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Member since: Tue Jan 6, 2004, 12:46 PM
Number of posts: 41,505

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Occupy protesters in New York, Wisconsin sue over free speech


A flurry of civil rights lawsuits accusing police of stifling free speech of Occupy Wall Street protesters have been filed ahead of a May 1 effort to reinvigorate the movement against economic inequality.

Four members of New York's City Council and others in a lawsuit accused police of using excessive force during protests in New York City, birthplace of the movement against corporate greed.

Their lawsuit, filed on Monday, was among at least three filed in recent days by supporters and protesters from the Occupy movement, which has called for massive demonstrations in New York and elsewhere around the country for Tuesday, the May 1 labor movement holiday in many countries.

The City Council members accused New York police of trampling protesters' rights to assembly and free speech during demonstrations that began on September 17, 2011 but lost momentum after the group was evicted from its encampment in New York's Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011.

Occupy Protesters Sue NYPD For Forcing Them Into Free Speech Cages

The big lawsuit filed by City Council members and Occupy Wall Street protesters wasn't the only civil lawsuit filed against the NYPD in federal court today! Another lawsuit, specifically concerning the NYPD's barricading of protesters at a demonstration last November, was filed today, seeking unspecified damages and an injunction stopping the NYPD from engaging in such tactics.

The lawsuit (read it in full below) has to do with a demonstration on November 30th 2011 outside the Sheraton Hotel in midtown, where President Obama was giving a speech at a $1,000-a-head fundraiser. The demonstration was peaceful, but after the protesters arrived near the hotel, they were suddenly penned in by police, told they were in a "frozen zone," and not permitted to leave until after the president departed. "We came to express our views at a place where the President might see us, and were detained for hours as if we had committed a crime," says Buswick resident John Rivera, one of the class action plaintiffs, who was a member of the Civil Service Employees Association.

more at link

Caro: GOP Abuse Of Filibuster 'Unconscionable,' Harry Reid Has Done 'A Terrific Job'

Robert Caro:GOP Abuse Of Filibuster 'Unconscionable,' Harry Reid Has Done 'A Terrific Job'

Harry Reid, as majority leader of the United States Senate, has done "a terrific job," according to the most celebrated historian of the institution in a generation. Robert Caro, author of "Master of the Senate," the Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of his Lyndon Johnson biography, said that Reid's opponents and their abuse of the filibuster have made running the upper chamber "near impossible."

Caro sat down for an interview with The Huffington Post in conjunction with the release of the fourth volume of his biography, "The Passage of Power," which covers Johnson's vice presidency and some of his presidency.

"Harry Reid as a majority leader operated in near impossible circumstances," Caro said. "The other side is intractable and it has the votes to stop legislation. That he has been able to get as much as he has -- as little as it is -- through the Senate is a tribute to him as majority leader. I think he's in near-impossible circumstances. I think he's done a terrific job."

In Johnson's time, only 34 votes were needed to sustain a filibuster. Today, as a result of filibuster reform a generation ago, 60 votes are needed to break a filibuster and invoke what's known in the Senate as cloture. While the reform increased the number of votes the minority needed to hold to sustain the filibuster, it flipped the onus around: Pre-reform filibusters could be broken by a vote of two-thirds of those present, putting the onus on the minority to keep their troops on the floor. Today, a full 60 votes is needed to invoke cloture, as long as at least one of the opposing senators is on the floor.

Bill Clinton, President Obama team up at fundraiser to hammer Romney


President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton teamed up for a fundraiser in Virginia on Sunday, taking shots at presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

While neither mentioned him by name during the event at the home of former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, the two presidents delivered harsh criticisms of Obama's likely November opponent.

"This is crazy, he's got an opponent who basically wants to do what they did before, on steroids, which will get you the same consequences you got before, on steroids," said Clinton.

"Hillary and I, we’ve spent the last three and a half years cleaning up after other folks’ messes, and by the way, we’ve got them, we’re starting to get them pretty cleaned up. The war in Iraq is over. We’re transitioning in Afghanistan. We’ve got the strongest allies we’ve ever seen and al Qaeda is on the ropes. So we’ve done what we said we’d do," said Obama.

Obama and Bill Clinton campaign together on economy

Turning to foreign policy, Obama said he and Hillary Clinton had "spent the last three and a half years cleaning up other folks' messes," and made fun of Romney's recent comment that Russia was the United States' "No. 1 geopolitical foe."

"I'm suddenly thinking, 'What? Maybe I didn't check the calendar this morning. I didn't know we were back in 1975,'" he said. The comment echoed Vice President Joe Biden's criticism last week of Romney as being stuck in a Cold War mindset.


Obama Campaign Confronts Voter ID Laws


Field workers for President Obama’s campaign fanned across the country this weekend in an effort to confront a barrage of new voter identification laws that strategists say threaten the campaign’s hopes for registering new voters ahead of the November election.

In Wisconsin, where a new state law requires those registering voters to be deputized in each of the state’s 1,800 municipalities, the campaign sent a team of trainers armed with instructions for complying with the new regulations.

