Tuesday Reads: SOTU, Republican Crazies, LAPD Manhunt, and Other News

Matisse-Woman-Reading-with-Tea1

Good Morning!!

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.

Unfortunately, thanks to insane Republican Rep. Steve Stockman, repulsive gun enthusiast Ted Nugent, who threatened President Obama last year, will be a guest at the State of the Union Address. TPM:

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?

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX)

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX)

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.

Interesting…

From TMZ video

From TMZ video

In addition, TMZ learned yesterday that Dorner purchased scuba diving equipment just 48 hours before he allegedly shot the daughter of a retired LAPD officer and her fiance. From TMZ:

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:

Will Dorner’s Case Bring A Return To Open Board Of Rights Hearings? (Neon Tommy)

Justice Ginsburg: The Senate Is ‘Destroying The United States’ Reputation… As A Beacon of Democracy’ (Think Progress)

Sen. Cantwell rips GOP over Violence Against Women Act: This is about life or death (Raw Story)

Sources: White House to issue cybersecurity order Wednesday (The Hill)

Robert Reich: Obama needs to batter GOP over the head for blocking jobs bill (Raw Story)

Chuck Hagel’s Confirmation Vote Is Set, No Matter What Lindsey Graham Says (Atlantic Wire)

Easy Ride Expected for Jack Lew at Confirmation Hearing (National Journal)

Braves reject “screaming Indian” logo (CNN)

He’s Back: Hitler Satire Tops Germany’s Best-Seller List (Time)

Those are my recommendations. What are you reading and blogging about today?

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46 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: SOTU, Republican Crazies, LAPD Manhunt, and Other News”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Whether his firing was justified or not it is no excuse to run around killing people and terrorizing a community as an act of revenge.

    I don’t doubt that Dorner had help. His vehicle was found 100 miles away from home and they have combed the area without success. He is long gone, probably holding up somewhere waiting for the manhunt to die down before he makes another attempt to “get even” with those he feels have wronged him. Just another nutjob out to create a name for himself, armed to the teeth, while stirring up “sympathy” along the way.

    I’m giving a pass to the SOTU speech. Watching those idiots jump up every two seconds, applauding every other sentence, requires more patience than I can muster.

    The gun control bill will be watered down. The social safety nets appear in the crosshairs once again. The wealthy can take heart in knowing the GOP will continue to thwart any means of revenue increases. The same old theme of “we can do better” which has been echoed by every presidential address will be trotted out to cheers as if it were the first time they ever heard it uttered.

    The cameras will seek out the faces of McCain and Graham and Ted Nugent will smirk.

    I’d rather read a good book where the ending may offer a “surprise” at least then to listen to the annual claptrap, endless applause, and the empty promises that pour forth each year but changes nothing.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Tijuana hotel raided in search for Dorner: No evidence of Dorner found on property

    They’re running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Another shooting, this time in Minnesota: Child killed in random Minn. shooting

    OAKDALE, Minn. (AP) — Oakdale police said a gunman killed a 10-year-old and wounded two other people in an apparent random shooting.

    KMSP-TV reported several bursts of gunfire erupted Monday night near a Rainbow Foods store in the eastern Twin Cities suburb.

    Oakdale Police Chief Tom Sullivan said the gunman fired at a car carrying the 10-year-old and the child’s mother. Sullivan said the child died and the mother was wounded in the arm.

    A woman in another car was struck and wounded in the hand.

  4. ANonOMouse says:

    I’m reserving judgment on the SOTU speech until I hear the words from Obama’s mouth. I’ve listened to Jay Carney enough to know that he obfuscates regularly when dealing with the W.H. Press Corps. I believe obfuscation is the usual path of the Press Secretary when the POTUS is preparing to deliver a major address to the nation.

