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Hissyspit

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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 44,674

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FBI, DOJ Investigating Former Rep. Aaron Schock's Spending

Source: CBS News

@CBSNews: BREAKING: FBI, DOJ investigating former Rep. Aaron Schock's spending, federal official confirms.

DOJ OPENS CRIMINAL INQUIRY INTO ALLEGATIONS AGAINST REP. AARON SCHOCK

Updated 26 mins ago
WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department has launched a formal criminal investigation into the office and campaign expenses of resigning Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock, as well as his personal business dealings with political donors, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Friday.

The government was convening a federal grand jury in Springfield, Illinois, and the FBI has begun issuing subpoenas to compel people close to the Republican congressman to testify, the person said. The person spoke only on grounds of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the case. The grand jury was hearing testimony in early April, according to the subpoenas.

Schock abruptly resigned on Tuesday, citing a "heavy heart," following six weeks of revelations about his business deals and lavish spending on trips, mileage reimbursements and office decor in the style of "Downton Abbey."

Schock, 33, a young, media-savvy Republican, said in a statement earlier this week that the constant questions about his spending and business dealings made it impossible to serve effectively as congressman.

Read more: http://abc7chicago.com/politics/doj-opens-criminal-inquiry-into-allegations-against-rep-aaron-schock-/566395/

Breaking: Presbyterians Give Final Approval for Same-Sex Marriage

Source: New York Times

Presbyterian Church votes to change definition of marriage in church's constitution to include same-sex marriage - @nytimes

Presbyterians Give Final Approval for Same-Sex Marriage

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
MARCH 17, 2015

After three decades of debate over its stance on homosexuality, members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Tuesday to change the definition of marriage in the church’s constitution to include same-sex marriage.

The final approval by a majority of the church’s 171 regional bodies, known as presbyteries, enshrines a change recommended last year by the church’s General Assembly. The vote amends the church’s constitution to broaden marriage from being between “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”

The Presbytery of the Palisades meeting in Fair Lawn, N.J., put the ratification count over the top on Tuesday on a voice vote. With many presbyteries still left to vote, the tally early Tuesday evening stood at 86 presbyteries in favor and 41 against and one tied.

“Finally, the church in its constitutional documents fully recognizes that the love of gays and lesbian couples is worth celebrating in the faith community,” said the Rev. Brian D. Ellison, executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, which advocates gay inclusion in the church. “There is still disagreement, and I don’t mean to minimize that, but I think we are learning that we can disagree and still be church together.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/18/us/presbyterians-give-final-approval-for-same-sex-marriage.html

Judge to Gov't: 'National Security' Isn't a 'Magic Word' That Allows Constitutional Rights Violation

https://www.aclu.org/blog/immigrants-rights/judge-government-national-security-isnt-magic-word-allows-constitutional-righ

Judge to Government: 'National Security' Isn't a 'Magic Word' That Allows Constitutional Rights Violations

03/16/2015

By Lindsay Nash, Skadden Fellow, Immigrants' Rights Project at 11:20am

For the past seven months, the Department of Homeland Security has been detaining and refusing to release immigrant mothers and children – even newborns – who have fled extreme violence and persecution in Central America to seek refuge in the United States. Why would the government implement such a heartless policy? To send this message to other people who may consider coming in the future: "You're not welcome."

- snip -

But now, by court order, this policy must end.

On February 20, in response to a class-action suit by the ACLU and others, a federal district court in D.C. ruled that it is illegal to detain asylum-seeking families to send a message to others and enjoined the government from doing so. The ACLU represents asylum-seeking families who have already been found by an immigration officer or judge to have a "credible fear" of persecution, meaning there is a "significant possibility" they will be granted asylum. Many have family members living in the United States who are willing to ensure that the families appear for scheduled court appearances.

The heartbreaking stories of our plaintiffs reflect the reasons these families braved a dangerous journey to the United States, and the reasons why they should not be subjected to detention. One is a mother who along with her son fled from Honduras after years of physical abuse at the hands of her son's father; another is a mother who fled from El Salvador with her 5-year-old and 8-month-old daughters to escape brutal and unrelenting abuse by the children's father; and another is a Salvadoran woman who escaped to the United States with her young son and daughter after her common-law husband physically abused her and threatened to kill her children.

Unfortunately, in family detention centers nationwide, these stories are not unique.

