Within the last hour-and-a-half a shooting occurred at the National Holocaust Museum just off the National Mall in Washington D.C. was the site of a shooting that sent one security guard and the attacker who shot him to the hospital.
Details are just starting to come in, but what we know so far is that the shooter was a white male, and he used a shotgun. I saw one report that he was born in 1920 - but I don't know that I put much stock in that report - 89 seems pretty old to do something like that, don't you think?
I will come back with updates as details become available.
UPDATE 1:25 p.m.
I was wrong and that random tweet was right. The suspect is 89 years old and a White Supremacist with a loooonnnnggg track record of hate and lunatic capers, including attempting to take the board members of the Federal Reserve into custody in a citizens arrest, for which he did a stretch in federal prison.
Here is his website, but clicking that link comes with a warning that you will want a shower afterward. He appears to have suffered through nine decades of inferiority, probably stoked by sexual inadequacy, and he blames 'Negros/Jews' for all his woes.
Now...who wants to revisit that DHS report on right wing extremists and domestic terrorism?
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Barack Obama has strong overall approval, and even strong approval on the subject of terrorism. But a result from the latest AP/GfK poll--one understandably drowned out by the poll's questions about Sonia Sotomayor--that really struck me was the result of three consecutive questions (TER1, TER2, TER3 on pp. 5 & 6) about how Americans perceive the threat of another terrorist attack and Obama's ability to handle terrorism.
Two back-to-back questions, TER1 and TER2, asked respondents, first, if they are worried about "becoming a victim of terrorism," and second, if they are concerned that they or their family "might be a victim of a terrorist attack." The questions are so similar, in fact, they elicited virtually identical results: 35 percent combined responded either "frequently" or "occasionally" to the first one, and "great deal" or "somewhat" to the second; a combined 65 percent responded "rarely" or "never" to the first and either "not too much" or "not at all" to the second. Given the similarity of the questions, I'll go out on a limb here and assume it's the same 35/65 groups in both cases. (Two emails and two phones calls to AP/GfK to request crosstabs were not returned.)
And then there is Question TER3:
And when it comes to terrorism, how confident are you that President Barack Obama will be able to handle this issue effectively? Very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident?
While guest-hosting Bill Bennett’s radio show last week, RNC Chairman Michael Steele backtracked on his call for conservatives to tone down their harsh rhetoric towards Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. “God help you if you?re a white male coming before her bench,” declared Steele.
On CNN last night, Campbell Brown confronted Steele with the quote, which was first reported by ThinkProgress. “Well, that’s not inflammatory,” replied Steele. He then tried to explain why his statement was benign:
STEELE: Well, that’s not inflammatory. It’s based off of what — the inference that she left and what she said. You know, if you have a judge, where you have a situation where you have — you’re going before a trier of fact, and the trier of fact is on record as saying that this individual’s background experience is better positioned to make a decision than someone else, that gives one pause. And so my view of it was, in looking at it, you’re now segregating out white men by your comments. So, God help you if you’re a white male. If you’re seeking justice, this may not be the bench you want to go before.
Earlier in the interview, before Brown confronted him with his “white male” quote, Steele insisted that he simply “wanted to see what her record is.” But if that were true, he would know that his fearmongering claim that Sotomayor will discriminate against white men is groundless.
When SCOTUSblog?s Tom Goldstein examined all of Sotomayor’s race-related judicial opinions, he found that Sotomayor had ?rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.? ?Given that record, it seems absurd to say that Judge Sotomayor allows race to infect her decisionmaking,? concluded Goldstein. Noting Goldstein’s study, conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote yesterday, “When you read her opinions, race and gender are invisible.”
BROWN: You know, you’ve talked about expanding the party to win specifically Latinos over. But some in your party, including you, have said some pretty inflammatory things about Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Do you think that hurts those efforts?
STEELE: Well, I don’t know what I said that was inflammatory about the judge other than we wanted to see what her record is and we wanted to wait until that record was fully understood so that we can engage in I think a very important debate about the direction the Supreme Court at these times…
STEELE:…where you’ve got questions regarding property rights, questions regarding, you know, the role of the government and the lives of the American people. So I don’t think I said anything inflammatory, though.
BROWN: Well, I’ll read you the quote…
BROWN: … and then you can clarify it for all of us. This is after you had said that Republicans shouldn’t, in your view, use hot rhetoric…
BROWN: … that was the quote — about race to attack her. You then said, “God help you if you’re a white male coming before her bench.”
STEELE: Well, that’s not inflammatory. It’s based off of what — the inference that she left and what she said. You know, if you have a judge, where you have a situation where you have — you’re going before a trier of fact, and the trier of fact is on record as saying that this individual’s background experience is better positioned to make a decision than someone else, that gives one pause. And so my view of it was, in looking at it, you’re now segregating out white men by your comments. So, God help you if you’re a white male. If you’re seeking justice, this may not be the bench you want to go before. And I think that’s the clarification the judge needs to make very clear in her hearings, that — was that something that she views as a personal view, or is that how she adjudicates the law? What is it?
