Thursday, March 11, 2010


Is that a pistol you're packing, or are you just glad to see me?

Reality frequently and hastily overtakes our Simply Appalling imaginings. According to a recent Supreme Court decision, guns may be allowed in supermarkets but not in federal courtrooms, which are "sensitive." Only last week I wrote that

In my view, my local supermarket is far more sensitive than a federal courthouse, because I go there often and have the increasingly forelorn hope of not being caught in the crossfire between the armed clerk at the checkout counter and the armed robber or the armed irate customer.

Today Mark Mardell of the BBC reports,

Elm Grove, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Other customers stare as Nik Clark and Kim Garny do their weekly shop at a large upscale supermarket. It's hardy a surprise as a TV camera is trailing behind their trolley. But people would do a double-take even if the BBC weren't in tow. In some ways Nick wants them to look.

There's a revolver amid the ravioli, an automatic among the avocados.

Like cowboys out of Westerns, the couple carry handguns on holsters on their hips. She has a Smith and Wesson .38 special with a cute pink grip that makes it look almost like a toy. He has a rather more chunky Glock.

KIm Garny 's Smith and Wesson .38Wisconsin Open Carry. Groups like this have been springing up all over the States in the last year and they've been making an impact in the last week or so, getting Starbucks in California to agree people should be allowed into their coffee shops carrying guns. The groups are made up of people who want to make a point about the Second Amendment right in the Constitution to bear arms, by bearing them openly. Some want to make a point and test whether or not private firms like shops and restaurants recognise that right.

Can it be long before we see replacement bullets alongside the batteries and chewing gum at the checkout stand?

Related post
Reversing my opinion on restrictive gun laws (3/04/2010)

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Proposed Legislation of the Day: Restricting foreign corporations in U.S. elections

Proposed legislation to block foreign companies from contributing money to U.S. elections could end up affecting well-known companies such as Chrysler, Anheuser-Busch and Citgo....
—Clement Tan reporting in "Campaign finance legislation faces tricky issue of foreign corporations"

Wouldn't that be a shame?!  What will become of us, I wonder, if an inept automaker, a beer brewer and a foreign oil company be prevented from influencing our elections.

Van Hollen [U.S. Representative from Maryland, Democrat] said his legislative team is "still reviewing the foreign influence issue."

But he added that it was important to prevent foreign influence on domestic politics. "We must ultimately ensure that Americans decide our elections, not foreign special interests," he said.

Absolutely! It will be much better if our elections are decided by domestic special interests.

And on that note I should refer you to another news item—"U.S. Chamber of Commerce grows into a political force"—in which we learn that the Chamber has established a "grassroots" movement, Friends of the U.S. Chamber, said to embody some 6 million individuals.

Tom Hamburger writes,

The chamber's expansion into grass-roots organizing -- coupled with a large and growing fundraising apparatus that got a lift from Supreme Court rulings -- is part of a trend in which the traditional parties are losing ground to well-financed and increasingly assertive outside groups. The chamber is certainly better positioned than ever to be a major force on the issues and elections it focuses on each year, analysts think.

What makes the initiative possible is a swelling tide of money. The chamber spent more than $144 million on lobbying and grass-roots organizing last year, a 60% increase over 2008, and well beyond the spending of individual labor unions or the Democratic or Republican national committees.

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Stay-at-Home Princess of the Day

... since her marriage, the restrictions imposed by the Imperial Household have meant the former jet-setting Princess Masako has only travelled a handful of times.

It has been assumed that conservatives in the Imperial Household have wanted her close to home so she could concentrate her energies on conceiving.

—BBC report in "Princess trapped by palace guard"

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