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GOPers Stage 'Mock Shooting' of Debbie Wasserman Schultz

GOPers stage 'mock shooting' of Debbie Wasserman Schultz | Daily Kos

 

On Tuesday, a group of Florida Republicans went to the shooting range -- and used pictures of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as target practice. Among the attendees, her 2010 Republican opponent, Robert Lowry.

Yesterday, Wasserman Schultz released a statement reacting to those who pretended to shoot her:

There is nothing light or funny about pretending to shoot someone. At a time in our country when people are bringing guns to Town Hall Meetings and a preacher is calling for the death of our President, I find this type of action serious and disturbing. Tonight I am going to have to talk to my young children about why someone is pretending to shoot their mother. Trivializing violent behavior is the kind of extreme view that has no place in American politics.

Indeed. It's simply unbelievable.

It's Not the Prosecutors' Committee, It's the Judiciary Committee

It's Not the Prosecutors' Committee, it's the Judiciary Committee
by Senator Russ Feingold | Daily Kos

...I want to say how disappointed I was in the debate in the committee. Today particularly, I started to feel as if too many members of the committee from both parties are willing to accept uncritically whatever the executive branch says about even the most reasonable proposed changes in the law. Of course we should consider the perspective of the FBI and the Justice Department. Keeping Americans safe is everyone’s priority. But we also need to consider a full range of perspectives and come to our own conclusions about how best to protect the American people and preserve their freedoms. Protecting the rights of innocent people should be a part of that equation.

Bad news today from the Judiciary Committee. At the beginning of the year, I had high hopes for the Patriot Act reauthorization process. We had just elected a President with a strong civil liberties record in the Senate. His Attorney General had supported some reforms during consideration of the last reauthorization bill in 2005. And Democrats controlled the Senate by such a large margin that our advantage on the Judiciary Committee ended up at 12-7 after Sen. Specter switched parties. Even as recently as 10 days ago, I hoped to be able to support a reauthorization bill introduced by Sen. Leahy that, while narrower than the JUSTICE Act that Senator Durbin and I have championed, did contain several important and necessary protections for the privacy of innocent Americans.

Events over the past two weeks dashed those hopes. Over the course of two business meetings, Sen. Leahy’s bill was diluted to the point that I had to vote against it. It falls well short of what the Congress must do to correct the problems with the Patriot Act. Read more.

WTF? Obama Gets the Nobel Peace Prize?

By Dave Lindorff

It’s not as much of a travesty as when Henry Kissinger, a war criminal of the first order who was an architect of the latter stages of the Indochina War, and was personally responsible for the slaughter of well over a million innocent people, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, while that war was still raging, but the awarding of the latest Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama is travesty enough.

We’re talking about a man whose practically first act upon taking office early this year was to escalate the ugly and pointless war in Afghanistan with the addition of some 20,000 troops, and who, even as the Nobel committee was discussing his award, was meeting with his military and political advisors to consider expanding that war even further, both in Afghanistan and across the border into Pakistan.

More Women Than Men Dismissed From Military For Being Gay

More women than men dismissed from military for being gay
By Adam Levine | CNN

Women were dismissed from the military for being gay at a greater rate than men last year, according to new statistics obtained by a California research group.

All the services kicked out a disproportionate number of women under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, according to Department of Defense data obtained by the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The center studies gender and sexuality in the military.

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, implemented in 1994, bans troops who are openly gay from serving in the military. Read more.

Frank Schaeffer Endorses Velvet Revolution's Stop Domestic Terrorism Campaign - Have You Signed?

Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy About God, wrote:

I quit my leadership role in the far right religious movement when it began advocating violence against those who had a different political or moral view. Now I am speaking out, and have joined with Velvet Revolution to organize a movement to stop far right violence. We’re doing this because more and more of us see that if unchecked, the inflammatory garbage spewing from the Right’s hate machines will result in tragedy — in other words violence.

I started pondering the question of what we could do right after the assassination of Dr. Tiller by a religious extremist. I felt that it wasn’t enough to call for boycotts of right wing commentators who spew their hate, because that did not really address the core problems. In fact as a former right wing religious “pro-life” leader I felt compelled to publicly apologize for the “America-is-like-Nazi-Germany” rhetoric that my late Evangelical leader father and I helped create in the 1970s and 80s that inexorably led to justifying violence in the Tiller case.

