Monthly Archives: July 2012

Guy Catches Girlfriend With A New Friend On Facebook And Gets Violent

The friend? Mitt Romney:

JULY 31–Suspicious that his live-in girlfriend was planning an affair, a Tennessee man confronted the woman after spotting a photo of an unknown guy on her Facebook page, according to a police report.

Lowell Turpin, 40, “angrily demanded to know who the male was,” reported Anderson County Sheriff’s Department investigators.

Crystal Gray, 38, “replied that it was a picture of Mitt Romney.”

Despite being informed that the man on Gray’s wall was the presumptive Republican presidential candidate (and not some hunky, severely conservative sidepiece), Turpin apparently was not placated. Gray said that he “became upset because she was attempting to communicate with friends through her Facebook account.”

In a subsequent tussle over the laptop, Gray’s hand was injured as she unsuccessfully tried to stop Turpin form smashing the computer against the wall. Gray told deputies that Turpin, pictured in the above mug shot, also punched her in the face during the encounter.

While denying that he assaulted Gray, the 310-pound Turpin gave probers “multiple contradictory accounts of the struggle over the laptop.” Turpin wascharged with domestic assault in connection with the July 22 incident at the couple’s Clinton residence.

Turpin remains locked up in the Anderson County jail in lieu of $1000 bond

It's a good thing for her sake that she didn't "friend" Obama.  I have a feeling this guy would have gone even more ballistic.

Chik-Fallout

YouGov BrandIndex polling shows that the public’s approval of Chick-fil-A has taken a nosedive since (Chick-fil-A’s president Dan) Cathy’s interview on July 16.  It has fallen from 65 to 39.

Chick-Fil-A-Top-QSR-Index-fast-food

Even in the South, where Chick-Fil-A is based and is most popular, the restaurant rating dropped from 80 (on July 16) to the current 44.

[Source]

Does Romney Know What He Is Saying?

Here's Romney at a fundraiser in Jerusalem on Monday:

Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent. You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more….We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.

Wow.

Mitt, perhaps you should know that Israel has a universal health care system.  Not the individual mandate thing that Obama has proposed here, but the full-blown lefty dream of free, universal healthcare funded through the tax system that Obama wouldn't even go near.

Romney’s Stupidity Tour Continues

And in Israel:

In a breakfast meeting this morning, the Republican presidential candidate told about 40 wealthy donors who breakfasted at the King David Hotel: "As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality."

He did not mention the crippling restrictions that Israel imposes on Palestinian trade and movement. 

 

Two Stories

Romney ‘Looking Forward’ To Returning Churchill Bust to White House

LONDON –  Mitt Romney, speaking to a group of more than 200 supporters in hotel in the heart of London this evening, said he is “looking forward” to returning the bust of Winston Churchill to the White House after it was sent back to Great Britain by President Obama.

The GOP candidate, who suffered a brutal day of press after he suggested that he wasn’t sure the London Olympics would go off without a hitch, spoke highly of the British monuments — singling out the Churchill statue — that he said he got a firsthand look at while stuck in traffic — likely caused by the Olympic Games.

“You live here, you see the sites day in and day out, but for me as I drive past the sculpture of Winston Churchill and see that great sculpture next to Westminster Abbey and Parliament and with him larger than life, enormous heft of that sculpture suggesting the scale of the the grandeur and the greatness of the man, it tugs at the heart strings to remember the kind fo example that was led by Winston Churchill,” said Romney, speaking in a ballroom at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on the edge of Hyde Park.

“And I’m looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again,” Romney said, evoking applause from the group that helped the candidate raise more than $2 million for his campaign.

Fact Check: The Bust of Winston Churchill

Lately, there’s been a rumor swirling around about the current location of the bust of Winston Churchill. Some have claimed that President Obama removed the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and sent it back to the British Embassy.

Now, normally we wouldn’t address a rumor that’s so patently false, but just this morning the Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer repeated this ridiculous claim in his column.  He said President Obama “started his Presidency by returning to the British Embassy the bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office.”

This is 100% false. The bust still in the White House. In the Residence. Outside the Treaty Room. 

News outlets have debunked this claim time and again. First, back in 2010 the National Journal reported that “the Churchill bust was relocated to a prominent spot in the residence to make room for Abraham Lincoln, a figure from whom the first African-American occupant of the Oval Office might well draw inspiration in difficult times.” And just in case anyone forgot, just last year the AP reported that President Obama “replaced the Oval Office fixture with a bust of one of his American heroes, President Abraham Lincoln, and moved the Churchill bust to the White House residence.”

In case these news reports are not enough for Mr. Krauthammer and others, here’s a picture of the President showing off the Churchill bust to Prime Minister Cameron when he visited the White House residence in 2010.

 

President Barack Obama shows Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom a bust of Sir Winston Churchill (July 20, 2010)

President Barack Obama shows Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom a bust of Sir Winston Churchill in the private residence of the White House, July 20, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Hopefully this clears things up a bit and prevents folks from making this ridiculous claim again.

 

Good Day for Romney

He managed not to hock a loogie at the Queen.

But the damage seems to have been done.  As The Guardian reports, some are saying that Romney is "worse than Palin".  Well, that's gotta hurt:

In terms of winning British hearts and minds, Mitt Romney's attempt to burnish his credentials on the international stage as a potential future world leader has fallen at the first hurdle. His achilles heel was lack of diplomatic tact – a pretty crucial skill for anyone with leadership ambitions.

The reaction from the UK media to the Republican presidential hopeful's charm offensive was decidedly lukewarm on Friday morning. "'Nowhere man' Romney loses his way with gaffe about the Games," wrote the Times, while the Daily Mail quipped over a double-page spread: "Who invited party-pooper Romney?" The Independent seized on the play doing the rounds on "omnishambles" – the quip first coined on the satire The Thick Of It but cleverly appropriated by the Labour leader Ed Miliband: "Romneyshambles: Mitt begins his trip with a swipe at London." And to really put the boot in, a quote from one British diplomat in the Times described the former governor of Massachusetts's performance as "worse than Palin" – a reference to the gaffe-prone Republican former vice-presidential candidate.

It doesn't get much worse than that for someone who was hoping to boost his profile abroad, raise funds and canvass support among the capital's American community before the November elections. All that he appears to have achieved by suggesting that the country was not behind the Games was to create that very British unity that he worried might be lacking when the Olympic moment arrived.

And famed Olympian Carl Lewis says that "some Americans just shouldn't leave the country".

Romney’s Olympics

Rings220It's Olympic time, and Romney is in London for the games.  This, he thinks, is good for him.  Because, after all, when the Olympics were in Salt Lake City in 2002, it was Mitt Romney who stepped in when the events were rocked by scandal and mismanagement.  It's one of the only items on his resume that he will discuss without hesitation. He's so proud of the accomplishment, he wrote a book about it called "Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, And The Olympic Games."

But there's something he doesn't want you to know.  

