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Archive for the 'Main Blog (All Posts)' Category

Many Minors at Site of Miami Nightclub Shooting

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 29th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Many Minors at Site of Miami Nightclub Shooting
Miami police are investigating why so many underage people were present at a nightclub during a pre-dawn shooting early Sunday that left 15 people wounded. Among those hit by gunfire early Sunday morning at The Spot were five girls ranging in age from 11 to 17. “What was very surprising to the responders was that these were kids that were out at 1 a.m. in the morning in a club and this type of violence took place where a bunch of kids were gathering,” Carroll said. “It’s very disturbing to see that.”

Woman Jailed 30 Days for SpaghettiO Spoon
A Florida woman may pursue legal action against police and prosecutors after she spent more than a month in jail for possession of SpaghettiOs. Police say they arrested 23-year-old Ashley Gabrielle Huff after they found a spoon covered with a suspicious residue inside the car she was riding in. From the beginning Huff insisted that she wasn’t using, selling, or making methamphetamines. The woman spent more than a month in jail while her attorney tried to arrange a plea bargain. That’s when the crime lab report came back confirming the spoon was encrusted with spaghetti sauce. She was then released from custody.


Number of US kids in foster care up after long dip

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 29th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Number of US kids in foster care up after long dip
After dropping for seven straight years, the number of U.S. children in foster care rose slightly last year, according to new federal figures released Monday.

‘Children of a Lesser God’ heads to Broadway
NEW YORK (AP) — The romantic story “Children of a Lesser God,” which has been a hit already onstage and on film, is heading back to Broadway.

45 dogs dead, 48 alive after North Las Vegas fire
At least 41 dogs died and 52 survived in a weekend fire at a small home owned by a city councilman in a suburb of Las Vegas, authorities said Monday.


Rep. Paul Ryan: Obama’s ISIS strategy the “right policy”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 29th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Rep. Paul Ryan: Obama’s ISIS strategy the “right policy”
Wisconsin congressman says there were “a couple of colossal mistakes” in Obama’s policy that led to ISIS emergence

John Boehner “happy” to have Congress vote on anti-ISIS mission
House speaker says the president already has the necessary authority to strike jihadists, but critics say Obama should have consulted Congress

Obama: U.S. underestimated rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria
The U.S. had expected the Iraqi army to do more against extremists, president says in acknowledgment of intelligence shortcomings


“Distinctly Unappealing” And “Half-Bright”: National Review ‘s Personal Attacks On Lena Dunham

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 29th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

“Distinctly Unappealing” And “Half-Bright”: National Review ‘s Personal Attacks On Lena Dunham

National Review Online launched an ad hominem attack on actress Lena Dunham for writing a piece for Planned Parenthood Action Fund that encourages people to vote, continuing NRO’s pattern of denigrating women who advocate for reproductive rights.

In a September 28 post headlined “Five Reasons Why You’re Too Dumb To Vote,” NRO’s Kevin D. Williamson responded to Dunham’s piece, published on the Women Are Watching blog, a project of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. In her post, clearly targeted to young women, Dunham asserted that every vote counts and urged young women to vote to protect their reproductive rights.

Williamson started his response by levying a personal attack at Dunham, calling the actress “distinctly unappealing” and describing her piece as “a half-assed listicle penned by a half-bright celebrity and published by a gang of abortion profiteers,” directed toward Dunham’s “presumably illiterate following.” He claimed that “cultural debasement” is the “only possible explanation” for Dunham’s career.

The NRO columnist echoed a previous infantilizing attack on feminism, casting Dunham’s view of voting as “nothing other than a reiteration of the original infantile demand: “I WANT!” Williamson also took issue with Dunham’s encouraging young women to vote on issues that directly affect them, framing an interest in reproductive rights as an “‘all about me!’ attitude”:

Miss Dunham’s “all about me!” attitude toward the process of voting inevitably extends to the content of what she votes for, which is, in her telling, mostly about her sex life. Hammering down hard on the Caps Lock key, she writes: “The crazy and depressing truth is that there are people running for office right now who could actually affect your life. PARTICULARLY your sex life. PARTICULARLY if you’re a woman. Yup.”

Yup? Nope.

NRO has continually launched sexist and infantilizing attacks on women like Sandra Fluke and Wendy Davis who defend reproductive rights.


