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Holding The Seat For Gabby

In an election to fill former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., congressional seat, Democratic candidate Ron Barber, middle, pauses as he celebrates a victory with Giffords, right, and his wife Nancy Barber, left, as he addresses supporters at a post election event, Tuesday, in Tucson, Ariz. Gabrielle Giffords' former district director ran, in a special election for the seat Giffords left in January to focus on her recovery from a gunshot wound to her head during a gunman's shooting spree a year earlier.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, pool)

A Hug For A Courageous Woman

President Barack Obama greets retiring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. on Capiotl Hill in Washington, Tuesday, prior to delivering his State of the Union address. Story here. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Question: Have you been inspired by Gabby Giffords fight to overcome her grievous wound from a would-be assassin's bullet?

Giffords To Resign Congress Post

In this Jan. 8 AP file photo, U.S Rep. Gabrielle Giffords recites the "Pledge of Allegiance" alongside her husband Mark Kelly, right, Ron Barber, far right, and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, left, at the start of a vigil at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., on Sunday. The day marked the one year anniversary of the shootings at the Safeway in Tucson. Now, Giffords has announced that she will stepped down from her elected position to concentrate on her rehabilitation. Story here. (AP Photo/The Republic, David Wallace)

Question: Did Gabrielle Giffords make the right decision?

Gabrielle Giffords Memoir Coming Out

This image provided by Scibner shows the cover of the joint memoir of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, titled "Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope." The book, written with "The Last Lecture" co-author Jeffrey Zaslow, is coming out on Nov. 15. (AP Photo/Scribner)

Question: Would you be interested in reading this book?

Gabrielle Giffords Back For Debt Vote

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., appears on the floor of the House of Representatives this afternoon in Washington. Giffords was on the floor for the first time since her shooting earlier this year, attending a vote on the debt standoff compromise. (AP Photo/House Television)

DFO: Simply amazing!

Giffords To See Space Shuttle Launch

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has boarded a jet in Houston to travel to Florida to see her husband's space shuttle launch. Giffords chief of staff Pia Carusone confirmed to The Associated Press that she and the congresswoman have boarded a plane in Houston. She declined to comment further, except to say she will be flying with Giffords and they will arrive in Cape Canaveral/Associated Press. More here.

Question: What do you make of this amazing development?

Good News: Giffords speaks

FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Giffords, left, is shown with her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly

Gabrielle Giffords’ simple request for a piece of toast for breakfast this week signaled a milestone in her recovery – because she asked for it with spoken words.

The Arizona congresswoman, severely wounded when she was shot in the head at a public event a month ago, has been speaking “more and more each day,” said C.J. Karamargin, one of her congressional aides.

Karamargin could not give specifics about the extent of her speech abilities or when she said her first words, but he said the development points to Giffords’ fighting spirit.

“It’s another one of these small miracles that we’re seeing that have been happening throughout this ordeal,” he said. Full story.

Have you been following Giffords' progress?

Giffords’ Husband To Go Into Space

The astronaut husband of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has made his choice. He's headed to space in April. An official close to the space shuttle program confirmed Friday morning that astronaut Mark Kelly will be aboard Endeavour for its final flight. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information has not yet been made public. Kelly is holding a news conference at Johnson Space Center in Houston on Friday afternoon. He took a leave from training after his wife was shot in the head outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket as she met with constituents on Jan. 8/Marcia Dunn, AP. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Did Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of Rep. Gabrille Giffords, make the right decision?

Dogwalk: Time To Put Tucson Behind

I am deeply sorry for the tradgedy that befell Gabrielle Giffords.  I couldn't be more pleased that her recovery thus far seems remarkable.  Other than that I'm getting tired of hearing about it as if she were some sort of fallen diety. She is not.  She's a Congresswoman from Arizona who, before the shooting, few, outside Congress and her state, were even aware of who she was.  It's time to move on. One of her fellow Democrats, Loretta Sanchez, D CA, even went so far as to suggest she should be removed from the Armed Services Committee until (and if) she recovers from her injuries. It seems some were outraged at the suggestion, saying it was bad for morale while she was recovering. Why?/Dogwalk Musings. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Do you agree with Dogwalk Musings that it's time to move on from Tucson tragedy? Or is it still too soon?