In Florida, the campaign’s voter registration aides traveled across the state to train volunteers on a new requirement that voter registration signatures be handed into state officials within 48 hours after they are collected.

And in Ohio, Mr. Obama’s staff members are beginning outreach to let voters know about new laws that discourage precinct workers from telling voters where to go if they show up at the wrong precinct.

Jerry Brown: GOP must move out of their "reactionary cul-de-sac"


Although California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown had harsh words about the entire political system on "Face the Nation," he saved his most striking criticism for the GOP.

"I think the Republicans have to move out of that reactionary cul-de-sac that some of the more extreme members are pushing them," Brown told host Bob Schieffer.

"There's an enforcement of discipline that's ideological and, as was mentioned today in The Washington Post, takes on the quality of a cult," the California governor said.

"They're so hostile to millions and millions of people in this country, and while they can't vote, they have millions and millions of people who they're related to or who identify with them. And you just can't ignore 12 million people, particularly when they're picking our food, they're working in the hotels and restaurants, and now they're increasingly in very important jobs," Brown said.

Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem
(Washington Post )

Meet the Press: Rachel Maddow on women


Top Republican Strategist Denies Women Are Paid Less Than Men

This morning, during a heated discussion with Rachel Maddow on Meet The Press, GOP consultant Alex Castellanos denied that women make 77 cents for a man’s dollar in the workplace and noted, “there are lots of reasons for that.” Maddow expressed shock at the assertion, but concluded that it explained why Republicans and Mitt Romney are so hesitant to embrace the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a law that helps women hold accountable employers who discriminate in the pay practices based on gender.

“Now we know, at least from both of your perspectives,” Maddow said, pointing to Castellanos and Romney surrogate Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), “women are not fairing worse than men in the economy that women aren’t getting paid less for equal work.” “It’s about policy and whether or not you want to fix some of the structural discrimination that women really do face that Republicans don’t believe is happening,” she added. Castellanos responded to Maddow’s policy argument by remarking on her passion, to which the MSNBC host took offense:

CASTELLANOS: It is about policy and I love how passionate you are. I wish you were as right about what you’re saying as you are passionate about it. I really do.

MADDOW: That’s really condescending. This is a stylistic issue. My passion on this issue is actually me making a factual argument on it.

more at link

Rachel was Awesome this morning!

Gibbs: Romney’s Message Is ‘You Didn’t Clean Up Our Mess Fast Enough’


Top Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said on Meet the Press Sunday that the “biggest idea” of Obama’s reelection campaign would be a message of continuing “moving in the right direction of fixing this economy.”

“We know this about Mitt Romney,” Gibbs said, “he’s not a job creator. When he was governor of Massachusetts, they were 47th out of 50 in job creation. His experiences in downsizing and outsourcing jobs and bankrupting companies and walking away with a lot of money for himself. His economic ideas are the failed economic ideas that we tried for eight years.”

Gibbs responded to another question about women voters and the economy, saying, “David, their message is: You didn’t clean up our mess fast enough.”

Over 111,000 People Have Signed A Petition Denouncing Rep. Foxx’s Disparaging

Over 111,000 People Have Signed A Petition Denouncing Rep. Foxx’s Disparaging Comments About People With Student

Earlier this month, ThinkProgress first reported Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) remarks showing distaste for people with large student loans. “I have very little tolerance” for them, Foxx declared on a conservative radio show. Her comments have since been widely criticized, including in a speech by President Obama earlier this week. Rebuild the Dream also began a petition drive to denounce Foxx; in less than two weeks, over 111,000 people have added their names.

sign the petition

Chevron's Quarterly Profit Is Up To $6.5 Billion, Production Is Down, Tax Rate Is Still Lower Than

Chevron's Quarterly Profit Is Up To $6.5 Billion, Production Is Down, Tax Rate Is Still Lower Than Yours

Chevron posted a modest 4.2 percent increase in first-quarter profits compared to 2011, increasing net gains from $6.2 billion to $6.5 billion. That still translates to more than $71 million per day in the first three months of 2012.

Despite a drop in production, a 12 percent increase in average oil prices boosted Chevron’s profits this quarter.

Meanwhile, Chevron has faced recent protests in California, home to Chevron CEO John Watson, for environmental damage and tax dodging.

Chevron paid a 19 percent effective federal tax rate in 2011, after making $26.9 billion profit.

more at link

Senate Dem leaders reject House GOP student loan bill


Senate Democratic leaders said Thursday they would reject a House Republican bill extending low student loan rates because it would defund an important part of the 2010 healthcare reform law.

“I’m very disappointed with what the House is contemplating doing tomorrow,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said during a Thursday press conference.

“They would pay for it by stopping Americans from getting preventive healthcare. That doesn’t sound like a very good deal to me,” he said.

“So we certainly don’t appreciate that. We oppose that. Our bill is about building a middle class and you can’t do that by taking the ability of people to get preventative healthcare,” he added.
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