A Missouri mosque that had only weeks ago been targeted in an arson attack was burned down overnight. The FBI and ATF are investigating. [...]
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by Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Wade Michael Page, 40 years old, white, who served in the U.S. Army (1992 ? 1998), has been identified as the gunman in yesterday?s shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. From The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online quotes Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards as saying the shooting was ?being treated as an incident of domestic terrorism,? but later, the FBI ?backed away from that categorization, saying they were still investigating motive.? In the same report,
Members of the Sikh temple here expressed little doubt about the underpinnings of the rampage.
?It?s pretty much a hate crime,? said Ven Boba Ri, one of the temple?s committee members. ?It?s not an insider.?
Page was killed in a gun fire exchange with police. One officer who was helping a victim, was wounded. Six people were killed by Page, and three wounded, including the police officer. All three are listed in ?critical condition.? As of now, details about the weapon or weapons used by Wade have not been provided.
The Journal Sentinel reports that children were downstairs while the adults were preparing for worship when Page walked in and began firing.
It is … the most deadly U.S. attack on Sikhs ? who often have been mistaken for Muslims and targeted in hate crimes ? in recent memory.
Within three hours of the mass slaying at the five-year-old temple, built on S. Howell Ave. to accommodate the Milwaukee area?s growing Sikh community, a task force of federal, state and local law enforcement officers was gathering on the scene.
Sunday night, team members … surrounded a duplex in Cudahy.
In that nearby community, the landlord, Kurt Weins, said Wade had rented the apartment just a month ago.
NPR includes in its report a detail that sounds familiar related to mass shootings:
Weins said the man was something of a loner and that there was nothing suspicious in his behavior during the brief period he knew him.
The JS article provides a partial reconstruction of what happened when Wade entered the temple and began shooting, which begins:
Two children ran to the kitchen, and they and the women there – 16 people in all – made for a pantry, closed themselves in and huddled, terrified.
Two priests and a few others locked themselves inside a bathroom. One used a cell phone to report that Satwant Kaleka, the temple president, had been shot twice and was lying on the floor, bleeding.
Kaleka, who died, had tried to tackle the shooter, said his son, Amardeep Kaleka.
Outside, another man, shot in the abdomen, staggered to a ranch house 300 yards away and pounded on the door.
Jim Haase opened the door to see a gray-bearded man of 60 or 70 years old standing in a blood-soaked white tunic. …
A weapons instructor, Vietnam veteran and retired firefighter trained as a first responder, Haase knew what to do.
He grabbed a towel and laid the man on his front lawn to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. …
The JS report, among others, said that President Obama was notified and kept up to date by Homeland Security adviser John Brennan.
More from the JS article:
More than 20 million people worldwide follow the Sikh religion, established about 500 years ago in the Punjab region of India. Devout male followers must wear long beards and their hair in a turban, and in America are sometimes mistaken for Muslims; the two religions are not affiliated.
In the days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, at least four acts of violence against Sikhs occurred in the Milwaukee area, said Swarnjit S. Arora, a founder of the local Sikh Religious Society. Two taxis owned by Sikh drivers were vandalized, and two Sikh men were assaulted, said Arora. The crimes were not widely reported by the news media because they were overshadowed by dramatic events across the nation, he said.
About 3,000 Sikh families live in southeastern Wisconsin. …
About Wade Michael Page
According to the NPR report cited above, related to Wade?s military service:
Rose in rank to sergeant, but was reduced to the rank of specialist at some point before receiving a general discharge. (NPR Pentagon correspondent) Tom (Hall) adds that a general discharge, unlike an honorary discharge, means the individual had been ?performing satisfactorily but did not meet all the expectations of service.? And reductions in rank, Tom says, usually related to conduct rather than performance.
And from The Southern Poverty Law Center:
The man who allegedly murdered six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee yesterday, identified in media reports as Wade Michael Page, was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.
In 2010, Page, then the leader of the band End Apathy, gave an interview … to the white supremacist website Label 56. He said that when he started the band in 2005, its name reflected his wish to ?figure out how to end people?s apathetic ways? and start ?moving forward.? …
In 2000, the Southern Poverty Law Center has found that Page also attempted to purchase goods from the neo-Nazi National Alliance … , then America?s most important hate group.
Feel free to add updates in the Comments. Those will be welcomed.
(End Apathy Cover via Southern Poverty Law Center)
Statement by the President on Curiosity Landing on Mars
Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history.
The successful landing of Curiosity ? the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet ? marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future. It proves that even the longest of odds are no match for our unique blend of ingenuity and determination.
