Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stephen Colbert Gets His Super PAC

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 11:30 AM

I really like Stephen Colbert, I think his show is quite funny, but I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry, now that he can raise and spend an unlimited amount of money in future elections with very few restrictions:

Colbert’s request was part of a long-running satire by the Comedy Central host poking fun at loosened campaign finance rules. But Colbert himself said very little during the hearing, leaving most of the talking up to his attorney, Trevor Potter, and to FEC commissioners.

Meaning there were almost no jokes at all.

“If we had viewed this as just a funny request, that would have been a lot easier,” said Ellen Weintraub, a Democratic FEC member.

The real parody came outside the FEC building, where Colbert began accepting donations from fans for the Colbert Super PAC.

“Some people have said, ‘Is this some kind of joke?’ ” Colbert told the crowd. “I for one don’t think participating in democracy is a joke.”

[...]

“Today we put liberty on lay-away,” he quipped in a series of one-liners to the throng.

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Ron Barber Returning To Work in Giffords' Office

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' office announces that District Director Ron Barber will be returning to work on a part-time basis next week:

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ district director, Ron Barber, will return to work next week, almost six months after he suffered serious injuries in the Jan. 8 shooting.

Barber, who supervises 11 employees in Giffords’ offices in Tucson and Sierra Vista, will work halftime while continuing to undergo rehabilitation to help him fully recover from his wounds.

Barber will return to Giffords’ district office, 3945 E. Fort Lowell Road, Suite 211, at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 5.

Ron Barber
  • Ron Barber
“I have been working and planning for this day since I was injured in January,” Barber said. “I have missed my colleagues in the congresswoman’s office and am ready to rejoin them as we continue offering services to the people of Congressional District 8. I very much look forward to the day Congresswoman Giffords herself will be able to return to work.”

Barber, 65, was shot twice, once in the left cheek and once in the left thigh. He was hospitalized in the intensive care unit of University Medical Center, where Giffords also was treated. Barber was discharged after six days in the hospital.

The bullet that struck Barber in the cheek exited from the back of his neck, barely missing his spinal column. The shot that struck him in the thigh caused far more serious medical problems and has hampered his ability to walk. Barber has only limited feeling in the lower part of his left leg and continues to undergo physical therapy.

Doctors have said that Barber likely would have died if bystander Anna Ballis had not stepped forward and applied pressure to his thigh wound. In an interview soon after the shooting, Barber said of Ballis, “I just remember her coming to my aid after I was down. … Had she not been there, I would have probably bled to death right there on the ground.”

Six people died in the shooting including Barber’s colleague, Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords’ community outreach director. Both Barber and Zimmerman had been working for Giffords since she first took office in January 2007.

Continue reading »

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Adventures in Bad Ideas: FBI Edition

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 10:30 AM

NPR's Morning Edition ran a story yesterday that was a little surprising, to say the least. As part of training in how to stay focused when dealing with a person you have a "strong, visceral disagreement" with, the FBI invited representatives of a certain Kansas based hate group to speak to their trainees:

At a minimum, the timing was terrible.

Westboro was engaged in a legal battle with the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. The father filed suit against the church after it protested at his son's military funeral. A Maryland district court ordered the church to pay nearly $11 million in damages, saying the demonstrations caused "emotional distress, intrusion upon seclusion and civil conspiracy."

An appeals court overturned the decision. Then around the time that Westboro leaders were at Quantico, the Supreme Court ruled that the church was allowed to continue its mocking protests outside military funerals because it's protected by the First Amendment.

The top brass at the FBI only found out about the Westboro invitations after more than 200 officers and agents had attended the sessions. Almost immediately afterward, the officers and agents sent memos asking why the group had been invited.

The FBI official responsible for bringing in the church group did not want to be identified by name. He said he found the group personally distasteful, but thought police and FBI agents needed to learn how to engage people they disagreed with and find ways to build relationships with them.

He conceded that inviting a group that pickets military funerals to a military base was, at best, problematic. Officials said it was one of the reasons the fourth session took place at the FBI facility in Manassass.

The FBI has invited other controversial figures to speak to trainees in the past, including former members of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.

