Carrying on a long tradition of helping her friends, Alaska’s Frost Lady has changed the line of state succession, paving the way for her high schoolmate Corrections Commissioner Joe Schmidt to be lieutenant governor should the current lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, be unable to serve.
Talis Colberg, who resigned earlier this month, held that position when he was attorney general. Under state law, the governor must appoint a back-up from her cabinet to step into the lieutenant governorship–and should Palin be unable to serve, running the state as governor. How sweet that Palin feels Schmidt is qualified–he’s spent 20 years running prisons, you betcha he can run a state!
In 2008 the Alaska Correctional Officers Association voted against Schmidt in a "no confidence" measure, but the ever-loyal Palin stood behind him and called him a reformer, dontcha know!
The line of succession is not 100% secure yet; the state legislature must okay Schmidt’s potential position.
Thousands marched today in Phoenix in a March Against the Hate rally to protest Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s anti-immigration policies and his apparent lack of concern for human rights, joined by ex-Rage Against the Machine singer Zack de la Rocha.
De la Rocha had flown in Friday and played a quick set last night with drummer from the National Day Labor Organizing Network, one of the main groups behind today’s march. De La Rocha also spoke about how his grandfather, an immigrant from Sonora, Mexico felt the same oppression many of the immigrants felt today, and urged the audience to continue with enthusiasm on Saturday:
So I’m encouraging everyone here, to come out to this march tomorrow and realize that we’re carrying a lot of voices on our shoulders.
Known as "America’s Toughest Sheriff" the one-time reality series star, Maricopa County AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio, fondly publicizes his tough handling of inmates, including chain gangs, bread and water diets and tent camps in the desert. He recently received a $1.6 million dollar grant from the state to create another tent complex to house 2,500 prisoners– but Sheriff Joe says he will house only illegal immigrants arrested in raids in the new facility, which is surrounded by an electrified fence, "joking" the fence will be one that the immigrants:
won’t want to scale
I’m taking a lot of heat for putting convicted illegal immigrants in the tents. How am I going to discriminate and not put high-profile people in the tents?
Rapper DMX–arrested five times by Maricopa County sheriffs for various crimes, including drug possession, animal cruelty and defrauding a local hospital–is currently serving time in Sheriff Joe’s original tent jail on a diet of bread and water. This week he faces a new charge of aggravated assault on an officer after throwing a tray of food. The sheriff told local news radio KTAR:
We had him on bread and water because of problems in the tents, then he threw food at my officer, so he’s going to be charged with assault.
These latest protests Friday and Saturday stem from Arpaio alleged use of racial profiling and the segregation of illegal immigrants in their own tent city jail. His deputies have been accused detaining those who cannot prove their citizenship status on the spot, forcing "Latino-looking" drivers to produce Social Security cards and routinely rounding up men in "sidewalk sweeps." Meanwhile say critics, crime has increased in Maricopa County. According to America’s Voice:
Arpaio’s prisons have been stripped of their health standards accreditation, the Mayor of Phoenix and other law enforcement officials have denounced the Sheriff’s tactics, the Governor of Arizona has pulled some of his key funding, and over 2,700 lawsuits have been filed against him. Meanwhile, crime has surged. The Sheriff’s office has over 40,000 outstanding warrants for real felons that it simply hasn’t had time to tackle.
The Arizona House Judiciary Committee has written a public letter to the Attorney General and head of the Department of Homeland Security calling for an investigation into Arpaio’s tactics. This week Sheriff Joe marched 200 convicted illegal immigrants into the new tent jail. They are being kept away from the rest of the population, a practice which some denounce as racial segregation. And which could lead to law suits.
Speaking before the County Board of Supervisors, Special Assistant to the County Attorney Barnett Lotstein said:
Racial segregation is unconstitutional. I don’t think there’s any dispute about that. It’s the law not only in Maricopa County but throughout the US.
Carlos Flores Vizcarra, the Phoenix-based consul general of Mexico wrote a letter to the county after the televised march:
The highly publicized march of ethnic inmates was reminiscent of inhumane and barbaric practices that we thought were overcome in a civilized society.
Friday night de la Rocha said:
The terror campaign that Mr. Arpaio is waging here in Arizona is keeping people in the shadows. They want to speak out. Their voices are the most important, because their voices and their experiences are the most dire. They are the ones that illustrate the policy, not only here in Arizona, but the policy that could potentially wreak havoc upon our communities across this country.
As of this afternoon, the Phoenix march had been peaceful with no arrests.
