Friday, April 27, 2012

Chen Guangcheng, a Blind Activist, Escapes House Arrest in China - NYTimes.com

Chen Guangcheng, a Blind Activist, Escapes House Arrest in China - NYTimes.com

BEIJING — Chen Guangcheng, the blind rights lawyer who has been under extralegal house arrest in his rural village for the past 19 months, has escaped from his heavily guarded home and is in hiding in the capital, rights advocates and Chinese officials said on Friday.       

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Raids broaden corruption probe of L.A. County assessor - latimes.com

Raids broaden corruption probe of L.A. County assessor - latimes.com

Boxes of evidence are taken from the home of Assessor John Noguez, who is the focus of an influence-peddling probe, and other sites. The Phoenix-area home of a campaign donor who has secured large tax reductions for clients is also raided.

Noguez's relationship with Salari has been at the center of an influence-peddling probe launched last year after assessor's office employees complained that Salari and his wealthy clients were getting special treatment from Noguez and his top aides.

A former employee in the Culver City office recently told The Times that he secretly and improperly slashed the taxable values of more than 100 Westside properties in the hope that their wealthy owners would donate money to help retire debt Noguez had amassed during his successful 2010 campaign for assessor.
COMMENTS:
Dina Nava at 7:12 AM April 26, 2012
Don't you just love our Mexican government.

GREGORY L KUMP at 5:51 AM April 26, 2012
THIS CITY IS GIVING MONEY AWAY, TO FAMILES JUST KEEP HAVING KIDS AFTER KIDS. 'MEXCIANS LETS BE CLEAR' SOME FAMILES GET FROM THIS WELFARE $1300.00 A WEEK, WHY SHOULD THEY WORK?

kazz23 at 9:13 PM April 25, 2012
Of course, he's in Mexico......

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Feud between 2 little-known water agencies costs consumers - latimes.com

Feud between 2 little-known water agencies costs consumers - latimes.com

Bell resident Robert Mackin is frustrated that his monthly water rate keeps rising, by about 50% in the last few years.

He writes the check to his water provider, Golden State Water Co. But he is actually served by six separate agencies that each play a role in delivering his water — and charging him for the service.

"I'll be honest, I don't really have an idea of what all these agencies do … it's hard to understand," Mackin said. "When the bill comes in, I look at the total and write the check."

And he's not alone.

Two of those water districts — which serve more than a third of the nearly 10 million residents of L.A. County — have more than doubled their fees in recent years while spending significant amounts of time and money battling each other in a series of lawsuits, legislative showdowns and unusual PR campaigns.

Supreme Court skeptical of striking down Arizona immigration law - latimes.com

Supreme Court skeptical of striking down Arizona immigration law - latimes.com


The Supreme Court justices, hearing arguments Wednesday over Arizona’s tough immigration law, suggested they were inclined to uphold parts of the state’s law but may block other parts.
The Obama administration lawyer who wanted the entire law struck down ran into skeptical questions from most of the justices, who said they saw no problem with requiring police officers to check the immigration status of people who are stopped.
But the justices also said they were troubled by parts of the Arizona law that made it a state crime for illegal immigrants to not carry documents or seek work. The stop-and-arrest provision has been the most contested part of the law.

Before U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. could deliver his opening comments, chief justice John Roberts in an unusual move interrupted to say that “no part of your argument has to do with racial or ethnic profiling.”

Near the end of the argument, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, an Obama appointee, advised Verrilli he needed a stronger argument than the ones he delivered. His argument “is not selling very well,” she commented.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Democrats plan to force vote on Arizona immigration law if it’s upheld by court - The Washington Post

Democrats plan to force vote on Arizona immigration law if it’s upheld by court - The Washington Post

Senate Democrats are making plans to force a floor vote on legislation that would invalidate Arizona’s controversial immigration statute if the Supreme Court upholds the law this summer.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will announce the fallback legislation at a hearing on the Arizona law Tuesday, a day before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a suit to determine whether Arizona had the authority to enact the 2010 state crackdown.

The legislation would have little chance of passing in a stalemated Senate or being approved by a GOP-held House, but it would allow Democrats to push their electoral advantage with Latino voters just as the presidential campaign heats up in July.

You Can Get a Permit To Carry a Concealed Weapon In One Hour | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch

You Can Get a Permit To Carry a Concealed Weapon In One Hour | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch

The one hour course I took, taught by Bob Denis of CCW AZ School, LLC., advertises on the website “1hr Law Gets Permit!”
There’s a disclaimer, that the one-hour stint is “for the person with experience with firearms, who does not have time to seat through several hours of additional firearms training” [sic], as well as a statement in class that the one-hour class is not designed for those new to guns.

