J.D. Tuccille
"A statesman is a dead politician. Lord knows we need more statemen." — Opus
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    Full Automatic

    Why do I call my mildly deranged political musings "Full Automatic?" Well, kids, let me tell you. When the barbarians surge over the hill, there's no time to carefully select your targets -- you switch the selector on your rifle to "full automatic" and spray the massed enemy with hot lead death until the firing pin clanks against an empty chamber and the endless savage ranks of swine pour over the perimeter like a swarm of carnivorous lemmings to strip the flesh from your carcass, leaving nothing but your polished bones in their wake. And that's what my column is -- a futile last burst of fire at the rising tide of busybodies and mediocrity. That's why I call the column "Full Automatic."

      Cameras are fallible and should not be trusted — February 27, 2009
      traffic cameras are dumb revenue machines that are easily fooled, often inaccurate, actually increase the frequency of some accidents, and that have been used to spy on us.

      Rebellion mounting vs. speed cameras — December 8, 2008
      Arizona Governor Napolitano's enthusiasm for money-making speed traps is easily matched by opponents' visceral distaste for the automated spy-eyes -- a distaste that has translated into a clever campaign of sabotage.

      The inevitable presidential power trip — November 3, 2008
      What kind of president will the winner of November's election be? If history is any judge, the nation's next chief executive, whether Democrat Barack Obama, or Republican John McCain, will be hungry for more power than the office already has.

      Barack Obama's very modern version of conscription — September 29, 2008
      Senator Obama's national service proposal refers to "universal voluntary citizen service." But make no mistake: Barack Obama wants your kids. And he's willing to draft them, in a very modern way.

      Cindy McCain makes millions while Greg Gibson does time — September 2, 2008
      What's the reward for peddling a little stress relief? If you're the wife of a presidential candidate with her hand in the beer trade, it can mean tens of millions of dollars. But if you're just a guy who peddles the wrong buzz-delivery system, it can be years of hard time.

      Unenforceable laws lead to police abuses — August 23, 2008
      Law-enforcement excesses feature prominently in the news. Some people assume that more scrutiny and the right people in charge will fix the problem. But what if we've assigned law-enforcers goals so frustratingly elusive that even angels couldn't resist the temptation to escalate tactics to insane extremes, trampling liberty and decency along the way.

      There oughta be a law — March 5, 2008
      Before we start adopting the higher-taxed, more heavily regulated ways of other countries, it's worth investigating whether people overseas actually pay those taxes or obey those regulations.

      Prohibition: Same as it ever was — December 12, 2007
      In the name of the long-running war on drugs, we now have to ask permission to purchase allergy medication. Not only is this annoying and intrusive, but, as my bootlegging ancestors demonstrated, it's doomed to fail.

      Keep Arizonans secure in their homes and businesses — November 1, 2006
      Opponents of Proposition 207 claim that Arizonans don't need improved defenses against unjust government takings of private property. They insist the threat posed to our homes and businesses by avaricious politicians and their developer buddies is negligible. But as people who have actually lost the use of their property can tell you, the threat is very real.

      Get politicians out of the disaster relief business — September 6, 2005
      Let the politicians have fun bashing each other on TV; it's one of the few tasks at which they excel. Serious people should get about the business of preparing for the next disaster -- without any "assistance" from the government.

      Time to escape from New York — July 22, 2005
      New York's new mass transit searches are an exercise in public relations policing which is unlikely to make New Yorkers an iota safer.

      Property decision may put politicians at risk — June 23, 2005
      Denied any hope of legal protection for their property, Americans are likely to turn again, as they have in the past, to extra-legal tactics for punishing errant officials.

      Dopeheads — June 9, 2005
      In the wake of the Raich decision, its clear that America's dominant political factions care about little more than the ability to wield absolute power -- and they see the Constitution as an inconvenient obstacle to be bypassed at all costs.

      Letter to the FEC on Regulating Online Political Speech — June 2, 2005
      The Federal Election Commission wants to impose "campaign finance" restrictions on the Internet, potentially muzzling independent voices from across the political spectrum. I tell 'em why that's a bad idea.

      Swashbuckling for Freedom — April 27, 2005
      The Black Arrow is a swashbuckler that demands attention once you've turned the first page. Given the book's futuristic setting, it would be appropriate to clone Errol Flynn to play the lead in a movie version.

      Hunter S. Thompson (July 18, 1937 - February 20, 2005) — February 22, 2005
      It seems inappropriate to wish a wild spirit like Thompson to "rest in piece," so let's just hope that the afterlife, if there is one, is well stocked with ibogaine and ammunition, and that Thompson is able to spend eternity tormenting the ghost of Richard Nixon.

      Dear Liberal Friend — November 17, 2004
      I feel your pain. You just suffered through an election in which your side lost and a politician you despise was returned to the White House at the head of a triumphant band of congressional allies. Now you fear that the "enemy" administration will use the power of the state to shove its alien values down your throat.

