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

Congratulations Unidentified Pennsylvania Man! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

More guns on the black market thanks to our 2nd Amendment Hero of the day:

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) – Robbers attacked an elderly gun collector in his western Pennsylvania home and escaped with an arsenal of 31 firearms, at least 14 of which are still missing.

Three armed men wearing masks kicked in the door of the 71-year-old man’s house in Sharon, 75 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, at around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday and took firearms including an AK-47, handguns, rifles, shotguns, other semi-automatic weapons, ammunition and historic pistols, police chief Michael Menster said Thursday.

The robbers tied the gun collector up, ransacked his house and locked him in a closet. They also stole a television and stereo. When they left, the man was able to escape and call 911, Menster said.

Gosh if only this man had some guns at home for protec- … er, never mind. If only he’d been collecting stamps instead.

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Filed under gun control, Guns

Good News Friday

I hope everyone enjoys their Fourth of July holiday. In Nashville we are experiencing an all-too rare dose of absolutely gorgeous weather: low humidity, sunny, with temperatures in the high 50s at night and low 80s during the day. This is not our norm here for July. Our norm here is sucky, swampy, heat and humidity. So Mr. Beale and I enjoyed our morning coffee and newspapers on the porch, then took the dogs for a long walk through the neighborhood. Everyone is out relishing in the September-like weather. As I always tell Mr. Beale, “If we lived in California, it would be like this every day!” He remains unconvinced.

On to other matters: Despite the bad news from America’s Caliphate Supreme Court, there was some good news this week. Enjoy!

• In honor of July Fourth: what a difference a period makes.

• The governor of Missouri vetoed a bill that required a 3-day waiting period for abortions.

• Is it Obama’s economy yet? Just asking because of the fifth month in a row with 200,000+ jobs added (the first since 1999!) and the stock market reaching new milestones. Obama really is the worst socialist ever.

• Congratulations, Admiral Michelle Howard, who became the highest-ranking woman in Naval history.

• Burger King celebrates gay pride.

• Fuck you, SCOTUS: more than half of privately-insured women get free birth control as part of the preventive care portion of their health insurance coverage. This is the new standard and that bell won’t be unrung:

Business groups and employee benefits consultants say they see little chance that employers will roll back contraceptive coverage as a result of the Supreme Court ruling. The court carved out a space for “closely held” companies whose owners object on religious grounds. Most companies don’t fit that niche.

“I don’t think you will see a broad impact,” said Neil Trautwein, the top employee benefits expert for the National Retail Federation. “It’s a commonly offered benefit for many employers, including retailers.”

Wingnutty companies who insist on putting their religion on women’s bodies will either draw from a smaller employee pool or eventually have to offer some kind of compensation to make up for the benefits inequity offered male vs female employees. Personally I eagerly anticipate Hobby Lobby’s bankruptcy filing, but that may be a few years away.

• Target would prefer you leave your guns at home, thank you very much.

• A straw gun purchaser has gone to jail. About damn time.

• The American Wood Stork is no longer endangered.

• The New York State Supreme Court ruled that towns can ban fracking.

• This Wisconsin Rottweiler coughed up its owner’s wedding ring five years after it went missing.

• Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down.

• Great story about how the Tolo River community in the Colombian rainforest is protecting over 32,000 acres of rainforest and watershed by selling carbon credits through the UN’s REDD initiative.

• Our glorious experiment in for-profit higher education has gone down a completely predictable path and appears to finally be ending.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Industrial hemp is now legal in Tennessee.

• The State of Tennessee officially renounced its role in the Trail of Tears.

Today’s cool video: Ginsburg’s blistering Hobby Lobby dissent, in song:

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Tennessee Gun Report

Down in Georgia, gun loons celebrated their new “guns everywhere” law going into effect by almost shooting each other. Huzzah! Here in Tennessee we have some new gun laws that went into effect July 1, too, notably the “guns-in-cars” bill. Expect to hear more stories about road-rage incidents escalating into gun violence, gun injuries, and guns stolen from cars. Not that we don’t have enough of this shit as it is. But Republicans are morons and refuse to learn from their mistakes because Reasons.

This week’s gun report has one accidental shooting and the usual amount of stupid.

• June 30, 2014:

1- A Nashville man playing with a gun accidentally shot himself in the arm.

2- From Memphis, this headline wins the Gun Report:

Two men with only three working legs between them try to rob gun store

They were unsuccessful.

3- A Weakley County man was arrested for stealing guns, specifically guns

“…stolen from cars and homes in and around the city of Martin.”

I don’t get the stealing guns from cars thing. If you’re leaving your gun in your car then you’re an irresponsible asshole and you should be cited. What kind of moron is to fucking lazy to remove their gun from their car in the first place? Oh, right, the kind who is so chickenshit he can’t drive from point A to point B unless he’s armed because PARANOIA. Can’t tall you how many of these idiots leave their guns in their cars unlocked, too. Dumbasses.

• June 27, 2014:

Check out this Jonesborough wackkjob with a messiah complex. He’s a real piece of work.

• June 26, 2014:

Despite Facebook’s claims to have shut down its gun trade, Tennessee’s Tri-Cities Gun Swap group is still going strong. This is where you can trade an AK-47 for a jet ski, no background checks required, because Freedom.

