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Good News from Arizona… Democrats retain Gabby Giffords’ House seat.

President Obama with Gabby Giffords

The tragedy of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ being shot and one of the more miraculous recovery stories in recent years have led voters in Tucson, AZ  to keep Rep. Gabby Giffords’ (D) seat blue yesterday.

Former Giffords staffer Ron Barber defeated Jesse Kelly, Giffords’ last Republican opponent, in a special election to fill Giffords’ seat (Giffords had to resign after the shooting that left her incapacitated and six dead in January, 2011.) Overcoming a 38.4% to 31.4% Republican lean in the AZ-08 district, Barber will now serve out the remainder of Giffords’ term.

Giffords is still in the process of recovering after being shot point-blank in the head, but was able to play a role in the race. She campaigned with barber in the run-up to election day. Democratic-supporting super PAC –  the  House Majority PAC –  seemed to refer to the tragedy in a television ad focused on Kelly that ran in the district. The PAC also ran ads highlighting Kelly’s extreme views.  Kelly — who was the controversial tea party candidate in 2010 — was forced to defend his political postions in the race as well and Barber’s campaign said he ran on his own merits.

Here’s some good news about Gabrielle Giffords…

Gabrielle Giffords, Democratic nominee and gen...

Gabrielle Giffords

It looks like her recovery therapy is going quite well and Gabbie Giffords may have a near-complete recovery. 

 

 

 

This from HuffPo:

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
 

HOUSTON — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Wednesday left intensive care for the first time since she was shot in the head in Arizona more than two weeks ago, the latest big step in the long road to recovery.

With her progress moving at “lightning speed,” doctors had the Arizona lawmaker moved to TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital, where she immediately began therapy that could last several months.

Doctors said she will have a valve inserted into her breathing tube to help her talk.
When asked if the congresswoman was able to speak, neurosurgeon Dr. Dong Kim said, “we can say that her speech function, along with everything else, is improving” but declined to elaborate.
Doctors had previously reported that Giffords was having difficulty moving the right side of her body. On Wednesday, they described that as “weakness” and said her ability to move had improved.
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It has started again… and they call this “debate”

The House is now continuing it’s “debate” on repealing the Affordable Health Care act. I say “debate” with a tongue in cheek.

Formal debate would consist of making points from both sides, thinking and responding to those points, and, hopefully, having both sides modify their positions for a bipartisan conclusion.

That is not what is happening here. We are back to alternating speeches with each side asserting the same points as the previous speakers on their side. There is no listening to each side (indeed, there are not enough House members in the hall at any given time to really make a difference… this is part of the reason that television cameras are placed by the House authorities to not show either the emptiness of the desks or the viewers in the balcony.

And this is going to go on for five hours…the true function seems to be to present their “advertising” points to the folks at home over C-Span. These are campaign speeches of the worst order aimed at the 2012 elections.

However, I can’t help but watch these Bozos as they say the same things as many different ways as possible. If only they would really talk about the things WE need in a country that is truly suffering.

Conservatives Accuse Obama Of Lying About Giffords Opening Eyes; Her Doctors Disagree

In the midst of everyone trying to be more “Civil”, the Conservative Media have shown that they don’t know the meaning of the word.

This from Media Matters:

clipped from mediamatters.org
In one of the most cynical displays in recent memory, following the lead of Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft, several  conservative websites – including Fox Nation and MRC arm CNS News – suggested that President Obama lied last night when he said that Rep. Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time shortly after his Wednesday night visit to the hospital.
In a recently-completed press conference, Giffords’ doctor Peter Rhee explained that what Obama said last night about Giffords opening her eyes was “true.”
In response to a question from a reporter about previous statements that Giffords could open her eyes, Rhee and Dr. B Michael Lemole, Section Chief of Neurosurgery at University Medical Center in Tuscon, explained the important distinction. Namely, Giffords previously opened her eyes in response to “stimulus,” and yesterday she opened them spontaneously, which represented a “major milestone” in her recovery.While it’s depressing to have to parse this — rather than simply be happy about the good news — such is the state of the conservative media, where absolutely everything Obama says is fodder for their attacks. Instead of chalking up any potential discrepancy between what Obama said and previous statements by doctors to the complex nature of medicine, conservatives went ahead and accused the president of lying. It’s as despicable as it is predictable. 

Expect Jim Hoft to accuse Giffords’ doctors of being in on the conspiracy shortly.

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… and Britt Hume said the President’s speech was too long!

Separating Politics From Guns…

We need to separate politics from guns, and by that I mean we have to deal with the NRA lobby. I am judging editorial cartoons for this weekend’s “Cartoon(s) of the Week”, a regular feature on this blog, and I am struck by how many of them deal with gun laws and the NRA. Maybe the tragedy at Tucson will get us into a good gun/politics discussion.

And we have a way to go… think of these statements from politicians in the past months:

If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.”Sharron Angle

“I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous…“  – Rep. Michelle Bachmann

“Get on target for victory in November.  Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office.  Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse KellyJesse Kelly campaign ad

“Don’t retreat– reload.” Sarah Palin

I am convinced the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendment rights was they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”  –Joyce Kaufmann, former chief of staff for Rep. Allen West

If we’re “armed and dangerous” and seeking “Second Amendment remedies” then other events that become tragedies are bound to happen.

When you look at Cartoon(s) of the Week” on Saturday (or later), please think of ways we can lower the dependence on guns which has built up over the years.

