Daily Archives: November 6, 2009

President Obama Issues a Proclamation Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy at Fort Hood

Posted by Audiegrl

President Obama Speaks in the Rose Garden

This morning the President gave some brief remarks in the Rose Garden, and before discussing the news on job numbers that also concern all Americans, gave an update on his response to the tragic incident at Fort Hood yesterday:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I want to begin by offering an update on the tragedy that took place yesterday at Fort Hood. This morning I met with FBI Director Mueller and the relevant agencies to discuss their ongoing investigation into what caused one individual to turn his gun on fellow servicemen and women. We don’t know all the answers yet and I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts.

What we do know is that there are families, friends and an entire nation grieving right now for the valiant men and women who came under attack yesterday in one of the worst mass shootings ever to take place on an American military base. So from now until Veterans Day I’ve ordered the flags at the White House and other federal buildings to be flown at half-staff.

This is a modest tribute to those who lost their lives even as many were preparing to risk their lives for their country. And it’s also recognition of the men and women who put their lives on the line everyday to protect our safety and uphold our values. We honor their service, we stand in awe of their sacrifice, and we pray for the safety of those who fight and for the families of those who have fallen. And as we continue to learn more about what happened at Fort Hood, this administration will continue to provide you updates in the coming days and weeks.

The President has just issued the following proclamation:

Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas
– – – – – – –
By The President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Our Nation’s thoughts and prayers are with the service members, civilians, and families affected by the tragic events at Fort Hood, Texas. The brave victims, who risked their lives to protect their fellow countrymen, serve as a constant source of strength and inspiration to all Americans. We ask God to watch over the fallen, the wounded, and all those who are suffering at this difficult hour.

As a mark of respect honoring the victims of the tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, Tuesday, November 10, 2009. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA

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Muslims Brace for Backlash while Troubling Portrait of Gunman Emerges

Posted by Audiegrl updates by GeoT

Update: ABC News: Alleged Fort Hood Shooter Now Paralyzed

FORT HOOD, TX — The military says a 13th victim died early Friday morning after a mass shooting at Fort Hood in Texas. The suspect, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, is alive on a ventilator, paralyzed and unconscious.

more here: News 10

FORT-HOOD-largephotoof HasanCanadian Press/Lee-Anne Goodman— His name had barely been released, his heritage and history not immediately known, but the reaction was fast and furious.

Jihad at Fort Hood? Shooter: Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan,” was the headline of a post on the Jihad Watch blog just moments after Hasan was identified as the perpetrator of a mass shooting at the Texas military base that killed 12 people, himself included, and wounded 31 others.

The name tells us a lot, does it not, senator?” Fox News’s Shep Smith said while interviewing Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas senator.

Arab-American InstituteThe Arab-American Institute said it received one threatening call from an unidentified male shortly after Hasan’s name was released. The group, which condemned the massacre, said it was expecting more.

Council on American-Islamic RelationsThe Council on American-Islamic Relations scheduled a Capitol Hill news conference on Thursday night to urge calm.

No political or religious ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence,” the group said in a statement.

The attack was particularly heinous in that it targeted the all-volunteer army that protects our nation. American Muslims stand with our fellow citizens in offering both prayers for the victims and sincere condolences to the families of those killed or injured.”

ABC News reported that Hasan, a psychiatrist who once practiced in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., was reportedly an Islam convert despondent about being deployed to Iraq and upset about the war.

Military officials told the Associated Press that Hasan was a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington for six years before being transferred to Fort Hood in July. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because military records are confidential, said he received a poor performance evaluation at Walter Reed.

Suspected Gunman Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan

Suspected Gunman Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan

Hasan, born in Virginia and in his late 30s, was single with no children. The Austin American-Statesman reported his parents were originally from Jordan.

Robert Spencer, the director of the Jihad Watch blog and the author of nine books on Islam and jihad, chastised the media for failing to point to jihad as a possible explanation for Hasan’s crime.

No one, no one at all, in the mainstream media is discussing jihad as a motivation,” Spencer wrote. “It’s all about ‘snapping,’ ’not wanting to go to war’ …. If this turns out to be a jihad attack, watch for the president to caution against ‘backlash’ and ’Islamophobia.”’

