Scotties Toy Box

July 18, 2012

Man Arrested for Selling $19 Worth of Dirty Drawings

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 19:21

Man Arrested for Selling $19 Worth of Dirty Drawings.

Firm announces results of financial services professional survey; Wall Street, Fleet Street, and Main Street: Corporate Integrity at a Crossroads

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 19:17

They just want a licence to be greedy and immoral, with out constraint or common respect for others.   They just want to say it is not their fault they have to do this to do their jobs right…and that as we know is bull.  look the actions and misdeeds  of the finance people put the whole worlds economies in trouble..and they are greedy enough to want to do it again.   Hugs

Firm announces results of financial services professional survey; Wall Street, Fleet Street, and Main Street: Corporate Integrity at a Crossroads.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Financial Services Professionals Feel Unethical Behavior May Be a Necessary Evil and Have Knowledge of Workplace Misconduct, According to Labaton Sucharow Survey

Could You Blow The Whistle?

New York, NY (July 10, 2012) – Labaton Sucharow LLP today announced the results of its survey of 500 financial services professionals across the United States and United Kingdom. Conducted by Populus in June, Wall Street, Fleet Street and Main Street: Corporate Integrity at a Crossroads reveals startling data on corporate ethics, the regulatory landscape, and individuals’ willingness to blow the whistle on wrongdoing.  The survey is being released in conjunction with the launch of the firm’s SEC Whistleblower Eligibility Calculator, an innovative web-based tool to enable users to assess their eligibility for the SEC Whistleblower Program.

According to the survey, 24 percent of respondents reported a belief that financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct in order to be successful, while 26 percent of respondents indicated that they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace.  Particularly troubling, 16 percent of respondents reported that they would commit a crime—insider trading—if they could get away with it.

“When misconduct is common and accepted by financial services professionals, the integrity of our entire financial system is at risk,” said Jordan Thomas, partner and chair of the Whistleblower Representation Practice at Labaton Sucharow.  “In this era of corporate scandals, we must refocus our energies on corporate ethics and encourage individuals to report wrongdoing—internally or externally.”

Labaton Sucharow’s survey also revealed the following:

  • 39 percent of respondents reported that their competitors are likely to have engaged in illegal or unethical activity in order to be successful;
  • 30 percent of respondents reported their compensation or bonus plan created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law, while 23 percent of respondents reported other pressures that may lead to unethical or illegal conduct; and
  • 30 percent of respondents feel that the SEC/SFO effectively deters, investigates and prosecutes misconduct—despite the new leadership, record enforcement actions and new reforms; 29 percent of respondents feel the same way about FINRA/FSA.

Chris Keller, partner and head of case development at Labaton Sucharow commented: “It is shocking that four years after the global economic crisis began there continues to be a fundamental lack of integrity in the financial services industry.  For more than 50 years, Labaton Sucharow has been on the forefront of corporate governance reform.  Given the results of this survey, our work is more important than ever.”

Are Whistleblowers the Answer?

As a former assistant director and assistant chief litigation counsel in the Enforcement Division, Thomas played a leadership role in the development of the SEC Whistleblower Program.  The program has broad extraterritorial reach and offers eligible whistleblowers, regardless of nationality, significant employment protections, monetary awards and the ability to report anonymously.  Other jurisdictions around the world are considering initiatives that encourage individuals to break their silence and report possible violations of the law.

While Labaton Sucharow’s survey found that 94 percent of respondents would report wrongdoing given the protections and incentives such as those offered by the SEC Whistleblower Program, only 44 percent of respondents were aware of this important investor protection program.

Scepticism and uncertainty about employers’ handling of claims of misconduct persist.  One in five of the professionals surveyed weren’t sure of, or had serious doubts about, how their employers would handle a report of wrongdoing.  In addition, in the U.S., gender was a factor in attitudes toward retaliation; 22 percent of female respondents believe that they would be retaliated against if they reported wrongdoing in the workplace, compared with 12 percent of male respondents.

Responding both to the lack of awareness of avenues to report wrongdoing and the personal challenges inherent in blowing the whistle, Labaton Sucharow has launched a first-of-its-kind SEC Whistleblower Eligibility Calculator, which may be found athttp://www.secwhistlebloweradvocate.com/eligibility/. This confidential web-based tool provides potential whistleblowers with a detailed eligibility report—empowering them to make an informed reporting decision.  This is the latest addition tosecwhistlebloweradvocate.com, an innovative website that uses videos, comprehensive legal primers and timely blog entries to help responsible organizations establish a culture of integrity and courageous whistleblowers to report possible securities violations.

