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April 30, 2013

Arizona passes bill saying that all buyback guns need to find new loving homes

Arizona bill requiring resale of buyback guns signed
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona cities and counties that hold community gun buyback events will have to sell the surrendered weapons instead of destroying them under a bill Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law Monday. The bill was championed by Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature who argued that municipalities were skirting a 2010 law that was tightened last year and requires police to sell seized weapons to federally licensed dealers. They argued that destroying property turned over to the government is a waste of taxpayer resources. Democrats who argued against the bill said it usurps local control and goes against the wishes of people who turn over their unwanted weapons to keep them out of the hands of children or thieves. Buybacks are popular among some police and elected officials who either pay cash or hand out gift cards in exchange for weapons. Tucson and other Arizona communities destroyed weapons from the events, arguing that because the guns were voluntarily surrendered, the laws concerning weapons seized by authorities didn’t apply. House Bill 2455 prompted a furious debate in the state Senate, where Democrats accused Republicans of complaining about an overbearing federal government but then turning around and dictating policies to local governments.

There are no jobs but there is grave-robbing

Especially profitable is robbing the graves of confederate soldiers from the Civil War. Grave-looting part of new black market for artifacts | The Augusta Chronicle
In Burke County, two men are accused of desecrating and looting the Old Church Cemetery graves of five soldiers in search of heirlooms. Though grave-robbing ranks among the most heinous property crimes, the rewards can be profitable. One button off a Confederate uniform from the Civil War can sell for as much as $150. Uniforms and medals range in value from $500 to several thousand dollars. A general’s or officer’s sword can go for between $20,000 and $30,000, antiques brokers say. “There’s money in it,” said Paul Henry, a co-owner of Henry Brothers Auction Co. in downtown Augusta. At the core of the black-market trade of historic war relics, experts say, is the inability to easily verify the history of Confederate artifacts, which hold more value because the government was dissolved in 1865 after the end of the Civil War. The lack of background data enables private dealers and online collectors to sell large quantities of stolen artifacts under claims they are the heirloom of a distant relative, Henry said.

April 28, 2013

"If anyone in the airport speaks Arabic, please come to gate A-4."

radiance and mist | After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I...
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, Please come to the gate immediately. Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she Did this. I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, Sho bit se-wee? The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used— She stopped crying. She thought our flight had been canceled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him. We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and Would ride next to her—Southwest. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and Found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours. She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering Questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag— And was offering them to all the women at the gate. . . .
*Thanks, Alan!*