But Denis never asked me whether I had shot a gun before, or evaluated my proficiency once I sat down for class.
Now, most responses (focus on the comments section there) to Mejdrich's article say that she misrepresented her experience to game the system, that she is a liar, a perjurer, that she doesn't respect the law and that she should be held personally accountable for what she did (on top of the usual internet slander, of course).

But one could make the case that her gaming of the system exposes loopholes that could be exploited by more dangerous folk than a 22-year-old woman with no gun-ownership experience.
Of course, that case would be ignored by legislators, such as Rep. Jack Harper, R-Surprise

Monday, April 23, 2012

Arrested 35 Times, Illegal Immigrant Sofyan Eldani Still Not Deported

Arrested 35 Times, Illegal Immigrant Sofyan Eldani Still Not Deported

In Alabama, federal authorities said they have tried to deport Sofyan Eldani, a Palestinian man, who has been arrested 35 times in 12 years, but several countries have refused to take him.

In addition, news reports claim that because Eldani says he's from Palestine, the U.S. government cannot send him there -- because the country isn't officially recognized. Thus, you can't send a man to a place that doesn't exist.

Eldani's arrests include: assault, fraudulent checks, criminal mischief, resisting arrests, reckless endangerment, shoplifting, burglary, drug possession, failure to appear, probation violation, possession of a drug paraphernalia and DUI.

Last week, Eldani was arrested by Hueytown, Alabama police after he was found during a traffic stop to be in possession of crack cocaine.

Just another war? - Middle East Political and Editorial Cartoons - The Week

Just another war? - Middle East Political and Editorial Cartoons - The Week

(Click on link to view cartoon slide)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Justices poised to hear SB 1070

Justices poised to hear SB 1070

Justices poised to hear SB 1070


Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services

When attorney Paul Clement walks into the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, he'll try to convince at least five justices that Arizona has an inherent right to enforce federal immigration laws.

Apr 22, 2012 | 12:01 am | Comments

Greed

Wal-Mart issued a response to The New York Times

“Many of the alleged activities in The New York Times article are more than six years old. If these allegations are true, it is not a reflection of who we are or what we stand for. We are deeply concerned by these allegations and are working aggressively to determine what happened."

At Wal-Mart in Mexico, a Bribe Inquiry Silenced - NYTimes.com

At Wal-Mart in Mexico, a Bribe Inquiry Silenced - NYTimes.com
MEXICO CITY — In September 2005, a senior Wal-Mart lawyer received an alarming e-mail from a former executive at the company’s largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico. In the e-mail and follow-up conversations, the former executive described how Wal-Mart de Mexico had orchestrated a campaign of bribery to win market dominance. In its rush to build stores, he said, the company had paid bribes to obtain permits in virtually every corner of the country. 

Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. In a confidential report to his superiors, Wal-Mart’s lead investigator, a former F.B.I. special agent, summed up their initial findings this way: “There is reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and USA laws have been violated.”

The lead investigator recommended that Wal-Mart expand the investigation.

Instead, an examination by The New York Times found, Wal-Mart’s leaders shut it down.             

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Koch Brothers Exposed | Julian Brookes | Politics News | Rolling Stone

The Koch Brothers Exposed | Julian Brookes | Politics News | Rolling Stone


If the Koch brothers didn't exist, the left would have to invent them. They're the plutocrats from central casting – oil-and-gas billionaires ready to buy any congressman, fund any lie, fight any law, bust any union, despoil any landscape, or shirk any (tax) burden to push their free-market religion and pump up their profits.

But no need to invent – Charles and David Koch are the real deal. Over the past 30-some years, they've poured more than 100 million dollars into a sprawling network of foundations, think tanks, front groups, advocacy organizations, lobbyists and GOP lawmakers, all to the glory of their hard-core libertarian agenda. They don't oppose big government so much as government – taxes, environmental protections, safety-net programs, public education: the whole bit.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Eliseo Medina: The U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide And So Will We

Eliseo Medina: The U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide And So Will We

For two years, we have been living with the consequences of racial profiling state laws that violate our basic human and civil rights. These laws -- instigated by Arizona's SB 1070 -- were crafted by reckless politicians with one purpose, to dilute the increasing presence and political strength of immigrants and ethnic minorities.

