Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Smart move: Chris Brown cops a plea

He'll avoid a nasty trial, and Rihanna having to testify. Plus he won't go to jail.

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posted by JReid @ 8:48 AM  
Thursday, June 11, 2009
How Wackenhut failed Stephen Johns
The security company that employed Stephen Tyrone Johns, the victim of white supremacist lone gunman James Von Brunn, was asked by the union representing its highly trained security officers to provide company-issued bullet proof vests. They're still waiting. [At left: shooting victim Stephen Tyrone Johns]

From ThinkProgress:
The security police professionals working at the Holocaust Museum are all members of the International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA). Yesterday, president David Hickey said that it was a tragic day for his members, who are “the first line of defense against a terrorist attack and put their lives on the line each day protecting our country.” [At right: gunman James Von Brunn]

... However, according to SPFPA Washington DC representative Assane Faye, the union had been pressing Wackenhut for “company-issued protective vests,” as a result of a rise in anti-Semitic remarks directed at the museum’s officers. “I hammered this in our negotiations two years ago because of how sensitive that museum is,” Faye told the Washington Post. Wackenhut has not yet issued the vests.
Thanks for nothing, Wackenhut. The company, by the way, describes itself this way:
Wackenhut describes itself as the U.S. government's "largest contractor for professional security services." An official with the union that represents Wackenhut employees at the museum said Johns was paid about $20 an hour.
...and he wasn't wearing a vest. So what other key buildings and landmarks in D.C. does Wackenhut service? Just asking...

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posted by JReid @ 5:09 PM  
Irony alert: Fellow white supremacist on Von Brunn
Via ThinkP, a friend of James Von Brunn worries that the white supremacist movement might have a bit of an image problem...
An acquaintance of von Brunn’s, John de Nugent, “who describes himself as a white separatist,” told the Post that von Brunn had been paranoid recently that “someone in Washington” cut his Social Security after “looking at his Web site.” De Nugent also tried to distance von Brunn from what he deemed “the responsible white separatist community”:

De Nugent called von Brunn a genius but described the shooting as the act of “a loner and a hothead.”

“The responsible white separatist community condemns this,” he said. “It makes us look bad.”

And apparently, Nugent is too radical even for some white supremacy websites. Wow.

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posted by JReid @ 4:52 PM  
Holocaust museum victim's final act of kindness was to his killer
From the NYDN:

The Holocaust Museum guard shot dead by a geriatric neo-Nazi opened the door for the rifle-toting gunman before the hatemonger opened fire, authorities said Thursday.

Stephen Tyrone Johns, 39, was gunned down moments after he helped James von Brunn, 88, inside the museum.

"Johns was kind enough to open the door to allow him to enter," said Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

"As he entered, he raised the rifle, opened fire, striking Special Police Officer Johns."

Johns took a bullet in his torso and died a short while later. Two guards returned fire, critically wounding von Brunn, 88.

The Holocaust-denying, white supremacist will be charged with murder and using a firearm on federal property - capital crimes that could lead to von Brunn receiving the death penalty, officials said.

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posted by JReid @ 3:58 PM  
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
James Von Brunn: another right wing nut acting out
This time in New York, at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., where an Obama-hating anti-Semite white supremacist shot an (African-American) security guard to death as former Defense Secretary William Cohen and his wife Janet Langhart Cohen watched (or heard.) The interracial couple were preparing to enjoy a reading of her play about racial tolerance, in which Anne Frank has a theoretical dialogue with Emmett Till. Go figure. The attacker is named James Von Brunn. I'll bet you can take a good guess what's on his radio dial and reading list... His former wife had this to say about him:

The ex-wife of the racist who stormed the U.S. Holocaust Museum described him as an abusive alcoholic whose hatred against Jews and blacks "ate him alive like a cancer."

"It's all he would talk about," the ex-wife said of James von Brunn, 89, who was wounded in a firefight with museum guards.

"When I questioned him, he would get very angry and abusive."

Von Brunn is also apparently part of the Obama "Birther" movement: the wingnuts who question Barack Obama's citizenship ... still ... (led by their godfather, Rush Limbaugh) He even wrote a book about his ... um ... complaints... And his writings further reveal him to be adamantly pro-Bush and pro-Sarah Palin:
More about Von Brunn from the New York Times:
The gunman was identified by law enforcement officials as James W. von Brunn, who embraces various conspiracy theories involving Jews, blacks and other minority groups and at one point waged a personal war with the federal government.

... Officials and others who track conspiracy theorists have long been familiar with Mr. von Brunn, whose latest address is believed to be in Eastern Maryland, in part because he maintains a Web site. (Wednesday night, only an archived version of the site was available.) He has claimed variously to be a member of Mensa, the high-I.Q. society; to have played varsity football at a Midwestern college, where he earned a degree in journalism; to have been a PT boat commander in World War II; and to be a painter and an author.

Mr. von Brunn has also claimed to have been victimized by a court system run by Jews and blacks.

Before Wednesday, he was best known to law enforcement officials for having walked into the Washington headquarters of the Federal Reserve System on Dec. 7, 1981, with a bag slung over the shoulder of his trench coat. A guard chased him to the second floor, where the Fed’s board was meeting, and found a revolver, a hunting knife and a sawed-off shotgun in the bag.

Mr. von Brunn, who lived in Lebanon, N.H., at the time, told the police he wanted to take board members hostage to focus news media attention on their responsibility for high interest rates and the nation’s economic difficulties. He was convicted in 1983 and served several years in prison on attempted kidnapping, burglary, assault and weapons charges.
Hm ... guns ... anti-government paranoia ... federal reserve conspiracy theories ... white supremacist movement... hey, remember back when the righties got all hot and bothered about this?

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

"It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration," the warning says.

Read the full report here. Janet Napolitano may want to take back that apology now. Michelle Malkin helpfully highlighted other increasingly relevant passages from the report:

From the report. p. 3:

(U//LES) Rightwing extremists are harnessing this historical election as a recruitment tool. Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use. Rightwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. From the 2008 election timeframe to the present, rightwing extremists have capitalized on related racial and political prejudices in expanded propaganda campaigns, thereby reaching out to a wider audience of potential sympathizers.

(U) Exploiting Economic Downturn

(U//FOUO) Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish “financial elites.” These “accusatory” tactics are employed to draw new recruits into rightwing extremist groups and further radicalize those already subscribing to extremist beliefs. DHS/I&A assesses this trend is likely to accelerate if the economy is perceived to worsen.

Sounds about right ... Thanks, Michelle! BTW Ms. Malkin is strangely silent on Von Brunn today, preferring to devote her entire site to stupid posters opposing "Obamacare." UPDATE: Malkin did post about the shooting after all. But she claims, nonsensically, that Von Brunn was NOT, I repeat NOT ... a right winger. And this link-friend of Michelle's takes it one step further ...

Let's give the last word to the one good thing Fox News has going for it: Shep Smith, who reveals that the winger extremists are starting to creep him out, too...

