Friday, January 28, 2011

DMV Extension and Improvement Bills passes Senate Transportation Committee

Legislation championed by State Senators Chap Petersen and Henry Marsh has passed the Senate's Transportation Committee. From Senator Petersen's office:
Senate Transportation Committee Passes DMV Extension and Improvement Bills

Richmond – Yesterday at the Capitol, the Senate Transportation Committee passed Senate Bill 1226, patroned by Senator J. Chapman Petersen (D-Fairfax City), and recommended that his SB 1225 be rolled into SB 776, which was filed by Henry Marsh (D-Dinwiddie and Petersburg).

Senator Petersen’s SB 1225 and Senator Marsh’s SB 776 permit all local governments to open DMV offices and agencies in areas that do not have them. The intent is to create a sustainable model that complements Virginia’s fifty-seven already existing DMV branch offices. “Most of the ‘Selects’ are operated by Commissioners of Revenue at the courthouse or county building and are a great convenience (we started this in Fairfax City),” explains Senator Petersen. “It maintains fiscal integrity needed by the DMV to continue to offer a valuable service, and I am pleased to support this bill which serves as a convenience to DMV customers around the state,” adds Senator Marsh.

Senator Petersen’s SB 1226 establishes a “One Stop” licensing program, whereby new businesses can register for a business license and also complete their state and local tax paperwork in one governmental location. “Such a system would facilitate tasks like renewing a driver’s license or starting a new business,” says Senator Petersen.

# # #

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Environmental Legislation Pending in Virginia's General Assembly

Richmond – Senator A. Donald McEachin and Delegate Albert C. Pollard Jr. held a press conference on Thursday, January 27, 2011 to discuss environmental legislation submitted during this Session of Virginia's General Assembly.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Brian Kirwin plays the race card

In a post at Bearing Drift today, Republican blogger Brian Kirwin accuses Democrats of only talking about "slavery and nazis." For the nazi portion of his assertion, he cites Steve Cohen's recent intemperate remarks. Cohen's remarks are indefensible. Just because Republicans lie all the time about almost everything, it doesn't make them nazis, even though the nazis were also liars. For the slavery portion of his accusation, Kirwin cites something said by Virginia State Senator Mamie Locke.
“It was the same type of rhetoric that was used in the 1850s before the Civil War,” Locke said Thursday. “It’s so 1861-ish.”
There's just one problem: if you read the quote and click through and read the article it was drawn from you find that no where did Locke talk about slavery. Locke's remarks were limited to a discussion how recent Republican rhetoric mirrors the kind of nullification rhetoric used by Southerner to support secession and assert states' rights.

Where does Brian Kirwin get that Mamie Locke said anything about slavery? Mamie Locke is, of course, African American. Is that how Kirwin made the leap? Did Kirwin respond to the dog whistle in his own head?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Petersen's transparency bill advances

Via State Senator Chap Petersen:
Local Government Committee Passes Bipartisan Government Transparency Bill

Richmond – Yesterday at the Capitol, the Local Government senate committee unanimously passed a bipartisan government transparency bill chief sponsored by Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax).

The bill was originally brought to Senator Petersen by Pat Herrity, who represents the Springfield District as a supervisor in Fairfax County. Herrity first became aware of a need for the legislation when he joined the Board of Supervisors in 2008 and started an initiative to put checkbooks online. The next logical step was contacting a legislator to draft a statewide bill to enact into law. According to him, “this is where it starts. We need to make people see how their money is being spent.” Although a Republican, Herrity recruited the support of Democratic Senator Petersen because of Petersen’s reputation for supporting open government and common sense solutions. “One of my goals as a state senator is to bring maximum transparency to our state and local governments in Virginia,” said Senator Petersen. Together they drafted SB 844, which encourages government transparency by allowing local governments to publish individual expenditures online for the benefit of the public.

“I would like to thank Senator Petersen for his leadership and moving this bill forward so that Fairfax County and other counties in the Commonwealth can let citizens see how the government is spending their tax dollars,” said Herrity.

Senate Bill 844 is joined by an identical bill in the House, HB 2155, that Senator Petersen is co-patroning with Delegate Benjamin L. Cline (R-Rockbridge).
# # #

More on attempted bombing in Spokane, Washington

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rachel Maddow has additional coverage of the breaking story coming out of Spokane, Washington. The FBI has confirmed that a powerful and potentially very lethal bomb was planted along the route of Spokane's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bomb found on MLK parade route

Someone attempted to carry out a bombing attack on a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Washington:
The FBI offered a reward Tuesday for information about a potentially lethal bomb found in a backpack along the downtown route of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.