Along with being responsible for arranging all the high-profile ceremonies and dinners for the first couple, and being able to summon heads of state and celebrities for formal sit down or simple nosh, Desiree Rogers, the new White House social secretary has some pretty innovative ideas, as she explained to the Washington Post:
I think that it’s important that we create opportunities for people to be able come to the House, and so it’d be great to have some kind of internet lottery where one of the seats is to a lucky winner through the internet…You are going to see us using the internet a lot more for events…We do have a concept in mind and we’re working on it for an event–basically the Easter Egg Roll. We’re hopeful we’ll be able to use the internet for people to be able to sign up to come to the hunt as opposed to standing in line for long period of time.
In the past as many as 36,000 people have stood in line overnight for hours to get tickets for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, sometimes in really unpleasant weather. The event began in 1878 under President Rutherford B Hayes and is held on the Monday after Easter. Under current regulations, each group of five or less attending must have a child under seven, and no more than two adults. Tickets are passed out in advance, something which may become obsolete with the advent of the internet. Also the use of internet to register to attend does increase the Secret Service’s security screening capabilities…
Activities at the South Lawn event include group reading, egg decorating and other art activities, watching magicians and enjoying musical acts–plus meeting the Easter Bunny with sports and entertainment celebrities, members of Congress and maybe even the First Family, plus naturally, rolling eggs and egg hunting.
Earlier this month Vatican ordered Holocaust denying faux-Bishop Richard Williamson to repudiate his views. And he just can’t do it, even if it means his job.
Williamson was removed as the director of the Society of St. Pius X seminary in La Reja, Argentina and ordered to leave Argentina for his views.
Bishop Dick is in an odd position: His excommunication was lifted by Ill Papa Benedict XIV, reinstating him as a member of the Catholic Church, but Williamson cannot function as a bishop until he receives a mandate from the Pope, which at this point doesn’t seem real likely unless he recants–and that doesn’t seem likely either, since he’s emailed Holocaust denying author David Irving for tips on how to handle the press.
And so instead of complying with the Vatican’s request to recant his opinion and maybe getting back in the mitre again, this week Bishop Dick simply apologized for offending people, saying:
Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them…To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologise.
absolutely and unequivocally distance himself from his remarks about the Shoah if he is to be admitted to episcopal functions in the church
–not just say, oopsy, sorry if you were upset. The Catholic Church in England and Wales has also said Bishop Dick must retract his comments before he can
enter into full communion with the church.
Meanwhile, state prosecutors in Regensburg, Germany, have opened a preliminary investigation into whether Williamson broke German laws against Holocaust denial, while German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said Germany could issue a European-wide arrest warrant on hate crimes charges for Williamson since the interview for Swedish TV in which he denied Jews were were gassed during the Holocaust was conducted in Germany.
Onward, Christian soldiers! As Rev. James Dobson steps down as the once-influential
crank chairman of the conservative Focus on the Family, he is being replaced by Ret. Airforce Lt. Gen. Patrick P. Caruana, a recently retired Vice President for Northrop Grumman Space Technology who’s a real life Dr Strangelove.
Along with being an air campaign planner and commander directing strategic forces in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War and directing long-range power projection, special operations forces airlift, and training programs at the Pentagon,:
[a]s Air Force Space Command’s first 14th Air Force commander [Caruana] directed the Air Force’s only space force which supports warfighting worldwide with ballistic missile warning, control of Department of Defense and NATO satellites, spacelift generation and range operations, global space surveillance and warning, and ballistic missile test operations.
After leaving the Air Force, Caruana worked for TRW and the Northrup Grumman on space-based defense projects. Uber-hawk Caruana is currently on the board of directors for Liquidmetal Technologies which utilizes new alloys in a variety of industrial applications.
Awarded a series of multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts by the Department of Defense, Liquidmetal alloys’ technology is currently being developed for use as a Kinetic Energy Penetrator (KEP) rod…The Department of Defense is working closely with Liquidmetal Technologies to develop a new class of effective and environmentally benign KEP rods. (emphasis mine)
Because its really important to have environmentally benign armor piercing ammunition. Maybe this is sort of an all-over desire for conservative theocons to appear hipper. With regards to Focus on the Family, which is having trouble attracting younger members, Caruana says of Dobson’s leaving the board:
I don’t see any dramatic departure from what Focus stands for. There are obviously younger people the ministry would like to reach, and we’re on track to do that.
Meanwhile, as Caruana carries on in the name of the Prince of Peace, Dobson–who informed the 950 employees of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based ministry Friday morning at a weekly worship service of his departure (um so like you have be Xian/must attend worship to work there? Is that legal?)–will continue to host Focus on the Family’s flagship radio program, write a monthly newsletter and speak out on moral issues.
Gary Schneeberger, a Focus on the Family spokesman said Dobson
will continue to speak out as he always has — a private citizen and not a representative of the organization he founded.
