Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Black Former NFL Player Pulled Over For Looking Like Someone ‘Transporting Drugs And Guns’

Last week, former NFL star Warrick Dunn was pulled overoutside Atlanta, Georgia by three police officers. Dunn has been involved in a number of charitable organizations since leaving the NFL, including founding the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation to help single parents find homes for their families. The former Atlanta Falcons running back has also received numerous accolades for his off-the-field service, including the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the Bart Starr Award, and former President Clinton’s Giant Steps Award. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution described Dunn as a “model citizen.”

Rand Paul, Supposed Defender Of Civil Liberties, Calls For Jailing People Who Attend ‘Radical Political Speeches'

Libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) made headlines last week for single-handedly obstructing the renewal of the Patriot Act, calling the law anunconstitutional infringement on civil liberties. His demand to insert a series of amendments to weaken the law nearly allowed it to lapse and put the country at “risk,” but Paul said it was worth it to prevent the government from continuing to “blatantly ignor[e] the Constitution.” But when Paul went on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s radio show Friday to discuss his opposition to the national security law, he suggested implementing a far more serious infringement on civil liberties. While discussing profiling at airports, Paul called for the criminalization of speech:

The $7 Trillion Lie: Palin Falsely Claims Debt Has Grown More Under Obama Than ‘All Other Presidents Combined’

Sarah Palin, in the only interview she’s granted during her “One Nation” bus tour, claimed that the U.S. federal debt had grown more under Obama than “all those other presidents combined.”

Watch it:

After Gutting Education And Health Care Spending, Perry Vetoes Legislation Ending Amazon’s Tax Dodging

As ThinkProgress previously reported, online retailers like Amazon.com are using a loophole in state tax codes to avoid collecting sales taxes. This loophole is denying states millions of dollars of tax revenue. For example, in “2011 alone, Wisconsin will lose an estimated $127 million in uncollected sales tax on purchases made online.”

Activists ask if Urban Beach Week has overstayed its welcome on Miami Beach

Two police-involved shootings added to the turbulent 10-year history of Urban Beach Weekend.

For the past 10 years, the Art Deco District on South Beach has turned into a hip-hop street party during Memorial Day weekend, with a bulked up police presence monitoring hundreds of thousands of young revelers.

NAACP Sues Myrtle Beach for Discrimination

FLORENCE, S.C. (CN) - Hotels, motels and restaurants in the Myrtle Beach area have discriminated against African-Americans for years by refusing to open during Black Bike Week, the NAACP charges in a pair of federal lawsuits.

Beauty queen Katya Koren stoned to death by Muslims for being in pageant

A would-be teen beauty queen was stoned to death after her participation in a Ukranian pageant reportedly infuriated local Muslim youths.

Katya Koren, 19, was targeted by three fellow teens who said her seventh-place finish in the beauty contest was a violation of Muslim laws, according to British newspaper reports.

Florida Jellyfish Sting 400 People Over Memorial Day Weekend

Countless masses of jellyfish waded onto central Florida beaches over Memorial Day weekend, stinging over 400 visitors and hospitalizing at least two, according to Brevard County Ocean Rescue officials.

Assistant Lifeguard Chief Eisen Witcher said that the sheer amount of people on the beaches, which were unusually crowded because of the holiday, was partially responsible for the shockingly high number of stings. The weather conditions also played a role.

Martin Jetpack Test Flight Video: Jetpack Travel Becoming Closer to Reality?

Martin Jetpack makes the first true flight test by soaring 5000 feet into the air then parachuting back to Earthreported Stuff.co.nz.

According to Martin Aircraft Company's Glenn Martin, "no other jetpack has flown higher than 150 feet" and "no one has ever fired a parachute from a jetpack."

Government Promises, Then Voids 22,000 Green Cards

WASHINGTON -- Russian native Maranno Gorgeski found out he had been selected from 19.6 million applicants to receive a green card to move to the United States on May 1, a day he called among the greatest of his life. He and his fiancee quickly made plans to marry so they could move to the United States together. He notified his employer that he would be leaving, backed out of a lease on his apartment -- for a fee -- and sold his car.

Ratko Mladic Extradited To UN Court In The Hague

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic was placed in a U.N. detention unit Tuesday to await trial on genocide charges, 16 years after he was indicted in the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the worst massacre of civilians in Europe since World War II.

War crimes tribunal spokeswoman Nerma Jelacic said tribunal staff were handing Mladic his indictment and explaining the rules and procedures to him before placing him in an isolation cell for the night. She said isolation is standard for new arrivals at the prison.

Hispanic Population, Rising Faster Than Anticipated, A 'Huge Weapon' For Obama

WASHINGTON -- The biggest political story over the past week didn't involve a bus tour, sordid tweets sent from a congressman's account or even the posturing over whether to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

Instead, it was the no-thrills release of a 16-page report by the Census bureau, which underscored a massive paradigm shift in how politics is conducted.

Low Federal Tax Rate Means Hundreds Of Billions Of Dollars Lost Annually, Bartlett Says

Hearing some politicians talk about taxes, one might be convinced the United States has one of the highest tax rates in the world.

But the reality is the federal tax rate, broadly measured, is the lowest it has been in 60 years,Bruce Bartlett writes in a new column. A look at the effective tax rate, which expresses taxes as a share of the country's economic output, belies the stream of political rhetoric arguing that taxes are relatively high, says Bartlett, who was a senior policy analyst under President Ronald Reagan.

House Vote On Debt Limit Sets Stage For Fight Over Budget Cuts

WASHINGTON — House Republicans lined up to reject their own proposed $2.4 trillion increase in the nation's debt limit Tuesday, a political gambit designed to reinforce a demand for spending cuts to accompany any increase in government borrowing.

Five Ways The Sixth Circuit Could Decide Its Affordable Care Act Case

Tomorrow, the Sixth Circuit will become the second appeals court to consider a constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s provision requiring most Americans to either carry insurance or pay slightly more income taxes. The three judge panel hearing tomorrow’s case includes Judge Boyce Martin, a reliably progressive vote, and Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a hardline conservative with a long history of states rights and GOP activism. In other words, the result in this case could come down to the panel’s third member, an obscure trial judge named James Graham with far less of a record on constitutional issues.

Mariner Energy's Oil Rig Fire In Gulf Due To Corroded Equipment, Generator Failure

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) released thefindings of its investigation into a fire last September on a oil platform about 100 miles off the coast of Louisiana, an incident reflecting continuing safety problems with offshore oil drilling.

Martha Rivera Alanis, Mexican Teacher, Praised For Protecting Students During Drug War Fight

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) -- A kindergarten teacher in northern Mexico was honored Monday for her courage after a video showed her calmly instructing children to duck and cover as gunfire rattled outside their school.

A certificate presented by the governor of the northern state of Nuevo Leon said teacher Martha Rivera Alanis showed "outstanding civic courage" in her steady performance during the Friday gunfight in the northern industrial hub of Monterrey.

House Vote On Debt Limit Sets Stage For Fight Over Budget Cuts

WASHINGTON — The GOP-led House is poised to reject a bill Tuesday to increase the nation's debt limit without the big spending cuts that Republicans are demanding. The move is intended as an embarrassing reminder to Democrats that increasing the government's ability to borrow is tied to such reductions.