Tucson Suspect Pleads Innocent

In this artist rendering, Jared Lee Loughner, right, makes a court appearance with his lawyer, Judy Clarke, at the Sandra Day O'Connor United States Courthouse in Phoenix, Ariz., this morning. Loughner pled not guilty to charges he tried to kill U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz, in a shooting rampage that left six people dead. Clarke has represented Joseph Edward Duncan in the Groene-McKinzie murders and kidnappings and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. Story here. (AP Photo/Bill Robles)

Another Shooting Victim Laid To Rest

Jessica Dewitt of Phoenix is dressed as an angel outside the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church for the funeral of Judge John Roll earlier today in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Hunter haunted by local shooting comment

OUTDOOR ETHICS — During a public meeting Tuesday in Spokane attended mostly by hunters and anglers, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department Director Phil Anderson was asked why the state isn't more aggressive about killing wolves.

Anderson explained the recent federal court ruling that returned the gray wolf to the endangered species list. He said gray wolves were under federal jurisdiction at this time, leaving states few lethal control options to manage wolves.

To that, a man in the audience blurted out, “Why don’t we shoot some legislators?”

Several people gasped. Anderson stood speechless at the front of the room.

A few men quietly commented “That’s not funny,” and “You can’t say that.”

Bravo to those who didn't let it slide. 

But It seemed that one hunter should have stood up, commanded everyone’s attention, and said, “Excuse me. Before we continue, it’s important to point out that comment was deeply disrespectful to all elected officials and just as deeply offensive to anyone who calls himself a sportsman.”

More of my thoughts on this incident are in coming Saturday on the newspaper's op-ed page.

Meantime:  Your thoughts?

Funeral Held For Youngest Victim

Mourners line the road to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, the site of Christina Taylor Green's funeral in Tucson, Ariz. Thursday. Story here. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher)

ICB: Obama Led Us Thursday Night

As you know I have never been much of an Obama fan.  I disagree with him on just about everything and I have been quite critical of him and his policies on these pages over the years but, yes believe it or not there is a but …. Tonight something unexpected happened.  While I watched the President speak at the the Memorial Service in Tucson, he came across to me as Presidential and I found myself agreeing with him.  After the first few minutes of his speech I kept saying in my mind, Please Mr. President don’t screw it up with needless political posturing.  I was proud of him that he didn’t/Idaho Conservative Blogger. More here.

Question: Are you surprised Idaho Conservative Blogger would praise President Obama's speech?

How Giffords Survived Bullet To Brain

It looks like Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is one of the lucky ones. Few people who take a bullet to the brain - just 10 percent - survive such a devastating wound. Yet doctors have reported the critically injured woman has been making steady progress each day since she was wounded last weekend. Then Wednesday night - with her closest friends from Congress holding her hand - Giffords opened her eyes for the first time. "It was raw courage. It was raw strength. It was so beautiful and so moving," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. "She wanted us to know that she was with us a hundred percent and understood everything we were saying"/Alicia Chang, AP science writer. More here. (AP file photo: Emergency personnel and intern Daniel Hernandez move Congresswoman Giffords after she was shot in the head outside a shopping center in Tucson, Ariz.)

Question: Do you have a friend or loved one who miraculously survived an injury or illness?

Palin Calls Attacks ‘Blood Libel’

Sarah Palin today accused her opponents of manufacturing a "blood libel" by suggesting her rhetoric and campaign tactics had anything to do with the Arizona shootings. Four days after an incident which left six people dead and critically injured the congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Palin released a video statement condemning the attack. She denied that a now infamous campaign map showing Giffords's electoral district in the cross hairs of a gun had influenced the shooter Jared Lee Loughner. In an attack on her accusers, she said: "Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible"/Matthew Weaver, The Guardian. More here.

Reaction?

AIB: Nothing Woulda Stopped Nut

Almost Innocent Bystander: I get weary of people wanting to blame Sarah Palin, for pete's sake, this guy prayed to a skull in a tent in his back yard. The only voices he heeded were the ones in his head. No political commentary from the left or the right were going to contain or expand his madness. Oh, and btw, he's a pot smoking Marxist whose girlfriend broke up with him. How about we outlaw Marx and girlfriends before we stick it to law abiding folks who own guns? I did admire Diane Sawyer for being somewhat astonished at the lame brain Sheriff down there, so some in the media have been responsible, it's a start.

