Tattoo Wars: Can a Waiting Period Prevent Stupidity?

Maybe DC bureaucrats can add mandatory spell check to the 24–hour tattoo waiting period.

Maybe DC bureaucrats can add mandatory spell check to the 24–hour tattoo waiting period.

District of Columbia leftists have been so generous in providing ideas for negative columns; it’s only fair to compliment them when they do something positive. Currently the District of Columbia Health Department is proposing a mandatory 24–hour waiting period before getting a tattoo. I think making prospective tattoo customers pass a Breathalyzer and recite the alphabet backward would be a good idea, too, since it combines a sobriety and I.Q. test.

As gratifying as this waiting period is, it’s still mystifying. Why draw the line here? The extent of cultural decay that gets a pass in the District is breathtaking, so what makes getting a tattoo worthy of regulation?

It’s true that throughout history tattoos have been associated with less desirable elements including pirates, cannibals, the SS and neo–Nazis, but guilt by association is never an issue in DC. You have only to count the number of politicians at the various alternative lifestyle ‘pride’ parades to know that.

Trendies use a tattoo to declare themselves ‘edgy’ without the accompanying inconvenience of joining a para–military organization or abandoning their vegan diet.

Still, just the mention of a waiting period was enough to motivate the Washington Post to interview those opposed.

Paul Roe, who owns a tattoo parlor, is quoted as saying, “It’s honestly ridiculous. Why not 24 hours’ waiting time before shaving your head?” (This points out the danger of the uncreative mind attempting to construct a metaphor on the fly. Unless Roe is using henna tattoos his marks are permanent, whereas even the worst haircut eventually grows out.)

Roe’s trump card against any new rules is two words: Breaking bad. “Simple regulation is effective regulation,” he said. “Overregulation will kill the profession and drive it underground and make it less safe for everybody.” Evidently the tattoo industry is as fundamentally lawless as meth dealers and abortionists. At the first hint of government oversight everyone threatens to head for the nearest alley and bring out the coat hangers.

Actually I’m not a total anti–tattoo fanatic. I can see the need for a medicinal tattoo on Alzheimer’s patients (name, address, phone number, next of kin and the GPS coordinates of the assisted–living home) for those awkward times when grandpa is found wandering in the median wearing grandma’s pajamas.

My view of ‘decorative’ tattoos is the same as my wife’s. She believes getting a tattoo is like wearing the same tee–shirt every day for the rest of your life.

Marcela Onyango told the WaPost that she had been pondering getting her late mother’s birth year — 1961 — etched on her rib cage for the last three years. Naturally, she thinks waiting an additional 24 hours constitutes an outrage. Although she might wish she’d delayed even longer if a future armed robber mistakes those four digits for her PIN number.

William O’Sullivan contributed an opinion piece where we learn that in the tattoo subculture “there seems to be an unspoken code not to talk about them [tattoos].” Another bizarre case of flaunting something in public you don’t want people to notice.

It’s like the time I was walking through a casino and a woman passed by who was featuring her pulchritude in an outfit with a plunging neckline.

Since I’m weak and a sinner, my attention was irresistibly drawn to that canyon. Simultaneously, my wife poked me in the ribs and the woman’s companion gave me a hostile look. “Hey,” I protested in defense, “if you don’t want people to look at the merchandise, keep it out of the display case!”

While Virginia only regulates tattoos for those under 18, the DC waiting period will apply to everyone regardless of age. And about time, too, since it looks like AARP may soon be offering a tattoo discount.

Darlene Nash, a 57–year–old grandmother, told the WaPost her tattoos are for a dead sister, two granddaughters, her mother and friends who died of cancer. This epidermal notice board is located on her shoulder blades so everyone behind her on the ladder to the water slide can pause and consider mortality.

Evidently there is a lot of commemoration going on. In the same article the owner of Maryland tattoo parlor says older customers “often want to commemorate a milestone, such as the death of a spouse, the birth of a grandchild, a marriage or a divorce.” Looking at it that way, the ink saves time and gas in the long run, because you won’t feel guilty for not visiting mom at the cemetery; and it lasts a lot longer than a mylar birthday balloon.

