Congratulations, Unidentified N.C. Man! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

A Friday evening trip to PetSmart for a man and his wife resulted in a trip to the ER thanks to what police say is likely an accidental gun discharge by some nervous Nellie too askeered to hit the local mall without his or her fireams:

A man and his wife were going into the PetSmart when someone’s .22-caliber gun discharged somewhere near the building, police said. The shot hit the building and then hit the man’s shoulder, police said.

Several nearby stores were locked down just in case the incident was serious. However, police don’t believe there is any threat to the public.

A trip to PetSmart to buy some goddamn dog food now involves risk of bodily injury, possibly even death, because of Freedom! Second Amendment! Constitution!

Everything I’ve always said that’s wrong with open carry, concealed carry, guns-in-cars, guns-in-restaurants, guns everywhere, etc. is realized all across America every single week. Some innocent person going about their life is put at risk by a gun-humping yahoo who for inexplicable reasons (*cough*cough*FOX NEWS*cough*cough*) has been led to believe the streets of America are not safe for ordinary, unarmed citizens. You people are crazy. If you can’t see you’re being manipulated by a corporate interest that profits from fearmongering, you’re also stupid. Please just stay home if you’re that scared.

By the way, we have a Second Amendment Hero runner-up this week, this one in South Carolina, though our Hero is from North Carolina (what are the odds!):

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office

A 2-year-old child was inside an Orangeburg hotel room that was struck by a bullet when a guest’s gun went off early Thursday.

Investigators were sent to the Holiday Inn Express about 7 a.m. where they spoke with a Virginia couple who said they were awakened by a gunshot. The man said when he got up to investigate, he found a hole in a glass door and what looked like a bullet on the floor.

At that point, a North Carolina man began knocking on the couple’s door to explain and apologize. He said he was staying in the room next door and had been putting his .45 caliber Colt pistol in his luggage. As he did, the handgun fell to the floor, discharging a round through his closet and into the Virginia couple’s adjacent room.

No one in the room, including the 2-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, was injured.

Management and the North Carolina man reached an agreement about paying for the damages, the report states. No charges have been filed.

No, filing charges would be wrong. /snark

As more people carry their weapons out in the world where the populace congregates, we will see more incidents like this happen. Not all of them will have such happy endings. I predict we’ll look back on this era of loosening gun carry laws as a particularly crazy period of American history, a time when America capitulated to the forces of fear over reason. We’ve been here before (Red Scare, anyone?). The people who led that charge have not been remembered well by history. The gun loons won’t be, either.

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Your State Under Republican Rule

Hey, Gov. Bill Haslam: you might want to rethink that whole “we can’t afford the virtually free Medicaid expansion” deal the Feds are offering:

Crews were called to the Advance Auto Parts on Nolensville Pike after the robbery occurred around 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to a release from the Metro Nashville Police Department.

With a black mask concealing his face and a semiautomatic pistol in hand, he demanded money from a cash register. He allegedly repeatedly told the clerk “my girl’s got cancer, I need this money,” police said.

After the cashier complied, police said, the suspect fled on foot near the Full Gospel Mission Church.

I swear to God, Republicans have no clue how to run a government. On the other hand, I guess they’re wishing/hoping that cashier had been armed so he could “stand his ground” and shoot and kill the guy. Problem solved!

Republicans don’t care about people, plain and simple. They don’t care about black people, poor people, sick people, or anyone who’s either not a fetus or or a person of the “corporate” person.

Looks like it’s time for me to amend my “Top Signs Your Healthcare System Is Broken” list and add #6: when people rob you at gunpoint to pay for their girl’s cancer treatment.

I’m sick to death of Republicans driving people to desperation because they’ve never had to wonder where their next meal is coming from and assume everyone who does is just lazy. Fucking fuckers.

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Filed under healthcare, Nashville, Republican Party, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

GMOoooooops

There was a pretty robust discussion about GMOs over here on a recent Good News Friday thread where some longtime friends of the blog likened my anti-GMO stance to the anti-vaccine hysteria we’ve seen take root among less educated segments of the population.

So imagine my surprise to hear this story discussed on the radio today:

GMOSeralini.org welcomes the news of the republication of the chronic toxicity study on the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup and a commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize, Monsanto’s NK603, led by Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini. The republication restores the study to the peer-reviewed literature so that it can be consulted and built upon by other scientists.

The study found severe liver and kidney damage and hormonal disturbances in rats fed the GM maize and low levels of Roundup that are below those permitted in drinking water in the EU. Toxic effects were found from the GM maize tested alone, as well as from Roundup tested alone and together with the maize. Additional unexpected findings were higher rates of large tumours and mortality in most treatment groups.

The study was first published in Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) in September 2012 but was retracted by the editor-in-chief in November 2013 after a sustained campaign of criticism and defamation by pro-GMO scientists.

Now the study has been republished by Environmental Sciences Europe. The republished version contains extra material addressing criticisms of the original publication. The raw data underlying the study’s findings are also published – unlike the raw data for the industry studies that underlie regulatory approvals of Roundup, which are kept secret. However, the new paper presents the same results as before and the conclusions are unchanged.