War on Women 2.0

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 29th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

War on Women 2.0
Rich Lowry, RealClearPolitics
The “war on women” is back, and more tendentious than ever. Democrats are replaying one of their greatest hits of 2012 in their furious battle to minimize their midterm losses in a political environment defined by an unpopular president and general unease. And why not? The war on women has a proven record of success — in mobilizing Democratic women and trumping what would otherwise seem much more important issues — and it is so simple that any idiot can run on it. The recipe is one part taking offense where clearly none was intended, and one part discerning new…

The Latest War Will Not Be Free
Steve Chapman, RealClearPolitics
Young people may find it hard to believe, but going to war used to be a big deal. When the United States started bombing Iraq in January 1991, Americans somberly watched President George H.W. Bush address the nation, followed by live video of Baghdad being bombed. The Bush address drew the biggest audience TV had ever had. This past week, by contrast, life went on normally as U.S. warplanes and Tomahawk missiles destroyed targets in Syria and Iraq in a new war, which has no clear goal or time limit. As our leaders took us into a conflict fraught with peril, most people yawned. We’re at war…

Peterson or Sacramento Business as Usual
Debra Saunders, RealClearPolitics
“Yeah, I have an ‘R’ next to my name,” California secretary of state hopeful Pete Peterson shrugged when addressing the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board Monday. In a state where a modest 28 percent of registered voters are Republicans, Peterson’s GOP affiliation isn’t exactly a big draw. And it may not mean much to learn that his day job is executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership. But then, Peterson winked, his rival, Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla, has a title that may turn off some voters, as well. Quoth Peterson: “He’s got ‘state…

Real Reasons Behind Holder’s Resignation
Dick Morris, RealClearPolitics
Eric Holder’s resignation, just 40 days before the midterm elections, shows how jittery Obama is about losing control of the Senate this November. While Holder likely is getting out of Dodge before federal judges weigh in and order the release of documents showing he covered up the Fast and Furious and IRS email scandals, the timing of his resignation suggests that Obama wants to be sure that he has time for a Democratic lame duck Senate to confirm a replacement. With so much dirty laundry stacked up in the closets of the Justice Department, Obama didn’t dare let in an attorney general who is…


Maude: End to ‘outdated’ union rules

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 29th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Maude: End to ‘outdated’ union rules
Francis Maude restates the Conservatives’ pledge to outlaw strike action where fewer than half of eligible members vote.

VIDEO: Tory coalition choice: UKIP or Lib Dem
Conservative delegates are asked if they would pick UKIP or the Liberal Democrats in a future coalition.

MP to complain over tabloid sting
An MP complains about the Sunday Mirror over a story that led to the resignation of minister Brooks Newmark.


White House: Obama wasn’t passing buck with ISIS comment

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 29th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

White House: Obama wasn’t passing buck with ISIS comment
Josh Earnest said Obama “takes responsibility” for dealing with the ISIS threat.

Police In Ferguson Lock Up Peaceful Daytime Protesters By Mistake, Chief Testifies

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 29th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Police In Ferguson Lock Up Peaceful Daytime Protesters By Mistake, Chief Testifies
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, who helped oversee last month’s aggressive response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, said Monday that communications failures led police to lock up peaceful citizens during daytime hours.

Belmar testified in federal court about the so-called five-second rule that police in Ferguson allowed protestors before enforcing Missouri’s law against refusing to disperse. Though the statute only applies to individuals who refuse a police order to leave an “unlawful assembly, or at the scene of a riot,” police in Ferguson repeatedly demanded crowds disperse during protests last month of a police officer’s fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18, who was unarmed.

Police applied the rule to everyone, from protesters and journalists, to children and a 73-year-old woman. Even during daylight hours, officers arrested people who stopped moving for a few seconds, and threatened those who didn’t keep in motion. The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri is suing both St. Louis County and St. Louis Highway Patrol over the enforcement of the law on behalf of protesters, seeking an injunction forbidding police from arresting protestors who are standing still.

Belmar testified that the five-second rule was only supposed to be applied at night. Yet the rule was enforced during daylight. Even a news photographer was arrested during a peaceful daytime protest, apparently because he stopped on the sidewalk to take photos and wasn’t inside the designated media area.

Belmar said the “keep moving” instructions were applied by mistake by officers. He said there had been a breakdown in communication.

“I don’t think we were clear enough as commanders,” Belmar testified, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Some instructions, he said, “confused” the officers. “We understand that now, but I didn’t understand it then,” he said.