John Ashcroft Lawsuit Thrown Out By Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that former Attorney General John Ashcroft cannot be personally sued over his role in the post-9/11 arrest of an American Muslim who was never charged with a crime.

Pentagon Considers Cyber Attacks To Be Acts Of War: WSJ

Cyber attacks that originate abroad can qualify as acts of war that could merit a military response by the U.S., the Pentagon has determined, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Citing a Pentagon report on cybersecurity strategy, part of which will be de-classified soon, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon has, for the first time, developed a cyber strategy that seeks to outline how the U.S. might react to cyber attacks targeted at the government, as well as critical infrastructure such as power plants, public transportation systems, financial institutions, and more.

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan To Offer Much Lower Premiums

WASHINGTON -- The government announced Tuesday that it will lower premiums and ease eligibility requirements for its fledgling health insurance program for people shut out from the private health insurance market because of pre-existing conditions. Premiums will fall by as much as 40 percent in some states.

Cleveland Remembers Black Civil War Veterans

CLEVELAND – People in Cleveland have honored scores of black men who served in the Civil War and then were largely forgotten.

Only 50 Black Professors in U.K. Universities

Higher Education Statistics Agency reveals number of black professors in UK universities has barely changed in eight years

Harry Goulbourne
Harry Goulbourne, professor of sociology at London South Bank University, says universities are still riddled with ‘passive racism’. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe for the Guardian

Miscalculation? Report Questions Haitian Earthquake Death Toll

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Far fewer people died or were left homeless by last year’s devastating earthquake than claimed by Haitian leaders, a report commissioned by the U.S. government has concluded — challenging a central premise behind a multibillion-dollar aid and reconstruction effort.

The report, a copy of which was obtained Monday by The Associated Press, estimates that the death toll was between 46,000 and 85,000, far below the Haitian government’s official figure of 316,000. The report was prepared for the U.S. Agency for International Development but has not yet been publicly released.

House Prices Fall to New Post-Bubble Low as More Rent

Housing prices fell in March to their lowest point since the downturn began, erasing the last little bit of recovery from the depths plumbed two years ago, according to data released Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for 20 large cities fell 0.8 percent from February, the eighth drop in a row. Prices are now down 33.1 percent from the July 2006 peak.

Toddler Falls Out of Open Window, Survives 5-Story Fall

A toddler is recovering in a hospital after a five-story fall at a Bronx apartment building Monday morning.

It happened at a building on Cruger Avenue in Bronxwood at about 11:30 a.m. The 2-year-old girl was reportedly playing near an open window when she fell through and hit the ground.

The Declining Federal Commitment To Investing In America’s Transportation Infrastructure

Have you noticed how America’s transportation infrastructure seems pretty shoddy? Like everything’s broken all the time and new projects don’t get completed. Why’s that? Because government just sucks? Well, maybe. But as CAP’s new “Budgeting For Growth” document points out, a big part of the answer is that since the Reagan Revolution we’ve been disinvesting in this area:

Voters Around The Country Afflicted With Buyer’s Remorse Over New GOP Governors

ThinkProgress has done a lot of coverage of controversial policy measures being inaugurated around the country by the new breed of Republican governors elected last fall due to the recession. And according to survey data from Margie Omero at Public Policy Polling, the voters in most of these states (though not all, Nevada’s an exception) aren’t liking the cocktail of budget cuts, union-busting, anti-abortion laws, etc.

In Shift, Feds Target Top Execs For Health Fraud

WASHINGTON -- It's getting personal now. In a shift still evolving, federal enforcers are targeting individual executives in health care fraud cases that used to be aimed at impersonal corporations.

The new tactic is raising the anxiety level – and risks – for corporate honchos at drug companies, medical device manufacturers, nursing home chains and other major health care enterprises that deal with Medicare and Medicaid.

White House Scandal On The Way, Says Math

Hey, America! Are you ready for some high-level presidential scandals? No, no, calm down. I have none to report. But what's being reported is that one day -- maybe someday soon! -- there will be a scandal to report, and this can be totally proven with mathematics, thanks to political scientist Brendan Nyhan:

Egyptian Female Protesters Forced To Take 'Virginity Tests': Report

CAIRO (AP) — Activists and bloggers are pressing Egypt's military rulers to investigate accusations of serious abuses against protesters, including claims that soldiers subjected female detainees to so-called "virginity tests." (Scroll down for video)

Bloggers say they will hold a day of online protest Wednesday to voice their outrage, adding to criticism of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took control of the country from ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.

The accusations of virginity tests first surfaced after a March 9 rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square that turned violent when men in plain clothes attacked protesters and the army intervened forcefully to clear the square.

One woman who was arrested spoke out about her treatment, and Amnesty International further documented the abuse allegations in a report that found 18 female detainees were threatened with prostitution charges and forced to undergo virginity tests. They were also beaten up and given electric shocks, the report said.

Egypt's military rulers have come under heavy criticism from the youth protest movement, which is upset at the pace of reforms that they hope will lead Egypt to democracy.

Since Mubarak's fall on Feb. 11, the military has led crackdowns on peaceful protests, and critics accuse it of failing to restore security in the streets or launch serious national dialogue on a clear path forward for Egypt.

The military council denied soldiers attacked protesters at the March 9 rally. But one general used a press conference to make negative remarks about women who mingle with men during the sit-ins and suggested lewd acts were taking place in protest camps.

"There were girls with young men in one tent. Is this rational? There were drugs; pay attention!" Gen. Ismail Etman, spokesman of the council, said at the end of March.

He confirmed then that the military police arrested 17 female protesters among 170 others at the March 9 rally. He said the women were among a group of protesters given one-year suspended prison sentences.

"We secure the people. We don't use the violence," he said.

One of the women arrested, Salwa al-Husseini, gave a detailed account at a press conference in March of her treatment and said she was made to undergo a virginity test.

She said she was slapped in the face and electrocuted in her legs in Tahrir Square before being taken to a military prison.

"When we went to the military prison, me and the girls, we were placed in a room with two doors and a window. The two doors were wide open," she said in March. "The girl takes off all her clothes to be searched while there were cameras outside filming to fabricate prostitution charges against us later on," she added.

"The girl who says she is single, she undergoes a test by someone; we don't know if he is a soldier or some kid on their behalf," she said.

Amnesty said in its report that one of the women told her jailers she was a virgin but was beaten and given electric shocks when the test supposedly proved otherwise.

"Forcing women to have 'virginity tests' is utterly unacceptable," the Amnesty report said. "Its purpose is to degrade women because they are women."

The military council has promised to return the country to civilian rule after elections later this year, but some Egyptians fear the council is adopting the same autocratic ways that characterized Mubarak's rule. They point to what they say are attempts by the council to make any criticism of the military an untouchable taboo.

On Tuesday, the military prosecutor questioned a prominent blogger along with four other media people over their criticism of the performance of the council and military police.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, in a statement issued Tuesday, accused the council of trying to silence critics and create "an atmosphere of fear."

It warned, "The military council is committing a grave mistake if it continues to shut the mouths of those criticizing it. The council is not made up of angels."

The group also referred to virginity tests, saying that the military council is aware that "those belonging to it have practiced torture against the youth of the revolution and has subjected women to virginity tests."

Barack Obama Finds Solid Ground, High Approval Ratings, White House Confident About Reelection

WASHINGTON — Six months after Republicans alarmed Democrats with a midterm election wave, President Barack Obama has shaken off the jitters and found his political footing despite sluggish economic growth and deep public anxiety about the direction of the country.

Cell Phone Radiation 'Possibly Carcinogenic,' Experts Say (VIDEO)

A group of experts from the World Health Organization has classified the radiation emitted from cell phones as a possible cancer-causing agent, concluding that cell phones could be associated with an increased risk for glioma, a type of brain tumor.

FreedomWorks Gives Freshman Republicans Tips For Dealing With Medicare At Town Halls

WASHINGTON -- The conservative group FreedomWorks has a message for freshman Republicans in Congress: Do not shy away from the Medicare fight.

Step Dad’s Dog “Machete” Mauls 4-Year-Old To Death

The malevolent mutt that fatally mauled a 4-year-old boy as his terrified brothers watched from beneath a bed was trained to kill by the dead child's stepdad, neighbors said Saturday.

Brooklyn residents who watched Damian Jones walk his powerful pets on the street were shocked but not surprised by the canine carnage that left little Jayelin Graham dead in a blood-spattered bedroom.

School Districts Nationwide Implement Controversial 'Pay To Play' Fees

An Ohio school district is the latest to implement a controversial "pay to play" policy, reports The Wall Street Journal. Medina Senior High, faced with budget cuts and repeated rejection of proposals to increase taxes, has started charging students for, well, just about everything. After-school sports, clubs, electives and even required courses such as Spanish all carry a price tag.

The Dombi family is feeling the strain; education and activities for their four children racked up a bill of $4,446.50 this year. And even then, they had to make some tough choices -- their oldest daughter had to forgo choir as it would cost an additional $200.

Public Pools Closing Across Country As Cities Struggle With Budget Cuts

ANDERSON, S.C. — On those summer days when the temperature soars into the 90s and the haze blurs the horizon, city pools across the U.S. have beckoned people from all over to take a cool dip.

But as the Great Recession has drained city budgets across the country, it also has drained public pools for good. From New York City to Sacramento, Calif., pools now considered costly extravagances are being shuttered, taking away a rite of summer for millions. It's especially hard for families that can't afford a membership to private pool or fitness club and don't live in a neighborhood where they can befriend with someone with a backyard pool.

Women In The Military Increasing, Could Serve As Navy SEALs One Day

WASHINGTON -- It's a dramatic tale.

Elite Navy SEALs storm a walled compound in Pakistan and take out the world's most wanted terrorist.

Footnote: They were all men.

While America's last 10 years of war have propelled women into new and far more risky roles across the military, there are still some doors that are closed. Chief among those are the special operations forces.

Germany Nuclear Power Plants To Be Entirely Shut Down By 2022

BERLIN — Europe's economic powerhouse, Germany, announced plans Monday to abandon nuclear energy over the next 11 years, outlining an ambitious strategy in the wake of Japan's Fukushima disaster to replace atomic power with renewable energy sources.

General Martin Dempsey Picked As Joint Chiefs Chairman

WASHINGTON -- The man chosen to lead the U.S. military as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the difficult years ahead is a muddy-boots combat soldier seemingly more comfortable in battle fatigues than in the dress blues of Washington's corridors of power.

5 Libyan Army Generals Defect

ROME -- Eight top Libyan army officers, including five generals, who have defected from Moammar Gadhafi's regime appealed to their fellow officers Monday to join the revolt to hasten the end of Gadhafi's 40-year rule.

Italian Foreign Ministry officials presented the generals, two colonels and a major to reporters in Rome three days after they fled Libya.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Eric Cantor On 'Face The Nation': Disaster Relief For Joplin Tornado Victims Must Be Offset (VIDEO)

On Sunday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) reiterated his position that disaster relief funds for the tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri must be paid for with cuts to other programs. "Congress will find the money," Cantor said on CBS' “Face the Nation” "And it will be offset."

What Did He Just Say? Rep. Joe Walsh On Why The President Was Elected

Joe Walsh, who has made more TV appearances than any other freshman in the House, is running late. It is not his fault. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to a joint session of Congress ran long—something to do with the 29 standing ovations he got—and as soon as it ends, Walsh bolts out the doors for his scheduled appearance at a Heritage Foundation luncheon.

He arrives a little bit after 12:25 p.m. He kisses the receptionist's hand. He trips on a partially furled carpet, and turns the trip into a sort of Buster Keaton two-step, as if he'd planned it. The host, Robert Bluey, tells the audience that Walsh is just arriving from Netanyahu's speech.

Obama Acts As Healer-In-Chief In Tornado-Stricken Joplin, Missouri

JOPLIN, Mo. -- Face to face with the legions of homeless and the bereaved, President Barack Obama on Sunday toured the apocalyptic landscape left by Missouri's killer tornado, consoled the community and committed the government to helping rebuild shattered lives.

Obama said survivors of the disaster in Joplin are showing the world how to come together, and he pledged that the nation, as he put it, "will be with you every step of the way."

Apple iCloud Rumors: What Apple's Cloud Music Service Might Look Like

The rumor that Apple plans to launch a new streaming music service at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June has spurred a huge amount of speculation.

Apple is said to be planning a cloud-based music storage service that allows users to access their music collections from any device with Internet access and stream music from the web. Amazon's Cloud Player and Google Music Beta, the first two major entries into cloud music services, offer similar functions.

Rolling Thunder Vets: Sarah Palin Is A Real American!!!! (VIDEO) (She still has a deer in the headlights moment at the end Read)

WASHINGTON -- Sarah Palin came prepared.

Whether formally invited or even welcomed, the former governor arrived at the Rolling Thunder biker rally Saturday donning black pants, a t-shirt and apparently her own Harley Davidson helmet.

Afghanistan War IEDs Cause Surge In Double Amputees Among U.S. War Wounded

American soldiers and Marines walking combat patrols in Afghanistan have suffered a surge of gruesome injuries, losing one or both legs and often their genitals to crude homemade bombs Taliban insurgents bury in dirt roads and pathways.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sudan Conflict Displaces 35,000 Children

LONDON -- A leading charity has warned that a new wave of violent conflict has displaced up to 35,000 children in Sudan's contested border region of Abyei.

Northern Sudanese tanks rolled into Abyei last weekend and forced residents to flee, igniting a conflict that many fear could escalate into civil war.

Adelino Ramos Killed: Third Environmental Activist Murdered This Week In Brazil

SAO PAULO -- They watched as the Amazon rain forest fell around them. Instead of staying quiet, as so many people in the lawless region do, environmentalist leader Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria, fought back.

DOJ Official Acknowledges Mistakes in Japanese American Internment Cases

In a highly unusual admission of misconduct, the government’s top Supreme Court lawyer posted a “Confession of Error” on the Justice Department’s blog regarding the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal issued a statement holding his predecessor Charles Fahy responsible for defending the forced incarceration of over 100,000 people of Japanese descent to the high court by deliberately omitting naval intelligence that found Japanese Americans on the West Coast to not pose a military threat to the country.

AIDS Researchers Eye Flurry of Promising Vaccine Developments

A version of this article originally appeared in the Black AIDS Institute’s Black AIDS Weekly email. Colorlines joins other black community media in co-publishing content from the Black AIDS Weekly.

The past three weeks have seen a flurry of activity around the potential of developing and using a vaccine for HIV, which has spawned an epidemic that will turn 30 years old next month and has ravaged poor countries around the world and black neighborhoods in the U.S.

