The Everlasting Phelps

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Nightstand Meme

July 27th, 2005

SayUncle tagged me. I’m supposed to tell you what I have on my nightstand. Okey dokey. This is from memory:

I have Kleenex and my clock/radio on my headboard, along with several dozen paperbacks. That’s it.

Next in line:

NYC on GUNS

July 26th, 2005

Well, SaysUncle was bitching that no one fisks anymore. He sowed the wind, you guys can enjoy the storm. Some New York Daily News Asshats penned this gem.

The gun-huggers at the National Rifle Association will not be holding their 2007 convention, as had been planned, in Columbus, Ohio. Lucky Columbus. Of course, the NRA would never even consider N.Y.C. This city does not believe in blowing the heads off small animals. Or people. Which is why it wants to get tougher on illegal weapons. Guess what group is opposed?

“It’s for the heads of small animals!” Nah, doesn’t work as well as “for the children” unless you are a PETA nut. It’s nice how they managed to slam the NRA, guns, children and Columbus all in one paragraph. Oh, and for the record, the NRA supports getting tougher on illegal weapons too. They just oppose getting tougher on legal weapons, which is what you spend the rest of the editorial talking about.

City officials are trying to cut off the plague of weapons at its source by suing gun makers and distributors that carelessly deliver their wares to unscrupulous dealers who, in turn, sell to criminals. It’s a strategy any levelheaded politician would love – but the NRA and its pals in Congress are doing their darnedest to keep the supply lines open.

“City officials in Dallas are trying to cut off the plague of New Yorkers at its source by suing the City of New York and Airlines that carelessly deliver criminals to unscrupulous travel agents who, in turn, sell tickets to terrorists.” Yeah, it sounds stupid that way too. And there is no such thing as a levelheaded politician. Levelheaded people don’t run for office.

Bills headed for votes in the House and the Senate would grant gunmakers immunity from lawsuits like New York’s. In other words, the manufacturers could turn a blind eye to the 1% of dealers who are responsible for 60% of the illegal guns on the streets.

Explain to me how this is a problem for the manufacturers and not a law enforcement issue. I mean, let’s look at this: the BATF has access to all the records that any manufacturer has (since this is a horribly regulated industry). In fact, they have more access, because the BATF has access to all the manufacturers records, rather than a single maker, and can parse that aggregate data to look for patterns. In addition, the BATF has access to the serial numbers of weapons used in crimes. The manufacturer doesn’t. The BATF has access to the sales forms filled out when those weapons are sold. The manufacturer doesn’t. The BATF has access to Federal databases that may help identify the backgrounds of “unscrupulous dealers”. The manufacturers don’t.

In fact the only group that has access to the data needed to identify unscrupulous dealers is law enforcement and this is somehow the manufacturers’ problem because they are selling a legal product to a dealer that the government has specifically and personally vetted and determined to be qualified to accept delivery of weapons for resale?

WTF?!?! Win your lawsuit. I dare you. Give the manufacturers access to all the data. You don’t like it now? How about when the manufacturers figure out that NYPD is incompetent to enforce its own gun laws, and decide not to sell guns to anyone in NY — including law enforcement, since there are a significant number of illegal sales there?

The city isn’t trying to bankrupt the industry; it’s not even seeking monetary damages. It merely wants manufacturers to adopt basic safeguards to prevent weapons from falling into criminal hands.

They have basic safeguards. They do what the BATF tells them, since that is the BATF’s job.

Although the manufacturers tried to get the case dismissed, it’s heading for a trial – perhaps as soon as this fall – in Brooklyn Federal Court. Rather than defend their behavior before a New York City jury, they turned to Second Amendment zealots in Congress, knowing they’d be willing to throw common sense out the window.

If this is representative of the average NYC reasoning ability, I wouldn’t trust an issue of National Security to a NYC jury either.

Last year, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton and the rest of the New York delegation led the fight to block the outrageous law, weighting it down with unfriendly amendments until even the sponsor refused to support it. Now, emboldened by Republican victories in last year’s elections, supporters of this bill have made it even worse – adding a clause that would block not just lawsuits, but also “administrative proceedings” by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other regulators.

“Emboldened by victories created in part by pledges to stop these dangerous and frivolous lawsuits, Republicans are acting on their pledges to stop these dangerous and frivolous lawsuits.” Hey, stupid, this is the will of the People. That is why we re-elected them. We heard your argument. The majority of us decided it sucked. Deal with it.

