Virginia Tech’s student government has “asked that all journalists leave campus by 5 a.m. tomorrow,” as students return to class. “Students in general will also be declining all requests and contact from the media,” the statement says. “Please grant us your understanding as this decision was made by the students, with the intent to regain a sense of normalcy as we prepare to move forward as an academic institution and as a community in the healing process.”
In the wake of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich laid the blame for the tragedy at the feet of liberals. Here’s what he said:
“I want to say to the elite of this country – the elite news media, the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite: I accuse you in Littleton…of being afraid to talk about the mess you have made, and being afraid to take responsibility for things you have done, and instead foisting upon the rest of us pathetic banalities because you don’t have the courage to look at the world you have created.”
On ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos asked Gingrich if he would apply those same words to the Virginia Tech tragedy. “Yes,” Gingrich said, offering a rambling, nonsensical response that segued into Don Imus and McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. Watch it:
Gingrich has a history of spinning tragedy for ideological and partisan gain.
- In 1994, after Susan Smith confessed to drowning her two children in South Carolina, Gingrich quickly blamed liberals, saying the only way to avoid similar future incidents was “to vote Republican.”
- After former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) was forced to resign over his sexually inappropriate behavior towards House pages, Gingrich declared that conservatives didn’t act to stop Foley because they “would have been accused of gay bashing” by liberals.
- At the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, Gingrich blamed the residents of New Orleans’ 9th ward for “a failure of citizenship,” by being “so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn’t get out of the way of a hurricane.”
In Gingrich’s mind, anything bad that happens can always be traced back to the culture created by liberals.
Transcript: Read more
During Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) called on Gonzales to resign. In the Washington Post, the Attorney General’s aides spun Coburn’s remarks as a “positive barometer” because he was the only Republican who called for his resignation during the hearing.
Today on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) criticized those aides, stating, “I don’t think they should be celebrating that, because the attorney general’s testimony was very, very damaging to his own credibility.”
Specter said that while he hasn’t called on Gonzales to resign, he believes Gonzales staying on is “bad for the Department of Justice.” “There has been a very substantial decrease in morale. There’s no doubt about that. The other 93 U.S. attorneys don’t know who is up next.” Watch it:
At least half a dozen Republican lawmakers have now called for Gonzales’s resignation. Several others have made it clear they have lost confidence in the Attorney General, but stopped just short of calling for his resignation. Conservative pundits such as Newt Gingrich and the editorial board of the National Review want Gonzales to go. Additionally a plurality of Americans believe Gonzales should now resign or be fired.
Apparently Gonzales’ aides see all this as a “positive barometer” for the administration.
Transcript: Read more
Singer Sheryl Crow, “on a cross-country global warming awareness trip, got into it with Karl Rove” last night at the White House Correspondents Dinner. “Jawing like a baseball manager and an umpire arguing a call, Crow and Rove were disagreeing over global warming, with Crow’s pal, Laurie David, offering support.” David describes the scene:
We asked Mr. Rove if he would consider taking a fresh look at the science of global warming. Much to our dismay, he immediately got combative. And it went downhill from there.
We reminded the senior White House advisor that the US leads the world in global warming pollution and we are doing the least about it. Anger flaring, Mr. Rove immediately regurgitated the official Administration position on global warming which is that the US spends more on researching the causes than any other country. [...]
In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, “Don’t touch me.” How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unphased, Sheryl abruptly responded, “You can’t speak to us like that, you work for us.” Karl then quipped, “I don’t work for you, I work for the American people.” To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, “We are the American people.”
This morning on Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) remark that the Iraq war is lost is “much more disgraceful” than Sen. Trent Lott’s (R-MS) 2002 claim that the country would be much better off if it had maintained racist segregation policies.
“What Harry Reid said is much more disgraceful than anything Trent Lott said, and I do think Democrats should ask Harry Reid to step down,” Kristol said.
NPR’s Juan Williams stared at Kristol with a look of confusion. “Brit [Hume] says it’s ‘laughable,’ you say it’s a ‘disgrace.’ I think what he said is the truth. I mean, it’s unavoidable,” Williams said. “Most Americans think we should have never gone in there, so he’s speaking in a voice that represents the majority of the American people.”
As Juan Williams points out, Reid’s comments are hardly controversial. They are shared by President Bush’s regular military adviser Henry Kissinger and several senior U.S. military officials, as well as a majority of the American people:
Washington Post/ABC News poll, April 16:
Will U.S. win or lose the war?
Rasmussen poll, April 16:
Thirty-three percent (33%) of American voters believe that history will ultimately judge the U.S. mission in Iraq a success. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 50% of Likely Voters believe the mission will be deemed a failure.
UPDATE: Atrios notes how CNN also documented how the American people agree with Reid.
“Two suicide car bombers attacked a police station Sunday in western Baghdad, killing at least 13 people and wounding 82, police said. … The blasts collapsed nearby buildings, smashing windows and burying at least four cars under piles of concrete. Metal roofs were peeled back by the force of the explosions. Pools of blood made red mud of a dusty driveway.”
“Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law Saturday a measure to create domestic partnerships, giving gay and lesbian couples some of the same rights that come with marriage. … People in the crowd cried as Gregoire relayed stories of couples who testified before lawmakers this year about how they have been denied hospital access to dying partners, or were not allowed to plan their funerals.”
“Australia has warned that it will have to switch off the water supply to the continent’s food bowl unless heavy rains break an epic drought – heralding what could be the first climate change-driven disaster to strike a developed nation.”
The Prime Minister, John Howard, a hardened climate-change sceptic, delivered dire tidings to the nation’s farmers yesterday. Unless there is significant rainfall in the next six to eight weeks, irrigation will be banned in the principal agricultural area. Crops such as rice, cotton and wine grapes will fail, citrus, olive and almond trees will die, along with livestock.
A ban on irrigation, which would remain in place until May next year, spells possible ruin for thousands of farmers, already debt-laden and in despair after six straight years of drought.
Australia is the only major industrialized country other than the U.S. to reject the Kyoto Protocol.