Day: March 30, 2012

The Day In 100 Seconds: Feeling Lucky

The Day In 100 Seconds: Feeling Lucky

Good luck with the Mega Millions Lottery everyone…

TPM2012

A fever is raging across America. No, it’s (still) not Romney fever, though there has been a bevy of endorsements for the Republican frontrunner in the last few days. A bout of lotto fever has swept the nation, as the Mega Millions jackpot reaches an historic $640 million (a jump of $100 million from earlier this morning), and the cable networks were more than happy to rain on everyone’s parade by pointing out the astronomically small odds of winning.

Texas cop filmed threatening to arrest men for being afraid of Taser

An as-yet-unnamed police officer confronts several men outside of a Walmart in Houston, Texas. Screenshot via YouTube.

I watched the video below a couple of times.  My conclusion is that the police officer in question needs some serious time off along with some diversity classes and anger management classes…

The Raw Story

A video published to YouTube on Friday appears to show a police officer at a Walmart store in Houston, Texas threatening several black males with a Taser, then claiming he would arrest them, apparently because they cowered away from his weapon.

Reached by Raw Story, a Houston police spokesman said it was not one of their officers involved in the confrontation, and the man’s identity remains unknown.

“He’s an officer from a neighboring jurisdiction, but that’s not for us to say,” the spokesman insisted.

“The officer seen in this video is not a Houston Police Officer and does not work for the Houston Police Department,” another Houston information officer wrote in the video’s comments. “Officers from jurisdictions throughout the area often work extra jobs at businesses throughout the area and that is the case in this incident/video.”

In the video, the unnamed officer approaches several men who are filming outside of a Walmart, then draws his Taser after the men say that they do not have to show him their identifications. When one man reaches toward the officer, he reacts angerly and accuses him of resisting, then claims later in the video he’d already been “hurt,” although it’s not clear by whom.

The man who appeared to gesture toward the officer apparently did so out of fear that his friend might be tazed, and did quite make contact when the officer flung his arms up and knocked his hand aside.

“Don’t taze me, sir,” one man says. “Don’t taze me, sir.”

The men appear to remain calm during the confrontation, even after the officer appears to slap the camera down. “I’m sorry I scared you, but we’re not hostile people,” one of them explains. “We know our rights. We know the Constitution, sir. We know the Constitution. Do I sound illiterate?”

“You know what, I’m calling for a unit right now,” the officer replies. “We’ll see how well you know the Constitution.”

“What’s the– What’s the unit gonna do, take me to jail for knowing the Constitution?” the man answers. “For standing for my freedom?”

At the end of the video, another one of the men informs the officer that he’s a dialysis patient. “You were about to taze somebody– you don’t even know what I go through,” he says. “You might-a, coulda killed me. I’m a dialysis patient, sir! You could have tazed me and made my blood pressure go up.”

It’s not clear what happened after that, as the footage cuts off. It’s also not clear what time and date the incident occurred, but the video was published on Friday, March 30. Houston Police told Raw Story that it happened at the Walmart Super Center at 9460 West Sam Houston Parkway, but could not provide any further details.

The video’s description notes that none of the men were arrested.

This video was published to YouTube on Friday, March 30, 2012. It contains some adult language.

Fox News Contributor Thinks ‘The Blacks’ Are Making Too Big Of A Deal About Trayvon Martin

When I hear a term like The Blacks, I get the feeling that the person uttering the phrase is not too fond of Black people.  Remember Donald Trump?   Am I being a bit too sensitive?  NO.

Think Progress

While the controversy over the killing of Trayvon Martin largely skirted partisan politics in its first month, some conservative media outlets apparently saw an opportunity in the case and have spent the latter part of the week alternately smearing Martin, defending Zimmerman, or screaming about the dangers of viewing the case through a racial lens.

The conservative Daily Caller, a purportedly reported and fact-based news outlet, published parts of Martin’s life on social media, but only “selected [items that] reinforce the argument that the victim of the fatal shooting was a menacing figurewho might plausibly have been mistaken for a criminal,” the New York Times’ Robert Mackey noted. They skipped over pictures from prom night or of Martin’s friends, cherry-picking shots of Martin flipping the bird or wearing fake gold teeth.

