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HUFFPOST HILL - Tucson Shooting Updates, Anonymous Dem House Member Weighs In

First Posted: 01/10/11 06:19 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:25 PM ET

Huffpost Hill

There's nothing NOT rotten about Saturday's shooting in Tucson. The victims -- including a lawmaker, a judge, congressional aides and a child -- couldn't be less deserving of such a senseless crime. Whether or not the country's rancorous political environment is to blame, the shooting certainly doesn't seem that out of place. And, of course, there's the endless recriminations and crap like this. It's just all so....ughhhhhh. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, January 10th, 2011:

GIFFORDS UPDATE - The congresswoman has reportedly responded to basic commands after emergency brain surgery including squeezing hands, moving her fingers and lifting her arm. Her doctors are keeping her on a respirator and are closely monitoring swelling in her brain. They have expressed cautious optimism about her chances for at least a partial recovery. The alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, appeared in a Phoenix courtroom and was ordered to be held without bail. The judge set his arraignment date for January 24th at 1:30 pm. Loughner has been assigned Judy Clarke, who famously defended the Unabomber and Timothy McVeigh, among others. [AP]

ANONYMOUS RADICALIZED MARGINAL HOUSE DEMOCRAT WEIGHS IN - Our anonymous Democratic congressional correspondent, a friend of Giffords', says that certain signs and messages embraced by the Tea Party constitute a "threat of violence." The congressman, who has himself been the subject of death threats, noted that it is still possible, for $21.80, to by a t-shirt that reads "we came unarmed (this time)." "There is no way to interpret that except as a threat of violence," he said, in an email, forwarding along a link to other images of the message being broadcast at rallies. "And those signs and shirts were not isolated or unrepresentative of the tone of the rhetoric. The signs and shirts were everywhere. You can buy that t-shirt on the internet today for $21.80 It's described as a 'Tea Party Rally T-Shirt.'"

DHS: NO LINK MADE BETWEEN LOUGHNER AND HATE GROUP - Greg Sargent reported today that despite earlier reports to the contrary, the alleged Tucson shooter Jared Loughner does not have ties to the extremist group American Renaissance. "We have not established any such possible link," a Department of Homeland Security official said. [WaPo]

Loughner bought bullets at a local Walmart just hours before the shooting, investigators say.

Loughner's family has boarded their house with plywood to prevent FBI agents from entering, Arizona Republic reports.

See Loughner's terrifying mugshot here.

NIGHT BEFORE SHOOTING, GIFFORDS CALLED FOR CIVILITY - On the eve of Saturday's horrific shooting, Giffords sent a letter to Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson seeking his help in softening the often combative rhetoric used in political discourse. "After you get settled, I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation," she wrote. "I am one of only 12 Dems left in a GOP district (the only woman) and think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down." The two met while enrolled in the Aspen Institute's Rodel Fellowship program and have kept in touch. "That is something she and I have been quite passionate about -- to run for office in the right way and for the right reasons," Grayson said in an interview with cn|2 Politics. "I think Gabby was really sincere in that email .... And I am going to to redouble my efforts." [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

DOES THE 2ND AMENDMENT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO BEAR A CLIP WITH 33 BULLETS? - Sam Stein: "With six dead and more than a dozen injured over the weekend, the few remaining, vocal, gun control advocates in Congress are turning the political spotlight on those high-capacity clips. In the House, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), whose husband and son were killed by a gunman, is planning to introduce legislation that would limit their availability. "They are weapons of mass destruction," she told the Huffington Post in a Monday morning interview, "and they've become the weapon of choice." Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) another fierce gun control advocate is doing the same in the Senate. "The only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly," the Senator said in a statement.

Daily Show ratings will probably be enormous tonight, as people tune in to see how sanity's champion deals with the insanity. Jason Linkins finds a hint on The Daily Show FB page: "The keepers of the Daily Show's Facebook page today embedded this segment from April of 2010, entitled "Clash Of The Teatans." The segment dealt with right-wing extremism, but there's a twist: it depicts the extremism of establishment Republicans, suggesting that 'If the Tea Party is going to have any mainstream success, it's going to have to distance itself from' them."

The intern who reportedly saved Giffords' life by rushing to her aide after the shooting could actually have his citizenship questioned by authorities under the state's controversial SB 1070 bill, Elise Foley notes.

Show your appreciation for the intern by joining the "Daniel Hernandez Is The Awesomest Intern Ever" group on Facebook. Or you could just offer him a paying job. Or both. Let's settle on both.

MINUTEMAN WISHES GRIJALVA DEAD ON FACEBOOK - A well-known activist with Arizona's Minutemen, an armed, anti-immigration vigilante organization, celebrated the attack on Giffords in a Facebook posting, lamenting that Rep. Raul Grijalva, a Democrat who also represents the Tucson area, wasn't also killed, according to the local Tucson Citizen. "AZ Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (Dem) assassinated in Safeway store parking lot in Tucson by another Democrat! Too bad Traitor Raul Grijalva wasn't with her! He won't be missed!" wrote Laine Lawless, a Minuteman activist and the founder of the extremist group Border Guardians.