As the right wing nuts react... Meanwhile, Irregular Times keeps tabs on the equally scary FReepers...

Meanwhile: Gawker muses about Von Brunn's Net savvy, and his artwork. ... and about the rise of right wing violence.

Now you see why the security was so unbelievably tight at the inaugural.

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posted by JReid @ 9:45 PM  
Monday, June 01, 2009
It didn't take long: RedState plays the Ayers card
What's the last refuge of right wing scoundrels when one another of their own runs amok and becomes a domestic terrorist? Bill Ayers. Of course.

Meanwhile, the phone number in the car story is confirmed. The notation, captured on tape by Kansas City TV station KMBC, did indeed contain the phone number of an Operation Rescue operative:
The phone number is written on an envelope with the name "Cheryl" and "Op Rescue." Cheryl is Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue's senior policy adviser, who in 1988 was convicted of conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic. She served two years in prison.

Sullenger tells The Pitch that she hasn't spoken with Roeder recently.

"No, he hasn't called me recently," Sullenger said. "No."

She went on: "You know, he's somebody who's been around. My name is on the Internet. It's on every press release. My phone number is on every press release it. It's all over the internet. I don't know. He probably has lots of people's phone numbers. You know? So I don't know. I don't have any more comment other than that."
I'll bet.

Meanwhile, the KCStar has more about the murder suspect, Scott Roeder:
Scott Roeder harbored a burning, “eye-for-an-eye” anger toward abortion doctors. He once subscribed to a magazine suggesting “justifiable homicide” against them, and apparently likened George Tiller to the Nazi death-camp doctor Josef Mengele.
And it appears Roeder had deeper problems:

Roeder’s family life began unraveling more than a decade ago when he got involved with anti-government groups, and then became “very religious in an Old Testament, eye-for-an-eye way,” his former wife, Lindsey Roeder, told The Associated Press.

“The anti-tax stuff came first, and then it grew and grew. He became very anti-abortion,” said Lindsey Roeder, who was married to Scott Roeder for 10 years but “strongly disagrees with his beliefs.”

“That’s all he cared about is anti-abortion. The church is this. God is this.’ Yadda yadda,” she said.

Lindsey Roeder said that the early years of the marriage were good and that Scott Roeder worked in an envelope factory. But she said he moved out of their home after he became involved with the Freemen movement, an anti-government group that discouraged the paying of taxes. The Roeders have one son, now 22.

“When he moved out in 1994, I thought he was over the edge with that stuff,” his ex-wife said. “He started falling apart. I had to protect myself and my son.”

Roeder was arrested with the bomb making materials in his trunk in 1996.

And get a load of Roeder's friends:
Some anti-abortion activists said they were familiar with Roeder. Regina Dinwiddie, a protester in the Kansas City area, said she had picketed a Planned Parenthood clinic with Roeder. She said she was “glad” about Tiller’s death.

“I wouldn’t cry for him no more than I would if somebody dropped a rat and killed it,” she said.

Meanwhile, Operation Rescue founder, and seriously deranged individual Randall Terry, isn't weeping for Tiller either. Instead, he's making creepy videos for his followers:

Scary stuff.


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posted by JReid @ 10:54 PM  
Tiller murder suspect believed killing abortion providers was 'justifiable homicide'
Murder suspect: 51-year-old Scott Roeder of Merriam, Kansas
is seen being driven away by police. Source: Kansas City Star

From the Kansas City Star:

In the rear window of the car that Roeder was driving when police stopped him was a red rose — a symbol that is often used by abortion opponents. On the rear of his car was a Christian fish symbol with the word “Jesus” inside.

Those who know Roeder told The Kansas City Star that he believed killing abortion doctors was an act of justifiable homicide.

“I know that he believed in justifiable homicide,” said Regina Dinwiddie, a Kansas City abortion opponent who made headlines in 1995 when a federal judge ordered her to stop using a bullhorn within 500 feet of any abortion clinic. “I know he very strongly believed that abortion was murder and that you ought to defend the little ones, both born and unborn.”

And this:

Roeder was a subscriber to Prayer and Action News, a magazine that advocated the justifiable homicide position, said publisher Dave Leach, an abortion opponent from Des Moines, Iowa.

“I met him once, and he wrote to me a few times,” Leach said of Roeder. “I remember that he was sympathetic to our cause, but I don’t remember any details.”

Leach said he met Roeder in Topeka when he went there to visit Shelley Shannon, who was in prison for the 1993 shooting of Tiller.

“He told me about a lot of conspiracy stuff and showed me how to take the magnetic strip out of a five-dollar bill,” Leach said. “He said it was to keep the government from tracking your money.”

Meanwhile the right is running, at full speed, away from Mr. Roeder; attempting to pawn him off on only the militia movement and escape the blame already being directed their way. Via LifeNews:
As has been the case with most previous incidents of abortion-related violence, Roeder appears to have an affiliation with extremist political groups but not with the mainstream pro-life movement.
Well, yes, Roeder was involved in the militia movement, and he appears to be a violent and disturbed anti-government conspiracy nut. But here's the thing:

In April 1996, Roeder was arrested in Topeka after Shawnee County sheriff’s deputies stopped him for not having a proper license plate. The deputies said they searched the car and found ammunition, a blasting cap, a fuse cord, a one-pound can of gunpowder and two 9-volt batteries. One of the batteries was connected to a switch that could have been used to trigger a bomb.

Roeder was found guilty and sentenced in June 1996 to 24 months of probation with intensive supervision. He also was ordered to dissociate himself from anti-government groups that advocated violence.

But in December 1997, Roeder’s probation ended six months early when the Kansas Court of Appeals overturned his conviction. The court ruled that evidence against Roeder was seized by authorities during an illegal search of his car.

Militia-nut? Check. And yet, even his fellow militia people seem to recognize that abortion was Roeder's main issue:

Morris Wilson, a commander of the Kansas Unorganized Citizens Militia in the mid-1990s, said he knew Roeder fairly well.

“I’d say he’s a good ol’ boy, except he was just so fanatic about abortion,” said Wilson, who now lives in western Nebraska. “He was always talking about how awful abortion was. But there’s a lot of people who think abortion is awful.”

Not sure there's far to run, guys.

Go to the full thread: abortion provider murdered

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posted by JReid @ 1:31 AM  
Sunday, May 31, 2009
After Tiller's murder, fears of right wing extremism
Suddenly, this doesn't seem so funny anymore:

Not saying this woman was necessarily dangerous, but with the first Black president in office, right wing extremism on the rise, and armed, truly crazy people lurking out there, thank God the Secret Service takes no chances.

Original ReidBlog thread: the murder of Dr. George Tiller

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posted by JReid @ 11:48 PM  
Doctor who performed abortions gunned down at church
(**Scroll to the bottom of the post for the latest updates.**)

Disturbing news out of Kansas:

WICHITA, Kansas -- Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas doctor whose clinic received national attention for performing late-term abortions, was shot to death as he entered his Wichita church on Sunday.

