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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Friday TOON Roundup 4 - The State of the Holy Land

Friday TOON Roundup 3 -Nation of Immigrants

Friday TOON Roundup 2 - North American Taliban

Friday TOON Roundup 1 - Shot Down

Transcript reveals shocking grand jury intimidation of witness

By Radley Balko July 17 at 4:35 PM
Here’s an eye-opening report from the Houston Chronicle:

In a rare, disturbing glimpse into the shrouded world of the Texas grand jury system, we can read with our own eyes the beginnings of the young woman’s tortured evolution.

Appellate attorneys were so outraged by a 146-page transcript of Dockery’s testimony before the 208th Harris County grand jury on April 21, 2003, that they entered it into the public record for judges to review.

In it, grand jurors don’t just inquire. They interrogate. They intimidate. They appear to abandon their duty to serve as a check on overzealous government prosecution and instead join the team.

The foreman adds that if the evidence shows she’s perjuring herself “then you know the kids are going to be taken by Child Protective Services, and you’re going to the penitentiary and you won’t see your kids for a long time.”

It goes on like that. They eventually browbeat Dockery into completely changing her story. She was then arrested for perjury. She couldn’t make bail. When she was released, she became the prosecution’s star witness. Brown was convicted and sentenced to death.

According to the Chronicle’s Lisa Falkenberg, seven years later, a phone record showed up proving that Brown had called Dockery from her apartment on the morning of the murders, supporting his story — and hers, before she was pressured to change it. That important bit of exculpatory evidence was found in the garage of a Houston homicide detective. Brown is still waiting to learn if he’ll get a new trial.



Ted Cruz Won’t Support Funding For Border Crisis Unless Obama Deports DREAMers

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will likely refuse to support emergency funding to deal with the border migrant crisis unless the Obama administration ends a 2012 presidential initiative that granted temporary deportation reprieve and legal presence to more than 550,000 undocumented youths.

About 90,000 migrant children — mostly from the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala — are expected to cross the border through the end of the 2014 fiscal year. Earlier in the month, Obama requested Congress to approve a $3.7 billion emergency funding package that would improve border security, provide housing facilities for children while they’re in custody, and speed up the deportation proceedings.

Interviews with some migrant children show that many kids are not coming to the country because they believe that they will receive some form of immigration benefit. A recent U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency infographic that shows where about 35,000 child migrants apprehended between October 1 and May 14, 2014 found that “many Guatemalan children come from rural areas, indicating that they are probably seeking economic opportunities in the US. Salvadoran and Honduran children, on the other hand, come from extremely violent regions where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the US preferable to remaining at home.” The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agency found that of 404 children who left Latin America, at least 58 percent of the children cited “international protection needs,” as in they were seeking protection from the international community because their home governments could no longer protect them. A 2012 Vera Institute report found that at least 40 percent of apprehended children are eligible for some form of legal relief from removal. And a Center for American Progress analysis also found that violence is the primary factor during the border surge.

Republican lawmakers like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) have made it political fodder to blame the Obama administration for being “personally responsible” for “incentivizing” unaccompanied children with the promise of “citizenship for anyone in the world who arrives illegally in the country by a certain age.” But the uptick of child refugees has been ongoing since 2009, long before either the Senate comprehensive immigration bill or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program came into public awareness.


Todd Akin’s Pathetic Attempt To Defend ‘Legitimate Rape’ Goes Down In Flames

Former Republican Congressman Todd Akin appeared on MSNBC on Thursday to hawk his new book and defend the now-infamous comments that doomed his 2012 Senate campaign. During an interview in August of 2012, Akin told a local TV station that pregnancy that results from rape is “really rare,” adding, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

In the bizarre 7-minute exchange with host Chuck Todd, Akin invented an entirely new rationale for those comments, suggested that President Bill Clinton is guilty of rape, and clung to the discredited science that underpinned his assertions.

“Legitimate rape is a law enforcement term and its abbreviation for legitimate case of rape,” he began, insisting that he used the term “because of the fact that it’s an abbreviation” for “legitimate case of rape.”

“The thing that strikes me as odd is this is something that was intentionally misunderstood and twisted for political purposes,” he explained, “because it doesn’t make any sense to say a conservative is saying that rape is legitimate.”


Salem Mayor: ‘Apparently, Glenn Beck Is Not Happy With Us’

When Mayor Kim Driscoll ended a contract with Gordon College to manage a historic building in Salem because of the school’s violation of the city’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance, she started to get pummeled by national media personalities like Glenn Beck, which, in turn, led to more than 50 angry phone calls to her office from people out-of-state. And she expects even more.

But rather than merely fielding the inflammatory comments, which Driscoll described as “patently offensive views regarding individuals,” Salem’s mayor decided to flip the negativity on its head.

“We are keeping a tally of these telephone calls,” Driscoll said in a recent letter that she shared with constituents on both her Facebook page and Twitter account. “For each one we receive, I will be making a donation of $5 to nAGLY .”

The “people’s pledge,” phones calls, and attacks from “right-leaning” blogs like Beck’s came after Gordon College’s president filed for an exemption from federal regulations that bar employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Driscoll said. The Christian school’s president was one of 14 religious leaders who signed and sent a letter to request the exemption to the White House, according to the Boston Globe.


Poll: Hillary Clinton best-known, best-liked potential 2016 contender

Hillary Clinton is the best known and best liked of 16 potential 2016 presidential candidates, according to a Gallup survey released Thursday.

The poll found 91 percent of people are familiar with Clinton, and she carries a 19-point net favorable rating.

More than half of the public views the former secretary of State favorably and just over a third views her unfavorably.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), who heads to Iowa Thursday to test the 2016 waters, is among the potential GOP presidential contenders Gallup included in its survey.

Nearly two-thirds of people said they are familiar with Christie. Thirty-three percent view him favorably and 32 percent view him unfavorably.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/polls/212531-poll-clinton-best-known-best-liked-potential-2016-contender

Wyoming Gubernatorial Candidate Calls For Drilling In Yellowstone National Park

There is perhaps no national park more sacrosanct to America than Yellowstone. Anyone who has marveled at its Old Faithful Geyser or looked out at its large herds of roaming bison or stood in awe at its cascading waterfalls has, whether they knew it or not, been the beneficiary of a massively successful government program: conservation of public lands.

But Yellowstone National Park’s days as a pristine ecological retreat could be numbered if Wyoming gubernatorial candidate Taylor Haynes (R) gets his way.

Haynes, a physician and former trustee at the University of Wyoming, wants all national parks and federal lands in Wyoming to be turned over to the state. According to the Casper Star Tribune, Haynes wants to allow all lands in Wyoming, including Yellowstone, to be leased for drilling, mining, and grazing. “We will manage every square inch of Wyoming,” the gubernatorial hopeful said.

The chance that there could soon be drilling in Yellowstone, which in 1872 became the first national park in the world, is exceedingly slim. Haynes is challenging incumbent Gov. Matt Mead (R), who opposes drilling in Yellowstone, in the August 19th primary. Election analysts expect Mead to prevail handily.

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