Feb 032011

Feb 032011

The House Oversight Committee Watchdogs are working to hold government accountable to taxpayers and deliver a more efficient, effective government. This time, we sat down with Oversight Watchdog Tim Walberg (R-MI) to discuss how his oversight work serves Michigan’s 7th Congressional District, his favorite founding father and even what he does when the time comes off at the end of the day. Hope you enjoy meeting your taxpayer watchdogs!

Feb 032011

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — Will he fly or not?

There are hints that astronaut Mark Kelly will blast into space in April, as commander of Endeavour’s final voyage. That would mean leaving his wounded wife, Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, to continue her rehab without him for at least a few weeks.

She has limited movement on her right side, and no one has said if she can speak. She was shot in the head not quite a month ago in an attack by a gunman.

Kelly tweeted on Wednesday:

“Today was a huge day for GG. Lots of progress!”

Kelly’s decision to take a risky rocket ride so early in her recovery may seem startling. But those who know the couple, as well as doctors and rehabilitation experts, say it’s a personal choice. And for this modern, high-powered couple, not an extreme one.

“I don’t think he can lose either way,” said Dr. Louann Brizendine, a psychiatrist at the University of California at San Francisco and author of “The Male Brain” and “The Female Brain.”

If he decides to go, she said, people will understand that it’s for a short period of time. “It’s a one-time opportunity perhaps for him. It’s what he’s trained to do, and also he would only leave if he knew she was in super-good care,” Brizendine said. “So I don’t think he’ll get terribly criticized if he goes.”

On the other hand, if he stays, “he would get a lot of praise and a lot of kudos, for staying by her bedside,” she said.

Research shows a strong social support network — family, friends, church or similar — is crucial for rehabilitating patients and improves the outcome.

But that doesn’t mean a spouse has to be there 24-7, 365 days, said Dr. David Lacey, medical director of acute inpatient rehab services at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina.

“You also have to look at what’s normal for the couple,” Lacey said. “If it were my parents who had almost never been apart for the entire 50-some years they were married, all of a sudden changing that structure would be a pretty dramatic impact.”

But what’s normal for Kelly and Giffords, through their three-year marriage, is spending a few weeks apart at a time — he in Houston, she in Washington or her home state of Arizona. However, Kelly, 46, kept vigil at her side in the days immediately after the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson. The rampage outside a supermarket left six dead and 13 injured.

By now, Giffords, 40, should be at a stage where there’s little risk for complications, Lacey noted.

“He has to search deep how he feels about where he’s going to be emotionally five, 10, 20 years from now because she’s going to live through this now,” Lacey said. “No matter what her outcome, whether it’s very positive or not so positive, he’s going to be in this for the long haul. What occurs during that two- to three-four week span of the training and the flight may be insignificant over the next 10 years. Either way.”

The ultimate goal of rehabilitation, experts say, is for the patient and family to get back to a near-normal lifestyle.

The person who knows Kelly best — his identical twin brother Scott — said from orbit Wednesday that Mark is a logical, thoughtful guy who is weighing all the considerations. The two have discussed the options in depth, and Mark is leaning one way, his brother said. NASA management will need to sign off on it, if he decides to fly, said Scott, commander of the International Space Station.

A decision should come “fairly soon,” he told The Associated Press. He declined to elaborate, but stressed the decision will be a good one.

His remarks hinted that his brother will decide to resume training for Endeavour’s flight to the space station.

“If he does choose, and NASA management chooses, for him to fly this mission … I am absolutely 100 percent confident that he will have no problem fulfilling his responsibilities the same way as if this incident would have never occurred,” Scott Kelly told the AP. He said their background as Navy pilots help them separate their personal and work lives.

Read more

Feb 032011

Also See:

{A Love Story} Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly

Feb 032011

Hundreds of thousands of protesters in Egypt take to the streets demanding change from what they perceive to be an unresponsive government. United States President, Barack Hussein Obama is so moved that he calls the President of Egypt urging Mr. Mubarak to step down from his office, perhaps immediately…and assured protesters “we hear your voices”…Think back now to the summer of 2009 when hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Washington DC and cities all across this nation to protest the Obama Healthcare Bill that was passed anyway, against the will of the majority of the American people. Did President Obama take to his all powerful, all seeing, presidential podium and say, “we hear your voices”? No, he didn’t…In fact, the White House unbelievably declared that it wasn’t even aware of the protest rally that received nationwide coverage in advance of the rally. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, “I don’t know who the group is.”