Former Republican congressman and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough called the posthumous vilification of Martin “beneath contempt” and “disgusting.” “I guess it’s because the President actually said something to comfort the parents, and I guess they just can’t handle that,” he said this morning.

Meanwhile, the Daily Caller did their best to defend Zimmerman’s account that Martin had beat him up, even when new surveillance footage cast doubt on that claim. But perhaps one shouldn’t expect better from an outlet whose top editors stood by a blatantly false report it published last year.

At the late Andrew Breitbart’s website attacked Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) for wearing a hoodie on the House floor in solidarity with Trayvon, writing a cynical story today headlined, “HOODIE-WEARING GUNMEN KILL 1, WOUND 5 IN BOBBY RUSH’S CHICAGO DISTRICT.”

On Fox News, host Sean Hannity and conservative media critic Brent Bozell, like many in the conservative echo chamber, have dwelled on the fact that the fringe New Black Panthers, who have been condemned by everyone, offered a “bounty” on Zimmerman’s head. And Hannity and Bozell found the real scandal here — that NBC News edited a 911 tape in a way that portrayed Zimmerman in a poor light.

Overall, the message seems to be, as Fox contributor Tamara Holder told Hannity: “The blacks are also making this more of a racial issue than it should be.” Watch it

Current TV Fires Keith Olbermann, Replaces Him With Eliot Spitzer

I really like Keith Olbermann as a news person.  I hope he will be back on air soon…

TV Newser

It was just over a year ago that former MSNBC host Keith Olbermannannounced he was joining Current TV, and today, that relationship officially came to an end. According to the New York TimesBrian Stelter, Olbermann is out at Current, and will be replaced by former CNN host and New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer will take over the 8 PM slot starting  tonight.

Update: Current CEO Joel Hyatt and co-founder Al Gore released a statement about the move.

Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.

The full letter is after the jump.

Update 2: Olbermann has released his own statement via Twitter, saying that he plans to file suit against the network.

I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.  Editorially, Countdown had never been better.  But for more than a year I have been imploring @AlGore and @JoelHyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff.  Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract. It goes almost without saying that the claims against me in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently.

Olbermann’s full statement is after the jump.

Continue reading here…

Trayvon Martin’s Email And Facebook Accounts Allegedly Hacked By White Supremacist

Oh my.  This is getting uglier by the day…

The Huffington Post

A white supremacist hacker claims to have broken into Trayvon Martin’s email and social networking accounts and posted his private messages online.

“I realize that some of this information might be to [sic] extreme to believe,” a hacker named Klanklannon wrote, according to Gawker, which has an original copy of the message thread posted to the popular, unruly message board 4chan. “That’s why I offer you evidence. Here are my sources.”

Editor’s note: Some readers may find language in this article objectionable.

A slide posted to the message board titled “Trayvon Martin Used Marijuana Habitually,” apparently shows a conversation between Martin and a friend about getting high. Another alleged that Martin was a drug dealer and showed a picture of Martin standing “aggressively with a large amount of cash in his hand.”

Gawker reported that Klankannon shared several of Martin’s usernames and email accounts on the thread. The hacker also said that the passwords had been changed to racist slurs like “niggerniggernigger” and “coontrayvonnigger.”

Martin, 17, was shot and killed by self-appointed neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman as Martin returned to his father’s house in Sanford, Fla., on the night of Feb. 26. Zimmerman claimed that Martin looked “suspicious” in a 911 call. Not long after the call, Martin and Zimmerman engaged in a fight, and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. Zimmerman was not charged in the shooting, which has sparked a national outcry and drawn considerable media attention.

A much-circulated photo of a grimacing teen with his middle finger extended — that many right-leaning sites have suggested is the Trayvon Martin the “mainstream media” does not want the public to see — was also originally circulated on the white supremacist site stormfront.org, according to the Columbia Journalism Review. The person in that photo was not Martin, but another teenager who shared the name.

Slate’s political reporter Dave Weigel, who has long covered the conservative movement, said that the misattributed photo was “part of a new cottage industry of ‘truth about Trayvon’ content, calibrated to convince people that they really shouldn’t worry about the implications of this killing.”

