William Fitzhugh: The Concord Review — Journal Showcases Dying Art of the Research Paper

Source: NYT, 1-8-11

 

Gretchen Ertl for The New York Times

William H. Fitzhugh publishes The Concord Review, featuring research papers written by high school students.

William H. Fitzhugh, the cantankerous publisher of a journal that showcases high school research papers, sits at his computer in a cluttered office above a secondhand shop here, deploring the nation’s declining academic standards.

Summer Printed Version 2010 The Last Version Printed

The summer issue of The Concord Review.

“Most kids don’t know how to write, don’t know any history, and that’s a disgrace,” Mr. Fitzhugh said. “Writing is the most dumbed-down subject in our schools.”

His mood brightens, however, when talk turns to the occasionally brilliant work of the students whose heavily footnoted history papers appear in his quarterly, The Concord Review. Over 23 years, the review has printed 924 essays by teenagers from 44 states and 39 nations.

The review’s exacting standards have won influential admirers. William R. Fitzsimmons, Harvard’s dean of admissions, said he keeps a few issues in his Cambridge office to inspire applicants. Harvard considers it “something that’s impressive,” like winning a national math competition, if an applicant’s essay has appeared in the review, he said.

That reputation has always been bigger than revenues. Last year, income from 1,400 subscriptions plus charitable donations totaled $131,000 — about $5,400 short of total expenses, even though Mr. Fitzhugh paid himself only $18,000. This year, with donors less generous in the recession, Mr. Fitzhugh had to stop printing hard copies of the review, publishing its most recent issues only online, at tcr.org.

The term paper was once an important feature of American secondary education, requiring students to dig deeply and write at length. Mr. Fitzhugh said that most public school teachers have stopped assigning such papers — a shift that he attributed mostly to the fact that teachers have so many students and so little time.

Still, hundreds of earnest students send Mr. Fitzhugh papers every year, hoping to win his stamp of approval….READ MORE

Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shot, 6 killed

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES….

THE HEADLINES….