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, commenters warned of exactly that kind of backlash.

How long before some idiotic elected official declares Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the military?” asked Salon’s Mike Madden.

The American Prospect’s Adam Serwer beseeched: “Please, America, remember what kind of country you are right now.”

Josh Marshall, who writes for the TalkingPointsMemo blog, predicted: “This is going to get very dark” upon the identification of the perpetrator’s name.

“The fact that the primary assailant has an Arabic name and is presumably, though we don’t know this yet, of Muslim extraction, if not a practising Muslim, is going to be the focus of attention,” Marshall wrote.

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From CNN: Convenience Store Surveillance Video Of Fort Hood Shooter Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan – 11/05/09

UPDATE

AP – The base commander at Fort Hood says soldiers who witnessed a shooting rampage that left 13 people dead reported that the gunman shouted “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire at the Texas post.

more here:


Hero Cop Took Down Shooter in ‘Amazing Performance’

Kimberly Munley, the police officer who shot the Fort Hood gunman, with the country singer Dierks Bentley

Sgt. Kimberly Munley, a civilian police officer, has earned the highest praise for taking down the Fort Hood gunman. She and her partner responded to the scene within 3 minutes, base commander Lt. Gen. Robert Cone reports, and she pumped four bullets into Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, from just a few feet away, while taking a bullet herself.

full story here:


What Nidal Hasan (allegedly) said about suicide bombers

Internet posting that purports to come from the Muslim Army doctor who killed 13 people at Texas base:

“There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that “IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE” and Allah (SWT) knows best.”source:

Related Articles

Muslim, Arab Groups Condemn Fort Hood Shooting, Brace For Backlash

Troubling portrait emerges of Fort Hood suspect

His name appears on radical Internet postings. A fellow officer says he fought his deployment to Iraq and argued with soldiers who supported U.S. wars. He required counseling as a medical student because of problems with patients. There are many unknowns about Nidal Malik Hasan, the man authorities say is responsible for the worst mass killing on a U.S. military base. Most of all, his motive. But details of his life and mindset, emerging from official sources and personal acquaintances, are troubling.

Read More Here:

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President Obama to Sign Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009

Posted by Buellboy

U.S. Readies Jobless Aid and Help on Homes

obamasignsbillNew York Times/Jackie Calmes & David Stout—In separate actions to address Americans’ continuing economic hardship, the government moved Thursday to assist long-unemployed workers and struggling businesses, as well as home buyers and homeowners facing foreclosure.

Fannie Mae, the federally controlled mortgage company, announced a Deed for Lease program in which those in danger of eviction may be able to stay as tenants in their houses for at least a year.

UNEMPLOYMENT-largeAt the same time, Congress gave final approval to a stimulus measure that will extend unemployment benefits for the longtime jobless, aid that will bring total assistance for many to nearly two years. Other provisions of the bill will expand two popular tax breaks — one for home buyers, the other for businesses operating at a loss.

President Obama will sign the measure into law on Friday morning, aides said. That will allow him to deliver a bit of good news just as the government releases the monthly unemployment report, which is expected to confirm that the jobless rate remained around 10 percent in October.

ForeclosureTo that end, Democratic Congressional leaders expedited action on the legislation in recent days after six weeks of partisan wrangling in the Senate. The House, which passed a bill in September, voted Thursday by 403 to 12 to accept the version that the Senate finally approved unanimously on Wednesday. That sent the bill to the president.

The measure provides up to 14 weeks of additional assistance to unemployed people who have exhausted their state and federal benefits, but up to 20 additional weeks to those in about 26 states with unemployment rates exceeding 8.5 percent. In the past two months, more than 600,000 out-of-work people have exhausted their benefits, according to the National Employment Law Project, a liberal advocacy group. The legislation will not restore aid retroactively.

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Filed under Democrats, Economy, Jobs, Politics, Stimulus, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

Jon Stewart Channels His Inner Glenn Beck

Posted by Audiegrl

The Daily Show with Jon StewartThe Daily Show’s Jon Stewart discovers the sinister (socialist, marxist, communist, government) plot to steal Glenn Beck’s precious bodily organs. Seriously, Jon fears for Beck’s digestive and immune systems!

