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Posts Tagged ‘bp oil spill

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas Won’t Seek Third Term in 2012

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Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has served three terms in the Senate, is hanging up her political hat next year and returning to Texas.

“I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2012,” she wrote in a letter to supporters that was posted on Facebook. “That should give the people of Texas ample time to consider who my successor will be.”
She added: “When my current term is up, I will have served Texas for 19 years in the United States Senate. I intended to leave this office long before now, but I was persuaded to continue in order to avoid disadvantage to our state. The last two years have been particularly difficult, especially for my family, but I felt it would be wrong to leave the Senate during such a critical period.”
Hutchison and her husband, Ray Hutchison, a bond attorney in Dallas, adopted two children, Kathryn Bailey and Houston Taylor in 2001. She was 58 at the time. Her husband, a former member of the Texas legislature who lost a campaign for governor in 1978, was 68.

Though the adoptions created a mild controversy about older parents adopting children, Hutchison once referred to the move as “just a dream come true for us.”

Hutchison, the most senior female currently serving in the U.S. Senate, has had a storied political career in Texas state politics and Washington.

In 1993, she became the first — and so far the only — woman to represent Texas in the Senate when she won a special election after Lloyd Bentsen resigned to become secretary of the treasury in the Clinton Administration. At the time, she was serving as state treasurer.

The next year, she won a full six-year term. In 2000, she was the first Texas U.S. senator to receive more than 4 million votes in a single election.

In 2010, Hutchison ran against Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a moderate alternative. But her pro-choice position became fodder for Perry. Although she had endorsements from former President George H.W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, Hutchison lost to Perry 31 percent to 53 percent in the Republican primary.

Hutchison is one of the Republican Party’s brightest stars, often appearing on political talk shows to press the GOP agenda. Still, she broke ranks during the health care debate and opposed an attempt to stall the bill in the Senate.

But on most issues, she stands by her party. Just last month, she said she would not support the DREAM Act and voted against the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

In 2006, she received more campaign contributions from members of large oil and gas corporations than any other member of Congress. Just this week, in a press release from her office, she “cautioned against putting American energy jobs at risk through new layers of bureaucracy recommended in the National Oil Spill Commission’s report on the BP oil spill.”

Hutchison has been a fierce advocate for NASA, Amtrak, military families and homeland security. She serves as the ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

During her political career, Hutchison has had a series of strange threats and stalkers. A man who volunteered on her first state legislative race in 1972 asked her to marry him. She said no, and he broke into her campaign office, driving an ice pick through a campaign poster with her image. The man resurfaced periodically in her life.

In 1996, Hutchison led efforts for a new federal anti-stalking law. Former President Bill Clinton called her “a victim of stalking who fought back.”

Her stalker died in 2002, but six years later, another entered Hutchison’s life, referring to her children’s adoption in disturbing phone messages. He was later indicted and charged with third-degree felony stalking.

Hints have been floating that Hutchison would not seek re-election. In August 2009, she put her 4,300-square-foot home in Virginia up for sale. At the time, an aide said, “She’s coming home to Texas. That’s why it’s for sale.”


Written by suziparker1313

March 10, 2011 at 3:06 am

Counting Dead Blackbirds: Conspiracy Theories Abound in Arkansas

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The mystery: Dead blackbirds, dead fish.

The setting: Rural Arkansas on New Year’s Eve.

The story: In a town named Beebe, thousands of red-winged blackbirds begin to drop dead out of the sky onto New Year’s revelers. Coincidentally, the surname of the Arkansas governor is Beebe. Meanwhile, 125 miles away, 100,000 drum fish are found belly-up in the Arkansas River. Two days later, in Louisiana, 500 more red-winged blackbirds are discovered dead on a highway, and Kentucky reports bird deaths. Religious leaders begin preaching about the end times. Officials say loud fireworks or weather are tied to the bird deaths. The fish likely died from disease. Social media erupts with conspiracy theories. It makes the news in Russia. People don’t believe the government.
Questions, fear and plenty of speculation erupt.

As one Democrat quipped, “Could the birds be harbingers of bad things to come as they fell right as the GOP was taking over?”

Many people joke that maybe too many people were playing the computer game “Angry Birds.”

Or as Jon Stewart said Monday night on “The Daily Show,” maybe Arkansas is just in the running this year for “leading exporter of bat-bleep crazy.” Last year, it was South Carolina.

The official line is that the birds died of blunt trauma to their organs and suffered blood clots resulting from a massive midair collision. The theory is that they were startled by something — fireworks or weather.

But the storms that rocked the state earlier in the day had moved way east of Arkansas by the time the birds fell, according to the National Weather Service in North Little Rock. On the fireworks front, the city of Beebe does not host a large pyrotechnic display on New Year’s Eve. Would a few bottle rockets do that kind of damage? Arkansas officials are still investigating the fish kill.

Dead fish have also been found in Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. More than 100 tons of sardines were found dead in Brazil on Sunday. New Zealand media reported on Tuesday that dead, mostly eyeless, snapper had washed up on several Coromandel Peninsula beaches.

Naturally, people have jumped from disease explanations to government cover-ups worthy of an old “X-Files” episode, to signs of the apocalypse.

The town of Beebe sits less than 20 miles from the Little Rock Air Force Base. Could the base be conducting secret tests? Last year, it was reported that some Air Force researchers were testing high-powered microwave blasts to knock small robo-planes out of the sky. Officials with the Little Rock Air Force Base did not return calls for comment.

Perhaps, Sarah Palin is sending a missive from Alaska to convince Mike Huckabee not to make a White House run in 2012. If so, she’s behind the times. He’s moved to Florida. How are the fish there?

Other theories involve poison from the BP Gulf disaster. Another one centers on drilling and fracking throughout Arkansas. Environmental causes are often the reason behind many wildlife deaths such as honeybees and birds. Is the world at an ecological tipping point?

One theory that could have some real basis also looms.

Arkansas sits on the New Madrid earthquake fault line. It extends from northeast Arkansas through southeast Missouri and into western Tennessee, western Kentucky and southern Illinois. A series of strong earthquakes occurred in 1812 in this area. Reports from the time say that wildlife died before the big ones.

Geologists have predicted that in the next 50 years, if not sooner, a devastating earthquake of 6.5 or higher might happen. In late 2008, the Obama administration’s Long Term Disaster Recovery Working Group held five meetings around the country, including in Memphis, which sits in the heart of the fault line. Maybe they need to meet again.

Then, there’s the conspiracy theory that links two major news stories this week — the birds and the death of John P. Wheeler, III.

According to, (one headline from the site: US Descends Into Total Police State As 2012 ‘Solar Chaos’ Fears Grow) a document has been prepared for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin by the Foreign Military Intelligence Directorate. It supposedly shows a linkage between the birds and Wheeler, the special assistant to the secretary of the Air Force from 2005-2008 who was found dead in a Delaware landfill.

Basically, as the story goes, a malfunction in an Air Force tanker carrying Phosgene poisonous gas caused the deadly brew to be sprayed over central Arkansas. Wheeler then confronted the Pentagon and ended up dead.

But the strange but true tales of wildlife deaths also prompted some folks to exercise their capitalist muscles. A T-shirt with a dead bird is already on sale in Little Rock. With bird deaths occurring globally, the creator may soon have a thriving business.

Written by suziparker1313

March 10, 2011 at 3:02 am