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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 42,668

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CNN/ORC Poll: In Major Turnaround from Past, Majority of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana

Source: CNN

CNN Breaking News - CNN/ORC Poll: In a major turnaround from past decades, a majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana.

CNN Poll: Support for legal marijuana soaring

Posted at 8:00 pm by: CNN Political Unit

Washington (CNN) — In a major turnaround from past decades, a majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana, according to a new poll.

The CNN/ORC International survey released Monday also indicated that the number of people who say smoking pot is morally wrong has plunged.

Fifty-five percent of those questioned nationally said marijuana should be made legal, with 44% disagreeing.

The CNN/ORC findings are similar to a Gallup poll conducted in October.

According to the CNN poll and numbers from General Social Survey polling, support for legalizing marijuana has steadily soared over the past quarter century — from 16% in 1987 to 26% in 1996, 34% in 2002, and 43% two years ago.

Read more: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/06/cnn-poll-support-for-legal-marijuana-soaring

Senate Confirms Janet Yellen as New Fed Reserve Chief; 1st Woman to Hold Post

Source: NBC News / Reuters

@BreakingNews: Senate confirms Janet Yellen as new chief of Federal Reserve; 1st woman to hold the post - @ReutersPolitics, @CNBC

Yellen gets final stamp of approval to head U.S. Fed

WASHINGTON | Mon Jan 6, 2014 6:28pm EST

By Thomas Ferraro and Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Janet Yellen, a key force behind the Federal Reserve's unprecedented and controversial efforts to boost the U.S. economy, was confirmed by the Senate on Monday to lead the central bank just as it begins to unwind that stimulus.

When she succeeds Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term as Fed chairman expires on January 31, Yellen will become the first woman to run the Fed in its 100-year history and just one of a handful of women heading central banks globally. She is currently the Fed's vice chair.

The vote to approve her was 56-26. Yellen won resounding support from Democrats, but many Republicans voted no.

The Fed cut overnight interest rates to near zero in late 2008 and has quadrupled its balance sheet to more than $4 trillion through a series of massive bond purchase programs meant to push down longer-term borrowing costs.

Yellen, 67, spent years defending those efforts, arguing both as Bernanke's deputy and before that as head of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank that they would reduce borrowing costs and spur hiring and economic growth.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBREA0506C20140106

Former Obama Official Agrees With Call For Snowden Clemency

Source: The Hill

January 02, 2014, 10:18 am

Former Obama Official Agrees with Call for Snowden Clemency

By Justin Sink

A former top official in President Obama’s State Department tweeted Thursday that she believed Edward Snowden, the intelligence contractor who leaked information about the National Security Agency’s top-secret surveillance programs, should be offered clemency.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former State Department director of policy planning, said she agreed with an editorial in The New York Times that argued Snowden was “clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not.”

“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight,” the editorial read. “He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.”

In her role at the State Department, Slaughter oversaw the Policy Planning Staff, which serves as an internal think tank offering independent policy analysis to the secretary of State. Slaughter, who served under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was the first woman to hold the position.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/194249-former-obama-official-agrees-with-call-for-snowden-clemency

Judge Rules Ex-ALE Director Improperly Fired Because He Was Democrat (North Carolina)

Source: News & Observer (Raleigh)

Under the Dome Blog
Judge rules ex-ALE director improperly fired because he was a Democrat

Posted by Craig Jarvis on December 31, 2013 Updated 8 hours ago

RALEIGH — The McCrory administration was out to get the former director of the state’s alcohol enforcement agency, who had taken a demotion so he could avoid being fired, because he was a prominent Democrat, a judge found Tuesday.

The state improperly fired former Alcohol Law Enforcement Director John Ledford without following its own policy because of his party affiliation, Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr. ruled. The judge ordered Ledford re-instated as an ALE agent, given approximately $44,000 in back pay, and reimbursed $50,000 in attorneys’ fees.

Ledford “was a marked man, politically, following the 2012 election for governor,” Morrison wrote in his ruling.

The judge said he didn’t find credible the state Department of Public Safety’s contention that it began reviewing Ledford’s job demotion and transfer only after two ALE agents filed grievances because the job he took hadn’t been posted. Instead, Morrison wrote, evidence at a hearing showed the governor’s transition team was unhappy with Ledford’s maneuver from the beginning, and that administration officials took an interest in him until he was fired in April.

Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/12/31/3497526/judge-rules-ex-ale-director-improperly.html

"Catastrophic Rather Than Simply Dangerous"


Planet likely to warm by 4C by 2100, scientists warn

New climate model taking greater account of cloud changes indicates heating will be at higher end of expectations

Tuesday 31 December 2013 09.02 EST

Damian Carrington

Temperature rises resulting from unchecked climate change will be at the severe end of those projected, according to a new scientific study.