Warning NSFW: This will have you laughing so damn loud your boss will fire you… 😉

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The Party’s Not Over

blogpost by Ogenec

All the bloviating about the impact of last Tuesday reminds me of Teddy Riley’s line from “Groove Me“: “The party’s not over.  It. Ain’t. Over. ”  Holla if you know if what I’m talking about.  Anyway, for those of you who missed the cultural reference, what I mean is this: the elections do not necessarily portend doom and gloom in 2010.  But they are harbingers, and we would be unwise to disregard them.

I have always believed that Obama made a serious mistake taking on healthcare as soon as he did.  Don’t get me wrong.  I believe that universal health care is a moral obligation.  It is obscene that the United States, virtually alone among industrialized countries, does not provide health care to all of its citizenry.  So no need to sell me on the necessity of health care reform; I get it.

My point pertains not to necessity, but to politics and governing strategy.  Obama won last fall by stitching together an impressive coalition of progressives, moderates and Democrat-leaning independents.  Each segment of the coalition had interests that did not necessarily coincide with the others’, which I’ll discuss in a bit.  But they were all united in the desire that a Democratic administration could pull us out of the economic chasm into which Bush’s profligacy and supply-side tropes had pushed us.  It’s the economy, stupid.  Always has been.

Given the reality of his mandate, and the fragile ties binding his coalition, I expected Obama to focus like a laser on the economy.  Alas, he has not.  He has taken his eyes of the ball by devoting so much time and energy to the healthcare debate, which has sucked all the oxygen out of the room.    And when he has focused on the economy, his initiatives have in a perverse way played into the caricatures conservatives have painted of him.  So Uncle Sam now owns most of Wall Street.  Uncle Sam owns all of Detroit, except for the one automaker actually making money.  And Uncle Sam is getting ready to involve itself in the business of healthcare.   Each can be justified on the merits.  But, collectively, they scare the bejesus out of moderates and independents.  Hannity, Limbaugh and Beck begin to sound halfway sane when they call Obama a socialist.  Of course he’s not a socialist.  But he sure seems to be dead set on a whole lotta government takeover of private enterprise, however good his intentions might be.

Hence, the results of this past Tuesday’s contests.  When you compare VA and NJ with NY-23, it becomes apparent to me that moderates and independents bolted because of their disquiet over Obama’s spending.  To some extent, they buy the Keynesian argument that the economic crisis is best solved by even more government spending in the short-term.  But there is a limit to their willingness to play along.  So, to my mind, Obama’s initial health-care reforms should have been a bit more modest.  First, he should have asked Congress to pass a simple law proscribing the rescission and “pre-existing condition” practices of insurers.  Then, for the remainder of his term, he should have implemented robust financial reforms and had Congress pass targeted stimulus spending.  More cash for clunkers, and less pork-laden stuff like the stimulus bill.   In his second term, once economy has turned around, he could then turn to reforming health care and other entitlements, which would put the United States on a glide path to long-term solvency and prosperity.  Moderates and independents would give him this mandate, as his first term would have assuaged their fears of fiscal indiscipline.  Voila!  Everybody gets their cookies.

But Obama did not pursue this strategy.  One, I might add, urged by several eminences grise.   Instead, he chose not to “waste a crisis” but to try to resolve all of these problems — healthcare, economy, environment, etc. — at once.  Now that’s he’s embarked upon this path, I think it’s too late to return to my “sequencing” idea.  In the immortal words of Macbeth:

I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.

In other words, he cannot simply drop health care like a hot potato.  He has to see this thing through to completion.  But how?  Everybody is drawing different conclusions from these elections.  Progressives insists that it means Obama has to push harder for their desired reforms, or they won’t show up at the polls.  Moderates and independents insist that they won’t show up if Obama does not tack to the center, post-haste.

