Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Quackery

We are a bunch of rednecks from Louisiana, but I am not uneducated, I have a degree from Louisiana Tech. But this week I have been called an ignoramus,” Duck Dynasty star, Phil Robertson, 67, recently told his Bible study group, as reported by The Daily Mail.

While most people might think this is really an indictment of Louisiana Tech, Robertson, a former football all-star quarterback – he actually started for two years over his college teammate, Terry Bradshaw – received his Bachelor's in Physical Education and his Masters in Education before starting the wildly successful company, Duck Commander, in 1973. His son, Willie, now runs the multimillion dollar conglomerate as CEO while Patriarch Phil spends his time cooking and hunting, staying out of the corporate limelight, but always in the spotlight of the highly popular TV series, “Duck Dynasty,” the most valuable and watched franchise on A&E network.

Robertson taught school after graduating from Louisiana Tech, was a commercial fisherman, ran a bar – and afoul of the law for a short time – before finding God and being baptized at the age of 28. He and his family are known as being very religious and true to the Christian faith as practiced by the Church of Christ. He was interviewed for the January, 2014, issue of a gentleman's magazine, GQ, and by repeating his dogmatic Christian religious beliefs, started a controversy that has become a lightning rod for a mixed audience of Americans, most of whom have never seen a single episode of the TV show. A lightning rod that has become dangerous to touch. Just ask the executives who run Cracker Barrel restaurants.

The GQ article, written by Drew Magary, temptingly asked Robertson's views on sin, a leading question for any Christian that simply could not miss sparking controversy in this age of shrinking church memberships and dwindling congregations. Much of the shrinkage in today's establishment churches has been their intransigent opposition to a liberal understanding of human nature by the general population. In other words, the church is preaching against their own memberships as gay and lesbians stand up to be counted. The churches are losing the popular battle.

What better way to have people buy your magazine than to ask a loaded question of the TV star who has the highest rating for the season that will evoke an answer that flies in the face of current relaxing attitudes. A good attorney never asks a question they don't already know the answer to, and the GQ article was no different. Robertson in all honesty could not have avoided the controversy and still remain true to his convictions. In other words, he was a sitting duck.

That interview, leaked in advance of the publication, resulted in A&E suspending Robertson for saying simply what he believes. He didn't say it on the television show, but he responded honestly to the interviewer's question by paraphrasing a Biblical passage from First Corinthians, something not uncommon or unknown among Christians. A&E network responded by placing Robertson on “leave,” even though it shrewdly did not affect the television programming. Cracker Barrel restaurants, swept up in the knee jerk moment of being politically, or rather, socially, correct, announced it would remove all Duck Dynasty products from its restaurant’s shelves. The back-lash, however, was instantaneous, and blisteringly effective.

Apparently, there are millions of dogmatic Christians who like Robertson's beliefs and All-American, cholesterol laden, high calorie food. Enough to make Cracker Barrel reverse their decision and place the Duck Dynasty items back on the shelves, within two days none-the less! Dollars beats dogma in this country every time.

This isn't Robertson's first rodeo with A&E executives. When he noticed editors were adding “bleeps” to the shows dialog, he asked A&E why. The camera crews had no idea dialog was being bleeped, and Robertson found out the “bleeps” were being added by studio editors to make it appear the Robertsons were cursing, something they religiously do not do. A&E wanted to make the show “more entertaining.” Robertson said, “If they want to hear profanity, they can change channels!” A&E executives relented and the original, profanity-free dialog was restored.

As Seth Meyers recently said on Saturday Night Live, while Phil Robertson's full bearded image was shown larger than life behind him, “Sometimes you can tell a book by its cover.” 

It is an American right to read what ever book you want to read. Whether or not you want to read the book is up to you.



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Paper Tiger - Viewpoint


I wrote an article for the Charlotte Sun-Herald newspaper back in 2005 that floated back up through my memory as I watched the world news recently about China arbitrarily and unilaterally expanding its Air Defense Identification Zone, or ADIZ, far out into the China Sea in an area considered International waters.  The United States responded by flying two B-52 bombers through the area without prior announcement, but cautiously advised all commercial airplanes to comply with the new Chinese ruling.  Vice President Joe Biden is in China as I write this, and spent two hours this morning behind closed doors with the Chinese Prime Minister specifically addressing the ramifications of this almost war-like move.

This article is the only article I submitted in the six years I wrote for the Sun-Herald they refused to print.  My editor wanted to run it, but was overridden by the executive editor.

Read it and see what you think.
______________________________________


For Immediate Release
George Mindling Column 7-19-2005
Paper Tiger

"The Capitalists will sell us the rope we use to hang them." While Lenin's exact words were far more verbose, they apparently did not fall on deaf Chinese ears.
According to a report published in the summer of last year, the Communist Chinese government held 790 billion dollars of U.S. currency and bonds! Chinese General Zhu Chenghu told the world the very same week of the report they WILL attack the United States with nuclear weapons if we try to defend Taiwan, the Republic of China, from Communist takeover. We are paying for the two largest military buildups in recent years: Ours and the very forces we may have to go to war with, the Communist Chinese.
Why do American companies, especially those that purport to be Christian based, do business with the godless dictatorship that is Communist China? Which is the real answer: morals or money? Are we so busy trying to create a Christian, democratic utopia that selling our energy and technology assets to a security threat to our country in the name of "Growing Democracy," is naively ignored? What will we sacrifice chasing the 490 billion dollar market China appears to offer to American retailers in 2006?
A year ago this February, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld testified at a Congressional hearing on the Chinese buildup and the Chinese policy paper challenging the U.S. military presence in the Pacific. The Chinese Navy will soon be the largest in the world. They will have one of the largest, modem submarine forces in the world.
(http://www.jeflhead.comlredseadragonJplanbuildup.htm) U. S. intelligence believed China to have a fleet of only "60 to 70 operational submarines, most of which are aging, and only a handful of which are nuclear powered."
However, the June 9th 2005, the Washington Times reported a U.S. security document found that American intelligence has missed the Chinese naval buildup for TEN years! Among the items missed were China's development of a new long-range cruise missile, deployment of a new attack submarine known as the Yuan class that was missed by U.S. intelligence until photos of the submarine appeared on the Internet, and development of surface-to-surface missiles for targeting U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups. This from a country from which we borrow two billions dollars daily! If we default, how will they foreclose?
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice warned on August 18th, 2005, that China must make significant structural changes in its economic policies, lest it remain "a problem for the international economy."
"The overwhelming sense I got was that they do not want a conflict with the United States," said Robert B. Zoellick, the Deputy Secretary of State. But he said that he, too, "tried to get them to see how their actions are perceived by the other side," particularly "if they were not transparent, they would create uncertainties, and uncertainties lead people to hedge."
The patient Chinese are not stupid. They measure time by generations, not fiscal years. By then, we will be the Paper Tiger.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Question is Why? - Political Opinion

