January 14th, 2011
John McCain has extended a hand to his old rival. Writing in the pages of the Washington Post, McCain praises President Obama for his remarks at the Tucson memorial on Wednesday and makes his own commitment to not let his passion get the best of him. He also bears witness. Referring to the president, McCain writes: "He is a patriot sincerely intent on using his time in office to advance our country's cause. I reject accusations that his policies and beliefs make him unworthy to lead America or opposed to its founding ideals."
McCain also defends Sarah Palin, though he never mentions her name. Using the same call to empathy and the golden rule that Obama invoked in his speech in Tucson, McCain asks that those who criticized Palin and other conservatives to put themselves in her shoes:
How it must feel to have watched one week ago the incomprehensible massacre of innocents committed by someone who had lost some essential part of his humanity, to have shared in the heartache for its victims and in the admiration for those who acted heroically to save the lives of others—and to have heard in the coverage of that tragedy voices accusing you of complicity in it. It does not ask too much of human nature to have the empathy to understand how wrong an injury that is or appreciate how strong a need someone would feel to defend him or herself against such a slur.
It is a more artful defense of Palin than the former Alaska governor mounted for herself. But McCain was also speaking from experience. During the presidential campaign, when McCain supporters were questioning Obama's values and commitment to the country, Rep. John Lewis, a leader and hero of the civil rights struggle in the 1960s, leveled a similar charge at McCain. Asserting that "there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse," Lewis charged McCain with "sowing the seeds of hatred and division" and compared McCain to the segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace. "George Wallace never threw a bomb," Lewis said in a statement. "He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama."
McCain has signed on to the idea of mixing up the seating at the State of the Union address as a way to improve relations between the parties and send a message of civility. Instead of following tradition and sitting with their party, members of Congress will sit with members of the opposition. They won't just cross the aisle—they're planning to remove it. You can imagine the White House taking advantage of McCain's op-ed and using a handshake between the two bitter presidential rivals to reinforce the theme of the night. Perhaps McCain can add one more important symbolic gesture and sit next to John Lewis.
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January 14th, 2011
Read a timeline of the shooting here (PDF).
Tucson, Arizona (CNN) -- Jared Lee Loughner was up all night prior to gunning down 19 people -- six fatally -- outside an Arizona supermarket, taking several trips to the supermarket's shopping plaza in between checking in at an area hotel and visiting two Walmarts to buy ammunition, according to a timeline released Friday by the Pima County Sheriff's Office.
Loughner, 22, got a room at a nearby Motel 6, but did not spend much time there late the night of January 7 and early January 8, the sheriff's office timeline indicates.
At 11:35 p.m., he dropped off a roll of 35 mm film at a Walgreen's next door to the Safeway supermarket where the shooting occurred.
After buying something about an hour later at a nearby Circle K convenience store and checking into the Motel 6 one mile to the west on Ina Road, he returned at 2:19 a.m. to pick up the photos and make other purchases.
Then, at 4:12 a.m., Loughner posted a photo of the Walgreens on his MySpace page, with a caption "Goodbye friends."
The shooting suspect headed out from his hotel room again, buying items at Walmart at the Foothills Mall, about three miles away -- once at 6:12 a.m. and again at 7:04 a.m., sandwiched around another trip to another Circle K store -- according to the timeline.
He unsuccessfully tried to buy ammunition at that Walmart. He then headed to a different Walmart store -- this one nearly 6 miles away, in the Tucson suburb of Marana -- where, at 7:27 a.m., he bought the ammunition and a black backpack-style diaper bag.
Three minutes later, an officer with the Arizona Game and Fish Department pulled Loughner over for running a red light. He was given a verbal warning and released. He then headed home.
He remained there until being confronted by his father sometime before 9:40 a.m., the timeline says. He ran away with the black bag in hand.