Between June 19-25, 2012, Populus conducted 250 online interviews in the U.K. and 250 in the U.S. with senior individuals within the financial services industry.  The full methodology is provided in the survey’s executive summary atwww.labaton.com/en/about/press/upload/ US-UK-Financial-Services-Industry-Survey.pdf.

About Labaton Sucharow LLP  

Labaton Sucharow was the first law firm in the country to establish a practice exclusively focused on protecting and advocating for whistleblowers who report possible securities violations to the SEC.  Building on the firm’s market-leading securities litigation platform, the Whistleblower Representation Practice leverages a world-class in-house team of investigators, financial analysts, and forensic accountants with federal and state law enforcement experience to provide unparalleled representation for whistleblowers.

For more than 50 years, Labaton Sucharow has been one of the country’s premier law firms comprehensively representing businesses, institutional investors and consumers in complex securities and business litigation.  It is consistently among the top plaintiffs litigation firms based on its rankings in Chambers & Partners, The Legal 500, The National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List, and Benchmark Plaintiff.  More information about Labaton Sucharow and the Whistleblower Representation Practice is available athttp://www.labaton.com.

Privacy and Security Fanatic: NSA claims it would violate Americans’ privacy to say how many of us it spied on

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 19:13

Why does the government think it has the right to spy  on the private affairs and actions of any citizen.  I thought government was here to serve the people, not be their parents.   Hugs

Privacy and Security Fanatic: NSA claims it would violate Americans’ privacy to say how many of us it spied on.

NSA claims it would violate Americans’ privacy to say how many of us it spied on

How many Americans had their privacy violated via the NSA warrantless wiretap powers granted under the FISA Amendment Act of 2008? The NSA Inspector General said they can’t tell us as that would violate Americans’ privacy.

By Ms. Smith on Tue, 06/19/12 – 10:32am.

Would you believe the Inspector General from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said it would violate the privacy of Americans for the IG office to tell us how many people in the United States had their privacy violated via the NSA warrantless wiretap powers which were granted under the FISA Amendment Act of 2008?

The annual Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) report [PDF] showed that electronic surveillance increased yet again in 2011. Applications for what the government calls “business records,” but also includes the production of tangible things, swelled from 96 in 2010 to 205 in 2011. The EFF said those business records are one in the same as the government using the notorious Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) is up for a five-year extension, butSenator Ron Wyden said he’d block FAA renewal until Congress received an answer from the NSA about how many “people in the United States have their communications reviewed by the government” under FAA powers.

As members of the Senate’s Intelligence Oversight Committee, Senators Ron Wyden and Marc Udall had previously asked the NSA for an estimate of how many Americans have been spied upon under the FISA Amendment Act. Last year the Office of the Director of National Intelligence replied [PDF] that it was “not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed under the authority of the FAA.” This year, Senators Ron Wyden and Marc Udallwrote, “We are particularly concerned about a loophole in the law that could allow the government to effectively conduct warrantless searches for Americans’ communications.”

Sen. Wyden explained, “Before Congress votes to renew these authorities it is important to understand how they are working in practice. In particular, it is important for Congress to better understand how many people inside the United States have had their communications collected or reviewed under the authorities granted by the FISA Amendments Act.” Wyden added:

I am concerned, of course, that no one has even estimated how many Americans have had their communications collected under the FISA Amendments Act. Then it is possible that this number could be quite large. Since all of the communications collected by the government under section 702 are collected without individual warrants, I believe that there should be clear rules prohibiting the government from searching through these communications in an effort to find the phone calls or emails of a particular American, unless the government has obtained a warrant or emergency authorization permitting surveillance of that American.

In reply to Senators Wyden and Udall, the NSA Inspector General said [PDF] said we can’t tell you because that would “violate the privacy of U.S. persons.” The reply letter from Charles McCullough, the Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was acquired by Danger Room. McCullough wrote that the NSA inspector general “and NSA leadership agreed that an IG review of the sort suggested would further violate the privacy of U.S. persons.” Furthermore, “obtaining such an estimate was beyond the capacity of his office and dedicating sufficient additional resources would likely impede the NSA’s mission.”

Previously, the ACLU reported that a response to its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit about the FAA, “the government revealed that every six-month review of the act had identified ‘compliance incidents,’ suggesting either an inability or an unwillingness to properly safeguard Americans’ privacy rights. The government has withheld the details of those ‘compliance incidents,’ however, including statistics relating to abuses of the act.” The Supreme Court agreed to hear the ACLU’s challenge to the constitutionality of the law, but the government claimed “the plaintiffs should not be able to sue without first showing that they have, in fact, been monitored under the program – information that the government refuses to provide.”