Now I want to endorse a campaign to address these issues. It was launched last week at StopDomesticTerror.com by VR. On Tuesday, I posted this article in Huffington Post asking everyone to join this important campaign.

Congress' Torture Cover-Up

Congress' Torture Cover-Up | Tapped

Since 2003, the ACLU has been seeking torture documents through a FOIA lawsuit. In 2005, the Southern District Court of New York ordered the government to release a set of photos depicting detainee abuse, a decision that was affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in September of 2008. After the Obama administration took office, they agreed to release the photos -- before reversing course in May, citing the potential effect on American soldiers abroad because of the photos' potential to inflame anti-American sentiment. The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether it will hear the administration's appeal.

The administration, perhaps sensing that they're not really on solid legal ground when it comes to arguing that the government should be able to hide evidence of its own wrongdoing under the rubric of national security, is getting a little cover from Congress. Yesterday, the conference summary of the current homeland security appropriations bill indicates that an amendment from Sen. Joe Lieberman that would exempt the photos from the FOIA Act has been adopted, which means that the government could legally withhold the pictures if the bill is passed. The same Sen. Lieberman, deeply concerned about the constitutionality of executive branch "czars," has inserted language into a bill allowing the government to conceal evidence of its own abuses. Read more.

Senators Take On Czar Wars

Senators Take On Czar Wars
By Kate Phillips | NY Times

Senator Russ Feingold held his promised hearing on the constitutionality of so-called czars in the Obama administration on Tuesday afternoon, winnowing away at a list of criticized appointees in his effort to examine whether the Senate’s advise-and-consent role was being circumvented by the executive branch.

Next up is a hearing a week from Wednesday, when the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee takes up the issue, too, zeroing in a little differently on the number of so-called czars and a slightly expanded number of appointments during President Obama’s tenure.

When Senator Feingold, who is chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, opened his hearing, he called it “unfortunate” that the White House had refused to send a representative to talk about the issue before the panel. “It’s also a bit ironic,” Senator Feingold noted, “since one of the concerns that has been raised about these officials is that they will thwart congressional oversight of the Executive Branch.” Read more.

CCR Argues in Court Government Cannot Keep Secret Whether It Spied on Guantánamo Attorneys

CCR Argues in Court Government Cannot Keep Secret Whether It Spied on Guantánamo Attorneys | Press Release

October 7, 2009, New York, NY – Oral arguments in the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) warrantless surveillance case Wilner v. National Security Agency (NSA, will take place Friday, October 9, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the U.S. Courthouse at 500 Pearl Street in New York. CCR and co-counsel will be arguing that the executive agency must disclose whether or not it has records related to wiretapping of attorney conversations without a warrant. It is an appeal of the government’s Glomar assertions from litigation seeking information about NSA Program surveillance of attorneys representing detainees at Guantánamo.

“Our work with our clients may have been deeply compromised by illegal surveillance carried out by the last administration,” said Shayana Kadidal, Senior Managing Attorney of the CCR Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative. “The new administration has no legal basis for refusing to come clean about any violations of attorney-client privilege by the NSA.”

Announcing National Use Zazi to Gain New Surveillance Powers Day!

Announcing National Use Zazi to Gain New Surveillance Powers Day!
by Marcy Wheeler | Common Dreams

The last line of this article on how the Najibullah Zazi arrest was a victory for the Obama Administration's approach to terrorism boasts that the Administration didn't have a John Ashcroft-style press conference on the day of the arrest.

With Zazi's arrest, administration officials said they had a renewed sense of confidence that they could approach security threats in a new way. "The system probably worked the way it did before, but we made a conscious decision not to have a big press conference" about Zazi's arrest, a senior official said.

Which is pretty hysterical, coming as it does in one article of several that are obviously similarly seeded, boasting of Obama's new approach to terrorism....The last line of this article on how the Najibullah Zazi arrest was a victory for the Obama Administration's approach to terrorism boasts that the Administration didn't have a John Ashcroft-style press conference on the day of the arrest.

With Zazi's arrest, administration officials said they had a renewed sense of confidence that they could approach security threats in a new way. "The system probably worked the way it did before, but we made a conscious decision not to have a big press conference" about Zazi's arrest, a senior official said.