The President & First Lady observe a moment of silence

  • In Arizona, Obama to honor memories, speak of hope: Under high expectations to provide healing, President Barack Obama on Wednesday will try to convert the horror of the Arizona shootings into a moment of national unity centering his memorial speech in Tucson on the lives of the victims and the heroism of those who rushed to stop the madness. The president was crafting his speech on Tuesday, and his aides were reluctant to discuss it even broadly in its unfinished form, other than to say it will emphasize the memories of those lost. Still, Obama’s comments since the shooting on Saturday, his experience in dealing with other tragedies and history’s guide offer signs about how he is likely to respond to this moment. At the service Wednesday night, Obama’s main mission will be to honor those who were killed by describing them in personal terms, so the country remembers how they lived, not how they died. He will seek to assure families in grief that the whole country is behind them. And to those grasping for answers after the assassination attempt on Democratic U.S Rep Gabrielle Giffords, Obama will likely explore how “we can come together as a stronger nation” in the aftermath of the tragedy, as he put it earlier this week. What the speech is not likely to be: An examination of divisive partisan rhetoric, or whether it is connected in any way to the rampage that led to the killing of six people and the wounding of 14 others. Standing amidst the people of a grieving community, Obama is expected to focus on a memorial, not a commentary on political civility. This moment as chief consoler comes to all presidents – often many times. And this will not be Obama’s first…. – AP, 1-11-11
  • Doctor: Giffords has ‘101 percent chance’ of surviving Ariz. Congresswoman is moving both arms, breathing on her own: U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was breathing on her own and moving both arms after being shot in the head, doctors said Tuesday. Giffords still has a breathing tube to prevent infections such as pneumonia, said her neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole. “I’m happy to say that she’s holding her own,” he said. Giffords, a three-time Democrat, remained in critical condition at Tucson’s University Medical Center since Saturday when she was shot during a meeting with constituents outside a grocery store. The attack killed six and injured 14 others. Six remained hospitalized. Giffords previously raised two fingers with her left hand and gave a thumbs-up when responding to doctors’ verbal commands. Although her condition has remained virtually unchanged the past few days, doctors were hopeful. “She has a 101 percent chance of surviving,” said trauma chief Dr. Peter Rhee said. “She will not die. She does not have that permission from me.”… – MSNBC, 1-11-11
  • Arizona governor asks residents to pray for victims: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer asked Arizonans on Tuesday to pray for the victims of a Tucson shooting spree that killed six people and wounded 14. Devoting most of her annual State of the State speech to the rampage, Brewer called it “something dark and ugly”, according to a transcript of the speech released by her office. “There is no way to measure what Tucson and all of Arizona lost in that moment,” Brewer said. “The statistics — six dead, 14 wounded — in no way explain the depth of this tragedy.” After paying tribute to the victims, the governor said: “So I ask you to join me in a moment of silence, to pray for those we’ve lost, the injured and the suffering.”… – Reuters, 1-11-11
  • Family of Ariz. mass shooting suspect speaks: The parents of a man charged with trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords expressed sorrow Tuesday for the “heinous events,” their first public remarks since their 22-year-old son was accused of killing six people.
    “There are no words that can possibly express how we feel,” the family of Jared Loughner said in a statement handed to reporters outside their home. “We don’t understand why this happened. It may not make any difference, but we wish that we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families.”
    The family’s statement came as Tucson residents prepared for a community memorial service Tuesday night and a visit from the president a day later…. – AP, 1-11-11
  • Arizona lawmakers take up funeral protest legislation: The Arizona legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday targeting a Kansas church whose members have announced they plan to picket the funerals of the victims of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson. The proposed legislation would make it a misdemeanor to protest within 300 feet of a funeral from one hour before until one hour after a funeral, a spokesman for the state House said. The action, according to House spokesman Daniel Scarpinato, is in direct response to the Westboro Baptist Church’s announcement that it will picket the funeral of Christina Green, the 9-year-old who was among six people killed during Saturday’s attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona…. – CNN, 1-11-11
  • Loughner’s Parents Plead for Privacy, and Express Sorrow: The parents of Jared L. Loughner broke their silence Tuesday, asking the media to protect their privacy as their son stands accused of trying to kill a congresswoman in a rampage that killed six people and left 14 others injured.
    “This is a very difficult time for us,” said the statement, issued Tuesday afternoon by Randy and Amy Loughner. “We ask the media to respect our privacy. There are no words that can possibly express how we feel. We wish that there were, so we could make you feel better. We don’t understand why this happened. It may not make any difference, but we wish that we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so sorry for their loss.”
    The statement came as friends of Jared Loughner said Tuesday that his behavior had become increasingly erratic over the last year, underscored by his fear that two of his closest friends were planning to kill him, one of those friends said Tuesday. “He did not have many friends,” said Zane Gutierrez, 21, who met Mr. Loughner in high school. “We stopped talking to him in March of 2010. He started getting weird.”… – NYT, 1-11-11
  • Suspect in Arizona shooting held without bail: The nation got its first look on Monday at the 22-year-old loner accused of trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Jared Loughner, head shaved, a cut above the right temple and his hands cuffed, scanned a packed courtroom and sat down. His attorney, who defended “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, whispered to him. The judge asked Loughner if he understood that he could get life in prison — or the death penalty — for killing federal Judge John Roll, one of the six who died in the shooting rampage at Giffords’ meeting with constituents on Saturday in Tucson. “Yes,” he said, standing at a lecturn in his beige prison jumpsuit. His attorney, Judy Clarke, stood nearby, as did a U.S. marshal. The judge ordered Loughner held without bail…. – AP, 1-10-11
  • Congresswoman raises 2 fingers, gives thumbs-up: Doctors treating Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Monday the congresswoman was responding to verbal commands by raising two fingers of her left hand and even managed to give a thumbs-up. Giffords, 40, is in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Tucson’s University Medical Center after she was shot through the head Saturday during a meet-and-greet with voters outside a supermarket. Two patients were discharged Sunday night. Eight others, including Giffords, remained hospitalized. Recent CAT scans showed no further swelling in the brain, but doctors were guarded…. – AP, 1-10-11
  • Palin, Amid Criticism, Stays in Electronic Comfort Zone: Under criticism that her political rhetoric had helped create a climate for political violence, Sarah Palin addressed the issue in trademark fashion: via e-mail to the conservative commentator Glenn Beck. “Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence,” Ms. Palin wrote to Mr. Beck in an e-mail that he read Monday on his radio program.
    Mr. Beck said he received the message over the weekend, when Ms. Palin and her aides were otherwise ignoring requests for comment about the Tucson shootings from members of the mainstream news media. Such unconventional political communication has served Ms. Palin well in the past two years…. – NYT, 1-10-11
  • Gabrielle Giffords recovery continues in aftermath of Tucson shootingWaPo, 1-10-11