"Members of the congregation who were inside the sanctuary at the time of the shooting were being kept inside the church by police," the Wichita Eagle reported, "and those arriving were being ushered into the parking lot."

Media reports said the suspected killer fled the scene in a blue Taurus. Police described him as a white male in his 50s or 60s.

***UPDATE***More awful details:

Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said Tiller, 67, was serving as an usher during morning services when he was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church. Stolz said the gunman fired one shot at Tiller and threatened two other people who tried to stop him.

... Stolz said that Tiller apparently did not have a bodyguard with him in church, although the doctor was routinely accompanied by one. An attorney for Tiller, Dan Monnat, said the doctor's wife, Jeanne, was in the choir at the time of the shooting.

Monnat said that Tiller recently had asked federal prosecutors to step up investigations of vandalism and other threats against the clinic out of fear that the incidents were increasing and that Tiller's safety was in jeopardy. However, Stolz said authorities knew of no threats connected to the shooting.

Adam Watkins, a 20-year-old who said he has attended the church his entire life, said he was sitting in the middle of the congregation when he heard a small pop at the start of the service.

"We just thought a child had come in with a balloon and it had popped, had gone up and hit the ceiling and popped," Watkins said.

Another usher came in and told the congregation to remain seated, then escorted Tiller's wife out.

"When she got to the back doors, we heard her scream, and so we knew something bad had happened," Watkins said.

Tiller was among the few U.S. doctors to perform late-term abortions, he had been the target of numerous protests, and even a dubious prosecution that seemed to be brought on by pro-life forces. Wingers dubbed him "Tiller the Killer," and the notorious Operation Rescue had targeted him with a website called TillerWatch. Their statement on his murder:

“We are shocked at this morning’s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down,” anti-abortion group Operation Rescue said in a statement on its Web site. “Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller’s family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”

Apparently, the FBI is involved in the case, and police are checking on a person whose car license plate is linked to the scene.

RedState comments RedStatily:

This is apparently not the first time George Tiller has been shot at. He was shot in both arms back in 1993. He also has a history of flouting sensible regulation and oversight on abortion, in a quest to perform as many late-term abortions as possible.

Because of that, combined with the fact that reports say there were steps taken to cut out security cameras, I find it highly likely that this was a politically-motivated shooting. It is entirely the wrong thing to do though, achieves nothing to save lives, and must be prosecuted vigorously.

Pro-Life Blogs tells it like it is.

The Christian Defense Coalition condemns.

But this RedStater sounds what is the more likely El Rushbo/Glenn Beck/Hannity crazy talk position:

I can’t help but to follow the logic. “Doctor” Tiller is committing late-term abortions, which by any sane person’s calculation is infanticide. This is murder. Through perversion of the law, this is permitted, despite it flying the face of the history of civilization. This has been tolerated for two decades, and nothing has happened to stop the killing. He would have continued to commit this crime.

I can’t escape the conclusion that killing Tiller was the right thing to do. I am uncomfortable with this conclusion because it’s dangerous. But nevertheless, it was the ethical thing to do. Tiller would have continued to take numerous lives. Nothing was going to stop him. So someone did stop him. And now fewer lives will be taken.

We celebrate the breaking the laws every time the media canonizes Rosa Parks. She broke the law. There is no question of that. The question is whether it was the ethical thing to do (it was.) We celebrate the Nazi resistance, we celebrate the Tiananmen Square uprising. I’m sure those were all illegal actions, yet were unquestionably the moral things to do. So how would killing a killer, when all options are exhausted, not also be the right thing to do?

You have to wonder if the reason why we have a legal system is in order to steal the oxygen from moral vigilantism. You have to wonder if the legal system breaks down whether vigilantism, when all other options fail, becomes a moral imperative.

So the killer is ... the right's Rosa Parks? I take it this person does know that Parks never killed anybody, and that the movement she sparked and was a part of was fundamentally about non-violence .... right, RedState???

UPDATE: The White House released the following statement:

"I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning,'' Obama said in a statement issued by the White House this evening.

"However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion,'' the president said, "they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.''

UPDATE 2: A suspect has apparently been arrested. He's 51 years old and was stopped outside of Johnson County Kansas, according to police. Meanwhile the National Right to Life Committee has also condemned the slaying. Kind of would be nice if these groups would eschew violence before their crazy afficionados utilize their Second Amendment rights in violation of someone else's right to life...

McClatchy is doing video updates.

UPDATE 3: Right wing bloggers are ID'ing someone they say is the suspect, a guy named Scott Roeder (they're getting it from AP,) who apparently had been leaving creepy comments on the Operation Rescue website, and at the site According to the Little Green Footballers:

Scott Roeder posted a creepy comment at the Operation Rescue website in 2007, in this topic about Dr. Tiller: Operation Rescue® » Pray in May to Stop Abortion, Wichita, KS, May 17-20, 2007:

Scott Roeder Says:
May 19th, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Bleass everyone for attending and praying in May to bring justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp.

Sometime soon, would it be feasible to organize as many people as possible to attend Tillers church (inside, not just outside) to have much more of a presence and possibly ask questions of the Pastor, Deacons, Elders and members while there? Doesn’t seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller.

And the FReepers add this, courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League:

Not the first arrest for Tiller's Killer?
ADL ^ | unk | unk

Posted on Sun May 31 19:34:48 2009 by aft_lizard

July 7, Kansas: Scott Roeder is sentenced to sixteen months in state prison for parole violations following a 1996 conviction for having bomb components in his car trunk. Roeder, a sovereign citizen and tax protester, violated his parole by not filing tax returns or providing his social security number to his employer.
So what is a "Sovereign Citizen?" With a hat tip to LGF, here's the Wiki:
The sovereign citizen movement is a network of American litigants who claim to be "sovereign citizens"; that is, people who claim to have certain rights under English common law and to be unaccountable to the federal government. The litigants advance this concept in opposition to "federal citizens" who, they believe, have unknowingly forfeited their rights by accepting some aspect of federal law.
This "sovereign citizen" concept originated in the Posse Comitatus movement as a teaching of Christian Identity minister William P. Gale. It has gone on to influence the tax protester movement, the Christian Patriot movement and the Redemption movement. Gale identified the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution as the act that converted sovereign citizens into federal citizens, but other commentators have identified other acts, including the Uniform Commercial Code, the Emergency Banking Act, the Zone Improvement Plan and the supposed suppression of the Titles of Nobility Amendment.
So he's part of Operation Rescue AND the "tea party movement." Brilliant! And per the ADL's Extremism Watch:
Origins: Çirca 1970; fully developed by early 1980s
Ideology: Anti-government, some white supremacist elements
Outreach: Vigilante courts, seminars, shortwave radio, the Internet, "schools of common law"
And this, which links our murder suspect to the same movement subscribed to by Terry Nichols:

In April 1992, an angry resident of Sanilac County, Michigan, wrote a letter to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources stating he was no longer a "citizen of the corrupt political corporate State of Michigan and the United States of America" and was answerable only to the "Common Laws." He therefore expressly revoked his signature on any hunting or fishing licenses, which he viewed as contracts that fraudulently bound him to the illegitimate government of Michigan.

