Tales from the Trail

House Democrat wants GOP apology for threats and violence

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House Democrat Barney Frank says Republican leaders should apologize for threats and vandalism against Democrats who’ve had the temerity to back President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda.

Why? The Massachusetts Democrat says Republicans have actually been cheering on the bad behavior. And, he adds, recent Republican condemnations have not gone far enough.

“I’m glad that my Republican leadership colleagues now have decided to denounce it. But they’ve been very late to do that. Over the weekend, they were much more egging on this kind of behavior than denouncing it,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America.  ”I think there ought to be some apologies.”

First, there was House Republican leader John Boehner’s castigating remark last week about the “punk staffers” who are working on Democratic financial reform legislation. Frank believes that comment was the starting gun for increasingly aggressive rhetoric by Republicans and their supporters.OBAMA/

Then there were the folks in the House balcony on Sunday who disrupted the healthcare proceedings with shouts that prompted security officers to act.

New president cheered, old one jeered

WASHINGTON – They came to cheer a new president. Some came to jeer the old one as well.

As a helicopter carried George W. Bush away from the U.S. capital where he has served as president for the past eight years, those in the crowd sang the taunting sports anthem, “Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye.”  OBAMA/

The 43rd president certainly didn’t hear them. But he might have seen the “Arrest Bush” signs waved by some spectators as he rode in the presidential limousine toward the Capitol with his successor Barack Obama.

Activists “shoe” Bush out the White House door

Critics of outgoing President George W. Bush turned a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House into a  rowdy street theater on the eve of his handover of power to Barack Obama.

An activist coalition calling itself ShoeBush.org piled a motley collection of dozens of old shoes, including tan combat boots said to have been worn by U.S. troops in Iraq and children’s bright yellow flip-flops, at what amounted to Bush’s doorstep.

“We wanted to shoo and boo Bush on his last day in office,” said Ann Wilcox of Washington D.C., who marched with the group of about 500 peace activists.

Biden smells “victory” in the air for Obama

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Just two days before the U.S. presidential election, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden smells victory for Barack Obama.

Speaking at Florida State University in Tallahassee, his first in a three-stop swing through the battleground state of Florida on Sunday, Biden pointed to a dramatic bronze statue entitled “Unconquered” outside the university’s stadium.

“This is a great place to have this rally in front of the ‘Seminole Unconquered’. I tell you, I don’t think you ever approach this stadium without smelling victory in the air,” Biden said. 

102 arrested in Minneapolis after rock show

A standoff between rock fans and police led to 102 arrests Wednesday night when fired-up concertgoers took to the streets after a Rage Against the Machine show.

Several hundred fans of the band, whose songs include “Take the Power Back,” and “Bullet in the Head,” marched through downtown Minneapolis after the band finished its set at the Target Center arena.

The show ended at roughly the same time as the third night of the Republican convention across the Mississippi River in St. Paul. Fans of the politically radical band mixed with exuberant Republicans headed to exclusive parties where they toasted vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s speech.

Pepper spray again perfumes St. Paul streets

The invigorating scent of pepper spray perfumed downtown St. Paul again on Tuesday.

Police used percussion grenades, tear gas and pepper spray to push protesters out of downtown at the end of an otherwise peaceful march for poor people that drew more than 1,000 participants.protest.jpg

The event largely avoided the chaos that engulfed the area on Monday, when bands of black-clad anarchists smashed store windows and threw rocks and bottles at police.

Police, protesters clash near convention

ST. PAUL – Police in riot gear used pepper spray and smoke bombs against a few hundred violent protesters on Monday, and at least a dozen were arrested outside the arena where the Republican party opened its presidential convention.

In the video above, a police officer lobs a smoke bomb in the direction of the camera.

Officers on horseback, motorcycles and bicycles chased down a group of rock- and bottle-throwing protesters that had broken off from a larger, largely peaceful, march by as many as 10,000 people. The smaller group smashed police car windows and a Macy’s storefront, and a few threw glass bottles at police.

Saving the world, one papier-mâché head at a time

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DENVER – “Saving the world is my hobby, I guess you could say, because I don’t play golf,” said Rick Fitzgerald, wearing a striped prison costume and holding a papier-mâché Dick Cheney head.

Moments earlier he had been wearing the Cheney head outside the Democratic National Convention chanting “Cheney in chains!” and shaking his plastic shackles for an obliging New York Post photographer. A papier-mâché Condoleezza Rice head sat at his feet.

Fitzgerald, who drove in from Longmont, Colo., was joined outside the Pepsi Center on Sunday by about a hundred protesters. But Fitzgerald doesn’t like the term.

McCain heckled by Iraq war protesters

DENVER – Republican John McCain tried Tuesday to convince voters a McCain presidency would not amount to four more rtx67yl.jpgyears of President George W. Bush, but he ran smack into hecklers bent on tying him to Bush’s unpopular war in Iraq.

“America must be a good citizen of the world, leading the way to address the danger of global warming and preserve our environment, strengthening existing international institutions and helping to build new ones,” McCain told an audience at the University of Denver.
 
The Arizona senator had barely uttered those words, charting a course away from Bush, when he was interrupted by hecklers chanting “Endless War! Endless War!”

The hecklers were shouted down by a larger crowd chanting “John McCain! John McCain!”
 
McCain no sooner started his speech again — announcing he would seek to reduce global nuclear stockpiles — when he was interrupted once more by anti-war protesters.
 
“What about Iraq? What about Iraq?” one shouted. Another unfurled a banner that said, “Iraq vets against the war.”
 
When the larger crowd shouted down the protesters again, McCain quipped, “This may turn into a longer speech than you had anticipated.”
 
“And by the way, I will never surrender in Iraq, my friends. I will never surrender in rtx67zi.jpgIraq,” he added emphatically to applause and laughter. “Our American troops will come home with victory and with honor.”

Protest at McCain’s Senate office leads to arrest of dozens

WASHINGTON – U.S. Capitol Police arrested dozens of protesters, many in wheelchairs, at the Senate office of  presidential candidate John McCain on Tuesday while to Arizona Republican was in Florida campaigning about health care as well as raising money.rtr1zyqk.jpg

The activists demanded to talk to McCain about his lack of support for legislation that would help poor handicapped people stay in their homes and out of nursing facilities.

McCain is the only presidential aspirant who has not endorsed the bill, said Bob Kafka, a spokesman for ADAPT, an activist group that staged the protest. Democratic contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton support the bill, he said.