Shoe Bomber Richard Reid, serving a life sentence at Supermax in Florence, Colorado for intending to blow up an American Airlines commercial flight in December, 2001 by lighting a match to put to an explosive in his shoe, has been on a hunger strike for months and is being force-fed. He is too ill to attend depositions in his civil lawsuit against BOP officials and the Attorney General. His lawsuit alleges that his First Amendment rights are being violated by conditions at the prison and, in particular, SAMS, which limit his contact with the outside world, ability to attend group prayer and take religious correspondence classes.
The Court recently denied the Government's motion to partially dismiss his complaint. The report of the Magistrate Judge is here (pdf.) The District Court Judge's order accepting the Magistrate's report is here (pdf). The Government's pleading describing the hunger strike is here. (pdf) From the Magistrate Judge's order finding Reid's complaint was sufficient to survive dismissal on First Amendment grounds: [More...]
SAMs are special restrictions that may be imposed where determined to be “reasonably necessary to protect persons against the risk of death or serious bodily injury.” 28 C.F.R. § 501.3(a) (2008). SAMs may include housing the inmate in administrative detention and/or limiting certain privileges, including, but not limited to, correspondence, visiting, interviews with representatives of the news media, and use of the telephone, as is reasonably necessary to protect persons against the risk of acts of violence or terrorism. Id. SAMs can be imposed initially for only one year, but may be extended upon a sufficient showing of danger. § 501.3©.
Plaintiff states SAMs restrictions were imposed upon his arrival at ADX in February 2003, and they have been renewed on a yearly basis. (Compl. at 3.) Plaintiff asserts he has been denied access to religious services and materials, has been limited in his access to an imam, has been denied access to educational and recreational services, and has been prevented from contacting the media. (Id. at 3–4.) Plaintiff states he has been prevented, since 2006 from writing to anyone other than immediate family and two of his aunts, the British Consulate, and U.S. Government agencies. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff also asserts he has been kept in harsher conditions than other inmates housed at ADX. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief. (Id. at 9.)
The test for determining a prisoner's rights:
It is long established that “[i]nmates . . . retain protections afforded by the First Amendment, including its directive that no law shall prohibit the free exercise of religion.” O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 348 (1987). An inmate’s exercise of constitutional rights is necessarily limited, however, “both from the fact of incarceration and from valid penological objectives—including deterrence of crime, rehabilitation of prisoners, and institutional security....
Because the religious rights of prisoners must be balanced against the interests inherent in prison administration, free exercise claims of prisoners are “judged under a ‘reasonableness’ test less restrictive than that ordinarily applied to alleged infringements of fundamental constitutional rights.” O’Lone, 482 U.S. at 349. Under this reasonableness test, “‘when a prison regulation impinges on inmates constitutional rights, the regulation is valid if it is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests.’”
The Court then writes:
Plaintiff’s complaint clearly states he is a practicing Sunni Muslim. (Compl. at 5.) The court cannot make an assessment of the sincerity of Plaintiff’s beliefs at this early stage. “The inquiry into the sincerity of a free-exercise plaintiff’s religious beliefs is almost exclusively a credibility assessment, . . . and therefore the issue of sincerity can rarely be determined on summary judgment,” let alone a motion to dismiss.
Defendants do not dispute that Plaintiff’s allegations regarding individual or group prayer are related to a sincerely-held religious belief. However, they do assert that “Plaintiff’s other miscellaneous allegations in support of his free exercise claim—concerning his inability to access unidentified correspondence courses, magazines and catalogs—do not show a substantial burden on a sincerely held religious belief . . .”
And then, the ruling for Reid:
Here, Plaintiff’s complaint clearly states he is being prevented from sufficiently studying the tenets of his religion by being prevented from taking part in correspondence courses, and by being denied access to religious materials and religious magazines. (Compl. at 5 [emphasis added].)
Although Plaintiff has not identified specific correspondence courses, religious materials, or religious magazines to which he has been denied access, he has stated they are related to the tenets of his religion. As in Kay, this court finds Plaintiff is not required to show that the items he claims he is prevented from obtaining are necessary to the practice of his religion. Accordingly, this court finds Plaintiff has alleged sufficient factual information that the denial of the materials has substantially burdened his sincerely-held religious beliefs. Therefore, the court proceeds to the question of whether there are legitimate penological interests that justify the impinging conduct.
The Government, says the Court, admits there is a ban on congregrate prayer at Supermax:
Defendants further assert that Plaintiff’s group prayer request is impracticable if “one considers the ‘group’ of fellow ADX inmates with whom Plaintiff could be allowed to pray during Jumah,” including co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (Mot. to Dismiss at 7–8.) Defendants recite the history of one of these fellow inmates who “continued to assist his co-conspirators in their efforts to destroy the World Trade Center” during the period of time in which he was incarcerated...