SHOOTING VICTIM DIED SAVING HIS WIFE - Laura Bassett: "The longtime minister of 76-year-old Dorwan Stoddard, one of the six victims of Saturday's Arizona shooting, says he had a conversation with Stoddard's wife in the hospital that leads him to believe Stoddard died trying to protect her from the spraying bullets. 'According to Mavy when I talked to her in the hospital, when the gunshots went off Dorwan pulled her down and ended up on top of her,' Michael Nowak, minister of the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ in Tucson, Ariz., told HuffPost. 'She was shot in the legs, and he was shot in the head. She believes in her heart that he protected her from damage.'" [HuffPost]

SHOOTING VICTIMS WERE HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS - Don and JoAnn Newland met their neighbors George and Dorothy Morris when the couple moved to their Oro Valley, Ariz. retirement community in the late 1990s. "They were our neighbors," JoAnn Newland told HuffPost on Monday. "We would see them at the mailbox and we would talk." Dorothy Morris, 76, was one of six people killed Saturday. George Morris is still in the hospital after reportedly suffering gunshots to the chest and leg in what the Newlands described as an effort to shield his wife. In the flurry of media coverage following the shooting, Newland said, "It seems like the prominent people get all the attention but these families have suffered a lot as well." The Morrises invited the Newlands to their 50th wedding anniversary five years ago. "They renewed their vows at that party, in a garden setting," Newland said. "They had a dinner and danced. I remember seeing them dancing together and just looking at each other. They were very devoted." [HuffPost]

An individual has been arrested after allegedly making threads directed at Senator Michael Bennet's office this weekend.

FORMER HILL STAFFER FOUND DEAD - Ashley Turton, the former chief-of-staff to Rosa DeLauro and wife of Daniel Turton, the White House's deputy director of legislative affairs for the House, was found dead in a burning vehicle early this morning. Authorities investigating the matter believe that Turton, who was a lobbyist for Progress Energy, died from a low speed crash, the fire, an undiagnosed malady or some combination thereof. [WaPo]

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TOM DELAY SENTENCED, WE WILL STRAIN NOT TO INCLUDE A 'DANCING WITH THE STARS' REFERENCE HERE - "A judge has ordered former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to serve three years in prison for his role in a scheme to illegally funnel corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002. The sentence comes after a jury in November convicted DeLay on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. DeLay was once one of the most powerful men in U.S. politics, ascending to the No. 2 job in the House of Representatives." [HuffPost]

EXCLUSIVE footage of DeLay's next dance venture

SMALL BANK LOBBY WINS BY LOSING - From Zach Carter: "[American Banker] has a great story up today on swipe fees for debit cards. The Wall Street reform legislation cracked down on the ability of big banks to charge expensive fees to merchants for the privilege of accepting their debit cards. These high fees translated to bigger price tags for consumers, making just about everything you buy more expensive so that big banks could make more money for no reason. Visa rolled out a new pricing plan on Friday that makes clear that the new regulation is a huge win for community banks. Big banks will have to charge lower fees under Visa's pricing scheme, but small banks won't, just as the law proscribes. But merchants also don't get to choose which card providers they accept--either you accept Visa cards, or you don't. So the interchange party is over for the Too-Big-To-Fail crew, but it's still raging at the nation's community banks. As HuffPost will detail tomorrow, however, the top community bank lobby actively opposed the swipe fee plan, even though it helps their banks. Why? Well, not for nothin', but it turns the small bank lobby itself is one of the top recipients of swipe fees! Swipe fee crackdown: Good for small banks, bad for small bank lobbyists."

STEVE KING STILL REELING FROM BOEHNER'S SUBCOMMITTEE SNUB, THINKS STEVE KING IS THE BEE'S KNEES - Well you can always count on the good representative from Iowa to remind us that, even in the face of a national tragedy, people can be shockingly puerile! After he was skipped over for the chairmanship of an immigration subcommittee last week, Rep. Steve King lashed out at his party's leadership in an interview published by National Journal today. "I'm going to be OK with it. I'm going to be OK," King said about the horrifying events of this weekend being denied the gavel of the Immigration Policy and Enforcement subcommittee. "The speaker holds the big gavel, and he decides who gets the other gavels," he added, alluding to the speaker's Freudian jumbo-gavel that was the subject of endless media attention last week. "It makes it very clear that it's not a meritocracy." But...oh no, he didn't stop there. "John Boehner isn't very aggressive on immigration," King said while alluding to the issues relatively small section in the "Pledge to America." "It's the tiniest section," he said. Glad you're coping, congressman. [National Journal]

The President's oil spill commission releases its report tomorrow on the causes of the Deepwater Horizon spill and ways to prevent future spills. No word yet on whether Mary Landrieu will filibuster Medicare and early education funding until the report's language is changed to her liking.