Perhaps some good news after Saturday’s tragedy…

clipped from www.mcclatchydc.com
After Arizona shootings, gun sale background checks increase
Background checks for handgun sales spiked in Texas and other states just two days after a mass shooting in Arizona left six people dead and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life.
Texas saw the number of background requests rise to 724 on Monday, up from 621 on the corresponding Monday in 2010, according to FBI records.
But workers at some North Texas gun stores said they didn’t have as big an increase as they expected in actual sales of guns, ammunition and accessories.
Some Arizona stores have reported a major surge in sales since Saturday.

“We haven’t seen anything, and we expected more of a wave to hit,” said Glen Furtardo, manager at the Winchester Gallery gun store in east Fort Worth.

“It has been pretty much normal.”

Since the 2008 presidential election, some gun store workers have seen a rise in sales at least partly due to a widespread concern that the Obama administration will raise taxes on ammunition, guns and other firearms-related materials or ultimately reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

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In case you missed it… Obama’s speech from last night…

Definitely worth listening to a couple of times!

The key point in the President’s Memorial Speech in Tucson… a Quote

“At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

– President Barack Obama

Let us hope that this sinks in with people on all sides. It certainly will with me. Listening to him, I waas thrilled to have this man as President.

Does Palin Know What “Blood Libel” Means?

Sarah Palin at a campaign rally in Raleigh, NC.

Sarah Palin

It is even more offensive a term in a public message when we consider that Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish. I certainly wonder what the Half Gov. of Alaska was thinking here… did someone write this speech for her (say Glenn Beck?) or are these her own words?

Clipped from Taegan Goddard‘s Political Wire:

clipped from politicalwire.com
One particular line in Sarah Palin‘s statement on the Arizona shootings has created an uproar:
 

“But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

 

The term “blood libel” usually refers to the false accusation that Jews use the blood of Christian children in some of their religious rituals.
While it’s not entirely clear what Palin intended, it’s possible she was trying to use dog whistle politics to speak to her religious base who often feel they’re an oppressed minority.

More on the deadly Glock…

This from Salon:

The high-capacity magazine of the semiautomatic pistol used in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and more than a dozen other people on Saturday would have been illegal to manufacture and difficult to purchase under the Clinton-era assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. According to police and media reports, the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, legally purchased a semiautomatic Glock 19 with a high-capacity magazine in November at a gun store in Tucson. Under the assault weapons ban, it was illegal to manufacture or sell new high-capacity magazines, defined as those that hold more than 10 rounds. The magazines used by Loughner had 31 rounds each, according to police.

If Loughner had been using a traditional magazine, “it would have drastically reduced the number of shots he got off before he had to pause, unload and reload — and he could have been stopped,” Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, tells Salon.

Between 1994 and 2004 when the assault weapons ban was in effect, gun manufacturers such as Glock could not market handguns with high-capacity magazines. If the ban were still in effect, it’s less likely that Loughner could have obtained a gun with a high-capacity magazine. Stores could legally only sell used high-capacity magazines at that time, and new magazines could not be manufactured.

President Bush backed the ban, and an amendment to extend it passed in the Senate in 2004 but was never voted on by the House.

So part of the responsibility for the size of this tragedy can be laid at the feet of the House of Representatives. Probably wanted to make sure that the NRA wouldn’t come afterthem at election time.

Obama said in his Inaugural Address that he wanted this ban reinstated… but hasn’t brought it forward yet.

MSNBC makes a BIG mistake…It lays off Olbermann.

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
 

 

Cropped headshot of Keith Olbermann

Image via Wikipedia

MSNBC has suspended star anchor Keith Olbermann following the news that he had donated to three Democratic candidates this election cycle.

“I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin said in a statement.

Politico reported Friday that Olbermann had donated $2,400 each to Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, and to Kentucky Senate contender Jack Conway. While NBC News policy does not prohibit employees from donating to political candidates, it requires them to obtain prior approval from NBC News executives before doing so.

Griffin’s statement underscores that it was Olbermann’s failure to obtain approval, and not the actual political donations, that prompted the suspension.
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In a statement earlier Friday, Olbermann defended his donation, saying:
“I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level.”

Griffin’s statement underscores that it was Olbermann’s failure to obtain approval, and not the actual political donations, that prompted the suspension.

The move is doubly significant in that it represents a major development in the relationship between Griffin and Olbermann, who once told the New Yorker, “Phil thinks he’s my boss.”

“Keith doesn’t run the show,” Griffin told New York Magazine recently. “I do a lot of things he doesn’t like. I do a lot of things he does.”

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This from Variety:

Progressive bloggers almost immediate pounced on the suspension, noting not only the campaign contributions of Fox News personalities Sean Hannity and Neil Cavuto, but of other MSNBC and CNBC employees as well.

Joe Scarborough contributed $4,200 to Derrik Kitts, an Oregon Republican running for Congress, in March, 2006, even listing his occupation as “MSNBC host” in FEC records. At the time, Scarborough hosted “Scarborough Country,” a predecessor to “Morning Joe.” Pat Buchanan, a frequent contributor, also made numerous contributions to candidates in recent years.

Politico pointed out that Olbermann’s contribution to Grijalva was made the same day that the Arizona congressman was a guest on his show, and that he failed to disclose it. But bloggers note that Kitts was a guest on Scarborough’s show a month after the contribution was made.

Jed Lewison wrote on DailyKos, “The bottom-line here that both Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough both host opinion shows. They both made personal contributions to political candidates. But Olbermann supports Democrats, and Scarborough supports Republicans, so even though Olbermann is the network’s top-rated host, and even though Scarborough hides his ratings sheet in a little box in the basement, it’s Olbermann that gets silenced.”

Filmmaker Michael Moore, a frequent guest on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” circulated a petition calling on MSNBC to reinstate him.