EPIC Director Marc Rotenberg testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on FAA, asking for “increased transparency and new public reporting of the government’s surveillance activities.” The ACLU also asked Congress to fix FISA, but at every turn the government continues to block checks and balances that could keep this surveillance on steroid behavior under control. And now even Senators Wyden and Udall received the bizarre statement about violating American’s privacy to give an estimate on how many of us have our privacy invaded thanks to FAA.

Today, the House Judiciary Committee is supposed to address the “FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012.” If, or sadly more like when, FAA is reauthorized, it will extend the provision through 2017.

Should Teens Be Jailed for Sex Offenses? – The Daily Beast

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 19:11

Second try I just lost this whole post.   OK I posted this before but it is important enough to rate posting again.   Please try to put your self in the place of this young man, his family, the girl.   Is a life time of punishment, humiliation, and ever stricter living conditions justice…I don’t think so.   Look my step father married my mother when she was 15 and pregnant.   Her sister married as a young teen.    Most of the older people here in the retirement community I live in will tell you that the man was older and the woman was a young teen when they were dating and got married. it was the way it was done, and just because we raise the age of consent in congress, doesn’t change the human body or its needs or responses.  In fact medical research shows young people are going through puberty earlier than ever..as young as 8 and 10.   We have to learn to deal with their budding sexuality and needs with out ruining lives in the process.   Sex is not a reason for the death penalty and these laws are a death penalty on living a productive life.   Please read this again and see if you can add your voice to change this injustice.   many Hugs

Should Teens Be Jailed for Sex Offenses? – The Daily Beast.

Laws Gone Wild: As Teen Sweethearts Go to Prison for Sex, Mothers Rebel

Jan 25, 2012 4:45 AM EST

Michigan mom Francie Baldino was shocked when her son spent six years behind bars for high-school sex. She’s leading a growing national movement of parents fighting powerful laws that label teens as sex offenders. Abigail Pesta reports.


teen-sex-offenders-baldino-mother

Francie Baldino says her son was unfairly punished. Photograph by Robyn Twomey for Newsweek

Francie Baldino, a mother of two from Royal Oak, Mich., can tell you the day she became an activist against America’s sex-offender laws. It was the day her teenage son went to prison—for falling in love with a teenage girl.

“Prison was unthinkable,” says Baldino. “He was just a dumb kid.”

Her son, Ken, was an 18-year-old senior in high school when he was arrested for having sex with his girlfriend, a 14-year-old freshman, in 2004. The age of consent in Michigan is 16. He got sentenced to a year in jail and three years of probation. After that, when the two teens resumed their relationship—violating his probation—he got five to 15 years.

His mother is part of a surprising rebellion that has now spread to all 50 states: parents fighting against sex-offender laws—the very laws designed to safeguard their children. These parents argue that the laws are imposing punishments on their high-school sons that are out of proportion to the crime.

The questions are difficult: Should the scales of justice be weighted in favor of the young?

Baldino’s son, for instance, spent more than six years behind bars and today must wear a GPS device the size of a box of butter. Sometimes, he says, it loses its signal and sets off an alarm. “That’s really helpful when I’m at work,” says the blue-eyed 26-year-old, who wears stud earrings and works at a door-and-window store.

No one keeps a tally of how many cases fall into this category nationwide. But there is one measure of the scale of the movement: there are now more than 50 organizations—at least one in every state—battling against prosecutions like these. Baldino’s group is Michigan Citizens for Justice, which she says includes more than 100 parents. Another group in Michigan, the Coalition for a Useful Registry, has around 150 parents as members, it says. Organizations in other states report similar numbers. One of the largest, Texas Voices, claims some 300 parents as members.


teen-sex-offenders-baldino

Ken Thornsberry admits today, “I did stupid stuff.” Photograph by Robyn Twomey for Newsweek

The cases they are fighting are highly complex, charged with emotion, and rarely black-and-white. The questions are profoundly difficult: Should the scales of justice be weighted in favor of the young? Is a sex crime somehow less terrible, if it involves teens? The judge in the Baldino case, Fred Mester, openly acknowledged the complexities. Referring to his own high-school days when handing down the prison sentence in 2005, he said, “Half my senior class … were dating freshman girls, and I suspect half of them would be in here today.”