Can You Picture America’s Demographic Future?

We’ve reported on the country’s changing demographics before. PolicyLink recently released atime-lapse map showing where people of color will become a majority in the U.S. over the next 30 years.

By 2042, people of color will constitute the majority of our population. California, Texas, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Washington DC already have more people of color than whites. You can check out what counties and states will become majority non-white by decade, based on PolicyLink’s projections. While these changes are expected to occur across the country, the map shows major concentrations of people of color projected for southern states.

Will 2012 Become Labor’s Moment of Political Truth

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, well, Richard Trumka is no fool. The president of the largest labor federation in the country—the AFL-CIO boasts of 11 million members—had scathing words for Democrats and President Obama at a speech last week at the National Press Club.

“If leaders aren’t blocking the wrecking ball and advancing working families’ interests, working people will not support them. This is where our focus will be—now, in 2012, and beyond,” Trumka said.

Sunday May 29th 2011 Taking Heads!


Excitement abounds today, as Amanpour mines America's two deepest veins of charisma -- Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels, for president stuff. It's nice that someone booked TPaw for the Sunday of what was supposed to be his big week, and that there was even some teevee cameras and editing decks not devoted to Sarah Palin's "Bus Ride O' Griftin'" tour to put Pawlenty on the air today.

This Past Week in Batshit Crazies! (However I would not include Ed, I have heard a lot worse said on others shows that hardly got a 30 second mention by most networks about women and minorities. MSNBC maybe trying to turn back into a conservative station. Remember it was purchase in the beginning for that reason.)

New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries proposed to Kim Kardashian with a $2 million, 20.5 karat engagement ring. If we know Kim and her dating record (which we really had to dig to learn about), we expect the new couple to have a small, private wedding and then to retreat into a life of modesty, never to be heard from again.

Kassem Al-Hosseini, Iranian Diplomat, Detained By Egypt

(Reuters) - Egypt has detained an Iranian who worked at Iran's diplomatic mission in Cairo, security sources said Saturday, in a potential setback to improving ties between the two countries.

Al Arabiya television named the man as Kassem al-Hosseini and described him as a diplomat who had been detained for "passing information," without giving more details.

John McCain: Sarah Palin Can Beat Obama In 2012 (Example of someone who survived harsh treatment by others, who now tries to

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) suggested on Sunday morning that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin could defeat President Barack Obama should she run as the Republican presidential nominee in 2012.

"Of course she can," said the Arizona senator of Palin's chances in the hypothetical match-up on "Fox News Sunday." He added, however, that he doesn't know whether his 2008 running mate will ultimately decide to make a run for the White House.

Mohamed Bin Hammam Withdraws From FIFA Presidential Election Before Ethics Hearing

LONDON -- Mohamed bin Hammam withdrew from FIFA's presidential election hours before facing an ethics hearing over alleged corruption during the campaign.

The Qatari challenger to 13-year incumbent Sepp Blatter has been accused of arranging bribes for up to 25 presidential voters on a campaign visit to the Caribbean earlier this month.

Fukushima's No. 5 Nuclear Reactor Cooling Facility Stops

(Reuters) - The system to cool the nuclear reactor and fuel pool has stopped at the No. 5 unit of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant in northeastern Japan, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power said Sunday.

A Tokyo Electric official said the operator had started work to repair the cooling facility and hoped to restore the system within several hours.

Unmarried Households Put Married Couples In The Minority

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Three mornings a week, when Becky Leung gets ready for work, her boyfriend is just getting home from his overnight job. When her mother drops hints about her twin sister's marriage, she laughs it off. And when she thinks about getting married herself, she worries first about her career.

Leung, 27, cohabits in a Portland, Ore., townhome with her boyfriend but has no plans yet to wed, a reflection of the broader cultural shift in the U.S. away from the traditional definition of what it means to be a household.

Teen Charged with Murder of Newark Police Officer

A 19-year-old Newark man was charged with murder Saturday of an off-duty city police officer who was killed in a drive-by shooting while attempting to purchase a slice of pizza, according to officials with the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

Rasul McNeil-Thomas, of Newark, also was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and additional weapons offenses for the shooting of two other victims during the incident, authorities said. Officials said a second suspect is still at-large.

Georges Tron Resigns In Wake Of Sexual Assault Allegations

PARIS — A minister accused of sexually assaulting two women he once worked with resigned Sunday in an apparent bid to spare the French government the kind of notoriety the opposition has faced since its leading man, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was charged with attempting to rape a Manhattan hotel maid.

A preliminary investigation was opened last week against George Tron, who served as a junior civil service minister, after two women alleged that he had attacked them between 2007 and 2010.

Vaccine Prices Disclosed By UNICEF For First Time

UNICEF is for the first time publicizing what drugmakers charge it for vaccines, as the world's biggest buyer of lifesaving immunizations aims to spark price competition in the face of rising costs.

On Friday, UNICEF posted on its website the actual prices that it has paid individual drugmakers for 16 vaccines purchased over the last decade. It's a move that a few Western pharmaceutical companies don't support. Novartis AG and Merck & Co., which only sells one of its many children's vaccines to UNICEF, both declined to have their prices published.

Lockheed Martin Hit By Cyber Attack, Department Of Homeland Security Confirms

WASHINGTON — Hackers launched a "significant and tenacious" cyber attack on Lockheed Martin, a major defense contractor holding highly sensitive information, but its secrets remained safe, the company said Saturday.

Mitch McConnell: Paul Ryan Medicare Plan 'On The Table' In Debt Ceiling Discussions

WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Sunday that the Medicare reform plan authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would be "on the table" with respect to negotiations over raising the debt ceiling.

Osama Bin Laden Raid Avenged Deaths Of CIA Members Tom Shah And Molly Huckaby Hardy

WASHINGTON — For a small cadre of CIA veterans, the death of Osama bin Laden was more than just a national moment of relief and closure. It was also a measure of payback, a settling of a score for a pair of deaths, the details of which have remained a secret for 13 years.

Tom Shah and Molly Huckaby Hardy were among the 44 U.S. Embassy employees killed when a truck bomb exploded outside the embassy compound in Kenya in 1998.

Jobless Discrimination? When Firms Won't Even Consider Hiring Anyone Unemployed

When Sony Ericsson needed new workers after it relocated its U.S. headquarters to Atlanta last year, its recruiters told one particular group of applicants not to bother. "No unemployed candidates will be considered at all," one online job listing said.

Republicans pull unemployment bill

House Republicans yanked a bill to tweak unemployment insurance after Republican lawmakers raised concerns that the legislation was too confusing and would be dead in the Senate.

The GOP planned to vote after Memorial Day on Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s (R-Mich.) JOBS Act, a bill which sought to give states flexibility in spending federal unemployment funds.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Large Crowds Protest Rape Charge Acquittal Of NYPD Cops (ORIGINAL VIDEO)

NEW YORK -- A crowd of hundreds gathered outside the criminal court in lower Manhattan on Friday evening to protest the acquittal of New York City police officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata.

The protest was organized by a coalition of women's rights groups, including Permanent Wave and Feministing. The purpose of the demonstration, as stated on the Facebook page for the event, was to urge the New York Police Department to implement comprehensive sexual assault training for new officers, along with other preventative measures that will ensure similar incidents do not happen in the future.

Grocery Store Workers Go On Hunger Strike Over Stagnant Wages

All night long, Jose Garcia performs his job while surrounded by food -- a painful bit of irony, he says.

The 52-year-old Mexican immigrant works the overnight shift cleaning floors inside a Cub Foodsstore in Minneapolis, Minn., a job he's mostly appreciated for the nine years he's held it down. But lately, waxing aisle after aisle filled with groceries has simply reminded him of how little he has.

Illinois Redistricting: Congressional District Maps Emerge At 11th Hour

Not only did the Republicans take a majority in the U.S. House in last November's elections, but they also claimed majorities in a historic number of state legislatures, winning 650 state-level seats around the country and taking control of 19 Democratically-held chambers.

Condoms In Porn: California Officials Consider New Rules

LOS ANGELES — Porn performers in California would be required to use condoms in sex scenes if draft rules from state workplace safety officials advance out of the proposal phase.

Cal/OSHA officials provided the Associated Press with a 17-page draft proposal that contained sometimes graphic details of the bodily fluids, waste matter and other materials that porn actors must protect themselves against to avoid infection.

The Problem With iPad Apps: Usability

New research from the Nielsen Norman Group finds that although iPad apps have, in the last year, become "less wacky," many interfaces are still confusing for users and usability problems remain.

Despite the implementation of new features such as back buttons, homepages, and more search functions, the researchers found that "this year’s testing still found many cases in which users accidentally touched something and couldn’t find their way back to their start point, as well as magazine apps that required multiple steps to access the table of contents."

Iran Vows to Unplug Internet

Iran is taking steps toward an aggressive new form of censorship: a so-called national Internet that could, in effect, disconnect Iranian cyberspace from the rest of the world.

Gas Prices Tightening Family Budgets Just In Time For Summer

NEW YORK — There's less money this summer for hotel rooms, surfboards and bathing suits. It's all going into the gas tank.

High prices at the pump are putting a squeeze on the family budget as the traditional summer driving season begins. For every $10 the typical household earns before taxes, almost a full dollar now goes toward gas, a 40 percent bigger bite than normal.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Tea Party Rewrites The Constitution

The Tea Party movement has begun a disturbing new initiative to rewrite constitutional history in American classrooms.

The Georgia-based Tea Party Patriots group plans to “celebrate” our constitution’s anniversary on September 17 by pushing schools to incorporate lessons from theIdaho-based National Center for Constitutional Studies. This particular organization believes that the constitution was “divinely inspired.” Bill Norton, the leader of the Tea Party Patriot’s “Adopt a School” program, gives seminars around the country for the NCCS.

Conservatives Now See No Difference Between RyanCare And ObamaCare Cuts

Thomas Saving and John Goodman have written an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal in which they pretend that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Medicare cuts are almost identical to the reductions Democrats enacted through the Affordable Care Act:

Hackers Breached Security Networks Of U.S. Military Contractors, Says Source

BOSTON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Unknown hackers have broken into the security networks of Lockheed Martin Corp and several other U.S. military contractors, a source with direct knowledge of the attacks told Reuters.

They breached security systems designed to keep out intruders by creating duplicates to ``SecurID'' electronic keys from EMC Corp's RSA security division, said the person who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

Moose Attacks In Alaska Prompt Officials To Urge Caution: 'Assume Every Moose Is A Serial Killer'

PALMER, Alaska -- Caren della Cioppa remembers the thundering roar of hooves behind her, just before a cow moose slammed her to the ground as she cleared a trail on her Alaska property.

The massive animal – her newborn twin calves nowhere to be seen – pounced again, stomping on the fallen woman before tearing into the woods. Della Cioppa could barely breathe as she punched 911 on her cell phone.

India's Stingy Poverty Definition Irks Critics

NEW DELHI — Every day, through scorching summers and chilly winters, Himmat pedals his bicycle rickshaw through New Delhi's crowded streets, earning barely enough to feed his family. But to India's government he is not poor – not even close.

The 5,000 rupees ($110) he earns a month pays for a tiny room with a single light bulb and no running water for his family of four. After buying just enough food to keep his family from starving, there is nothing left for medicine, new clothes for his children or savings.

Mystery Virus Kills 2 In South Korea

An unidentified virus affecting pregnant or recently pregnant women in South Korea has claimed a second fatality in just a few weeks.
A 36-year-old pregnant woman died Thursday morning, Xinhua reports, nearly 15 days after the same virus registered its first fatality.

Mystery Virus Kills 2 In South Korea

An unidentified virus affecting pregnant or recently pregnant women in South Korea has claimed a second fatality in just a few weeks.
A 36-year-old pregnant woman died Thursday morning, Xinhua reports, nearly 15 days after the same virus registered its first fatality.

LeBron James Flops, Shows Off Acting Skills In Game 5 Against Bulls (VIDEO)

LeBron James did just about everything to lead the Heat to the NBA Finals, including putting on an impressive acting performance.

Late in the third quarter of Thursday's Game 5 win over the Bulls, James grabbed a defensive rebound and Chicago's Derrick Rose ran over to steal the ball. It appeared as if Rose nailed James in the face as the two-time MVP jerked back and fell to his knees.

Judd Gregg Hired By Goldman Sachs As International Advisor

NEW YORK -- With Goldman Sachs' latest high-profile hire, the Wall Street giant is unlikely to shake its Government Sachs nickname or the reputation for exerting undue influence in Washington that it implies.

Goldman announced Friday that it had named three-term Sen. Judd Gregg an international adviser to the bank. The New Hampshire Republican will "provide strategic advice to the firm and its clients, and assist in business development initiatives across our global franchise," Goldman said in a statement.

Anthony Weiner Tweet-Taunts Clarence Thomas About Financial Records News Dump

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) spent his Friday afternoon pestering Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for executing a classic news dump: a release of his financial disclosure filing on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend.

The Congressman spent the day tweeting to his heart's content, first alerting his 43,000-plus followers to the likelihood that someone on the Court was going to try and bury an embarrassing story while the world's attention was turned toward the commute and barbecue ahead:

ACLU Lawsuit Against NYPD Calls Livery Stop And Frisk Program TRIP 'Unconsitutional'

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuitagainst the NYPD Thursday charging that officers were illegally stopping and frisking livery cab passengers.

The Taxi/Livery Inspection Program (TRIP), designed to prevent livery cab drivers from being robbed, requires that drivers consent to being pulled over by the NYPD. Those who engage in the program have placards that allow police officers to pull the car over and search the vehicle.

However, the current law does not extend to the stopping-and-frisking of passengers and the practice is therefore unconstitutional, the suit claims.

From the NY ACLU website:

After Voting To Slash Funding For The EPA, Rep. Barletta Now Outraged It’s Not Doing More In His District

Three months after voting to eliminate fundingfor the Environmental Protection Agency, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) now says he’s outragedthat the EPA isn’t doing more to protect the health of residents in his district. Barletta is insisting that the agency pay special attention to an area in Pittson, PA, after one resident alleged that a tunnel near a Superfund site gave him cancer. The EPA held an open house and information session to address the concerns of residents in the area, but said it did not plan to conduct further testing. This outraged Barletta, who called their decision “unacceptable”:

Wishing Away Medicare’s Role, Republicans Try Blaming Corwin For NY-26 Loss

Republicans have spent this week trying todownplay the notion that Democrat Kath Hochul’s upset victory in this week’s special election in New York’s 26th Congressional District was a referendum on the Medicare-ending Republican budget. First, they blamed Tea Party candidate Jack Davis for splitting the conservative vote, but as The New York Times’ Nate Silver, Slate’s Dave Wiegel, and others noted, the math shows it’s highly unlikely that Republican Jane Corwin would have won even without Davis.

