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Dems Call for Studies as Industry Assails Proposals to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

By Abraham Lustgarten
ProPublica


Legislators who've been pushing a bill to regulate a controversial natural gas drilling process are now calling for further scientific study, a change in tack made under intense lobbying pressure and after a personal request from Colorado's Democratic governor.

If the lawmakers wait for the results of a study, the bill is unlikely to move forward any time soon.

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., two of the sponsors of the so-called FRAC Act (PDF), a House bill that would establish federal environmental controls over the process of hydraulic fracturing, are now calling for committee hearings and renewed research into the environmental impacts of the drilling method. Last month, Hinchey attached a provision authorizing funding for such a study to a House appropriations bill.

In an interview this week, Hinchey told ProPublica he is not backing off the FRAC Act. He said he is concerned about new reports of water contamination from drilling and thinks a study could bring those incidents to the forefront of the debate.

"What we want to do is make it clear what is going on," Hinchey said. "The appropriations bill is an incremental step. It will continue to focus attention on this."

Asked whether the FRAC Act is losing momentum, Hinchey pointed out that the bill now has 13 sponsors, 10 more than it had in June. But he acknowledged that the energy industry's opposition to the bill has swayed some members of Congress. "It's not moving forward with the rapidity that I would like to see it move forward," he said.

That may be in part because of the difficulties of bringing diverse perspectives together on energy and economic issues, including within the Democratic Party.

In a speech Thursday before the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, a prominent industry trade group, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, assured the group of his support for the natural gas businesses and said he had asked DeGette not to pursue the legislation.

"I encouraged Congresswoman DeGette to consider authorizing a comprehensive study of this issue instead of going directly to a new and potentially intrusive regulatory program," the governor said. "She agreed at that time to go instead to something that would be more in the way of a study instead of an amendment that would prescribe a certain way of every state having to put in place these rules. I thank the congresswoman for having done that."...(Remainder.)

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The Spectator is Hot for Global Warming Denial

By Alex Higgins
The Huffington Post


If there is any credit due to the monstrous legacy of Britain's Margaret Thatcher it is that she -- with her background in science -- always accepted the reality of man-made global warming. The British Conservative Party never took the route of denial that Republicans in the U.S or the Liberal Party in Australia followed. The same cannot be said, alas, for Britain's predominantly right-wing press which has given a great deal of space to Global Warming time-wasting as it once did to denying the link between HIV and AIDS.

This week, the Spectator (a bit like a British counterpart to the National Review) has a front page splash: "Relax: Global Warming is All a Myth" with James Delingpole interviewing Australian denier, Ian Pilmer, publicising his new book.

Global warming denial is not a set of scientific ideas -- it's a collection of bogus factoids which have a zombie-like ability to keep returning to life, seeking new brains to feed on no matter how many times they are shot down.

To give an example. Someone, somewhere at one time decided to claim that the carbon dioxide (CO2 -- our leading contribution to heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere) of volcanoes is greater than that of human industry and transport.

This claim is unambiguously false. Man-made carbon emissions exceed those of volcanoes by a factor of 130.

But no matter. When Martin Durkin's film The Great Global Warming Swindle was broadcast on the UK's Channel 4, there it was. Complete with a little cartoon of a volcano belching out CO2. In one of many edits for errors and distortions, the volcano claim was removed prior to the film's DVD release.

Now Ian Pilmer has written a book, Heaven and Earth, getting a lot of people very excited, and guess what? The volcano factoid is back! Back from the dead, volcanoes are celebrated by deniers one again.

The process goes like this:

1. Global Warming Denier makes claim
2. Claim is comprehensively, indisputably debunked
3. Claim is withdrawn, while Denier publicly continues to assert they are the new Galileo and their critics are religious fanatics with no regard for facts
4. New Global Warming Denier makes exactly the same claim as if previous debate never happened

And on and on. Apparently forever. No matter how often the volcano factoid -- just one of many -- is shown to be false, it will come back. Maybe in a new book, film, newspaper article, bogus scientific paper produced by a think tank funded by industry, from the mouth of a TV pundit, or from a politician. It will survive in a fact-free vacuum, ready to be reborn as required.

The deniers constantly accuse those who understand the basic science of global warming enough to realize they are full of it, of being intolerant, fanatical adherents of dogma. But it is pretty clear who is, and who isn't, susceptible to changing their minds in the face of the facts.

Most of us would wish the deniers were right. The trouble is, the evidence is entirely against them. Unable make an argument, they will latch on to anything -- anything at all -- and reassure themselves with the same zombie factoids all over again....(Remainder.)

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Senior KKK Member Arrested in Tel Aviv

By Yaakov Lappin
The Jerusalem Post


A high-ranking white supremacist on the run from US federal authorities was arrested on Monday night in a south Tel Aviv hideout.

33-year-old Micky Louis Mayon, one of America's 100 Most Wanted criminals, and a member of the Ku Klux Klan, was arrested in a Florentine apartment by the National Immigration Authority's newly formed Oz enforcement unit.

Mayon is wanted in the US on charges of racist assaults, setting fire to vehicles belonging to federal agents, and a host of violence incidents.