  • While Doctors Are Optimistic, Prognosis for Wounded Congresswoman Is Unclear: It could be a year before extent of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ recovery is evident, experts say… – Business Week, 1-10-11
  • Accused Tucson Shooter Jared Loughner Smirks in Court, Smiles for Mug Shot: Doctors ‘Breathe Sigh of Relief’ as Giffords Has No Significant Brain Swelling… – ABC News, 1-10-11
  • Giffords ‘hero’ intern springs into action after shooting: Daniel Hernandez had been intern for Gabrielle Giffords for less than a week… Hernandez lifted her head to make it easier for her to breathe, applied pressure to her wound… “She was obviously in a lot of pain, so I let her know to squeeze my hand,” he says… An Arizona lawmaker calls intern a hero and says he helped save Giffords’ life… – CNN, 1-10-11
  • At Giffords’s Synagogue, Prayers for Recovery: They spilled into the aisles and the corridor, past the extra rows of folding chairs and the congregants packed into the synagogue’s corners. More than 100 people crowded into a special healing service Sunday morning for Representative Gabrielle Giffords at Congregation Chaverim, where she was married three years ago, for a tearful ceremony. Ms. Giffords’s rabbi, friends and admirers gathered to pray for a swift recovery and to honor a woman many described as an inspiration. If the shooting in Tucson on Saturday of 20 people, including Ms. Giffords, shook the entire nation, it hit this city’s Jewish community especially hard, most of all those who belong to Ms. Gifford’s small Reform temple, hidden among tall cactuses on a quiet suburban street…. – NYT, 1-10-11
  • Palin caught in crosshairs map controversy after Tucson shootings: The controversy, which may have caught the Republican by surprise, is the kind of test candidates commonly face in a presidential campaign. How she navigates it, several Republican strategists said Monday, could be a defining moment for her politically. What makes her challenge unique is that it comes as a result of a national tragedy in which there is no known connection between anything Palin said or did and the alleged actions of Jared Loughner, who is accused of fatally shooting six and severely wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 13 others.
    “It’s absurd to point fingers at Palin, and people who are doing that are just as guilty of politicizing this tragedy as anyone else,” said Todd Harris, a Republican strategist. “At the same time, to the degree that this is a so-called learning moment for the country, I think the public looks to its leaders and pretty quickly decides who has something to teach and who has something to learn. I think that Palin is missing an opportunity to show that she can be a leader at a higher level than she’s been viewed before.”… – WaPo, 1-10-11
  • Sheriff In Giffords Case Lashes Out About Politics: Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was thrust into the spotlight to face a nation demanding answers in the aftermath of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He didn’t mince words. The rampage, he said, grew in part from extreme political rhetoric, bigotry and hatred, especially in his home state of Arizona. Dupnik said he was angry and heartbroken over the tragedy, and was simply speaking his mind as an American, not a law enforcement official. But in the midst of a national media pressure cooker, his comments raised the question: Did he overstep his authority in making the comments that he did?… – NPR, 1-10-11
  • Loughner’s Meltdown Began in Adulthood, Those Near Him Say:
    The cloudy image of the gunman in Saturday’s horrific shooting in Tucson is starting to come into focus, as neighbors and acquaintances paint a picture of a troubled young man whose disturbing behavior started to flare up in just the last few years.
    Alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner, charged in the shooting that left six dead and 14 wounded including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, has a minor criminal record dating back to 2007. But his former high school principal, Richard Faidley, told FoxNews.com that he didn’t have any major disciplinary problems in school before that.
    But Loughner’s problems have now escalated to the point that his family has barricaded itself in their home, hounded by reporters and spectators who want to know how the 22-year-old could have gone on a killing spree on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Tucson.
    The FBI was forced to wait outdoors Monday while the family removed the plywood it had used to blockade the door. After a few minutes of removing the wood, FBI began another search of the property that has been upended in the orderly and ongoing law enforcement investigation.
    Speaking in her annual state of the state speech, Gov. Jan Brewer said the attack was an assault not merely on individuals, but on “on our republic, on our democracy.” She said despite the impact, Arizona will not be brought down. “In fact, we’ve been lifted up by America’s thoughts and prayers and we’re deeply grateful for them,” she said…. – Fox News, 1-10-11
  • Nihilism or Sarah Palin: What motivated Arizona shooting suspect?: Early reports suggest that the philosophies of shooting suspect Jared Loughner are tangled and largely incoherent – ranging from nihilism to ‘lucid dreaming.’ So far, there does not appear to be clear link to talk radio or hyperpartisanship, though that could change.
    Initial reports about Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old college dropout charged with killing six and gravely wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday, so far present a picture of a person inspired by a tangled and in some ways nonsensical web of philosophies more than any one person, political movement, or line of thought.
    Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik suggested Saturday that the shootings might have been influenced by “vitriolic rhetoric” in the political discourse. He went on to single out talk radio and Sarah Palin, who, on her website last fall, targeted 20 House districts for Republican takeovers with cross hairs – including Congresswoman Giffords’s.
    Rep. Robert Brady (D) of Pennsylvania is reportedly preparing a bill that would outlaw the use of threatening rhetoric against lawmakers. The investigation of the incident has clearly not finished, and new revelations are sure to come. But at this early stage, no clear links have emerged between Loughner and the current political climate. Rather, acquaintences and criminologists point to a convoluted worldview that appears largely incoherent – ranging from a fascination with dreams to an apparent penchant for nihilism…. – CS Monitor, 1-10-11
  • Jared Loughner appears in court on murder charges: It remains unclear whether Loughner’s alleged actions were politically motivated, stemmed from mental illness or both. But the nice, skinny kid some classmates remember from Tucson’s Mountain View High School appears to have transformed into an oddball with psychological problems. Rants in Loughner’s name on MySpace and YouTube suggest his alleged attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, was a politically motivated rebellion, but former friends, co-workers and mental health specialists suggest a personality gone awry, a social outcast whose instability seems to have fallen through the cracks despite the fears of bewildered peers, bosses and educators. Photographed after his arrest with a shaved head and a jarring smile, Loughner bears little resemblance to the longhaired teen high school pals remember… – USA Today, 1-11-11
  • Arizona suspect could face death penalty Report: Jared Loughner purchased ammo hours before shooting spree: Jared Loughner, head shaved, a cut on his right temple and his hands cuffed, stared vacantly at a packed courtroom Monday and sat down. His attorney, who defended “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, whispered to him. It was the nation’s first look at the 22-year-old loner accused of trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The three-term Democrat lay about a 100 miles away in a Tucson intensive care unit, gravely wounded after being shot through the head but able to give a thumbs-up sign that doctors found as a reason to hope.
    Loughner seemed impassive and at one point stood at a lectern in his beige prison jumpsuit. A U.S. marshal stood guard nearby. The judge asked if he understood that he could get life in prison — or the death penalty — for killing federal Judge John Roll, one of six who died in the shooting rampage at Giffords’ outdoor meeting with constituents Saturday in Tucson.
    The judge ordered Loughner held without bail. The next court hearing was set for Jan. 24…. – MSNBC, 1-10-11
  • Thumbnail Sketches Of Victims In Tucson ShootingNPR, 1-9-11