A MUST read the full story at texasgopvote

MRC Exposes ABC:

ABC and reporter John Quinones on Thursday stretched the bounds of journalism, hiring an actor to play a racist security guard as a way of testing how the people of Arizona would react to the state’s “anti-immigration law.”

Previewing the network’s “What Would You Do?” segment for Friday’s 20/20, Quinones explained the undercover concept: “So, I go undercover, pretending to be someone who is about to be arrested and deported, simply by the way I look.”

The piece featured a cartoonish “security guard” harassing Mexican actors in Tucson, Arizona. Presumably, ABC chose a security guard because impersonating a police officer is illegal. The actor walked into a restaurant and spewed, “I’m just looking to make sure these guys are legal citizens. And if they’re not legal citizens, they shouldn’t be here. They should be deported. They look Mexican.”

ABC Sets Up Sting Operation to Find Racism in AZ Immigration Law, Hires Actor to Play a Bigot

Mubarak Tells Obama: ‘You Don’t Understand the Egyptian Culture … Muslim Brotherhood Would Take Over’–Christiane Amanpour Meets With Hosni Mubarak Egyptian president tells Amanpour there will be chaos if he resigns today.

FOX Nation

Feb 032011

Also See from yesterday:

Austin Saad of Egyptian Youth Movement ‘We’re Fighting for our Freedom’

Feb 032011

ABC News reports its producer Brian Hartman, along with photographer Akram Abi-hanna and two other members of the ABC News crew, were surrounded by a group of angry men on a crowded road that leads from Cairo’s airport to the city’s downtown area. The men kidnapped Hartman and crew and threatened to kill them. “We thought we were goners,” Hartman said later. “We absolutely thought we were doomed.”

Hartman said it became clear immediately that the men intended to do them harm:

“They directed our driver to take us down a dark, narrow alleyway. A man sitting next to me with a cigarette dropping ashes on my shoulder….No way, we can’t go down this alley, I told our driver, and he turned off the car.”

The two vehicles were quickly engulfed by men who poured out of the alley. “It gradually escalated, the tension and anger in their voice…. It was pretty clear we were in a threatening situation. People were making gestures and putting their fingers under my throat” and making a slitting motion, he said.

“A man in police uniform came up to me and said, ‘So help me God…. I am going to cut off your head,’” Hartman recalled.

One man was yelling, “Cut their necks now, cut their necks now,” and another pointed an imaginary machine gun at Hartman and made shooting noises.

Hartman later reported the incident–and credited his photographer for negotiating their way to safety–via Twitter: “The men released us only after our camera man appealed to the generous spirit of the Egyptian people, hugging and kissing an elder.”

In a subsequent incident, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour was also surrounded on a roadway (the very same that Hartman had been kidnapped from), but escaped. The potential attack was relayed to ABC executives in New York with brief comments made on a phone call:

“We’re in trouble on the bridge,” was all that was initially said. The bridge is on the same road where Hartman and Abi-hanna were carjacked.

Moments later, the ABC News staffer said, “They’re surrounding us.”

Then cryptically, “We have to go.”


Feb 032011
Ft Hood Shooting Anniversary

WASHINGTON — A Senate report on the Fort Hood shooting is sharply critical of the FBI and its failure to adequately share information with the military about the alleged shooter’s extremist views.

And it says the Pentagon has failed to make necessary changes to identify violent Islamic extremism as a danger so that commanders will more readily watch for it and discharge service members who express those views.

According to portions of the report obtained by The Associated Press, military supervisors had the authority to discipline or discharge Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 in the shootings at the Texas military post in November 2009.

But the report, which was being released Thursday, said the Defense Department did not inform or train commanders about how to recognize someone radicalized to Islamic extremism or how to distinguish that from the peaceful practice of Islam. The report was requested by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and its ranking Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

The enemy — Islamist extremists — must be labeled correctly and explicitly, the report said, in order for the military to counter the extremism. Lieberman made a similar argument last year in a letter to the White House about the need to accurately identify Islamic extremists as the enemy.

In another AP article the report concluded that both the Defense Department and the FBI had sufficient information to detect that Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was a “ticking time bomb” who had been radicalized to violent Islamist extremism, but they failed to understand and act on it. And it said the FBI must learn to better use its intelligence analysts, who might have been able to better connect the dots.

The FBI’s response in their National Press Release:

The FBI recognizes the value of congressional oversight and agrees with much in the report and many of its recommendations. During the internal FBI review undertaken immediately after the attack at Fort Hood, we identified several of the areas of concern outlined in the report, and, as noted in the report, have implemented changes to our systems and processes to address them. We will review each of the report’s recommendations and adopt them, as appropriate.