A taxi driver picked him up around 9:41 a.m. from one of the Circle K stores he had visited and drove him to the Safeway, in the same plaza as the Walgreens. Both Loughner and the cab driver went inside the store, at 9:54 a.m., apparently so he could get change to pay his fare.
Then, at 10:10 a.m., Loughner began shooting. The first 911 call went out a minute later, and by 10:15 a.m. Loughner had been detained -- but not before 19 people had been shot, including his alleged main target, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. She is now in critical condition after being shot in the head, but her doctors have been pleased with her progress.
Earlier Friday, Pima County Sheriff's Department Capt. Chris Nanos said that it could take 10 days to get DNA test results on the black bag, which contained seven boxes of 9 mm ammunition -- the same type Loughner allegedly used in the Tucson massacre.
The bag, which is is now in the FBI's possession, also had a receipt for its purchase, according to Nanos.
A teenager walking his dog spotted the bag on Thursday in a dry riverbed near Loughner's family home, officials said. The teen gave it to a Qwest Communications worker, who called police.
"We certainly believe this is the bag" Loughner was carrying, Nanos said.
"We got ammunition in there and it matches the type used in the incident," added Richard Kastigar, the department's bureau chief, on CNN's "John King USA."
Police say Loughner's father, Randy, told them his son was carrying a black bag on Saturday morning, just hours before the attack.
"The father asked him questions similar to 'What are you doing? What is that?' and Jared mumbled something back to his dad, and his dad said he didn't understand what was said," Kastigar said. "It was unintelligible, and then Jared left."
The elder Loughner got in his vehicle and tried to follow his son, but could not find him, he said.
Motel 6 declined to provide additional details regarding Jared Loughner's stay at the motel, saying it "is fully cooperating with authorities on their ongoing investigation into the suspect's activities prior to the tragic shooting," according to a statement from company spokeswoman Laura Rojo-Eddy.
Police say they believe Loughner drove to the riverbed after being pulled over for running the red light and tossed the ammunition-filled bag.
After Loughner's his arrest Saturday, police discovered in his pockets two 15-round gun magazines, a four-inch buck knife, a plastic bag containing currency, Loughner's Arizona driver's license and a Visa credit card, said Jason Ogan, spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
Loughner appeared in a Phoenix federal courtroom Monday to formally hear the charges against him -- including two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of attempting to kill a member of Congress. He is now in federal custody.
Pima County on Thursday released records saying that Loughner visited the Rio Nuevo One-Stop Career Center in September, but was asked to leave because he was using a video camera and refused to turn it off despite being asked repeatedly. "He pulled a crumpled copy of the Constitution out of his pocket and waved it at me, saying it was his right," a staffer's report on the incident said.
Loughner's former community college also released records showing that he frightened fellow students and acted oddly in incidents throughout 2010. Pima Community College ultimately suspended him.
His history at the college included an incident in February in which he reacted strangely to a poem read in one of his classes and made comments about abortion, wars and killing people. Two months later, a library staffer reported he was making loud noises at a computer. Also, a teacher reported Loughner became "very hostile" after being told his grade in a pilates class would be a B.
The incidents and disruptions continued into autumn, the records said, and college officials became concerned about Loughner's mental health. After an incident in September, a police officer delivered a suspension letter to him and recounted the events that had taken place. When the officer was finished, according to the report, Loughner responded, "I realize now that this is all a scam."
On Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals designated a district judge in California to hear Loughner's federal case. Judge Larry Burns is a 2003 Bush appointee serving in the U.S. District Court for Southern California, based in San Diego. The next scheduled federal hearing in the case is January 24 in Phoenix.
All federal judges in Arizona have recused themselves from hearing the case. The chief federal judge in Arizona -- Judge John Roll of Tucson -- was among those killed in the Saturday shooting.
Kastigar added that investigators are now certain that Loughner acted alone. A "person of interest" they sought immediately after the shooting turned out to be the taxi driver who dropped off the suspect at the shopping center, Kastigar said.