That obscure Michigan hunter would, three years later, become known to the entire world. He was Terry Nichols, friend and accomplice of Oklahoma City Federal Building bomber Timothy McVeigh. Nichols subscribed to an unusual right-wing anti-government ideo-logy whose adherents have in recent years increasingly plagued public officials, law enforcement officers and private citizens with a variety of tactics designed to attack the government and other forms of authority. Its members call themselves, variously, consti-tutionalists, freemen, preamble citizens, common law citizens and non-foreign/non-resident aliens (Nichols used several of these), but most commonly refer to themselves as "sovereign citizens."

Members of the sovereign citizen movement engage in a variety of seemingly bizarre activities. Nichols, for instance, several times repudiated his allegiance to federal and state governments. He tried to pay a credit card debt with a fictitious financial instrument called a "certified fractional reserve check." Brought into court in Michigan in 1993, he refused to walk to the front of the courtroom and denied the court's jurisdiction over him. Even when he wrote addresses on letters, Nichols made sure to use the abbreviation "TDC" to indicate that he was using the federal zip code under "threat, duress and coercion." These exhibitions of behavior might seem odd or even humorous, but the same ideology that led to those activities also helped lead Terry Nichols to assist Timothy McVeigh in building a bomb that would kill 168 people and injure hundreds more. By then the sovereign citizen movement to which Nichols subscribed had embarked upon a nationwide resurgence that would last into the 21st century; its anti-government activities would cause problems in every region of the country.

Meanwhile, Donklephant muses:
His name is Scott Roeder and it looks like he’s involved with Operation Rescue in some way. Obviously that doesn’t mean they’re to blame, but if you convince your followers that somebody is a mass murderer and is doing it legally…you think something bad might happen?
Ya think??? So why are the winger blogs so proactive in going after Tiller's killer? Our FReeper friend aft_lizard explains:

All Pro-Lifers will raked over the coals for this lone nut case....

In other words: fear of guilt by association. Well isn't that ironic...

UPDATE 4: Randall Terry, whose group Operation Rescue the murder suspect is linked to, says he's more concerned about Barack Obama's reaction to the murder than about the killing itself. Per the HuffPo:

Randall Terry, the founder of anti-abortion group Operation Rescue who led protests against George Tiller's clinic in Wichita, Kansas in 1991, issued a statement about today's killing of the abortion doctor.

In his comments, Terry does not grieve for Tiller or denounce the murder but seems more concerned about President Obama's reaction and what it bodes for the pro-life movement.

"George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.

Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches."

Terry did not return calls for comment.


And what say you now, Bill O'Reilly? From Salon's Gabriel Winant:

... there's no other person who bears as much responsibility for the characterization of Tiller as a savage on the loose, killing babies willy-nilly thanks to the collusion of would-be sophisticated cultural elites, a bought-and-paid-for governor and scofflaw secular journalists. Tiller's name first appeared on "The Factor" on Feb. 25, 2005. Since then, O'Reilly and his guest hosts have brought up the doctor on 28 more episodes, including as recently as April 27 of this year. Almost invariably, Tiller is described as "Tiller the Baby Killer."

Tiller, O'Reilly likes to say, "destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000." He's guilty of "Nazi stuff," said O'Reilly on June 8, 2005; a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida, he suggested on March 15, 2006. "This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao's China, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union," said O'Reilly on Nov. 9, 2006.

O'Reilly has also frequently linked Tiller to his longtime obsession, child molestation and rape. Because a young teenager who received an abortion from Tiller could, by definition, have been a victim of statutory rape, O'Reilly frequently suggested that the clinic was covering up for child rapists (rather than teenage boyfriends) by refusing to release records on the abortions performed.

... While he never advocated anything violent or illegal, the Fox bully repeatedly portrayed the doctor as a murderer on the loose, allowed to do whatever he wanted by corrupt and decadent authorities.

UPDATE 5: Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered U.S. Marshalls to protect the country's women's clinics:

Holder issued the following statement:

The murder of Doctor George Tiller is an abhorrent act of violence, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers at this tragic moment. Federal law enforcement is coordinating with local law enforcement officials in Kansas on the investigation of this crime, and I have directed the United States Marshals Service to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation. The Department of Justice will work to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. As a precautionary measure, we will also take appropriate steps to help prevent any related acts of violence from occurring.
Tiller's family is also out with a statement:
"Today we mourn the loss of our husband, father and grandfather. Today's event is an unspeakable tragedy for all of us and for George's friends and patients. This is particularly heart wrenching because George was shot down in his house of worship, a place of peace.

We would like to express the family's thanks for the many messages of sympathy from our friends and from all across the nation. We also want to thank the law enforcement officers who are investigating this crime.

Our loss is also a loss for the City of Wichita and women across America. George dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality heath care despite frequent threats and violence. We ask that he be remembered as a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere."

And this from Kansas right to life groups:
"Killing isn't part of saving lives," said Pat Turner, Kansas Right to Life. "We never encouraged anyone to do it."
Well, not directly, anyway. Meanwhile, a Kansas Planned Parenthood official calls it like it is:
"To use violence, to kill someone, is not ever okay," said Peter Brownlie, Planned Parenthood. ...

... Brownlie said he knew Tiller personally and knew of the threats he faced. He calls them acts of domestic terrorism.

"I'm sad that people who provide medical care to women have to live in fear," he said.

BTW, remember when the right started foaming at the mouth about a Homeland Security report about violent right wing extremist groups? Makes you wonder... One line from the report:
Gun-related violence: “Heightened interest in legislation for tighter firearms … may be invigorating rightwing extremist activity, specifically the white supremacist and militia movements.”
UPDATE 6: I haven't been able to corroborate the net chatter that Roeder's car had a post-it note in it with the phone number of Operation Rescue written on it. The links provided by LGF and other sites go to this story, where that info, if it was there before, isn't there now.

More on Tiller and Roeder:

Federal marshals protected Tiller during the 1991 Summer of Mercy protests, and he was protected again between 1994 and 1998 after another abortion provider was assassinated and federal authorities reported finding Tiller's name on an assassination list.

Someone named Scott Roeder, then 38, was charged in Topeka, Kan., in 1996 with criminal use of explosives for having bomb components in his car trunk and sentenced to 24 months of probation. However, his conviction was overturned on appeal the next year after a higher court said evidence against Roeder was seized by law enforcement officers during an illegal search of his car.

At the time, police said the FBI had identified Roeder as a member of the anti-government Freemen group, an organization that kept the FBI at bay in Jordan, Mont., for almost three months in 1995-96.