Which is pretty hysterical, coming as it does in one article of several that are obviously similarly seeded, boasting of Obama's new approach to terrorism....the WaPo focuses on one of the least controversial of the practices, roving wiretaps. It does not discuss how the Administration wants to lower the legal standard for allowing FBI agents to get business records and things like medical records on people who may have no tie to terrorism. It does not talk about National Security Letters, which let the FBI get certain records with no court review. And it does not discuss how the Administration is using more and more data mining of US persons. Read more.

Outside Looking In

Outside Looking In
By Missy Beattie | CounterPunch

Early on, Barack Obama issued the challenge to the American public to make him do it. If we believe in something, anything, we must convince him of our righteousness.

On Monday, about 500 of us gathered at the White House during Obama’s Rose Garden meeting with doctors who are supportive of his health care plan. Through the hedges, we could see movement and I’m certain he and his invitees could hear us as we bullhorned, “Healthcare not warfare.”

We protestors from many organizations, including World Can’t Wait, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, Peace Action, and Witness Against Torture, arrived before the garden party began and as we walked the sidewalk and stated our demands to ‘make him do it,’ police officers told us we could not remain on the sidewalk. “Move to the street,” we were directed.

When I stayed where I was, an officer said, “You’ll have to leave the sidewalk.’ I asked him if my nephew died in Iraq for this—a loss of my freedom to stand on a public sidewalk. Read more.

CA: The Courts, Congress and Executive Power

Take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to explore the historical and legal underpinnings of crucial issues facing our nation, including:

  • The nature and meaning of the “war on terror”
  • Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch
  • The power to initiate war
  • The illegality of aggressive war
  • The power to make and to disregard treaties
  • Presidential signing statements
  • 4th Amendment protections, warrantless wiretaps & searches, and the “war on terror”
  • The State Secrets Doctrine and its effect on the courts
  • Military commissions and enemy combatants
  • Extraordinary rendition and torture
  • Due process rights of U.S. citizens during the “war on terror”

The course will benefit your legal practice and knowledge, no matter what your specialty, as the topics we will address go to the heart of the rule of law itself—the cornerstone of our legal system and form of government. Click here to register.

Every lawyer in California might well find the liberty or property interests of his or her clients directly impaired by governmental claims of emergency authority to enhance national security, as has already occurred during the past decade in cases of arbitrary detention, warrantless surveillance (a subject of extensive ongoing litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California), the use of the state secrets doctrine to impede litigation and prevent disclosure of information (the subject of a groundbreaking case currently pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), and domestic espionage, searches, and seizures that military personnel have conducted, among other controversial federal government practices.

This course will supply lawyers with the knowledge necessary to deepen their knowledge of and successfully apply and defend crucial elements of the Constitution and statutory law, as longstanding legal principles continue to the present day to be challenged or ignored by the federal government in pursuing its ongoing struggle against international terrorism. Click here to register.

Why Three Branches And Two Parties

By David Swanson

Civics 102: Getting Real.

Our government is divided into two parties, balanced by checkbooks. The Republican Party's role is to please lovers of death-match cage combat and Dallas Cowboys fans. The Democratic Party's role is to befriend masochists and Chicago Cubs supporters. Together, the two parties keep the war machine and Wall Street singing in harmony.

A tourist in Washington recently asked for directions to the military industrial complex. The answer: Look deep inside.

Our government's two-party structure established by the founders in the book of Genesis is further subdivided into three branches of government. The executive branch faithfully executes the will of the two parties and is led by a president whose functions are: to please people who think it's exciting that England still has royalty, comfort children who had no fathers, and interest the readers of celebrity gossip magazines.

Our Neighbors' Keeper: Local Cop Chiefs Want to Create a Nation of Snoops

By Dave Lindorff

Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton and other big city cops are calling for a new system of “citizen watch” programs, allegedly to help them spot hidden terrorists. I view this new call for a nation of private spies with a deep suspicion born of experience with the LAPD and its historic penchant for spying on law-abiding residents of that city.

Today! Grand Central! New Yorkers to Stage Dramatic Anti-War Protest As Administration Debates Afghanistan

New Yorkers to Stage Dramatic Anti-War Protest As Administration Debates Afghanistan

What: Theatrical Protest & Photo Op

When: 5:30-7:00pm, Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Where: Grand Central Terminal, New York City

Following Monday’s protest against the US occupation of Afghanistan at the White House, anti-war organizations will gather tomorrow inside Grand Central Terminal.

