Grifters Gotta Grift

For sale at the Rand Paul for President website:

spycam

Ha ha ha ha ha! Be the first to review this product … I dare you!

Gotta say, $15 seems awfully steep for something that a piece of electrical tape can do for 5 cents.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, conspiracy, fear porn, Libertarians, NSA, Rand Paul

No, Thanks

There’s this fantasy among a lot of the CCW-adoring crowd that somehow, a “good guy with a gun” is going to save the rest of us in the event of a crime. They’re all just heroes in waiting, ready to come in and rescue us like the Sir Gallahads they fantasize themselves to be. I get why CCW holders believe this but it’s super scary that this is being codified into law by our legislature. Yet here’s House GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada explaining the purpose of the guns-in-parks bill:

Guns in parks today exist by law-breakers. What we’re saying is we want those law-abiding citizens that have demonstrated the ability to operate a weapon to be there and to avert a crime, which has happened many times across this country and this state. So, I think we’re being naive-like if we say there is no guns in park, and this is a guns in parks. This is not. This is letting permit holders there to defend unarmed citizens.

I just think that’s so cute, and so wrong. Guns in parks exist by law-breakers? That’s news to the Radnor Lake Rambo. “Demonstrated the ability to operate a weapon”? But you don’t need to have ever fired a gun to get one of those Utah CCW permits, like the one this “responsible” citizen defender fired at a police officer in his inebriated state.  But more to the point: “we want” CCW holders “to be there to avert a crime”? Who’s this we, anyway? I sure don’t! And what gives an idiot from Williamson County the right to tell Shelby County or Davidson County or any other county in the state what they want? We didn’t elect him. I don’t want these Mighty Mouse wannabes intervening in my business to save the day. You can’t tell me the paltry “education” you get in your CCW class is anything close to what people learn in the police academy. And even police officers are constantly in the news for their mistakes, shooting people in error, shooting unarmed black peopleshooting innocent bystanders caught in the crossfireshooting each other, or shooting themselves. It’s not like the professionals are any better at this firearm handling stuff than our wannabe heroes, which the legislature has just burdened with the task of protecting us all. So now we’re supposed to be grateful for klutzes like this week’s 2nd Amendment Hero, who not only accidentally fired a gun in church — where guns are not allowed — but also was just last week expelled from his college for carrying on campus, where guns are not allowed. Most responsible ever, my ass. These are the folks the Tennessee Republicans want defending the public? No, thanks! A thousand times, no thanks. But it’s not about safety. It’s not about the Constitution, or self-defense or home security, or anything like that. Jim Jeffries nailed it when he said those are bullshit arguments. It’s about liking guns, period. Own up to it, already. You like your toys and like any toddler, you don’t want to be without them. So, no. I’m good. I don’t need or want you to rescue me. If I’m in trouble, do me the courtesy of calling 911 and then let that be that. Oh, and here’s some fact-checking of Glen “guns are as safe as bicycles” Casada. Here’s a little data from the CDC for you. Are there a lot of bicycle injuries? There sure are. But I’ll bet they are far less serious than firearm injuries. And there’s no comparison when it comes to fatalities. (NOTE: gun data does not include fatalities and injuries from pellet guns and BB guns, which the CDC calculates separately).

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Filed under gun control, Guns, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Safety For Me But Not For Thee, v.2

Guns-in-Capitol amendment has been rejected.

Well, well. I’m so confused. I thought “gun-free zones” were totally unsafe, you guys! Don’t our law-abiding legislators want to be able to protect themselves from the boogey men lurking in every hallway? Why would they put themselves at risk this way?

Quelle horreur.

Do you think even they don’t buy the bullshit NRA talking points they spout? No, it can’t be!

Meanwhile, as I predicted, the “fiscal note” and confusion that the legislature recognizes is a real thing for itself, but denies is a real thing for everyone else, has already caused headaches for at least one local school board. The Williamson County Board of Education held a special meeting last night to address new signage for its parks, which would cost $7,500:

Looney says permit-holding gun carriers won’t have any way of knowing whether they’re breaking the law at a public park, because it’s hard to tell whether a school-sponsored event is taking place.

