Sunday Reads

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)

9BVN82RVQZY4

Yesterday was a trying day for many people…the reports of US Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords assassination attempt and the deaths of innocent people was very distressing. So I am just going to jump in with the latest on this horrible shooting.

Cops Hunt Second Man Believed to Be Involved in Congresswoman Giffords Shooting

“We are not convinced that [the gunman in custody] acted alone, there is some reason to believe he came to this location with another individual, and that individual is involved,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said.

Police said a suspect was taken into custody, and Dupnik described the alleged shooter as mentally unstable. Though the sheriff did not name the suspect, he was identified by multiple law enforcement sources as Jared Lee Loughner, 22.

Dupnik declined to provide more information on the second individual who he would only describe as “white” and “in his 50s.” Authorities have photographs of the person of interest and are “actively pursuing him,” the sheriff said.

There is so much information coming in on this shooting, that I am just going to post a list of  links and a few selected quotes below.

From the New York Times:  Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics

While the exact motivations of the suspect in the shootings remained unclear, an Internet site tied to the man, Jared Lee Loughner, contained antigovernment ramblings. And regardless of what led to the episode, it quickly focused attention on the degree to which inflammatory language, threats and implicit instigations to violence have become a steady undercurrent in the nation’s political culture.

Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff, seemed to capture the mood of the day at an evening news conference when he said it was time for the country to “do a little soul-searching.”

“It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included,” Sheriff Dupnik said. “That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”

[…]

“It is fair to say — in today’s political climate, and given today’s political rhetoric — that many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse that have surely contributed to the atmosphere in which this event transpired,” said a statement issued by the leaders of the National Jewish Democratic Council. Ms. Giffords is the first Jewish woman elected to the House from her state.

On Crooks and Liars, there is this video: FOX News cuts away from ‘Giffords vigil’ when Sarah Palin’s name is mentioned.

Fox News started covering a vigil that was happening at the steps of the capitol in Arizona in honor of Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot earlier today. As soon as a young man mentioned Sarah Palin’s name, FOX News abruptly cut to commercial. It’s sickening. FOX News will do anything to protect the investment they have made in Sarah Palin, even at the expense of Rep. Giffords.

Newsweek: Disturbing Signs About the Gunman Alleged assailant said to have struggled with mental issues, had a troubled past.

CNN’s Political Ticker:  Giffords had history with Palin, Tea Party

The Hill’s Blog: House postpones healthcare vote after attack on Giffords

C-Span: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) in Critical Condition After Shooting Gunman killed six others, including Federal Judge John Roll

AP via Fox News: Sheriff: Suspicious package at Giffords HQ

Open Channel MSNBC: Few assassins fit the ‘profile.’ Most had no mental health treatment, made no threats

On Suburban Guerrilla, is this heart-wrenching post:

Christina Taylor Greene, dead in a political drive-by shooting at the age of nine. Dear God, what has all this hate done to our country?

In a final heartbreaking irony, Christina was featured in a book called “Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11.”

This is a tragedy, the loss of this little girl is so upsetting.  If you have children, whether they are adult children or young,  mine are 12 and 13, to hear about something as sad as this is especially hard. We can’t help to think of this killing with respect to our own children. The thought of this happening to my own kids, I cannot even begin to imagine what Christina’s family is going through now.

More about Christina Taylor Greene is posted over at FDL, Jane Hamsher writes:

Officials have released the name of the 9 year-old girl killed in the shooting of Gabby Giffords and 18 others in Tucson today. Her name is Christina Taylor Green, and a neighbor had brought her along to the Safeway to meet Rep. Giffords because she thought she would enjoy it.

Christina has recently been elected to serve on her school’s student council, and was active in baseball and ballet. And according to the NBC DC affiliate and the Sydney Morning Herald, she was born on 9/11 and was included in the book “Faces of Hope, Babies Born on 9/11.”

I’ve tried to hold back from commenting much today on events, trying to figure out what went on and how the pieces fit together before drawing conclusions. But it is just incredibly tragic that a young girl whose birth was supposed to symbolize hope and rebirth for America in the wake of 9/11 met her demise as she was shot in the chest in the midst of an undeniable culture of violence that continues to hold us all in its grip.

I am sure we will be getting more information on this later on, be sure to check Sky Dancing Blog for further updates.