One fact in the current hype to bomb Iran is overlooked: The people of Iran are innocent. How many innocent people will we kill when we bomb Iran? We killed over half a million innocent people in our war against Iraq.  Remember that war? The one we started by lying about weapons of mass-destruction?1 The war that made America an Aggressor Nation for the first time since the Spanish American War. 

The government of Iran is most definitely not innocent in its support of terror to create a militant Islamic world and is certainly a political problem for us, but we created it. We foolishly tinkered with a foreign government and infected a nation to create our own Frankenstein. Now certain political and religious groups want to kill it. And the millions of innocent civilians who live there. They are mainly guilty of not being Christians.

Our laboratory wasn't in a dark, eerie castle, rather a Democratic state that duly elected its own leaders. The curtain was pulled back on the US covert operation that ran counter to our goals and ideals in support of the oil factions who wanted Iranian oil at cheap prices. On August 19, 2013, the CIA formally acknowledged the United States, on August 26, 1953, covertly removed the duly-elected Iranian government of Mohammad Mossadegh and installed our puppet in his place, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the Shaw of Iran.

The leader we removed was parliamentary-elected Mohammad Mossadegh, elected in 1951. Mossadegh soon nationalized the Iranian oil fields, taking them away from British control for the first time since 1913. The oil fields were controlled by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company/Anglo Iranian Oil Company (APOC/AIOC), known to us today as British Petroleum, or BP. [Note: Look up Winston Churchill's involvement with lobbying British Parliament for APOC, a subsidiary of Burmah Oil, in 1923]  The intent of the seizure was for Iran to control its own economic future as Iran was making little money off the huge oil exports, but the U.S. and Britain used the threat of “communism” to covertly remove the Mossadegh government and install one of their own. The Shaw was “returned to power” because he was guaranteed of not going “communist.” The control of the oil fields was returned to the Anglo Iranian Oil Company under the Shaw. 

When the westernized Shaw tried to modernize Iran by giving voting rights and education to Iranian women in 1963, the resulting protests by religious clerics led to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini being exiled from Iran and he fled to France. 

So far so good, but unfortunately for us, the Shaw of Iran was not the great leader the West expected, and his brutal government fell in a popular revolution in 1979 that led to the return of the exiled Ayatollah. The secular government was replaced by a militant religious one. The collapse of the Shaw's government led to the 444 day hostage situation, where 52 U.S. Embassy staff were taken hostage. The hostages were released, incidentally, when word was received in Tehran by the new, revolutionary government that Ronald Reagan had been sworn in as U.S. President, as agreed in the secret Algiers Accord that guaranteed Iran's sovereignty.

To complicate the Middle East even further, we then backed and supplied Iran's arch enemy in the bitter eight-year Iran-Iraq war that soon followed. That war, from 1980 until 1988, killed over one million soldiers and civilians. Who did we back with money, weapons and training? Why, none other than our dear friend, Saddam Hussein! To muddy the waters even more, President Reagan initiated the Iran/Contra affair, where we supplied illegal arms to Iran at the same time we backed the Iraqis. You don't think we have a bad reputation in the area, do you?

Iran has been run by conservative religious clerics ever since 1979, even though the day-to-day government is run by the Iranian parliament. Attaining a nuclear bomb is a status symbol, leverage for political supremacy, but certainly not a viable, usable weapon. The Iranians can't bomb Israel, or anyone else for that matter, without removing most of the Middle East, including Iran, from planet Earth. The Israeli nuclear arsenal can remove every Arab capital and still have bombs left over.  [The North Koreans on the other hand have nothing to lose in a nuclear war, a vast radioactive wasteland there might be an improvement.] Terrorists getting nuclear weapons? Iran and Saudi Arabia could themselves be targets from radical Muslims extremists, and especially Dubai and Qatar. I don't think nuclear weapons are going to be handed out to Hezbollah or Al-Quaida, ever. The policy of stopping the nuclear proliferation taken by the Obama administration is the first step of defense just in case I'm wrong. 

I have no love for Israel ever since their controversial attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, in 1967 during the Six Day War, where they killed 34 Americans and wounded another 171. I was still active duty Air Force at the time, and U.S. Military sentiment against Israel reached fever pitch. But Israel is considered the "stalwart of Democracy” in the Middle East by most American politicians. Israel is without a doubt the economic and educational leader in the Middle East. However, insuring their security is not something I want my children to die for. The Israelis are tough enough to do it by themselves, but also smart enough to get us to do it for them, just like British Intelligence (MI5) who convinced President Eisenhower to implement CIA Operation Ajax to install the Shaw. Perhaps we just aren't as smart as we think.

Any step toward normal relations with Iran is going to be tough, but one thing we don't need are the people who want “to get even.” The Crusades are over, at least to most of us. The Muslim religion will eventually evolve and leave the medieval standards of the past just as Christianity did. The question is not whether we can wait that long, the question is whether we as a people want war or peace.

***
"On the evening of September 11, 2001, about ten thousand Iranian people gathered in Madar Square, on the north side of Tehran, in a spontaneous candlelight vigil to express sympathy and support for the American People"2 On September 18, 2001, Iranian women lit candles in Teheran’s Mohseni Square in memory of the victims of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC. Even the most hardline Islamic clerics, who despise the United States, have been shocked into silence by the attacks. President Mohammad Khatami set the tone for Iran's reaction with a statement that in Persian rang with deep compassion: "On behalf of the Iranian people and the Islamic Republic, I denounce the terrorist measures, which led to the killing of defenseless people, and I express my deep sorrow and sympathy with the American people."3 Huge crowds attended candlelit vigils in Iran, and 60,000 spectators observed a minute's silence at Tehran football stadium.