ACLU attorney Grant Davis-Denny testified that the rule was so inconsistently enforced that it was unconstitutional, according to St. Louis Public Radio.

“It gives citizens absolutely no idea when their activity is lawful or unlawful. It also gives police officers way too much discretion,” Davis-Denny testified, according to the report. “And it’s particularly problematic that all this occurs in a place where people are exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Protester Johnetta Elzie said that she testified about how she felt when she was out on the street in Ferguson.

“I told him I’m afraid for my life, basically, because at any given moment I could be snatched away,” Elzie told The Huffington Post of her testimony.

DeRay McKesson, another protester who testified, said he talked about how the rule was was inconsistently enforced.

“It depended on where you stood on West Florissant. Some people were like ‘You gotta keep moving,’ some people didn’t care,” McKesson said.

A federal judge is likely to rule on the ACLU’s request for a permanent injunction sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Eight people were arrested outside the Ferguson police department on Sunday night following the weekend shooting of a police officer. Tensions heated up late Monday as well.


President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan Is Sworn In, Even as He Shares the Stage

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 29th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan Is Sworn In, Even as He Shares the Stage
Mr. Ghani’s inauguration on Monday came under a cloud after a power-sharing agreement with the runner-up, Abdullah Abdullah, nearly collapsed.






Renewed Fighting Around Donetsk Airport Tests Ukraine Cease-Fire
The upsurge in violence comes at a particularly critical time as Russian, Ukrainian and rebel officials are working on the boundaries of a buffer zone.






The Hague: Bosnian’s Trial Nears End
Prosecutors on Monday demanded a life sentence for the former Bosnian leader Radovan Karadzic as his trial draws to a close.







An Obscure Senate Procedure May Have Just Reelected America’s Most Anti-Union Governor

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 29th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

An Obscure Senate Procedure May Have Just Reelected America’s Most Anti-Union Governor

If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is reelected this November, he may be able to thank a liberal Democratic senator for his victory.

The post An Obscure Senate Procedure May Have Just Reelected America’s Most Anti-Union Governor appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R)

CREDIT: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) reelection campaign received an inadvertent leg up from a liberal Democratic senator, thanks to that senator’s decision to give individual senators an unusual degree of control over federal judicial appointments. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that role, he has given each senator veto power over any person nominated to a federal judgeship in their home state. This veto enabled a single Republican senator to control the balance of a key federal appeals court, which just handed down a decision restricting voting rights in Wisconsin.

To explain in more detail, earlier this month, a conservative three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reinstated Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which had been halted by a federal trial judge. Voter ID laws ostensibly target voter fraud at the polls, but such fraud is virtually non-existent. A study of the 3 million votes cast in Wisconsin during the 2004 election, for example, found only seven cases of voter fraud, and none of these cases would have been stopped by a voter ID law.

What voter ID does accomplish is that it disproportionately disenfranchises young people, voters of color and low-income voters, all of whom are less likely than the population as a whole to have IDs, and all of whom tend to prefer Democrats over Republicans. In 2012, for example, former New York Times numbers guru Nate Silver estimated that a voter ID law in the state of Pennsylvania “would reduce President Obama’s margin against Mitt Romney by a net of 1.2 percentage points.” The Real Clear Politics polling average currently shows Gov. Walker neck and neck with his Democratic challenger Mary Burke, so a 1.2 percent swing in the polls could easily transform a Burke victory into a Walker victory this November.

Although the panel of three judges who reinstated the voter ID law was particularly conservatve, the median judge on the Seventh Circuit is somewhat less so. The plaintiffs challenging the voter ID law asked the full Seventh Circuit — a panel of ten active judges — to withdraw the panel’s decision reinstating the law. On Friday, the full Seventh Circuit announced that its judges were evenly split on this issue. Five judges voted with the plaintiffs, including Republican appointees Richard Posner and Ilana Rovner, while 5 other judges, all of whom are Republicans, voted to leave the voter ID law in place. The practical effect of an even split is that the panel decision stands, so the voter ID law remains in effect in Wisconsin.

Which brings us back to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the judicial confirmation process. Although ten judges voted on whether to reconsider Wisconsin’s voter ID law, there are actually eleven active judgeships on the Seventh Circuit. The eleventh seat, however, has been vacant for more than four years.

