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      **GUEST POST By Eric Anderson** If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are. — Wendell Berry I’ve thought a lot about immigration in my time, and confess, I’ve never thought very highly of it. Which, of late, seems to be an extremely unpopular position among liberals. But it’s not that […]
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Friday Morning News and Views

Good Morning, Conflucians!!! TGIF!

I haven’t been feeling that great. I don’t know if it’s a cold or flu, but I’ve been a little out of it for the past few days. I got home from my morning classes yesterday and went right to bed. I slept through a good part of the afternoon, and then read for awhile, went back to sleep around 8PM, and slept right through the night. Fortunately I have next week off for spring break. Anyway, current events have continued onward while I’ve been acting like a zombie.

Gunman killed after shooting 2 police officers at Pentagon entrance

The shooter, identified as 36-year-old John Patrick Bedell, was dressed in a business suit and carried two 9-millimeter semi-automatic weapons and “many magazines” of ammunition, Keevill said at a 6 a.m. news conference. “He walked very directly to the officers and engaged,” Keevill said.

The officers were superficially wounded, one in the shoulder and one in the thigh, the police chief said. Both were treated at George Washington University Hospital in Northwest Washington and released.

They and a third officer returned fire at Bedell, critically wounding him in the head, said Keevill, chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. Bedell died at George Washington University Hospital.

Keevill said police and the FBI are examining surveillance video that shows Bedell as he approached the Pentagon, and have tracked his road trip from the Washington area to California over the last several weeks. They impounded his car, located at a nearby parking garage, and are processing the evidence found inside of it, including more ammunition.

“At this time it appears to be a single individual that had issues,” Keevill said. He emphasized that law enforcement officials have found no link between Bedell and any terror group in the United States or overseas.

According to MSNBC Bedell was a 9/11 “truther.”

In an Internet posting, a user by the name JPatrickBedell wrote that he was “determined to see that justice is served” in the death of Marine Col. James Sabow, who was found dead in the back yard of his California home in 1991. The death was ruled a suicide but the case has long been the source of theories of a coverup.

The user named JPatrickBedell wrote the Sabow case was “a step toward establishing the truth of events such as the September 11 demolitions.”

That same posting railed against the government’s enforcement of marijuana laws and included links to the author’s 2006 court case in Orange County, Calif., for cultivating marijuana and resisting a police officer. Court records available online show the date of birth on the case mentioned by the user JPatrickBedell matches that of the John Patrick Bedell suspected in the shooting.

Apparently, a rumor has been going around that SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts is going to retire. Radar on line first reported that he was retiring, and then corrected the story to say he was just stepping down as Chief Justice. Another blog, Above the Law, offered an explanation for how this rumor got started.

Everyone is wondering: Where did that erroneous rumor of an imminent retirement by Chief Justice John Roberts come from? The gossip spread like wildfire, triggering thousands of texts, blog posts, and emails — a few hundred of them to the ATL tips line — before Radar, which first published the rumor, retracted its report.

We were skeptical, which is one reason why we didn’t write about the gossip as quickly as some other outlets. We reached out to the Supreme Court’s Public Information Office after we heard the rumor, and we didn’t want to write about it until we heard back from the PIO (or at least gave them a little time to respond).

The post goes on to say that the rumor started in a class at Georgetown University law school. A professor made the announcement at the beginning of a class on informants not providing sources for information given to the media. At the end of class, the prof explained that the rumor wasn’t true, but in the meantime, students were texting their friends and media sources. Washington DC really is just a little village, isn’t it?

The New York Times is gloating because they may force David Paterson to resign as New York Governor.

Gov. David A. Paterson lost another top administration official on Thursday, when his communications director announced that he could no longer “in good conscience” continue in that role for the governor.

The official, Peter E. Kauffmann, submitted his resignation the day after he was interviewed for several hours by prosecutors from the office of Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, which is investigating the administration’s response to a domestic violence case involving another top aide to the governor, David W. Johnson.

In Massachusetts, Democratic Rep. William Delahunt has decided not to seek reelection in the wake of revelations about his office’s mishandling of the 1986 shooting of Seth Bishop by his older sister, Amy Bishop. Delahunt was Norfolk County District Attorney at the time.

Amy Bishop went on to earn a PhD from Harvard and become a Professor of Biology at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She recently shot six of her biology department colleagues after they rejected her tenure application. Three of the shooting victims died, and two are still in the hospital. Of course, Delahunt claim his sudden change of heart has nothing to do with politics at all. He just wants to spend more time with his grandchildren. Sure.

In other Amy Bishop news, a possible new source of influence that Bishop’s mother may have had with then Police Chief John Polio, is suggested by a commenter on this WBUR (NPR) story: Boeri: Bishop Story Has More Holes Than A Sieve

Judy Bishop’s maiden name was Sanborn. (Judy Bishop is first cousin to novelist John Irving, their mothers having been (Winslow) sisters before marriage.)

The name Sanborn has a place in Braintree police department history. A Forrest Sanborn, who died in 1984, was in the department. I’ve heard it said that he was a lieutenant.

It seems certain that some, perhaps all, of the Lieutenant-and-higher officers in 1986, including Chief Polio, would have known him. So far I’ve not seen anyone say, one way or the other, that Judy Sanborn Bishop was related to that Forrest Sanborn. Would be interesting to know their familial relationship, if any.

