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Archive for June 19th, 2014

Nuns Sue Strip Club in Illinois

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Nuns Sue Strip Club in Illinois
A convent of nuns in suburban Chicago has filed a lawsuit against a neighboring strip club they say plays throbbing music while the nuns try to pray. The Sisters of St. Charles named Club Allure Chicago and the village of Stone Park in their lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court. The sisters’ suit states that “pulsating and rhythmic staccato-beat noise and flashing neon and or strobe lights” that disturb the nuns. Strip club manager Robert Itzkow said, “We spent an awful lot of money to make sure that this kind of thing would not occur. The whole thing is just a question of ‘we don’t like you; you don’t conform to our religious beliefs.'” He said the club’s dancers “aren’t monsters. They’re daughters; they’re mothers, and some of them are Catholics too.”


Hackers take down website of Brazilian federation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Hackers take down website of Brazilian federation
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) — The Brazilian football federation says hackers momentarily took down its website on Thursday.

Obama Administration Steps Up Vigilance on College Sexual Assaults
Schools will be required to submit data on dating and domestic violence.

Rock that whizzed by Earth may be grabbed by NASA
WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA is zeroing in on the asteroids it wants to capture, haul near the moon and have astronauts visit.


New House GOP leaders thank colleagues, constituents

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

New House GOP leaders thank colleagues, constituents
Reps. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Steve Scalise, R-La., express their gratitude after the Republican conference elected them House majority leader and House majority whip, respectively.


Legal Advocates See Media Opposition To Marriage Equality Diminishing

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Legal Advocates See Media Opposition To Marriage Equality Diminishing

Marriage equality advocate attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson see the media opposition to their cause softening, and believe that while conservative media “are not prepared to embrace marriage equality,” they are shying away from the issue because “they think that the wave of the future is against them.”

Boies and Olson garnered attention when they joined forces in 2010 to battle California’s anti-marriage equality ballot measure, Proposition 8, which was ultimately overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer.

The duo, who had previously worked in opposition during the 2000 Bush vs. Gore case, kicked off a book tour this week to promote Redeeming the Dream, their account of the legal battle for marriage equality and the landmark ruling that struck down Proposition 8.

Prior to an event in Maplewood, N.J. Wednesday night, the lawyers-turned-authors spoke with Media Matters and said they see the media coverage of marriage equality becoming increasingly supportive, marking a notable change from even the recent past.

“The media in my view covered this issue very poorly for many years,” Boies said. “The whole area of gay and lesbian rights was something that the media didn’t know how to deal with, were a little uncomfortable dealing with it, didn’t want in their view, to get too far out ahead of some of their readers. Because it was a sensitive issue [they] didn’t cover it nearly as much as they should have.”

Now, according to Boies, media figures “are beginning to feel uncomfortable opposing it … I think there have been a number of people who you might think of as conservative commentators who have either been modestly favorable to us or silent on the issue and waiting to see.”

Olson added, “We had one or two favorable Op-Ed pieces by members of the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal. National Review has been pretty consistently on the other side of this. Ed Whelan, who writes in the National Review is very, very strong on the other side of the issue. But a lot of the conservative press is staying away from the issue because I think they think that the wave of the future is against them. So that tells you something right there.”

“I think the shift’s continuing,” Boies noted. “I think some of the more conservative media are sort of standing back. They are not prepared to embrace marriage equality, but I do think they see that that is the wave of the future. Remember, as much as between 75 to 80 percent of people under 30 … liberals, conservatives … 75 to 80 percent of those people favor marriage equality. You don’t want to get crossways with that kind of demographic wave.”

Media Matters has documented Fox News’ lack of coverage of marriage equality court decisions since the 2013 Supreme Court rulings, with many major cases receiving less than a minute of coverage on the network.

Both Boies and Olson felt they had personally been well-received by both conservative and mainstream media outlets, and that their issue had received fair coverage.

“Lots of different media reacted in different ways, but we were received very warmly, or I was, on Chris Wallace’s show, on Fox,” Olson recalled. “Of course, places like MSNBC have given us more access than some of the other outlets, but the novelty of the two of us coming together have caused curiosity. I’d say we were fairly favorably well-received in most places.”


