Monthly Archives: January 2016

RT @Lin_Manuel: Imagine you had Vanessa Hudgens’ day, and doing that.
What a superhero.
In total awe.

RT @VanessaHudgens: Tonight, I do the show in his honor.

RT @ActuallyEmerson: The lighting and camera work are incredibly smart, and the script combinations and updates are truly excellent!

#Grea…

Unedited Video Of the Oregon Standoff and Arrest and Showdown

There have been conflicting stories about how militant LaVoy Finicum.  Occupants of Finicum’s car say he was “executed” with his hands up.  Law enforcement accounts say that he was reaching into his left jacket pocket and not keeping his hands up (and a loaded gun was found in that pocket later).

To me, in this video, a couple of things are quite clear:

(1)  Finicum’s car was trying to flee law enforcement after he was stopped.  This all happens within the first minute of the video

(2)  When the car goes into a snowbank, Finicum comes out and his hands are raised.  However, he is not standing still.

So clearly, he was not complying with the police officers.

But did he reach for the gun.  I see it in the video.  When the video is enlarged to fullscreen, I see his hands come down and toward his pocket and that’s when he gets shot by the federal agent behind him.

You be the judge. This is the complete video footage of a joint FBI and Oregon State Police traffic stop and OSP officer-involved shooting of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. This footage, which has only been edited to blur out aircraft information, was taken by the FBI on 01/26/2016 and released by the FBI on 01/28/2016. Note regarding date/time stamp in the left corner of video: Pilots use Zulu Time, also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), when they fly. Zulu time is eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). Therefore, although this footage was taken on January 26, 2016 in Oregon, the date/time stamp on the video shows just after midnight January 27, 2016.

If the video provides some sense of how the shooting went down, it still doesn’t offer much indication of why. Did Finicum think he could make it through the snow? Was it his decision alone to drive ahead, or did the other passengers agree? Did he expect police would fire? (He’d previously said he would rather die than be arrested.) Why did all the other passengers in both cars surrender without incident? These questions seem likely to remain unanswered at least until the others describe the moment.

The shooting and arrests seem to have effectively sapped the occupation of its energy. Ammon Bundy, arrested in the Jeep behing Finicum’s truck,  made a statement through his lawyer, called on the remnant to leave, and police surrounded the refuge and threw up road blocks. Several militia members have been arrested as they leave. There are now just four people left, and they are demanding that police agree not to arrest them in exchange for leaving.

“We’re asking, just drop the charges and we’re willing to go. But if they’re not willing to do that, we’re all just willing to stay here and see what happens,” one man, tentatively identified as David Fry, says in a video from the refuge posted Thursday. Fry told the Los Angeles Times’ Matt Pearce that three of them have been told they’re free to go, but a fourth faces a criminal charge. They also don’t want authorities to check their guns. If it’s hard to imagine police agreeing to such an exchange, it’s also true that the occupation’s demands—including release of two men imprisoned for federal crimes and federal surrender of the refuge—also always seemed wildly unrealistic.

RT @Johngcole: Internet- wtf?!? It’s been 20 minutes. Where is the Carson preamble autotune?

Blessings of liberty, you goon. If you’re going to have the audacity to quote the preamble, get it right! #GOPDebate

I loathe these people, but I think Christie had the best moments. #Gopdebate

Blessings of liberty, you good. If you’re going to have the audacity to quote the preamble, get it right! #GOPDebate

Thank you, Paul Rand, for mansplaining how women should react to Hillary regarding Bill’s fidelity issues. #GOPDebate

Marco? A little less coffee. #GOPDebate

Kasich: The way to get rid of ISIS is to use the same strategy that created ISIS. #GOPDebate

RT @RuthMarcus: Ok, I have a new plan, we combine Marco Rubio and Ben Carson and come up with a candidate who speaks at normal speed

Stop whining, Ted. And yay to Mario for I’m not leaving the stage. #GOPDebate

RT @michaelianblack: Ted Cruz: “I am the judgement and temperament to be Commander In Chief, but I might leave if you keep asking mea quest…

And again…we have to ask.. where is Ben Carson? #GOPDebate

You really can’t land a plane in the operating room. I tried it once in a dream. #GOPDebate

RT @BuzzFeedAndrew: Jesus these guys all have daddy issues.