In 2007, U.S. Presidential candidate John McCain sang, “Bomb, bomb, bomb... bomb, bomb, Iran.” The question is not just “why” but who wrote the music?
3http://web.archive.org/web/20101115094604/http://www.time.com/time/europe/photoessays/vigil/2.htmlil/2.html

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Wart on Christmas

I'm already tired of Christmas music and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet! I only spent a total of twenty minutes in the car this morning, ten while driving one way, and ten coming back. I heard Jose Feliciano sing “I want to wish you a Merry Christmas” twice. I changed radio stations the first time it came on, and lo and behold, a few minutes later the station I changed to played it as if to say, “Nah nah na nah nah, you can't escape our marketing onslaught! You will be merry! Be a good consumer, do your religious duty and buy, buy, buy.” Thanksgiving is still four days away.

Is there a war on Christmas? Not by any red-blooded American consumer I know. How about by Humanists or other secular Americans who prefer to separate Santa Claus from Jesus Christ? What about the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Pastafarians, Scientologists or visitors from another galaxy who don't think the Christians should have hijacked the Scandinavian Winter solstice holiday in the first place. Well, maybe, but I think I have uncovered the real problem, it is a semantics problem! It is really a Wart on Christmas! Everybody simply hears what they want to hear, and the “T” just gets dropped off.

For centuries, Christmas has been the main leverage point in maintaining strict order and discipline within whichever version of Christianity happened to rule whatever land you happened to be in. Unless, of course, the Christians hadn't conquered it yet, say, like Peru. Or China. Or maybe places where they had been removed, like Communist societies where religion was banned. In those primitive societies, they simply measured the end of another solar/terrestrial season and decided to celebrate because they knew good times were just around the corner. Hey, light up a fir tree! Throw some yule logs on the fire and find some chestnuts! Man, that's good eggnog!

But, aaah! The capitalist are coming, and now we have a problem: How do they leverage the birth of a religious icon into massive, profitable sales? First, stuff 'em with music until their wallets explode. Really, the unknowing listener will be so happy so spend everything they have just so they don't have to listen to “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” for another ten and a half months.

The old ways were far more subtle. Nostalgia still seeps over atheists when they hear the Vienna Boys Choir sing “Silent Night.” How about “Ave Maria?” Even Jews think it is a beautiful song. But what were they selling then? Religion, of course! Today, it is Barbie dolls and X-box consoles, bags and bags of useless battery powered toys, cosmetics for socially deprived women, whatever else can be sold immediately after the only truly secular family holiday in America, Thanksgiving. Well, maybe not that secular, especially to the survivors of the Pequot Indians where the Puritans said "Thank You" by slaughtering them and taking the survivors as slaves.

The traditional, well, for my generation at least, major selling day was the Friday after Thanksgiving. It was called “Black Friday,” because for many retailers, it meant they had finally earned enough to show a profit for the year. In other words, they were out of the red ledger column and into the black, hence the name Black Friday. On Black Friday I would take my daughter, load the canoe and head for the Everglades. 

Thanksgiving is the one holiday we can all sit down with our families and enjoy the true warmth and love that makes it all worthwhile, and we all do it in our own religious ways. Well, we used to anyway. The Wart on Christmas has infected Thanksgiving and damned if they aren't opening normally closed stores and selling when we should be sitting with our families, giving thanks for what we have.

The Wart on Christmas has proven to be infectious and I don't think we have an antidote. Unless, perhaps, it's earplugs.

_______________________________

Updated 2-16-2014 by the Author

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Writer's Nightmare

I once wrote brain freeze, the condition commonly known as writer's block, isn't the worst thing that can happen to a writer. Writer's block is when the blank computer screen or empty page of paper stares at you and you have absolutely nothing to put on it. Having nothing to write or capture on paper or computer disk is merely the second worst thing that can happen to a writer. Seriously. Having media ready to capture thoughts and then having none is actually a blessing, as something will invariably materialize if and when your muse quits tripping through Facebook. No, the worst thing that can happen to me is when those precious, once-in-a-lifetime thoughts flash through my consciousness and I have absolutely no way to capture them. 

Those fleeting, ethereal thoughts often dissolve long before I can find a piece of paper, a napkin, anything with a margin, to hastily scribble on, losing them to eternity. If I'm lucky, a couple of days may pass and I'll remember what Inspired me, but sometimes the thoughts are simply gone. I think my muse does this to me on purpose. It waits until I'm in traffic, or having dinner in a restaurant when it slips me a thought that would pivot or anchor my whole next article, or maybe inspire an evening of ignoring my life while I write and rewrite a narrative or dialog, and then it logs on to Facebook and I'm on my own, repeating my thought over and over trying to commit it to memory.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yes, not having a way to capture those elusive, exclusive thoughts is a real pain in the neck/butt/shoulder/ass, depending on which genre the writer writes. The end result is the same: lost thoughts and concepts that will drift out and away, an ending that never happens or a character who doesn't fulfill their possibilities, headed somewhere unknown, out into the universe, hopefully to alight on someone sitting in front of a blank computer screen wondering what the hell to write.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lucy, 'Splain me something...



Well, maybe even Lucy can't help here, the situation defies logic. Well, to me anyway.

It all started when my handy-dandy, ever trusty electric drill needed to have its battery charged. The DeWalt portable drill I have been using for the last several years came with two batteries and a charger, so, it has never been a problem in the past. I always keep the unused battery charged and ready to pop in the drill whenever the one in the drill runs down. A minute or so after the one in the drill goes flat, and I'm usually up and running. I swap them out all the time so they both get used interchangeably. The drill kit with the batteries came in a very nice hard carrying case with neat little chrome latches, really cool!

I bought the drill kit at Home Depot for $99.00 during a special promotion, and considered myself a shrewd buyer as the price soon went up to $129.00 for the kit. I haven't paid much attention lately, but I've seen the popular kit around when I've been in the store. I assumed the price would eventually increase until a newer model came out or the drill was discontinued.

As I was taking down hurricane shutters recently, a fairly heavy-use project, the battery in the drill ran out. I use the drill with an adapter as a power wrench, the only sensible way to remove wingnuts and bolts without spending an extra couple of hours. However, the replacement battery in the charger was unexpectedly dead, so the project came to a manual, grinding halt.

