Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Citizen Gonzo is on Hiatus...

...just in case you hadn't noticed.

I simply have too much going on, with the release of my book, Everything I Need to Know About Motherhood I Learned from Animal House, this year, and the upcoming release of a book I'm co-authoring with best-selling author William Maltese tentatively titled Sweet and Simple Vegan Desserts

The new book will be released by mainstream publisher Wildside/Borgo in 2011.

Keep track of me at and my new blog, Don't be shy... swing on over and give me a big, sloppy kiss!

Oh! And you can always get the 411 on me at

See you soon! xoxo

Friday, September 10, 2010

Project 2,996: Remember Joseph DiPilato

This post is respectfully recycled from 9/11/09.

Electrician Joseph DiPilato, age 57, was working in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center when Tower 1 was struck on September 11, 2001. As he prepared to leave the building, he called his wife and childhood sweetheart, Maria, to tell her he was safe. He was last seen in an elevator, intending to evacuate.

Joseph was a romantic fellow who took his wife to dinner every Friday and held her hand as they spent summers strolling the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. He took pride in maintaining his backyard, patio and swimming pool. He coached and managed his sons' Little League team. He was, above all else, a husband and father.

Neighbors like Mrs. Phyllis Buono grew to appreciate the blooms Joseph planted and look forward to the seeing the flowers he would select each season. "He set that yard up like it was a resort," Mrs. Buono said. "In the spring the flower pots would explode with blossoms." Phyllis's husband, Mike Buono, enjoyed working on cars with Joseph.

Maria and Joseph grew up together in Little Italy, where Joseph's childhood friends gave him the nickname "Joey Brillo," a nod to his short, wiry hair.

I didn't know Joseph DiPilato, but I am touched by the words of those who did:

"He would do anything for me. He cared about me and I always came first," said his wife, Maria.

"We loved him more than anything and he's going to be missed by a lot of people," said his son, Joseph. "He just meant everything to us."

"I remember Brillo as a kid, a year older than me. He was the best basketball player in Columbus Park on Mulberry Street. He gave me great pointers on getting the ball through the hoop. Everyone in the neighborhood loved Brillo. He was a great role model in a tough neighborhood. A natural athlete, terrific sense of humor and a decent human being. A guy like him is surely missed by many,"
said childhood friend Anthony Venturato

And this, dated August 19, 2008, from his daughter-in-law, Andrea:

Dearest Dad,

It has been almost 7 years since you have been with us. We miss you tremendously. Something wonderful happened yesterday that I wanted to share. Your granddaughter Olivia typed in what she thought was her brothers name & brought up this website. As soon as she saw your picture she screamed with such excitement and said, "Mommy hurry come see Grandpa on the computer". It stopped me in my tracks & touched my heart more than you could ever know. All I could think about was how much you could not wait to be a grandfather. And little did we know on the last night that I was with you, I was already pregnant with your first grandchild. Leo & I would have given anything to be able to tell you in person you were going to finally be a Grandpa.

Olivia talks about her "Grandpa in heaven" all the time. She wishes she could have known you. You would be so blown away by Olivia. She has such a huge heart just as you did.

As Olivia & Joseph grow up they will know everything there is to know about their very special "Grandpa in heaven". We all miss you terribly!

All our Love to you in Heaven, Leo, Andrea, Olivia & Joseph

Please light a candle for Joseph, his family and those who loved him. Say a prayer for the father, husband, neighbor and friend who lost his life on September 11, 2001.

Never forget.

This tribute is part of Project 2,996, a cooperative online effort to keep alive the memories of the 2,996 victims of the 9/11/01 tragedy. See other participants, and their tributes to those lost, here.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Public Policy Polling has Brown Leading Coakley, 51-46

I am hopeful that tomorrow's voter turnout will reflect the final poll conducted by Public Policy Polling.

With reports of nasty weather, it's going to come down to who is most motivated to get their votes counted. Who is more likely to brave the wind, sleet and snow -- The blue bloods Coakley has been courting, or the blue collars that have turned out in droves to support Brown?