Tonight?s success, delivered by NASA, parallels our major steps forward towards a vision for a new partnership with American companies to send American astronauts into space on American spacecraft. That partnership will save taxpayer dollars while allowing NASA to do what it has always done best ? push the very boundaries of human knowledge. And tonight?s success reminds us that our preeminence ? not just in space, but here on Earth ? depends on continuing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world.
I congratulate and thank all the men and women of NASA who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality ? and I eagerly await what Curiosity has yet to discover.
“I’m two generations down the line. It’s now my responsibility to do all I can to make sure we never use nuclear weapons again.” – Clifton Truman Daniel, Pres. Harry Truman’s grandson [Atlantic Journal Constitution]
PRESIDENT HARRY TRUMAN gave the order, with Hiroshima being wiped out on this day in 1945.
Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
UPDATE 2: Via CNN.
More details are coming out, and the shooting has been called a ?domestic terrorist-type incident? by police. Four bodies were found in the temple, and three outside,
… including a gunman shot by a police officer … .
The officer was wounded but ?returned fire, and that shooter was put down,? said Bradley Wentlandt, the police chief in nearby Greenfield, who briefed reporters. …
At an afternoon news conference, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said that authorities are treating the shooting as a ?domestic terrorist-type incident,? adding that the FBI will head the investigation.
Two semi-automatic handguns believed used by the shooter were recovered from the scene, a law enforcement source directly involved in the investigation told CNN.
At least three wounded, including the officer, were being treated at Milwaukee?s Froedtert Hospital, spokeswoman Carolyn Bellin told CNN. All three were in critical condition. …
UPDATE: More from JSonline here:
At least seven people were killed, including one shooter, just after 10 a.m. Sunday at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, police said.
Four of the dead were inside the temple at 7512 S. Howell Ave. and three of the dead, including a shooter, were outside the temple.
A police SWAT team entered the building before noon and brought uninjured people out of the building at 7512 S. Howell Ave.
They started removing injured people from the temple’s prayer room.
SWAT team members were still sweeping the building about 1 p.m. and an explosion was heard from the building at that time. It was unclear what the explosion was.
The first officer on the scene encountered an active shooter and exchanged fire with him, according to Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt who briefed media on the scene.
The shooter went down and is believed to be dead, said Wentlandt, who is acting as police spokesman for the incident. He said authorities had no evidence of a second shooter.
Wentlandt said the officer was hit multiple times, but is expected to survive. He said the officer was a 20-year veteran and “an extremely accomplished tactical officer.” He was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa where he was in surgery just before 2 p.m.
Original post is below.
Four people were shot and killed in a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, with SWAT dispatched. Go here for a video.
In Milwaukee, via the Journal Sentinel:
At least four shot at Sikh Temple, victims being taken out
At least four people were shot just after 10 a.m. Sunday at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, and a police SWAT team entered the building before noon and brought uninjured people out of the building at 7512 S. Howell Ave.
Victims were being taken out of the temple.
Among those who were shot was the president of the temple. …
There were reports that children were taken to the building?s basement after shots were fired. …
One of the temple?s committee members, Ven Boba Ri, said that based on communication with people inside the temple, the shooter was a white male in his 30s.
According to Ri, the man started shooting after he walked up to a priest who was standing outside, and shot him.
Then he went inside and started shooting. …
Oak Creek police were not giving out any information at this point. …
Meanwhile, Brookfield police officers were dispatched to the Sikh Temple at 3675 N. Calhoun Road as a precaution in the aftermath of the Oak Creek shooting.
Several reports out this morning indicate that Wade Michael Page, the army veteran who is suspected of killing six and injuring three at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI, over the weekend, was a white supremacist and a “skinhead.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Page — who was killed in a firefight with police — even played in a white-power band that had ties to neo-Nazis.
Though police have not yet named a motive in the attack, all but one of those shot were Sikh adherents. The other was a police officer.
Should law enforcement confirm Page’s ties to white supremacy, and if that proves to be the motive of the attack, it will fit with a growing trend in this country. Hate groups — groups that expressly advocate against a religion, race, or sexual orientation — have been on the rise in the United States, rising steadily since 2000.
And the targeting of Sikhs is not new either. Often, the hate crimes against Sikhs originate out of misdirected Islamophobia: Sikh men can most easily be identified by their long beards and turbans, which they wear according to religious doctrine. Assailants will mistake these men for Muslims. According to a report by Reuters, Sikh groups have seen huge spikes in hate crimes since September 11th, 2001, right at the same time when anti-Muslim sentiment in the country began to grow rapidly.
