Previous laws required municipalities to sell guns found or seized, but the new law makes it clear this prohibition also applies to guns which are voluntarily surrendered — often through police buyback programs.
Instead of being melted down, these guns must be used by the police or sold to the general public – in other words, put back into the very circulation from which violence easily erupts. To be even clearer, guns that leave the hands of people who would just as well do without them, will now be placed into the hands of those who, by and large, relish pulling the trigger. MORE
It started as a fringe idea — for some, it was a joke — but it’s gaining traction: the trillion dollar coin, a possible trump card in the debt ceiling negotiations. The U.S. could default on its debt as early as Feb. 15, and, given the Congressional brinkmanship that has surrounded the last few debt ceiling negotiations, not many people are looking forward to this next go-round.
But with the much-discussed trillion dollar coin, some insist, that could all be avoided. MORE
In a new public service announcement (PSA) recorded for MTV and Funny or Die, Jersey Shore‘s cast gets political. You read that right.
The bit begins with Snooki looking up from the most recent issue of Mother Jones magazine to ask her friends who they are planning on voting for in November. What follows is a laughably implausible intellectual conversation about the state of our democracy, including one impassioned speech by The Situation about the “self-fulfilling prophecy” of voter apathy.
But what really made us LOL was Mother Jones‘s editor Clara Jeffery‘s response to a request for comment from The Atlantic Wire: “What is there to say but Lolz, go #gymtanvote! A cover plugged by both Moyers and Co and Jersey Shore. #winning.” Indeed! MORE
Tree tagged in Brooklyn as part of New York City's "One in a million" tree program.
The poet Joyce Kilmer once wrote: “I think that I shall never see. A poem lovely as a tree.” Trees in urban settings are more than just lovely, they actually clean the air, reduce noise pollution, reduce the need for air conditioning in the summer and work against the greenhouse effect. They even reduce stress. And according to blogger Tim De Chant, they also prove to be a good indicator of income inequality as viewed from space.
A few weeks ago De Chant wrote in his blog, Per Square Mile, about a research paper he had come across that presented some interesting findings. De Chant explained it in his post:
“[F]or every 1 percent increase in per capita income, demand for forest cover increased by 1.76 percent. But when income dropped by the same amount, demand decreased by 1.26 percent. That’s a pretty tight correlation. The researchers reason that wealthier cities can afford more trees, both on private and public property. The well-to-do can afford larger lots, which in turn can support more trees. On the public side, cities with larger tax bases can afford to plant and maintain more trees.”
As critical as we’ve been of the government’s failure to prosecute those in the financial world who done us wrong, it’s only fair to acknowledge our nation’s G-men when they bring some perps to justice.
The Associated Press reported an FBI announcement this week that its probes of financial crime last year “led to more than 3,000 convictions and over $12 billion in court-ordered restitution as agents attacked insider trading, Ponzi schemes and Medicare fraud in high-dollar scams that victimized thousands of investors and the government.” MORE
Mitt Romney has been calling President Obama a “crony capitalist” on the stump lately, particularly in Michigan, saying that the president rewarded certain donors by going ahead with the auto bailout.
But Greg Palast points out that the biggest beneficiaries of the bailout are actually Romney supporters:
“Romney called the federal government’s 2009 bail-out of the auto industry, ‘nothing more than crony capitalism, Obama style’. In fact, the biggest rewards — a windfall of more than two billion dollars care of U.S. taxpayers — went to Romney’s two top contributors.” Read more »
A Broadway revival of Gore Vidal’s drama, The Best Man, begins previews early next month. The play’s about a nail biter of a political convention in which two candidates duke it out while each desperately seeks the endorsement of a Trumanesque former president.
The new production stars James Earl Jones, John Larroquette, Candice Bergen and Angela Lansbury, among others — it’s quite a cast. But if you’re not planning a New York City visit, keep your eye out for the 1964 movie version, with Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson.
In the real world of presidential politics, there hasn’t been such a brokered Republican convention — one in which going in, none of the candidates has enough delegates to hold the upper hand — since 1948, when the Republicans ultimately chose Thomas Dewey. And lost.
Delegates with posters and state signs crowd down the center aisle at Convention Hall in Philadelphia during a demonstration for Gov. Thomas E. Dewey after his name was placed in nomination during the Republican National Convention on June 23, 1948. Philadelphia has hosted eight presidential conventions, but none since that steamy summer a half-century ago, when not one, but three came to town in the span of a month. (AP Photo)
(That was, by the way, the last presidential race covered by legendary journalist H.L. Mencken. A number of years ago, The New Republic gathered his 1948 reportage into a book, Mencken’s Last Campaign. Fascinating. Check your local library or Amazon.)
But this year, with new primary and caucus rules, all that super PAC cash and the GOP race still in such turmoil, many political junkies are beginning to daydream about the kind of brokered convention of decades past — the fantasy stuff of novels, movies and plays.
As ABC News reported, “In order to win the nomination, a candidate will have to secure the votes of 1,144 delegates at the August convention — a majority of the total pool of 2,286 delegates. If Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul combine for more than half of the GOP’s total delegates, Romney will not be able to win the nomination before August.
“In that deadlock scenario, campaigns would lobby more than 400 ‘unbound’ delegates for support. Much like Democratic ‘superdelegates’ in 2008, the ‘unbound’ Republican delegate votes would become very consequential. Some states only ‘bind’ their delegates through the first round of voting at the Republican National Convention, and after that first round of voting, a delegate-battle-royale would ensue on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
“In other words: Delegate Apocalypse.”
If the GOP nomination’s not resolved by the Tampa convention, Benjy Sarlin, Capitol Hill reporter for Talking Points Memo, has a rundown of what the rules would be at one of the most remarkable political events in decades.
Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer thinks the whole idea’s preposterous. He told Kerry Picket of The Washington Times, “I get that it’s the buzz, but I literally spend as much time worrying if some space alien attack happens.”
Watch the skies, Mr. Spicer. Keep watching the skies…