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Profile Information

Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 44,338

About Me

Since 1995, a year after I was forced into a very early retirement due to Multiple Sclerosis, I have owned and operated a daily newsgathering service out of my home, for a clientele comprised of TV newscasters, Op-Ed columnists, book authors, a national wire-service and some online publications. I post many of the news articles I gather, here on DU. I also post news articles and Op-Eds written/reported/authored by my list of subscribers/clientele.

Journal Archives

NSA To Sanders: We Can't Tell You If We're Spying On You In Order To Protect You

Source: TPM


The National Security Agency on Friday told Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that it cannot reveal whether the agency has been targeting members of Congress in its metadata collection because doing so would violate privacy provisions accorded to civilians in the program, the Huffington Post reported Tuesday.

"Among those protections is the condition that NSA can query the metadata only based on phone numbers reasonably suspected to be associated with specific foreign terrorist groups," NSA chief Keith Alexander wrote in a letter to Sanders.

"For that reason," he added, "NSA cannot lawfully search to determine if any records NSA has received under the program have included metadata of the phone calls of any member of Congress, other American elected officials, or any other American without the predicate."

Alexander did say that the NSA does not spy on lawmakers. "Nothing NSA does can fairly be characterized as 'spying on Members of Congress or American elected officials,'" he wrote.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/nsa-won-t-tell-sanders-if-it-s-spying-on-congress-to-protect-his-privacy

Christie's Office Blasts 'Wild-Eyed Conspiracy' Theories In Bridge Scandal

Source: TPM


New Jersey Gov. Christie's (R) office apparently thinks "left-wing blogs" are to blame for the competing theories about who and what was behind the decision to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September.

In a short statement to CNN on Tuesday, Christie spokesman Colin Reed blasted the theories, including those that posit the closures, which tied up traffic for days in Fort Lee, N.J., were to get revenge on rivals or possibly linked to a local real estate development.

"We're not commenting on every wild-eyed conspiracy theory that's originating on left-wing blogs," Reed told the cable news network.

One of the theories that has been floated by New Jersey Democrats is that the shutdown was revenge against a local mayor who declined to endorse Christie's re-election. Another, first raised by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, is that it was retaliation against a local senator who blocked the governor's court nominees. A third, raised by MSNBC host Steve Kornacki and former Jersey political reporter Brian Murphy, is that the closures may have been somehow tied to a nearby real estate development.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/christie-conspiracy-theory

Are Anti-Discrimination Laws Working Against Millennial Women?

Would Millennial women worry less about gender discrimination if some anti-discrimination measures were modernized?

The Pew Research Center found some interesting contradictions in data it published last month on Millennial women in the workplace. On one hand, Millennial women now enjoy near pay parity with their male counterparts. On the other hand, they appear far more preoccupied with possible discrimination than one would expect given the near equity they enjoy. But here’s a question: Would Millennial women have less to worry about regarding gender discrimination if some of the current decades old anti-discrimination measures were modernized?

Among Pew’s most noteworthy findings: Millennial women earn 93 percent of what Millennial men earn, compared to the average of 84 percent of women across all age groups. (A study released in 2010 found that single women under 30 in major cities actually earn more than their male counterparts.) But the Pew study also found that “Women are much more likely than men to say society favors men (53 percent vs. 36 percent). Women are also more likely to say that society needs to do more to ensure equality in the workplace (72 percent vs. 61 percent of men). The gender gap on this question is particularly wide among Millennials: 75 percent of Millennial women compared with 57 percent of Millennial men say the country needs to do more in order to bring about workplace equality.”

Pew goes on to note that Millenials are particularly concerned with the impact that having children will have on their careers, a concern Millennial women are likely to anticipate bearing the primary burden for, or at the very least to be expected to. This is one theory regarding why, despite their own relatively rosy experiences in the workplace so far, Millennial women do not seem to have a particularly optimistic outlook on the larger professional picture or their own futures. Which raises one of the potential problems with current anti-discrimination measures.


The New Age of Christian Martyrdom

WORLD NEWS 01.13.14

The New Age of Christian Martyrdom

Lions have been replaced by firing squads and concentration camps as record numbers of Jesus’ worshipers are persecuted from Syria to North Korea.

The concept of Christian martyrdom may seem like something from a bygone, uncivilized era when believers were mercilessly thrown to the lions. Not so. This week, Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, reported that Christian martyrdom has grown into a pervasive and horrifying human rights crisis.

In their annual report of the worst 50 countries for Christian persecution, Open Doors found that Christian martyr deaths around the globe doubled in 2013. Their report documented 2,123 killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. In Syria alone, there were 1,213 such deaths last year. In addition to losing their lives, Christians around the world continue to suffer discrimination, imprisonment, harassment, sexual assaults, and expulsion from countries merely for practicing their faith.

Once again, the worst persecutor of Christians is North Korea, where an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 followers of Jesus are suffering in prison camps for “crimes” such as owning a Bible, going to church, or sharing their faith. In November 2013, it was reported that 80 prisoners were publicly executed, many for possessing Bibles. Last year, North Korea sentenced an American missionary, Kenneth Bae to 15 years of hard labor in a prison camp. The U.S. State Department has lobbied unsuccessfully for his release.