All the Vitalis on Ted Cruz’ hair makes me just want to punch him harder in the face. #GOPDebate

I hate Ted Cruz and his pre-planned opening. #GOPDebate

RT @pattonoswalt: Hey, that was funny, Ted Cruz. You sentient, arrogant “I-Just-Farted-And-There’s-Nothing-You-Can-Do-About-It” smirk. #GOP…

The first candidate to call Trump a “pussy” doubles his following. Because it’s about being out of the box and tough. #GOPDebate

Wait. Is that a moat? This just got interesting. Give them swords. #GOPDebate

Not joking here. The GOP candidate that calls Trump a “pussy” in the #GOPDebate on live television tonight doubles his poll numbers.

Oregon Standoff Loosing Steam

Kudos to law enforcement.  Looks like their tactic worked.  A lot of lefties, including me, thought they were ignoring the armed occupiers when this thing began, but the feds knew what they were doing:

The Mass Shooting You Didn’t Hear About

The FBI doesn’t take victory laps, but I think maybe it should. These stories happen all the time and they never get the same media attention as the stories in which people bleed. And that’s why so many Americans live in (and vote out of) fear. We’re doing okay against the bad guys — better than you might think.  This story isn’t featured in any of the national media:

A terrorist-style plot intended to kill dozens of people with automatic weapons at a Masonic center in Milwaukee was foiled this week by FBI agents, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Samy Mohamed Hamzeh discussed his plan to attack the center with two others, detailing how they would quickly and quietly kill the first people they saw and then methodically move through the building, “eliminating everyone” they encountered, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Hamzeh, 23, has been charged with possessing a machine gun and a silencer. Despite indications of an attempted act of terrorism, Hamzeh is not charged with any terrorism counts.

“We are Muslims, defending Muslim religion, we are on our own, my dear, we have organized our own group,” Hamzeh said, according to the criminal complaint, adding he was confident it would trigger more attacks in the United States.

“Such operations will increase in America, when they hear about it. The people will be scared and the operations will increase, and there will be problems all over,… this will lead to people clashing with each other. This way we will be igniting it. I mean we are marching at the front of the war,” he said, according to the complaint.

Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad called it a “detailed plan to commit a mass shooting intended to kill dozens of people.”

Bravo, FBI.

The Blame Game Starts

Politico:

With time running out until the first primary votes are cast, establishment Republicans have begun a ferocious round of finger-pointing over who is to blame for the party’s failure to stop Donald Trump.

The chiding, once limited to private conversations, is now erupting in public view — with campaigns, operatives, donors, party officials and conservative intellectuals arguing over why something hasn’t been done to stop the man who has been leading nearly every state and national poll since August. Trump, many in the GOP’s upper ranks are convinced, would lead the Republican Party to an epic defeat in November, with consequences all the way down the ballot.

“This whole thing is a disaster,” said Curt Anderson, a former Republican National Committee political director and veteran operative. “I think I’ll write a book about it.”

Receiving much of the blame is Right to Rise, the cash-flush super PAC that broke records when it announced last year that it had raised more than $100 million in support of Jeb Bush. The group has directed relatively little of that sum toward attacking Trump — instead focusing its efforts on taking down Bush’s establishment rivals, above all Marco Rubio. To date, the group has spent about $5 million on TV commercials going after Trump, while dropping four times as much in negative ads against Rubio.

Yeah.  The blame can be based on Bush’s PAC.

That’s crazy.

Here’s how Trump happened.

There was this political party, see, called the Republicans, and it embraced radical rhetoric from AM radio jocks and fire-and-brimstone preachers, all of whom showed a disdain for the government.  It started with the election of a very kind and genial man, who said that “government is the problem”, and continued deeper and deeper into the abyss with more radical anti-government rhetoric (all while wearing a flag for “patriotism”). That party’s base grew ever more hateful toward the mere idea of government, even the best one in the world.  To keep this base in line, and whipped into a foam, a strategy was developed — a strategy wherein people who had pale skin would be the good guys who loved America and hated the American government…. were pitted against the minorities of all types (women, gays, and anyone who did not have pale skin) who posed a threat to the good guys and would take their stuff and change their way of life.  From then on, the loudest and craziest candidate who spoke this nonsense would rise within the party, and even get elected to local or state positions.  Maybe even Senator.  This paved the way for Trump, who now can rise to great heights by mimicking the radical right rhetoric and anti-government stance whether he believes it or not.

Bush’s PAC.  Puh-lease.

Trump At War With Fox

This may be the point where the fracture in the Republican Party becomes unfixable.

You have a candidate who leads the GOP poll by double digits nationally, fighting with the media mouthpiece of the GOP in a bizarre carnival of testosterone.

It’s the climax of a bizarre confrontation between the candidate and the dominant conservative news outlet. The first debate the network hosted involved some tense moments between Trump and Megyn Kelly, one of Fox’s premier personalities. The aftermath was much uglier, with Trump making comments about Kelly that were acknowledged as misogynistic by pretty much everyone except, well, Trump.

Fox announced that Kelly would be moderating tomorrow’s debate, too, and Trump started making noises about a boycott.

Fox responded by mocking Trump: “We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president—a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

That was too much for Trump, who announced his intention to skip the debate. Since then, the two sides have engaged in continuing skirmishes. Trump called the ayatollah statement “a disgrace to good broadcasting and journalism. Who would ever say something so nasty & dumb.” Fox accused Trump’s campaign of threatening Kelly. Trump called Kelly a bimbo, while claiming he wouldn’t. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz—who’s been engaged in a tense struggle with his old pal Trump for dominance in Iowa—piped up to challenge Trump to an alternate, “mano-a-mano” debate.

Anyone who confidently predicts how this will shake out is either bluffing or employed by Trump or Fox. If Fox manages to get one up on Trump, it’d be a huge victory. Trump has consistently managed to marginalize conservative media outlets throughout the campaign, including, to a certain extent, Fox.

But Trump announced he wouldn’t be attending.  The gamble could pay off because it shows Trump marching to the beat of his own drum, a promise consistent with the message of his campaign that has caught on with voters.

It seems to me that GOP voters would be served by Trump NOT being there.  I think it opens up the other candidates to say what need to be said and (incredibly) still hasn’t been said on the right — that Trump is in this for Trump (not public service), that it is about extending the Trump brand (even while serving as President), and that when confronted with such daunting foes as Megyn Kelly, he whines like a four year old.

Hell, I’d watch that debate.

You Read Digby Now

She wrote about how Trump has revealed something very important about the conservative movement for Salon this morning. A good many of its believers have just been mouthing words all these years. They don’t care about their elaborate ideology. They just hate the other team…. a snippet:

The Republican establishment is under a tremendous amount of stress right now. Donald Trump has the party functionaries running around like his personal factotums and the elected officials are all figuring out the angles to ensure they come out on the Donald’s good side. It’s possible it may not survive in the form we’ve come to know it.

But the conservative movement is equally under pressure.  They thought their years of carefully growing and indoctrinating the right wing of the Republican Party had resulted in a common belief in a certain conservative ideology, strategic vision and commitment to a specific agenda.  It turns out that a good number of the people they thought had signed on to their program just wanted someone to stick it to ethnic and racial minorities and make sure America is the biggest bad ass on the planet — authoritarian, white nationalism. If you’ve got a man who will deliver that you don’t need ideology. And he doesn’t need democracy.

The mystery is why all these smart conservatives didn’t see this coming. They unleashed this beast a long time ago with the hate radio and the media propaganda and the ruthless politics. It was only a matter of time before it turned on them.

Oregon Standoff Has Arrests, A Shootout, and A Death

… but it continues.

There had been no visible law enforcement presence around the refuge as the situation stretched on for days and weeks, and occupiers came and went as they pleased, though they said they remained on guard. The group’s leaders had felt comfortable enough to move freely, leaving the refuge’s headquarters to attend meetings with residents and law enforcement officials.

On Tuesday afternoon, with the group’s leaders away from the refuge and traveling on a highway, FBI agents and the Oregon State Police moved to arrest them on federal charges. Five occupiers were arrested on the highway, including Ammon Bundy, the group’s leader. Three other people tied to the situation were later arrested in Oregon and Arizona.

All of the people arrested on the Oregon highway surrendered to authorities except for one man, later identified as LaVoy Finicum, a spokesman for the group who had previously said he would rather die than go to jail. Another official familiar with the encounter said Finicum refused to surrender and was fatally shot; authorities said Wednesday they were investigating the shooting.

The FBI and state police staked out a spot along the route to John Day to stop the caravan. At first, both vehicles complied with an order to pull over, but then the lead vehicle took off, the law enforcement official said.

It didn’t get very far, hitting a snow bank. Finicum, the official said, jumped out of that vehicle “brandishing a firearm.”

There are a couple of firsthand accounts of what happened yesterday out in Oregon and how Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum wound up getting shot and killed. The accounts differ substantially.

Finicum was a Mormon rancher with 11 children, 19 grandchildren and a wife of 23 years. He told NBC News three weeks ago that he would rather die than be taken into custody as part of the occupation.

It is unfortunate that that Mr. Finicum lost his life regardless of whether he’s wholly responsible for his death or not. I think the guy was disturbed and needed help. And I don’t think anyone was in a real position to give it to him except the other folks who were occupying the refuge with him, and they all seem to be nearly as far gone as he was.

Today, federal agents sealed off the Oregon wildlife refuge occupied by the remaining armed protesters. They up checkpoints and roadblocks around the refuge, saying that people who tried to travel inside would be arrested and calling for the armed people remaining there to leave. But also suggested that the situation at the refuge would not continue indefinitely and placed blame for the fatal encounter a day earlier on those occupying the refuge.

The bios of those arrested are here.

Lurking in the background since the beginning of the Oregon standoff was the possibility of violence and bloodshed, but the feds’ hands-off approach combined with the occupiers’ sometimes goofball circus antics helped keep that mostly below the surface. Last’s night violent confrontation has now changed the equation considerably, and the remaining occupiers are ramping up their rhetoric and are taking a more confrontational and aggressive pose, as is law enforcement.

The FBI has warned journalists this morning that it cannot guarantee their protection at the refuge, so many of them have gotten out of Dodge. Occupiers are issuing calls for supporters to rally to the refuge in their defense.

I don’t think this is over.  And already, it will be invoked by the rightwing extremists as another “Waco”.

Cheesy and dishonest, HRC. Name the “negative” ad. Hiding behind “what the WSJ says” is weak tea. Do YOU say it?

RT @digby56: The pearl clutching on Fox with Hannity, Carlson, Geraldo etc is a hilarious. After all they’ve done for The Donald…

RT @LesZaitz: One dead, six arrested in traffic stop. Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne in custody.

RT @LesZaitz: All charged with federal felony – conspiracy to impede a federal officer by force.

RT @TPM: FBI arrested Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox, Ryan Payne, Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy https://t.co/vOkcHeucLW

An astrophysicist and a rapper debating on whether the Earth is a sphere or flat. Imma go with the astrophysicist. #BoB #flatearthsociety

How Flint Happened

It’s long and wonky, but Nate Silver’s 538 site looks at the Flint lead problem from a statistical standpoint.  Good stuff.  Some snippets:

Officials at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the agency in charge of making sure water is safe in the state, made a series of decisions that had disastrous consequences:

  • Against federal guidelines, they chose not to require the Flint water plant to use optimized corrosion control, despite telling the Environmental Protection Agency they were doing so in an email on Feb. 27, 2015.
  • They took few samples and took them from the wrong places, using a protocol known to miss important sources of lead, which some say didn’t comply with a 25-year-old law meant to prevent lead exposure in residential water.
  • They threw out two samples whose inclusion would have put more than 10 percent of the tests above what’s known as the “actionable level” of lead, 15 parts per billion. Had the DEQ not done so, the city would have been required to warn residents that there was a problem with lead in the water back in the summer of 2015, or possibly earlier.

The second bullet point caught my interest, and 538 expands on it.  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality did water study samples, but too few.  When citizens conducted their own study, spreading out to a number of places and getting more samples, the results were very different:

ambj-flint-lead-chart-2-fix

That is simply amazing.  Bad science practice.

RT @danielradosh: Per @TheRealTeagle: “David Duchovny is four years older than Abe Vigoda was when he was in The Godfather.”

RT @owengood: That Abe Vigoda web page had one goddamn job …

R.I.P. Abe Vigoda

The actor who never dies, has died:

180px-Abe_Vigoda_1975Legendary actor Abe Vigoda — who starred in “The Godfather” — died under hospice care at the age of 94 … TMZ has learned.

Abe’s death had been falsely reported countless times, dating all the way back to 1982.

Abe played Tessio in “The Godfather” and also “The Godfather Part II.” In fact, he was still doing the voice for Tessio in ‘Godfather’ video games as late as 2007.

His most famous role on TV was as Detective Phil Fish on the ’80s sitcom “Barney Miller” … which once worked the infamous hoax reports of Abe’s death into a storyline.

He’s been in my dead pool for many years, except this one I think.