The Posties also discovered Myrna Armstrong, a tattoo culture professor who has comforting news for older hipsters. She says since the over–55 set already has saggy skin there’s no need to worry about the tattoo wilting. It’s like buying a pre–shrunk shirt. The tattoo–wanting senior just has to find an ‘artist’ skilled enough to ink on the fleshy equivalent of a grocery bag.

It could be the DC Dept. of Health is on the leading edge of a body ink backlash. The Army is considering a ban on any tattoo on the forearm, below the knee or above the neckline and it will require the removal of “offensive” tattoos.

I only wish the District would expand activities covered by a waiting period. Right now the authorities require a waiting before you can buy a gun, but it’s step–right–this–way if you want an abortion. It seems only consistent to expand the wait period to abortion, too. Because although a gun purchase may sometime result in an innocent death, an abortion purchase is designed to result in an innocent death.

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Off–Year Election Prospects Grim for Conservatives

Democrat Terry McAuliffe prepares to photograph his favorite person.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe prepares to photograph his favorite person.

In 2009 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia provided a morale boost for conservatives still smarting from the Obama victory. Chris Christie won in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell won in Virginia.

The chance for morale boosting repeat this year is very small.

In New Jersey we’ve discovered Christie is now Obama’s newest BFF and is showing all the symptoms of an advanced case of RINO’s disease with egomaniacal complications.

Here in Virginia, there is little optimism regarding Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign for governor. It’s looking more and more like he should have kept his original promise to run for re–election as attorney general. Then there truly would have been a balm in Gilead.

Retiring Lt. Governor Bill Bolling could have run unopposed on the GOP side — while he continued to keep his inner RINO in the closet — Cuccinelli would be AG and E. W. Jackson could have become Lt. Governor. Two conservatives out of three isn’t bad and former GOP consultant — and Bolling inner circle member — Boyd Marcus would not have had to defect to the Democrats in a fit of pique.

It pains me to say this, but ‘moderate’ Bolling actually would have been a stronger candidate than Cuccinelli, because he has no ties whatsoever to FBI investigation target Jonnie Williams — the VA GOP answer to Santa Claus — and his Star Scientific patent medicine company. A Bolling candidacy would have been immune to the fallout from Big Watch Bob McDonnell’s gifts–that–keep–on–giving scandal. Simply because Bolling didn’t run up a tab with Williams. Bolling doesn’t wear a $7,500 gift watch, didn’t take free vacations, his children didn’t receive $25,000 in wedding gifts, his wife didn’t receive a $15,000 shopping spree and the family business didn’t get a $75,000 loan.

(Rumor has it that once Bolling learned Williams’ product wasn’t a weight loss aid, he had no more interest in Star Scientific.)

Instead we have an incumbent governor passing the hat to raise money to pay lawyers working to prevent an indictment. Williams is singing like a canary. And both are damaging Cuccinelli who took what amounted to tip money from Jonnie — particularly when compared to the jackpot McDonnell hit when Williams became a “family friend.”

No wonder Ken is currently polling seven points behind the Democrat nominee Terry ‘Flim Flam Man’ McAuliffe. I suppose we’re lucky the deficit isn’t larger. McDonnell could have helped the situation if he had resigned during the summer, but even Star Scientific doesn’t manufacture an anti–inflammatory powerful enough to lubricate McDonnell’s passage out of the mansion.

So McAuliffe’s refusal to release his tax returns — for a brief moment an important issue — becomes a non–issue in the environment generated by the Williams/McDonnell gifts scandal. Looking at it from a voter’s perspective it’s a wash, McAuliffe is just better about hiding his financial peccadilloes.

In this political climate it’s crucial for the Cuccinelli campaign to avoid any mistakes that call the nominee’s character into question. So what do they do? The campaign airs a negative commercial that calls the campaign’s character into question.

