths.

They are arguing that a fetus is not a person and ‘unborn persons’ cannot be the subject of a wrongful death case because they do not have the same rights as those born alive.

Given the Catholic Church’s hostility to President Obama’s health care plan during the past election, the Colorado church’s stand is indefensible. After all:

Catholic dioceses in Tennessee, New York, and Pennsylvania are also suing the federal government over the contraceptive mandate for employers. Those Catholic groups say the mandate violates their religious beliefs about the sanctity of life.

In 2010, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix lost its standing as a Catholic hospital after doctors there performed an abortion they believed was needed to save a mother’s life. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Roman Catholic diocese of Phoenix said that the hospital should have followed Catholic teaching, which bans any abortion.

And this position isn’t solely limited to Colorado.

The Colorado lawsuit isn’t the first time that a Catholic hospital has argued that it is not liable for the death of a fetus. In 1996, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a mom there could not sue St. Vincent’s Medical Center of Jacksonville over the death of her unborn child.

William Kuntz, St. Vincent’s trial attorney, defended the hospital’s stance at the time.

“We’ve never contended that a fetus is not a person,” Kuntz told the Orlando Sentinel in 1996. “We’ve always said that an unborn person does not have the right to bring a lawsuit in Florida.”

Given this, the church’s issue doesn’t seem to be about belief systems and spiritual guidance. It comes down to money. But it’s wrong to be doctrinaire on the matter of personhood when it comes to issues of women’s reproductive rights, then completely reverse course when the bottom line of the morality play hinges on the bottom line of the bank account.

But this is a case where a bad situation can lead to bad law. The right-to-life movement in Colorado is hoping the court rules against the hospital, because that reinforces its stand concerning that a fetus is a person. In this instance, a church loss would have a broad impact on all hospitals in Colorado.

The hospital should have settled out of court, but it has won the early rounds, with rulings that under Colorado law, there is no wrongful death in this case. The family is now taking the case to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Stupid is as stupid does: the Rand Paul edition

Hillary Clinton went before Congress today to answer questions about the Sept. 11, 2011, attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were killed.

Benghazi has been a GOP wet dream, because the party and its Fox News propaganda outlet have been declaring it the worst U.S. tragedy since Osama bin Laden‘s Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the U.S.

Really that’s what they’re saying. Just ask Kentucky’s junior senator and senior Tea Bagger, Rand Paul:

“I’m glad that you’re accepting responsibility,” said Paul. “I think ultimately with your leaving that you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11. And I really mean that.”

Those are the words that actually came out of his mouth at the Clinton hearing today.

And that’s why he’s an idiot.

Because if he doesn’t think the mass shooting at a grade school in Newtown, Conn., was worse.

Because if he doesn’t think the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., was worse.

Because if he doesn’t think the mass shooting at a Tucson “meet-your-congresswoman” rally was worse.

Because if he doesn’t think the total loss of an American city during Hurricane Katrina was worse.

Because if he doesn’t think the lies his party told that got us into a war against a country that had nothing to do with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. were worse.

Then he’s incapable of rational thought, and everyone who put him in the Senate should be personally humiliated.


National Gun Appreciation Day: a recap

This post was supposed to go up several days ago, but it was hard to write it without using the words “stupid,” “morons” or “brain dead.” So, after waiting a few days for the story to fully develop, the correct term is “tragic.”

National Gun Appreciation Day was Saturday, so firearms lovers across America gathered at gun shows to celebrate their right to have even more firepower than conceived of in the days when their favorite founders were carrying around muskets.

Of course, this happened:

Five people were wounded in accidents at gun shows in North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana on Saturday, according to authorities.

In Raleigh, N.C., authorities said three people were wounded when a loaded shotgun accidentally discharged at the Dixie Gun and Knife Show at the N.C. State Fairgrounds.

Officials say [a gun owner] was having his shotgun checked before entering the show when the incident happened. He was unzipping his 12-gauge shotgun’s case when it accidentally fired birdshot pellets, hitting three people. …

In Medina, Ohio, an exhibitor at a local gun show was opening a box containing a gun when the weapon went off, striking his partner, who was sitting next to him, NBC station WKYC of Cleveland reported. …

In Indianapolis, state police said a 54-year-old man was loading his .45 caliber semi-automatic gun when he shot himself in the hand. …

Now, these true believers show they’re incapable of handling a gun, but they’ll shoot you if you try to take it away. And they have to be considered as competent as these people (via YouTube. WARNING: No one dies, but people are hurt and these are difficult to watch.):

But these aren’t the tragic stories of National Gun Appreciation Day.

These are (via Crooks & Liars):

A 14-year-old suburban Atlanta boy shot and killed his 15-year-old brother while playing with their mother’s handgun.

A 26 year old was shot and killed while driving in San Francisco.

A man was found dead from a gunshot wound in his home in Kansas City, Kansas.

A woman in an El Paso County, Texas CO shooting range was hit in the knee by a bullet that ricocheted off a trash can.

Two women were shot to death in a Dallas-area home.

Two women were injured after someone opened fire at a crowded soccer field in Las Vegas.

A 15-year-old girl was shot while sleeping in her bed when her Anchorage home was shot at.

A 7-year-old boy in Tallahassee shot a 5 year old with a gun he found in a 22-year-old relative’s room.

A Huntsville woman shot her boyfriend after the two had an argument.

A 23-year-old man died after being accidentally shot in a Greshman, Oregon home.

A Cleveland father has been charged in connection with the death of his 6-year-old daughter from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

One man was shot in Elyria, Ohio, just west of Cleveland, early Saturday morning.

A man was found shot dead in a parking lot in Greenville County, South Carolina.

Two people were shot and killed outside an inn in Hampton, Virginia.

At least 10 people were shot in Chicago, at least two were fatal.

A Colorado Springs man was driven to the hospital with a gunshot wound.

A Jackson, Mississippi police officer was shot while responding to a disturbance call.

One man was shot at a Martin Luther King Jr. parade in Jackson.

Two men and one woman were shot at a home in Oakland.

An 11-year-old boy was shot in an Oklahoma City apartment complex.

Police in Richmond, Virginia are looking for three men who shot another man in his thirties.

Police believe gang violence is to blame for the shooting death of one man in Santa Ana, California.

An early morning shooting in Tuscaloosa injured two teenagers.

There’s nothing to appreciate here. The people who can’t handle guns in the video above were lucky they didn’t die. But these later cases show what happens when you combine guns with ignorance, incompetence, anger and just plain criminal intent.