Today in Mass Murders News
I think all of us recognize that these kinds of terrible, tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not to do some soul-searching and to examine additional ways that we can reduce violence. And as I've already said, I think there are a lot of elements involved in it, and what I want to do is to bring together law enforcement, community leaders, faith leaders, elected officials of every level to see how we can make continued progress. -- President Obama, on the shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin (See video following today's Ledes) ...
... Charles Pierce on Ann Althouse's "confusion." Althouse is a conservative law professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who is right good at defending the right. In a post yesterday, she "explained" why Wade Page would reasonably have known that Sikhs weren't Moooslums. Conservatives really don't want to own their own terrorist extremist white supremacist mass murderer. Mr. Pierce demurs. CW: Conservatives really don't want to own their own terrorist extremist white supremacist mass murderer, so they are working overtime to pretend Page's motives were in no way akin to the views of your ordinary real-American winger bigots. ...
Juan Cole: Wade Page "operated in an atmosphere of virulent hate speech against American Muslims [which] ... has plagued the United States in the past decade, pushed by unscrupulous bigots in public life and by entire media organizations such as Fox Cable News and other media properties of ... Rupert Murdoch. Among them is also Rush Limbaugh, who, incredibly, is still broadcast to US soldiers abroad. Among the hatemongers are Frank Gaffney, and his acolyte Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn), Rep. Peter King (R-NY)... John Bolton, and sometimes Rudi Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and others, most associated with the Republican Party. The push for hate speech against American Muslims is funded by a small group of billionaires.... Some ... are connected to the US arms industry.... Others are Israel-firster fanatics. Others are looking for a bogey man to scare Americans with...." Thanks to Kate M. for the link. ...
... Adam Weinstein of Mother Jones: "Using photos of Wade from his white-power band's Myspace page, it's possible to see what concerned police: Much of his body reads like a poster text for white nationalism. In particular, a tattoo on Page's left shoulder ... suggests he was a committed devotee of white-power ideology. The tattoo consists of a large '14' in Gothic lettering superimposed on a black cross in a circle. The cross, known elsewhere as 'Odin's Cross,' is 'one of the most popular symbols for neo-Nazis and white supremacists,' according to the Anti-Defamation League. It's also used as a logo by Stormfront.org, one of the world's most-visited racist web forums." ...
... Erica Goode & Serge Kovaleski of the New York Times: "To some who track the movements of white supremacist groups, the violence was not a total surprise. [Wade] Page, 40, had long been among the hundreds of names on the radar of organizations monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of his ties to the white supremacist movement and his role as the leader of a white-power band called End Apathy.... Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said Mr. Page had come to the center's attention a decade ago because of his affiliation with rock bands known for lyrics that push far past the boundaries of tolerance." ...
... Scott Bauer & Todd Richmond of the AP have more on Wade Page's history. ...
... Here's the Washington Post story by Michael Laris, et al.
... Greg McCune of Reuters: "The semiautomatic handgun used in the deadly attack on a Wisconsin Sikh temple is the same type used in other recent U.S. mass shootings, including one at a theater in Colorado, and the attack on a congresswoman in Arizona, gun experts said. Wisconsin shooter Wade Michael Page used a Springfield 9mm semiautomatic handgun to carry out the attack at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, officials said. As in several other recent mass shootings, the gun had been purchased legally, at a Milwaukee-area gun store called the Shooter Shop."
Mark Greenblatt, et al., of ABC News: "The psychiatrist who treated suspected movie-theater shooter James Holmes made contact with a University of Colorado police officer to express concerns about her patient's behavior several weeks before Holmes' alleged rampage, sources told ABC News."
Tim Gaynor of Reuters: Jared Loughner, "accused of killing six people and wounding 13 others, including then-U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in a Tucson shooting rampage last year was expected to plead guilty on Tuesday if a judge finds him mentally competent...."
... AND reporters at Mother Jones have updated their interactive Mass Murder Map. The map includes "details on the shooters' identities, the types of weapons they used, and the number of victims they injured and killed." Thanks to contributor Lisa for the link.