Prosecutors say it’s simple: kids should obey the law, and parents need to keep their children under control. Paul Walton, a chief assistant prosecutor in Michigan, says Baldino’s son had only himself to blame: he was an adult, and he chose his own actions. “The court isn’t imposing restrictions because it’s fun—it’s the law,” Walton says. “You can disagree on the age of consent, but the law says that prior to that age, a person doesn’t have the ability to consent.”

Baldino is quick to say that she doesn’t advocate underage sex. And both she and her son admit he broke the law. He “did stupid things,” she says, including getting in a physical fight with his girlfriend’s father one evening in 2004—a fight that began the chain of events that led to the police being called, and his arrest for underage sex.

Baldino argues simply that the law should treat teenage lovers differently from pedophiles or violent sexual predators. “The punishment is too extreme for kids,” she says. “It’s a system that’s not working.”

ON A RECENT RAINY AFTERNOON, Francie Baldino steps into her kitchen and pulls out a favorite photo of her son as a toddler, dressed in a bee costume. Then she sits down at the table and describes the events that sent him to prison.

Baldino was a remarried mother of two when her son, Ken Thornsberry (who uses his father’s surname), met a girl named Emily Lester at a local Tower Records. The two teenagers were living with their fathers in the wake of divorce; both were struggling to find their footing at home and at school, says Baldino. They attended different high schools, but started spending all their free time together. Eventually, they slept together, although they certainly didn’t announce that to their parents.

Lester, now 22 and living in nearby Lake Orion, Mich., remembers the romance fondly. “I’ll never forget that day we met,” she says, recalling evenings spent wandering the county fair with her boyfriend, or listening to him play guitar in his high-school band. “I’ve never loved someone like Ken.”

Her father disapproved of the relationship, Lester says, and told the pair to split up. (Her father didn’t respond to attempts to contact him.)

The teens didn’t listen. “Ken was young,” says Baldino. “He was in love. He thought nothing bad could happen to him.” She admits that she wishes she had paid more attention, but in hindsight says she was focusing too much on running a graphic-design business.


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“I’m not a victim,” says Emily Lester today. Photograph by Robyn Twomey for Newsweek

One morning, Thornsberry drove to Lester’s house when he thought her father would be at work. His plan, he says: to pick up some belongings and drive his girlfriend to school. But her father saw Thornsberry outside the home and the two started arguing. Thornsberry kicked open the front door and hurled a sugar bowl at the TV. The father called the police. Thornsberry was arrested for home invasion.

When questioned by detectives, Thornsberry, then 18, admitted to sleeping with his 14-year-old girlfriend. On the advice of his attorney, he pleaded guilty to criminal sexual misconduct and was sentenced to a year in jail followed by three years’ probation, during which time he could not be around minors, including his girlfriend. He would also go on the sex-offender registry, which would list his home address and other personal information, for 25 years.

Baldino visited her son regularly in jail. “People say that when you’re 18, you’re an adult,” she says. “But he was just a kid.”

ACTIVISTS RAISE AN INTERESTING point: at what age does a person become an adult? The voting age is 18. The drinking age is 21. A person can join the military at the age of 17, with parental permission. The age of consent for sex varies by state, from age 16 to 18—so sex can be a crime in one state and not in another.

There are now more than 700,000 registered sex offenders nationwide, according to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Every state has its own registry; 34 states register youth offenders. There are no national statistics on the number of youths, because not every state keeps track. Individual state numbers vary: in Michigan, there are 1,341 registered youths. In Texas, there are 4,519; in Wisconsin, 1,687.

Sex-offender registries began for the most part in the ’90s, after an 11-year-old boy named Jacob Wetterling was abducted in Minnesota. Congress created the Wetterling Act in 1994, requiring states to establish registries listing convicted sex offenders. Other federal acts followed, but the rules were broadly defined, so state laws varied widely.

In 2006, new federal legislation tried to bring some uniformity to the tangle of state laws by setting minimum standards across the states. However, only 15 states have implemented the terms to date. One big reason: cost. Budget-strapped states say they can’t afford the added administrative work.

KEN THORNSBERRY EMERGED from the county jail in 2005. He was 19 years old, and had a GED and a new job with his father’s contracting company. He stuck to his probation terms and didn’t see Emily Lester—for the first few months, anyway. Then, she contacted him, and he started secretly seeing her.


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Ken Thornsberry wears a GPS device on his belt. Photograph by Robyn Twomey for Newsweek

“He was acting like a dumb teenager,” Baldino says. One day, Lester’s father came home and found Thornsberry with his daughter. Back to jail he went.

In a court hearing, Lester pleaded her boyfriend’s case. “It’s just like, we were in love, and it’s just not fair,” she said, according to court documents. “It’s not like I was 12 or something.”