If approved, WCS would spend $7,500 to place temporary signs at various facilities during school events that remind people guns are not allowed.

But the board failed to provide enough votes to approve the resolution, with five “yes” votes and three abstentions. Seven “yes” votes are needed to approve resolutions.

The BofE blames a “a communication error” on the failed resolution. Now there will be yet another meeting.

But I’m still confused by all of this. Because according to Legal Scholar/GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, apparently you can’t carry in any park that has ever held a school event — even if the event is not going on at the time. That’s pretty much every park, everywhere, and while Casada chided the rest of us for being confused by this bill — “good gracious, if Glen Casada can understand this, surely the good public can,” he said — the fact remains, the bill is very unclear.

Casada interprets the law as saying “if a school function has occurred at a park, not when,” but he qualified that by noting he’s neither a lawyer nor a judge. But you know who is a lawyer? Robert Cooper, our former state AG, who told Casada in 2009 that the “if not when” interpretation is wrong. So why would Casada tell everyone last week that his interpretation is correct — even being kind of a dick about it, telling us we’re being purposely obtuse — when a real, live lawyer told him he was wrong five years ago?

Curiouser and curiouser.

Of course, all of this could have been cleared up by the legislature with a handy-dandy amendment to the bill basically saying “if not when” a park has ever been used by a school, firearms are prohibited. I mean, if that was their intention — and Casada seems to be very clear that it was — you guys really could have done that. Instead of berating us for being confused by your own sloppy legislation. But you didn’t.

I wonder why.

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Filed under gun control, Guns, Tennessee

NRA Message ≠ An “It City”

I’ve lived in Nashville for 30 years. When I first moved here from Los Angeles, I got the usual digs from friends and colleagues: “You’re moving to .. NASHVILLE? Do they have indoor plumbing there?” Ha ha so funny.

For years Nashville has had an image problem. Our reputation was that of a hayseed, redneck, corn-pone town. And damn but we worked hard to overcome that. Years of work and effort by Nashville’s Chamber of Commerce, CVB, music industry, etc. to project an image of a modern, progressive city that was more than country music, more than hay bales and bare feet and bib overalls. More than Hee Haw and Opryland and big hair.

It’s paid off: we’re an “It City” now, with a thriving foodie scene, bustling nightlife, a center for tech and all kinds of music. Young people are coming here in droves. Heck, even Jack White lives here. And I just can’t help but think that’s all been undone now that the NRA is coming to town and blanketing our public spaces with their extremist messages.

And I do mean blanket. Here’s our brand-new convention center, sporting ginormous banners gloating about how the NRA bullied the ATF into backing down on a proposed ban on cop-killer bullets:

NRA 1

I like the green “blood,” or whatever that is. Note the message: “If they can ban one, they can ban them all.”

Here’s another one, which to my mind references the Stand Your Ground laws they’ve foisted on the nation:

NRA 2

“Stand and Fight”? What planet do these people live on? There is similar signage at the Nashville airport. I asked the airport authority why blatant political messaging was allowed and this is the response I received:

The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority posts welcome signs for the NRA on the screens above the escalators going to baggage claim, which is the same courtesy welcome that we provide for all groups sanctioned by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation.   Any other signage seen in the airport was purchased as advertisements.

Emphasis mine. Are there any standards for such signage? If the KKK were to have an international event, could they purchase advertising at the airport?

This is the largest convention the city of Nashville has ever hosted. We’re going to get all the Republican presidential candidates here, plus the Sarah Palins and other far-right nutjobs. There will be national media, who may or may not be perplexed at how out of step the NRA is in Nashville, a swatch of deep, deep blue in a very red state.

This is not Nashville. This does not represent who we are, what we believe, or how we live. And it’s an embarrassment to the city. I cannot imagine what the Nashville CVB and Chamber were thinking.

