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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
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Attorneys: Brain-Dead Woman's Fetus is 'Distinctly Abnormal'

Source: CBS News

Attorneys: Brain-dead woman's fetus is "distinctly abnormal"

Jan 22, 2014 9:00 PM EST

DALLAS - The pregnant, brain-dead Texas woman being kept on life support over her family's protests is carrying a fetus that is "distinctly abnormal," attorneys for the woman's husband said Wednesday.

Marlise Munoz remains hooked up to machines in a Fort Worth hospital, while her husband and the hospital are locked in a court battle about whether to retain life support.

The case has raised questions about end-of-life care and whether a pregnant woman who is considered legally and medically dead should be kept on life support for the sake of a fetus. The case has gotten the attention of groups on either side of the abortion debate, as anti-abortion groups argue Munoz's fetus deserves a chance to be born.

Erick Munoz said his wife, a fellow paramedic, was clear with him before he found her unconscious on Nov. 26: If she ever fell into this kind of condition, pull life support. But John Peter Smith Hospital says it's bound by state law that prohibits the withdrawal of treatment from a pregnant patient, although several experts interviewed by The Associated Press have said the hospital is misapplying the law.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/brain-dead-pregnant-womans-fetus-is-distinctly-abnormal-husbands-attorneys-say/

Carl Lewis: Christie Wanted Me Out of Senate Race

Source: Associated Press


— Jan. 20, 2014 5:01 PM EST

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis says Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped a plan to appoint him the state's first physical fitness ambassador when he launched a political campaign against a Christie friend.

Lewis said Monday the governor called to dissuade him from running as a Democrat for state Senate in 2011 against Republican Sen. Dawn Addiego (ah-dee-AY'-goh). Lewis says he was told the fitness program they'd been developing wouldn't materialize if he ran. Lewis says the governor felt the post "was a carrot he could pull away."

Lewis withdrew from the Senate race after a court ruled he didn't meet a residency requirement. He now lives in Houston.

Democrats have said recent scandals involving traffic jams and Superstorm Sandy aid are more evidence Christie is a bully.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/carl-lewis-christie-wanted-me-out-senate-race

NJ Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno Incident: 'This Was Way This Administration Worked: To Smear and Bully'



In the Matter of Kim Guadagno

January 20, 2014
One of the interesting and bittersweet aspects of the burgeoning Bridgegate-plus scandal in New Jersey has been the centrality of local newspapers. The original story wasn’t broken by the crack investigative reporters at the New York Times, or the fake-scandal-chasers at 60 Minutes. It was broken by the transportation reporter of the Bergen Record.

- snip -

So I thought I might do a public service by drawing attention to another super-local report that I suspect hasn’t gotten on the radar of many big-paper reporters. I mean, unless you live right here, who reads US1, a weekly that mainly covers sports, movies, and restaurants in the Princeton area? But the current issue has an account of one person’s interactions with Kim Guadagno, the lieutenant governor now accused of threatening storm-wracked Hoboken — and it fits the narrative perfectly:


Long before the bridgegate scandal that has recently embroiled Governor Chris Christie's administration, U.S. 1's Dan Aubrey -- working in 2011 as a contractor for the state Council on the Arts -- had his own run-in with Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno. He shares his saga:


What's New in Princeton & Central New Jersey?
Reprinted from the January 15, 2014, issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper

Defending the Arts Amid a Culture of Fear


- snip -

The decision to bury the site was linked to Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno. The Republican former federal prosecutor and Monmouth County sheriff had become the state’s first lieutenant governor in January, 2010.

In November, 2010, she announced that she was “to refill the area next to the Statehouse as soon as possible to improve the grounds.”

- snip -

As part of ending my involvement with the projects, I contacted a state official with whom I normally communicated with and related what had just transpired. The reply was that this was the way that this administration worked: to smear and bully people — just as the lieutenant governor had done with the arts council. Hmm.

- snip -

As the Star-Ledger noted, “Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno told lawmakers that the council improperly awarded three contracts for public art projects, including several involving the state’s 9/11 Memorial at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The contracts ‘exceeded $300,000 and were awarded to a sole contractor,’ Guadagno said. They ‘were not publicly bid, nor were state procurement practices followed.’”

The article added that “Guadagno blamed the council’s staff for the mistake and expressed frustration that her office, the Department of State, had ‘no oversight authority’ over the arts council or its activities.”

However, “a Star-Ledger review of the contracts and other Department of State documents — including the arts council’s own internal report — shows that the contracts were actually green lighted by the State Department itself,” and that “documents show that the contracts were complex management agreements for three public art commissions and that most of the funds were targeted to artists and fabricators. The ‘sole contractor’ mentioned by Guadagno could only earn about $12,000, according to the terms of the agreements,” said the article.

When the reporter asked the lieutenant governor to respond to the findings, she was told that Guadagno “would not discuss the newspaper’s findings, according to her spokesman, who added that the lieutenant governor would have no further comment until a final audit report is released,” although she was willing to use incomplete findings to smear the council and others.

- snip -

Upon asking me questions and looking over the contracts and clear financial reports — I used separate bank accounts for projects to provide absolute transparency — one of the attorneys summed the situation up with, “This would be ludicrous, if the person making the claims wasn’t so powerful.” Right.