Mayor Bloomberg is calling on New Yorkers to contact their representatives in Washington and urge a no vote on this dangerous legislation. We’ve dodged the bullet before; we can do it again.

The NYC reps are already voting against it. Thankfully, they won’t matter.

Profiling

July 26th, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Back off Muslims, imam warns Ottawa:

A controversial Toronto imam warned Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan at a closed-door meeting to stop “terrorizing” Canadian Muslims.

This is in response, obviously, to the Suicide Mounties that blew up in the Vancouver mosque, and the police attack on the local Arab disco in Ottawa.

“If you try to cross the line I can’t guarantee what is going to happen. Our young people, we can’t control,” Aly Hindy, the head of Scarborough’s Salaheddin Islamic Centre, recalls telling the minister at the May meeting she held in Toronto with dozens of Muslim leaders.

The meeting was part of an effort by Ms. McLellan to reach out to Canadian Muslims amid complaints that the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service are engaging in racial profiling.

Mission accomplished. Methinks he doth protest too much.

The minister and her officials have been meeting community leaders to explain they are not targeting Muslims generally, only individuals with possible terrorist links.

By many accounts, the meetings have been positive and are contributing to a thaw in relations between Muslims and security agents, even if the exchange in May was a little heated.

“We are mad at things that we think you might have done even though there is no evidence of it and you say you didn’t! And if we continue to suspect this, our young people are going to attack you again and a again!” Yeah. Real positive.

Mr. Hindy, who has long complained that CSIS is spying on him, his family and his mosque, told Ms. McLellan that a young Muslim woman complained to him she was roughed up by Canadian spies while her husband was away at prayers. This allegation could spur reprisals because “our women are the most valuable thing to us” and “for a Muslim, honour is more important than his life,” Mr. Hindy said in a recent interview.

Or, more specifically, his wife’s honor is more important to him than his wife’s life.

He made the point to the minister. Several people who attended shrugged off the imam’s remarks, but some Muslims and government agents later approached Mr. Hindy asking him to explain himself.

“The police came to me and said, ‘This is a kind of threat,’ and I said yes,” he said. “But it’s for the good of this country.”

Here’s a kind of threat — if you keep this shit up, someone is going to throw you in a dark hole called prison and then your wife is going to find her a nice white Canadian.

“And they said, ‘Do you know some of the names of those people you expect to cause some problems?’ And I said, ‘You just open the telephone directory.’ “

… And he just justified profiling. He just said, “all Muslims are suspects.” And yet he decries profiling. That is a magnificent piece of cognitive dissonance there.

While government investigators probing the woman’s complaint told Mr. Hindy they have not found evidence of wrongdoing, he isn’t giving the spy service the benefit of the doubt.

“We believe CSIS should stop terrorizing us,” he says in a flyer he is circulating to mosques. “CSIS is powerless. CSIS has no authority over you. If CSIS agents come to your door, do not open [it] for them.”

If he was anything but Muslim, everyone would write him off as a paranoid, delusional nut. But because of the religion he professes to adhere to, the Canadian government is treating him with kid gloves instead of tossing him out on his ass where he belongs. That’s bullshit.

Toronto’s Coalition of Muslim Organizations arranged the meeting, and said about 100 Muslim leaders attended. While COMO president Adam Esse noted that, “some people, when they talk, they get a little heated,” he said the ministerial visit was “a sign of respect” and was worthwhile overall. “If you talk, you remove a lot of misconceptions, a lot of misunderstandings.”

Okay, before, he was a delusional paranoiac who thought that you are persecuting him even though you aren’t, and he left as a delusional paranoiac who think that you are persecuting him. How is that removing “a lot of misconceptions”?

A spokesman for Ms. McLellan agreed. “We feel it was constructive, positive,” Alex Swann said.

“Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

Even Mr. Hindy said that despite his differences with security agencies “the Deputy Prime Minister, she was very understanding.”

“A very nice dhimmi. I will kill her last.”

In the wake of the London bombings, Ms. McLellan has said that Canadians must become “psychologically prepared” for such an attack.

She has also suggested such strikes are not related to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, in which Britain is a strong partner. Mr. Hindy believes the war in Iraq has caused young Muslims to want to fight against the United States and Britain. “I always say the No. 1 recruiter of al-Qaeda is George W. Bush,” he said.

It didn’t cause it. It simply gave them a place.