The spot contains testimonials from people who were ruined by the bankruptcy of a company from which McAuliffe made millions. Any effectiveness the commercial had ended when the people giving the testimonials told the Washington Post that no one told them the footage would be in a campaign commercial. On the contrary, they say they were told the interviews were for a documentary. And they say the Cuccinelli campaign lied to them.

I’ve been making campaign commercials for 33 years and I can tell you that any competent media firm has a simple way to settle controversies like this. All the campaign has to do is show the reporter the talent releases signed during the taping.

That way if the interviewees change their mind later or the McAuliffe people pressure them, you have proof the interview subjects knew what they were getting into before the spot aired.

Only the Cuccinelli campaign didn’t show Washington Post reporters any signed releases. During their WaPost interview they did not address “whether the employees in the ad were told how the footage would be used.”

I don’t want to pile on here, but I have some advice for the campaign. If the media consultant and the production company didn’t get signed permission releases from non–professional talent the company is sloppy, incompetent and deserves to be fired.

If the media consultant and the production company have releases but the releases say the footage is to be used in a documentary and not a campaign commercial, they are sleazy, incompetent and deserve to be fired.

Voters are accustomed to a certain amount of hyperbole in positive campaign spots, that’s why no one chokes when Lindsey Graham and the word “fighting” appear in the same spot. But negative commercials must be accurate and the allegations based on verifiable fact. Ken’s campaign has done it’s best to undermine his positive and negative message.

We have a Cuccinelli campaign that says McAuliffe can’t be trusted, plays fast and loose with the truth and won’t release his taxes. Then the same campaign releases a commercial that plays fast and loose with the truth to people already reeling from losing their livelihood. And just to make sure the news stays bad Cuccinelli — after foot dragging for months — decides to donate $18,000 to charity to offset the same amount he received in gifts from Jonnie Williams.

In one fell swoop the campaign helps McAuliffe by generating another week or two of negative coverage regarding the gifts. Waiting this late in the campaign to donate money from gifts Cuccinelli never should have taken is stupidity compounded.

I’m told that the reason Cuccinelli decided to break his promise and not run for re–election as AG is his big money backers told him they would not donate unless he ran for governor. I’m wondering how the plutocrats feel about their investment now?

For more on Cuccinelli and the gifts scandal click here

For more on how McDonnell caused the gifts scandal click here and here

For more on how Bolling discovered his inner RINO click here

For more on how Marcus discovered his inner turncoat click here

Feeling Threatened? Borrow a Legislator!

Indians & Gun ControlThe reason the debate over the 2nd Amendment is so futile is that supporters of the amendment have two jobs — one expected, the other burdensome. Marshalling an argument for your position is only natural in a debate and if it’s not done, that side deserves to lose.

What’s burdensome is 2nd Amendment supporters also have to explain how guns function to opponents who are dangerously ignorant and basing their position on feelings, myths and MSNBC.

It’s like debating physics with Wile E. Coyote.

The gun control debate in Colorado is a perfect example. For years Rep. Diana DeGette (D–Space Cadet) has sponsored federal legislation to ban “high capacity magazines.” Naturally after Sandy Hook, DeGette began pontificating about her bill once again. She predicted that banning “high–capacity magazines” would reduce gun violence because “”the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available.”

This may have been true if DeGette was talking about a “high–capacity” lipstick cartridge, but not an ammunition magazine. This is the equivalent of fighting high school vandalism by banning “high–capacity” egg cartons sold at Costco. In the real world magazines are reloaded and can be reused over and over, just like purses!

Later DeGette sent her “spokeswoman” Juliet Johnson out to clarify her remarks, but unfortunately the ignorance in her office isn’t confined to the officeholder. Johnson explained, “The congresswoman has been working on a high-capacity assault magazine ban for years and has been deeply involved in the issue; she simply misspoke in referring to ‘magazines’ when she should have referred to ‘clips,’ which cannot be reused because they don’t have a feeding mechanism.”

Wrong again. “Clip” is an inaccurate term for magazine and by any name the device is reusable as long as the spring holds up.

During hearings for state anti–gun legislation in March, State Sen. Evie Hudak told a rape victim testifying before her committee that it was foolish to think she could have stopped her attacker with a gun: “Statistics are not on your side,” Hudak explained.

