Blue Blue Monday Reads and Yes! Let’s politicize homophobia and gun fetishists!

Good Afternoon!

Once again we see the results of toxic religious zealotry and resentment whipped up to the point that some nutter feels compelled to kill in the case of the Orlando massacre.  This occurs all too frequently in this country.  You may recall the images (14)Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting where we saw Robert Dear go on a shooting spree with the same deadly combination of anger whipped up by right wing politicians and preachers, mental illness, and easy access to weapons.  One claimed ISIS inspiration and Islamofascism.  The other was inspired by Christofascists in the US that bring you terror in the name of Fetus Fetishism.

We still haven’t heard about the motives of the Indiana man–a 20 year old white guy–in terms of why he was going after participants and viewers of a California Gay Pride parade.  Suffice it to say, the politicization of the private lives of the GLBT community by Republicans, their presidential candidate, and the various religious whackos that they court likely will come into play at some point.

Harassing and encouraging anger is just one political tool used regularly by Republicans these days.  I have noticed that the silence is deafening right now on James Wesley Howell.  The press can is clearly focused on the bloodbath and the sensational background of the Pulse Shooter rather than wondering why we manage to get bigger and badder displays of hatred and anger these days.  I’m not sure that most people realize that any Abrahamic-based religion is going to beget violence in some folks.  It goes with territory.  A few of them take retribution and strict commandments from their angry sky fairy way too seriously. This is especially the case if they have some kind of severe emotional or mental disorder.

(Spoiler Alert)  It’s the easy access to guns of all kinds in this country. The irresponsible and cynical use of anger and outrage to gain power and money is out of control.  Religion is just another vehicle to whip up the anger and the outrage and it frequently turns deadly.

obama1-703x406The weapon of choice for mass shooters is the AR-15 rifle.  This is one of the weapons that was included in the assault weapons ban signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 that expired in 2004.  The rifle was used in Orlando, Aurora,  Newton, and San Bernadino. It’s easily obtainable and the latest shooter–who had a history of Domestic Violence and was under the eye of the FBI for terrorist rantings–had a license to carry it and to obtain it legally.  Let that sink in.

There were calls to ban the weapon after the Newtown shootings, which led to a spike in sales. Gun manufacturers have called the AR-15 one of the most popular weapons in the U.S., with more than 3 million estimated to be in circulation.

“It was designed for the United States military to do to enemies of war exactly what it did this morning: kill mass numbers of people with maximum efficiency and ease,” lawyer Josh Koskoff, who’s representing Newtown families in their lawsuit against the gun industry, said Sunday.

Regulations on magazine capacity for the weapon vary from state to state, but it can fire 45 rounds a minute.

Most forms of the gun had been prohibited under the 1994 federal assault weapons ban that was allowed to expire in 2004, following ferocious lobbying by the National Rifle Association.

The NRA has used its lobbying might in the years since to bury attempts to revive the ban.

“During the decade of the ban, there were half as many casualties in mass shootings as the decade before, and a third as many casualties in mass shootings as the decade after,” said Richard Aborn of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, a strategist involved in the original legislation.

920x920 (1)Hillary Clinton has called for a renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban that her husband signed in his first term.  This is one of the reasons that I am so happy she is the nominee.  Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has some extremely neoconfederate views of gun control that he reiterated yesterday.  He believes it is a state and local issue, voted against the Brady Bill many many times, and has supported relieving gun manufacturers and stores of any liability for the damage done by their product.

Hillary Clinton has called for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban in the wake of the worst mass shooting in American history that left 49 people and the gunman dead at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

In forthright comments a day after the massacre at the Pulse Club, the presumptive presidential nominee for the Democratic party issued a call for a return to “commonsense gun safety reform” and lambasted the Republican-controlled Congress for what she called a “totally incomprehensible” refusal to address the country’s lax gun laws.

“We can’t fall into the trap set up by the gun lobby that says if you cannot stop every shooting you shouldn’t try to stop any,” she said.

Clinton’s tough stance on gun control sets up a torrid fight with her Republican rival for the White House Donald Trump, who has positioned himself as a champion of the second amendment and dismissed any calls for greater gun controls as weakness. She insisted that while she did believe that law-abiding American citizens have the right to own guns, it was also possible to see that “reasonable, commonsense measures” could be taken that would make people more safe from guns.

One of the things that stuns me is the ease with which a guy on the FBI threat radar could get a permit to carry and purchase a rifle that no civilian should own.

A day after the deadliest mass shooting in US history, questions are mounting over why the shooter Omar Mateen was legally able to buy an assault rifle and handgun despite having been investigated twice by the FBI for suspected terrorist sympathies.

Mateen, 29, launched his attack on Pulse club, an LGBT venue in downtown Orlando celebrating its popular Latin dance night, at 2.02am on Sunday morning.

Twenty minutes into the spree he took the bizarre step of making a 911 call in which he reportedly referred both to Islamic State and the Tsarnaevs, the brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013.

Sunday’s attack – which left 49 clubgoers dead and 53 injured – was launched by Mateen using a .223-caliber assault rifle and 9mm semi-automatic pistol with multiple rounds of ammunition that had been purchased quite lawfully in the week before the rampage using Mateen’s firearms license. Mateen was shot dead by police.

