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By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2012 11:28am PT  

Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ-8) officially resigned from the U.S. Congress today, in the wake of her January 8, 2011 shooting during a "Congress on your Corner" event in Tuscon, Arizona. She appeared in the well of the House this morning, along with her friend Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida, who read her resignation speech though tears. Other colleagues, including Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, also from Arizona, stood at her side and she was thanked with a warm round of applause.

In the letter, as read by Wasserman-Schultz, Giffords vowed: "I will recover and will return, and we will work together again, for Arizona and for all Americans"...

What a senseless chapter. But no matter her politics, and whether you disagreed with them or not, Giffords spirit ought to be seen as extraordinarily inspirational to all of us. Sadly, thanks to a U.S. Congress mired in politics, none of the simple measures that could have been passed to help prevent similar tragedies in the future have been carried out in the year since Giffords shooting and the deaths of six others on that fateful day just over one year ago.

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Measure passes following dramatic appearance, heads to Senate...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2011 5:40pm PT  

And a house divided is united, ever so briefly, as Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) made a surprise appearance tonight during the U.S. House vote on the contentious debt ceiling agreement. The dramatic appearance on the floor to cast her vote in favor, was her first since being shot in the head in Tucson on January 8th. The chamber erupted into applause.

"I had to be here for this vote," she said in a statement. "I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy."

Giffords voted against raising the ceiling previously, in December of 2009 and February of 2010, but voted in favor of it today, as her staff noted that "this vote was substantially different, with the strength of the U.S. economy hanging in the balance."


The measure passed in the House following Giffords' appearance, by a vote of 269 to 161, with most of the 74-person Progressive Caucus, the largest in the House, voting against it. Democrats ultimately split their vote 95 to 95 on the controversial bill brokered by President Obama and Republicans, featuring the largest spending cut in the nation's history. GOP members voted overwhelmingly in favor of passage, 176 to 66.

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up the bill tomorrow, prior to the August 2 deadline when the U.S. Government is said to be no longer able to pay all of it's obligations unless the debt ceiling is raised. Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have already expressed their support.

* * *

UPDATE 8/2/11, 11:03am PT: Debt ceiling agreement has passed in U.S. Senate by a 74 to 26 margin. 19 Republicans and 7 Democrats voted against it. The President signed the bill, promising some $2 trillion in spending cuts, just moments ago, privately in the Oval Office. Mission Accomplished.

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Would-be assassin Byron Williams referred specifically to Beck's June 2010 shows where he had warned of 'communist' takeover in DC by Pelosi and other 'revolutionaries'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2011 4:43pm PT  

But, of course, "both sides do it!"...sigh...[via Stephen Webster at RAW STORY]...


The video above was from June 10, 2010.

"You need to go back to June --- June of this year, 2010," said would-be mass murderer Byron Williams, referring to Glenn Beck in a jailhouse interview. Williams had been stopped by police in a San Francisco shoot out on his way to assassinate members of the ACLU and the progressive Tides Foundation in July of 2010. "Look at all his programs from June, and you'll see he's been breaking open some of the most hideous corruption," Williams, who viewed Beck as a "schoolteacher on TV," later said.

In case you are wondering about Beck's comments in the video above, thinking it must be out of context or something, it's not. The transcript (as taken from the Fox "News" website) revealing the context, follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2011 4:28pm PT  

As you may have noticed (or expected), I've been doing a lot of radio lately, discussing the AZ Shooting and related issues, such as the RW media and Democratic Party culpability and what needs to be done about it.

A discussion I had earlier this week with the non-partisan Allen Handelman on North Carolina's powerful 100k watt "Super Station," FM Talk 101.1 WZTK was particularly enlightening, I think. Most interesting was that the bulk of the callers --- even though I had been hoping for folks to call in disagreeing with my take --- seemed to generally agree with me. That, even on this station in supposedly "red" NC which features both non-RW talkers as well as far RW misinformants and miscreants such as Michael Savage and Neal Boortz who use our publicly owned airwaves to skew the nation with damnable lies and propaganda.

Happily, NC's FM Talk 101.1 is the exception to the national rule, as it uses its licensed airwaves to serve the public interest, as they are supposed to by law, by offering a variety of political viewpoints. In the bargain, they are the area's #1 talk station (yes, even beating the stations which carry Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.). That, of course, would go against a lot of the "conventional wisdom" (propagated, naturally, by RWingers) which says that NC is "red," that RWingers only want to listen to RW talk, and that folks like Limbaugh and Hannity are so "good" and so many people agree with their "point of view" that they can't be beat. Of course, having the biggest 100k watt blowtorch in town never hurts either, as is the case in most places where the most powerful signal also seems to receive the most listeners for some odd reason.

So where RW stations are placed on 50,000 watt clear channel transmitters, they tend to handily beat the 1k and 5k and 10k stations where one may be able to hear progressive talk --- if you are in a town lucky enough to have such a station and live close enough to its transmitter to actually hear it.

If you'd like to listen to my two "hours" (with commercials already removed, they're really about 40 mins each) with Allen, they can be downloaded or listened to online below. My thanks to Allen for both having me and for sharing the audio files. He also informs me that he'll be re-playing these two hours on his nationally syndicated show as well this weekend...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Sue Wilson on 1/12/2011 2:02pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

A moment in the culture.