Poll: Americans Don’t Approve Of Ryan’s Plan For Medicaid, Either

On Tuesday, New Yorkers in the state’s 26th Congressional District delivered House Republicans a clear message that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to end Medicare won’t fly. But a new poll shows that the American public’s distaste for Ryan’s proposal doesn’t stop at Medicare. According to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 60 percent of those polled prefer the keep Medicaid — the federal heath insurance system for the poor — “as is,” as opposed to Ryan’s detrimental block grant program. Indeed, more than half want to see no reductions in Medicaid spending at all because of “a strong sense of the program’s importance.” Indeed, many said they had benefited or knew people who had benefited from the program directly:

Default By U.S. Government Seen As Possible, With Debt Ceiling Vote Delayed

As lawmakers in Washington delay authorizing additional public debt, investors are treating the prospect of a U.S. government default -- while still highly unlikely -- as growing in probability.

Even as traditional market indicators suggest the government's debt is as secure as ever, bets that the Treasury will default are becoming more popular. And foreign investors seem to be displaying skittishness about their holdings of Treasury debt. With Congress showing little progress on a deal to raise the debt ceiling, some economists say the possibility of a default by the Treasury, once unimaginable, has now become a factor in investment decisions.

Republican Lawmaker Hires Jobless Constituent To Work In His Yard For $8 An Hour

Kathryn Treadway of Goldsboro, N.C., lost her job doing medical transcription work for a hospital early last year. The 35-year-old hasn't had an income since April 16, when an impasse between Republicans in the state legislature and Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue halted her unemployment benefits.

On Friday, she finally found a job -- doing yard work for a statehouse Republican who thought Treadway couldn't find work because she had a bad attitude.

Little-Known Black History Fact: The New Leola M. Havard Early Education School

In San Francisco, an elementary school was emancipated from its former name of Peter Burnett Elementary, named after California’s first elected civilian Governor. Burnett was also a known racist. He served in office from 1849 to 1851 - and also was the first governor to ever resign from office.

Parents rally in Harlem to protest NAACP's involvement in school closure lawsuit

Parents rallied in Harlem Thursday to blast the NAACP's involvement in a lawsuit to halt the closure of failing schools and expansion of charter schools.

The families, many with kids in city charter schools, and advocates criticized the civil rights group for joining the teachers union in a fight to block the closure of 22 schools and stop 17 charter schools from opening or growing.

NAACP watching for discrimination during bikefest

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Thursday the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced year seven of Operation Bike Week Justice in Myrtle Beach. The organization will be monitoring during the weekend of Atlantic Beach Bike Bikefest to see if black bikers are treated the same as white bikers who were just in the Grand Strand for the Harley Davidson Bike Rally.

Sharpton’s NAN Opens DC Office To Influence Legislation

Everyone at National Action Network’s first-ever women’s power luncheon was elated when our guest, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, said her department was issuing educational scholarships to African Americans from low-income communities who are seeking careers in the health care field.

GOP Cuts Disaster Preparedness Funds By $1.5 Billion

In response to the deadliest spring of climate disasters in decades, House Republicans are slashing billions from disaster preparedness programs, including support for firefighters. On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee cut the successful Department of Energy clean car manufacturing loan programby $1.5 billion to add $1 billion to disaster relief. But they also slashed other parts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security budget, including cuts of $1.5 billion from President Obama’s request for next year in firefighter assistance grants and state and local grants administered by FEMA.

During the markup, Reps. David Price (D-NC) and Steve LaTourette (R-IL) attempted to restore $460 million in funding for firefighter grants and $1.1 billion in state and local grants, but their amendment was defeated 20 to 27 by the Republican majority. Price blasted the decision to “decimate funding” for disaster preparedness:

BREAKING: Republican Judge Strikes Down Ban On Corporate Contributions Directly To Candidates

Reagan-appointed federal Judge James Cacheris just ruled that corporations have aconstitutional right to contribute money directly to political candidates:

Senate Republicans Block Potential Elizabeth Warren Recess Appointment

Senate Republicans will prevent the Senate from recessing next week in order to halt President Obama’s ability to make temporary recess appointments:

Russia Joins Western Chorus For Muammar Gaddafi To Go

(Reuters) - Russia believes Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi should quit and could help broker his departure, a senior Russian official said on Friday in an important boost to NATO powers bent on ending his 41-year rule.

It was a striking change in tone from Kremlin criticism of Western air strikes in Libya officially intended to protect civilians in a civil war but effectively taking the side of rebels seeking Gaddafi's removal and democratic change.

Daily Kos vs. Research 2000 Lawsuit Settled

WASHINGTON -- The polling firm accused of fabricating survey data published by the progressive website Daily Kos has agreed to settle the lawsuitfiled last year by site founder Markos Moulitsas. Although details of the agreement have not been disclosed, court records indicate that case remains active: Research 2000 pollster Del Ali has only recently started making the cash payments required by the agreement.

Makers Of Mac Defender Release New Malware

Apple has promised to take care of the Mac Defender malware that has spread across users' computers. But the makers of the original have created a new version that's even more of a threat as it doesn't require a password to install itself.

Intego, the security firm that found the first Mac Defender, identified the new malware, which, like the previous version tries to trick users into giving up their credit card information by presenting false antivirus software.

Vatican Invites AIDS Experts To Talk Prevention

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican has invited AIDS experts from around the world to a two-day symposium on preventing HIV and caring for people with the virus, just months after the pope made international headlines with his comments about condoms and AIDS.

Organizers insist the meeting Friday and Saturday won't call into question traditional church teaching opposing artificial contraception. In the run-up to the conference, the Vatican's newspaper has run a series of articles reinforcing the church's position that abstinence and fidelity in marriage are the best ways to curb HIV.

American Dream Lives On Despite Rising Financial Insecurity: Survey

Americans, despite the uncertainty of their own personal finances, continue to have faith in that well-worn concept of an American dream.

In a recent report conducted by The Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies for Pew Charitable Trusts, 68 percent of those surveyed "say they have achieved or will achieve the American Dream."

James O'Keefe's Project Veritas Granted Non-Profit Status

Two months ago, ACORN prankster-pimp James O'Keefe and his Project Veritas group found themselves having to pass the hat, in search of donations that would help pay down the credit card debt the group incurred in their "sting" of National Public Radio's vice president for development Ron Schiller. Two weeks later, O'Keefe hit up supporters again, looking for a cash infusion to "grow an army of truth-seekers and investigators."

Ryan Says His Plan Repeals The 'Raid' Obama Made To Medicare. It Doesn't

WASHINGTON -- Besieged by attacks over House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, Republican lawmakers are amplifying their message that it was President Barack Obama's health care law, not theirs, that pushed draconian cuts to the entitlement program.

