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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
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Former Editor Says Murdoch Sowed Seeds of Hacking Scandal

Source: Reuters

Former editor says Murdoch sowed seeds of hacking scandal

By Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton
LONDON | Fri May 18, 2012 3:16am BST

(Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch sowed the seeds of the phone hacking scandal that has tarnished his reputation by forcing Britain's most respected newspapers into "a Faustian bargain" with the powerful, a former editor of the UK's Times newspaper said on Thursday.

Harry Evans told a British media inquiry how as editor of the Times he battled attempts by Murdoch to compel him to support Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

- snip -

Evans is now editor at large for Reuters, which is owned by Thomson Reuters. The Thomson family, who owned the Times and the Sunday Times before Murdoch acquired them, controls Thomson Reuters.

Expressing disgust at a fall in journalistic standards that he said Murdoch helped stoke by fostering a culture of trifling scandal, Evans said reporters needed principles to prevent them getting too close to the powerful.

Read more: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/18/uk-britain-hacking-idUKBRE84H03W20120518

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Estranged Wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, Dead in Apparent Suicide

Source: ABC News

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Estranged Wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, Dead in Apparent Suicide

Robert F. Kennedy's estranged wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, has died at age 52, apparently committing suicide by hanging, sources told ABC News.

"We deeply regret the death of our beloved sister Mary, whose radiant and creative spirit will be sorely missed by those who loved her," Mary Kennedy's family said in a statement released through her lawyer. "Our heart goes out to her children who she loved without reservation. We have no further comment at this time."

Bedford, N.Y., police responded to the Kennedy home in Mount Kisco, N.Y., at 1:36 p.m. today to investigate a "possible unattended death," according a news release. While police would not identify the person who died, the house is listed under the names of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Mary Kennedy on property reports.

"Responding officers confirm that a deceased individual has been located inside an out building on that property," the statement said. "At this time, the Bedford Police Department is not releasing the identity of that individual until notification to family members has been made."

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=16362607

NATO Underplayed Civilian Deaths in Libya: HRW

Source: Reuters

NATO underplayed civilian deaths in Libya: HRW
By Sebastian Moffett
BRUSSELS | Mon May 14, 2012 12:07am EDT

By Sebastian Moffett

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO air strikes killed 72 civilians in Libya last year, Human Rights Watch said on Monday, accusing the western alliance of failing to acknowledge the scope of collateral damage it caused during the campaign that helped oust Muammar Gaddafi.

In a report based on investigations at bombing sites during and after the conflict, the New York-based HRW said NATO strikes killed 20 women and 24 children. It called on the alliance to compensate civilian victims and investigate attacks that may have been unlawful.

"Attacks are allowed only on military targets, and serious questions remain in some incidents about what exactly NATO forces were striking," Fred Abrahams, special adviser at HRW, said in a statement.

The report claims to be the most extensive investigation to date of civilian casualties from NATO's air campaign and presents a higher death toll estimate than a March paper by Amnesty International which documented 55 civilian deaths, including 16 children and 14 women.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE84D03F20120514?irpc=932

Paul Krugman: Why We Regulate



Why We Regulate

Published: May 13, 2012

- snip -

As far as we know, Jamie Dimon, the chairman and C.E.O. of JPMorgan Chase, isn’t planning anything similar. He has, however, been fond of giving Gatewood-like speeches about how he and his colleagues know what they’re doing, and don’t need the government looking over their shoulders. So there’s a large heap of poetic justice — and a major policy lesson — in JPMorgan’s shock announcement that it somehow managed to lose $2 billion in a failed bit of financial wheeling-dealing.

- snip -

So what can be done? In the 1930s, after the mother of all banking panics, we arrived at a workable solution, involving both guarantees and oversight. On one side, the scope for panic was limited via government-backed deposit insurance; on the other, banks were subject to regulations intended to keep them from abusing the privileged status they derived from deposit insurance, which is in effect a government guarantee of their debts. Most notably, banks with government-guaranteed deposits weren’t allowed to engage in the often risky speculation characteristic of investment banks like Lehman Brothers.

- snip -

Enter Mr. Dimon. JPMorgan, to its — and his — credit, managed to avoid many of the bad investments that brought other banks to their knees. This apparent demonstration of prudence has made Mr. Dimon the point man in Wall Street’s fight to delay, water down and/or repeal financial reform. He has been particularly vocal in his opposition to the so-called Volcker Rule, which would prevent banks with government-guaranteed deposits from engaging in “proprietary trading,” basically speculating with depositors’ money. Just trust us, the JPMorgan chief has in effect been saying; everything’s under control.

Apparently not.