Let me humbly suggest that both are right.  Progressives are the base of the Democratic Party, and always will be.  However, getting progressives on board is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition.  To put a Democratic candidate over the top, he or she must win over independents.  Thus, in VA and NJ, Republicans won by winning over independents.  In NY 23, the moderates and independents went to the Democrat, and he won.  So my takeaway is that neither progressives nor moderates can go it alone: they each need other.

How might progressives and moderates make common cause?  By talking to each other.  Beneath the blood-curdling yells, progressives are actually asking some salient questions, and it behooves moderates to listen closely.  Questions like:

  • Why is the White House AWOL on gay marriage?  It costs little political capital to weigh in, even as most concede these issues are best resolved on a local basis.  And it’s the right thing to do.  The WH has an army of volunteers at its disposal.  Get ’em involved.
  •   Why the fiscal focus on healthcare, when the war efforts aren’t subject to the same scrutiny?
  • Speaking of which, however right or just the war might be, what do we realistically think we can accomplish in Afghanistan?

Similarly, moderates and independents make valid points of their own.  If competition is the rationale for the public option, is it not better — and more consistent with America’s free-market principles — to remove impediments to competition among private insurers, rather than create another government entity?  Or this — are you prepared to live with the consequences of a withdrawal from Afghanistan?  How else would you suggest we fight for the minds and hearts of the local populace, without whose active participation (or apathy) terrorist operations cannot take root?

Other issues abound, on both sides.  It’s no disservice to either to say that.  The disservice is ours, however, if we cannot figure out a way to come together on these issues.  I have always maintained that ideology can often get in the way of solutions.  It’s important that we not become so fixated on particular policy approaches that we forget the larger goal of improving the lot of the American people.  

Let’s keep the party going.

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Filed under Democrats, Economics, Economy, Partisan Politics, Politics, Uncategorized

Bill Sparkman, Kentucky Census Worker, May Have Committed Suicide

Posted by Audiegrl

Census Worker Hanged bill sparkman

In this undated 2008 photo, Bill Sparkman speaks to a 7th grade class during a lesson about sound waves.

AP/Devlin Barrett and Jeffrey McMurray—Investigators probing the death of a Kentucky census worker found hanging from a tree with the word “fed” scrawled on his chest increasingly doubt he was killed because of his government job and are pursuing the possibility he committed suicide, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case, said no final conclusions have been made in the case. In recent weeks, however, investigators have grown more skeptical that 51-year-old Bill Sparkman died at the hands of someone angry at the federal government.

The officials said investigators continue to look closely at suicide as a possible cause of Sparkman’s death for a number of reasons. There were no defensive wounds on Sparkman’s body, and while his hands were bound with duct-tape, they were still somewhat mobile, suggesting he could have manipulated the rope, the officials said.

Sparkman’s naked body was found Sept. 12 hanging from a tree yet in contact with the ground in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest near Manchester, Ky.

The strange case attracted national attention when it first came to light, prompting worries that it may be a sign of increased anger toward the federal government in the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency.

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Who Are You Calling a Narcissist, Rush? by Maureen Dowd

Op-ed by Maureen Dowd

NYT Columnist Maureen Dowd

NYT Columnist Maureen Dowd

I had a four-hour dinner once with Rush Limbaugh at the “21” Club in Manhattan, back in the days when I was still writing profiles as a “reporterette,” to use a Limbaugh coinage.

He was charming, in a shy, awkward, lonely-guy way. Not a man of the people. He arrived in a chauffeured town car and ordered $70-an-ounce Beluga, Porterhouse and 1990 Corton-Charlemagne.

But he was not a Neanderthal, though he did have a cold and blew his nose in his napkin. He talked about Chopin’s Polonaise No. 6, C.S. Lewis and how much he loved the end of the movie “Love Story.”

In those days, he called himself a “harmless little fuzzball.” He’s a lot less harmless now. I went on to columny, as my pal Bill Safire called it, and Rush went on to calumny.

As he and Sarah Palin conduct their auto-da-fé of moderate Republicans — “Moderates by definition have no principles,” he told his radio audience on Monday — Limbaugh is more than ever the face of his party, as Rahm Emanuel said.

He’s also the mouth.

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