Piney Woods Pete – LikeTheDew.com https://likethedew.com A journal of progressive Southern culture and politics Sun, 17 Feb 2019 15:51:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 https://likethedew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-DewLogoSquare825-32x32.png Piney Woods Pete – LikeTheDew.com https://likethedew.com 32 32 Telephone solicitors of the world, unite! https://likethedew.com/2010/08/05/telephone-solicitors-of-the-world-unite/ https://likethedew.com/2010/08/05/telephone-solicitors-of-the-world-unite/#comments Thu, 05 Aug 2010 15:57:38 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=10564 My wife thinks I'm too hard on telephone solicitors. "They've got to make a living," she says. She objects that I let them go through their spiel, ask a lot of questions, decline the offer, then ask to speak to their supervisor to make certain everyone, including the persons listening to the recording made for training and verification purposes, understands I have declined the offer. I figure every moment I can delay the evil telephonic solicitation machine is a moment my fellow citizens are safe.

No matter the organization, I've always figured if they call my house selling or seeking donations, they are crooks.

Now, however, I think the telephone workers need our help.

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My wife thinks I’m too hard on telephone solicitors. “They’ve got to make a living,” she says. She objects that I let them go through their spiel, ask a lot of questions, decline the offer, then ask to speak to their supervisor to make certain everyone, including the persons listening to the recording made for training and verification purposes, understands I have declined the offer. I figure every moment I can delay the evil telephonic solicitation machine is a moment my fellow citizens are safe.

No matter the organization, I’ve always figured if they call my house selling or seeking donations, they are crooks.

Now, however, I think the telephone workers need our help.

HSBC, self-proclaimed as “The World’s Local Bank” with 8,000 offices in 88 countries and a credit card in your pocket, has figured a way to kite funds from unsuspecting customers via telephone (wire fraud if you or I were to pull the same stunt) while reducing the number of actual human beings they have to hire to make the calls.

Outsourcing annoying phone calls to India is no longer enough for the corporate bean counters. Now they’ve got one worker monitoring a computer device which can make multiple calls and play prerecorded message snippits in response to customer input.

Your phone rings. You say, “hello.” The machine says, “Is this (your name here)?” You say, “Yes.” The machine says, “How are you?” You say, “Fine. How are you?” The machine says, “Fine, thank you for asking, I’d like to tell you about the new HSBC credit protection plan…..”

I know. You’re smarter than me. You’d hang up right there, neither knowing nor caring whether this was man or machine as you drop the call. But remember, I’m thinking about my fellow citizens. I’m sacrificing to give you time to eat dinner and discuss the day’s activities with your wife.

I’m also thinking, there’s a lot of clicking and a sort of disjointedness to this solicitor’s sales pitch. I toss in a question. “Now, what bank did you say you’re with?”

A pause. A click. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Could you repeat your question?”

There’s nobody home. “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?”

“Thank you, I wanted to speak to you about our credit protection program…” I could go round all day with this thing. I call time out. “May I speak to your supervisor?” The machine is programmed to deflect one request for the supervisor. “Yes, but first, can I confirm that you’d like to sign up…” “Let me speak to your supervisor, please.” Click. “Thank you. One moment while I connect you to a supervisor.”

I wait. I’m curious. When the supervisor comes on I ask a few questions to confirm that he’s a human being, working in Logan, Utah. I get to the point. “Was that a computerized call?” Yes it was. A phone bank calls a raft of customers every minute, latches onto live answerers, and spins through a programmed sales pitch. If a respondent expresses interest in the overpriced scheme, one of the few humans left on site is alerted to reel the mark in.

I ask the supervisor if the machines offer any advantage other than increasing profits for HSBC by eliminating the cost of humans. The supervisor wasn’t going for my populist line. He flipped a few pages of his script. “The advantage is that it helps us deliver a consistent message.

Stores are dumping cashiers for electronic check-out just as soon as they can train us morons to use the scanners and deposit our funds into their cash registers.

Now they’re cutting back on telephone solicitors. You just can’t get good help anymore for $4.00 an hour.

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Spring. And not a moment too soon. https://likethedew.com/2010/03/20/spring-and-not-a-moment-too-soon/ https://likethedew.com/2010/03/20/spring-and-not-a-moment-too-soon/#comments Sun, 21 Mar 2010 03:26:45 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=8539

Sunshine and seventy degree days arrived this week in the flat woods. The dogwoods burst with pure white blossoms and a thousand tiny bees, sprung from their still-cold hives, rattle the morning with a collective , near-startling , vibration as they welcome each new flower.

Winter, be gone!