The prosecuting attorney, Kenneth Frazee, disagreed. “I think the victim you saw today is a person that’s very much in need of our protection,” he told the judge.

Judge Mester sympathized with the teens, pointing out that society encourages sex: “That’s all we read about … these heroic celebrities from Hollywood telling us how we’re going to live our lives free and easy.” But the law, he said, is clear. He sentenced Thornsberry to five to 15 years.

“I made bad choices. I did stupid stuff,” Thornsberry says today, standing in his mother’s kitchen. He got out of prison this past August after more than six years. He was due to get out in five, but needed to take a sex-offender class first, and it was overbooked. He is now on parole for two years. He wears a GPS bracelet on his ankle and carries an accompanying black metal box that bleeps if he loses a signal or if he moves away from approved locales.

For the next two years, he cannot be around kids and must attend weekly sex-offender classes. He is not allowed to use a computer or cellphone camera. He’s 26 and has never used Facebook.

He demonstrates the heft of the GPS box, which weighs about a pound, by clipping it to his back pocket, causing his jeans to comically droop. He jokes about the time he left it on the counter at a gas station and the clerk thought it was a bomb.

Thornsberry laughs easily. His mother laughs with him, even when he mentions that when he was new in prison, an inmate offered him $60 to walk around the cell in his underpants—an offer he declined.

“I wish parents would teach their kids respect for authority, the law, and other people.”

As her son speaks, Baldino flips through a stack of drawings he produced in prison: angry demons, a heart blown apart. Thornberry’s arms tell a story, too. When he went to prison, he had a couple of tattoos, he says—a star, a zipper around his wrist. He emerged with two fully covered arms, ringed with vines and bloodshot eyes. One of the inmates had rigged up a tattoo machine.

Baldino founded her reform group while her son was in prison.

SOME NEW “ROMEO AND JULIET” LAWS—inspired by parent-activists like Baldino—are designed to help high-school students in this predicament. The laws aim to reduce the penalties for sex with a minor, provided the couple’s age difference is minimal and other parameters are met. But some parents say the laws are still imperfect. For instance, the mandated age difference might be three years, but a boy might be three years and a month older than the girl.

Activist groups argue that teens who miss the parameters should go to a counseling or treatment center, not to jail. They also argue that teens shouldn’t be placed on the sex-offender registries.


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Cheryl Carpenter has freed 20 youths from the registry. Photograph by Robyn Twomey for Newsweek

Alison Parker, the U.S. program director for Human Rights Watch, argues the laws should change. “Common sense says that kids are different from adults,” she says. “Kids can grow and change. They are extremely unlikely to reoffend.” The recidivism rate among juveniles who commit sex offenses is 4 to 7 percent, she says, citing a study published in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment. For adults, she notes, the recidivism rate is 13 percent, according to a study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Dena Teska, a mother in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., agrees. Last month, her son Christian was sentenced to nine months in jail. He was 18 when he was arrested, in 2010, for having a sexual relationship with his 15-year-old girlfriend. A fellow student had told a school guidance counselor about the relationship, and the counselor told the police. The age of consent in Wisconsin is 18.

He pleaded guilty to fourth-degree sexual assault and was sentenced to probation for two years, during which time he had to stay away from his girlfriend. He didn’t. Arrested again this past fall, he will serve his sentence in the county jail.

His mother admits he made mistakes but thinks jail is not the answer. “My son thinks he has found the love of his life,” she says. “He’s a teenager. They should put him in a treatment program, not a horrendously wicked place.”

“The laws often don’t differentiate between a 50-year-old man molesting a 14-year-old girl, and two teens having sex.”

Joan Korb, the assistant district attorney on the case, feels differently. She says Teska’s son is an adult, and that he was given “plenty of opportunities to follow the rules” while on probation. “When a judge orders you to do something, you do it,” she says, adding: “I wish parents would teach their kids respect for authority, the law, and other people.”

HIGH-SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS Ken Thornsberry and Emily Lester had a brief reunion this past August, in court. Thornsberry, newly out of prison, had a chance to petition the court to remove his name from the sex-offender registry, due to a new law spurred on by parent activists. In order to be freed from the registry, he needed to petition two judges. The first judge had ruled against him, so Lester was called upon to appear before the second judge.

“I was so nervous,” Lester says, describing the morning she got the call. “I hadn’t seen Ken in eight years.” She begins to cry. “He hugged me. It’s like we just picked up where we left off. I wasn’t nervous anymore. It was him.” The two are not allowed to contact each other for the next two years, as she is considered his victim.