Well, I know what they were thinking. They were thinking, “we won this hard-fought battle to foist the Music City Center on an unwilling and skeptical public, now we need to show something for it.”

You see, as I wrote back in 2010 (“Music City Center Blues“), the new convention center, while beautiful, is not a financially viable operation. And it will never be a financially viable operation. As I wrote at the time:

Last night I heard the same “trickle down” fairy tales we’ve been told for years about these kinds of massive projects. Somehow the economic impact of a new convention center (or arena, or football stadium, or symphony hall, etc. etc.) will “trickle down” like fairy dust on the entire county.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the arena, I’m a huge Nashville Predators fan, and Mr. Beale and I have been to many Titans games. I moved here in 1986 and I well remember what downtown Nashville used to look like. So yes, the past 20 years have seen some wonderful changes to our city, positive changes.

Yet every year our schools budget is cut to the bone. This year Metro Public Works laid off employees and cut back on things like cutting the grass in the public right-of-way, making some intersections in my neighborhood rather dangerous. The Green Hills Library was closed on Fridays, and now it looks like more cuts are likely.

In other words: we have these wonderful downtown facilities like a stadium and an arena and we still have the same budget issues we’ve always had. So don’t tell me that all of the business from a new convention center is going to have a positive economic impact on my neighborhood because I haven’t seen it yet.

There simply are not that many conventions that bring 80 bazillion people to town. There just aren’t. And so we grabbed the NRA convention right from the get-go, and look what we get: a black eye. A bunch of nativist, recidivist, far-right extremists blasting a partisan message and completely undermining the years of work that’s been done to change the city’s image.

Slow clap.

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Filed under Guns, Nashville

Congratulations, Unidentified PA Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

[UPDATE]:

One of our most responsible citizens evah is a repeat offender:

ALTOONA, Pa. – The gun owner involved in an accidental shooting at a cathedral in Altoona is the same man who was expelled from Mount Aloysius College last week for bringing a gun inside a classroom.

[…]

That man reached out to 6 News and said he has a permit to carry and said the incident at the cathedral was an accident. He also confirmed he was the Mount Aloysius student who was expelled for bringing a gun into a classroom.

———————————————————————

A man inexplicably decided he needed a loaded gun on his hip at Easter church services over the weekend. And you’ll never guess what happened:

Police say a man had a gun in his pocket and it discharged when he stood up. The bullet grazed the man’s hand.

An Altoona newspaper reported the trigger caught on the man’s pants and the gun’s safety was not on.

“I noticed the gun was handed to another gentleman. He immediately concealed it in a white program, so I took pictures of the gun inside this program,” Wagler said.

The man was taken to the hospital. Police haven’t released his name.

It’s unclear why he brought a gun into church. At this point, no charges have been filed.

Score another point for our safest, most responsible, law abiding, etc. etc. etc.

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Filed under gun control, Guns

Is Glen Casada Lying Or Just Stupid?

Well, can you carry a gun into a park used by a school or not? And how do you define “use”? And what kind of park? Here to muddy the waters is our favorite Republican gun nut, Glen Casada!

In that now-infamous Republican press conference which has yielded much hilarity (thinking the House Republicans won’t be doing many more of these, what about you?), Casada didn’t understand why everyone is so confused about the school exception rule in the new law. Except it seems Casada’s understanding of the exception is wrong. Either that, or he’s lying:

Here’s how Casada understands the bill. People with permits can take their guns to a park, unless that park is used by a school. Describing a section of existing state law that deals with guns and schools, he specifically referenced Grassland Park, a park in Williamson County near two schools.

“But the law’s real clear: It doesn’t say ‘when,’ it says ‘if’ which in a court of law is very clear. So in this case, because Grassland has school functions there, there could not be a permit holder taking a gun on Grassland Park.”

“At any time?” a reporter asked.

“At any time,” Casada responded.

[…]

But Casada’s understanding of the law is wrong, at least according to former Attorney General Robert Cooper, Jr.

Cooper issued two official opinions — one expressly in response to a question from Casada in 2009 — where he said the law only prevents permit holders from carrying their guns in areas of a park where a school event is currently underway.