I decided to price a new one while I recharged the one remaining battery. Wow! Talk about sticker shock. The lowest price I could find on-line was $54 and that was for a nondescript, oddly labeled battery that vaguely resembled the original DeWalt unit. The cheapest DeWalt unit was $79 and that was without on-line shipping costs. So, I headed off to Home Depot to see what I could find.

The current replacement 18 volt battery, now labeled with an X to show it's better than the original, is located conveniently in the very first tool bin, neatly packaged in theft-proof plastic. If you think child-proof caps on medicine bottles are stinkers, try industrial level theft protection on tools. At any rate, I balked at its $89 price tag. Well, maybe I don't need the replacement battery as badly as I thought. As I turn to leave, I happen to glance around the shelves and see the original drill kit I bought several years ago, now on sale for $84.99. It's the last one left. Let's see, how long is a microsecond?

I now have my backup battery, plus another new spare battery, another charger, and a brand new drill. And of course another neat little carrying case with chrome latches. And I saved five bucks to boot. See, even Lucy can't explain this one.



Monday, October 7, 2013

Artifacts

I cleaned out a bedroom closet today, trying to find more room to stack books. I know, I know, I have one of those e-readers, too, but I still like my paper books. They provide instant access to information and entertainment and don't require a wall outlet or a charged battery to use. I no longer take them to bed as they are just too heavy and cumbersome to hold, especially the big hard-cover books. Besides, I need a reading light behind me and that keeps my wife awake while I fumble turning pages. So, the Kindle Fire with its lighted screen is my current e-reader as I lay in bed waiting for the sandman. I also have my Internet available as well. Still, when I doze off and hit myself on the bridge of my nose with whatever I'm holding, it hurts less with a paperback than an aluminum-framed piece of hardware.

While digging around and tossing out mementos that have long lost their relevance, I came across a piece of hardware from the Asynchronous Age of Communication: A dB Meter! What you ask, is a dB Meter? Let me tell you how our civilization has evolved because of this ingenious, battery powered piece of test gear. It was to us IBM Field Engineering teleprocessing customer engineers in the dawn of computer communications as a rifle is to an infantryman, or a bat to a baseball player. Without this piece of gear, we couldn't blame TPC for communications terminals that simply sat there with their lights on, teasing operators with the promise of communicating with a mainframe computer somewhere up in the sky. TPC, by the way, is The Phone Company, but then you have to know who our man Flint is and here we are back at square one.

You see, back in those days, only some 40 or 50 years ago, when teleprocessing was in its infancy, data between computers was still handled mainly by delivery trucks which carried huge cartons of punched 5081 computer cards that had only 80 columns to store information, or magnetic tape reels the size of basketball hoops. They powered the computers that landed man on the moon. Think about that for a moment.

The first terminals in wide-spread commercial use were based on typewriters that were converted to respond to the pull of solenoids and magnets as well as the pressure from a human finger. Or fist, as occasionally happened when they failed to work after an operator had meticulously typed in a line of data. IBM had several terminals based on the old Model B typewriters, but when they made the Selectric1 look like a Borg, they hit pay-dirt.

In those days, hardly anyone typed. At least not the operators of the new equipment. Desk sergeants from police departments, tax collectors and county clerks, or sales managers trying to figure out what happened to the last delivery, were all new to the world of data processing and computers. It would be like having today's workers and managers sit down at the controls of an alien space ship with a cabbage as a keyboard.

The communications medium was the everyday, standard telephone line. Telephone lines were like politicians, they were all over the place, rhetorically as well as physically. Many people still remember their first home computers where a modem would tie up your house telephone when ever you tried to connect to the Internet, but I’m jumping ahead here. Dial up lines were not for serious, full time data usage. Constantly connected terminals required a “leased line” that was always connected. Those leased lines had levels of service, just like the octane for gas in your car. Most data connections required a “C-2” level, which stipulated a certain level or standard required to ensure the terminal could actually send data to the computer on the other end of the telephone line. The voltages had to be of a certain level, and free of distortion or interference. The telephone line couldn't have clicks or pops, for instance, as the two devices might both think the other was trying to talk, or even worse, was trying to start a fight.

Telephone lines were notoriously unreliable as a standardized medium. It got to the point we would ask customers if it was cloudy when they were having troubles. It seemed anything on earth could cause problems. Ever hear of the Yellow Breasted Bit Snatcher? Heaven help you if one landed on your telephone line.

One of the biggest problems was signal level, measured in decibels, or dB. If the signal fell ever so slightly below accepted levels, the dreaded data check light would flash and that annoying little ding that still haunts grown men in their sleep would sound to let you know that everything you had just typed had failed to go anywhere. Why not hit the resend, you ask? There wasn't any such thing as resend. Messages were sent one character at a time! The standard speed for a Selectric based terminal such as the 1050 or the 2740 was 14.5 characters per second. The line speed was usually 135 baud, - trust me, that's slow – although one version used for finance communication applications ran even slower on telegraph lines at 75 baud.

Buffered terminals were the second generation of terminals that actually saved humanity. Messages as long as 128 bytes could be created and stored and resent as often as needed to get through. Civilization was saved! A dedicated line could normally handle voice traffic or the 135 baud, but not the speed of the new buffered terminals and a new world was needed. Soon, line speeds were screaming at 1200, 2400, and even 4800 baud and telephone lines soon struggling to perform! Jump ahead a couple of decades and here we are.

But without the venerable dB meter, I couldn't prove when there wasn't enough juice from the TPC to make our machines talk to each other. I used mine many, many times, and found many, many problems. The only serious drawback with the dB meter was sometimes it said the telephone line was just fine. That meant the problem must be in the circuitry of our beloved little engineering masterpieces.

Those were usually long, long nights. Back in the dark ages when it all started 

1 Selectric © IBM Corp


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Where in the World did the English go?

No, not the English people, the language. In case you haven't noticed, it's gone. It has been replaced by a new, simplified approximation of what used to be called English. Oddly enough, even those who should know better are at fault for slowly and insidiously displacing the language Congress almost made mandatory. Listen to the national news tonight on any of the three traditional broadcast networks, or to Fox news, if you are one of the folks anxiously awaiting news of Armageddon, to hear what I'm writing about.

Listening to television broadcasters and weather announcers must drive English teachers crazy. Listen carefully to your local weather forecast and see if you don't smile at least once, and not about the weather.

When a teaser recently came up about a television premier to be broadcast later in the evening, the announcer said quite breathlessly, “Tonight, at nine, the long awaited reveal!” Reveal? Reveal is now a noun. In English it used to be called a revelation. How about pronunciation? No one says "for" unless they're talking about numbers. It's now “fur.” Or, is it “fir.” Brian Williams of NBC used to say it constantly, as in “We don't know what that is fir...” Brian was not alone. CBS's Scott Paley says it the same way, and so does Dianne Sawyer at ABC. In fact, to hear someone actually say “for” will ring in your ears. Rachel Maddow says it correctly, but everyone knows she's weird.

Are the English teachers the problem? Teachers are supposedly the guardians of linguistic communication, the arbiters of good diction and vocabulary, but they are the ones giving passing grades to the students who stumble out of their classrooms unable to communicate with anyone who has a high school diploma awarded before 1965. Unfortunately, teachers fall into the same cultural trap as every other consumer in their daily usage of the language, and the acceptable levels of the English language slide slowly into the whirlpool of diminishing effort to communicate.

If the acceptable bastardized verbiage is coming out of the mouths of people making big bucks, like actors and television personalities, why should anyone else be different? Country and Western singers are the worst arbiters of bad language. Many are college educated, but they make a fortune perpetuating bad grammar. If they don't have to speak it good, why should anyone else? [If this were an electronic medium, I'd stick a happy face “emoticon,” right here and everyone would know it is humor. No thought process involved, you wouldn't have to use your brain at all! Everyone would know when to smile, clap, cry, go to the bathroom, or whatever, and it is dictated by little graphic images.]

It's the media itself that corrupts the language. Social media panders to a common level of laziness and convenience that is like water flowing downhill.  Like the glaciers headed to eventual destruction in the sea, ain’t nobody gonna stop it. 

Aah, now we know where the English went. It went with Ferris Bueller when he took his day off. It hasn't come back yet, just traces of it floating around as teasers. Or was it Bill and Ted's Marvelous adventure?

Oh well, it just don't matter any more.

:)




Monday, July 15, 2013

Time Travel

The ride up through the center of Florida from the southwest coast is always a journey unto itself. There is no easy road such as an Interstate or the Florida Turnpike where one can drive hypnotically and blissfully ignore the state of the State. 

I wrote a column for the Charlotte Sun-Herald years ago advocating a limited access type highway to replace or augment U.S. 17 from Punta Gorda to Kissimmee, but met with wide-spread indifference. The political mood at the time was simply to widen I-75 that runs along Florida's southwest coast. So, U.S. Highway 17 is the only route from the glitter coast of tourism and wealthy winter residents, through third-world America to the conundrum of economic salvation offered by phosphate mining.

I'm sure the majority of travelers headed from Ft. Myers or Naples to the Orlando to see Mickey and his friends would much rather not have to travel all the way to Tampa to pick up I-4.  A ride up US-17 knocks almost 70 miles off the trip, but certainly not any time. We recently headed to Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine, Florida, towing our 21 foot travel trailer. I was looking for the shortest distance from here to there. Saving 70 miles at ten miles per gallon makes big difference when gas goes from $3.25 to $3.45 in just a single day.

Getting through Lakeland headed north – my alternative to I-75 north out of Tampa – is an ordeal. SR 471 from just north of Lakeland is the absolutely straight shot up through the pretty Withlacoochee State Forest to just outside Wildwood and the I-75/Florida Turnpike junction. Getting to SR 471 is the big aggravation.

If I'm headed north-east, I use SR 659 to bypass downtown Lakeland, then north to SR 33 to Groveland. It is simply the best alternative I've found if I'm trying to bypass the metro Orlando mess. I pick up SR 44 just north and east of Eustis as a pleasant, pretty ride to Deland, bypassing all the traffic in Orlando. I highly recommend SR11 north from Deland to Bunnell if headed for St. Augustine, it is a really pretty ride. It has none of the abject poverty or slovenliness of some of the southwestern counties. If you can't see the real state of America, then we have a very serious problem.

Traveling through the center of the state shows you the where America really is: Revivals, gun shops, churches, empty store fronts, gun shops, Dollar Stores, dilapidated houses and businesses as far as the eye can see. Weed infested parking lots, crumpling curbs and pot- holed streets, barricaded windows and the next town is just as bad as the last. With the exception of Wauchula, of course. They show what can be done.

Perhaps Fox news should actually see what real America looks like. It's easy, just drive the shortest route from here to there.



Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Different Story

The few cars that sped under the narrow stone bridge that crossed over Bundestrasse 51 on its dead-end path to the Ehrenfriedhof cemetery were fascinatingly quiet. You could barely hear the wind or tires as they sped along underneath. The cemetery lay at the end of the bridge, just the other side of the usually heavily traveled main highway that skirted the small town of Bitburg.
Little did I think, walking sheepishly with my first German date along the quiet, two lane road through the rolling farm land, that a President of the United States would create an international furor by driving down this same road some twenty-four years later.
When President Reagan stopped to pay homage to the German and American war dead in May, 1985, he created an international maelstrom of controversy with those who want to keep the crimes of the past in the forefront of our relations with Germany. A year after Reagan's visit, I couldn't help but be struck by how quiet the German countryside always is. Memories rise effortlessly in the silence. The emotions always follow.
In the media event that was the President's visit, no one looked toward the second hill top to the right. There is an abandoned missile site there. In fact, there are several missile launch and maintenance sites nestled in the woods on the not-so-distant horizon, but no one pointed them out to the visiting dignitaries.
When I visited in 1986, the U.S. Army had just removed a Patriot battery from our old site VII, just overlooking the town of Rittersdorf. Both sites have long since been deserted. The only remnants of the old, original Matador pads are worn, beat up patches of seemingly misplaced asphalt. The Mace B sites, however, will be there for a long time. Perhaps as long as the Roman ruins that are only three or four hill tops to the right of the Rittersdorf site. If you look toward the remains of the Roman site at Otrang, you have to overlook the massive remains of one of the largest bunkers left over from Hitler's Siegfried line in the Eifel area of Germany.