The imam said six or seven young men have approached him to discuss “fighting overseas” in place such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said he told them “people fighting in Iraq, they don’t need more people.”

“Forget Iraq. We need you to blow people up right here.”

Instead, Canadian Muslims can wage non-violent jihads (holy struggles) at home. “You have a very good chance to serve Islam here,” he said he told them.

Uh huh. Just like the guys heading out of Canada in December 1999 to Seattle with a trunk full of explosives. I’m sure it was all part of the non-violent “Allah Ackbar” fireworks display.

Keeping it Real

July 25th, 2005

The LA Times would like you to think this is A ‘Community Tragedy’. I say nay-nay.

BERKELEY — Until she died of a gunshot wound in front of her apartment, Meleia Willis-Starbuck was the perfect Berkeley success story — an African American Ivy League scholarship recipient who was on a strong social mission to change the world.

The more astute of you will have heard warning bells when you saw “BERKELEY”.

That she would die on the street after an ugly argument has made the pain even greater here, in a city that takes pride in its racial, ethnic and gender tolerance.

At the Berkeley High School gym Friday, more than 400 relatives, friends and schoolmates mourned the loss of the popular Dartmouth College student, believed to have been shot to death in her hometown by a close friend she may have called for help.

“A close friend she may have called for help.” Remember that. See, when I call a friend for help, it is because I am moving. Or because I’m installing a ceiling fan and I need someone to hold it.

“The city lost a wonderful hero. Someone who strived, succeeded and came back to the community,” Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said in praise of Willis-Starbuck.

The 19-year-old was killed early Sunday morning outside the apartment where she lived while working for the summer at a center for homeless women and children. Her death struck a familiar chord for San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson, an African American who writes often about East Bay black communities.

“A wonderful hero.”

“For those who question why an Ivy League student would maintain a friendship with a gun-toting man,” Johnson wrote in his Friday column, “the answers may lie in the consciousness of many African Americans who climbed the social ladder to achieve middle-class status but feel a strong sense of duty, loyalty and responsibility to the rough-cut neighborhoods they come from.”

Some of you may have just recognized the theme here. See, Meleia was “keeping it real.” Sure, she had an Ivy-league scholarship, but she was still ready to prove that she was really black by hanging out with gangsters. Perhaps she kept it really real, embodying the realest of black qualities, like drinking malt liquor, pulling trains and smoking crack.

She was keeping it real dumb.

The tragic nature of the killing near the University of California campus became apparent later Friday afternoon, when some of the same mourners gathered in an Alameda County courtroom to show support for Christopher Larry Wilson, 20, one of the two men charged with murder. The other man accused in the killing, Christopher Lester Hollis, 21, is at large.

Wilson, Hollis and Willis-Starbuck were close friends from school days at Berkeley High, which all three attended. Ivy leaguer Willis-Starbuck encouraged Wilson in his studies. After completing community college, Wilson planned to enter UC Santa Cruz this fall. Hollis and Willis-Starbuck were so close they called each other brother and sister, friends said.

According to police reports and accounts of others present at the shooting, Willis-Starbuck and five female friends had stopped at her College Avenue apartment after 1 a.m. on Sunday when they were approached by a group of men who asked them to party. Willis-Starbuck objected to the language allegedly used by some of the men, including the term “bitches.”

Oh, my! Meleia has been disrespected!!! Meleia, you see, keeps it real. And by keeping it real, I mean that she eschews alternative dispute resolutions preferred by her Anglo friends at Berkeley and instead opts for violent retribution. You see, she is entitled to do so, because she is black, and therefore has a duty to Keep It Real.

Police allege that about 1:45 a.m., a car driven by Wilson approached on an adjacent street and that Hollis got out of the car and fired several shots, one of which fatally wounded Willis-Starbuck. No one else was struck. Police are investigating the possibility that Willis-Starbuck called Wilson and Hollis on her cellphone minutes before the shooting.

In other words, the police know that her number called his number, and they are just looking for a way to prove with absolute certainty that she was on her end and he was on his.

Friends and family speculated that Hollis might have been attempting to frighten the men and accidentally shot his friend.

Phelps, on the other hand, speculates that he more likely was trying to shoot the men, and instead shot her. Either way, he is an idiot and a murderer.

“They were kids out doing what they should not be doing. They were all friends,” said Michael Jamison, a Wilson family friend who attended the hearing. “It was senseless and crazy.”

