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Archive for July 12th, 2008

Sebelius Won’t Deny Veep Talks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2008 4:41 am by HL

Sebelius Won’t Deny Veep Talks
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) “is no longer denying that she is being vetted by Barack Obama’s campaign.”

The 60-year-old Kansas governor told CQ Politics “that she was never vetted for the vice presidency in 2004 but declined to make the same pronouncement about this year’s process.”

Two Short Lists?
We’re starting to hear rumors — some confirmed — that various politicians are being “vetted” by the Obama and McCain campaigns as possible running mates. Don’t believe everything you read. The question you need to ask yourself: Which short list are they on?

Also, check out CQ’s VP Watch for the latest buzz on running mate selections.


IndyMac Goes Belly Up in the Blood Tide of Economic Failure

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2008 4:40 am by HL

IndyMac Goes Belly Up in the Blood Tide of Economic Failure
The blood tide is just starting to wash in, and this corpse will soon be joined by many others.

Great Depression Soup Kitchen

Great Depression Soup Kitchen

It’s the first bank failure since the eighties and the Feds have stepped in and taken over. I’ve already had one person write me wondering how it would affect them. (In their case, probably not much, but then they owe IndyMac money, not the other way around.)

This won’t be the last bank failure, by the way, and it’s interesting that IndyMac did fail. Even the Fed’s loan facilities can’t keep a bank or brokerage house up if a real run starts, and folks were pulling out a hundred million a day. (Actually, that’s a pretty mild run.)

Add this to the news about Freddie and Fannie being essentially bankrupt (yes, yes they are) and that they will probably go into receivership or something pretty close, and what I predicted in March—that the federal government was going to effectively wind up as the largest owner of mortgages in America is right on track.

Seriously folks, the stuff that people like me have been writing about for years is coming true. It’s almost all coming true. And I’m really not happy about being right. Get your financial houses in order; make sure your neighbors like you and kiss your spouse every morning and treat’em right because the bad times are only beginning.

The blood tide is just starting to wash in, and this corpse will soon be joined by many others.


SWAT Assault Leads to Tragic Death

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2008 4:39 am by HL

SWAT Assault Leads to Tragic Death

Rudy Escobedo, a mentally ill resident of Fort Wayne, Indiana, called 911 “asking for help.”

He said he was on cocaine and Antabuse – a drug given to some alcoholics – and ready to kill himself. He apparently had hallucinations of police already in his home, according to a transcript of the 911 call.

How did police respond to the call for help? Escobedo called at 4:30 a.m. He apparently made five calls after that to a police cell phone, but the battery was dead. At some point he apparently had some conversations with the police in which he was asked to “surrender.” His responses were “erratic,” as one might expect from a mentally ill suicidal man. By 8:30 a.m., officers decided to use overwhelming force to break into Escobedo's home.

This happened after police halted communications with him, released 12 times the normal incapacitating dose of tear gas into his apartment and launched a flash-bang grenade into his room that exploded near his head.

[more …]

After the flash grenade exploded, “police were able to gain access to his bedroom through a barricaded door, at which point they found him in the closet.”

What happened next isn't clear.

Officer Brian Martin put a flashlight on Escobedo, yelled to the other officers Escobedo had a gun to his head and ordered him to drop the gun. Escobedo didn’t, according to court documents, and began pointing the gun at Martin.

Martin fired four to five shots from his Glock and struck Escobedo in the chest. Officer Jason Brown claimed to have seen Escobedo point his gun at Martin and fired bean bags at him. Martin said in court documents Escobedo dropped the gun in between his legs and slumped forward. That’s when Martin unloaded another volley of shots into Escobedo.

“He just, he went forward and he kind of went off to, he kind of flopped to his side a little bit. And, and just that was about it, man. He was done,” said Martin in an interview with detectives afterward.

No, Officer Martin, he wasn't done. He was dead.

Apart from his mental illness, why might Escobedo not have dropped his gun when ordered to do so? The flash grenade provides one plausible answer.

[O]ne expert in police tactics … believe[s] he was probably deaf and blind at the time of his death, according to a lawsuit filed by Escobedo’s family in December 2005 and still tied up in federal court.

There was no reason to make a SWAT-style, aggressive entry into a residence that held only one person who wasn't threatening to harm anyone else. If the idea was to prevent Escobedo from harming himself, the aggressive tactics certainly accomplished that result. The harm was caused by the volley of police bullets, not by Escobedo. As Escobedo's family puts it:

“Escobedo was treated not as a mentally disturbed citizen in need of help, but as a terrorist.”

