The Ad Council, the nonprofit that brought us "Only YOU can prevent forest fires," "Friends don't let friends drive drunk," and those witty crash test dummies (but not the band, hmmm, mmm, mmm, mmm), launched a new public service announcement campaign yesterday aimed at reducing the insane number of kids accidentally killed or injured by guns in the home. That would be about 8 kids a day nationwide. Now if America's Responsible Gun Owners can only be convinced to think about their kids' safety in terms other than "I have a gun so my kid is safe."

The campaign, called "End Family Fire," was created to call attention to unintentional shootings resulting from firearms stored where kids can get at them. While the campaign was created with the help of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, it's not pushing any legislation on guns. It's directed at educating parents about what should be a fairly obvious fact: A gun in the top dresser drawer isn't safely hidden away, no, not even if it's under some sweaters.

Here's the first video spot, featuring a kid in pajamas asking his dad about the family gun, whose location he knows with disturbing precision. "I haven't found it yet, but I'm sure I can. You always told me to be curious. Remember when I found my Christmas gifts?" And then little Damien Justin suggests neat ways he might use it if it's not locked up, like bravely "protecting" Mom when Dad's not there. Or maybe ending his troubles if he's bullied at school.

As child actors go, this kid's pretty good. The PSA packs a lot of information into just two minutes; print ads show kids finding guns around the home, like in the garage or hidden in mom's purse. Whether the campaign will prove persuasive with gun owners remains to be seen, but since the goal is getting people to rethink their assumptions about safety, it may reach people who might be put off by a more explicitly anti-gun message.

Studies keep showing, for instance, that a gun in the home is far more likely to injure or kill a family member (including accidents and suicides) than to repel an intruder. But the campaign doesn't push back against the notion that a gun in the home protects you from "bad guys"; instead, it urges people to store those guns securely. That would be a good start, at least.

The Ad Council's campaign chose yesterday's date (8/8) to launch the campaign for the sake of numerical emphasis: eight kids a day are injured or killed by guns in the home, according to CDC data used by the Brady campaign (which includes ages up to 19, so get ready for gun humpers to complain the risk is overstated, since even The Liberal New York Times notes, "Limiting the data to those 18 and younger, the number is closer to six a day" -- a body count we can obviously live with).

The campaign has received support from a bunch of other liberal busybodies who want to take your guns away too, like the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, Bishops Against Gun Violence and Veterans for Gun Reform, as well as families who have lost kids, like Hectore Adames of Chicago, whose 13-year-old nephew Josh, was killed in 2001 at a friend's house:

[The] friend began playing with his father's handgun. The friend removed the gun's magazine, but did not realize that a bullet remained in the chamber. He pointed the gun at Josh and fired, striking him fatally in the stomach.

Adames says he respects gun rights but also thinks gun owners have to be responsible and store their guns safely.

"I understand that families own guns because they want to protect themselves," he said. "However, if you have an irresponsible gun owner in your neighborhood, your community isn't safe."

The NRA has been fairly schizoid on the matter of gun storage -- its educational materials emphasize keeping guns locked up and educating children to stay away from guns until they're "old enough," but the group also vigorously opposes laws aimed at requiring trigger locks or safes in homes with children, because that's tyrannical and parents must be free to make their own idiot decisions about safety. As for educating children to Stop! Don't Touch! Call an Adult! when they see a gun, that Eddie Eagle message may be undercut a teensy bit by gun fans. Like all the cooing earlier this year over this adorable four-year-old at the NRA annual meeting, working a bolt action rifle like he's on top of a clock tower:

We wish the "End Family Fire" campaign success, although our favorite gun safety ad will always remain the one with the dildos:

When those go off, nobody gets hurt.

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[NYT / Ad Council]

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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Republicans are devouring each other's carcasses, and we are here for it! Especially when one of those Republicans is King Kris of the Kansas Votefucker Klan ... errr, Clan! It's been a week since Kansans cast their votes in the gubernatorial primary, and the GOP looks to be rolling up its sleeves for a slugfest.

