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Archive for May 14th, 2010

Another Chinese School Attacked

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 14th, 2010 4:51 am by HL

Another Chinese School Attacked
The death toll from an attack at a kindergarten in northwestern China rose to nine Wednesday after one of the wounded victims died, state media said. A man with a kitchen cleaver hacked to death a teacher and seven kindergarten students — five boys and two girls. He then returned home and committed suicide, state media said.


Somebody give this guy his own island lair

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 14th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Somebody give this guy his own island lair
BP exec worries he will not be allowed to fulfill his crude destiny

Because BP CEO Tony Hayward is starting to worry his life’s work will go uncompleted:

The boss of BP has said the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is relatively tiny compared with the size of the ocean but conceded it could cost him his job.

I’m guessing this guy knows “relatively tiny” (like in hats) and to think, fired before he gets a chance to pollute it all:

“The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume”

So to quote Eli, “look at all that water that isn’t polluted” …. uh, like in New Jersey?

But not to worry, the other companies involved in this disaster are putting the public’s interest first:

Transocean Ltd., the owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that burned and sank last month, unleashing a massive oil leak into the Gulf of Mexico, will Thursday file in federal court a petition to limit its liability to just under $27 million

Late Late Nite FDL: I’m A Man
The Yardbirds featuring Jimmy PageI’m A Man.

The Yardbirds featuring Jimmy PageI’m A Man.

What’s on your mind?


Fix Facebook Privacy Problems in 2 Minutes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 14th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Fix Facebook Privacy Problems in 2 Minutes
Facebook has become something of a privacy nightmare (but then what did we expect when we turned over the social sphere to a private company?). Grumbles aside, here are some quick changes that can keep Grandma in photos without sharing your sexts and pokes with the world.

Facebook has become something of a privacy nightmare (but then what did we expect when we turned over the social sphere to a private company?). Grumbles aside, here are some quick changes that can keep Grandma in photos without sharing your sexts and pokes with the world.

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Kagan Goes A’Courtin’ on Capitol Hill
On Thursday, Supreme Court hopeful Elena Kagan observed the nominee tradition of making the rounds on Capitol Hill by dropping in on key senators from both sides of the aisle, and it seems she made some key gains—even Scott Brown might vote to confirm her!  —KA CNN: Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown—who broke the Democrats’ 60-member filibuster-proof majority by winning the late Ted Kennedy’s seat in January—said after meeting with Kagan that he is satisfied she supports members of the military. “It was the first question I actually asked her because, having been in the military, I had concerns about [her] position at Harvard,” Brown said. “It was very clear to me, after we spoke about it at length, that she is supportive of the men and women who are fighting to protect us and very supportive of the military as a whole. I do not feel that her judicial philosophy will not hurt the men and women who are serving.” While dean at Harvard Law, Kagan said she “abhorred” the military’s “discriminatory recruitment policy.” She called it “a profound wrong—a moral injustice of the first order.” Read more

Brown and Kagan

On Thursday, Supreme Court hopeful Elena Kagan observed the nominee tradition of making the rounds on Capitol Hill by dropping in on key senators from both sides of the aisle, and it seems she made some key gains—even Scott Brown might vote to confirm her!? —KA

CNN:

Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown—who broke the Democrats’ 60-member filibuster-proof majority by winning the late Ted Kennedy’s seat in January—said after meeting with Kagan that he is satisfied she supports members of the military.

“It was the first question I actually asked her because, having been in the military, I had concerns about [her] position at Harvard,” Brown said.

“It was very clear to me, after we spoke about it at length, that she is supportive of the men and women who are fighting to protect us and very supportive of the military as a whole. I do not feel that her judicial philosophy will not hurt the men and women who are serving.”

While dean at Harvard Law, Kagan said she “abhorred” the military’s “discriminatory recruitment policy.” She called it “a profound wrong—a moral injustice of the first order.”

