Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wall Township, NJ - State Trooper Killed from Self-Inflicted Gunshot on Garden State Parkway

Scott Graham, a New Jersey State trooper, was found dead in his car this morning, which was parked on the side of the Garden State parkway. He had a single gunshot wound to the head, and no foul play is suspected. All evidence so far suggests this was a suicide. There were earlier reports that another car was involved, but that information is now believed to be incorrect.
The 35-year-old trooper lived in Keyport, NJ with his wife and three children. He’d been a state trooper for over nine years.

Albert Haynesworth, $100 Million of Fun

During last year’s free agent signing period, I was excited that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seemed to have a real chance at luring in defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.  The price would have been steep and much more than anyone realistically should have spent on him, but a solid presence in the middle of the defensive line was just what the Bucs needed.  Although not a fan of Haynesworth, the prospect of a top DT in Tampa Bay was exciting and even evoked memories of Warren Sapp.

Looking back, not signing Haynesworth might have been one of the few good things that happened to the Bucs in the last year or so.

Haynesworth got $41 million guaranteed from the Washington Redskins and $100 million for seven years in total, but didn’t perform well during his first season with the club.  His attitude was an issue (surprise) and there have been trade rumors circulating since the season ended.

It started with a new coach and a new defensive scheme – one in which Haynesworth doesn’t believe showcases his strengths.  Maybe one day there will be athletes with the ability to adapt their talents to different situations.  Despite being worth $100 million, Haynesworth apparently isn’t one of them.

He skipped not one, but two voluntary minicamps and now says he’ll also not be in attendance for the team’s first mandatory one.  Good way to kick off season number two in Washington Albert.  Show your teammates exactly how dedicated you are by whining because you got a new coach (a better one in reality) and can’t handle change.  Just the type of player I’m sure the Redskins are happy they have so much money invested in.

Nearly everyone questioned the amount Washington was willing to give Haynesworth (Tampa Bay was even rumored to be offering more).  He was talented of course, but his attitude raised red flags and the money was just too much many thought.  They may have all been right.  Not only did Haynesworth spend that first year not living up to expectations, but now he wants out.

Being a Redskins fan was about just as much fun as being a Bucs fan over the last year, but at least Tampa Bay’s franchise-caliber defensive tackle – Gerald McCoy – wants to play for his team.

Obama Devotes 20 Minutes to BP Executives

He spends about 12 hours a week on the golf course and he devotes 20 minutes to meeting with BP executives? How can anyone take this guy seriously?
BP executives, including Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, CEO Tony Hayward and BP U.S. boss Lamar McKay, were seen walking into the West Wing of the White House just before 10 a.m. ET for talks with Obama that were scheduled to last 20 minutes.

Looking serious, they barely glanced at photographers and camera crews recording their arrival. It was their first meeting with Obama since the start of the nearly two-month old crisis.
If you need any idea what a charade this whole thing is, look who was also in attendance.
The BP executives were accompanied by the company's legal counsel Rupert Bondy and noted Washington lawyer Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration.

Seattle Police Officer; Altercation Caught on Video SmarTrend

Video: Obama: BP to Fork Over Billions to Help Gulf The Associated Press

Rove recommends Obama consult academia, then slams academics

By Stephen C. Webster

In the world of former Bush political adviser Karl Rove, "eggheads from academia" are either good or bad, depending on which position seems most opportune: even if it's one, then the other mere moments later.

That's the take-away from a Friday Fox News segment which featured Rove falsely claiming the president has not consulted with any experts on the Gulf oil gusher.

"There are plenty of very smart petroleum engineering professors in America’s great colleges and universities he could meet with," Rove said, just before attacking Obama as lacking "the experience" to make "executive decisions."

Then, after advocating meet-ups with college professors and calling America's colleges "great," he made a startling reversal.

"[Obama has] populated his administration with people just like him, eggheads from academia who have no practical working knowledge of how the American economy works or what ordinary families face in their daily lives, and the disconnect simply is growing."

