Capitol Hill · White House

Capitol Shooting: Police Shoot, Kill Female Suspect After Car Chase

Police inspect a car on the median of Constitution Ave in front of the Hart Senate Office Building following reports of a shooting on October 3, 2013 in Washington, DC (AFP, Mandel Ngan)

The Huffington Post

A woman driving a black Infiniti with a young child inside tried to ram through a White House barricade Thursday, then led police on a chase toward the Capitol, where police shot and killed her, witnesses and officials said.

Tourists watched the shooting unfold on Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol as lawmakers inside debated how to end a government shutdown. Police quickly locked down the entire complex temporarily, and both houses of Congress went into recess.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Tex., who said he was briefed by the Homeland Security Department, said the woman was killed. Asked if she was armed, he replied: “I don’t think she was. There was no return fire.”

Capitol Police later confirmed that all of the shots during the incident had been fired by law enforcement officers.

Police described it as an isolated event and saw no indications of terrorism.

The pursuit began when a car with Connecticut plates sped onto the driveway leading to the White House, over a set of lowered barricades. When she couldn’t get through a second barrier, she spun the car in the opposite direction, flipping a Secret Service officer over the hood of the car as she sped away, said B.J. Campbell, a visiting tourist from Portland, Ore.

A fleet of police and Secret Service cars chased the Infiniti toward Capitol Hill.

“The car was trying to get away. But it was going over the median and over the curb,” said Matthew Coursen, who was on his way to a legislative office building when the Infiniti sped by him. “The car got boxed in and that’s when I saw an officer of some kind draw his weapon and fire shots into the car.”

Coursen watched the shooting from his cab window.

“I thought to myself, ‘The car is getting blocked in. The car is going to surrender,'” he said. “Now the cop has his weapon out. The car kept trying to get away. Then he fired shots.”

Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer said a child was taken from the car to a hospital but said he knew of no harm to the youngster. Tourist Edmund Ofori-Attah said the child appeared to be about 2 to 3 years old.

A police officer was injured in the traffic accident but Gainer said the injuries were not life threatening.

“We heard three, four, five pops,” said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who was walking from the Capitol to an office building across the street. Police ordered Casey and nearby tourists to crouch behind a car for protection, then hustled everyone into the Capitol.

“There were multiple shots fired and the air was filled with gunpowder,” said Berin Szoka, whose office at a technology think tank overlooks the shooting scene.

The shooting comes two weeks after a mentally disturbed employee terrorized the Navy Yard with a shotgun, leaving 13 people dead including the gunman.

Before the disruption, lawmakers had been trying to find common ground to end a government shutdown. The House had just finished approving legislation aimed at partly lifting the government shutdown by paying National Guard and Reserve members.

U.S. Capitol Police on the plaza around the Capitol said they were working without pay as the result of the shutdown.

Aggressive Authoritative Behavior

Watch: Wisconsin Capitol police tackle man for photographing progressive protest

Damon Terrell arrest (Screenshot)

Police have been behaving aggressively toward citizen activism all around the country for a few years now.  What’s behind these excessive police tactics?

The protests are peaceful, yet in Wisconsin and North Carolina dozens are arrested weekly.

The videos below, in my opinion, show blatant infringement on citizens’ civil liberties as guaranteed by The United States Constitution.

Raw Story

A photographer and activist was aggressively arrested at the Wisconsin Capitol on Monday during a daily sing along protest.

Video of the incident uploaded to YouTube showed two police officers approaching Damon Terrell, who can be heard saying, “This is not illegal.” As Terrell backed away, one of the officers grabbed him. Terrell ended up on the ground with three officers on top of him.

Another video uploaded to YouTube showed four officers carrying Terrell out of the rotunda by his arms and legs.

Christopher J. Terrell, Damon’s brother, was also arrested for participating in the “Solidarity Sing Along” demonstration in the Capitol.

“The brothers have had a history of demonstrating and arrests by the capitol police, at times that has involved the brothers shouting at officers,” said Michael Phillis of the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The daily demonstrations began during the 2011 budget protests. A judge ruled in July that groups of more than 20 people could not gather in the Wisconsin Capitol without a permit, igniting a wave of arrests and citations.

Earlier this month, a Wisconsin lawmaker and a state official were both threatened with arrest for merely observing the demonstration.

