Archive for Maryland

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.

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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.

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

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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

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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.

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

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 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.

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.

Anti-Israel protest organized by Marxists

ceci

WBAL’s George Lettis reported last night on pro-Israel and “pro-Palestinian” events in the Baltimore area yesterday. The pro-Israel event was in Owings Mills and included a crowd of hundreds and a speaker from the Israeli Embassy. He also reported on a “pro-Palestinian” event in downtown Baltimore that appeared to include no more than a handful of people.

Here’s the excerpt of the WBAL story that refers to the “pro-Palestinian” protesters:

Meanwhile, a modest group of pro-Palestinian protesters at the Inner Harbor had a much different view of the conflict and berated America’s support of Israel.

“Israel has bombs and nuclear weapons furnished to them by the United States, and my tax dollars were paying for that while children in this country are going hungry and don’t have any place to live. They’re going to give money to Israel to bomb women and children,” said pro-Palestinian protester Lee Patterson.

“I’m making the analogy of kids throwing rocks against somebody using a gun. I mean, yes, Hamas is shooting rockets over as more of an act of defiance, and if you’re an occupied people, you have a right to resist,” said pro-Palestinian protester Steven Ceci.

You can note in the picture above that Ceci’s sign also mentions the border crisis and one of the protesters seen in the video is holding a Jobs Not Jail sign. Another sign appears not to be related to the issue at hand either, but this is typical of progressive protests.

One thing Lettis didn’t note in his report is the event was sponsored by the Baltimore People’s Power Assembly (PPA) (they had an event page for “Stop the War on Children! From Gaza to the U.S./Mexico Border to Baltimore!”) I noted before that Ian Duncan of The Baltimore Sun also neglected some of the Marxist ties involved in a story   on the PPA”s planned George Zimmerman protest until after I detailed them.

Ceci is with the Baltimore PPA and he even included a comment on my original post confirming that he is a “communist” and the PPA is affiliated with the Workers World Party (WWP.) I noted the connections between the Baltimore PPA and the Baltimore WWP at the time as well. Other organizations that are connected to the PPA and its Solidarity Center have included Occupy Baltimore, the SCLC, UPP, the Green Party.

Here’s what I wrote about these connections previously:

Additionally, the only “Like” that the Baltimore People’s Assembly makes on their page is the Facebook page of the Baltimore Worker’s World Party. The Baltimore WWP lists it’s physical address as the same location as the People’s Assembly Solidarity Center. They also have their website listed as the site of The Daily Worker.

The [Baltimore] WWP has traditional socialist and communist imagery on their Facebook page including a cover photo of mass murderer Che Guevara.

The Workers World Party split from the Socialist Workers Party in 1959. The split was partly because of the SWP’s support of Henry Wallace in the 1948 election and because the SWP was supporting Mao Zedong in China. Since then the WWP has supported Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, and Kim Jong-Il. They also supported the Chinese crackdown on democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in China in 1989. Additionally, WWP supported the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground.

One of the other groups affiliated with the People’s Power Assembly in Baltimore is Occupy Baltimore. Occupy Baltimore made the news for many things – including discouraging police reports of sexual assault.

This post was written to provide background that George Lettis of WBAL didn’t provide on these protests.

Beretta moving all of its manufacturing out of Maryland due to anti-gun laws

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Beretta USA is moving all of its manufacturing to a new plant in Gallatin, Tennessee from Accokeek, Maryland. Administrative offices will remain in Maryland. Original plans had been just to manufacture new product lines at the new plant. Another case of Maryland Democrats and Martin O’Malley damaging the economy of the state while also trampling on liberties. Beretta is spending $45 million in Tennessee to build the new plant.

Beretta USA statement:

Beretta U.S.A. Corp., located in Accokeek, Maryland, announced today that it has decided to move its manufacturing capabilities from its existing location to a new production facility that it is building in Gallatin, Tennessee. The Gallatin facility is scheduled to be opened in mid-2015. Beretta U.S.A. had previously planned to use the new Gallatin, Tennessee facility for new machinery and production of new products only.

“During the legislative session in Maryland that resulted in passage of the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, the version of the statute that passed the Maryland Senate would have prohibited Beretta U.S.A. from being able to manufacture, store or even import into the State products that we sell to customers throughout the United States and around the world. While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions, the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the State,” stated Jeff Cooper, General Manager for Beretta U.S.A. Corp.