The only problem: The Wisconsin Republican's plan incorporates the very same cuts to Medicare that were part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Berlusconi Baffles Obama, Blasts Judges At G8 Summit

ROME — Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has taken his claim that he is being persecuted by leftist judges to the G-8 summit, telling a clearly perplexed President Barack Obama that in Italy they represent "almost a dictatorship."

His comments carried on Italian TV news broadcasts from the summit in Deauville, France, set off a barrage of criticism Friday from Italian magistrates and his political opponents.

Corporate Donations Ban Unconstitutional, Judge Rules

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A judge has ruled that the campaign-finance law banning corporations from making contributions to federal candidates is unconstitutional, citing the Supreme Court's landmark Citizens United decision last year in his analysis.

In a ruling issued late Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Cacheris tossed out part of an indictment against two men accused of illegally reimbursing donors to Hillary Clinton's Senate and presidential campaigns.

Fukushima Nuclear Plant's Tsunami Plan A Single Page

TOKYO — Japanese nuclear regulators trusted that the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex were safe from the worst waves an earthquake could muster based on a single-page memo from the plant operator nearly a decade ago.

In the Dec. 19, 2001, document – one double-sized page obtained by The Associated Press under Japan's public records law – Tokyo Electric Power Co. rules out the possibility of a tsunami large enough to knock the plant offline and gives scant details to justify this conclusion, which proved to be wildly optimistic.

Pawlenty Joins Perjury Caucus, Falsely Claiming Kagan Must Recuse From Health Care Litigation

Almost as soon as Justice Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court, conservatives unleashed a volley of liesclaiming that she is required to recuse herself from the lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act. Although Kagan previously served as Obama’s solicitor general, she is only required to recuse herself from cases where she actively participated as a lawyer in that very same case — simply working in the same office as a lawyer who worked on the ACA litigation doesn’t cut it.

Nevertheless, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty used Kagan’s recusal from a case she actually did work on as solicitor general as an opportunity to misrepresent her recusal obligations:

CBO: Defunding Health Reform Could End Medicare Part D, Eliminate Physician Payment Increases

The Hill’s Sam Baker reads through the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) letteron the consequences of defunding the Affordable Care Act and discovers that the GOP’s efforts could “lead to the end of Medicare coverage for prescription drugs”:

Rep. Walsh: Obama Was Only Elected Because He’s An ‘Articulate’ ‘Black Man’

In an interview this week with Slate’s Dave Weigel, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) confirmed his reputation as a lightning rod for controversy and for being, as Weigel puts it, “the biggest media hound in the freshman class.” In the past week, Walsh has made a number of outrageous statements, most infamously his admonishment that American Jews “aren’t as pro-Israel as they should be.”

But even that seems to pale in comparison to what Walsh tells Weigel — that Barack Obama would not have been elected president if he wasn’t black. Walsh dismisses Obama’s meteoric rise as essentially a form of affirmative action and a manifestation of “white guilt” in which the media was complicit:

Outraged By Cuts, Superintendent Asks Gov. Snyder To Convert Schools Into Prisons To Get More Funding

The conservative governors who were elected across the country last November have championedhuge cuts to public education spending while resisting efforts to raise revenues from the wealthiest among us. In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) proposed cutting millions of dollars from the public education budget, and this week the GOP-controlled state senate passed a “contentious K-12 budget that cuts $470 per student from school districts.”

Outraged by these cuts, Nathan Bootz, the superintendent of Ithaca Public Schools, wrote a letter to the editor in a local paper proposing an idea that could come out of aJonathan Swift novel: if Snyder intends on draining funding from public schools, maybe Bootz should convert the schools in his district into prisons to get funding.

Noting that Michigan spends “between $30,000 and $40,000″ on each prisoner but can barely provide $7,000 per public school student, Bootz says that maybe we need to start treating “our students like they are prisoners, with equal funding“:

Gov. Rick Scott Uses Sheriffs To Eject ‘Liberal-Looking’ People From Budget Signing Event In Town Square

Anxious over their increasing unpopularity, Republicans lawmakers across the country arebanning media from chronicling the blowback at public events. Florida’s now deeply disliked Gov. Rick Scott (R) adopted a similar tactic yesterday at a “campaign-style” budget signing ceremony at a town square in The Villages retirement community in Central Florida. Before putting his pen to the $69.7 billion state budget, Scott took an ax to $615 million of what he called “shortsighted, frivolous, wasteful spending.” Scott conveniently failed, however, to mention exactly what some of those “frivolous” programs were, including ones that provide help for the most vulnerable in society:

Patriot Act Extension Signed By Obama

WASHINGTON — Congress on Thursday passed a four-year extension of post-Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists. Votes taken in rapid succession in the Senate and House came after lawmakers rejected attempts to temper the law enforcement powers to ensure that individual liberties are not abused.

Following the 250-153 evening vote in the House, the legislation to renew three terrorism-fighting authorities headed for the president's signature with only hours to go before the provisions expire at midnight.

IRS Grants Nonprofit Status To James O'Keefe's 'Project Veritas'

An organization founded by conservative filmmaker and self-proclaimed "muckraking journalist" James O'Keefe has been granted nonprofit status by the IRS.

Libyan Capital Targeted By Fourth Night Of NATO Airstrikes

May 26, 2011 10:51:51 PM

By Joseph Logan and Mohammed Abbas

TRIPOLI/MISRATA, Libya, May 26 (Reuters) - NATO launched a fourth night of airstrikes on Tripoli on Thursday, leaving smoke rising from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's compound, after the United States said a ceasefire offer from Libya was not credible.

Final Suspect Convicted In Plot To Blow Up Jet Fuel Tanks At JFK Airport

NEW YORK -- A 65-year-old imam from Trinidad was convicted Thursday by a federal jury of participating in a failed plot to blow up jet fuel tanks at John F. Kennedy International Airport, a scheme that authorities said was meant to outdo the Sept. 11 attacks and avenge perceived U.S. oppression of Muslims around the world.

Volunteers eager to help Mo., Ala.

JOPLIN, Mo. — Mark Carr woke up Wednesday in Rocky Ford, Colo., determined to help tornado survivors here. He loaded a couple of chainsaws and his three children and set off on the 12-hour, 600-mile drive.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Republicans Will Still Attack Dems For Cutting Medicare And They Will Still Be Wrong

Jonathan Chait and Greg Sargent are predicting that having all but officially lost their battle to privatize Medicare, Republicans will now continue to attack Democrats from the left for cutting the program through the Affordable Care Act. They will argue (as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) does here) that the GOP budget preserves benefits for everybody over 54 while the Democrats cut benefits to today’s seniors and will continue to ration their care and allow the program to go bankrupt. As Chait points out, there is very little truth to any of that:

Obama’s Appeals Judges Average Four Years Older Than Bush’s

Writing in the Christian Science Monitor, attorney Mark Greenbaum paints a depressing picture of President Obama’s record on judicial nominations, noting — among other things — that Presidents Clinton and Obama nominees tend to be quite a bit older than President George W. Bush’s:

States Cut HIV Programs As Studies Show Increased Effectiveness Of Drugs In Controlling Virus

States are tightening the budgets, and HIV patients arepaying the highest price. States such as Illinois and Florida have limited access to support programs by lowering the income eligibility, Georgia cut $100,000 from its state support, and Texas may not provide the $19.2 million necessary to serve 3,000 anticipated new clients. As a result of these cuts and no additional funding to the federal AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), well over 8,300 patients are now on waiting lists (PDF). This is a record number of HIV patients not able to access the medication they need. It is likely there are even more, considering not every state even has a waiting list.

