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Hissyspit

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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
Number of posts: 45,757

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Patton Boggs Surrenders to Chevron (Equador Pollution Case), Will Pay $15 Million

Source: Bloomberg

Chevron struck another blow in its campaign to undermine a multibillion-dollar pollution judgment it faces in Ecuador. Under tremendous pressure from the oil company, Patton Boggs, the powerful Washington law firm that once vowed to assure the enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment, instead withdrew today from the case.

In an extraordinary concession, Patton Boggs said it regretted its prior involvement in a lawsuit against Chevron, a legal action deemed by a federal judge in New York to have evolved into an extortion scheme aimed at the San Ramon (Calif.) oil company. Patton Boggs also agreed to provide Chevron with supportive documents and testimony and to pay the company $15 million as a tangible symbol of its abasement.

- snip -

The bizarre saga stems from a February 2011 judgment in an Ecuadorian trial court that Chevron is culpable for decades of oil contamination in that country. The liability verdict was upheld by Ecuador’s Supreme Court, but the $19 billion in damages was halved to $9.5 billion.

Chevron refused to pay, arguing that the architect of the judgment, New York plaintiffs’ attorney Steven Donziger, fabricated evidence, coerced Ecuadorian judges, and participated in the ghostwriting of supposedly neutral expert reports and the February 2011 ruling itself. Chevron formalized those allegations in a U.S. civil racketeering suit against Donziger that produced a March 2014 verdict against the plaintiffs’ lawyer. Donziger denies wrongdoing and has appealed. Meanwhile, he and other lawyers for the Ecuadorian plaintiffs have launched legal efforts to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment in Canada, Argentina, and Brazil. Chevron has no assets to speak of in Ecuador.

Read more: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-05-07/patton-boggs-surrenders-in-battle-with-chevron-agrees-to-pay-15-million

Occupy Wall Street Activist Found Guilty of Assaulting Police Officer

Source: The Guardian

Occupy Wall Street activist found guilty of assaulting police officer
• Cecily McMillan faces up to seven years in prison
• Occupy protesters shouting 'shame' led out of courtroom


Jon Swaine in New York
Monday 5 May 2014 15.17 EDT

An Occupy Wall Street activist is facing up to seven years in prison after being convicted by a jury in Manhattan of assaulting a New York police officer as he led her out of a protest.

Cecily McMillan was on Monday afternoon found guilty of deliberately elbowing Officer Grantley Bovell in the face in March 2012. After a trial lasting more than four weeks, the jury of eight women and four men reached their verdict in about three hours.

Judge Ronald Zweibel ordered that McMillan, 25, a graduate student at the New School, be detained. He rejected a request from her lawyers for bail.

“I see absolutely no reason why a remand would be appropriate here,” said Martin Stolar, her lead attorney. “She is not likely to be somebody to cut and run.” Zweibel replied: “Remanded pending sentencing.”

Supporters of McMillan in the courtroom reacted furiously, shouting “shame” and screaming at the more than 30 police officers lining room 1116 at Manhattan criminal court. After half a dozen refused to leave the court, two were carried out by police officers.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/05/occupy-wall-street-cecily-mcmillan-guilty-assaulting-police-officer



Disgusting. This verdict is a joke.


Here's the backstory:

http://www.thenation.com/blog/179330-outrageous-trial-cecily-mcmillan

The Outrageous Trial of Cecily McMillan

Michelle Goldberg on April 14, 2014 - 2:05PM ET

Two years ago, a young activist named Cecily McMillan attended a protest at Zuccotti Park marking the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. When police moved in to clear the demonstrators, a cop roughly grabbed her breast—photos show an ugly bruise—and she ended up being injured so badly that she had a seizure and ended up in the hospital. In a just world, she would be getting restitution from the City. Instead, in a grotesque act of prosecutorial overreach, she's currently on trial for assault and facing up to seven years in prison.

According to prosecutors, McMillan, now 25, intentionally attacked her arresting officer, Grantley Bovel, by elbowing him in the face, and was then hurt when he tried to subdue her. She says that she instinctively struck out when she felt his hand on her breast, not knowing that he was a cop, and was then further assaulted.

Her story is more convincing for a number of reasons. McMillan, a veteran of the anti–Scott Walker protests in Wisconsin, was a dedicated pacifist; in Dissent, her masters thesis adviser Maurice Isserman writes about the "many and long discussions Cecily and I have had about nonviolence." Her injuries, which you can see in this Democracy Now! piece, are indisputable, particularly the hand-shaped bruise on her right breast.

Meanwhile, The Guardian, which has covered McMillan's case closely, reports that Bovel has twice been investigated by Internal Affairs, including for one incident in which he and his partner were alleged to have run down a 17-year-old on a dirt bike. He received a "command discipline" for failing to radio that they were in pursuit. In another case, he was filmed kicking a suspect on the floor of a Bronx bodega. (Unfortunately, the judge in McMillan's case has ruled against turning Bovel's internal disciplinary file over to the defense.) Austin Guest, a protester who was arrested the same day as McMillan, is currently suing him, claiming that Bovel purposefully bashed his head into the seats of a police bus as he was dragged down the aisle.