“I’m not a victim,” she says. The term makes her angry. “I’m not a minor. He didn’t rape me.” She has moved on, and so has he. Both today are dating other people. But there are unresolved feelings, Lester says: “Our relationship was just cut off.”

Thornsberry is now off the sex-offender registry. But he remains a convicted felon for life, according to his attorney, Cheryl Carpenter. She has freed 20 youth offenders from the sex-offender registry in Michigan; she is among those who think the laws need to change. “The laws often don’t differentiate between a 50-year-old man molesting a 14-year-old girl, and two teenagers having sex,” she says.

Today, Thornsberry is launching his own landscaping business, and also applying at Oakland Community College for a business degree. His plan: to start a music venue where bands can play and artists can display their work.

“I’ve already lost so much time,” he says. “I’m 26. If that doesn’t give you the gas to get going, I don’t know what does.”

A few that made me think…and laugh

Filed under: Cartoons — Scottie @ 18:32

 

Study: 500,000 face major challenges with voter-ID laws

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 16:21

Sad that so many in the land of the free who should not have their right to vote hindered, are finding they are being taken off voter roles.  So many fought for the right they have to vote, and it makes a mockery of what this country stands for.   The worst thing, these people doing the purge are using scare tactics about voter fraud…something that is not a real problem…to get these purges pushed through.   Hugs

Study: 500,000 face major challenges with voter-ID laws.

Study: 500,000 face major challenges with voter-ID laws

By Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
Updated 21m ago

Updated: 3:55 p.m.

A survey of 10 states that require people to show government-issued photo IDs to vote finds many voters could face transportation and financial challenges in obtaining the proper identification.

By Pat Sullivan, AP

 

The study, published today by the Brennan Center of Justice at the New York University School of Law, notes that nearly 500,000 eligible voters in those states without IDs do not have access to a vehicle and live more than 10 miles from the nearest state ID-issuing office. [The Brennan Center only counted ID offices that are open more than two days per week.]

The finding bolsters U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s argument that the new tougher restrictions would require some voters — disproportionately minorities — to travel great distances and struggle to pay for necessary documents to obtain the IDs.

“In our efforts to protect voting rights and to prevent voting fraud, we will be vigilant and strong,” Holder told the NAACP recently. “But let me be clear: we will not allow political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right.”

Tougher voter-ID laws in the 10 states have become a central issue ahead of the November elections with opponents arguing that the laws disproportionately affect African Americans, Latinos and young voters — all critical members of President Obama’s base.

Republican Mitt Romney has said that he supports tougher voter-ID restrictions as a way to prevent fraud.

The Justice Department has been sued by the states of Texas and South Carolina for blocking implementation of their voter-ID laws. The Texas case was heard last week, and the three-judge panel is now deliberating. The South Carolina case is expected to go to trial in August.

About 10% of Americans who are eligible to vote don’t have government-issued photo IDs — including 25% percent of African Americans, according to the Brennan Center.

Among the Brennan Center’s other findings:

  • More than 1 million eligible voters in the 10 states fall below the federal poverty line and live more than 10 miles from their nearest ID-issuing office. These voters may be particularly affected by the significant costs of the documentation required to obtain a photo ID. Birth certificates can cost between $8 and $25 in the states. Marriage licenses, required for married women whose birth certificates include a maiden name, can cost between $8 and $20. The study notes that the poll tax — outlawed during the civil rights era — cost the equivalent of $10.64 in current dollars.
  • More than 10 million eligible voters live more than 10 miles from their nearest state ID-issuing office.
  • 1.2 million eligible black voters and 500,000 eligible Hispanic voters live more than 10 miles from their nearest ID-issuing office. People of color are more likely to be disenfranchised by these laws since they are less likely to have photo ID than the general population.

AP News: Bernanke: Fed’s efforts have helped the economy

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 16:17

The efforts of the Obama team helped save this country from a horrible deep depression and it has been proven that if they had not acted the country would have had a lot more losses, less jobs, and more people in trouble.   The only problem was the restraints on doing the job right that the republicans were able to get.  The republicans tied the hands of our government to do it’s job and help the people…..and they are proud of it.    Go figure.   Hugs

 

AP News: Bernanke: Fed’s efforts have helped the economy.

Bernanke: Fed’s efforts have helped the economy


MARTIN CRUTSINGER
Published: Today


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appears before the House Financial Services Committee to deliver his twice-a-year report to Congress on the state of the economy, Wednesday, July 18, 2012. Bernanke sketched a bleak picture of the U.S. economy yesterday at the Senate Banking Committee warning it will darken further if Congress doesn’t reach agreement soon to avert a budget crisis. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers Wednesday that the Federal Reserve’s efforts to bolster growth have helped lift the U.S. economy out of the Great Recession. But he acknowledged that growth remains weak and the Fed can only do so much.