While concluding that the FBI’s transformation to an intelligence-driven organization remains a work in progress, the report recognizes the FBI’s substantial progress and many successes, led by Joint Terrorism Task Forces, in disrupting terrorist plots by homegrown extremists.

In addition, we look forward to the recommendations of Judge William H. Webster, who is conducting an independent, outside review of the FBI’s actions with respect to Fort Hood. Judge Webster and his team are evaluating the corrective actions taken to determine whether they are sufficient and whether there are other policy or procedural steps the FBI should consider to improve its ability to detect and prevent such threats in the future.

I would like them to explain this to our friends who lost Francheska that day & all the other family members who must live with this terror the rest of their lives…

FILE – In this combo, victims killed during a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas on Nov. 5, 2009 are shown. From top left, Michael Grant Cahill, 62, of Cameron, Texas; Maj. Libardo Eduardo Caraveo, 52, of Woodbridge, Va.; Staff Sgt. Justin M. DeCrow, 32, of Evans, Ga.; Capt. John Gaffaney, 56, of San Diego, Calif.; Spc. Jason Dean Hunt, 22, of Frederick, Okla., Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29, of Kiel, Wis.; Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelka, 19, of West Jordan, Utah; Pfc. Michael Pearson, 22, of Bolingbrook, Ill.; Capt. Russell Seager, 51, of Racine, Wis.; Pvt. Francheska Velez, 21, of Chicago; Lt. Col. Juanita Warman, 55, of Havre de Grace, Md.; and Pfc. Kham Xiong, 23, of St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo)

This TIME piece asks the question the best ‘Why No Mention of Islam?':

The apparent lack of curiosity into what allegedly drove Hasan to kill isn’t in keeping with the military’s ethos; it’s a remarkable omission for the U.S. armed forces, whose young officers are often ordered to read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War with its command to know your enemy. In midcareer, they study the contrast between capabilities and intentions, which is why they aren’t afraid of a British nuclear weapon but do fear the prospect of Iran getting one.

Yet the leaders of the two-month Pentagon review, former Army Secretary Togo West and the Navy’s onetime top admiral, Vernon Clark, told reporters last week that they didn’t drill down into Hasan’s motives. “Our concern is with actions and effects, not necessarily with motivations,” West said. Added Clark: “We certainly do not cite a particular group.” Part of their reticence, they said, was to avoid running afoul of the criminal probe of Hasan that is now under way. Both are declining interview requests before their congressional testimony, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Also See:

Photo Gallery The Troubled Journey of Major Hasan–A look at the life of the accused Fort Hood gunman

Phot Essay of Inside the Apartment of Nidal Malik Hasan–A glimpse into the home of the accused Fort Hood gunman

Feb 032011
Mideast Egypt

FNC JUST in from a reporter in Cairo. He said the western reporters have been escorted out from the violent square. Reporters being arrested , beaten badly and equipment destroyed. It is too volatile for them to be there. Also see Anderson Cooper Attacked at Cairo Protests

There are so many different reports that I am including This search so you can read the story you wish.

FOX News Channel’s foreign correspondent Greg Palkot and producer/cameraman Olaf Wiig suffered severe injuries while covering the unrest in the Egyptian capital. Palkot was badly beaten and Wiig has a possible broken jaw. Both have been hospitalized. As I am sure you noticed that Greg has been the main reporter for FNC in Egypt.

Two foreign photographers take cover as they follow stone throwing clashes between pro- and anti- government protesters in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011. New clashes are heating up again and shots are being fired in the air around Cairo’s central Tahrir Square as anti-government protesters push back regime supporters. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The AP reported a short time ago that foreign journalists were beaten with sticks and fists by pro-government mobs on Thursday, and dozens were detained by security forces. The U.S. condemned what it called the “systematic targeting” of the reporters, photographers and film crews who have brought searing images of Egyptian protests to the world.

Foreign photographers reported attacks by supporters of President Hosni Mubarak near Tahrir Square, the scene of vicious battles between Mubarak supporters and protesters demanding he step down after nearly 30 years in power. The Egyptian government has accused media outlets of being sympathetic to protesters who want Mubarak to quit now rather than complete his term as he has pledged.

“This is a dark day for Egypt and a dark day for journalism,” said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. “Egypt is seeking to create an information vacuum that puts it in the company of the world’s worst oppressors.”

Feb 032011

2 Dead After Truck Plunges Into Oklahoma River