A terrorist is in custody after he attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado yesterday, but not before he murdered a policeman and two “civilians” and injured nine more people. As we’re all aware, Colorado Springs is a hotbed of right wing “Christian” evangelical groups.
Here’s the latest from Reuters: Police name suspect in Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.
The suspect in a deadly shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic was named on Saturday as Robert L. Dear, 57, the Colorado Springs Police public affairs’ section said in a Tweet.
The gunman who stormed the clinic on Friday killed three people and wounded nine others before surrendering to police after a bloody siege lasting several hours inside the facility, authorities said.
Local news media reported that Dear was being held without bail.
As police traded gunfire with Dear, people in local businesses were told to shelter in place.
The rampage, which took place at a clinic that provides women’s health services including abortions, was believed to be the first fatal attack on a U.S. abortion provider in six years. Police have not discussed the suspect’s motives.
The assailant in Colorado Springs, Colorado’s second largest city, was armed with a rifle when he entered the clinic – a site repeatedly targeted for protests by anti-abortion activists – and opened fire shortly before noon on Friday, authorities said.
Police swarming the scene pursued the assailant into the building, trading gunfire with the suspect as authorities tracked their movements from room to room by watching live video feeds from security cameras mounted inside.
Officers closing in on the gunman managed to finally talk him into giving himself up inside, and he was taken into custody more than five hours after the violence began.
Planned Parenthood released a statement in response to the terrorist attack on their clinic in Colorado Springs.
“The heart of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) is broken tonight as we try to make sense of the horrific tragedy that struck our beloved health center in Colorado Springs, today. Our thoughts are with the all those who were impacted and particularly the families of the two civilians and one heroic law-enforcement officer whose lives were lost. We are grateful to report that all our staff are safe and accounted for and are hoping for the best possible outcomes for the others wounded in this attack.
“We are thankful to our security personnel and to the Colorado Springs Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, and the UCCS campus officers, who came to our aid and served with such selfless valor. Their fast response, strength, and bravery undoubtedly saved countless lives today. We also appreciate that our Colorado Springs staff responded quickly following our security protocols.
“The information regarding the gunman’s motive remains unknown as does whether Planned Parenthood was targeted deliberately. PPRM’s top priority will always be the safety of our patients and staff. We maintain strong security measures and always work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure our very strong safety record.
“We share the concerns of many Americans that the continued attacks against abortion providers and patients, as well as law enforcement officers, is creating a poisonous environment that breeds acts of violence. But, we will never back away from providing critical health care to millions of people who rely on and trust us every day.
Read the rest at the link. I think we can guess Dear’s motive, but I suppose we’ll have to wait to know for sure.
President Obama also released a statement.
President Barack Obama released a statement on Saturday calling for gun control in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the day before.
“This is not normal,” Obama said. “We can’t let it become normal.”
He then called to curtail the “easy accessibility of weapons of war” for some people.
“If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them,” Obama continued.
“Period,” he added. “Enough is enough.”
Unfortunately these mass shootings have become regular events in the U.S. That is our “normal” now.
The media has been uncharacteristically hesitant to speculate on Dear’s motive.
Police were trying to determine Saturday why a middle-aged gunman in hunting gear allegedly went on a wild shooting spree inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three people, including a police officer.
The suspect, identified as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, of North Carolina, surrendered to officers after a five-hour ordeal Friday in which he fired randomly at people in the clinic and roamed the halls shooting through walls with an assault-style rifle.
“We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology,”
You’d think by this time reporters could have found out some information about this guy, wouldn’t you? Nevertheless, there is quite a bit of good information in the USA Today article.
One Republican Congressman demanded an apology from Planned Parenthood head Vicki Cowart while the attack was still ongoing. Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:
Police have finally taken a shooter into custody after the five-hour siege at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs that has left at least three people dead, including one police officer. It was while that siege was still going on, though, that Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger decided to take to CNN’s air and demand an apology from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, if the perpetrator turned out not to be an anti-abortion terrorist.
“When I heard that statement, I thought that was very premature. We may find out this person was targeting Planned Parenthood. If we find out he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that.”
That was at about 6 pm, while there was still gunfire being reported at the scene. There is a long history of terrorism against Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers in this country, but the statement Kinzinger is referencing [see Planned Parenthood statement excerpted earlier in this post] actually points out that the motive is as yet unknown, and yet is still true no matter what this shooter’s mysterious motive turns out to be.
Here’s some background on Garrett Swasey, the police officer who was killed in the shootout. CNN via KTXS ABC 12: Slain officer was once champion skater.
Swasey, 44, was one of three people killed Friday when a gunman attacked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.
The married father worked for the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and was on campus Friday morning when the shooting started 10 miles away. He rushed to the scene to support a city police officer who was under fire, the university said in a statement….
Swasey had been with university police for six years, authorities said. But long before that, he was a junior national couples ice dancing champion, The Denver Post reported.
He and his partner won the junior national championship in Orlando in 1992, the paper cited university spokesman Jared Verner as saying. A few years after the championship win, Swasey performed in a musical skating show in Maine.
As the community mourns the fallen officer, the University of Colorado football team will observe a moment of silence during its game Saturday.
I’ll end with this piece from Mother Jones: The New, Ugly Surge in Violence and Threats Against Abortion Providers.
Three people were shot dead and nine injured Friday at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, the first time since 2009 that anyone has been killed in an incident linked to activity at an abortion clinic. The attack comes amid an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral—and widelydebunked—videos.
While police have not discussed the alleged motives of the suspect, who has been arrested, the attack began at the clinic. According to authorities the gunman entered the facility Friday afternoon and began shooting. During an hours-long standoff, he exchanged fire with police, killing one officer.
Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal issue, harassment, threats, and attacks against abortion providers, their staff, and facilities have surged dramatically across the country, according to new numbers from the National Abortion Federation.
The clinic attacked on Friday is part of the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in the Center for Medical Progress’ videos.
“Since the series of highly-edited, misleading anti-abortion videos was released in July, we have seen an unprecedented increase in hate speech and threats against abortion providers” says Vicki Saporta, the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, which has been tracking violence against providers since the 1970s.
“We have been quite worried that this increase in threats would lead to a violent attack like we saw” on Friday, she added.
Please go read the whole thing at Mother Jones.
What else is happening? I hope to see your thoughts and links in the comment thread.
It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving and hopefully, you’re able to rest and relax!
It’s the official start of Crass Consumerism Season so the throngs of the junk-driven are out buying cheap worthless stuff today that will undoubtedly fill up landfills some time next year.
There are many things about US Society that are downright shameful. Our history of slavery, mass genocide of indigenous peoples, destruction of old growth forests, treatment of ethnic and religious minorities and women just are parts of the darkest parts of our history that we cannot deny and should not forget. Today we seem doomed to repeat bad behavior.