I can think of a few different circumstances that I'd like to see members of that organization speaking to FBI, but not really as part of a training exercise.

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Follow the Money: Democrats Lead Republicans in City Council Campaign Fundraising

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 9:31 AM

When it comes to fundraising in the Tucson City Council races, the incumbents definitely have the advantage, according the latest campaign finance reports covering contributions and spending through May 31.

Take Ward 1, where Democratic incumbent Regina Romero is facing a primary challenge from Democrat Joe Flores.

Romero had already raised $43,500 as of May 31 and applied for matching funds, which will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for her private contributions. As we reported weeks ago, that means that Romero is essentially done with fundraising.

Flores, a political newcomer, has raised only $2,291 by the end of May and has loaned his campaign another $,2623. He had just $2,030 in the bank at the end of the reporting period.

In Ward 2, Democratic incumbent Paul Cunningham had a big lead over Republican challenger Jennifer Rawson.

Cunningham had raised $16,711 and has qualified for matching funds. His campaign manager, Curtis Dutiel, told The Range earlier this month that Cunningham had received an additional $11,000 in matching funds since the report was filed and had roughly $23,000 in cash on hand.

His GOP opponent, Jennifer Rawson, reported raising $1,432 and had $665 in the bank at the end of the reporting period.

In Ward 4, incumbent Councilwoman Shirley Scott has raised just $15,861, putting her in last place among her council colleagues. She had just under $11,000 left in the bank and has yet to apply to qualify for matching funds.

But her GOP challenger, Tyler Vogt, had raised just $4,797 and had only $1,886 in the bank.

Continue reading »

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Scientology Had Their Own Terrible 90's Religious Music

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Nearly all music from 1990 has a weird distant feel at this point, but this leaked video from the Scientology archives is particularly bad. Catch organization head and very nice man (according to several terse emails I received) David Miscavige wearing a very strange sweater around 2:45!

[Laughing Squid]

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TucsonWeeklyTV.com - Inside Al's Barber Shop

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Bilal Muhammad looks at life for a female barber in the male dominated world of the barbershop.

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Chicago Tribune: Marshall Home's Legal Mumbo-Jumbo Continues

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 5:03 PM

I don't have much time to spare on former "mayoral candidate" Marshall Home and JB says Gibson can't take over the beat, so we're outsourcing the coverage to Rum, Romanism and Rebellion, which is doing a fine job of keeping track of Home here and here.

We appreciate your efforts, Tedski, especially when they lead to a Chicago Tribune story as amusing as this:


Early on in the proceedings at a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago, Apostolou's Chicago lawyer, Zane Smith, reiterated to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Pamela Hollis that his firm isn't connected to Marshall Home. Home has filed papers saying that he has a $150 million lien against Giordano's.

"I can only describe Mr. Home's filings as wacky," Smith told the judge. He added that he has seen no evidence of a loan between Home and Apostolou. Giordano's main creditor, Fifth Third Bank, is owed $45 million.

Hollis concluded the same thing after Home was sworn to testify. She also noted his "Incomprehensible" filings in the case.

Apostolou, a Greek immigrant who lost control of Giordano's in the bankruptcy filing after he fired his first lawyer and struck up a relationship with Home, then was sworn in to testify. During which he said he had signed documents for Home but had never borrowed or lent him any money.

Then the judge asked Home to answer questions under oath, reminding him that what he said could have serious consequences.

"And vice versa," Home said.

"Who are you threatening?" the judge asked Home. She also asked Home to stop interrupting her and mentioned Apostolou's testimony that he received no money from Home.

After the exchanged continued, three guards escorted Home out of the hearing.

Remember: This is the guy who did get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. (Such a shame he lives outside the city limits.)

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Rothschild Raises More Than $160K for Mayoral Campaign

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Mayoral candidate Jonathan Rothschild has raised more than $160,000 for his mayoral campaign—which is a whole lot of cheese, especially since, as it now stands, he'll only face a Green Party candidate. (Republicans are talking about fielding a write-in candidate in the primary in order to get a GOP candidate in the general election.)

If you feel like checking out the reports, you can find them here.

Here's the press release from the Rothschild campaign:

Continue reading »

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