Posts filed under ‘Laws / Judiciary’
My Tweet of the Day about a guy who’s been failing upward all his life:
Why in the freakin’ world wouldn’t a state want to do everything possible to make sure they’re executing the right person? Because it’s assbackward Mississippi, that’s why. Oh my God:
The State of Mississippi has denied requests for DNA testing of evidence made by a prisoner set to be executed on Tuesday, potentially setting up what experts said would be a rare case in recent years in which a person is put to death with such requests unmet.
The Mississippi Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 decision, ruled in April that the existing evidence tying Willie Jerome Manning to the murder of two college students in 1992 was so strong that the findings of DNA tests would not make a difference.
Lawyers for Mr. Manning say that there are flaws in the prosecution’s case, which is almost entirely circumstantial, but that at the very least tests of the available physical evidence should be conducted before his execution. They are now lobbying the governor.
Richard C. Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said that fights over testing were not uncommon but that if testing were not eventually allowed before the execution, “that would be very rare indeed.”
“Today I think it’s become increasingly rare not to go through the whole bank of tests because of what’s at stake,” Mr. Dieter said.
And yes, of course, Manning is African-American:
I’ve been casually following the case of former Luzerne County (Pennsylvania) Common Pleas Judge Mark Ciavarella, Jr. for a couple years. Ciavarella is just about the most repugnant human being on the planet:
An American judge known for his harsh and autocratic courtroom matter was jailed for 28 years for conspiring with private prisons to hand young offenders maximum sentences in return for kickbacks amounting to millions of dollars.
Mark Ciavarella Jnr was ordered to pay $1.2m (£770,000) in restitution after he was found to be a “figurehead” in the conspiracy that saw thousands of children unjustly punished in the name of profit in the case that became known as “kids for cash”.
Federal prosecutors accused Ciavarella Jnr and a second judge, Michael Conahan, of taking more than $2m in bribes from the builder of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care detention centres and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the facilities’ co-owner. Ciavarella Jnr filled the beds of the private prisons with children as young as 10, many of them first-time offenders convicted minor crimes.
What could be more loathsome than a judge — someone who’s trusted to do what’s right and fair — who sentences kids as young as 10-years-old to prison so he could make a buck? Greed gone insane.
What a despicable human being.
When I think of debtors’ prison, I think of Medieval Europe and the poorest of the poor being snatched out of grimy, rat-infested alleys and thrown in jail because — being dirt poor — they couldn’t pay their debts. And I always wondered about that logic. How in the world is someone who’s sitting in a jail cell supposed to earn money to pay a debt that landed them in jail in the first place? Made. Zero. Sense.
But here we are, it’s 2013 in the United States of America and the Republican-controlled state of Ohio is doing the exact same thing:
The Outskirts of Hope: How Ohio’s Debtors’ Prisons are Ruining Lives and Costing Communities
They are unconstitutional. They are against state law. And yet, debtors’ prisons – jailing people because they are too poor to pay their court fines – are common across Ohio, according to a report released today by the ACLU of Ohio.
Most people who receive a traffic ticket or a fine related to a criminal conviction simply pay it and move on with their lives. But for the poor, court fines and fees may be completely unaffordable. Thirty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to imprison debtors simply because they cannot pay court fines or fees. State law in Ohio also requires that a judge determine whether a person can pay a fine before she is jailed. Nonetheless, many courts throughout the state are simply ignoring the law and routinely incarcerating people multiple times for failing to pay their fines.
Over the past several months, I have traveled across the state meeting with people who were tossed in jail because they could not afford to pay court fines, which were sometimes as low as $200. While the details of their stories are different, I kept hearing the same, sad refrain: debtors’ prison has ruined my life and I cannot escape.
Today, in addition to releasing a report highlighting stories of people trapped in the debtors’ prison cycle, the ACLU contacted seven courts that are violating the law by jailing low-income people who cannot pay their fines and urged them to stop immediately.
Those seven courts are merely the tip of the iceberg. The ACLU has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to issue guidelines forcing courts to obey the law and hold accountable judges who engage in debtors’ prison practices. We have also asked people concerned about debtors’ prison to take action and contact the state Supreme Court.