In the past, DHS generally did not detain families who arrived in the United States seeking asylum. Most eligible individuals were released if they could show that they were not a flight risk or a danger to the community. However, beginning in the summer of 2014, DHS started detaining families in large numbers as part of an "aggressive deterrence strategy" intended to send a message to other Central Americans that if they sought refuge in the United States, they would be similarly punished. Under this policy, even if families demonstrated that they had a credible fear of persecution and were neither flight risks nor dangerous, DHS refused to consider them for release and kept them locked up.

Sound cruel? It is. It's also unnecessary and illegal.

In its February 20 decision, the district court for the District of Columbia agreed. It ruled that the government cannot continue to lock up these families without determining that these individuals actually pose a danger or flight risk that requires their detention. It made a provisional decision that the case can proceed as a class action and granted a preliminary injunction against the government's policy. This means that DHS must now release families on bond or other conditions unless the family members pose a flight risk or danger.

MORE

"Why I'm Pissed Off At 'Pissed-Off Rednecks'" - Awful Song Of Tthe Year

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/03/14/why-im-pissed-off-at-rednecks-like-you/

Why I’m pissed off at rednecks like you

There’s a cheesy country-western song that is getting quite popular. I admit, I’m not fond of the genre; while there’s the occasional spark of brilliance or great performer, most of it is smug white folks crying about how miserable their lives are while blaring out either fist-pumping patriotism or treacly self-pity. It’s still the music many people grew up with, though, so it’s fine if you like it. You don’t have to rationalize why you like it here, OK?

But some things need explaining. This new song, Pissed Off Rednecks Like Me” is getting a lot of undeserved attention because it is “controversial”. It isn’t — it’s dumb. It feeds a lot of bigotry, though, so bigots are enjoying it.

Let me explain why a lot of people detest Jamie Jones’ terrible little ditty. We’ll just go through the lyrics.

- snip -

This is coming from real America, son
And pissed off rednecks like me

OK, you know why you are “controversial”? It’s because you say idiotic things like that.

You are part of real America. I’m one of those liberal college professors, and I’m also part of real America. I come from a family of blue-collar factory workers, and they’re part of real America. Those black teenagers getting shot in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri? Also real Americans. You don’t get to appropriate the term “American” as only rightfully belonging to rural rednecks. It’s that selfish, unthinking self-righteousness that rankles.

Also, don’t call me “son,” you patronizing asshole.

No, I won’t push one for English
I just as soon hang up the phone

So you are so lazy and arrogant that you would deny people access to basic services because you can’t be bothered to push one button on your phone?

If you wanna serve in a Muslim church
Go and take your ass back home

There you go. You have the right to follow whatever benighted faith you want; that’s guaranteed in the Constitution. But so does the other fellow. Do you even realize that Muslims have been living in America for centuries? That white protestants like you dragged them over to this country in the 18th century as slaves? That they fought and died in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars? There are many Muslims who were born right here in the USA, and you want to tell them to go “home”. This is their home. Get used to it.
MORE

No, the Minimum Wage Isn't Forcing These Seattle Restaurants to Close (COUNTER TO NEW RIGHT-WING BS)

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-no-the-minimum-wage-isnt-20150316-column.html

No, the minimum wage isn't forcing these Seattle restaurants to close

Anti-minimum wage conservatives are in full gloat over a recent report in a Seattle magazine that lots of Seattle restaurants have closed lately or are due to close in the next weeks or months.

The conservatives gleefully associate this phenomenon with the coming increase in the city's minimum wage, which kicks in April 1 with a rise to $11 an hour from $9.32. (Employers whose workers earn tips get a break--they can pay $10 if the workers make up at least another dollar from their tips.) The wage hike builds over time; for employers with fewer than 500 workers, which would probably cover every full-service Seattle restaurant, the ultimate increase to $16.49--or $15 for tip earners--doesn't happen until 2021.

David Watkins of the Lawyers, Guns & Money blog points out that the minimum wage opponents are declaring "We told you so" way too soon. In fact, the article that inspired the gloating doesn't ascribe any of the closings to the minimum wage increase and, indeed, points to different reasons in every case. As for the idea that Seattle restaurants are "closing in record number" (sic), as the Tea Party News Network proclaims, it's just not so.

