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Member since: Thu Dec 23, 2004, 11:30 AM
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Journal Archives

Justice Scalia Explains What Was Wrong With The Ferguson Grand Jury


On Monday, Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced that a grand jury had decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Michael Brown. But that decision was the result of a process that turned the purpose of a grand jury on its head.

Justice Antonin Scalia, in the 1992 Supreme Court case of United States v. Williams, explained what the role of a grand jury has been for hundreds of years.

It is the grand jury’s function not ‘to enquire … upon what foundation denied,’ or otherwise to try the suspect’s defenses, but only to examine ‘upon what foundation is made’ by the prosecutor. Respublica v. Shaffer, 1 Dall. 236 (O. T. Phila. 1788); see also F. Wharton, Criminal Pleading and Practice § 360, pp. 248-249 (8th ed. 1880). As a consequence, neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.

This passage was first highlighted by attorney Ian Samuel, a former clerk to Justice Scalia.

In contrast, McCulloch allowed Wilson to testify for hours before the grand jury and presented them with every scrap of exculpatory evidence available. In his press conference, McCulloch said that the grand jury did not indict because eyewitness testimony that established Wilson was acting in self-defense was contradicted by other exculpatory evidence. What McCulloch didn’t say is that he was under no obligation to present such evidence to the grand jury. The only reason one would present such evidence is to reduce the chances that the grand jury would indict Darren Wilson.

Compare Justice Scalia’s description of the role of the grand jury to what the prosecutors told the Ferguson grand jury before they started their deliberations:

'Phantom' Ballots in Maine State Senate Recount Reverse Result From Democratic to Republican


11-vote edge given to GOPer after 21 unexplained ballots - all for her - mysteriously appear in tiny Town of Long Island...

An election fraud mystery has emerged in Maine's tiny Town of Long Island. The strange case has not only changed the previously announced "winner" of the election, but the contested results affect the entire state Senate and are now the subject of an investigation demanded by the Maine Democratic Party.

On Election Night this year, Democrat Catherine Breen reportedly won the race for state Senate by a very slim 32 votes in Maine's Senate District 25, according to the then-unofficial tally. However, during a hand recount of the votes last week, 21 previously unaccounted-for ballots were discovered to be in the locked Long Island ballot box. All of the "new" ballots included votes for Cathleen Manchester, the Republican candidate who had requested the recount.

Those 21 "new" ballots were above and beyond the 171 votes counted by hand on Election Night (which proved to be an otherwise perfect count) and the 171 voters listed as having voted on the "voter manifest" at Long Island's only precinct.

The "new" votes, combined with a few other adjustments to the tallies in the 25th District's six other towns, were enough to reverse the results, giving an 11-vote victory to the Republican candidate after the recount, even as neither party is able to explain the appearance of the "phantom ballots" in Long Island...

U.S. third-quarter growth revised higher on consumer, business spending


(Reuters) - U.S. economic growth was far stronger than initially thought in the third quarter, pointing to strengthening fundamentals that should support the economy for the rest of the year.

The Commerce Department on Tuesday raised its estimate of gross domestic product to a 3.9 percent annual pace from the 3.5 percent rate reported last month, reflecting upward revisions to business and consumer spending, as well as restocking.

Spending on residential construction also was raised, helping to offset downward revisions to export growth and government spending.

Economists had expected growth would be trimmed to a 3.3 percent pace.

"This report will go some way in providing further confirmation about the sustainability of the current economic recovery," said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/25/us-economy-gdp-idUSKCN0J91EP20141125

Yet where's an ounce of gratitude for the Obama administration for pulling us out of economic tanking from G W Bush et al?

New drug may help with heart failure


It’s a chronic, pervasive problem; Heart failure impacts millions of Americans, shortening their lives and reducing the quality of their daily lives. It’s been a decade since doctors and patients have had renewed hope. But a new drug is infusing a sense of excitement.

“The holy grail of heart failure is to reverse what is going on in the heart and try to get some regeneration and make the heart stronger. Sometimes, by letting the heart work less it will become stronger,” said Dr Nir Uriel, University of Chicago cardiologist.

And that’s the job of conventional medications. The current cocktail helps ease the heart’s workload. But there have been no new drugs in 10 years.

“Since 2004 we didn’t have any new medications for heart failure. So we’re very excited,” said Dr Uriel.

It’s this drug University of Chicago medicine cardiologist Dr Uriel is so excited about – for now it’s called LCZ696 – and it works at the hormonal level to dilate vessels and help patients remove more fluid.

“This medication was studied in almost 10,000 patients and was shown to be superior to the current therapy that we were using. The investigational drug was shown to reduce mortality and hospital readmissions by 20 percent. “

The results are unusually positive!

St. Louis prosecutor McCulloch roasted online for indicting everybody but Darren Wilson


St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch (D) was criticized as much on Monday night for the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson as for his 20-minute statement leading up to it.

Instead of immediately announcing that Wilson would not be prosecuted for shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown this past August, McCulloch opened by blaming social media and the media in general for supposedly pushing a distorted narrative of the shooting.

The Huffington Post called McCulloch’s statement “bizarre,” while CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin described it as an “extended whine” that was “completely inappropriate.”

Five Thirty Eight reported that the grand jury’s decision was a statistical rarity; out of 162,000 federal cases in 2010, grand juries opted not to indict in just 11 instances.

McCulloch was also blasted online even before he finished his remarks:

John Nichols: When networks snub president, democracy is ‘The Biggest Loser’


Only 36 percent of Americans participated in the Nov. 4 elections, which determined the political makeup of the legislative branch of the federal government. That’s a dismal measure of political engagement in the United States, a nation where voter turnout rates have in recent years fallen far below the levels seen in Germany and other European countries.

