Guns for Groceries a new twist on ineffective gun buybacks

shoprite-gun-buyback

The above event was held Saturday in Baltimore and Carrie Wells of The Baltimore Sun reported on it.

Here’s a quick summary of this post with the full details below it:

  • A gun buyback organized by UpLift Solutions was held this past weekend.
  • Most of the guns turned in were old and rusty guns turned in by law abiding citizens – so guns weren’t really taken off the street.
  • ShopRite gift cards worth $100 were given for each gun turned in.
  • UpLift Solutions is a nonprofit closely tied to ShopRite and funded by the owner of ShopRite stores in other states.
  • The local ShopRite owners and UpLift Solutions are building a new store in the neighborhood.
  • The new store received over $14 million in tax credits (total cost was $20 million) to build the store.
  • Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who is anti-gun, sponsored the buyback and also lobbied for the store’s construction.
  • Marshall Klein, COO of local owner Klein’s ShopRite, is a political donor to anti-gun Democrats including Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Brian Frosh.

Here’s what Michael Basher, of UpLift Solutions, told Wells about the event:

This always gets a lot of guns off the streets and keeps the streets a little safer.

Wells only identified Basher as “director of a community development nonprofit connected to ShopRite.” I found the name of that nonprofit via Google and later WBAL-TV, which didn’t interview Basher, also identified the group in their report.

Radio station 92Q was broadcasting at the event, which was held at New All Saints Catholic Church.

Here’s a picture from the event from the WBAL story. Note the type of firearms shown.

gun-buyback

Carrie Wells noted that:

They came with .22-caliber rifles wrapped in trash bags, Saturday night special handguns, rusted shotguns handed down from grandparents. A crowd of dozens lined up by 10 a.m. Saturday at a Northwest Baltimore church parking lot, most with gray hair and some leaning on canes or using hearing aides.

[...]

Many were skeptical that the gun buyback event would achieve organizers’ goal of reducing city crime, though they were pleased to get something of value for guns that in many cases hadn’t been fired in years or decades.

Jakiba Henderson told Wells that she didn’t know what kind of gun she was trading in and that it belonged to her recently departed grandfather. Henderson also said:

“The people who are committing the crimes aren’t turning in their guns, and their guns are probably illegal,” she said. “It’s more people like us who have guns sitting around the house,” who are turning them in.

More from the Wells article in The Sun:

Willie Gregory, 70, said he bought his .22-caliber rifle about 40 years ago for his children to use for target practice. The gun hadn’t been used in about that long. “They weren’t interested,” Gregory said.

Richard McCormick, 72, also had a .22-caliber rifle he wasn’t using anymore, though he said he had other guns at home. He said he wasn’t worried about thieves breaking in and stealing the guns.

If you watch the video accompanying the Sun story, Marshall Klein (COO of Klein’s ShopRite) is interviewed and talks about how great the buyback is.

The Sun story also mentions that organizers ran off people outside who were trying to buy the guns to keep them from being destroyed. If those people were on public sidewalks, I have some concerns about that.

The WBAL-TV story quoted a police official:

“It’s good for the community. People have guns that they keep in their homes for a number of years and if they were to have a break-in or somebody were to find that gun, then that’s another gun on the street that we have to combat and guard the citizens against,” said Marc Partee, district commander of Northwest District.

There has been at least one gun buyback at New All Saints Catholic Church reported on in the past. What was missing in the past was ShopRite gift cards. Coincidentally enough, ShopRite is opening a new store in the neighborhood. Recent church bulletins have pointed out that the store was hiring and preference was being given to people in the neighborhood. (An aside for Catholic readers: there is no evidence of any sort of pro-life ministry at this parish via their bulletins, website, or a Google search. However, they do have liturgical dance, which is not allowed.)

A story in Tuesday’s edition of The Baltimore Sun noted that the construction of the store itself is a joint venture between UpLift Solutions and Klein’s ShopRite. The story also notes that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had been lobbying for a store in the neighborhood. The store will sell fresh produce and will also cater to Muslims in the area with halal-certified meat.