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Consider the source https://likethedew.com/2010/03/19/consider-the-source/ https://likethedew.com/2010/03/19/consider-the-source/#comments Fri, 19 Mar 2010 23:11:38 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=8530

It’s interesting that Republican congressmen are so full of concerned advice to their Democratic colleagues about health care reform.

The GOP counsels that the voters won’t like affordable and available insurance. The GOP advises their party apparatus will vigorously challenge any Democrat who votes for reform.

Does this mean that if a Democratic congressman votes “no” on health care reform that the RNCC will give him a bye in the next election?

Doubtful.

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Hip-Hoppers – 1; Journalists – 0 https://likethedew.com/2010/03/08/hip-hoppers-1-journalists-0/ https://likethedew.com/2010/03/08/hip-hoppers-1-journalists-0/#comments Mon, 08 Mar 2010 17:36:28 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=8327

Waka Flocka Flame and the rest of Gucci Mane’s crew thought Young Jeezy’s posse dissed somebody at Walter’s and all hell broke loose.

This is a certain sign that either Atlanta is nowhere to be or that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution can’t tell its behind from a hole in the ground.

Late last week the AJC ran a breathless story about the showdown between competing hip-hoppers at Walter’s Clothing. The story said shots were fired and the store, said to be the place to spot celebreties, had to close for 30 minutes.

The AJC reporter even phoned the police to get some facts. Not many. Facts would make a story like this drop off the page. The police told the paper that there was, indeed, a fight, and that one guy, said to be a private security guard in the employ of  “a local entertainer” shot his gun.

Nobody got hit by the bullet(s). The AJC didn’t care to check out the name of the guy who fired his gun in a downtown Atlanta store. What’s important here is generating publicity for Waka Flocka Flame.

The fight might be connected, the AJC surmised, with a January incident in which Waka Flocka Flame was shot in the arm while washing his car at the Bubble Bath Car Wash. The shooter was trying to take Waka Flocka’s jewelry.

DJ Drama evidently wasn’t there, but he’d like folks to say he’s bad, too.

The AJC story is copyrighted. Why, I can’t imagine. There’s no beat and no one is going to use it on a mixtape.

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One word is worth a thousand pictures https://likethedew.com/2010/02/06/one-word-is-worth-a-thousand-pictures/ https://likethedew.com/2010/02/06/one-word-is-worth-a-thousand-pictures/#comments Sat, 06 Feb 2010 06:42:13 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=7821

The man had but one word – “Faith” – fixed on the church signboard as he perched near the top of his stepladder fumbling through a stack of plastic letters, looking for the remainder of the sentence.

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Texting While Peeing Must Stop https://likethedew.com/2010/01/13/texting-while-peeing-must-stop/ https://likethedew.com/2010/01/13/texting-while-peeing-must-stop/#comments Wed, 13 Jan 2010 11:48:48 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=7437 As state legislatures reconvene, the annual search for a cause we can all believe in renews. One of the most likely subjects is Texting While Driving.

Opposing texting drivers is an ideal political position. Everybody is against it. Everyone knows someone who does it. It is widely believed that teenagers, evil offspring and non-voters that they are, are the most likely texting suspects.

Even those who admit texting while driving know, in their hearts, that they are wrong. that the practice is dangerous, and that they need to stop.

But Piney Woods Pete happened upon a more insidious evil yesterday - texting while peeing.

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As state legislatures reconvene, the annual search for a cause we can all believe in renews. One of the most likely subjects is Texting While Driving.

Opposing texting drivers is an ideal political position. Everybody is against it. Everyone knows someone who does it. It is widely believed that teenagers, evil offspring and non-voters that they are, are the most likely texting suspects.

Even those who admit texting while driving know, in their hearts, that they are wrong. that the practice is dangerous, and that they need to stop.

But Piney Woods Pete happened upon a more insidious evil yesterday – texting while peeing.

I walked into the flat woods McDonald’s to check the facilities and there he stood at the urinal, hanging out, both thumbs engaged on his Blackberry keyboard.

Friends, I went about my business at a nearby porcelain unit. I carefully washed my hands and moved to the automatic hand dryer.

Another patron entered the room and went through the drill. Still the texter hung at his urinal, engaged with his keyboard.

Probably writing a letter to his state senator urging draconian measures against texting while driving.

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Dipping into the news from Copenhagen https://likethedew.com/2009/12/17/dipping-into-the-news-from-copenhagen/ https://likethedew.com/2009/12/17/dipping-into-the-news-from-copenhagen/#comments Thu, 17 Dec 2009 17:27:58 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=7128 There's been a lot of interest in the flat woods about the news coming out of the world climate meeting in Copenhagen.