What did JPMorgan actually do? As far as we can tell, it used the market for derivatives — complex financial instruments — to make a huge bet on the safety of corporate debt, something like the bets that the insurer A.I.G. made on housing debt a few years ago. The key point is not that the bet went bad; it is that institutions playing a key role in the financial system have no business making such bets, least of all when those institutions are backed by taxpayer guarantees.

- snip -

But the truth is that we’ve just seen an object demonstration of why Wall Street does, in fact, need to be regulated. Thank you, Mr. Dimon.


Gay Marriage Moves Closer to Supreme Court


Gay marriage moves closer to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON | Fri May 11, 2012 6:19pm EDT

By David Ingram

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two big cases addressing marriage rights for gays and lesbians are on track to reach the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as this year, keeping the focus on an issue President Barack Obama reignited with his endorsement this week.

The cases, originating on Jopposite coasts, go to the heart of a question that has churned for two decades: whether states and the federal government may refuse to recognize same-sex marriage.

How the high court would rule is impossible to know. In the court's most recent gay-rights case, the justices in 2003 struck down state anti-sodomy laws as an improper intrusion on private activity.

Lawyers for California same-sex couples are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to end its involvement, which would clear the way for a request for the Supreme Court to settle the issue.

Sam Stein: Mitt Romney Says Homosexuality Wasn't Discussed in 1960s; History Tells a Different Story


Sam Stein

Mitt Romney Says Homosexuality Wasn't Discussed In 1960s; History Tells A Different Story

Posted: 05/10/2012 7:20 pm Updated: 05/10/2012 8:49 pm

WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney pushed back against a report that he had bullied a closeted gay classmate in prep school by insisting that the student's sexuality wasn't a factor because Romney couldn't have known or suspected it.

"First of all, I had no idea what that individual's sexual orientation might be," Romney told Fox News' Neil Cavuto Thursday afternoon, in response to a Washington Post story about his prankster days at the prestigious Cranbrook School. "Going back to the 1960s, that wasn't something we all discussed or considered. So that's simply just not accurate."

- snip -

"That was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s," he said of the student's sexual orientation, during a sit-down on Fox host Brian Kilmeade's radio show.

Homosexuality was discussed less openly a half-century ago. Certainly it didn't engender the type of political debate it would in later decades. But the idea that it wasn't on people's minds in the 60s isn't true. The Huffington Post conducted a rudimentary search of newspaper archives from the era and came away with thousands of results, a sampling of which are below.

A March 14, 1961, letter to Ann Landers from a Detroit resident, asserting that he had stopped being gay with psychiatric treatment:

At 16 I realized something was "wrong" with me. Our family doctor, a wonderfully understanding man, persuaded my parents that I should have intensive psychiatric treatment. Today I am happily married and content. I was never the effeminate type so I was able to discuss the subject freely with other males. I learned that the men whose condemnation is most violent, the ones who are least tolerant of homosexuals, are not quite sure of their own masculinity.


Bahrain: Tens of Thousands Protest in Support of Rights Activist Nabeel Rajab

Source: Blottr

Bahrain: Tens of thousands protest in support of rights activist Nabeel Rajab
Posted : Fri 11 May 2012 - 05:10pm
Last Updated : Fri 11 May 2012 - 05:38pm

Thousands of protesters took part in a protest in the village of Karzakan in support of prominent activist Nabeel Rajab who was arrested a week ago.

Protesters were seen holding pictures of Rajab who has become one of the symbols of the Bahraini uprising.

Rights activist Nabeel Rajab was arrested on last Saturday at Manama airport after returning from a human rights conference in Beirut, Lebanon. He appeared in front of a court the next day where he faced charges of “inciting illegal rallies and marches online by using social networking websites.”

The Bahraini Ministry of Interior issued a statement stating that Rajab was detained on the order of the Attorney-General. On the other hand, Rajab's lawyers mentioned that the charges against him include "engagement in illegitimate practices" and "incitement to gatherings and unlicensed marches". They also affirmed that he has been questioned about some of his tweets and has been accused of "insulting a statutory body; being the Ministry of Interior".

Read more: http://www.blottr.com/world/breaking-news/bahrain-tens-thousands-protest-support-rights-activist-nabeel-rajab

Guardian Interactive: Gay Rights in U.S. State By State

Yeah, let's let the states decide on people's human rights...


The Top 8 Ways To Be 'Traditionally Married' According To The Bible

May 11 2012

The Top 8 Ways To Be 'Traditionally Married' According To The Bible

I don't think "traditional marriage" means what you think it means.

Adam Mordecai


MSNBC's Tamron Hall Shuts Down Romney Apologist


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