“Why, the kid wasn’t even a saint!” Weigel said of the logic of such conservative sites. “He might have been shot after brawling with the man who creeply [sic] followed him around the gated community?”

But Gawker’s Adrian Chen wrote that the attempts to smear Martin have backfired “because the picture they paint is of a normal high school junior preparing for college.”

A screenshot of Trayvon’s Gmail inbox our source provided us is heartbreaking. Martin apparently used his Gmail account for his college search, and it’s filled with emails about upcoming SAT tests and scholarship applications. (“Trayvon, now is the best time to take the SATs!”) One email included the results of a career aptitude test, our source said. It “talked about his interest in aeronautics and stuff.”

This is not the first time Martin’s online life has made the news. Earlier this week, conservative site Daily Caller obtained and posted messages from Martin’s since-deleted Twitter account that date back to the beginning of the year. When The Huffington Post talked to the Caller’s executive editor, David Martosko, who published Martin’s tweets under his byline, Martosko said that he did so because his audience was hungry for information about the Martin shooting and the two people involved.

“These were not protected tweets,” Martosko said. “While he was alive, these were not outside of the public sphere in any shape or form.”

Martosko said that the Caller ran Martin’s tweets “without value judgment,” and would that he would publish Zimmerman’s tweets if he was made aware of an account opened and used by Zimmerman.

RNC doctors audio of Verrilli for anti-Obamacare ad

Obamacare tough sell ad

More GOP dirty tricks.  Some would say it’s par for the course in politics, but in my opinion it’s wrong from either side…

The Raw Story

The Republican National Convention edited an audio clip of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli to make it sound like he was at a loss of words to defend the Affordable Care Act during his oral arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a 30-second ad released by the RNC late Tuesday, Verrilli stutters and awkwardly pauses before trailing off.

“For more than 80 percent of Americans, the ah insurance system does provide effective access — Excuse me. Ah — it ah be-be because the ah the ah the — Excuse me,” he says in the ad.

As he finishes, the ad displays the words: “ObamaCare. It’s a tough sell.”

However, when Bloomberg compared the ad to the actual audio recording of Verrilli’s argument before the justices, they found that it had been doctored.

“For more than 80 percent of Americans, the, ah, insurance system does provide effective access,” Verrilli actually said, pausing briefly. “Excuse me, but for more than 40 million who do not have access to health insurance, either through their employer or through government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, the system does not work.”

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday took up the most contentious part of President Barack Obama’s landmark health care reform, hearing arguments on whether it is constitutional to require Americans to buy insurance coverage.

Verrilli argued that the reforms, which expand health care coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured, fall within Congress’s rights to regulate interstate commerce — in this case health insurance — and to enforce it with penalties.

Watch the ad, uploaded to YouTube on March 27, below:

Related articles

Rep. Allen West calls Rep. Rush’s Trayvon hoodie protest a security risk

I think that Rep. Rush’s demonstration was out of place in the Capitol.

Having said that, I think that if Harriet Beecher Stowe were alive today, she’d have a perfect model for the Uncle Tom character in Rep. Allen West.

The Hill

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) on Thursday condemned what he called Rep. Bobby Rush’s (D-Ill.) “immature gimmickry” in wearing a hooded sweatshirt on the House floor earlier this week.

The Tea Party favorite said in wearing the hoodie, Rush could have been someone who “walked off of the street.”

West said the incident might be funny now, but he speculated that at the time, Capitol Police were likely concerned.

“Initially, they did not know who it was and they were concerned that someone had just walked off of the street or kind of had broken away from a tour group,” West said on conservative Laura Ingraham’s radio show.

“Look, this is the type of immature gimmickry we see coming from the other side that you know, does not have any place, especially on the House floor and really in the United States,” he continued.

“Look, this is the type of immature gimmickry we see coming from the other side that you know, does not have any place, especially on the House floor and really in the United States,” he continued.

Rush, while delivering a speech defending Trayvon Martin on Wednesday, took off his suit jacket to reveal the sweatshirt and then pulled up the hood. His attire broke a House rule against hats, but he continued to speak after the presiding officer declared him out of order.