    Most of my problems with Obama came during healthcare reform, primarily because I support SPUHC and Obama gave up way to much to get ACA passed. But on one thing I agree with Obama, the problem with healthcare isn’t Medicare or Medicaid, it’s the cost of healthcare itself and there is reluctance to tackle that issue on both sides of the aisle because the WRONG people (providers, for-profit insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies) will be impacted by real solutions.

    As I watch this speech tonight I will remember that we do have a healthcare reform bill (even if it’s not what I wanted) that when fully implemented will help millions of people, particularly those who are priced out of the market altogether and those with pre-existing conditions. I will remember that the repeal of DADT is a done deal, that immigration reform is likely to happen, that the Iraq war is over, that the war in Afghanistan is coming to an end even earlier than projected (I have 3 family members stationed in Afghanistan). I will also remember that I watched video of lesbian and gay officers attending an Inaugural Ball (I can’t tell you what that meant to me), that the POTUS of the U.S. stood up for immigrants and L/G’s during his inaugural speech (An unbelievable sight for these old eyes to behold for these old ears to hear)
    I will also remember that the United States AG has refused to defend DOMA in the courts (even while the GOP has filed a brief in support of DOMA). I’ll also remember that Obama is doing battle with the NRA and I can’t remember the last time a POTUS took that group on.

    I’m sure I won’t like everything Obama has to say tonight, in fact I’m sure I’ll be bitching about some of what he has to say tomorrow morning, but I know whatever he says it will be infinitely better than anything that would have come from the mouth of Mitt Romney and the GOP.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hi Mouse!

      I’m hoping for the best, and despite my ranting on Social Security and Medicare, I’m still optimistic that we can defeat chained CPI. One thing that people don’t seem to understand is that Chained CPI would also affect people who aren’t yet on SS.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Hey BB……I’m hoping the chained CPI doesn’t become an issue too. It shouldn’t be an issue because SS has nothing to do with the deficit (as has been said here many times), still that’s never stopped the GOP from going after SS with a vengence. They always try to portray their efforts as “saving Social Security” when we know their goal is to destroy it. What I expect may happen or is happening behind closed doors is some sort of Medicare means testing effort. I’m not a supporter of means testing, primarily because I know it will be used to hack away at the overall Medicare program, but the fact that millionaires are paying the same premium as the 80 year old woman who barely gets by, makes little sense either. Again the problem is the cost of healthcare, not the Medicare program, but the GOP and some in the Dem Party also, will never willingly do the work/legislation necessary to bring healthcare costs down to a reasonable number. Our healthcare costs are much higher than most countries and our outcome isn’t as good as many countries. We have a problem, but the solution requires going after the plutocrats who make a ton of money off of other peoples misery.

      • RalphB says:

        Mouse, Medicare is means tested now to a fairly small extent. Over $85K a yr has to pay more for the coverage, and that’s only fair. You could do more means testing without harming the program or the people on it.

  5. RalphB says:

    On the healthcare issue of the Seal who killed Osama, he’s entitled to 5 years of VA care but that doesn’t cover his family at all. His problem is family healthcare, though he didn’t know he was entitled to the free VA care for himself either since they didn’t bother telling before he was discharged.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Why was he discharged? Why didn’t he wait to get retirement? Sorry, I know I should read the article.

    • RalphB says:

      One of Phil Bronstein’s interviews at Pierce’s.

      The Shooter Speaks: A Q&A with the Man Who Killed Bin Laden

      My feeling now has changed, which is part of the reason I got out. A lot of the missions they’re going on are going to be a waste of really good lives.

      When I started separating from the life in March — after my deployment — it was the jump trip, the training jumps. The more I got away from it, I started to realize that even jumping is like, Shit, that’s kind of dangerous. You put a bundle on, and you jump out of a plane with a 500-pound barrel attached to you. I don’t have a desire to do that anymore. And then I started thinking about the combat, and, Holy shit, we were just sticking it out there for years. This was a dangerous job. And the further I got away, [I thought] Holy shit, these guys are crazy.