He also held a permit to work as a security guard, which he did at a courthouse in Port St Lucie, Florida, even though he was interviewed three times by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 following separate reports of extremist behavior and connections to terrorism that were in the end deemed insubstantial.

Mateen was released because no evidence of wrongdoing was found by the FBI.  He’s a natural born American so that provides him the usual 4816protections.  This is something that appears to have blown completely pass Donald Trump whose rhetoric and bragging were dialed up to 11 yesterday. He revisited his call to ban all Muslims from entering the country despite the fact that all three of the shooters claiming support for Islamofascim–Nidal Hassn (Fort Hood),Syed Rizwan Farook, (San Bernardino) , and Mateen (Orlando)–were American citizens. Only Farook’s wife–Tashfeen Malik–was foreign born.

The presumptive Republican nominee pulled no punches in a lengthy statement yesterday, going so far as to call for Barack Obama to resign and reiterating his call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States (despite the fact that the shooter was born in New York).

“In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam’. For that reason alone, he should step down,” Trump said in his press release. “If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘Radical Islam’ she should get out of this race for the Presidency. If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen – and it is only going to get worse. I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.”

“We admit more than 100,000 lifetime migrants from the Middle East each year. Since 9/11, hundreds of migrants and their children have been implicated in terrorism in the United States,” Trump added. “Hillary Clinton wants to dramatically increase admissions from the Middle East, bringing in many hundreds of thousands during a first term – and we will have no way to screen them, pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalizing.” (To be fair, this mischaracterizes Clinton’s position.)

The statement followed a stream of self-congratulatory tweets.

Clinton  has decided to adopt the use of radical Islam.  Let’s hope she will also be brave enough to point out radical Christians like Ted Cruz’s “Kill the 1024x1024Gays” pastor or the horrid group at Westborough Baptist Church.   She used the term on several morning news shows today.

Hillary Clinton on Monday broke from President Barack Obama in referring to the terrorist attack as “radical Islamism,” countering Donald Trump’s accusations that both she and Obama are weak on tackling terrorist threats.

In an interview with NBC’s “Today” on Monday morning, Clinton said words matter less than actions, but that she didn’t have a problem using the term.

“And from my perspective, it matters what we do, not what we say. It matters that we got Bin Laden, not what name we called him,” Clinton said. “But if he is somehow suggesting I don’t call this for what it is, he hasn’t been listening. I have clearly said we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism, and we will.”

Both terms “mean the same thing,” Clinton continued, adding, “And to me, radical jihadism, radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I’m happy to say either, but that’s not the point.”

“I have clearly said many, many times we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism or radical Islamism, whatever you call it,” Clinton said later on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” reiterating, “it’s the same.”

The U.S. cannot, on the other hand, she added, “demonize, demagogue and declare war on an entire religion.” Clinton also said she could assure Americans that she is equally committed to fighting Islamic extremism as well as protecting law-abiding Muslims.

The President spoke on the radicalization of Mateen several hours ago.

President Obama said Monday that the Orlando mass murder was “inspired” by violent extremist propaganda on the internet and there’s no evidence the killing spree was ordered by ISIS.

“We see no clear evidence that he was directed externally,” Obama said from the Oval Office, using another name from the Islamic State terror group. “It does appear that at the last minute he announced allegiance to ISIL.”

Obama said investigators are tracing Omar Mateen’s “pathway” to murder by reviewing his internet searches and other materials.

“It appears that the shooter was inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the internet,” Obama said.

“All those materials are currently being searched … so we will have a better sense of pathway that the killer took in the making a decision to launch this attack.”

Obama made the brief remarks after meeting with FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other security officials.

131204143041-dc-gun-control-rally-file-gi-story-top

The Orlando shooting and the shooting that might have been in California both are rooted in hate and easy access to guns. Both shooter and potential shooter had histories of mental illness. The Orlando shooter had a history of Domestic violence which in many states would stop him from getting access to any gun. Clearly, we have a problem in this country with hate and guns turned on the hapless population. One of our political parties has weaponized hatred and bigotry then enabled shooters by catering to all the whims of the most radical elements of the NRA gun lobby.

Clinton is right. This has to end on all accounts.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Breaking News: Mass Shooting in Orlando

******Updated the casualty figures as of 12:22************

50 dead in Orlando nightclub terrorism attack, state of emergency declared – Orlando Sentinel

Live video: Orlando Sentinel reporters discuss mass shooting – Orlando Sentinel

More current updates in the comment section below…

 

There has been a mass shooting…they are calling it a terror attack, whether it is a “domestic or foreign” they have not specified…according to MSNBC at 8:04am.

 

The Pulse is a large gay night club in Orlando…

Reported as of 8:04am:

20 Dead

42 Injured

 

That number has since been increased to 50 dead.

 

 

Updates: Mass shooting at Pulse nightclub – Orlando Sentinel

Christal Hayes
@Journo_Christal

At least 42 injured, about 20 deadFBI investigating as act of terror
Shooter acted as lone wolf, has possible ties to radical Islam
#Pulse

Updated to add screenshot of the above tweet which was sent at 4:44 this morning:

Christal Hayes on Twitter At least 42 injured about 20 dead FBI investigating as act of terror Shooter acted as lone wolf has possible ties to radical Islam Pulse

At that time, even so early…someone had leaked to the press the suspect shooter was of Islamic descent.