The Oz unit was acting on intelligence relayed by Interpol, which informed authorities here that Mayon had entered Israel illegally.

He is said to have moved apartments often in order to evade police, but his efforts proved fruitless on Monday when a delicate operation by the Oz unit saw officers break into his hideout and arrest him.

Oz unit members have the powers of a police officer but can only use them in cases of illegal entry into the country.

Mayon was the subject of an American arrest operation in November 2007, but officers soon realized he had flown to Israel on a one-way ticket. Earlier that year, he reportedly fired his gun in the air repeatedly after being involved in an argument with an African-American. US authorities have described him as a dangerous fugitive.

Oz Unit head Tziki Sela said Mayon was surprised to be arrested, but cooperated with the officers. He has been transferred to a Holon jail facility, where he underwent an immigration hearing. He was then taken to an Israel Prison Authority jail facility....(Original.)

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Roll Back the Darkness in a Sustainable, Cost-Effective Way

By Rep. Steve Israel and Isobel Coleman
The Huffington Post

Imagine a U.S. development program that can dramatically improve global health -- even saving 4,000 lives a day. It can significantly reduce violence against women. It can help combat the effects of climate change. It can enable millions of poor girls to attend school. It can help the world's poorest save and earn more money. And these results can be achieved with relatively small amounts of money in some of the most unstable places like Pakistan and Somalia, where results are most needed.

We are talking about deploying small-scale solar devices through microfinance projects designed to empower woman as small business leaders. Funding solar villages can help meet the basic energy needs of the more than 3 billion people in the world with no reliable access to electricity and be one of the highest returns on investment for U.S. development assistance.

Every day, tens of thousands of people are burned by kerosene lamps. Not only are these lamps dangerous and dirty, they are expensive and provide poor lighting, which destroys eyesight. Solar-powered lanterns can replace the kerosene that billions of poor families rely on to light their homes. Most importantly, solar-powered lanterns and the hours of light they provide bring hours of increased safety and security for communities in dangerous areas. LED lanterns can even double as chargers to power up electrical devices. In terms of cost-effectiveness, an LED lantern pays for itself in less than a year.

Just a few years ago in rural India, a small group of women transformed their lives and their village with a small stock of solar lanterns. The housewives-turned-entrepreneurs sold solar and other renewable energy products; their main income generator was portable solar lamp rentals, which provided eight hours of light to families who rented the lanterns. The women turned a profit, improved their village, and demonstrated the demand for these devices in remote areas. Their success was made possible with a small grant from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a Department of Energy lab located in Colorado....(Remainder.)

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Palin Screed Enchews Facts & Economics in Blasting Cap-and-Trade Bill

By Russ Walker
Grist.org


The cap-and-trade climate and energy bill passed by the House last month is not a perfect piece of legislation. Critics on the right and left have leveled tough criticisms at it, questioning whether it will do much to accomplish its stated goal of cutting carbon emissions or if it will overburden average consumers with high energy prices.

These criticisms, typically, come backed by well-reasoned arguments. The liberal critique of Waxman-Markey focuses on the questionable decision to give away emissions credits to polluters and concerns that the Agriculture Department, not the EPA, will review and regulate carbon offsets in the farming sector. Many conservatives, meanwhile, have argued that the best way to curb emissions and spur a clean-energy revolution is with a carbon tax, not a complicated cap-and-trade scheme.

So when the person John McCain once said knows more about energy policy than anyone else in America pens an op-ed for one of the nation’s highest-regarded newspapers, it’s time to pay attention and learn something.

Sarah Palin, the soon-to-be-ex-governor of Alaska, has an opinion piece (a screed, really) in Tuesday’s Washington Post in which she shrilly blasts away at “President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy plan,” calling it “an enormous threat” to the U.S. economy.

Juicy stuff. Ordinarily, we’d let David Roberts out of his cage to respond, but he’s happily away on vacation. Joe Romm will surely be along in the morning with a strong piece tearing apart Palin’s piece. But for now, here are some first thoughts from me:

Palin’s thesis comes loaded with plenty of rhetoric and zero facts. It offers nothing more than assertions about the emissions reduction part of the bill, ignores the energy investment and green jobs provisions, blames “Washington bureaucrats” for hampering oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (not Congress, where elected lawmakers have repeatedly expressed the American public’s desire to keep ANWR off limits), and fails to even take note of the underlying issue—catastrophic climate change....(Remainder.)

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Four Reasons to Use Cap-and-Trade to Fight Global Warming

By Michael Oppenheimer and Nathaniel Keohane
The Huffington Post


The cap-and-trade law that is solving the acid rain problem is a very rare species: an unmitigated public policy triumph. Sulfur dioxide emitted by power plants has been cut in half at a fraction of the predicted cost. Now, nearly two decades after that landmark bill, cap-and-trade is again taking center stage -- this time in the context of climate change legislation.

Last month, the House of Representatives passed legislation authored by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) that would use a cap-and-trade system to achieve deep cuts in the greenhouse gases that are causing global warming. The action now moves to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged to move similar legislation this fall.