Unfortunately, a federal judge presiding over the family's lawsuit “absolved the city and the officers who fired the fatal shots of any responsibility in Escobedo’s death.” That's probably not surprising since the only witness who could contradict the officers' version of events is Escobedo, who was in no position to testify. Still, the officers' version is damning in itself.

At this point, at least, the lawsuit will move forward to “decide whether some members of the police department used excessive force in firing the tear gas and storming the apartment.” The City is appealing that decision, probably with the argument that the police should be immune from their alleged misconduct because the law isn't sufficiently clear that the force used was excessive under the circumstances. The “qualified immunity” defense too often prevents police officers and governmental officials from being held accountable for their poor judgment. Let's hope that Escobedo's family gets some measure of justice from this lawsuit, and that the Fort Wayne police are induced to rethink their aggressive approach to home invasions.


Morning thought

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2008 4:38 am by HL

Morning thought
What always gets me about conservative policies is the way they make all the problems they purport to solve worse, thus generating the “need” to do more of the same. For example, being “tough on crime” actually creates more tough criminals, so then you “need” to have more severe (and more expensive) policies and more prisons and get even tougher.

It’d be nice if people finally started to see through this scam.

Signed,
Not Atrios


Chomsky: Bush & Cheney Always Saw Iraq as a Sweetheart Oil Deal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

Chomsky: Bush & Cheney Always Saw Iraq as a Sweetheart Oil Deal
U.S. war planners want an obedient client state that will house major U.S. military bases, right at the heart of the world’s major energy reserves.


A Typical Day in the Wild West Bank

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2008 4:36 am by HL

A Typical Day in the Wild West Bank
The deteriorating situation in the West Bank is somewhat of a forgotten story at the moment, but deteriorating it is. A random look at stories that appeared in yesterday’s press show how dreadful the situation has become. It is on…


Senate OK’s New Wiretapping Law

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

Senate OK’s New Wiretapping Law
The Senate overwhelmingly approved a new federal wiretapping law this afternoon by a vote of 69-28. After last month’s approval of a similar measure in the House, today’s vote essentially clears the way for the bill to go to the…


The Week in Blog: Timetables Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2008 4:34 am by HL

The Week in Blog: Timetables Edition

The latest edition of The Week in Blog is up at Bloggingheads.tv, where we discuss Obama’s consistency, T. Boone Pickens’ admission that we can’t drill our way to energy independence, and the brand new Health Care for America Now coalition. Check it out below.


Dems won’t jail Rove: ex-Bush aide

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2008 4:33 am by HL

Dems won’t jail Rove: ex-Bush aide
Karl Rove refused this week to testify before Congress about the politically-motivated prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee has now voted overwhelmingly to reject Rove’s claim that as a former “close advisor to the president” he is “constitutionally immune” from having to testify…


ThinkFast: July 11, 2008

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 12th, 2008 4:32 am by HL

ThinkFast: July 11, 2008
In “a troubling sign of global warming,” European scientists say that a large plate of floating ice shelf attached to Antarctica appears to be breaking up. The European Space Agency said yesterday that satellite images show that Wilkins Ice Shelf is “hanging by its last thread,” which could “put the remainder of the ice shelf […]

anar.jpg

In “a troubling sign of global warming,” European scientists say that a large plate of floating ice shelf attached to Antarctica appears to be breaking up. The European Space Agency said yesterday that satellite images show that Wilkins Ice Shelf is “hanging by its last thread,” which could “put the remainder of the ice shelf at risk.”

“The Bush administration has decided not to take any new steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before the president leaves office, despite pressure from the Supreme Court and broad accord among senior federal officials that new regulation is appropriate now.” The EPA will announce today that it will instead “seek months of further public comment on the threat posed by global warming.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her fellow House Democratic leaders “took a hard line Thursday against opening up restricted areas to oil production.” She “said the government must first press oil companies to explore the federal land they have already leased.”

A secret report by the International Red Cross concluded last year that the CIA’s interrogation methods for high-level detainees “constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book by New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer. The report found that the methods used on al Qaeda figure Abu Zubaydah were “categorically” torture.

On the trail today: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will hold a women-only forum in Hudson, WI. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will attend a town hall meeting in Dayton, OH, at Stivers High school. (more…)