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Archive for June 25th, 2014

‘A Swat Team Blew a Hole in My 2-Year-Old Son’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

‘A Swat Team Blew a Hole in My 2-Year-Old Son’
Alecia Phonesavanh: After our house burned down in Wisconsin a few months ago, my husband and I packed our four young kids and all our belongings into a gold minivan and drove to my sister-in-lawÂ?s place, just outside of Atlanta. On the back windshield, we pasted six stick figures: a dad, a mom, three young girls, and one baby boy. That minivan was sitting in the front driveway of my sister-in-lawÂ?s place the night a SWAT team broke in, looking for a small amount of drugs they thought my husbandÂ?s nephew had. Some of my kidsÂ? toys were in the front yard, but the officers claimed they had no way of knowing children might be present. Our whole family was sleeping in the same room, one bed for us, one for the girls, and a crib. After the SWAT team broke down the door, they threw a flashbang grenade inside. It landed in my sonÂ?s crib.

NFL Removes Cap on Concussion Damages
The NFL will open its wallet to help retired players suffering from dementia and other concussion-related damages. The league and lawyers for the 4,500 former NFL players who accused the league of covering up the long-term consequences of traumatic brain injuries unveiled a proposed settlement on Wednesday that removes the cap on concussion-related damages. The NFL agreed to pay $765 million in August to settle the concussion lawsuit filed in Philadelphia federal court by retired players in 2013. But U.S. District Court Judge Anita B. Brody, expressing concerns that there would not be enough money to cover every claim, rejected the deal in January.


In Iraq, former militia program eyed for new fight

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

In Iraq, former militia program eyed for new fight
BAGHDAD (AP) — They were known as the Sahwa, or the Awakening Councils — Sunni militiamen who took extraordinary risks to side with U.S. troops in the fight against al-Qaida during the Iraq War. Once heralded as a pivotal step in the defeat of the bloody insurgency, the Sahwa later were pushed aside by Iraq’s Shiite-led government, starved of political support and money needed to remain a viable security force.

France clinches top spot in Group E; Ecuador out
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — France drew 0-0 with 10-man Ecuador to advance to the second round of the World Cup on Wednesday, while the South Americans will be going home from the tournament.

Buy a vowel? Couple flown to Grenada, not Granada
WASHINGTON (AP) — A District of Columbia couple has sued British Airways, saying the airline ruined their vacation by booking them tickets to the Caribbean island of Grenada instead of Granada, Spain.


Supreme Court limits cell phone searches after arrests

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Supreme Court limits cell phone searches after arrests
Because cellphones contain so much information, police must get a warrant before looking through them, the court ruled unanimously

Defeated challenger Chris McDaniel still defiant
He lost the Mississippi Republican primary runoff to Sen. Thad Cochran, but tea party favorite Chris McDaniel declared, “I’m still standing.”


The Right-Wing Media Machine Behind Boehner’s Obama Lawsuit

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Right-Wing Media Machine Behind Boehner’s Obama Lawsuit

After years of conservative media figures agitating for congressional Republicans to impeach President Obama, today House Speaker John Boehner announced plans to sue the president for not “faithfully executing the laws of this country.”

Discussing the suit — which would be filed on behalf of the House of Representatives — Boehner claimed that it was “not about impeachment.” But in a piece for The New Republic, Brian Beutler argues that conservatives’ push to stir up outrage over Obama has led Republicans to seek a “relief valve for the building pressure to draw up articles of impeachment”:

Having created a clamor within the GOP conference, and the conservative base, over Obama’s use of executive power, Republicans now must satisfy the consequent appetite to do something about it. Suing Obama is meant to do that. The goal is to be head-turning enough to simultaneously address coalition management obligations–calm restive conservatives, keep the base energized–and serve as a relief valve for the building pressure to draw up articles of impeachment.

The risk is that it’ll whet rather than diminish the right’s appetite for impeachment. But Boehner doesn’t have much choice. You can’t gin up this much outrage over Obama’s actions, and then do nothing to stop him, when the Constitution provides you so many tools to do just that.

Much of the building pressure for impeachment has come not only from congressional Republicans, but from conservative media figures, whose calls for impeachment have been a steady drumbeat since Obama took office.


Republicans Won’t Pass Immigration Reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Republicans Won’t Pass Immigration Reform
Debra Saunders, RealClearPolitics
The New York Times reports that House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy is considered “the best hope” to win passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill in Congress after he becomes majority leader in July. It’s sort of quaint how the Gray Lady wants to believe in miracles. If a comprehensive bill — such as the Senate bill that set a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants — had a chance of passing, then it was in 2009 and 2010, when Democrats controlled the White House, Senate and House of Representatives. President Barack Obama had promised a bill in his first year in office. If…

LA Mayor Exemplifies America’s Decline
Dennis Prager, RealClearPolitics
Last week, during the official celebration of the Los Angeles Kings winning the Stanley Cup, the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, told a jammed Staples Center that “there are two long-standing rules for politicians . … They say never, ever be pictured with a drink in your hand and never swear. But this is a big f—–g day,” he said, holding up a bottle of Bud Light. You read that right. In front of 18,000 people at Staples and hundreds of thousands of others watching on television — many of them, of course, children — the mayor of the second-largest city in America held up a beer…


May wants more surveillance powers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

May wants more surveillance powers
Home Secretary Theresa May renews her call for new surveillance powers – dubbed a “snooper’s charter” by critics.