“I don’t think it is the case that there has been no progress. The recovery has been slower than we like but clearly we have made progress,” Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee.

Bernanke was on the Hill to deliver his twice-a-year report to Congress on the state of the economy. But he spent part of the hearing defending the Fed’s previous two rounds of large-scale bond purchases against Republican criticism.

The economy has weakened since the start of the year, and Bernanke said the Fed is prepared to take further action if unemployment stays high. He didn’t specify what steps the Fed might take or whether any action was imminent.

His comments were similar to those he made Tuesday to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.

Many economists interpreted the remarks to mean the Fed will likely launch a third round of bond purchases, perhaps in the fall. That’s because few expect the unemployment rate, which was 8.2 percent last month, to fall much further by then.

The bond purchases seek to lower long-term interest rates and encourage more borrowing and spending.

Bernanke noted that the economy, after growing at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the second half of 2011, slowed to roughly 2 percent from January through March. And it likely weakened further in the April-June period.

Manufacturing has slowed. Consumers are spending less. And job growth has slumped to an average of 75,000 a month in the April-June quarter from 226,000 a month from January through March.

But Republicans on the panel questioned the Fed’s use of large-scale asset purchases to lower long-term interest rates. They say the bond purchases have increased the risk of inflation without providing much help to the slumping economy.

“We have anemic growth, probably half of what it should be by historic standards,” said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas. Hensarling questioned what another round of bond purchases would do.

Bernanke said the first effort in the middle of 2009 helped lift the economy out of the recession, which ended in June 2009.

The second, launched in Nov. 2010, kept the economy from suffering a bout of deflation, he said. Deflation is a prolonged period of falling prices which the United States hasn’t seen since the Great Depression.

“I think the previous efforts did have productive effects,” he said.

McCain defends top Clinton aide from GOP attack

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 16:13

Good Job sir, for doing the right thing.   I hope your party also stands up and does the right thing.   Hugs

 

McCain defends top Clinton aide from GOP attack.

McCain defends top Clinton aide from GOP attack

By Susan Davis, USA TODAY
Updated 2h 38m ago

AP

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., issued a lengthy defense of Huma Abedin, a long-serving top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in response to five Republican House lawmakers who have requested an investigation into her alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. 

The five House members cited a report from the conservative Center for Security Policy that suggests the Muslim Brotherhood has a nefarious grip on the State Department and U.S. foreign policy. They signed a letter last month calling on the State Department inspector general to investigate Abedin and other officials for their links to one of the world’s largest Islamic movements.

Making the request: Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Tom Rooney of Florida and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.

Abedin, who was born in the United States, is Muslim. The CSP report cites Abedin’s family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, including her late father, her mother and her brother.

She is currently Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, and has been one of her most loyal aides since Bill Clinton was in the White House. She is married to former representative Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.

The attack on her brought a sharp rebuke from the State Department. “These accusations are nothing but vicious and disgusting lies, and anyone who traffics in them should be ashamed of themselves,” said Philippe Reines, a State Department spokesman.

The accusation also proved too much for McCain, who offered a public defense of Abedin on the Senate floor Wednesday, citing a personal relationship with her built during Clinton’s time in the U.S. Senate and later at State.

“Put simply, Huma represents what is best about America: the daughter of immigrants, who has risen to the highest levels of our government on the basis of her substantial personal merit and her abiding commitment to the American ideals that she embodies so fully,” McCain said. “I am proud to know Huma, and to call her my friend.”

McCain also offered choice words for his GOP colleagues who sent the letter and its insinuation that Abedin is undermining the U.S. in favor of Islamic interests.

“When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it,” he said.

Sheriff’s finding about Obama birth certificate draws yawns – USATODAY.com

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 16:11

Sheriff’s finding about Obama birth certificate draws yawns – USATODAY.com.

Sheriff’s finding about Obama birth certificate draws yawns

PHOENIX – When Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio scheduled a news conference Tuesday to discuss the finding of his “birther” investigation just two days before a civil-rights case against his agency gets underway, it drew a knowing sigh from longtime observers.

  • Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announces on Tuesday in Phoenix that President Obama's birth certificate, as presented by the White House in April 2011, is a forgery.

    By Matt York, AP

    Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announces on Tuesday in Phoenix that President Obama’s birth certificate, as presented by the White House in April 2011, is a forgery.