Because of the shooting yesterday, many might have missed this post by our own Boston Boomer. She has done some amazing detective work, fleshing out the criminal past of Darrell Issa (R-CA), the new Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

When Issa first ran for the House in 1998, the San Francisco Chronicle dug up some embarrassing information from his past. The paper revealed that Issa had either deliberately lied or greatly exaggerated his military record. [Link]

Please give this post a read…not surprisingly BB has more to come, it is very interesting and shocking and maddening.

Looks like the gears are turning in the Wikileaks Twitter Subpoenaes. From the Globe and Mail:

Mr. Assange said the U.S. move amounted to harassment, and he pledged to fight it.

“If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out,” he told The Associated Press in an e-mail.

Legal experts have said one possible avenue for federal prosecutors would be to establish a conspiracy to steal classified information.

[…]

“They are trying to show that Pfc. Manning was more than a source of the information to a reporter and rather that Mr. Assange and Pfc. Manning were trying to jointly steal information from the U.S. government,” said Mark Rasch, a former prosecutor on computer crime and espionage cases in the Justice Department.

[…]

“How do they prosecute?” asked Mr. Rasch. “The answer is by establishing a unity of interest between Pfc. Manning and Mr. Assange. Make it a theft case and not just a journalist publishing information case.”

Mark Conner, from AFP and Reuters has this to say:

Icelandic politicians have blasted US demands for Twitter to hand over a member of parliament’s account details. Birgitta Jonsdottir faces investigation as one of several people connected to the website WikiLeaks.

Politicians in Iceland have hit out at a US request for Twitter to hand over details of a member of the country’s parliament because of her connections with WikiLeaks.

[…]

The subpoena obtained by the US Department of Justice in mid-December was made public on Friday after San Franciso-based Twitter won a legal battle requesting a right to inform the individuals involved. Among the information sought are online connection records, session times, IP addresses used to access Twitter, emails and residential addresses as well as bank and credit card account details.

I really see this as a step towards getting Assange a lovely windowless room next door to Manning, who is being held in solitary confinement in a maximum-security military brig at Quantico, Va.

The south is having another deep freeze the next few days. I have heard forecast that warn there will be 10 inches of snow in Atlanta. That means up in banjo land, we are really in for it. I’ll post some pictures, I wonder if we will have enough snow for a snowman like one of these:

Minx’s Missing Link File: From Harper’s Magazine this past week, In Texas, 41 Exonerations from DNA Evidence in 9 Years, I believe that Dak mentioned something about this last week.

In a Dallas courtroom yesterday Cornelius Dupree, who had spent thirty years in prison on a conviction for rape, robbery, and abduction, was told that he had been exonerated. DNA evidence had shown unequivocally that he was not the man who had committed the crime in question. The judgment came too late for Dupree, who had already served his full sentence; the court was merely terminating his parole status.

[…]

To its credit, the Texas legislature, taking note of the 41 exonerations produced by modern evidence since 2001, passed an act to compensate those who had been wrongfully imprisoned. Dupree will be eligible to receive $80,000 for each year he was imprisoned, plus an annuity, with a tax-free cash value of about $2.4 million.

The string of exonerations in Dallas are possible because of the personal commitment of Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins, who announced after he was elected in 2007 that he would take a serious look at DNA evidence in cases in which prosecutors had achieved convictions. Watkins’s decision has not been popular with prosecutors, but it’s a simple fact that even conscientious prosecutors make errors in the rush to secure convictions, particularly for heinous crimes. And many prosecutors are more interested in building a career than in doing justice. Watkins can stand as a model for prosecutors across the country, and particularly in the Department of Justice in Washington.

Let me repeat that bit one more time: 41 exonerations produced by modern evidence since 2001. This is bothersome to say the least, just imagine the number of those wrongly imprisoned that have been executed…Texas leads nation in the number of executions since death penalty was reinstated in 1976. For some more info on capital punishment in Texas, give this link a click.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link: This week TCM showed a fantastic movie staring Peter Sellers, called I’m All Right Jack. You may have missed it, but hopefully TCM will have it scheduled again soon. They have some clips about the film on their website. It is one of the few movies where Peter Sellers plays the “straight” man. By that I mean that he is not the one cracking the jokes.

I’m All Right Jack (1960)

Producer: Roy Boulting, Director: John Boulting, Screenplay: John Boulting, Alan Hackney, Frank Harvey, Cinematography: Mutz Greenbaum, Film Editing: Anthony Harvey, Art Direction: William C. Andrews, Music: Ken Hare, Cast: Ian Carmichael (Stanley Windrush), Terry-Thomas (Major Hitchcock), Peter Sellers (Fred Kite/Sir John Kennaway), Richard Attenborough (Sidney De Vere Cox), Dennis Price (Bertram Tracepurcel), Margaret Rutherford (Aunt Dolly).