Cis: Media Gave Killer What He Wants

But when I see the picture of the young man in the paper, I have got to say, I am not only upset with him even in his demented state of mind … but also with the Media … To me, the picture says it all. There he is in his range, with a big smile on his face … like he got what he wanted. MEDIA COVERAGE. He doesn’t have the demeanor of say the Unbomber, (which by the way, his lawyer has stepped up to the plate to be a lawyer for this mental case.) No head bowed like one usually is … when someone thinks the government is taking over his mind, and other claims by this person. No anger of say, like McVeigh, but it appears to be the, I am enjoying all of this attention. Sad on so many levels/Cis, From A Simple Mind. More here.

Question: How do you think the media have handled the Tucson shootings?

Ariz. suspect could get Duncan’s lawyer

A well-known anti-death penalty lawyer tapped to represent alleged Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner led child-killer Joseph Duncan's defense team during his 2008 trial in Boise.

Judy Clarke, formerly federal defender for Eastern Washington and Idaho, has also defended Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, child-killer Susan Smith and domestic terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Eric Robert Rudolph.

Clarke (pictured in 2007) was present during Duncan's death penalty trial in Boise, where he represented himself as his team of court-appointed lawyers stood by. They had earlier tried to leave Duncan's case, saying their participation would violate their professional ethics.

"We are not gunslingers who do the bidding of someone who does not have a rational understanding," Clarke told U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge.

Lodge declined Clarke's request.

Clarke currently is a lawyer in San Diego, where she has also been a federal defender.

She was called on over the weekend to defend Loughner, who is accused of shooting U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during an event in Tucson on Saturday. He's also accused of killing six others, including U.S. District Judge John Roll.

Clarke worked in Eastern Washington and Idaho from 1992 to June 2002. Her husband, Speedy Rice, was an instructor at Gonzaga Law School. She has twice argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and named one of her dogs in honor of former Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas.

Read an in-depth profile on Clarke from 1996 here.

A Moment Of Silence

State Rep. Greg Morris observes a moment of silence with his son Jonathan, 8, for the shooting that injured U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Gifford, D-Ariz., at the beginning of the new session of the Georgia House of Representatives Monday in Atlanta. A somber President Barack Obama led a moment of silence on Monday for a nation stunned by an attempted assassination against an Arizona congresswoman that left her gravely wounded, several other injured and six people dead. The flag over the Idaho Capitol was ordered flown at half staff today in wake of the Arizona shootings here. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Hallelujah revisited…

 

Good morning, Netizens…

 

Before I even begin to wander through the malaise of claims and counter-claims surrounding the shootings in Tucson, Arizona this morning, because I feel compelled to be cautious in condemnation, slow to commit judgment and unswerving in my belief that despite all that horror that took place near a Safeway Store, I must be true to myself. Leonard Cohen is perhaps one person who has had the most influence on how and when I developed my philosophy of life. The first time I heard him sing Suzanne live in New York I knew I had found a mentor, a spiritual guide who could help me unravel all the internal anger and confusion of my youth.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lNXyT_4itQ&feature=related

 

But this morning, as Arizona's Representative Gabrielle Giffords fights for her life in a hospital bed, even that song cannot reach past the outrage I feel at what Jared Loughner did in his act of anger and violence, who indiscriminately killed six people including an innocent child, perhaps Mr. Cohen's song that most-strongly reaches into my psyche is “Hallelujah”, here performed at Helsinki.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EidJV2mb9h8&NR=1

 

Then, in Cohen's own words, I must reflect upon:

 

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

 

At this ungodly hour of the morning, although I cannot cry for the faceless dead, the injured dwelling in hospital beds crying out in their pain, all I can say is Hallelujah and thank Leonard Cohen for setting my philosophy straight just one time more.

 

It is time we learn that words have power, and that they can destroy as easily as they uplift our souls.

 

Dave

Tragedy in Arizona

We live in a free and open society, and I doubt many of us would give that up in return for the efficiency of a dictatorship. 

Our freedom lets us say, write and do pretty much anything in reason and go where we want. It also generally allows us to abuse our freedom before it's taken away. It leaves us generally unable to prevent events like Saturday's act of violence outside Tucson. Those who say this is a consequence of free speech are confusing correlation with cause and effect.  In fact, free speech and Saturday's shooting are both consequences of our free and open society.

We need to keep that in mind when we decide how to react to a horrible incident.