      Who Loves Big Government Now? — November 5, 2004
      In an odd way, liberal Democrats won a historic victory in this year's presidential election. Unfortunately for them, that's not good news.

      Democratic Party -- Closed for Renovation — November 3, 2004
      Will the Democrats reposition themselves by dropping their remaining good positions?

      No Peace for the President — November 2, 2004
      Before the race is decided, while I can still claim to be making a non-partisan vow, let me promise eternal loathing and opposition to the victor, no matter whether Bush or Kerry claims the oval office.

      Why Vote? — September 30, 2004
      If we stop pretending that individual votes will decide who gets into office, voting is still a decent way to send a message to public officials; it's cheaper and easier than sending a telegram.

      Break It Up, America! — July 13, 2004
      The U.S. government, born of secession from Britain, bases its legitimacy on the "consent of the governed." It's clear that Americans are a fractious people and they consent to be governed in very different, and mutually exclusive, ways.

      Could Kerry Be the Small-Government Candidate? — June 29, 2004
      With George W. Bush well-established on modern Democratic ground with bloated budgets and a social program for every interest group, John Kerry has an opportunity to return to the Jeffersonian foundation of the Democratic Party and become the champion of small government and personal liberty.

      Americans Are Polarized for Good Reason — March 30, 2004
      If high stakes explain the growing bitterness between AmericaÕs political factions, the solution is clear: lower the stakes.

      Which Presidential Hopeful Will Tame Government? — March 1, 2004
      For people who like government to be effective at a few tasks, but otherwise inoffensive -- like a guard dog that's good with the kids and doesn't eat much -- the leading presidential candidates look hopeless.

      Building Codes: Back to Feudalism — February 11, 2004
      Building codes are claimed to protect homeowners against unscrupulous contractors, but they really represent a return to kings-and-castles-era control over private property.

      Schoolrooms as Political Battlefields — January 27, 2004
      When governments assume responsibility for educating most or all children, they create an irresistible target for people interested in molding entire generations.

      The Terrifying USA Patriot Act — October 2003
      Published in October 2003 by Crime, Justice & America magazine. (Warning: This is an Acrobat file.)

      Sometimes, Liberty-Lovers Must Buck Democracy — September 7, 2003
      Fortunately, not all of us feel bound to obey the will of the majority; some people insist on making their own choices, even if that means defying the law.

      Attack of the Water Cooler Vampires — August 19, 2003
      I haven't been very productive recently, I admit. I blame it all on ... staff meetings and fluorescent lights.

      Beware of Food Cops — June 20, 2003
      The "fat tax" -- a joke just a few years ago -- is gaining increasing support, if not respectability.

      An Epidemic of Legalized Theft — April 30, 2003
      In an age when politicians find it so easy to steal valuable land for their pals, property owners have to rely on themselves to make sure that such thefts are deterred and punished.

      War's taxing burden — April 8, 2003
      Though the war in Iraq has divided Americans, it has, in one important way, brought us as close as we'll ever likely be to sharing a common experience: knowing that our tax dollars underwrite government actions we despise.

      America's ailing health care — March 30, 2003
      Doctors are losing access to malpractice insurance, and with it the ability to continue to serve their patients. The crisis threatens hard times ahead for health care in Virginia, Tennessee and throughout the country.

      Government boys play with their toys — March 20, 2003
      U.S. government officials launch a war against a thuggish dictator -- and manage to look pretty lousy in the process.

      Bait-and-switch enemies — December 30, 2002
      After yet another war, we may discover that Americans killed and died against a phony threat to cover the U.S. governmentÕs embarrassment at failing to deal with a real problem.

      Government vs. homeowners — July 26, 2002
      A bill pending in Congress may push both landowners and local officials to the sidelines and give federal bureaucrats the final word.

      'Star Wars' offers insights into the U.S. — June 23, 2002
      Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi take on heavyweight status in the profoundly timely treatment of the transformation of a sclerotic republic under pressure from internal opportunism and external threat.

      When intolerance is the law — April 27, 2002
      We might be forgiven, then, for suspecting that government officials see American citizens as wayward children as they increasingly apply zero tolerance to laws and policies that reach far beyond the playground.

      All the President’s Hitmen — April 12, 1997
      Tax collectors as hitmen? Doesn’t sound so strange when you think about it, does it?

      Gunning for Freedom — April 6, 1997
      You’d think the pundits would like an international civil liberties effort.

      Fast Track To Paradise — March 29, 1997
      Androgynous cultists pull a Jonestown? It doesn’t take Amazing Kreskin to see where this is going.

      The Ghost of Mencken — March 22, 1997
      The Communications Decency Act — an unprecedented affront to free speech in America? It would be nice if that were true.

      The King’s Men — March 15, 1997
      Free speech becomes a chancey thing when your entire medium is “public property.”

      This Hit: No. 1, With a Bullet — March 8, 1997
      You have to sympathize with the Horns. But what if their search for justice threatens your free speech?