The republished study is accompanied by a separate commentary by Prof Séralini’s team describing the lobbying efforts of GMO crop supporters to force the editor of FCT to retract the original publication.

GMOSeralini.org editor Claire Robinson commented: “This study has now successfully passed no less than three rounds of rigorous peer review.

I believe this is the study I mentioned in comments on the GNF post that was derided as being not peer reviewed, pulled by the publisher for sloppy work, etc. Turns out it was pulled due to intensive Monsanto-generated pressure.

Dr Jack A Heinemann, Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Canterbury New Zealand, called the republication “an important demonstration of the resilience of the scientific community”. Dr Heinemann continued, “The first publication of these results revealed some of the viciousness that can be unleashed on researchers presenting uncomfortable findings. I applaud Environmental Sciences Europe for submitting the work to yet another round of rigorous blind peer review and then bravely standing by the process and the recommendations of its reviewers, especially after witnessing the events surrounding the first publication.”

I continue to maintain that treating the earth like a petri dish with these genetically-modified crops simply for fun and profit is playing with fire.

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Filed under food supply, science

Good News Friday

Lots of good news this week. Enjoy!

• The Polar Vortex is coming back, which means next week is going to be absolutely gorgeous across most of the country. Forgive me, West Coasters. I don’t often get to gloat about the weather here in July!

• Death of a right-wing Libertarian myth: Obamacare is working. Someone needs to track the success of the healthcare law with the media’s discontinued use of the moniker “Obamacare” in favor of the law’s real name, the Affordable Care Act. Would be an interesting thought experiment.

• Death of another conservative-Libertarian myth #2: raising the minimum wage is not a job killer. Oh noes.

• A judge has ruled that Florida’s legislature illegally drew new Congressional district maps to help the Republican Party.

• The country’s fastest-growing solar electricity program is located in … wait for it … Georgia? Really?

• Cattle ranchers, hunters, and treehuggers join forces to stop natural gas drilling in the Colorado wilderness.

• Do you think whales wear “Save The Humans” bumper stickers? Maybe they should: a new study indicates whale poop may save us from climate change. Yippee! Sorry about that whole Western-civilization-powered-by-whale-oil thing from the last century, guys.

• Another state gay marriage ban falls. Helloooo, Colorado.

• Detroit: it’s not dead yet.

• It’s probably dead thanks to the Great Orange Wall in the House, but Democrats have a bill that would preserve women’s access to contraception coverage no matter what their boss’ religion.

• Did you know Buzz Aldrin saw a UFO on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon?

I have a funny Buzz Aldrin story. I grew up in the same small New Jersey town as Aldrin. When he came back from the moon there was a huge parade for him down Main Street. He was going to be there waving to everyone. I was SO excited! So my sister and I went — I have no recollection of what my parents were doing that day — but as I was only 7 years old, all I saw that day was a sea of knee socks. I shit you not. I will never forget it. Just a forest of legs all in knee socks. I think I’ve hated parades ever since.

• The story of Raju the abused elephant who actually cried on experiencing freedom for the first time in 50 years will break your heart a thousand ways:

The owner, reported by The Times of India to be a drug addict, and the elephant’s handler attempted to thwart the rescue, blocking the road, shouting commands to Raju to try to provoke the animal into violence, and adding more chains around the animal’s legs.

But the rescue team stood its ground, and seized the animal. It was at this point that tears began rolling down Raju’s face. Raju, despite each painful step as the spikes cut into his flesh, calmly climbed into the truck, as if knowing he was being rescued.

Elephants are amazing creatures.

• Kansas City, Mo. journalist Esther Honig asked 25 countries to “make me beautiful.” The results were a fascinating window on individual and cultural beauty ideals.

• Love this idea! Individual activism goes a long, long way.

• Everytown For Gun Safety is issuing its first “Gun Sense Voter” questionnaire to all 2014 candidates for federal office.

• Solar energy will be cheaper than grid electricity across half of the U.S. by 2015, says a Texas utility head.

• The United Nations announced it will recognize staff members’ same-sex unions. Before this accouncement, a UN staff member’s marital status was determined by the laws applicable in their country of nationality.

• A fluffy white stray dog dubbed “Dolly” after it was found wandering the Glastonbury Music Festival grounds following Dolly Parton’s appearance there has found a new home with its namesake.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Motlow College is now tobacco-free.

• Cool! Astronaut and Middle Tennessee native Barry Wilmore is the next commander of the International Space Station.

Ooops almost forgot this week’s cool video: pit bull meets 10-week-old kitten. Adorableness ensues. I have to say, we have one cat that is absolutely in love with our pit bull. Will not leave him alone. If he could rub on the dog forever, he would. Love story.

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Tennessee Gun Report

Two accidental shootings reported this week. Freedom.

• July 8, 2014:

Donate $10 to Robert Dalton’s campaign for Lewisburg public defender, and you have a chance to win a pistol. Needless to say, the fundraiser appears to run afoul of state laws regulating raffles and games of chance. Oops.