MIKE PENCE ANNOUNCES THAT HE IS CONFIRMING WHEN HE'LL ANNOUNCE SOMETHING...AGAIN - We've previously reported that Indiana Rep. Mike Pence has announced when he'll announce whether he'll run for president in 2012. At this point, we really aren't intrigued by the announcements themselves but their frequency. So, be on guard, everyone. Mike Pence has an announcement at the end of this month. [GOP 12]

RUBIO DISMISSES 2012 VICE PRESIDENTIAL BID - Asked today by a Florida radio host whether he's entertaining running as the GOP's no. 2 in 2012, the Florida Senator gave a Sherman-ish, if not Shermanesque statement. "No, I'm not," Rubio said. "To be the senator from Florida is a big job. In addition to the votes you take in Washington of national importance, our state has a multitude of issues...people voted for me because what I was saying on the campaign and if I now become somebody else, then they are not getting what they voted for. ... It's flattering sometimes, but that's about it." [St. Petersburg Times]

Reuters asking the big questions: "New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a rising star of the Republican Party seen as having a shot at a White House run, raising questions whether his obesity could impede his chances. American views on overweight candidates may help determine the political future of Christie, an alternative to fit fellow-Republican Sarah Palin. While Americans like female candidates slim, they seem to better tolerate their male politicians on the heavy side." Scroll down for the section called "THE POLITICS OF FAT." Or don't. If you need us we'll be in the bathroom, staring at the mirror crying. [Reuters]

DETAILS ABOUT ANONYMOUS OBAMA PSEUDO-BIOGRAPHY - Some industrious individual, probably tired of funneling diplomatic cables to the press, releasing JournoList correspondences and cultivating Nom de Tweets like @beutlershair, is publishing an anonymous fictional biography of President Obama, "O." The book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, released a maddeningly vague statement about it today: "O: A Presidential Novel is a novel about aspiration and delusion, set during the presidential election of 2012 and written by an anonymous author who has spent years observing politics and the fraught relationship between public image and self-regard. The novel includes revealing and insightful portraits of many prominent figures in the political world - some invented and some real." No word yet on who is doing the cover art of a bare-chested President Obama standing in front of a Teutonic mountain scene with a distressed damsel grasping his outsized biceps.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - The Amish, too, know how to bro out.

Over the weekend Rep. Luis Gutierrez endorsed Gery Chico over his former House colleague Rahm Emanuel, whom he still holds responsible for Democratic backsliding on immigration when Emanuel was DCCC head, in the Chicago mayoral race. "No other candidate has balanced 16 budgets," Gutierrez said in his statement backing the former Daley chief-of-staff and Chicago school board president. "No other candidate has built bridges across racial, ethnic and geographic lines like Gery has. Gery Chico is simply the best candidate to lead Chicago right now." Chico for Mayor '11: Not antagonizing and didn't have to prove his residency by identifying his secret crawl space. [Progress Illinois]

USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! - "Ford Motor Co., providing fresh evidence of the U.S. auto industry's recovery, will announce today it is adding more than 7,000 jobs in the United States over the next two years. That includes 4,000 blue-collar jobs and 750 salaried positions in 2011, plus another 2,500 factory jobs in 2012. Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, will make the announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opens to automotive journalists today." [Detroit News]

@mikehouseholder: The City of Detroit says that for the first time since 1998 it has met a deadline to file its annual financial report to the state.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight Cloudy and cold. Tomorrow: Increasing clouds, turning into a bit of the white stuff falling in the afternoon hours. So, should you worry about snow? If you're in D.C., no. If you're up north, yes. As the storm heads up the coast, the region is expected to get a small amount of snow possibly. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- It takes a very talented person to ruin Ke$ha worse than Ke$ha. Bravo, young man. [http://bit.ly/fCCrUP]

- After his sweetheart left him, this dog traveled around the Mississippi Delta perfecting his piano skills and singing the blues [http://bit.ly/eZFYph]

- For anyone who has ever donned a pair of naturally torn jeans, or felt alienated in middle school at any point in the 90s, or tried to play "Lithium" on a guitar, this one is for you. [http://bit.ly/i5xt6N]

- For the Glenn Beck viewer with an unquenchable gambling habit: An ATM machine that distributes gold. [http://aol.it/gdaaHT]

- Man befriends "happy" hippo. Lives to tell the tale. [http://bit.ly/hNWd0B]

- Because you haven't seen enough Muppets performing Kanye West recently [http://bit.ly/g2ueWZ]

- There are wedding cakes. Then there are Ghostbusters wedding cakes. Yup.[http://bit.ly/dPP6WH]

- A very whimsical stop-motion animation with more childish sense of wonder than you can shake a stick at [http://bit.ly/fqG6PD]

TWITTERAMA

@delrayser: Joe Biden makes surprise visit to Afghanistan, to advise girls there not to date before they're 30.

@pourmecoffee: Would love Spitzer teamed with good-and-drunk Peggy Noonan knocking back on-air flask gulps and wiping lips with sleeve.

@thefix: One thing the last few days has proven: I cannot spell Tucson.

ON TAP

TOMORROW

8:00 pm: The Washington Psychotronic Film Society screens"Night of the Bloody Ape" about a man who conducts an ape-to-human heart transplant and the female wrestler who must bring down this terrifying man-beast. Seriously, it looks terrible (in a good way) [The Passenger, 1021 7th Street NW].

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