Tuesday Evening Reads

Good Evening. I’m filling in for Minkoff Minx tonight, as she prepares for her surgery tomorrow.

I just heard on MSNBC that NBC News has already called the DC and Maryland primaries for Mitt Romney. The polls close in Wisconsin at 9PM Eastern, but Romney is expected to win there also.

As I wrote this morning, folks in Wisconsin are much more excited about the vote to recall Governor Scott Walker, which takes place in June, than they are about today’s Republican primary. Along those lines, John Nichols has an interesting piece in The Nation about why Walker has been avoiding talking about or being seen with the Republican candidates, despite the fact that Romney and Santorum have been praising Walker’s anti-labor agenda to the skies in hopes of gaining votes.

Romney’s major appearance in the vicinity of the state’s second largest city, Madison, was on Saturday at a suburban call center where Walker backers are trying—in preparation for the recall race—to identify supporters of the governor. Romney used the event, as he has others across the state, to hail Walker as a “hero.”

Santorum, who actually made calls at a Walker office last week, has been even more effusive in his praise of the embattled governor, telling crowds they have to work to prevent the recalls of Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. “Please continue to lead and defend these two great public officials,” he told the crowd in Waukesha County.

But you won’t hear Walker thanking the presidential candidates for their support. Even when the governor is in the vicinity of the GOP contenders—at party functions, for instance—he leaves a good distance between himself and Romney and Santorum. And as the primary approaches, Walker is scheduling himself away from the candidates.

Why? Because the governor recognizes that he is in the fight of his political life, and the last thing he wants is to reemphasize why that fight has developed by appearing with Republican presidential candidates who are highlighting precisely the policies that got Walker in political hot water.

Also in Wisconsin, police have identified a suspect in the yesterday’s Planned Parenthood bombing attempt, but they aren’t naming him yet.

Police say they have arrested the person they think placed a homemade explosive device that went off Sunday and damaged Planned Parenthood’s Gillett Street clinic.

Police said today they identified the man after reviewing surveillance footage.

The 50-year-old man Brillion man was jailed early Tuesday for violating his probation, though police haven’t yet sought charges stemming from placement of the explosive and subsequent fire at the clinic. The man has a lengthy criminal history that includes cocaine possession and delivery, resisting or obstructing police, bail jumping and disorderly conduct.

“The focus today is to determine what else we can discover that might link this person to the situation,” said Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson.

There were some terrible tornadoes in the the Dallas, Texas area this afternoon.

Tornadoes and violent storms raked through the Dallas area Tuesday, crumbling the wing of a nursing home, peeling roofs from dozens of homes and spiraling big-rig trailers into the air like footballs. More than a dozen injuries were reported.

Overturned cars left streets unnavigable and flattened trucks clogged highway shoulders. Preliminary estimates were that six to 12 tornadoes had touched down in North Texas, senior National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Martello said. But firm numbers would only come after survey teams checked damage Wednesday, he said.

In suburban Dallas, Lancaster Police officer Paul Beck said 10 people were injured, two of them severely. Three people were injured in Arlington, including two residents of a nursing home who were taken to a hospital with minor injuries after swirling winds clipped the building, city assistant fire chief Jim Self said.

“Of course the windows were flying out, and my sister is paralyzed, so I had to get someone to help me get her in a wheelchair to get her out of the room,” said Joy Johnston, who was visiting her 79-year-old sister at the Green Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “It was terribly loud.”

It sounds pretty bad, but so far no deaths have been reported. I sure hope it stays that way.

Can the judicial branch “order” the executive branch to do something? According to a Fox News headline, they can: Judges order Justice Department to clarify Obama remarks on health law case. Funny, I thought the three branches of government were independent of each other.

A federal appeals court is striking back after President Obama cautioned the Supreme Court against overturning the health care overhaul and warned that such an act would be “unprecedented.”

A three-judge panel for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the Justice Department to explain by Thursday whether the administration believes judges have the power to strike down a federal law.

One justice in particular chided the administration for what he said was being perceived as a “challenge” to judicial authority — referring directly to Obama’s latest comments about the Supreme Court’s review of the health care case….

“Does the Department of Justice recognize that federal courts have the authority in appropriate circumstances to strike federal statutes because of one or more constitutional infirmities?” Judge Jerry Smith asked at the hearing.

Justice Department attorney Dana Lydia Kaersvang answered “yes” to that question.

Fine, but the President has the same first amendment rights as any citizen, and judges can’t tell him what to say or not say. These “conservative” justices are getting too big for their britches, if you ask me.

I wrote this morning that Florida states attorney Norman Wolfinger had accused Trayvon Martin’s parent of “outright lies” in their request for help from the Justice Department. Today the parents and their attorneys struck back: This family deserves answers.

[Natalie Jackson, a lawyer for Trayvon’s parents] said the family is “asking the same questions that the American people are asking.” She added, in a pointed rebuke of Wolfinger, who, an anonymous source told theGrio, personally met with the chief on the night of the shooting, February 26th, after which the decision to release Zimmerman was made: “the family is getting the same information the public is getting, through the media, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be. They should be getting it from the source.”