We live in a society where police mercilessly attack and kill unarmed citizens and the leading Republican Candidate stands before an enthralled audience making fun of disabled Americans and arguing that deeply harmed minority citizens get what they have coming to them. Meanwhile, they’ll spend this weekend being thankful for Murica! and exercising their right to trample others into the ground for the chance of getting a cheap shiny object. Some will probably be toting guns in full view because Murica! too.
And yet, many of us persevere in the basic values that established our country’s form of governance. That would be things like rule of law which is established by the people’s representatives, the nonestablishment of a government supported and enforced religion, and the rights of all of our citizens to life, liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness. These are our ongoing presents to ourselves and to humankind even though we tend to get lost in a mountain of shiny objects.
Why do we continue to bring out both the worst and the best of humanity?
One of the most horrifying thing about the cold-blooded shooting of LaQuan McDonald in Chicago last year is that it took a good-hearted, fair-minded public servant whistle blower to bring this atrocity of justice to the attention of the courts and the public. We could not catch nor fact check–let alone hold accountable–public servants without camera technology, cell phones, and the internet. Now, there is a call that cameras be omnipresent. It has always been their word against ours and they win because law and order Murica!. Believe me, I know this intimately. The police intimidate witnesses and manufacture evidence. The system believes them. But now, we have cameras and they have cameras. We are a nation of Big Brothers.
In other words, it took a highly non-standard series of events—a whistleblower and many lawsuits—for Chicagoans to learn of, and then get to see, the incident. (As recently as November 13, Rahm Emanuel, the city’s mayor, refused to put a hard date on the video’s release.) If a similar incident were to happen, and it was captured on a body cam, what would it take to make it public—another whistleblower?
It’s more than an academic question. The city of Chicago will soon spend $1 million in federal funds to purchase body cameras for its force. As I wrote last December, the campaign which got dashboard cameras installed in most American police cars last decade looks a lot like the one that currently seeks to get body cameras placed on most American police. Then, as now, a coalition of local chiefs and anti-police-violence activists rallied to support the technology. Then, as now, millions in federal funding soon followed.
But then, the story of police dash cams ground to a halt. There has never been a widespread study of whether dash cams reduced racial profiling or police abuse, though some smaller studies have found they they did not. (It’s highly likely that body-worn cameras will be better studied.) And as various cities limited access to dash-cam footage, it became difficult for citizens and activists to obtain video.
Will the story be the same with body cameras?
Similarly, Donald Trump has been caught on camera saying facist, outrageous, bigoted, and hateful things about people. He’s definitely one of those cheap, shiny objects chased by those easily distracted by cheap shiny objects. His latest attack included a mimicking the illness and related handicap of a NYT reporter whose only crime was providing evidence that he’s a big fat liar. This too was captured on camera and the evidence of his denial stands debunked by fact-checking and documentation also. However, the press follows leading presidential contenders and documents their every move and word. Have we arrived at the point where we have to similarly ensure that every elected official and public servant in a position of power is similarly hounded? Are most of our officials so corruptible that they can’t be trusted to freely move with out a public eye on them as suggested by Orwell in 1984? Think what it took to capture David Vitter’s calls to the DC Madam from the floor of the Senate or Anthony Weiner’s dick pix? Do we have to continually babysit them with cameras to ensure they don’t tap their toes in public restrooms, harass teenage pages, and threaten reporters with bodily harm?
A day after he was widely rebuked for mocking a reporter with a physical disability, business mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump on Thursday denied that he had done so and accused the reporter of “using his disability to grandstand.”
Trump also demanded an apology from the New York Times, the reporter’s employer, which earlier in the week issued a statement condemning Trump for ridiculing “the appearance of one of our reporters.”
The incident occurred Tuesday at a rally in South Carolina, as Trump was defending his recent claim that he had witnessed thousands of Muslims cheering in New Jersey on Sept. 11, 2001, as the World Trade Center towers collapsed. On stage, Trump berated Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski for his recent recollection of an article he wrote a few days after the attacks, which Trump has been citing to defend his claim.
Trump appeared to mock Kovaleski’s physical condition; the reporter has arthrogryposis, which visibly limits flexibility in his arms.
“Now, the poor guy — you’ve got to see this guy, ‘Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!’ ” Trump said as he jerked his arms in front of his body.
Trump’s assertions about Muslims celebrating in 2001 have been fact-checked and discredited by law enforcement and government officials who were in New Jersey in the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks.
Trump has defended his recollections by citing a 2001 article by Kovaleski, who worked for The Washington Post at the time and wrote that “authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.”
Those allegations were never corroborated but have persisted in online rumors in the 14 years since the attacks. In an interview on CNN this week, Kovaleski said he did not recall “anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating.”
My friend and fellow Louisiana Blogger Lamar White Jr. does a great job of tearing into The Donald’s excuse.
He launched his campaign by claiming the majority of undocumented immigrants from Mexico were rapists and drug dealers sent to the United States by the Mexican government. He believes it’s possible that Barack Obama forged his own birth certificate and lied about the identity of his own mother in order to eventually run for president (note: The only way Obama would not be eligible for office is if his mother wasn’t who he said she was; it doesn’t matter where he was born). He said that an American prisoner of war who spent five and a half years being tortured and has spent the rest of his life in public service was not a “war hero.” He suggested that Megyn Kelly of Fox News was critical of him at a debate because she was on her period. He thinks the United States should consider building a database of all Muslims in the country and an enormous wall on our border with Mexico. Apparently, he is the only person in the world who saw footage of “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey cheering on the streets as the Twin Towers collapsed on September 11, 2001.
Amazingly, sadly, pathetically, none of this has made a dent in Donald Trump’s xenophobic, fascistic, and bigoted campaign to become the next President of the United States. But on Tuesday, at a rally in South Carolina, he unwittingly hit the detonate button on his campaign. This time, finally, Donald Trump can run but he can’t hide.
This time, he picked on the wrong person.
It’s funny, but several things converged to get me to the title of the post today. The first was thinking how do we get rid of this man? How far is too far? The second, was hearing a friend saying she was ashamed of that our country had so many people that could support him. What kind of person does that? The perfect storm happened when I’d already found the title, starting writing, and then up popped an update on Memorandum with this article in the Washington Monthly: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Trump-Mania?. Nancy LeTourneau and I must be seeking guidance from the same greater universal vibe.
When Republicans lost that race to Barack Obama, they tapped into all the energy Palin had stirred up in their base in an attempt to delegitimize the election and fuel their obstruction. Those are the same flames Donald Trump is exploiting today.
Greg Sargent expressed his skepticism that any of the attacks currently being planned or implemented against Trump will have an effect on his supporters. To demonstrate how right he is about that, take a look at this post one of them wroterecently. Obviously the writer has heard about the reports that some members of theGOP establishment are planning to launch a coordinated attack against Trump.
