"They(Law Enforcement) will look at the kind of dress you wear, there is different type of attire, there is different type of -- right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes," ~Brian Bilbray R-Calif
Van Cleave said one proposed bill would allow no one but
an on-duty officer doing undercover work to drink alcohol while carrying
a concealed weapon. The other bill will say that anyone can
carry a concealed gun and drink if they wish, “as long as they are not
“Whatever the General Assembly assumes will apply to everyone,” he
said. “Police officers and permit holders are all in the same
tent; so I say: General Assembly, you choose. But whatever it is, we’re
LOS ANGELES Federal prosecutors have moved to dismiss charges against a Southern California sushi restaurant that admitted serving illegal and endangered whale meat, though the case appears not to be over.
U.S. attorney's office spokesman Thom Mrozek said Wednesday that prosecutors want charges dismissed without prejudice, meaning they could refile them in the future.
Mrozek didn't explain the move, but said the investigation into The Hump restaurant in Santa Monica remains open and active.
Typhoon Restaurant Inc., parent company of The Hump, and the restaurant's chef were each charged with a misdemeanor count of selling a marine mammal product for an unauthorized purpose.
An attorney for Typhoon has said the now-closed restaurant accepted responsibility for the wrongdoing.
ttp://www.citizensforethics.org/node/44860Goldman, CitiCorp, Bank of America, JP Morgan and John Mack's Morgan Stanley -- along with the Chamber of Commerce -- have all doubled down on their their bets, er, contributions to Congress and Congressional PACs in anticipation of possible legislation regarding derivatives and - gasp - consumer protections. Texas Senator John Cornyn has been camped out in New York trying to fill the coffers of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.All of this bears an eerie similarity to events described in my film, "Casino Jack and the United States of Money," about Jack Abramoff, lobbying and the influence of money in Washington, D.C. With this blog, we are releasing the first in a series of "flash forward" videos on the enduring value of the Abramoff story. Though he was a piker in comparison to the lobbyists from PharMa or Wall Street, Jack's tale lives on through the growing role of money in our democracy.
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer David Bauder, Ap Television Writer – Thu Apr 22, 4:15 am ETNEW YORK – A radical Muslim group has warned the creators of "South Park" that they could face violent retribution for depicting the prophet Muhammad in a bear suit during last week's episode. The website RevolutionMuslim.com has since been taken down, but a cached version shows the message to "South Park" creators . The article's author, Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee of New York, said the men "outright insulted" the religious leader. The posting showed a gruesome picture of Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was shot and stabbed to death in an Amsterdam street in 2004 by a fanatic angered by his film about Muslim women. The film was written by a Muslim woman who rejected the Prophet Muhammad as a guide for today's morality. "We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show," Al-Amrikee wrote. "This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them." The posting listed the addresses of Comedy Central's New York office and Parker and Stone's California production office. It also linked to a Huffington Post article that described a Colorado retreat owned by the two men. CNN, which first reported the posting, said the New York-based website is known for postings in support of Osama bin Laden and jihad, or holy war, against the West. Al-Amrikee told The Associated Press in a phone call Wednesday that the posting was made to raise awareness of the issue and to see that it does not happen again. Asked if Parker and Stone should feel threatened by it, he said "they should feel threatened by what they did." He said he was disappointed that publicity about the posting focused more on the potential danger to the producers but admitted, "I could shoulder some blame" for it. He said he "can't answer that legally" when asked if his group favored jihad. But he praised bin Laden. "We look up to him and admire him for the sacrifices he has given for the religion," he said. Last week's episode, the 200th for the cheeky and often vulgar cartoon, was intended to feature many of the personalities and groups that Parker and Stone insulted during the series' run. In 2006, Comedy Central banned the men from showing an image of Muhammad on their show. They had intended to comment on the controversy created by a Danish newspaper's publishing of caricatures of the Islamic leader. Muslims consider any physical representation of their prophet to be blasphemous. Instead, " " showed an image of Jesus Christ defecating on President George W. Bush and the American flag. Comedy Central and the show's producers would not comment.
OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2010
Peter Bjork 202.408.5565
CREW Releases ‘Worst Governors’ Report – 11 Governors Who Champion Their Personal Interests Over Their States
WASHINGTON - April 21 - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a report on the nation's most incompetent and unethical governors. CREW's Worst Governors report provides in-depth analyses of 11 elected officials who have pushed their states' best interests aside in favor of their supporters, families, political parties and bank accounts.
CREW today also launched the report's website, www.WorstGovernors.org, which offers concise summaries of each governor's offenses and links to their full profiles.
