Monday, December 29, 2008



Wall Street Journal -
An attorney for Gov. Rod Blagojevich has asked the Illinois House committee considering whether to impeach the governor to subpoena more than a dozen witnesses, including President-elect Barack Obama's incoming chief of staff and a senior adviser. State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie said Thursday that the House committee received a letter from Blagojevich attorney Ed Genson asking it to subpoena Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett and more than a dozen others, including Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

Jerome R. Cors, World Net Daily - An attorney for convicted fundraiser Tony Rezko is listed as the owner and taxpayer for Barack Obama's Chicago mansion, according to records obtained by WND. William Miceli is a lawyer at the Chicago law firm Miner, Barnhill & Galland, which also formerly employed Obama. The controversy began when a website called News and Commentary for Thinking People published a 48-page document that lists Miceli as the owner of the Obama home at 5046 S. Greenwood. Miner, Barnhill & Galland was Obama's employer when he did extensive legal work for Rezko, who awaits sentencing after he was convicted in June of fraud, money laundering and bribery-related counts.

Jim Hightower - Contrast [Republican senator's] vindictive tight-fistedness toward Motor City with the way they treated Citigroup, the huge financial conglomerate that was a major cause of our nation's current economic woes. The senators made no demands on this Wall Street fiefdom, simply handing over $25 billion of our money. Yes, this grant to one bank was as large as the total loan being sought by all three of America's auto companies.

But, wait - Citigroup also got another $20 billion from the Federal Reserve, plus a $249 billion government guarantee to cover losses on the bad investments it made. No congressional hearing was held, no vote taken, no scolding about high paychecks. Indeed, while the senators wail about $29-an-hour wages for auto workers, they said nothing about Citigroup's CEO, who'll get $216 million in pay this year - That's $108,000 an hour.


Seattle Times - The top doctor in the Washington Department of Corrections has resigned, saying the use of medical staff to prepare for an execution is unethical. Dr. Marc Stern, who lives in Olympia, said the American Medical Association and Society of Correctional Physicians oppose physician involvement in executions, "and they say physicians should not supervise somebody who is involved in executions.". . . "The only way out we found was for me to recuse myself, and the only way I could recuse myself was to resign," he said. The agency had been set to execute murderer Darold Ray Stenson this month. The execution has been postponed.


CQ Politics - A senior military official pledged to address congressional concerns about a new homeland emergency response task force that is designed to respond to a chemical, biological or nuclear attack. Air Force Gen. Victor E Renuart Jr., commander of U.S. Northern Command, also told reporters that the new force, which will eventually total 20,000 personnel, will not require new funding right now and is not meant to authorize the federal government to enforce martial law. Last week, Rep. John P. Murtha , D-Pa., the chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, complained that Congress had not been properly briefed on the new initiative, complicating its job as steward of the defense budget. Renuart said that he planned to meet with Murtha in the coming weeks to discuss the program. "There have been some misunderstandings on the part of some in Congress on what this force is designed to do," he said. . . The new task force has come under fire from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union that are concerned the move furthers the militarization of the homeland security mission. Critics also say the move could violate the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which aims to prohibit the federal government from using the armed forces in a domestic law enforcement capacity without congressional approval. Renuart said the Pentagon does maintain a capability to impose order following a domestic crisis if law enforcement and national guard security efforts fail. But he added that he did not anticipate that scenario and it is not the mission of the new force.


DC Examiner - For revelers expecting fancy food at their pricey inaugural balls, they ought not expect anything served fresh from the sea or frozen. 'Most events have to be delivered the day before' for security purposes, said Raz Nielsen, director of sales for Occasions Caterers. 'That takes out things like ice cream or raw seafood - we're not recommending sushi or raw bars.'

Washington Post - The D.C. government recently conducted a telephone and Internet survey of charter bus companies east of the Mississippi River, which concluded that about half of their 23,000 vehicles are booked for the inauguration. Estimated number of passengers: 500,000.


Steven Greenhouse, NY Times
- A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled that Starbucks had illegally fired three baristas and otherwise violated federal labor laws in seeking to beat back unionization efforts at several of its Manhattan cafes. The administrative law judge, Mindy E. Landow, found that Starbucks had also broken the law by issuing negative job evaluations to union supporters and prohibiting employees from discussing the union even though the employees were allowed to discuss other subjects not related to work. 'The judge's ruling shows that this company has trampled on workers' rights to organize a labor union,' said one of the fired baristas, Daniel Gross, who is a longtime leader of the effort by the Industrial Workers of the World to unionize Starbucks workers in New York, Minnesota, Michigan and other states.




Gawker -
Aspiring senator Caroline Kennedy might want to hire a vocal coach in addition to her PR help. Today's NYT headline reads "As a Candidate, Kennedy Is Eloquent but Elusive," but the accompanying audio clip says: 12. As in, Kennedy says "you know" a dozen times in the 49-second "I'm a traditional Democrat" clip. . . Politico - She said "you know" 142 times in her recent New York Times interview.

D States - The State of Maryland has filed a $8.5M claim against Premier Election Systems (previously known as Diebold), joining Ohio in seeking damages from the company. The claim alleges that election officials were forced to spend millions of dollars to address multiple security flaws in the machines. Previously, Diebold paid millions to settle a California lawsuit over security issues in their machines. The dispute comes as Maryland and Virginia prepare to scrap the touch screen electronic voting systems they bought after the 2000 presidential election. California, Florida, New Mexico, and Iowa have already switched to optical scanners, and voters in Pennsylvania are suing to prevent the use of paperless electronic voting systems in their state.



Ellen Perlman, Governing -
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, along with Adventure Cycling Association and others, have laid the foundation for a nationwide bicycle network, via a plan that was four years in the making. It could weave together 50,000 miles of bicycle-friendly roads and paths. Now all we need is for states to create the routes and put up signs. Unlike Eisenhower's huge interstate highway plan, or the Obama administration's possible road-building ideas, the bicycle network requires no major digging or paving. It's all about linking together trails, byways, secondary roads and bike trails.


New York Country Lawyer
- The entire transcript of the RIAA's 'perfect storm', its first and only trial, which resulted in a $222,000 verdict in a case involving 24 MP3's having a retail value of $23.76, is now available online. After over a year of trying, we have finally obtained the transcript of the Duluth, Minnesota, jury trial which took place October 2, 2007, to October 4, 2007, in Capitol Records v. Thomas. Its 643 pages represent a treasure trove for (a) lawyers representing defendants in other RIAA cases, (b) technologists anxious to see how a Media Sentry investigator and the RIAA's expert witness combined to convince the jurors that the RIAA had proved its case, and (c) anybody interested in finding out about such things as the early-morning October 4th argument in which the RIAA lawyer convinced the judge to make the mistake which forced him to eventually vacate the jury's verdict. . .


Washington Post -
Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today. The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.


- In the last couple of weeks, we've been hit hard in a way that no one could forecast. You have, no doubt, heard about the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme in which investors have been horribly defrauded of up to $50 billion. What you may not know is that two foundations that have been incredibly generous and longstanding supporters of our national security and reproductive freedom work have been victimized by the Madoff scandal -- forced to close their doors and terminate their grants. That means that $850,000 in support we were counting on from these foundations in 2009 simply won't exist.


According to
the Minneapolis- St Paul Metro Airports Commission, the Larry Craig sex sting bathroom is fading as a tourist attraction. Of course, the commission could have speeded up the process by accepting a $5000 offer for the stall, but it refused


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