The discovery before Monday's parade for the slain civil rights leader raised the possibility of a racial motive in a region that has been home to the white supremacist Aryan Nations.

"The confluence of the holiday, the march and the device is inescapable," said Frank Harrill, special agent in charge of the Spokane FBI office. "But we are not at the point where we can draw any particular motive."

He called the planting of the bomb an act of domestic terrorism that was clearly designed to advance a political or social agenda.
Read the rest here. Of course the right wing is going to deny that this had anything to do with a "political or social agenda."

Limiting the Attorney General's use of Civil Investigative Demands

Richmond --Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico), Senator J. Chapman Petersen (D-Fairfax) and Delegate David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) held a press conference on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, in Senate Room 1 at the Capitol to discuss their proposed legislation that repeals and limits the authority of the Attorney General to issue civil investigative demands.

The legislators were joined by Professor Brian Turner, chair of the Political Science Department at Randolph-Macon College. They also read a statement from Professor Rich Schragger, law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Gun Lobby Rally: This year versus last year

Last year's pro-gun rally.

That was last year's crowd. It wrapped around the East side of the Bell Tower. The crowd was large and aggressive, even arrogant.

This year's pro-gun rally:

Smaller crowd, fewer signs . . . this year's crowd was almost sullen. This year's crowd did not extend below the South side of the Bell Tower, which suggested to me that today's crowd was just slightly more than half of last year's crowd--maybe less.

Mortgage Foreclosure Reform

On January 17, 2011 a bi-partisan group of Virginia state legislators held a press conference during the 2011 General Assembly session to announce proposed mortgage foreclosure reforms. Includes video of Delegate Bob Marshall, Senator Chap Peterson, and Senator Donald McEachin.

Sorry for the shaky camera work: I solemnly promise to bring my tripod next time.

Lobby Day 2011

I just returned from Capitol Hill where I spent the morning observing this year's Lobby Day--the day when ordinary Virginia citizens descend on the Capitol and meet their legislators. I'm sitting in one of my favorite downtown locations now enjoying some lunch and going through my photos and video.

Some quick first impressions: the gun lobby was out in much smaller numbers than last year, and were far more subdued, which I suppose is to be expected. I have some photos of last year's gun lobby rally and at some point I'll put up a post allowing you to compare this year's crowd with last year.

In general the mood on the hill today was upbeat. The crowds of constituents were cheerful and many waves and hugs among old friends and acquaintances were exchanged. I saw the owl--the owl is probably my favorite thing about Lobby Day.

I attended this morning's press conference on mortgage foreclosure reform and it was interesting and informative. I shot some video and photos of this meeting and I'll post that in a bit once I go through it and decide if it's worth seeing.

Honoring Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I Have a Dream"

Some words, some ideas, are so powerful that they change the world. Today we honor the words and ideas of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Senator McEachin's anti-discrimination commentary

Donald McEachin has a great Op-Ed in today's Richmond Times Dispatch:
In Virginia, state employees are protected from discrimination against them on the basis of race, religion, ethnic background, age and other categories with which we are all familiar. Last year I introduced a bill to add a prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to that list.

I did that because, although Govs. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine had outlawed this form of discrimination by executive order, Gov. Bob McDonnell had said he felt that was an inappropriate mechanism and that it was properly in the domain of the General Assembly to make that decision. With that in mind, I introduced the bill so the governor would have the opportunity to support non-discrimination. Unfortunately, he and his administration sat on their hands and the legislation failed. However, I am re-introducing the same bill again because I believe this is such a very important issue.
Read Senator McEachin's complete message at the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Anti-government money manager arrested for threats to regulators

And the hits keep coming:
A New York money manager with a long history of legal battles with the government has been charged with threatening to kill 47 U.S. officials, including the nation's top securities and commodities regulators.

Vincent McCrudden, 49, last month allegedly posted online an "execution list" naming officials, including Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler.
Read more at Huffington Post.

Daily Show examines conservative response to Tucson memorial

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Veiled Criticism
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

Was Jared Loughner influenced by political rhetoric?

Ed Schultz asks the provocative question:
Was Jared Loughner influenced by the rhetoric of the radical right?
Visit Ed Schultz's blog to see his arguments, read comments, and comment yourself.