The authorities say there appears to be possible bombs/exploding devices at the scene…

Orlando Nightclub Shooting: Mass Casualties After Gunman Opens Fire in Gay Club – NBC News

Approximately 20 people are dead and scores wounded after a gunman opened fire and took hostages at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, police said.

Officials said a hostage situation developed after the gunman stormed the Pulse Nightclub about 2 a.m Sunday. The assailant was shot dead about three hours later when a SWAT team entered the club, police said.

Image: Emergency services respond to a shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Emergency services respond the shooting at Pulse Nightclub. Orlando Police / Twitter

The incident is being investigated as an act of terrorism.

“We are looking at probably in the range of 20 [dead], but we don’t want to give you an exact figure,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said.

Police said a uniformed officer working extra duty engaged in a gun fight with the shooter after he opened fire at the entrance to the club. Mina said the incident then developed into a hostage situation.

“A little after 5 a.m. this morning we made the decision to go in on a rescue,” Mina said, adding that an officer was injured after being shot in the head.

“It appears his helmet saved his life,” he said. “So he has an injury to his eye, but it looks like the bullet did hit his helmet.”

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said the incident “could definitely be classified as domestic terrorism.”

Revelers described scenes of horror inside the club. One witness told MSNBC that they had to crawl over bodies to escape.

A post to the club’s Facebook page at around 2 a.m. warned “everyone get out of Pulse and keep running.” Witness video from outside showed dozens of first responders at the scene, and several victims on the ground.

“It was tragic,” club-goer Christopher Hansen told MSNBC. “I wasn’t sure if it was the music, because … it went with the beat almost until you heard just too many shots.

“It was just like — bang, bang, bang, bang, bang bang — and that’s when you just know chaos is just, it was in turmoil,” he added.

About 20 people dead in gay nightclub shooting, Orlando police say – LA Times

The gunman, who has not been identified, was carrying an assault rifle, a handgun and a “device.” The Orange County Sheriff’s Office hazardous device team is now searching the area.

The FBI is assisting with the investigation. Agents say they cannot rule this out as an act of domestic terrorism and that the suspect, who is not from Orlando, may have leanings toward extreme ideologies.

Witnesses said they heard at least 40 shots fired inside the popular gay club and estimated that at least 20 people had been shot.

[…]

Dozens of emergency vehicles surrounded the chaotic scene at the  club at 1912 S. Orange Ave. after the 2 a.m. shooting and rescue squads were transporting multiple victims to area hospitals.

The Orlando Fire Department called for its bomb squad and hazardous material team to the scene after 3 a.m. Police K-9 dogs are searching the area around nearby Orlando Regional Medical Center with an armed deputy in head-to-toe military gear.

Emergency workers were seen taking victims away from the scene in large trucks–in one case, an emergency worker was doing chest compressions on one of the victims.

Just after the shooting, Pulse Orlando posted a note to its web page that said “Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running.” The popular gay bar was full of people at the time of the incident.

Orlando nightclub shooting: police say up to 20 dead in terrorist incident | US news | The Guardian

In a press conference on Sunday morning, an FBI spokesman said investigators believed the attacker may have had extremist beliefs, and would consider possible links to Isis, but cautioned they were pursuing multiple leads. Authorities earlier said a controlled explosion had taken place inside the club, and urged media to avoid reporting inaccuracies.

Police also confirmed an officer on duty at the club exchanged shots with the gunman, and the situation then descended into a “hostage situation”. The situation was resolved when a Swat team stormed the nightclub after receiving messages from club patrons who were hiding in the club while the gunman was still at large.

Several explosives and an armoured vehicle were used to break through a wall of the nightclub and rescue approximately 30 hostages. The suspect was shot by a police officer during this intervention.

John Mina, the chief of police, said they were still trying to identify the gunman, but he appears to have been “well-organised”. They could not confirm if the man was operating as a lone wolf or in coordination with others, but believe there is no increased threat to Orlando or the surrounding areas.

Police confirmed several “suspicious devices” were found in and around the nightclub, including one on the gunman and one on his car.

“This is an incident, as I see it, that we can definitely classify as a domestic terrorism incident,” said the Orange County sheriff, Jerry Demings.

When asked if the suspect had any affiliation with Islamic State, the FBI assistant agent in charge, Ron Hopper, said: “We do have suspicions that the individual may have leanings toward that ideology.” Though when pushed as to what led him to believe that, he clarified that all possibilities were being investigated.

Shooting at Orlando Nightclub Kills About 20, Police Say – The New York Times

The club itself posted a message on its Facebook page about 3 a.m.: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.”

Customers streamed out of the club into a chaotic situation with little idea of where to go. “Cops were saying, ‘Go, go, clear the area,’ ” Christopher Hansen told an Orlando television station. “You don’t know who’s what and who’s where.”

As the sun came up, helicopter-shot video showed a situation that seemed to be under control, although windows on one side of the club appeared to be shot out.

Phone camera videos shot at the scene show police cars, ambulances and other emergency vehicles outside the club on South Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando. Streets around the the club were shut down for several blocks.

In one video, shots could clearly be heard as men and women ran from Pulse. Some of the clubgoers told local television reporters that the music was so loud it was difficult, at first, to distinguish the shots from the pulsing beat.