The article may be mistaking the "Freemen" or "Montana Freemen" with the Sovereign Citizen movement. The two are apparently related.

Also, Roeder's family has spoken to the media, specifically to KMBC-TV in Kansas City:
Roeder's uncle, Clarence Roeder, issued a statement Sunday evening."This is a tragedy for the Tiller family and we feel so badly about that, that Scott would murder the doctor in the Lutheran church. We are also Lutherans, and that adds a double touch of sadness and irony."

Family members told KMBC's Jim Flink that Scott Roeder had been in and out of trouble in the 1990s, and they had not seen him since 2000, when his father died.
I'll provide more updates as I find them.

UPDATE 7: Tiller murder spawns a bit of left vs. left in-fighting.

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posted by JReid @ 2:52 PM  
Friday, May 29, 2009
Remainders: Tom Tancredo's bad company, and the increasingly crazy right
Apparently Tom Tancredo, who Migra Matters accuses of having been too mentally unstable to serve during Vietnam (ouch!) and who apparently lives in fear of a "Latino KKK," gets flagged by of all people, Little Green Footballs, for continuing to employ (jointly with our good friend Pat Buchanan) a racist nut who attacked a black woman on the streets of D.C. (Apparently, the LGF crowd doesn't much like "paleocons," especially Buchanan -- they think they're fascists.) The LGF crew even helpfully linked to the assailant, Marcus Epstein's rap sheet. So who is Epstein? He's a Vdare contributor (and why not?) and apparently, is vying for Michelle Malkin to become the "world's darkest white supremacist." According to LGF, he "uses his Jewish-Korean background" as a cover for white supremacist activity. ... and he's a drinker... Way to go, Tancredo!

Staying with the crazy race card, did you hear the one about the dummy who took out an Obama assassination classified ad? Cue the Secret Service. (Hat tip to Salon's war room.)

What's amazing, and scary, is how quickly the Obama election has brought out the crazy, previously sublimated elements of the racist underbelly in this country, even in what used to be thought of as the mainstream right. We saw it at Palin rallies during the campaign, when people felt liberated to voice assassination fantasies in public, or shrieked that if Obama were to win, "blacks would take over," and we see it in the wingnuts who even now, desperately cling to the idea that Barack Obama is some foreigner masquerading as an American and hiding his real birth certificate, and in the occasional spasms of violent extremism with an Obama theme. But I suppose compounding the Black president with a Latina Supreme Court nominee was enough to pop the crazy cork completely out of the bottle. God, what will they do if he nominates a Black woman Justice next time?

Meanwhile, how long before John Cornyn has to apologize to Rush for saying he disagrees with his attacks on Sotomayor? And can elected Republicans walk back the lunacy before it's too late?


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posted by JReid @ 4:50 PM  
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Thanks a lot, Beck
Glenn Beck's 9/12 project is calling on all bunker-dwelling Bud drinkers to arm themselves with buckshot and await the call to revolution. Well. This guy may have answered the call:

PITTSBURGH – A gunman wearing a bulletproof vest and "lying in wait" opened fire on officers responding to a domestic disturbance call Saturday, killing three of them and turning a quiet Pittsburgh street into a battlefield, police said.

Richard Poplawski, 23, met officers at the doorway and shot two of them in the head immediately, Harper said. An officer who tried to help the two also was killed.

Poplawski, armed with an assault rifle and two other guns, then held police at bay for four hours as the fallen officers were left bleeding nearby, their colleagues unable to reach them, according to police and witnesses. More than 100 rounds were fired by the SWAT teams and Poplawski, Harper said.

About the slain officers:

They were Eric Kelly, a 14-year veteran of the force and married father of three daughters, and a pair of two-year department veterans, partners Stephen Mayhle, a married father of two daughters, and Paul Sciullo III, who was engaged to be married.

As to why Poplowsky did it:

One friend, Edward Perkovic, said the gunman feared "the Obama gun ban that's on the way" and "didn't like our rights being infringed upon." Another longtime friend, Aaron Vire, said he feared that President Obama was going to take away his rights, though he said he "wasn't violently against Obama."

... Vire, 23, said the gunman once had an Internet talk show but that it wasn't successful. Vire said his friend had an AK-47 rifle and several powerful handguns, including a .357 Magnum.

This is the third mass shooting with an automatic weapon in a month, that we know of, and not counting the epidemic of street sprayings by AK47-wielding street gangs all over the U.S., including here in Florida, not to mention south of the border, where American guns are fueling the drug wars (a fact which by the way, is the current rationale for the right's Obama-baiting.) By the way, all three recent mass murderers bought their assault weapons the NRA way: legally. Which brings us to our buddy Beck. As one Pennlive commenter points out re Poplawski:

So he straps on a bulletproof vest, causes a domestic disturbance, and lies in wait for the cops to arrive so he can unload all of the assault weapons against agents of the government.

Sounds like the calls of Glenn Beck and other prominent conservatives for armed revolution are getting through to some mentally imbalanced folks.

Yes, it does. After all, Beck did recently transmit the idea of gun confiscation to the bunker dwellers via his FNC show:

And the weepy 9/11 family hater is hardly alone in advocating armed revolution by his winger followers. Crazy-train conductress Michelle "Re-education Camp" Bachman, Sean Hannity and others are doing the same thing. Hell, at this point, Rush seems the sane one! Media Matters has a chilling rundown of the right wing/Fox News call to arms.

And sure, maybe our Pittsburgh gun-man didn't open fire and kill three family men because he thinks the Beckster wanted him to, but then again...
as Neiwert noted this morning, the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ran a story just three days ago about "speculation that President Obama might pull the trigger on tighter regulations for gun ownership." The article quoted a gun-store salesman raising the specter of a "confiscation of firearms" from the government.
Not that nutty gunmen read the morning paper ... right? The bottom line is, the right has been whipping up pretty scary anti-Obama hysteria since the campaign, when supporters of GOP standard-bearer John McCain, or more correctly, of his gun-totin' running mate Sarah Palin, felt compelled to scream "terrorist!" and "Kill Him!" at campaign rallies. Now the right, on talk radio, online, and on Fox News, is whipping this small but scary crowd of AM radio devotees into a brand new frenzy, complete with literal calls to get "armed and dangerous" to fight the president of the United States. On its worst day, you never heard that about George W. Bush from the left.

Look, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that with all the other crap going on, from the economy and job loss to the usual stresses of life, compounded by this kind of rhetoric, some crazies are going to take the rodeo clown's rantings deadly seriously.