Right wing businessman applauds AZ shooting, calls for more

In a post to his blog on Saturday January 8, 2011, right wing radical and Massachusetts businessman Travis Corcoran applauded the assassination attempt against Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and called for more political violence. Corcoran told his readers "1 down, 534 to go."
The "1" is Gabrielle Giffords, and the "534" are the remaining members of Congress -- both Democrat and Republican -- who have not yet been shot in the head. The retailer who posted this was Travis Corcoran, the president of Heavy Ink, an online comic book retailer based in Arlington, Massachusetts.

In a post on his blog, Corcoran continued to comment on the shooting by taking the bold stance that while you are in the process of assassinating those 534 political leaders, it is important to aim very carefully so that you do not kill random people around them, as that would be wrong.
It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot "indiscriminately".

Target only politicians and their staff, and leave regular citizens alone.
It will be interesting to see whether the FBI takes the time to interview this guy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

David Brock on Glenn Beck's past incitement of violence

An excellent discussion with David Brock, Ronald Reagan, Jr. and Chris Matthews on the subject of Glenn Beck's past history of inciting people to violence. If you want to learn more about this topic, then I suggest going to Media Matters and reading their Glenn Beck page: it's eye-opening, to say the least.


Rush Limbaugh Billboard in Tucson, Arizona

Hat Tip: Huffington Post

Sarah Palin seriously damaged herself yesterday

Yesterday Sarah Palin badly damaged her future political prospects with a very ill-advised response to a national tragedy. Feeling that she had been unfairly accused by many of inciting violence with harsh rhetoric, Palin chose to answer her critics with possibly the nastiest bit of political rhetoric she could think of. Facing criticism for using over-the-top, violent political rhetoric, Palin responded by accusing her critics of manufacturing a "blood libel."

The term "blood libel" describes the rhetoric of anti-semites who historically accused Jews of murdering Christian children in order to use their blood in Jewish religious rituals. As the use of the word "libel" implies, the accusations were false, but they were still terribly harmful, serving as the excuse for centuries of persecution of Jews which culminated in the Holocaust. It was a disastrous choice of words for Palin's future political prospects. Let me count the ways.

First and most obvious was her attempt to hijack the martyrdom of the Jewish people. No matter how Palin and her supporters spin it, being criticized--even unfairly criticized--for overuse of violent political rhetoric is not like being persecuted for being a Jew. And then there was the use of the word "blood" in the wake of the carnage at Tucson. Being criticized is not like being gunned down at a meet-your-congressperson event. There was the overall tone-deafness. The American people were looking for some reassurance that their political discourse wasn't going to descend any further than it has in recent years, instead, as noted above, Palin adopted possibly the nastiest bit of political imagery she and her close advisors could think of. People often talk about the need to "disagree without being disagreeable." Palin doesn't seem to be able to do that: she insists on being disagreeable. Then there was the self-centeredness. At a moment when most Americans were focused on the impact the events in Tucson would have on the American community, Palin's message was "me-me-me." Finally, there was the contrast with President Obama. Obama's response to the tragedy in Tucson was starkly different. You can watch both Palin and Obama and come to your own conclusions on that score.

Is Palin finished? No, she still has relevance as a political celebrity. But her viability as a candidate for serious elective office has probably been exhausted by this affair.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TEA Party intimidation triggers resignations in Arizona

While online conservatives are trying to play down the influence of violent rhetoric used by the political right, stories coming out of Arizona seem to contradict the new conservative narrative:
While federal lawmakers debate how best to increase safety for themselves and their staff, some Arizona Republican party officials are choosing to leave office in the face of threats.

A conflict that has been going on between local Arizona Republicans came to an end in the wake of the shooting in Tucson on Saturday when Arizona's Republican District 20 Chairman Anthony Miller and several others chose to resign.
Which Republicans should we believe? The Republicans who say that violent rhetoric isn't a problem, or the Republicans who are resigning their positions within the party due to threats against themselves and their families?

California man arrested for threatening Seattle Democratic Congressman

Charles Turner Habermann of Palm Springs, California has been arrested. He is accused of threatening Seattle, Washington-area Congressman Jim McDermott and one other member of Congress not named in the court documents:
Charles Turner Habermann -- a 32-year-old Palm Springs, Calif., resident with a $3 million trust fund -- was arrested Wednesday morning on allegations that he made threatening phone calls to the office of the Seattle Democrat late last year.