More than 100 people were believed inside the club when the shooting began about 2 a.m.

Many of the wounded were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, about three blocks from the club, which was placed on lockdown after receiving several gunshot victims. “Only essential workers are being allowed access into the building,” the hospital said in a statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Arnold Palmer Hospital and Winnie Palmer Hospital have also been placed on lockdown,” the statement added.

On Pulse’s Facebook page, club officials promised to post updates as they came in: “As soon as we have any information, we will update everyone.”

“Please keep everyone in your prayers as we work through this tragic event,” the nightclub post said. “Thank you for your thoughts and love.”

Local television stations broadcast interviews with people outside the club and the Orlando Regional Medical Center, about three blocks away from the club, anxiously waiting to hear from people who they said were still inside.

WKMG and WESH broadcast interviews with the crowds milling outside the hospital. One woman said she rushed to the area after she got a call from her daughter, who said, “Please come get us and come get us now.”

One mother told CNN: “A girlfriend of my son called and said he got shot, he got shot and she was crying.”

She said could not find her son, or even get information on where he had been taken. Some of the victims had been transferred to other hospitals “because this hospital was full,” she said outside Orlando Regional Medical Center.

The club, which calls itself “Orlando’s Latin Hotspot,” hosts an “Upscale Latin Saturdays” party on Saturday night with three D.J.s and a midnight show.

Terror attack at Orlando gay club leaves about 20 people dead – NY Daily News

A terrorist opened fire inside a popular Orlando gay club near closing time early Sunday leaving “approximately” 20 people dead and 42 others wounded, according to authorities.

The 2 a.m. attack was “well organized and well prepared,” said local cops as FBI officials painted the attack as domestic terror. The shooter, who was not from the Orlando area, may have had “leanings” toward radical Islam, Special Agent Danny Banks revealed.

HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

“I heard 20, 40, 50 shots,” Alamo said. “The music stopped.”

Christopher Hansen was in the VIP area when the tragedy began to unfold.

“I was thinking, are you kidding me? So I just dropped down. I just said, ‘Please, please, please, I want to make it out,’” he said. “And when I did, I saw people shot. I saw blood. You hope and pray you don’t get shot.”

The chaos continued as a barrage of gunshots were heard erupting at the nightclub after police detonated a “controlled explosion.”

[…]

Moots, who lives across the street from the club, said he saw police officers putting wounded clubbers into trucks and ambulances.

“We saw people being taken away with bullet wounds on their arms and abdomen,” Moots told The News.

Police say ‘around 20’ killed in shooting at Orlando nightclub, more than 40 taken to local hospitals | Fox News

News conference set for 9:30 est….this is a developing situation…updates will be posted in the comments.


Breaking News: The AP makes it Official and Hillary is the ONE!

hillary-clinton-thumbs-up

The AP has jumped in front of the last full day of primaries to declare Hillary Rodham Clinton the presumptive 2016 Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. Enough delegates have confirmed that they will be supporting her at the Convention that she’s reached the magic number.

Hillary Clinton has earned enough delegates to become the presumptive Democratic nominee, making her the first woman ever to win a major party nomination, the Associated Press reported on Monday night.
A combination of pledged and superdelegates put Clinton over the mark in her contest against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to the AP count.

Clinton’s historic victory — coming as a surprise, only hours before voters head to the polls on the last multi-state day of the Democratic primary — is likely to be tempered by her opponent Bernie Sanders’ reluctance to bow out of the race.
Before the AP updated its count and put her over the top, Clinton was just 23 delegates shy of the 2,383 needed to clinch the nomination, and with six states holding primaries or caucuses, she was expected to easily cross that threshold.

Six states will be voting tomorrow and Clinton’s campaign director has indicated that the candidate is working for each vote still.  She 151222_DX_Clinton-Praise.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2currently holds a commanding lead in pledge delegates, voters, and super delegates.

Reports are that President Obama called Senator Sanders on Sunday night to indicate that he’s ready to attack Trump and come out for Clinton.  Reports also indicated that the mood in the Senator’s cadre was somber and serious.

President Obama called Sen. Bernie Sanders Sunday afternoon, according to a source familiar with the conversation, reports CBS News’ Julianna Goldman.

While the source didn’t characterize the conversation, Sanders spokesman told CBS News’ Kylie Atwood that the two have spoken on multiple occasions.

The call between the two lasted 30-45 minutes, CBS News’ Nancy Cordes reported. Sanders also spoke with the president by phone in mid-May.

The Vermont senator took the president’s call on the side of the road in the financial district in San Francisco, at around 2:30 p.m. ET. Atwood said that as the press bus drove by, Sanders could be seen standing on Market Street, legal pad in hand, as he talked on a cell phone.

Atwood asked Sanders about the conversation Tuesday, but he declined to say much about it.

“I have spoken to President Obama many many times about many issues, and I really think it’s not appropriate to talk about my discussions with the president,” he told Atwood. “I try to keep that private.”

On Tuesday, six states will hold election contests, and 694 delegates are at stake. Sanders’ opponent, front-runner Hillary Clinton is expected to surpass the 2,383 number of delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination early Tuesday evening. She needs just 23 delegates, according to CBS News’ count, to reach 2,383.