A more apt title for the article, instead of “Outskirts of Hope…” would be “No Hope.” Click on the link (More, immediately above) and read the story of John Bundren and Samantha Reed, two kids in their early 20s who have a nine month old baby. They’re about as down and out as two people can be yet they’re trapped in the debtors’ prison cycle and it’s hard to imagine how they’ll ever get out.
It’s unbelievable we treat people this way. Why not give them a job and let them work off their debt? I mean, this makes no sense. Say one of them owes $200 in court fines which they literally can’t pay. We throw them in jail at taxpayer’s expense at who-knows-how-much-per-day. There they rot and no matter how long they stay they still won’t be able to pay. That’s insane.
Geez. There are terrifying times for people working in the law enforcement profession:
The recently elected Mingo County sheriff has been shot and killed near the courthouse Wednesday.
A 911 dispatcher confirmed that Sheriff Eugene Crum was shot on Harvey Street near the county courthouse. Crum had just taken office in January.
The Daily Mail has learned that Crum died from his injuries.
Delegate Harry Keith White, D-Mingo, told a reporter that Crum was known to eat lunch outside near the courthouse in the same spot everyday. A county commissioner reports a suspect drove by and shot Crum as he was eating.
“Apparently somebody just drove up and shot him. That’s what they told me. Shot him dead,” White said. “That’s from our county commissioner in the courthouse, who was crying when he called me.”
The folks who came up with this hugely unconstitutional, anti-American idea probably think of themselves as uber patriots:
Proposal Would Allow State Religion in North Carolina
Raleigh, N.C. — A bill filed by Republican lawmakers would allow North Carolina to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide.
I can hear the Founding Fathers yelling Nooooooo! from their graves.
The “Establishment Clause” of the Bill of Rights is in the First Amendment. It was the first thing the founders wrote down when they were thinking about what should be in that document. It was really, really important to them. It reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Didn’t we all learn this in fourth grade?
Attorneys for Mousa’ab Omar al Madhwani, a man who has been imprisoned at Gitmo for 11 years but never tried or convicted of a crime, have filed an “Emergency Motion” on their client’s behalf, asking President Obama for “Humanitarian and Life-Saving Relief,” because the conditions at Gitmo are so deplorable.
What a national embarrassment.
Read the motion here.
‘Rude’ Lawmaker Louie Gohmert Pulls Rank on Cops Over Parking Ticket
A Texas Republican congressman got into a late-night verbal altercation with U.S. Park Police officers earlier this month, pulling rank in an attempt to get out of a parking ticket near the Lincoln Memorial.
Shortly after 11 p.m. on March 13, officers wrote Rep. Louie Gohmert a citation for parking his black Ford SUV in a spot reserved for National Park Service vehicles, according to a Park Police report obtained by POLITICO.
But Gohmert wasn’t having it: He told the Park Police that his congressional parking placard allows him to park in that spot, and he’s on the committee that oversees the agency.
Gohmert took the ticket off his windshield and placed it on a police car along with his business card with a written message: “Oversight of Park Service is my job! Natural Resources Thus the Congressional Plate in window.”
It never ends well when a politician start believing he’s above the law.
There’s lots of talk out there this weekend about the two marriage equality cases the Supreme Court will hear this week and it’s taking me back to my town — Boulder, Colorado — in 1975. On March 26, 1975 Clela Rorex, then the City Clerk, issued the first same-sex marriage license ever in the United States and possibly the world:
“I was young, and naive. I was naive even just running for office,” she said this week.
She took office in January 1975. Just a few months later, a gay couple attempted to wed in Colorado Springs. “They were told to go to Boulder, because they do that sort of thing up there,” Rorex said.
At the time, she said it seemed like a simple decision, not based in morality or fairness. The gay men, Dave McCord and Dave Zamora, were 27 and asked for a marriage license.
“I asked the District Attorney (Alex Hunter). He said it wasn`t illegal. So I did it,” she said. On March 27, 1975, she issued them a marriage license. Five more same-sex couples would follow.
She didn`t expect the furor, she says.
She also didn`t expect to grow into her decision as one that wasn`t a simple legal matter, but one that — upon reflection — was the right, moral, fair thing to do.
“All hell broke loose,” she said. She and her 10-year-old son were the target of hate mail and phone calls from all over the country. It came to define her controversial service as clerk, which was also marred by a slow general election count.
Rorex is 66 now. Although she left her post, and the state, mid-way through her term as clerk, she soon returned to Boulder and has been working for the Native American Rights Fund for 17 years.
“I came to be completely grateful for my decision,” she said. “I would have had a hard time living with myself if I had refused to do what was right.”
I remember the uproar and yes, I remember a guy bringing his horse to the Courthouse asking for a marriage license.
According to the right, marriages of we straight people are going to be destroyed if gays and lesbians are given the same rights we have. How or why that’s going to happen, I’ve never known but they’re still making that same lame argument 38+ years on.
Bravo to the wise, brave Clela Rorex.
Adopt-a-Highway programs allow civic-minded organizations to clean litter from roadsides, but should just any group be allowed to volunteer? In Georgia, a fight has broken out over an application by the Ku Klux Klan to sponsor a one-mile section of Route 515 in the Appalachian Mountains, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday. Civil rights leaders have asked the Georgia Department of Transportation to deny the group permission, but if legal precedent is any guide, they may be forced to let the KKK go ahead — or be forced to shut down the program.
Litigation in a similar case favors the KKK’s position. In 2005, the Missouri Department of Transportation lost a case in the U.S. Supreme Court after denying a highway-adoption application from another KKK chapter. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union—a strange bedfellow for the Southern white-supremacist group—the KKK argued successfully before the Court that the First Amendment barred the DOT from denying an application because it disagreed with an organization’s political agenda.
I side with the ACLU here — the KKK should be allowed to Adopt-a-Highway — but most of all I LOVE how Missouri handled it in the end:
While it lost its legal battle over the KKK’s application, Missouri’s state legislature found another way to fight back: it renamed the KKK-adopted road after civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 2000. In 2009, after a different stretch of Missouri highway was adopted by a neo-Nazi group, the state voted to name it after Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a rabbi who fled Nazi Germany and led civil rights movements in the U.S.
My friend (I worked with him on Outfoxed), the intrepid Robert Greenwald, is out with a new documentary called: War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and The National Security State:
The corporate media tells us whistleblowers are troublemakers and/or attention-seekers who should be shunned, or worse — jailed or even executed.
Hardly. As a matter of fact, we need them:
In a Democracy, citizens are entitled to the freedom of information and the freedom of the press, but what happens when that democratic government turns its back on the truth and begins to punish those who stand up to falsehood, secrecy, and deception? In Robert Greenwald’s latest film for Brave New Foundation, we reveal the war targeted at the people who put the US constitution before everything. We reveal the War on Whistleblowers.
Here’s the trailer:
An Anaheim police officer will not face charges for the fatal shooting of an unarmed man that helped spark nights of protest over the summer, the District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday afternoon.
Officer Nick Bennallack was on a gang-enforcement patrol in the Anna Drive neighborhood on the afternoon of July 21 when he pulled up to a small group of men. Manuel Diaz, 25 years old and a convicted gang member, bolted.
The officers gave chase, down an alley and into the front yard of an apartment house. There, Bennallack fired two shots, one hitting Diaz in the back-right side of his head, the other hitting him in his right buttock, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.
The police association said shortly after the shooting that officers saw Diaz pull something from his waistband and turn. Diaz was found to be unarmed; investigators found a cell phone registered to Diaz, as well as the two ammunition cartridges from Bennallack’s gun and a drug pipe, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Bottom line? 25-year-old father Manuel Diaz was unarmed. Inconvenient fact: Diaz was Latino. He was shot in the back of the head and in the butt while he “bolted.”
The officer who shot him — Nick Bennallack? He “won’t face charges.”
If Diaz’s name was Nelson Rockefeller, you can bet your sweet bippy Bennallack would be sweating bullets somewhere tonight.
Attorney General Eric Holder sent this letter to Sen. Rand Paul today:
I’m still not satisfied. What does “engaged in combat” mean? Was David Koresh “engaged in combat?” What is “combat?” Does Holder limit his definition of that word to military combat only? Even if so, does military-style combat count?
Way too many unanswered questions here.
Holder Tells Senator That Obama Does Have Authority To Kill Citizens With Drones On U.S. Soil Without Criminal Charge or Conviction
Attorney General Eric Holder this week held out the possibility that the President could kill an American citizens with a drone attack on U.S. soil without any criminal charge or trial.
It will be difficult for people to find someway, as in the past, to blame this policy on Republicans. The kill list policy of Obama belongs to him. As I discussed in earlier columns [...] it is astonishing how citizens, including so many liberals and civil libertarians, have remained relatively silent in the face of a classic claim of authoritarian power. The relative silence over this latest development shows just how passive the country, and particularly liberals, have become in challenging Obama on his aggregation of executive power. It also is the latest evidence showing Obama’s evisceration of the civil liberties movement in this country. There is little observable movement left after it was divided over loyalty to Obama in the first term. A president has previously said that he can kill U.S. citizens on his own authority. It was then revealed that the citizen does not actually have to be involved in an imminent terrorism attack. Now he claims the right to use that authority in the U.S. The response at every stage has been a collective and prolonged yawn from a people growing comfortable with a burgeoning security state and an imperial president.
Remember civics class? Innocent until proven guilty?
Remember the right to be formally charged with a specific crime and to know what those charges are? Remember the right to a lawyer? Remember the right to be presented with all the evidence against you? Remember the right to question those who present evidence against you? Remember the right to present evidence in your defense and to challenge that presented against you? Remember the right to a jury of your peers? Remember the right to be judged guilty, or not?
Constitutional lawyer Barack Obama has tossed those apparently trivial (to him) rights out the window. He, and he alone, can now decide if you’re guilty of whatever. And he, and he alone can execute you. We the People have no right to a trial by jury anymore.
I’ve lived my life resting in knowing I had the right to due process. Knowing that if I faced charges of any kind I was guaranteed a trial by jury. I’d have my say in court; I could defend myself.
That’s gone. Obama has decided he can kill me without any of that if that’s what he wants to do.
This is just a bit of what Representative John Lewis (D-GA) has done in his life:
In 1964, Lewis coordinated SNCC’s efforts for “Mississippi Freedom Summer,” a campaign to register black voters across the South. The Freedom Summer was an attempt to expose college students from around the country to the perils of African American life in the South. Lewis traveled the country encouraging students to spend their summer break trying to help people in Mississippi, the most recalcitrant state in the union, to register and vote. During the first days of the Freedom Summer, three civil rights workers were murdered who had been sent out to investigate the burning of a black church where Lewis became nationally known during his prominent role in the Selma to Montgomery marches.
On March 7, 1965 – a day that would become known as “Bloody Sunday” – Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams led over 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. At the end of the bridge, they were met by Alabama State Troopers who ordered them to disperse. When the marchers stopped to pray, the police discharged tear gas and mounted troopers charged the demonstrators, beating them with night sticks. Lewis’s skull was fractured, but he escaped across the bridge, to a church in Selma. Before he could be taken to the hospital, John Lewis appeared before the television cameras calling on President Johnson to intervene in Alabama.
My family lived in Indiana during the 60s and I remember my father marching for voting rights in local marches that were held in our town. But finally, finally the Voting Rights Act was enacted in 1965.
I felt kind of depressed yesterday knowing the Supreme Court was hearing arguments to overturn a critical portion of it and I thought about all the people who are still alive who put their lives on the line to get it passed in the first place. It’s just unbelievable that might happen.
That “Republican makeover” isn’t going so well in Michigan.
My God they’re insane:
From abortion limitations to expanded pistol carrying rights, lawmakers have kicked off a new session with recycled issues and proposals that sparked some of the most contentious debates in last year’s Legislature, but failed to become law.
There are eight abortion-related bills and seven that ease handgun restrictions. Most aim to overcome or circumvent one or another of the few vetoes Gov. Rick Snyder issued last year.
Also in the hopper are several bills the governor was happy didn’t land on his desk in 2012. Among those is one that would outlaw prevailing wage requirements on public works projects.
Another would reduce the sales tax on motor vehicle and watercraft purchases, gradually cutting into state revenue.
When Republicans scream about how “we’ve got to have tort reform,” this is what they mean. They mean they want to put laws in place that permit corporations to cut corners and/or fail to provide the service they’re being paid for and We the Little People have no recourse. Like this:
New State Law Conceals Records of Abuse, Neglect in Nursing Homes
Joshua Wahl’s life had never been easy. But he was happy, his mother said.
Wahl has spina bifida, is brain damaged and paralyzed from the chest down. At age 32, he lived at a group home in Menomonie, where he loved coloring and going on picnics, said his mother, Karen Nichols-Palmerton.
One evening in October 2011, she visited the home and found her son’s room empty.
Wahl had been rushed to the hospital for treatment of a bedsore so severe that doctors feared he would be permanently bedridden.
A state health department investigation report later found he had the bedsore for four months before being hospitalized.
But the staff who cared for Wahl never sought medical attention for his wound, state investigation records show. And the facility never told the state or Nichols-Palmerton about it, as required by state law, according to state officials.
Instead, caregivers at Aurora Residential Alternatives sprinkled the bedsore with baby powder and applied antibiotic cream, watching it grow larger and more serious until it was bone-deep, records show. Nichols-Palmerton is suing Aurora for alleged negligence, seeking punitive and compensatory damages.
Changes to Wisconsin law passed two years ago, however, mean her attorney can’t use those state investigation records as evidence in the lawsuit, which alleges a four-month pattern of neglect.
The changes were included in a tort reform measure, the first bill Gov. Scott Walker proposed after Republicans swept both houses and the governor’s office in the 2010 elections.
As if corporations don’t have enough protections and benefits around here already.
Last November voters in Colorado (where I live) legalized growing and possessing up to one ounce of marijuana by people 21 and over.
As someone who grew up under laws that could land a person in prison for as much as ten years for possessing one ounce of pot, I’m watching this whole legalized-weed thing with delight and a sense of humor. In my opinion, it’s about time we quit spending untold millions of dollars busting, prosecuting and imprisoning people for using it.
So I cracked up this morning when I saw this article in our local newspaper:
Class Offers Basics on Pot Growing
A healthy marijuana plant should have lots of shoots, healthy roots and plenty of leaves.
But the more than 20 people Saturday who attended THC University’s first class, Growing Marijuana 101, learned that growing a healthy and fruitful marijuana plant is far from easy.
The sold-out class offered students the basics of growing marijuana at home, including information about watering, proper lighting, different containers and optional accessories. At the end of the five-hour class, students had the option of touring the growing operation at the Denver dispensary Karmaceuticals.
THC University co-founders Matt Jones, 24, and Freeman LaFleur, 25, said they had been looking for a way to enter the industry for the past couple of years.
“When Amendment 64 passed, we saw this industry that is going to go boom and no education to go with it,” Jones said.
Under Amendment 64, people 21 and older in Colorado can legally use and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to six marijuana plants.
Check out THC University’s website. It bills itself as “Colorado’s Premier Cannabis Certification Destination.” They offer a “Budtender Certification,” an “Indoor Grower Certification” and a “Master Indoor Grower Certification.” Wow. I never thought it’d see such a thing.
Glenn Greenwald — legal thinker extraordinaire, imho — has penned a blistering take down of a “white paper” prepared by Obama’s Department of Justice justifying his supposed power to assassinate Americans without due process. The document (pdf) was posted online last night by NBC’s Michael Isikoff.
The last two sentences pretty much say it all:
[W]e have the current president asserting the power not merely to imprison or eavesdrop on US citizens without charges or trial, but to order them executed – and to do so in total secrecy, with no checks or oversight. If you believe the president has the power to order US citizens executed far from any battlefield with no charges or trial, then it’s truly hard to conceive of any asserted power you would find objectionable.
Read the whole thing here.
I think this move by Obama is very bad; an extremely dangerous road to go down. To think that every single American is no longer guaranteed the right to be charged and to have the opportunity to defend him or herself before a jury of their peers is shocking. That’s something that has comforted me all my life. The thought of living in a country where the ruler can pick off citizens at will is foreign to how things have work around here since the country was founded and against our system of laws that make us great.
That a “constitutional scholar” would seize this power takes my breath away. It’s tremendously depressing. Obama has basically carried out a drone attack on the law.
Now I know why Barack Obama shot that gun. He wants to kill our right to due process:
Justice Department Memo Reveals Legal Case for Drone Strikes on Americans
A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
Last I knew, every American is entitled to and guaranteed a trial by a jury of his or her peers before he or she is sentenced to anything, much less death.
Now we have the “liberal” Constitutional lawyer Barack Obama’s Justice Department obliterating that for what will probably be forever.
Blows my mind.
It’s just amazing what Republicans think is important:
During their first three weeks in power, Senate Republicans [in Washington state] have introduced bills to require parental notification for abortions, allow ranchers to kill wolves and let people ride motorcycles without a helmet.
Also on the list: plans to revamp [read, cut] workers’ compensation benefits, repeal the state’s family leave act [that, among other things, gives new parents five weeks off after the birth of a child] and assign A-F grades to public schools. There’s also talk of dumping the state employee pension system in favor of a less-expensive, 401(k)-type plan.
So, they want supposedly want to protect unborn fetuses but for people who are already born they want to increase traffic deaths and health care costs by letting people ride motorcycles without a helmet; kill wolves; cut workers’ compensation benefits; make it so folks don’t have a guaranteed leave plan so they can take time off when they or a family member needs help due to a medical problem; deprive new parents of bonding time with a new baby and make it harder for people to make ends meet in retirement.
What a vicious, hateful crowd.
The Founding Fathers were wise, wise men. They believed in the separation of church and state. They believed in the separation of church and state so much, the “So help me God” line at the end of the presidential oath of office we hear these days, was not included in the oath as written in the United States Constitution.
This is Article II, Section 1, Clause 8:
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Again, there’s no “So help me God” at the end.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI seeking details of its surveillance policy — who it spies upon, and how, and under what circumstances. The FBI sent back two 50+ page memos in reply, each of them totally blacked out except for some information on the title page.
So much for the FOIA law and so much for Obama’s “most transparent” government ever.
Imagine the House and Senate having their own armed forces (here’s looking at you Tea Party Republicans):
Congress Sets up its Own Military Force
The [Libyan] General National Congress has decided to set up its own armed force to protect its premises, members and employees. It will be independent of the army or the police. It will be under the direct command of the President of the Congress, from whom it will take its orders.
It is not known how large the new body will be. Resolution No 1 for 2013, setting it up, has no mention as to its size. It is thought its forces will also act as bodyguard for Congress members wherever they are in the country.
Remember this? (Look at how cavalier and arrogant that cop looks.)
Twenty-one students and alumni filed a federal lawsuit on February 22, 2012 against UC Davis over the University’s treatment of protesters during a Nov. 18, 2011 demonstration in which campus police were caught on video dousing seated protesters with pepper spray.
Bravo! What the campus cops did was outrageous.
The lawsuit charged that UC Davis administration officials set in motion a series of events that they should have known would result in constitutional violations against the demonstrators, and that they and the campus police department failed to properly train and supervise officers.
A settlement was announced on September 26, 2012. The University agreed to pay $1million, including $730,000 to the named plaintiffs and others who were arrested or pepper-sprayed on November 18. Additionally, the case has been expanded to a class action lawsuit, and a portion of the total award will be set aside to compensate individuals other than the named plaintiffs who were pepper-sprayed or wrongfully arrested on November 18, 2011.
On January 9, 2013 a federal judge approved the settlement.
God I hope the University doesn’t appeal, though they might just to set a “precedent.” $1 million isn’t all that punitive. They should shut up, walk away, and be happy they weren’t ordered to pay more.
PPP’s newest national poll finds that the NRA’s image has declined over the last three weeks following Wayne LaPierre’s controversial press conference the week before Christmas.
The NRA now has a negative favorability rating, with 42% of voters seeing it positively while 45% have an unfavorable view. That represents a 10 point net decline in the NRA’s favorability from the week before the press conference when a national poll we did found it at 48/41. Its image has taken a hit with both Democrats (from 29/59 to 22/67) and Republicans (71/19 to 66/18).
The holidays and the fiscal cliff took a lot of the spotlight off gun control measures, but in general 53% of Americans say they support stricter gun laws with 40% opposed.
