I await the massacres

Headline: Georgia Passes Sweeping Expansion of Gun Carry Laws

Upshot (heh!): If you have a license to carry a weapon in Georgia, you can take that gun virtually anywhere. Churches, because the clergyman might suddenly espouse evolution as the true way of the world. Schools, because you never know when some mouthy teacher might tell you little Billy’s not doing well in his classes. Government buildings, because that McVeigh fella had the right idea. Most importantly, bars, because you never know when some damned Alabama fan might laugh at your Georgia Bulldogs.

What in the world are those idiots afraid of? Can they really think the Federal Government might come after their constitutional rights somehow and they’ll need to fight back? The US Army has both Fort Benning (armor and infantry) and Fort Stewart (mechanized infantry) in-state, and those divisions and regiments could probably defeat the rabble waving their handguns and rifles.

Add Georgia to my list of places I don’t need to see. I’d be worried about being in the wrong place at the wrong time with all those concealed weapons around. If I wanted to live in the Old West I’d use a time machine to get there.

“If I go, here’s one last kick on my way out”

The spite toward Democrats and Obama and the dismissal of the health care of nearly half-a-million poor people in their states as unimportant is almost unbelievable. From TPM:

Under bills passed in Georgia and Kansas recently, even if a Democratic candidate were to pull off an upset and take the governor’s seat, they would not be able to expand the program without the consent of the state legislature — which will almost certainly remain Republican.

In other words, GOP lawmakers have taken steps to guarantee that many of their poorest residents will remain uninsured under the health care reform law, no matter what happens in the gubernatorial election.

Personally, if I were a Democratic organizer in Georgia or Kansas, I’d be sure I let every poor person in the state know all about these despicable laws.

“Hey, did you know that even if a Democrat wins on Election Day you’re still locked out of Medicaid? Yep, thanks to those clowns in the legislature. They passed a law that says even if our side wins you can’t have it. You can help fix that. Go to the polls on November 4th and vote for the Democratic candidate for Governor, and vote for the Democrats for the House and Senate. We have to get rid of these people who don’t give a rip about people like you and me.”

This really is evil. How can Republicans claim to represent the citizens of their states and districts when they’re actively trying to hurt them?

Easter Brunch, 2014

We had late reservations at the Oceanarium Restaurant at the Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki this afternoon, but they hadn’t run out of food. I am still stuffed at 7:45pm.

This is our go-to place for Easter. I’ll bet we’ve been there a dozen times over the years. It never changes, and the food and ambience are great.

This was the buffet’s centerpiece.


From Events

Prime Rib, Omelets, Crab Legs, Breakfast Meats, Sashimi, Sushi, Paella, Roasted Potatoes, two kinds of rice, about twenty different desserts, fruit . . .

Here are several of the desserts:


From Events

Congrats, Ms. Wie!

Michelle Wie won the LPGA’s Lotte Tournament here on Oahu today, her third career win and first in four years. This made her local fans very very happy, and she was pretty pleased herself.

I’m so happy I can’t think straight,” Wie said. “I love everybody here in Hawaii and celebrating tonight is going to be fun. I’m so proud of myself. I had a blast out there today. It was fun.”

She’s having even more fun: tonight she’s hosting (and competing in) a charity ping pong tournament to benefit the Hawai’i Junior Golf Association, and after that she’s hosting an afterparty to follow the second of three Bruno Mars concerts at the Blaisdell Arena downtown.

Ping Pong?

The fundraising idea was dreamed up by Ko Olina director of golf Greg Nichols, who saw Wie’s passion for Ping-Pong at another fundraiser last year. He proposed it and the board loved it.

So did Rolfing and HSJGA president Mary Bea Porter-King, once they got past the initial shock.

“I was blown away,” Porter-King admits.

[snip]

Each pro will play Ping-Pong with two amateurs. The board is sending out invites and expects to sell out the 260 tickets — for playing, eating and spectating — easily.

Wie is bringing seven of her LPGA buddies, including Lydia Ko, Christina Kim, Cristie Kerr and Yani Tseng, for this new-breed Pro-Am.

“Michelle’s and the HSJGA’s only prerequisites are that the player has to have game,” Nichols says, “and is fun to be around. And, of course, wants to help give back to the game.”

Wie has been a celebrity in Hawai’i for nearly fifteen years. She qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links when she was 10 (she’s 24 now), and she has had ups and downs on the golf course ever since. But she graduated from Stanford in June of 2012 and has been improving since she started playing almost full time. We take a proprietary interest in her out here, remembering that little kid who was beating everyone in sight at such an early age.