  • Obama Orders U.S. Flags Lowered, Moment Of Silence For Tucson: President Obama ordered all U.S. flags on government buildings and properties lowered to half mast out of respect for the victims of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson.
    The White House also called for the observance of a moment of silence at 11 am EST Monday, “to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives.”
    The White House also postponed a planned trip to Schenectady, NY Tuesday in which the president was to highlight his administration’s efforts to create the enhance the climate for job creation. White House officials hoped to reschedule the trip.
    The move by Obama and his aides to place on hold some of their plans for the week followed the announcement by the House leadership that they were postponing a vote to repeal the health care law and other business in response to the shootings…. – AP, 1-9-11
  • U.S. sees evidence of assassination plot: Federal authorities filed murder charges Sunday against 22-year-old Jared Loughner, as new evidence suggested the alleged gunman in Saturday’s rampage had fixated on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) while his mental health deteriorated…. – WaPo, 1-9-11
  • Federal Charges Cite Assassination Plan: Prosecutors charged Jared L. Loughner, a troubled 22-year-old college dropout, of five federal counts on Sunday, including the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, for his role in a shooting rampage that left 20 people wounded, six of them fatally, on Saturday morning.
    Evidence seized from Mr. Loughner’s home, about five miles from the shooting, indicated that he had planned to kill Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, according to documents filed in the Federal District Court in Phoenix. Special Agent Tony M. Taylor Jr. of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in an affidavit that an envelope found in a safe in the home bore these handwritten words: “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and “Giffords.”
    Mr. Loughner, who is believed to have acted alone, is in federal custody, and is scheduled to make his first appearance before a magistrate judge in Phoenix on Monday…. – NYT, 1-9-11
  • U.S. Files Charges Against Jared Loughner For Tucson Shootings: The federal government formally charged Jared Lee Loughner for a shooting incident in Tucson, AZ that left six people dead and 16 wounded. The charges included two counts of killing a federal employee and one count of trying to assassinate a member of Congress as well as two additional counts of trying to kill federal workers. Prosecutors also said investigators found allegedly incriminating evidence at Loughner’s residence that indicated that he his actions were premeditated…. – NPR, 1-9-11
  • Alleged Tucson Shooter Faces Federal Charges: A Law enforcement official said the man authorities earlier described as a “person of interest” in connection with the mass shootings in Tucson has talked to authorities and was cleared. NPR has confirmed through the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the man in an image taken by a security camera at the shopping center where the shootings occurred has talked with authorities and was cleared of any involvment. Authorities had wanted to talk with the man because he was seen entering the general area of the shootings at about the same time as the alleged guman, Jared Lee Loughner…. – NPR, 1-9-11
  • Giffords known for her openness and Judaism: She gained prominence quickly in that body and in 2006, at 36, she became the first Jewish woman elected to Congress from her state. At the same time, her Judaism was becoming more central to her identity. The turning point came in 2001 following a tour of Israel with the American Jewish Committee, she told The Arizona Star in 2007. “It just cemented the fact that I wanted to spend more time with my own personal, spiritual growth. I felt very committed to Judaism,” she said. “Religion means different things to different people. It provides me with grounding, a better understanding of who I came from.”… – JTA, 1-9-11
  • Memo notes Giffords’ Judaism in motives of alleged attacker: A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo reportedly notes that Gabriel Giffords is Jewish in describing the motives of the Arizona congresswoman’s alleged assailant. The memo, obtained by Fox News Channel, says that Jared Lee Loughner mentioned American Renaissance, an extremist anti-immigrant group, in some of his own postings. “The group’s ideology is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti- Semitic,” says the memo sent to law enforcement, which also notes that Giffords, a Democrat, was the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona…. – JTA, 1-9-11
  • Survival is possible for Giffords: Doctors treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Sunday that while she remains in critical condition, early signs have made them hopeful. Giffords is able to communicate with doctors by following simple commands, such as squeezing her hand, said Dr. Michael Lemole, Jr., chief of neurosurgery at University Medical Center in Tuscon, Arizona. “We are very encouraged by that,” he said, adding, “I am cautiously optimistic.” Brain swelling is the biggest threat Giffords faces now, said Lemole…. – CNN, 1-9-11
  • Massacre suspect “mentally disturbed,” former teacher says: The suspect in the weekend massacre in Arizona was kicked out of an algebra class at a community college in June after repeated interruptions and clearly “needed psychological help,” his instructor said Sunday. Jared Lee Loughner was “physically removed” from the Pima Community College course less than a month after it began, its instructor, Ben McGahee told CNN. McGahee said Loughner sometimes shook, blurted things out in class, and appeared to be under the influence of drugs at times. “I was scared of what he could do,” McGahee said. “I wasn’t scared of him physically, but I was scared of him bringing a weapon to class.”… – CNN, 1-9-11
  • Born on Sept. 11, Claimed by a New Horror: Christina Green was on the student council of her elementary school, so on Saturday her mother’s friend thought she might enjoy seeing government in action: the local congresswoman meeting with constituents outside a supermarket near Christina’s home. “I allowed her to go, thinking it would be an innocent thing,” said the girl’s mother, Roxanna Green, 45. It did not turn out that way. A gunman shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords, leaving her in critical condition, and his fusillade killed six people, including Christina, a 9-year-old who loved animals and volunteered at a children’s charity…. – NYT, 1-9-11
  • 9-year-old killed in US shooting was born on 9/11: Christina-Taylor Green, the nine-year-old who was killed Saturday along with five other people at an Arizona political event, was drawn to politics from the awareness she was born on September 11, 2001, her parents have said. “She was born back east, and September 11 affected everyone there, and Christina-Taylor was always very aware of it. She was very patriotic and wearing red, white and blue was really special to her,” Roxanne Green told the Arizona Daily Star.
    “She was born on 9/11, the day the towers came down in New York City,” her father John Green told Fox News on Sunday. The dark-haired, brown-eyed third-grader was one of 50 babies born on that date featured in a book called “Faces of Hope.” She had gone to the Tucson strip mall with a neighbor on Saturday to meet congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was still in critical condition Sunday after being shot through the head, according to the newspaper.
    Christina-Taylor died in hospital after the shooting. Her neighbor, identified by the girl’s father as Susy Almond, was shot four times and recovering from surgery at Tucson’s University Medical Center, the daily said.
    Six people were killed, including a federal judge, and 14 were wounded in the shooting spree, in which 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner was charged Sunday…. – AP, 1-9-11
  • Suspect’s Odd Behavior Caused Growing Alarm: In a community college classroom here last June, on the first day of the term, the instructor in Jared L. Loughner’s basic algebra class, Ben McGahee, posed what he thought was a simple arithmetic question to his students. He was not prepared for the explosive response.
    “How can you deny math instead of accepting it?” Mr. Loughner asked, after blurting out a random number, according to Mr. McGahee.