As we type, Kobach leads by 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast -- a whopping 0.00095 percent, if you round up! The Kansas GOP begged Donald Trump to stay out of the race and leave the field clear for sitting governor Jeff Colyer, who took over when Sam Brownback wandered off to bring Jesus to the Hottentots on behalf of the US government. Safe bet that Colyer would be gearing up for the general election now if President Twitterthumbs hadn't flapped his yap. So thanks for that, Donny!

No, really, THANKS!

Remember the hanging chad debacle in Florida? Now picture it in a landlocked state with more cows than people. It's like fantasy island for Devin Nunes, ALLEGEDLY.

Oh, but we are to kid!

After first insisting he wasn't going to recuse from the counting, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (one and the same!) wrote Colyer a fabulously bitchy letter agreeing to hand off the tabulation to his deputy, Eric Rucker. Colyer had made the shocking suggestion that Kobach delegate responsibility to the Kansas attorney general, rather than his own political appointee, and Kobach was stretched out on the settee with a fit of the vapors at the gross impropriety of it all!

I will not breach the public trust and arbitrarily assign my responsibilities to another office that is not granted such authority by the laws of Kansas.

After several anguished paragraphs, Kobach closed by remonstrating that Colyer was betraying his office by destroying the faith of Kansans in the sacred integrity of their electoral process.

As governor of Kansas, your unrestrained rhetoric has the potential to undermine the public's confidence in the election process. May I suggest that you trust the people of Kansas have made the right decision at the polls and that our election officials will properly determine the result as they do in every election.

Said the guy whose entire adult life has been dedicated to whipping up panic about millions of imaginary illegal alien voters.

So now these two princes can kick the crap out of each other WITH VOTES, specifically, provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters under the supervision of poorly trained poll workers. Kansas holds closed primaries, meaning only registered Republicans can vote to select the GOP candidate, BUT an unaffiliated voter can cast a vote by checking a box identifying as a Democrat or a Republican at the polling place. This was news to some poll workers, who mistakenly directed over one thousand unaffiliated voters to use provisional ballots without checking the box indicating party preference. Whoops!

So, will those provisional ballots be counted based on voter intent? Or tossed based on strict interpretation of the statute? And does Kansas law mandate tossing mail-in ballots that arrive without a postmark on Wednesday, since there's no forensic proof that they were mailed before midnight on Tuesday? And how disgusted will the Kansas electorate be when one of these assholes emerges from the melée holding the other one's scalp? And how many millions of dollars are going to be spent on litigating the Republican primary while this nice lady Laura Kelly, the Democratic minority whip of the Kansas Senate, is out campaigning for November?

Even before this debacle, Kobach looked significantly weaker against Kelly than Colyer, with self-funded Libertarian Jeff Orman threatening to throw a wrench in the works. The Wichita Eagle reports on a Remington Research Poll conducted in July:

In a Kelly-Orman-Kobach race, the poll puts Kelly and Kobach effectively in a dead heat — 36 percent for Kelly and 35 percent for Kobach, with Kelly's lead within the margin of error. Orman has 12 percent.

Colyer leads in a three-way race with Kelly and Orman, according to the poll. In that scenario, Colyer receives 38 percent of the vote, while Kelly gets 28 percent and Orman receives 10 percent.

Which is ONE POLL, in a deeply red state, but ... Kobach is a crap candidate who's likely to emerge from this fight with two black eyes and a pissed off base. If there's anyone who can blow this election, it's Kris Kobach.

Keep fighting, Kris! You can do it! (And now we need a shower.)

And YOU need an OPEN THREAD!

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[Kobach letter / Wichita Eagle / Mother Jones / Kansas City Star]

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While most people spent this weekend telling Nazi punks to fuck off, a couple 11-year-olds were in Las Vegas hacking into voting machines. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

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