In 2010, President Obama nominated a University of Wisconsin law professor named Victoria Nourse to this vacancy — Nourse was one of four potential nominees suggested to the White House by a nominating commission sponsored by the state’s two senators. This nomination died, however, after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) defeated incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) in the 2010 election. Shortly after his election, Johnson objected to Nourse’s nomination, claiming that the University of Wisconsin law professor “has very little connection to the state of Wisconsin.”

Johnson’s objection to Nourse took on particular significance after he declined to return a “blue slip” on Nourse to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The blue slip process has taken on varying degrees of significance through the Senate’s history. For much of the Twentieth Century, for example, it was merely a mechanism home state senators could use to voice their opposition to a nominee, but nominees who were opposed by their home state senator would typically still receive a vote from the full Senate. Leahy, however, is one of only two Senate Judiciary Chairs in American history who has given each home state senator an absolute veto over anyone nominated to a judgeship in their state. Under Leahy’s rule — a rule that Leahy could unilaterally change at any time if he chose to — Johnson’s decision not to return a blue slip on Nourse held up her nomination indefinitely.

Eventually, in early 2012, Nourse asked President Obama to withdraw her nomination.

It’s possible that Johnson had a particular objection to Nourse and that there is some other lawyer that Johnson and Obama could agreed upon to fill the vacancy judgeship, but Johnson hasn’t exactly been in a hurry to find a mutually acceptable nominee. Johnson and his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), did not establish their own judicial nominating commission to screen potential nominees until April of 2013. Moreover, the commission waited until July 25, 2014 to announce that it was accepting applications for the Seventh Circuit vacancy — that’s more that four years after this vacancy opened and more than two years after Nourse withdrew her name.

If there were no blue slip process, then it is very unlikely that President Obama would not have successfully appointed someone — perhaps Victoria Nourse — to fill the vacancy on this appeals court. That Obama appointee would have likely provided the sixth vote to reconsider the voter ID case, a sixth vote that could potentially mean the difference between Governor Scott Walker and Governor Mary Burke.

The post An Obscure Senate Procedure May Have Just Reelected America’s Most Anti-Union Governor appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Rick Santorum Suggests That Only Muslims Are Violent

“You don’t have any Baptist ministers going on jihad,” Rick Santorum said.

The post Rick Santorum Suggests That Only Muslims Are Violent appeared first on ThinkProgress.

120325_rick_santorum_605_ap

Ex-Senator and religious film producer Rick Santorum blasted practitioners of Islam at the Values Voter Summit this past week, contending that the current conflict in the Middle East is a product of an age-old fight between the West and those who see the world in a “fundamentally different” way — namely, Muslims.

During his speech to the assembly on Friday and a subsequent interview with The Daily Beast, Santorum drew a firm line between the Muslim world and the “Western world,” arguing that America’s current conflict with the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) represents “a very big clash [of civilizations].” He then went on to insist on a distinction between Islam and Christianity, implying that Christians have moved beyond the kind of violence exhibited by groups like ISIS.

“Christendom [once] expanded by the sword, that doesn’t happen anymore … you don’t have any Baptist ministers going on jihad,” Santorum, who is Catholic, said. “The Western world has come to terms with religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and that persuasion is the way to spread the faith.”

“[There is] a fundamental foundational problem in Islam of embracing issues of freedom of conscience and religious persecution,” he later added.

Santorum’s comments elicited applause from those at the summit, but appear to ignore recent examples of people who cite Christianity as justification for violence and hate. The Lord’s Resistance Army in Western Africa, which claims to pursue the teachings of Jesus Christ, regularly terrorizes villages and enlists child soldiers to do its bidding. Fighters who claim to be both Christian and Muslim continue to clash in the Central African Republic, where atrocities have been enacted by fighters on both sides. And while there likely aren’t Baptist ministers going on jihad — primarily because jihad is a Muslim concept, albeit one that doesn’t necessarily require to violence — the Westboro Baptist Church has certainly engaged in its own war of words with those who don’t share their views, and currently maintains a website entitled “God Hates Islam.”

Also, while Santorum casts the West as a region that has moved beyond religious persecution, many in the United States still struggle to freely exercise their faith. Religious minorities such as Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and many other believers throughout the Untied States regularly endure physical beatings and attacks on their houses of worship at the hands of those who disagree with them.

The post Rick Santorum Suggests That Only Muslims Are Violent appeared first on ThinkProgress.