Federal authorities contend Habermann admitted to making the calls because he was angry about taxes, but said he wouldn't risk losing his trust fund by attacking McDermott.

Federal prosecutors in Seattle described statements left by Habermann in two Dec. 9 phone calls as an "expletive-laden" effort to influence McDermott's vote on tax policy. According to charging documents, Habermann to have threatened to kill McDermott's friends and family, then, in the second call, threatened to put McDermott "in the trash."
So, what kinds of things did Habermann say?
In one, the caller was heard calling McDermott "a piece of human filth," "a communist," and a "piece of (expletive) garbage."

"Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, or George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, if any of them had ever met uh, uh Jim McDermott, they would all blow his brains out," Habermann said in the first rambling message, according to charging documents. "They'd shoot him, in the head. They'd kill him, because he's a piece of, of, of disgusting garbage. …

"Any you let that (expletive) scum bag know, that if he ever (expletive) with my money, ever the (expletive) again, I'll (expletive) kill him, okay," Habermann continued, according to charges. "I'll round them up, I'll kill them, I'll kill his friends, I'll kill his family, I will kill everybody he (expletive) knows."
There are lots of interesting details in this case. You need to go to the Seattle Post Intelligencer and read the entire story.

Reading the TEA leaves

Want to understand why people associate violent political rhetoric with the right more than the left? The signs are all around you if you are willing to read them:
Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-S.C.) health care-era "you lie" interruption of President Obama is now reportedly being commemorated with a place on a new, limited edition line of assault rifle components.

The Columbia Free Times reports that the words are being engraved on a series of lower receivers manufactured for popular AR-15 assault rifles. Lower receivers are one of the primary pieces of the firearms.

"Palmetto State Armory would like to honor our esteemed congressman Joe Wilson with the release of our new 'You Lie' AR-15 lower receiver," the weapon manufacturer's site writes in the product description. "Only 999 of these will be produced, get yours before they are gone!"
No one is engraving "Yes We Can" on assault rifles. Read the complete story here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Conservatives not ready to let go of hate speech

Do you think the tragedy in in Tucson might be enough to prompt some soul searching among the attack bloggers of the Right? Consider the following:From Bearing Drift's Jim Hoeft:
Oh, yes. Time for conservatives to be magnanimous on all this, right, Shane?

Bull Shit.

This crap from the left is going to be stopped. We’re not rolling over anymore.
I guess we'll have to wait for more victims of violent political rhetoric. [sigh]

By all means, head on over to Bearing Drift to find out how the Right Wing is reacting to the Tucson Massacre. It's eye opening, to say the very least.

Colonel Bill Badger: American Hero

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tea Party leader in Virginia gloats about Tucson massacre

Nigel Coleman--the same Virginia Tea Party leader who posted the home address of Tom Perriello's brother online--posted the following tweet, gloating over the victims of the Tucson Massacre:
Cutting that Gas line doesn't seem so bad now does it?...What?..... Too Soon?
The cutting of the gas line Coleman refers to was an attempt to burn down Perriello's brother's home with his family--including four small children--in it. Coleman's tweet reads like a confession of that attempted arson.

This is the Tea Party and Republican Party in Virginia today. The Tucson Massacre is just one big joke to Nigel Coleman.

Hat tip to Miles Grant at Blue Virginia.

Glenn Beck's long history of inciting violence

Today Glenn Beck was scrambling to defend his record of inciting violence and trying to provide cover for Sarah Palin, who has been criticized for putting out a "hit list" of Democrats whose locations were indicated by crosshairs like those used in telescopic gunsights. Glenn Beck has a long history of trying to incite crazy people to commit violent acts while just barely maintaining enough distance to avoid prosecution for incitement. Let's consider just one recent incident where tragedy was only narrowly avoided thanks to the heroism of law enforcement:
Late on a Saturday night two weeks ago, an unemployed carpenter packed his mother's Toyota Tundra with guns and set off for San Francisco with a plan to kill progressives.