Romney wasn't just the head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Romney was also a registered lobbyist for the organization, Utah state records show.

Romney last worked as a lobbyist on Dec. 31, 2000, according to a spokesman for the state lieutenant governor, who oversees the registry.

As a lobbyist and president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, Romney didn't just stabilize the balance sheet. He brought in a record $1.3 billion in federal dollars for Salt Lake City's games and more from Utah.   That is 1.5 times the amount spent by lawmakers to support all seven Olympic Games held in the U.S. since 1904 — combined.

So Romney's "success" came from government help.  LOTs of government help.  How does that fit into the "my success is my own" narrative?

By the way, Romney's rainbow tour is off to a bad start.  He's already insulted the British:

The prime minister has hit back at comments from the US presidential candidate Mitt Romney querying Britain's readiness for the Olympics, urging the country to "put its best foot forward" and ensure they are remembered as "the friendly Games".

***

Romney said the fallout from the G4S security fiasco and a threatened strike by immigration officials were "disconcerting" and questioned whether British people would get behind the Games.

 UPDATE:  The prime minister is still going after Romney:

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — After Mitt Romney called London's preparations for the Olympic Games were "disconcerting," British Prime Minister shot back with a defense of the British games — and a slam on the event Romney oversaw in 2002.

"We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere," snarked Cameron, apparently alluding to the Salt Lake City Games.

 

FACT CHECK: Romney-Bain Contacts Outlasted Exit.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he had no active role in Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded, after he exited in February 1999 to take over Salt Lake City's Winter Olympics bid. But according to Bain associates and others familiar with Romney's actions at the time, he stayed in regular contact with his partners over the following months, tending to his partnership interests and negotiating his separation from the company.

Those familiar with Romney's discussions with his Bain partners said the contacts included several meetings in Boston, the company's home base, but were limited to matters that did not affect the firm's investments or other management decisions. Yet Romney continued to oversee his partnership stakes even as he disengaged from the firm, personally signing or approving a series of corporate and legal documents through the spring of 2001, according to financial reports reviewed by The Associated Press.

 

Near Death At Seaworld

Remarkable and scary video of a trainer at Seaworld being attacked by an Orca.  From 2006, this was just released through a FOIA request.

It gets wild about 1:30 into the video. The Orca grabbed a trainer's foot. The man gets pulled under, then after a while the animal resurfaces and stays at the surface for a while, still holding the trainer's foot in its mouth. He keeps patting the animal, trying to calm it. Occasionally the Orca pulls him under again, as his foot is still in its mouth.  At one point, you notice that his foot is free yet he's still patting the animal.  Apparently, he cannot flee even though his foot is free, as the Orca will come after him.  So he continues to pat the animal while slowly pushing it toward the edge.  Just as he gets close enough, he releases the Orca then runs for his life to get out of the pool. 

The video is really quite horrifying but also fascinating. 

 

No, They Didn’t Build It Alone

Take a look at this Romney commerical, which takes to task Obama's line (which is quoted out-of context) about businesse owners not building their business alone:

 

Now consider this:

The New Hampshire Union Leader’s John DiStato today reports that in 1999 the business in question, Gilchrist Metal, “received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority ‘to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment’…” In addition, in 2011, Gilchrist Metal “received two U.S. Navy sub-contracts totaling about $83,000 and a smaller, $5,600 Coast Guard contract in 2008…”

The businessman, Jack Gilchrist, also acknowledged that in the 1980s the company received a U.S. Small Business Administration loan totaling “somewhere south of” $500,000, and matching funds from the federally-funded New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.

“I’m not going to turn a blind eye because the money came from the government,” Gilchrest said. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m getting some of my tax money back. I’m not stupid, I’m not going to say ‘no.’ Shame on me if I didn’t use what’s available.”

His tax money?  It's also other people's tax money.  

There's nothing wrong with receiving government loans drawn from taxes we all paid for, or using the roads and bridges that we all paid for.

But don't say that you built your business alone.  You lie.

Ugly Wingnut Quote Of The Day

I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice.

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) July 25, 2012

Taranto is a writer and editor at the Wall Street Journal.

UPDATE —  Wonkette snarks:

The fact that Taranto devotes about 40 acres of WSJ column space per year to the perils of feminism and sexual harrassment law, (and like the greatest minds of the 1950s even has a hard-on for The Pill, as if he’s never even heard Loretta Lynn explaining it) makes his tweet more, er, problematic. (WHAT WE ARE SAYING IS THAT JAMES TARANTO DOES NOT LIKE WOMEN.)

A follow-up tweet, mid-shitstorm, tried to plead that he says the same thing every Memorial Day about the nation and its troops — as if calling on a nation to be worthy is the same as calling out three specific women whose boyfriends were quite recently, oh, murdered on top of them.

Well we say, “good on you, James Taranto!” A pre-shaming is probably just what those women needed, before we commit them immediately for like a month of intensive meds and therapy to help work through the feelings of inadequacy and the guilt they would be feeling even without the mitzvah that is James Taranto reminding them! Maybe now they will be able to properly consecrate themselves to their boyfriends’ memory, Miss Havisham style, and, as is only right and proper, never feel joy or comfort again.

UPDATE #2 – Taranto issues a weak "mea culpa", which I will reprint here in its entirety:

HEROES OF AURORA
A mea culpa for an errant tweet 

Among the most evocative stories to come out of last week's horror in Aurora, Colo., are those of the three men who died saving the lives of their girlfriends. The New York Post recounted them on Saturday:

Jonathan Blunk, 26, "threw his date, Jansen Young, 21, to the floor, pushing her under the seat. 'Stay down!' he told her, moments before he was shot to death." Blunk "drew on his military experience. 'He knew, and threw me on the ground and was like, "We have to get down and stay down," ' [Young] told the 'Today' show." She added: "He took a bullet for me."

Matt McQuinn, 27, was at the movie with girlfriend Samantha Yowler, also 27, and her brother, Nick. "When [the gunman] started firing into the audience, Matt and Nick, sitting with Samantha between them, 'both jumped sideways in front of her,' family lawyer Ron Scott told The Post. 'Matt took three hits, one in the chest, one in the back, and one in the leg,' he said." Samantha was wounded but survived. So did Nick.

Alex Teves, 24, "used his body to cover girlfriend Amanda Lindgren, Teves' grandmother Rae Iacovelli told The Post. 'He shielded her. He got down on the floor and covered her up,' said Iacovelli, . . . 'She was pulled out from under him. I don't know who pulled her out.' "

These acts of heroism have been met with celebration and wonderment. Hanna Rosin of Slate:

Papers have described what happened in the theater as "chivalry." But it's not really that. Chivalry is a code of conduct connected to social propriety. Throwing your body in front of your girlfriend when people all around you are getting shot is an instinct that's basic, and deeper. It's the same reason these Batman and Spider-Man franchises endure: Because whatever else is fading away, women still seem to want their superhero, and men still seem to want to be him.