You truly Mr. GOP whatever, underestimated the voter here. In voter, I am speaking of the TRUMP VOTER . The one who knows the games, the drills, and will never vote for any other GOP candidate no matter what you do. I, myself will vote for Micky Mouse before I vote for any other than Trump!
You have just ruined the club you call a party. You are a private entity and it is now obvious what you all do. So puppet controllers for the puppet masters. Go to ….your elections on your own. I am done with you and America wants Trump and we will vote for Donald Trump either third party or on your lousy ticket. You, however, are done. Broken, and over. You have had your last party, enjoy it!Her commenters obviously agree. Here’s just the first one:
I knew the GOP wasn’t to be trusted, they hate Trump, they can’t control him because he is his own man. I know I am not the only one that will vote for him and no one else, whether he runs GOP or 3rd Party. He has the vision, the intelligence and the guts to do what is right for America and its people, he owes no one and he will make the tough decisions. He’s not interested in being PC he’s interested in saving this Nation. The GOP should be ashamed, they should be backing Trump all the way, but that would be against everything they believe in….their own self interests. Go Trump will be heard loud and clear across the land and this will backfire on you establishment GOP’rs!!!!!Nothing anyone says about Trump is going to change these people’s mind. Attacks on him only reinforce what they already believe – which is that the Republican Party has abandoned them and is terminally broken. The Grand Old Party created an insurgency that is now turning on them. That’s what Trump-mania is coming down to.
“I have got my mind made up, pretty much so,” says Michael Barnhill, a 67-year-old factory supervisor with a leathery complexion and yellow teeth. “The fact is, politicians have not done anything for our country in a lot of years.”
These people are not confused. They are sticking with Trump, the only candidate who gets it, who is man enough to show the enemy who’s boss.
Barnhill is wearing a button he just bought from a vender outside the convention center. It says “TRUMP 2016: FINALLY SOMEONE WITH BALLS.”
They seem so nice, your friends and neighbors. Your fellow Americans.
“In today’s time, if I’m a white person who’s proud to be white, I’m a racist,” says 44-year-old Kevin Stubbs, a land surveyor who shared his Marlboro Reds with an African American T-shirt vender on the way in. “Yet a minority can say that.”
“I do not feel safe,” says his fiancee, Loree Ballenberger, 42. “People are coming in across the border, and we have no idea where they are coming from.” She recently called her congressman to urge him to vote for a bill limiting Syrian refugees.
“I remember seeing Muslims around the world celebrating after 9/11,” says Chip Matthews, a 63-year-old retired carpentry teacher in glasses with tinted lenses. So what if it was the Mideast and not New Jersey? “The basic point, I think, is true,” he says.
“I look at the pictures of those refugees and they all look like able-bodied young men, 18 to 30 years old,” says his wife, Patrice Matthews, a 62-year-old retired school-district worker. Matthews doesn’t see why we have to be the ones to help these people. “It’s their country—they need to take it back,” she says.
I hear versions of the point about able-bodied young men from five different people. I hear, over and over again, that illegal immigration is the biggest problem we face. Almost everyone says their second-choice candidate is Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas; many express a wish that he and Trump would run on the same ticket.
Barnhill, the man with the “balls” button, says, “Like he says, people have got to abide by the law. And unfortunately, a lot of minorities don’t.”
The deal is that it really does take balls to to tap your foot in a stall in a Minneapolis Airport to signal you’re up for sex, or post a profile on Tinder when you’re a values politician with a wife and family at home, or
sext out a dick pick. It takes balls to call the DC madam during a Senate vote from the floor of the US Senate. It certainly takes balls to send a bunch of aides off to steal papers from some one’s therapist or the office of the other party who opposes you. It takes balls to send investigators to spy on your political enemies and stalk a private blogger whose only sin was to interview one of your hookers. It takes balls to sexually harass teen pages and to suppress the findings of a police report that shows the cold blooded murder of citizen until after your re-election.
Most of our elected officials have plenty of that.
What’s the difference between that and the false bravado of The Donald whose exploits are basically that of a trust fund bully well versed in prep school mean?
Well, that appears to be the appeal bigotry. This is what really separates the ballsy from the fascist. That is also why we now see the move to remove coming from the Republicans themselves. The Donald’s brand is exposing the underlying bigotry of conservatism and the game they play with their base. It’s okay to play footsy, but we can’t have any cameras or it becomes as obvious as the Donald mimicking the hands of a man with a chronic muscle ailment.
Many say the populist crazy talk is typical of the White House primaries, but Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s increasingly incendiary remarks are leading some conservatives to brand him a “fascist” and party rivals to ramp up attacks against him.
Most spectacularly, the real estate tycoon recently said he would support registering Muslims in a database, and insisted — despite lacking any evidence — he saw Arabs in New Jersey cheer when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11.
His stance has become so belligerent that voices are asking, even inside his party, whether he is committed to democratic values.
Republican experts are warning that Trump could do lasting damage to the GOP, and that his nomination in the party primaries would essentially hand the presidency to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Several campaign teams in the primary race now appear to be coalescing around the need to oppose the celebrity billionaire’s candidacy.
Establishment conservatives even took the unfathomable step of using the F-word against a member of their own party.
“Trump is a fascist. And that’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned it,” Max Boot, a military historian and foreign policy advisor to Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, posted on Twitter.
“Forced federal registration of US citizens, based on religious identity, is fascism. Period,” added John Noonan, a national security advisor to former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
In its Tuesday editorial the New York Times said the past week of the campaign had been “dominated by Donald Trump’s racist lies.”
The Seattle Times used similarly strong language in a Wednesday editorial that denounced Trump’s “button-pushing lie after button-pushing lie.”
“Trump’s campaign message reflects a kind of creeping fascism,” the paper said. “It needs to be rejected.”
Frankly, I think if you dress this shit up and code words–like Ronald Reagan announcing his presidency while hinting that he’ll go after ‘welfare queens’ by carefully choosing the location of the announcement–you’ll do just fine. The deal is that you can’t get caught. The problem is that the world of the internet, cameras, and citizen journalists make this all very difficult.
The problem is this. When do we see that people like Trump and officers that shoot unarmed black men are not really outliers in US society. There’s a bunch of them out there and they do find refuge in the Republican party and the nation’s press who portrays white, male, christian terrorists as “lone wolves” or dismisses the hard bigotry of a preacher politicians like Huckabee or Santorum simply because they don’t have the money to go far enough?
When do look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves why we tolerate this craziness? Why do we insist that all lives matter instead of recognizing the institutional murder of unarmed black citizens? Why do we shrug when Christians announce their persecuted then go after planned parenthood on religious grounds all while screaming Muslims want unAmerican sharia law? We’re a society who likes shiny things and we’re willing to trample a kid to get at a vegetable steamer all in the name of a holiday supposedly for the prince of peace.