      Victims By Law — March 2, 1997
      Another lunatic, more victims, and more calls for ... self defense? You must be dreaming.

      Get Outta the Car! — February 22, 1997
      Protection from unreasonable search and seizure? You obviously haven’t driven recently.

      Stop Bugging Me — February 15, 1997
      You don’t want us eavesdropping? You must have something to hide!

      You Owe Me! — February 10, 1997
      It’s the eternal cry of children and the “entitled”: Gimme gimme gimme gimme!

      Stop Me Before I Sin Again — February 1, 1997
      So, you’re a fan of campaign finance reform, eh? Well, it’s not that easy ....

      Reel Life — January 19, 1997
      From time to time, a movie captures the savage heart of America. The latest film is ...

      Eye On Newt — January 12, 1997
      Still here, Newt? Why, isn’t it getting late ... ?

      Evil Weed — January 4, 1997
      Suffering a nasty disease? Don’t let me catch you smoking a joint!

      ’Tis the Season — December 21, 1996
      Has Tooch gone mellow? Blame it on the season.

      We’re All In It Together — December 16, 1996
      Seems like somebody is always handing out the Kool-Ade.

      Out, Evil Spirit! — December 2, 1996
      The FDA saves us from ourselves? But compassion kills!

      Times Change, the Media Won’t — November 22, 1996
      Tooch gets caught in a media rearguard action.

      Ms. McCarthy Goes to Washington — November 15, 1996
      Sympathy is only human, but tragedy is a lousy foundation for legislation.

      An Expensive Circle Jerk — November 8, 1996
      Well, that’s no way to get things done.

      A Jewell Treated Rough — October 30, 1996
      The great god of Justice consumes another sacrifice.

      Welcome Wagon and Debts Repaid — October 23, 1996
      Recent visitors reminded me of a debt left unpaid.

      The World Turned Upside Down — October 13, 1996
      Still put your faith in elections? Well. you won’t like this.

      Don’t Bogart That Joint .../Oh, Those Files — October 6, 1996
      Better have that joint first, cuz Filegate just won’t go away.

      Sex Crime — September 29, 1996
      Pity poor Johnathan Prevette. His dating technique may never recover.

      It’s Our Ball ... — September 20, 1996
      Exclusive presidential debates? Hell, it’s all about turf.

      Wha’ Happen? — September 13, 1996
      Thought you were rid of me, did ya?.

      What a Lovely Gesture — August 20, 1996
      Sometimes it’s the thoughtful little things that count most.

      An Ounce of Protection — August 13, 1996
      A little self-help goes a long way — if you let people help themselves.

      Who’s Knockin’ On My Door? — August 2, 1996
      Life too much of a blast? Tru-u-u-st me, I’ll make everything all right.

      A Bootful of Motivation — July 26, 1996
      Sometimes ya gotta be cruel to be kind (in the right measure ... ouch).

      You Ought To Be In Pictures — July 19, 1996
      Feeling muzzled? No need. It’s time to sound off around the world.

      Voting is Just the Start — July 12, 1996
      Supporting a candidate is nice, but nothing gets done unless you tighten the screws.

      It’s All in the Timing — July 5, 1996
      They’d never schedule a terrorist bust for PR value, would they?

      We Control the Horizontal ... — June 28, 1996
      What if your ex got hold of the CIA?

      Vengeance is Mine/He’s Back — June 21, 1996
      It’s a double whammy with cracker-bait and Filegate.

      Pleasant Surprises — June 14, 1996
      On rare occasion, things just seem to go right. Obviously, I’m missing something.

      Blowing Smoke — June 9, 1996
      In the battle between puritans and normal folks, the bad guys have gained a new weapon.

      Lights Out! — June 2, 1996
      Kids getting on your nerves? Sounds like time to lock ‘em inside!

      Something Fishy — May 23, 1996
      Fisherman Jim Blaes ran off some modern-day pirates. Now the feds are pissed.

      Thanks, Guys — May 19, 1996
      Sometimes we owe thanks to the most unlikely people — just for taking the heat.

      Readin’, Writin’, and Lunatics — May 12, 1996
      Kooky Cambridge kicks back into gear with the diversity shuffle.

      Playing Defense Downunder — May 8, 1996
      The U.S. isn’t the only country where the road to servitude is paved with tragedy.

      What the Hell Am I Doing? — April 28, 1996
      A close encounter of the asphalt kind inspires thoughts on life and freedom.

      A Blast of an Anniversary — April 21, 1996
      Timothy McVeigh as the Guy Fawkes of the 1990s? Well, he did nobody any favors.

      A Taxing Issue — April 14, 1996
      Feeling sucked-dry by tax time? Maybe you should consider a little retaliation.

      Headline Envy — April 7, 1996
      Good marketing makes the popular militant.

      Two Nations Face the Music — March 25, 1996
      In which your host questions the assault weapons ban and his own citizenship.

    Copyright 1999 - 2003 Jerome D. Tuccille. E-mail