The bunker is always overlooked. The remains are broad and angular, but not tall. They barely protrude above the farmer's field that dominates the top of the gently sloping hill. It is the highest hill in the area. If you don't know what you are looking at, you simply won't know what it is. Only nondescript slabs of reinforced concrete, blown apart in a war that will someday also be forgotten. It is nine stories deep.


The Mace launch sites, however, jut up from the earth looking like massive chambers to the underworld. They sit gathering growths of foliage and shrubs over and around the massive one hundred ton launch doors. Eight vertical doors, side by side. Covered with earth at a long slope. There are four bays in the first half and four in the second half, all sitting securely inside the double security fences.
The entrance to the remainder of the underground complex is located inconspicuously in the center of the asphalt apron spread before the massive doors. There are eight more such doors, sitting idly by to provoke curiosity from the riders of the local Bundespost bus that turns off the B-51 Trier highway and drives the few kilometers to Idenheim. The site is barely off the main road. If you look straight ahead past the Ehrenfriedhof, you look into the rear slope of the forest behind Oberweis. That was our MSA, our Missile Support Area. No one bothered to ask what it was.

We had been among the first US missile men in Europe. In fact, the very first operational missile squadron in the United States Air Force, on duty since 1954, had first been assigned here. Already forgotten. The TM-61-C Matador that had been erected as a memorial at the corner of Mace & Matador avenues in the MSA has been removed. Only the cement cradle remained on my last visit, cracked and fading. If you hadn't seen the missile in place, you would see no possible use for the structure. Bitburg Air Base is closed now. Just inside where the old main gate was located, right in front of the former base library, there was a monument. It was a replica of the US Air Force Missileman's badge. It was mounted on a granite obelisk. The monument was dedicated to the men who manned the first Matador units in Europe. It has been removed and no written history of its removal exists.
No reporters mentioned any knowledge of this quiet farming community in their coverage of the Reagan visit . Perhaps they didn't know that the only hardened American missile launch sites in Europe were right behind where they were standing. After the Cuban Missile crisis, they were the only nuclear missile sites the United States had in NATO. 

The very first American missiles in NATO, in fact, the very first operational missile squadron in the United States Air Force, the 1st Pilotless Bomber Squadron, stood nuclear alert duty just a few miles away. 

But, then, that wasn't the story the media wanted to cover.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Saturday Night at the Movies

TURD. My Mom, Dad, and Dean, my younger brother, and I stared at the TV screen in disbelief. No one spoke. Our brand new television set boldly displayed “TURD" in big white letters. We were sitting in our brand new, almost barren, living room, dominated by the cold, odd smelling terrazzo floor, watching WTVJ, Channel 4, Miami, on our new 14 inch television set - still black and white in those days - circa late 1953 or early 1954 - when we were startled by the unexpected word filling the screen. 

The late night movie commercial break was over and the Saturday night movie was about to resume. Dean and I were sitting on our equally new red and gray chrome, Naugahyde dining room chairs while our mom and dad lounged on the living room couch with their feet on the equally new coffee table. We didn't have extra living room chairs yet, so my brother and I had to drag up the nearby dining room chairs to sit on. I was twelve years old, and dirty words to me were a forbidden, secretive but exciting new realm that I desperately wanted to explore. Without anyone knowing, of course. 

After waiting twenty minutes or so to make sure everyone was hooked on the movie, the station had gone to commercial break, and was in the process of returning to regular programming from the commercial break when the screen caught everyone’s attention. The white lettering on the gray background was in caps, and the caption actually read THE SATURDAY NIGHT MOVIE, except they were in extreme closeup, so the only letters you could see were the T, the U, the R, and the D. The cameraman simply did a dolly pull with the camera back away from the cardboard sign to innocently show the full name of the show. But he started from the extreme close-up that showed only the four letters that caught everyone's attention.

WTVJ was one of the few television stations we could get in Miami in 1953. In fact, it may have been the only one we could get out by Tropical Park. Ralph Renick and the late Channel 4 news was always followed by Jim Dooley and the weekend fishing forecast, which we watched religiously. We stayed up after the news that particular Saturday night to watch Errol Flynn to once again take on the Japanese Army in the weekly “Saturday Night Movie”

Dean, my younger brother, and I waited, holding our breath. Our dad said nothing, but he slowly gave our mom an offhanded glance that spoke volumes. Mom clinked the ice cubes in her ice tea and coughed. My introduction to surreptitious humor. I still practice every chance I get.



Friday, May 24, 2013

Cultural Center Shock - Humor


Move over Pirates of Penzance, here come the Peasants of Port Charlotte! Haven't met them yet? Well, you haven't attended any live concerts here in Charlotte County where everyone in the audience gets up and leaves at the first curtain. Imagine the look of surprise on Roy Clark's face when the curtains opened for his first encore a couple of years ago in Punta Gorda and all he saw were white-haired patrons all scurrying for the exits! The few of us who were applauding and cheering for more got to hear one more, truncated piece before Roy and his band packed it in and headed for the exits along with the Peasants of Port Charlotte. Amazing! 

Where did all these people live before they moved here? Mars? I can't believe so many people have never been to a live concert! Instead of waiting for the house lights to come up -- indicating the show is officially over -- they actually pushed each other out of the way to get to the exits first as soon as the curtain closed.

I was sure many them must have been aware of some of the basics of modern civilization, but, after listening to them at recent County Commission meetings, I'm not sure after all. Why do they want Charlotte County to work and look like what they had up north? Have you ever seen up north? No wonder they moved here. Now they want to screw it up here as well.

At my first business show here, I was told by other Chamber of Commerce members to only put a few "freebies" on my display table at any time. I soon found out why as an elderly, rather unfriendly lady took her arm and brushed everything on my table into her huge plastic bag, then looked around to see what see might have missed. I'm sure she was just really interested in Business Impact Analysis and needed as many pens as she took.  Probably still writing with them these many years later.

My wife and I recently attended a free seminar on the use of her new smart phone given by the cell phone company, Verizon. Most of the attendees were definitely in the retired age group. There were no youngsters in the crowd, except perhaps the instructors, and that is probably why they were playing Frank Sinatra on the store music system. They just don't realize the Rolling Stone's Mick Jagger and Keith Richards will both be 70 this year, Charlie Watts will be 72 and Bill Wyman will be 77! 

