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cal04

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Member since: Tue Jan 6, 2004, 12:46 PM
Number of posts: 38,568

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Gov. Perdue Issues Pardon of Innocence for Wilmington 10

Source: Office of the Gov. Bev Perdue

Gov. Bev Perdue today signed a Pardon of Innocence for the Wilmington 10 and issued the following statement:

“I have spent a great deal of time over the past seven months reviewing the pardon of innocence requests of the persons collectively known as the Wilmington Ten. This topic evokes strong opinions from many North Carolinians as it hearkens back to a very difficult time in our state’s past, a period of racial tensions and violence that represents a dark chapter in North Carolina’s history. These cases generate a great deal of emotion from people who lived through these traumatic events.

In evaluating these petitions for clemency, it is important to separate fact from rumor and innuendo. I have decided to grant these pardons because the more facts I have learned about the Wilmington Ten, the more appalled I have become about the manner in which their convictions were obtained.

In 1980, a federal appeals court overturned the convictions in a written decision that highlighted the gross improprieties that occurred during the trial. The federal court determined as a matter of law that numerous instances of prosecutorial misconduct and other constitutional violations took place. Among other things, the court ruled that with regard to the testimony of the prosecution’s key witness – upon whose credibility the case depended entirely -- “the conclusion is inescapable that perjured himself” and that “this fact was bound to be known to the prosecutor . . .” The court also declared that it was undisputed that key documents had repeatedly been withheld from defense lawyers. It also found numerous errors by the trial judge that had the effect of unconstitutionally prejudicing the defendants’ ability to receive a fair trial.

Since the trial ended, the prosecution’s key witness and two supporting witnesses all independently recanted their testimony incriminating the defendants. Furthermore, last month, new evidence was made available to me in the form of handwritten notes from the prosecutor who picked the jury at trial. These notes show with disturbing clarity the dominant role that racism played in jury selection. The notes reveal that certain white jurors believed to be Ku Klux Klan members were described by the prosecutor as “good” and that at least one African American juror was noted to be an “Uncle Tom type.”

This conduct is disgraceful. It is utterly incompatible with basic notions of fairness and with every ideal that North Carolina holds dear. The legitimacy of our criminal justice system hinges on it operating in a fair and equitable manner with justice being dispensed based on innocence or guilt – not based on race or other forms of prejudice. That did not happen here. Instead, these convictions were tainted by naked racism and represent an ugly stain on North Carolina’s criminal justice system that cannot be allowed to stand any longer.

Justice demands that this stain finally be removed. The process in which this case was tried was fundamentally flawed. Therefore, as Governor, I am issuing these pardons of innocence to right this longstanding wrong.”

Read more: http://www.governor.nc.gov/NewsItems/PressReleaseDetail.aspx?newsItemID=2709

President Barack Obama - Exclusive interview on NBC's Meet the Press.

Biden Is Back for a 2nd Run at Gun Limits

Never much known for restraint, Joseph R. Biden Jr. did not hold back during a presidential primary debate in 2007 when a voter asking about gun rights in a recorded video displayed a fearsome-looking semiautomatic rifle and declared, “This is my baby.”

Mr. Biden, then a Delaware senator in a dark-horse bid for the White House, shook his head. “I tell you what, if that’s his baby, he needs help,” he said. “I think he just made an admission against self-interest. I don’t know if he’s mentally qualified to own that gun.”

(snip)
A president intent on pressing Congress to restrict access to high-powered guns could hardly find a more seasoned figure to take charge of the effort. Mr. Biden, who owns two shotguns, brings decades of experience and plenty of scar tissue from past battles with the National Rifle Association to frame recommendations that Mr. Obama wants ready by next month.

(snip)
“He’s basically been doing this for a little over 30 years,” said former Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware, a longtime Biden adviser who was appointed to fill out his term. “I really do believe there isn’t anybody in America who has a better chance of getting this done by Jan. 15 than he does, not just because of his background in guns but because he’s not politically intimidated by the N.R.A., to put it mildly.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/30/us/politics/newtown-task-force-returns-biden-to-gun-control-arena.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=all

Pres.Obama urging state lawmakers to legalize gay marriage in Illinois: Sun-Times exclusive

Source: Lynn Sweet:Chicago Sun-Times

President Barack Obama is urging the Illinois General Assembly to legalize gay marriage in his home state as lawmakers are poised to take up the measure as early as this week in Springfield.

