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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Massachusetts
Home country: United States
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 60,536

Journal Archives

Defense Rests in Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

Source: Slate

Attorneys representing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in his federal trial over charges related to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing rested their case Tuesday after calling four witnesses. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s representatives have already admitted that he helped carry out the bombing and are attempting only to persuade the jury that Dzhokhar should not be sentenced to death because his brother Tamerlan was more responsible for their crimes. From the AP:

During its brief case, the defense called a cell site analyst who showed that Tsarnaev was at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth when Tamerlan purchased components of the two bombs used in the 2013 attack, including pressure cookers and BBs.

Tsarnaev's lawyer told jurors that it was Tamerlan who shot and killed MIT police Officer Sean Collier three days after the bombings. Tamerlan died after a gun battle with police hours after Collier's slaying.

The Boston Herald notes that the defense also called an FBI fingerprint examiner who said that the only prints recovered from the marathon crime scene matched Tamerlan Tsarnaev, not Dzhokhar.

Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/03/31/dzhokhar_tsarnaev_defense_rests.html?wpsrc=slatest_newsletter&sid=5388f1c6dd52b8e4110003de

GOP, liberal Democrats hoping for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren presidential campaign

WASHINGTON — Republicans and liberal Democrats have something in common: Both are trying to keep alive the prospect that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will run for president.

Warren isn't playing along, making the rounds this week to – yet again – insist she's not interested in the White House.

People on both sides have a vested interest in clinging to a dream that is all but certain to remain in the realm of fantasy. The left flank of the Democratic Party wants Warren to challenge Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primary race, or at a minimum, get Clinton to adopt Warren's tough-on-Wall Street agenda. Republicans view a Warren candidacy as a way to sow division among Democrats and boost their own fundraising.

Neither side seems to care much that Warren has repeatedly insisted that she doesn't plan to run for president and is not taking any of the necessary steps to lay the groundwork. That has been the message as Warren conducts a media blitz this week surrounding the paperback release of her memoirs.

"No, I'm not running and I'm not going to run," Warren said Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show. "I'm in Washington. I've got this really great job and a chance to try to make a difference on things that really matter." Asked if she would categorically rule out a campaign, she responded, "I'm not running."


Obama Commutes Sentences Of 22 Convicted Of Federal Drug Offenses


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday shortened the prison sentences of nearly two dozen drug convicts, including some given life in prison for their crimes.

The White House said the action continued Obama's effort to reduce harsh sentences imposed under outdated guidelines, a step that could lead him to use his powers to grant clemency more often in the final 22 months left in his term.

Neil Eggleston, the White House counsel, said many of the 22 people whose federal sentences will be cut short by Obama's action would already have served their time and paid their debt to society had they been sentenced under current laws and policies.

"Because many were convicted under an outdated sentencing regime, they served years — in some cases more than a decade — longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime," Eggleston said in a post on the White House blog. He said the commutations granted underscore Obama's "commitment to using all the tools at his disposal to bring greater fairness and equity to our justice system."


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/obama-commutes-federal-drug-prison-sentences

Obama Lifts Arms Freeze Against Egypt

Source: New York Times

Seeking to patch up relations with a longtime regional ally at a time of spreading war and instability in the Middle East, President Obama on Tuesday lifted an arms freeze against Egypt that he first imposed after the 2013 military overthrow of the country’s elected government.

Mr. Obama removed his holds on the delivery of F-16 aircraft, Harpoon missiles and M1A1 tank kits and in a telephone call assured President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt that he would continue to support $1.3 billion in annual military assistance for the Cairo government, the White House announced.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/01/world/middleeast/obama-lifts-arms-freeze-against-egypt.html?emc=edit_na_20150331

The 2015 Final Four Schools Respond To Indiana Anti-Gay Law

Source: TPM

All four schools with basketball teams competing in the Final Four games of March Madness have weighed in on Indiana's controversial religious, expressing concern that the law could open the door to discrimination against gay people.

The statements, by representatives for the University of Kentucky, Duke University, the University of Wisconsin, and Michigan State University, come as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) finally gave in and said Tuesday that he wanted to see a clarification to the law so that it's clear that no one would be discriminated against.


Duke Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations Michael Schoenfeld said Tuesday that his school "continues to stand alongside the LGBT community in seeking a more equal and inclusive world, and we deplore any effort to legislate bias and discrimination."

"We share the NCAA’s concern about the potential impact of the new law, and will be vigilant to ensure that our student-athletes, supporters, and indeed all citizens and visitors are treated fairly and with respect," Schoenfeld said.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/march-madness-indiana-final-four-religious-freedom

Flight Attendant Union Calls On Indiana To Reverse 'Abhorrent' Law

Source: TPM

The Flight Attendant Union on Monday called on the state of Indiana to fix its controversial religious freedom law that may allow businesses to discriminate against gay people.