Exploding like a case of shook-up canned champagne, the British satire I’m All Right Jack (1959) is what happens when you tamp down a nation’s populace with centuries of emotional repression and monarchal injustice, years of seriously homefront-sacrificial war, and a decade-plus of cheery subsequent postwar commercialization and Americanization. The movie is a geyser of social frustration, all assembled and executed with the brightest of classic comedy grins, disassembling first the fading aristocracy’s seizures of rage and lostness in the postwar culture, then the new union class’s second-hand-Marxist absurdities, and then the new breed of Yankee-ized, anything-for-profit business owner.

[…]

The film’s plot – based on a short story by Alan Hackney – hinges on the absolute and almost cosmic guileless stupidity of one Stanley Windrush (Ian Carmichael), a Candide-like scion of old-money gentry who simply thinks he might like to go “into business”; given his gormlessness, he is encouraged to “work his way up” to a management position, and so Stanley interviews for various working-class factory jobs and gets none, and eventually lands a job at his uncles’ munitions factory, running forklifts and such. Of course, the family see Stanley as their toehold and spy amid the unionized workers, but Stanley is oblivious, just as he is oblivious to everything else, including the principles of union labor and rules. On Stanley’s one hand, we have Peter Sellers as Mr. Kite, an uneducated laborer-turned-Marxist ideologue and shop steward, sporting a Hitler mustache and a glowering suspicion of every management move. On the other, we have Terry-Thomas as Major Hitchcock, the front-line manager who must try to manipulate the union to increase profits. Real trouble begins when the guileless Stanley shows off his new forklift prowess to an undercover “time and motion” manager, unintentionally quadrupling the job-efficiency requirements for the entire factory.

[…]

But why has it been more or less forgotten? In some ways, I’m All Right Jack may be too intensely British in social context – in short order, U.S. audiences became ignorant of the particulars of the postwar British industrial scene, which was for awhile one of the most heavily unionized in the world and which was effectively deunionized, disastrously, by the Thatcher administration in the 1980s. But therein lies another glitch in the movie’s arsenal: can a satire take aim at *both* labor unions and corporate ownership? What is I’m All Right Jack actually saying, except that the extremes in both directions are absurd? Is mocking Socialist cant and labor solidarity – which were employed, however ineffectively, for the purposes of treating workers fairly and humanely – the same as making sport of exploitative greed? How can you satirize two opposing ideals at the same time?[Link]

Well, the film does give both sides of the debate between unions and corporate big wigs. It is a laugh riot, and I would say a precursor to many films depicting the epic battle of the workers and corporate management. If you ever see it scheduled be sure to give it a look see…it is fantastic.

If your bookmarks or RSS feeds are acting a little strange, remember we have a new URL for the blog. You can read about that here.

So what is on your reading list today? Be sure to share lots of links, and always put your 2 cents about them in the comments.


41 Comments on “Sunday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    The nation is gripped in the psychosis of hatred. Hatred for anyone who does not agree with our point of view. The violence we witnessed on Saturday has become commonplace. Rarely does a day go by when some disgruntled worker, student, family member, gangbanger, does the unthinkable by grabbing a gun and resort to the violence that we see so often coming across our tv screens. Almost to the point where it has become commonplace.

    The man who pulled the trigger is responsible. But the hate filled, barely disguised rhetoric that flows from pundits, politicians, and the blogosphere itself has dulled our senses to the carnage that it invites from the unstable who reside among us. The barrage of insults maskerading as “discourse” leads some to act out on impulsive behavior that leaves us,for the moment at least,to briefly analyize what led to these hideous outcomes before we move on to the next event. We never seem to learn.

    The finger pointing and moral outrage has begun. “Fixing the blame” will lead the next few news cycles with a lot of hot air filling the airwaves for a time while we search for answers. But until we begin to realize that civility has all but disappeared from our lives, only to be replaced by images of violence against those who hold a different point of view, these horriffic episodes will continue.

    And for those who make a living by encouraging and employing the rhetoric that fuels these actions, they need to take a step back and take a serious look at what their words invite. Hatred.

    • Sima says:

      Bravo!

      This past weekend I had the chance to view commercial television for a couple of evenings. It’s appalling. Cable, regular broadcast, it doesn’t matter. Appalling.