But these mean-spirited laws that threaten the rights of citizens and immigrants will not be the last word. It is up to us to mobilize voters so that we have the final say.

So, we must register to vote and elect leaders who believe that America was founded on the principle that all men and women are created equal, no matter what we look like or where we come from. Because when we do, we can make a difference.

Contaminated Cheese: 4 Accused Of Distributing Dangerous, Bacteria-Filled Dairy

Contaminated Cheese: 4 Accused Of Distributing Dangerous, Bacteria-Filled Dairy

CHICAGO -- Four people are accused of ignoring U.S. Food and Drug Administration orders and distributing more than 110,000 pounds of contaminated cheese. Some of it contained salmonella, E. coli and other potentially harmful bacteria.

The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago says the suspects even scraped mold and fungus off 35- and 40-pound wheels of the Mexican cheese that unhappy customers had returned so they could be resold. Prosecutors announced the indictments Thursday.

A Wisconsin company distributing the cheese under the brand Queso Cincho De Guerrero to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Georgia and Texas issued a recall in 2007.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Official Who Banned Mexican-American Studies in Tucson Targets Colleges - COLORLINES

Official Who Banned Mexican-American Studies in Tucson Targets Colleges - COLORLINES

First Arizona introduced the anti-immigrant law SB1070 then the Mexican-American studies program was banned at Tucson Unified School District and now Mexican-studies programs at the university level might be next.

John Huppenthal, the superintendent of public instruction in the state and a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, told FOX News Latino last month that the university produced teachers who then taught in programs such as the Tucson school district, where, he said, the curriculum teaches students to hate Anglos. “I think that’s where this toxic thing starts from, the universities,” Huppenthal told Fox News Latino. “To me, the pervasive problem was the lack of balance going on in these classes.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Opinion: Online anonymity is the new robe and hood of hatred – In America - CNN.com Blogs

Opinion: Online anonymity is the new robe and hood of hatred – In America - CNN.com Blogs

Not so long ago, racists had to work hard to spew their venom. They had to starch their robes, get in their trucks, and meet face-to-face with others who viciously hated minorities, gays, women, Jews, and even Catholics.

These days, cowards use the anonymity of computers as their robes and hoods of hatred. With a click of a mouse, you can witness a virtual cross-burning led by the guy in the next cubicle.

It's ironic to think that someone who posts about "lazy" blacks and Hispanics might be running a cyber-Klan meeting while on the clock. With a few keystrokes, people have allowed the hate in their heart to reveal itself by sharing, reposting, and curating images and words that are destructive to the very fabric of our nation.

An idiot gone rouge or senile ?....Ted Nugent

DNC chair calls on Romney to condemn Ted Nugent | The Raw Story - StumbleUpon

“If you don’t know that our government is wiping its ass with the Constitution, you’re living under a rock some place. And that there’s a dead soldier, an airman, a Marine, a seaman, a hero of the military that just got his legs blown off for the U.S. Constitution, and we got a president and an attorney general who doesn’t even like the Constitution,” he said, adding that the four left-leaning Supreme Court justices were “like a stoned hippy” because they “don’t believe in the Constitution.”

“And if you want more of those kinds of evil, anti-American people in the Supreme Court then don’t get involved and let Obama take office again. Because I’ll tell you this right now, if Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
Nugent continued by urging attendees to get everyone they knew to vote for Romney and against “this vile, evil, America-hating administration” or “we’ll be a suburb of Indonesia next year.”

“We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November!” he exclaimed. “Any questions?”

Monday, April 16, 2012

March 31-April 6 | Cartoons of the Week | TIME Ideas | TIME.com

March 31-April 6 | Cartoons of the Week | TIME Ideas | TIME.com

Adam Cohen: A Push to Repeal 'Stand Your Ground' Laws | TIME Ideas | TIME.com

Adam Cohen: A Push to Repeal 'Stand Your Ground' Laws | TIME Ideas | TIME.com

It was big news last week when prosecutors charged George Zimmerman with second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. But Zimmerman could walk free if a judge decides his actions fall under Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which gives broad leeway to people to shoot in self-defense. There is no way to undo what happened in the Zimmerman-Martin encounter, but some good can still come of it: it could lead states to repeal their misguided “stand your ground” laws.