The current momentum for serious climate change legislation should be a cause for celebration among environmentalists. And to be sure, most major environmental groups, including Environmental Defense Fund, have championed the Waxman-Markey bill and the cap-and-trade approach it relies on. Yet despite the proven success of cap and trade, we are already hearing from critics that cap and trade is a giveaway to polluters and ineffective to boot. Critics then argue either that we should tax carbon instead (if they are serious about global warming) or charge that cap-and-trade is just a tax in disguise (if they seek to sabotage it).

Here are four reasons why cap and trade not only differs from a tax, but is a superior, more effective means to slow and eventually halt global warming.

Environmental certainty. Let's keep our eyes on the prize: avoiding dangerous climate change. Emissions need to start declining fast enough in the US, as well as other countries with large emissions, in order to avoid warming that would cause ice sheets to disintegrate, drought to become endemic, and killer heat waves to become the norm. Global warming exceeding 3-4 degrees Fahrenheit would cause such risks to increase markedly. The Waxman-Markey target of a 17% cut below 2005 levels by 2020, and 83% by 2050, can help avoid the danger zone, assuming other countries act quickly, too. A legally binding cap is the only way to assure that this emissions objective will actually be attained....(Remainder.)

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Britain Revokes Israel Arms Permits

By Al Jazeera English

Britain has revoked licences for the sale of military components to Israel after conducting an export review in the wake of Israel's war on Gaza, officials have said.

Five arms-export licences have been cancelled out of 182 that Britain had granted to companies, an Israeli official said on Monday.

The licences all involved parts for the Saar Corvette, a boat used in Israel's 22-day military offensive on the Palestinian territory in December and January.

The British embassy in Tel Aviv said that a "small number" of export licences had been revoked but said no arms embargo on Israel is in place.

"There are no security agreements between the UK and Israel," an embassy spokeswoman said.

"UK policy remains to assess all export licences to Israel against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria."

'Insignificant' change


Israel's defence ministry had no immediate comment on the British decision.

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's foreign minister, said that the cancellations were not of any significance.

"Israel has known many cases of embargo in the past," he told Israel Radio.

"We always knew how to get by, and there is no need to get excited about this."...(Remainder.)

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President Obama Nominates Dr. Benjamin for Surgeon General

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Senator Patrick Leahy to Introduce Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Legislation

Leahy Announces Intent To Introduce Hate Crimes Amendment
To DOD Authorization Bill


Kennedy-Authored Legislation Pending In Senate For More Than A Decade

WASHINGTON (Monday, July 13, 2009) – Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday announced his intent to introduce the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill this week.

Leahy joined with Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) earlier this year to introduce the legislation, which would broaden federal hate crimes law to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Kennedy has a been a long-time advocate of the legislation.

Leahy chaired a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee two weeks ago to examine the legislation, which has been pending in the Senate for more than a decade. The hearing included testimony from Attorney General Eric Holder, who expressed strong support for the legislation on behalf of the administration.

“The hate crimes amendment would improve existing law by making it easier for Federal authorities to investigate and prosecute crimes of racial, ethnic, or religious violence,” said Leahy. “Victims will no longer have to engage in a narrow range of activities, such as serving as a juror, to be protected under Federal law. It also focuses the attention and resources of the Federal government on the problem of crimes committed against people because of their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability, which is a long-overdue protection. In addition, the hate crimes amendment will provide assistance and resources to state, local, and tribal law enforcement to address hate crimes.”

Kennedy said of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, “This bill is long overdue. Hate crimes are especially poisonous. They are acts of domestic terrorism that target whole communities, not just individuals. This bill will bring greater protection to our citizens and much-needed resources for state and local law enforcement to fight these vicious crimes. Now is the time to stand up against hate-motivated violence and recognize the shameful damage it is doing to our nation. We must not delay passage of this bill any longer.”

More than 40 Senators are cosponsors of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The Senate overwhelmingly adopted the legislation as an amendment to the defense authorization bill last year, but was stripped from the final legislation during conference.

Summary. The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act will strengthen the ability of federal, state, local, and tribal governments to investigate and prosecute hate crimes based on race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability. It will strengthen state, local, and tribal efforts by enabling the Justice Department to assist local authorities in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes by authorizing grants to meet the extraordinary expenses often involved in investigating and prosecuting these cases. It also authorizes grants to prevent and deter hate crimes committed by juveniles.

Hate Crimes Covered. Existing hate crimes law covers race, color, national origin, or religion, but only where the victim is engaging in one of the following federally protected activities: (1) attending or enrolling in a public school or public college; (2) participating in a benefit, service, privilege, program, facility or activity administered by a state or local government; (3) applying for or working in private or state employment; (4) serving as a juror in a state court; (5) using a facility of interstate commerce or a common carrier; or (6) enjoying public accommodations or places of exhibition or entertainment. The bill eliminates the outdated “federally protected activities” requirement and expands the federal government’s ability to prosecute crimes targeting victims because of their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.

Federal Assistance and Training Grants. The bill authorizes the Attorney General to provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial and other assistance to state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials for hate crime investigations and prosecutions. In addition, the Justice Department is authorized to increase personnel to better prevent and respond to allegations of hate crimes. The bill also authorizes $5 million for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 for Justice Department grants of up to $100,000 to state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials who have incurred extraordinary expenses associated with investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. Finally, the bill authorizes grants by the Office of Justice Programs to state, local, and tribal programs to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles, including programs to train local law enforcement officers in identifying, investigating, prosecuting, and preventing hate crimes.

Certification Requirement. The bill authorizes the federal government to step in when needed, but only after the Justice Department meets the certification process outlined in the bill. The Justice Department must certify that the state in which the hate crime occurred either does not have jurisdiction; has asked the federal government to assume jurisdiction; a state prosecution has failed to vindicate the federal interest against hate-motivated violence; or a federal prosecution is in the public interest and necessary to secure substantial justice. In other words, rather than take over cases that would normally be pursued at the state or local level, the bill will provide a federal backstop for state and local law enforcement to deal with hate crimes that otherwise might not be effectively investigated and prosecuted, or for which states request assistance.

Collection of Statistics. Currently, the FBI collects statistics on hate crimes based on race, color, national origin, religion, and sexual orientation. This bill increases the federal government’s ability to monitor hate crimes by including statistics on gender and gender identity-based hate crimes, as well as hate crimes committed by juveniles.


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
On Introduction of The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009

As an Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Bill

July 13, 2009

Just moments ago, I left the Judiciary Committee hearing room where we are considering the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. In considering this historic and well qualified nominee, many Americans may feel that our country has turned a pivotal corner on issues equality and civil rights. While I hope that Judge Sotomayor’s nomination will unite us as a Nation, I am aware that much still needs to be done to protect the civil rights of all Americans.

I plan to offer the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 as an amendment to the pending National Defense Authorization Bill. I thank Senator Collins, Senator Snowe, and the other bipartisan cosponsors for their support. This measure has long been a priority for Senator Kennedy, and I commend him for his steadfast leadership over the last decade in working to expand our Federal hate crimes laws.

The amendment I will offer aims to address the serious and growing problem of hate crimes. Recent events at the Holocaust Museum have made clear that these vicious crimes continue to haunt our country. This bipartisan measure is carefully designed to help law enforcement most effectively respond to this problem. It has been stalled for far too long. The time to act is now.

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act has been pending for more than a decade, and has passed the Senate numerous times. Despite its long history in the Senate, it continues to draw the same, tired attacks. Less than two years ago, the Senate passed the hate crimes bill as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. It also passed the Senate in 2004, 2000, and 1999.

Last month, at the request of Senator Sessions and the Republican members of the Judiciary Committee, I chaired a hearing on this bill to ensure that it has been adequately discussed and considered, and that there was an opportunity to explore the minor changes that were made to the bill in this Congress.

It is no doubt a testament to the urgency of this legislation that the Attorney General of the United States returned to the Judiciary Committee for our hearing less than a week after appearing before the Committee at an oversight hearing, so that he could testify in support of this important legislation. We have also heard from state and local law enforcement organizations, all supportive of the measure, and our Committee record includes support letters from dozens of leaders of the faith community and the civil rights community.

I agreed with Senator Sessions when he commented at the end of the hearing that it was a good hearing with a good exchange of views. We have now had more than enough process and consideration of this bill, and it is time at last bring it to another Senate vote.

Last month, shots rang out at the Holocaust Museum, and the alleged gunman was reportedly a known white supremacist and anti-Semite. This most recent violent attack, just blocks away from the Capitol, has certainly renewed bipartisan interest in immediate passage of strengthened hate crimes legislation. The sight of stray bullet holes covering the door of the National Holocaust Museum was a jarring reminder right here in Washington that our country must do more.

From the horrific slayings of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. during the 1990s, to the tragic murder of Louis Ramirez last year, it has long been clear that we must do more to protect all Americans from these crimes. The answer to hate and bigotry has to ultimately be found in increased respect and tolerance for all our citizens. In the meantime, strengthening our Federal hate crimes legislation to give law enforcement the tools they need is a necessary step.

The facts set out in several recent reports show that hate crimes and hate groups remain a major problem. Last month, the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights released a report finding that “the number of hate crimes reported has consistently ranged around 7,500 or more annually, or nearly one every hour of the day.” Similarly, a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that hate groups have increased by 50 percent since 2000, from 602 hate groups in 2000, to 926 in 2008.

The hate crimes amendment would improve existing law by making it easier for Federal authorities to investigate and prosecute crimes of racial, ethnic, or religious violence. Victims will no longer have to engage in a narrow range of activities, such as serving as a juror, to be protected under Federal law. It also focuses the attention and resources of the Federal government on the problem of crimes committed against people because of their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability, which is a long-overdue protection. In addition, the hate crimes amendment will provide assistance and resources to state, local, and tribal law enforcement to address hate crimes.

Last Congress, this legislation was included in the Department of Defense Authorization bill with the bipartisan support of 60 Senators, and I expect that this year, support for this legislation has increased. I was disappointed that the hate crimes provision was taken out of that bill in conference, but I hope that Senators on both sides of the aisle can work together this year and help us to finally enact this bipartisan civil rights measure into law.

Since the last Senate vote on hate crimes, we have made some modest changes requested by Federal law enforcement to ensure that the hate crimes laws work as effectively as possible. We have worked closely with the Justice Department to ensure that we are advancing legislation that is fair, constitutional, and effective in cracking down on brutal acts of hate-based violence.

This amendment would eliminate obstacles present in past versions that could prevent the introduction of relevant evidence necessary to prove that a hate crime occurred. It ensures that Federal prosecutors can rely on evidence of limited and relevant additional conduct to prove that the violent act in question was motivated by bias.

It would also strengthen Federal jurisdiction over hate crimes and clarify key certification requirements to allow the Federal government to appropriately support, but not to substitute for, State and local law enforcement. As a former State prosecutor, respect for local and state law enforcement is important to me. This hate crimes legislation strikes the proper balance between federal and local interests. This legislation would strengthen State and local law enforcement and has received strong support from State and local law enforcement organizations across the country, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National District Attorneys’ Association, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Interfaith Alliance, and more than 300 other law enforcement, civil rights, religious, and other professional organizations. I am placing into the record letters of support from many of these organizations.

This amendment was carefully crafted to respect constitutional limits and differences of opinion. It will combat acts of violence motivated by hatred and bigotry, but it does not target speech, however offensive or disagreeable, and it certainly does not target religious expression.

Indeed, the Constitution does not permit us in Congress to prohibit the expression of an idea simply because we disagree with it. To paraphrase Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, the Constitution protects not only freedom for the thought and expression we agree with, but also the freedom for the thought that we abhor. I am devoted to that principle, and I am confident that this amendment does not contradict it.

President Obama supports the immediate passage of hate crimes legislation. In just a few months in office, he has acted to ensure that Federal benefits are awarded more equitably, regardless of sexual orientation. He has shown through his selection of a nominee for the Supreme Court that he understands that the greatest talent and experience and the highest devotion to the law exist across lines of gender and ethnicity. Unlike in previous years, our bipartisan hate crimes bill does not face a veto threat because we have a President who understands that crimes motivated by bias are particularly pernicious crimes that affect more than just their victims and those victims’ families.

Hate crimes instill fear in those who have no connection to the victim other than a shared characteristic such as race or sexual orientation. For nearly 150 years, we have responded as a Nation to deter and to punish violent denials of civil rights by enacting Federal laws to protect the civil rights of all of our citizens. The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 continues that great and honorable tradition. Adoption of this amendment will show, once again, that America values tolerance and protects all of its people. I urge the opponents of this measure to consider the message it sends when, year after year, we are prevented from enacting this broadly supported legislation. The victims of hate deserve better. I hope all Senators will join me in support of this important amendment.

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UK, Not N. Korea, Source of DDOS Attacks

By Martyn Williams
IDG News Service via Computerworld


The U.K. was the likely source of a series of attacks last week that took down popular Web sites in the U.S. and South Korea, according to an analysis performed by a Vietnamese computer security analyst.

The results contradict assertions made by some in the U.S. and South Korean governments that North Korea was behind the attack. Security analysts had been skeptical of the claims, which were reportedly made in off-the-record briefings and for which proof was never delivered.

The week-long distributed denial of service attack involved sending multiple requests to a handful of Web sites from tens of thousands of computers so the sites became overloaded. Among the sites taken offline at some time during the week were those of the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Treasury, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the South Korea's president's home page, the South Korean national assembly and U.S. Forces Korea.

The computers used to send the flood of requests had been infected with a virus that allowed attackers to use them anonymously.

Every three minutes the infected computers randomly selected one of eight servers to connect to and receive orders, said Nguyen Minh Duc, senior security director at Bach Khoa Internetwork Security (Bkis), in a blog posting on the company's Web site. Bkis says it gained control of two of the eight servers and through this has been able to discover the master server....(Remainder.)

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MSNBC's David Shuster Takes On "Free Republic" For Malia Obama Racist Comments

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The Lying Sack of Dog Mess Criticizes Questioning of Sotomayor...Um, Questioning Starts Tuesday

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The Lying Sack of Dog Mess Continues to Make-Up "Connections" Between Sotomayor, Obama, & ACORN

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Racist Ass Limbaugh Claims That Planned Parenthood Wants to Abort Minorities Out of Existence

Via Media Matters



LIMBAUGH: The Sunday New York Times published a recent interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsburg, and after expressing her annoyance over a 1980 decision that forbids using Medicaid tax dollars for abortions, Justice Ginsburg said this -- I want to quote it: "Frankly, I had thought at the time that Roe was decided that there was concern about population growth, particularly growth in populations we don't want to have too many of, so that Roe was going to then be set up for Medicaid funding for abortion," unquote.

Now growth in populations we don't want to have too many -- that's Planned Parenthood. That was the original goal of Planned Parenthood. The original goal of Planned Parenthood was to abort various minorities out of existence. That was the original purpose. I think in Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsburg's case, when she says that she thinks Roe was about population growth, particularly growth in populations you don't want to have too many of, she's probably thinking about aborting conservatives. But the problem with that is it's the liberals that are aborting each other, or themselves -- their future generations.

Now what's astounding about this is that a matriarch of modern liberalism was candid about the underlying objective of the abortion movement -- that is to rid society of entire populations deemed unworthy. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was an early proponent of this. You know, it's called eugenics. And her aim was to wipe out the African-American population.

Other infamous world figures acted upon similar instincts using other means to object -- achieve their objectives: concentration camps, mass gassings, so-called ethnic cleansings. Planned Parenthood's no different -- Margaret Sanger's Planned Parenthood no different than any of the people that used concentration camps, mass gassing, so-called ethnic cleansings.

And what's just ironic as it can be is that the primary supporters of Planned Parenthood are liberals. And it's -- but here comes Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsburg just out of the box admitting what this is all about.

Now it is all about, you know, a woman's right to choose, I mean that's the umbrella under which it all happens, but I've -- the thing about this group, Planned Parenthood and, you know, you put up an adoption center next to an abortion clinic. And what will happen is the Planned Parenthood people come out and try to keep every pregnant woman possible from going into the adoption center. There's money involved in all of that.

Now Justice Ginsburg has not yet stated which American population she would like to see wiped out using Medicaid taxpayer-funded abortions. New York Times interviewer didn't ask. Perhaps assumed that New York Times readers already know what population Ruth "Buzzi" Gins -- I'm mentioning this now because we've got another one of these type people being investigated today. Confirmation hearings. Sonia Sotomayor is probably right down the path with Justice Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsburg on this issue.

See, somebody like me who can read the stitches on the fastball, read between the lines. Justice Ginsburg's remarks tell the real story and that they ought to dispel for all time any notion of the abortion movements about privacy or choice or freedom, and it should also tell you why they are so damned -- I must say this -- insistent that Medicaid -- that's poor people medical care -- Medicaid money be used for abortions. Tell you why liberals reacted so strongly to my term "feminazi." My term "feminazi" hit way too close to home.

(Original.)

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The Oxy-Moron Declares That "Wise Latina" Remark is "Much Worse" Than "Macaca"

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Failed Congressman Newt Gingrich Repeats Right-Wing Lies Against Sotomayor

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Corporate News Shows Completely Ignore Context of Sotomayor Remarks & GOP Hypocrisy

By Media Matters

In July 13 reports on the first day of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the three evening network news broadcasts advanced conservative myths regarding her nomination. Both ABC's World News and CBS Evening News presented her 2001 comment that she hoped "a wise Latina woman ... would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male" out of context, while mentioning Republican senators' suggestion that Sotomayor harbored "prejudice" or that she was making a general statement that Latinas were better judges then white men. Neither broadcast mentioned that Sotomayor was specifically discussing the importance of judicial diversity in deciding "race and sex discrimination cases." Additionally, both World News and NBC's Nightly News reported Republicans' criticisms of a judge employing "empathy," but did not mention that numerous conservatives -- including Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito -- have previously praised compassion as a judicial attribute and highlighted the importance of the personal experiences of judicial nominees.

In their reports, ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg and CBS' Wyatt Andrews presented Sotomayor's "wise Latina" remarks out of context. Crawford Greenburg reported that "Republicans seized on Sotomayor's comments that a wise Latina would reach a better conclusion than a white male. They said her empathy, as President Obama called it, was code: Sotomayor will decide cases based on feelings, not law." She then aired a clip of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) saying, "Call it empathy, call it prejudice, or call it sympathy, but whatever it is, it's not law." Similarly, Andrews reported that "Republicans plan to focus on her speeches, not her judicial rulings, arguing her speeches hold the key to what she really thinks. Especially her now-famous remark that a wise Latina woman would reach a better conclusion than a white male." He then played a clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) saying, "I think your experience can add a lot to the court, but I don't think it makes you better than anyone else."...(Remainder.)

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GMA Asserts Right-Wing Lie That Sotomayor is "Judicial Activist"

By Media Matters

On the July 13 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg uncritically reported what she said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told her about the confirmation hearings of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, saying that Sessions "wants to make these hearings a teaching moment, in a way contrasting her approach to the law with that of conservatives who think the court should take a more limited role." However, by uncritically repeating Sessions' comments, Greenburg advanced the myth that conservative judges are proponents of judicial restraint while liberal judges practice judicial activism. Moreover, in her report, the only case Greenburg referred to was Ricci v. DeStefano, but the conservative majority's decision in that case wasn't an example of the Supreme Court "tak[ing] a more limited role"; the five-justice majority reversed the determination of the city of New Haven.

As NBC News chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd noted of the Ricci decision: "[T]he majority, actually -- well, to put it bluntly -- legislated from the bench." He further explained: "They put a new rule on instances like this when they said, well, you know, you can't -- you gotta prove that you could lose a lawsuit, not just be sued in order to decide to throw out a test like this," adding that "the irony is that the conservatives criticize this legislating from the bench. Well, it was the conservative majority here that did institute a new rule."

Moreover, not only did conservative Justice Antonin Scalia vote to reverse the city's decision in Ricci; in his concurring statement, he suggested that parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 need to be changed. Scalia wrote that the court's decision in Ricci "merely postpones the evil day on which the Court will have to confront the question: Whether, or to what extent, are the disparate-impact provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 consistent with the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection?" He later wrote: "But the war between disparate impact and equal protection will be waged sooner or later, and it behooves us to begin thinking about how -- and on what terms -- to make peace between them."...(Remainder.)

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Olbermann: The Oxy-Moron Wins the WPITW Bronze for Latina/Macaca Comment

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Senator Al Franken's Statement At Sotomayor Confirmation Hearing

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Former Christian Taliban Leader, Ralph Reed, Aims to Rejuvenate Christian Conservative Whack-a-Doodles

By Aaron Gould Sheinin
The Atlanta Journal Constitution


One of the most controversial and successful figures of late 20th century politics wants to expand his brand to the 21st.

Ralph Reed believes conservative voters of faith need a Christian Coalition 2.0.

And the man once dubbed the “right hand of God” by Time magazine is returning to the arena where he had his greatest success to try and make it so.

“This is not going to be your daddy’s Christian Coalition,” Reed said in an interview to describe his new venture, the Faith and Freedom Coalition. “It has to be younger, hipper, less strident, more inclusive and it has to harness the 21st century that will enable us to win in the future.”

If so, perhaps this really will be a new start. After all, when Reed ran the original Christian Coalition from 1989 to 1997, he famously warned enemies they wouldn’t know what hit them “until you’re in a body bag.”

But, it’s been a decade since Reed left that stage, and he has suffered embarrassments and defeats the past few years.

Now, Reed wants back in. And, judging from the 2008 national elections, Republicans could use the help. But questions remain: Do Republicans need or want Reed’s new group? And can Reed still deliver it if they do?

Reed says the answer to the first question is in the 2008 election results. The GOP was out-hustled, out-spent and out-organized in key states, Reed said. The party needs what he delivered in the 1990s, but with a 21st century update.

“Even though I’ve been doing other things, this is kind of like Steve Jobs returning to Apple,” Reed said....(Remainder.)

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Judge Sotomayor's Opening Statement


OPENING STATEMENT OF JUDGE SONIA SOTOMAYOR

Before the Senate Judiciary Committee

July 13, 2009

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for that kind introduction.

In recent weeks, I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting eighty-nine gracious Senators, including all the members of this Committee. I thank you for the time you have spent with me. Our meetings have given me an illuminating tour of the fifty states and invaluable insights into the American people.

There are countless family members, friends, mentors, colleagues, and clerks who have done so much over the years to make this day possible. I am deeply appreciative for their love and support. I want to make one special note of thanks to my mom. I am here today because of her aspirations and sacrifices for both my brother Juan and me. Mom, I love that we are sharing this together. I am very grateful to the President and humbled to be here today as a nominee to the United States Supreme Court.

The progression of my life has been uniquely American. My parents left Puerto Rico during World War II. I grew up in modest circumstances in a Bronx housing project. My father, a factory worker with a third grade education, passed away when I was nine years old.

On her own, my mother raised my brother and me. She taught us that the key to success in America is a good education. And she set the example, studying alongside my brother and me at our kitchen table so that she could become a registered nurse. We worked hard. I poured myself into my studies at Cardinal Spellman High School, earning scholarships to Princeton University and then Yale Law School, while my brother went to medical school. Our achievements are due to the values that we learned as children, and they have continued to guide my life’s endeavors. I try to pass on this legacy by serving as a mentor and friend to my many godchildren and students of all backgrounds.

Over the past three decades, I have seen our judicial system from a number of different perspectives – as a big-city prosecutor, a corporate litigator, a trial judge and an appellate judge. My first job after law school was as an assistant District Attorney in New York. There, I saw children exploited and abused. I felt the suffering of victims’ families torn apart by a loved one’s needless death. And I learned the tough job law enforcement has protecting the public safety. In my next legal job, I focused on commercial, instead of criminal, matters. I litigated issues on behalf of national and international businesses and advised them on matters ranging from contracts to trademarks.

My career as an advocate ended—and my career as a judge began—when I was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. As a trial judge, I decided over four hundred and fifty cases, and presided over dozens of trials, with perhaps my best known case involving the Major League Baseball strike in 1995.

After six extraordinary years on the district court, I was appointed by President William Jefferson Clinton to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On that Court, I have enjoyed the benefit of sharing ideas and perspectives with wonderful colleagues as we have worked together to resolve the issues before us. I have now served as an appellate judge for over a decade, deciding a wide range of Constitutional, statutory, and other legal questions.

Throughout my seventeen years on the bench, I have witnessed the human consequences of my decisions. Those decisions have been made not to serve the interests of any one litigant, but always to serve the larger interest of impartial justice.

In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law – it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress’s intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand.

The process of judging is enhanced when the arguments and concerns of the parties to the litigation are understood and acknowledged. That is why I generally structure my opinions by setting out what the law requires and then by explaining why a contrary position, sympathetic or not, is accepted or rejected. That is how I seek to strengthen both the rule of law and faith in the impartiality of our justice system. My personal and professional experiences help me listen and understand, with the law always commanding the result in every case.

Since President Obama announced my nomination in May, I have received letters from people all over this country. Many tell a unique story of hope in spite of struggles. Each letter has deeply touched me. Each reflects a belief in the dream that led my parents to come to New York all those years ago. It is our Constitution that makes that Dream possible, and I now seek the honor of upholding the Constitution as a Justice on the Supreme Court.

I look forward in the next few days to answering your questions, to having the American people learn more about me, and to being part of a process that reflects the greatness of our Constitution and of our nation. Thank you.

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Racist & Complete Retard, Jeff Sessions is Oblivious to Hypocrisy of Calling Sotomayor Prejudiced


By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars


Sen. Jeff Sessions' opening salvo against Sonia Sotomayor today was a classic right-wing exercise in obliviousness:
I feel we've reached a fork in the road, I think, and there are stark differences. I want to be clear. I will not vote for, and no senator should vote for, an individual nominated by any president who is not fully committed to fairness and impartiality toward every person who appears before them.

And I will not vote for, and no senator should vote for, an individual nominated by any president who believes it is acceptable for a judge to allow their personal background, gender, prejudices or sympathies to sway their decision in favor of or against parties before the court.

In my view such a philosophy is disqualified. Such an approach to judging means that the umpire calling the game is not neutral, but instead feels empowered to favor one team over another.
Call it empathy, call it prejudice, or call it sympathy, but whatever it is, it's not law. In truth it's more akin to politics, and politics has no place in the courtroom.

... That is, of course, the logical flaw in the empathy standard.
Empathy for one party is always prejudice against another.
Aside from the dubious logic behind that last assertion -- it is, in fact, a highly revealing formulation -- the proof is always in the pudding, isn't it? One can speak high-flown phrases about color-blindness, but the test is how one actually conducts themselves both in the courtroom and in private....(Remainder.)

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Newsbusters Hates Journalism

By Media Matters

Newsbusters -- the Media Research Center blog that thinks news outlets that produce accurate reporting should be fined -- is unhappy that CBS' Harry Smith dared to challenge a Republican Senator's talking points:
Responding to Senator Jeff Sessions describing Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as a "typical liberal activist judge" CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith argued: "You feel like her record indicates that? I mean, she gets a glowing review from the American Bar Association. Her record doesn't seem to necessarily match up with her - what - some of the things she said."
So, Sessions broke out the tired old "activist judge" talking point, and Smith challenged him to explain what he means, pointing out that Sotomayor's record doesn't substantiate that charge. That's what reporters should do when politicians make baseless charges. That's journalism. And Newsbusters just hates it.

But here's what's really funny: Sessions acknowledged that Smith was right. Here's the transcript, as presented by Newsbusters:
SESSIONS: Well, I think there's some truth to that because I believe we are in this country debating about the directions our courts could go and should go. I believe this nominee, from what I've seen so far, is the typical liberal activist judge who will push the law, who believes that – in identity type politics and seeing people as groups more than individuals. Who is-

SMITH: Would her record – you feel like her record indicates that?

SESSIONS: Harry, you know, she-

SMITH: I mean, she gets a glowing review from the American Bar Association.

SESSIONS: I understand-

SMITH: Her record doesn't seem to necessarily match up with her – what – some of the things she said.

SESSIONS: Right. There is a disconnect there, I will agree. Her record is better than her speeches. Her speeches tend to reflect, I think, her philosophy.
(Original.)

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Whack-a-Doodle Glenn Beck Hysterically Claims ACORN is Planning Riots

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For One UK Officer, a Time to Stand and Be Counted

By Danica Kirka and Jennifer Quinn
Associated Press via The Miami Herald


LONDON -- For more than a decade, he had prepared for that moment.

Lt. Cmdr. Craig Jones climbed the staircase into the captain's cabin, with its porthole overlooking the sea and its matched pictures of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. The captain paused in a conversation with his executive officer and took a seat. Jones looked him in the eye and told him he would never again listen to the captain bash gay servicemen.

It was January 2000, and the captain had just announced that gays in Britain could start serving openly in the military.

"I said, 'Look, it's really simple. I'm gay,'" Jones said. "Whilst the changes in policy may not have had a great impact on you, they have a great impact on me."

The assault ship's rattled captain stuttered. There was a policy, yes - but no one had any idea what to do next. The captain asked Jones not to say anything.

Instead, he ended up saying a lot - all the way up to the British military's highest officials.

After all, he'd had time to consider this. For years, he had led a double life.

Jones joined the navy at 1989, eager for adventure, and got his wish. He intercepted drug dealers in the Caribbean, dropped from helicopters, served in the Shatt-al-Arab waterway dividing Iraq and Iran, tracked arms into Northern Ireland.

Then, at 25, he met Adam Mason, the man who would become his partner. Suddenly, he had something to hide.

Jones and Mason set up a clandestine relationship in Brighton, a coastal community with a relaxed attitude toward gays but far from his ship's home port in Portsmouth. Fearing he'd be betrayed by a casual remark, he told neighbors he was a truck driver for Shell....(Remainder.)

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Fox's Talking Gibbon, Cameron, Blatantly Lies About Sotomayor's Sex and Ethnicity Quote

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Fucktard, O'Reilly, Says Country Will "Turn for the Worse" If Sotomayor Like Justice Ginsburg

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Welcome

By Ed Stein
Ed Stein Ink



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Ethically Retarded & Racist, Sen. Tom Coburn Prasied Alito's Empathy...Now He Slams Sotomayor

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