In April of this year, over 90 members of Congress signed onto a letter (PDF) asking Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller to closely monitor what they called a “growing concern” of hate crimes against Sikh people:
?Numerous reports have documented how those practicing the Sikh religion are often targeted for hate violence because of their religiously-mandated turbans — i.e. because of their Sikh identity, regardless of whether the attacker understands the victim to be Sikh or not,? the said lawmakers, led by U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley, a New York Democrat.
Though it is the fifth largest religion in the world, Sikhism is a small religious minority in the United States — there are roughly 500,000 observers of the religion, which originated in the Punjab area of South Asia, in the US. There has only been one Sikh member of Congress — Dalip Singh Saund, who represented Southern California in the late 1950s and early 60s.
In a press conference today, Oak Creek law enforcement confirmed that the gunman’s weapon, a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, was obtained legally.
Mitt Romney’s trip to Europe and Israel last week didn’t turn out so well. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee set out to burnish his foreign policy credentials but the whole adventure turned out to be a disaster. Even some Republicans campaign operatives thought so.
Another side note to the story is that many Europeans have no idea who Mitt Romney is. According to a Huffington Post journalist reporting from Madrid, in Spain, Romney “is like a complete unknown“:
Even though the U.S. presidential candidate just completed an (occasionally controversial) overseas tour, “Mitt, Mitt que?” is a refrain heard often here — including at the headquarters of the conservative Popular Party, Spain’s governing majority. [...]
“Who? Who’s that guy?” “I have no idea.” “I’ve never heard of that person in my life.” These are the answers of a group of Spaniards, ranging in age from 37 to 71, when asked about Mitt Romney. A 42-year-old math teacher even responded with, “Is that a computer program?”
“Right now, with the exception of people who are following current events in the U.S. very closely, Romney is a very little-known personality,” said Daniel Ureņa, director of Mas Consulting in Spain, a firm that specializes in political campaigns and whose U.S. division works with Republicans.
A separate HuffPo story out today finds the same situation happening in France:
A swing through France was not on Mitt Romney’s agenda during his recent trip abroad, but no one here seemed to be disappointed. With the election of President Francois Hollande, the summer holidays, the crisis in the euro zone and various social plans, the French have their heads elsewhere. [...]
“The French were under-informed about Romney’s nomination, which is why he remains largely unknown,” said historian Francois Durpaire. …
For his part, Romney doesn’t have very nice things to say about Europeans. He regularly criticizes America’s European alllies. ?I want you to remember when our White House reflected the best of who we are, not the worst of what Europe has become,” Romney has said.
Mitt Romney is no supporter of LGBT equality. Throughout his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, he has rarely passed up an opportunity to boast about his opposition to marriage equality. In February, he proudly proclaimed that by resurrecting an obscure 1913 law intended to limit interracial marriage, he stopped same-same couples from other states from getting married in Massachusetts, saying he “prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage.” And while he once promised to co-sponsor the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, he now believes that states should be free to allow employment discrimination.
But the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA)policy of prohibiting LGBT Scouts and leaders is apparently too anti-LGBT for even an anti-LGBT activist like Romney. This weekend, his campaign announced that Romney stands by a 1994 comment he made that the BSA should stop discriminating.
The Associated Press reported Saturday:
Back in 1994, during a political debate in Massachusetts, Romney said this: “I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”
A Romney spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said in an e-mail that this remains Romney’s position today.
At the time of his initial comments, Romney served on the group’s national executive board and earned their ire for publicly criticizing the organization, in violation of board rules. The fact that corporate CEOs who serve on the national board, Eagle Scouts, and now even Romney are standing up against this discriminatory policy show just how out-of-step the ban is from mainstream American values.
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has been one of the fiercest critics of the Navy’s procurement of biofuels for its fleet of ships and aircraft. However, before calling the military’s $12 million R&D program for renewable fuels part of a “green agenda,” Inhofe secured millions of dollars for a company developing liquid fuels from natural gas that cost 29 times more than conventional fuel.
In 2002, Inhofe earmarked more than $2 million for the Oklahoma-based company Syntroleum, which is looking to produce gas-to-liquid fuels for military use. According to 2010 filings at OpenSecrets.org, Inhofe holds between $15,000 and $50,000 in assets through BlackRock, the largest investor in Syntroleum.
Jim Lane at the Biofuels Digest reported that Syntroleum’s fuel cost considerably more to produce than the renewable fuels used by the Navy today:
Adjusting for inflation, the $2.3 million contract in 2002 dollars equates to $2.93 million in today?s dollars, or $28.21 per gallon. Back in 2002, jet fuel was selling at considerably less than today ? at an average price of 75 cents per gallon in the second half of the year, according to indexmundi.com.