MORE


And a response to the verdict:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/05/cecily-mcmillan-occupy-guilty-police-violence

Cecily McMillan's guilty verdict reveals our mass acceptance of police violence

Monday 5 May 2014 15.17 EDT

The verdict in the biggest Occupy related criminal case in New York City, that of Cecily McMillan, came down Monday afternoon. As disturbing as it is that she was found guilty of felony assault against Officer Grantley Bovell, the circumstances of her trial reflect an even more disturbing reality – that of normalized police violence, disproportionately punitive sentences (McMillan faces seven years in prison), and a criminal penal system based on anything but justice. While this is nothing new for the over-policed communities of New York City, what happened to McMillan reveals just how powerful and unrestrained a massive police force can be in fighting back against the very people with whom it is charged to protect.

McMillan was one of roughly 70 protesters arrested on March 17, 2012. She and hundreds of other activists, along with journalists like me, had gathered in Zuccotti Park to mark the six-month anniversary of the start of Occupy Wall Street. It was four months after the New York Police Department had evicted the Occupy encampment from the park in a mass of violent arrests.

When the police moved in to the park that night, in formation and with batons, to arrest a massive number of nonviolent protesters, the chaos was terrifying. Bovell claimed that McMillan elbowed him in the face as he attempted to arrest her, and McMillan and her defense team claim that Bovell grabbed her right breast from behind, causing her to instinctively react.

But the jury didn't hear anything about the police violence that took place in Zuccotti Park that night. They didn't hear about what happened there on November 15, 2011, when the park was first cleared. The violence experienced by Occupy protesters throughout its entirety was excluded from the courtroom. The narrative that the jury did hear was tightly controlled by what the judge allowed – and Judge Ronald Zweibel consistently ruled that any larger context of what was happening around McMillan at the time of the arrest (let alone Bovell's own history of violence) was irrelevant to the scope of the trial.

In the trial, physical evidence was considered suspect but the testimony of the police was cast as infallible. Despite photographs of her bruised body, including her right breast, the prosecution cast doubt upon McMillan's allegations of being injured by the police – all while Officer Bovell repeatedly identified the wrong eye when testifying as to how McMillan injured him. And not only was Officer Bovell's documented history of violent behavior deemed irrelevant by the judge, but so were the allegations of his violent behavior that very same night.

MORE

Eric Holder Offers FBI Help For Kidnapped Nigerian Girls

Source: Huffington Post

Eric Holder Offers FBI Help For Kidnapped Nigerian Girls

Laura Bassett
05/05/14 03:12 PM ET

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is offering to send FBI agents to help rescue more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, a senior Justice Department source told The Huffington Post on Monday.

Holder has also ordered an intelligence assessment of Boko Haram, which the United States designated as a terrorist organization in November 2013. The group, whose name means "Western education is sin," receives training from al Qaeda and its affiliates.

"Let me be clear," Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday during a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. "The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime, and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes."

On April 14, members of Boko Haram invaded a boarding school in Nigeria, pulled 276 girls from their beds and packed them into trucks. At least 53 girls have escaped, while the rest are allegedly being sold as brides to local militants for $12, according to the girls' relatives.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/05/eric-holder-offers-to-sen_n_5268566.html

TOM TOMORROW: Justice In America



DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/05/05/1296398/-Cartoon-Justice-in-America

David Sirota: Leaked Docs Show How Wall Street Extracting Massive Fees from Public Pension Systems

@davidsirota: BREAKING: Leaked documents show how Wall Street is extracting massive fees from public pension systems http://t.co/qqVxLMz80l

http://pando.com/2014/05/05/leaked-docs-obtained-by-pando-show-how-a-wall-street-giant-is-guaranteed-huge-fees-from-taxpayers-on-risky-pension-investments

LEAKED: Docs obtained by Pando show how a Wall Street giant is guaranteed huge fees from taxpayers on risky pension investments

BY DAVID SIROTA
ON MAY 5, 2014

- snip -

Thanks to confidential documents exclusively obtained by Pando, we can now see some of the language and fee structures in the agreements between the “alternative investment” industry and major public pension funds. Taken together, the documents raise serious questions about whether the government employees, trustees and politicians overseeing major public pension funds are shirking their fiduciary responsibilities under the law when they are cementing “alternative” investment deals.

The documents, which were involved in a recent SEC inquiry into the $14.5 billion Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS), were handed to us by SEC whistleblower Chris Tobe, an investment consultant and former trustee of the KRS. Tobe has also written a book — “Kentucky Fried Pensions” — about the scandalous state of the Kentucky public pensions system.

The documents provided by Tobe (embedded below) specifically detail Kentucky’s dealings with Blackstone – a giant Wall Street investment firm which has deployed a platoon of registered lobbyists in Kentucky and whose employees are major financial backers of Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R).

The Blackstone-related documents, though, don’t just tell a story about public pensions in Kentucky. The firm, which just reported record earnings, does business with states and localities across the country. The Wall Street Journal reports that “about $37 of every $100 of Blackstone’s $111 billion investment pool comes from state and local pension plans.”