In compiling Worst Governors, CREW reviewed the job performances of all 50 U.S. governors before identifying the worst 11. Though ethics laws, campaign finance rules and financial disclosure regulations vary from state to state, CREW found these governors' proclivities for corruption, cronyism and self-enrichment outweighed their competency, integrity and commitment to transparency.
CREW's unranked list of the 11 worst governors includes:
• Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS);
• Gov. Donald Carcieri (R-RI);
• Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-NV);
• Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA);
• Gov. David Paterson (D-NY);
• Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-GA);
• Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX);
• Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM);
• Gov. Mike Rounds (R-SD);
• Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC); and
• Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA).
CREW's report also includes the Worst Governors Index, a Harper's Index-style compendium of statistics from the report. Highlights include Gov. Perdue's $2,400 private plane ride to a NASCAR race 30 miles away, Gov. Gibbons' 867 state-billed text messages sent to his "alleged" mistress over six weeks in 2007, and Gov. Perry's minimum 17 former aides-turned-lobbyists.
CREW's executive director, Melanie Sloan, said today, "From Gov. Jindal's hundreds of campaign-contributing state appointees to Gov. Paterson's efforts to pressure a domestic violence victim to stay silent - CREW's Worst Governors report leaves you wondering if these really are the people best equipped to handle the complicated problems faced across the nation."
Sloan continued, "There has been a great deal of focus on the ethics of Congress over the past few years, but CREW's report shows that state governments are not immune to ethics problems. Too often -- whether in Washington, D.C. or in South Dakota -- our country's political leaders are more focused on what's best for the favored few, rather than on improving the lives of Americans."
How is this anyone's business? Why should someone's sexual orientation matter to anyone? A person's sexual orientation is and should be a non-issue. I think people should be offended by William Gheen. William Gheen is implying that homosexuality is something one should be ashamed of. People, we need to get bigotry & religion out of Washington.
William Gheen, head of the conservative, anti-"amnesty," anti-illegal immigration group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), spoke at a Greenville, S.C. Tea Party rally this weekend and called for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to "come out of that log cabin closet."
According to Gheen, being gay is "a secret that Lindsey Graham has."
Gheen told the crowd: "I hope this secret isn't being used as leverage over Senator Graham, so today I think Senator Graham, you need to come forward and tell people about your alternative lifestyle and your homosexuality."
"Barney Frank is more honest and brave than you," Gheen continued, referring to the openly-gay Massachusetts congressman.
ALIPAC has posted the video titled "US Senator Graham is Gay" on YouTube, where various news outlets have covered it.
At one point, the video contained the tags "queer" and "fag," which Gheen told HuffPost were the result of a hacked YouTube account. When Gheen was informed of the keywords, he replaced them with less incendiary language.
The group defended itself Monday, and in fact doubled down on calls for Lindsay Graham to admit his homosexuality.
Story continues below
In a statement, ALIPAC alleged that a "brief clip of Gheen's speech, which is out of proper context, has already gone viral on YouTube and been reported by Keith Olberman on MSNBC without proper permissions or attributions."
"US Senator Lindsey Graham is gay and while many people in South Carolina and Washington DC know that, the general public and Graham's constituents do not," Gheen said in the statement. Though Gheen claimed, both in the statement and at the Tea Party rally, that he does "not care about Graham's private life," he again said that Graham must declare his supposed homsexuality "so the public can rest assured he is not being manipulated with his secret."
"I need to figure out why you're trying to sell out your own countrymen and I need to make sure you being gay isn't it," Gheen said over the weekend.
Anonymous rumors of Sen. Graham's supposed homosexuality have swirled around Washington before. In the run-up to Justice Sotomayor's confirmation hearing, Graham asked Sotomayor to explain uncredited comments about her past behavior. A blogger reactd by asking Graham to respond to anonymous speculation that he was gay.
Former CNN anchor and former ALIPAC partner Lou Dobbs is "calling for William Gheen to resign after his comments/actions on Sen. Lindsey Graham's sexuality" via Twitter.
Watch the video, started at the "gay" comments, or start from the beginning for full context:
Eric Kleefeld | April 12, 2010, 12:39PM
Sue Lowden, a former Nevada GOP chair currently seeking the Republican nomination in the June 8 primary to run against Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, has detailed some of her alternative recommendations for health care policy: Encourage people to save as much money as they can in tax-free health savings accounts -- the number she mentioned was $20,000 -- and to barter with their doctors.