When California Highway Patrol officers stopped him on an interstate in Oakland for driving erratically, Byron Williams, wearing body armor, fired at police with a 9mm handgun, a shotgun and a .308-caliber rifle with armor-piercing bullets, Oakland police say. Shot and captured after injuring two officers, Williams, on parole for bank robbery, told investigators that he wanted "to start a revolution" by "killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU," according to a police affidavit. His mother, Janice, told the San Francisco Chronicle that her son had been watching television news and was upset by "the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items."
That quote is from the August 1, 2010 edition of the Washington Post. What television program was Byron Williams watching when he decided to launch an all-out assault on the employees of the Tides Foundation?
"Tides was one of the hardest things that we ever tried to explain, and everyone told us that we couldn't," Fox News host Glenn Beck told his radio listeners on Monday. "The reason why the blackboard" -- the prop Beck uses on his TV show to trace conspiracies -- "really became what the blackboard is, is because I was trying to explain Tides and how all of this worked." Beck accuses Tides of seeking to seize power and destroy capitalism, and he suggests that a full range of his enemies on the left all have "ties to the Tides Center." On Monday, he savored the fact that "no one knew what Tides was until the blackboard."

For good measure, Beck went after Tides again on Fox that night. And Tuesday night, Wednesday night and Thursday night. That's on top of 29 other mentions of Tides on Beck's Fox show over the past 18 months (two in the week before the shootout) according to a tally by the liberal press watchdog Media Matters. Other than two mentions of Tides on the show of Beck's Fox colleague Sean Hannity, Media Matters said it was unable to find any other mention of Tides on any news broadcast by any network over that same period. Beck declined comment.
That's pretty much how Beck does it: an endless drumbeat of messaging directed towards the violent and mentally ill, messaging design to provoke a violent reaction towards Beck's target.

The Christian Science Monitor examined Beck's role in inciting violence in a October 16, 2010 article entitled "Did Glenn Beck's rhetoric inspire violence?"
Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, who’s honed being provocative – even outrageous at times – to a fine and lucrative art, is the focus of criticism for inciting violence.

Specifically, his dozens of comments attacking the Tides Foundation are being linked to the attempt by a heavily-armed man to assassinate employees at the San Francisco-based foundation, which funds environmental, human rights, and other progressive projects. The attack in July was thwarted in a shoot-out with police in which two officers were wounded.

Since then, alleged attacker Byron Williams has said in jailhouse interviews that he wanted to “start a revolution.” He says Beck was not the direct cause of his turning violent. But he does say: “I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind.”
The Christian Science Monitor can hardly be described as part of the so-called "Liberal Media."

Then there's the case of Richard Poplawski, the man who ambushed and murdered three Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania police officers. Poplawski was reportedly deeply influenced by Glenn Beck's promotion of the false story that FEMA was preparing concentration camps for conservatives.

There is an ancient Chinese text entitled "Thirty-Six Strategems." One of the strategems described in this text is "kill with a borrowed knife."
Attack using the strength of another (in a situation where using one's own strength is not favourable). Trick an ally into attacking him, bribe an official to turn traitor, or use the enemy's own strength against him.
Glenn Beck is the master of this stratagem, of convincing the mentally ill to carry out killings and terrorism that he himself would like to carry out, but is unwilling to take the consequences for.

Loughner family has barricaded home

MSNBC and local Tucson news outlets are reporting that the family of accused Tucson shoot Jared Lee Loughner have barricaded themselves inside the family home using sheets of double think plywood and are denying access to FBI investigators.
At about 12:25 p.m., agents began banging on the blockade built with 4-by-4 double-thick plywood, yelling, "This is the FBI. Let us in." The blockade is preventing access to the front porch of the home.

Some agents were sent behind the house, and media representatives could hear the agents talking with someone from inside the house.

It's not immediately clear why the family of Jared Loughner were preventing law enforcement entry. Loughner remains in custody and has an appearance in federal court later Monday.

Tom DeLay sentenced to prison

Former GOP Majority Leader Tom Delay received a sentence of three years in prison with another five years suspended. The three year sentence was for conspiracy to commit money laundering and the five year suspended sentence was for the actual money laundering. Read the breaking coverage at the Austin Statesman.

DeLay was convicted on November 24, 2010 and has said he will appeal his convictions.

Palin's Facebook page allowed celebration of nine-year old's death

Click on image to enlarge it

This is a remarkable story that really allows us to peer into the outlook that prevails in large parts of this nation's political right wing. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is a prodigious user of the website Facebook. You can see her Facebook page here. Like many public figures, Sarah Palin gets a lot of unwanted spam on her Facebook page. She also gets many, many comments that are critical of her and her policy positions. Palin employs one or more staffers or volunteers who monitor her page constantly and remove any comment posted there critical of Palin within minutes.