Watch the videos, uploaded to YouTube, below:




Statuary Hall · United States Capitol

The US Capitol Is Full of White Supremacists

Wade Hampton, Robert E. Lee, John C. Calhoun, and Kirby Smith

I read this article while waiting at one of my two appointments earlier.  I’m compelled to share it with my Fifth Column friends…

Mother Jones

When a statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks was unveiled in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall in late February, it joined an exclusive club. The collection includes generals and statesmen, inventors and priests—as well as some of the most notorious leaders of a five-year armed insurrection that left 600,000 people dead in the name of protecting white Americans’ rights to own black Americans as slaves. What all the people portrayed in Statuary Hall have in common, with few exceptions, are two things: They are white, and they are men.

There is one Latino represented in the collection today. There are six American Indians, one Hawaiian, and zero African Americans. (Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. are both featured as part of a separate collection.) If it were any less diverse it would look like the Senate. But if the Architect of the Capitol is uncomfortable with the composition of its collection, it has an odd way of showing it. The biographies of the collection’s most notorious members make no mention of their hard-earned legacies perpetuating and reinforcing a culture of white supremacy.

According to Hilary Shelton, the Washington director of the NAACP, the collection’s biographies amount to a “whitewash” of history.

“It becomes revisionist when they don’t talk about the real context in which these struggles that are going on,” Shelton told Mother Jones. “We would not want to see them edit it out either. But we would like to make sure that there is a clear understanding of what was going on in the country at those times.”

Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy and one of two Georgians in the collection, is described in his official bio as “a dedicated statesman, an effective leader, and a powerful orator.” But his most famous oration, the 1861 speech in which he explained that that the South’s “foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man,” goes unmentioned—as do all of the blemishes on his record. The biography make no effort to explain how someone whose singular legacy split the country in half might be considered a statesman.

Representing the South Carolina delegation is former Senator, Vice President, and Secretary of War John C. Calhoun—who blocked the annexation of Mexico on the grounds that only white people could be free—and Wade Hampton, a Confederate cavalry commander best known for expediting the end of Reconstruction in his state through a paramilitary organization known as the Red Shirts, who massacred black voters. On his Capitol résumé, Hampton is described as “a symbol of South Carolina politics,” glossing over the bloody tactics that made him so.

As journalist Nicholas Lemann documented in Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War, “an anti-Reconstruction historian later estimated that 150 negroes were murdered in South Carolina during the [1876] campaign, while the Democrats’ official leader…was campaigning as a statesman.”

Continue here…

U.S. Politics

11 Things Wrong With Congress

U.S. News & World Report

Capitol Hole

America needs to rally. Jobs are scarce, incomes are falling, and prosperity seems to be slipping away. Congress could help, but instead of bold new bipartisan ideas, the nation’s legislators have done little lately except argue. Here’s why Congress is so out-of-touch.

Too Many Rich People

About one percent of all Americans are millionaires, but roughly 46 percent of those serving in Congress are. There’s nothing wrong with being rich. But there is a problem when the people creating tax and economic policy fail to understand the financial stress a typical family faces.

Automatic Pay Raises

Every year, members of Congress get an automatic cost-of-living increase in their pay, which is now $174,000 per year—about 3.4 times as much as the average worker earns. For the last two years, Congress has voted to forego its annual raise. But even flat pay would be a luxury to millions who have endured pay cuts, been relegated to part-time status or lost their jobs.

Gold-Plated Benefits

Members of Congress are eligible for two types of retirement plans and a retirement healthcare plan that in nearly every way are more generous than benefits typically offered to private-sector workers. One research group estimates that fringe benefits alone are worth about $82,000 per year to a federal legislator.

Free Parking

In addition to generous pay and gilded benefits, members of Congress enjoy a long list of conveniences and other perks, including free parking at their workplace on Capitol Hill, and at priority lots at Washington, D.C.’s two airports. They’re special, you see.


Congress has temporarily banned these pet spending projects, which evade ordinary budgeting procedures and often amount to home-district favors for donors or supporters. But some lawmakers want them back. The test will come in 2013, when the next Congress will either extend the ban or revoke it and start delivering overdue favors.

Speeches to Nobody

Some of those Congressional speeches broadcast on cable are given before an empty chamber in the Capitol, simply because politicians know they might get on TV. Expanded TV coverage of Congress has been a welcome bit of sunshine, but it also encourages posturing and sensationalism.

A Lack of Competition

In the private sector, competition punishes the obsolete and rewards those who deliver. Congress, however, holds a monopoly on legislating, so it still operates by ancient procedures and dallies indefinitely on urgent matters. There’s no measure of effectiveness for the body as a whole, and some members insist that gridlock—a euphemism for accomplishing nothing—is in the nation’s interest.

No Penalty for Ignorance

Members of Congress sometimes reveal a dangerous degree of ignorance on vitally important issues they have considerable power to regulate. This year, for instance, the science journal Nature said a House committee had “entered the intellectual wilderness” on climate science, and The Economist called Republican debt-ceiling negotiators “economically illiterate.”


