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Archive for July 30th, 2010

Is Cross-Border Violence a Myth?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 30th, 2010 4:51 am by HL

Is Cross-Border Violence a Myth?
Fears over Mexican drug cartel violence near the U.S. border are fuelling the debate over immigration and border control, but is the idea that the killings are spreading into the US just a myth? Each day, thousands cross the short bridge that connects El Paso with its Mexican sister city Juarez, one of the world’s most dangerous places. In the past two years, more than 5,000 people have been murdered in Juarez as drug-related crime has soared. But according to FBI crime statistics, El Paso is the second safest city in America.



Late Late Night FDL: Keep On Smilin’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 30th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Keep On Smilin’
Deep SouthKeep On Smilin’.

Deep SouthKeep On Smilin’.

What’s on your mind?

Shame is only for when your price hasn’t been met
We better high tail it to one of those blogger ethics conferences Atrios at Eschaton is always going on about again.

pic from Decaf via Flickr

Fred Barnes, FoxNews pitch man and author of the seminal (literally) work on George W. Bush, is outraged, OUTRAGED, about the whole Journolist thing, the greatest scandal ever.

As a conservative, I normally write more favorably about Republicans than Democrats and I routinely treat conservative ideas as superior to liberal ones. But I’ve never been part of a discussion with conservative writers about how we could most help the Republican or the conservative team.”

But enough about ignoring the entire premise of “The Beltway Boys”, Joe Conason finds a fertile field of Barnes’ laughable hypocrisy. It appears that like the swallows returning to Capistrano, the Buzzards returning to Hinckley, and Peggy Noonan returning to rut around on Reagan’s grave au naturale, Fred Barnes annually pockets thousands from Republicans to make some asinine, partisan speech. In the name of journalism, of course, or prostitution.


Therapist Sees a Generation Creating a ‘New Monogamy’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 30th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Therapist Sees a Generation Creating a ‘New Monogamy’
While the meme might seem trite or trendy, this lengthy essay by a couples therapist makes a compelling case that younger couples are actively creating relationship innovations designed to dampen the destructive power of infidelity—whether it be emotional, sexual or otherwise.

While the meme might seem trite or trendy, this lengthy essay by a couples therapist makes a compelling case that younger couples are actively creating relationship innovations designed to dampen the destructive power of infidelity—whether it be emotional, sexual or otherwise.

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Caroline Moorehead on the Exemplary Life of Lesley Blanch
A new biography of the remarkable writer Lesley Blanch suggests that living well—which may be the same thing as living passionately—is the best way of blunting the force of time’s arrow.

Lesley Blanch

A new biography of the remarkable writer Lesley Blanch suggests that living well—which may be the same thing as living passionately—is the best way of blunting the force of time’s arrow.

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Anthony Weiner Goes Ballistic At GOP For Killing 9/11 Responders Health Care Bill (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 30th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Anthony Weiner Goes Ballistic At GOP For Killing 9/11 Responders Health Care Bill (VIDEO)
House Republicans late Thursday were able to corral enough votes to defeat a bill that would have provided up to $7.4 billion in aid to…

SEC Accuses Sam And Charles Wyly, Billionaire Dallas Investors, Of Insider Trading Yielding $550 MILLION
DALLAS — Sam and Charles Wyly, Dallas billionaire investors known for their support of conservative candidates and causes, made $550 million in undisclosed profits through…

Azadeh Shahshahani: TSA Clearance a Cloudy Process
I first met Adnan Tikvesa back in December when I spoke at a symposium on human rights and Islam at the Al-Farooq mosque in Atlanta….

William Astore: Our Military’s Disturbing Transition to Warriors
Today’s cult of the warrior, as represented by these new “creeds,” may seem cosmetic, but it cuts to the core of our military’s self-image.


The latest bogus attack on Kagan: She’s anti-small business

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 30th, 2010 4:47 am by HL

The latest bogus attack on Kagan: She’s anti-small business

A piece in National Review claimed that Elena Kagan is anti-small business because as solicitor general, she filed a Supreme Court brief arguing that the Court should throw out a case brought by a business. But Kagan’s alleged anti-small business argument was first made by the Bush Justice Department, and legal experts say Kagan’s solicitor general briefs are not necessarily proof of her personal views.

National Review piece: Kagan confirmation could “harm” small businesses

John Berlau in National Review: Kagan could mean “great harm” for small businesses based on her work as SG. In a July 29 piece for National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s John Berlau argued that Kagan would be an anti-small business Supreme Court justice. His claims centered on arguments Kagan made as solicitor general in one case, Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Berlau claimed that in that case, Kagan “effectively argued that small businesses that object to a particular law or regulation as unconstitutional should be held hostage to the administrative-review process of the agency responsible for enforcing that law or regulation.”

Berlau’s piece — headlined “Elena Kagan’s War on Small Business: Solicitor General Kagan urged against letting a small firm challenge a regulatory agency in court. Would a Justice Kagan do the same?” — said: “While Congress is claiming it wants to help small business, confirming Kagan could mean great harm to business owners crippled by costly regulation.”

Kagan’s alleged anti-small business argument was first made by the Bush Justice Department

Kagan’s alleged anti-small business argument was first made by the Bush Justice Department. The Kagan brief Berlau attacked argued that the Supreme Court should dismiss Free Enterprise Fund because the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia “lacked jurisdiction because petitioners failed to exhaust the exclusive statutory review procedures.” But the Bush administration Justice Department made the same argument in lower court proceedings in the same case. From the 2008 decision in the lower court:

The Board and the United States contend, as a threshold matter, that the district court lacked jurisdiction because the Fund failed to exhaust the Act’s statutory review procedures. The Act permits a person “aggrieved by a final order of the Commission” or a person “adversely affected by a rule of the Commission” to obtain review in the court of appeals.

The case involved a challenge to a section of the post-Enron Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a law that received wide bipartisan support. The case involved a constitutional challenge to the method for selecting members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, an entity created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a law written to respond to the accounting scandals involving Enron and other corporations. The final version of the law passed the House by a vote of 423-3 and the Senate by a vote of 99-0 and was signed by then-President Bush.

Legal experts: SG briefs aren’t necessarily proof of Kagan’s personal views

Legal experts say that Kagan’s personal legal views can’t be inferred from her actions as solicitor general. Pamela Harris, the head of Georgetown University’s Supreme Court Institute, has said, “I don’t think you can read almost anything” into the personal views of a solicitor general based on her representation of the United States. Lincoln Caplan, an expert on solicitors general, told The Washington Post, “It’s a mistake to assume that every argument an SG makes on behalf of the government reflects her personal legal philosophy.”

Kagan stated during her SG confirmation hearings that she will represent the U.S. government rather than follow her personal views. In response to written questions submitted by senators as part of the confirmation process for Kagan’s nomination as solicitor general, Kagan stated: “I am fully convinced that I could represent all of these interests with vigor, even when they conflict with my own opinions.”

Kagan’s duty as SG is to make every reasonable argument to defend federal laws and actions. It is the role of the solicitor general to defend federal laws and actions, as long as there is a reasonable basis for them — indeed, Sen. Orrin Hatch noted that at Kagan’s solicitor general hearing, she “properly affirmed that the Solicitor General must make every reasonable argument defending the constitutionality of federal statutes.”

NR piece also misrepresented Kagan’s testimony about environmental lawsuits

Berlau claimed Kagan “appeared sympathetic” to environmentalists during her confirmation hearings, but would “shut the courthouse door” on small business owners. Berlau wrote in his July 29 National Review piece:

In her confirmation hearings this summer, Kagan appeared sympathetic to a broad definition of injury when it comes to standing for activists filing environmental lawsuits. In response to a question from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, she told the Judiciary Committee on June 29 that an injury sufficient for standing “can be of many different kinds. It can be economic injury, but it can also be a kind of injury that you get when the environment is degraded and you can’t use the parks in the way you would have wanted to use the parks.”

But for Americans who spend their time building businesses as well as going to parks, Kagan would apparently try to shut the courthouse door.

In fact, Kagan’s statement about environmental lawsuits echoes Supreme Court precedent. In 2000 in Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, the Supreme Court held by a 7-2 vote that the following injuries were enough to establish standing: Wanting to fish, camp, swim, and picnic in or near a river without it being smelly and polluted; wanting to picnic, walk, birdwatch and wade in that river; and having a lower property level because of pollution. From the opinion:

Focusing properly on injury to the plaintiff, the District Court found that FOE had demonstrated sufficient injury to establish standing. App. in No. 97–1246 (CA4), pp. 207–208 (Tr. of Hearing 39–40 (June 30, 1993)). For example, FOE member Kenneth Lee Curtis averred in affidavits that he lived a half-mile from Laidlaw’s facility; that he occasionally drove over the North Tyger River, and that it looked and smelled polluted; and that he would like to fish, camp, swim, and picnic in and near the river between 3 and 15 miles downstream from the facility, as he did when he was a teenager, but would not do so because he was concerned that the water was polluted by Laidlaw’s discharges. Record, Doc. No. 71 (Exhs. 41, 42). Curtis reaffirmed these statements in extensive deposition testimony. For example, he testified that he would like to fish in the river at a specific spot he used as a boy, but that he would not do so now because of his concerns about Laidlaw’s discharges. Ibid. (Exh. 43, at 52–53; Exh. 44, at 33).