      After over 15 years without a TV I noticed one thing in particular. I am highly sensitive to the emotional appeals of commercials, especially ‘saving’ commercials like those for animal health etc. Also sensitive to the brutal aspects of much of TV, the apparently random violence, the objectification of both women and men, the appeal to artificial ‘beauty’. I wonder how desensitized viewing this stuff over and over makes people?

      I don’t think I’m abnormally touchy, but some of this stuff just made me gasp in disbelief. On the other hand, I remember when the shows about cops started and suddenly cops weren’t just people doing jobs, but heroes fighting against a seething untermensch which deserved no understanding or pity (not saying the cops felt this way, but the show sure made that conclusion on society’s behalf). Now we have shows about prisoners. I wonder if the pendulum will swing the other way?

  2. zaladonis says:

    Well, scanning the internet and cable news it looks like another tragedy is another chance for people to haul out their bags of blame and point a scolding finger at opponents, too afraid to deal with their own anger and the part they play in attack politics, and the primary culprit of this event: a man’s mental illness.

    Imagine what we could achieve if Americans used these tragedies to motivate the hard work of repair rather than rooting in the gutter for another clot of dirt to fling. And I think a lot of these pontificators only pretend to loathe the opponent’s vitriol but in fact revel in it because they believe it justifies their own.

    My two cents.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    What is even more discouraging is that those self styled pundits are well paid for the words they employ, the messages they deliver, and the conspiracies they devise, in order to “justify” their rights under the First Amendment. This can also be applied to those elected officials who earn their salaries at the public expense and who go basically unchallenged as they spew their hatred in front of the cameras that fight for the space to record them. The crazier the better in a race for the ratings. And we stand back and permit these fools to make a living at our expense.

    Words indeed have consequences and the First Amendment does not allow calling “fire” in a crowded theater to go unpunished. It is up to the public to turn away from these hatemongers and politicians who aim to incite while hiding behind their “right” to do so as a means to avoid responsibility. The “right to bear arms” does not include murdering our fellow citizens by creating supposed scenarios that leads to untold tragedies at the hands of the unhinged.

    It is up to us to turn a deaf ear to the malicious, hate filled words that imbue our airways and call for an end to the stupidity disguised as meaningful dialogue.

    • Fannie says:

      Agreed, many have used not just words, but images of hate. The atmosphere that’s been created via the internet, points to those who are possessed by impulses of violence. Made me think of the photos of
      Hillary and Palin being lynched.

      I am reminded of the View, when Joy spewed it when she encouraged Angle to come on to Brooklyn Bitch, and get some of this
      hate.

      It reminds me of Sarah Bernhard, who wished gang rape by four big black brothers on another woman.

      And of Hollywood’s Alec Baldwin, when he said people needed to go to Washington and stone Henry Hyde to death.

      It goes on and on, and from every corner, and colors not just the US but the rest of world. It’s a heavy MENTAL atmosphere everywhere.
      The manisfestation is deeply pronounced among the young.

  4. I caught some random blurbs of Fox News yesterday and one of them was of Bill Hemmer saying the important thing to take away (I’m assuming from some footage of his interview with Giffords) was that she is such a moderate.

    To which my eyes just glazed over. Why is being “such a moderate” the “important thing to take away”? Frankly if she was a pinko commie or she was a Glenn Beck sheep, it wouldn’t make it any less wrong for someone to take a gun and shoot at her and her crowd.

    /endrant

    • HT says:

      Agree totally. I cannot believe some of the verbiage that is passing for intelligent commentary today. One’s political affiliation and/or leaning should not be something that get’s them killed. Seems as if there are fascists on the extreme side of both spectrums trying to make decent honorable people of all stripes afraid of running for office. Makes one wonder.

  5. ralphb says:

    Yesterday the rush to ignore the problem of mental illness in America, while both sides scrambled to blame each other provided me a day off from the intertubz. It was downright refreshing.

    These horrible tragedies should be used to motivate solutions to our problems. On this I completely agree with zaladonis.

    • dakinikat says:

      There’s some news coming out now that he was a member of a well-known anti-Semitic hate group. Unfortunately, hate and mental illness comes in many flavors.

      I hope we use this as a time to question our policy on semi-automatic weapons and look at the way we deal with the mentally ill. If this guy couldn’t get into the Army, some one must’ve known he was off some how. We don’t have an effective policy on treating the mentally ill now since Reagan dumped every one out in to the streets. Most of the eventually do something horrible and wind up in the criminal justice system. I don’t think that’s an effective strategy for dealing with the mentally ill at all.

