Thursday, May 16, 2013

Class Not Crass

©2013 by LeeZard

Those who know me will confirm that I am anything but a prude. I also say with pride that, as much as any man can be, I am a feminist - equal pay for equal work, pro-choice on abortion, vehemently against abuse of any kind, etc. Yet, I also say with no shame that I am not above admiring a beautiful, sexy woman. Hey, I’m still a heterosexual guy.
Having said the above, I am writing to express my indignation at the way some “image-makers,” if not the female artists themselves exploit their sexuality. To me, there is a big difference between sexy, sultry, alluring and blatant “ho’-ism.”
The Supremes
Once again I am the salmon swimming upstream. The media bombard us with the typical male objectification of women both in advertising and content. The saddest thing to me is not only how many women accept it but also how many women use it to climb the entertainment ladder to stardom. It wasn’t always so.

Lena Horne

Eartha Kitt
Dolly - Class
Granted, the times were different, certainly much more conservative. I get that. But even in today’s social media-driven-anything-goes environment, there’s a line between being sexy with class (or at least restraint) and just being crass.
Carrie Underwood - Restraint

J-Lo - Crass


J-Lo - Class
Beyonce - Crass

Beyonce - Ass
Kei$ha - ????

Yes, I love sexy women but, when it comes to singers, musicians, etc., what makes a woman sexiest to me is her voice and/or her music.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Let's Get Those Drunk Drivers Off the Road - Before They Drive

©2013 by LeeZard
I don’t know what it’s been like in other places around the country but the Seattle-area has been rocked recently by a spate of horrific fatal crashes involving drunk drivers. And, you’ll excuse me if I don’t call them “accidents;” driving drunk is no accident, nor are the resulting deaths. Sadly, many of the drunk drivers involved in these crashes are repeat offenders, which leads to my next point.
The continual stiffening of drunk driving laws isn’t doing the job, especially with all the lawyers advertising their DUI services. Let’s find these potential drunk drivers before they drive and get them safely home without killing themselves or others. I have an idea.
Not only is it in the public interest to keep drunk drivers off the road; it is also in the interest of the bars and restaurants that serve them. Their owners are liable for any damage their customers do once they leave the establishment. My idea is to involve the staff of the restaurants and bars to help identify those who are too impaired to drive. The trick then is to get them home safely.
We’d start a pilot program in a high-risk area. There are plenty around the Seattle-area. In the city we have Belltown and Pioneer Square. In the ‘burbs there is downtown Kirkland.
I used to live in downtown Kirkland and it is quite a scene on weekends. Someone told me there are nearly 30 establishments within a four-block area serving booze until 2AM. On weekends the Kirkland Police Department contracts with the State Patrol and other jurisdictions for extra patrol units along NE 85th Street, the main drag between I-405 and downtown. This would be a great place in which to test my plan.
Kirkland also has Lee Johnson, an auto dealership with deep ties to the community. This is very important because we would ask the dealership to donate a couple of passenger vans to ferry the poor sots home.
It would work like this. Servers and bartenders, trained to identify and deal with potential drunk drivers, would ask them to voluntarily give up their car keys in exchange for a free ride home. The two vans, with volunteer drivers, rubberized floors and a supply of barf bags would be strategically placed, waiting for their “customers.”
Local police would then either move the “abandoned” vehicles to some pre-arranged holding area or, as an alternative, mark them where they sit so they won’t be ticketed or towed. The sober and hungover drivers would retrieve their rides the next morning. Everybody wins!
I know this idea has merit. When I lived in Kirkland I contacted the Washington State Highway Safety Commission and they offered me a couple of thousand dollars in grant money for a pilot program. Unfortunately, I moved away from Kirkland before we could get started. Frankly, this will take a lot of time and effort to get organized.
But, the idea has always remained in the back of my brain. All it will take is a group of dedicated citizens, elected official and law enforcement to get it started. Any volunteers?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To Gun or Not to Gun...

©2013 by LeeZard
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Let’s start the political war of the century. Let’s try to amend the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. YOIKS!

Of course, the Second Amendment is at the core of the debate over gun control. What gets lost in this emotional debate is the discussion over the intent of the Second Amendment. Did the framers of The Constitution intend that each individual has the right to keep and bear arms or did they mean that the state must be free to keep and bear arms for a “well-regulated militia?”  

Signing of the U.S. Constitution

While the National Rifle Association is very clear in its interpretation of the Second Amendment, the issue is clouded by such groups as the American Civil Liberties Union, the beacon of individual rights against an encroaching government, which contends the Second Amendment protects only the state’s right to maintain an organized military force. Who’s right? Damned if I know.
So, why not clarify things by clarifying the Second Amendment? YOIKS! I know; every time I say it I scare myself. It is a daunting task but, why not?
Rather than have individual states write and enforce their own gun control laws - or not - why not settle the whole shooting match with one shot heard ‘round the country (could not resist)? A daunting task indeed; According to The Federal Register and Article Five of the Constitution:
“An amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention. The Congress proposes an amendment in the form of a joint resolution. Since the President does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process, the joint resolution does not go to the White House for signature or approval.
 The proposed amendment is sent to the each state’s governor for formal submission to their state legislatures. 

State-by-State ERA Vote

A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the states (38 of 50 States).”
A daunting task indeed. Remember the battle over the Equal Right Amendment? It first appeared in 1923 but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that both houses of Congress approved it. When it finally died in 1982, the ERA fell three states short of ratification. Still, I think it’s worth a try, albeit an expensive try. Can you imagine what the NRA would pour into the opposition effort?
I’m no legal expert and I won’t attempt to rewrite the Constitution here (I can hear the collective sigh of relief). And I am no big fan of government “task forces” but maybe, just maybe, this might be just the time for a task force. Even though the President has no formal role in the amendment process, wouldn’t it be courageous and cool if a president - in his second term and with  no political capital to lose - got leaders on both sides of the debate to sit down and try to hammer out a realistic answer to a 224 year old question and a modern day tragedy?