• July 7, 2014:

A Chattanooga four-year-old is in critical condition after being shot in the chest by a BB gun owned by a teenaged neighbor. BB guns are not benign, says the hospital’s Pediatric Injury Prevention Coordinator Coy Ellis:

He says the emergency room sees between eight to ten children a month with similar injuries.

“Well they can be as severe as you can imagine,” Ellis explains. Over the years he says BB guns have developed, becoming more powerful.

“Handheld firearms have a muzzle velocity of about 850 feet per second. Some of these non powdered guns, BB guns and things like that, they travel about 50 percent of that. You’re talking about 450 feet per second,” says Ellis.

At that speed a shot from a BB or pellet gun can be fatal. Nation wide BB gun shootings average four deaths a year. The Consumer Products and Safety Commission advice those under 16 not use them. “However, there’s no regulation as far as that goes,” Ellis says. Most of the responsibility must lie on the parents who allow their children to have them.

No regulation. Because, Reasons.

• July 5, 2014:

A Nolensville man learned the hard way that what goes up must come down:

Authorities determined a weapon discharged into the air, ultimately striking the unidentified man ni the upper calf.

Yeee-haw. Also, “a weapon discharged into the air”? Really? All by itsownself? Someone didn’t fire it into the air? Heh. Guess guns really DO shoot people? Yes, or no? Nice use of the passive-voice gun dodge there.

• July 1, 2014:

Nine guns were stolen from a Chattanooga pawn shop, and are now on the black market, available to be used in violent crimes in Chicago and other places around the country. Brilliant.

This happens ALL the damn time, people. Why is there not a requirement that guns be kept in a safe overnight? Jewelry stores do it all the time.

• June 27, 2014:

A responsible gun owner responsibly forgot their gun in a carry-on bag at Memphis International airport.

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Murica Murica Murica

Do you love Murica? Do you love it as much as right-wing propagandist/author/filmmaker/criminal/adulterer D’Nesh D’Souza does? Probably not! D’Nesh D’Souza has named so many of his little propaganda tomes “America” that he has confused the Great Gazoogle, and now if you are an America-lover like D’Nesh D’Souza and want to see his latest Murica-loving flick, named “America” (of course! Not to be confused with his last flick,
“Obama’s America,” though!), you had better not use the Google and maybe should try Fandango because Google’s algorithms say “that’s too much America, D’Nesh D’Souza!” What do you expect from a person whose first and last names begin with D-apostrophe? Really, people!

D’Souza’s camp is pretty sure this is all one big conspiracy from Liebrul-Obama-lovin’ Hollyweird, though:

“This is merely a reiteration of what we heard nearly a week ago, and yet the problem has persisted and potential moviegoers are still confused,” D’Souza told THR. “The American people need to know if Google is going to be a trustworthy source of news and information that doesn’t tilt in one political direction or another.”

Simultaneously to the Google controversy, Costco has been under fire for issuing an edict that all of its stores stop selling D’Souza’s latest book, America: Imagine a World Without Her, which is the source material for the movie.

Costco reportedly says its decision is based on lackluster sales, not politics, though critics point out that the book is poised to appear July 13 on the New York Times best sellers list. On Tuesday, the book was No. 3 at Amazon.com. Costco did not respond to a request for comment.

Poor little D’Nesh! He’s sooooooo oppressssssed, you guys! D’Nesh D’Souza is not having a good year, and it’s all Obama’s fault!

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Filed under conservatives, politics and film, pop culture

Checking In With NASH

It was almost a year ago that the country’s first “city-centric” investment fund, an ETF comprised entirely of Nashville-based companies, made its debut. At the time I called it “the stupidest investment idea ever” and also noted that,

You know your investment idea sucks when Arthur Laffer “loves” the idea…

.. and also:

I know I’m just a dumb housewife, not an investment genius like the bigwigs behind this idea, but what is the magic of having companies from diverse business sectors all lumped into one ETF just because they’re based out of Nashville? What does Dollar General have to do with HCA? The fund’s founders say:

The partners say Nashville’s position as an “it” city for business makes it an ideal candidate to launch the unique ETF.

This made no sense to me whatsoever, and it still doesn’t. It struck me as nothing more than a civic marketing campaign involving some local hotshots with too much extra money lying in their overstuffed sofa cushions which they didn’t mind throwing away. That’s fine if you can afford it, but there are some investment-ignorant people out there who actually buy this horseshit who probably can’t afford to lose their retirement money on what is basically a marketing ploy by the local Chamber of Commerce.

But what do I know. So, was the NASH ETF really a lousy idea? Let’s take a look-see:

NASH

NASH opened at $25 per share. Today it’s at $27.88. Its range: $23.75-$28 a share. YTD Return: a whopping 1.10% (inflation rate for May 2014 was 2.13%). Meanwhile, the markets as a whole have been booming. For example:

The NASDAQ composite is up 6.80%:

NASDAQ

The S&P 500 is up nearly 7%:

S&P500

While even the Dow has been up 2,56%:

DOW

Again, I’m no genius about this stuff, maybe I’m missing something, but it still seems like this was a stupid idea and Arthur Laffer is still an economic dunce.

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Filed under Nashville, Tennessee, Wall Street