Dad Gets OfficeMax Mail Addressed 'Daughter Killed in Car Crash'

Source: Los Angeles Times

Dad gets OfficeMax mail addressed 'Daughter Killed in Car Crash'

January 19, 2014, 8:34 p.m.
An off-and-on customer of OfficeMax, Mike Seay has gotten the office supply company's junk mail for years. But the mail that the grieving Lindenhurst, Ill., father said he got from OfficeMax last week was different.

It was addressed to "Mike Seay, Daughter Killed in Car Crash."

- snip -

Seay, who is unemployed, said that he isn't interested in suing OfficeMax, but that since his wife was "traumatized" by the letter, he wants an apology from the company's chief executive.

He also wants to know how OfficeMax got the information. The last thing Seay remembers buying at OfficeMax since his daughter's death last February is some paper.

"Why do they have that?" Seay said of the information about his daughter's death. "What do they need that for? How she died, when she died? It’s not really personal, but looking at them, it is. That’s not something they would ever need."

The nation has recently been riveted by the debate over how Americans' personal data is gathered by government agencies, and corporate data-mining has drawn concern as well.

Read more: http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-78961735/

Or not.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer: "This is one of the hardest things I have ever done."

On Twitter an hour ago:

@dawnzimmernj: Thanks to everyone for expressing your support. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

NYT Op/Ed: "The President On Mass Surveillance"


The President on Mass Surveillance

January 17, 2014

In the days after Edward Snowden revealed that the United States government was collecting vast amounts of Americans’ data — phone records and other personal information — in the name of national security, President Obama defended the data sweep and said the American people should feel comfortable with its collection. On Friday, after seven months of increasingly uncomfortable revelations and growing public outcry, Mr. Obama gave a speech that was in large part an admission that he had been wrong.

The president announced important new restrictions on the collection of information about ordinary Americans, including the requirement of court approval before telephone records can be searched. He called for greater oversight of the intelligence community and acknowledged that intrusive forms of technology posed a growing threat to civil liberties.

- snip -

But even as Mr. Obama spoke eloquently of the need to balance the nation’s security with personal privacy and civil liberties, many of his reforms were frustratingly short on specifics and vague on implementation.

The president’s most significant announcement was also the hardest to parse. He ordered “a transition that will end” the bulk collection of phone metadata as it currently exists, but what exactly will end? The database will still exist, even if he said he wants it held outside the government. Mr. Obama should have called for sharp reductions in the amount of data the government collects, or at least adopted his own review panel’s recommendation that telecommunications companies keep the data they create and let the National Security Agency request only what it needs. Instead, he gave the Justice Department and intelligence officials until late March to come up with alternate storage options, seeking a new answer when the best ones are already obvious.

But he added two restrictions that could significantly reduce the possibility of abuse of this information: Wherever the database resides, he said, it may be queried only “after a judicial finding or in the case of a true emergency.” (That calls for a clear definition of “emergency.”) Agency analysts will be permitted to pursue phone calls that are two “hops” removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization, instead of three. That extra hop allowed for the examination of an exponentially larger number of phone calls.

Mr. Obama did not address the bigger problem that the collection of all this data, no matter who ends up holding onto it, may not be making us any safer. That was the conclusion of the president’s review panel as well as a federal judge in Washington who ruled that the bulk-collection program was probably unconstitutional and an extensive report by the New America Foundation finding that the program “has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism and only the most marginal of impacts on preventing terrorist-related activity.”


New York’s Schneiderman Expands Financial Crimes Unit

Source: Bloomberg News

New York’s Schneiderman Expands Financial Crimes Unit

By Chris Dolmetsch
January 17, 2014 2:56 PM EST

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman formed a new unit focused on fighting financial wrongdoing, expanding an existing criminal bureau two years after Governor Andrew Cuomo created a financial regulator with a similar mandate.

Gary Fishman, 44, a former state prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, will serve as chief of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau, an expansion of the existing Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, the attorney general’s office said today in a statement.

“Financial industry leaders who play by the rules deserve a level playing field, and those bad actors who seek to take advantage of their competitors and their neighbors must be stopped and punished,” Schneiderman said in the statement.

New York has intensified market enforcement since the financial crisis. In 2010, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. formed a major economic crimes unit, where Fishman was principal deputy chief. This was followed by Cuomo’s 2011 merger of state insurance and banking regulators into a Department of Financial Services under Benjamin Lawsky, a top prosecutor when Cuomo was attorney general.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-17/new-york-s-schneiderman-expands-financial-crimes-unit.html

Live Feed: NSA Whistleblowers Hold Press Conference After Obama Speech


Top Christie Aides Get Subpoenas in New Jersey Bridge Probe

Source: Reuters

Top Christie aides get subpoenas in New Jersey bridge probe

Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:00am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New Jersey state Senate panel is likely to issue subpoenas next week in its investigation into traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge that were apparently politically motivated, a source said on Friday.

Aides and allies of Christie were also among those targeted by a separate panel convened by the state Assembly, which issued 20 subpoenas seeking information on Thursday in its own investigation.

The Senate panel will meet on Wednesday to vote on the subpoenas as it looks into the abrupt closing of access lanes to the bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in seeming retribution aimed at the small city's Democratic mayor, who failed to endorse Governor Chris Christie's re-election bid last year, the source said.

The bridge scandal surrounding the Republican governor, who is thought to be weighing a bid for the White House in 2016, broke open last week with the public release of emails showing a top Christie aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, appearing to order up traffic problems in Fort Lee.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBREA0F16P20140117
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