Folks have varied opinions on global warming,  icepack levels, and how many glaciers

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CopenhagenMirror.JPGThere’s been a lot of interest in the flat woods about the news coming out of the world climate meeting in Copenhagen.

Folks have varied opinions on global warming,  icepack levels, and how many glaciers would have to melt to move the high water mark west of I-95, but most everyone agrees that Copenhagen makes the best snuff.

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Betting on Jekyll https://likethedew.com/2009/12/08/betting-on-jekyll/ https://likethedew.com/2009/12/08/betting-on-jekyll/#comments Tue, 08 Dec 2009 05:13:01 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=6961 Boosted by a contingent lured from the nearby Georgia Farm Bureau Convention, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue led a small but enthusiastic group of boosters and state officials Monday to celebrate the official start of the long-anticipated and much-debated revitalization of Jekyll Island.

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logo4Boosted by a contingent lured from the nearby Georgia Farm Bureau Convention, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue led a small but enthusiastic group of boosters and state officials Monday to celebrate the official start of the long-anticipated and much-debated revitalization of Jekyll Island.

Jekyll Island Authority workers lowered a 16-foot palm tree into the sand at the future site of the Great Dunes Park as Perdue and a crew of dignitaries shoveled in ceremonial sand to demonstrate that, though the revitalization brings hopes for lots of visitors and revenue, Jekyll’s environment will be central to the effort.

In his speech, Gov. Perdue emphasized that Jekyll Island, once a popular convention site, has steadily lost customers as its hotels and restaurants slipped into decline.  The Farm Bureau  has held 41 annual conventions at Jekyll but most groups have long since wandered elsewhere.

The $170 million revitalization push, which is to include a new convention center, new recreation opportunities, new hotels, new restaurants, and new cottages, is meant to bring people back to Jekyll while maintaining the island’s natural appeal. (click http://jekyllislandauthority.org/ for more details)

Jekyll’s new theme is “It’s All Good.” I’m inclined to agree.

However, the fellow standing next to me during Perdue’s speech was doubtful that the planned building projects will overcome beaches and water that are less appealing than the sand and waves of South Carolina and Florida.

“Only one thing will bring people to Jekyll,” he said. “A casino. Tear down that convention center and put in a casino.”

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Supplemental spending https://likethedew.com/2009/12/04/supplemental-spending/ https://likethedew.com/2009/12/04/supplemental-spending/#respond Fri, 04 Dec 2009 23:39:37 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=6904 While running immediate past-Speaker of the Georgia House Glenn Richardson out of town on a rail, the tar and feathers-toting crowd is howling about the influence of money-wielding lobbyists on state government.

The Atlanta papers are reporting that Richardson received more than $50,000 in food and fun since he ascended to the speaker position in 2005. And he's not the only recipient of glad tidings from Georgia corporations and other special-interest groups.

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cashWhile running immediate past-Speaker of the Georgia House Glenn Richardson out of town on a rail, the tar and feathers-toting crowd is howling about the influence of money-wielding lobbyists on state government.

The Atlanta papers are reporting that Richardson received more than $50,000 in food and fun since he ascended to the speaker position in 2005. And he’s not the only recipient of glad tidings from Georgia corporations and other special-interest groups.

In 2009, according to the State Ethics Commission (click http://ethics.georgia.gov/Reports/ReportSummary.aspx), lobbyists have dumped more than a million bucks entertaining state elected officials and bureaucrats.

It’s like these clean-government people are opposed to the entertainment industry. Let’s say it’s non-governmental spending in support of bars, restaurants, strip clubs, and professional sports of assorted types.

Let’s give these lobbyists some appreciation for supplementing the income of our poor, underpaid and overworked public servants.

My word, people act like Glenn Richardson ran on a platform of good government and family values.

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A rough way to segue https://likethedew.com/2009/11/23/a-rough-way-to-segue/ https://likethedew.com/2009/11/23/a-rough-way-to-segue/#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2009 23:20:27 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=6700 Note to public speakers, especially television personalities: If you use the word "segue," meaning a smooth, uninterrupted transition, while attempting a segue, you have not accomplished a segue.

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microphones-for-interviewsNote to public speakers, especially television personalities: If you use the word “segue,” meaning a smooth, uninterrupted transition, while attempting a segue, you have not accomplished a segue.

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Help me, information https://likethedew.com/2009/11/18/help-me-information/ https://likethedew.com/2009/11/18/help-me-information/#respond Wed, 18 Nov 2009 23:51:10 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=6664

169251748cjmdQu_phPrivacy rules, well-intended though they may be, sometimes result in silliness.