    Mr. McGahee, for one, was disturbed enough by the experience to complain to school authorities, who as early as last June were apparently concerned enough themselves to have a campus officer visit the classroom. And what Mr. McGahee described as a pattern of behavior by Mr. Loughner, marked by hysterical laughter, bizarre non sequiturs and aggressive outbursts, only continued.
    “I was getting concerned about the safety of the students and the school,” said Mr. McGahee, who took to glancing out of the corner of his eye when he was writing on the board for fear that Mr. Loughner might do something. “I was afraid he was going to pull out a weapon.”… – NYT, 1-9-11
  • Six dead in shooting that wounds Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords: The Democrat was shot in the head when a gunman opened fire at a meet-and-greet at a supermarket. She is responsive after surgery. The dead include a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge, and at least 12 others are injured…. – LAT, 1-8-11
  • Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner may have posted anti-government messages: The 22-year-old suspect in the shooting of U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords and others at a Tucson grocery is Jared Loughner, who lives in the same city. On MySpace and YouTube web pages, a man who identifies himself as 22-year-old Jared Loughner posted anti-government messages that talk about mind control and suggested he will soon be adopting a new consciousness. “Goodbye,” Loughner posted on his MySpace account at approximately 5 a.m. Saturday. “Dear friends … Please don’t be mad at me.”… – USA Today, 1-8-11
  • Second suspect sought in Arizona shooting: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and several others were shot Saturday morning when a gunman opened fire outside a supermarket where Giffords was meeting with constituents. A 22-year-old suspect was in custody, law enforcement officials said. But at a Saturday evening news conference, investigators said they were looking for an accomplice who may have helped the gunman. Six of the victims died. The Pima County sheriff, Clarence W. Dupnik, said among those killed were John M. Roll, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, and a 9-year-old girl…. – NYT, 1-8-11
  • Arizona massacre suspect: ‘Kind of a troubled past’: The 22-year-old man under arrest in Saturday’s massacre in Arizona railed against government “mind control” and illiteracy in online missives and had “kind of a troubled past,” as the local sheriff put it. “There’s reason to believe this individual may have a mental issue,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told reporters Saturday night. An Arizona law enforcement source and a U.S. law enforcement source have identified the suspect as Jared Lee Loughner, a 22-year-old former community college student. He was taken into custody after the massacre at a Tucson supermarket that killed a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and four others and seriously wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was hosting a meeting with constituents at the Safeway…. – CNN, 1-8-11
  • Rep. Giffords Critical After Ariz. Attack: Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and 17 other people were shot just north of Tucson on Saturday morning when a gunman opened fire outside a supermarket where Ms. Giffords was meeting with constituents for a “Congress on Your Corner” event.
    Ms. Giffords, 40, was described as being in very critical condition at the University Medical Center in Tucson, where she was operated on by a team of neurosurgeons. Dr. Peter Rhee, medical director of the hospital’s trauma and critical care unit, said that she had been shot once in the head, “through and through,” with the bullet going through her brain.
    “I can tell you at this time, I am very optimistic about her recovery,” Dr. Rhee said in a news conference. “We cannot tell what kind of recovery but I’m as optimistic as it can get in this kind of situation.”…. – NYT, 1-8-11
  • Arizona Rep. Giffords shot, at least 5 killed: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday when an assailant opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with constituents, killing at least five people and wounding several others in a rampage that rattled the nation.
    Giffords was among at least 10 people wounded, and the hospital said her outlook was “optimistic” and that she was responding to commands from doctors despite having a bullet go through her head. The hospital said a 9-year-old child was among the dead, and a U.S. Marshal said a federal judge was also fatally shot in the attack.
    Giffords spokesman C.J. Karamargin said an unspecified number of her staff members were injured in the shooting. Congressional officials said an aide to the Democrat was killed, and President Barack Obama said five people died in all. The reaction to the shooting was swift and rippled across the globe. Obama held a nationally televised news conference to express his condolences. The shooting cast a pall over Capitol as politicians of all stripes denounced the shooting as a horrific act of violence. Capitol police asked members of Congress to step up security in the wake of the shooting, and some politicians expressed hope that the killing spree serves as a wakeup call at a time when the political climate has become so emotionally charged.
    Police say the shooter was in custody, and was identified by people familiar with the investigation as Jared Loughner, 22. Pima County Sheriff’s officials said he used a pistol to carry out the shooting spree. U.S. officials who provided his name to the AP spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release it publicly…. – AP, 1-8-11
  • Authorities Suspect Gunman in Arizona Rampage Posted Pre-Shooting Video Online: Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old man who sources identify to Fox News as the gunman in custody in the deadly shooting rampage Saturday in Arizona, is suspected of posting a series of YouTube videos that show a focus on literacy and currency — as well as his distrust in the government. “Hello, my name is Jared Lee Loughner,” one of the videos says, in words appearing on the screen. “This video is my introduction to you! My favorite activity is conscience dreaming; the greatest inspiration for my political business information. Some of you don’t dream – sadly.”
    The video, posted Dec. 15, later turns more political. “The majority of citizens in the united states of America have never read the united states of America’s constitution. You don’t have to accept the federalist laws,” the video’s titles say. “In conclusion, reading the second United States constitution, I can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar. No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver! No! I won’t trust in god!”
    Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was among the people critically wounded in the shooting at a public event in Tucson, and several people were killed, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old boy…. – Fox News, 1-8-11
  • Giffords had been target of violent threats: It is not yet known whether or not the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and as many as a dozen other people at a public event in Tucson, was an act of political violence. The AP has reported that the gunman has been identified as Jared Loughner. There’s still uncertainty about Loughner’s motives and politics. But a Youtube video posted under the name Jared Lee Loughner of Tucson proposes creating a “new currency,” and rails against non-English speakers “in District 8” — Giffords’s congressional district.
    But it’s worth noting that Giffords — who in 2006 became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, at 36 — has, for more than a year, been the target of violence-tinged rhetoric from political opponents and of threats that appear to have come from right-wing activists.
    Asked by the New York Post whether his daughter had any enemies, Giffords’s father replied: “The whole tea party.”
    In August 2009, an attendee at a Giffords town-hall meeting dropped a handgun, leading Giffords’s staff to call the police. “We have never felt the need before to notify law enforcement when we hold these events,” her spokesman said at the time.
    After Giffords voted in favor of the health-care overhaul in March, she said that vandals had broken the glass door of her Tucson office. “The rhetoric is incredibly heated, not just the calls but the emails, the slurs,” she told MSNBC at the time. “Things have really gotten spun up.” She added: “We do have these polarized parts of our parties that really get excited, and that’s where … all of us have to come together and say, ‘OK, there’s a fine line here.'”… – Yahoo News, 1-8-11

