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Archive for June 12th, 2014

Over-Confidence, Neglect Led to Cantor’s Fall

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Over-Confidence, Neglect Led to Cantor’s Fall
A combination of over-confidence, neglect of his district and voter anger at congressional leaders fueled Republican Eric Cantor’s stunning primary loss in Virginia, an upset that rocked the Republican Party. Cantor’s loss on Tuesday to a political unknown, college professor and Tea Party challenger David Brat, followed a series of missed warning signs and miscalculations in the final weeks of a race that largely flew under the national political radar.


Jake Gyllenhaal on Broadway in ‘Constellations’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Jake Gyllenhaal on Broadway in ‘Constellations’
NEW YORK (AP) — Jake Gyllenhaal will make his Broadway debut later this year with a work by a playwright he’s come to admire.

Pentagon: Bergdahl has left Germany for Texas
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. defense official says released captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is scheduled to arrive at a military medical center in Texas on Friday.


Accused of “taking a nap” on Iraq, Obama exploring all options

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Accused of “taking a nap” on Iraq, Obama exploring all options
The president says he won’t rule out any options to stem the growing violence in Iraq


U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Newest Attack On Investor Class Actions Too Much For Even Forbes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Newest Attack On Investor Class Actions Too Much For Even Forbes

A new Delaware law that would restore the rights of stockholders to bring class action lawsuits without fear of having to pay legal costs if they don’t win every single part of their legal claim is being slammed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its affiliate, the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). But even right-wing media outlet Forbes isn’t sold on their arguments.

In May, the Delaware Supreme Court surprisingly ruled in ATP Tour v. Deutscher Tennis Bund that corporations were allowed to unilaterally add bylaws forcing the loser in shareholder litigation to pay all the associated legal fees. These sorts of “loser pays” provisions are atypical in the U.S. but have been promoted by conservative organizations like the Chamber and the ILR under the guise of ending “frivolous lawsuits.” Ultimately, though, such provisions have the effect of deterring or outright blocking many meritorious class action lawsuits brought by victims of corporate malfeasance.

In response to the state supreme court’s holding in ATP Tour, Delaware legislators have proposed SB 236, a bill that would reinstate the normal prohibition on “loser pays” bylaws. The ILR is already registering its vocal opposition to the bill, arguing that it will leave corporations vulnerable to “abusive litigation.”

Usually, right-wing media can be counted on to recycle the Chamber and ILR’s pro-business talking points, in particular The Wall Street Journal editorial board. This time, however, even ForbesDaniel Fisher questioned ILR’s arguments. According to Fisher, who has supported anti-consumer provisions like forced arbitration clauses in the past, “opponents of SB 236 may be pushing too far” by promoting a loser pays system:

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Bryan Townsend, said he will set the bill aside for a while amid vocal opposition by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, according to the Wilmington News Journal.

The bill seems to restore the status quo by affirming the limited liability nature of corporations, where shareholders can only lose money to the extent of their investment. But the ILR said the proposed law — passed, it noted, on “an extraordinarily expedited basis” — would reverse a decision that “gives corporations a way to protect their shareholders” against the costs of “abusive litigation.”

[…]

By pushing to retain the option implied by the ATP Tour decision, opponents of SB 236 may be pushing too far. Delaware courts have granted them ample tools to deal with shareholder litigation and chipping away at limited liability might be a cure that is worse than the disease.

Fisher’s skepticism of ILR’s issues with the bill are well-founded. According to Paul Bland, executive director of Public Justice, the Delaware Supreme Court’s decision not only runs afoul of the basic concepts of contract law by allowing corporations to unilaterally change the rules of the game on their investors, it makes it “far easier for corporations to insulate themselves from accountability if they cheat shareholders or break the law. By contrast, the vast majority of courts in the U.S. disapprove of this kind of loser-pays provision.”

It’s not just states like Delaware that are threatening the viability of investor class action lawsuits, one of the best ways for defrauded stakeholders to get legal relief from the corporation who harmed them. Any day now, the Supreme Court will issue its decision in Halliburton v. Erica P. John Fund, a case that could make it nearly impossible for investors who have been the victims of corporate fraud to join together as a class and sue. Watch Bland explain in two minutes how Halliburton could be yet another in a long line of pro-business decisions from the conservative majority at the Court:


Poll: Most Disagree With Bergdahl-Terrorist Swap

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Poll: Most Disagree With Bergdahl-Terrorist Swap
Michael Cipriano, RealClearPolitics
More than half of likely voters disagree with the decision to exchange five high-ranking Taliban detainees for U.S Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, as public opinion is shifting from initial support, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll. The survey found that 54 percent of respondents disagree with the prisoner swap, an 11-point increase from a week ago. Just 29 percent support the Obama administration’s decision, a drop of 11 points from last week. Sixteen percent remain undecided. The poll also shows a higher disapproval among Americans for the exchange than a USA Today/Pew Research Center…

Cantoring Through Political Fields
Rich Galen, RealClearPolitics
Let’s stipulate that I am old. Really old. Not Ralph Hall old (91 years) but pretty old. Old enough so I know exactly what Eric Cantor’s staff have been going through since Tuesday night after his stunning defeat at the hands of economics professor Dave Brat. The last time a sitting member of the House GOP leadership was beaten in a primary was in 1992 when the late Rep. Guy Vander Jagt lost the primary for his Western Michigan seat to the marketing director of a furniture company, Pete Hoekstra. Vander Jagt had been the long-time chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee -…