MORE AT LINK

’77 Sunset Strip,’ ‘F.B.I.’ Star Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Dies at 95

Source: Variety

@BreakingNews: Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr., who starred in dramas '77 Sunset Strip' and 'The FBI,' dies at 96, family says - @Variety http://t.co/Mtq8J7lbxz

’77 Sunset Strip,’ ‘F.B.I.’ Star Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Dies at 95

Efrem Zimbalist Jr., a staple of 1960s and ’70s TV as the star of ABC dramas “77 Sunset Strip” and “The F.B.I.,” has died. He was 95.

Zimbalist died Friday at his home in Solvang, Calif., according to a statement issued by his daughter, actress Stephanie Zimbalist, and son Efrem Zimbalist III.

“We are heartbroken to announce the passing into peace of our beloved father, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., today at his Solvang, Calif. ranch. A devout Christian, he actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf, and visiting with close friends.”

Tall, handsome and always well-dressed, Zimbalist starred as the smooth former OSS officer-turned private eye Stuart Bailey who ran a Los Angeles detective agency in “77 Sunset Strip.” The show, one of the first TV series hits from the Warner Bros. studio, ran on ABC from 1958-64.

He returned to the Alphabet the following year as Inspector Lewis Erskine, the methodical leader of “The F.B.I.,” which ran through 1974. His real-life counterpart, FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, was a fan and supporter of the show, and a friend of Zimbalist’s. In 2009, the FBI saluted Zimbalist by making him an honorary agent, the highest honor the bureau can give to a civilian.

Read more: http://variety.com/2014/tv/people-news/77-sunset-strip-f-b-i-star-efrem-zimbalist-jr-dies-at-95-1201170658/

CDC Announces First Case of MERS in U.S.

Source: Bloomberg News

MAY 2, 2014
CDC ANNOUNCES FIRST CASE OF MERS IN U.S.

By Lorraine Woellert

DC, Indiana State Dept of Health conducting investigation into first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in U.S., agency says in statement.

CDC to hold 3pm press briefing

NOTE: 371 cases of virus have been reported in Saudi Arabia since Sept. 2012, Saudi Health Ministry said yesterday


Read more: http://about.bgov.com/2014-05-02/cdc-announces-first-case-mers-u-s/

Florida Senate Approves “Charlotte’s Web” Medical Marijuana Bill

Source: CBS News

Florida Senate Approves “Charlotte’s Web” Medical Marijuana Bill

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign a bill that would legalize the use of low-THC marijuana to treat epilepsy and cancer patients.

The Florida Senate passed the bill Friday after the House overwhelmingly passed it Thursday.

“I’m a parent and a grandparent. I want to make sure my children, my grandchildren, have the access to the health care they want,” said Gov. Scott.

The bill puts some restrictions on the use of the marijuana strain known as Charlotte’s Web. It can have no more than 0.8 percent THC, the chemical that makes users feel high. On average, marijuana has about 15 percent THC, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The strain has normal levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, which is used to treat seizures.

Read more: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2014/05/02/florida-senate-approves-charlottes-web-medical-marijuana-bill

Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams Arrested Over 1972 IRA Killing

Source: Associated Press

SINN FEIN LEADER ARRESTED OVER 1972 IRA KILLING

Apr. 30, 2014 4:21 PM EDT

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Northern Ireland police say they have arrested Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams on suspicion of involvement in the Irish Republican Army's 1972 abduction, killing and secret burial of a Belfast widow.

Adams confirmed his own arrest Wednesday in a prepared statement and described it as a voluntary, prearranged interview.

Police had been expected to question the 65-year-old Adams about the 1972 killing of Jean McConville, whom the IRA executed as an alleged spy. The IRA did not admit the killing until 1998.

Adams was implicated in the killing by two IRA veterans who gave taped interviews to researchers for a Boston College research project. The Northern Ireland police took legal steps to acquire the interviews, parts of which have already been published after one IRA interviewee died.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/sinn-fein-leader-arrested-over-1972-ira-killing

BREAKING: Federal Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin Voter ID Law (Unfairly Burdens Poor, Minorities)

Source: Associated Press

@AP: BREAKING: Federal judge rejects Wisconsin voter ID law, says it unfairly burdens poor and minorities.

FEDERAL JUDGE STRIKES DOWN WISCONSIN VOTER ID LAW

Apr. 29, 2014 2:29 PM EDT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A federal judge in Milwaukee has struck down Wisconsin's voter Identification law, saying it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman issued his long-awaited decision Tuesday. It invalidates Wisconsin's law.

Wisconsin's law would have required voters to show a state-issued photo ID at the polls. Supporters said it would cut down on voter fraud and boost public confidence in the integrity of the election process.

But Adelman sided with opponents, who said it disproportionately excluded poor and minority voters because they're less likely to have photo IDs or the documents needed to get them.

Wisconsin's law was only in effect for a 2012 primary before a Dane County judge declared it unconstitutional.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/federal-judge-strikes-down-wisconsin-voter-id-law
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