Tuesday Reads: SOTU, Republican Crazies, LAPD Manhunt, and Other NewsPosted: February 12, 2013
Tonight President Obama will give his first State of the Union Address since being elected to a second term. C-Span coverage begins at 8PM (Eastern) and the speech itself begins at 9PM. We’ll have a live blog, of course.
I have to admit, I’m already somewhat discouraged after yesterday’s announcements by Jay Carney and Dan Pfieffer that Obama is still enthusiastically offering Social Security benefit cuts and Medicare “changes” to tempt Republicans into a “grand bargain.” There has also been much talk of “spending cuts” and emphasis on the administration having a “spending problem.” If Obama had a mandate, it wasn’t for this.
There have been rumors that Obama would emphasize jobs in the SOTU, but it sounds like that may not be the case. We can only hope that once the President gets out among real people again, he’ll remember why he won the election–and it wasn’t because we were all hoping he’d drive the economy into a ditch. People need jobs, Mr. President, and they’d like to have some dignity, health care, and perhaps something to eat besides cat food when they get old and frail.
Outspoken rocker Ted Nugent will attend President Obama’s State of the Union Address Tuesday in order to take on the media and “counter the scams and lies of the left,” he explained to talk radio host Mike Broomhead “We know that the president will have the state of the union stacked and jammed with props, children, and victims of violent crime, ” Nugent said. “And my friends wanted me to attend to counter that the way that I do: with facts, statistics and common sense and logic and a celebration of self-evident truths. So I will be taking on the media orgy following the State of the Union Address.” Nugent said the media does not realize he is a “force to be reckoned with” and therefore he will “dominate them.”
You can listen to the radio interview at the TPM link if you’re so inclined. Can’t the Secret Service prevent this moron from turning the SOTU into a freak show? Would they allow this if Obama were a Republican?
But as Greg Sargent points out, “The problem runs a lot deeper than Ted Nugent.”
That’s bad, but if I were the GOP leadership, the prospect of further comments from Nugent after the speech would have me a bit worried. After all, there’s little doubt that reporters will seek him out, and there’s really no telling what Nugent will say. The GOP leadership has not commented on the news. But really, this episode is significant for reasons that go well beyond Nugent. The key actor here who matters is Steve Stockman. The problem lies in all the over-the-top stuff GOP lawmakers say regularly that isn’t quite crazy enough to earn widespread condemnation, as Nugent’s quotes have, but are still whacked out enough to encourage an atmosphere that helps keep millions of GOP base voters sealed off from reality. The problem is the perpetual winking and nodding to The Crazy that is deemed marginally acceptable – the hints about creeping socialism, the claim that modest Obama executive actions amount to tyranny, the suggestions that Obama’s values are vaguely un-American and that Obama is transforming the country and the economy into something no longer recognizably American, and so on — more so than the glaringly awful stuff that gets the media refs to throw their flags.
In other news,
Yesterday, Esquire published an interview with the “man who killed Osama bin Laden.” I haven’t read the whole thing, because frankly, I’m very turned off by the notion of assassinating criminals instead of capturing them and bringing them to trial. Every time I try to read anything about the raid on the bin Laden compound I start to feel sick. Anyone who did read the article, I’d be interested in your reaction to this piece at Stars and Stripes: Esquire article wrongly claims SEAL who killed bin Laden is denied healthcare.
Esquire magazine claims “The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden … Is Screwed.” The story details the life of the Navy SEAL after the successful raid to take out the No. 1 terrorist, and it asserts that once the SEAL got out of the military he was left to fend for himself. “…here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation: Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.” Except the claim about health care is wrong. And no servicemember who does less than 20 years gets a pension, unless he has to medically retire. Like every combat veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the former SEAL, who is identified in the story only as “the Shooter”, is automatically eligible for five years of free healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs. But the story doesn’t mention that.
According to the LA Times, fugitive and alleged murderer Christopher Dorner may have escaped to Mexico with help from an “associate.”
In federal court records, authorities said there was “probable cause” Christopher Jordan Dorner fled to Mexico. Officials told The Times on Monday night that the court papers, filed late last week, reflected their thinking at the time, but they stressed that Dorner could be anywhere.
The search is ongoing in California as well as Mexico.
The possibility of Dorner receiving help by an associate was raised in the court records. In his affidavit, McClusky said investigators with the Marine Corps and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department were conducting a surveillance operation of an Arrow Bear property owned by a family member of the associate Thursday and discovered a burning vehicle nearby that matched the gray Nissan pickup truck used by Dorner.
Dorner went to Sports Chalet in Torrance — a beachside community in the L.A. area — on February 1st. The video shows Dorner carrying in 2 small, yellow scuba tanks as he walks into the scuba section. Sources tell us … Dorner got the tanks refilled with oxygen. The video then shows Dorner leaving the scuba section with the 2 yellow tanks, along with another large, black scuba tank. Dorner then goes to the counter, and then has a friendly conversation with the cashier, at times laughing. Dorner — who was a member of a Naval undersea warfare unit — pays cash for the items and then leaves….What’s really interesting … Dorner reportedly tried stealing a boat in San Diego on February 6th … where scuba gear might come in handy. The plan was thwarted when the prop got tangled in a rope.
The Christian Science Monitor discusses the Dorner case in the light of the troubled relationship between the LAPD and the city’s black community: LAPD review of Christopher Dorner firing: why black community wants more.
Los Angeles’s African-American community is casting a skeptical eye on police chief Charlie Beck’s decision Saturday to reopen the investigation into the 2008 firing of alleged cop killer Christopher Dorner. Twenty years after the Rodney King riots deep distrust remains, with some community leaders saying the Los Angeles Police Department cannot be trusted to investigate itself – and that perhaps even the US Justice Department should be called in. Mr. Dorner’s firing from the LAPD is at the center of the online manifesto that outlines his motivations for revenge. Police say Dorner has already killed three people and has threatened several police officers and families by name. The massive manhunt for him began Thursday. In his manifesto, Dorner calls his firing “unjust,” and suggests that he was fired partly because he reported that a fellow cop kicked a suspect. The allegations of police abuse and prejudice within the LAPD strike a chord within the broader black community. Moreover, they come at a time when some black leaders worry that the LAPD is backsliding after making significant gains toward more inclusivenessxxxxx under the previous chief. “We don’t agree with Dorner’s tactics, but many of us sympathize with his allegations,” says Najee Ali, a black activist and executive director of Project Islamic H.O.P.E. in Los Angeles. “But we don’t think the LAPD can investigate itself and come up with a conclusion that will appease the black community. We think the US Justice Department needs to do it.”
North Korea conducted nuclear test for the third time yesterday. The Voice of America reports: S. Korea, Japan Move to Bolster Defenses After North’s Nuclear Test.
North Korean state media hail the nuclear test as a success, saying it “did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment.” A television announcer in Pyongyang says the country detonated a “miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force” than previous tests. Analysts say that indicates North Korea may have set off a plutonium-fueled bomb, suitable to be placed atop a missile…. Japan and the United States have deployed aircraft with special equipment to collect radioactive gases. An analysis of those gases could determine what type of nuclear material was used. South Korean officials say tremors recorded by seismographs around the world suggest the device has a yield of six to seven kilotons.
More news headlines:
Robert Reich: Obama needs to batter GOP over the head for blocking jobs bill (Raw Story)
Easy Ride Expected for Jack Lew at Confirmation Hearing (National Journal)