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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Facebook founder says ‘extremist from Pakistan’ wanted him dead

CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg in a status update said that “an extremist in Pakistan” had fought to have him sentenced to death.

His statement came after the deadly attack on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo; a French satirical magazine, on blasphemy accusations, which killed 12 people.

“A few years ago, an extremist in Pakistan fought to have me sentenced to death because Facebook refused to ban content about Muhammad that offended him,” Zuckerberg said in a status update on the social-networking website.

Explaining the reason for not removing the blasphemous content from Facebook about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Zuckerberg said, “We stood up for this because different voices — even if they’re sometimes offensive — can make the world a better and more interesting place.”



Democrats Rally to Block Fast Track Trade

President Barack Obama is facing renewed opposition to his effort to implement so-called "fast track" trade promotion authority, a power that would enable him to negotiate trade deals and speed them through Congress.

Democrats are rallying a coalition of labor, environmental, and religious groups, backed by a core group of lawmakers, to fight the implementation of the promotion authority they say would give the president free rein to arrange trade deals without input from Congress and with no regard for job loss, food safety, and financial regulation.

Trade promotion authority would grant Congress an "up or down" vote on any trade deal that reached Capitol Hill.

"This is one of the broadest advocacy coalitions that we’ve had," Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut), who is leading the coalition, said during a press conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday. "There is no reason why we should exacerbate the loss of jobs or lower wages in the United States."



Friday TOON Roundup 3 - The Rest






Friday TOON Roundup 2 - This machine mocks Fascists

Friday TOON Roundup 1 - Dishonoring your God

Poor clients pay just to apply for a public defender

by E. Tammy Kim

Newly elected Mayor Ras J. Baraka, a former high school principal and son of the late poet Amiri Baraka, ran on promises of compassionate reform. He would strengthen the public schools, alleviate poverty and use community policing to bring peace to his majority-African American hometown. But in November, a few months into his term, Baraka quietly helped pass a law that criminal justice advocates say will hurt the city’s most vulnerable: He quadrupled the fee Newark Municipal Court can charge poor defendants applying for free legal representation.

The fee hike, from $50 to $200, is the latest notch in the national trend of charging “user fees” to fund struggling courts. The Sixth Amendment and a long line of Supreme Court cases promise a lawyer to every person accused of a crime, even those who cannot pay. In practice, though, indigent clients often do pay for their attorneys, particularly in lower-level courts.

Around the same time as the fee increase in Newark, New Jersey’s superior courts raised a raft of fees to file and respond to civil cases. And the Office of the Public Defender, or OPD, which works in the superior courts, announced that it would charge a flat fee per case, instead of an hourly sum, to encourage more clients to pay.

Baraka’s office has said that judges can waive the $200 application fee if they determine a client cannot pay, and that the increase brings the city’s municipal court — the busiest in the state — in line with those of other jurisdictions. Legal groups, including the Brennan Center for Justice and the American Bar Association, however, warn that public-defender application fees can deter the accused from seeking counsel.



Most MS Patients Who Received Stem Cell Transplants Still in Remission Years Later

Most of the multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who took part in the cutting-edge stem cell study HALT-MS are still in remission years later. The phase 2 study has demonstrated impressive results by rebuilding the immune system using a patient’s own stem cells.

Studying 24 study volunteers who underwent stem cell transplants between 2006 and 2010, Dr. Richard A. Nash of the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute in Denver and his colleagues recently published their findings in JAMA Neurology.

Researchers found that more than 86 percent of the patients remained relapse free after three years, and nearly 91 percent showed no sign of disease progression.



Happy Birthday, Stephen Hawking!

He's 73 today.

Defiant D.C. Politicians Push Ahead With Pot Legalization

Congress recently passed legislation intending to stop the District of Columbia from becoming an East Coast outpost of marijuana legalization, but district politicians are moving forward with efforts to open recreational pot stores anyhow.

Councilman David Grosso, an independent, quietly introduced legislation Tuesday to tax and regulate sales of marijuana like alcohol. Four Democratic colleagues on the 13-member D.C. Council are co-sponsoring the bill.

“I think we’re on the path to seeing this bill enacted,” Grosso tells U.S. News, noting that “by moving this bill forward, we’re directly confronting Congress.”

Grosso introduced a similar bill in 2013, and it passed two council committees last year. In November, district voters overwhelmingly endorsed legalization, with 70 percent approving Initiative 71, which would cast off all penalties for possession of up to 2 ounces of pot for adults 21 and older.



Dems thwart changes to Wall Street reform law

House Democrats on Wednesday thwarted a package of legislation that would have made changes to the 2010 Wall Street reform law.

The measure — one of the first to be considered in the new Congress — was brought up under a fast-track procedure typically considered for noncontroversial legislation that requires a two-thirds majority to pass. But Democratic opposition led to its defeat, by a vote of 276-146.

The package was comprised of 11 bills that were previously considered in the last Congress. It included provisions to delay for two years a portion of Dodd-Frank's so-called Volcker Rule, which prevents banks that make loans and deposits from engaging in speculative activity.

Other parts of the bill were less controversial, such as provisions to allow the Securities and Exchange Commission to establish a pilot program to allow certain companies to increase the minimum price variation at which securities can be quoted.


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