The store received tax credits equal to almost 2/3 of constructing and stocking it:

Tax credits played a major role in ShopRite’s move to Howard Park. The breaks helped fund the estimated $20 million cost of building and stocking the store.

The Reinvestment Fund, a national backer of low-income neighborhood projects, together with First National Bank contributed $14.65 million in capital through the federal New Markets Tax Credit program, which is designed to attract investors to low-income communities.

UpLift Solutions is headquartered in a New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia. In fact, UpLift shares an address with Brown’s Super Stores, Inc. (the owner of Brown’s ShopRite – which is celebrating the end of Ramadan right now.)  The Chairman of the Board of UpLift Solutions is Jeffrey Brown, who is also the CEO of Brown’s Super Stores. His wife is also a board member. Other board members include developers, lawyers, bankers, and others.

Mike Basher, the Director of Community Development at UpLift quoted in the buyback article, is a career grocery executive who worked for Brown’s and was made the head of the nonprofit when it was launched. Among his duties, Basher oversees the “Guns for Goods” program in various locations.

UpLift’s’ total revenue for 2013 was over $1.3 million.  It would appear that a great deal of that revenue came from Brown’s. UpLift spent $1.1 million of that, including over $156,000  (around 14% of their total expenditures) in pay to Michael Basher. You can read UpLift Solutions’ Form 990 tax filings for yourself.

As noted above, Marshall Klein is the COO of Klein’s ShopRite which owns the Maryland locations for ShopRite. Klein has given political contributions to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Brian Frosh, both of whom are anti-gun. He also gave money to Mary Dulany-James, Liam Davis, Doug Duncan, and the failed gubernatorial campaign of David Craig and Jeannie Haddaway.

The public relations game and political gamesmanship detailed by all of the above shows that UpLift Solutions is a very poorly hidden arm of ShopRite itself and the new location going up in the area benefited greatly by government tax benefits while also helping push a pet political cause of its patrons in elected office.

Russians crack down on anti-Obama posters

obama-posters

The Moscow Times reports on an investigation by prosecutors in the Perm region of Russia:

One poster featured Obama pictured with a large banana. The president appeared to be chewing vigorously. The banana was labeled “Ukraine.” The words “Banan-Obama” feature prominently at the top of the poster, along with the phrase, “Don’t choke!”

Another poster featured a sheep whose wool was painted to resemble the U.S. flag. The sheep stood below the heading “Baran Abama.” In Russia, the word for sheep is “baran.” The heading thus seems to have been a nod to the president’s full name, Barack Obama. The phrase, “Get your hooves out of Ukraine! We don’t abandon our own,” was strewn across the base of the poster.

More on the motivation of the people behind the posters:

The head of a local advertising firm, Mikhail Vasilkin, took credit for the posters, telling online news portal Newsru.com that he had erected them to express his personal discontent with U.S. affairs.

“The posters have been up since practically winter. Now, since the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and prosecutors launched an investigation into them, we have taken them down. With these depictions I was trying to get across my stance on current political events, so it is unlikely they would fall under the category of advertisements,” Vasilkin said in comments carried by Newsru.com on Monday.

Russia and free speech don’t go together so this is no real surprise.

Browns fan urinates on Art Modell’s grave, posts video to YouTube

modell-grave

WBAL Radio reports:

A video had surfaced on YouTube of a man who appears to be urinating near the grave of late Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell.  That video has since been removed.

The man is wearing a Cleveland Browns jersey and launches into an obscenity-laced tirade about Modell moving the Browns from Cleveland to Baltimore.

The incident occurred at Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville.

In an interview with WBAL Radio, cemetery spokeswoman Kim Tarleton calls it “disappointing and disrespectful” that someone would do such a thing.

Baltimore County police confirm they are aware of the video and are investigating.