Another commenter claims to have known Bishop in high school:

My family knew the Bishop Family, we went to the same church for years, I also graduated Braintree High the same year as Amy.

She was a very volatile teen-ager. I remember going to her house with my Mom and she was in her room and never came out, not even to say hello. Seth was a bit younger than we were but I remeber him, he was very smart and a sweet kid, much better adjusted than Amy was to regular social settings.

I also feel this is a cover-up by the family and a bungled investigation by all departments of the police that were involved. I believe that Judy Bishop told my mother they had lost Seth but that they did not want to lose Amy.

Mrs. Bishop did have connections in town, if not at the town level then in the County. That angle needs to be researched further, who would walk into the Braintree Ploice Station and demand to see the Chief.

Not that Chief Polio didn’t have his problems with the town, and his own police officers. Evidenced by Braintree’s search for a new chief after he retired.

There is more to this story if someone wants to do the work to dig it up.

I’ve been finding that the comments on these Bishop stories is sometimes more interesting than the stories themselves. Massachusetts communities tend to be very insular, just small towns really, even though the are part of a huge metropolitan area.

Let’s see, what else is happening? The White House appears to be chickening out on trying the 9/11 plotters in the civil courts.

President Obama’s advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.

The president’s advisers feel increasingly hemmed in by bipartisan opposition to a federal trial in New York and demands, mainly from Republicans, that Mohammed and his accused co-conspirators remain under military jurisdiction, officials said. While Obama has favored trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law, critics have said military tribunals are the appropriate venue for those accused of attacking the United States.

If Obama accepts the likely recommendation of his advisers, the White House may be able to secure from Congress the funding and legal authority it needs to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and replace it with a facility within the United States. The administration has failed to meet a self-imposed one-year deadline to close Guantanamo.

At Alternet, there is a debate between Chris Hedges of Truthdig and Michael Lerner of Tikkun: Should Progressives Give Up on Obama? Chris Hedges vs. Rabbi Lerner

I haven’t read it yet, but it sounds interesting. So what are you reading this morning? I need help to catch up on the news I’ve missed! Post links freely in the comments and

HAVE A FABULOUS FRIDAY!!!!!!!

Eric Massa

I met Eric Massa in Las Vegas in 2006 at the first YearlyKos convention.  He was milling around the lobby of the Riviera, trying to round up people to walk down the street to the tackiest bar you’ve ever seen for a drink.  I thought he was buying.  As we sat in the faux fur covered lounge pit groups around a blazing fire, in a scene that was more like apres ski cross pollinated with Hooters, Eric Massa delivered a riveting stump speech.  He was an energetic, charismatic, full monty, unapologetic politician with principles.  At the end of it, he asked for twenty bucks from all of the rag tag followers hoping to get a free beer from him.  I ponied up my share, bought my own drink and thought it was money well spent.

I wasn’t at all surprised when he won his district in 2008.  But I was very surprised that there are allegations of harrassment against him.  Call me a cockeyed, pollyannaish type but I’m not buying it.  In fact, I am not the kind of person who thinks everyone has a heart of incorruptible gold.  Most people have something they would prefer to hide from the world.  There’s  a Stranger lurking in the dark recesses of every human soul. But this ethics charge doesn’t quite ring true.  All of the breathless reports from  Politico and WaPo sound more like tabloid journalism.  It’s all extremely vague.  Someone said something about something else and they were brought to the ethics committee in chains and forced under duress to suggest that there was something going on.  Well, what can you expect from Politico?  You know where they stand.  They’re the Fox news of what appears to be legitimate political journalism.  They specialize in rumor, innuendo and wild speculation.

I can do wild speculation too.  So, here’s my best guess as to why Eric Massa is retiring.  He bucked his leadership on the health care reform bill.  He held out for single payer.  Being a Navy vet, he probably sees the benefits to a single payer system. (We should at least explore the idea)  And now he is being made a poster child for what happens to you if you cross Steny Hoyer.  Maybe they told him he wouldn’t get any help from the home team in his re-election bid this fall.  Massa comes from a swing district.  Just to put the cherry on the sundae, Hoyer follows up on Massa’s announcement by idly speculating on the ethics charges.  It *almost* sounds like he’s instigating whoever is making them to go to the ethics committee and report Massa.  Now, why would you knife one of your own like that?  Presumably, you still need Massa’s votes for upcoming bills, at least until he actually goes back to NY.  Maybe it’s because Massa isn’t expected to cooperate on much of anything Hoyer wants, to which I say, good for Massa.

But it must be putting a chill on anyone else who doesn’t want to play the establishment political game.  Step out of line and not only will we make your re-election difficult, we’ll ruin your reputation and your family life.  Nice.

Well, I’ll just leave it at that.  What more is there to say?  I hope that Massa hasn’t suffered a relapse of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and I really hope that the ethics charges are a whole lot of sound an fury signifying nothing.  But I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see  Congresscritters with a lot less determination than Massa cave to the demands of the House leadership on health care reform.  Let’s face it, most of them are craven, don’t-rock-the-boat, let’s-all-get-along, student council types anyway.  Even the bravest among them still want to be loved by their friends.  They’ll cave.

Good luck, Eric.  We’ll miss you.