Wednesday Roundup: Gun Culture

What does Obama’s second term mean to the coalfields? • Italy’s crime families going green • Sierra Club promises “civil disobedience” over Keystone pipeline.


Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times photographer Bethan Mollenkof spent time at a small-town medical clinic in Firebaugh, California (this photo is of newborn patient Julian Rodreiguez, held by her mother). The photo essay and article profile Drs. Marcia and Oscar Sablan. When the couple moved to the town of 7,000, they intended to stay three years. Three decades later, they are still at it and are the community’s only full-time doctors.
Guns continue to figure prominently in the news this week. First up, Cabela’s, the outdoor retail giant, is boycotting what will be Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor sports show because organizers are barring the sale and display of assault weapons with high-capacity ammunition clips. 

Cabela’s cited the “feelings of our customers” as a reason for not showing up for the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show.

Rep. John Barrow, Guns and Sandy Hook — Earlier we admired a television ad by Rep. John Barrow, a Democrat who runs in a semi-rural district in southeast Georgia. Now an anti-gun group is using that ad (falsely, it seems) to smear Barrow.

The Washington Post Fact Checker has the story here.

It begins with Barrow’s campaign ad, where he holds one of his grandfather’s guns, one used to “stop a lynching,” Barrow says. He continues:

“And for as long as I can remember, my father always had this rifle real handy, just to keep us safe. That’s why I support the Second Amendment. And that’s why I am proud to be endorsed by the NRA. I approve this message because these are my guns now. And ain’t nobody going to take them away.”

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is now running audio from Barrow’s ad with images from the Sandy Hook killings and images of slain children. Missing from the audio is any mention of the lynching and Barrow’s comment that the guns were used to “keep us safe.” The anti-gun group cut those words out.

The point is that both sides feel no shame in distorting what people say and in using the rawest of emotions to get their way. A pox on them all.

Clinton and Guns — Former President Bill Clinton has some words for those seeking stricter gun laws: Watch what you say.

“Do not patronize the passionate supporters of your opponents by looking down your nose at them,” Clinton said. “A lot of these people live in a world very different from the world lived in by the people proposing these things,” Clinton said. “I know because I come from this world.”

A Second Term in the Coalfields — Ken Ward Jr. speculates on what a second term will bring to the coalfields. And when Ken talks, we listen.

Ward notes the President’s strong words about the need to confront global warming — and the speculation afterward about what he really meant. Coal production will be affected by any climate change legislation. And some West Virginians were heartened by President Obama’s mention of the “hills of Applachia” in a sentence about children’s safety.

The first thing is to look for who replaces Lisa Jackson as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Ward thinks it “unlikely” that the administration will do anything on mountaintop removal issues until after several court cases are decided.

Ward says that workplace safety was hardly a priority of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who Ward says was a “great disappointment….” He’s waiting to see who replaces her — and whether the Mine Safety and Health Administration can continue to strengthen safety rules for underground coal mines.

You Talkin’ To Me? — The Washington Post reports that the Sicilian mob is deeply into renewable energy. Italian prosecutors have conducted a series of stings over the last few months that revealed “years of deep infiltration into the renewable energy sector by Italy’s rapidly modernizing crime families.” 

The mob apparently liked the large government subsidies provided to the industry. The Post notes that there have been other “eco-corruption” cases in Spain, where companies have been accused of illegally tapping into state aid.

Climate Change and Keystone — President Obama made a big deal about the need to confront climate change during his speech Monday. Now he must decide whether to allow the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would provide an outlet for Canada’s oil sands. Environmentalists contend that releasing the carbon trapped in the oil sands would be particularly destructive for the environment. 

DTN’s Chris Clayton runs down the choice Obama faces.

Sierra Club and Keystone — Enviros aren’t going to make this an easy choice for President Obama. The Sierra Club, for the first time in its history, plans to engage is mass civil disobedience on February 17 in Washington, D.C., at what they say will be the “largest climate rally in history.”

The SFGate reported that Sierra Club President Michael Brune said on Facebook that the club will “for the first time in our 120-year history….be engaging in peaceful civil disobedience to help stop the dirty and destructive Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. We’re all in!” 

Federal Government and the Post Office — A report from the Postal Service says FedEx and UPS are capturing 98 percent of the long term shipping contracts issued by, yes, the federal government. This is because the Postal Service didn’t try to get any of the federal business until 2009.