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Member since: Thu Dec 23, 2004, 11:30 AM
Number of posts: 4,518

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FBI Turns Animal Cruelty Into Top-Tier Felony

Source: abcNews

Young people who torture and kill animals are prone to violence against people later in life if it goes unchecked, studies have shown. A new federal category for animal cruelty crimes will help root out those pet abusers before their behavior worsens and give a boost to prosecutions, an animal welfare group says.

For years, the FBI has filed animal abuse under the label "other" along with a variety of lesser crimes, making cruelty hard to find, hard to count and hard to track. The bureau announced this month that it would make animal cruelty a Group A felony with its own category — the same way crimes like homicide, arson and assault are listed.

"It will help get better sentences, sway juries and make for better plea bargains," said Madeline Bernstein, president and CEO of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles and a former New York prosecutor.

The category also will help identify young offenders, and a defendant might realize "if he gets help now, he won't turn into Jeffrey Dahmer," she said.

Law enforcement agencies will have to report incidents and arrests in four areas: simple or gross neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse, including dogfighting and cockfighting; and animal sexual abuse, the FBI said in statement. The bureau didn't answer questions beyond a short statement.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/fbi-turns-animal-cruelty-top-tier-felony-25889135

Yaaay! The FBI is making the connection!

Incredible Coincidence! By Jeff Simpson Washington is Still Digging! (CogDis)


Published on Jul 26, 2012

"Incredibly, Scott Walker put out an ad which looked eerily similar:"

Inside the Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire


Together, Charles and David Koch control one of the world's largest fortunes, which they are using to buy up our political system. But what they don't want you to know is how they made all that money

By Tim Dickinson | September 24, 2014

The enormity of the Koch fortune is no mystery. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. The electoral influence of the Koch brothers is similarly well-chronicled. The Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they've cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today's GOP. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year's midterms. So far in this cycle, Koch-backed entities have bought 44,000 political ads to boost Republican efforts to take back the Senate.

What is less clear is where all that money comes from. Koch Industries is headquartered in a squat, smoked-glass building that rises above the prairie on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas. The building, like the brothers' fiercely private firm, is literally and figuratively a black box. Koch touts only one top-line financial figure: $115 billion in annual revenue, as estimated by Forbes. By that metric, it is larger than IBM, Honda or Hewlett-Packard and is America's second-largest private company after agribusiness colossus Cargill. The company's stock response to inquiries from reporters: "We are privately held and don't disclose this information."

But Koch Industries is not entirely opaque. The company's troubled legal history – including a trail of congressional investigations, Department of Justice consent decrees, civil lawsuits and felony convictions – augmented by internal company documents, leaked State Department cables, Freedom of Information disclosures and company whistle­-blowers, combine to cast an unwelcome spotlight on the toxic empire whose profits finance the modern GOP.

Under the nearly five-decade reign of CEO Charles Koch, the company has paid out record civil and criminal environmental penalties. And in 1999, a jury handed down to Koch's pipeline company what was then the largest wrongful-death judgment of its type in U.S. history, resulting from the explosion of a defective pipeline that incinerated a pair of Texas teenagers.

The volume of Koch Industries' toxic output is staggering. According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Political Economy Research Institute, only three companies rank among the top 30 polluters of America's air, water and climate: ExxonMobil, American Electric Power and Koch Industries. Thanks in part to its 2005 purchase of paper-mill giant Georgia-Pacific, Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation's waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined. The company ranks 13th in the nation for toxic air pollution. Koch's climate pollution, meanwhile, outpaces oil giants including Valero, Chevron and Shell. Across its businesses, Koch generates 24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year.

Republicans use militant threat as political cudgel against Democrats in campaign ads


WASHINGTON (AP) — The recurring image in the latest Republican campaign ads is a lone militant walking across a barren land with the black banner of the Islamic State group.

Six weeks to Election Day, the once back-burner issue of national security is suddenly at the forefront amid rising American fears and the U.S. military's expanded campaign to destroy extremists in Iraq and Syria. The GOP, more trusted by the public in recent national polls to deal with foreign policy and terrorism, is using the threat as a political cudgel against Democrats in several Senate and House races.

"Radical Islamic terrorists are threatening to cause the collapse of our country," Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator trying to unseat first-term Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, says in a commercial. "President Obama and Sen. Shaheen seem confused about the nature of the threat. Not me."

A national Republican ad against two-term Rep. Dan Maffei, D-N.Y., calls him "dangerously wrong for our security" over black-and-white images of extremists. Another National Republican Congressional Committee ad describes Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., as "dangerously liberal."

National security rarely decides elections, especially congressional races, and jobs and the economy remain the overriding issue for voters this year. The GOP move is part of a broader approach of linking Democrats to an unpopular President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings on handling foreign policy and dealing with terrorism have plummeted since U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Read more: http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2014/09/24/gop-uses-terror-threat-against-dems-in-campaign

ALEC Exodus Continues As Four More Companies Leave Lobby


Four more corporations have cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive corporate lobbying group. Raytheon, Sempra Energy, Southern California Edison, and Illinois Tool Works all recently told Walden Asset Management that they no longer fund or have any involvement with ALEC.