(MORE: The Law Heard Around the World)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Political Animal - Out of the Shadows, ALEC Loses Altitude

Political Animal - Out of the Shadows, ALEC Loses Altitude

Some good news for a Friday 13: the list of donors withdrawing support from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) continues to grow, with candy-maker Mars joining burger giant Wendy’s, its rival McDonald’s, along with beverage purveyors Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co, plus Kraft, Intuit and the Gates Foundation.

As important as the financial hits undoubtedly are, the even more important development is the emergence of ALEC from the shadows, where it has always flourished. In state legislative circles, its influence has long been legendary, and not just among Republicans (as a tax-exempt organization, ALEC has always been extremely careful about getting at least smattering of Democratic legislators to show up at its typically swank events, though that was a lot easier back in the days when overtly conservative Democrats walked tall in southern state legislatures). But mentions of ALEC inside the Beltway drew blank stares until very recently. And the legislators who championed ALEC-written cookie-cutter bills in most states were able to get away with pretending they were the actual authors.

All that has changed now, for good, and for the better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Immigration & Customs Enforcement: Rip crews a growing problem in Arizona - KGUN9.com

Immigration & Customs Enforcement: Rip crews a growing problem in Arizona - KGUN9.com

NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) – A deadly ambush in the remote desert. Two immigrants gunned down by a group of armed people in fatigues. And the killer(s) are still on the loose.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department is looking for the gunmen who shot at a truckload of immigrants Sunday in a remote area near Eloy. The violent ambush left two people dead and now the search is one for what is likely a rip crew.

So what is law enforcement doing to stop these border bandits?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

CISPA is not the new SOPA: Here’s why

CISPA is not the new SOPA: Here’s why

Yesterday, I wrote that “the Internet has a new enemy,” and its name is CISPA, short for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011. And it’s true: this poorly crafted piece of “cybersecurity” legislation is irking concerned Web citizens the world over.

Using our Chartbeat analytics tool, I saw wave after wave of users flood into the article, from all parts of the globe. North Dakota, Sweden, Portugal, Mexico, New York — everybody, it seems, is interested and concerned about this bill that critics (rightly) believe could threaten the types of information we can access online, as well as our privacy and freedom of speech.

NRA expands its role from fight for gun rights to conservative causes - CNN

NRA expands its role from fight for gun rights to conservative causes - CNN

This week, Coca-Cola and Kraft announced they are pulling their corporate memberships from a conservative group that was behind the spread of "stand your ground" laws like the one highlighted in Florida by the Trayvon Martin case.

The American Legislative Executive Council, also known as ALEC, is getting attention lately for its behind the scenes work pushing conservative legislation in the states.

ALEC drafts and shares model bills with state legislators to promote corporation-friendly and conservative social policy.

An NRA lobbyist, Tara Mica, helped shepherd a model bill that requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Many conservatives have pushed voter ID laws to prevent election fraud. Many liberals say these laws inhibit voting by minorities.

Mica also helped preside over ALEC's passage of the model bill that became the basis of Arizona's immigration law. That's the law that requires police to arrest anyone who cannot prove when asked that they entered the United States legally.

The NRA's board includes Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and David Keene, former chairman of the American Conservative Union. The board also includes Robert Brown, creator of Soldier of Fortune magazine, and rock guitarist Ted Nugent.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

National Review's John Derbyshire Pens Racist Screed: 'Avoid Concentrations Of Blacks,' 'Stay Out Of' Their Neighborhoods

National Review's John Derbyshire Pens Racist Screed: 'Avoid Concentrations Of Blacks,' 'Stay Out Of' Their Neighborhoods

"There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too," he writes, before listing some of the advice he gave his children about black people. They include:
"There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too," he writes, before listing some of the advice he gave his children about black people. They include:
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally. 
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods. 
(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot). 
(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks. 
(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible. 
(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians. 
(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white. 
(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway. 
(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.




http://takimag.com/article/the_talk_nonblack_version_john_derbyshire#axzz1rJPlABLB   
(^ ^ John's piece ^^)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The JOBS Act: Encouraging Startups, Supporting Small Businesses | The White House

The JOBS Act: Encouraging Startups, Supporting Small Businesses | The White House

President Obama recognizes the critical role these types of high-growth startups and innovative entrepreneurs play in creating an economy that’s built to last. That’s why back in the fall – and again in his State of the Union Address – the President put forward a series of specific proposals to ease regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from accessing the capital they need to grow and create jobs. Today, the President put many of those proposals to work when he signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act – a bipartisan bill that will help encourage startups and support our nation’s small businesses.

