Guns Aren’t Profitable

They can’t find a buyer for Remington. Colt Defense can’t pay its debt and is looking at filing Chapter 11. It appears gun manufacturing is not as profitable as the NRA would have you believe:

Still, the tide has turned against Cerberus and the gun industry, at least for now. Gun sales began slowing last year. Remington reported a nearly 28 percent drop in sales from 2013, to $939.3 million. And it swung to a $68.2 million loss from a $57.7 million profit. (The company also cited a recall of millions of triggers for its Remington Model 700, which has been reported to fire without the trigger’s being pulled, as weighing on its results.)

A chief rival, Smith & Wesson, said that its sales for the 12 months ended Jan. 31 fell about 15 percent, to $541.6 million.

Over all, the number of background checks processed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, a rough indicator of interest in gun sales, declined slightly in 2014, to just under 21 million.

Well, no wonder the NRA has to constantly pluck that fear nerve. Unless the gun humpers are constantly reminded that some liberal is trying to take away their guns, these idiots might forget that they need to stockpile weapons for Freedom. They might actually forget about tyranny and Sharia Law and the Blahs coming for their big-screen TVs.

They might actually go back to living their lives. And the gun-makers can’t have that.

Free hand of the market, people.

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Congratulations, Stan Lee! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Another of our safest, most responsible citizens evah injured five people — two of them children — in a public place, when he responsibly reached into his pocket for his wallet:

Lee, who has a concealed weapons permit, was carrying a 9 mm Glock in his pocket in the lobby of the Clearwater Beach Marriott, 1201 Gulf Blvd. around 2:30 p.m., police said.

He reached into his pocket to retrieve his wallet and accidentally fired the weapon, police said. The bullet grazed his leg and then hit the tile floor, shattering and sending shrapnel into the four other victims and causing minor, non-life-threatening leg injuries.

Remind me again why we don’t require liability insurance for concealed-carriers? If you can’t even reach for your wallet without injuring people…?

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Jeb Bush: Pro-Iraq War Since 1997

Of course Jeb Bush would have invaded Iraq.

Am I the only one who remembers PNAC? Jeb Bush was one of the original signers of PNAC’s Statement of Principals back in 1997, which declared:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

In 1998, these are the geniuses who sent this now-infamous letter to President Clinton advocating regime change in Iraq. They were convinced, as early as January 1998 (in truth, well before), that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and would destabilize the Middle East and the West’s access to its precious oil reserves unless he were removed from power. They wrote:

The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration’s attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power.

This was five years before our invasion of Iraq. They were focused like a laser on one thing and one thing only. The idea that “all of the intelligence agencies got it wrong” is such laughable bullshit. The entire Neocon-chickenhawk foreign policy apparatus behind George W. Bush had an agenda they’d been pushing for years, and that apparatus included his brother, Jeb. There was no “oops, we were given the wrong intel.” It was, “we’ve had this plan in the works for years and now we finally get to implement it!” Any “intel” that was used was cherry-picked to pre-select that which agreed with their agenda so they could justify their actions to the rest of the world.

So please, news media. Stop pretending Jeb just “flubbed a question.” You guys are getting it wrong because once again you’re just focused on the campaign, instead of being focused on the policy. The policy Jeb Bush has always advocated is hard-core Neocon hawkishness, and that is what failed us in Iraq. Not some cherry-picked intelligence.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Iraq War, media

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

I’m guessing “had a medical issue” is a polite way of saying “went temporarily insane and tried to off himself,” but YMMV:

FAYETTEVILLE, Texas – A teacher at Fayetteville High School had a medical issue and fired his handgun twice inside his vehicle Tuesday afternoon, according to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. David Beyer with Fayette County Sheriff’s Office said deputies arrived around 5 p.m. Tuesday and called EMS after they found the teacher in distress.

The teacher refused transport to a local hospital and deputies took him to the sheriff’s office to get a statement. The man was unable to make a coherent statement, and he was released to his family.

No students were on campus at the time. The teacher has a concealed handgun permit.

Remind me why we want teachers armed again? Because they somehow have superpowers and aren’t like the rest of us?

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When A Religion Dies

The two religious groups with the largest influence over our domestic policy continue to die:

The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, these changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups. While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men.

[…]

The drop in the Christian share of the population has been driven mainly by declines among mainline Protestants and Catholics. Each of those large religious traditions has shrunk by approximately three percentage points since 2007. The evangelical Protestant share of the U.S. population also has dipped, but at a slower rate, falling by about one percentage point since 2007.

Not coincidentally, these are the two groups who have been screaming the loudest over domestic issues like education, marriage equality, abortion, and women’s access to birth control. These are the people who sued over the Obamacare birth control mandate. These are the people trying to exert even more influence over our state legislatures and federal government.