Nearly every news outlet is jumping on Clinton’s win.

Hillary Clinton has secured enough delegates to win the Democratic presidential nomination, according to The Associated Press, emerging from a long and bruising primary to become the first woman to lead a major party in the race for the White House.

A bitter presidential contest that Clinton was once expected to win in a walk ended abruptly late Monday, as she claimed exactly the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination in her contest against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, according the AP’s latest tally.

Clinton was widely expected — even inside her own campaign — to clinch the nomination on Tuesday, when California, New Jersey and four other states are scheduled to vote. But according to the AP, Clinton continued to pick up newly committed delegates over the weekend and on Monday that effectively guarantee her the nomination.

With that milestone, the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state has ended more than two centuries of national history in which only men have been the standard-bearers for the major political parties. She also overcame her own crushing loss in the 2008 Democratic primary against Barack Obama, as well as a political environment this year that favored outsiders at the expense of Clinton’s establishment credentials. And she became the first spouse of a former president to win the presidential nomination in her own right.

“My supporters are passionate, they are committed, they have voted for me in great numbers across the country for many reasons,” Clinton said Monday on the campaign trail in California. “But among the reasons is their belief that having a woman president would make a great statement — a historic statement — about what kind of country we are, what we stand for. It’s really emotional.”

hillary-clinton-secretary-of-state-csis-722x480Next up on the agenda, making sure that Donald Trump never gets near the White House.

Should we celebrate now or dance tomorrow?

Hillary will be appearing on the Maddow show shortly.  She’s live from Long Beach, California if you’d like to watch her.

The Sanders Campaign has just provided a press release that declares that it’s not a real thing until Philadelphia.  The AP says that she has 2384 pledged delegates as of right now.

Meanwhile, I’m going to just sit here and bask in all those glass shards.  Millions and Millions of them.

CkTzDiCUoAANd4u


Friday Reads: Boehner’s Short Goodbye

Good Morning!

image

Speaker Boehner just announced he will be retiring his seat and plans to quit the speakership. The embattled Speaker was facing yet another grueling fight over mundane financing issues from the radical right wing of his party.

Speaker John Boehner plans to resign from Congress in late October, he told member of his conference Friday morning in a closed door meeting, according to multiple reports emerging from the meeting room.

Boehner is second in line to the presidency, after Vice President Joe Biden. He was first elected to Congress in 1990. He has served as speaker since Republicans took control of the House in 2011.

Boehner was meeting with his conferenceto discuss plans to avert a government shutdown, looming next week. The speaker was under enormous pressure to keep the government open and satisfy conservative members of the conference who were refusing to vote for any bill that would provide funds for Planned Parenthood.

You’re in trouble when a member of your own caucus from your own state tries to find a candidate to primary you.

Republican sources say an ally of Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) has attempted to recruit a primary challenger against the GOP lawmaker who introduced a measure to oust the Speaker.

Three senior GOP sources told The Hill they’ve heard Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) has reached out to Republicans in North Carolina’s 11th District to gauge their interest in launching a primary challenge against Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.).

Meadows is a Tea Party favorite who generated national headlines this summer after floating a plan to depose Boehner. McHenry is the chief deputy whip and a member of Boehner’s leadership team.

Boehner has been having his usual trouble with the party’s extremist religious right who is trying to defund Planned Parenthood and had threatened to shut down the government. The Senate has shutdown that possibility.

Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress on Thursday began advancing bills urgently needed to avoid federal agency shutdowns on Oct. 1 while navigating conservatives’ demands to punish Planned Parenthood over an abortion controversy.

The Senate defeated Republican efforts to use a funding extension bill to cut off money to Planned Parenthood, clearing the way for a version without that provision that extends all previous funding through Dec. 11.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has set the first procedural vote on that measure for Monday, two days before the federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.

I’m posting this so we can follow up with some live updates as they happen. So far, no names to replace the Speaker have been mentioned in the media,


Sunday Reads: Nepal Earthquake Relief and more…Death Toll Over 2400

Residents cry as they walk past damaged houses to safer areas, after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, in Gyirong county of Xigaze Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, April 25, 2015. Rescuers dug with their bare hands and bodies piled up in Nepal on Sunday after an earthquake devastated the heavily crowded Kathmandu valley, killing at least 1,900, and triggered a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. In Tibet, the death toll climbed to 17, according to a tweet from China's state news agency, Xinhua. Picture taken April 25, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Residents cry as they walk past damaged houses to safer areas, after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, in Gyirong county of Xigaze Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, April 25, 2015. Rescuers dug with their bare hands and bodies piled up in Nepal on Sunday after an earthquake devastated the heavily crowded Kathmandu valley, killing at least 1,900*, and triggered a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. In Tibet, the death toll climbed to 17, according to a tweet from China’s state news agency, Xinhua. Picture taken April 25, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Good Afternoon

*As of the posting of this thread the death toll is at over 2400.

Toll Mounts as Nepal Searches for Quake Survivors | Al Jazeera America

More than 2,400 people confirmed dead in 7.8-magnitude earthquake that has devastated the Himalayan nation

 

I am going to give you links on this post updating you on the Nepal Earthquake, I will do a later post with other stories because I think the efforts in Nepal deserve our singular attention.