Overall, the cost of the natural gas-based alternative fuel was 29 times more than the cost of conventional fuels at the time, and cost more, per gallon, in today?s dollars than the Navy?s advanced biofuels program.
Since the original contract in 2002, Syntroleum has reportedly secured nearly $6 million in contracts with the Department of Defense.
In a recent statement, Inhofe said he supports the development of alternative fuels. However, that support seems to be limited to fossil fuels. He called the Navy’s biofuels program a part of the “liberal green agenda” that could threaten “the lives of service men and women” — even while supporting a technology that was almost 30 times more expensive than conventional fuel when originally funded.
Jim Lane sums up Inhofe’s contradictory stance on renewable fuels:
There seems to be ample evidence that Senator Inhofe is intimately aware of the costs of developing and testing alternative fuels in small quantities. It appears to be a simple case of playing political games, by criticizing Dynamic Fuels for selling advanced biofuels for $26 per gallon, when the Senator himself won an earmark requiring the military to purchase even more expensive natural gas-based fuels from Dynamic?s parent.
Paying nine times as much for test quantities of advanced biofuels? ?Far-left agenda.?
Paying 29 times as much for test quantities of alternatives to fossil fuels made from, ahem, more fossil fuels? ?A real difference for America.?
Last month, the Navy purchased 450,000 gallons of biofuels at $26 per gallon. Blended together with petroleum, the fuel procurement was enough to power three warships and 70 aircraft for a few days. The 50-50 mixture cost $15 per gallon. The Navy is also working together with biofuels producers to develop commercial refineries to supply operations in the future.
Many Congressional Republicans have criticized the Navy’s push for biofuels, saying the fuels are too expensive. The Navy has defended the move toward next-generation renewable fuels, saying that new domestic supplies would help protect against price volatility and make the military more secure.
In an interview with Climate Progress last year, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus put the fuel switch into a historical perspective:
The Navy has always led when we?ve changed energy. In the 1850?s, we went from sail to coal. In the early part of the 20th century, we went from coal to oil. We pioneered the use of nuclear for transportation in the 1950?s. Every single time we did these things there were people who said ?it?s a fad.? There were people who said ?you?re trading one very known source of propulsion or energy for something that?s unsure ? too expensive or just won?t work.? And every single time they were wrong. Every single time. And I am absolutely confident those folks are going to be wrong this time too.
Unless, of course, politicians purposefully derail the program in order to continue our reliance on fossil fuels.
Economist Jared Bernstein beautifully eviscerates the intellectual foundation (or lack thereof) for Paul Ryan's economic policies -- which is really not difficult, even for bloggers. The problem? The members of the media who are still too damn lazy to do the math, and instead proclaim him as a real policy wonk. (Fortunately, Ryan Lizza is not one of those stupid journalists.)
The New Yorker?s Ryan Lizza provides a profile of Rep Paul Ryan, with a rich discussion of his vision for limited government.
It?s a good read, but it left me thinking about what it is that troubles me most about Rep Ryan, an earnest guy who?s come a long way and influenced a lot of people at a relatively young age. The problem is his numbers don?t add up. And that?s a particularly big problem for a celebrated budget wonk.
It?s actually not hard to write down plans that purport to quantify Ayn Randian visions. You cut deeply here and there?always from 30,000 feet up so you don?t have to get into fights about specifics?you turn big programs over to the states (e.g., you ?block grant? foods stamps and Medicaid), you privatize social insurance, you voucherize Medicare with vouchers whose costs lag prices.
Then, in the spirit of another Ryan hero, Jack Kemp, you write down a bunch of supply-side tax cuts.
But the problem with all that is obvious, and here Ryan is guilty of that which he accuses his adversaries: intellectual laziness. Ayn Rand was a philosopher, a novelist. She never worried about public infrastructure, retirement security, budget deficits. Kemp?s trickle down ideas, still promoted today by the likes of Art Laffer and Larry Kudlow, not to mention Gov Romney, have never come anywhere close to working. They?ve led not to balanced budgets and broadly shared growth, but to larger deficits and greater income concentration.
It?s thus no more plausible nor responsible to tout such an unrealistic vision from the right than it would be for an American politician to proclaim his allegiance to the ideas of Karl Marx and write down plans for confiscating wealth and socializing the means of production.
Moreover, and this is really pretty inevitable, when you learn a bit more about the politicians who write down and support plans like Ryan?s, as Lizza does here, it turns out that the federal government has played and continues to play an important role in their district and state, as has very much been the case with Ryan in WI.
Go read the whole thing. He also points out how the same holes appear in Mitt Romney's economic proposals, too.