Rove's claim that Obama has not been briefed by experts on the matter is transparently false.

Obama was briefed on the destructive potential of the Gulf oil gusher the day that Deepwater Horizon sank to the bottom of the sea. He has since pledged "every resource" to aid out-of-work Gulf coast residents, whose jobs have been put on hold by a moratorium on underwater drilling and a massive fishing ban put in place to help keep BP's spilled oil from entering the human food chain.

He further dispatched a team of America's brightest scientific minds, led by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, to aid BP engineers in plugging the gusher and to speak with the company on the president's behalf.

Rove's odd criticism springs from recent attacks on Obama for not having met BP CEO Tony Hayward. He cited the White House calendar, noting that Obama's meeting with BP officials had yet to happen. A meeting between BP officials and senior administration personnel had been scheduled at time of this writing; both President Obama and Hayward were expected to participate.

The White House has emphasized: "BP will be paying for all costs of stopping the spill and cleaning it up, and we will aggressively pursue full compensation for damages."

It would not seem to matter to Rove -- who never graduated from college -- what President Obama says or does on the matter: either way he'll cast the president as wrong, even if he has to contradict himself from one breath to the next.

This video is from Fox News, broadcast Friday June 11, 2010, as snipped by Think Progress.

Reaction to President Obama's Speech

In the first Oval Office address of his presidency, President Obama pledged to fight the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico "with everything we've got for as long it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever is necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy."

Though Obama called for a "national mission" to transition to clean energy, he was vague on what he actually wants to see in a comprehensive energy bill. In doing so, Obama is just another president that has refused to ask Americans for the necessary sacrifice to finally achieve this greater national goal. He missed a golden opportunity.

Other reactions:

Josh Green: "What stood out was that for all his praise of the House climate bill and talk about the 'consequences of inaction' and so forth, not once did he utter the phrase, 'It's time to put a price on carbon.' And that suggests to me that this speech was primarily about containing the damage to his administration, and was not the pivot point in the energy debate that many people were hoping for."

Chris Cillizza: "This strategic approach is similar to how the president and his senior aides tackled the health care debate -- insisting that the time to kick the can down the road had passed. The question is whether that frame -- act now, or else -- is the right one in an electoral climate where members of the president's own party are already nervous about what awaits them in November."

Ezra Klein: "The optimistic take, at least for environmentalists, is that this is the language and approach Obama uses when he really means to legislate. The pessimistic take is that Obama shied away from clearly describing the problem, did not endorse specific legislation, did not set benchmarks, and chose poll-tested language rather than a sharper case that might persuade skeptics."

Marc Ambinder: "Leaving out an explicit call for cap-and-trade was a deliberate choice, obviously. But Obama wants action on climate change, and the only way to wean our dependence off fossil fuels is to put a price on carbon. He did not make that explicit, as he has done before, to smaller audiences. He did not call upon Congress to make the political sacrifices necessary, and it may be difficult to reconcile his words, laced with an urgent tone, with the actions he is willing to put his weight behind."

Jonathan Chait: "The portion of the speech detailing the government's response to the Deepwater Horizon spill seemed effective, as did his explanation of his plan to toughen regulations on offshore drilling. The important part of his speech concerned how we would wean ourselves off of fossil fuels. This portion revealed just how much Obama is operating from a position of weakness."

Mark Murray: "Yes, the president's speech lacked specifics about how to achieve energy reform. (But who thought that legislative specifics would be the focus of a 15-minute address on the spill and how to respond to it?) ...And, yes, it probably contained too many war metaphors, and too much talk of presidential commissions. But if the goal was to assure the public that Obama is on top of the crisis, that BP will be punished, that Gulf residents will be compensated, and that energy reform is too important to kick down the road, it certainly met expectations."

Greg Sargent: "The intended audience of this speech was a general public wondering what the heck is going on with the spill and what the broader game plan is. This audience didn't need to hear the level of commitment to specific policy prescriptions that we all might have wanted."