Happy New Year from the ST blog!

Here’s wishing you and yours a very safe, healthy, and happy New Year’s eve and day. Let’s make 2013 count!

Of course, it’s already “next year” in other parts of the world. Enjoy the fireworks seen earlier in Australia. :)

Helpful tips: First and foremost, you should designate a driver if you know you’re going to drink the night away. But in the event you don’t have a DD or neglect to designate one, keep this information in mind: Although it isn’t being offered nationally, some AAA clubs are offering Tow-to-Go or Tipsy Tow service tonight for those who shouldn’t be driving. If you’re interested in learning more info for yourself or a loved one, click here. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a list of sober/safe ride options as well. Please make sure to keep this information handy as it could save a life.

Be well!

Demand a Plan! (To end celebrity hypocrisy)

**Posted by Phineas

Actually, I don’t know if they’re hypocritical so much as clueless, but the result is the same: yet another deep, meaningful campaign in which a bunch of vapid airheads go in front of a camera and repeat slogans over and over, hoping to brainwash you into submission, like a bunch of zombies.

This time, however, someone took that video and remixed it with interesting results:

So, celebs, does your plan include your own movies? Shouldn’t we be talking about the 1st amendment, as well as the second? Don’t your films promote the dread “gun culture” and glorify violence? If we’re going to restrict Americans’ rights to self-defense in the name of public safety, shouldn’t your films be subject to censorship for the same reason?

Or maybe, just maybe, the problem lies with the person, not the tool or the medium.

But that’s probably too difficult for for a bunch of zombies to understand.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Don’t bother Senator Feinstein with facts; she wants her gun ban, and she wants it now!

**Posted by Phineas

Never let reality get in the way of a good fantasy, eh? (1) In the wake of a series of mass-murders this year, Diane Feinstein (D-CA) wants to ban the traffic and manufacture of vaguely defined military-style weapons. And yet the facts from her own state seem to show that increased gun ownership is one factor in a decline in crime:

Gun sales up, injuries down

The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which records each time someone buys a gun, showed that background checks hit a record high of 16.5 million in 2011. Gun sales have been steadily on the rise.

A recent report (PDF) from the California Attorney General found that the more guns that have been sold in California, the fewer gun deaths and injuries there have been. According to the office of the Attorney General, gun dealers sold nearly 600,000 guns last year, almost double the 350,000 sold in 2002, according to figures compiled by department officials.

And gun-related injuries and deaths have gone down.

According to hospital records collected by the California Department of Public Health, the number of California hospitalizations due to gun injuries fell by nearly 4,000 a year to approximately 2,900, drop of about 25 percent, the Sacramento Bee reported.

The attorney general’s office reported that the number of deaths from firearms fell from 3,200 a year to about 2,800, an 11 percent decline (PDF), according to California health department figures.

“Most of the drop in firearm-related injuries and deaths can be explained by a well-documented, nationwide drop in violent crime,” the Bee reported.

Despite this data, Feinstein still plans to introduce stricter gun ownership legislation.

While correlation doesn’t prove causation, this is yet another piece in a mountain of data indicating that gun ownership (including concealed and open-carry) leads to lower crime. The logic is straightforward: criminals are less likely to attack a target they think can defend itself. But Feinstein doesn’t care or even want to hear. (2) Don’t bother her with facts: she knows as an article of faith guns are bad and is determined to ban them, even if it leads to leaving good people defenseless.

For our own good, of course.

PS: If you’re interested in following a good Center-Right reporter and news site in California (we do have a few left), Katy Grimes in particular and Cal Watchdog in general should be on your list.

(1) Kind of like progressives and economics, when you think about it.
(2) Kind of like the global-warming crowd and carbon dioxide, too.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Sunday Football Open Thread: #Panthers at the Saints

Panthers logoThe Panthers (6-9) are going to try and finish out their mostly dismal season on a positive note by going 4-0 down the homestretch with what they hope will be a victory over the New Orleans Saints this afternoon in an away game. The Saints, in a similar situation as the Panthers with no hopes of getting into the playoffs, nevertheless will try to exact revenge on the Panthers for the 35-27 loss the Cats gave them in the second week of regular season play – and a win today would put the Saints at .500 for the season.  Not great, but at least respectable.

Probably the biggest story of the week for the Panthers was not how they’ve prepared to take on the Saints today but rather fines issued by the league against several players for incidents that happened on the field during their home game against the Raiders last Sunday:

The NFL levied two fines against Cam Newton for his conduct in the Panthers’ win against Oakland on Sunday.

The Observer reported late Thursday that Newton had been fined $21,000 for abusive conduct toward a game official. Joe Person reported Friday that Newton was also fined $10,000 for kicking Raiders DT Tommy Kelly.

The kick came after Kelly had combined with Desmond Bryantfor a sack in the second quarter. Newton kicked at Kelly, who then held Newton down and received a flag for unnecessary roughness. The quarterback said after the game he was trying to get up as quickly as possible and did not intend to kick Kelly.

Defensive end Greg Hardy was fined $25,000 for his hit on Carson Palmer. Hardy hit Palmer as he threw in the first quarter, knocking Palmer out of the game and subsequently the rest of the season.

Hardy was fined $15,750 earlier in the season for hitting Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III in the head following a throw.

Also getting fined was safety Charles Godfrey for his hit on a defenseless receiver. The NFL fined Godfrey $21,000 for hitting Rod Streater in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game.

I don’t recall the Godfrey hit but going off memory on the Hardy hit on Palmer, it didn’t strike me as illegal but the NFL is getting more strict in terms of the types of hits allowed, especially against quarterbacks, so it’s no surprise these fines were handed down.  On the other hand, the Cam Newton fines are understandable. His frustration at the refs was, too – especially considering that Raiders’ DT Tommy Kelly admitted after the game they wanted to “take Cam out” after the Palmer hit, but Cam shouldn’t have reacted to the ref the way he did.  Time to be a grown up, man.

Today’s game between the Panthers and the Saints starts at 1 ET and will be broadcast on Fox locally.

My office pool picks for this week: Giants, Bills, Ravens, Steelers, Texans, Titans, Bears, Saints, Falcons, 49ers, Packers, Patriots, Chargers, Broncos, Seahawks, Redskins (42 total game points).