George Duncan

Marketing copywriter/consultant, author

A little background on background checks

From Just sayin’…by George Duncan

A little background on background checks

From the New York Times, courtesy of Mark Fernald’s excellent newsletter (to subscribe, contact mark@markfernald.com):

Proponents of stricter gun laws call them ‘common-sense.’  If it is harder for criminals to get a gun, there will be fewer criminals with guns.  The NRA responds that criminals will always be able to get guns illegally, so gun laws only inconvenience honest citizens.  It’s been hard to find data to support either side. (One reason for the absence of data, incidentally, is the NRA’s successful effort to prohibit Congress from conducting gun research. How’s that for political clout?)

Missouri repealed its state-level universal background check law in 2007.  During the next six years, gun homicides in MO increased 16%, while they decreased 11% nationally.  Connecticut enacted universal background checks in 1995.  In the next ten years, gun homicides declined 40%.  This won’t convince the NRA-types, but it gives new ammunition (L) to those looking for change.

If you’d like evidence of how the gun industry rewards NRA folks for their fealty, a business publication recently announced that Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. named Sandra Froman to its board. She’s a past president of the NRA. Compensation wasn’t revealed, but the mean compensation for board members in Fortune 500 companies is around $250,000.

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Pass that collection plate again, please

I’m up early on a Sunday morning and I catch one of these TV preachers asking for donations. Actually he was almost demanding not “what you can afford,” but no less than $1000 for “seeding the harvest” that donors will realize as their contribution is returned to them many times over. Remember Reverend Ike? He encumbered himself with diamond rings and Cadillacs (yes, your father’s Cadillac) as examples of how riches would flow to his followers in proportion to their generosity. Then I hear Joel Osteen – America’s Pastor” – on the radio telling us how 2016 will be “a year of plenty.” His flock seems to be inspired. Comments on the blog he shares with his wife Victoria include, “Everything I touch turns to gold. This is going to be a wonderful and prosperous year!” and “2016 is my year; I will become a millionaire both spiritually and financially.” You go, guys! And pass that plate.

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How to clip an insurance company

Last June I had a few snarky comments about tennis champ John McEnroe doing an ad for a treatment for toenail fungus. Toenail fungus! Well turns out there’s more than fungus among us. That Jublia stuff John – and others since — tout goes for $1000 for an 8 millimeter bottle according to Bloomberg Business Week. It’s part of larger marketing strategy designed to end run insurance companies’ reluctance to pick up the tab for pricey drugs like this one. To discourage patients from using it, they boost the co-pay. The pharmaceutical companies respond by offering coupons – like a $799 price off coupon on Jublia’s web site – that mitigate or wipe out the added cost, leaving the poor insurance companies with no choice, but to pay the balance. Boo.Hoo.

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We know what Trump is, but what are we?

The gifted Palestinian leader, Hana Ashwari, once characterized the recalcitrance of PLO President Yasser Arafat to negotiate with the Israelis: “Arafat is the rock that we throw at the Israelis,” she said. Seems to me that Trump is the rock that a fading, disaffected generation is throwing at the establishment.

It’s one thing to rail against the government. Very American. It’s quite another to make a mockery of the democratic system that has built this country for more than 200 years.

History is replete with dictators and demagogues who manipulated fear and ignorance to their benefit – until they didn’t. Hitler in his bunker, Mussolini hanging from a lamppost, McCarthy dying of alcoholism. Now comes Trump. Fantasy policies and repugnant manner aside, I find his hyperbolic put downs of America and everything in it especially galling. It was a while ago, but I took an oath to defend the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” I consider Trump in that latter category.

What Trump is has been amply detailed by a wide range of observers and commentators including The Union Leader which described him as “a crude blowhard with no clear policy.” But the question that Trump’s continued success in the polls begs is not what he is, but what are we?

Dissatisfaction with President Obama is understandable to a degree. He is a constitutional scholar and an intellectual – more along the lines of the philosopher kings described in The Republic. There Socrates says: “Until philosophers rule as kings … or those who are now called kings genuinely and adequately philosophize, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide…cities will have no rest from evils…there can be no happiness, either public or private, in any other city.”

Informed more by hope than change, perhaps, that has been Obama’s style, as today’s Middle East realities, a Republican house pledged to do nothing, the persistence of tribal warfare in Iraq, and today’s economic and employment uncertainties have all helped to create a general feeling of an administration on the “wrong track.” Is that a reason to reward Trump’s ignorant recklessness with the presidency of the United States?

I’ve had differences of opinion with the previous administration, and even with this one, and as satisfying as it might be to throw a rock and break a few windows, I love my country too much to insult its heritage and threaten its future by empowering the destructive imaginings of Donald J. Trump. So should we all.

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At 9:40 P.M, Officer Abbott found a pickup

in the back parking lot of the old ski area.

The driver told Abbott she was listening

to frogs. Abbott arrested her and charged her

with possession of a controlled drug.

peep… peep… peep…

peep… peep…tap

tap… tap…tap

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Just sayin’…

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