For those residents who might want to pack more than a sheaf of statistics on their hip, House Majority Leader Dickey Hullinghorst offered solace. She claimed during an interview that firearms ownership is unnecessary because the state legislature protects citizens.

“As a woman, I have the right not to carry a gun and to feel safe on the streets,” Hullinghorst lectured, “and that’s what we provide for in the state legislature is for all of us in the state of Colorado — to feel safe on the streets without having to carry a gun.”

This could work. Here in the DC area we have a system called Capital Bikeshare where participants buy a membership and then borrow bicycles from stations scattered across the area when they need to go somewhere and don’t want to walk or drive.

I can see the same principle working with Colorado Legis–share. When a woman who doesn’t want to pack heat feels uneasy at the prospect of walking along a dark street, she simply borrows a legislator from a nearby station and the solon accompanies her. Residents can buy memberships from the nearest lobbyist.

Strong, assertive women like Hullinghorst would probably be in high demand, but any legislator is better than no legislator when you’re in a tight spot.

The Democrat–dominated state house then passed a series of anti–gun laws that resulted in a recall election for two prominent Democrat gun grabbers Sen. Angela Giron (Pueblo) and Sen. John Morse (Colorado Springs). The recall pitted the media, Democrats and billionaires like Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Eli Broad against a plumber who had to borrow money from granny to start the recall drive.

Yet outspent 27 to 1 the plumber and conservatives in Colorado won! Both Democrats lost and will be replaced by Republicans.

Evidence of firearms fantasy is not confined to Colorado though. After a calm and courageous bookkeeper named Antoinette Tuff prevented a school shooting by talking the gunman into surrendering, I anticipated the gunphobics would be urging Congress to pass emergency funding to put a bookkeeper with a megaphone in every elementary school in the country.

Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak certainly didn’t disappoint. She crowed that there were no deaths in Decatur, GA in spite of the fact teachers weren’t armed, the NRA’s gun–toting police officers weren’t present and the school didn’t have “frightening ‘intruder drills.’”

Dvorak explains, “As soon as the man entered the school and fired one round into the floor, Tuff called 911 and stayed smooth and calm as a computer help line operator. She kept a conversation going among herself, the gunman and the 911 dispatcher…Her 911 call — listen to the whole thing; it’s riveting — is a portrait of poise, compassion and selflessness. She was exactly what America is forgetting to be.”

Unfortunately for Petula and all the lessons she would have America draw from this single incident, there is a stark difference between this attack and other shootings. The Georgia gunman shot the floor, while the high school, university and elementary school gunmen shot people. You’d think a highly trained reporter would notice that.

A school that prepared for a variety of contingencies and had a bookkeeper with a megaphone, along with an armed teacher or two, would have options for dealing with a gunman depending on whether the he shot the parquet or the principal. In Dvorak’s dream school the students and teachers would be out of luck in almost every case.

But that’s not an argument one can make with legislators, advocates and leftist journalists that live in a dream world. And even the Colorado recall results may bounce off their impermeable armor of ignorance and arrogance.

So for the rest of us the choice boils down to this: You can have “statistics” on your side or you can have Smith & Wesson. The choice is yours, for now.

TSA Annexes NFL

TSA logic: Coming to an NFL stadium near you.

TSA logic: Coming to an NFL stadium near you.

I never thought I’d live to see the day when you couldn’t bring more than 3 oz. of shampoo into a National Football League stadium. Over the years I’ve grudgingly accepted the ban on explosives, handguns, rifles and vuvuzelas, but this may be , the last straw.

The NFL has now decreed that fans (quaintly known in some quarters as paying customers) may no longer bring purses larger than a pack of cigarettes (also banned, BTW) into the stadium. In addition, the ban includes briefcases, fanny packs, coolers, backpacks, cinch bags, computer bags (!) and camera bags. Instead attendees may fill one clear plastic bag no large than 12” X 6” X 12” with their worldly possessions.