Other members presented evidence to similar effect. CLEAN member Angela Patterson attested that she lived two miles from the facility; that before Laidlaw operated the facility, she picnicked, walked, birdwatched, and waded in and along the North Tyger River because of the natural beauty of the area; that she no longer engaged in these activities in or near the river because she was concerned about harmful effects from discharged pollutants; and that she and her husband would like to purchase a home near the river but did not intend to do so, in part because of Laidlaw’s discharges. Record, Doc. No. 21 (Exh. 10). CLEAN member Judy Pruitt averred that she lived one-quarter mile from Laidlaw’s facility and would like to fish, hike, and picnic along the North Tyger River, but has refrained from those activities because of the discharges. Ibid. (Exh. 7). FOE member Linda Moore attested that she lived 20 miles from Roebuck, and would use the North Tyger River south of Roebuck and the land surrounding it for recreational purposes were she not concerned that the water contained harmful pollutants. Record, Doc. No. 71 (Exhs. 45, 46). In her deposition, Moore testified at length that she would hike, picnic, camp, swim, boat, and drive near or in the river were it not for her concerns about illegal discharges. Ibid. (Exh. 48, at 29, 36–37, 62–63, 72). CLEAN member Gail Lee attested that her home, which is near Laidlaw’s facility, had a lower value than similar homes located further from the facility, and that she believed the pollutant discharges accounted for some of the discrepancy. Record, Doc. No. 21 (Exh. 9). Sierra Club member Norman Sharp averred that he had canoed approximately 40 miles downstream of the Laidlaw facility and would like to canoe in the North Tyger River closer to Laidlaw’s discharge point, but did not do so because he was concerned that the water contained harmful pollutants. Ibid. (Exh. 8).

These sworn statements, as the District Court determined, adequately documented injury in fact. We have held that environmental plaintiffs adequately allege injury in fact when they aver that they use the affected area and are persons “for whom the aesthetic and recreational values of the area will be lessened” by the challenged activity. Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 735 (1972). See also Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S., at 562–563 (“Of course, the desire to use or observe an animal species, even for purely esthetic purposes, is undeniably a cognizable interest for purposes of standing.”).


Black Panther ‘Whistleblower’s’ Latest Charge: Holder Hates The Troops

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 30th, 2010 4:46 am by HL

Black Panther ‘Whistleblower’s’ Latest Charge: Holder Hates The Troops
In its latest tale about how President Obama is out to attack all that is good and right about America, Fox News yesterday alleged that the Justice Department is now purposely disenfranchising America’s troops, too. The charges come originally from…


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What Are the DC Democrats Thinking?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 30th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

What Are the DC Democrats Thinking?


Dead Heat in Nevada

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 30th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Dead Heat in Nevada
A new Mason-Dixon poll in Nevada shows Sen. Harry Reid (D) and challenger Sharron Angle (R) neck and neck.

Reid barely edges Angle among likely voters, 43% to 42%. Two weeks ago, he had a seven point lead.

Said pollster Brad Coker: “At least for the moment, Angle seems to have stopped the bleeding. Reid had the airwaves to himself for a while, and he drove her numbers down with the advertising. But that didn’t necessarily drive his numbers up. There hasn’t been a lot of good news to hang his hat on.”

Very Tight Race for Florida Governor
A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds a very close three-way race for governor between Alex Sink (D), and either of the Republican candidates Rick Scott (R) or Bill McCollum (R), and the independent Bud Chiles (I).

With Scott as the GOP nominee, he leads with 29%, followed by Sink at 27% and Chiles 14%.

If McCollum wins the Republican primary, he would lead with 27%, followed by Sink at 26%, and Chiles at 14%.

Crist Maintains Lead in Florida Senate Race
A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds Gov. Charlie Crist (I) leading the three-way race for U.S. Senate with 37%, followed by Marco Rubio (R) at 32% and Jeff Greene (D) at 17%.

If Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) wins the Democratic primary, Crist’s lead would be 39%, followed by Rubio at 33% and Meek at 13%.

Key finding: Crist’s lead is based on getting half the independent voters, about 20% of Republicans and about 40% of Democrats. He also has a 53% to 37% job approval rating.


Ruptured Oil Pipe Sends 877,000 Gallons of Crude Oil into Kalamazoo River, Threatening People and Wildlife

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 30th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Ruptured Oil Pipe Sends 877,000 Gallons of Crude Oil into Kalamazoo River, Threatening People and Wildlife
The spill is believed to be the largest in the history of the Midwest.

The spill is believed to be the largest in the history of the Midwest.

Why Are We Often Terrified Of Our Own Sexuality?
While so much about sexuality is brazenly public these days, we haven’t advanced very far in our ability to talk about our sexual fears and anxieties.

While so much about sexuality is brazenly public these days, we haven't advanced very far in our ability to talk about our sexual fears and anxieties.

Fire Teachers; Hire Guns: The New Plan for National Security
This week’s civics lessons for America’s schoolchildren: Your education is a threat to national security.

This week’s civics lessons for America’s schoolchildren: Your education is a threat to national security.


Heritage Foundation Turns On Turkey

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 30th, 2010 4:38 am by HL

Heritage Foundation Turns On Turkey
It looks like the Heritage Foundation has discovered that Turkey — our once staunch NATO ally — is a country made up of…Muslims. But Heritage has learned that and is none too pleased. Even worse, from Heritage’s point of view,…



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