Here's the rundown. Of the seven restaurants specifically mentioned in Seattle Magazine's March 4 post, one was reported by its owner to be located in the wrong neighborhood for its particular mix of bar space and atmosphere. Another is being offloaded by an owner who has three other restaurants in the city and is opening two more. (A neighboring restaurant is expanding into its space.) A third turned out to be too big for the clientele at its location. Three aren't closing at all, but are getting new chefs because their old boss is moving to Spain to join his partner.

How many owners cited the minimum wage as a factor in their actions? None.

MORE

TOM TOMORROW: Just Kidding!



DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/16/1370685/-Cartoon-Just-kidding

#YOUCANTMAKETHISSH*TUP: McCain Now Blaming Snowstorm For Iran Letter

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026361533


http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-03-13/republicans-feeling-heat-over-iran-letter-express-regrets

Iran
Republicans Feeling Heat Over Iran Letter Express Regrets
Mar 13, 2015 12:23 PM EDT

(Bloomberg) -- At least a few of the Republican senators feeling the backlash from signing an open letter to Iran’s leaders are expressing some second thoughts.

Amid mounting criticism from allies, home-state editorial boards and colleagues who opted not to sign the missive, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson became the latest Republican to suggest he might do things differently if given another chance.

While Johnson said he stood by the content of the letter, which warned Iran that any deal with President Barack Obama might not outlast his term in office, he said it probably shouldn’t have been directed to leaders of the Islamic Republic.

‘I suppose the only regret is who it’s addressed to,’’ Johnson said at a Bloomberg breakfast in Washington. The Wisconsin Republican said it may have been a “tactical error” and that the letter could have been addressed to Obama’s administration or the American people.

Arizona Senator John McCain, a prominent Republican voice on foreign affairs and national security, has said haste and an impending snowstorm in Washington short-circuited more measured consideration of the letter.

“It was kind of a very rapid process. Everybody was looking forward to getting out of town because of the snowstorm,” McCain told Politico in an interview. “I think we probably should have had more discussion about it, given the blowback that there is.”

Obama on GOP Iran Letter Signatories: "I'm Embarrassed For Them."

The president told reporters at the White House on Monday that the lawmakers seemed to be “wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran.” In a recorded interview with the website Vice, an excerpt of which was released Friday, Obama said, “I’m embarrassed for them.”


http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-03-13/republicans-feeling-heat-over-iran-letter-express-regrets

Iran
Republicans Feeling Heat Over Iran Letter Express Regrets
Mar 13, 2015 12:23 PM EDT

(Bloomberg) -- At least a few of the Republican senators feeling the backlash from signing an open letter to Iran’s leaders are expressing some second thoughts.

Amid mounting criticism from allies, home-state editorial boards and colleagues who opted not to sign the missive, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson became the latest Republican to suggest he might do things differently if given another chance.

While Johnson said he stood by the content of the letter, which warned Iran that any deal with President Barack Obama might not outlast his term in office, he said it probably shouldn’t have been directed to leaders of the Islamic Republic.

‘I suppose the only regret is who it’s addressed to,’’ Johnson said at a Bloomberg breakfast in Washington. The Wisconsin Republican said it may have been a “tactical error” and that the letter could have been addressed to Obama’s administration or the American people.

Arizona Senator John McCain, a prominent Republican voice on foreign affairs and national security, has said haste and an impending snowstorm in Washington short-circuited more measured consideration of the letter.

“It was kind of a very rapid process. Everybody was looking forward to getting out of town because of the snowstorm,” McCain told Politico in an interview. “I think we probably should have had more discussion about it, given the blowback that there is.”

MORE

Iraqi Forces Enter IS-Held Tikrit

Source: AFP

Iraqi forces enter IS-held Tikrit

AFP
MAR. 11, 2015, 7:52 AM

Tikrit (Iraq) (AFP) - Iraqi forces entered a northern neighbourhood of Tikrit Wednesday, marking a new stage in the operation launched 10 days ago to wrest the city back from jihadists, army officers said.

"We are now doing combat missions to cleanse the neighbourhood of Qadisiyah," a major general told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"We were able to control Tikrit military hospital, which is close to the centre of the city," he said.

"But we are engaging in a very delicate battle because we are not facing fighters on the ground, we are facing booby-trapped terrain and sniper fire. Our movement is slow," the senior officer said.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-iraqi-forces-enter-is-held-tikrit-2015-3

TOM TOMORROW: The Case of Partisan Hackery vs. Obvious Intent



DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/09/1369297/-Cartoon-The-case-of-Partisan-Hackery-v-Obvious-Intent
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