"While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect," White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday.

"As he has said, his personal view is that it's wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally." Inouye said.

The lead sponsors of the "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act," state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), intend to put the measure up for a vote during the upcoming January lame-duck session.

Read more: http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2012/12/obama_urging_state_lawmakers_t.html

President Obama to make first Sunday show appearance in three years

President Barack Obama will make his first Sunday show appearance in more than three years this week, as he and congressional leaders are down to the wire on reaching a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.

His appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" will be his first Sunday show interview since September 2009, when he appeared on five networks to tout his health care law.

While Obama has sat for a number of formal interviews, the major Sunday shows have a tradition and reputation for pressing newsmakers on tough questions, and because of their length, delve deeper than some other interviews. Many of Obama's interviews during his re-election campaign were with local television and radio stations.

(snip)
No doubt the White House is making Obama available on Sunday to pressure lawmakers to deal with the looming fiscal cliff.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/28/obama-to-make-first-sunday-show-appearance-in-three-years/



This Sunday, David Gregory sits down exclusively with President Barack Obama. This will be Mr. Obama's 11th appearance on the program, his second time as the commander in chief. In the midst of fierce fiscal cliff negotiations, we’ll hear directly from the president about where things stand and whether a compromise is even possible. Plus, David will talk with him about other key issues facing the country as he prepares to begin his second term in office.

His most recent appearance was on Sept. 20, 2009 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. At the time, the health care reform fight was center stage in Washington and the President joined MTP to make his case for the overhaul. Watch the full interview below.
http://presspass.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/28/16217487-exclusive-president-obama-meets-the-press-this-sunday?lite





Will post the full lineup tomorrow but here's a few more
Howard Dean, Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Debbie Stabenow Rep. Donna Edwards, Dick Durbin,Chris Van Hollen

Markey: ‘Honored,’ ‘Proud’ To Have Support Of Kerry, Vicki Kennedy

(snip)
The statement:

“Senator Kerry is one of the great senators in our nation's history. I have been proud to fight alongside him, and I am humbled and honored to have his strong support in this race.

“Together, Senator Kerry and I have fought hard for the families in our state and country, standing up against a Republican agenda that benefits billionaires and big oil companies that don’t pay their fair share. This is the kind of leadership we will continue to need in Massachusetts in the face of Tea Party obstructionism.

“The events of the last several weeks, from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, have made it clear Massachusetts needs a senator who will fight the battles Senator Kerry and I have fought – for energy independence and environmental protection policies, as well as for an immediate ban on assault weapons. We need a senator who will protect Massachusetts from the Republican assault on the R&D investments that are vital to our innovation economy.

“Massachusetts voters are facing a critical decision about whether we continue John Kerry's tireless fight for the middle class or if we abdicate more power to the special interests. We must not turn back now. That’s why I want to continue this fight for the values and priorities that will move our state and nation forward and carry on John Kerry’s legacy of leadership in the Senate.”

“Vicki Kennedy is a Massachusetts treasure and a public service powerhouse, and I am proud to have her support in this important race for our state and nation’s future. Vicki is a health care hero, and Massachusetts’s national leadership in providing universal coverage is due in large part to her tireless commitment. Vicki has long heralded the need for sane and aggressive gun control measures, and her voice will be key to finally passing a ban on assault weapons in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. It is because of Vicki’s energy, passion and commitment that Massachusetts and the entire nation are healthier, safer and a place for our children to thrive. I look forward to working with her to promote the health
and best interests of the people of Massachusetts.”

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/markey-honored-proud-to-have-support-of-kerry

Filibuster Reform Champions Say Democrats Have 51 Votes To Change Rules

Source: TPM

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has 51 Democratic votes to reform the filibuster, the two leading champions of weakening the minority's power to obstruct business said Friday.