My cousin, a lady of a certain age, flew to Atlanta from San Francisco for my daughter’s wedding. Back in the day Betty was well-travelled. She thought I’d meet her in the waiting area at her landing gate. That’s how well-mannered folks used to greet incoming passengers.

She sat for an hour while I stood at the designated greeting area at the top of the escalators between the north and south baggage claim areas at Hartsfield-Jackson. Her San Francisco cell phone didn’t mesh with the Georgia towers and our calls to each other rang no bells.

About the time she asked the Delta agent at her gate for advice and learned that arrivals are now met at the top of the escalators, a Delta agent at the airport entrance advised me that, though Delta could not, due to privacy rules, tell me whether my cousin had made the flight, I could get a special pass to go the the gate area. “I’m pretty sure you’ll find her there,” the agent said, seemingly conveying inside information.

I removed my shoes and passed through the Homeland Security x-ray and rode the tram to gate Z-5000, or so it seemed, where another Delta agent again explained that the privacy rules prevented him revealing whether my cousin had actually made the flight or not.

I asked the agent if privacy rules would permit him to page my cousin without presuming that his call meant he believed her to be in the Atlanta airport. Her name was called. Later another agent called her again. I heard the calls. Being a lady of a certain age, my cousin heard nothing.

privacyAn hour later, a fourth agent sensed my growing desperation and risked fines and jail time by showing me a computer screen which indicated the time cousin Betty left San Francisco, the moment she touched down in Atlanta, and the fact that her emergency contact person was me.

Three and one-half hours after her landing, cousin Betty made contact with another family member who called me to advise her location. We were weary when we found each other, and relieved, and four hours older. But thanks to Delta and the law, our privacy was intact.

It’s not Delta’s fault, I suppose. Betty hasn’t flown in a while. I haven’t been to the Atlanta airport in twenty years. In my four hours at Hartsfield-Jackson I observed that thousands of travellers flow with ease coming from everywhere and going everywhere. And after we met, my cousin and I moved quickly, effortlessly, to the parking area and onto I-85.

Still, I’d be willing to give up some efficiency for a couple of concerned Delta agents invading my privacy.

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Shelter from the brawl https://likethedew.com/2009/10/30/shelter-from-the-brawl/ https://likethedew.com/2009/10/30/shelter-from-the-brawl/#comments Fri, 30 Oct 2009 11:52:45 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=6490 In preparation for the onslaught of Georgia-Florida football related partying this weekend, Jacksonville City officials are again setting up "Student Sideline Safety Zones" to provide sanctuary for those too drunk to remember where they parked.

According to a Florida Times Union story on Thursday, the safety zones - areas where police and other public safety officials will offer assistance and protection rather than immediate arrest for knee-walking drunks - are not just for students this year. All inebriates are welcome.

The safety zones originated to counter the perceived problem of drunks falling into bad company after the big game. Bad company at the Georgia-Florida annual mayhem is drunks who like to beat other drunks. Gators beating Dogs. Dogs beating Gators. Thugs stealing and stabbing the semi-conscious. Local boys shoving visitors into the St. Johns River. Oh my!

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In preparation for the onslaught of Georgia-Florida football related partying this weekend, Jacksonville City officials are again setting up “Student Sideline Safety Zones” to provide sanctuary for those too drunk to remember where they parked.

SSSZlogo09-webAccording to a Florida Times Union story on Thursday, the safety zones – areas where police and other public safety officials will offer assistance and protection rather than immediate arrest for knee-walking drunks – are not just for students this year. All inebriates are welcome.

The safety zones originated to counter the perceived problem of drunks falling into bad company after the big game. Bad company at the Georgia-Florida annual mayhem is drunks who like to beat other drunks. Gators beating Dogs. Dogs beating Gators. Thugs stealing and stabbing the semi-conscious. Local boys shoving visitors into the St. Johns River. Oh my!

I got enough of the Georgia-Florida festivities as a child. My father treated the family to the game several times. One year we sat on the top row at the old Gator Bowl and watched an elderly man trudge up the steep steps. My brother and I made a bet as to how far he had to climb. He arrived, at a seat directly in front of us, exhausted, just in time to respond to the announcer’s call to stand for the national anthem. The old man rose and fell over dead with an apparent heart attack.

The next year it rained. And rained. As fans crowded into the walkways beneath the stands at the end of the game, things turned dank. Gators beating Dogs. Dogs beating Gators. Shouting escalated into curse words beyond my comprehension.

My father kept us away from the worst of the fisticuffs, but I doubted even he could get us out unscathed. I prayed, in earnest, promising the Good Lord that if he would get me out of the Gator Bowl safely, I’d never bother him from that point on the earth again.