A victory for Brown tomorrow will spark a political scramble, and reveal the answers to the questions everyone has been asking:

Will Democrats succeed in their blitz attempt to pass Obamacare before the Massachusetts Secretary of State certifies the election results (no earlier than January 29th)?

Will Senator Paul Kirk be allowed to provide the 60th vote - as he's promised - in spite of Republican attorney assertions that Kirk's senatorial status will be nullified as of election day, no matter when the Secretary of State gets around to certifying the election?

Could Obama get enough Dem votes out of the House to pass the Senate version of the bill, as it is written, for his signature?

If all else fails, will Democrats really push Obamacare through by reconciliation? Are they really that desperate? After all of the wheeling and dealing? The backroom deals? Will they really scale the entire reform down so that they can pose it as a filibuster-proof budget item, needing only 51 votes to pass?

Make no mistake... Brown winning does not guarantee Republicans -- or any American against the irresponsible, blood-sucking health care reform -- a seat at the big kid table.

Obama's ego is "too big to fail."

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

11-Year-Old Autistic Child Zakhqurey Price Charged with Felony


How does an autistic, cognitively-impaired 11-year-old end up charged with felony assault? This is the story of Zakhqurey Price, who lives and schools in Arkansas with his family.

On October 30 last year, Zakh, according to reports, had a meltdown, resulting in restraining efforts by two school personnel. The adults, allegedly, cornered him and attempted to subdue him. Zakh refused and law enforcement was called in. Minor injuries resulted in the scuffle, but the 11-year-old was thereafter suspended for 12 school days, charged with felony assault, and booked as a juvenile.

For 3 months before the incident, his grandmother, Carole Reynolds, had been requesting an Individual Education Plan (IEP), required by law, to help Zach, who has an IQ of 68 and reads at a 2nd grade level, develop more solidly in school and assuage behavioral concerns. She tried to get things right early on, but was told to wait till school started. "We [had] made requests to receive a copy of his evaluation/assessment results before the October 15th temporary placement IEP meeting and were refused because they said it was not allowed by state law," she is quoted in an Examiner news article. Reynolds also "repeatedly asked for a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA), and positive behavior plan with positive behavior strategies," but was unable to secure the requests. Zach was also denied Physical Therapy since, school administrators told her, he could "get around ... just fine." And despite recommendation by a counseling center that Zach be provided a full-time aid, he never got one. At an October 15th meeting with school administrators, "suggestions and guidelines were agreed upon but no formal positive behavior support plan was completed." Two weeks later, their incompetence bore fruit. And though in his IEP it states police intervention would be ruled out, Zach left school grounds in handcuffs.

Read more here: Children in a hostile world - The Daily Voice - Black America's Daily News Source

A few questions I have about this case:

1. Why isn't this getting more media attention?
2. Why did the school enroll Zakh in a special education program without a complete IEP, as required by law?
3. Were the school staff members who cornered Zakh and attempted to restrain him certified and trained to do so?
4. Why did the new school district fail to implement the recommendations of the prior district, such as a full-time aide, to keep Zakh, other students, and staff safe?

Mainstream media has yet to pay attention to Zakh's story, but you can learn more here, here and here. Donate to his legal defense here. Join the Facebook group to support Zakh here.

As the mother of two special needs children, I am outraged at how the school district failed this child... and then pressed charges against him for their failure.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Do You Want Obama Protecting You?

Days ago, Gateway Pundit linked to a BBC article that claimed that the suicide bomber responsible for the CIA deaths in Afghanistan "was courted as a potential informant" for the CIA.

The bomber had intimate "knowledge of the base layout and its security practices," according to the Los Angeles Times, and may have been taken onto the base by CIA operatives who wanted to turn the man into an informant.

The very next day, HotAir reported that clear back in October, Saudi Arabia's chief counterterrorism official went to all the trouble of setting up a meeting with John Brennan for the express purpose of saying, basically, "Hey, dudes! I just lived through this crazy assassination attempt, and--oh, snap! You guys ain't gonna believe this but--an Al Qaeda dude trained in Yemen tried to blow me up with EXPLOSIVE UNDERWEAR!"

Did this warning spur top security officials to check the underwear of suspected terrorists-training-in-Yemen who made their way onto watch lists? Uh, no.