The World Can’t Wait, Code Pink, War Resisters League, Veterans for Peace, Brooklyn for Peace and others have invited their members to participate.

Organizers cite the report of General Stanley McChrystal projecting a dire outcome for the United States unless Obama further increases troop levels as a reason for immediate urgent protest. This weekend, 10 US military were killed in some of the heaviest losses in the war.

Will Airports Screen For Body Signals? Researchers Hope So

Will airports screen for body signals? Researchers hope so
By Pamela Benson | CNN

The days of being able to walk through airport security checkpoints while wearing shoes and a jacket could return if an experimental program proves successful, some Department of Homeland Security officials say.

The Homeland Security-funded project is Future Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST. Instead of focusing on whether you have hidden explosives or whether you're carrying a weapon, sensors and cameras located at security checkpoints would measure the natural signals coming from your body -- your heart rate, breathing, eye movement, body temperature and fidgeting. Read more.

Twitter Crackdown: NYC Activist Arrested for Using Social Networking Site during G-20 Protest in Pittsburgh

Twitter Crackdown: NYC Activist Arrested for Using Social Networking Site during G-20 Protest in Pittsburgh | Democracy NOW!

Elliot Madison was arrested last month during the G-20 protests in Pittsburgh when police raided his hotel room. Police say Madison and a co-defendant used computers and a radio scanner to track police movements and then passed on that information to protesters using cell phones and the social networking site Twitter. Madison is being charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility, and possession of instruments of crime. Exactly one week later, Madison’s New York home was raided by FBI agents, who conducted a sixteen-hour search. We speak to Elliot Madison and his attorney, Martin Stolar. Read more.

San Diego Preps For "What Do You Really Know About War?" & "Bring Their Buddies Home" Vigil

 

What do you really know about war? Hear from the people who have been there:

 

    • Iraq
    • Afghanistan
    • GI Resistance
    • Women in the Military
    • Homeless Veterans
    • Military Families

When: Sunday, Nov. 8th, 11:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Where: Multi-Purpose Rm - Student Services Center

Keynote Address by Rep. Bob Filner (CA-51), Chairman of Veterans Affairs with highlights from Arlington West & Cross My Heart, by Peter Dudar & Sally Marr. Music by Kevin "Mac Mac" McCoy.

FREE but donations appreciated. REGISTER BEFORE NOV. 4TH FOR FREE LUNCH TICKET. Program followed by a sunset vigil:

Stand in silence along N. Torrey Pines Rd. (North and South of Muir College Drive) for a Sunset Vigil to honor those who have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq We will provide each participant with a memorial page to wear bearing the name of a fallen soldier, or you can bring your own for someone you wish to honor.

DiFi and Pat Leahy, Silencing the Librarians

DiFi and Pat Leahy, Silencing the Librarians
By emptywheel | FireDogLake

There's a cynical passage in the new PATRIOT language that DiFi put forward the other night. It basically creates an exception in the worsened Section 215 language just for libraries.

‘‘(B) if the records sought pertain to libraries (as defined in section 213(1) of the Library Services and Technology Act (20 U.S.C. 9122(1)), including library records or patron lists, a statement of facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the records sought—‘‘(i) are relevant to an authorized investigation (other than a threat assessment) conducted in accordance with subsection (a)(2) to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against inter-national terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities; and ‘‘(ii)(I) pertain to a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; ‘‘(II) are relevant to the activities of a suspected agent of a foreign power who is the subject of such authorized investigation; or ‘‘(III) pertain to an individual in contact with, or known to, a suspected agent of a foreign power;

This language requires that before investigators demand libraries turn over records, they must first prove that the person to whom the records pertain is either an intelligence investigation suspect, or is in contact with one. So for library records, and library records only, the new language requires some showing of reasonable cause first before the investigators can request the information. Read more.

Cindy Sheehan Moving to Washington

ABC's Punch with Jake Tapper: Cindy Sheehan Moving to Washington

“Sometimes I look at what I think Senator McCain would be doing, and what Obama’s doing and I can’t discern any difference. And I think that Obama’s foreign policy is obviously a continuation. When you have Robert Gates. When you have McChrystal. When you have Hillary Clinton, who is supposed to be the secretary of state, but who has always been for these wars of aggression. I see is clearly a continuation, a continuation of the policy of empire,” Sheehan told ABC News.