NewsBusters conveniently catalogs the I think, pretty obvious reaction from the sane part of the blogosphere here. Meanwhile, the Beckster says "who??? ME???" and then he and Newsbuster editor, Noel Sheppard actually entertain the crazy gunman's beliefs, advising that President Obama could stop the killings tomorrow, if he just reassured the crazy gun nuts that the black helicopters aren't coming...
SHEPPARD: But I think one of the -- but I think one of the other aspects here is: Under the current administration with a Democrat-controlled Congress, knowing what Obama's positions were, as a senator and also as an Illinois senator, is it an irrational fear of any gun owner at this point --


SHEPPARD: -- to think that gun laws are going to be changed? The answer is no!

BECK: No! It's not irrational at all. They have said it.

... BECK: Well, OK, look, if the president wanted to calm people down, but there's no reason to in the first place because what we're talking about is a crazy man on Saturday.

But if he wanted to calm anybody who had any fears he would have said, "This is such a tragedy and let me reassure, the 2nd Amendment is the 2nd Amendment, and I will not infringe on those rights in any way, shape, or form. But he won't say that because he can't say that. Because he will slowly but surely take away your gun or take away your ability to shoot a gun, carry a gun. He will make them more expensive; he'll tax them out of existence. He will because he has said he would. He will tax you gun or take your gun away one way or another.
So to sum up: Glenn's advice to the president is that he respond to this incredible tragedy by defending the Second Amendment? Only on the right, folks.

By the way, tomorrow's right wing talking point will be: "the guy shot up those cops because a dog peed in his mama's house."

Related Beck talking point: When an illegal immigrant shoots a cop, well, that's a whoooole nother matter. Nothing "not irrational at all" about that...


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posted by JReid @ 11:00 PM  
Thursday, March 12, 2009
South Florida buzz: Hip hop and husbandry
Welcome a new feature on the ReidBlog. Today's hot list:

1. Joaquin Phoenix is out of his freaking mind

Filed under: "this whole rap thing has got to be a publicity stunt. I can't wait for the movie." Joaquin seeks hip-hop street cred at a ... nightclub in the Fontainbleau Hotel?

2. killer stereotypes

Filed under: "never, ever jump onto the hood of someone's car". Check out the opening sentence of the Sun Sentinel story:
Fearful that he had rear-ended drug dealers in a "duded out" 1966 Cadillac DeVille with whitewall tires, Abdelaziz Bilal Hamze didn't stop, his attorney told jurors Wednesday.
Duded out??? Who wrote this story, Michael Steele? We continue...
The Cadillac's owner, Sandra Hall, 44, was dragged two miles to her death after confronting Hamze at a stop light, jumping spread-eagled onto the hood of his minivan and clutching the windshield wipers as he drove away.
It gets worse: (the descriptions, I mean...)
Hamze, a native of Lebanon, acted out of "absolute fear and self-defense," Jeffrey Voluck said. "They've got him surrounded like a crazy mob. Fearing that eventually they will break the windows and drag him out of the car and either beat him unmercifully or kill him, he takes off."

Hall, "a big woman," and her boyfriend, Michael Hall, "a big, scary guy with dreadlocks," intimidated Hamze, a quiet, diminutive young man, Voluck said.

Holden, the prosecutor, conceded Hall was upset, screaming and cursing. While pursuing Hamze through a residential neighborhood, Holden said, Hall called 911 to report the hit-and-run and told the operator: "I'm gonna kill that s-- of a b----."

But once faced with Hall clinging to the hood of his minivan, Hamze drove, swerving "as if to get the lady ... off the van," Holden said.

"The van kept going, folks," Holden told jurors. "The van never stopped, it kept going."
"Fear of a giant black woman who with one other person forms a "crazy mob." It's a defense...

3. Animal husbandry

Filed under: "No, Larcenia, no!"
TALLAHASSEE -- The act of bestiality is a step closer to becoming illegal in Florida now that a Senate agriculture committee voted to slap a third-degree felony charge on anyone who has sex with animals.

Florida is one of only 16 states that still permit bestiality -- a fact that animal-rights activist and Sen. Nan Rich learned to her horror three years ago when a Panhandle man was suspected of accidentally asphyxiating a family goat that he held by the collar during a sex act.

... Rich's legislation would target only those who derived or helped others derive ''sexual gratification'' from an animal, specifying that conventional dog-judging contests and animal-husbandry practices are permissible.

That last provision tripped up Miami Democratic Sen. Larcenia Bullard.

''People are taking these animals as their husbands? What's husbandry?'' she asked. Some senators stifled their laughter as Sen. Charlie Dean, an Inverness Republican, explained that husbandry is raising and caring for animals. Bullard didn't get it.

''So that maybe was the reason the lady was so upset about that monkey?'' Bullard asked, referring to a Connecticut case where a woman's suburban chimpanzee went mad and was shot.

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posted by JReid @ 12:13 PM  
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Ugly details of Chris Brown, Rihanna case
Chris Brown in court

The conventional wisdom would suggest that it is, despite his apparent kiss and make up routine with Rihanna in Miami Beach. The problem? The details. And they're leaking fast... from TSG, we get the LAPD search warrant application, seeking Rihanna's cell phone records. According to the affidavit, the argument began when Rihanna picked up Chris' cellphone and saw a text message from "a woman Brown had a previous sexual relationship with." During the argument, Brown pulled the car over, reached over her and tried to push her out of the car. When her seat belt prevented him from pushing her out, the warrant app says:
"he took his right hand and shoved her head against the passenger window of the vehicle causing an approximate one inch raised circular contusion. [Rihanna] turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away int he vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused [Rihanna's] mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her cloting and the interior of the vehicle."
Not good. According to TSG, it gets worse:
He then allegedly punched her repeatedly and warned, "I'm going to beat the shit out of you when we get home! You wait and see!" Bloodied, Rihanna reportedly then called her assistant Jennifer Rosales and left a message asking the aide to call police. Brown responded, the affidavit notes, by saying, "You just did the stupidest thing ever! Now I'm really going to kill you!" ... Brown was charged today with assault and making a criminal threat, both felonies... [Emphasis added]
That's actually a mild version of the continued assault, which you can read in excruciating detail here. According to the police, Chris basically beat Rihanna all the way home, put her in a head lock, and even bit her. The tail end of the assault, or at least Rihanna's cries for help, were noticed by a neighbor, who called 911.

Worse still, the app states that Chris contacted Rihanna's assistant on the night of the assault, wanting to know if his battered girlfriend had given police his name (consciousness of guilt, anyone?) Later, he texted the assistant saying he was sorry and "was going to get help." (Consciousness of P.R., anyone???)

If all of this is true and accurate, Chris Brown is going to have one hell of a time rehabilitating his image, no matter how much time he and "Ri-Ri" spend at Diddy's crib. I suppose he could use a number of defenses: temporary insanity? Extreme intoxication? He does have a good lawyer (Mark Geragos), and word on the street is that Rihanna may not want to testify against him. And TMZ reports:
... it seems Brown wants to avoid a trial at all costs because the picture of Rihanna taken one day after the incident -- which has not been seen anywhere publicly -- is unbelievable.