Labour renews push for policy checks
Labour is to challenge Chancellor George Osborne to get the spending commitments of all major political parties costed independently.

VIDEO: Cameron and Miliband clash over Coulson
David Cameron and Ed Miliband clash over Andy Coulson and phone hacking claims in a noisy PMQs session.


Hoyer: Obama on brink of ‘significant’ immigration changes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Hoyer: Obama on brink of ‘significant’ immigration changes
House minority whip says president will take action if GOP idles.


Lemony Snicket Helps ‘Little Free Library’ Advocate Spencer Collins

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Lemony Snicket Helps ‘Little Free Library’ Advocate Spencer Collins
A Kansas boy battling through a series of unfortunate events over his front-yard library is getting some support from author Daniel Handler.

Last month, 9-year-old Spencer Collins erected a “take a book, leave a book” structure as a Mother’s Day gift and as an attempt to engage with his Leawood, Kan., community. But then the Leawood City Council ordered him to remove the small library from his front yard and even threatened the young librarian with fines.

Now, Spencer is getting some public backing from Handler, a.k.a Lemony Snicket, author of the “Series Of Unfortunate Events” books.

Handler told the San Francisco Chronicle that he’s sending Spencer “a handful of Snicket books — largely from my new series, ‘All the Wrong Questions,’ in which a librarian is a hero.”

When asked if he had any advice for Spencer, Handler replied, “I would rather be advised by this librarian on what he thinks I ought to read next.”

Handler is among thousands who have voiced support for Spencer since the Leawood shut down the tiny library, which was roughly the size of a large birdhouse.

A Facebook page set up in support of the library now has more than 27,000 likes, including many from the owners of other Little Free Libraries who’ve sent in photos of their own structures.

In response, Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn said the city might be able to make an exception for Spencer’s library at its July 7 meeting.

Some 15,000 “Little Free Libraries” have sprung up around the country, so chances are there’s one (or more) near you. This map can help you to find one.


Beating of Roma Boy Exposes Tensions in France’s Underclass

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Beating of Roma Boy Exposes Tensions in France’s Underclass
The near fatal beating of a Roma youth suspected of burglary by a gang on the outskirts of Paris has highlighted the tensions in France’s economic underclass.



World Briefing: Nigeria: Deadly Blast Hits Capital
An explosion killed 21 people in a crowded shopping district in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, during rush hour on Wednesday, the police said.



World Briefing: South Korea: A Familiar Premier
President Park Geun-hye reversed her decision to replace her current prime minister, after two successive appointees stepped aside amid controversies over their qualifications.



Shiite Violence Traps Sunnis in Baghdad
Suspicions that Baghdad’s Sunnis are secretly siding with ISIS have grown as the militants get closer to the city, increasing their fears of retaliation.

Sinosphere Blog: Q. and A.: William C. Kirby on ‘Can China Lead?’
In the book “Can China Lead?”, three business school professors looked at the motors for and the constraints against greatness that China is experiencing. One of the authors, William C. Kirby, explains what they found.




The NRA Is Suddenly Concerned About Gay Couples

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The NRA Is Suddenly Concerned About Gay Couples

The gun lobby complains that the legislation goes too far by “including expansive and vaguely defined ‘dating relationships’ and individuals ‘similarly situated to a spouse.'”

The post The NRA Is Suddenly Concerned About Gay Couples appeared first on ThinkProgress.

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre

CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The National Rifle Association has come out in opposition to a bill that would prohibit more domestic abusers from legally obtaining firearms, complaining that the restrictions could apply to partners of the same sex.

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), would tighten existing federal restrictions against gun ownership for individuals convicted of domestic violence and stalking. Federal law prohibits individuals with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions from owning guns, but includes loopholes that allow convicted stalkers and “individuals in a current or former dating relationship who never lived together or had a child together” to purchase weapons.

Experts contest that the loose federal restrictions contribute to the nation’s high levels of gun violence, particularly against American women, who are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other high-income countries. S.1290 would expand the existing ownership prohibitions to dating partners and deny the sale of a firearm to a person convicted of the misdemeanor crime of stalking.

But in an e-mail sent to Congress on Tuesday, the gun lobby complains that the legislation goes too far by “including expansive and vaguely defined ‘dating relationships’ and individuals ‘similarly situated to a spouse.’” It goes on to single out partnered gay men:

Under S. 1290, for example, two men of equal size, strength, and economic status joined by a civil union or merely engaged (or formerly engaged) in an intimate “social relationship,” could be subject to this prohibition for conviction of simple “assault” arising from a single shoving match.

The e-mail also questions the need for including stalkers in federal restrictions, since stalking offenses “do not necessarily include violent or even threatening behavior.”

Last week, the Center for American Progress issued a report finding that some states have already enacted “laws closing some gaps related to domestic abusers’ gun access.” Still, just ten states bar those who abuse someone they are dating if they did not live together or have children together from gun ownership.

The CAP analysis recommended barring all convicted “abusers, stalkers, and people subject to related restraining orders from possessing guns” and polices that “ensure that abusers surrender any firearms they own once they become prohibited.”

The post The NRA Is Suddenly Concerned About Gay Couples appeared first on ThinkProgress.