Park Police arrested Sheehan and 60 other protestors yesterday, after Sheehan chained herself to the fence on the North Lawn. Sheehan says she refuses to pay the fine and that she and other anti-war activists plan to “step up” their protests until the administration shows a willingness to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

“We’re going to create a movement that’s going to demand a change of policy,” she said, explaining that her plan is to create large, coordinated acts of civil resistance, “It’s going to be massive.”

Antiwar Protesters Takeover White House Sidewalk (A Slideshow)

On Monday, around noon, Oct. 5, 2009, a spirited antiwar rally was held in front of the White House. Sixty-one protesters were arrested there in a nonviolent "Civil Resistance" action. Here are some sights and scenes from that event.

Million Moran March

Peace Activists Arrested at White House

UPI video here.

 

 

 

 

 

On Monday, Oct. 5, 2009, just after noon, about 60 activists were arrested at the White House for failing to obey a police order. The nonviolent “Civil Resistance” action was the largest such antiwar demonstration at this particular site, since President Barack Obama took office. Hundreds more participated in the event, but chose not to get arrested. Some of those arrested wore orange jump suits and black hoods. A few had chained themselves to the White House fence. “Peace Mom,” Cindy Sheehan was one of those arrested. According to the press release of the sponsoring groups the action was carried out in order to focus attention on ending the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the U.S. occupation of Iraq; stopping the U.S. drone bombings in Pakistan; and to demand the closing, as a moral and legal issue, of the Gitmo and Bagram prisons. The activists also want the culpable members of the Bush-Cheney Gang brought to the Bar of Justice for their role in sanctioning and carrying out the illegal policy of torture.

See: National Campaign for NonViolent Resistance and DC: Join Pro-Peace & Accountability Groups for Plans & Action 10/3-5/2009 and Voices for Creative NonViolence and for a legal perspective on the practice of nonviolent resistance, check out Professor Frances A. Boyle's’ excellent book, "Protesting Power: War, Resistance, and Law".

For the exact charges placed against each activist arrested and for the exact numbers arrested, and for the organizers’ estimate of the crowd size, go to sites of the groups linked in the above cited press release.

High Court To Decide If War Memorial Violates Constitution

High court to decide if war memorial violates Constitution
By Bill Mears | CNN

A federal judge has ordered the Mojave Cross, a war memorial erected by a veterans group 75 years ago, to be covered. It's boxed in plywood. The issue is less about what the cross symbolizes and more about where it sits: In the middle of the Mojave National Preserve, which is government land....Riley Bembry, who served as a medic in World War I, helped erect the cross in 1934. It sits on a 4,000-foot plateau and was a place of reflection for many vets who retreated to the desert in part to recover from severe lung diseases caused by mustard gas attacks during the Great War. An annual Easter service is held there, but until recently only locals knew about it. The site is not on any maps.

Driving along a pockmarked road amid rocks and Joshua trees in a lonely southern California desert, religious controversy might be the last thing you'd expect to encounter.

And if you don't look too closely, you're likely to zip right past the focus of a hotly contested Supreme Court battle. Read more.

Sibel Edmonds: A Few New Developments in the Makings of a Police State

Sibel Edmonds wrote:

A Few New Developments in The Makings of a Police State

What happened to the month of September?! For me, it just flew by: The Krikorian Case, the American Conservative Magazine article, the latest from former FBI CI Specialist John Cole, several interesting interviews for our upcoming Boiling Frogs Show, building and designing my soon-to-be-launched website…and of course full-time motherhood and my part time job. Well, I am still standing!

I am expecting to have the new site up and running by mid October. Since ‘blogger’ doesn’t have a forwarding function I’ll post the notice for the new site as my last post to direct our readers to the site. It’s not going to be just a new site but the beginning of a new exciting project. Once the move is completed and we are settled, I’ll announce the names of my investigative journalist partners whom you all will recognize, together with a few other projects and objectives.