As the President said at today’s signing, “this bill is a potential gamechanger” for America’s entrepreneurs. For the first time, Americans will be able to go online and invest in small businesses and entrepreneurs. Not only will this help small businesses and high-growth enterprises raise capital more efficiently, but it will also allow small and young firms to expand and hire faster.

Whether you’re in Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, or Silicon Prairie, this bill is a win-win for small businesses, for the economy, and for the American people.

Steven VanRoekel is the Federal Chief Information Officer – for more information visit www.cio.gov.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pink Slime Economics - NYTimes.com

Pink Slime Economics - NYTimes.com

The trouble with the budget devised by Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, isn’t just its almost inconceivably cruel priorities, the way it slashes taxes for corporations and the rich while drastically cutting food and medical aid to the needy. Even aside from all that, the Ryan budget purports to reduce the deficit — but the alleged deficit reduction depends on the completely unsupported assertion that trillions of dollars in revenue can be found by closing tax loopholes.
       
And we’re talking about a lot of loophole-closing. As Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center points out, to make his numbers work Mr. Ryan would, by 2022, have to close enough loopholes to yield an extra $700 billion in revenue every year. That’s a lot of money, even in an economy as big as ours. So which specific loopholes has Mr. Ryan, who issued a 98-page manifesto on behalf of his budget, said he would close?

None. Not one. He has, however, categorically ruled out any move to close the major loophole that benefits the rich, namely the ultra-low tax rates on income from capital. (That’s the loophole that lets Mitt Romney pay only 14 percent of his income in taxes, a lower tax rate than that faced by many middle-class families.)

200+ Local Convicted Illegal Immigrants & Fugitives Arrested in Nationwide Sweep: LAist

200+ Local Convicted Illegal Immigrants & Fugitives Arrested in Nationwide Sweep: LAist

A six-day nationwide sweep targeting immigration fugitives and convicted illegal immigrants ended Thursday, netting 206 arrests in the Los Angeles area alone.

Of those arrested in L.A., 106 had prior convictions for serious or violent crimes. There were 124 arrests in L.A. County, 34 in Orange County, 15 in Riverside County, 14 in San Bernardino County, 10 in Ventura County and nine in Santa Barbara County. Over 70 of the local arrestees have already been removed from the country.

On the national level, federal agents arrested over 3,100 people.

The "Cross Check" operation was the largest of its kind and involved over 1,900 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and agents, personnel from federal, state and local law enforcement organizations, all 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

"The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE's ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation's immigration system," ICE Director John Morton told City News Service.

The Man Behind Massachusetts’ Republicans : Roll Call Politics

The Man Behind Massachusetts’ Republicans : Roll Call Politics

At this time next year, it’s possible Eric Fehrnstrom’s telephone number will be among the most valuable commodities in Washington, D.C.

The Republican consultant is serving as a senior political adviser to presumptive GOP White House nominee Mitt Romney and Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.). If both candidates manage to survive tough battles and win in November.


Fehrnstrom might be in the unique position of having both the president and an influential Senator on speed dial. In a town that determines power according to access and relationships, Fehrnstrom would rank.

“Not only would he become the next Karl Rove on a national scale, he would be sought after as the Republican operative who cracked the code in the Northeast,” a D.C.-based GOP operative said.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fidelmar 'Fidel' Merlos-Lopez: Man Denied Entry To U.S. From Mexico To Bury Son, 10, Killed In Pennsylvania

Fidelmar 'Fidel' Merlos-Lopez: Man Denied Entry To U.S. From Mexico To Bury Son, 10, Killed In Pennsylvania

Lopez was a teenager when he entered the United States illegally in 1995 and wound up in Shenandoah, a blue-collar town with a large Hispanic population. He married a U.S. citizen who gave birth to Damien in 2002. He later divorced Damien's mother and married his current wife, Danielle Lopez, who's also a U.S. citizen.

In 2007, police in nearby Frackville stopped Lopez for running a red light and turned him over to immigration authorities. He agreed to leave the U.S. voluntarily and began the process of applying for legal permanent residence.

Surin, his immigration lawyer, said he was well on his way to getting his green card and rejoining his family in Shenandoah when tragedy struck.

"He's trying to comply, trying to follow the rules of U.S. immigration law, but they are using that against him now. This whole thing is really heart-wrenching," she said.

Humanitarian parole is granted to immigrants who have a compelling emergency that requires temporary entry into the United States. It is used sparingly: The government approves only about 25 percent of the 1,200 applications it gets each year.