Reporters via sports media sources on Twitter indicate that a Ravens urinated on Bob Irsay’s grave a few years ago. Irsay owned the Colts and moved them from Baltimore to Indianapolis.

Elijah Cummings admits he doesn’t know fellow committee member’s name

cummings

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers. Be sure to also check out a post on Maryland Governor (and 2016 presidential hopeful) Martin O’Malley falling asleep during a meeting.

The Daily Caller:

The top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee doesn’t know all of his own committee members’ names.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings admitted in Wednesday’s oversight hearing on the IRS missing emails scandal that he hasn’t bothered to reach across the aisle to learn his fellow committee members’ names.

“Mr. Chairman, you, uh-,” Cummings said. “This has been very interesting because one member on your side, the gentleman, I don’t know his name, said that the man was under investigation…”

I guess Cummings was too busy exchanging emails with Lois Lerner about the conservative groups being targeted by the IRS to actually learn his colleague’s name.

Wednesday Caption Contest: Kerry & Bibi

kerry-bibi

(AP – HT: Weasel Zippers)

The above picture of John Kerry and Benjamin Netanyahu inspired my latest caption contest. Just leave your humorous caption in the comments below.

 

Gov. Martin O’Malley falls asleep during meeting

MOM-asleep
(The Daily Record/Bryan P. Sears)

The above photograph is included with a story in The Daily Record by Bryan Sears.

From the story:

The timing of O’Malley’s struggles with the sandman — those early afternoon, right-after- lunch hours — came during a more than two-hour portion of the meeting set aside for discussion of wetlands permits for the controversial Cove Point liquid natural gas export facility in Lusby, Calvert County.

The heavy eyelids didn’t escape the notice of a number of attendees and reporters in the room at the time.

Tracey Eno, a resident of Lusby and opponent of the facility, was irked by the governor nodding off during the meeting.

“I’ve been asking for a meeting with the governor for months,” Eno said. “In lieu of that, I was given a meeting with his energy director. Finally I got the chance to look him in the eye. As I patiently explained to him why we were opposed to this, his eyelids dropped and he fell asleep. I don’t feel like he heard our message.”

The board ultimately voted unanimously to approve the permits.

Sears notes O’Malley’s grueling schedule which recently has included a lot of 2016-related campaign and fundraising trips out of state.

In 2012, I wrote about reports O’Malley was “wasted” in a Tampa bar during the Republican National Convention.

The Quinton Report featured as a NewsBusters Editors’ Pick again

nb-mrc

 Newsbusters featured a post from The Quinton Report in their Editors’ Picks yesterday. They referred to my post as, “Beretta moving all manufacturing out of Md. for gun-friendly Tennessee.” My original title was, “Beretta moving all of its manufacturing out of Maryland due to anti-gun laws.”

Here’s where they mentioned it:
newsbusters-beretta

Twitchy also mentioned The Quinton Report on this subject.

Is Jody Hice the GOP’s Todd Akin of 2014?

hice

Could Jody Hice, a congressional candidate in Georgia, hurt Republicans this fall?

Michael Graham thinks so:

Rev. Jody Hice, a radio talk show host (!) just won the runoff in the Republican primary for Georgia’s 10th Congressional district.

The vast majority of Republicans outside the Peach State have never heard of him. Then again, until the summer of 2012, nobody had heard of Missouri’s Todd Akin, either.

Then Akin started talking about “legitimate rape” and “women’s bodies just shut down,” and suddenly every Republican in a swing district or purple state was being asked about their fellow Republican.

Cue Rev. Hice!

Hice’s comments on women running for elected office got him noticed during the primary campaign:

”If the woman’s within the authority of her husband, I don’t see a problem,” Dr. Jody Hice of the Bethlehem First Baptist church in Barrow County said of women in positions of political power.

Graham also points to Hice’s comments about Islam:

Radio talk show host Jody Hice told members of the Coweta Tea Party that Islam, in its most complete form, isn’t deserving of First Amendment protections because it is not just a religion.