By Matt York, AP

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announces on Tuesday in Phoenix that President Obama’s birth certificate, as presented by the White House in April 2011, is a forgery.

The event was not the first instance in which a well-timed Arpaio news conference has coincided with potentially negative news involving his office.

Arpaio’s supporters say the timing of Tuesday’s event, revealing results from the sheriff’s volunteer investigation into the authenticity of President Obama‘s birth certificate, was purely coincidental.

Whether or not it was a coincidence, the substance of his message Tuesday — that Hawaiian officials’ stonewalling about inconsistencies in Obama’s birth certificate must mean it is forged — will be at least somewhat obscured by the federal civil-rights trial beginning Thursday.

In that case, U.S. District Judge Murray Snow will determine whether Arpaio’s agency has engaged in racial profiling.

“Sometimes, in such high-profile cases, you might want such publicity to influence potential jury pools, but that has no application for the upcoming trial because it’s a bench trial and this is a no-nonsense judge,” said David Don, a Phoenix civil rights attorney.

Tuesday was the second time in recent months that the sheriff has shared with the media what he considered positive news in advance of anticipated negative publicity.

In May, the federal government was preparing to file a separate civil-rights lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office that claimed the agency engaged in discriminatory policing and disregarded the needs of Latino citizens. Arpaio held a news conference the day before the lawsuit was filed at which he unveiled a plan to restore integrity and accountability to his agency.

Chad Willems, Arpaio’s campaign manager, dismissed suggestions that Arpaio’s news conferences were part of a strategy to deflect attention from other matters. He noted that it would be difficult for sheriff’s officials to coordinate timing for a Justice Departmentlawsuit.

“We don’t know when bad stories are going to come out. I think it’s paranoia on the part of our detractors,” Willems said.

If the revelations related to Obama’s birth certificate were intended to deflect the spotlight from the upcoming civil-rights trial, it will likely be the last time Arpaio can employ that tactic: He revealed at the end of Tuesday’s news conference that a governmental body with more authority, like Congress, would have to take up the investigation into the authenticity of the president’s birth certificate.

“It’s time for someone else to look into this situation,” Arpaio said.

The information revealed by Arpaio and his team on Tuesday did little to resolve questions about Obama’s birthplace that linger in the minds of the sheriff’s supporters. Instead, the sheriff’s lead volunteer investigator, Mike Zullo, took nearly an hour to lay out his case after he and a spokeswoman for

Arpaio admonished the media for ignoring information Zullo presented in March.

While Arpaio’s investigators were in Hawaii for 10 days, they located a former local registrar who might have written coding on the copy of Obama’s birth certificate posted on the White House website. The woman is now 95 years old.

After the team’s return from Hawaii, a national leader in the so-called birther movement who has worked with the sheriff’s volunteer investigators placed a call to the woman, pretending to be a news reporter. The woman, who Zullo referred to as “amazingly sharp,” told the fake reporter that the numbers on Obama’s birth certificate were inconsistent with the time and place of his birth.

Her information, other inconsistencies investigators said they discovered in documents posted on the White House website and the refusal of Hawaii officials to let Arpaio’s investigators inspect the original birth certificate led the team to conclude the document is a fraud.

Charles M. Blow Tears Sununu to Shreds on ‘The Last Word': VIDEO| News | Towleroad

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 09:18

Charles M. Blow Tears Sununu to Shreds on ‘The Last Word': VIDEO| News | Towleroad.

Charles M. Blow Tears Sununu to Shreds on ‘The Last Word': VIDEO

Blow

Yesterday, the Romney campaign (taking advice from Rush Limbaugh) sent out John Sununu to begin smearing Obama with suggestions that he is “foreign” in order to try and divert the attention Romney is getting over his disputed tenure at Bain Capital.

SununuSaid Sununu on FOX News:

“[Obama] has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, another set of years in Indonesia, and, frankly, when he came to the U.S. he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure, and then got into politics in Chicago.”

Later, Sununu doubled down on a conference call:

“The men and women all over America who have worked hard to build these businesses, their businesses, from the ground up is how our economy became the envy of the world. It is the American way. And I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”

Think Progress notes how the meme was continued, with other surrogates, HERE.

Charles Blow appeared on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and tore the whole thing apart, ripping Sununu as the GOP’s “favorite drunk uncle” in a satisfying tirade.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP

Political Ticker reports that “a multipronged effort” to escape from the Bain swamp is coming from Romney’s camp.

Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2012/07/sununu.html#ixzz20yoRqQ9X

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