We got to thinking about these stories last night, and our musings led to an ill-considered tweet: "I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice."

We intended this to be thought-provoking, but to judge by the response, very few people received it that way. The vast majority found it offensive and insulting. This column has often argued that a failure of public communication is the fault of the public communicator, and that's certainly true in this case. What follows is an attempt to answer for this failure with a circumspect accounting of our thoughts.

What makes the stories of Jansen Young, Samantha Yowler and Amanda Lindgren especially poignant is that their boyfriends' dying acts simultaneously dealt them an unfathomable loss and gave them an invaluable gift–a gift of life. Their loss is all the more profound because the gift was one of love as well. In instinctively making the ultimate sacrifice, each of these men proved the depth of his devotion. They passed a test to which most men, thankfully, are never put–and then they were gone.

These three women owe their lives to their men. That debt can never be repaid in kind, because life is for the living and cannot be returned to the dead. The closest they can come to redeeming it is to use the gift of their survival well–to live good, full, happy lives.

People live on after death in the memories of those who loved them. Sometimes when this columnist does something we consider worthwhile, our thoughts turn to our father, who died four years ago: "Dad would be proud." That is our hope for Young, Yowler and Lindgren: that in the years to come, each of them will have many opportunities to reflect that Jon or Matt or Alex would be proud of her.

First of all, what's this "we" crap?  The moment he writes "We got to thinking about these stories last night, and our musings led to an ill-considered tweet" (emphasis mine), I knew that we were about to witness someone avoiding personal responsibility for a heinous comment.

Secondly, Taranto simply changes what he tweeted.  The tweet, on its face, wonders aloud if the girls "were worthy" of the sacrifice.  Past (or arguably, present) tense.  It is not, as the "mea culpa" argues, looking ahead in the hopes that they "use the gift of their survival well–to live good, full, happy lives".

Thirdly, even under the new spin (a spin which decidedly NOT a "mea culpa" or even an apology), it still exhibits a judgment of these girls.  Wagging a finger at them, Taranto says, "Now, you three be good girls now, because these guys died for you".

Fuck you, Taranto, and your condescending white horse that you rode in on.  These young women are going to have difficult future times as it is, knowing that their boyfriends were murdered on top of them, without always wondering if they have lived up to the expectations of the Wall Street Journal columnists.

Just leave them alone.  And stop digging when you're already in a ditch.

Oh, and learn to say I'm sorry.

Greenland Suddenly Melting

Uh-oh:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists say there's been a freak event inGreenland this month: Nearly every part of the massive ice sheet that blankets the island suddenly started melting.

Even Greenland's coldest place showed melting. Records show that last happened in 1889 and occurs about once every 150 years.

NASA says three satellites saw what it calls unprecedented melting over four days beginning July 8. Most of the thick ice remains. But what was unusual was that the melting occurred over a widespread area.

NASA says the melting area went from 40 percent of the ice sheetto 97 percent. Until now, the most extensive melt seen by satellites in the past 30 years was about 55 percent.

Scientists can't say yet if the melting is from global warming or natural.

It doesn't sound natural.

From The Mouth Of Babes

Fox News is stupider than two kids.

Still annoyed at Obama's comments about how even successful businesses need outside help, the morning Fox show Fox and Friends turned to the ultimate source to prove its point: two little girls who run a lemonade stand.

But despite obvious leading questions from host Brian Kilmeade, the girls actually confirmed what Obama said:

On Tuesday, "Fox and Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade turned to four-year old Eliza and seven-year old Clara Sutton to ask if they had government help when they founded their lemonade stand.

"Who helped you start this business?" Kilmeade wanted to know. Later, he asked, "Clara, how do you feel about the President saying that you needed help to start this business? And just speak from, speak from within."

When Eliza yawned, he turned to Clara. "I would say that’s rude because we worked very hard to build this business," she replied. "But we did have help."

"And your help came from?"

"Our help came from our investors, our dad and stepmom, along with other friends and family."

Yay!

Mona Lisa’s Smile Covered With Dirt And Stuff

AFP:

Mona-lisa-body-afp-670

FLORENCE: Archaeologists on Tuesday unearthed a skeleton in a rare state of preservation in Florence in what they believe may be a crucial step towards unravelling the mystery of the identity of the woman with the most enigmatic smile in the world.

Several bodies have been discovered in the hunt to find the mortal remains of Lisa Gherardini, the Florentine noblewoman widely believed to have served as the muse for Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”.

Silvano Vinceti, who heads up the team of Italian archaeologists, said this latest discovery in an abandoned convent was particularly exciting — though tests would still have to be carried out to ascertain the identity of the remains.

“I’d say that we’ve got to the really exciting part for researchers,” said Vinceti, who specialise in resolving art mysteries.

“The culmination of all our work where we’re getting close to answering the key question, ‘will we or will we not find Lisa Gherardini’s remains?’.”

”Today we opened another tomb, with a complete skeleton which is very important because in the first phase of the research we did not find human remains, they had been moved to another location,” he said.

The team began digging up the convent’s new cement floor last year, after fresh documents confirmed that Gherardini, the wife of rich Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, had lived in the convent after her husband died and was looked after by her two daughters who were nuns. She was eventually interred there.

Del Giocondo is thought to have commissioned the portrait from the Renaissance artist, and though there is little proof, most art historians agree that Lisa Gherardini served as the primary model for the bewitching painting.

It was composed between 1503 and 1506 and now hangs in the Louvre museum in Paris. Although the researchers had previously discovered bits of bones and two sets of remains in the convent, the latest skeleton to be unearthed is the best preserved, crucially, with the skull intact.

It also lies close to the tiny nunnery’s Franciscan altar, thereby placing the grave in the right historic period. But as with the previous remains, this skeleton may also prove to be unrelated. In that case, new digs will begin in September, to unearth other bodies the researchers believe lie on the other side of the alter, in a larger grave.

The next step for now is to send the latest remains off for a series of tests to confirm they belong to Gherardini. The team then hopes to reconstruct her face and compare it with the facial features in the painting.

“Carbon-14 dating allows us to date the period, and we have to find out whether the remains date to the middle of the 16th century.

Concealed Carry

I was going to write a post about all the imbeciles out there saying, "if only the moviegoers had guns, this wouldn't have happened", but Tbogg wrote the ultimate post on the subject:

This weekend I spent an indecent amount of time on teh internets debating arguing with people men regarding their belief that, if only one person had been packing heat at Batman, things would have been so so much better. Forget for a  moment that James Holmes was carrying a virtual armory on him, was decked out in full SWAT gear, had the element of surprise, gas canisters, and a well thought out plan of attack upon a darkened theater where the audience had already escaped reality and been lulled into the story. Forget, also, the massive blind panic that immediately followed with people climbing over each other, sprawling on the floor to avoid being hit, the screaming, the bodies, the blood, the smoke, the noise … the sheer horror of being caught up in your worst nightmare.