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Gary Gensler, Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in a New York Times op-ed: "The Barclays case demonstrates that Libor has become more vulnerable to misconduct. It's time for a new or revised benchmark -- an emperor clothed in actual, observable market transactions -- to restore the confidence of Americans that the rates at which they borrow and lend money are set honestly and transparently."
Surprise, Surprise! New York Times Editors: "Republican lawmakers demanded ... [spending] cuts last year as part of their brinkmanship over the debt ceiling, and business lobbies have generally supported slashing the deficit. But now that the cuts are imminent, corporate executives seem to have realized that the last thing the economy needs is a large budget cut across the board.... Now it is up to Democrats to force Republicans to rework the coming spending cuts and tax increases in a way that benefits most Americans and the broader economy."
Reed Abelson & Julie Creswell of the New York Times: "HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the United States with 163 facilities, had uncovered evidence ... showing that some cardiologists at several of its hospitals in Florida were unable to justify many of the procedures they were performing.... Unnecessary -- even dangerous -- procedures were taking place at some HCA hospitals, driving up costs and increasing profits.... In some cases, the doctors made misleading statements in medical records that made it appear the procedures were necessary, according to internal reports.... Documents suggest that the problems at HCA went beyond a rogue doctor or two."
Poker Face Edition. In today's installment, Harry Reid once again demonstrates how Mormons gamble.
This whole issue is not about me. This whole controversy would end very quickly if he would release his income tax returns like everybody else has done that's running for president. -- Harry Reid, yesterday
[Mitt Romney is] the most secretive candidate since Richard Nixon. It's clear Mitt Romney is hiding something, and the only way for him to clear this up is to be straight with the American people and release his tax returns. -- Adam Jettleson, Reid's spokesman
... "The 'Missing Evidence' Instruction": Joe Conason in the National Memo: "There is a legal doctrine that applies to Romney's current behavior, as Indiana attorney John Sullivan points out -- and it doesn't place the burden of proof on Reid:
At law, if a person in control of evidence refuses to produce the evidence, then the jury is instructed that there is a presumption that the evidence would be against the party failing to produce. It is called the 'Missing Evidence' instruction.
"The missing evidence is in Romney's grasp, yet he insists that he will never produce it. Does anyone need instruction from a judge to make the correct inference?" ...
... OR, as Hunter of Daily Kos puts it, "Whatever's in Mitt Romney's old taxes, whether it be zero-tax years or Swiss tax amnesties or non-tithing or that he made several million dollars on a new product called Fetus Chow, it's apparently so bad that America wouldn't vote for the rich business guy if they saw it. At this point, that's damning enough." ...
... House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi connects Secret Mitt's secret tax returns to Secret Mitt's secret tax policy of raising taxes on the middle class while lowering taxes on millionaire & billionaires like Willard who already use extraordinary means to further reduce their tax rates -- to somewhere around nothing. ...
... Imani Gandy in Balloon Juice: "Politifact calls Harry Reid a liar; wishes there was a way to prove that Romney paid income tax." CW: as the cited title implies, a pretty funny post.
... David Dayen of Firedoglake: "If Republicans thought they could bully Harry Reid into backing down about his comments over Mitt Romney's taxes, they simply miscalculated, and all their outrage has done is keep a story front and center that they would rather push to the margins. ...
... CW: Outraged by unproved allegations made by a friend of Harry Reid's, John Sununu jumps in to make an unproved allegations about President Obama. Tom Ovadia of Politico: "John Sununu ... [called] Sen. Harry Reid ... a 'bumbling Senate leader' and alleg[ed] that President Barack Obama is 'behind this dishonesty and misrepresentation.'" With video. ...
... Amy Parnes of The Hill: "The White House on Monday distanced President Obama from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comments that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney hasn’t paid taxes in a decade. White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Monday that Reid (D-Nev.) 'speaks for himself' and had spoken on the issue without any guidance from Team Obama."