Iraq Must Be Saved From Extremists

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Iraq Must Be Saved From Extremists
Michael Gerson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — The debate over who lost Iraq is tempting, emotionally satisfying and even, in some cases, historically instructive. But it is not the focus of serious foreign policy thinkers and former government officials I’ve encountered over the last few days. Their general response is not recrimination; it is fear. Particular, reasoned, fully justified fear. Iraq threatens to become a mirror of Syria, with Iran supporting a proxy Shiite army and the Gulf states siding with Sunni Islamists who will fight against Shiite-Iranian dominance of the region. Some experts talk of the “de facto…


PM urges global push on dementia

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

PM urges global push on dementia
David Cameron has announced more funding for dementia research and urged a global effort to find a cure.

No further action over AM’s conduct
No further action will be taken after claims Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay was drunk in the Senedd chamber, an assembly spokesman says.

Benefit cuts for the young – secret agreement
Are Labour and Conservatives really at odds over plans?


Spanish Soccer Team’s Elimination Casts Pall Over New King’s Arrival

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Spanish Soccer Team’s Elimination Casts Pall Over New King’s Arrival
Nobody in Spain suspected that the arrival of a new king after the old king’s abdication would coincide with the elimination of Spain from the World Cup.



World Briefing: Egypt: Court Calls for Death Sentences for Top Muslim Brotherhood Members
An Egyptian court on Thursday began the process of imposing death sentences on the top leader and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood.



Abdullah Abdullah Says He Can’t Trust Officials’ Tally of Afghan Vote
Essentially turning his back on the entire election process, Abdullah Abdullah said he could no longer trust the system to address his accusations of widespread fraud and collusion.




Former Democratic Governor: Eric Cantor’s ‘Effeminate Mannerisms’ Trigger My Gaydar

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Former Democratic Governor: Eric Cantor’s ‘Effeminate Mannerisms’ Trigger My Gaydar

Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) compared Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to a prostitute and suggested that outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) seems gay.

The post Former Democratic Governor: Eric Cantor’s ‘Effeminate Mannerisms’ Trigger My Gaydar appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (R-MT)

Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (R-MT)

CREDIT: Office of the Governor

Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) compared Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to a prostitute and suggested that outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) seems gay in a National Journal profile published Wednesday.

Schweitzer, who as governor advocated for civil unions but has subsequently endorsed marriage equality, told reporter Marin Cogan on the night of Cantor’s surprising primary defeat, that Cantor and other southerners act and seem gay. Cogan wrote:

“Don’t hold this against me, but I’m going to blurt it out. How do I say this … men in the South, they are a little effeminate,” he offered when I mentioned the stunning news. When I asked him what he meant, he added, “They just have effeminate mannerisms. If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say—and I’m fine with gay people, that’s all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he’s not, I think, so I don’t know. Again, I couldn’t care less. I’m accepting.”)

In the same article, the two-term governor took aim at Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chair Dianne Feinstein. Suggesting she had been close to the intelligence agencies she now has criticized for their alleged spying on Congressional staffers, Schweitzer say: “She was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees, and now she says, ‘I’m a nun,’ when it comes to this spying!” He then acknowledged that perhaps the prostitution analogy was perhaps “the wrong metaphor.”

The post Former Democratic Governor: Eric Cantor’s ‘Effeminate Mannerisms’ Trigger My Gaydar appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Pro-Diplomacy Groups Ask House Committee Leaders To Clarify Iran Letter On Lifting Sanctions

Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) say Congress won’t lift Iran sanctions unless a final deal on Iran’s nuke program addresses other issues too. Some pro-diplomacy groups and other experts say this is a mistake.

The post Pro-Diplomacy Groups Ask House Committee Leaders To Clarify Iran Letter On Lifting Sanctions appeared first on ThinkProgress.

European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif, right, wait for the start of closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif, right, wait for the start of closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

CREDIT: AP

A handful of groups supporting diplomacy with Iran have drafted a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee asking them to reconsider their demand that a final nuclear deal with Iran include provisions unrelated to Tehran’s nuclear program.

In a letter to President Obama circulated for signatures last week, Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) noted that the White House “has committed to comprehensively lifting ‘nuclear-related’ sanctions as part of a final P5+1 agreement with Tehran,” but, they add, many of those same sanctions laws “are also related to Tehran’s advancing ballistic missile program, intensifying support for international terrorism, and other unconventional weapons programs.”

