A Week in the Renaissance

Developer Gerry Buchheit’s: Social Media

Sometime during this past New Year’s weekend, I shared this story about a bill in New Hampshire that would ban women from baring their nipples or areolas in public. Congratulations, it seems, are in order for New Hampshire, as it seems to have solved every other conceivable problem facing that state, thus giving it the time to address the female breast.

Currently in New Hampshire, both men and women are free to go topless, reports Slate. A bill sponsored solely by Republican men would change that, if it becomes law. A woman could be charged with a misdemeanor if she “purposely exposes the areola or nipple of her breast or breasts in a public place and in the presence of another person with reckless disregard for whether a reasonable person would be offended or alarmed by such act.”

A female Democratic New Hampshire legislator, Amanda Bouldin, took to Facebook to criticize the Republican males who proposed this law,

Bouldin called for the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Josh Moore, to kill it or at least exempt new mothers who are breastfeeding. “The very least you could do,” Bouldin wrote, “is protect a mother’s right to FEED her child.”

The bill was, incidentally, amended to exempt breastfeeding from the law, but Bouldin didn’t know that at the time. The exemption wasn’t there in the bill’s original language. Here’s how Republican Josh Moore, the bill’s sponsor, responded to Ms. Bouldin:

Not sure that every man would have the “inclantion” to commit a sexual assault and battery against a woman baring her breasts in public, but that seems to be Mr. Moore’s own “inclantion”. Another Republican state representative added this:

One thing that definitely sticks out is that the state of New Hampshire is running a dangerous spelling and grammar deficit. I’m not sure how it’s not disrespectful for Representative Baldasaro to mock Representative Bouldin’s looks, or what being “liberty minded” has to do with a female body and “family values”, but New Hampshire has always been a puzzling place, politically. (Mr. Baldasaro made national headlines in 2011 when he explained that, “he thought it was “great” that a Republican debate audience booed an active-duty soldier because he is gay.”)

A local female lawyer shared the article to her own Facebook page adding, “I’m speechless #rapeculture”, and Buffalo developer Gerry Buchheit (Orchard Park’s Quaker Crossing, Freezer Queen on the Outer Harbor) chimed in.

and

That’s an interesting one, since the female attorney is self-employed, and not remotely “dumb”. It was also unclear what part of the article Mr. Buchheit considered to be “bullshit”, or what compelled him to chime in at all.

When called on it, he replied thusly:

So, to be clear, Gerry Buchheit of Buffalo, New York; the guy who heads up Orchard Park’s (a town apparently not in the boondocks) Accent Stripe, Inc. – a company convicted of anti-trust violations in 1991, and which was found to have violated myriad environmental regulations in 2008 – and the guy who is going to go fishing for state incentives to build something on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor thinks that legislation regarding a woman’s body and issues concerning breastfeeding are just “liberal” “bullshit” and although he can post stuff on Facebook, others who do so need a “job”.

Presumably, Mr. Buchheit needs buy-in from the state, as well as likely “incentives” to build whatever it is he thinks he’ll be building on the Outer Harbor. People should know his attitudes about Democrats, breastfeeding, etc.

Reviving Dead Malls

Speaking of development, now that Macy’s has announced that it will be closing its stores at the McKinley Mall and the Eastern Hills Mall, it’s a good time to revisit this post from July 2015, where I recommended that the best way for these old, struggling malls to survive is to become lifestyle centers. The Eastern Hills Mall in particular is surrounded by huge traffic numbers and a few of the most well-off zip codes in the region. There’s no reason for it to be a repository of off-brand knick-knacks. There’s so much potential there, just waiting to be exploited.

Make Melilla Great Again

Dangerous nativist populist Presidential candidate Donald Trump put out his first TV ad this week. One of the scenes purported to depict Mexicans rushing the US border, with this voice-over: “he’ll stop illegal immigration by building a wall on our Southern border that Mexico will pay for.” However, the accompanying image in fact showed Moroccans rushing the border of a little-known Spanish exclave on the African coast called Melilla. When confronted with this, Trump’s spokesman replied, “no shit it’s not the Mexican border, but that’s what our country is going to look like if we don’t do anything.”

Interesting that, since the entire exclave of Melilla is completely surrounded by three levels of 18-foot high fencing topped with razor wire. Because it’s one of only two (Spanish Ceuta is the other) direct land boundaries between North Africa and the European Union’s customs and passport-free travel area, border security is extremely tight and high-tech for both. Nevertheless, they stand as evidence that no border is impregnable.