At a candidate forum this past Tuesday in Mesquite, Nevada, Lowden was asked what she would have done instead of the Democrats' health care bill. Lowden's message was generally deregulatory in nature, pointing to the ideas of interstate insurance policies and the legalization of stripped-down "mandate-free" policies. "I would have also allowed for us to have savings plans increase instead of being decreased like in this bill," said Lowden. "I would have said to all of you, if you have a health savings account, I don't really care how much you save, good for you. pre-tax, go ahead and save as much as you want. It's your -- it's for your health. And if you want to save $20,000, good for you. Save it pre-tax."
Lowden continued: "And I would have suggested, and I think that bartering is really good. Those doctors who you pay cash, you can barter, and that would get prices down in a hurry. And I would say go out, go ahead out and pay cash for whatever your medical needs are, and go ahead and barter with your doctor."
Here is the video, from a Nevada Democratic Party tracker:
Late Update: The Lowden campaign sent us a comment statement from the candidate. From the look of her explanation, it appears that she may have confused her vocabulary, using the word "barter" when she should have said "haggle," judging from her discussion here about doctors accepting a lower payment if offered in cash. Key quote:"Currently, there are number of medical doctors in Nevada and across America who already accept cash, check and credit cards. This isn't a plan, this is fact. Usually, doctors will offer a lower payment in an agreement with patients because it saves them the hassle of dealing with insurance companies and government-administered health care.
"This may come as a surprise for Harry Reid, but many doctors are also small business owners, and they have their own bills to pay.
April 12, 2010
'BARTER WITH YOUR DOCTOR'.... Once in a great while, we get a peek at Republicans' health care ideals, but rarely do we see them articulated as candidly as Sue Lowden described them last week.
Lowden is a former state senator and chair of the Nevada Republican Party. She's also, according to nearly every recent poll, the favorite to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) in November. Lowden is not, as one might imagine, a supporter of recent improvements to the broken health care system, and she was asked at a candidate forum the kind of policies she'd prefer to see. Among her proposals:
"...I would have suggested, and I think that bartering is really good. Those doctors who you pay cash, you can barter, and that would get prices down in a hurry. And I would say go out, go ahead out and pay cash for whatever your medical needs are, and go ahead and barter with your doctor."
Think about how this would work outside the realm of campaign rhetoric, and apply it to real-life. Someone feels ill and makes an appointment to see a doctor. The patient is concerned about her health -- maybe the ailment is serious -- and is feeling sick. The physician evaluates her condition and recommends some medication and tests.
At this point, in Lowden's vision, the ailing patient should turn to the medical professional and say, "Well, you know, that medication will probably cost about $200. Tell you what; how about I give you $130 and we call it even? And those tests you think I need sound kind of expensive. I may have a life-threatening illness, and I'm feeling weak and vulnerable, but I'm also looking for the best possible bargain. What kind of deal can you give me on that CT scan? And do I really need that blood work done?"
I also enjoyed hearing the would-be senator encourage people to "pay cash for whatever your medical needs are." Since Republicans tend to think Americans already have too much health insurance, Lowden's advice fits nicely into the larger GOP worldview.
Remember, Lowden has had plenty of time to craft her message on health care policy, and this is what she's come up with.
It seems hard to imagine voters finding this compelling, but it's an odd year.
Update: Some readers have suggested that I've confused "bartering" with "bargaining." Actually, I think Lowden has them confused. Unless the Republican candidate actually imagines a scenario in which sick people trade unrelated products and services for medical care, she probably was proposing some kind of haggling scenario.
BEIRUT – A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear immodest clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes.
Iran is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, and the cleric’s unusual explanation for why the earth shakes follows a prediction by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that a quake is certain to hit Tehran and that many of its 12 million inhabitants should relocate.
“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media. Sedighi is Tehran’s acting Friday prayer leader.
Filed by: Kate Kendell
April 17, 2010 4:00 PMClay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place--wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.
One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold's care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing homes.
Ignoring Clay's significant role in Harold's life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold's "roommate." The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold's bank accounts to pay for his care.
What happened next is even more chilling.
Without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold's possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold's lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.
Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county's actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.
With the help of a dedicated and persistent court-appointed attorney, Anne Dennis of Santa Rosa, Clay was finally released from the nursing home. Ms. Dennis, along with Stephen O'Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O'Neill, Barrack & Chong, now represent Clay in a lawsuit against the county, the auction company, and the nursing home, with technical assistance from NCLR. A trial date has been set for July 16, 2010 in the Superior Court for the County of Sonoma.
Read more about NCLR's Elder Law Project.
Are you disturbed by the story of how Clay Greene was treated by the County? Please blog about this, pass it on over Facebook or Twitter, just do whatever you can to help raise the visibility of what happened to Clay. Send a letter to the local paper, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send them this link to NCLR's page.
