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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Ex-Mayor of New Orleans Guilty on Corruption Charges

Source: Fox

Ex-Mayor of New Orleans Guilty on Corruption Charges

NEW ORLEANS — Former Mayor C. Ray Nagin of New Orleans was found guilty on Wednesday of accepting payoffs for city contracts, becoming the first mayor in the city’s history to be charged and convicted of corruption.

The jury, deliberated for about six and a half hours in total before finding Mr. Nagin, 57, the Democratic mayor for two terms and the face of the city’s leadership during the Hurricane Katrina disaster, guilty in 20 of the 21 counts against him.

Tania Tetlow, a Tulane University law professor and a former federal prosecutor, said Mr. Nagin could be facing 20 years or more under federal sentencing guidelines. Mr. Nagin will remain free on bond, but will be in home detention, the judge said. Sentencing will be at a later date.

The verdict came after a seven-day trial, during which more than 30 witnesses testified, including some businessmen who had pleaded guilty to bribing Mr. Nagin in return for contracting work with the city. The most compelling days of the trial, and the ones that filled a courtroom that was half-empty most of the time, were those when Mr. Nagin himself took the stand, sparring with the prosecutor and dismissing the charges against him as misleading and misinformed.

With multiple witnesses and an extensive paper trial, federal prosecutors described a sequence of transactions between the mayor and various business interests, all following a similar pattern. The owner of a company would be trying to get city work, and would at some point make contact with Mr. Nagin. Mr. Nagin would ask for a favor, often in the form of payments to the granite countertop business Mr. Nagin ran with his two sons.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/13/us/nagin-corruption-verdict.html

House Republicans getting strange email threats—and they're coming from inside the building

Yeah, looks like things can always get crazier:

A group of House Republicans has received a mysterious threat in recent weeks: an anonymous email that promises political retribution for those who for vote yes to a debt-limit increase — sent to their closely guarded personal email addresses.

Because of the near-secret nature of lawmakers’ internal email addresses, the emails have raised more than a few eyebrows — and the possibility that one of their own was behind, or at least assisting in the attacks.

(That would be the debt limit increase that just passed.) All right, so it has to be someone who has access to the list of personal member emails, or was given access to it, and it has to be someone who, well ...

“It’s got to be another member. Probably one of the crazy ones,” said a Republican who had seen the email, which was sent from an anonymous email address, unrepresentative1@gmx.com.


Not The Onion: Sen. Kelsey introduces 'Turn The Gays Away' Bill: "No Goods/Services To Homosexuals"

Sen. Kelsey introduces 'Turn The Gays Away' Bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A new bill was recently introduced in the Tennessee State Legislature that, if passed, would allow people and businesses to refuse to provide goods and services to homosexuals.

It was filed by State Sen. Brian Kelsey, who represents Memphis and Germantown.

The bill notes that businesses can refuse services and goods only if it furthers a civil union, domestic partnership, or same-sex marriage. The person or business would just have to say it was against their religion. For example, if a same-sex couple wanted a cake for their wedding reception, a bakery could refuse to cater to them.

Read more: http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/story/24698365/sen-kelsey-introduces-turn-the-gays-away-bill#axzz2t8TntUYi

U.S. Plunges in Global Press Freedom Rankings As Obama Wages "War on Whistleblowers"

The U.N. General Assembly recently adopted its first resolution on the safety of journalists. Reporters Without Borders is calling on the United Nations to monitor how member states meet their obligations to protect reporters.

A new survey of press freedom around the world that finds the United States has plunged 13 spots, now ranking just 46th among 180 countries. The annual survey by Reporters Without Borders also says Syria is the most dangerous country for journalists, showing a correlation between conflict zones and a low level of press freedom. Other countries that fell lower than in the previous year’s survey, include the civil-war-torn Central African Republic, down 43 spots to 109, and Guatemala, where four journalists were killed last year alone. This comes as the United Nations General Assembly recently adopted its first resolution on the safety of journalists. The group has now called on the United Nations to monitor how member states meet their obligations to protect reporters. We are joined by Delphine Halgand of Reporters Without Borders.

Laid-Off Registered Republican to GOP Congress: "I just want someone to have a freaking heart"

A registered Republican who says he votes "libertarian," Holton has found the experience "maddening." After being laid off in June 2013, Holton, who lives in Mason, Ohio, exhausted his six months' worth of state unemployment benefits, and only received a few weeks of federal insurance before it expired on Dec. 28.

Holton is taking classes to become a network administrator, and he got some part-time work doing housing maintenance. But he's only making $240 a week, significantly less than the $385 he would have received weekly in unemployment benefits. Recently, he has begun contemplating a move to China, convinced that he would be better off there teaching English to foreigners.

"I just want someone to have a freaking heart," he said, referring to members of Congress. "They are going home to a house where all the utilities are paid for, and we are here struggling."


Covering Up Rape For Jesus at Bob Jones University

Covering Up Rape For Jesus
Because morality.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — For decades, students at Bob Jones University who sought counseling for sexual abuse were told not to report it because turning in an abuser from a fundamentalist Christian community would damage Jesus Christ. Administrators called victims liars and sinners.