January 14th, 2011
By Liberated Gurl
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Oh, such an old and tired cliché. All cliches have a ring of truth, but this one--like most others--is not entirely correct. True, words cannot "break bones," but they can make us experience a staggeringly wide-range of emotions.
But it isn't my intention to focus on the emotive power of words (which is where we so often get stuck). So let's just circle the wagons 'round to my real point (oop...hope I didn't offend anyone in Texas with that tired cliche and the connotations illicited of cowboys and such). I want to explore the real power of words: The shaping of reality.
In the world o’ academia, this is called the Social Construction of Reality.
This may be a great, big "duh," but I'm going to start here anyway. Words are symbols that represent other things and ideas. They are tools with which we make sense of our world, with which we make meaning.
Recall the scene from The Miracle Worker when Helen Keller first was able to "name" water. The world opened up for her at that point--which before had been a dark and silent whirl of confusion. She had previously learned "letters" and how to spell, but these "symbols" had no meaning for her. She did not even know that words existed. Finally learning to name aspects of her experience with words opened up the connection between symbols and experience in her mind and gave her life a new depth of meaning. ..
January 14th, 2011
By: Pete Thomas, GrindTV.com
[Video:Surfer films great white sharks circling his board]
Tidal bores occur in very few places around the world and the Turnagain Arm exhibits a tidal bore only when conditions are right.
Surfers often try to predict when this will happen. They can ride the waves but with traditional surfboards it's difficult to stay on them for the duration, because they can suddenly diminish before building again.
However, the advent of larger standup boards, on which surfers use a paddle for propulsion, has maximized the Turnagain bore experience.
Word is spreading, too. In its winter issue, Standup Paddler Magazine (SUP) published an aerial photograph showing Eric Newberry, Dave Calkins and Mike McCune cruising on the face of a bore wave.
Scott Dickerson of SurfAlaska.net captured the image and shot video (both shown in this post) from a motorized paraglider.
On his website Dickerson referenced to "bore fever" in anticipation of the event, and of the session itself: "You know, the sessions with five-mile rides," he wrote.
"The one where you could catch the wave right after breakfast and ride it till lunch. Foot cramps from doing so many turns on the standup board ... that was pretty sweet."
-- Image is courtesy of ©Scott Dickerson and protected by copyright laws
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January 14th, 2011
Civil servants Kathy and Edward Francis planned to surprise their grandson Micah Strachan with the holiday of a lifetime to Florida in February.
They were only going to tell Micah about it when they took him to the airport on February 19 for the flight to the US.
They had already spent more than £1,500 on plane tickets and had been organising the trip for months.
But this week US Embassy officials denied the schoolboy a visa to enter the US.
They said there was a risk he would not leave the US at the end of his holiday and refused his application under Section 214 (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Micah was born in Britain and has lived in Middlesex all his life with his mum Claudia Lewis.
He holds a South African passport because his grandparents Kathy and Edward, who have lived and worked in Britain since 1990, only got him a South African passport.
They are originally from South Africa.
A letter from Micah's primary school was included in his visa application confirming he attended the school.
But the US Embassy's rejection letter to Micah said: "Because you either did not demonstrate strong ties outside the United States or were not able to demonstrate that your intended activities in the US would be consistent with the visa status, you are ineligible."
His grandmother Kathy, from Brixton, South London, said: "It was going to be a total surprise. He would have loved it.
"We feel so deflated by the whole experience.
"I want to know why he would be deprived of the holiday of a lifetime.
"It's crazy to think that he wouldn't leave the country. This is causing severe stress on the family. I am going to fight this."
Tessa Jowell, Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, said: "I was very concerned to learn about the situation facing my constituents and of course understand the distress the decision has caused.
"I have asked the American authorities to look again at this and very much hope they will feel able to reconsider their decision."
Meanwhile, the family have written to US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ask for an explanation of the decision.
A US Embassy spokesman said it was "not policy" to comment on individual immigration cases.