Oh, and remember the White House party-crashers, Tareq and Michaele Salahi? Well, Politico reports they weren't the only uninvited guests to get through the White House door the night of the state dinner. Apparently, a third party crasher managed to get through security. What's more, the State Department picked the guy up and DROVE HIM TO THE WHITE HOUSE.

Is it any wonder Obama got a "good solid F" for protecting Americans?

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

- Goomba News Network -: When to Shoot the Colonels by Tom Baugh

I'm a big fan of Oathkeepers, but never really thought about how effective or ineffective they may prove to be, if America finds itself in a situation where U.S. military personnel are ordered to disarm Americans. Give the following a read:

- Goomba News Network -: When to Shoot the Colonels by Tom Baugh

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pimps and 'Ho's: Not ACORN, Not Tiger... the Senate

First, go read Michelle Malkin's post here.

Next, ask yourself (and leave a comment about) what your Senators scored for you.

It's clear that the grand Pimp Daddy Reid was willing to pay for votes. Be they Republican or Democrat, Senators now know how business is done in Washington. In my opinion, every Senator who failed to leverage this blatantly broadcast information missed a huge opportunity to grab perks for their states.

The socialists Obamacare advocates made it clear some time ago that they would push the legislation through, no matter what it took. With such a foregone conclusion, why didn't EVERY Senator offer up their sacrificial vote for some senatorial swag?

Perhaps, like me, your Senator got you zilch for Christmas, besides the promise that your federal tax dollars will pay off other states.

Way to go Senate! The first Obama administration "transparency" standard has been revealed: If you're gonna be a whore for your party or your state, get it in writing, and go big!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alleged Cop Killer Maurice Clemmons: "I'll Kill All You Bitches"

Maurice Clemmons, the only suspect in the Lakewood, Washington coffee shop killing of four police officers, has been shot and killed by a member of the Seattle Police Department. The final incident took place at around 2:40 this morning, when a SPD officer made a routine check on a stolen car. As he sat in his patrol car doing paperwork, Clemmons approached the vehicle. The officer got out of his vehicle, ordered Clemmons to stop and show his hands, and, when Clemmons refused to comply, fired shots. Clemmons was pronounced dead at the scene.

The News Tribune has a detailed story on alleged cop killer Maurice Clemmons here. Another insightful article by the Seattle Times appears here. Chronicled are explanations of his offenses and sentences, as well as a timeline describing how and why Clemmons was not in jail at the time of the massacre Sunday morning that left four Lakewood officers dead.

  • 1989 - Clemmons, age 16, convicted of eight felonies in Arkansas, including aggravated robbery and burglary. Total sentence: 108 years, to be served consecutively, not concurrently.
  • 1999 - Clemmons, then 27, applied for clemency, essentially stating that his crimes were a result of foolish youth, asking for mercy.
  • 2000 - Then-governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, commuted Clemmons's sentence, reducing it to 47 years and making him eligible for parole, which was granted, over objections from Pulaski County, Arkansas prosecutor, Larry Jegley.
  • 2001 - Clemmons was arrested on a parole violation, stemming from a robbery, but not charged. He wasn't served with charges until 2004, and they were dismissed amid arguments that prosecutors had waited too long to file their case.
  • 2003 - Clemmons applied again for parole, and Jegley's office objected again. The objections were overruled, and parole was granted.
  • 2004 - Clemmons arrived in Washington after being granted an out-of-state transfer.
  • May 9, 2009 - Clemmons was arrested for assaulting a sheriff's deputy, charged with multiple counts of third-degree assault, malicious mischief, and, later, second-degree rape of a child. Prior to assaulting the deputy, Clemmons was hurling rocks and bricks through the windows of neighbors' homes and passing cars. When officers responded, two of Clemmons's cousins were outside his home, and tried to prevent officers from entering the home to look for Clemmons. During the altercation, Clemmons emerged, punched a deputy in the face, and assaulted another deputy who arrived to help. All three men were taken into custody.
  • May 10, 2009 - Clemmons is released on a $40,000 booking bail through Aladdin Bail Bonds, which means he bailed out without seeing a judge for an arraignment first.
  • May 11, 2009, about 1:00 AM- Clemmons appeared in his living room and told two young relatives - girls, ages 11 and 12 - to fondle him. The two girls complied, because they were scared. The 11-year-old fled soon after, and wasn't seen for days. Clemmons continued assaulting the 12-year-old until she cried herself to sleep. Shortly after, still naked, he woke her up, demanded she accompany him into the bedroom he shared with his wife. He said he was Jesus, and that his wife was "Eve." Clemmons's wife begged him to let the girl go, and he did, but not for long.
  • May 11, 2009, about 4:00 AM - Clemmons woke members of his family and gathered them, demanding that they all remove their clothing. He said it was "beautiful that they were sharing the moment."
  • May 11, 2009, about 5:30 AM - Pierce County sheriff's deputies arrived after a 911 call from a family member. They took statements from the family about Clemmons's crazy behavior. Sighting Clemmons at another house, deputies tried to capture him, but he eludedthem.
  • May 12, 2009 - Clemmons was due in court for his arraignment on the May 9 charges, but didn't show up. A bench warrant was issued.
  • July 1, 2009 - Clemmons showed up in court, perhaps with the intent to try to get the bench warrant thrown out. He was arrested.
  • July 2, 2009 - Clemmons was charged with second-degree rape of a child for the incident involving the 12-year-old relative in May. He was also charged with being a fugitive from Arkansas, with the recent incidents intending to serve as evidence of parole violations.
  • July 22, 2009 - Arkansas notified Pierce County that they had no interest in extraditing Clemmons, thereby making him eligible for bail. Had Arkansas not released him, he would have been held without bail on the alleged parole violation.
  • A mental health evaluation of Clemmons was ordered and completed five weeks before Sunday's shootings. The evaluation included reports that Clemmons made the statement, "I'll kill all you bitches" to law enforcement personnel who took him into custody in May, as well as Clemmons's claims that he suffered hallucinations - "people drinking blood and people eating babies..." Psychologists found Clemmons competent to stand trial.
  • November 23, 2009 - Clemmons bailed out of jail when Jail Sucks, a bail bond company in Chehalis, Washington, posted his $190,000 bail.

All of this took place before he entered a Lakewood coffee shop on Sunday morning and killed four Lakewood Police Department officers. The officers' patrol cars were parked outside the shop, the were all in uniform, and they all wore bulletproof vests as they worked on reports on their laptops, preparing to start their shift.

Acquaintances have reported that, the night before the ambush, Clemmons told them to "watch the news" because he was going to kill some cops. The individuals did not report the threats until after the tragedy.

A lot of people have asked how Clemmons was out on bail in the first place. As the linked articles provide, Pierce County judges would have held Clemmons without bail, had Arkansas not released him to Washington.

One of the most disturbing things I read (outside, of course, the obvious tragedy that's occurred) was a quote from deputy prosecutor Grant Blinn:
“A typical child rape-2 defendant is summonsed into court, not even arrested,” Blinn said Monday. “A lot of them are released on their personal recognizance.”

RCW 9A.44.076 defines second-degree rape of a child as thus:

(1) A person is guilty of rape of a child in the second degree when the person has sexual intercourse with another who is at least twelve years old but less than fourteen years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least thirty-six months older than the victim.

(2) Rape of a child in the second degree is a class A felony.

Really? They usually don't arrest criminals on suspicion of class A felonies? When a twelve-year-old girl is raped? Personal recognizance? REALLY?

This Tacoma sex crimes lawyer (his URL is somewhat amusing: advises that a conviction of second-degree rape of a child carries a mandatory sentence of 25 years.

Let me get this straight - if a person is suspected of a crime egregious and dangerous enough to warrant, if convicted, a mandatory 25-year sentence, they are simply summoned to court? Not arrested?

Does anyone else see something wrong here?

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Washington Cop Killer Suspect was Released from Jail a Week Ago

The suspect in yesterday morning's cop killing spree, Maurice Clemmons, has a long and scary criminal history, including five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony convictions in Washington.

Much noise has been made about Clemmons receiving clemency from then-Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee commuted Clemmons's near-100 year sentence in 2000 for aggravated robbery and theft, citing the perp's young age at the time of the crime. Clemmons was 17 years old when he committed the crime. Clemmons's criminal behavior in Arkansas was well-documented.

Recently, here in Washington, Clemmons was jailed in Pierce County jail for several months, pending a charge of second-degree child rape. Although seven additional felony charges were coming down the pike for Clemmons, and although his mental state was questionable at best (he'd been accused of gathering his wife and young family members and telling them all to undress, told people that the world was ending and he was Jesus - you know, the usual...) he was allowed to post bond and be released about a week ago.

It's of note that the judge in Pierce County went against a prior judge's order of "NO BAIL" for Clemmons.

Individuals who assisted Maurice Clemmons after the massacre are now in police custody, and have reported that Clemmons was shot in the torso as he fled. Authorities say the wound may be fatal if he does not receive medical attention.

Before the shooting, Clemmons is reported to have told acquaintances to "watch the news," because he was going to kill some cops.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Four Police Officers Killed in Coffee Shop Ambush Near Tacoma (UPDATE)

Just weeks after Christopher J. Monfort set fire to Seattle Police Department patrol cars, killed a Seattle officer and wounded another sitting in their patrol car, and attempted to kill detectives who confronted him days after the shooting, four more officers were killed this morning in a coffee shop in a Tacoma suburb.
Judging by evidence being collected in the Monfort case, it appears the man declared war on law enforcement officials, and he's perhaps not the only one.

This morning, one or two gunmen (I've seen reports of one, possibly two) entered a coffee shop in Lakewood, Washington, killed four police officers, and fled. No money was taken from the shop, and none of the employees or civilian patrons of the shop were targeted. Clearly, the gunmen had intent to enter, shoot the cops, and get out.

The officers were working on their laptops and having coffee. A police spokesman calls is it a "flat out ambush.

KING5 has released this suspect description on their Twitter feed:

Anyone with information on the shooting is urged to call the tip line at 253-591-5959 or 866-977-2362.

UPDATE: Sources are now reporting the four officers have now been identified as Lakewood PD officers; 3 males, one female. All were in uniform and wearing bulletproof vests.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday: Gifts for the Conservatives in Your Life

They say the day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year, which, as far as I'm concerned, is reason enough to stay away from the malls and shop online.

Want to please the conservatives in your life AND keep your money in the local economy? Why not order a fabulous book through a local, independent bookstore? After all, Amazon and Barnes & Noble can hold their own, but what about your local indie store?

Purchase these titles through, and they'll connect you to a local, independent bookstore near you, which means your Christmas dollars will stay local. As an added bonus, by using my affiliate link, you'll prevent me from putting a PayPal donation button in the sidebar to stare at you every time you visit.

Let's not forget the kiddies!

If you have another favorite title, you can search and be connected to a local independent bookstore here:

Shop Indie Bookstores

Thank you for supporting independent bookstores and your local economy!

Books not the thing for your conservative loved ones? Maybe a movie is just the thing. Why not share the not-so-Gore-y "Not Evil Just Wrong" documentary? (See sidebar.) Order it here.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Eat a ton of turkey (or, in my case, Tofurkey) and remember to bless someone less fortunate. Be thankful for our families, for our patriots, and our freedoms.

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Party Crashers: Tareq and Michaele Salahi Crash White House Dinner

I must say, I'm a little bit in awe.

Mr. Gonzo and I have "crashed" plenty of events where we weren't exactly invited or had entry credentials in hand. Corporate parties (we lost our invitations):

The VIP section or onstage at concerts (me onstage at a Lionel Richie concert, against my will - I swear, I was pushed up there):

(Sorry about the blurriness - I was a little stunned to find myself onstage.)

Numerous parties taking place near events we're actually supposed to be at:

[photos not available - too scandalous]

Tareq and Michaele Salahi, however, take the cake (so to speak) when it comes to party crashing. The couple - uninvited and not on the guest list - managed to get themselves into a White House state dinner on Tuesday night.

Maybe things have changed since I was at the White House (have they EVER!) in 2007

but I had to do everything but sign away my first-born child to get inside, and even then, I was very aware of the snipers on the rooftop and the Secret Service agents around every corner.

I'm certain an investigation is underway to determine how, exactly, Tareq and Michaele Salahi crashed the White House event, but DAMN if it isn't lucky that all they wanted to do was get their photos taken with Joe Biden, Katie Couric, Rahm Emmanuel, the D.C. Mayor and some other notables.

Can you imagine how frightening it would have been if they had been dangerous people, with malicious intentions against our president and country?

You know - Tea Partiers.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

My Letter to Senators Cantwell and Murray (and 13 more!) on Health Care Reform

I sent the message below to Washington's U.S. Senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray.

Dear Senators Cantwell and Murray:

I am certain you have many emails and phone calls to respond to, so I will keep this short.

I wanted to call to your attention a recent poll on healthcare reform. Rasmussen Reports today states that support for health care reform has fallen to a new low - just 38% of voters now favor the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. In fact, the poll shows that 56% of voters now oppose the plan, with 43% "strongly" opposing.

60% of polled voters believe the plan will increase health care costs, not lower them.

In spite of the clear opposition to the plan by voters, 50% still feel it will pass. To me, that's a sad statement of the lack of faith we, as voters, have in our elected representatives' willingness to listen to our voices - the very voices you are supposed to be representing.

What will your position be? Will you represent your constituents, who largely oppose the bill? Or will you, like so many others, bow to pressure from your party and force this dog of a health care bill upon us?

Thank you for your time,
Christina-Marie "Citizen Gonzo" Wright

Send an email to Senator Murray here and to Senator Cantwell here.

UPDATE: I've sent the same message to Sens. Joe Lieberman (Ind, CT), Blanche Lincoln (D, AR), Mark Pryor (D, AR), Mary Landrieu (D, LA), Jim Webb (D, VA), Mark Warner (D, VA), Jon Tester (D, MT), Ben Nelson (D, NE), Evan Bayh (D, IN), Kent Conrad (D, ND), Byron Dorgan (D, ND), Tom Carper (D, DE), and Olympia Snowe (R, ME).

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

SEIU Gives ACORN Competition for Most Corrupt Organization

There are allegations of outright voter fraud against SEIU. The people in the video below claim that SEIU heavies pressured them to vote a certain way on their ballots, showed up at their homes to harass them, opened their mail and filled out their ballots, or threatened their jobs or benefits. Unbelievable.

Does anyone think that the current administration will actually investigate this? How blatant does corruption have to be? If these allegations are true, will SEIU be brought to justice as the electioneering cesspool of thuggery it is? Or allowed to continue with "business as usual?"

I'm not holding my breath. If you can't see the embedded video, view it here on YouTube.

H/T Opus #6

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Again, ACORN Offers Help Trafficking Foreign Child Sex Workers

Andrew Breitbart and aired yet another video of an ACORN worker offering to help undercover journalists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, posing as a pimp with plans to run for Congress and a prostitute seeking to open a child sex trade business.

This one was filmed in Los Angeles.

O'Keefe, Giles and Breitbart appeared on Hannity to discuss the latest tape:

If you can't see the embedded video, you can go directly to it here.

Unbelievable. Breitbart says there are more tapes, and it's not just ACORN. I wonder who else they caught behaving badly. One thing is for sure: corruption appears all too common with ACORN and its more than one hundred affiliated organizations.

Is anyone else disturbed by the fact that the leader of our nation served as legal counsel for this corrupt organization in lawsuits? Or that Mr. Obama helped to train "future leaders" identified by ACORN? Make no mistake - the roots of ACORN run deep, and they go straight to the current administration.

Obamas ACORN Tree -

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Best Thing About Being a Blogger is...

... the amazing people I get to meet.

When I found myself planning to be in San Diego, California for the National Association of REALTORS conference I sent a tweet to Opus_6, an amazingly strong conservative blogger (who does her thing here), telling her that I was going to be hosting an 80s party for the REALTORS and all but begging her to attend.

San Diego was a couple of hours away, she said, and she'd be there, with her kids tagging along. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. After all, Citizen Gonzo was launched following a discussion with Opus. Her endorsement of my launch helped me to see over 300 hits within 36 hours of Citizen Gonzo going live. So, you see, she's more than a fellow blogger. She's a mentor.

When she arrived, I was still lacing up my boots and applying bright green eyeliner (remember I said it was an 80s party?). It was a bit before the party started, and I was grateful that we had a few quiet moments before the rush of REALTORS appeared.

Opus is the real deal. She's passionate about following and posting issues that are important to the welfare of our country. She's blindingly beautiful but completely down to earth and the epitome of a "real" mom. She can carry on a conversation while chasing a four year-old down the hallway. She makes professional contacts with a two year-old on her hip. She has reasonable but firm limits for her children. In all, she's amazing, and I'm so glad I had the chance to meet her.

Once the party attendees started arriving, things got noisy (some had been to earlier parties and had a head start on the drinking) and crowded. Opus gave some advice to a few REALTORS on using Twitter to boost their business, collected a few business cards, and announced it was time for her and the boys to leave. It was getting late, and they still had a two-hour drive home to their beds. I walked her to the elevator, gave her and the boys hugs, and started back to the suite before I realized we didn't have a picture. What was I thinking?!

I chased them down to the lobby, where a random guy with a Harry Potter scarf took this photo for us:

(Note the side ponytail, off-the-shoulder sweater dress and spangled tights. I was born in 1975. Most of my 80s fashion is just a guess.)

I headed back up to the party, poured myself a drink, and played hostess for a while before Joe Spake - REALTOR, blogger and Twitter enthusiast - arrived. I first met Joe in person at a Tweetup in Washington, D.C. last May, where I developed an instant crush on his mini business cards and an appreciation for his warm, open personality and sense of humor. Since then, I've enjoyed reading his blog on real estate and the Memphis area, and I was super-excited to see him walk through the door of my suite.

Joe had a bit of heartbreak at the conference when he lost his prized camera. Unfortunately, no one turned it in. Fortunately, however, he was able to get a new one, which he used to snap this photo of yours truly and my one true love:

Do I have any photos of Joe (or anyone else, for that matter)? No, because I never seem to remember to take any.

The day after the party, I got a Facebook message AND a Twitter direct message (so I KNEW it was urgent) from Joe, telling me that Derek Overbey of wanted to interview me. I was nursing a hangover and touring Petco Field, but promised I would hook up with Derek for the interview as soon as I got back.

"As your PR guy, I command you to get that interview," Joe had tweeted. Alright, I was going to do it, even though I had no idea what the interview was about. I was not even going to be deterred by the fact that wine was served with lunch at the ball park. If anything, that fact may have strengthened my resolve to do the mystery interview. Did I mention I met Heath Bell, of the San Diego Padres? He's not, as far as I know, a blogger, but a nice guy nonetheless.

I connected with Derek after the tour, informed him that, after four straight days of partying, he'd be getting my sexy Kathleen Turner voice, and agreed to answer whatever he asked. "Work on overcoming your shyness," Joe had advised me. I think he was kidding. I tend to be highly animated, talk with my hands a lot, and jump from one thing to the next with very little - if any - warning. I'm fairly certain video is not the best medium for me.

Anyway, Derek is part of a really cool project called 100 Interviews. If I understand correctly, it all started at SXSW, where Derek and his posse interviewed 100 people in 4 days. Now, they interview people wherever they might find them. Derek found me. Lucky guy.

Derek, himself, is high-energy and professional. It was a pleasure to meet him. Check back with 100 Interviews - I'm sure I'll be up there soon. You simply must promise not to laugh or count how many times I say, "you know" or "ummmmm."

It's times like these that I realize I lead a very, very charmed life. I'm a very lucky girl!

X-posted at

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Monday, November 16, 2009

I Take it All Back... ACORN is the Pinnacle of Integrity.


Rouge journalists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles - miracle of miracles - finally found an ACORN employee that drew the line at child prostitution:

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Fort Hood Tragedy Brings Memories of Dean Melberg and Fairchild AFB: I Was There

On June 20, 1994, 20-year-old Dean A. Melberg walked into the Fairchild Air Force Base hospital complex and opened fire with a MAK-90. He killed four people - including an eight-year-old girl - and wounded twenty-three others before he, himself was killed.