      I was burned out. I’m done. I left SEALS on [a] Friday. They’re starting to see guys leave, and we’re going to see more of it.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks for that. I can understand his point of view for sure.

        BTW, Politico says Obama is planning to send more troops to Afghanistan.

      • RalphB says:

        Sending more now doesn’t make much sense now, since we are planning to leave over the course of this year. Unless they are for a specific reason or Tiger Beat is full of it.

      • RalphB says:

        Obama is not sending more troops. He is withdrawing more troops announced today.

        Tiger Beat: Obama’s troop withdrawal leaves unanswered questions

        President Barack Obama’s announcement Tuesday that he’ll withdraw 34,000 more troops from Afghanistan over the coming year is a major step toward his goal of handing Afghans responsibility for the war by 2014, but the president will leave one key question unanswered — what happens next?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Oops. I misread the e-mail I got. Apologies.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    North Korea’s new leader appears to be “playing” with all the “nuclear toys” at his disposal.

    Just what the world needs, one more useless, spoiled, narcissistic, overfed brat engaged in “War Games” because he can.

    While his brainwashed,malnourished citizens continue to suffer, this dolt is fiddling around with nuclear codes as if he were playing a video game.

    The last time I looked no one was threatening North Korea but North Korea is threatening the world.

    I shudder even contemplating a Tea Party president vs this idiot on the global stage. Someone whose mentality resides with the likes of a Ted Nugent, just itching to press that red button in retaliation.

    And Kim Jung Whatever is only 29 yrs old which means we could be dealing with this piece of trash for another 50 years.

  7. I am with Susie Madrak: Carney: President Obama Wants Chained CPI With ‘Big Deal’ | Crooks and Liars

    As I’ve pointed out, again and again and again, WE have already sacrificed enough in this economic depression. Get it from the bailout crowd, we’re not buying it.

    Q But I just want to be clear what you said at the beginning of that answer, which is the President….as part of an overall balanced approach, he does not rule out effectively reducing benefits for Social Security recipients?

    MR. CARNEY: He has put forward a technical change as part of a big deal — and it’s on the table — that he put forward to the Speaker of the House. The Speaker of the House, by the way, walked away from that deal even though it met the Republicans halfway on revenues and halfway on spending cuts and included some tough decisions by the President on entitlements. The Speaker walked away from that deal.

    But as part of that deal, the technical change in the so-called CPI is possible in his own offer as part of a big deal.

    How is it “balanced” when we’ve already lost our jobs and our economic security, and the people at the very top are doing better than ever? This is just plain bullshit, “an economic and moral disaster,” Bernie Sanders calls it.

    Don’t bother us with your Pete Peterson-inspired Wall Street wet dreams, Mr. Obama. We have nothing left to give.

    Guess I am jaded, I still think Obama is going to screw us in the end.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks for the link.

      I had Morning Joe on for a few minutes this morning–long enough to hear him say something about Obama “being responsible” and cutting spending. Then I switched it off. I’ve had more than enough of his act.

      • Fannie says:

        here, here, me too…………he’s wants to talk about dems stepping in it, he better clean his sockless shoes before entering the MESS.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Morning Joe has become almost intolerable. I turn it off almost every morning because of something idiotic that Joe says, not to mention his total narcissism is such a predictable drag.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Ralph,

      You probably read this already, but Pierce wrote about it too.

    • dakinikat says:

      How can he be allowed to spew things that are so obviously out of touch with reality, facts, and economics? It’s ridiculous! Glad a few of the villagers are pointing it out. Mika is worthless too.

      • RalphB says:

        You can’t expect anything but blissful ignorance from Cokie Roberts and Mark Halperin. They are much worse than useless!

      • bostonboomer says:

        Chait has another post on Scarborough

        What makes Joe Scarborough such an enjoyable figure is his combination of affability, good intentions, high self-regard, low self-awareness, and total lack of analytical reasoning skills. He is not remotely dislikable. He is Ron Burgundy come to life.