During the proceeding, Brown signed a waiver of presence, allowing his lawyer to act on his behalf -- meaning he won't have to show up to any minor court proceedings before April 6th.
and further proof they're back together:
The judge asked Rihanna's attorney Donald Etra if there was a "no-contact order" in place, to which Etra replied, "Miss Fenty [Rihanna] does not request such an order."
Sick situation.

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posted by JReid @ 10:45 PM  
Karl Rove: Master of the universe
It's one of those wonders of nature that Karl Rove is still walking around among us, a free man. The guy who was instrumental in everything from election theft and phony voter fraud searches to political prosecutions to outing a CIA agent, who got five shots at getting his grand jury testimony right (in the Plame affair) and STILL managed to avoid the leg irons, and who was in the room during probably every criminal activity that took place in the Bush White House for eight years, has gotten a deal -- yes, a DEAL -- in order to comply, at long last, with a Congressional subpoena. (Harriet Miers got one too. At issue: the U.S. attorney firings.)

A lesser warlock would be in the jail under the Senate building by now...

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posted by JReid @ 9:07 AM  
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sign of the times: Rapper arrested at Fatburger
Rapper N.O.R.E. gets pinched in Florida:

The 31-year-old performer was formerly known as Noreaga. His real name is Victor Santiago and he is known for songs ''Nothin''' and ''SuperThug.''

Santiago, of New York, was arrested early Sunday after police said he caused a disruption at a Fatburger by yelling at another customer, ripping up a bouquet of flowers and throwing a drink at a customer.

Authorities said the rapper punched a man in the face, and yelled ''Do you know who I am?''
I'm guessing the guy said "no."
Santiago was charged with misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct. He was taken to the Miami-Dade county jail and released.
Sure hate it.

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posted by JReid @ 4:26 PM  
Friday, February 20, 2009
The Rihanna pics
TMZ unleashes the pictures that could end Chris Brown's career, at least for the forseeable future. E! News reports the LAPD has launched an internal investigation and somebody could be in big trouble over the photo, if it turns out to be the real deal. And there's this:

A law-enforcement source close to the Brown investigation tells E! News that the leaked photo was one taken by a detective when officers first arrived at the Hancock Park scene of the alleged attack.

"There was another set taken at the hospital where the swelling is even worse," the source said.

Per the source, the fight began when Rihanna intercepted an incoming text message to Brown's cell phone from another woman. She later told police that this wasn't the first time Brown had been physically abusive.

But this time, the source said, "she may have thrown the first punch."

The insider also tells us that, within 48 hours of Brown's arrest, "a tabloid" offered "over a hundred grand" for a police photo of Rihanna.

"Internal Affairs is up in their butts over the leaks," the source said, adding that, even earlier today, LAPD staffers were being warned about leaking info. "They're threatening to administer polygraphs."

Brown has apologized (without getting specific about what transpired,) but that hasn't stopped the endless media whupping, although per E!, the media may be the least of his troubles:

At the request of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, the R&B star is being investigated for a variety of felonies, including domestic violence, assault resulting in great bodily injury and—based on specific allegations made by Rihanna—even attempted murder, a source close to the L.A. Police Department's investigation tells E! News.

But as they build their case, the source says, prosecutors fear that making any serious felony charges stick could prove difficult in a case where there are no direct witnesses other than Rihanna and Brown.


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posted by JReid @ 8:03 AM  
Friday, December 05, 2008
When is 15 more like 33? The O.J. Simpson sentence confuses

O.J. Simpson is plenty stupid, but I don't buy that he's an actual armed robber. Still, after nearly 15 years, the American public finally get their man. But what's with the seemingly divergent, and much more dramatic, AP take:
LAS VEGAS – A broken O.J. Simpson was sentenced Friday to as many as 33 years in prison for a hotel armed robbery after a judge rejected his apology and said, "It was much more than stupidity." The 61-year-old football Hall of Famer stood shackled and stone-faced as Judge Jackie Glass rattled off the punishment. Moments before, Simpson made a rambling, five-minute plea for leniency, simultaneously apologizing for the holdup as a foolish mistake and trying to justify his actions.

He choked back tears as he told her: "I didn't want to steal anything from anyone. ... I'm sorry, sorry."

Simpson said he was simply trying to retrieve sports memorabilia and other mementos, including his first wife's wedding ring, from two dealers when he stormed a Las Vegas hotel room on Sept. 13, 2007.

But the judge emphasized that it was a violent confrontation in which at least one gun was drawn, and she said someone could have been shot. She said the evidence was overwhelming, with the planning, the confrontation itself and the aftermath all recorded on audio or videotape.

Glass, a no-nonsense judge known for her tough sentences, imposed such a complex series of consecutive and concurrent sentences that even many attorneys watching the case were confused as to how much time Simpson got.

Simpson could serve up to 33 years but could be eligible for parole after nine years, according to Elana Roberto, the judge's clerk.

Whoa ... 33 years? Are you sure AP? Let's try it again from another news organization, the UK's Telegraph:
Judge Jackie Glass ordered the shackled Simpson be returned to jail immediately, rejecting an application for bail pending an appeal.

She told him he would not be eligible for parole for at least five years.

The 15-year sentence, handed down for kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon, could be followed by a consecutive sentence of up to 72 months, she added.

Oh, that's how it works. And as for that ... well ... murder acquital thingy? The judge denied there was a connection:
Simpson was convicted of 12 counts in relation to the botched raid in October, 13 years to the day he was dramatically acquitted of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles.

The judge stressed that despite the fact many disagreed with the 1995 verdict, she accepted it and was not sentencing Simpson for what had happened "in his life previously in the criminal justice system" but solely for the events that took place in Las Vegas.
Uh-huh ... riiiight... And while right and left-leaning talk radio are on fire over the story, O.J. is at this stage, more a pathetic figure than a menacing one. And given the lack of credibility of some of the witnesses against him, and the all-white jury that convicted him, I wouldn't be surprised if his sentence was reduced on appeal. Still, for a day at least, non-Black America is cheering (and black America mostly doesn't care anymore.) Video:

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posted by JReid @ 4:46 PM  
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Skinheads plot on Obama
Oh yeah, these guys look reeeeeal superior...

Unfortunately, this is some of what has come out of the woodwork during this campaign. Big up to the feds for catching these guys before they bungled their way into something awful.

Good coverage at Hot Air. The Smoking Gun has the criminal complaint against the two men, Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman. Their apparent plan:
Daniel Cowart, 20, and Paul Schlesselman, 18, began discussing the murder plot after meeting online about a month ago. In the ATF affidavit, a copy of which you'll find below, Cowart and Schlesselman "discussed the killing spree to include targeting a predominately African-American school, going state to state while robbing individuals and continuing to kill people." The pair's "final act of violence" would be an attempt to kill Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee. In separate interviews with investigators, the men said that they planned to speed their vehicle toward Obama while "shooting at him from the windows." Apparently befitting the historic assault, Cowart and Schlesselman "stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt." Cowart and Schlesselman were arrested last Wednesday night by Tennessee sheriff's deputies soon after the pair used chalk to write "numerous racially motivated words and symbols," including a swastika, on the exterior of Cowart's automobile.
Luckily, they'll be wearing their tails behind bars.