Of course they are dying. This flurry of activity in the public arena is a symptom of a dying religion. They are trying to regain their influence over American public life through legislative activity, because they are losing the battle on the cultural front.

This is what happens when a religion dies. And this chart should send shudders through the Republican Party, so closely intertwined with the Christian/evangelical faith that the two are practically indistinguishable. Unaffiliated, up 6.7% in the past seven years. That’s atheists, agnostics and “nothing in particulars.” Non-Christians, up 1.2% in the past seven years. That’s Muslims, Hindus and “other.” Christians, down 7.8% in the past seven years.

These are the trends, and I don’t seem them reversing any time soon.

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NOW Can We Take George Zimmerman’s Guns Away?

Our favorite 2nd Amendment Hero may have another mug shot to add to his collection:

LAKE MARY, Fla. — George Zimmerman was involved in a shooting incident in Lake Mary on Monday afternoon, according to Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell.

The shooting happened on Lake Mary Boulevard, east of Interstate 4.

Officers at the scene said it appeared Zimmerman suffered a minor gunshot wound, Bracknell said.

In January, Zimmerman was accused of assault by his girlfriend, but no charges were filed after she recanted her allegation.

He was also arrested in November 2013 on domestic violence allegations after his girlfriend called police. His girlfriend later recanted her story and charges were never filed.

Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2013.

Well I just can’t wait to find out the details of this one. I’m sure he was responsibly protecting someone from something, somewhere.

[UPDATE]: 1

Details trickling in. Early reports say Zimmerman was shot in the face in a road rage incident. His injuries are minor.

 

[UPDATE]: 2

Orlando Sentinel with the latest. It appears it was not road rage, but Zimmerman was shot by someone he knew:

Police initially thought the shooting was a road-rage incident, but Bracknell said that might not be true.

He said the other man involved is someone Zimmerman knows and has had contact with in the past.

Bracknell said that man is cooperating with police.

Zimmerman is with his lawyer and is not answering any questions, Bracknell said.

Sounds like the other guy stood his ground, ya think? /sarcasm

[UPDATE]: 3

Zimmerman waved a gun, according to the guy who shot him:

According to Cornell, the man told him that he and Zimmerman have had three disputes. This time, Zimmerman waved a gun and the man shot at him, according to Cornell.

This is Zim’s fourth … fifth …. sixth gun incident?

[UPDATE]: 4

Early reports indicate the shooter was Matthew Apperson, who had this altercation with Zimmerman last fall:

The driver, 35-year-old Matthew Apperson, told Lake Mary police officers that a passenger in a truck stopped at a light next to his car on a busy street in the Orlando suburb on Tuesday, rolled down his window and yelled, “Hey, what’s your problem? Why you shaking your finger?”

Apperson said he was listening to music with his windows rolled up at the time, and that the passenger’s yelling was unprovoked.

The truck’s driver then asked Apperson, “Do you know who I am?” according to a police report. Apperson said he believed it was Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was acquitted last year of second-degree murder for fatally shooting the 17-year-old Martin, a case that drew international attention and spurred national discussions about race and self-defense laws. Martin was black and unarmed.

“George Zimmerman was the driver, and they were threatening to kick my ass and to shoot me,” Apperson told a police dispatcher in a 911 call.

Apperson told the dispatcher that he pulled into a nearby gas station to use the phone since he didn’t have his cellphone, and the truck followed him. Zimmerman drove the truck up to Apperson’s car, blocking him in, Apperson said.

“He almost hit my car and he said he would shoot me then,” said Apperson, who told the dispatcher that he never saw a gun in Zimmerman’s truck. “Both of them were threatening to shoot me and kill me.”

Apperson called police from the gas station, but the truck was gone by the time officers arrived. Apperson, who has a concealed-weapons license, was carrying a firearm at the time, according to the police report.

It’s almost as if Zimmerman was stalking this guy.

[UPDATE]: 5

Once again, the real victim is George Zimmerman:

Matthew Apperson turned himself in to police on Friday and was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and firing a deadly missile into an occupied conveyance, police said.

“After conducting numerous interviews throughout the week, detectives determined that Mr. Apperson did intentionally fire his weapon into the vehicle occupied by George Zimmerman,” police said in a news release.

Absolutely fascinating. When everyone has a concealed-carry permit and is armed, everyone is guilty and everyone is innocent.

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Tesla Pokes Fun At ICE’s

This cracked me up: it’s Tesla “test-driving” an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). First they make fun of how you have to buy an ICE from an independent “middleman” (dealership), which is also the repair shop (Tesla refuses to do business with dealerships, but I have to wonder where one takes their Tesla if something goes wrong?). Cute.