The Economist’s 2012 “Democracy Index” dropped the U.S. ranking on the list of the most democratic countries to No. 21 — with particularly low marks for popular participation in the political process.

How has the American circumstance so decayed in a nation that once so well understood the wisdom of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s observation that “democracy alone, of all forms of government, enlists the full force of men’s (and women’s) enlightened will”?

There’s plenty of blame to go around. But let’s start with broadcast media that are so indefensibly irresponsible that television networks cannot take time away from their relentless profiteering to present a short address by the president of the United States on an issue that is universally recognized as consequential and controversial.

ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox all declined to interrupt prime-time programming to air President Obama’s Thursday evening address on immigration policy...

John Doe probe: Nearly 70,000 more pages of Walker documents to be released


MADISON (AP) — Nearly 70,000 pages of emails and attachments collected during the first John Doe investigation into former aides and associates of Gov. Scott Walker during his time as Milwaukee County executive are being released.

The information being made public Tuesday is the fourth such release of emails and other documents prosecutors seized from county and personal computers during the investigation that ended in 2013.

Does this even matter any more?

Suffer Little Children (Krugman)


The Tenement Museum, on the Lower East Side, is one of my favorite places in New York City. It’s a Civil War-vintage building that housed successive waves of immigrants, and a number of apartments have been restored to look exactly as they did in various eras, from the 1860s to the 1930s (when the building was declared unfit for occupancy). When you tour the museum, you come away with a powerful sense of immigration as a human experience, which — despite plenty of bad times, despite a cultural climate in which Jews, Italians, and others were often portrayed as racially inferior — was overwhelmingly positive.

I get especially choked up about the Baldizzi apartment from 1934. When I described its layout to my parents, both declared, “I grew up in that apartment!” And today’s immigrants are the same, in aspiration and behavior, as my grandparents were — people seeking a better life, and by and large finding it.

That’s why I enthusiastically support President Obama’s new immigration initiative. It’s a simple matter of human decency.

That’s not to say that I, or most progressives, support open borders. You can see one important reason right there in the Baldizzi apartment: the photo of F.D.R. on the wall. The New Deal made America a vastly better place, yet it probably wouldn’t have been possible without the immigration restrictions that went into effect after World War I. For one thing, absent those restrictions, there would have been many claims, justified or not, about people flocking to America to take advantage of welfare programs.

Furthermore, open immigration meant that many of America’s worst-paid workers weren’t citizens and couldn’t vote. Once immigration restrictions were in place, and immigrants already here gained citizenship, this disenfranchised class at the bottom shrank rapidly, helping to create the political conditions for a stronger social safety net. And, yes, low-skill immigration probably has some depressing effect on wages, although the available evidence suggests that the effect is quite small.

State faces $2.2 billion deficit heading into 2015-17 budget cycle Print Email

Gov. Scott Walker's administration is projecting a $2.2 billion deficit heading into the 2015-17 budget cycle.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/state-faces-billion-deficit-heading-into---budget-cycle/article_5a3d6933-5937-5b23-8cd7-3bc16bf07edb.html#ixzz3JeNk9Hvy

Gov. Scott Walker's administration is projecting a $2.2 billion deficit heading into the 2015-17 budget cycle.

That's a sizable hole for Walker, who is contemplating a 2016 presidential run, to climb out of as he crafts his own budget proposal due out early next year. Achieving a balanced budget will require scaling back program requests, especially if he wants to further cut taxes.

"We will continue to protect Wisconsin taxpayers, provide a good value to those taxpayers, and live within our means," Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said. "Governor Walker will introduce a balanced budget early next year focused on growing the economy and moving people from government dependence to true independence."

The deficit reflects how much departmental budget requests exceed projected revenues. It is included in a summary of biennial budget requests provided by the Department of Administration to Walker as he prepares an executive biennial budget for release in early 2015.

State agencies have asked to spend $37.2 billion in 2015-16, or 6.1 percent more than the current year, and $38.4 billion in 2016-17, or a 3.3 percent increase over the previous year.

"The numbers put out today show what it would cost to fund everyone’s wish list," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said. "The reality is that’s not going to happen. We will continue to manage the state’s finances by making prudent decisions and doing what’s best for Wisconsin and its taxpayers."

The deficit amount is nearly 13 times higher than the $171.4 million deficit that was projected for the 2013-15 budget in November 2012. The same report in 2010 prepared by Gov. Jim Doyle's administration projected a $1.5 billion deficit for the 2011-13 budget.

No surprise but pls re-post everywhere for exposure.

Obama Plugs Science, Math Education at Ceremony

Source: abcNEWS

Associated Press

President Barack Obama said Thursday that 19 scientists, researchers and innovators who received the country's highest honor for their life-changing work embody the spirit of the nation and its "sense that we push against limits and that we're not afraid to ask questions."

"When that spirit, that sense of possibility, is truly unleashed, then you get the remarkable men and women that you see here today," Obama said at a White House ceremony recognizing the newest recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

The recipients include researchers working on everything from DNA replication to personalized medicine.

Another honoree invented the tiny data storage device known as a thumb drive.

Obama used the event to plug math and science education, particularly for minority students. He announced that groups that have been trying to further his goal of getting 100,000 more math, science, engineering and technology teachers in schools are putting an additional $28 million toward the effort.

"We have to remind ourselves constantly that so much of what has set us apart economically, culturally, is our commitment to science," Obama said. "We have to continue to broaden opportunities for young scientists, especially girls and minority students, to enter into the field and we have to remind them of how exciting it is to be able to shape the world, unlock its secrets, make new stuff."

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/obama-plugs-science-math-education-ceremony-27057412

Welp, this is SURE to irritate the RW'ers & Tea Partiers...
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