Mike Huckabee, Early Release Of Criminal, And Execution-Style Killing Of 4 Police Officers

The heat on Mike Huckabee will be intense.  As it should be.  Can you image what the Republicans would do to a Democrat if the coin were reversed?

Trying to explain how such a man could be on the streets, despite five felony convictions in Arkansas that should have kept him locked up for life, Detective Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said, “Some people have to answer to that.”

At the top of that list is Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and current host at Fox News. Huckabee granted Clemmons early release nine years ago, against the objections of prosecutors and victims.

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If this case does not sink the presidential aspirations of Huckabee, a leading Republican candidate, it should. By the standards that Republicans launched almost 20 years ago, Huckabee will be Willie Hortonized. But this case also shows, as with an earlier episode in Arkansas, that Huckabee’s judgment is seriously flawed.

If Huckabee were a liberal and a Democrat, he would be a punching bag for right wing blowhards an example of clueless, soft-on-crime politicians at their worst. Fox News would be stalking him, as they have others responsible for letting criminals out early.

Instead, he’s been allowed to get away with issuing a passive, blame-shifting statement. In the release, issued Sunday night, Huckabee takes no personal responsibility for letting Clemmons out early. Instead, he cites “a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington.”

Yes, a series of failures, resulting in the worst act of violence against law enforcement in the history of this state – four officers gunned down in “a targeted, selective ambush,” in Detective Troyer’s words.

A series of failures: starting at the top, with Gov. Huckabee.

Being Constantly ‘In Touch’ Fascinates Me

For the second time in weeks I am fascinated about the use of  Twitter to spread news and information.  First Twitter was credited in the Fort Hood shootings to help spread news, and alert the media to events unfolding in that dreadful happening.  This weekend in Washington State where four police officers were slain news and updates were again disseminated by Twitter.    As a source for more ‘on location’ news accounts I think Twitter has a credible purpose.

For the record I do not Twitter, do not text, have a cell phone only for long road trips and emergencies, and all landline callers to our home are ushered to an answering machine so we do not have to even hear a ringing phone….ever.  We check the messages a few times a day, and the world has never stopped rotating as a result.  Clearly James and I do not think keeping constantly ‘in touch’ with others is a desire or a priority.  As we spend much of our day together it is true that we do not need to call or text one another to get updates on this or that.  But even if that were not the case  I could not fathom the following taking place.

On Saturday I saw a young man sitting in the aisle of  a store with a cell phone trying to determine with his better half what headache medication to purchase.  For Pete’s Sake….just make a decision!  What did his dad do in a similar situation 30 years ago? 

Perhaps my fascination with Twitter and texting as of late is that I wish to better understand the need people have for constant updates, calls, and texts.  If they really wanted human contact why is it then that during so many lunches out and about, or other events I see people in groups where human contact is already established break away to call or text?   Apart from the fact I think it is rude to exclude the people you are with to make new electronic contacts, I also just find it is perplexing.

Jim Lehrer National Icon, “NewsHour” Serious News

Lets be honest.  Jim Lehrer is a national icon.  For those who want real news and analysis each weeknight there is only one place to turn, and that is to PBS.  Though Lehrer has had some health issues many of us know when it comes to serious news nothing is superior to “NewsHour” for the place to find depth and nuance.  In a chaotic world that is essential.  Depth over the headlines is often missing from other news broadcasts.  So it is important that however the long-lived, and long-loved “NewsHour” changes it not deviate away from the foundation that makes it one of the best programs on PBS.

F or the first time since Gerald Ford was president, Jim Lehrer will not have his name on next week’s PBS newscast.

He is giving up television’s biggest perk, making way for a dual-anchor format with a rotating set of correspondents that will change the look and feel of one of the capital’s most enduring journalistic institutions.

“It’s a little strange,” Lehrer admits in his Shirlington office, wearing a brown “Metro Transit” cardigan in an office festooned with bus depot signs. “Not only am I at ease with it, this was not something forced on me. This grew out of my own thinking. . . . We’ve been a team operation for a long time. What it does is validate the obvious.”

Having been sidelined by a heart valve operation last year, the 75-year-old anchor knows there are whispers that this is an interim step toward his retirement. As Lehrer shares the stage with Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff and Jeffrey Brown, the renamed “PBS NewsHour” will no longer be synonymous with the bus driver’s son from Wichita.

“I am still going to be on the program,” he says. “I am still the executive editor of the program. I want this program to go on and on.” Asked whether he will take some evenings off, Lehrer hedges: “We’re going to play it by ear.”

His face is more heavily creased now, his gait slightly slowed, but his passion for news seems undiminished. At the same time, the 20th-century icon has come to recognize that he and his venerable program are in danger of being eclipsed by a fast-changing world.

Trial Begins For John Demjanjuk, Nazi Death Camp Guard

There is finally justice coming for some of those who were held at Sobibor, in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.  John Demjanjuk, who was allowed to be in the United States far longer than he should have been, finally is standing trial in Germany.  There should be  no waffling about where anyone should stand on this matter, even though for years Pat Buchanan defended this man.  Many still contend he has not been treated fairly.

To them I suggest they try and reckon any sense of humanity with the mental image of Demjanjuk, while a camp guard at Sobibor,  pushing  thousands of Jewish men, women and children to their death in the gas chambers.

There will be justice, though decades slow in coming.  He is 89 and feeble in health.  He is so stubborn that he will not even speak in court, reports those who are on his defense team.  I suspect however he will be speaking soon  when the flames of hell start to burn him.  Yelling perhaps, more than speaking.

But for now justice on earth for John Demjanjuk has started.

Mike Huckabee Granted Clemency To Man Wanted In Killing Of Four Police In Washington State

This is not the way a GOP presidential hopeful wants to start the week.  There is however still more sobering news at the end of the news story.

Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing this morning of four Lakewood police officers, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.

Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protests of prosecutors.

“This is the day I’ve been dreading for a long time,” Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ Pulaski County said tonight when informed that Clemmons was being sought for questioning in connection with the killings.

Clemmons’ criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. The record also stands out for the number of times he has been released from custody despite questions about the danger he posed.

Huckabee, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year, issued a statement tonight calling the slaying of the police officers “a horrible and tragic event.”

If Clemmons is found responsible, “it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State,” Huckabee said.

He added that Clemmons’ release from prison had been reviewed and approved by the Arkansas parole board.

Clemmons had been in jail in Pierce County for the past several months on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child. He was released from custody just six days ago, even though was staring at seven additional felony charges in Washington state.

Clemmons posted $15,000 with a Chehalis company called Jail Sucks Bail Bonds. The bondsman, in turn, put up $150,000, securing Clemmons’ release on the pending child-rape charge.

Clemmons lives in Tacoma, where he has run a landscaping and power-washing business out of his house, according to a police interview with his wife earlier this year.

He was married, but the relationship was tumultuous, with accounts of his unpredictable behavior leading to at least two confrontations with police earlier this year.

Now for the even more grim news.

He was able to get his hands on a gun.  And use it. 

 

Finger-Impaired Guitar Player, And The Human Spirit

UPDATED

I had thought this article so good, and my long-time readers understand why given my  appreciation and love for the Grand Ole Opry and Roy Acuff, that I had printed the whole story so it could be read at Caffeinated Politics.  Barton Cromeens,  editor for the Abilene  ReporterNews contacted me and told me to remove it.  He stated it was copyright infringement.  Lets be honest here,  I was getting too much traffic here at my site, and all those numbers should go to the Texas on-line newspaper where the story originated.  (Could it be that the editor in Texas just did not like the fact this story  was on a liberal blog?  And why wouldn’t any writer or editor want as large and diverse a readership as possible?)  If I were a writer I would want my material read by as many as possible, as long as it was linked to the original source.  (Which is always the case on my blog.  It should be noted that this was a rare exception where an entire article was posted at CP.  Had Barton Cromeens taken a moment to look around he would have noted that fact, and perhaps understood how deeply I felt about this particular story to have given it such a placing on CP.) But as we say here in the North, ‘you can always tell a Texan, but you can’t tell ’em much.’  And we all know how that goes…. As such the entire story can be read at the link provided.  Now I hope Barton Cromeens gets some bran and moves his real problem along. 

 There are some stories that reach out to all of us regardless of age or location.  So even if you are not a classic country music fan I think this will convince you that some stories must be told as they are just too good not to be known.    To do this daily blog requires a number of  eclectic ‘Google Alerts’ to  fill my email box so to round out my information base.   Most are rather routine news stories……and then there was this one.  It comes from Abilene, Texas, and goes all the way to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and Roy Acuff……..this is really a story to read.

Sunday Echoes: MGM 75-Year-Montage

There is nothing quite like the movie legends that dominated the big screen of MGM feature films.  There is a real nostalgic grab to the senses when we watch a montage of Hollywood’s greats as they flash across the screen and our memories.  Watching film has always been a relaxing way to be entertained, but also constantly reminded of the power and pull of a well-written, acted, directed, and produced production.  Can you name all the movies in the clip?  I tried to locate a list of all the films in order they are mentioned in the clip, but was unable to do so.  If you can locate one please send a comment.  And thanks in advance.

Video: Four Police Officers Ambushed, Killed In Washington State

UPDATED

Guns are weapons of death, again.  (x4)