The non-profit Focus on the Family created Focus On the Family Action as under a different section of the tax code that permits more political activity. Both will continue to try to affect public policy and to dictate private morality.
In November, 2008 Focus on the Family fired 200 employees–due in a large part their support of California’s Proposition 8 to the tune of $539,000 in cash and another $83,000 worth of non-monetary support. It was the third year of lay-offs for the organization which currently operates on a revised $138 million budget.
Two of the GOP’s most beloved figures expressed some mammoth disses over President Obama’s State of the Union speech. Joe the Plumber laughed out loud when asked about the speech, and said that he felt nationalization of the banks was a
and helping out the automobile industry was
a bad idea
Overall, for Joe, he said he didn’t get any goosebumps from Obama’s speech. Or new vocabulary words.
And former First Lady Laura Bush? According to an interview she gave to ABC, the newly (?) absent-minded Laura admitted she
totally forgot about it…The next day I thought it was so ironic that for eight years I would be a nervous wreck before the State of the Union, and for days before, as George would be preparing his speech, worried about it and thinking about what was going to be in the speech. And this time it came and went and I didn’t even think about it.
Maybe that’s because
The only thing we don’t have are the newspapers. It has been slow to get The Dallas Morning News delivered. People bring the newspaper to us later in the day. It’s just not being delivered yet.
Uh…it’s not hard to get the paper delivered. I just called the DMN’s customer service line and if you subscribe on the phone, delivery service starts the next day. If you subscribe on line, it can take up to ten days to get the paper to appear on the fornt doorstep; and speaking of online, here’s a pro tip, Laura: You can read the entire Dallas Morning News on the intert00bs. For free.
Alaska’s Frost Lady Sarah Palin says a new abortion bill that would generally require parental consent and notification before girls under age 17 could get an abortion actually protects children in her state. At a press conference, Gov GILF said:
Wherever you fall on the abortion issue, right or left, this legislation is about family, and it’s about parents’ rights and protecting our children, and it’s supported by legislators on both sides of the aisle.
In 2007 the Alaska State Supreme Court overturned similar bill what had passed in 1997. The new bill differs slightly in that it requires notice to and the consent of a parent, guardian or custodian. The logic of the bill’s author, Rep. John Coghill from North Pole, Alaska is that if the court strikes down the consent provision, the notification clause could stay in place. Parents then would not have to give permission but would be made aware of the abortion before it happens.
Coghill also added a provision which allows teens to go to court to bypass parental permission, and teens who live on their own or are married would not require parental permission.
One of the three Alaska Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn the previous law has stepped down and has been replaced by Palin’s choice, and another will soon be replaced by a Palin appointee. Palin seemed hopeful that her appointees would stand up to challenges to the bill:
Thankfully we know we can think optimistically about a court perhaps changing its mind, changing its opinion. Courts revisit their decisions all the time and if they did not, then we would still be in a society that allows segregated schools.
Palin did not explain how this bill would protect children, but she did add one of her homespun homilies telling reporters that:
when her son, Track, dislocated his shoulder playing hockey a couple of years ago, he couldn’t get any treatment or even a drink of water until she got to the emergency room.
"Here he’s a 17-year-old boy not being able to get a cup of water without Mom or Dad being there to say ‘yeah, it’s OK, you’ve notified me.’ "
Coal ash spill, Tennesse 2008
Bishop Richard Williamson–who faced worldwide criticism over a Swedish television interview in which he said no Jews were gassed during the Holocaust–apologized for offending people, telling the Zenit news agency that to all that took offense:
before God I apologize.
The ultra-conservative bishop who was recently readmitted into the church by Pope Benedict XIV went on to say:
If I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them…Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks.
The Pope condemned Williamson’s remarks, himself speaking out against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. The Vatican has ordered Bishop Williamson to retract his comments, while the Catholic Church in England and Wales has said he must do so before he can
enter into full communion with the church.
So far the best apology the Holocaust-denying bishop could muster was basically "Sorry I offended you and that you don’t like the way I think."
And in an attempt to spin-control, Bishop Dick who just arrived in England, emailed Holocaust "revisionist" David Irving asking for advice on how to best present his views without causing additional repercussions (like possibly getting reassigned to a lone missionary post in Mongolia where Catholism has been active for all of 15 years). Doesnt sound like Bishop Dick is ready to recant. And in fact it seems like he wants to keep talking!
Irving, who was jailed in 2006 for nine months in Vienna for glorifying and identifying with the German Nazi Party, offered these nuggets:
He is obviously a very intelligent man who did not realise the danger of talking to the press. He is not a Holocaust denier. Like me, he does not buy the whole package.