Riddle me how so many of us can be that bigoted and that dumb and we can solve a problem like the Donald and the accompanying Trump mania some day. Yeah, what exactly do we do with stupid white people?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing day with family, friends, or by yourself–whatever works for you. I’m not a big fan of “the holidays,” and I’ve spent many of them by myself in the course of my life. In recent years, I’ve mellowed and come to be more appreciative of the joys of getting together with family and friends. However you spend this day of thanks, I hope you nurture yourself as you join with or reach out to those closest to you.
There is actually quite a bit of news today, so I’m going to share some of the stories I’ve been reading this morning. Please comment and share your own recommended reads if you find the time, and have a lovely day.
Sadly, some people cannot stop themselves from spreading their hatred and rage–at the moment much of it is directed at Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism or terror plots.
In Irving, Texas, armed anti-Muslim extremists have been trolling a local mosque and following individual Muslims in a threatening manner. One of these horrible people posted the names and addresses of members of the mosque on line. From The Houston Chronicle: Armed group publishes home addresses of Muslims in North Texas.
David Wright III, who organized a protest at the Irving Islamic Center last Saturday, posted the list on Facebook. Members of the group believe a Paris-style terrorist attack is imminent in the U.S. Before publishing the list, according to the Morning News, Wright posted on Facebook, “We should stop being afraid to be who we are! We like to have guns designed to kill people that pose a threat in a very efficient manner.”
The list includes the names and addresses of local Muslims who opposed a bill that sprung up after fabricated rumors accused the mosque of practicing Sharia law. The Sharia court rumors – spread partially by Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne –have repeatedly been proven false.
I guess we should be grateful no one has been killed–yet. But shouldn’t these “protesters” be reined in by authorities? Apparently the police there aren’t particularly concerned, according to a post by Avi Selk at The Irving Blog:
Anthony Bond, an Irving activist who spoke against the state bill before the City Council, said he was shocked to find his name on the Facebook list.
“We have a right to disagree, but we do not have the right to target and cause … harm just because we differ in our beliefs,” he said. “That is the goal of this post: to put a bulls-eye on the back of all the people that stood up against the so-called anti-Shariah law bill.”
Bond said he had reported his concerns to Irving police.
Irving police spokesman James McLellan said he was unaware of any complaints about the list.
“If we do receive any contacts or concerns from anyone involved, then of course we will respond appropriately,” he said.
Um . . . Anthony Bond says he complained to police. Does that not count? A number of other Irving residents are quoted in the post as expressing concerns.
You may recall that Irving is the town in which a young boy was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school. From The Guardian: Family of Texas boy arrested over clock demands $15m in damages.
The family of a Texas Muslim teenager arrested for bringing a homemade clock that was mistaken for a bomb to school demanded $15m in damages and an apology from the city of Irving and its schools to avoid a lawsuit, lawyers said on Monday.
The lawyers represent the family of Ahmed Mohamed, 14, a student who dabbles in robotics and attended a Dallas-area high school. His arrest in September sparked controversy, with many saying he was taken into custody because of his religion.
In separate letters to the city of Irving, located west of Dallas, and the Irving independent school district, lawyers said the ninth grader was wrongfully arrested, illegally detained and questioned without his parents.
The Mohamed family is asking for $10m from the city and $5m from the school district or they will file civil lawsuits within 60 days, the letter said.
“Understandably, Mr Mohamed was furious at the treatment of his son – and at the rancid, openly discriminatory intent that motivated it,” attorneys said in one of the letters.
Ahmed’s family subsequently moved from Texas to Qatar where he accepted an offer from the Qatar Foundation to study at its Young Innovators Program.
Muslims are being targeted in Belgium too, CNN reports: Suspicious powder packages found at Brussels mosque.
Suspicious packages with white powder were discovered Thursday at a prominent mosque in Brussels, a spokesman for the Brussels Fire Brigade and Emergency Medical Service said.
The news comes amid heightened security in Brussels in the wake of the November 13 terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
Brussels remains at the highest terror alert level, and much of the city has been shut down for the last several days.
Police in Belgium have conducted several raids connected to the terror attacks. Investigators have focused particular attention on a Brussels suburb, Molenbeek, witha history of links to terrorism.
Additional information about the suspicious packages at the mosque was not immediately available.
Firecrews and decontamination teams attended a major mosque in Brussels close to the European Union headquarters on Thursday after a suspect powder was found that the fire service said was feared to be anthrax.
Reuters journalists saw about a dozen emergency vehicles, including police, outside the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium, a large Saudi-established institution including a mosque situated 200 meters from the European Commission.
A spokeswoman for the fire service said it had taken a call from the mosque from a person saying they believed that they had found anthrax powder, prompting the deployment of specialist crews. There was no immediate word on what the substance was.
The GOP candidates are continuing to spread hate. Marco Rubio actually claimed that the Supreme Court should have nothing to say about anti-gay discrimination because “God” can overrule them. From The Hill: Rubio: ‘God’s rules’ trump Supreme Court decisions.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says religious believers are called to “ignore” laws that violate their faith.
“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio said in an interview with CBN on Tuesday.
“So when those two come into conflict, God’s rules always win,” he added.
“God’s rules” apply to discrimination against women too, according to Rubio. (But only the Christion version of god, of course.)
Rubio said Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision creating a constitutional right to abortion, is open to revision.
“It’s current law; it’s not settled law,” he said. “No law is settled. Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”
The Republican presidential candidate, who is rising in the polls, encouraged the faithful to work within the political process to change laws that violate their conscience.
And of course there’s Donald Trump. The media folks are starting to complain now that he’s targeting them.
“Trump campaign now requiring media to have bathroom escorts at his rallies when leaving ‘the pen,’ ” NBC News reporter Katy Tur tweeted late Tuesday alongside the hashtag “#watchthemedia.”
“Media told they aren’t allowed to leave ‘the pen’ while Trump is in the room,” she continued. “It’s now official policy that the secret service is enforcing.
“Let’s be clear — this is even happening after the event,” Tur added.
Trump’s campaign has regularly clashed with the press, but the latest report comes amid growing tension between the media and the GOP front-runner.
The five leading U.S. television networks arebanding together in the hopes of changing the Trump campaign’s press guidelines, according to reports.
Senior managers from ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC
News spoke with Trump aides last Monday to address their grievances.
Good luck with that.
Also from The Hill: Trump: Report your neighbors for suspicious activities.
GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said late Tuesday that everyday Americans should monitor their neighbors for questionable behavior.
“The real greatest resource is all of you, because you have all those eyes and you see what’s happening,” he told listeners in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“People move into a house a block down the road, you know who’s going in,” Trump continued. “You can see and you report them to the local police.
“You’re pretty smart, right?” he asked his audience. “We know if there’s something going on, report them. Most likely you’ll be wrong, but that’s OK.
“That’s the best way. Everybody’s their own cop in a way. You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do it.”
Wow. This is the kind of talk that is leading more and more people to accused Trump of creeping fascism.
Sorry about all the negative news. I’ll give you the rest links only.
Associated Press via ABC News: Federal Authorities Still on McDonald Case.
The Atlantic: How to Beat Donald Trump.
Los Angeles Times: Sanders’ pledge illustrates how plans to curtail mass incarceration fall short.
Sky News: Suspects Named In Minneapolis Rally Shooting.
New York Times: Pope Says ‘Catastrophic’ if Interests Derail Climate Talks.
Los Angeles Times: Turkey releases recording of ‘warnings’ to Russian plane
Again, Have a great Thanksgiving Day, and I hope you get and give lots of hugs!
Happy Thanksgiving’s Eve
Damn, it is the Ghost of Thanksgiving’s Past……There is nothing like having a pissed off old bird haunting you night…and day.
Especially one who is fighting against Violence against Women!!!!!!!!!
(I am the pissed off old bird in that scenario.)
Today is November 25th, and each year….November 25th…. marks the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Why This International Day?
- Violence against women is a human rights violation
- Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women
- Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security
- Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential
- Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic.
Facts and Figures
- 35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries.
- An estimated 133 million girls and women have experienced some form of female genital mutilation/cutting in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the harmful practice is most common.
- Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth.
- The costs and consequence of violence against women last for generations.
From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.
This year, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women invites you to “Orange the world: End violence against women and girls.” Join the UNiTE campaign and organize “Orange Events” between 25 November and 10 December 2015.
So to “celebrate” this International Day to end Violence against Women, the National Institute of Health, has a series of three articles, and various links, that you should give some time to today.
Confronting Violence: Home page Exhibition…
Nurses changed the way the medical profession identified and treated women who were battered. By the 1990s, all the major medical organizations recognized domestic violence as a significant health issue and urged their members to take action, reinforcing over a decade of advocacy by nurses and their allies.
Temperance and women’s rights advocates called attention to family violence and agitated for reform during the mid-19th century. Despite their efforts, society as a whole continued to ignore domestic violence.
Activists and reformers in the United States have long recognized the harm of domestic violence and sought to improve the lives of women who were battered.
Take a look at the main page of their program, via the NIH’s blog Circulating Now : Confronting Violence | Circulating Now
Ms. magazine, founded in 1971, ran a regular feature “No Comment” that encouraged readers to send in sexist advertisements and other media.
Printed in Ms. Magazine, July 1973
4. UPPER CRUST
The Tall Tale: Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or “upper crust.”
The Facts: An isolated source hints at such a custom. One of the first printed books on household management, John Russell’s Boke of Nurture, circa 1460, says (translated into modern English), “Take a loaf…and lay [a trencher] before your lord; lay four trenchers four-square, and another on the top. Take a loaf of light bread, pare the edges, cut the upper crust for your lord.” It’s not clear whether the upper crust was considered the tastiest nibble or the sturdiest substitute for a plate, but such instructions have cropped up nowhere else. Over the centuries, the phrase upper crust appears in reference to the earth’s surface, bread and pies. But it’s not until the 19th century that we find it used to mean upper class, so the connection with the apportioning of a loaf is dubious.
In the 19th century, upper crust appears as a slang term for the human head or a hat. In 1826,The Sporting Magazine reported, “Tom completely tinkered his antagonist’s upper-crust.” Most likely it’s simply the idea of the upper crust being the top that made it a metaphor for the aristocracy. Here’s how Thomas Chandler Haliburton put it in 1838’s The Clockmaker; or the sayings and doings of Samuel Slick of Slickville: “It was none o’ your skim-milk parties, but superfine uppercrust real jam.”
4., 5., AND 6. METEOR, METEORITE, AND ASTEROID
Although some use these terms interchangeably, meteors, meteorites, and asteroids are all different things. Here’s how to use them correctly: Asteroids are the rocky bodies that orbit the Sun mostly between Mars and Jupiter; they’re much smaller than planets, and they’re sometimes pulled out of their orbit by the force of Jupiter’s gravity and travel toward the inner solar system. The vast majority of meteorites—rocks that fall to Earth from space and actually reach the Earth’s surface—are parts of asteroids. Like meteorites, meteors are objects that enter Earth’s atmosphere from space—but they’re typically grain-sized pieces of comet dust that burn up before reaching the ground, leaving behind trails that we call “shooting stars” as they vaporize.
On Nov. 6, 1869, 25 players from Rutgers University carried scarlet handkerchiefs onto a field in northern New Jersey as a means of distinguishing themselves from the opposing Princeton squad. That matchup marked what is considered today the first football game ever played. Only weeks later, the country’s newest sport would be played on one of its newest official holidays: Thanksgiving. And so, the longstanding tradition of football on Turkey Day was born.
Football and Thanksgiving have been coupled almost since the birth of each of them. Abraham Lincoln had declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, just six years prior to the first football game on Thanksgiving, played so soon after the sport’s invention. After that inaugural game in 1869, high school and college teams throughout the rest of the century, and throughout the rest of the country, began to purposely schedule games on Thanksgiving, when the day off would bring the greatest number of people to the local fields to support the amateur squads.
I had no idea football went back that far…
Using the hashtag, Twitter users shared hilarious tweets, memes, vines and photos that all perfectly captured the spirit of #ThanksgivingWithHispanics. No topic was left untouched and no relative was spared. We’ve rounded up some of the best tweets and listed them below. You’re welcome.
Go to the link to see a few of those. As well as:
And, there is also, #ThanksgivingWithItalianFamilies:
Some of them even overlap:
This is an open thread….
Police shootings of black men are back in the news, with a vengeance. In Minneapolis yesterday, five protesters of the killing of Jamar Clark were shot, allegedly by white supremacists who have been interfering with the protests.
TwinCities.com: 5 shot near Jamar Clark protest in Minneapolis; suspects sought.
Five people were shot late Monday near the site of an ongoing protest over the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer, Minneapolis police said. None of the five suffered life-threatening injuries.
The shootings occurred about a block from the police department’s 4th Precinct, where protesters have been demonstrating since the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15.
Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said in a news release that officers responded to the sound of gunshots around 10:40 p.m., and 911 calls shortly after reported five people had been shot. Dozens of officers assisted victims and secured the scene, the statement said.
None of the victims had critical injuries, but three were taken to the hospital with wounds to legs, arm, and stomach.
Oluchi Omeoga, who has been participating in the protests since last Monday, witnessed the incident.
Protesters saw three people wearing masks who “weren’t supposed to be there,” Omeoga said. Eventually, the three people left the crowd and began walking down the street, and a few protesters followed.
When they reached a corner, the three people pulled out weapons and gunshots rang out, Omeoga said.
Though Clark’s family called for the protests to come to an end following the shooting, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis vowed to return to the police station for another demonstration on Tuesday.
A video recorded by a journalist at the scene showed people fleeing from the shooting — then screaming for an ambulance. A young African American man was seen writhing in pain with an apparent gunshot wound to the leg while fellow protesters — then police and paramedics — tried to help….
“A group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights,” Miski Noor, a Black Lives Matter organizer, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Police have not confirmed or denied Noor’s claim.
Here’s some background on the Jamar Clark shooting from The Atlantic (November 18): How Did Jamar Clark Die?
How did Jamar Clark end up with a bullet hole above his eye?
The 24-year-old black man was shot by a Minneapolis police officer early Sunday morning under unclear circumstances. His family says he was taken off life support Monday, and died that evening.What’s agreed on is that Clark was shot by an officer after police and ambulances responded to a domestic-violence call. Police said Clark was a suspect in the domestic assault, and interfered with responders. From there, things get murky. A number of people watched the incident unfold—it was across the street from an Elks Lodge—and several of them say that Clark was handcuffed when he was shot in the head. Police insist he was not cuffed.
“The young man was just laying there; he was not resisting arrest,” a man named Teto Wilson who said he saw the incident was quoted as saying by the local NAACP chapter. “Two officers were surrounding the victim on the ground, an officer maneuvered his body around to shield Jamar’s body, and I heard the shot go off.”Police claim that Clark was not handcuffed when he was shot, according to dashboard video that they haven’t released.
Authorities…initially wouldn’t even say if there was footage, either from dashboard cameras or from body cameras. (A September report by a city police-oversight commission recommended that body cameras be activated during all community contact.) Bystander footage from shortly after the shooting is available. On Tuesday, the BCA said it has obtained several videos but that “none … captured the event in its entirety.” ….
Even if Clark was not handcuffed, there is a separate question of whether the use of deadly force was appropriate in the situation. Just as the death of Freddie Gray brought new scrutiny on a Baltimore Police Department with a long, troubled history with its citizens—and particularly citizens of color—the police in Minneapolis are about to come under new scrutiny.
“We’ve been saying for a long time that Minneapolis was one bullet away from Ferguson. Well, that bullet was fired last night,” Jason Sole, an associate professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University and a member of the local NAACP chapter, told the Star Tribune.
Read the rest at The Atlantic. In Chicago another police shooting has resulted in a murder charge against a policeman, but it took a whole year for the case to get to this point.
A Cook County Circuit Court judge has ruled that police must release dashcam video showing the death of 17-year-old old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer in October 2014.
The video is expected to show the officer shooting McDonald even as he lay on the ground.
Police say McDonald had PCP in his system when he died and was refusing police commands to drop a 4-inch knife.
The judge, Franklin Valderrama, not only ordered the video released by Wednesday, he also denied a motion from the city to appeal the decision, which all but assures this will happen.
Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently claimed, along with the Chicago Police Department, that release of the video might compromise an ongoing investigation. But last week, the mayor’s office released a statement suggesting that even Hizzoner is conflicted about the video: “Police officers are entrusted to uphold the law, and to provide safety to our residents,”the mayor said.“In this case unfortunately, it appears an officer violated that trust at every level.”
Much more at the link. And from the WaPo: Reports: Chicago police officer to be charged with murder of black teen shot 16 times.
A white Chicago police officer is expected to be charged with murder in the 2014 shooting death of an African American teenager caught on dash-cam video,individuals close to the investigation told the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times Monday night.
Unnamed officials told the news organizations that Officer Jason Van Dyke is expected to appear at a bond hearing at noon Tuesday, at which time he is also expected to be charged with murder. His lawyer has said that the officer’s actions were lawful.
“He believed in his heart of hearts that he was in fear for his life … he was concerned about the lives of [other] police officers,” Daniel Herbert told reporters last week.
According to the Chicago Tribune, if Van Dyke is indicted, it would be the first time a Chicago police officer “has been charged with first degree murder for an on-duty fatality in 35 years.”
In presidential politics, it’s looking more and more like Donald Trump will actually be the GOP nominee. Hillary Clinton could be the only thing standing between us and a crude, narcissistic fascist becoming President of the U.S.
I guess we all know that Trump loves himself too much, but Vanity Fair actually asked some experts for their opinions on whether he could have a clinical diagnosis: Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In!
For mental-health professionals,Donald Trumpis at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. “Remarkably narcissistic,” said developmental psychologistHoward Gardner,a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” echoed clinical psychologistBen Michaelis.“He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologistGeorge Simon,who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. “Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”
That mental-health professionals are even willing to talk about Trump in the first place may attest to their deep concern about a Trump presidency. AsDr. Robert Klitzman,a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master’s of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual’s mental state without examining him personally and having the patient’s consent to make such comments….
But you don’t need to have met Donald Trump to feel like you know him; even the smallest exposure can make you feel like you’ve just crossed a large body of water in a small boat with him. Indeed, though narcissistic personality disorder was removed from the most recent issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,for somewhat arcane reasons, the traits that have defined the disorder in the past—grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one’s superiority; a lack of empathy—are writ large in Mr. Trump’s behavior.
“He’s very easy to diagnose,” said psychotherapistCharlotte Prozan.“In the first debate, he talked over people and was domineering. He’ll doanything to demean others, like tell Carly Fiorina he doesn’t like her looks. ‘You’re fired!’ would certainly come under lack of empathy. And he wants to deport immigrants, but [two of] his wives have been immigrants.” Michaelis took a slightly different twist on Trump’s desire to deport immigrants: “This man is known for his golf courses, but, with due respect, who does he think works on these golf courses?”
Mr. Trump’s bullying nature—taunting SenatorJohn McCainfor being captured in Vietnam, or saying Jeb Bush has “low energy”—is in keeping with the narcissistic profile. “In the field we use clusters of personality disorders,” Michaelis said. “Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served—and suffered. Narcissism is an extreme defense against one’s own feelings of worthlessness. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it’s antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That’s what he’s doing.”
Head over to Vanity Fair to read the rest.
In world news, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border. From ABC News: Vladimir Putin Calls Turkish Attack on Russian Fighter Plane a ‘Stab in the Back.
The Russian Su-24 jet was hit by rockets fired from Turkish F16s as it conducted airstrikes on militants in northwest Syria. Turkish officials have said the plane violated Turkey’s airspace and that its jets had warned the Russian plane repeatedly to leave.
“Today’s losses is connected with a blow, that was delivered as a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today in any other way,” Putin said during a televised meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan.
Turkish officials told the United States they shot down the plane after it entered their airspace, two U.S. officials told ABC News. No U.S. forces were involved in the incident, both officials said.
Putin said the Russian plane was operating less than a mile inside the Syrian side of the border when it was hit and Russian officials have said it never crossed into Turkish airspace. Putin said the plane had been striking ISIS militants and had posed no threat to Turkey, which he said was “an obvious fact.”
Putin’s words showed Russia had determined it would not let the incident pass without complaint. Initially, Russian officials had said the plane had likely been hit by ground-fire from inside Syria.
It seems there are too many cooks involved in Syria. It’s getting scary.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a terrific Tuesday.
I’m beginning to think we should offer free psychotropics and mental health screenings for folks voting Republican these days. You might consider putting a candy bowl of them out for your crazy uncle and cousins still voting Republican as a holiday treat. Tolerance and displays of so much delusion should definitely be on the radars of what’s left of our mental health systems. It’s hard to know where to start but the fact that Donald Trump is the leading presidential candidate and basically doing it by taking pages and policies out of Hitler’s playbook is one example worthy of discussion.
However, let me start locally with Slum Dog Governor Piyush Jindal who has decided he needs to take a “victory lap” around the state before he fades into oblivion. You might think I’m kidding on this so I’m going to include some quotes from the state’s major newspaper for good measure because I am not kidding. He’s finally retreated from the cornfields of Iowa. We’re expecting a huge budget deficit mid term thanks to his stupid accounting tricks and tax giveaways. A Blue Dog Democrat–John Bel Edwards–supported by many Republicans is set to follow him into the statehouse.
Jindal wants to travel the state for some local accolades. Good luck with that Governor! All but about 20% of us can’t stand the sight or sound of you.
With only weeks remaining in office, Gov. Bobby Jindal has returned home to try to shore up his Louisiana legacy after his presidential campaign ended unsurprisingly with him headed to a new home in Baton Rouge, rather than the White House.
A statewide tour and press releases touting his accomplishments might be too little too late to win kind thoughts from the folks in Louisiana, where his approval ratings have dropped to record lows.
The term-limited Republican is seeking to exit the governor’s mansion in January with Louisiana residents remembering his economic development wins and education overhaul, rather than prevailing criticisms that he put his national ambitions over the state’s needs.
Jindal dismissed such criticisms in the press conference he held in Baton Rouge, a post mortem of sorts, after scrapping his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
“We’ve continued to work every single day that I’ve been governor to work hard to move our state forward. I’m proud of the result,” he said. He added: “I think that I will be leaving our state better off than we were eight years ago.”
Now that his campaign is officially dead, however, it’s worth highlighting Jindal’s record as governor of Louisiana. This is what the man did. This is what he accomplished. This is what he leaves behind. And this what he should be remembered for.
- He entered office with an $865 million surplus and he will exit with a $1.6 billion deficit.
- Funding for higher education has been cut by more than 80 percent, and the entire system is experiencing a fiscal crisis.
- Funding for youth services has been cut by 40 percent.
- Funding for Veterans Affairs programs has been cut by 69 percent.
- The Department of Environmental Quality has been cut by 96 percent (in a state with a rapidly eroding coastline).
- He rejected a Medicaid expansion in order to protest Obamacare, and thousands of low-income Louisianans remain without health care as a result.
- Louisiana has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation; the highest diabetes-related death rate; the highest rate of death from breast cancer; the third highest rate of cancers deaths overall; and the eighth highest rate of teenage pregnancy.
- He rejected $300 million of federal stimulus money (one his favorite talking points at the time), despite Louisiana’s underfunded and crumbling infrastructure.
- He issued a symbolic executive order that defended discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom.”
- He sold out his state to protect BP against legitimate lawsuits. (Side note: Jindal’s brother is a lawyer for the firm representing BP).
- He held a massive “prayer rally” on the state’s flagship campus, a rally that promoted his presidential campaign and distributed materials blaming gay people for hurricanes and natural disasters.
- He signed the Louisiana Science Education Act, which allowed creationism to be taught in science courses at public schools.
There are countless other examples of Jindal’s failures, but this list is fairly illustrative of his career as Governor of Louisiana. This is what he did in order to pitch himself as a fiscally responsible, small government conservative in GOP primary states. It explains why 70 percent of Louisianans now disapprove of the job he has done. And it explains why he won’t be missed and why the Republican gubernatorial candidate following him, David Vitter, has tried unsuccessfully to run away from Jindal’s record.
The stench of Jindal’s administration will linger for years in Louisiana, and everyone here knows it. His presidential campaign was and is a punchline, but his governorship was a moral and political failure, and a tragedy for thousands of Louisianans. If he’s ever elected again for public office, I can assure you it won’t be as a Louisianan.
We have a kinda sorta Democrat now whose first act was to appoint the former Republican State Senator responsible for the Creationism in public schools disguised as science to be his chief of staff. His transition team is remarkably full of Republicans. However, he still says that the Medicaid expansion is priority one and it could be one of the reasons why Nevers got the job. I’m trying to be optimistic here. You can hold my hand if you want to help.
“The expansion of health care coverage for working families is among the highest priorities. It’s something I’ve been working on for three years, and I never once during this campaign shied away from that particular issue,” Edwards said during a news conference with reporters in New Orleans. “So we are going to expand the Medicaid program in Louisiana. We’re going to do it as soon as we possibly can and as responsibly as we possibly can.”
The strongest signal yet of Edwards’ commitment to Medicaid expansion is his appointment of state Sen. Ben Nevers to be his chief of staff. Nevers has been one of the foremost advocates of Medicaid expansion in the Legislature, at times offering tearful testimony as he pleaded with colleagues to expand the federal program to cover people who aren’t paid enough to purchase their own insurance.
Asked about the significance of Medicaid expansion to the working poor, Nevers said, “it means life or death to many people across this state.”
“There are over 242,000 people without medical insurance in this state who go to work everyday; who have been dependable employees,” Nevers said. “It would mean the opportunity for them to have insurance for them and their families. I can tell you that there’s many people across this state who’ve suffered tremendously because we’ve refused to expand Medicaid.”
When asked what it means to him personally, Nevers said, “It means a tremendous amount to me.
“As you know, I filed bills the last three years to expand Medicaid and could not get them out of the Senate or the House,” Nevers said. “It’s been a very frustrating experience because I know we’re sending dollars to Washington D.C. that we refuse to take back in our own state. Now that’s just ludicrous.”
This state is among the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick. Things certainly could not get much worse.
People here and all around the country certainly do not trust their governments. Is this the real legacy of Reagan’s dementia and eagerness to poor shame?
A year ahead of the presidential election, the American public is deeply cynical about government, politics and the nation’s elected leaders in a way that has become quite familiar.
Currently, just 19% say they can trust the government always or most of the time,among the lowest levels in the past half-century. Only 20% would describe government programs as being well-run. And elected officials are held in such low regard that 55% of the public says “ordinary Americans” would do a better job of solving national problems.
Yet at the same time, most Americans have a lengthy to-do list for this object of their frustration: Majorities want the federal government to have a major role in addressing issues ranging from terrorism and disaster response to education and the environment.
And most Americans like the way the federal government handles many of these same issues, though they are broadly critical of its handling of others – especially poverty and immigration.
A new national survey by Pew Research Center, based on more than 6,000 interviews conducted between August 27 and October 4, 2015, finds that public attitudes about government and politics defy easy categorization. The study builds upon previous reports about the government’s role and performance in 2010 and 1998. This report was made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which received support for the survey from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
The partisan divide over the size and scope of government remains as wide as ever: Support for smaller government endures as a Republican touchstone. Fully 80% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they prefer a smaller government with fewer services, compared with just 31% of Democrats and Democratic leaners.
Yet both Republicans and Democrats favor significant government involvement on an array of specific issues. Among the public overall, majorities say the federal government should have a major role in dealing with 12 of 13 issues included in the survey, all except advancing space exploration.
There is bipartisan agreement that the federal government should play a major role in dealing with terrorism, natural disasters, food and medicine safety, and roads and infrastructure. And while the presidential campaign has exposed sharp partisan divisions over immigration policy, large majorities of both Republicans (85%) and Democrats (80%) say the government should have a major role in managing the immigration system.
But the partisan differences over government’s appropriate role are revealing – with the widest gaps on several issues relating to the social safety net.
Only about a third of Republicans and Republican leaners see a major role for the federal government in helping people get out of poverty (36%) and ensuring access to health care (34%), by far the lowest percentages for any of the 13 issues tested. Fully 72% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say the government should have a major role in helping people out of poverty, and 83% say it should play a major role in ensuring access to health care.
Moreover, while majorities of Republicans favor a major government role in ensuring a basic income for people 65 and older (59%), protecting the environment (58%) and ensuring access to high-quality education (55%), much larger shares of Democrats – 80% or more in each case – favor a large government role.
So what explains the Republican base’s fascination with some one touring the country touting a book written on the Constitution that believes the Constitution was written by Thomas Jefferson? Is this the result of whackadoo Texans controlling the nation’s textbook content or deliberate, delusional ignorance?
It’s a common misconception that Thomas Jefferson participated in drafting the U.S. Constitution in 1787. But as Republican presidential candidate and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson points out in his latest book, “A More Perfect Union,” Jefferson was “missing in action,” serving in Paris as minister to France.
That did not stop Carson from praising Jefferson in a C-Span interview Sunday as one of the most impressive of the Founding Fathers because he “tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control peoples’ natural tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.”
It’s not the first time Carson has abused Jefferson’s history. “Thomas Jefferson himself said, ‘Gun control works great for the people who are law-abiding citizens and it does nothing for the criminals, and all it does is put the people at risk,’ ” he told Fox’s Neil Cavuto after the shootings at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., in early October. Jefferson never said that.
In his book, Carson repeated a version of the same statement, noting what he called “Thomas Jefferson’s warning: ‘Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. … Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather than encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
The supposed Jefferson comment on gun control is listed among many “spurious” quotations by the Monticello Web site. “This is not something Jefferson wrote,” say the researchers at Monticello, but rather comes from a passage he included in his “Legal Commonplace Book.” The passage, they note, was written by Cesare Beccaria in his “Essay on Crimes and Punishments” and was copied by Jefferson.
Oddly, Carson’s footnote to the quote duly notes that it comes from Beccaria and not Jefferson.
Republican obsession with all things not true but that play into their views of the world is on full display in the Trump poll numbers. The more outrageously untrue and appalling things that spew out of Trump’s mouth yields a bump up in the polls. I mean, what kind’ve person could get a huge number of the Jewish population volunteering to register as Muslims just to express their outrage at the suggestion we start a database of the nation’s followers of Islam. Trump’s latest outrages include the huge lie that thousands of Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks. This earned him another Pinnochio from WAPO’s fact checkers and the NYC police.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You raised some eyebrows yesterday with comments you made at your latest rally. I want to show them, relating to 9/11.
VIDEO CLIP OF DONALD TRUMP, IN WHICH HE SAYS: “Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: “You know, the police say that didn’t happen and all those rumors have been on the Internet for some time. So did you misspeak yesterday?”
TRUMP: “It did happen. I saw it.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: “You saw that…”
TRUMP: It was on television. I saw it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: “…with your own eyes?”
TRUMP: “George, it did happen.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: “Police say it didn’t happen.”
TRUMP: “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: “As I said, the police have said it didn’t happen.”
— Exchange on ABC’s “This Week,” Nov. 22, 2015
This exchange demonstrates the folly of trying to fact-check Donald Trump. Even when confronted with contrary information — “police say it didn’t happen” — he insists that with his own eyes he saw “thousands and thousands” of cheering Arabs in New Jersey celebrating as the World Trade Center collapsed during the Sept. 11 attacks.
Trump has already earned more Four-Pinocchio ratings than any other candidate this year. He is about to earn another one.
He also is race baiting and just bragged about his audience beating up a Black Lives Matter protester. He upped the ante by tweeting the right wing trope that blacks are murdering blacks with an appalling racist graphic attached. He still has yet to suggest any thing policy related. He seems perfectly happy to just spew vitriol. That is also what the base seems to love. His tweet about black murder rates is definitely creating consternation from every one but the Republican base.
Donald Trump is taking heat on social media for a Sunday afternoon tweet of statistics purporting to show that the vast majority of murdered black people in the U.S. are killed by other black people.
The tweet was apparently Trump’s response to a Twitter thread about support from white supremacists for the GOP front-runner.
It also comes the day after a Black Lives Matter protester said he was physically and verbally assaulted at a Trump rally.
The image Trump posted includes a list of “USA Crime Statistics ~ 2015.” The two that are highlighted are “Blacks Killed by Police ~~ 1%” and “Blacks Killed by Blacks ~~ 97%.”
A drawing of a black man wielding a sideways pistol and wearing army pants, military boots and a bandana and mask accompanies the statistics, which are sourced to the “Crime Statistics Bureau” in San Francisco.
The message immediately took off on the social media platform, with thousands of people retweeting it and liking it within an hour. But many also lashed out angrily against the real estate mogul, calling Trump a racist and questioning the veracity of the stats.
Indeed, an initial search to confirm the numbers couldn’t turn up a “Crime Statistic Bureau” in San Francisco.
However, the percentages do, in some ways, align with Department of Justice (DOJ) findings from several years ago. A DOJ study released in 2011 reported that 93 percent of black homicides were committed by other blacks between 1980 and 2008.
In 2014, that figure was roughly 90 percent in 2014, according to the latest DOJ numbers.
The category tweeted out by Trump that doesn’t fit with DOJ statistics is “Whites Killed by Whites,” which Trump’s tweet indicated was 16 percent.
According to the department’s 2011 report, 84 percent of white homicides were committed by whites between 1980 and 2008. That number was 82 percent in 2014.
Trump has been roundly bashed during his presidential campaign for disparaging comments made about Mexican immigrants, Syrian refugees, Muslims and black people.
We’ve written a lot about the alternative reality were Republicans and their elected officials and candidates reside. I’ve noticed the disconnect is getting worse on many levels. But, again, look at Louisiana. People down here got fed up with it. Maybe the rest of the places that have Republican governors that are beyond delusional–Kansas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan,Indiana etc.–will wake up to what’s actually going on. But then again, take Kentucky.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?