I made it out and I’ve kept my promise. The Student Sideline Safety Zones may seem like a solution to some folks. I prefer my plan – pray hard and stay away from drunken brawls.

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Phooey on doubters https://likethedew.com/2009/10/10/phooey-on-doubters/ https://likethedew.com/2009/10/10/phooey-on-doubters/#comments Sat, 10 Oct 2009 04:01:29 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=6091

6a00d8341c630a53ef00e5525722018834-800wiSomeone is always trying to drag you down, to tell you that you can’t, you aren’t, you’re lacking, you’re too this or too that.

Well, phooey on them.

I’m standing in the sporting goods aisle looking at aluminum baseball bats for no good reason other than that I recently re-discovered the old bat my brothers and I used for backyard games.

It’s splintered and grey and has two tiny nails driven and crossed over to mark where you can’t see the trademark anymore. We’d worn it off and one of us evidently thought the trademark needed to be designated and there was a hammer and two nails. In drippy red paint we’d branded the bat — Woods Brothers.

Modern bats are light and fast and sparkly. I said to my spousal unit, I bet even I could have hit a ball with this thing.

A little boy wandered down the aisle, peeking and dreaming and touching the bats and balls and lingering, especially, over a long scoop of a fielder’s mitt. His brother wandered in behind him, scowling. “What are you doing? You aren’t a baseball player.”

The boy with the glove rammed onto his left hand almost snatched it off at his brother’s admonition.

Then he smacked his right fist into the webbing of the glove. “I’m trying to be,” he said.

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I’ve been thrown out of better places https://likethedew.com/2009/10/01/ive-been-thrown-out-of-better-places/ https://likethedew.com/2009/10/01/ive-been-thrown-out-of-better-places/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2009 02:29:02 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=5978

FUN title only in wordArtSigns are endlessly fascinating, thanks in part to our long tradition of protecting free speech, no matter how silly.

There’s a little enterprise stuffed into one end of a convenience store I pass about once a week. The primary sign — lighted and professionally produced — announces the business is the “Fun Place.” Then follows a bulleted list of the types of fun available:

* Family * Arcade * Fun Games * Billiards * Video Fun * Video Poker * Monitored

Already, I’m a little doubtful. Of seven items, only two are specifically indentified as fun. It sounds like a gambling joint, but the first and last words are “family” and “monitored.” I’m thinking either it’s video fun, poker and pool or it’s monitored and family-oriented.

It can’t be both.

Curious, I ease in for a closer look. I don’t go inside, only a stroll past the front door. There’s a poster on the front door in some Microsoft-provided font detailing the “Rules and Regulations.” This is sounding more like monitored than video fun and poker.

Here are the rules (with my doubts in parentheses):

1. Have fun, no fighting. (As my cousin Harry used to say, you haven’t had fun until you’ve been in a fight.)

2. No drinking or drugs allow- here. None. (I report; you decide whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the formulation of that sentence.)

3. No food or foul speech. (A unique combination, but clearly stated.)

4. Only those over 18 can play poker or other redemption games. (Now, at least, we know it is a gambling joint. Family-oriented and monitored but definitely a gambling joint.)

5. Try to limit any smoking inside. (This is near the top of my list of favorite statements. It’s not really a rule, just a suggestion for your better health. For example, put the cigarette you are smoking out before you light another.)

6. We will throw out any rule breakers. (Or, like Cousin Harry said after the fight, I’ve been thrown out of much better places than this.)

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The right to shut down Amtrak https://likethedew.com/2009/09/16/the-right-to-shut-down-amtrack-shall-not-be-infringed/ https://likethedew.com/2009/09/16/the-right-to-shut-down-amtrack-shall-not-be-infringed/#comments Thu, 17 Sep 2009 02:49:09 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=5808

The U.S. Senate has agreed that Amtrak must allow guns to be carried in checked baggage.

It might be a Second Amendment thing but it’s mostly an unfunded mandate.

Amtrak banned firearms from its trains in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the sponsor of the Amtrak gun language added to the transportation and housing appropriations measure currently before Congress, argued that all domestic airlines permit firearms in checked luggage and Amtrak should do the same.

The guns on the rails amendment received bipartisan support, but isn’t included in the House version so there is still time to take sides.

Amtrak, cash strapped and short on both political and popular support, is protesting that setting up a gun check-in as required will be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.

On the Senate floor this week Wicker said Amtrak was preventing free exerccise of the Second Amendment by denying the right to carry firearms in locked, hard-side cases in checked baggage.

The more pure Second Amendment claim would be that passengers should be allowed to fire at railroad crossing signs from moving trains. Otherwise, what’s a free state all about?

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