Friday, June 10, 2022


A well regulated Militia…


Hey, Mabel! Mabel, where are ya?”

“I’m in here, Hector. What is it?”

“Oh my God! Did you see this, Mabel? This article on the front page of the Times? What in the hell—”

“Dear Lord, Hector, calm down. You’re gonna give yourself a heart attack. What article?”

“Right here, right here! It says congress just passed a new law and the president is going to sign it. Is says you have to have insurance to buy a gun. Insurance!”

“Insurance for what? In case it gets stolen?”

“No. It’s in case your gun is used to injure someone. The injured party or their family can sue you for damages, up to one million…per wound! Ten million if the victim dies.”

“Oh my, Hector! And what’s this insurance gonna cost?”

“Says here the insurance companies are estimating $1,500 per handgun or rifle, and $2,200 for a semi-automatic like my AR-15.”

“Hmmm…so that’s a one-time premium?”

“Hell no, Mabel! Them’s annual premiums, year after year, just like car insurance.”

“Oh my!”

“And get this: ya gotta show proof of insurance to buy ammunition. Ya also gotta insure high-capacity magazines.”

“Hector, you mean if you go down to the range with your AR-15 and use up your ammo, you have to show proof of insurance to buy more?”

“Yes, Mabel, yes! This is outrageous!”

“How in heavens name did a law like this get passed, Hector?”

“It was part of an ‘omnibus spending bill passed under reconciliation’, whatever that means. The rider was tacked on and approved by unanimous consent on a voice vote. Oh, and get this: the insurance companies say they are going to require insured gun owners to be twenty-one, and you gotta pass a gun safety course.”

"What about Mitch McConnell? How did he let this happen?"

"He says it was a procedural thing and has nothin' to do with contributions he received from the insurance lobby."

“Well, we’ll just see what the Supreme Court has to say.”

“Yeah, well, the insurance companies say the states already require proof of insurance to operate a vehicle, and mortgage companies require homeowners’ insurance, and businesses have to carry liability insurance, so they don’t see legal challenges being successful.”

“Okay, Hector, let’s add this up. You got your Glock pistol, your AR-15, your shotgun, and the deer rifle. Oh, and the magazine for the AR-15 that holds a hundred rounds. What’s all that gonna cost to insure?”

“Let’s see…nineteen plus three, carry the two…I get $8,200 per year! And that’s before I buy any ammo. This is outrageous, Mabel!”

“You’re darn right, honey. Just wait till Tucker Carlson hears about this.”




Monday, June 6, 2022



from Children of Vallejo

It is amazing what you remember from your childhood, the scenes you can never erase from your memory. Nick could close his eyes and see his mother kneeling on the dining room floor, lacing up his father’s work boots and tying them in neat double knots. His father’s back hurt so badly he couldn’t bend down to tie them himself. Take a day off? Call in sick? That was out of the question.

            “I’m a working man,” his father would say.

That’s all the explanation that was needed. He would drag himself off to catch the bus, that old, beat-up lunch pail in hand. He was a boilermaker, a trade he learned in the Navy, and he was proud of the fact that he could work any two men into the ground. Nick would see him come home at night with his overalls covered in brick mud, and he knew he'd been crawling in and out of those tiny openings all day, replacing the fire brick in a boiler. He'd take off his dirty overalls out in the garage and make his way to the dining room table, and Nick's mom would help him take off his boots. Nick wanted to tell him to stop, that it was a young man's job and he should let a young man do it, but he knew what the answer would be.

            "I'm a working man."

Nick could still hear his father’s voice saying, “The only things a working man has going for him are his union and the Democratic Party.” Cross a union picket line? Never! Vote for a Republican? You’ve got to be kidding!

Once the bakery workers went on strike for two weeks and Nick’s mom baked bread at home until the strike was over rather than buy non-union bread at the market. He could still remember the smell of fresh baked bread and how it tasted warm from the oven with real butter.

Nick voted for Ronald Reagan once, but his hand shook as he punched the hole in the ballot with the little metal stylus. He’d take a sick day every now and then, but always with a sense of guilt, as though he’d let his father down in some fundamental way. More often than not, he’d shower and shave and go to work, no matter how rotten he felt.

Once he was faced with crossing a picket line. He stood on the corner in front of the office building for a long time and watched the pickets parading with their signs. Finally, he hurried past them and into the building, his eyes fixed on the pavement. Then he rushed to the first men’s room he could find and threw up in the sink.

Funny, the things you carry with you from your childhood.