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona--the victims of which included a Democratic Congresswoman, a federal judge, and a nine-year old girl--there were even more negative comments about Palin than usual and the moderator of her page was acting quickly to remove these critical comments. But what was really telling was what the moderator chose not to delete. At some point Saturday night a Palin supporter posted the following comment:
"It's ok. Christina Taylor Green was probably going to end up a left wing bleeding heart liberal anyway. Hey, as 'they' say, what would you do if you had the chance to kill Hitler as a kid? Exactly."
That's right, a Palin supporter went to Palin's site and posted a comment celebrating the murder of a nine-year old girl because there was a possibility that little girl might grow up to be a Democrat. What is even more shocking is that Palin's moderator left the comment in place even as they deleted comments critical of Palin posted before and after the comment celebrating Christina Taylor Greene's murder.

That outlook is by no means one shared by all Republicans, or even by a majority of Republicans, but it has become a common outlook on the right side of the political spectrum and it is one that is tolerated and even encouraged by the leadership of the Republican Party.

You can read the details of this amazing story here and here.

Required Reading: Paul Krugman's "Climate of Hate"

Required reading for everyone today is Paul Krugman's column in the New York Times entitled "Climate of Hate."
When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?

Put me in the latter category. I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008campaign. I remembered the upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — an upsurge that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. And you could see, just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again. The Department of Homeland Security reached the same conclusion: in April 2009 an internal report warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence.
We all knew this would happen. We've been asking Republicans to moderate their rhetoric and their behavior, but they've done precisely the opposite. Republicans have seen extremism and violent rhetoric as the path back to power and they have used that rhetoric freely. John Boehner has been wringing his hand and shedding crocodile tears over this tragedy, but this is what he had to say to another Democratic representative facing violent rhetoric in his district:
Another Ohio Democrat, Steve Driehaus, clashed repeatedly with Boehner before losing his seat in the midterm elections. After Boehner suggested that by voting for Obamacare, Driehaus "may be a dead man" and "can't go home to the west side of Cincinnati" because "the Catholics will run him out of town," Driehaus began receiving death threats, and a right-wing website published directions to his house. Driehaus says he approached Boehner on the floor and confronted him.

"I didn't think it was funny at all," Driehaus says. "I've got three little kids and a wife. I said to him, 'John, this is bullshit, and way out of bounds. For you to say something like that is wildly irresponsible.'"

Driehaus is quick to point out that he doesn't think Boehner meant to urge anyone to violence. "But it's not about what he intended — it's about how the least rational person in my district takes it. We run into some crazy people in this line of work."

Driehaus says Boehner was "taken aback" when confronted on the floor, but never actually said he was sorry: "He said something along the lines of, 'You know that's not what I meant.' But he didn't apologize."
Read Taibbi's profile of John Boehner here.

Republicans are going to continue to run from what they've done and said in the past. They will never accept the responsibility they bear for the rising tide of right wing violence in this country. I really don't care if they do. All I hope is that they will reconsider their past behavior and chart a new path forward for their party that does not depend on violent rhetoric and gun toting crazies.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Sarah Palin show cancelled

I guess she'll have to focus her crosshairs on some other endeavor:
Sunday's season finale of Sarah Palin's Alaska is said to be the show's last episode, Entertainment Weekly reports.

The former Alaska governor's TLC reality series -- which premiered Nov. 14 -- averaged 3.2 million viewers per week, with its first episode delivering the network's best-ever launch ratings.
Read the rest here.

Republican Senator tries to silence Arizona sheriff

Some people just can't handle the truth:
In a Sunday morning appearance on Face the Nation, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) took issue with Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who criticized Arizona hours after the Giffords shooting.

"I didn't really think that that had any part in a law enforcement briefing," Kyl said.

In a candid moment at a press conference on Saturday, Dupnik said his state had become ground zero for the sort of political rhetoric that foments violence.

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," Dupnik said. "And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."
Of course Jon Kyl isn't the only person trying to spin away the reality of this attack: it was fueled by the non-stop barrage of Republican hate speech directed at Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives. Read the article at Huffington Post.

Giffords' shooter has ties to right wing white supremacist group

Details are leaking out about Jared Lee Loughner, the accused shooter in yesterday's assassination attempt/massacre in Tucson, Arizona. Loughner apparently has ties to a white-supremacist hate group:
Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged shooter of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others on Saturday, may have ties to anti-Semitic, anti-immigration hate group American Renaissance, according to a leaked memo from the Department of Homeland Security.