"We call on the Indiana State legislature to undo this abhorrent law. And just as we have done throughout our history, such as the battle we waged against Big Tobacco, we will relentlessly battle the hate spewing from the Governor's office in Indiana or wherever it may exist until our communities are free of hate," AFA International President Sara Nelson (pictured above) said in a statement.

The Flight Attendant Union joins groups and businesses like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and Twitter in denouncing the legislation.

After mounting pressure, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) on Tuesday called for legislation to clarify that the that the "law does not give businesses to deny services to anyone."

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/flight-attendant-indiana-religious-freedom

USC Athletic Director To Boycott NCAA Meeting: I Have A Gay Son

Source: TPM

The athletic director at the University of Southern California, Pat Haden, said on Tuesday that he would not attend the NCAA's College Football Playoff committee meeting in Indianapolis this week, due to the new Indiana religious freedom law that may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Pat Haden ✔ @ADHadenUSC

I am the proud father of a gay son. In his honor, I will not be attending the CFP committee meeting in Indy this week. #EmbraceDiversity

12:15 PM - 31 Mar 2015

Numerous groups and conventions have announced or threatened boycotts of the state, but the NCAA will not move this week's Final Four games out of Indianapolis and did not indicate that it will move the league's headquarters from the city either.

"We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement last week. "Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce."


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/usc-athletic-director-ncaa-indiana

Public pressure works: The crucial lesson in Mike Pence’s call for a religious freedom “fix”

It remains to be seen what Pence's changes will look like, but activists have already won a major victory


Appearing subdued and exuding an air of contrition, Republican Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s Tuesday press conference on Indiana’s anti-gay “religious freedom” law was a stark contrast to his appearance on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday, when Pence defiantly defended the law, even as he repeatedly refused to say whether he thinks discrimination against gay people should be legal. Now, Pence is calling for a “fix” to the law, maintaining that it does not provide a license to discriminate and avowing that he personally “abhors” anti-gay discrimination.

“I don’t believe for a minute that it was the intension of the General Assembly to provide a right to discriminate,” Pence said. “But I can appreciate that that’s become the perception not just here in Indiana but across this country.”

How ever could that have happened? Well, the language of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act is quite clear: “A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding,” the statute reads. Sure, the law does not explicitly state that business owners are free to put up a “no gays allowed” sign, but it provides a compelling legal defense for businesses and individuals who deny services to LGBT people on religious grounds.

Amid a social conservative backlash against marriage equality and the increased visibility of LGBT people, conservative lawmakers have introduced similar measures throughout the country, often flat-out admitting that the purpose is to target the LGBT population. Pence has not been as forthcoming, but the purpose of the law was clear. Look no further than the people who stood behind Pence as he signed the legislation. They included American Family Association of Indiana head Micah Clark, a promoter of “ex-gay” therapy; conservative lobbyist Eric Miller, who calls the fight against LGBT equality “the greatest moral battle of this generation”; and Indiana Family Institute president Curt Smith, who once charged that gay people have no “life beyond absorption with narcissistic sex.”


America’s next top bigot: Why GOP’s upcoming primary is an anti-gay freak show - By Joan Walsh

When it comes to LGBT rights, the 2016 GOP roster may be more ridiculous than the clown car of 2012


Thanks to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, we’re getting an early look at a field of GOP presidential hopefuls that is supposed to include some moderates who plan on expanding the party’s appeal beyond its right-wing base. And it’s pathetic. Before Pence’s odd press conference, where he promised to “fix” the bill but insisted there was nothing wrong with it, the top GOP contenders hustled to outdo one another in backing Pence and his divisive legislation.

Let’s remember that in 2014, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were among the Republicans who urged Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto AB 1062, Arizona’s version of Indiana’s “religious freedom” law – admittedly after they’d run for president in 2012. The 2016 candidates are showing no such courage – quite the opposite, in fact.

They are showing they all agree with Sen. Ted Cruz on one thing: the key to winning in 2016 isn’t outreach to so-called minorities, women and middle America, but to discouraged evangelical Christians (not to mention white voters) who sat out 2012.

Supposedly moderate and gay friendly Jeb Bush went all in defending Pence with radio host Hugh Hewitt Monday night. At first Bush took the route of condescension: the bill’s critics are too dumb to understand it.


Obama White House Blasts Mike Pence For Lying About Indiana Religious Freedom Law

Source: Politicuusa

By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, March, 31st, 2015, 2:29 pm

During his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest blasted and debunked Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s lies about Indiana’s religious freedom law.



White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked if President Obama feels a need to amend the 1993 federal religious freedom law.

Earnest answered:

I know that Gov. Pence has tried to falsely suggest that the law that was signed in Indiana is the same as the law that was passed at the federal level in 1993. That is not true, and the reason that that’s not true is that the 1993 law was an effort to protect the religious liberty of religious minorities based on actions that could be taken by the federal government.


Read more: http://www.politicususa.com/2015/03/31/obama-white-house-blasts-mike-pence-lying-indiana-religious-freedom-law.html
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