“While we had originally planned to use the Tennessee facility for new equipment and for production of new product lines only, we have decided that it is more prudent from the point of view of our future welfare to move the Maryland production lines in their entirety to the new Tennessee facility,” Cooper added.

The transition of production from Beretta U.S.A.’s Maryland facility to the Tennessee facility will not occur until 2015 and will be managed so as not to disrupt deliveries to Beretta customers. Beretta U.S.A.’s production of the U.S. Armed Forces M9 9mm pistol will continue at the Accokeek, Maryland facility until all current orders from the U.S. Armed Forces have been filled.

“We have not yet begun groundbreaking on the Tennessee facility and we do not anticipate that that building will be completed until the middle part of 2015,” continued Cooper. “That timing, combined with our need to plan an orderly transition of production from one facility to the other so that our delivery obligations to customers are not disrupted, means that no Beretta U.S.A. Maryland employee will be impacted by this news for many months. More importantly, we will use this time to meet with every Beretta U.S.A. employee whose Maryland job might be affected by the move to discuss with them their interest in taking a position at our new facility in Tennessee or, if they are not willing to do so, to lay out a long-term strategy for remaining with the Company while our production in Maryland continues.”

Beretta U.S.A. anticipates that the Gallatin, Tennessee facility will involve $45 million of investment in building and equipment and the employment of around 300 employees during the next five years.

Beretta U.S.A. has no plans to relocate its office, administrative and executive support functions from its Accokeek, Maryland facility.

PA children’s home approved to house immigrant children

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PennLive.com reports:

A local home for children has been asked by the federal government to prepare itself to take in unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America who continue to cross over into the United States.

The United Methodist Home for Children in Mechanicsburg has not taken in any children from Central America yet, and it continues to assist children sent to it from the local county courts systems, the group’s Board of Trustees Chairwoman Karen Best said Monday. But the agency has been contacted to prepare itself to provide shelter and care for unaccompanied minors, she said.

The home has been approved to receive an Urgent and Compelling Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide temporary shelter services to unaccompanied children beginning in August, according to the home’s President and CEO David Reed.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is meeting with religious leaders to discuss housing some of the unaccompanied illegal immigrant children in Maryland (via WBAL Radio):

Among those expected at the meeting, officials from Catholic Charities who are asking the federal government for a grant to use St. Vincent’s Villa in Timonium to house 50 children.

The children and teens come from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Baltimore County Delegate Wade Kach, who is running for the Baltimore County Council seat that includes Timonium, has written a letter to Archbishop Lori opposing the plan.

Last week, I wrote about the plan by Catholic Charities to house the immigrant children at St. Vincent’s Villa in Timonium, Maryland. I also previously wrote about CASA de Maryland wanting to house the unaccompanied minor immigrants in Maryland.

50 immigrant children could be housed by Catholic Charities in Baltimore

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Catholic Charities of Baltimore has applied to house 50 unaccompanied minors who have illegally entered the United States across the Mexican border. In January, the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops estimated that 60,000 unaccompanied minors would cross the border in 2014.

From Catholic Review:

“The federal government has requested proposals from providers who could assist with providing shelter care and support to these youth, many of whom have experienced significant trauma along the way,” Catholic Charities Executive Director William J. McCarthy Jr. wrote in a July 16 letter to the organization’s employees. “With our expertise in providing services as well as residential and other programming for children and youth at St. Vincent’s Villa, we believe that we are well equipped to provide services for this critical need.”

Located in Timonium, St. Vincent’s Villa serves children and youths with emotional and behavioral challenges. McCarthy also pointed to the organization’s 50-year-old Esperanza Center in Fells Point – which provides services to immigrants, many of whom are Latino – as an example of Catholic Charities’ longstanding commitment to the immigrant community.

Esperanza serves more than 5,500 immigrants annually, and has provided assistance to more than 50 unaccompanied minors each month for the past several months, McCarthy said

.The reason given for the application:

In a conversation with the Catholic Review, McCarthy said that housing children in need is something the church has always done, comparing Catholic Charities’ current efforts to the orphanages Catholic organizations ran in the 19th and early 20th centuries for immigrant children, some of whom lost parents during their travel to the United States. 

More information: