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Archive for May 6th, 2009

Savage Not Welcome in Britain

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 6th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Savage Not Welcome in Britain

Savage

Along with the many other potential drawbacks that may ensue from striking an ultra-conservative pose in public, it would appear that radio “personality” Michael Savage’s travel possibilities are now limited in the greater UK region as a result of his on-air shtick.

SF Gate:

On Tuesday, British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith published the names of 16 of 22 people banned from the country since October for allegedly fostering extremism or hatred. Along with Savage, who has called the Quran, the Muslim holy book, “a book of hate,” Muslim extremists, jailed Russian gang members and a militant Israeli settler were banned. Smith cited “public interest” reasons for not disclosing six of the names.

Since 2005, the United Kingdom has excluded 101 people for “unacceptable behavior, including animal rights extremists, right-to-life, homophobe and far-right extremists, as well as those who advocate hatred and violence in support of their religious beliefs,” Robin Newmann, spokesman for the British consulate in San Francisco, said by e-mail Tuesday. In 2008, he said, Smith “introduced new measures that favored excluding people who have spread hatred.”

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Specter Will Be Junior Democrat On Committees

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 6th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Specter Will Be Junior Democrat On Committees
Despite promises from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) would retain his seniority after switching parties, Specter will be put…

Robert L. Borosage: Corruption Is Dangerous to Your Health
In area after area, Americans are suffering from the accumulated corruptions of our moneyed politics. In the fifth labor of Hercules, an arrogant king tries to demean the hero by hiring him to clean out the Augean stables in a day. The stables containing the largest herd of cattle in civilization, had never been cleaned. Hercules, with a little help from Athena, changes the path of two rivers and quickly washes out the accumulated filth. But no one is about to change the course of the Potomac to cleanse the backrooms and lobbies of Capitol Hill.

Dave Bing, NBA Great, Elected Detroit’s Mayor
DETROIT — Basketball legend Dave Bing was elected Tuesday as Detroit’s mayor through the end of the year, sweeping the incumbent from office in the…

Bill Buzenberg: The Mega-Banks Behind the Meltdown
It’s time to set aside the myth of the mega-bank as victim. These banks aren’t “too big to fail,” but simply “too politically connected to fail.”


TNR ‘s Rosen misrepresented footnote in making purported “Case Against Sotomayor”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 6th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

TNR ‘s Rosen misrepresented footnote in making purported “Case Against Sotomayor”

In a May 4 New Republic article about Second Circuit Court of Appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor, legal affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen falsely asserted that “a conservative colleague, Ralph Winter, included an unusual footnote in a case suggesting that an earlier opinion by Sotomayor [United States v. Samaria] might have inadvertently misstated the law in a way that misled litigants.” But Winter’s footnote neither says nor suggests any such thing. As American University law professor Darren Hutchinson noted in a May 4 blog post, Winter’s footnote in the case says that a litigant in a third case has read Sotomayor’s Samaria opinion in a way that “would attribute to it the overruling of a long-standing line of cases in this circuit.” Winter makes it clear that Sotomayor’s opinion provided no actual basis for the litigant’s erroneous interpretation: “Samaria does not purport to address the validity of those cases in any way.” As Hutchinson wrote, “Rosen has completely misrepresented Winter’s footnote in order to question Sotomayor’s competence as a judge, when the footnote actually criticizes the attorney’s misplaced reliance upon the opinion she authored.”

The footnote from Winter’s opinion in United States v. Juncal:

We note that, after argument in the present matter, we decided United States v. Samaria, 239 F.3d 228 (2d Cir. 2001). In a yet more recent case, an appellant has argued that Samaria stands for the proposition that a conscious avoidance instruction is per se error in a conspiracy case where the substantive offense underlying the conspiracy charge requires proof of specific intent. See United States v. Tropeano (Barroso), No. 00-1708 (2d Cir. Argued Feb. 26, 2001). Such a reading of Samaria would attribute to it the overruling of a long-standing line of cases in this circuit holding that, while evidence of conscious avoidance cannot support a finding that a defendant knowingly participated in or joined the conspiracy, it may support a finding that a defendant knew of the unlawful objectives of the conspiracy. See, e.g., United States v. Ferrarini, 219 F.3d 145, 155-56 (2d Cir. 2000), petition for cert. filed, 69 U.S.L.W. 3410 (U.S. Dec. 6, 2000) (No. 00-945); United States v. Eltayib, 88 F.3d 157, 170 (2d Cir. 1996); United States v. Scotti, 47 F.3d 1237, 1242-43 (2d Cir. 1995); United States v. Beach-Nut Nutrition Corp., 871 F.2d 1181, 1196 (2d Cir. 1989); United States v. Lanza, 790 F.2d 1015, 1022-23 (2d Cir. 1986). However, Samaria does not purport to address the validity of those cases in any way. Samaria’s discussion of conscious avoidance related only to a sufficiency issue, and the panel thus made it clear that, on the evidence before it, the requisite level of intent could not have been found even on a conscious avoidance theory. See 239 F.3d at 239-42. The evidence in the present case, however, was that appellant had strong reason to suspect that the transaction was fraudulent but deliberately failed to pursue the issue. Because conscious avoidance goes only to prove Lancaster’s knowledge, and not to show his intent to participate in the scheme, Samaria is therefore of no relevance.

As blogger Matthew Yglesias has noted, Rosen wrote in his article that “I haven’t read enough of Sotomayor’s opinions to have a confident sense of them, nor have I talked to enough of Sotomayor’s detractors and supporters, to get a fully balanced picture of her strengths.”

From Rosen’s New Republic article:

Her opinions, although competent, are viewed by former prosecutors as not especially clean or tight, and sometimes miss the forest for the trees. It’s customary, for example, for Second Circuit judges to circulate their draft opinions to invite a robust exchange of views. Sotomayor, several former clerks complained, rankled her colleagues by sending long memos that didn’t distinguish between substantive and trivial points, with petty editing suggestions–fixing typos and the like–rather than focusing on the core analytical issues.

Some former clerks and prosecutors expressed concerns about her command of technical legal details: In 2001, for example, a conservative colleague, Ralph Winter, included an unusual footnote in a case suggesting that an earlier opinion by Sotomayor might have inadvertently misstated the law in a way that misled litigants.


Harman To AIPAC: I’m A “Warrior On Behalf Of Our Constitution”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 6th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Harman To AIPAC: I’m A “Warrior On Behalf Of Our Constitution”
Jane Harman isn’t backing off her call to have information about her wiretapped conversation with a suspected Israeli agent released publicly. In fact, in a speech to AIPAC’s annual policy convention, Harman doubled down on that demand. “I want it…

Secrecy Expert: Harman Leakers Likely Committed Felony
Did the people — whoever they may be — who leaked details about Rep. Jane Harman’s wiretapped conversation with a suspected Israeli agent, break the law? The law quite clearly prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of classified information “concerning the communication…

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While GOP Lite Dithers, the Queen, Like an Asp, Lays in Wait

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 6th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

While GOP Lite Dithers, the Queen, Like an Asp, Lays in Wait
News item from CNN, “Republicans Kick Off Campaign to Shine Party Image,” Rebecca Sinderbrand, May 2, 2009: “Three prominent GOP leaders [Jeb “Not Another” Bush, Eric “The Turd Polisher” Cantor and Mitt “Yawn on Steroids” Romney] kicked off a campaign Saturday to reshape their party’s image [“Message: we’re new and we care!”], gathering at a restaurant […]


Yankees Pitcher’s Mom Arrested for Meth: Should She Get Treatment or Prison?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 6th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Yankees Pitcher’s Mom Arrested for Meth: Should She Get Treatment or Prison?
Joba Chamberlain’s mom faces 50 years behind bars for selling a small amount of meth; should we offer compassion or jail time?

Jury Finds Teens Not Guilty of Hate Crime in Beating Death of Latino; Some Rejoice
The facts of the case were clear, but an all-white jury decided to let a mob of racist teens off easy.

The Newest Gold Rush: The Frenzy for Natural Gas Threatens New York’s Water
In New York, even though the drilling hasn’t begun, the battle lines have been drawn.

The Far Right’s First 100 Days: Getting More Extreme by the Day
Their talk is turning ugly, and it’s not unthinkable that we could be in for a wave of domestic terrorism unseen since the mid-’90s.

Driving Through an Empty Tijuana in the Midst of the Swine Flu
A shotgun seat-rider’s account of what Mexico actually looks like through local eyes from the other side of the border.


Obama and Pragmatism: Thinking Through Values

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 6th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Obama and Pragmatism: Thinking Through Values
I keep hearing the White House staff describe the President as a pragmatist. David Axelrod, one of his chief advisors whom I admire enormously, recently called him a “ruthless pragmatist.” Soon, I expect, he’ll be called a “take-no-prisoners pragmatist,” or…

The Means Of Reproduction
Investigative journalist Michelle Goldberg joins us at Cafe this week for our latest book club discussion on her new book The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World. The subject of the book is the global…

Why Obama is Taking on Corporate Tax Havens
Why, one may ask, is Obama taking on yet another huge fight by taking aim at foreign tax havens? Yes, it’s unfair that multinationals pay an average tax rate of only 2 percent on their foreign revenues, and it’s unfair…


DC Council recognizes out-of-state same-sex marriages.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 6th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

DC Council recognizes out-of-state same-sex marriages.
After an “emotional debate” today, the DC Council gave “final approval to legislation that recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. … The issue now goes before Congress, which has final say over the city’s laws.” The vote was originally unanimous, until “councilman Marion Barry proclaimed that he didn’t realize what he was voting for […]

After an “emotional debate” today, the DC Council gave “final approval to legislation that recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. … The issue now goes before Congress, which has final say over the city’s laws.” The vote was originally unanimous, until “councilman Marion Barry proclaimed that he didn’t realize what he was voting for and asked for reconsideration of the measure. The measure was amended to another bill.” Berry said that his nay vote was an “‘agonizing and difficult decision’ that he made after prayer and consulting with the religious community.”

Ashcroft Indirectly Makes An Argument For Torture Accountability
Today in a New York Times op-ed, former Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft noted that because the federal government has poured billions of dollars into the nation’s financial institutions to keep them afloat, a dilemma arises over how to deal with these companies’ illegal activities: Does the Justice Department issue an indictment when such an […]

ashcroftwebnew0505Today in a New York Times op-ed, former Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft noted that because the federal government has poured billions of dollars into the nation’s financial institutions to keep them afloat, a dilemma arises over how to deal with these companies’ illegal activities: Does the Justice Department issue an indictment when such an act, as Ashcroft noted, “is often a death sentence for a corporation” and thus would undermine the federal government’s efforts to save these companies and boost the economy?

Ashcroft makes the argument that, while criminal prosecutions may not be warranted, some accountability is necessary:

The government must hold accountable any individuals who acted illegally in this financial meltdown, while preserving the viability of the companies that received bailout funds or stimulus money. Certainly, we should demand justice. But we must all remember that justice is a value, the adherence to which includes seeking the best outcome for the American people. In some cases it will be the punishing of bad actors. In other cases it may involve heavy corporate fines or operating under a carefully tailored agreement.

“[W]hatever are we to do if we discover that in the process of protecting our national security, government officials broke laws against warrantless wiretapping and against torture?” blogger Jack Balkin asks. Indeed, as Balkin noted, Ashcroft’s logic applies directly to investigating the Bush administration’s torture regime:

According to this same logic, the government should demand a full accounting of what Bush Administration officials did and it should institute new methods for monitoring and preventing abuses in the future. It should find ways to hold individuals who broke the law accountable without jeopardizing our existing national security. What the government should not do is what Attorney General Ashcroft argues against in the financial context– to sweep illegal actions under the rug or to go easy on the individuals who broke the law because they work for the federal government.

Ashcroft is unlikely to make an argument that the Bush administration’s torture program should be investigated, primarily because he participated in it. Indeed, Ashcroft was present at top-secret White House meetings beginning in 2002 to discuss the use of torture on terror suspect detainees. According to sources, all principals who attending the meetings approved.


Obama, Peres Discuss Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 6th, 2009 4:31 am by HL

Obama, Peres Discuss Israeli-Palestinian Peace
President Obama’s meeting with Shimon Peres this afternoon marked a first step in the new administration’s relationship with Israel. But it comes at a time when the two governments disagree sharply over what constitutes the biggest long-term threat to the Jewish state and how best to achieve peace…


Tenenbaum Named Chairman of Consumer Product Safety Commission
President Obama has tapped a politically skilled former schools chief from South Carolina to chair the Consumer Product Safety Commission and said he will boost funding at the agency, which has been struggling greatly with dwindling resources and leadership problems.


Lawmakers Seeking Consensus On Social Security Overhaul
Key lawmakers from both parties have held tentative talks about overhauling the Social Security system, and Congress could turn its attention to the federal retirement program as soon as this fall if a bipartisan consensus emerges, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said yesterday.


In the Loop: Specter Once Sang a Different Tune on Party-Switching
Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), had a pretty good sense of the trauma he was inflicting on his party and his Republican colleagues when he defected last week. He’s felt their pain, so to speak, at least judging from his comments on the Senate floor back in 2001, when Sen. Jim Jeffords left the GOP and…



Would You Buy a Car From Obama?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 6th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

Would You Buy a Car From Obama?
Wesley Pruden, Washington Times

Interrogating Torture
Philip Gourevitch, The New Yorker

Death of Newspapers Could Kill Civic Values
Marc Dunkelman, US News

How Business Can Stand Tall Again
David Gergen, Fortune

Obama Administration: Counting the Gaffes
Glenn Garvin, Miami Herald