Raytheon previously contributed to ALEC’s Arizona scholarship fund, which helps pay politicians’ travel and lodging expenses to ALEC’s out-of-state conferences. Sempra Energy, another ALEC funder, acknowledged a letter to Walden that it is “well aware of the controversy concerning ALEC.” Both Southern California Edison and Illinois Tool Works noted that they have not had any recent involvement in ALEC and have stopped funding the organization.

The companies are the latest to join an exodus from ALEC that began after disclosures in 2011 that the group is secretly pushing “model” legislation across the country dealing with voting rights, guns, workers’ rights, environmental protection, and healthcare. To date, more than 90 corporations have decided to leave the controversial organization, including Coca-Cola, Kraft, General Electric, Wal-Mart, General Motors, and Microsoft.

Read more: http://www.commoncause.org/democracy-wire/alec-exodus-continues.html

ACLU to request another hearing on voter ID law

Source: TMJ4 News (AP)

By The Associated Press. CREATED 3:13 PM - UPDATED: 3:16 PM

UPDATE 3:16 p.m. -- TODAY'S TMJ4's Steve Chamraz has confirmed that the ACLU will file a motion today for an "en banc" hearing of the voter ID case.

If their motion is accepted, the case will be heard before the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, instead of a three-member panel.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Thousands of Wisconsin voters who requested absentee ballots will have to present copies of their photo identification to have those ballots counted.
A federal appeals court on Friday reinstated the photo ID requirement, after more than 11,800 voters requested absentee ballots.

They did not have to present copies of their photo IDs to get those ballots, and state elections chief Kevin Kennedy said Tuesday that hundreds of completed ballots have already been returned to election clerks.

Kennedy says clerks will be contacting all those voters to tell them they need to show proof of photo ID to have their ballots counted.

Read more: http://www.jrn.com/tmj4/news/ACLU-to-request-another-hearing-on-voter-ID-law-275338521.html

Wisconsin is in a state of meltdown right now d/t a new Voter ID law that went into effect.

Michigan mother’s home being foreclosed upon after just one missed property tax payment

Source: Fox17

MICHIGAN (WITI) — A Michigan mother missed one property tax payment — and now, she’s losing her home.

FOX6’s sister station, FOX17 in West Michigan reports Deborah Calley’s struggles began with a devastating car accident.

It happened in 2008, and it left Calley with injuries to her arms, wrists and neck, along with bruises on her brain. She was told the recovery process could take several years, and for awhile, she had trouble doing simple things for herself — like driving and getting dressed in the morning.

In 2010, Calley found a home that would make it possible to raise her two children.

Now, the home Calley calls her “dream home” has been foreclosed upon, after Calley missed a single property tax payment.

“When I paid the taxes in 2012, no one said, ‘oh, well you still owe money for 2011,’ so, I didn’t really have a clue. I thought I was right on time,” Calley said.

FOX17 reports Calley admits confusion and memory problems following the accident may have played a role in the missed payment.

Read more: http://fox6now.com/2014/09/15/michigan-mothers-home-being-foreclosed-upon-after-just-one-missed-property-tax-payment/


Paycheck Fairness Act Blocked Again By Senate GOP


Senate Republicans on Monday blocked for the fourth time a bill that would strengthen federal equal pay laws for women.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would ban employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with each other, impose harsher penalties for pay discrimination and require employers to be able to show that wage gaps between men and women are based on factors other than gender.

The bill needed 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster and advance to a final vote on passage, but it fell short Monday by a vote of 52 to 40. Senate Democrats have brought the bill to the floor four times since 2011, and each time Republicans have rejected it.

"The wage gap not only hurts our families, it hurts the economy," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said before the vote. "If it were reversed, I'd be standing here fighting for the men. It's not right."

Republicans say they oppose the bill because they believe it would discourage employers from hiring women, out of a fear of lawsuits. The GOP has accused Democrats of staging a "show vote" on the bill in an election year, knowing it won't pass.

"At a time when the Obama economy is already hurting women so much, this legislation would double down on job loss, all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said before the last vote on the bill in April. "In other words, it's just another Democratic idea that threatens to hurt the very people that it claims to help."

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/15/paycheck-fairness-act_n_5825644.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

The New York Times Just Issued the Best Correction You'll Read All Week


On Tuesday, the New York Times ran the following correction on a story about Dick Cheney telling House Republicans to "embrace a strong military and reject a rising isolationism in his party":

Correction: September 9, 2014

An earlier version of a summary with this article misstated the former title of Dick Cheney. He was vice president, not president.

New Particle Detector Could Reveal Universe's Missing Antimatter


A new ultra-precise particle detector is being developed to investigate the bizarre properties and behaviors of tiny elementary particles that seem to defy the laws of traditional physics.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded $1.2 million to a team of physicists from Indiana University's Center for Exploration of Energy and Matter to build the new particle detector.

The data collected by the new and improved detector, called Belle II, could advance "New Physics," or physics beyond the Standard Model.

The Standard Model is thought to be the golden rule of particle physics. It describes particle behavior and correctly predicted the existence of other particles like the Higgs boson. But even though it is well-backed by experimental data, the Standard Model fails to explain many other mysteries in physics, such as the existence of theoretical dark matter, which makes up about 27 percent of the matter in the universe, yet does not emit light or energy and cannot be directly observed.

In particular, physicists think the Belle II detector could reveal more about the uneven distribution of matter and antimatter in the universe. Antimatter is made of particles with opposite charges of the particles that make up normal matter.

Hello SUSY particles!
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