A moment like Columbine, like Fort Hood, like Oklahoma City, yet different; different because the madman's rampage that targeted Tucson, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was predictable.

It's hot in Tucson --- temperatures soar to 117 degrees in the summertime. But that's nothing compared to the political heat generated recently in this community just an hour north of the Mexican border. Nowhere in the country were the 'Tea Parties' angrier than in Arizona; rage over healthcare and immigration reform boiled over in Tucson.

It had been bad already, even before Obama had been elected to office in 2008. Take a look at this remarkable list of eliminationist rhetoric coming from the Right, as compiled as long ago as March 2007. But, as if that wasn't horrible enough, things have gotten even far worse since then.

Who wouldn't be incensed? Reports of increased crime, beheadings on the borders, government takeover of health care, death panels. Given all that, who would not stand and fight to protect their grandmothers?

If all that were actually true. But of course, it is not true. Those reports and other fabrications like them are a creation of Right Wing Talk Radio. It isn't just the vitriol spewing from Savage and Hannity and Boortz and others, it is what is behind the vitriol: a genuine fear born of propaganda. And as a culture, we the people are buying into it.

So, regardless of whether the alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner actually listened to any of the six "Conservative" stations on the dial in Tucson, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was correct when he blamed the attack on a cultural environment built of Talk Radio...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Congresswoman now breathing on own, able to move arms...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2011 5:17pm PT  

And, still more very good news...

One of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' doctors declared Tuesday she has "a 101 percent chance of surviving," as she made more progress, moving both arms and breathing on her own for the first time - just three days after a bullet shot through her brain.

Doctors emphasize she is in for a long recovery, and her neurosurgeon repeated his cautionary phrase of "she's holding her own."

But there was no denying what was clearly good news.

More, just out from AP...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2011 4:52pm PT  

This flier was circulated in Dallas in the days before John F. Kennedy was assassinated...

Any of that look or sound familiar?

If not, and if you didn't see the Tucson Shooting coming months and months ago, then you are living in a world of complete and utter delusion.

[Update 1/11/11: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., responding to the Giffords shooting at Huffington Post, draws a similar allusion to the atmosphere in Dallas in the days prior to the murder of his uncle.]

If you, like pretend media critic Howard Kurtz, are finding rationalizations and excuses to justify what happened yesterday, dismissing it all as little more than the work of a "lone nutjob," you are similarly deluded and among the most dangerous of apologists.

You are also anything but "conservative," since the core of that ideology used to include personal responsibility. Taking none, unfortunately, seems to be the new hallmark of the no longer any more than name-only movement.

Remember what happened after this video-taped moment in September of 2009, when Nancy Pelosi called for "taking responsibility for our words" before tearing up while recalling the assassination of Harvey Milk in her own district in the 70's, and while decrying the scores of death threats and broken windows at offices of Democratic members of Congress after they'd voted in favor of Health Care Reform?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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UPDATES: 6 dead, including federal judge, child, 14 others wounded; Hospital: 'Optimistic about recovery' of Congresswoman; Was 'Targeted' by Tea Party, Palin; Alleged gunman captured: Jared Lee Loughner, 22...
LATE UPDATE: Pima authorities find, interview, clear second 'person of interest'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2011 11:25am PT  

[DEVELOPING COVERAGE. LATEST UPDATES ADDED AT BOTTOM OF ITEM.]

Three-term Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot "point blank" in the head at a town hall event in Tucson, along with 11 17 18 19 others according to news report. The "Congress on Your Corner" event was at a Safeway grocery store.

After initial reports that Giffords had been killed, a hospital spokesman confirmed that she is alive, and that he was "optimistic" that Giffords would recover following surgery. He said she was shot "through and through...from one side of the head through the other, through the brain." [See below for updated reports as they are occurring.]

Late reports now have six dead, including federal judge John M. Roll and a 9-year old girl. 12 13 14 others were injured, many faced emergency surgery and are were in both critical and serious condition.

The alleged shooter is now been reported as 22-year old Jared Lee Loughner. He was wrestled to the ground by two people during the incident and is now in police custody. More on him, including his bizarre Youtube page, below.

Giffords' husband is NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, set to command the Shuttle Endeavor scheduled for launch on April 1. His twin brother, Scott, also an astronaut, is currently on the International Space Station.

Giffords had reportedly been threatened after the health care vote last year, and had seen shots fired at her office. She also appeared as one of a number of Congressmembers "targeted" for replacement on Sarah Palin's map, where districts were highlighted with a gun sight.

On March 25, 2010, after Gifford --- a former Republican, now a Blue Dog Democrat --- was placed on Palin's target list, she had this to say about the increasing rise in violent political rhetoric:

I mean, this is a situation where people really need to realize that this rhetoric, and firing people up, and even things … For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the way she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district. And when people do that, they’ve gotta realize that there’s consequences to that action.

* * *

Many more details, updated throughout the day, follow below. LATEST REPORTS AT BOTTOM...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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