Cantor Loses to Tea Party Candidate in Va. Upset
Caitlin Huey-Burns, RealClearPolitics
In the biggest — and most surprising — upset in recent history, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his re-election bid Tuesday to conservative challenger David Brat in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. The defeat of the second-highest-ranking House Republican rocked Virginia, Washington, D.C., and a party that had been trumpeting establishment victories over Tea Party opponents in primary elections this year. Well known for his political savvy and ambition, Cantor had built a national profile and cultivated relationships with new conservative lawmakers who came into Congress…


VIDEO: ‘I’m prepared to face a water cannon’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

VIDEO: ‘I’m prepared to face a water cannon’
London Mayor Boris Johnson says he is prepared to be blasted by water cannon to prove they are safe after the Metropolitan Police were authorised to buy three of the devices.

Passport delays: What you need to know
Why it’s happening – and what to do if it affects you

VIDEO: Jolie: Action must follow summit
Angelina Jolie has told the BBC that governments around the world can no longer ignore sexual violence in conflict and must begin to tackle the issue.


Pentagon: Iraqi rebels may have captured US military equipment

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Pentagon: Iraqi rebels may have captured US military equipment
The Pentagon said they were going ahead with arms sales to Iraq.


Watch Jimmy Fallon, Chris Christie Get Down In ‘Evolution Of Dad Dancing’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Watch Jimmy Fallon, Chris Christie Get Down In ‘Evolution Of Dad Dancing’
Our Founding Fathers said it best: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that dads have the sickest dance moves of all.” Or something like that.

In honor of Father’s Day, Jimmy Fallon teamed up with fellow famous father New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to show us where all those groovy dad moves came from in “The Evolution of Dad Dancing.”

It’s definitely hard to top “Evolution of Mom Dancing,” but the last move in this video just might bridge the gap.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.


Palestinian Premier Says New Government Lacks Power in Gaza

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Palestinian Premier Says New Government Lacks Power in Gaza
Rami Hamdallah said that not much had changed since the new government took over and that reconciliation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip would take time.



The Iraqi Army Was Crumbling Long Before Its Collapse, U.S. Officials Say
American military and intelligence officials told a Senate hearing that the Iraqi military had been in decline since the last American advisers left the country in 2011.



Tanks, of Unknown Origin, Roll Into Ukraine
Ukraine’s interior minister claimed that an armored column from Russia had crossed the border into eastern Ukraine overnight.



U.S. Drone Hits Pakistan for 2nd Time in 12 Hours
The strikes were apparently aimed at the Haqqani network, a Taliban-allied faction that until last month held the American soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl hostage.



Sinosphere Blog: Prison Sentence Feared for Detained Rights Lawyer
The prospect of the imminent release of Pu Zhiqiang, a human rights lawyer who was detained after a meeting in Beijing to mark the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, is growing dim.




Texas Prosecutor Removes Black Juror After Comparing NAACP Ties To White Supremacy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Texas Prosecutor Removes Black Juror After Comparing NAACP Ties To White Supremacy

“It’s not because of race,” the prosecutor claimed.

The post Texas Prosecutor Removes Black Juror After Comparing NAACP Ties To White Supremacy appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Shannon Greenwood is an intern at ThinkProgress.

jurybox

CREDIT: Shutterstock

A now-terminated prosecutor in Travis County, Texas thinks NAACP membership is comparable to white supremacy — at least that was the rationale behind his decision to reject a black juror earlier this month.

“It’s not because of race,” Steve Brand told KVUE News. “It’s because in part she appeared to be an activist, and that’s what we don’t want. Just as if she was white, we wouldn’t want a white activist or a white supremacist.”

The juror was selected to be on a panel deciding an aggravated assault charge against Darius Lovings, who was previously convicted for the murder of William Ervin. Lovings allegedly pretended to have car troubles and shot Ervin when he stopped to help — both Ervin and Lovings are African American.

In explaining his decision to remove the juror, Brand said only that “she’s a member of the NAACP” and “there are things on Facebook page which appeared she was an activist in several ways [sic].” Her removal prompted Loving’s attorney to file a complaint, and Brand defended his decision by comparing her NAACP membership to that of a juror being a part of a white supremacist group.

Since the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Batson v. Kentucky, it is illegal to use what is known as a peremptory challenge to remove a juror simply because of their race. Likely with that rule in mind, Brand specifically said his decision was “not because of race.” But a judge nonetheless deemed the removal improper and ordered an entirely new jury be selected.

On Wednesday, after working with the District Attorney’s office for more than a decade, Brand was fired for his comments.

“I told Steve Brand that his statements did not reflect my opinions or my values or those of our organization, and that he could no longer work at the Travis County District Attorney’s office,” District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said.

Brand has since hired a lawyer to represent him who claims Brand’s termination was “an unjust and frankly bizarre act” that was fueled by retaliation, not racism.

The post Texas Prosecutor Removes Black Juror After Comparing NAACP Ties To White Supremacy appeared first on ThinkProgress.