Read more

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Johann Hari: This Is Not What the British People Voted for

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 14th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Johann Hari: This Is Not What the British People Voted for
Elections are supposed to be an opportunity for the people to express the direction in which they want the country to travel. By that standard, this result is an insult.

Nevada Governor 2010: Election BREAKING News
Follow the latest news and discussion about the 2010 Nevada Governor’s race below. Email TwitterLists2010+NVGov@gmail.com if you know someone who should be added to one…

HuffPost TV: Sam Stein Talks Job Growth On ‘The Ed Show’ (VIDEO)
Obama was in Buffalo. Sam Stein was in studio. The HuffPost reporter visited with Lawrence O’Donnell, who was guest hosting Thursday’s “Ed Show” on MSNBC….

Elena Kagan Called Pro-Military By Senator Scott Brown
WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Scott Brown says Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has persuaded him that she supports the military, despite her decision as dean…


Drudge “not sympathetic” to the facts on Kagan’s gun-rights record

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 14th, 2010 4:47 am by HL

Drudge “not sympathetic” to the facts on Kagan’s gun-rights record

Matt Drudge posted a headline stating that Elena Kagan is ” ‘Not Sympathetic’ to Gun Rights Argument,” referencing comments Kagan reportedly made in a 1987 memo about an appeal to the Supreme Court. In fact, the view that the Second Amendment does not protect civilian gun rights was generally accepted at the time Kagan wrote those words.

A Drudge Report headline claimed: “Kagan ‘Not Sympathetic’ to Gun Rights Argument”:

Report: In 1987 memo, Kagan wrote she was “not sympathetic” to argument that Second Amendment protected civilian gun rights

From the May 13 Bloomberg News article to which Drudge linked:

Elena Kagan said as a U.S. Supreme Court law clerk in 1987 that she was “not sympathetic” toward a man who contended that his constitutional rights were violated when he was convicted for carrying an unlicensed pistol.

Kagan, whom President Barack Obama nominated to the high court this week, made the comment to Justice Thurgood Marshall, urging him in a one-paragraph memo to vote against hearing the District of Columbia man’s appeal.

The man’s “sole contention is that the District of Columbia’s firearms statutes violate his constitutional right to ‘keep and bear arms,’ ” Kagan wrote. “I’m not sympathetic.”

When Kagan wrote memo, it was accepted that the Second Amendment did not protect civilian gun rights

In 2008, Stevens and three other justices agreed that the Second Amendment did not protect gun rights for non-military purposes. In a dissent to District of Columbia v. Heller, the case that struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban, Justice John Paul Stevens, who Kagan has been nominated to replace, stated that “there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.” Stevens’ dissent was joined by Justices David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer. From Stevens’ dissent:

Guns are used to hunt, for self-defense, to commit crimes, for sporting activities, and to perform military duties. The Second Amendment plainly does not protect the right to use a gun to rob a bank; it is equally clear that it does encompass the right to use weapons for certain military purposes. Whether it also protects the right to possess and use guns for nonmilitary purposes like hunting and personal self-defense is the question presented by this case. The text of the Amendment, its history, and our decision in United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 (1939) , provide a clear answer to that question.

The Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. It was a response to concerns raised during the ratification of the Constitution that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several States. Neither the text of the Amendment nor the arguments advanced by its proponents evidenced the slightest interest in limiting any legislature’s authority to regulate private civilian uses of firearms. Specifically, there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.

In 1987, no Supreme Court or federal appellate court decision had found that the Second Amendment protected the right to carry guns for non-military purposes. In Heller, a 2008 case, Stevens cited United States v. Miller, a 1934 Supreme Court case that upheld a ban on sawed-off shotguns, and stated: “Since our decision in Miller, hundreds of judges have relied on the view of the Amendment we endorsed there; we ourselves affirmed it in 1980.” Stevens also stated:

Until the Fifth Circuit’s decision in United States v. Emerson, 270 F. 3d 203 (2001), every Court of Appeals to consider the question had understood Miller to hold that the Second Amendment does not protect the right to possess and use guns for purely private, civilian purposes.

Even Ed Whelan concedes that Kagan’s memo does not “establish her current views on the Second Amendment”

From a May 13 blog post by National Review Online’s Ed Whelan:

I am of course not contending that Kagan’s 1987 statement establishes her current views on the Second Amendment, but (depending on how one reads her statement that she was “not sympathetic”) it may well be one piece of evidence that supporters of Second Amendment rights try to factor into their overall calculus.

In the legal context, the term “not sympathetic” does not connote personal political views

Whelan claims that by using the term “not sympathetic,” Kagan may have been referring to her personal views. From Whelan’s blog post:

[I]t’s interesting that Kagan, rather than stating that the claim was meritless, wrote that she was “not sympathetic” to it. Now perhaps Kagan simply used those concepts interchangeably (in the same way that lots of folks say “I feel” when they presumably mean “I think”). Or maybe it means that long before President Obama spelled out his lawless “empathy” standard, Kagan thought it meaningful to form and express her legal judgment in terms of her personal sympathy (or, in this case, lack thereof).

Supreme Court justices have often used the term “sympathetic” to refer to their agreement with legal arguments. Examples of justices using the word “sympathetic” or a form of that word to refer to agreement include:

  • Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Clarence Thomas:

As I have previously explained, I believe that the Court’s approach in Begay, like its approach in this case, “cannot be reconciled with the statutory text.” I nonetheless recognize that “stare decisis in respect to statutory interpretation has ‘special force,’ ” and I am sympathetic to the majority’s efforts to provide a workable interpretation of the “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), while retaining the “categorical approach” that we adopted in Taylor v. United States. In light of Taylor and Begay, I agree that this case should be remanded for resentencing. I write separately, however, to emphasize that only Congress can rescue the federal courts from the mire into which ACCA’s draftsmanship and Taylor’s “categorical approach” have pushed us. [emphasis added, citations omitted]

  • Justice Thomas, who wrote in a dissent:

In the end, I am sympathetic to petitioner’s argument that §636(b)(3) should be read in pari materia with §3401(b). See Brief for Petitioner 38 (“If, in enacting the [Federal Magistrates Act] Congress believed a defendant’s explicit, personal consent was constitutionally necessary to bestow authority upon a magistrate judge in federal misdemeanor cases, then a fortiori Congress would have believed that such explicit, personal consent is necessary to permit a magistrate judge to conduct felony jury selection”). And I share his view that Congress undoubtedly would have adopted something akin to §3401(b)’s requirements had it authorized delegation of felony jury selection. See Peretz, supra, at 947, n. 6 (Marshall, J., dissenting) (“I would think, however, that the standard governing a party’s consent to delegation of a portion of a felony trial under the additional duties clause should be at least as strict as that governing delegation of a misdemeanor trial to a magistrate”). [emphasis added]

  • Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who wrote in an opinion:

Even the District Court, ultimately sympathetic to VMI’s position, found that “[t]he Report provided very little indication of how [its] conclusion was reached” and that “[t]he one and one-half pages in the committee’s final report devoted to analyzing the information it obtained primarily focuses on anticipated difficulties in attracting females to VMI.” [emphasis added]

  • Justice Stevens, who wrote in a dissent:

Because I believe that political gerrymanders are more objectionable than the “racial gerrymanders” perceived by the Court in recent cases, I am not entirely unsympathetic to the Court’s holding. I believe, however, that the evils of political gerrymandering should be confronted directly, rather than through the race specific approach that the Court has taken in recent years. [emphasis added, citations omitted]

Drudge’s other Second Amendment attack on Kagan is equally baseless

Drudge also baselessly attacked Kagan for asserting that Second Amendment protections are “not unlimited,” a statement with which Justice Antonin Scalia and the conservative majority of the Supreme Court agreed in Heller.