Abe Vigoda was old when he starred in Barney Miller (which wasn’t a 1980s sitcom — it was the 1970s).  I mean, he seemed REALLY old, and he played a very old one-foot-in-the-grave character.

The website www.abevigoda.com exists for one reason, and one reason only.  To report whether Abe Vigoda is dead or alive.  Looks like they need to do an update.  Here’s a screen cap:

abe vigoda status

 

Wrong.

“Good Guys With Guns” Will Be The Death Of Us

More so now that are allowed to carry guns anywhere and are easily spooked:

Police say the man suspected of accidentally shooting a stranger at a Renton movie theater told them he carried a firearm because he feared mass shootings.

Dane Gallion, 29, told officers he took the gun to Regal Cinemas 14 at the Landing on Thursday night because he was “concerned about recent mass shootings in public places,” according to a police account in a probable-cause statement released Saturday.

That same anxiety prompted him to keep the gun unholstered in his waistband, the statement says.

The shooting victim, a woman who was wounded in the shoulder, was in stable condition Saturday, according to a nursing supervisor at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Backfire

This is unusual and uplifting:

A grand jury convened to investigate whether a Houston Planned Parenthood clinic had sold the organs of aborted fetuses on Monday cleared the clinic and instead indicted the undercover videographers behind the allegations, surprising the officials who called for the probe and delighting supporters of the women’s health organization.

The Harris County grand jury indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, both of California, on charges of tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony with a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison. It also charged Daleiden, the leader of the videographers, with the same misdemeanor he had alleged – the purchase or sale of human organs, presumably because he had offered to buy in an attempt to provoke Planned Parenthood employees into saying they would sell.

 ***
“As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us,” said Anderson, a Republican. “All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”

This is a total win for Planned Parenthood.  Harris County, TX is the 12th state-level investigation to clear PP of all wrongdoing.  What is super remarkable is that this is almost unheard of — usually grand juries hand down the indictment that the prosecutor wants.  I’ve never heard them hand down an indictment against the accusers.

But it was not without losses: PP has faced defunding bills, interim charges, and Medicaid eviction.

It is unclear what federal document Daleiden alleged tampered with.

Daleiden’s opinion piece in USA TODAY yesterday made no mention of his impending arrest.

Daleiden and Merritt are also both named in a federal lawsuit filed earlier this month by Planned Parenthood.

The lawsuit accuses the Center for Medical Progress of engaging in illegal conduct in violation of the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) and engaging in wire fraud, mail fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording and trespassing, Planned Parenthood said in a press release.

“The people behind this fraud lied and broke the law in order to spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood,” said Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president, said in a statement “This lawsuit exposes the elaborate, illegal conspiracy designed to block women’s access to safe and legal abortion, and we filed the case to hold them accountable.”

Oh my. The Clinton bit on Abraham Lincoln was a home run. #DemTownHall

Hillary thanks Muslim-American woman in burka for her military service. That sound you hear is a million GOP heads exploding. #DemTownHall

RT @WSSURAMS: WSSU is currently on lockdown. Secure inside a room until further advised. Do not come to campus if currently off campus unti…

Many people tell me I “dodged a bullet” re: my ex, like I’m supposed to feel vindicated. Wrong. I couldn’t care less. #ancienthistory #crazy

RT @brianmrosenthal: NEW: Per the Harris County District Clerk’s Office, an arrest warrant has been issued for Center for Medical Progress …

RT @brianmrosenthal: This is a total win for Planned Parenthood. But remember what videographers already won: Defunding bills, interim char…

RT @brianmrosenthal: BREAKING: Houston grand jury investigating fetal tissue videos declines to indict Planned Parenthood, indicts videogra…

RT @brianmrosenthal: Secret videographers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of @CtrMedProgress were indicted for “tampering with a governme…

RT @brianmrosenthal: Daleiden also indicted on charge of “Purchase and Sale of Human Organs,” presumably for trying to get Planned Parentho…

RT @michaelianblack: Carolina up 17 and I really think Arizona has to get something going here.

RT @newschannelnine: Also, kids? Don’t DM us pretending you are some school official cancelling school. Closings don’t work like that. & we…

RT @KatyTurNBC: Palin speaking about her son in Tulsa and last night’s domestic violence allegations. See summary from @alivitali https://t…
rt-katyturnbc-palin-speaking-about-her-son-in-tulsa-and-last-nights-domestic-violence-allegations-see-summary-from-alivitali-httpst