RedState's WaterCooler! Friday 2/10/2017 - Open Thread - A Cosmic Trifecta Tonight! and, Three State's May Add Tax-Free Gun Sale Holdiays

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A Snow Moon, an Eclipse, and a Comet, Oh My!

Tonight, dust off your binoculars RedStaters! When the night lights up, February’s full moon will near an eclipse, and that’s not all! At the witchy hour of 3 am, a celestial green fireball will whizz by 7.7 million miles above the earth.


Beginning at 5:32 pm (EST) and peaking about 7:43 pm, our planet’s homegrown satellite will slip through earth’s shadow almost, but not quite, unfazed. A penumbral eclipse lacks the striking contrast of a Total, but it should be a decent show nonetheless.

This month’s so-called Snow Moon will pass through Earth’s outer shadow Friday evening. As it is shaded from the sun’s light, it will turn varying shades of gray. Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth is optimally placed between the sun and the moon. With an added dose of serendipity, we’re on our planet’s primo dark side with front-row seats.


Earth hasn’t witnessed a comet this close since the Reagan era; so, grab your slippers, Comet 45p could be worth a quick peek outside.

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, which entered the media spotlight in December as the “New Year’s Eve comet” when it first became visible, makes its closest approach to Earth on Saturday (Feb. 11). While the comet has been visible for months, this weekend skywatchers will have the best possible view of the blazing space rock. It will also be the closest comet encounter in over 30 years, so it’s certainly a must-see for avid skywatchers. Look for Comet 45P in the eastern sky before dawn or in the western sky just after sunset. It will be visible all weekend, though it will be difficult if not impossible to spot without the help of binoculars or a telescope.


Tax-free Shopping Days aren’t just for back-to-school stuff anymore.

Hunting Season Opener could get a Tax lift, too. Arkansas, Texas and now Tennessee have crafted legislation to provide gun buyers a pre-autumn reprieve from paying their respective state’s tax on firearms and ammo. A couple of states currently host a “Second Amendment Tax-Free Holiday” and that’s where open-season stock up profits head to, too.

Tax-free weekends for guns have already become a reality in two states. Mississippi and Louisiana hosted Second Amendment-themed tax-free weekends in late August 2016, and they’re expected to be annual events. Lawmakers in Texas introduced their tax-free bills partly because gun sellers said they were losing sales to customers heading across the border into Louisiana for tax-free gun shopping.

“Tax-free” has its liabilities as well, especially in an Obama-era lethargic economy.

Sales tax holidays boost sales, but they come at a hefty cost to state coffers. In 2015, Louisiana legislators voted to temporarily eliminate all state sales tax holidays (including a back-to-school event), adding revenues of $600,000 from recouped gun and hunting supply taxes and $4.3 million overall. Now that the state again hosts tax-free weekends for both back-to-school and gun sales, those revenues have disappeared.


Yes. But then there is the greater good.

“I’m in a position, as most Arkansans are, that the more people that legally own guns the safer we all are,” [Ark. Sen. Bart] Hester said. “And if this puts somebody in a position to be able to purchase a gun for protection for their home or personal protection…then I think it’ll actually maker people safer in Arkansas.”

Hester hopes the bill can foster economic growth by bringing more gun manufacturers to the state and boosting the sales and interest in firearms.

As the firearm tax holiday coincides with school supply tax-free days, the states’ bills will not slide through unperturbed. Well, not that our second amendment right will ever equally meet the left’s right to say stupid things; but, with this particularly stinging topic the liberal is likely to take to it like bees to honey.


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