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Profile Information

Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 73,037

Journal Archives

Judge rules Michigan adoption agencies can bar LGBTQ couples

Source: CBS News

A judge in Michigan has ruled that religious-based adoption agencies that contract with the state can refuse to place children in LGBTQ homes. State Attorney General Dana Nessel reached a settlement earlier this year barring faith-based agencies from excluding same-sex couples from adoption services, but on Thursday a federal judge in Grand Rapids shot that down.


The suit, filed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty St. Vincent Catholic Charities, alleges violations of the plaintiffs' First Amendment rights and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It is among more than 90 agencies that receive state funding, according to the complaint. The state often contracts private adoption agencies to place children from troubled homes with new families.

Faith-based agencies argued they would have to shut down their adoption and foster care services rather than violate their religious beliefs. However, Democrats and LGBTQ advocates said restrictions against gay families amounted to a "policy of bigotry."


Jonker's ruling said St. Vincent Catholic Charities' longstanding practice of adhering to its religious beliefs and referring same-sex and unmarried couples to other agencies is not discriminatory.

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/same-sex-couples-adopt-michigan-adoption-agencies-can-now-bar-lgbtq-homes-refuse-to-place-children-with-gay-parents/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7e&linkId=74388214

Stormy Daniels settles lawsuit with city for $450,000

Source: Columbus Dispatch

Adult film star Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, has settled a lawsuit with the city of Columbus over her July 2018 arrest for $450,000, according to initial reports.

Daniels and her legal team met for several hours Friday morning with attorneys for the city the four Columbus Police officers involved in her arrest last year.

Daniels emerged from the United States District Courthouse in downtown shortly before 1 p.m.

Read more: https://www.dispatch.com/news/20190927/stormy-daniels-settles-lawsuit-with-city-for-450000

House for second time approves measure blocking Trump's emergency declaration for wall

Source: The Hill

The House passed a joint resolution on Friday that would overturn President Trump’s emergency declaration at the southern border, which has allowed him to divert other government spending to his wall.

The 236-174 vote drew support from 11 Republicans, but not enough to overturn an expected veto from the president.

The measure is aimed at preventing the diversion of $3.6 billion for military construction projects toward the construction of Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.

Passage of the measure marks the second time Congress has approved legislation challenging Trump’s authority to invoke emergency powers to build his wall.

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/house/463348-house-for-second-time-approves-measure-blocking-trumps-emergency-declaration?__twitter_impression=true&__twitter_impression=true&__twitter_impression=true

October Democratic debate to take place on one night


The CNN/New York Times Democratic presidential debate in October will occur on one night, the Democratic National Committee told campaigns Friday.

"To address several inquiries we have received we are writing to let you know that, pending a final decision after the certification deadline, it is the intention of the DNC and our media partners to hold the October debate over one night on Tuesday October 15th," the DNC wrote in an email Friday morning.

The party's fourth sanctioned primary debate will air live at 8 p.m. ET from the campus of Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, with CNN anchors Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper and New York Times national editor Marc Lacey serving as moderators.

Twelve candidates have said they surpassed the polling and contribution thresholds outlined by the DNC to receive an invitation to participate in the debate: former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, businessman Tom Steyer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and businessman Andrew Yang.

First on CNN: White House says lawyers directed moving Ukraine transcript to highly secure system

Source: CNN

The White House is acknowledging for the first time that officials did direct the Ukraine call transcript be filed in a separate classified system.

In a statement provided to CNN, a senior White House official says it was under the direction of National Security Council attorneys: "NSC lawyers directed that the classified document be handled appropriately."

The admission lends further credibility to the whistleblower complaint description of how the transcript with the Ukrainian president, among others, were kept out of wider circulation by using a system for highly sensitive documents.

But the statement does not explain whether anyone else in the White House was part of the decision to put the the Ukraine transcript in the more restrictive system.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/27/politics/donald-trump-ukraine-transcript-white-house/index.html

No fair jumping to conclusions...

BREAKING: WH admits moving Trump/Ukraine call transcript to secure storage


(validating part of the Whistleblower complaint)

NRA Was 'Foreign Asset' To Russia Ahead of 2016, New Senate Report Reveals

Source: NPR

The National Rifle Association acted as a "foreign asset" for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election, according to a new investigation unveiled Friday by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon.

Drawing on contemporaneous emails and private interviews, an 18-month probe by the Senate Finance Committee's Democratic staff found that the NRA underwrote political access for Russian nationals Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin more than previously known — even though the two had declared their ties to the Kremlin.

The report, available here, also describes how closely the gun rights group was involved with organizing a 2015 visit by some of its leaders to Moscow.

Then-NRA vice president Pete Brownell, who would later become NRA president, was enticed to visit Russia with the promise of personal business opportunities — and the NRA covered a portion of the trip's costs.

Read more: https://www.npr.org/2019/09/27/764879242/nra-was-foreign-asset-to-russia-ahead-of-2016-new-senate-report-reveals

Trump, the TV president, finally meets a media story he can't control

Washington Post

Donald Trump’s presidency would have been impossible without his reality-TV fame from NBC’s “The Apprentice.”

And he is skilled at dominating the visual medium that still matters so much — even in our digital age — from his raucous rallies to his impromptu media gaggles outside a whirring helicopter to his symbiotic relationship with Fox News.

But not this week.

In a tectonic shift of media attention, every major television network — broadcast and cable alike — focused on a deeply damaging story that Trump can’t control.

Kremlin Hopes White House Doesn't Release Putin-Trump Calls

Source: Bloomberg

Russia hopes the U.S. doesn’t release transcripts of President Donald Trump’s conversations with Vladimir Putin as it did this week with his talks with the Ukrainian leader, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

“We would like to hope that things won’t come to such situations in our bilateral relations, which already have plenty of quite serious problems,” Peskov told a conference call when asked for the Kremlin’s reaction to the U.S. decision to release the transcript of the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-27/kremlin-hopes-white-house-doesn-t-release-putin-trump-calls

Here Are The Democratic Impeachment Holdouts

Huffington Post

Thirteen House Democrats, many from congressional districts where President Donald Trump won in 2016, are still publicly withholding support for an impeachment inquiry following revelations the president pressured the Ukranian government into relaunching an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

Of the 13 members, all but one are considered moderates, and all but one are Republican targets in the 2020 midterm elections. Ten of them are serving their first term in Congress, and another won a special election in 2018. Most have said they believe impeaching Trump would be needlessly divisive and inflame political tensions, while others indicated impeachment must be a bipartisan process — an unlikely scenario — or said they were still seeking more information about Trump’s actions.

“If anyone thinks a partisan impeachment process would constrain President Trump, they are fooling themselves,” Rep. Collin Peterson told the Detroit Lakes Tribune. “Without significant bipartisan support, impeachment proceedings will be a lengthy and divisive action with no resolution.”

Peterson, considered one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, represents a sprawling, agriculture-heavy district in western Minnesota that Trump won by 30 percentage points. Peterson himself won reelection by a 52% to 48% margin in 2018, and faces a stiff challenge from former GOP Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach in 2020.

Besides Peterson, the 12 holdouts in HuffPost’s count are Reps. Lucy McBath of Georgia, Anthony Brindisi of New York, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Jared Golden of Maine, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Ben McAdams and Max Rose of New York, Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.

(nb - the story is incorrect about Max Rose not supporting an impeachment inquiry)
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