“When you talk about Islam, you are talking about totalitarian way of life. You are not talking simply about a religion,” Hice said.

Instead, it is “a totalitarian geopolitical system that has everything within it. It has its own financial system, it has its own military, it has its own government, and — yes — it also has its own religious component,” Hice said at Tuesday’s tea party meeting.

“The whole picture of Islam is not just a religion. It is an entire massive geopolitical system,” Hice said, and “its intent is to take over the world, to dominate the world.”

Graham also points to other controversial comments made by Hice.

Graham’s closing:

The Hobby Lobby story has made it obvious Democrats plan to make 2014 about the “War on Women” as much as they possibly can. They’re going to target suburban women who can’t imagine being told they must live “within the authority of their husbands.” (Neither can their husbands, by the way). Democrats are thrilled that Rev. Hice will be running in November. They’re cheering him on!

What makes this even more aggravating for Republicans trying to repair the party’s brand is that Hice’s runoff opponent, Mike Collins, is a conservative Republican. When it comes to actually casting votes, he’d have voted the same way as Hice at least 95% of the time.

But without the off-putting rhetoric and over-the-top statements.

Why did prominent GA Republicans who should know better back this guy? What were they thinking?

When September rolls around and Hice’s comments are all over the media, I hope somebody remembers to ask them.

Besides outgoing Rep. Paul Broun (who lost in the U.S. Senate primary), Erick Erickson of RedState endorsed Hice:

I spoke this past weekend at a fundraiser for Jody Hice. I am supporting Jody and, luckily, the largest part of population in his district lies within my listening audience’s reach in Atlanta. I am happy to encourage people to support him.

[...]

 I am proud to support him.

I generally have had the attitude in the case of candidates like Todd Akin, Christine O’Donnell, and Richard Mourdock that their primary opposition must have run pretty shoddy campaigns to get beat by them. That makes me wonder what they would have done in November in general elections had they defeat candidates who were considered “nutty.”

With that being said, national Democrats will try to make Hice the poster child for their continuing “War on Women” theme against Republicans. Whether Hice wins his general election or not, his name will be invoked in NARAL, Planned Parenthood, DCCC, DNC , and other groups’ fundraising emails across the country. Also look for Michelle Nunn to try to tie Hice to David Perdue in the U.S. Senate race in Georgia.

Todd Akin has recently re-inserted himself into the news cycle pushing his new books and doubling down on his remarks from before, so he will still occupy some of the attention by the Democrats this year for a bit. However, Hice will still be around to talk about into the fall elections.

It doesn’t matter what you think of Hice or what I think of Hice (if you have to pigeonhole me, I’m a social conservative.) These tactics will almost certainly be used, depending on how desperate Democrats get. I respect the Republican voters of the district’s choice for their nominee, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be used as whipping boy by national Democrats in the fall campaign. It will remain to be seen if those tactics work or if people are tired of them. They may be effective in limited situations if not nationally.  I’m just pointing out what to me, and some others, is pretty obvious.

Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments. I welcome your input.

The Quinton Report on Beretta featured by Twitchy

twitchy

Earlier today, a post at Twitchy included a tweet I made linking to my previous story, “Beretta moving all of its manufacturing out of Maryland due to anti-gun laws.”

Beretta USA is moving all of its manufacturing to a new plant being built in Gallatin, Tennessee. The current plant is in Accokeek, Maryland.

Watch this awful Elizabeth Warren campaign video

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The below video, “Run Liz Run”, was posted to YouTube by Ready for Warren.

From the description:

Our campaign to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for President in 2016 is gaining huge momentum. Warren came to Netroots Nation in Detroit and #ReadyForWarren was there to greet her in style alongside thousands of grassroots progressives.

Americans of all stripes are calling for a leader who will fight for an America that works for all of us, not only the wealthy and the well-connected. Join us. http://ready4warren.com.

Filmed at Netroots Nation 2014 in Detroit, MI. Song written and performed by Jessie Murphy & friends. Video produced, directed, and edited by The Self Agency.