An aide to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) told TPM he believes Reid -- who has vowed to move forward using the constitutional option next month if Republicans don't sign on -- has secured the necessary votes.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) concurred, according to The Hill, saying: The crucial thing for all of you to know is Harry Reid’s got 51 votes to do the Constitutional option at the beginning of the Congress. My sense is if he can’t get agreement on the other side, then he’s going to go forward.

The two senators are pushing a talking filibuster which would change the rules to require filibustering senators to occupy the floor and speak if they want to halt Senate business.

Read more: http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/filibuster-reform-champions-say-democrats-have-51-votes



Cantwell after the meeting in filibuster reform: There's 51 votes to do something, that's for sure.

https://twitter.com/ryangrim/status/284741805734506497
Ryan Grim

Leading proponent of filibuster reform claims he has 51 votes
http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/274791-leading-proponent-of-filibuster-reform-claims-51-votes-for-nuclear-option

Breaking the Filibuster
http://data.huffingtonpost.com/interactives/2012/12/18/filibuster-reform?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008
The Huffington Post is tracking where Democratic senators stand on filibuster reform — specifically, the "talking filibuster," which would require senators to participate in debate in order to block legislation. If every Republican senator votes against the legislation, 51 Democratic senators — or 50 plus Vice President Joe Biden breaking the tie — will be needed to pass the bill.

4 No / Leaning No
http://data.huffingtonpost.com/interactives/2012/12/18/filibuster-reform?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008









51 Yes / Leaning Yes

The First Lady Reads "'Twas The Night Before Christmas"

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Sen. Sanders: Senior Holiday Dinner - Burlington, VT

Senator Sanders joined more than 400 Vermont seniors to celebrate the holidays with dinner and entertainment in Burlington.



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At an annual holiday dinner for seniors in Burlington, Vt., Sen. Bernie Sanders explained how some in Washington are trying to take benefits away from seniors and disabled Americans.
http://www.facebook.com/senatorsanders

The Nation:The Progressive Honor Roll of 2012

By John Nichols
http://www.thenation.com/article/171867/progressive-honor-roll-2012

The Nation’s annual Most Valuable Progressives Honor Roll has been going strong for the better part of a decade, and its alumni are moving up. Elizabeth Warren is now a senator-elect. Keith Ellison and Raúl Grijalva co-chair the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Two of our most valuable state legislators were elected to Congress on November 6: Wisconsin’s Mark Pocan and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema. Ed Schultz has a prime-time show on MSNBC. The Dream Act dreamers spoke from the podium of the Democratic National Convention, and President Obama and Vice President Biden hailed their courage. But after a long election season and a hopeful outcome, there is still work to be done. Here are some of the Americans doing it.

Most Valuable Progressive: Bernie Sanders

The first senator whose re-election was announced on November 6 wasn’t a Democrat or a Republican; it was independent progressive Bernie Sanders from Vermont. And cheers went up in union halls and campaign offices across the country. Why? Because though he remains intensely focused on the concerns of Vermonters and the fights in the Senate, Sanders has broken the boundaries of conventional politics. By refusing to bend to the compromises and spin of Washington, he has made himself the conscience of the fiscal cliff fight. That’s to be expected. In every austerity debate, Sanders has been resolute, championing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; defending the Postal Service against privatization threats; and opposing media consolidation schemes—whether they’re proposed by reactionary Republicans or disappointing Democrats.

Most Valuable Senator: Jeff Merkley


Most Valuable Representative: Tammy Baldwin



Most Valuable Media Moment: MSNBC Election Night

The transformation of MSNBC from a network seeking its direction to one that defines the discussion was completed on Election Night 2012. While Fox News struggled to accept Mitt Romney’s defeat, with Karl Rove melting down and Bill O’Reilly spinning bizarre new variations on Romney’s ”47 percent” slur, MSNBC’s coverage, as anchored by Rachel Maddow, was smart, professional and expansive when it came to providing insight into how and why progressives won. The network used correspondents (disclosure: including this writer) to get on-the-ground reports from union halls and campaign coordinating centers around the country. MSNBC pushed the discussion beyond the predictable inside-the-Beltway story lines, allowing Ed Schultz and Chris Hayes to go deep on discussions of the role of unions and workers in beating the big money that Rove thought would win the day.

more at link
http://www.thenation.com/article/171867/progressive-honor-roll-2012
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