Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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Pete's Prep: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Kids walkout in attempt to ban guns

Yes, yes... the student organizers and adult supporters say today's walkout demonstration is about "school safety." And maybe for some of them it is.

But as I watch the various interviews with these teen leaders, it only takes one or two questions before I hear comments about "police brutality," the US "homicide rate," and banning "assault rifles."

The imagery is designed to serve a political purpose - even if participants are not aware of it.

Of course, when Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer are your featured speakers at the Washington, D.C. demonstration, it's kind of heard to claim ignorance.

NC Governor wants more gun restrictions

Governor Roy Cooper made several proposals in a blog post today:

Right now,  anyone buying a handgun in our state has to apply for a permit through  the local sheriff’s office, a process that includes a federal background  check and an OK from the sheriff. This system allows time for  appropriate checks to take place before someone can legally buy a  handgun. But our law has a glaring loophole since this background check  and permit process isn’t required to buy an assault weapon like an  AR-15, the weapon used in Parkland. It should be.

Until  the federal government takes action to discontinue the sale of assault  weapons to civilians, North Carolina law should be updated to raise the  legal age of sale of these weapons to age 21 and require anyone buying  them — at a store, online, or at a gun show — to go through the same  background check and permitting process as they would for a handgun.  There’s no good reason for the current double standard.

Background  checks are an important part of keeping guns out of the wrong hands,  but they are only as good as the information in the database. To ensure  that we are doing our part to make background checks more effective,  I’ve directed the State Bureau of Investigation to undertake a  comprehensive inventory of the quality of information our state shares  with the federal background check system. If critical information our  state should be reporting is missing, we need to know and we need to  change that.

He also called for the state to implement "extreme risk protection orders" - sometimes known as "gun violence restraining orders." It's an idea that has bipartisan support and should be considered.

He also supports the ban of bump stocks (which was also supported by the NRA) and said the expansion of Medicaid could bring in more federal money to pay for more mental health services.

Asheville City Council hears outrage over police beating

Over a two-hour public comment period last night, people called for the Mayor, the City Manager, the District Attorney, and the Police Chief to resign or be fired.

From the Citizen-Times:

Removal of top officials and a tourist  boycott of the city were among demands by the public who spoke during  a heated and emotional Tuesday City Council meeting, the council's first  regular gathering since news broke of the August police beating of a  man stopped for jaywalking.

Forty  members of the public spoke during a presentation and public comment  period at City Hall that lasted two hours. They expressed outrage over  the August incident  where officer Chris Hickman beat, choked and shocked Johnnie Rush as  seen on Hickman's body camera. Hickman is white and Rush is  African-American.

Prior to this meeting, the City Council met with Buncombe County Commissioners who made vague criticisms and calls to fix racism.

Toys R Us is done

The iconic toy store retailer is going out of business - and plans to liquidate all of its stores.

From the CBS:

Toys "R" Us is expected to start court proceedings to liquidate as  soon as Thursday. That's a first legal step in moving to close all of  its 850 brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. -- and to lay off up to  33,000 workers. 

The retailer, which declared bankruptcy in September,  was unable to convince creditors to refinance its more than $5 billion  in debt, a crushing load that experts say hampered its ability to adapt  to the growth in online shopping, among other consumer trends. Toys "R"  Us' international businesses, which have operations in 38 countries,  aren't covered by the filing, a person close to the situation said. 

Other  details such as what will happen to Toys "R"   Us gift cards and  whether employees will receive severance haven't been worked out.

I can't remember the last time I was in a toy store. My wife and I usually buy toys at a larger department store and (increasingly) online.

Snuggie refund!

If you bought one of those fuzzy-tarp-bathrobe things a few years ago, you could be due a refund!

From USAToday:

Allstar Marketing Group, the company  behind the wildly popular blanket with sleeves, has agreed to pay more  than $7.2 million to consumers across the country who bought their "As  Seen On TV" merchandise.

Checks for more than 218,000 customers will average $33.14 each. Other items include the Magic Mesh screen door.

The  Federal Trade Commission sued Allstar, alleging misleading advertising  since 1999. The agency said the company promised customers could "buy  one, get one free," but did not disclose all the costs.

Now don't go spending that whole $33 all at once!

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