“Reading (the law) indicates that the legislature intended to allow handgun carry permit holders to carry their firearms into public parks except onto athletic fields and into other recreation areas at times when they are actually being used by schools,” Cooper wrote in 2009 and 2014.

So Glen “gun accidents are acts of God/guns are just like bicycles” Casada asked the former AG and was specifically told that the school exception applied only when a school was actively using a park. And now he trots his little self in front of the media at a press conference and says something completely the opposite.

Lying, stupid or both?

Under Casada’s new definition of the school exception, if a school uses a park even once a year, that means no guns are allowed, ever:

Casada: But the law is real clear, it doesn’t say when, it says if. And current law is very clear. And so, in this case, because Grassland has school functions there, there cannot be a permit holder taking a gun on Grassland Park. Period, at any time.

Reporter: So, you’re saying that, for example, so if a Nashville school had an event one time a year at a park, that there would never be allowed to have any permitted guns at that park?

Casada: I’m not a judge, nor do I pretend to be a lawyer. But if you look at the law, it says ‘if.’ If it said any other word, your point is valid, but it says ‘if a school,’ blah, blah, blah, blah. No.

Reporter: If the whole motivation of the law was to avoid confusion for permit holders who said they don’t know which parks they’re allowed to go in or not, how would that make it more clear for permit holders if they don’t know that once a year there’s the sack race by the elementary school?

Casada: I would only submit that those who want it to be confusion say it’s confusing. I think the average public, good gracious, if Glen Casada can understand this, surely the good public can.

Shorter Glen Casada: “BECAUSE SHUT UP, THAT’S WHY!”

Seriously. This strikes me as completely stupid. I mean, think about it. With all the school groups coming out to Legislative Plaza, that right there bans guns from the State Capitol under Casada’s new understanding of the law. I know high school cross country teams use the Warner Parks for track meets and other events — heck, there’s an environmental ed center at Edwin Warner and I always see school buses there. There’s also a private school right next to Edwin Warner, and I believe they use the park, too. So no guns allowed there. Ever. And gun permit holders like our friend from Wisconsin are expected to just know that. Because shut up, that’s why.

Trying to think of any park in the state that has never at any time not been used by a school group. So Glen Casada has basically told us that this guns in parks bill is completely meaningless because as a practical matter, you can’t take a gun into a park. Ever. School groups, etc.

Suck on that, Radnor Lake Rambo. I see school buses at Radnor all the dang time. Bwaaaahaa.

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Filed under gun control, Guns

Congratulations, Matthew Johnson! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour!

Wisconsin tourist with one of those useless Utah handgun carry permits got drunk in Nashville’s busy downtown tourist area, fired at a police officer, hit a tree and electrical box, ta da. And the whole time he thought he was in Kentucky. Slow clap for our safest, most responsible evah:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A man was arrested early Friday morning after he allegedly fired a gun at an officer in the heart of downtown Nashville.

It happened near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway around 1 a.m.

Metro police responded to Legends Corner bar after a report came in of an intoxicated person with a weapon.

An officer in his patrol car soon spotted Matthew Johnson, 33, of River Falls, Wisconsin, with a gun, which he pointed at the officer, near the L & C Tower on Church Street.

According to an affidavit, the officer sped away because it looked like Johnson was going to shoot at him, which he did.

The gunshots struck an electrical box and a tree. The officer did not return fire.
Police were able to take Johnson into custody after a brief foot chase.

Police attempted to interview him, but he reportedly was too intoxicated to be questioned and told police he believed he was in Kentucky for a race.

Johnson was booked into the Metro jail and charged with aggravated assault and possession of a weapon while intoxicated.

His bond was set at $125,000.

Late Friday, police said the State of Utah is taking action to suspend Johnson’s handgun carry permit.

Nobody could have anticipated this, truly! So glad drunks are walking stumbling around our tourist areas with loaded handguns.

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Filed under gun control, Guns, Nashville, Tennessee