Perpetual Money Machine: Conservative PAC Raises Millions In Order To Raise More Millions

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 14th, 2010 4:45 am by HL

Perpetual Money Machine: Conservative PAC Raises Millions In Order To Raise More Millions
Despite promises to spend donor money on conservative candidates, a review of AmeriPAC’s campaign finance reports by TPMmuckraker shows the outfit has used just $1,300 on campaign-related spending out of nearly $1.3 million raised in the 2010 election cycle.


Campaign financePolitical action committeeUnited StatesPoliticsGovernment

Report: Criminal Charges Likely Over Oil Spill
Environmental law experts tell McClatchy it’s likely the Justice Department will ultimately bring criminal charges against the companies involved in the oil spill, potentially under the Clean Water and Air Acts.


Oil spillEnvironmentLawEnergyUnited States Department of Justice

Donor Beware: A Guide To The Scammiest Conservative Direct Mail Shops
It’s become a significant siphon on conservative fundraising, intensified amid grassroots anger on the right in the age of Obama: direct mail or direct email outfits hit up conservatives around the country for small donations to beat the liberal agenda, or to support an unknown but exciting new right-wing candidate. But the vast majority of the money goes to the group’s favorite vendors, or in some cases to enriching the group’s leaders. So, for the conservatives out there, here’s a guide to some of the questionable groups TPMmuckraker has encountered — it’s probably best to send your money elsewhere:



ConservatismRight-wing politicsTalking Points MemoPoliticsBMW Direct


Dr. Ollie Oilscience and the Junkshot

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 14th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Dr. Ollie Oilscience and the Junkshot


Specter Retakes Lead in Tracking Poll

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 14th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Specter Retakes Lead in Tracking Poll
The latest Muhlenberg/Morning Call tracking poll in Pennsylvania shows Sen. Arlen Specter (D) just edging Rep. Joe Sestak (D) in their Democratic Senate primary, 45% to 43%.

Crist Liberated from Partisan Warfare
Even though his decision to drop out of the Republican U.S. Senate primary was about political survival as much as anything, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist “is now talking like a man liberated from the constraints of partisan orthodoxy,” the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Said Crist: “I’m very happy. I really am. Listen, I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed being a public servant as much as I have the past few weeks because I feel really in touch with where the people are… It sickens me to watch cable TV and see these people argue all day long. I think to myself, what in the world are they doing? Do they care so much about their party first that they’ve forgotten about their country and our people?”

Sandoval Likely to Oust Gibbons in Nevada
A new Mason-Dixon poll in Nevada finds Gov. Jim Gibbons (R) trailing challenger Brian Sandoval (R) by 18 points with less than four weeks until the gubernatorial primary, 45% to 27%.


Non-Profit Investigative Journalism to the Rescue?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 14th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Non-Profit Investigative Journalism to the Rescue?
Nonprofit investigative journalism outfits are breaking new ground. Can they sustain themselves?

Nonprofit investigative journalism outfits are breaking new ground. Can they sustain themselves?

Are Newman’s Own and Other Companies Misleading Consumers with the Word ‘Organic’?
Just because ‘organic’ is in the name, don’t be fooled by the ingredients.

Just because 'organic' is in the name, don't be fooled by the ingredients.


Third Way ConservaDems Get it Wrong: Progressives are the champions of growth and wealth.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 14th, 2010 4:38 am by HL

Third Way ConservaDems Get it Wrong: Progressives are the champions of growth and wealth.
Anne Kim and Jonathan Cowan of Third Way took to the Politico Arena op ed page (and url) on Thursday with the hoary slander that progressives care only about “expanding the entitlement state” and have no interest in economic growth…



Economic growthUnited StatesThird WayPoliticsBarack Obama

Bernard Kouchner’s Lament
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, a champion of tough-edged humanitarianism, too frequently falls into a linear, knee-jerk approach to global justice causes rather than embracing the complexity of most global problems. Nations are good or bad. We must take forceful…



Bernard KouchnerMinister of Foreign AffairsUnited StatesWarfare and ConflictPolitics