Return of the Gilded Age

In case you’re looking for data to back up that unpleasant suspicion you have that rich people have more say in the way America works than the poor and middle class do, two Princeton researchers have just completed a study which more or less proves it.

They studied over 1,800 policy initiatives between 1981 and 2002 and discovered

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

He who has the gold makes the rules. For a while there this country tried to get away from that, but it’s been creeping backwards.

Full study here.

Rock n’ Roll HoF for Linda Ronstadt

She’s suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and couldn’t attend the induction ceremonies, but an all-star cast of her friends sang her songs for her.

Carrie Underwood sang Ronstadt’s first hit,”Different Drum.”

Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris joined Underwood to sing “You’re No Good.”

They then added Stevie Nicks to the group for “When Will I Be Loved?”

Segregation reborn

Pro Publica has partnered with The Atlantic to do a series on the resegregation of public schools in America. It’s heartbreaking to read how all the difficult, dangerous work of school integration done by so many people in the 1960s and 1970s has essentially been undone by an unwillingness on the part of the politicians, the judiciary and local communities to keep at it. Instead, you’ve got the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court engaging in word games:

“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Now there’s a statement which will live forever in American rhetoric, although perhaps not for the reason Roberts might hope. It’s a monument to cynicism, as are many of his arguments. (See his majority opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC, 2014).

Anyway, Nikole Hannah-Jones’s story tells how Tuscaloosa, AL backslid from being one of the most successful school integration stories in the country to a city whose schools have fallen backward: “In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened.”

Read the whole thing.

Oklahoma NOT Okay

I’m sure there are nice people in Oklahoma. I’m also sure the ones who work in the Governor’s office and who control the state legislature there aren’t. Governor Mary Fallin just signed a bill into law which prohibits cities around the state from establishing minimum wage rates and vacation and sick leave policies.

She and her supporters (Republicans, of course) say

“An artificial raise in the minimum wage could derail local economies in a matter of months. This is a fair measure for consumers, workers and small business owners.”

What it means is municipalities can’t set wage floors or benefit requirements for employers in their jurisdictions.

If you’re asking yourself, “I thought these clowns worshipped the free market and local control of policy. Doesn’t this action completely contradict that?” you’re right. Consistency isn’t a strong point of the modern Republican party.

Will Rogers and Woody Guthrie, both born in Oklahoma, are probably spinning in their graves.

Nitwit Nevadan rebellion

There’s a scofflaw rancher out in Nevada who’s concluded that the Feds have no jurisdiction over land in the state of Nevada (apparently Mr. Bundy has never heard of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the US – Mexican War and included the ceding of ownership of California and a large area comprising New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado to the United States). I’ve seen it suggested elsewhere and it makes sense to me: follow Molly Ivins’ suggestion about what to do with the Branch Davidians in their compound in Waco back in 1993. Molly wrote in a column on March 13 as that standoff continued

build a large fence around the Branch Davidian compound, declare it a prison and have everyone walk away.

What’s to prevent the BLM from blockading all routes in and out of Mr. Bundy’s ranch, with the National Guard in some MRAPs or Bradley Fighting Vehicles if necessary? Then just let Mr. Bundy stew in his own juices until he gets tired of being unable to move his cattle to market.

I’m with Charlie Pierce, too: One of the days the right-wing talkers on the radio and the TV are going to get somebody or somebodies killed.

Bear in mind that Bundy’s entire position is that he can not pay his bills, and that he can ignore a federal judge, because he feels the federal government is illegitimate. (Poor Fred Hampton should have thought of this.) This is conservatism — and, therefore, Republicanism — playing footsie with sedition. This is not the first time, either.

[snip]

The difference between the present moment, and the days when Helen Chenoweth was riding the range, of course, is the fact that there is a powerful and loud right-wing media infrastructure at the disposal of the people peddling this constitutional poison. Americans For Prosperity jumped right on the Bundy case. Of course, AFP — and the Koch brothers who fund it — isn’t in this for airy philosophical debates on the role of government. They’re in it to break the control of the federal government over the lands that they want to exploit for their own profit, and they are willing to help engage the single most destructive political theory in the country’s history to help them do it. It is reckless and dangerous, and anybody who gets used by these people is a sap. And useful idiots, like Sean Hannity and all the someones like him, are going to get somebody killed behind this stuff.

The Hannitys and O’Reillys and the rest will all squeal like stuck pigs if accused of this, of course, but they have little deniability left.