Therefore, they argue, any final nuclear deal must include a “permanent and verifiable termination” of those non-nuclear related issues.

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), along with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) and Win Without War, have drafted a letter in response, seeking to clarify that their intent isn’t aimed at rejecting a deal.

“We agree with you that the White House and Congress should consult closely regarding the nuclear negotiations,” says the draft, which was obtained by ThinkProgress. “While the President has the authority to issue sanctions waivers on a renewable but time-limited basis, lifting sanctions would likely require an act of Congress.” The letter continues:

As written, it could be understood as implying that, unless a nuclear deal also includes non-nuclear elements on the U.S. agenda with Iran, Congress will refuse to lift any sanctions. The notion that Congress would choose to keep sanctions in place rather than secure an agreement that prevents an Iranian nuclear weapon is alarming, and we urge you to clarify that this is not the implication of your letter.

Demanding that non-nuclear issues be added to the nuclear negotiations at this time will only ensure that we get no deal and face the prospect of an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program or a disastrous war opposed by the American people.

Other experts have argued that issues of Iran’s ballistic missiles, its poor human rights record and its support for terrorism, while serious and in need of attention, should be kept on the periphery of the nuclear talks. Moreover, as the Arms Control Association’s Greg Thielmann has noted, taking care of the nuclear issue is one of the best ways to address the missile issue.

Whether Congress needs to be involved in lifting sanctions in order for the United States to implement its part in any final agreement, at least initially, is currently being debated.

Kenneth Katzman, an Iran sanctions expert at the Congressional Research Service, said at a recent Atlantic Council event that the Obama administration “has a tremendous amount of discretion” in using his executive authority to waive sanctions on Iran should a final nuclear deal be reached, at least in the short term.

Congress would eventually have to amend the sanctions legislation, Katzman says, most likely around two years after a potential deal is reached. By that time, “Iran would be presumably complying for two years. And you would have a two-year track record where Iran would say, we have fulfilled what we promised for two years. … we would have a two-year track record of Iran complying and at that point Iran would be demanding termination of some sanctions.”

Katzman also addressed Royce and Engel’s concern, that the sanctions are not just nuclear-related.

“I think it is just again goes to the difficulty of terminating sanctions,” he said at the Atlantic Council. “I think, again, what I tried to outline is sort of a year or two where we have a deal, it’s implemented through waivers, and then there’s a track record. Iran is complying for a year or two years. The issue of an Iranian nuclear weapon appears to be off the table. No threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon. I think that’s the kind of environment where, you know, you could see perhaps legislative action to roll back the sanctions.”

NIAC, FCNL and Win Without War, however, don’t seem to want to take any chances. “A comprehensive agreement that verifiably prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon would be a major national security achievement that would greatly benefit the U.S., as well its allies, and resolve the issue that Congress has consistently identified as the top priority regarding Iran,” their draft letter to Royce and Engel says. “It would be a travesty if the very sanctions that Congress enacted under the premise of stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons proved to be the obstacle that blocked a nuclear deal.”

The post Pro-Diplomacy Groups Ask House Committee Leaders To Clarify Iran Letter On Lifting Sanctions appeared first on ThinkProgress.


This Is What an Overcrowded Holding Center for Migrant Children Looks Like

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 19th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

This Is What an Overcrowded Holding Center for Migrant Children Looks Like
From: Steven Hsieh

After weeks of denying access, Border Patrol officials finally let reporters look inside two controversial immigrant processing centers. 

The Gender Flaw in ‘My Brother’s Keeper’
From: Mychal Denzel Smith

Women of color are affected by racism too. We can’t keep sending the message that they aren’t.

Major News Outlet Axes George Will Over Rape Column
From: Greg Mitchell

Conservative writer George Will’s highly offensive column has yet to have serious consequences for his career—but perhaps that is about the change.

NJ Dems, Backed by Unions, Mount Challenge to Christie’s Pension Cuts
From: The Christie Watch

The New Jersey’s governor’s plan to run on his record of working across the aisle isn’t looking too good.

FIFA Ignores Brazil’s Economic Woes, Provoking Resistance
From: Dave Zirin

Another day of World Cup games means another day of protests from the Brazilian people.