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posted by JReid @ 10:11 AM  
Sunday, October 05, 2008
It took 13 years, but they finally got him
An all-white jury does what an all-black jury wouldn't: they convict O.J. Simpson (of stupidity and armed robbery). Raise your hand if you think he won't get the max. Talk about a national vendetta signed, sealed and delivered. O.J. was dumb to go into that hotel room in Vegas to try and get his belongings back in the way that he did, but you'd have to have been living on Mars to believe that this wasn't a golden opportunity for America's majority to pay back that Los Angeles jury.

O.J. is hated for many reasons, but this case was about payback for the death of his wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman. He, of course, is an absolute idiot for giving law enforcement the chance to make heroes of themselves at the local watering hole. The difference this time, of course, is that black America doesn't give much of a damn about O.J. anymore.

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posted by JReid @ 12:13 AM  
Monday, March 10, 2008
Spitzer on the spit
Elliot Spitzer and his wife at today's press conference ... I see a big, purple diamond
ring in her immediate future ... !

Crime-fighter extraordinaire ... Wall Street's gumshoe nemesis ... Hillary Clinton super-delegate ... and the sitting governor of New York ... Elliot Spitzer ...

... just loves them hoes.
ALBANY - Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a person briefed on the federal investigation.

An affidavit in the federal investigation into a prostitution ring said that a wiretap recording captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a hotel room. The person briefed on the case identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.

Mr. Spitzer today made a brief public appearance during which he apologized for his behavior, and described it as a “private matter.”

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong,” said Mr. Spitzer, who appeared with his wife Silda at his Manhattan office. “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better.”

“I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.”

Before speaking, Mr. Spitzer stood with his arm around his wife; the two nodded and then strode forward together to face more than 100 reporters. Both had glassy, tear-filled eyes, but they did not cry.

The governor spoke for perhaps a minute and did not address his political future.

He declined to take questions and promised to report back soon. As he went to leave, three reporters screamed out, "Are you resigning? Are you resigning?", and Mr. Spitzer charged out of the room, slamming the door.

The governor learned that he had been implicated in the prostitution inquiry when a federal official contacted his staff last Friday, according to the person briefed on the case.

The governor informed his top aides Sunday night and this morning of his involvement. He canceled his public events today and scheduled the announcement for this afternoon after inquiries from The Times.

The governor’s aides appeared shaken before he spoke, and one of them began to weep as they waited for him to make his statement at his Manhattan office.

The man described as Client 9 in court papers arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the ring, Emperors Club VIP, on the night of Feb. 13. Mr. Spitzer traveled to Washington that evening, according to a person told of his travel arrangements.

The affidavit says that Client 9 met with the woman in hotel room 871 but does not identify the hotel. Mr. Spitzer stayed at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on Feb. 13, according to a source who was told of his travel arrangements. Room 871 at the Mayflower Hotel that evening was registered under another name.

Federal prosecutors rarely charge clients in prostitution cases, which are generally seen as state crimes. But the Mann Act, passed by Congress in 1910 to address prostitution, human trafficking and what was viewed at the time as immorality in general, makes it a crime to transport someone between states for the purpose of prostitution. The four defendants charged in the case unsealed last week were all charged with that crime, along with several others.
So can Spitzer survive? Republicans are circling him like vultures, reveling in the come-down of New York's biggest Do Gooder. But in the wake of Monica, it is entirely possible that he can go on.

And hey, David Vitter is still in Congress...

Meanwhile, a cheer goes up on Wall Street, and it's got nothing to do with stock prices...

Double meanwhile, move over Heidi Fleiss, make way for Tanya Hollander.

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posted by JReid @ 4:28 PM  
Monday, February 04, 2008
Step three: call in the reinforcements
Rev. Gaston Smith gets lots of support at "Save Our Pastor Day."

I asked a pretty well known preacher here in town this morning, why pastors only seem to come together and bring out the community to save the prominent and the powerful -- or to save each other -- but not so often for one of us regular schmoes. He admitted that pastoring these days is kind of a ballers club, and the rest of us are just not in the league. From today's Herald:
Inside a modest Baptist church -- beige with brown trim -- nestled amid dilapidated corner stores and low-rises at the corner of Northwest 58th Street and Seventh Avenue, a preacher known for his fiery oratory cracked a joke Sunday.

Noting the crowd that had packed into Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, the Rev. Gaston Smith said:

``Maybe I should get locked up more often so we can always get a turnout like this!'' ...

...Smith, who has led a neighborhood revival of sorts aimed at economic growth and whose sermons are often tailored toward fighting injustice, has his own trouble with the justice system.

Smith was arrested Thursday evening and charged with misspending a $25,000 county grant to a nonprofit he ran. The arrest is part of a continuing investigation into the financial dealings of Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.

Police say two checks given to a company owned by Spence-Jones' family from the minister's charity, Friends of MLK, were among several payments under investigation. Spence-Jones was among the more than 1,000 parishioners, civic leaders and black clergy who attended Sunday's rally.

''My prayers go out to him and his family,'' she said. ``Smith and Friendship have been a beacon in this community for many years and this will pass.''

Shaken by the thunderous applause, Smith thanked his friends for gathering on the communion Sunday.

''The support is overwhelming,'' he said. ...
And next, cue the "internal investigation" -- not of the wrongdoing, but of the investigation into the wrongdoing. Herald, take it away:
The fact that the city's sole black commissioner and now one of its most influential black ministers is under fire has stirred concern in Miami's black community.

... Bishop Victor T. Curry, head of the Miami-Dade NAACP, said the group is launching an investigation into Smith's arrest.
So what happens next? We get the Black community all riled up to "fight the power" that's trying to take down yet another one of our leaders, we scream bloody murder and perhaps the authorities back down ... and there's still nothing being built in the empty lots that $25,000 was supposed to help fill, no children who are going hungry or desperately in need of tutoring get it, and the money's long gone. Nothing changes, except that we've saved another one member of the club from going down. To what end? Will anything change?

I just finished working on a campaign in which I learned, first hand, that much of my community is for sale to the highest bidder -- including many of the pastors. How did we go from our clergy leading a mass movement for non-violent change, to our clergy hawking prosperity ministries and sticking up poor people for tithes that ultimately go into the pockets of the pastor, rather than into building the community outside and adjacent to the church's four walls?

This isn't just an issue in the Black community -- it's a very American cancer, and its rotting us away at the core. And yet, the rot is much more lethal in the Black community, because our position is so much more precarious to begin with.

There's something wrong with the way we're doing things in the Black community. Something very fundamentally wrong, and unfortunately, it just might start in our churches. ...


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posted by JReid @ 10:49 PM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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