NFL officials suggest items that won’t fit inside the bag may be put in your pockets, around your neck or slipped inside a handy body cavity. In its benevolence the NFL is allowing fans to bring blankets inside, as long as you sling it over your shoulder like the infantry in the Army of Northern Virginia did.

The reason for the change is as tiresome as it is irrelevant: “To provide a safer environment for the public and significantly expedite fan entry into stadiums.” The new policy will expedite all right. Once the argument with the TSA–wannabe is over, females will be jettisoning personal possessions into waiting trash bins like shipwreck survivors tossing unneeded weight out of a lifeboat.

How sowing confusion is going to speed up security lines is something of a mystery. Many items formerly contained in a purse will go into pockets instead, where they will trigger metal detectors. This, in turn, will trigger pat–downs, wandings, pocket emptying, possession dropping and possession forgetting. You’ll have all the fun of an airport security line without the bother of remembering to put your tray table in “its full, upright and locked position.”

This season the NFL will be conducting an unintentional experiment in market dynamics. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the descending curve of a fan’s desire to attend the game to cross the rising nuisance curve of petty NFL rules. Commissioner Roger Goodell’s lasting legacy may be as the man who made pro football a studio sport.

Various credulous observers have commented, “I understand the need for increased security when it comes to larger bags. All someone needs to do is mention the 2013 Boston Marathon to silence critics.”

I’ve got a news flash: One couldn’t bring a pressure cooker into a Redskins game before the Boston bombing, much less afterwards. Dan Snyder, Redskins owner, wouldn’t allow the competition with his over–priced hot dogs. And speaking of Snyder, the NFL advised owners to establish a location where females who didn’t get the word could check their purses outside the stadium, like a hotel does with coats, and then pick the purse up after the game.

Snyder — a noted paragon of customer service — provided a little expediting here, too. Women were told to trek back to their cars with their purse or drop it in the trash.

The safety concerns of the majority of fans, and almost all the women, concern being protected from aggressive drunks, hurling drunks, disrobing drunks, cursing drunks and fighting drunks. (For their part the drunks may have some complaints, too but they have trouble remembering.) But ending alcohol sales or increasing patrolling security inside the stadium would cut into owner profits, whereas making you throw your purse in the trash costs Snyder nothing.

When you combine that with the fact you have to leave earlier to catch a football game than you do to catch a flight. The traffic home will be at least as bad as traffic to the stadium. Parking can run you $50. The ticket can cost more than an airline flight. And you have to sit idle while play stops for a TV commercial — the option of sitting at home and watching the game looks better and better. In fact, during the 2011 season almost two million seats went unsold in the NFL.

Airlines don’t worry too much about security irritation because there is no real alternative for long distance travel. But the NFL provides its own alternative: Televised games! Where you see better, eat cheaper, have a smaller carbon footprint and are on a first name basis with the drunks.

I can’t imagine this latest “safety” brainstorm is going to make NFL owners happy if they start losing concession, parking and ticket revenue.

Of course it could be that football fans are intrinsically more dangerous than baseball fans. I went to a Nationals game this week. The guard glanced in my wife’s large, black, opaque bag, saw clear plastic bottles of water and waved her though. It took about 15 seconds. There were no metal detectors and no pat–downs. I didn’t remove my shoes or my belt. Yet the family didn’t feel the least bit unsafe.

Something tells me the clear plastic bag has more to do with mom sneaking a granola bar into the stadium than it does pressure cooker bombs.

It’s enough to make you wonder if Goodell drinks Maker’s Mark bourbon. You may recall earlier this year Maker’s Mark was presented with a problem many companies wish they had in Obama’s economy — more demand for their bourbon than the company could supply at current production levels.

Classical economics offers two choices to a company in this situation: Raise prices until the demand curve crosses the price curve or keep prices where they are, endure resulting shortages and ramp up production for the future.

Instead, the owners decided to water down their bourbon, reducing alcohol content from 90 proof to 84 proof, so as to increase supply at the same price. Customers were outraged and the company quickly backed down and kept the alcohol level the same.

Goodell is diluting the quality of his product, too. But instead of water he adds irritation.