Melilla’s border is what our country is going to look like if we don’t do anything, yet it already has the sort of border fence Trump wants, and was used in his ad to stoke fears about illegal immigration. None of it matters, politically, however, because Donald Trump isn’t so much a campaign as it is a traveling parapolitical Vaudeville act.

Obama the “Fascist”

Oh, but the right wing had a proper conniption fit this week when President Obama actually cried whilst thinking about the twenty first-graders who were mowed down by an unstable lunatic who was armed to the teeth. Can you believe it?! One idiot from Fox News said he must have had a raw onion under his podium. Another cretin from Breitbart alleged that Obama’s “fascist tears” were caused by a careful dollop of Ben-Gay under the eyes, because it is unfathomable that anyone would feel sadness at the thought of 1st graders cowering in their classroom being slaughtered by a person who never should have had access to a firearm under any circumstance.

Meanwhile, the afternoon drive jock on WBEN ranted about the end of America, rolleyes emoji.

Having spent time in a totalitarian state, I can tell you this: if you’re free to broadcast your hatred for the President on the FCC-regulated airwaves, and you don’t find yourself disappeared into a secret network of prisons and labor camps, you’re not in a totalitarian state. If your anti-Obama rhetoric is sponsored by a privately owned vacuum store and Indian restaurant, you’re not in a totalitarian state. If gun registration or background checks are fascism, then our closest allies like the UK and Australia must be fascist.

In other words, that sort of childish, politically ignorant hyperbole makes you sound like a dick.

After waiting years for congress to do anything about it, Obama did what little he could with an executive order, mandating that any licensed gun dealer – whether in a shop or at a gun show – must run a background check on any prospective purchaser.

Is this all an evil plot to take away your guns? Obama’s in the last year of his presidency. He would have gotten to that much earlier if that was remotely one of his aims. This won’t have any positive effect, you say? Well, then you have nothing to complain about.  The people who consider themselves big 2nd Amendment activists talk about how the real culprit has to do with mental health. So, what legislation have Republican lawmakers proposed to address that situation?

The point here is that we have seen too many innocent people die in mass shootings in recent years, and we as a society have been perfectly ok with that. The problem was that the gun lobby had so paralyzed Congress that even common-sense measures that the NRA had once supported were now anathema to it. The Daily News did a nice job debunking the propaganda:

1. CLAIM: THIS WILL LEAD TO THE GOVERNMENT CONFISCATING OUR GUNS

Reality Check: There’s nothing in the executive actions that will lead to gun confiscation, advocates say. The President’s actions will simply narrow the loophole that allows people to buy guns from an unlicensed dealer – at a gun show or through the Internet – without a background check.

2. CLAIM: THIS WILL MAKE IT HARDER FOR LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS TO OBTAIN GUNS

Reality Check: The executive actions won’t affect any law-abiding person who is looking to buy a gun and can pass a background check, experts say. They also won’t qaffect the many law-abiding gun owners who trade and sell guns occasionally or as a hobby. Instead, the orders will crack down on sellers who are evading the background check requirement and selling guns regularly.

3. CLAIM: THIS WON’T ACTUALLY PREVENT SHOOTINGS OR STOP CRIMINALS FROM GETTING THEIR HANDS ON GUNS

Reality Check: Advocates note that loopholes in federal law allow criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill to go online or to gun shows to buy guns with no background check, no questions asked. The best way to keep guns out of dangerous hands, they say, is by closing this loophole. And while Obama’s executive actions do not close the loophole entirely – only congressional action can do that – they’re an important step in cracking down on traffickers who fill the black market with guns that flood our streets and endanger our communities.

4. CLAIM: THIS VIOLATES THE SECOND AMENDMENT

Reality Check: There’s nothing in the executive actions that violate the Second Amendment at all, advocates say. Federal law already requires background checks at gun shops – these executive actions just seek to narrow the loophole that allows guns to be sold by those “in the business” of selling firearms, because if you’re making a living selling guns, you should be running background checks.

You have a right to bear arms, but my kids have a right to go to school and not be shot at by some well-armed lunatic. The hallmark of a free and civilized society is balancing and reconciling those two rights. Just like you don’t have unlimited and unrestricted right to free speech, you don’t have an unrestricted right to bear arms. Obama’s executive action on this is literally the least he could have done, but at least someone’s trying something.

The Oregon Snack-In

These seditious cretins occupying a wildlife sanctuary’s visitor’s center in Oregon are undeserving of any of our energy – positive or negative. This article is pretty spot-on.

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