It's unclear whether Loughner maintains a direct connection to the group, however, "strong suspicion is being directed" at American Renaissance in the wake of the group being referenced in Loughner's Myspace and YouTube videos, according to the memo, which was obtained by Fox News.

American Renaissance is a white nationalist group that operates under a pseudo think tank called the New Century Foundation. The group runs a magazine and conferences based on eugenics and the superiority of whites, according to Southern Poverty Law Center.
Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish. Read the rest at Huffington Post.

Nine-year old victim of Arizona shooting identified

Meet Christina Taylor Greene. I sure hope the Tea Party is proud today.

Gabrielle Giffords about Sarah Palin's violent rhetoric and the Tea Part...

Chilling video as Gabrielle Giffords describes threats to her life spawned by the Republican strategy to defeat health care reform.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Violent Republican Rhetoric caught on video

Some people want to pretend that things like this were never said. Too bad someone with a video camera was present.

Right wing gunman shoots Democratic Congresswoman and 17 others

Six people are dead and twelve people were wounded today in Arizona when a right wing gunman opened fire on Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8th) was holding a constituent meeting at a grocery store in her district when a young man named Jared Lee Loughner opened fire with either an automatic weapon or a semi-automatic weapon with a large capacity magazine. Loughner shot Congresswoman Giffords in the head and then sprayed the crowd of constituents with gunfire before attempting to flee. One of Giffords' aides chased Loughner, tackled him, and held him until law enforcement arrived. Giffords was severely wounded along with eleven others. Six other victims, including federal judge John Roll, one of Giffords' other aides, and a nine-year old child, were killed in the hail of bullets.

Let's speak plainly and bluntly: this incident is the direct result of the endless stream of Republican hate speech directed towards Democrats, Liberals and Progressives. Republicans and other conservatives who affect to be shocked by this incident are in deep denial about their role in encouraging the rising tide of right wing political violence in this country.

Update: Giffords was on Sarah Palin's notorious "gunsight" hit list of Democrats to be eliminated.

Click on image to enlarge

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Don't count Jamie Radtke out

The other day I read this post by Lowell Feld over at Blue Virginia and I just wanted to share an experience I had last year and give my readers a slightly different perspective. Part of Lowell's post predicted that George Allen would easily defeat Bob Marshall and Jamie Radtke in a Republican primary race. I'm not so sure anyone should count Jamie Radtke out so easily.

I base this on my own personal experience. I went to the Virginia Tea Party back in October of last year and I saw George Allen and Jamie Radtke there. I even shot a little shaky video footage of Radtke asking Allen questions during a panel discussion. Before the panel discussion, Allen had made himself available on the floor of the convention hall, but hardly anyone walked up to him and said hello. I had some pictures of that but unfortunately I seem to have deleted them at some point in the last few months. During the introductions of the panel, which included Ken Cuccinelli, Allen received a level of applause that I would characterize as polite. When Cuccinelli was introduced, he was given a thunderous standing ovation. What to make of this? I don't think George F. Allen is particularly well thought of by the Virginia Tea Party movement as a whole.

Jamie Radtke, on the other hand, seems to be very well respected among Virginia's Tea Party groups. She organized the Tea Party convention here in Richmond that I attended and as events go, this one seemed well-organized and well run. What I take away from that is that Radtke is capable of organizing and implementing complex plans. I think that her skills would make her a formidable opponent from an organizational standpoint. Jamie Radtke isn't a ditz, a la Christine O'Donnell. You may disagree with her politics--and believe me I do--but there's no denying her organizational skill.

Primaries for statewide offices draw very small turnout. A quick glance at the State Board of Elections' website reveals that only 155,784 out of 4,515,275 registered voters bothered to show up to vote in the hotly contested Democratic primary of June 2006 in which Jim Webb defeated Harris Miller. In these elections, a small group of very determined people can make a big difference. It is a scenario that the Tea Party movement is ideally situated to exploit.

The Republican primary of June 2012 is still a long way away, and a lot could happen between then and now, but I wouldn't count Jamie Radtke out. In fact, I think I'd have to consider her a strong candidate to face George F. Allen, especially if she can raise some Tea Party money to offset Allen's oil lobby money. I think Bob Marshall's long list of gaffes and lack of a national fundraising machine make him least likely to succeed and most likely to drop out before election day.