What The Supreme Court Ruling In Favor Of Arizona’s E-Verify Law Means For SB-1070

Today, in a 5-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Legal Arizona Workers Act, a law passed by Arizona in 2007 that requires employers to use a controversial electronic employment verification program, E-verify, and establishes a regime of state-level sanctions for employing undocumented workers.

House Republicans Push Plan To Renege On Tax Deal By Cutting Unemployment Benefits

As tough as the tax deal was to swallow last December, it is about to get even worse, as Republicans are trying to eliminate the key piece of the agreement that helped working Americans. At the time, President Obama had to make the difficult compromise of extending the high-end Bush tax cuts, an unnecessary tax break for millionaires, in order to keep tax rates low for 98 percent of Americans and to continue funding for extended unemployment benefits through the end of 2011.

Three Strikes Caused This Prison Problem (California)

The U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold a cap on the number of California prisoners complicates the already cloudy California budget picture. Under the terms of the decision, California must release 36,000 prisoners within five years because current overcrowded conditions constitute violation of the Eighth Amendment guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment.

"The Crossover" Basketballs most Lethal Technique, or Most Embarrassing If You On The Receiving End!

The New York Times sits down with basketball greats Dwayne Wade, Allen Iverson, Tim Hardaway and Pearl Monroe to  breaks down “The Crossover” one of the games most effective offensive weapons.

Obama v Bush: A tale of two state visits

Barack Obama has completed his three-day state visit to the UK. But how did it compare with the last state visit by a US president, when George Bush came to the country eight years ago in 2003?

Obama v Bush

Obama's entourage was believed to consist of about 500 people - including 200 secret service agents. The Obamas, whose US security codenames are Renegade andRenaissance, were also reportedly joined by a team of medics, chefs and White House staff.
The Bushes, whose alternate US identities were Trailblazer andTempo, were thought to have had an entourage of about 700. As well as secret service agents, national security advisers and government officials, there were also 15 sniffer dogs and five cooks on hand.


Obama's bomb-proof Cadillac is known as "the Beast"
Obama's bomb-proof Cadillac is known as The Beast.
Bush's armoured Cadillac de Ville
Bush's Cadillac de Ville was sometimes called the Stagecoach.

Police security

The Metropolitan Police Service said the policing operation for the entire duration of the state visit involved 5,000 officer shifts. The full cost of policing Obama's visit won't be confirmed until later this year, but it's expected to fall well short of the cost of the state visit by Pope Benedict - £6.9m.
Bush's state visit to London cost police more than £4.1m, according to the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens. All police leave was cancelled during the visit and the salaries for officers' shifts cost about £2.5m, while overtime, transport and catering came to more than £1.6m.


A Woman protests before U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to visit Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron in London
A small group of radical Muslims gathered outside Downing Street to protest against the visit. Next to the anti-Obama protest, a few members of the right-wing English Defence League staged a counter-demonstration, with police separating the two sides when they threatened to come to blows.
Effigy of Mr Bush
Tens of thousands of people marched against the Iraq war, which climaxed with the toppling of an 25ft effigy of Mr Bush, in a symbolic echo of the destruction of Saddam's statue in Baghdad. One protester also delivered a parting shot by throwing an egg at the presidential cavalcade, but the egg missed.

Casual dining

Obama and Cameron ditched their jackets and dished out burgers at abarbecue in the garden of No 10, in an event hosted by their wives for families of UK and US servicemen. British bangers, Kentish lamb chops, corn on the cob, Jersey Royal potatoes and caesar salad were also on the menu. Dessert was summer berries and ice cream.
Much was made of Blair and Bushand their wives eating fish, chips and mushy peas at the Dun Cow Inn in Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency. The starter was cream of potato and leek soup and dessert was a lemon creme brulee. Mr Bush washed it down with a non-alcoholic lager. Mrs Bush and the Blairs sipped soft drinks.

Moment of rapport

US President Barack Obama and UK PM David Cameron playing table tennisPlaying table tennis in a visit to a south London academyFormer US President George Bush  and former UK Prime Minister Tony BlairHaving a beer (albeit non-alcoholic) in a pub in Sedgefield

Formal dining

On the state banquet menu for theObamas was sole with watercress,lamb in basil, roasted radish and courgettes, green beans and roast potatoes. It was followed by vanilla charlotte with morello cherries.
The Bushes' Buckingham Palace menu was consomme with sorrel,roast halibut with herbs, breast of chicken with basil, roast potatoes and Savoy cabbage, followed by vanilla praline and coffee ice-cream.

Banquet VIPs

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama with the Queen
Famous names included actors Tom Hanks and Kevin Spacey and actress Helena Bonham Carter.
Bush, the Queen and Laura Bush arrive in the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace for the State dinner
Celebrity guests included actor Sir Michael Caine and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.


The Queen gave Michelle Obamaan antique gold and red coral broochin the form of roses, while Obamareceived a book containing aselection of letters, from the royal archives, between past US presidents and British monarchs. The Queen received a leather-boundalbum containing photographs of her parents' trip to America in 1939.
The Queen gave Laura Bush ajewellery box made by her nephew Viscount Linley and Bush a solid silver rule engraved with the royal cypher and the US presidential seal, and a specially-bound copy of The Royal Treasures, A Gold Jubilee Celebration. Meanwhile, the Bushes gave the royal couple a specially commissioned set of china.

Talking points

Libya and the developments across the Middle East, in Syria andYemen and the fight against terrorism were discussed during 90 minutes of talks between Obamaand Cameron. Other issues included the global economy, climate change and international security.
Iraq featured heavily in the Bush-Blair talks but it did not totally dominate. International terrorism, the terror attacks against British targets in TurkeyGuantanamo internees and free trade were among the other key issues discussed.

First Lady

Michelle Obama
As well as co-hosting a barbecue with Samantha Cameron, Michelle Obama spoke to schoolgirls at Oxford University. The trip - arranged at her suggestion - aimed to encourage the girls to think about studying for a degree. All eyes were also on Michelle when she met the Queen but there was no repeat of her "faux pas" hug two years ago.
Laura Bush in 2003
Former First Lady Laura Bush kept a relatively low profile during the 2003 three-day state visit, seemingly happy to let her husband have the limelight. Laura and Cherie Blair watched a children's Shakespeare performance together, and the pair were also treated to a menu prepared by British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.

Slip up

Obama suffered an awkward moment during the palace banquet when he proposed a toast "to the Queen" - which prompted the orchestra to start playing the national anthem. Obama carried on talking and raised his glass to the monarch before the music had finished.
There was no widely reported mishap by Bush in 2003, however during the Queen's state visit to the US in 2007, the former president slipped up in a speech on the lawn outside the White House. He suggested the Queen had been on the throne since the 18th century. Then when he realised his mistake, he turned to the monarch and winked at her.

Newspaper headline

The Daily Mirror's headline on 25 May 2011 was a picture of the Queen and Obama, saying: "The Best of Buddies".
The Daily Telegraph's headline on 20 November 2003 was a picture ofBush and the Queen, saying: "Bush: You're our closest friend".

Trips abroad

Number of visits to various countries at the same point in their presidencies.

Number of visits to various countries at the same point in their presidencies