But then, maybe they have met the Peasants of Port Charlotte before, and 'Ol Blue Eyes is considered standard fare.

I hope they don't see my playlist, they'll think I stole my iPod from my granddaughter. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gun Control

Gun Control


[Author's note – Oct 3, 2015 – There have been approximately 985 mass shootings in American since I first wrote this piece.1 Nothing has changed. I have edited this piece, not in content, but in layout to make it better reflect my feelings and attitude.2]

In 2013, in the United States of America, I am not safe. I am not safe in a mall, or in a theater. My granddaughter is not safe in elementary school or on a school bus. We may be shot. We may be shot at any time, anyplace. Not by an insurgent army, or a radical political group trying to overthrow the government of the United States, nor by any of the threats envisioned by our forefathers who wrote the Constitution. Instead, we may be shot by anyone at anytime.

We have been witness to mass murder by firearms since Charles Whitman killed fourteen people and wounded thirty-two more in Austin, Texas in August 1, 1966. Those early massacres were explained as extraordinary anomalies occurring outside the norm of our daily existence. Whitmans' shootings were blamed on a brain tumor. Today, however, mass murder has become epidemic. In the last six months of 2012, twelve people were shot dead and fifty-eight wounded in a shooting in a theater in Colorado; seven more were killed and two more wounded at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; five more were killed and two more wounded at a sign manufacturer in Minneapolis; and the most horrific of all, twenty of the twenty seven shot dead in Connecticut were children under the age of six. The absolutely defenseless victims were all selected at random. They offended no one.

According to an article in Mother Jones Magazine,
Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass shootings across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. Twenty-five of these mass shootings have occurred since 2006, and seven of them took place in 2012.” 3
The current controversy over “gun control” is a carefully manufactured and controlled media campaign manipulating mass hysteria and plebeian ignorance to attain several simultaneous results, not the least of which may be the 2016 Presidential election in the United States. It is based on the threat of the loss of freedom, the loss of our precious liberties. There is no other threat that so energizes Americans, and that threat is being exploited by masters at manipulation. The well-run, well-financed campaign by the forces which oppose gun control are in fact the genesis of the current controversy.

The National Rifle Association4 appears to be the definitive obstacle to changes in existing gun laws. The non-profit organization relies entirely on the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to defend its position in the “controversy.” The NRA, a 501(c)(4) membership association with four, 501(c)(3) charitable subsidiaries and an incredibly powerful Section 527 Political Action Committee, capitalizes on the image that they alone protect the rights of American gun owners. The prime marketing image portrayed by the NRA has but one real message: Without the NRA, gun ownership would be illegal in the United States.

The Second Amendment states:

A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”5

The NRA is not the only supporter of Second Amendment rights. The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU, assailed by evangelical conservatives for their stand on separation of church and state as various religions attempt to encroach our laws, has jointly assisted the NRA in issues of civil rights.6 The Second Amendment, as controversial today as when it was first presented to Congress in 1789, and when it was adopted in 1791, is not in jeopardy of being repealed. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 20087 that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess and carry firearms unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. In addition, on June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment was incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment thus protecting those rights from infringement by local governments.8 The NRA was a major supporter of the opposition to the laws, particularly the MacDonald vs Chicago Supreme Court case which struck down the restrictions the City of Chicago had placed on the registration of handguns. While that case was different from the NRA vs Chicago lawsuit, it was in fact the de facto argument that owning guns cannot be barred by any state or local government. Chicago had banned the registration of handguns in 1982 in an effort to control the spiraling homicide rate from handguns in the city. The law was declared un-Constitutional by the ruling and Chicago could no longer enforce the handgun ban. The City of Chicago had 506 murders by firearms in 2012.

Our founding fathers could not have envisioned murder evolving into a form of socially accepted entertainment, spilling into our everyday lives as the lines between reality and fantasy evaporate.9 The total immersion of our society through mass media distribution markets, into a daily, almost hourly routine of gruesomely detailed murders and lifelike video games where contestants of all ages kill mercilessly without remorse, would appall the men who created our country.

We are in danger because the definition of militia as known by our founding fathers did not envision the exclusion of the majority of Americans as it does today. The majority of Americans today are not fit to serve in any militia. They are not qualified to bear military weapons of mass destruction. Those military weapons do not belong in untrained hands. The premise that every able-bodied soul could be considered a soldier at a moment's notice has long dissolved into the reality of specialized training and intensive conditioning. Invading armies no longer dress in red tunics and march twelve abreast down dirt roads.

The incredibly talented and honorable men who wrote our Constitution could never have conceived the premise that firearms designed solely for warfare by a specialized, highly trained militia would be considered under the protections of the very Constitution they wrote to protect us. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 2008 an individual's right to possess and carry firearms is unconnected with service in a militia10 and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home, is protected under the Second Amendment. Failure to understand that separation, that distinction between specialized weapons used by the militia and those protected by the Constitution, by a powerful, well funded private association that prevents enactment of laws to protect me and my family is the real danger. We are in danger because we are powerless to protect ourselves from those who use the Constitution of the United States for their own self-interest.

The Second Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, is firmly entrenched and protected by the Supreme Court. It is not, however, in the NRA's best interest to publicize the Supreme Court's decisions. By doing so they would lose the leverage of the threat of the loss of individual liberties. Local interests such as Fowler Firearms of Ft. Myers, Florida, follows the NRA lead by using the threat of coming gun control in their television commercials that claim potential customers should act now as “firearm laws may be changing.” The hysteria about gun-control is a godsend for gun sales.

The NRA, which was originally formed in 1871 to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,” has expanded its role in influencing American government since its inception. Does the NRA in fact represent the majority of Americans, or even the majority of its own members? Do the nearly four million NRA members really want .50 caliber sniper rifles, or thirty round clips for their Russian made AK-47 assault rifles? Or do they just want to hunt deer? Do duck hunters really want anyone at any time to buy any gun without background checks or licensing, or do they simply want to hunt as they did with their fathers and grandfathers without government interference? They are led by the NRA directors to believe assault weapon gun control will cover all gun owners and result in an oppressive blanket of legislation that will remove all guns from every home.