The Court finds:
While the defendants may be able to show at a later time that there are legitimate penological interests that justify the complete ban on group prayer at the ADX, absent a more developed record, the court is unable to complete the four-factor balancing analysis set forth by the Supreme Court in Turner v. Safley. For this reason, Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s freedom to congregate claim is properly denied.
Moving on to the correspondence courses, the Court rules:
Defendants have failed to address whether there are legitimate penological interests that justify Defendants’ refusal to allow Plaintiff access to correspondence courses, religious materials, and religious magazines. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for the court to dismiss the claim related to this allegation at this time.
A hearing was set for June 12, however, yesterday, the Government filed this pleading (pdf), stating that Reid's SAMS would end next week and it would not seek to renew them. (Reid has been under SAMS since his arrival at Supermax in 2003. They are good for a one year period and renewable. )
Undersigned counsel is authorized to represent that she has been advised that Plaintiff’s Special Administrative Measures, or SAMs, which are set to expire on June 17, 2009, will not be renewed.
In light of the non-renewal of Plaintiff’s SAMs, Defendants anticipate consulting with Plaintiff and promptly filing a motion to dismiss these proceedings—which challenge the SAMs.
Based on that pleading, the June 12 hearing was vacated. Shorter version: Score a round for Richard Reid, who filed all his papers in handwriting and pro se. He's getting off SAMS on June 17.
Another note: Both the Magistrate Judge and the District Court Judge are recent federal prosecutors, appointed to the bench while they were Assistant U.S. Attorneys.
And one last note: Richard Reid is another example of how the federal criminal courts can be used to try terror suspects. As I wrote here the the day of his sentencing,
Richard Reid's case proves we can provide even the most unlikable defendant charged with a heinous crime the same constitutional rights we provide to all defendants, and get a conviction and a harsh sentence fair and square. We should insist all such cases be tried this way.
Gawd, has there ever been a bigger group of WATB's outside of a daycare facility?
Senate Republicans are protesting Democrats' decision to schedule confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor for July 13, saying they need more time to review her record.
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, says the date is too early and unrealistic. GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is accusing Democrats of using "heavy-handed" tactics. He says their actions threaten the cooperation the Senate runs on.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, announced the timetable Tuesday without giving Republicans notice he was doing so after private negotiations with Sessions yielded no bipartisan agreement on a date.
But perhaps they have a point. After all, who can forget how Republicans always insisted on consulting the Democrats on scheduling and votes when they controlled the House, Senate and White House? Oh wait ...
Of course not all Republican Senators are joining in the whine-fest:
CNN reports Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) is now predicting the successful confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, although he stopped short of endorsing her. Dismissing the controversy over Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” statement, Martinez said:
For someone who is of Latin background, personally, I understand what she is trying to say. Which is, the richness of her experience forms who she is. It forms who I am.
Just as everyone's experiences form who they are. It's nice to see a little common sense coming from a member of the GOP ... and it's probably just a coincidence that it's coming from a Senator who's retiring.
A New Way Forward is doing nationwide video and town hall discussions of the banking issue and[...]
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Accessories? Time to tone down Hate Talk Radio?
Earlier today Hebiclens, the artist who persuades all the Republicans to put on clown make-up so he can photograph them for DWT sent me the two above, along with a question: "How many more innocent people have to die because of the hate that these Right-wing Pundits spew out into the public airwaves?" Good question. Another one is why is Obama being so weak on domestic right wing terrorism? When Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, warned about this kind of thing, the extreme right wing noise machine crucified her. I haven't heard Limbaugh or O'Reilly or Hannity or Coulter apologize. I haven't heard the right-wing zealots like Virginia Foxx or Michele Bachmann or Patrick McHenry or Pete Sessions go to the press and withdraw their vicious innuendoes about her and praise her foresight.
I'm sure you know by now that yesterday a far right white supremacist, James W. Von Brunn, walked into the Holocaust Museum in the middle of Washington DC, with a fucking rifle-- special thanks to John Ensign and most of the U.S. Senate for that-- and shot two people.
On a Web site he apparently maintains extolling a "Holy Western Empire," von Brunn says he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, worked for 20 years as an advertising executive and film producer in New York and then became "an artist and author" living on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Police sources said the suspect had a notebook listing other locations that law enforcement officials presumed were possible targets.
In 1981 von Brunn attempted to place the treasonous Federal Reserve Board of Governors under legal, non-violent, citizens arrest. He was tried in a Washington, D.C. Superior Court; convicted by a Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys, and sentenced to prison for eleven years by a Jew judge. A Jew/Negro/White Court of Appeals denied his appeal. He served 6.5 years in federal prison. He is now an artist and author and lives on Maryland's Eastern Shore."
2:09 PM Update: The latest news suggests that the gunman was a 89 year old male. 2:13 PM Update: Shooter apparently has a record of connections with white supremacist groups. NBC is reporting that the he tried to raid the Federal Reserve building in[...]
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