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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Stories to Watch: 2/13/14

The outdoor sporting goods chain Cabela's reports sales in the last quarter fell 10.1%, a decline driven by "sluggish firearms sales and a "much sharper than expected" drop in ammo buying. If you remove the firearms and ammo sales from the equation, sales dropped only 3.5%. The number of federal background checks are also on the decline. This isn't unexpected, why sales have been high in recent months, the trend of gun ownership is declining. So all these sales are the same guys coming back for more -- there are more guns than ever, but they're owned by fewer people than ever.. At a certain point, even the most gun-obsessed crackpot has to run out of money.

Somewhat related: can insurance premiums be used to drive gun ownership -- and therefore gun violence -- down? At any rate, I don't think I should assume the same amount of risk as a gun owner, since gun violence costs the US economy $15 billion a year? I don't pay the same as a smoker, so why do I pay as much as a guy who's more likely to kill himself while cleaning his shootin' iron? If gun owners have to pay to clean up their own mess without the help of a broader risk pool, they might find their security blanket a little too expensive.

Further related: a Florida jury goes into a second day of deliberations in the Michael Dunn case. Josh Marshall says it's "like someone is doing a reductio ad absurdum experiment with the Stand Your Ground law in Florida: how close can you get to just pulling out your gun and blowing some kid's head off and still be able to even get into court with a 'stand your ground' defense." Floridians, the law in your state is profoundly fucked up.

Here's your daily toxic spill, brought to you by the good folks behind deregulation.

A push for a state constitutional ban on same sex marriage in Indiana is delayed until at least 2016. Opinion on the issue is shifting so rapidly that this likely all but kills the amendment's chances. In fact, courts could easily step in and legalize it before then.

The world's largest solar generation plant went on line today. With a generating capacity of 392 megawatts, it's capable of powering 140,000 homes. It also cuts emissions by "400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, equal to removing 72,000 vehicles off the road." Check out the photos at the link. Incredible.

The Republican Civil War comes to the Wisconsin legislature.

Finally, the GOP is trying to get more African-Americans to vote for them, while pushing voter restriction schemes meant supress minority voting -- so you do the math. It doesn't matter how you look at it, this just isn't going to work.

[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]

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