QUOTES

The American flag flies at half-mast on the U.S. Capitol in Washington Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011.
  • Moment of Silence for the Victims in Arizona: This morning at 11:00AM EST President Obama, the First Lady and White House staff joined many across the country in observing a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives. In addition to staying on top of the investigation and helping wherever possible. The President has been and will continue to be in close contact with those concerned, having made calls to Representative Gifford’s husband, Mark Kelly, the families of Christina-Taylor Green and Gabe Zimmerman, as well as House Leadership and members of the Arizona delegation in both the House and Senate…. – WH, 1-10-11Mp4Mp3
  • President Obama on Tucson, Grief & Courage: PRESIDENT OBAMA: We’ll, I’m very grateful to have my dear friend, Nicolas Sarkozy, here. And I think Nicolas has agreed that at the top I want to just make a few comments about the situation in Tucson, Arizona.
    Obviously all of us are still grieving and in shock from the tragedy that took place. Gabby Giffords and others are still fighting to recover. Families are still absorbing the enormity of their losses. We have a criminal investigation that is ongoing and charges that no doubt will be brought against the perpetrator of this heinous crime.
    I think it’s important for us to also focus, though, on the extraordinary courage that was shown during the course of these events: a 20-year-old college student who ran into the line of fire to rescue his boss; a wounded woman who helped secure the ammunition that might have caused even more damage; the citizens who wrestled down the gunman. Part of what I think that speaks to is the best of America, even in the face of such mindless violence.
    And so, in the coming days we’re going to have a lot of time to reflect. Right now, the main thing we’re doing is to offer our thoughts and prayers to those who’ve been impacted, making sure that we’re joining together and pulling together as a country. And as President of the United States, but also as a father, obviously I’m spending a lot of time just thinking about the families and reaching out to them. – WH, 1-10-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
  • Presidential Proclamation–Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Tucson, Arizona: As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half- staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 14, 2011. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
    ninth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth. – WH, 1-9-11
  • Gabrielle Giffords shooting stirs outpouring of concern and support: Leaders react to the shooting of the Arizona congresswoman. Obama: ‘We are going to get to the bottom of this, and we’re going to get through this.’…. – LAT, 1-8-11
  • President Obama: The President Speaks on the Shootings in Tucson: “We Are Going to Get to the Bottom of This, and We’re Going to Get Through This”: As many of you are aware, earlier today a number of people were shot in Tucson, Arizona, including several who were meeting at a supermarket with their congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. We are still assembling all the facts, but we know that Representative Giffords was one of the victims. She is currently at a hospital in the area, and she is battling for her life.
    We also know that at least five people lost their lives in this tragedy. Among them were a federal judge, John Roll, who has served America’s legal system for almost 40 years; and a young girl who was barely nine years old.
    I’ve spoken to Arizona governor Jan Brewer and offered the full resources of the federal government. A suspect is currently in custody, but we don’t yet know what provoked this unspeakable act. A comprehensive investigation is currently underway, and at my direction, Director Bob Mueller is en route to Arizona to help coordinate these efforts. I’ve also spoken to the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House.
    Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine. She is not only an extraordinary public servant, but she is also somebody who is warm and caring. She is well liked by her colleagues and well liked by her constituents. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is a Navy captain and one of America’s valiant astronauts.
    It’s not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does — listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors. That is the essence of what our democracy is all about. That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country.
    What Americans do at times of tragedy is to come together and support each other. So at this time I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping all the victims and their families, including Gabby, in our thoughts and prayers. Those who have been injured, we are rooting for them. And I know Gabby is as tough as they come, and I am hopeful that she’s going to pull through.
    Obviously our hearts go out to the family members of those who have been slain. We are going to get to the bottom of this, and we’re going to get through this. But in the meantime, I think all of us need to make sure that we’re offering our thoughts and prayers to those concerned. WH, 1-8-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
  • Sarah Palin, On the tragedy in Arizona: My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona. On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice. –
  • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz): “I am horrified by the violent attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and many other innocent people by a wicked person who has no sense of justice or compassion. I pray for Gabby and the other victims, and for the repose of the souls of the dead and comfort for their families. I beg our loving Creator to spare the lives of those who are still alive, heal them in body and spirit, and return them to their loved ones.
    Whoever did this; whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race, and they deserve and will receive the contempt of all decent people and the strongest punishment of the law. – McCain Senate, 1-8-11
  • House Speaker John A. Boehner (R- Ohio): I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country.
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D- San Francisco): “Our prayers and thoughts are will all of them. … Congresswoman Giffords is a great patriotic American.
  • Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer: I am just heartbroken. Gabby is more than just a colleague, she’s actually a friend. She’s always been a noble public servant.

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

     

  • Assassins and American History: Is there a tie between political speech and the violent acts of unbalanced individuals?… – NYT, 1-10-11
  • Robert Dallek, historian: The Means to Commit Mass Murder: Common sense gun control is a more important question than how much all the overstated speech facilitates violence…. – NYT, 1-10-11
  • Jill Lepore, Harvard historian: What Thomas Jefferson Would Say: The U.S. system of government demands both dissent, and tolerance of it…. – NYT, 1-10-11
  • Steven F. Hayward, American Enterprise Institute: Political Attacks, Circa 1800: The vitriol in the 1800 election would make Fox News and MSNBC blush…. – NYT, 1-10-11
  • Steven Mintz, history professor, Columbia University: The Facts About Political Assailants: Assailants of politicians have mostly been paranoid outsiders, unusually sensitive to the political sensations of the time…. – NYT, 1-10-11
  • Kevin Baker, novelist and historian: The Cost of Thuggish Prattle: Attempts on the lives of public figures rarely correspond directly to hate speech, but others have suffered the cost of thuggish prattle about resorting to arms…. – NYT, 1-10-11
  • Julian E. Zelizer, history professor, Princeton University: Toxic Speech in Politics: That people instantly wondered about the connection between political speech and the Tucson shootings is a sign of a toxic political culture…. – NYT, 1-10-11
  • Catherine McNicol Stock, historian, “Rural Radicals”: Violence in the 1930’s: The “shoot the banker” cry in the Depression did not lead to mass killings but to vicious acts like tarring and feathering…. – NYT, 1-10-11
  • UW Professor Mordecai Lee: Shooting Will Impact Democratic Process Expert Predicts Tighter Security For Members Of Congress: “From now on, going to a town hall meeting with a member of congress is going be like going to the airport — you’re going to have to walk through one of those body scans,” said UW Milwaukee Government Affairs professor Mordecai Lee.
    “If we have to put U.S. senators and members of congress in the same secret service bubble that now extends to presidents and presidential candidates, the nature of American politics will change,” he said.
    “You can’t live in a bubble. You can’t view every single person as a potential assassin or a potential assailant. The essence of being a politician is being amongst people,” he said.
    “This is terrible for democracy, but I’m afraid it’s really the only pragmatic answer for these horrible kind of situations,” he said…. – WISN, 1-9-11
  • Gabrielle Giffords shooting fuels debate over rhetoric: Has the nation’s harsh political rhetoric become more than just talk — to the point of being dangerous? The attempted assassination of Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she spoke with voters outside a grocery store in Tucson fueled a debate Sunday over whether the sharp partisanship and anti-government language that now mark American politics have created a climate that makes violence against public officials more likely. As a moderate Democrat who barely won re-election in a state torn by disputes over immigration policy, economic angst and growing mistrust in the government, Giffords was familiar with today’s increasingly nasty political rhetoric. Her opponent last fall accused her of betraying her district. Meanwhile, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s website posted a map with crosshairs on 20 Democrat-held congressional districts Palin was targeting for takeover by Republicans in the November elections. Giffords’ was one of them.
    “You can’t say they’re just words; they have consequences,” said South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, a member of the Democratic leadership. He said he worries about the effect of words on “people who may not be clicking on all cylinders.”
    He cautioned, “We need to take a look at what we’re drifting into here.” However, some Republican leaders and conservative activists rejected the suggestion that their hard-edged language on issues such as health care and immigration could fairly be tied to Saturday’s attack by a gunman in Tucson that left six people dead, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. Giffords, who was shot in the head, was in critical condition Sunday after surgery.
    “This is a terrible politicization of a tragedy,” said Rebecca Mansour, an aide to Palin. “We don’t know (the suspect’s) motive. It doesn’t seem like he was motivated by a political ideology. Craziness is not an ideology.”… – USA Today, 1-9-11
  • Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics: The shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others at a neighborhood meeting in Arizona on Saturday set off what is likely to be a wrenching debate over anger and violence in American politics. While the exact motivations of the suspect in the shootings remained unclear, an Internet site tied to the man, Jared Lee Loughner, contained antigovernment ramblings. And regardless of what led to the episode, it quickly focused attention on the degree to which inflammatory language, threats and implicit instigations to violence have become a steady undercurrent in the nation’s political culture.
    Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff, seemed to capture the mood of the day at an evening news conference when he said it was time for the country to “do a little soul-searching.” “It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included,” Sheriff Dupnik said. “That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”… – NYT, 1-9-11