Starting with relief programs:

How to Help the Relief Effort in Nepal – NYTimes.com

In the aftermath of the earthquake, aid workers were already on the ground on Saturday providing much-needed relief to the survivors.

Here is a list of some of the groups soliciting donations to support their efforts in Nepal:

Oxfam
Oxfam is an international coalition of charities dedicated to fighting poverty. Aid workers from the group are on the ground, preparing to hand out food and water. @Oxfam on Twitter.

World Vision
“We are initiating a response to meet basic, urgent needs with temporary shelter, food, water, emergency health interventions, and other vital aid.”
@WorldVision on Twitter.

Red Cross
Volunteers from the Nepal arm of the Red Cross are helping in the search for survivors. @ICRC on Twitter.

United Nations World Food Programme
The United Nations agency is providing food and other aid to survivors.
@WFP on Twitter.

Samaritan’s Purse
Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian organization providing food, water, shelter, medicine, and other assistance to earthquake survivors. @SamaritansPurse on Twitter.

CARE
CARE is asking for donations for critical relief. The group said its humanitarian workers were currently on the ground assessing the situation in Nepal and determining the most immediate needs. @CARE on Twitter.

Save the Children
Donations to Save the Children, an organization with extensive reach in Nepal, will go toward efforts to provide protection for children and relief to their families.
@SC_Nepal on Twitter.

HuffPo has an article here: Aid Agencies Rally To Help Victims Of Nepal’s Earthquake

From The Independent: Nepal earthquake: How you can help victims of the Kathmandu disaster – World – News – The Independent

And a suggestion from a reader reelcarina: Sad Coincidence: Tragedy in Nepal on Richter Scale Day | stepabout

Accordingly, Nepal’s government has declared a state of emergency, asking the international community for help. We ARE the international community! So how can we help? Of course, I can’t just sit here on my sunny balcony in the ‘happiest country in the world’ (Switzerland was recently found to be that by UNO) and simply do nothing. However, I can’t drive out to the airport, catch the next plane to Kathmandu and help the population there myself. So, the possibility that remains is donating. I’m a student, so I don’t really have many financial means, but to those affected people in Nepal, even 40 or 50 Swiss Francs will be of great help! If you, dear readers, donate as well, it’s gonna be even better! As for today, my blog’s got 43 followers (Thank you so much for that, by the way!). If every one of you donates 25 Francs/Euros or whatever other currency, we’ll have contributed over 1000 Euros already! Now imagine, if other bloggers join in, our lovely internet community will unravel its full strength and  actually make a difference in Nepal 🙂

Pooling money together does add up…

Now here are some links to catch you up:

*This link gives some numbers: Foreign Governments Tally Citizens in Nepal

April 26, 2015 10:16 AM

The 7.9 magnitude quake struck at midday at a busy time of year for the tourism-reliant country’s trekking and climbing season, with an estimated 300,000 foreign tourists in the country, several hundred of those on Mount Everest.

Countries are listed in alphabetical order.

Austria: Foreign ministry says around 250 Austrians in Nepal, no reports so far on any casualties.

Bangladesh: Foreign ministry says no nationals in Nepal have been reported injured or killed. But four reported killed inside Bangladesh.

Britain: No details released yet.

Belgium: Foreign ministry says not aware of any victims.

China: Xinhua news agency, quoting the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, reports four people confirmed dead and 10 seriously injured.

France: Foreign ministry says around 500 French nationals have been located and are safe, and has no information on any victims.

Germany: No details released yet.

India: Nearly 800 Indians have been evacuated from Nepal with more on the way home, according to the Ministry of External Affairs. No Indian casualties yet reported in Nepal, but 49 reported killed in India.

Indonesia: Foreign ministry says has 34 nationals in Nepal. Eighteen are living in Nepal and 16 are visiting. Says still trying to contact 18 of those nationals.

Israel: Foreign ministry says it estimates around 600 Israelis are in Nepal, and has secured contact with 400, most of them sheltering at the embassy in Kathmandu. These include 25 couples in Nepal to bring home babies born to surrogates.

Italy: No details released yet.

Japan: Foreign ministry says has no reports of Japanese killed or injured in the quake, but is still checking whereabouts of citizens. Some 1,100 Japanese living in Nepal are registered with the embassy, but no information on number of nationals travelling through.

Latvia: Local news agencies report around 41 people from Latvia in Nepal at the moment. Four are missing.

Lithuania: Foreign ministry says 25 Lithuanian nationals registered in Nepal are safe, but does not know yet of any unregistered travellers.

Malaysia: Foreign ministry says all citizens in Nepal are accounted for and safe. A team of Malaysian Everest climbers are safe at base camp.

Philippines: Two Filipino climbers are reported safe.

Poland: No news on any Poles affected.

Romania: Nineteen Romanians in Nepal, including mountaineer Alex Gavan and three others, all reported to be safe.

Russia: Tass news agency, citing emergencies ministry, says no casualties among Russians.

Sweden: Foreign ministry is aware of around 40 Swedes in Nepal but has no information about dead, hurt or missing nationals.

South Korea: Foreign ministry says three nationals injured in the earthquake. It estimates 650 residents and as many as 1,000 travelers were in Nepal at the time.