        The nerd is the natural enemy of Joe Scarborough, as nerds defy everything Scarborough has come to believe about the expected order of things. Scarborough’s confrontations with nerds like Nate Silver and Paul Krugman have all taken the same general form.

      • RalphB says:

        Jeez, Margaret Carlson is such a complete idiot!

        • dakinikat says:

          All these journalists are just the worst! They’re just supposed to report the damned facts and when they venture into something beyond english majors, well, it’s beyond them. TV Punditry should belong to nerds and wonks, not just readers and writers and people that can’t opine but don’t really have any depth of knowledge.

    • RalphB says:

      Dr Krugman weighs in and I think he is 100% correct and not too shrill!

      Hearsay Economics

      • dakinikat says:

        Yup … that sums it up nicely. Why rely on facts on when your gut just wants to spill something completely wrong based on your completely wrong circle of friends?

    • RalphB says:

      According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the federal government is projected to spend less money in the next decade on non-defense discretionary programs than at any point since at least 1962. This is a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Timothy Noah: The One Percent Gobbled Up the Recovery, Too. In fact, it put the 99 percent back in recession.

    • RalphB says:

      Wow! Revolt time.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Emmanuel Saez, the Berkeley economist who (with Thomas Piketty, an economist at the École d’economie de Paris) first mapped the enormous 34-year run-up in income share for America’s top 1 percent, came up last year with a statistic that was widely quoted by people who care about rising income inequality. In 2010, the first year of economic recovery after the 2009-2010 recession, 93 percent of all pre-tax income gains went to the top 1 percent, which in that year meant any household making more than about $358,000. This was, I quipped at the time, a members-only recovery. No 99-percenters need apply.

      Saez has now updated this statistic to include 2011. When you look at the economic recovery’s first two years, the top one percent (which by 2011 meant any household making more than about $367,000) captured 121 percent of all pre-tax income gains.

      How is it even possible for the one percent to capture more than 100 percent of all income gains since the last recession? Looked at from one point of view, it’s not. It is enough to say that in 2010 and 2011 all of the recovery went to the one percent. If you were in the bottom 99 percent, as by definition nearly all of us are, you didn’t see a dime of that recovery.

  9. dakinikat says:

    The Real Story of the Religious Right — A Movement Born to Defend Racial Segregation
    The movement initially emerged to defend racially segregated Christian schools from government intrusion.

    http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/real-story-religious-right-movement-born-defend-racial-segregation

    • RalphB says:

      That’s easily believable since they happened at roughly the same time periods. Their arguments haven’t changed much over the years either, only the targets differ.

      • dakinikat says:

        The article delves into why they switched to the abortion issue and other social issues too with a particularly revealing history about how evangelicals made up theology to support the anti abortion position. It’s an intriguing narrative by a biblical scholar.

  10. RalphB says:

    Morning Call: Lehigh University student sues over grade, seeks $1.3 million

    Megan Thode isn’t the first Lehigh University student who was unhappy with the grade she received in a course. But she may be the first to sue to get it changed.

    The C+ that Thode was given scuttled her dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor and was part of an effort to force her out of the graduate degree program she was pursuing, said her lawyer, Richard J. Orloski, whose lawsuit seeks $1.3 million in damages.

    This woman missed her calling. She should be in finance.

  11. dakinikat says:

    The GOP Plan to Flush Your State’s Economy Down the Toilet
    The new “red-state model” seeks to turn your state into Mississippi.

    http://www.alternet.org/economy/gop-plan-flush-your-states-economy-down-toilet

  12. dakinikat says:

    I really hope all these rumors about Penny Pritzker being named Commerce Secretary are wrong … she’s one of the prime reasons I was put off by Obama in 2008

    http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14493-billionaire-banker-bandit-likely-commerce-secretary