Did you know:
On October 26, 2005, President Bush signed into law S. 397, the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” a bill that prohibits victims of the gun industry’s negligent practices from filing lawsuits in America’s courts. No other industry in the country benefits from such special legal protection.
So none of the relatives of all the victims of gun deaths that have occurred since 2005 have had any legal recourse whatsoever against the gun manufacturers.
The extent to which the NRA owns D.C. is just amazing.
H/t to NancyB for alerting me to this “toy:”
I guess I was wrong about the hopelessness of reaching a bipartisanship agreement on much of anything in Washington because alas, both parties came together today to royally screw the American people:
The Senate on Friday reauthorized for five years broad electronic eavesdropping powers that legalized and expanded the President George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.
The FISA Amendments Act, (.pdf) which was expiring Monday at midnight, allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is believed outside the United States. [The potential for abuse here is enormous.] The communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”
The House approved the measure in September. President Barack Obama, who said the spy powers were a national security priority, is expected to quickly sign the package before the law Congress codified in 2008 expires in the coming days.
The American Civil Liberties Union immediately blasted the vote.
“The Bush administration’s program of warrantless wiretapping, once considered a radical threat to the Fourth Amendment, has become institutionalized for another five years,” said Michelle Richardson, the ACLU’s legislative counsel.
Amendments senators refused to enact included extending the measure for just three years, another one requiring the government to account for how many times Americans’ communications have been intercepted, and one by Wyden prohibiting U.S. spy agencies from reviewing the communications of Americans ensnared in the program.
As a former paralegal, I know warrants aren’t hard to get. All a law enforcement agency has to do to get one is show probable cause (lots of doubt can remain) that a individual is doing something illegal. It is outrageous that that check, minimal as it was, is now gone and that a ah, Constitutional lawyer will sign a bill to extend it another five years.
This has already become so entrenched in our society that there will undoubtedly come a time when extending it for another five years and another five years (and on and on) won’t even make the news.
FBI Investigated ‘Occupy’ As Possible ‘Terrorism’ Threat, Internal Documents Show
According to internal documents newly released by the FBI, the agency spearheaded a nationwide law enforcement effort to investigate and monitor the Occupy Wall Street movement. In certain documents, divisions of the FBI refer to the Occupy Wall Street protests as a “criminal activity” or even “domestic terrorism.”
According to the documents, the FBI coordinated extensively with private companies, including banks, that feared they could be affected by Occupy protests. Occupy, which took root in New York City’s Zuccotti Park in September 2011 and spread to cities across the country, targeted corporations and other forces it believed to perpetuate social inequality. The FBI’s investigation included the movement’s manifestations in New York; Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Anchorage, Alaska; Jacksonville, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; and Memphis, Tenn., among others.
According to the new documents, the FBI began meeting with representatives of the New York Stock Exchange and other businesses as early as August 2011, a month before the Zuccotti Park protests.
I get it. The FBI is protecting the corporatocracy. Tea Partiers are essentially on the side of the corporatocracy, so they’re good.
Good-bye and good riddance Robert Bork. I thank the gods and the 58 senators who voted nay that you weren’t confirmed as a Supreme Court justice:
Robert Bork, who died Wednesday, was an unrepentant reactionary who was on the wrong side of every major legal controversy of the twentieth century. The fifty-eight senators who voted against Bork for confirmation to the Supreme Court in 1987 honored themselves, and the Constitution. In the subsequent quarter-century, Bork devoted himself to proving that his critics were right about him all along.
As Senator Edward Kennedy put it in a famous speech on the Senate floor, “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, [and] writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government.”
Was Kennedy too harsh? He was not—as Bork himself demonstrated in the series of intemperate books he wrote after losing the Supreme Court fight and quitting the bench, in 1987. The titles alone were revealing: ”The Tempting of America,” “Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline,” and “Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges.” One of his last books may have summed up his views best. Thanks in part to decisions of the Supreme Court—decisions that, for the most part, Bork abhorred—the United States became a more tolerant and inclusive place, with greater freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination than any society in history. Bork called the book, accurately, “A Country I Do Not Recognize.”
The United States truly dodged a bullet when Bork’s nomination was rejected. It was a great moment.