Nepal hospitals overflowing, rural towns cut off, aid groups say – The Times of India

HONG KONG: Aid groups and governments worldwide intensified efforts Sunday to help earthquake-hit Nepal, but blocked roads, downed power lines and overcrowded hospitals posed formidable challenges in an already poor country.

As the death toll in the Himalayan nation surpassed 2,300, the US together with European and Asian nations sent emergency crews to reinforce those scrambling to find survivors in the devastated capital Kathmandu and in cut-off rural areas.

“Tragically, more bodies are being pulled from collapsed buildings every hour,” the Australian Red Cross said in a statement.

“Communication is down in many areas. Widespread destruction, rubble and landslides are preventing access to provide aid in many villages.”

6.6 million people affected in Nepal quake: UN – bdnews24.com

Magnitude 6.7 quake aftershock hits Nepal and India | eNCA

Extent of the Damage From the Nepal Earthquake – NYTimes.com

The earthquake’s epicenter was not far from the capital, Katmandu. The United States Geological Survey had counted 12 aftershocks by midafternoon, one of which measured at a magnitude of 6.6. Deaths were reported as far away as northern India and on Mount Everest. | Related Article »

The Guardian has excellent live updates and coverage:

Nepal earthquake: rescue continues as death toll exceeds 2,000 – live updates | World news | The Guardian

Nepal earthquake: more than 200 Australians confirmed safe | World news | The Guardian

Nepal earthquake: Rescue effort intensifies – BBC News

US, Canada, Russia to assist in rescue | Top Stories

KATHMANDU, APR 26 –

United States Secretary John Kerry has issued a press statement on Saturday on behalf of the US government to express condolences to all of those affected by the earthquake in Nepal, including the families of those who died in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.

Kerry, in his statement, said that they are working closely with the government of Nepal to provide assistance and support at this time of crisis.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Bodde has issued a disaster declaration in order to immediately release an initial $1 million for humanitarian assistance.

USAID is preparing to deploy a Disaster Assistance Response Team and is activating an Urban Search and Rescue Team to accompany disaster experts and assist with assessments of the situation.

Likewise, Russia and China are also sending teams to assist in the rescue operation. Chinese team is arriving with six specially-trained dogs and head to Gorkha district with medicines and food to carry out the rescue operation.

Nepal Earthquake – The Numbers – WSJ

The massive earthquake that shook Nepal on Saturday has so far claimed the lives of at least 1,900 people.

The quake, which struck shortly before noon, local time, spread devastation across a broad swath of territory, severely damaging parts of the capital’s historic center, flattening remote villages and triggering a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.

Here’s a look at the earthquake by the numbers.

Nepal’s Landmarks, Before and After the Earthquake – NYTimes.com

Dharahara Tower

This nine-story structure was built in 1832 on orders from the queen. It was made of bricks about a foot and a half thick, and had recently been reopened to the public. Sightseers could ascend a narrow spiral staircase to a viewing platform around 200 feet above the city.

July 15, 2013

Before: Dharahara Tower

Bal Krishna Thapa Chhetri
April 25, 2015

Before: Dharahara Tower

Narendra Shrestha/European Pressphoto Agency

More pictures at that link.

Nepal Earthquake: Incredible Pictures From Everest Base Camp – India Real Time – WSJ

Nepal earthquake in pictures: Images show devastating effects of quake that tore a country apart – Asia – World – The Independent

nepal earthquake – Google Search you can see more pictures at that link as well….

Some reports out of Everest:

Mount Everest: New avalanches from aftershocks in Nepal – CNN.com

Nepal earthquake: Everest survivors describe ordeal – BBC News

Climbers above Everest base camp all safe | Reuters

217 missing in Everest | National- ekantipur.com

Video of the Everest avalanche are hitting Youtube but the ones I found are the same as some posted from 2009:

▶ Massive Mount Everest Avalanche Caught on Camera – YouTube

Posted Apr 25th….

Published on Apr 25, 2015

Nepal Earthquake Triggers Everest Avalanche, 18 Killed at Base Camp

At least 13 people were killed on Everest on Saturday as a massive avalanche – triggered by an earthquake near the Nepalese capital Kathmandu – swept through base camp.

The avalanche trapped other climbers higher on the mountain as those in base camp ran for their lives to escape falling ice and rock.

Videos from Everest south-side base camp showed flattened tents and blocks of rock scattered around a site dusted deep in snow. The avalanche appeared to have swept through the mid section of the strung-out base camp.

This is the same video as this: ▶ 5/3/09 – Mt. Everest Avalanche caught on tape – YouTube

Uploaded on May 6, 2009

In a series of Skype video chats, Miles O’Brien has been talking with Astronaut Scott Parazynski, who is at Mt. Everest prepping for a summit bid. While at Everest Base Camp, Scott and his partner Keith Cowing captured an avalanche on tape.

This next link is interesting, about how poverty will affect the aid relief.

Devastating Earthquake in Nepal: Humanitarian Relief and Tackling Poverty | Winnie Byanyima

Yesterday a terrible earthquake shook Nepal near the capital, Katmandu. Oxfam teams are on ground in Nepal with more staff and relief supplies flying in. I’d like to share this post which was shared with us in response, by Shaheen Chughtai, Oxfam’s Deputy Head of Humanitarian Policy and Campaigns.