And yet I am led to understand that one person, who just happened to be carrying a piece would have calmly and with great presence of mind taken out the shooter just like he was Jason Bourne or whoever that guy is that Bruce Willis plays in those shitty Die Hard movies. Better yet, what if there were two or even three Jason Bourne-wannabes returning fire? Awesome! But how exactly would the brave hero in row thirty-two know that the guy in row twelve, who was also busy blasting away in the noise and the chaos, wasn’t  James Holmes wingman? Then the guy in row twenty-one sees the guy in thirty-two shooting at the guy in twelve and he has to make the decision which one is the bad guy … or maybe both. Then the police bust in and the whole thing looks like Reservoir Dogs but with more collateral damage.

You get the idea.

The reality is that, when it comes to split second heroics, some people are lucky they didn’t almost screw up like Joe Zamudio who was there when Gabby Giffords was shot:

The new poster boy for this agenda is Joe Zamudio, a hero in the Tucson incident. Zamudio was in a nearby drug store when the shooting began, and he was armed. He ran to the scene and helped subdue the killer. Television interviewers are celebrating his courage, and pro-gun blogs are touting his equipment. “Bystander Says Carrying Gun Prompted Him to Help,” says the headline in theWall Street Journal.

But before we embrace Zamudio’s brave intervention as proof of the value of being armed, let’s hear the whole story. “I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready,” he explained onFox and Friends. “I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this.” Zamudio demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. “And that’s who I at first thought was the shooter,” Zamudio recalled. “I told him to ‘Drop it, drop it!’ ”

But the man with the gun wasn’t the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter. “Had you shot that guy, it would have been a big, fat mess,” the interviewer pointed out.

Zamudio agreed:

I was very lucky. Honestly, it was a matter of seconds. Two, maybe three seconds between when I came through the doorway and when I was laying on top of [the real shooter], holding him down. So, I mean, in that short amount of time I made a lot of really big decisions really fast. … I was really lucky.

When Zamudio was asked what kind of weapons training he’d had, he answered: “My father raised me around guns … so I’m really comfortable with them. But I’ve never been in the military or had any professional training. I just reacted.”

The Arizona Daily Star, based on its interview with Zamudio, adds two details to the story. First, upon seeing the man with the gun, Zamudio “grabbed his arm and shoved him into a wall” before realizing he wasn’t the shooter. And second, one reason why Zamudio didn’t pull out his own weapon was that “he didn’t want to be confused as a second gunman.”

And  some are unlucky like police officer Michael Leach:

An off-duty police officer shot and killed his son after mistaking him for an intruder, New York State Police said.

Michael Leach, 59, an officer with the Parry Police Department in Wyoming County in western New York state, was staying at a motel in Old Forge. He called 911 early Saturday to say he just shot someone he thought was an intruder, troopers said, according to The Syracuse Post-Standard.

The victim turned out to be his son, Matthew S. Leach, 37, of Rochester.

Troopers said that the elder Leach used his department-issued .45-caliber Glock handgun in the shooting. He was hospitalized after the shooting for what for what troopers described as a “medical issue.”

He knew what he was doing and yet … tragedy.

 

Blame Game

The rightwing went ballistic this morning because Brian Ross on ABC News cited unconfirmed reports (he pointed out that they were "unconfirmed") that James Holmes, the Aurora Colorado "Dark Knight" gunman, was a member of the Tea Party.  It turns out those reports were wrong, and ABC retracted the unconfirmed report.

But it was too late.  "They're blaming us!" screamed the right blogosphere, demonstrating to the world once again that they are the real victims, no matter who gets shot.

But even that wasn't enough for those at Breitbart.com, who decided it was time to pin the tragic mass shooting on the left.  So they reported that Holmes was a registered Democrat, contrary to the erroneous ABC News report.

Hilarity ensued when Brietbart had to backtrack, doing exactly the same thing it had condemned — mere hours earlier — ABC News for doing.  And now we have the classic screenshot (h/t Tbogg) to accompany this whole story:

Screen-Shot-2012-07-20-at-10.36.15-AM

Notice how Breitbart.com couldn't quite admit that they couldn't confirm he was a Democrat.  All they retracted was the "registered" part, leaving the tempting carrot that the shooter was a Democrat, just not a registered one.  "Please oh please oh please, let it be true", the right blogosphere whispered under its collective breath.

I'm not sure what this is all about.  Even if he was a Democrat, so what?  Does this mean that all Democrats are gun nuts?  I don't think so.

How Not To Respond To A Tragedy

From Steve Benen:

In the wake of tragic gun violence, most politicians realize the decent, responsible thing to do is send sympathies to those affected while leaving politics out of it. Others aren't as sensible.

After the Columbine massacre, for example, then-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) blamed science textbooks for the murders: "Our school systems teach the children that they are nothing but glorified apes who are evolutionized [sic] out of some primordial soup."

In 2007, after the Virginia Tech massacre, Newt Gingrich blamed liberals for supporting "situation ethics," adding, "Yes, I think the fact is, if you look at the amount of violence we have in games that young people play at 7, 8, 10, 12, 15 years of age, if you look at the dehumanization, if you look at the fact that we refuse to say that we are, in fact, endowed by our creator, that our rights come from God, that if you kill somebody, you're committing an act of evil." Gingrich, explaining the VT tragedy, went on to condemn Halloween costumes and the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law.

And this morning, after the slayings in Aurora, Louie Gohmert weighed in with some stupidity of his own.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Friday that the shootings that took place in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater hours earlier were a result of "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs" and questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter.

During a radio interview on The Heritage Foundation's "Istook Live!" show, Gohmert was asked why he believes such senseless acts of violence take place. Gohmert responded by talking about the weakening of Christian values in the country.

"Some of us happen to believe that when our founders talked about guarding our virtue and freedom, that that was important," he said. "Whether it's John Adams saying our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people … Ben Franklin, only a virtuous people are capable of freedom, as nations become corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters. We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country."

"You know what really gets me, as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then some senseless crazy act of a derelict takes place."

I see. So, in the mind of this strange Republican congressman, a madman killed 12 people because of … the separation of church and State? The First Amendment is to blame for a shooting spree in a movie theater?

If decency had any place in American politics, this would be an immediate career-ender for the ridiculous congressman from Texas. Some political missteps are simply unforgivable.

Update: Gohmert also wondered aloud why no one else in the theater was armed, complaining that the victims should have shot back.

To be sure, some on the left are wondering aloud if this was a neo-Nazi or Tea Party person.  

We don't know.

This can be a jumping-off point for a discussion about gun control (although, I think, not yet.)  But trying to shoehorn this tragedy into one's agenda is about Christianity is absurd.

Sobering Tweet

Last night, 11:37 p.m.: Jessica Redfield sends her last tweet from the movie theater. She was later confirmed dead by a friend on Twitter.

The Aurora Shooting tweet

UPDATE:  More about this particular victim here.  And ironically, she was at a shooting that happened at Eaton Mall in Toronto in June 2012, which she blogged about here (her last post)

UPDATE #2:  Here's Jessica, as an intern reporter — a video made by her co-worker friends:

 

Aurora Shooting

At least 12 people were shot and killed, and 50 injured in a shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater showing The Dark Knight Rises this morning around 1 AM.  Witnesses have varying accounts of a man in black and/or body armor releasing tear gas and opening fire in what sounds like more than one theater in a multiplex.

A 24 year-old male suspect, James Holmes, is in custody.

Too soon to speculate on motive, but we do know the shooter was white, and early indication was that he was acting alone.

A circulating cell-phone video apparently taken outside the theater. A man spattered with blood walks out of the theater at 00:52.

 

Also this:

A San Diego woman who identified herself as James Holmes' mother told ABC News she had awoken unaware of the shooting and had not yet been contacted by authorities. She immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved.

"You have the right person," she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. "I need to call the police… I need to fly out to Colorado."

Seems he might have had a history of problems or violent tendencies if his mom wasn't surprised.

Bachmann Too Crazy For GOP?

Is it possible that Michelle Bachmann may have jumped the shark, even with Republicans?

Bachmann has been going around muttering about how Hillary Clinton's Dep. Chief of Staff Huma Abedin is probably in league with Muslim extremists. This is a bit much for even John Boehner:

I don’t know Huma, but from everything I do know of her, she has a sterling character. And I think accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.

John McCain was more direct, actually exhibiting some of the mavericky-ness that used to be his staple:

"These allegations about Huma and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant," McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday morning.

And Scott Brown even tweeted:

Rep. Bachmann’s accusations about Sec. Clinton aide Huma Abedin are out-of-line. This kind of rhetoric has no place in our public discourse

You think?

Tone Deaf

Ann Romney: We've 'Given All You People Need'.

“You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he’s been financially,” the potential first lady said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “He’s a very generous person. We give 10 percent of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person who is trying to hide things, or do things? No. He is so good about it. Then, when he was governor of Massachusetts, didn’t take a salary for four years.”

We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,” she added later.

"You people"?  Does she mean us peons?

And by the way, as many have pointed out, Mormons are required to give 10% of their income to the Mormon church.  So Mitt can hardly be characterized as a "generous person" when the money he donates is mandatory.

Stupidest “You Didn’t Build That” Piling On

It comes from Governor Scott Walker:

There are dozens of ways in which this is a peculiar thing to say.  I would note that if you have to go back to the BIBLE to find evidence contrary to what Obama said (or actually, didn't say), maybe it's best to shut your mouth.

Of course, Noah didn't build the ark.  In fact, no such ark was built… making Scott Walker's counter-example especially stupid.

Wait, what?

An ark WAS built?  Hmmmmm:

Facing a rising tide of joblessness, the governor of Kentucky has found one solution: build an ark.

The state has promised generous tax incentives to a group of entrepreneurs who plan to construct a full-size replica of Noah’s ark, load it with animals and actors, and make it the centerpiece of a Bible-based tourist attraction called Ark Encounter.

See?!?  The ark DIDN'T get built without government help!!

On “You Didn’t Build That”

Let's get to what Obama actually said, in context:

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."

This is undeniably true.  And the particular phrase that the GOP is harping on (out of context) — "you didn't build that" — referred to "roads and bridges".

It should be noted that even Romney agrees with that.  Romney recently said:

I know that you recognize a lot of people help you in a business. Perhaps the banks, the investors. There’s no question your mom and dad, your school teachers, the people that provide roads, the fire, the police. A lot of people help. But let me ask you this, did you build your business? If you did, raise your hand. Take that, Mr. President.

Here’s how Obama described the relationship between “the people that provide roads, the fire, the police” and business owners in that speech Romney cited:

In short, Romney: Yes, “a lot of people” help business owners, among them government, but in the end, “you build your business.” Obama: “We succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

How is that any different?  It's not!

Now the Romney campaign has come out with a blatently dishonest ad on the Obama quote:

 

… except that it is heavily editted to take the Obama quote out of context.

This is how Obama’s speech is presented in Romney’s version:

If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be ‘cause I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

Here, once again, is Obama’s own speech. Note the sentences immediately preceding and following “you didn’t build that,” in which the president explicitly tells the audience he’s talking about roads, bridges, the Internet and other public infrastructure investments that are all but universally considered a boon to the private sector. The sentences cut out of Romney’s ad are in bold. 

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

Mitt, if you have to engage in heavy editting to make Obama say what you want him to say, that alone means that he didn't say it in the first place.

P.S. Astute political observers will note that Obama's statement was really something akin to something Elizabeth Warren said last year:

"You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did…. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."

Four Pinocchios

Romney's new slam at Obama:

"I am ashamed to say that we’re seeing our president hand out money to the businesses of campaign contributors, when he gave money, $500 million in loans to a company called Fisker that makes high end electric cars, and they make the cars now in Finland. That is wrong and it’s got to stop. That kind of crony capitalism does not create jobs and it does not create jobs here.”

The Washington Post gives the Romney claim "4 Pinocchios":

Romney tried to carefully craft his statement.

Romney said the president gave money to “the businesses of campaign contributors.” Doerr is an important partner at Kleiner, and he has been an advocate for green energy, but it is a stretch to say it is his “business.” In fact, Ray Lane, who contributes mostly to Republicans, is an important Kleiner partner on this deal. Moreover, the money was raised before Obama became president.

Romney said Obama gave “$500 million in loans to a company called Fisker” — but it was a loan originally submitted under the Bush administration for a Bush administration program. He also said “they make cars now in Finland” — technically true, but in a way that suggests the taxpayer money went for that purpose, rather than for jobs and work in the United States.

Finally, Romney makes the leap that because of the “crony capitalism” — not proven — no jobs will be created. The company says jobs have been created, though the venture is still highly uncertain.

Romney’s phrasing has too many weasel words. An ordinary listener would believe that Obama paid off a contributor to build cars in Finland with U.S. taxpayer money, with no hope of U.S. jobs being created. That does not appear to be the case, at least as Romney has framed it.

We usually give some credit for a semblance to the truth, but the net effect of Romney’s words is too much.

Nice try though.

Getting Ugly

The Romney camp has suffered some severe body blows lately, some of it self-inflicted (e.g., Romney's decision no matter what to never ever ever release his tax returns, which will dog him until he eventually does release them).

So what happens now?

They'll up the ante:

Indeed, facing what the candidate and his aides believe to be a series of surprisingly ruthless, unfounded, and unfair attacks from the Obama campaign on Romney's finances and business record, the Republican's campaign is now prepared to go eye for an eye in an intense, no-holds-barred act of political reprisal, said two Romney advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity. In the next chapter of Boston's pushback — which began last week when they began labeling Obama a "liar" — very little will be off-limits, from the president's youthful drug habit, to his ties to disgraced Chicago politicians.

"I mean, this is a guy who admitted to cocaine use, had a sweetheart deal with his house in Chicago, and was associated and worked with Rod Blagojevich to get Valerie Jarrett appointed to the Senate," the adviser said. "The bottom line is there'll be counterattacks."

The reference to Obama's past drug use seems to suggest that former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu wasn't going off-script after all when he dinged the president for spending "his early years in Hawaii smoking something" during a Tuesday morning Fox News appearance.

Returning fire with personal attacks on Obama offers both emotional satisfaction to Romney and many Republicans, and an answer of sorts to relentless Democratic attacks on Romney's time as an executive. It has so far failed, however, to quiet the growing, bipartisan chorus of voices demanding Romney release more of his personal tax returns. Obama campaign officials privately admit that the Republican has, at times, been effective in beating down attacks on his business record — but they've yet to see a way out on the tax issue.

Perhaps as a solution to that problem, Romney surrogates will place increased emphasis in coming days on the "Fast and Furious" gun-running scandal at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, hoping to drag the story back into the headlines, and highlight questions about the the Obama campaign's transparency, the Romney adviser said.

I'm not sure how much this will work.  After all, Obama has been president for four years.  You can't run against him as if people are just learning about him.  People have an impression of Obama — for better or for worse.  If they care about Obama's (one-time) cocaine use, then pointing it out isn't going to make them care MORE.  If people cared about "Fast and Furious", they would already care.  In other words, the traction has already been worn.  At best, the negative attacks on Obama personally will just preach to the choir that won't be voting for Obama anyway.

The Romney campaign is being run poorly.  Most Americans agree:

“After a week in which Mitt Romney has struggled to counter questions about his tax records and his tenure at Bain Capital, just 38 percent of Americans in a new ABC News-Washington Post poll express a favorable opinion of the way he’s running his presidential campaign, while 49 percent respond unfavorably — an 11-point negative margin,” notes ABC News pollster Gary Langer. “Obama, for his part, gets an even split in assessments of his campaign efforts, 46-45 percent, favorable-unfavorable, in this poll.”

Like A Lead Balloon

Romney spoke in front of the NAACP this morning (I give him props for that), and told them he would repeal Obamacare.

How well did that go over?  About like you would expect…

 

In truth, Romney knew that saying that would generate boos, which will help him with his (racist) base.  That's why he said it.

Anti-Obamaism Hurts People

Rick Perry, governor of the state with the highest percentage of uninsured residents, declares he won't create a health insurance exchange or take advantage of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.

Now, understand.  Obamacare's Medicaid expansion costs the State of Texas nothing for three years — the federal government picks up the tab.  And after three years, Texas (like all other states), only has to pay for 5% of the program.  It's a steal.  In fact, Texans are already paying for it:

One in four Texans are uninsured, the highest rate of any state. The Medicaid expansion would cover 49.4 percent of uninsured Texans by 2019, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The program is broadened to cover Americans within 133 percent of the poverty line — currently the eligibility for a working Texan parent cuts off at 27 percent. The federal government will cover the full cost of the first three years and pay 90 percent thereafter.

So why would a governor deny healthcare to his citizens? 

Because it's OBAMAcare.  If it were somebody else, then of course he would take it.  But it's Obama.

Perry joins other GOP governors — including Florida’s Rick Scott, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker — in refusing to implement the Affordable Care Act. 

Heated Debate

As bad as things are in this country, at least we don't pull guns during live televised political debates:

 

According to the Times of Israel:

As the Jo Sat TV station discussion became more heated, each of the men accused the other of various crimes and deviancies. Shawabka claimed Murad was in the pay of the Syrian regime. Murad countered that Shawabka worked for the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency. “You’re a Mossad agent,” he said. “You’re a big crook,” came the response.

The MP stood up and began screaming and pointing at the activist, who was sitting opposite him, while the host of the program, Mohammed Habashneh, seated in the center, desperately urged his guests to “calm down.”

 

Quotes From The Romney Fundraiser Held In The Hamptons

The multi-millionaire Republican — dodging questions about his controversial shell corporation in Bermuda, hidden cash in the Caymans, and inexplicable Swiss bank account — thought it'd be a good idea to spend the day in the Hamptons, attending several posh fundraisers with the hyper-elite, including an event at David Koch's home.

Romney may be avoiding questions, but his donors aren't.  I couldn't make up stuff like this if I tried.

A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. "I don't think the common person is getting it," she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. "Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.

"We've got the message," she added. "But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who's got the right to vote — they don't understand what's going on. I just think if you're lower income — one, you're not as educated, two, they don't understand how it works, they don't understand how the systems work, they don't understand the impact."

Yikes.

The L.A. Times report quoted another wealthy Romney donor saying, "It's not helping the economy to pit the people who are the engine of the economy against the people who rely on that engine." Apparently, asking the rich to pay the same tax rate they paid in the Clinton era is making wealthy people feel put upon. (Matt Yglesias also highlighted "the absurd level of self-regard among the winners in the modern American meritocracy.")

The New York Times report quoted Ted Conklin, the owner of the American Hotel in Sag Habor, speaking from inside his gold-colored Mercedes, whined that the president "is a socialist." At his wife's urging, Conklin then boasted about the Hollywood executive was staying on his 75-foot yacht because his hotel his fully booked.

Unseemly and Disgusting

The Romeny camp's response:

“The Obama campaign’s latest unfounded character assault on Mitt Romney is unseemly and disgusting. Mitt Romney had a successful career in the private sector, pays every dime of taxes he owes, has given generously to charitable organizations, and served numerous causes greater than himself,” said spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “Barack Obama has become what he once ran against — a typical politician willing to use false and dishonest attacks to save his job after failing to do his job. The American people expected more from this president, and he continues to let them down.”

What is she talking about?  What is "unseemly" and "disgusting"?

Asking questions about Romney's off-shore bank accounts, that's what.

Over the weekend, the Obama campaign and national Democrats stepped up their campaign to pressure Romney to disclose more than just one year of tax returns (he's only released 2010's) and to explain his bank accounts and other investments in the Caribbean and Switzerland.  Romney's slogan is "Believing in America" — if that's the case, then why is his money all off-shore?

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said it best: “I’ve never known of a Swiss bank account to build an American bridge, a Swiss bank account to create American jobs, or a Swiss bank accounts to rebuild the levies to protect the people of New Orleans. That’s not an economic strategy for moving our country forward.”

And of course there's also the issue of his enormous $100 million-plus IRA. How, despite a $6000 legal limit on annual contributions to an IRA, did Romney’s IRA grow to over $100 million?  It's certainly possible, but it would require taking advantage of certain tax loopholes unavailable to most Americans.

Why is it "unseemly" to ask these questions?  It goes straight to the heart of Romney's position that he "believes in America".  Nobody is suggesting he did anything illegal; nobody is disputing that he donates to charities.  Nobody is begrudging him his wealth.

But Americans have a right to know if their next President is avoiding paying taxes — even if done so legally — by taking advantage of off-shore accounts and businesses that most Americans can't take advantage of.  That's relevant.

“It isn’t too much to ask that a candidate for president explain why he chose to invest in other countries that are known as tax havens rather than in the United States,” Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt says in this video:

 

So, rather than being outraged at the question… how about an answer??

This is also relevant given that, as The New York Times reports:

President Obama is changing the subject to tax fairness, calling for a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for people making less than $250,000. 

Mr. Obama plans to make his announcement at the White House on Monday, senior administration officials said. The ceremony comes as Congress returns from its Independence Day recess, and as both parties and their presidential candidates head into the rest of the summer trying to seize the upper hand in a campaign that has been closely matched and stubbornly static.

It's going to be hard for Romney to argue about "tax fairness" for the wealthy, when the wealthy (like him) can avoid taxes by off-shoring their money.

Why Is Today Like No Other Day

Because this happened 55 years ago today:

570706_quarrymen_poster

The Quarry Men skiffle group played, fronted by a guy named John Lennon.

570706_quarrymen_04-580x433

And another guy showed up to hear him.  That other guy was Paul McCartney.

I remember coming into the fete and seeing all the sideshows. And also hearing all this great music wafting in from this little Tannoy system. It was John and the band. 

I remember I was amazed and thought, 'Oh great', because I was obviously into the music. I remember John singing a song called Come Go With Me. He'd heard it on the radio. He didn't really know the verses, but he knew the chorus. The rest he just made up himself.

I just thought, 'Well, he looks good, he's singing well and he seems like a great lead singer to me.' Of course, he had his glasses off, so he really looked suave. I remember John was good. He was really the only outstanding member, all the rest kind of slipped away.

— Paul McCartney

And the rest is history….

They Say You Can’t Get Re-Elected If Unemployment Rates > 8%

Obama's had a couple of good weeks with the immigration issue, and the Supreme Court uphold of the ACA.  And Romney's team has been playing those issues badly.

But today came the jobs numbers for last month.  The U.S. economy added 80,000 jobs in June, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 8.2%. The number was below economists’ expectations. 

April’s numbers were revised downward, from 77,000 jobs created to 68,000, and May’s were revised up from 69,000 to 77,000.  

 

Zimmerman Judge Re-Sets Bail At $1,000,000

In the eyes of a Florida judge, George Zimmerman is a liar and manipulator who was likely planning to flee from prosecution earlier this year.

Zimmerman's previous bond was revoked last month after prosecutors alleged that he and his wife conspired to hide a huge amount of money from authorities and the judge. Prosecutors ended up charging the wife, Shellie Zimmerman, with perjury after she testified during a previous hearing that she had no knowledge of how much money was available.

In his order, Lester noted that Zimmerman's attorneys tried to portray their client at a hearing last week as a scared young man who made a simple mistake by not telling authorities or his own attorneys that he had managed to raise more than $200,000 online for his defense.

But the judge said Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman who had law enforcement training before the killing, had a "very sophisticated knowledge of the criminal justice system" and knew exactly what he was doing.

 

George Zimmerman Bond Order

Bad Boy.

Escaped Monkey Enjoys Independence (Day)

Local news:

Winston-Salem, NC– Officials with Animal Control and and Veterinarians with Wake Forest Baptist are in Davidson County searching for a monkey.

Wake Forest Baptist tells WFMY News 2 that the animal is about the size of a domestic cat and it escaped from an animal housing area on Friday.

As of Wednesday, officials with the research facility told the Associated Press that the Monkey is avoiding traps and tranquilizer guns while hanging out in trees.

Since late Monday, a team of veterinarians, animal care and county animal control officers have been attempting to safely capture the animal. Until calls from a nearby neighborhood, officials sid they thought the monkey was still somewhere on  the 200-acre campus, near its housing and feeding area, which is common behavior.

Two reported sightings made them regroup and start their search in a nearby community.  WFMY News 2 received an email late Monday night from a concerned homeowner in the area of the sightings.

As of Tuesday morning the animal had not be captured.

According to a release from the medical center, the 16-year-old monkey is part of a breeding colony that supplies monkeys to other research projects. However, it is not domesticated and typically avoids people. Anyone who sees the animal should not attempt to capture, feed, pet or interact with it. Like any animal in the wild, it could try to bite or scratch or carry a virus that is contagious to people.

Anyone who sees the animal should contact Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center at 716-3305, animal control in Forsyth County at 703-2490, or Davidson County Animal Control at 249-0131.

Following the escape, Wake Forest staff immediately added additional security measures in the animal housing areas to prevent future incidents.

Meanwhile, he's having fun on his Twitter account:

Monkeya

______________________________________________________________
Monkey1
________________________________________________________________

Monkey2

WSJ Rips Into Romney

They don't like Romney's flip-flopping and vagueness over whether the mandate is or isn't a tax, but they also hit upon a deeper problem

Perhaps Mr. Romney is slowly figuring this out, because in a July 4 interview he stated himself that the penalty now is a “tax” after all. But he offered no elaboration, and so the campaign looks confused in addition to being politically dumb.

This latest mistake is of a piece with the campaign’s insular staff and strategy that are slowly squandering an historic opportunity. Mr. Obama is being hurt by an economic recovery that is weakening for the third time in three years. But Mr. Romney hasn’t been able to take advantage, and if anything he is losing ground.

The Romney campaign thinks it can play it safe and coast to the White House by saying the economy stinks and it’s Mr. Obama’s fault. We’re on its email list and the main daily message from the campaign is that “Obama isn’t working.” Thanks, guys, but Americans already know that. What they want to hear from the challenger is some understanding of why the President’s policies aren’t working and how Mr. Romney’s policies will do better.

[Emphasis mine].  The WSJ editors are right. Romney can’t “coast” in this election by simply being the anti-Obama on the economy.  One gets the strong sense that that is the entirety of the Romney strategy.  And I don't see how that can possibly work, even if the economy stays sour.

His real problem is that he can't articulate his positions lest he alienate the conservative base.  And it doesn't look like the base is going to stand by while he waffles.

Yesterday’s Google Graphic Ignites The REAL Patriots

So this is what Google had on its home page yesterday for Independence Day:

Screen-Shot-2012-07-04-at-2.40.12-PM
That's "this land was made for you and me", from the Woody Guthrie song.  And Woody was a commie!  Harumph!

Via Tbogg, we see the conservative outrage:

Screen-Shot-2012-07-04-at-3.40.30-PM
Harumph!

Why couldn't Google have picked another song harumph?!?

Like "God Bless America" written by that Jew from Belarus?  Oh, wait.

Harumph.

How about the "Star Spangled Banner" written by a British guy?

Oh…

Grrrrr.  Harumph.

Hitting The Wrong Button: Fracking Is Now Legal In NC

First, a little background on "fracking".

Fracking is media term applied to a process known as Hydraulic Fracturing. It is a process that creates fractures in rocks to force natural gas, water, and oil reserves trapped 5,000 to 20,000 feet below the earth up to the surface. Hydraulic fractures may occur naturally, via volcanic dikes, sills, ice; or they can be man-made by injecting a proppant (like crains of sand, ceramic, or other particulates) or fracturing fluid, into a borehole deep underground in formation rock, to increase pressure enough to fracture the formation rock.

Fracking is a process used to harvest and extract water, natural gas, and oil reserves in targeted formations deep within the earth. The fracture is then “propped” by sand higher in permeability than the surrrounding rock, and formation fluids are then pumped to the surface. Fracking is also often used to dispose toxic waste into underground formations.

Fracking_explained

Fracking is highly controversial due to significant environmental, safety, and health risks. The biggest risks of fracking involve: the potential contamination of groundwater aquifers with fracturing chemicals or waste fluids and the migration of gasses and fracturing chemicals.  If these chemicals migrate to water supplies, it can contaminate huge populations, as well as farming areas, and nature.

So naturally, many people are against (except Republicans who deny there is any problem).

Here in North Carolina, a bill passed the legislature which permitted fracking.

Fortunately, the governor vetoed the bill.  It was therefore necessary, if the law was going to be valid, that the NC legislature override the veto by 2/3rds majority.

The vote to override the veto was last night, and it was close.

And then the unthinkable: Rep. Becky Carney, who opposes fracking, hit the wrong button when voting.  Instead of sustaining the governor's veto, she voted to overturn the governor's veto:

The vote was 72-47, exactly the number needed for an override. Without Carney's vote, the veto would have been sustained. 

Carney characterized her vote as "very accidental."

"It is late. Here we are rushing to make these kind of decisions this time of night," she said.

Carney pointed out that she has voted against fracking in the past, and said she spent the day lobbying other Democrats to uphold the veto of Senate Bill 820.

"And then I push the green button," she said.

Just after the vote, Carney's voice could be heard on her microphone, saying "Oh my gosh. I pushed green."

Carney said she turned her light on, but Speaker Thom Tillis would not recognize her, so she went to the front to speak to him.

"I made a mistake, and I tried to get recognized to change it, as people have been doing all night on other bills, and it was too late," Carney said. "Because it would have changed the outcome of the vote."

So fracking is now NC law.

The Newsroom Doesn’t Blow

HBO's "The Newsroom" just got renewed for a second season, despite several bad reviews.  Even some Sorkin fans seem a little dismayed.

The first two shows have aired, and I absolutely love it.  In fact, I am enjoying it more than "Studio 60" when it first aired.

"The Newsroom" has all the Sorkin staples — most notably, the fast banter.  Sorkin isn't writing on new ground, and that's fine with me.

Any Sorkin fan will recognize common themes.  "The Newsroom", a show about putting on the nightly news, is about television — this already makes it on apar with "Sports Night" and "Studio 60".  It's also about people who are fundamentally good at what they do, which makes it like "Sports Night" and "Studio 60" and "The West Wing".

The series starts with a main charactor having a public meltdown.  Like Judd Hirsch in "Studio 60".  Here, the main character is Will McEvoy, anchor of the ACN Nightly News, played by Jeff Daniels.  McEvoy is kind of an ass — mean to the people he works with.  A yeller.  He's obsessed with ratings.  His meltdown comes at a college journalism symposium after being asked by a sorority girl why America is the greatest country in the world.  Rather than spout platitudes, McEvoy answers "It's not", and proceeds to give facts about the state of America as it is today.  It's a strong Sorkin monologue, and Daniels is amazing speaking it.

Enter McKenzie, an American with a British accent (her father, we learn, was an ambassador to the U.S. under Thatcher).  She has been a war correspondent for several years, and is burnt out.  She has become the "EP" (executive producer) of the newsroom.  Will McEvoy learns of this upon his return from a two-week vacation following his meltdown.  And the viewer quickly learns, MacKenzie and McEvoy have a past.

So, a news anchor and a (female) EP having a potential romance?  Shades of "Sports Night".  And — again, like "Sports Nights" — there's a budding romance between associate producers and their assistants.

So Sorkin fans will recognize these common themes, and even some of the dialogue.  My favorite is the three-peat question that Sorkin uses:

"Where is my staff?"

"Welcome back, Will"

"Thanks. Where is my staff?"

"You need to see Charlie"

"Okay.  Where is my staff?"

"I can't say anything until you've seen Charlie".

Even the title of "The Newsroom" premiere episode "We Just Decided To" reflects dialoogue from both "Sports Night" and "The West Wing".

What make "The Newsroom" really interesting is that, unlike "The West Wing", it is set two years ago.  Sorkin takes on REAL news issues (in the series premiere, it was the BP oil spill).  I hope that trend continues.

And yes, while he does get a little preachy about how BAD the news is now (and how good it can be if they just delivered the facts instead of shouting people), I don't find it overbearing as some of the show's critics do.

"The Newsroom" does differ from Sorkin's predecessor shows in three significant ways: (1) No commercials.  This allows the rollercoaster dialogue to build to uncanny heights (2) Different directors.  No Jonathan Schlemme here, which means we don't have the famous walk-and-talk scenes.  We also have hand-held cameras and fast-cutting.  In all honestly, the show sometimes looks like "The Office". (3)  Better music.  Thomas Newman insterad of "Snuffy" Whathisname.

And the opening title is a nice homage to the history of news.

Two shows in, and I am eager to see what happens to these charactors. 

Growing Up

Do you remember the 13-year old that conservatives at CPAC were slobbering over four years ago? He's baaaa-aaaack:

Jonathan Krohn took the political world by storm at 2009’s Conservative Political Action Conference when, at just 13 years old, he delivered an impromptu rallying cry for conservatism that became a viral hit and had some pegging him as a future star of the Republican Party.

Now 17, Krohn — who went on to write a book, “Defining Conservatism,” that was blurbed by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Bill Bennett — still watches that speech from time to time, but it mostly makes him cringe because, well, he’s not a conservative anymore.

Krohn won’t go so far as to say he’s liberal, in part because his move away from conservatism was a move away from ideological boxes in general. […]

But a quick rundown of his current political stances suggests a serious pendulum swing away from the right.

Gay marriage? In favor. Obamacare? “It’s a good idea.” Who would he vote for (if he could) in November? “Probably Barack Obama.” His favorite TV shows? “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.” His favorite magazine? The New Yorker. And, perhaps telling of all, Krohn is enrolling this fall at a college not exactly known for its conservatism: New York University.

From his kiddie days:

 

He came to his senses after questioning things he learned as a child, and reading philosophy.

This is why the 2012 Texas GOP platform comes out against teaching critical thinking.