History News: History Channel Pulls Plug on Kennedy Miniseries

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/history_news.jpg

IN FOCUS:

  • Producers already pitch Kennedy project elsewhere: After the History channel said it would not air a controversial miniseries on the Kennedy family, producers were already seeking another television home.
    The Showtime pay cable network has been approached to air the eight-part series, a spokesman said on Saturday. Eight years ago, Showtime aired a movie about President Reagan that CBS had made but decided not to broadcast when it faced pressure from some of that former president’s family. Showtime won’t make a decision about the Kennedy miniseries until its executives have a chance to see it, spokesman Richard Licata said….
    A concerted effort was made to quash the series. Liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald collected 50,000 petitions urging History not to air it, and he produced a short film condemning the project on a website, stopkennedysmears.com. He had been given an early script, which included one scene where President Kennedy tells his brother Robert about his need to have sex with other women. Former Kennedy aide Theodore Sorensen also harshly condemned the film, saying scenes in the script where he was depicted didn’t actually occur. History also likely felt corporate pressure. The network is owned by the A&E Television Networks, which itself is owned jointly by NBC Universal, the Walt Disney Co. and the Hearst Corp…. – AP, 1-8-11
  • History network pulls plug on Kennedy project: The History Channel will not air a controversial miniseries it produced about the Kennedy family, saying the multimillion project that had become the network’s most expensive on record did not fit the “History brand.”
    The eight-part series had already been completed, and starred Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes as President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie. But during its production, critics like former Kennedy administration aide Theodore Sorenson attacked the scripts as inaccurate. The role of producer Joel Surnow, a political conservative, also drew suspicion from fans of the Kennedy family.
    “We have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand,” the network said in a statement late Friday. History, in its statement, said the decision was made after viewing the series in its totality. “We recognize historical fiction is an important medium for storytelling and commend all the hard work and passion that has gone into the making of the series, but ultimately deem this as the right programming decision for our network,” History said in a statement…. – AP, 1-8-11
  • ‘Kennedys’ gets pulled: A&E Television Networks will not broadcast the miniseries “The Kennedys’’ on the History Channel this spring. The network has canceled the series starring Greg Kinnear as John F. Kennedy and Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy, concluding it was “not a fit’’ for the History Channel, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Upon completion of the production of ‘The Kennedys,’ History has decided not to air the eight-part miniseries,’’ a rep for A&E told the trade publication. The multimillion dollar project has been the subject of controversy since it was announced in December 2009. Developed by Joel Surnow, the conservative co-creator of “24,’’ the project was criticized by some Democrats and Kennedy historians. The miniseries is still set to air in Canada on March 6, and will still be broadcast internationally. – Boston Globe, 1-8-11
  • History Channel Pulls ‘The Kennedys’; Says Controversial Miniseries ‘Not a Fit’: Ambitious miniseries was set to air this spring; stars Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes, and producer Joel Surnow were told today of cancellation.
    In a surprise move, A&E Television Networks has canceled plans to broadcast The Kennedys, the ambitious and much- anticipated miniseries about the American political family that was set to air this spring on the History channel.
    “Upon completion of the production of The Kennedys, History has decided not to air the 8-part miniseries on the network,” a rep for the network tells The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. “While the film is produced and acted with the highest quality, after viewing the final product in its totality, we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand.”
    The multi-million dollar project—History and Lifetime president and general manager Nancy Dubuc’s first scripted miniseries at the network and its most expensive program ever—has been embroiled in controversy since it was announced in December 2009.
    Developed by Joel Surnow, the conservative co-creator of 24, along with production companies Asylum Entertainment and Muse Entertainment and writer Stephen Kronish, the project drew fire from the political left and some Kennedy historians. Even before cameras rolled, a front-page New York Times story last February included a sharp attack from former John F. Kennedy adviser Theodore Sorenson, who called an early version of the script “vindictive” and “malicious.”
    History and parent A&E said at the time that the script had been revised and that the final version had been vetted by experts. Indeed, the script used in production had passed muster with History historians for accuracy.
    Despite the controversy, History was able to recruit a big-ticket cast to the project, announcing in April that Greg Kinnear (John F. Kennedy), Katie Holmes (Jackie Kennedy), Barry Pepper (Robert F. Kennedy) and Tom Wilkinson (Joe Kennedy) would co-star. The actors and CAA, which reps both Kinnear and Holmes, were told this afternoon of the cancellation. Surnow also was told today.
    No advertisers had registered complaints or concerns with the miniseries, confirms an A&E spokesperson, but the content was not considered historically accurate enough for the network’s rigorous standards. So an air date, which had not been announced but was planned for spring, was scrapped.
    “We recognize historical fiction is an important medium for storytelling and commend all the hard work and passion that has gone into the making of the series, but ultimately deem this as the right programming decision for our network,” a rep tells THR in the statement.
    The miniseries is still scheduled to air in Canada on March 6, and will still be broadcast internationally…. – The Hollywood Reporter, 1-8-11
%d bloggers like this: