Wednesday, May 7, 2008


A civil liberties group filed a lawsuit challenging the NYPD's practice of stopping hundreds of thousands of people each year for questioning, saying it is racially biased. The New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit lists New York Post reporter Leonardo Blair as the sole plaintiff, saying he was stopped and frisked by police officers as he walked from his car to his Bronx home last November. He was taken to a police station, where officers expressed surprise that though he was black, he was not from "the projects," the lawsuit said. Blair has a master's degree from Columbia University. The lawsuit said the NYPD has stopped people in New York nearly 1 million times over the last two years. It said more than half of the people targeted were black, even though blacks make up only about a quarter of the city's population. It asks that the practice be declared unconstitutional. - Boston Globe

A half-dozen Philadelphia police officers kicked and beat three men pulled from a car during a traffic stop as a TV helicopter taped the confrontation. Aerial video captures Philly officers in a confrontation with shooting suspects. . . The tape shows about a dozen officers gathering around the vehicle. About a half-dozen officers hold two of the men on the ground. Both are kicked repeatedly, while one is seen being punched; one also appears to be struck with a baton. The third man is also kicked and ends up on the ground. ABC News

Legislation was offered in the Pennsylvania state Senate Tuesday making it illegal to get a divorce in Pennsylvania. Sen. Vincent Fumo, a Philadelphia Democrat, proposed it as a political antidote to a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage and civil unions. But the Senate yesterday tabled the measure that would define marriage as between a man and a woman or the "functional equivalent." Opponents claim the bill's language would ban civil unions among lesbians and gays. So Fumo -- twice-divorced -- never got to advance his no-divorce proposal. In a news release, he challenged proponents of the marriage amendment who claim they are protecting the sanctity of marriage. If that's the case, then "there's no greater threat to families and to marriage than the high divorce rate," Fumo said. - Brad Bumsted, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Lease-abiding renters in four New England states are losing their homes to foreclosure as fast or faster than single-family homeowners who default on mortgages. That's the conclusion of a report released Wednesday by the Washington-based National Low Income Housing Coalition. DC Examiner

Nearly 30 percent of domestic flights were late or canceled in March, more bad news for an industry plagued with safety concerns and buckling under record fuel costs. . . It was the worst March on record and second-worst opening quarter for a year since comparable data began being collected in 1995. One reason for the continued poor performance is that airlines are replacing big planes with smaller ones to fly with fewer empty seats. But that crowds the skies and gates, analysts say.

In a speech at Harvard's Institute of Politics, Chris Matthews admitted that MSNBC bosses were "basically pro-war during the war." The remark came in a larger discussion of top-down editorial control at the network - of which Matthews claimed there was none, citing the fact that many of his bosses supported Hillary Clinton while he has been very vocal for Obama. Huffington Post

Those seeking more information on The Fellowship - or The Family as it's also called - will have a book on the topic out May 20 by Jeff Sharlet from Harper Collins. The largely unreported ties of Hillary Clinton to this group was the topic of on item yesterday in the Review. Sharlet notes that the book is "facing a very tough reception from my colleagues in mainstream media. Not 'tough' as in scrutiny; tough as in it's not slated for much attention at all. The press would simply rather not debate this group, which too many journalists find confusing since it doesn't fit into the traditional categories of pulpit pounders and sweet preachers."

British contingency planners worried there would be a dramatic shortage of tea in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, recently declassified documents showed. The shortfall of the staple British beverage would be "very serious" if the country were to come under attack with atomic and hydrogen bombs, said according to a memo drafted between 1954 and 1956. "The tea position would be very serious with a loss of 75 percent of stocks and substantial delays in imports and with no system of rationing it would be wrong to consider that even one ounce per head per week could be ensured," it said. "No satisfactory solution has yet been found." Agence France Presse

Shelley Batts, Two Minds - Once, back in the day, when I was interning in Ted Kennedy's press office we got a call from a woman (this was a pretty usual occurrence) demanding to know why the CIA, et al were monitoring her brainwaves. Our quick thinking secretary (a Harvard grad making 16k a year for the privilege of working in the Senate) told her to hold he was going to go check the list. He let her sit for a few minutes, got back on the phone, and told her she wasn't on the list and there must be a mistake. He would have her mind control removed immediately and he was sorry for the mix up. She never did call back from what I heard.



At May 7, 2008 6:58 PM, Anonymous m said...

Re: Philly police beating

It is hard to say what concerns one the most about this story. The beating, the PR excuses, or that the police had to know they were being videoed by the news helicopter above them, and they didn't give a damn.


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