All of this happened until recently inside the confines of this insular university, according to former students and staff members who said they had high hopes that the Bob Jones brand of counseling would be exposed and reformed after the university hired a Christian consulting group in 2012 to investigate its handling of sexual assaults, many of which occurred long before the students arrived at the university.

Last week, Bob Jones dealt a blow to those hopes, acknowledging that with the investigation more than a year old and nearing completion, the university had fired the consulting group, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, or Grace, without warning or explanation. The dismissal has drawn intense criticism from some people with ties to Bob Jones, and prompted some victims and their allies — including many who were interviewed by Grace investigators — to tell their stories publicly for the first time, attracting more attention than ever to the university’s methods.

On Friday, Stephen Jones, president of the university and great-grandson of its founder, addressed students and employees, saying, “We grew concerned that in the process, Grace had begun going beyond the originally outlined intentions,” but he would not elaborate. He said the university had not told Grace what its concerns were and wanted to discuss them with the consultant but could do so only face to face and felt compelled to fire the firm first.


Hillary Clinton Regretted Speaking With Bob Woodward & thought the press were "complete hypocrites"

Report: Hillary Clinton Regretted Speaking With Bob Woodward

Hillary Clinton regretted speaking with famed reporter Bob Woodward after his chronicle of the Clinton White House's early days hit bookshelves, CNN reported Wednesday.

A note dated July 1994 from the archive of deceased Arkansas-based political scientist Diane Blair, whom Clinton described as her "closest friend" in a 2003 memoir, revealed that the former first lady rued speaking with the Watergate scandal reporter after his book "The Agenda" went on sale.

“She said twice or more that she now regrets having spoken to Woodward, said she felt she had to (because) he was writing it anyway; I guess that’s his schtick,” Blair wrote, as quoted by CNN.

Other notes from Blair's archive showed how deeply Clinton distrusted the media throughout her time in the White House. Blair wrote in 1996 that Clinton thought the press were "complete hypocrites," according to CNN, and elsewhere Blair described her attitude towards the press corps' attention as contemptuous.


- Great news. A court has ruled Gitmo hunger strikers can sue over force feeding

Guantánamo hunger strikers able to challenge force-feeding, court rules
Judges decline to end practice at detention camp but detainees can challenge the conditions of their confinement

Hunger-striking detainees in Guantánamo Bay will be able to challenge in federal court the force-feeding to which many are being subjected, a Washington appeals court ruled on Tuesday, though the judges declined to put an immediate end to the practice.

In a split judgment from the US court of appeals for the DC circuit that deals with Guantánamo, the judges ruled by 2-1 to allow detainees to challenge the conditions of their confinement, specifically force-feeding, in habeas corpus petitions to the federal courts. The decision overturns two earlier rulings by separate district judges who had suggested the military commissions in Guantánamo effectively stripped the federal courts of jurisdiction over detainees and their custodial conditions.

Though the appeal court ruling will do nothing instantly to change the plight of the hunger-striking detainees, it does open the door to challenges against force-feeding in the federal courts. Shayana Kadidal, managing attorney of the Guantánamo project at the Center for Constitutional Rights, predicted there would now be a wave of claims from detainees relating to solitary confinement, force-feeding and policies that prevent the men being able to work with their lawyers on a regular basis.




Michael Sam's Dad went drinking after learning son is gay...‘I’m a man and a woman type of guy’

Michael Sam’s dad: ‘I’m a man and a woman type of guy’
By Zach BrazillerFebruary 12, 2014 | 9:28am

Five days before he told the world he was gay, Michael Sam informed his father of the revelation via text message.

The former University of Missouri football star’s announcement, made through ESPN and the New York Times, went over better with people he didn’t know.

Michael Sam Sr. received the text message: “Dad, I’m gay” Feb. 4 as he was celebrating his birthday at a Denny’s in Dallas. He immediately left the party, the New York Times reported on its website Tuesday.

“I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks,” Sam Sr. said. “I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment.


How Obama Officials Cried ‘Terrorism’ to Cover Up a Paperwork Error

How Obama Officials Cried ‘Terrorism’ to Cover Up a Paperwork Error

After seven years of litigation, two trips to a federal appeals court and $3.8 million worth of lawyer time, the public has finally learned why a wheelchair-bound Stanford University scholar was cuffed, detained and denied a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii: FBI human error.

FBI agent Kevin Kelley was investigating Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 when he checked the wrong box on a terrorism form, erroneously placing Rahinah Ibrahim on the no-fly list.

What happened next was the real shame. Instead of admitting to the error, high-ranking President Barack Obama administration officials spent years covering it up. Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and a litany of other government officials claimed repeatedly that disclosing the reason Ibrahim was detained, or even acknowledging that she’d been placed on a watch list, would cause serious damage to the U.S. national security. Again and again they asserted the so-called “state secrets privilege” to block the 48-year-old woman’s lawsuit, which sought only to clear her name.

Holder went so far as to tell the judge presiding over the case that this assertion of the state secrets privilege was fully in keeping with Obama’s much-ballyhooed 2009 executive branch reforms of the privilege, which stated the administration would invoke state secrets sparingly.

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