This part made me laugh:

So we sat in the car and pressed the START button. The car’s gasoline engine coughed to life and started to operate. One could hear the engine’s sound and the car’s whole body vibrated as if something was broken, but the seller assured us that everything was as it should. The car actually has an electric motor and a microscopically small battery, but they are only used to start the petrol engine – the electric motor does not drive the wheels. The petrol engine then uses a tank full of gasoline, a fossil liquid, to propel the car by exploding small drops of it. It is apparently the small explosions that you hear and feel when the engine is running.

I took Mr. Beale’s Highlander to the repair shop for him last week because he was slammed at work. Since I’ve been driving a Leaf for almost four years now, there are things you forget about an ICE — like how noisy they are, the rumble of an engine (and Mr. Beale drives a hybrid, so it’s actually quieter than most cars) and the delay in acceleration. With an EV, you’re smooth, quiet, and as soon as you push the gas, you’re moving. None of that ICE lag.

And then came this:

Sure we filled the tank full in two minutes, but it did cost us an unbelievable €30! A full charge would thus cost us double that – a whopping €60! We cursed our luck that we apparently have chosen one of the most expensive gas stations, and began to ask the seller what other alternatives are there? How much does it cost to fill up at home, and how many free stations are there?

The seller looked very puzzled at us and explained that it is not possible to refuel gasoline cars at home, and there are no free gas stations. We tried to explain our questions, in case he had misunderstood, but he insisted that you can not. Apparently you have to several times a month drive to the gas station to recharge your petrol car at extortionate prices – there are no alternatives! We thought it was very strange that no gasoline car manufacturers have launched their own free gas stations?

[…]

We also begun to understand why there must be so many petrol stations everywhere, if all petrol cars always have to drive to them to refuel. Imagine if you could charge your electric car only at the power companies’ most expensive fast chargers – and nowhere else!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Last week I was walking the dog at a state park and someone who was considering buying a Leaf saw my car parked at one of the public EV chargers. He waited until I returned so he could pepper me with questions. Apparently he really wanted to buy a Nissan Leaf but had been advised against it by the Carmax salesperson. LOL. Of course he wanted to know how much it costs to charge the car and of course no one can really answer that question because it depends on how much you drive, just as with an ICE. But I charge at home, and it’s much cheaper than using one of the public stations, which charge a whopping .02 for 30 seconds of charging. Do the math … if you’re a Blink member in Tennessee, that’s .04 a minute (and quite a steal compared to other states, like California and New York, which are 0.49 cents a minute). So if you charge for an hour, that’s $2.40, about what gas is going for around here these days (a little cheaper, actually — last I saw, gas was going for around $2.50). And how far do you go on an hour’s charge? Hard to say, because it depends on whether you’re running the A/C or on the interstate, and other factors. But I’d say an hour’s worth of charging could take care of me for a couple of days. It’s just not comparable, cost-wise, even with gas prices lower than they’ve been historically.

But again, I have a charger at home, and so I charge even cheaper than this — plus, there are a couple of free chargers around town. I rarely use the public chargers.

Final dig:

We returned the car to the dealer’s premises, pulled the handbrake and step out of the car. The petrol engine continued to run! Apparently one must manually switch off the combustion of the precious liquid. But we wanted to see the petrol engine, so the seller opened the bonnet. The entire front portion of the car was completely cluttered with hoses, fittings, fluid reservoirs, and amid all a huge shaking cast iron block which apparently constituted the motor’s frame. There was no space for luggage in the front of the car! Despite its enormous size, high noise and vibration, the engine barely delivered one hundred horsepower. The engine was also extremely hot, we burned ourselves when we touched it. Even though this was on a warm summer day so the engine did not need to generate heat to the passenger compartment.

One of the first things I appreciated about the Leaf — after how quiet it is, of course — is that it doesn’t generate a lot of heat. You can drive it around town and pull it into the garage and your car isn’t emitting heat waves for the next three hours. I actually really like that. The second thing is, it’s practically maintenance-free. In four years I took it in once for a software update. Got new tires at CostCo another time, and that’s it. No oil changes, no “every 6,000 miles” visits to the dealership/repair shop. It’s gotten so you forget about those things.

Because Nissan is located just outside of Nashville, you see an awful lot of Leafs around town. Used to be I was one of the only ones, but nowadays you see them everywhere and it’s just no big deal. I can’t imagine why the rest of the country hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon yet. Especially if you’re in an urban area. I get that if you live in suburbia, range can be an issue. But for most of us who work five or 10 miles from where we live, it just makes sense.

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