No more Texas governors for president

“Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.” - Molly Ivins
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Posts tagged "homicide"

quickhits:

Popular gun video producer shot dead.

CNN:

Authorities in Georgia are investigating the apparent homicide of a Georgia man who produced popular gun-related YouTube videos.

Keith Ratliff was found shot in the head January 3 in his home-office in Carnesville, Georgia, about 80 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Ratliff was co-owner of FPS Industries, whose website says it “is proud to be world leaders in product development and testing for hard use firearms shooters.”

Investigators from many agencies — including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — are investigating, and the GBI said Friday that they are making progress in identifying the shooter.

Several guns were found at the scene, but none of them were used to shoot Ratliff, the GBI said in a news release.

While this is undoubtedly a tragedy, there’s a valuable lesson here about guns as self-protection. After all, imagine how much more killed Ratliff would be if he hadn’t surrounded himself with firearms.

motherjones:

If you feel strongly that unfettered access to firearms is and should be a fundamental freedom, then you should be aware of the price. Via motherjones.

cognitivedissonance:

David Simon, the creator of The Wire and author of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, calls out Mitt Romney for his arrogance:

“Can we stand back and pause a short minute to take in the spectacle of a man who wants to be President of The United States, who wants us to seriously regard him as a paragon of the American civic ideal, declaiming proudly and in public that he has paid his taxes at a third of the rate normally associated with gentlemen of his economic benefit.

Stunning.

Am I supposed to congratulate this man? Thank him for his good citizenship? Compliment him for being clever enough to arm himself with enough tax lawyers so that he could legally minimize his obligations?

Thirteen percent. The last time I paid taxes at that rate, I believe I might still have been in college. If not, it was my first couple years as a newspaper reporter. Since then, the paychecks have been just fine, thanks, and I don’t see any reason not to pay at the rate appropriate to my earnings, given that I’m writing the check to the same government that provided the economic environment that allowed for such incomes.

I can’t get over the absurdity of this moment, honestly: Hey, I never paid less than thirteen percent. I swear. And no, you can’t examine my tax returns in any more detail. But I promise you all, my fellow American citizens, I never once slipped to single digits. I’m just not that kind of guy.

God.

This republic is just about over, isn’t it?”

He gets it. He understands the inherent patriotism in paying taxes versus ducking them. It’s not that hard to grasp.

quickhits:

More evil than Big Tobacco by several orders of magnitude.

Raw Story:

According to Mother Jones reporter Andy Kroll, the role played by Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in the shooting of African-American teen Trayvon Martin should be seen as an example of the outsized influence that the National Rifle Association wields in both state and national politics.

“This was an NRA effort from start to finish,” Kroll told Current TV’s The Young Turks. “It was a classic case study in how the NRA gets these bills passed at the state level. … This is an example of just how big and how sophisticated the NRA’s operation really is.”

Kroll noted that when the law was passed in 2005, the NRA, “provided tens of thousands of dollars to the dozens of lawmakers who pushed the bill through and who voted ‘yes’ on the bill.”

He pointed in particular to NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer as having been instrumental “in both drafting Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and then ramming it through the legislature down there.” Hammer was even standing right next to then-Governor Jeb Bush when the bill was signed into law.

Kroll’s article on the issue is here.

Let’s be extremely clear here; the NRA doesn’t exist to protect anyone’s rights, the NRA exists to sell guns. And it does that by grossly inflating fears about crime, creating a seige mentality and an atmosphere of paranoia. Seriously, why do you think that after every mass killing somewhere, there’s always some NRA flack or a Republican toady eager to blame everything on the fact that every last citizen isn’t armed?

As corporate lobbyists go, this is worse than Big Tobacco back in their heyday. Where tobacco company stooges were arguing that smoking wasn’t at all bad for you — while sitting on data that showed it was — Big Arms argues that more guns are a good thing, even when gun violence is the problem. This is akin to the tobacco lobbyist telling everyone to smoke more, because that’s the only thing saving you from cancer.

These are greedy, soulless people.

The shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida is reverberating today in an unlikely place: the executive suites of major corporations.

In recent days, advocacy groups have targeted more than a dozen corporations over their financial support for the conservative organization that encouraged states to pass the “Stand Your Ground” legislation cited as a defense for George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting.

The advocates are celebrating decisions by several major food and beverage companies to sever financial ties with the organization, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, McDonald’s, Kraft Foods and Wendy’s have cut their support for the group, although all played down any connection to the Florida shooting.

The tension in corporate boardrooms over the case is the latest example of the pitfalls companies can sometimes face when they donate to political and lobbying groups, even those that seem safely below the radar of public consciousness.

The ALEC controversy is now sparking a broader debate about corporate participation in politics and the polarized state of political discourse. At a minimum, it has strengthened calls for companies to develop clear policies explaining their spending.

“I would caution companies to be very aware of where their money is going,” says Nell Minow, director of GMI Ratings, which provides corporate governance information to investors, corporate auditors and regulatory agencies. “Companies are going to realize they can take a real reputational hit with this kind of affiliation.”

She and others recall the tempest that erupted in 2010 around Target after the company donated to a nonprofit group supporting a Minnesota gubernatorial candidate who was known for opposing gay rights initiatives.

The Supreme Court decision that year in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission gave corporations the right to contribute directly to groups active in election campaigns.

But most major corporations have not jumped at the chance. Rather, publicly traded companies have largely continued to donate through nonprofit lobbying and political groups — many recently formed — that are not compelled to reveal their donors.