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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 42,699

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Supreme Court Declines to Hear (Early) Constitutional Challenge to NSA Bulk Collection

Source: NBC News / AP

@BreakingNews: Supreme Court declines to hear constitutional challenge to the NSA's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records - @AP


Apr. 7, 2014 9:53 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has declined an early look at a constitutional challenge to the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records.

Conservative lawyer Larry Klayman persuaded a federal judge in December to rule that the agency's activities likely violate the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches. The justices on Monday rejected Klayman's unusual request to bypass the traditional appeals process and hear the case immediately.

Klayman says the case is too important to wait for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to reach a decision. The district court judge granted an injunction against the NSA, but put it on hold pending a government appeal.

The Obama administration has defended the NSA program as a crucial tool against terrorism.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/court-rejects-early-appeal-surveillance-ruling

TOM TOMORROW: "Science Stuff" w/ Your Host, Right-Wing Science Dude!

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/04/07/1289373/-Cartoon-Science-Stuff

Support independent cartooning: join Sparky's List—and be sure to visit TT's Emporium of Shopping Fun!

Senate Panel Votes to Declassify Report on CIA Interrogations (Torture)

Source: Reuters

Senate panel votes to declassify report on CIA interrogations

WASHINGTON | Thu Apr 3, 2014 6:51pm EDT

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee voted on Thursday to declassify its long-awaited report on the CIA's use of brutal interrogation methods that critics say amount to torture.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat who chairs the committee, said the vote was 11-3 to declassify what she called the "shocking" results of investigating the Central Intelligence Agency practices under Republican President George W. Bush.

The vote to lift the blackout on the summary and recommendations of the 6,200-page report follows an unprecedented clash by Feinstein with the CIA, and would give the world its first official look at its regimen of interrogation and detentions in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

"The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation. It chronicles a stain on our history that must never be allowed to happen again. This is not what Americans do," Feinstein told reporters after the committee voted during a classified meeting.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBREA321UC20140403

BREAKING: Caps on Total Campaign Giving Struck Down by U.S. Supreme Court

Source: Reuters / Bloomberg

@BloombergNews: BREAKING: Caps on total campaign giving struck down by U.S. Supreme Court.

@SCOTUSblog: Breaking: #scotus strikes down aggregate campaign contribution limits 5-4 per Chief Justice Roberts in McCutcheon case.

Supreme Court strikes down aggregate campaign donation caps

By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON | Wed Apr 2, 2014 10:46am EDT

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday expanded how much political donors can give candidates and parties in federal elections by striking down a key pillar of campaign finance law.

On a 5-4 vote, the court struck down the overall limits on how much individuals can give to candidates, parties and political action committees in total during the federal two-year election cycle.

The ruling leaves in place base limits on how much a donor can give individual candidates and laws that require candidates, parties and political action committees to disclose information about donors.

The court was divided over how sweeping the ruling actually is. The biggest impact is that a single donor can now give the maximum amount by law to as many federal candidates, parties and committees as he or she wishes.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBREA3116V20140402?feedType=RSS&irpc=932

Earthquake, estimated at magnitude 8.0, recorded 83 kilometers NW of Chile

Source: NBC News

@BreakingNews: Major earthquake, estimated at magnitude 8.0, recorded 83 kilometers northwest of Iquique, Chile - @USGS http://t.co/LXG71O2CQi

CNN Breaking News - 8.0-magnitude quake strikes off Chile's coast, USGS says. Tsunami warning issued for Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Reply STOP 2 unsub

Read more: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/at00n3dm1y#summary

BREAKING: Obama's Health Care Law on Track to Hit 7 Million Sign-Ups on Deadline Day

Source: Associated Press

@AP: BREAKING: AP sources: Obama's health care law on track to hit 7 million sign-ups on deadline day.

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR and JOSH LEDERMAN Associated Press Mar 31, 2014, 2:46 PM

Beating expectations, President Barack Obama's health care overhaul was on track to sign up more than 7 million Americans for health insurance on deadline day Monday, government officials told The Associated Press.

The 7 million target, thought to be out of reach by most experts, was in sight on a day that saw surging consumer interest as well as vexing computer glitches that slowed sign-ups on the HealthCare.gov website.

Two government officials confirmed the milestone, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter ahead of an official announcement.

Seven million was the original target set by the Congressional Budget Office for enrollment in taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance through new online markets created under Obama's signature legislation.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/deadline-dash-health-care-sign-ups-amid-glitches-23130500

TOM TOMORROW: The Thin Veil of Rationality ('I've Totally Got A Shot With Gwyneth...')

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/31/1288033/-Cartoon-The-thin-veil-of-rationality

US Appeals Court Upholds Tough New Texas Abortion Restrictions

Source: Associated Press

@AP: BREAKING: US appeals court upholds tough new Texas abortion restrictions.

@AP: MORE: Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers had argued the regulations did not protect women. http://t.co/qDNHJanC9a

Mar. 27, 2014 5:07 PM EDT

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld new abortion restrictions that shuttered many of the abortions clinics in Texas.

A panel of judges on the New Orleans-based U.S. 5th Circuit issued the ruling Thursday, overturning a lower court's decision that the rules violated the U.S. Constitution and served no medical purpose.

Texas lawmakers last year passed some of the toughest restrictions in the U.S. on when, where and how women may obtain an abortion. The Republican-controlled Legislature required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and placed strict limits on doctors prescribing abortion-inducing pills.

In its opinion, the appeals court said the law "on its face does not impose an undue burden on the life and health of a woman."

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-appeals-court-upholds-new-texas-abortion-rules

‘Guardian’ Threatened With Closure Over Snowden Leaks, Conference Told

Source: Irish Times

‘Guardian’ threatened with closure over Snowden leaks, conference told

Deputy editor details extent to which intelligence agencies tried to stop newspaper’s disclosures

Ronan McGreevy

The Guardian newspaper was threatened with closure by the British government over the Edward Snowden spying affair, the Radiodays Europe conference has been told.

The paper’s deputy editor Paul Johnson said Britain’s intelligence agencies visited them and told them they would be closed if they persisted in printing Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance involving the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the UK. Mr Snowden is now in Russia, where he has temporary asylum. He is wanted by the US authorities on espionage charges.

He has been responsible for one of the biggest intelligence leaks of all time, using his access to data systems to reveal the extent to which British and US agencies were spying on ordinary citizens and world leaders including German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Intense scrutiny

Speaking at the Conference Centre Dublin (CCD), Mr Johnson said the Snowden material was much more difficult to work on than the WikiLeaks tapes because of the intense scrutiny the newspaper was subjected to by the British intelligence services.

Read more: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/uk/guardian-threatened-with-closure-over-snowden-leaks-conference-told-1.1738203

Law Firm Hired by Christie Concludes He Had No Role in Bridgegate; Says Zimmer Wrong



— Mar. 27, 2014 11:33 AM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — A law firm hired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says the governor was not involved in a plot to create gridlock near a major bridge as part of a political retribution scheme.

The taxpayer-funded report released Thursday concludes the September lane closures near the heavily traveled George Washington Bridge were intended to target a local mayor. But there was no evidence found that it was because the mayor wouldn't endorse Christie.

The report finds that former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official David Wildstein and ex-Christie aide Bridget Kelly were behind the closures.

The lawyers also found no evidence that Christie tied Superstorm Sandy aid for Hoboken to support for a private redevelopment project.


They essentially called Zimmer a liar. Why would she do that? It makes no sense. This is an embarrassing whitewash attempt.

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