Oh really? Yeah, I can see that. Boy, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shot at my friends for kicks. Boys will be boys, after all. I remember all those summers, out at the swimming hole. I would see one of the Johnson boys, and I would say to Bobby, “Bobby, ain’t that the Johnson boys?” He would say, “I recon!” and then I would lick off a couple of shots at them. Oh, those were good times.

You fucking moron, they are thugs and murderers and I hope they burn in hell! And that includes Meleia!

Shortly after police obtained arrest warrants for the two men on Wednesday, Wilson, accompanied by Berkeley attorney Elizabeth Grossman, turned himself in at the Berkeley Police Department. Grossman and others have urged Hollis, a resident of Hayward, to turn himself in.

In the days after the slaying, a small shrine was built in front of Willis-Starbuck’s apartment. Friends attached favorite photos and poems to the trunk of a large mulberry tree and circled the tree with votive candles.

One friend wrote: “Friday night I was relaxing on your couch. Saturday morning we talked on the phone. And in between then and when I woke up to start my day someone decided to display the fragility of existence.”

If you have a thug gangster boyfriend who likes to shoot at people, then yes, your existence is fragile. If your boyfriend, on the other hand, is sober, plays soccer on the weekends and works at the Coffee Barn, then your existence is considerably less fragile.

Another writer vowed: “We will not let your death [be] in vain. Stop the violence!”

She wasn’t stopping shit — she was starting shit.

“I know all of them. They are all good kids. Chris Wilson was like another son to me,” said Arnold Perkins, Alameda County Health Care Services director and Berkeley resident, who attended both events Friday. “This is a community tragedy, one of those terrible situations where friends ended up hurting friends.

They were not good kids. Good kids don’t shoot at each other. If Wilson was like a son to you, then you failed in raising him. You think it takes a village? This village failed.

I can’t buy this “friends hurting friends” crap. Friends don’t shoot at each other. If one of my “friends” was to shoot at me, I don’t think we would make up. I don’t see us going out for ice cream and discussing the root causes of “the incident” over banana splits. I’m pretty sure I would hate his ass, and we would never be friends again.

“No one blames anyone in this,” said Perkins, who spoke at the memorial service and was prepared to speak on Wilson’s behalf in the courtroom. “We are all caught in this matrix created by too many handguns.”

Oh really, ass hole? I’ve got half a dozen handguns at my house. None of them have ever shot at my “friends.” In fact, none of them have ever shot at anyone. This was a matrix of too many thugs keeping it real.

Through a friend, the family has issued only one brief statement: “This has become a tragedy for the whole community. What the family wants most is for the violence to end and for healing for everyone to begin.”

As a nervous Wilson appeared Friday before Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith, his attorney, Grossman, asked that friends and family in the courtroom stand to show community support for the prisoner. About 30 people stood. At the request of counsel, the arraignment was postponed until Wednesday.

Those who attended the memorial were asked to wear purple wristbands symbolizing the effort to end domestic violence, one of Willis-Starbuck’s causes.

BUWAHAHAHAHA!!! Don’t beat up your girl, but pop a cap at someone who says something rude to her? Add in that he ended up shooting her instead, and, well, I’m overcome by the irony if not schadenfruede.

As her parents, Kimberly Willis-Starbuck and John Starbuck, sat in the front row at the service, speaker after speaker, a rainbow of races and ethnicities, spoke of Willis-Starbuck’s intelligence, compassion and capacity for good works.

So you can measure the quality of a person by playing complexion bingo? I’m glad that we live in a world where people are judged not the by the content of their character, but the color of their friends.

Pregnant friend Mercedes Hong tearfully told of how Willis-Starbuck gave her “the strength to bring a new life into this world.”

That and a couple of ounces of jizz.

High school classmate Dana Johnston talked of how Willis-Starbuck comforted her after her mother died.

One friend read a moving rap poem he composed in her honor. Another played a cello piece she wrote. Another played a trumpet solo. Popular singer Goapole sang a soaring version of her song “Closer.”

Toward the end of the service, 20 students from Dartmouth delivered their own praise for their schoolmate. Close friend Jay Lesene read a poem he had written to the friend he called “The Woman.”

“We stand here with you,” said Dartmouth Associate Provost Stuart C. Lord. “We grieve and we ask ourselves why this happened.”

I am not moved.

(Say Uncle)

The Everlasting Phelps

TRIGGER WARNING: This entire site will cause massive butthurt in any precious snowflake that needs a trigger warning for anything.