Alexander Burns of Politico: "In a new ad from Romney and the Republican National Committee, the GOP candidate laments Obama's support for waiving welfare work requirements for states that want to implement different policies." CW: oh, look, in an update Burns (no relation) writes, "... Romney supported certain welfare waivers for states, when he was governor of Massachusetts." Includes attack ad. Read the whole post, especially the update.
It's like Robin Hood in reverse -- it's Romney Hood. -- President Obama on Mitt Romney's tax plan
President Obama’s lawsuit claims it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state's early voting period. -- Mitt Romney
PolitiFact: "It is simply dishonest for Romney and his backers to claim that Obama's effort to extend early voting privileges to everyone in Ohio constitutes an attack on military voters' ability to cast ballots on the weekend before elections."
Jonathan Chait of New York: "If Romney is conceding that voting is a fundamental right rather than a privilege -- not all Republicans concede this anymore -- and, more importantly, that practical impediments can interfere with that right, then what justification do they have for their wide-ranging campaign to deny the same convenience to other Americans?"
David Firestone of the New York Times on Mitt Romney's "extraordinary lie" about early voting in Ohio.
Joe Vardon of the Columbus Dispatch: "The Romney campaign and veterans groups opposed to a lawsuit in Ohio filed by President Barack Obama's campaign continue to portray the suit as an objection to certain voting privileges for military voters. But two constitutional-law professors from different battleground states -- Ohio and Florida -- strongly disagree with the Romney campaign, and some other veterans groups say that Romney is supporting denial of voting access to hundreds of thousands of Ohio military veterans by opposing Obama's lawsuit." CW: though this appears to be a straight he-said/he-said news story, it doesn't make the Romney case look good. The headline is "Experts: Romney's wrong on Ohio early-voting suit." We like to see stories like this hit the local papers. Via Greg Sargent.
** Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones: "Ann Romney, [who has multiple sclerosis,] has done much to raise the profile of an incurable, degenerative illness that afflicts some 400,000 Americans.... But ... MS advocates say that policies [Mitt] Romney now supports would be detrimental for many MS sufferers, and they are actively opposing these proposals.... Romney has pledged to 'repeal and replace' the Affordable Care Act.... He also would turn Medicaid, the government health care plan for children and the poor, into a block grant, a plan that would ultimately cut millions from the program. And when he promises to replace Obamacare, Romney has offered only a few weak substitutes, such as capping damages in malpractice lawsuits. All of this would have tremendous implications for people with multiple sclerosis." CW: read the whole post. Thanks to Lisa for the link. ...
CW: Mencimer links to this video on MittRomney.com (one of my favorite sites) in which the Romney family talks about Ann's illness. The video, released in late May 2012, obviously should be one that, among other goals, puts candidate Mitt in a positive light. While their sons say Mitt has been very supportive of Ann, the only things Mitt says in the video -- titled "Soul Mate," are,
Probably the toughest time in my life was standing there with Ann as we hugged each other and the diagnosis came. As long as it's not something fatal, I'm just fine. I'm happy in life as long as I've got my soul mate with me.
... Ann learns she has a debilitating illness, yet somehow it's all about Mitt -- how tough her illness is on him, how he's just fine and he's happy in life. This is absolutely the closest Mitt can come to feelings of love and empathy for another human being. He doesn't get close, and evidently he and his campaign advisors see nothing wrong with his sheer selfishness. ...
... This is a tough anti-Romney ad, which I think reflects exactly the trait we see in the "Soul Mate" spot:
... CW: normally, I find this type of ad unfair. After all, every person in power -- even a well-meaning, caring person -- makes decisions that have negative impacts on other people's lives. But I think the ad reflects a true thing about Romney -- that he doesn't care how his decisions hurt other people; ergo, his positions on health care.
AND in Sporting News for the Super-Rich, CBS News reports, "Ann Romney said her horse Rafalca had another 'fabulous' ride at the Olympic team equestrian dressage competition and that she's thinking of breeding the German-born mare when she stops competing in a year or two. Rafalca, the 15-year-old bay that has inspired political jokes about Mitt Romney's wealth and Republican presidential ambitions, had a solid performance Tuesday, although rider Jan Ebeling said he wished the score of 69.302 percent could have been higher. The low score confirmed that Rafalca won't advance to the individual medal competition Thursday."