Kathmandu was ever a disaster-in-waiting. The densely populated capital of one of the world’s poorest countries clings to the slopes of the seismically unstable Himalayas. The city was near-leveled and 8,500 killed in its last great earthquake 81 years before. It had history. On Saturday, the long-feared calamity struck.

And these articles explains why the earthquake happened:

Ancient Collision Made Nepal Earthquake Inevitable – NYTimes.com

More than 25 million years ago, India, once a separate island on a quickly sliding piece of the Earth’s crust, crashed into Asia. The two land masses are still colliding, pushed together at a speed of 1.5 to 2 inches a year. The forces have pushed up the highest mountains in the world, in the Himalayas, and have set off devastating earthquakes.

Experts had warned of the danger to the people of Katmandu for decades. The death toll in Nepal on Saturday was practically inevitable given the tectonics, the local geology that made the shaking worse and the lax construction of buildings that could not withstand the shaking.

Nepal earthquake: The history and why quakes happen in the Himalayas – Asia – World – The Independent

Nepal quake ‘followed historic pattern’ – BBC News

What caused the Nepal earthquake? – Al Jazeera English

Video at the link.

(Well, that sucks. The video will not work in the US, but it may work in other countries. )

I will update this post with links in the comments below.

The other Sunday thread will be up later this evening.


Live Blog Primary Tuesday: Eric Cantor losing to Tea Party Primary Challenger

Cantor-makeover-605

This is breaking news.  With 68% of the precinct reporting, it appears that Eric Cantor will lose his seat in Congress.Here’s some information on the race from earlier today.

Disorganization and poor funding have stymied the campaign of tea party activist David Brat, even as he tapped into conservative resentment toward a party leader who has been courting the Republican right for years.

Brat, an economics professor, simply failed to show up to D.C. meetings with powerful conservative agitators last month, citing upcoming finals. He only had $40,000 in the bank at the end of March, according to first quarter filings. Cantor had $2 million.

Despite those shortcomings, Brat has exposed discontent with Cantor in the solidly Republican, suburban Richmond 7th Congressional District by attacking the lawmaker on his votes to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, as well as his support for some immigration reforms. At a May meeting of Republican activists in the district, Cantor was booed, and an ally he campaigned for was ousted as the local party chairman in favor of a tea party favorite

Cantor was assumed to be the next Republican Speak of the House should Boehner resign.  Cantor lives in suburban Virginia.

. has called the race for Brat. loses in GOP primary

Another old school republican, Lindsey Graham, is on the ballot too and facing a tea party challenger tonight also.

Graham’s opponents are divided and getting little help from powerful anti-establishment outside groups.

With the most recent poll indicating Graham close to the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff, he spent the day before the primary on a bus tour through the conservative, voter-rich upstate region.

In his final campaign commercial before the primary, Graham touted his conservative credentials, which he said included support for “building the Keystone pipeline, opposing Obamacare, looking for answers on Benghazi, standing up for our military.”

Turn on the TV to watch the exploding talking heads of Washington.

2009_0326_Getty_Eric_Cantor_0Update from the NJ.

In one of the biggest political upsets in recent memory, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary election on Tuesday to a political unknown who focused his campaign on Cantor’s support for a path to citizenship for the children of immigrants.

Randolph-Macon College economics professor Dave Brat won the Republican primary in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Brat had 56 percent of the vote to Cantor’s 44 percent when the Associated Press called the race just after 8 p.m.

Cantor’s defeat will send shockwaves throughout Washington. The House majority leader was one of the most well-known Republican figures in the country, reputed for his strategic acumen and political ambition. He wielded an immense amount of clout within the Capitol and was widely expected to one day seek to become the speaker of the House.

His primary was never expected to be seriously competitive, and his loss is catching everyone — from veterans of Virginia politics to longtime analysts in Washington — by surprise.

 

The speculation is that District Republicans did not like his squishy stand on immigration and his talk of le Republican “Dream Act”.  He also was  not spending a lot of time in the District itself.

 

The bad news about the winner via LGF.

The big news of the evening: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost the Virginia GOP primary to Tea Party challenger Dave Brat … a Christian Reconstructionist who cites 16th century theologian John Calvin as an influence. Just what we need, another extreme right wing religious fundamentalist in Congress.


Nigeria: Video of Kidnapped Girls Released

Blurred image of on of three girls seen speaking in the video and one says the group have not been harmed (BBC News)

Blurred image of one of three girls seen speaking in the video and one says the group have not been harmed (BBC News)

This is a breaking news open thread.

From BBC News a few minutes ago:

Islamist militants Boko Haram have released a video apparently showing about 130 girls kidnapped from a school in northern Nigeria on 14 April.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said the children would be held until all imprisoned militants had been freed.

Interior Minister Abba Moro rejected the deal, telling the BBC that it was “absurd” for a “terrorist group” to try to set conditions.

Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls and threatened to sell them.

The BBC’s John Simpson in the northern city of Maiduguri says Boko Haram’s comments show signs that the group is willing to negotiate.

Three of the girls – wearing full-length cloaks – are shown speaking in the 27-minute video, obtained by French news agency AFP.

Two girls say they were Christian and have converted to Islam, while the other says she is Muslim.

“These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with… we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims,” Abubakar Shekau says in the video.

 

Again, this is an open thread. I’ll post more information as I get it.