American exceptionalism: Which is more characteristically American — that a Texas company could invent an ordinary rifle that mimics a machine gun or that America’s incomparable legal minds could find a loophole in existing anti-machine-gun laws to permit it to be manufactured and sold? The Slide Fire company’s weapon can spray bullets “like a fire hose” from a legal, semiautomatic gun by simple application of muscle, yet an official opinion of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives acknowledges that the agency is powerless to regulate it because of the wording in 1934 and 1986 legislation that otherwise restricts private ownership of machine guns. One gun shop owner told London’s Daily Mail in September that the Slide Fire rifle is “not as easy” to use as a machine gun, but still, “(I) t’s fairly idiot-proof.”
Fine points of the law
(1) In July, a New York City judge tossed out Joseph Lozito’s lawsuit against the police — even though two officers had stood by in February 2011, out of harm’s way, while a man attacked Lozito as part of a four-murder crime spree. The judge ruled that it was not clear enough that Lozito was in danger when the officers began to ignore him (while they were inside a subway motorman’s booth). (2) In September, a federal jury in New York City upheld an employment agency worker’s claim that she (an African- American) was racially harassed by her boss. The supervisor, Rob Carmona, had insisted that he could not be liable for race-based harassment because, he, too, is African- American and thus entitled to use the “n-word.”
—In a YouTube video, reported by the political website RawStory.com in August, well-known tea party activist Jerome Corsi elaborates on the biblical importance of child-bearing and implores followers to “(hold) the line” on the principle that “(s)ex is about the procreation of children.”
“(S)ex is not about fun,” he says.
“If you want to have fun, read a book, go to a movie.” —Evidently, surgery is kinda boring: A 36-year-old patient is suing California’s Torrance Memorial Medical Center, claiming that anesthesiologist Patrick Yang decorated her face with stickers while she was unconscious and that an aide took photos for laughs, later allegedly uploading them to Facebook. Dr. Yang and the aide were later disciplined but remained in good standing. Some hospitals (not Torrance Memorial yet) prohibit cellphones in operating rooms at all times.
—According to his road manager, pioneer 1970s musician Sly Stone (of Sly and the Family Stone) has a lot of “real interesting ideas,” including once trying to hire “ninja chicks and clowns” for his security entourage. Stone’s latest brainstorm, reported London’s The Guardian in August: form a musical group of albinos, which Stone says “could neutralize all the racial problems” that plague society. “To me,” he said, “albinos are the most legitimate minority group of all.” —In the concluding race in September of the Rally de Misiones in Campo Viera, Argentina, it was important for drivers to complete the laps even if they had no chance of winning, but near the end, driver Sebastian Llamosas experienced a throttle malfunction and began coasting, still about a half-mile from the finish line. However, in a move reminiscent of actor Slim Pickens jumping on the atomic bomb in Dr. Strangelove, Llamosas’s quick-thinking partner Mauricio Sainz jumped onto the open engine and accelerated the car by hand while Llamosas steered the final distance.