    • dakinikat says:

      There’s a WAPO interview with a community college professor and a student that dealt with this guy last summer in a math class. He was obviously having mental health issues then. I wonder why they just booted him from the class and didn’t take steps like have him evaluated while he was on the student body roll?

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        This sort of reminds me of the VT shootings a couple years back.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Tech_massacre

        Remember there were reports that the shooter at VT also had mental problems, yet he was able to obtain a gun…

      • ralphb says:

        Seems to me that when the issues of involuntary confinement/treatment were settled, we stopped looking out for the mentally ill at all. One of the harder things to accept about our judicial system is that being bugfuck crazy isn’t a crime, until you do something horrible. Then it’s one step too far.

  6. Fannie says:

    Great article on DNA in Texas prison system……….also read where
    family members want to do DNA on John Wilkes Booth.

  7. NW Luna says:

    BTW, luv the new blog look.

  8. mablue2 says:

    What is this number 9BVN82RVQZY4 and why is it showing up on top of the Sunday Reads ?

    • mablue, it’s a code for the site transfer and getting a few things set up.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Can the team put up interesting book on the right via Google click to facilitate maintaining the site and software? Just a thought.

      • The priority this weekend is making sure some odds and ends with the domain change work out smoothly, but behind the scenes we’re working on stuff like that for the long term, WV. Thanks for thinking about the site’s wellbeing! That’s so sweet of you.

      • mablue2 says:

        Btw WTV, try to open the website with the Opera browser on Windows: You can another interesting design. Strangely, once you go to the comments, you get something much closer to the design we have on firefox and on explorer, only a littler sharper.

  9. Woman Voter says:

    If there is a hell, I hope Glenn Beck has to listen for eternity to all the people he winds up and sets their emotions on fire.

    “GLENN BECK HAS NAZI TOURETTES!”

  10. Woman Voter says:

    StationCDRKelly Scott Kelly
    by singlepayer
    I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers, words of condolences and encouragement for the victims and their families of this h

    Moving RT Tweet

  11. Woman Voter says:

    @dredeyedick @socialmedia_law #WikiLeaks #subpoena covers all 650,000 #Twitter #followers as well 😯 http://tiny.cc/ir4v8 #ACLU #Obama

    WikiLeaks subpoena covers all 650,000 Twitter followers as well

    Having just checked my Twitter follower list it appears that I along with 636,486 other people follow the WikiLeaks account and therefore all our details will shortly be winging their way over to the modern day Stasi-esque country that currently calls itself Amerika.

    At first I only understood it to be the details of the actual Twitter accounts mentioned in the subpoena that were going to be sent over e.g Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Rop Gongrijp and Birgitta Jonsdottir but it seems that point B2 of the attachment covers all followers of these accounts as well.

    Point B2 requests information related to those accounts that include:

    “all records and other information (…) including non-content information associated with the contents of any communication or file stored by or for the account(s), such as the source and destination email addresses and IP addresses”.

    http://www.darkpolitricks.com/2011/01/wikileaks-subpoena-covers-all-650000-twitter-followers-as-well/

    WOW, we are going to get the Nekkid treatment and lord knows what else. OK, I confess I once contacted WikiLeaks because their link didn’t work…Holy SMOKE! 😦 Is this a case of guilty by tweet association? Yikes!

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m on the list too. So, is this blog.

      • HT says:

        I suspect that not only every blog that ever mentioned wikileaks, but every commenter is also on the list. And they are arguing about where they can cut costs – fools.

      • Woman Voter says:

        DAK,

        Gee, who knew, it would come to this. Funny thing is I never even down loaded any information from their site, because I figured they would do something like this. This must be a case of big net, in an effort to catch something, or they may end up with someone making up stuff after waterboarding. Granny drag net?

        Sheesh, if they wanted to know anything, they just have to read the blog…

        Twitter Subpoena

        Click to access subpoena.pdf

      • dakinikat says:

        Department of JUST ICE

    • Laurie says:

      WOW 8-(

      • Woman Voter says:

        Double WOW!

        pmbguy Alasdair Knox
        WLCentral: 2011-01-09: DOJ subpoena applicable to non-Twitter users who viewed tweets? #WikiLeaks #Assange #Cablegate wlcentral.org/node/864

        OK, you looky Looks…(ala you looked while slowing down on the internet highway)… yup, you too are in on the Drag Net. 😯