A Few thoughts on a few things.

No in-depth analysis of the debt ceiling crisis or blueprints to Middle-East peace today, just a couple of comments on a couple of recent tidbits in the news the last few days.

First, a big Kudos to my congressman, Rep. Leonard Boswell. I guess now that Schwarzenegger has left politics, we need a new kick-ass in government, and I nominate Leonard. Last Saturday night two thugs broke into Boswells Iowa farm and attacked him and his family. The intruder put a gun to the head of Boswell’s daughters head (turns out it was a bb gun, but apparently a very realistic one), and when she screamed, the Congressman entered the room and tackled the intruder. Now that’s pretty cool, even cooler when you consider Boswell is 77 years old. No, that’s not a misprint. Leonard is 77 years old, and he tackled an armed intruder. Want to hear something even more surprising? Boswell is a Democrat. Now that may not mean much, and maybe it shouldn’t, but the rest of the story is that the intruder was scared off when Boswell’s grandson entered the room with a rifle and frightened the intruder off (the second criminal master-mind was waiting in the “getaway car”).

You just know that the fact that this crime was thwarted by an armed-citizen – an armed DEMOCRATIC citizen – has to piss the left off. And outside the fact that Boswell is 77 years old, this really should not be too much of a surprise for anyone who knows the Congressman. Boswell spent twenty years in the United States Army. He was first drafted in the Army in 1956 as a private. He later graduated from Artillery Officers Candidate School, eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During his military career he earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, the Soldier’s Medal, and various other awards and decorations. He served two one-year tours of duty as an assault helicopter pilot in Vietnam. He also served two NATO tours of duty in Europe. (from wikipedia)

Boswell also has an “A” rating from the NRA and is pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment rights. In 2010 I voted for Boswell, although he was not my original choice. However, when the nuttier side of his opponent, Brad Zahn, came out, Leonard became the obvious choice. And last Saturday night he may have secured my second vote for him. Bravo Leonard.

And Bravo to the press too. While it would be all too easy to start saying this is another right wing attack on the left, I think the press may have learned something from the Tucson tragedy and the consequences of jumping the gun. I would however suggest going over the Huffington Post and reading about the attack. Oh not the article, HuffPo actually did a nice straight reporting job there, but the comments. Here’s one of my favorites: “All the intruder wanted was money. (Article says that’s all he asked for.) Probably down on his luck and out of a job thanks to George Bush, Cheney/Hal­liburton, and global warming’s destruction­n of the Iowa farm economy. The granddaughter should have just handed the cash over instead of making such a fuss. Nothing worth anyone get shot over.”

While I agree 100% with the “nothing worth anyone getting shot over” comment, the rest of the comment is a hoot. While the dig at Bush is not unexpected – it is the “go to” comment for the lunatic fringe of the left – you have to give him points for working in Halliburton and Cheney, not to mention global warming. Of course, the fact that Iowa’s Farm economy is booming kinda hurts the attack, but when have facts ever been a concern for the left. Again, way to go Leonard

Yhe next item I want to discuss comes from a recent court ruling. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that conviction Tuesday of Walter Bagdasarian, who was found guilty two years ago of making threats against a major presidential candidate (then Senator-Obama) in comments he posted on a Yahoo website on Oct. 22, 2008. The observation that Obama “will have a 50 cal in the head soon” and a call to “shoot the [racist slur]” weren’t violations of the law under which Bagdasarian was convicted because the statute doesn’t criminalize “predictions or exhortations to others to injure or kill the president,” said the majority opinion written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt.

I’m a huge supporter of free speech, and while I don’t think all speech (such as threats) should be protected, I think you need to be very, very careful in taking away those rights. The basic point the court was taking here is that saying you are going to kill someone is a threat (and not protected speech), but wishing someone else would do it, is not. Kind of a gray area, in my mind. And I do agree that there is a difference, but I also see these comments as not just a desire to see something happen, but almost a prodding to make it happen. Sorry, but I have zero tolerance for anyone making a threat against anyone, especially public servants, and I save my most righteous indignation for anyone making a threat against the president. Sorry, it’s just uncalled for, and I think the courts got this one wrong.

One last thing. Apparently the man was drunk when he did it. Sorry, but that doesn’t matter (unless of course a group of hooligans held him down and forced liquor down his throat).

Finally, R.I.P. to former Bond actress Angela Scoular, who died after drinking acid cleaner over the weekend. Without getting into too many of the details, Scouler had some serious health and mental issues, and it is just a very, very sad situation.

The actress is actually a two-time Bond girl. Kinda. She first landed the role of Buttercup in the 1966 Bond spoof Casino Royale and was Ruby Bartlett in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969. The later is actually one of my favorite of the bond films, which is a little sacrilegious given that this was the single Bond outing for George Lazenby, not the greatest of actors, but still a very enjoyable film.

Rest in Peace Angela…… I hope you have found the peace you so deserve.

Oops, one more thing. Actually, another “Rest in Peace” kinda, but this one is to a company, not a person. It was recently announced that Border’s Books, who earlier this year filed for bankruptcy and closed several stores, will now be closing the remaining 300 stores. This is especially sad for me, as I once worked for Borders, managing their San Luis Obispo branch before moving back to Iowa. In February, when the first wave of closings were announced, I wrote the following:

I am a proponent of the free market system, and in a free market situations like this do occur. The industry, just like several dozen other industries, is changing, and those who don’t change with it will get left in the dust. And Borders was slow to react to the changes in the industry.

Amazon.com and discount sellers such as Costco and Walmart have hurt Borders, and Borders’  lateness to e-commerce and e-reader sales has been detrimental. Amazon.com offered online sales in 1995, but the Borders e-commerce site was only introduced in 2008. And while Amazon introduced the e-reader Kindle in 2007 and Barnes and Noble brought out its Nook in late 2009, Borders didn’t enter the e-reader market with its Kobo until July 2010. While I doubt that faster action in the online and e-reader markets would have stopped Borders from any store closings, it may have reduced the number from the 200 that are currently on the chopping block.

Add to that the fact that Borders also specialized in movies and music – two other industries that have changed drastically in the last few years, and it didn’t take Nostradamus to see this coming.

I am happy to say that my old store in San Luis Obispo is not one of the stores that will be closing, but there are stores in my old district that will get the axe, and I have a number of friends at these locations that will be affected. I hope that a number of them are able to find work at the nearby stores. And, selfishly, I am also comforted by the fact that none of the Iowa Borders will be closing, so I will still be able to enjoy shopping at my favorite bookstore.”

Now the fact is that while I wrote that none of the Iowa stores were closing in the spring, we actually did lose the West Des Moines store due to the inability to re-negotiate the lease. I guess that it wouldn’t be a big deal after all, just delayed the closing a couple of months. But the truth remains that I still have a number of friends at my old California store, and I am very, very sad for their pending unemployment. I hope that it is short lived, and that they all land on their feet soon. It was a pretty industrious bunch, I think they’ll all do well.

And I’m assuming that it won’t be too long before the closing is blamed on Bush, and now maybe even Halliburton, Cheney and Global Warming. Hey, I wouldn’t put it past them…..


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