The scientist leading the research said that unless emissions of greenhouse gases were cut, the planet would heat up by a minimum of 4C by 2100, twice the level the world's governments deem dangerous.
The research indicates that fewer clouds form as the planet warms, meaning less sunlight is reflected back into space, driving temperatures up further still. The way clouds affect global warming has been the biggest mystery surrounding future climate change.

Professor Steven Sherwood, at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, who led the new work, said: "This study breaks new ground twice: first by identifying what is controlling the cloud changes and second by strongly discounting the lowest estimates of future global warming in favour of the higher and more damaging estimates."

"4C would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous," Sherwood told the Guardian. "For example, it would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics, and would guarantee the eventual melting of the Greenland ice sheet and some of the Antarctic ice sheet", with sea levels rising by many metres as a result.


2014? I've got your 2014...!

12 Midnight on the East Coast!

Happy New Year, DU!

NY Suit Challenging Laptop Searches is Tossed

Source: Associated Press


— Dec. 31, 2013 3:56 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. border agents should have the authority to search laptop computers carried by news photographers and other travelers at international border crossings without reasonable suspicion, a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled Friday.

In a written decision, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman granted a government motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by civil rights attorneys that claimed the practice was unconstitutional and sought to have it halted.

Korman found that the plaintiffs hadn't shown they suffered injury that gave them standing to bring the suit. He also cited previous rulings finding that the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches doesn't apply to the government's efforts to secure international borders from outside threats.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers had filed the suit on behalf of the National Press Photographers Association, criminal defense lawyers and a college student: Pascal Abidor, a French-American citizen whose laptop computer was confiscated at the Canadian border.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ny-suit-challenging-laptop-searches-tossed

Former First Lady Barbara Bush Hospitalized in Houston

Source: Associated Press / Guardian

@BreakingNews: Former first lady Barbara Bush is hospitalized in Houston - @KPRCLocal2


HOUSTON (AP) — Former first lady Barbara Bush has been hospitalized in Houston with a respiratory-related issue, her husband's office said Tuesday night.

The statement from the office of former President George H.W. Bush said Mrs. Bush was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on Monday.

"She is in great spirits, has already received visits from her husband and family, and is receiving fantastic care," the brief statement said.

Just last week, Mrs. Bush, 88, and her husband, the 41st president, honored a Houston businessman and philanthropist with a Points of Light Award, a volunteer service award started by the former president.

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/texas/article/Barbara-Bush-hospitalized-in-Houston-5105764.php

TOM TOMORROW: Year In Crazy 2013, Part 2

Daily Kos Link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/30/1263886/-Year-in-crazy-part-two

New York Is Said to Settle Suits Over Arrests at 2004 G.O.P. Convention

Source: New York Times

New York Is Said to Settle Suits Over Arrests at 2004 G.O.P. Convention

Published: December 23, 2013

The City of New York has agreed to resolve hundreds of federal civil rights claims filed by people who said they were unjustly arrested during the 2004 Republican National Convention, according to people familiar with the cases.

- snip -

The arrests led to more than 600 individual claims, of which 112 have been settled. Lawyers also filed a class-action claim covering those who did not file suits.

The agreement would settle all or most remaining lawsuits, and is expected to include payments totaling several million dollars, according to people with knowledge of the cases, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been made public.

- snip -

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly have said repeatedly that the police performed admirably, allowing hundreds of thousands to protest peacefully while guarding against the possibility of vandalism and violence.

Yet there were many critics of the Police Department’s actions: Officers with long orange nets swept up dozens of people at a time, including bicyclists on a raucous ride, people engaged in civil disobedience and passers-by who said that they had no connection to demonstrations.

Last year, a Federal District Court judge ruled that the police had wrongly surrounded and arrested more than 200 marchers on a sidewalk in Lower Manhattan during the convention.

Protesters contended that the mass arrests and prolonged detentions had been calculated to keep them off the streets. Police officials said the many arrests simply overwhelmed the system. On the last day of the convention, a State Supreme Court justice ordered the release of more than 550 of those arrested who had not seen a judge.

Charges against most of the 1,806 people arrested during the convention were dismissed outright or dropped after six months as part of an agreement typical for minor offenses. Of those, about 400 cases were dismissed based on videotape evidence that contradicted the original charges.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/24/nyregion/new-york-is-said-to-settle-suits-over-arrests-at-2004-gop-convention.html
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