I’ve been running behind in publishing my next series of Boiling Frogs Interviews. In the next few weeks I’ll post interviews with John Cole (Former FBI CI Specialist), Melvin Goodman (Former CIA Analyst), Richard Barlow (Former CIA Analyst), and Steve Kohn (Attorney & the Founder of National Whistleblowers Center).

Speaking of interviews, here is the transcript of a great interview by Scott Horton with Philip Giraldi and Joe Lauria based on the American Conservative Magazine cover story.

Here is some semi-recent news and developments related to our ‘Police State’ topics I’ve been meaning to post, but for one reason or another were unable to actually sit down and do:

President of words but not actions

Those of you who’ve been following the latest on the President’s half-hearted promises on the future of the State Secrets Privilege may want to check out his latest action in ‘action’ and ‘implementation.’ The informed civil libertarians have been cautioning against celebrating our Attorney General’s vague announcement of improvements in using and implementing this privilege. They are right. The changes are in words only and cosmetic at best. As we all know the new administration has been defending, justifying and actually promoting the former administration’s abuses of this unconstitutional privilege. Here is the latest case: Read more.

Charges Against Yoo Protesters Dropped

Charges Against Yoo Protesters Dropped
By Riya Bhattacharjee | Berkeley Daily Planet

The Alameda County district attorney’s office announced Wednesday, Sept. 23 that it would not press criminal charges against four protesters cited for misdemeanors during a rally at UC Berkeley’s School of Law.

The Aug. 17 rally called for UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo to be fired, disbarred and prosecuted for war crimes for his role in crafting the Bush administration’s torture policies.

UC Police Department officers cited and then released Stephanie Tang, George Cammarota, Elliot Cohen and Donna Norton for trespassing and disturbing the peace on campus when they refused to comply with an order to leave the law school building after exhibiting loud and disruptive behavior.

Tang and Cammarota are members of World Can’t Wait, an activist group that organized the protest in collaboration with Code Pink and the National Lawyers Guild on the day Yoo returned to the Berkeley campus after a semester at Chapman University in Orange County.

Cohen is a former member of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission and Norton lives in Petaluma.

All four joined the protest on the steps of the law school formerly known as Boalt Hall, and then entered the building, where they talked to students and waited for Yoo, a tenured professor, to show up for class.

The group of 60 or so activists, community members, and current and former law school students voiced their desire for a comprehensive criminal investigation into Yoo’s role in the writing of interrogation memos while he was legal counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003.

The Obama administration on Aug. 24 released partially declassified CIA documents that criticized the agency’s interrogation program in 2002 and 2003 as poor, resulting in the use of “unauthorized, improvised, inhumane and undocumented” techniques. Read more.

The Ultimate Media Marriage: Comcast and NBC? The Stuff of Nightmares

The Ultimate Media Marriage: Comcast and NBC? The Stuff of Nightmares
By Susie Madrak | Crooks & Liars

You think you've seen conflicts of interest with Disney owning ABC? You ain't seen nothing yet. Imagine the same people who brought you Comcast just sort of ... massaging the media message in favor of their own corporate strategy. Yes, the same people who charge you for service calls for their unreliable cable will be in charge of the news coverage. Oh boy, what could be better?

NBC Universal executives declined to deny a report Wednesday night that Comcast, the cable giant, is in talks to buy the television and movie company from General Electric.

Comcast also did not deny the report that bankers for the two sides discussed a possible deal Tuesday in New York. Read more.

Civil Rights Groups Seek International Help on Felony Voting

Civil Rights Groups Seek International Help on Felony Voting | Blog of Legal Times

The Sentencing Project and two national civil rights organizations have asked an international human rights body for a hearing on felony disenfranchisement laws in the United States and other countries.

The groups may know as early as next week whether the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will accept their request for a hearing. The groups want the commission to decide whether laws and policies prohibiting convicted felons from voting violate the right to vote free from discrimination under the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man and the American Convention on Human Rights.

"We wanted to bring attention to the issue of felony disenfranchisement and put a human rights framework on the issue," said Marcia Johnson-Blanco, a voting rights attorney with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. "We've been litigating the issue in the courts and felt we sort of hit a block in our system."

By casting the issue as a human rights matter, she explained, advocacy groups have another avenue--an international one--in which to seek change.

The American Civil Liberties Union has joined the Lawyers' Committee and the Sentencing Project in requesting the hearing. Read more.

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