Continue here…

Senators Who Voted To Protect Oil Tax Breaks Received $23,582,500 From Big Oil

It appears that in Washington D.C. money talks and bull crap walks.  This article definitively shows Americans who their Senators really work for.  Clearly, it’s not for their constituents.

Think Progress

In a 51-47 vote, 43 Senate Republicans and four Democrats filibustered to protect $24 billion in tax breaks for Big Oil. Although a majority voted for Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) bill, it fell short of the 60 needed. The only two Republicans to break rank were Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

A Think Progress Green analysis shows how oil and gas companies have funneled cash to the same senators who protected its handouts:

– The 47 senators voting against the bill have received $23,582,500 in career contributions from oil and gas. The 51 senators voting to repeal oil tax breaks have received $5,873,600.

– The senators who voted for Big Oil’s handouts received on average over four times as much career oil cash as those who voted to end them.

– Overall, Senate Republicans have taken $23.2 million in oil and gas contributions. Democrats received $6.66 million.

– Since 2011, Senate Republicans have voted seven times for pro-Big Oil interests and against clean energy three times.

Democrats who joined the Republicans in defeating the bill include Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Jim Webb (D-VA). Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) broke ranks and voted to cut the tax breaks. Two senators, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) didn’t vote.

Republicans have taken an overwhelming 88 percent of oil and gas contributions this election cycle. While showering politicans with cash, the oil industry also spent over $146,000,000 on lobbying last year.

Although 55 percent of Americans want to see Big Oil welfare end, the GOP once again largely acted in-line with their Big Oil donors.

The full list of oil contributions for the Senate is listed below, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics:

Senator Since 2006 Career Vote
Akaka, Daniel (D-HI) 6,800 33,500 Y
Alexander, Lamar (R-TN) 159,350 414,550 N
Ayotte, Kelly (R-NH) 142,368 142,368 N
Barrasso, John (R-WY) 409,900 416,650 N
Baucus, Max (D-MT) 193,800 358,815 Y
Begich, Mark (D -AK) 153,705 153,705 N
Bennet, Michael (D-CO) 137,170 137,170 Y
Bingaman, Jeff (D-NM) 130,499 446,440 Y
Blumenthal, Richard (D-CT) 8,500 8,500 Y
Blunt, Roy (R-MO) 363,950 760,598 N
Boozman, John (R-AR) 101,352 141,952 N
Boxer, Barbara (D-CA) 19,350 40,075 Y
Brown , Scott (R-MA) 198,660 198,660 N
Brown , Sherrod (D-OH) 14,850 63,250 Y
Burr, Richard (R-NC) 234,800 549,852 N
Cantwell, Maria (D-WA) 39,666 61,116 Y
Cardin, Benjamin (D-MD) 39,400 71,900 Y
Carper, Thomas (D-DE) 48,600 71,060 Y
Casey, Bob (D-PA) 103,150 103,150 Y
Chambliss, Saxby (R-GA) 260,300 381,192 N
Coats, Daniel (R-In) 144,783 348,908 N
Coburn, Tom (R-OK) 190,400 552,163 N
Cochran, Thad (R-MS) 94,250 231,485 N
Collins, Susan (R-ME) 83,900 175,643 Y
Conrad, Kent (D-ND) 72,150 312,403 Y
Coons, Chris (D-DE) 13,373 13,373 Y
Corker, Bob (R-TN) 414,250 462,950 N
Cornyn, John (R-TX) 1,197,275 1,877,550 N
Crapo, Mike (R-ID) 94,300 314,689 N
DeMint, Jim (R-SC) 149,323 248,389 N
Durbin, Richard (D-IL) 23,100 66,800 Y
Enzi, Michael (R-WY) 126,800 305,650 N
Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA) 63,500 179,750 Y
Franken, Al (D-MN) 19,200 19,200 Y
Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY) 67,882 74,050 Y
Graham, Lindsey (R-SC) 64,150 154,875 N
Grassley, Chuck (R-IA) 132,500 270,050 N
Hagan, Kay (D-NC) 17,550 17,550 Y
Harkin, Tom (D-IA) 61,550 189,500 Y
Hatch, Orrin (R-UT) 310,750 452,425
Heller, Dean (R-NV) 122,100 210,050 N
Hoeven, John (R-ND) 263,289 263,289 N
Hutchsion, Kay Bailey (R-TX) 476,586 2,223,271 N
Inhofe, James (R-OK) 550,350 1,367,523 N
Inouye, Daniel (D-HI) 25,850 65,850 Y
Isakson, Johnny (R-GA) 130,900 248,514 N
Johanns, Mike (R-NE) 82,800 82,800 N
Johnson, Ron (R-WI) 113,950 113,950 N
Johnson, Tim (D-SD) 62,350 127,706 Y
Kerry, John (D-MA) 4,710 407,570 Y
Kirk, Mark (R-IL) 159,750 207,750
Klobouchar, Amy (D-MN) 19,716 19,716 Y
Kohl, Herb (D-WI) 1,300 Y
Kyl, Jon (R-AZ) 145,900 334,332 N
Landrieu, Mary L. (D-LA) 492,030 891,574 N
Lautenberg, Frank (D-NJ) 40,800 95,900 Y
Leahy, Patrick (D-VT) 250 10,250 Y
Lee, Mike (R-UT) 50,350 50,350 N
Levin, Carl (D-MI) 23,100 92,844 Y
Lieberman, Jo (I -CT) 84,850 196,250 Y
Lugar, Richard (R-IN) 67,600 217,225 N
Manchin, Joe (D-WV) 141,300 141,300 Y
McCain, John (R-AZ) 2,622,764 2,870,491 N
McCaskill, Claire (D-MO) 55,058 55,058 Y
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) 759,450 1,154,011 N
Menendez, Robert (D-NJ) 58,900 118,650 Y
Merkley, Jeff (D-OR) 6,500 6,500 Y
Mikulski, Barbara (D-MD) 9,650 47,710 Y
Moran, Jerry (R-KS) 139,000 385,496 N
Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK) 320,326 533,489 N
Murray, Patty (D-Wa) 21,716 57,366 Y
Nelson, Ben (D-NE) 217,650 271,555 N
Nelson, Bill (D-FL) 56,617 86,117 Y
Paul, Rand (R-KY) 106,840 106,840 N
Portman, Robert (R-OH) 313,858 323,458 N
Pryor, Mark (D-AR) 153,650 183,800 Y
Reed, Jack (D-RI) 5,200 12,850 Y
Reid, Harry (D-NV) 136,550 349,336 Y
Risch, James (R-ID) 88,350 88,350 N
Roberts, Pat (R-KS) 250,000 429,800 N
Rockefeller, Jay (D-WV) 73,550 310,250 Y
Rubio, Marco (R-FL) 244,034 244,034 N
Sanders, Bernie (I -VT) 5,500 7,200 Y
Schumer, Charles (D-NY) 64,200 239,551 Y
Sessions, Jeff (R-AL) 106,200 297,500 N
Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH) 12,300 21,000 Y
Shelby, Richard (R-AL) 50,900 352,700 N
Snowe, Olympia (R-ME) 73,200 173,900 Y
Stabenow, Debnbie (D-MI) 35,750 54,100 Y
Tester, Jon (D-Mt) 26,400 26,400 Y
Thune, John (R-SD) 189,835 649,462 N
Toomey, Patrick (R-PA) 315,366 362,716 N
Udall, Mark (D-CO) 120,110 169,029 Y
Udall, Tom (D-NM) 105,329 150,210 Y
Vitter, David (R-LA) 612,850 1,018,685 N
Warner, Mark (D-VA) 20,400 59,200 Y
Webb, Jim (D-VA) 26,006 26,006 N
Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI) 25,550 25,550 Y
Wicker, Roger (R-MS) 356,400 538,810 N
Wyden, Ron (D-OR) 43,264 117,864 Y
TOTAL 16,994,910 30,116,264
GOP 13,586,309 23,249,395
Dems 3,318,251 6,663,419
Independents 90,350 203,450

Methodology: Analysis includes oil and gas contributions from PACs and individuals giving $200 or more to Senators between the 2006-2012 election cycles and over their career, using data from the Center for Responsive Politics.