Want to stay up to date on this case? Follow NCLR and Bilerico Project on Twitter.
What would the United States look like if the South had won the Civil War, slavery was still legal and liberals had fled to Canada? According to filmmaker Kevin Willmott (an assistant professor at the University of Kansas), it would resemble the vision put forth in this provocative mockumentary, set in a modern-day Confederate States of America. Spike Lee lends his name as a producer to this daring, if discomforting, parody.
Reporting from Washington and New York
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was once a darling in Washington, handing out millions of dollars in campaign contributions and supplying so many executives for key federal positions -- including two recent Treasury secretaries -- that some people called the firm "Government Sachs."
But the Securities and Exchange Commission's allegation of fraud in Goldman's marketing of mortgage-backed securities is exacerbating the Wall Street firm's already substantial PR woes in the wake of the financial crisis and its receipt of $10 billion in bailout funds.
The case also is likely to not only further diminish the firm's already weakened influence in the capital but also fuel efforts by the Obama administration and congressional Democrats to pass the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulations since the Great Depression.
"When Goldman Sachs and their friends come into Congress and say, 'Leave us alone. You don't need to regulate us,' I think that argument becomes weaker and weaker," said Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), a strong supporter of tougher financial regulation.
Lawmakers from both parties scrambled Friday to use the case against Goldman to their advantage.
Democrats said the allegations showed the need for their regulatory proposals, particularly for a provision opposed by Goldman that would increase transparency in the trading of derivatives, the complex securities at the center of the SEC charges.
"We don't need to know the outcome of this case to know that the opaque nature of unregulated asset-backed securities fueled the financial crisis," Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) said. "We must pass Wall Street reform to bring practices like these into the light of day and protect our economy from another devastating blow."
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), meanwhile, depicted Goldman as one of Obama's "Wall Street allies" and "a key supporter" of a part of the legislation that would create an industry-paid fund to cover the cost of future seizures of large financial firms. Boehner and other Republicans said those seizures would turn into bailouts.
It already had been a precipitous fall for the Wall Street firm, a power player on Wall Street and in Washington for years.
Since 1989, the company's employees have contributed $31.6 million to federal political candidates, more than any financial firm, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics said. About two-thirds of that money has gone to Democrats, including nearly $1 million to Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign, the company's top recipient during that election cycle.
Democrats and Republicans have tapped former Goldman executives for key financial positions. Robert Rubin, a former Goldman co-chairman, served as Treasury secretary under President Clinton. Former Goldman Chief Executive Henry M. Paulson held the Treasury post under President George W. Bush from 2006 to 2009.
But when the financial crisis hit, Goldman's reputation began sinking.
"In Washington and in the country as a whole, all of the industry's leaders have been tarred by this crisis and Goldman, because it's been so successful in many ways, has suffered worse than the others in terms of their reputation," said former investment banker Douglas Elliott, an economics fellow at the Brookings Institution.
The company also has been hammered for recovering all $14 billion it was owed from American International Group Inc. after the insurance giant was bailed out. Critics, calling the payment a "backdoor bailout," claimed that Goldman's connections with Paulson were behind that outcome.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner was pummeled during a recent congressional hearing for hiring a chief of staff who had worked for the firm. And when top Wall Street executives went before the bipartisan commission investigating the financial crisis in January, the panel's chairman focused his fire on Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, comparing him to a shady car salesman.
Goldman converted to a bank holding company during the crisis, allowing it to receive $10 billion in federal bailout money. Even though the company repaid the money in June -- and the government turned a 23% profit on its investment in the firm -- the criticism has continued.
Goldman's soaring profits since the crisis helped trigger complaints that Wall Street, after causing a deep recession, had returned to normal while Main Street still suffered.
Obama has seized on that anger, calling Wall Street executives "fat-cat bankers" and proposing a new tax on the industry to recover about $100 billion in projected losses in the government's bailout fund.
Speaking Friday at the White House at the start of a meeting with his outside economic advisors, Obama didn't mention Goldman by name, but he said his overhaul was needed to corral Wall Street excesses. He also said he would veto any bill that did not include tough new rules on derivatives.
"Never again should American taxpayers be forced to step in and pay the price for the irresponsibility of speculators on Wall Street who made risky bets, with the expectation that the taxpayers would be there to break their fall," the president said. "And we can't leave in place a tattered set of rules that will allow another crisis to develop, without the tools to deal with it."
The SEC allegations will cause Goldman's influence in the capital to "take a hit," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group.
"It's one thing for people to say bad things against Goldman Sachs and think bad things," she said. "It's another thing to have fraud charges filed against them."