For every member of Congress, there are about 22 registered lobbyists who donate money, throw fundraisers and manipulate legislation to the benefit of corporations and interest groups. Some of the most powerful lobbyists are former members of Congress, who form a “shadow Congress” more influential than pressure from voters.

The Media

Journalists, bloggers, and pundits jump on every argumentative word in Washington, while underreporting key issues likeunemployment and poverty that matter more to real people. This makes politicians even more narcissistic and combative, since they know they’ll generate coverage if they say something controversial.

Political Satire

Beltway Media Slain By Satire

The Onion, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are masters of satire.

This time it was The Onion’s turn at getting a massive amount of publicity for one of their articles…but wait!  Everyone knows The Onion is a satirical website, don’t they?

The Huffington Post

The Onion Unleashes Deadly Satirical Attack On Washington Via Twitter 

Washington, D.C., was the scene of a devastating satirical attack this morning, as a tweet from The Onion, the well-known fake-news site, intersected with the most humorless residents of the most self-absorbed city in the world, touching off a tsunami of ultra-seriousness. Now, the Beltway media are left to grapple with the essential question: How could this happen here?

It all began at 10:33 a.m., when The Onion’s Twitter feed posted a tweet that read, “BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building.” Now, normally, when The Onion tweets things like “Small-Town Sheriff Has Actually Killed Surprising Amount Of People” or “Pediatricians Announce 2011 Newborns Are Ugliest Babies In 30 Years,” people in English-speaking nations all around the world demonstrate, with a high degree of skill, the ability to understand that the things The Onion tweets are not, strictly speaking, true. On those rare occasions when there is a notable failure to come to grips with this reality, the media enjoy having a laugh at the expense of the ignorant.

Today, their ability to remain aware that they were, as they say, “in on the joke” failed them. Instead, everyone decided it was absolutely plausible that a satiric website in New York City had managed to scoop the entire Beltway press corps on a story that involved gunfire at the Capitol. No, the tweet, in and of itself was not what I would call “hilarious.” Yes, we live in an age of frayed nerves. But most people know enough to stop themselves at the seventh word when they find themselves saying, “Oh, my God, The Onion is reporting that the Capitol is under attack!”

I can understand and respect that people have different points at which the laughter stops. And I’ll allow that for many, this tweet probably crossed a line. I’ll only point out that finding where the line is and crossing it basically describes The Onion’s entire mission. But there’s a distinction to be made between decent people being offended and officials actually taking this stuff seriously:

US Capitol Police on Thursday flatly denied a joke claim on the popular satire website The Onion’s Twitter feed of “screams and gunfire” in the Congress and said they were investigating the comment.”Conditions at the US Capitol are currently normal. There is no credibility to these stories or the Twitter feeds,” said a spokeswoman for US Capitol Police, Sergeant Kimberly Schneider.

“The US Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting,” she said in a statement issued roughly half an hour after The Onion’s first tweet about a supposed violent standoff in the US Congress.

Oh, the Capitol Police are “investigating the reporting”? I sure hope they manage to close that case! (Keep reading Twitter, maybe? That’s just an amateur crime-solving tip I have.)

Continue reading here… 

Related articles

Gov. Scott Walker · Keith Olbermann · Wisconsin · Wisconsin Assembly · Wisconsin Protesters · Wisconsin Unions · Wisconson Capitol · Wisconson Fiscal Crisis · Wisconson GOP

Scott Walker: That Man Is An Idiot

Keith Olbermann’s Blog – Fok News – March 1, 2011

Good grief, how many stupid people do we have in this country? And how come we keep electing them as Republican governors?

In a had-to-be-seen-to-be-believed budget speech this afternoon, Wisconsin’s pet rock of a chief executive, Scott Walker, barely touched on the firestorm that has put his slightly cross-eyed, startled-looking mug on the national map. Absent were references to violating court orders to keep the Capitol open to protesters. No mention was made of unilateral decisions to bolt the Capitol windows shut. There wasn’t a word in there about the no-holds-barred campaign to demonize the Unions as if they were al-Qaeda. Only in passing – by referencing those Democrats who interrupted the knee-capping of collective bargaining rights – did Walker even come close to mentioning the issue that his lit up the night sky of America’s Dairyland.

In short, Walker’s speech sounded about as in-touch and pertinent as one of Hosni Mubarak’s. No; check that; Mubarak eventually got it. When it comes to tone-deaf speechifying (not, obviously, bloodshed), Walker is closer to Colonel Gadaffi.        Read more »