Jackson said Wolfinger’s office failed to keep the family informed when he had the case, and added, “the only source who can get answers for this family at this point, is the Justice Department.”

Jackson said Trayvon’s parents have a core question: “why was George Zimmerman not arrested that night? Why did [Wolfinger’s office and Sanford police] say there was no probable cause? We as Americans see there was probable cause. That is the core of the problem. If the state attorney had answered that question, we wouldn’t be here. But it’s not acceptable to ignore the family. So let’s not attack these parents when all they want to know is what happened to their dead child. Because no matter what, their child was walking home from the store. If George Zimmerman had stayed in his car, we wouldn’t be here. The lead homicide detective believed there should be an arrest. Why wasn’t [Zimmerman] arrested?”

Jackson said that since no local law enforcement representatives will answer the family’s questions, they don’t see any other way to get answers than through the Justice Department. MSNBC reported that FBI agents were interviewing witnesses today. I have a strong feeling that Sanford police and Wolfinger are going to get their comeuppance eventually.

Zimmerman’s strongest defender in the neighborhood, Frank Taaffee, isn’t doing his pal George any favors. He went on a “rant” about “young black males” in an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien.

“Neighbor-hood, that’s a great word,” Taaffe said, chuckling. “We had eight burglaries in our neighborhood, all perpetrated by young black males in the 15 months prior to Trayvon being shot.”

O’Brien asked how many arrests and convictions there were, and Taffee said there was only one. So how does he know the burglaries were all committed by “young black males?” But despite the lack of arrests, Taffee claims to know.

“It sounds like you are saying that it made sense to you that George Zimmerman would be fearful of young black men,” O’Brien observed.

“No, it would be consistent that the perpetrators were all of the young black male ID,” Taaffe explained. “All of the perpetrators of the prior burglaries were young black males. … You know, there’s an old saying that if you plant corn, you get corn.”

“If you plant corn, you get corn. What does that mean?” O’Brien wondered.

“It is what it is,” Taaffe replied. “I would go on record stating, of the eight prior burglaries in the 15 months prior to the Trayvon Martin shooting, all of the perpetrators were young black males. … No disrespect to George Clooney, but it was a perfect storm. All the ingredients were set up. You know, the prior burglaries were committed or perpetrated by young black males, George was on his [neighborhood watch] rounds.”

Interestingly, Taaffe has a criminal history similar to Zimmerman’s. Taffee has been arrested for violating protective order against him for domestic violence.

Someone at DU posted Taafee’s full criminal record. He was arrested for beating up his wife (now ex-wife) in 1999, 2000, and 2008 and for harassing his children in 2002. They also got a restraining order against him. He was convicted of criminal trespass and petty theft in 2000 and sentenced to 9 months in jail. And he was charged with failure to pay child support in 1999. Nice guy, huh?

This will give you some news to chew on. The Wisconsin results should be coming in a few minutes.

14 Comments on “Tuesday Evening Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I guess it’s over. Santorum is speaking in PA right now.

  2. joanelle says:

    BB – do you know anything about that “news” blip about someone in the Obama camp threatening Chelsea’s life in 2008. I think they said it was from a “Fox” news anchor but have found nothing else about it.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    George Zimmerman has hired a criminal defense attorney, but neither of his attorney has ever met him in person–they’ve only talked to him on the phone.


  4. ANonOMouse says:

    I watched the Soledad O’Brien interview of Taaffe this morning, wow, that guy his a blg old I’m white, your black, chip on his shoulder. He made no attempt to hide his paranoia of AA men. I think he see’s black men hiding behind every tree, around every corner. George Zimmerman’s new attorney, who’s giving TV interviews, but hasn’t met George yet, needs to give Taaffe a call and tell him to STFU because his racism is showing, dramatically.

    The interview was very good, but you could tell Soledad was getting riled and the more Taaffe spoke the worse he made the situation for himself and George by implying that since 8 robberies in the recent past had been perpetrated by young black men “who looked like” trayvon, then duh, what was poor little George to think? Soledad called him out and asked if Zimmerman was profiling?. I personally have no sympathy for Zimmerman. I think, when the entire story is told, through evidence and witnesses, even with the most important elements missing since they went to the grave with Trayvon, that George Zimmerman will stand trial.

    • RalphB says:

      It would seem to me they have probable cause from what I’ve heard. I have no idea what will come of the case though. Call me cynical but anything can happen.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The FBI is on the case now. If there isn’t an arrest soon, it’s going to get really ugly. There are have been demonstrations all over the country–even in small cities like I grew up in in Indiana (population less than 100K).

  5. RalphB says:

    OT. The Baylor womens basketball team won the national championship and had a perfect season.

  6. RalphB says:

    George W. Bush mercifully silent on 2012

    This article is a reminder, though, that we must be ever vigilant when it comes to defining the Bush years, because there are plenty of elements in the GOP who are itching to pull another Reagan and turn a terrible president into a secular saint. So never forget: The Bush years were mostly about lies, war, torture, and the time Dick Cheney shot an old man in the face.