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Filed under gun control, Tennessee

Consequence-Free Sex

It was entirely predictable that right-wing males would act like giant assholes in the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling; after all, these are the perpetually-aggrieved folks who have felt neutered by “feminazis” since women first demanded the vote.

My favorite response was from Douchebag Emeritus Erick W. Erickson, who tweeted:

erick

And yet, because Hobby Lobby pays for men’s Viagra, that is exactly what this employer is doing: subsidizing consequence-free sex, only just for men. Because, by virtue of biology, all sex for men is consequence-free. It just is. Birth control levels the playing field for women. And it is no surprise that conservative men, whose most unifying feature is an overarching inferiority complex, have been threatened by that since the first cave lady brewed her special cup of herbal tea to keep the babies away. Insecure men will always try to control that which they cannot control. And that’s what we have here.

This, from The New Republic, sums it up thusly:

There’s a reason so many women were outraged on Monday. They saw the decision as yet another attempt to preserve the old double-standard—to dump most of the responsibility for reproductive health and child-bearing on them, in ways that inevitably deter gender equality. With comments like Erickson’s bouncing around cyberspace, it’s easy to see why they had that impression.

Yeah, it’s not an “impression.” It’s called reality.

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Filed under birth control, feminism, sex, Supreme Court, women's rights

Religion Is Dead

That will be the upshot of today’s completely outrageous Hobby Lobby ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court has effectively killed religion.

I know, it looks the opposite, but what have I said here a gazillion, bajillion times, folks? When religion gets forced on people by government or corporations, religion always dies. People don’t want this shit foisted on them. As I’ve said a thousand times before, the surest way to kill off religious belief is to declare a “state religion.” The bigger religion’s role in the secular aspects of life, the more people run away from it.

And in this ruling SCOTUS said some corporations can impose the beliefs of some religions on some employees, effectively legalizing discrimination against women and certain religions. If you’re a company owned by Jehova’s Witnesses, sorry, you have to pay for blood transfusions. No out for Scientologists who object to psychiatry and psychiatric drugs. Christian Scientists who don’t believe in most healthcare at all still have to pony up. But if you’re a Christian fundiegelical who believes completely erroneously and incorrectly that IUDs cause abortions — even though they don’t! — you can refuse to offer a healthcare plan covering that form of birth control to your female employees. That’s what SCOTUS just ruled.

The debate wasn’t even really about the Hobby Lobby peoples’ religious beliefs, it was about their completely erroneous, counter-factual scientific beliefs cloaked in religion:

Hobby Lobby already covered 16 of the 20 methods of contraception mandated under the Affordable Care Act, but it didn’t cover Plan B One-Step, ella (another brand of emergency contraception) and two forms of intrauterine devices because of aforementioned ideologically driven and not medically based ideas about abortion.

“These medications are there to prevent or delay ovulation,” Dr. Petra Casey, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Mayo Clinic, told the New York Times in a piece on the science behind emergency contraception. “They don’t act after fertilization.” As the Times noted, emergency contraception like Plan B, ella and the hormonal IUD do not work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb. Instead, these methods of birth control delay ovulation 0r thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, meaning that fertilization never even occurs. That said, when used as a form of emergency contraception, the copper IUD can interrupt implantation, but this still does not mean a pregnancy has occurred.

This ruling was stunningly ham-fisted on so many levels. In a nutshell, in “going narrow” SCOTUS picked a religion — the fundiegelical Christian kind — over the rights of female employees who may not be of that religion, and also over the rights of every other religion out there. This is going to have repercussions, people — and not good ones for the religious folks. It’s gonna get messy, and I think it’s gonna smack religious people on the ass so hard they won’t sit for a month. Stories like this one are going to ripple across the workplace in every state. It’s a ruling that basically legalized gender discrimination and religious discrimination. When it all shakes down it’s not going to be pretty for the people currently doing a happy dance.

In the meantime, folks calling for a Constitutional Convention to repeal corporate personhood just got a little more ammo.

[UPDATE]: ThinkProgress agrees with me.

[UPDATE] 2: Charlie Pierce at Esquire also agrees with me. SCOTUS just perpetrated an act of religious discrimination while professing to do the opposite. WTF is up with that, people?

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Filed under birth control, corporations, healthcare, religious fundamentalism, religious right, Supreme Court, women's rights

Congratulations, Unidentified Texas Man! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Two Texas men went to a gun show. Only one came home:

CEDAR PARK, Texas (AP) – Police say a man fatally shot his father-in-law in an accident while both were in a vehicle outside a Central Texas gun show.

Cedar Park police are investigating the weekend death of 59-year-old John Glover Warden of Jarrell (JEHR’-uhl) but say they do not suspect foul play.

Warden was shot on Saturday and died later at an Austin-area hospital.

Police say the son-in-law had reloaded a gun and was handling the weapon when it fired.

No charges filed because these things are always tragic accidents, not accidents waiting to happen. Also, note the clever use of the passive voice gun dodge here: the son-in-law reloaded the gun, but “it fired.” All by its ownself, I guess.

By the way, this wasn’t the only gun show accident this weekend: a Pennsylvania woman was shot in the leg by a vendor demonstrating a concealed carry holster. Again, just another “horrible accident.”

I’m just curious: when “horrible accidents” result in death and injury, wouldn’t the logical thing be to try to reduce the number of said “horrible accidents”? No?

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Filed under gun control