Scare the Bears

     Random thoughts on assorted topics.
     
     SMOKING GUNS. You’ve heard of smoking guns. You’ve heard of non-smoking areas.
     So why not non-gun areas?
     After all, the cigarette and gun debates are pretty similar when you think about them. You’ve got people on either side adamantly insisting on their rights to do the opposite of what the other side wants. It’s a health and safety issue or it’s a civil rights issue.
     So why not reach the same sort of compromise with guns that we have with cigarettes: offer non-gunplay areas in restaurants, bars, and stadiums.
     If you need to shoot someone, you can go outside and do it.
     I thought of this the other day after spotting a press release issued by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence complaining about a last-minute Bush Administration rule change that supposedly will overturn restrictions on concealed weapons in national parks.
     If a bear thinks you might be armed, he’s going to think twice before going after that picnic basket.
     But it struck me that there ought to be non-gun park areas if you’re not worried about animal violence. It’s only fair.
     The interesting thing about this sort of segregation would be seeing who succeeds. Would you want to eat in a restaurant with or without guns?
     Hooters or Shooters?
     
     ARE THEY CRAZY? The American Psychoanalytic Association has issued a press release praising Congress for including privacy protections for mental health information in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
     That’s the stimulus bill if you’re not familiar with the official title.
     I had no idea that mental health was part of the stimulus package but it’s certainly logical considering all the depression (mental, not economic) out there.
     Still, it did make me wonder about whose mental health information those Congressional types were protecting?
     Their own perhaps?
     Sounds like a conflict of interest to me. I want to know how crazy those people are.
     
     FIGURE THIS OUT. Here’s a puzzler for you. The following passage is the beginning of a Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruling called Strook v. Kedinger. Your challenge is to figure out what the chicken and egg are.
     “This is a ‘chicken or the egg’ case. More precisely, when a person who must appear in court at a substantive proceeding, seeks an accommodation because of physical disability … should circuit courts who believe they need more information … make a factual determination before the date of the substantive court hearing … or … at the substantive hearing?”
     Don’t look at me.
     The case, though, is a classic confrontation between a cranky deaf litigant and a cranky judge who is about to take medical leave. I won’t spoil it for you – you can read it yourself.
     But here’s my favorite part: “The court recounted its belief, almost all of it from hearsay, that Kedinger ‘picks and chooses his deficit,’ that his own doctor explained how passing written notes back and forth would suffice and that the court ‘intended to probably do that.'”
     The court reporter would have loved that.

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