Christians are obviously not the only North Koreans in prison camps. But former captives have reported that they often attract the worst treatment because the regime is particularly enraged by the worship of any other being than the Supreme Leader, who forces North Koreans to treat him as a deity.


Israel defense minister says Kerry messianic, obsessive: paper

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - Israel's defense minister called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's quest for Israeli-Palestinian peace "messianic", a newspaper said on Tuesday, reporting what it described as remarks made behind closed doors.

Moshe Yaalon's spokesman declined comment on the account in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's biggest-selling newspaper.

"Secretary of State John Kerry - who has come to us determined and is acting out of an incomprehensible obsession and a messianic feeling - cannot teach me a single thing about the conflict with the Palestinians," Yaalon was quoted as saying.

"The only thing that can save us is if Kerry wins the Nobel prize and leaves us alone."

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/14/us-palestinians-israel-kerry-idUSBREA0D0IY20140114

Charges Seen as Unlikely in Scrutiny by the I.R.S.

Source: New York Times


WASHINGTON — F.B.I. investigators do not believe Internal Revenue Service officials committed crimes in the unusually heavy scrutiny of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, a law enforcement official said Monday.

Prosecutors for the Justice Department who have been overseeing the case have not made a decision about whether to file charges against the officials — although that would seem unlikely given the F.B.I. investigators’ conclusion, according to the official, speaking anonymously because he could not talk on the record about a continuing investigation.

Despite an admission by the I.R.S. that it inappropriately targeted conservative groups, by searching for groups with the words “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in their names, many legal experts and law enforcement officials say they do not believe that the scrutiny broke the law. Some members of Congress had called for the Justice Department to investigate the tax-collecting agency. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report Monday that criminal charges were unlikely.

I.R.S. documents show the agency gave the same scrutiny to some liberal groups, using the key words “Progressive” and “Occupy.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/14/us/charges-seen-as-unlikely-in-scrutiny-by-the-irs.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140114&_r=0

Utah, in Opposing Gay Marriage, Finds Three Arguments Are Better Than One

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s order last week halting same-sex marriages in Utah was two sentences long. It was provisional and cryptic, and it added nothing to the available information on where the Supreme Court stands on the momentous question of whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Utah’s briefs were another matter. They were expansive, and they set out the current arguments for denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

In the trial court, the state had argued that restricting marriage to a man and a woman would make heterosexual couples act more responsibly when they had sex. In the Supreme Court, the state threw that “responsible procreation” argument overboard in favor of one focused on “optimal parenting.” By the time it filed its final brief on Jan. 6, the state had introduced a fresh argument, drawn from the Supreme Court’s decisions on affirmative action.

The state’s first argument, made before Judge Robert J. Shelby of the Federal District Court in Salt Lake City, was that “the traditional definition of marriage reinforces responsible procreation.” The government benefits that come with marriage, the state said, encourage opposite-sex couples to form stable families “in which their planned, and especially unplanned, biological children may be raised.”


After 19 months in a men's prison, CeCeMcDonald finally walked free Monday morning

CeCe McDonald released from prison

After 19 months in a men's prison, McDonald finally walked free Monday morning VIDEO


After 19 months in a men’s prison, CeCe McDonald finally walked free Monday morning.

McDonald, a transgender woman, was sentenced to 41 months in a St. Cloud, Minn., facility, after fatally stabbing a man while defending herself during a trans-phobic attack.

McDonald was out with friends in Minneapolis in June 2011 when she was confronted by a group of white men and women outside a neighborhood bar. According to witnesses, the group of bar patrons shouted racist and trans-phobic slurs at McDonald and her group. McDonald tried to walk away, but the confrontation escalated and she was sliced in the face with a beer bottle by one of the female patrons. The two groups began to fight; McDonald walked away once again, but was pursued by Dean Schmitz. McDonald says she turned around to confront him while holding a pair of scissors she retrieved from her purse; he was stabbed in the chest and died from the injury. McDonald was charged with two counts of second degree murder, went on to accept a plea to manslaughter in the second degree, and was sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison.

The profile of the case has brought much needed attention to the violence faced by trans people, and other cases in which a trans person has been charged with a crime while acting in self-defense.

A recent case in California provides yet another example of the kind of daily harassment and violence that trans men and women face at alarming rates, and what happens when they attempt self-defense.


Maria Shriver's report to President Obama: “A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink”

details here:


Maria Shriver to meet with Obama on Tuesday


WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says Maria Shriver on Tuesday will present President Barack Obama with a copy of her report on the economic status of women.

The report, “A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink,” tells the story of the financial insecurity of America’s families through the eyes of women. It finds that one-third of women are living near the brink of poverty despite making up half the U.S. workforce and two-thirds of the primary or co-breadwinners in their families.

Obama has been pressing Republicans to agree to extend unemployment insurance as he prepares to highlight income inequality in his State of the Union address on Jan. 28.

Shriver is a niece of President John F. Kennedy. She also is the wife of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Read more: http://www.salon.com/2014/01/13/maria_shriver_to_meet_with_obama_on_tuesday/