There are countless books and articles praising or damning the NRA, from Jack Anderson's 1996 book, “Inside the NRA: Armed and Dangerous,” to J. Neil Schulman's book, “SELF CONTROL, Not Gun Control”. Reviews of these books, as with any polarizing issue in America, warrant either only 1 star, from the opposition, to 5 stars from the proponents. They support one without remorse, and demonize the other without mercy. There is no middle ground. Will there be middle ground in fifty years? Or one hundred? Will the epidemic of rampant manslaughter at the hands of insane, or evil gunmen be curtailed or eliminated?

In a survey of NRA members, conducted by a regular contributor to Fox News, Frank Luntz, the majority of NRA members, some 74 percent, support requiring criminal background checks of anyone purchasing a gun, and 79 percent of NRA members support requiring gun retailers to perform background checks on all employees. The survey was conducted at the request of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns in July, 2012, some six months in advance of the horrific shooting of elementary school children in New Town, Connecticut.

According to the web page for the Mayors Against Illegal Guns:11

The Luntz findings are in line with previous research showing that Americans are nearly unanimous in their support for closing loopholes that allow dangerous people to buy firearms without a background check. A January 2011 poll conducted for Mayors Against Illegal Guns by the bipartisan polling team of Momentum Analysis and American Viewpoint found that 86 percent of Americans and 81 percent of gun owners support requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check, no matter where they buy a gun or who they but it from.”


The NRA has in the past so alienated many of its supporters that two U.S. Presidents, both Republican, resigned their lifetime memberships in the organization in protest to their position. In 1969, U.S. President Richard Nixon resigned his "Honorary Life Membership" to the NRA, and in 1995, after NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre sent an advertisement letter that labeled agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), "jack-booted government thugs," former U.S. President George H. W. Bush resigned his life membership to the organization in protest.12

The Board of Governors of the NRA vehemently opposes any gun control legislation. The National Rifle Association is governed by a fairly large board of directors.13 There are 75 active board members as of February, 2013. Many board members are current or former members of Congress, while others are as diverse as actors and musicians. The NRA Board of Governors deeply reflects the conservative Tea Party movement, as reflected by Board of Governors former Congressman Bob Barr and Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, USMC (Ret.) Conservative lobbyist Grover G. Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, is also a current board member. Of the board members actually involved in the manufacture of firearms, the most highly visible are Ronnie G. Barrett, owner of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, famous for his sniper rifle, and Pete Brownell, manufacturer of high-capacity magazines, the removable part of the gun that holds and supplies the bullets. The overwhelming majority of board members, other than politicians, are in the firearms business through other venues. The Board of Directors choose the president, the leading spokesman for the organization, from among their members. David Keene is the current president. Past presidents have included the highly visible actor, Charlton Heston, and Marion P. Hammer, the NRA's first female president. No member of the NRA is more visible, nor more well known, however, than Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

According to the NRA website,14

nearly four million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs. As former Clinton spokesman George Stephanopoulos said, 'Let me make one small vote for the NRA. They're good citizens. They call their Congressmen. They write. They vote. They contribute. And they get what they want over time.'"

The NRA fans the flames of patriotism and outrage to maintain the illusion of their dedication in defending the rights of hunters and sportsmen who own and use firearms. In their strict interpretation of the Second Amendment, no laws may be made to infringe on gun ownership in the United States. Conversely, using the NRA's logic, the Second Amendment must then be repealed to attain gun control.
Dean and George Mindling - plinking in south Dade County - 1956

I do not write this article lightly. I have been a gun owner and shooter since I was fourteen years old. I still have the .22 caliber rifle my grandfather used to slaughter hogs. In December. 1960, as a member of Flight 1495, 3703rd Basic Training Squadron, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, a basic training squadron that was selected for analytical analysis of small arms weapons, I was among the first U.S. Military personnel ever trained on the Fairchild-Hiller AR-15, now known as the Colt M-16 Rifle. In the eight years I was active duty, I never scored less than expert in my annual small arms re-certification. The U.S. Government, however, did not teach me to shoot: my father did. One thing is certain: the NRA does not represent me.

My safety, and my family's safety, is in jeopardy, and the National Rifle Association chooses to defend the threat to me, not defend me from it. The safety of my family is paramount to me, and the NRA does nothing to protect us. The NRA pretends to defend my rights, but my rights of gun ownership are not in jeopardy. What is in jeopardy is my basic right as an American, as declared in the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I am an American, and I am a gun owner. My inalienable right to life supersedes the Second Amendment. If America must repeal the Second Amendment for the sake of the common good, so be it. That is the law of the land. That is the Constitution of the United States. If the Second Amendment is repealed, it will be because the leadership, the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association, in their own self interests, failed to protect its members and its obligation to America. Their inflexible self interests will, in time, destroy the NRA and cause the repeal of the Second Amendment as well.

George Mindling © 2013 - Port Charlotte, FL

1http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/oct/02/mass-shootings-america-gun-violence?CMP=share_btn_fb

2  http://www.vox.com/2015/8/24/9183525/gun-violence-statistics

3 “A Guide to Mass Shootings in America“ Mother Jones Magazine, Updated: Sat Dec. 15, 2012, By Mark Follman, Gavin Aronsen, and Deanna Pan

4 “Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis," according to a magazine editorial written by Church./membership.nrahq.org/about-us.asp?campaignid=XP009522

5 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, Adopted December 15, 1791, - Discussion, Cornell University Law School - 

 http://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/amdt2_user.html#amdt2_hd2

6 Apr 05, 2007 The Daily Kos - The ACLU and the NRA - working together. by Shadan7

7 District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570

8 MacDonald vs Chicago – 561 US._(2010)

9 As I write [Feb, 2013], three concurrent television shows on broadcast television are showing murder, some bloody and gruesomely detailed, including a headless corpse hanging upside down, in prime time as their “flagship” programs. A trailer, an advertisement for Sylvester Stallone's' new movie “A Bullet to the Head.” was also broadcast.10 District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570

11“The National Rifle Association has apologized for a recent fund-raising letter that described some federal agents as "jack-booted thugs." From the Seattle Times, Thursday, May 18, 1995 - By Richard Keil

12http://membership.nrahq.org/about-us.asp?campaignid=XP009522

13 http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/html/public_opinion/public_opinion.shtml

14 http://nra.org/board/


George and Dean - Beverly, Ohio - early fifties



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