My first husband was an LE (law enforcement) airman stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, near Spokane, Washington. Because the LEs and SPs (security police) worked so closely together, we knew Andrew P. Brown, the airman and security police officer that eventually fired the shot that stopped Melberg's killing spree. I thank God that the final shot, from a remarkable distance, fired straight and true, preventing the senseless loss of even more lives.

I was almost six months pregnant with our son at the time, and had really meant to get around to seeing one of the OB docs at Fairchild, but it was only a three-hour drive back to my hometown, and I loved my doctor there. Since it was my first pregnancy, I didn't feel comfortable with seeing a potentially different doctor at every appointment at what we jokingly called "Fairchild Medical Hobby Shop." Some of the other wives on the base were pregnant, and their stories of never knowing who they were going to be attended to when they went in for appointments grossed me out. I didn't want just any doctor inspecting my hoo-hoo. I wanted MY doctor.

Still, military insurance is a great thing, and I knew I had to conform eventually. "Tomorrow," I said, "I'll go in to the base hospital." I was due for a prenatal check-up. It was June 19th, 1994.

When I woke up that morning, I chickened out. Instead, I called my hometown doctor and asked if he could fit me in sometime that day. He couldn't, but he could get me in the day after. Since my then-husband had the day off, he agreed to drive me back to our hometown, figuring we could spend the night with family, go to an early appointment and get back to the base in time for him to work his late shift.

Relieved that I wasn't going to be seen at the Hobby Shop, I didn't give it another thought until two hours later, when we stopped along the way at my sister-in-law's house. She had the television on, the sound muted. She wasn't paying much attention to the news program that was showing, but as soon as we walked in, my husband said, "That's the base. What's going on? Turn on the sound."

It was then that we learned of the tragedy that took place at our base. In fact, we had been driving past the narrow road that led to the hospital at precisely the moment Dean Melberg was killing Captain Alan London and Major Thomas Brigham, the chief of psychological services and a psychiatrist, respectively, who had recommended Melberg's discharge from the Air Force.

This was 1994. We didn't carry cell phones back then. We used my sister-in-law's phone to call as many people as we could in two minutes: our friends, who were supposed to take their young son in to be seen for a bad cold (they didn't go because the boy was having a tantrum), the ranking LE officer ("You'd better get back here as soon as you can," he instructed my husband), an LE contact ("He started in the psychiatrists' office, went through the OB-GYN section, killed a lady in the parking lot... Brown took him out... It's bad. It's real bad.")...

We hustled back to the car (okay, I waddled) and headed back. We alternated between intense silence and a volley of questions neither of us could answer: How could this happen? Why did he do it? Are our friends all okay?

What if I hadn't changed my appointment?

Airman Brown was on bicycle patrol that day (I'm warning you: Don't ever laugh at a bicycle cop again. I know I don't.) when he saw Melberg - who had already shot his way through the hospital annex and the main hospital and exited to the parking lot, where he shot a woman five times as she tried to flee - shooting at people, who were running in panic. He dropped his bicycle and shouted at Melberg to drop the weapon. Melberg turned and fired at him.

Brown dropped to the ground and fired four rounds from his 9mm Beretta. Two shots missed. One hit Melberg in the shoulder. One hit him directly between the eyes and killed him.

Brown was 70 yards away from Melberg.

Nineteen rounds remained in Melberg's MAK-90.

The following day, a twenty-five year old pregnant shooting victim lost her five-month fetus due to the trauma of her injuries. The death of the unborn child brought the death toll to six.

The tragedies at Fort Hood and Fairchild are events that don't make sense. They are devastating and monstrous; they affect more lives than we can imagine. Regardless of the circumstances that prompted the gunmen in these attacks to snap, let's make an effort to focus on the families affected by these tragedies, and to say a prayer for each and every one of them.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

9:08 PM UPDATE on R-71

The numbers have stopped for the night. Here they are:

51.13% to APPROVE
48.87% to REJECT

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8:24 PM UPDATE on R-71

As of 8:24PM:

52.12% to APPROVE
47.88% to REJECT

I'll update as I can.

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