Cameron Joseph of The Hill: "The big-spending GOP outside group Crossroads GPS has bought $7.2 million in airtime in five key Senate states, an ad-tracking source told The Hill. The ads will begin to air this Wednesday in Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Virginia -- all key swing states The Hill rates as 'toss-ups.' The GOP needs to gain a net of four seats for Senate control."
Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "As they kick off tough reelection battles, the GOP [Congressional freshmen] are taking pains to distance themselves from a Capitol that remains toxic, casting themselves as the same insurgent forces that swept to power in 2010. Far from embracing the Congress that they promised to change, the freshmen are taking an ice pick to it," effectively pretending their opponents -- not they -- are the incumbents. ...
... Dave Weigel finds some Democratic incumbents who are doing the same.
AP: "Congressman Todd Akin has won a hard-fought Republican primary for the right to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. Akin on Tuesday topped businessman John Brunner and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman in a primary in which all three leading candidates portrayed themselves as the top conservative choice. McCaskill was unopposed in the Democratic primary."
AP: "Former Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra has won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, overcoming a challenge from two Republicans who questioned his record as a conservative. The Holland former lawmaker defeated Clark Durant of Grosse Pointe and former Kent County Judge Randy Hekman of Grand Rapids Tuesday in the GOP primary. He'll advance to a November matchup with Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow."
AP: "Jared Lee Loughner agreed Tuesday to spend the rest of his life in prison, accepting that he went on a deadly shooting rampage at an Arizona political gathering and sparing the victims a lengthy, possibly traumatic death-penalty trial."
AP: "A major fire at one of the country's biggest oil refineries that sent scores of people to hospitals with breathing problems will push gas prices above $4 a gallon on the West Coast, analysts said Tuesday. The fire, which sent plumes of black smoke over the San Francisco Bay area, erupted Monday evening in the massive Chevron refinery about 10 miles northeast of San Francisco."
AP: "A Texas man, [Marvin Wilson,] convicted of killing a police informant two decades ago was executed Tuesday evening after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments that he was too mentally impaired to qualify for the death penalty."
AP: "The Federal Aviation Administration will bar airports nationwide from using a traffic-reversing operation that led to a close call last week at an airport near the nation's capital."
New York Times: "Marvin Hamlisch, the singularly productive and sensationally decorated composer of musicals like 'A Chorus Line' and songs like 'The Way We Were,' has died, his family said Tuesday through a representative. He was 68." ...
The Hill: "Missouri's hotly contested Republican Senate primary will be decided on Tuesday, with major implications for the fall campaign against embattled Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) -- and control of the Senate."
Detroit News: "Headlining the ballot [in Michigan] is a GOP primary for U.S. Senate among Pete Hoekstra, Clark Durant and Randy Hekman.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Nearly 900 Roman Catholic nuns will gather in St. Louis this week to discuss their future relationship with the Vatican.... In the spring, the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog office issued a report that questioned the organization's fidelity to some church teachings, accused it of 'serious doctrinal problems' and announced that three U.S. bishops would temporarily take the group's reins in order to reform it. This week, the members of the Leadership Conference for Women Religious -- which represents 80 percent of the country's 57,000 Catholic nuns -- will discuss their options, which could range from accepting the reforms to severing their official connection to the Vatican."
More on the Mars landing at this NASA.gov page.
Charlotte Observer: "Andrew Young, the ex-aide to John Edwards, and his wife will not be prosecuted for criminal contempt for their actions in a civil case brought against them by Edwards' former mistress, the district attorney for Orange and Chatham counties announced Monday." Via Kevin Robillard of Politico.
President Obama signed a bill yesterday designed to improve health care for veterans. The bill also prohibits protesting within 300 feet of a military funeral. He answered a press question about the Oak Creek, Wisconsin murders: