The WikiLeaks suspect's mistreatment amounts to torture. Either President Obama knows this or he should make it his business.[...]
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dreamstime.comAfter extending the original March 3 lockout date twice, talks between the NFL owners and players have broken off with the players decertifying their union, which is now a trade association.
The group is seeking an injunction to bar owners from locking out the players, and they likely will be successful. Because there's no longer a union with which to collectively bargain, NFL teams are now in peril of running afoul of antitrust laws.
Owners are still expected to attempt to lock out players, and last month they filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that the anticipated decertification was a sham.
NFL players, including Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning, have already filed an antitrust suit:
Just after the players' union decertified, the star quarterbacks and seven other players filed suit against the NFL in U.S. District Court, seeking class-action against the league. They also filed a request for an injunction that would keep the NFL and the teams from engaging in a lockout.
For context, this is not the first time the NFLPA has decertified, but it's not without its dangers.
The NFLPA did this 1989 only to reform as a union in 1993. The NFL would claim through the courts that the new move to decertify is a sham based upon the actions that the NFLPA did prior. It also could mean that a new union could be formed while the current one is dissolved setting up a possible power struggle with the players.
Meanwhile, to put yourself in the mindset of an NFL owner, read this.
Although the Everly Brothers hold the record for the most Top 40 singles by any duo, the two-artist team this week hold the record for the most singles in the Top 40 (i.e., 29, versus 26 for the Everlys). These 29 Top 40 singles were all released between[...]
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Michigan militia group training, April 3, 2010.
Rebecca Cook | Reuters
Five people in the Fairbanks area were arrested Thursday by state and federal law enforcement on charges connected with an alleged plot to kidnap or kill state troopers and a Fairbanks judge, according to the Alaska State Troopers.
Francis "Schaeffer" Cox, Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon, Coleman Barney and Michael Anderson are accused of conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping, and arson, as well as weapons misconduct, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence, according to trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters in a written statement late Thursday.
An investigation "revealed extensive plans to kidnap or kill Alaska state troopers and a Fairbanks judge," the statement said. The plans included "extensive surveillance" on the homes of two Fairbanks troopers, the statement said.
"Investigation also revealed that extensive surveillance on troopers in the Fairbanks area had occurred, specifically on the locations of the homes for two Alaska state troopers," the statement said. "Furthermore, Cox et. al. had acquired a large cache of weapons in order to carry out attacks against their targeted victims. Some of the weapons known to be in the cache are prohibited by state or federal law."
The targeted judge is U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline, who is presiding over a tax-evasion case against two of those arrested, Lonnie and Karen Vernon.
Cox calls himself a "sovereign citizen," a movement that the Southern Poverty Law Center says is comprised of "hundreds of thousands of far-right extremists who believe that they?not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials?get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and who don't think they should have to pay taxes." The FBI described the group as a domestic terrorism organization.
These arrests come just on the heels of the arrest of Kevin William Harpham, the alleged Spokane MLK Day parade bomber. The SPLC has identified Harpham as "a member of the National Alliance, for years the most prominent neo-Nazi organization in the United States." Since 2004, he has participated on he racist and anti-Semitic internet forum Vanguard News Network where he "fantasized about killing anti-racists."
Interestingly enough, there have been 22 congressional hearings "focusing on the problem of radicalized American Muslims plotting terrorist acts or joining Al-Qaeda and similar groups" in the last five years. Perhaps it's time for a hearing or two on the white people plotting terrorist acts.
In this edition of Reads and Reactions: a Gingrich run, the Oscars, more unions, more 2012 analyses and hoops.
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One might expect that a band that was formed FIFTY YEARS ago this year might have some significant connexions with others, and one would be correct. That is a long time ago, and The Zombies were early, British, and quite good. They were not[...]
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Politico explains to us how fortunate the Republicans are that the sober and fiscal-minded tea party grownups dragged them kicking and screaming away from irrational Obama hatred to a laser focus on budget cuts, which most Americans want because they[...]
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Not since the opening of "Al Capone's Vaults" . . . ?
Long before there were Teabaggers they were crazy loco over there on the Right, and verminously hypocritical lying scumbaqs . . . they've always had a home there. It's hard to say which of the stories Al Kamen tells in his WaPo "In the Loop" column today is more prize-worthy. But at least one of them is funny. Hilarious, I'd say.
I. A SECRET THAT LINKS DON RUMSFELD, AL HAIG,
J. FRED BUZHARDT & THE SHADES OF WATERGATE?
I'm tempted to call this the most thrilling "secret stash" story since the grand opening of "Al Capone's Vaults," but on checking, I find that that happened in April 1986, while our great adventure took place much earlier, way back in 1974.
As we know, Al can be snarky, and he sets up his first story, the tale of Donald Rumsfeld and What He Found when, as President Jerry Ford's designated chief of staff, he finally moved into the office formerly occupied by "Tricky Dick" Nixon's COS, Gen. "Crazy Al" Haig, by noting that Rummy, notwithstanding his latter-day image as a shoot-from-the-hip and damn-the-consequences kind of guy, was once "a cautious man, much more cautious than people give him credit for, m aybe even hyper-cautious." I can't tell the story any better than Al (Al Kamen, that is) does, so let's let him do the honors. I think you're going to love this
[A] "memorandum for the file" that [Rumsfeld] dictated on Sunday, Sept. 29, 1974, seven weeks after Gerald Ford assumed the presidency following Richard Nixon's resignation, recounts a problem that arose as he prepared to replace Alexander Haig as White House chief of staff.
Rumsfeld, temporarily in an office in the Executive Office Building, noted that he had met the day before "at approximately 5 p.m." with his pal Dick Cheney, then a presidential assistant, and others "to assist me in starting the move into Haig's old office" in the West Wing.
Rumsfeld recalled that the group helped him empty cupboards and closets and "look around the place."
He recalled that he wanted "to make sure that Haig had left nothing that he might want . . . and I wanted to make sure that there was nothing in the place that I didn't want there, such as recording equipment, telephone bugs and the like." Good idea.
"At approximately 5:15, I believe," an aide told him there was "a safe in the cupboard" by the fireplace in the office. At "approximately 7 p.m.," he recalled, he asked Cheney and another aide to get the safe combination "so I could start using it in the event I had classified material."
But an aide said that "there is something you ought to know about the safe." Seems the safe had not been opened during Haig's tenure. "Haig had apparently asked to have it opened" but former White House counsel J. Fred Buzhardt told Haig he didn't want it opened, Rumsfeld recalled being told.
So Rumsfeld told Cheney he "wanted the safe moved out of my office, unopened" and would check with counsel about letting Watergate investigators know it was there and, if possible, what might be in it.
He arranged for a guard at the door when he left his office later that night, he recalled, "to protect it from entry," in case there was "evidence related to the work of the Justice Department" or other Watergate investigators.
"I knew that I had not touched it nor had any of the people who had been in my office," he said, listing Cheney and others who'd been in there.
And no one had touched it the next morning when he called the counsel's office to "develop a procedure for transfer of the safe out of this office," he wrote. Before the safe was carefully put on a dolly to take it across West Executive Drive to a vault in the EOB, Rumsfeld made sure he got a receipt (which is attached to the memo) showing it had been transferred out of his custody.
There is an aide's note in the files - unclear whether Cheney wrote it - that on Tuesday, Oct. 1, word was sent to Rumsfeld "that the aforementioned safe was blown open and discovered to be empty. It was then sent to GSA for repair. Above action was supervised by the Secret Service."
And Rumsfeld's got the receipt to prove it.
RUMMY: "I knew that I had not touched it nor had any of the people who had been in my office."
At a time when the country's facing peril abroad and economic turmoil at home, it might be good to have a leader with creativity - someone who can think outside the box, who can find novel solutions to very difficult problems.
That's why it was quite troubling to see all the derision, the guffawing, that greeted former House speaker and likely presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's explanation Monday about his affair, while he was married to his second wife, with a woman who became his third wife. . . .
He told David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, whose viewers vote in primaries and may look particularly askance at sexual waywardness, that he had "felt compelled to seek God's forgiveness" for his behavior.
Interviewed in Iowa, Gingrich said his extramarital activity was "partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate."
This is excellent. His passion for America, not another woman, eventually led him on a path to do things that were "not appropriate." It's not easy to wrap yourself in the flag while you're naked. And it's not particularly comfortable. But it's certainly a lot more creative than the usual lame-o excuses.
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Digby has a great point about tsunami warnings:
I'm sitting here now, six blocks from the beach in California, waiting for the wave to hit the west coast. Luckily it doesn't appear to be dangerous to us at this point.
The good news is that if the Republicans have their way, when one of these things does hit us in this earthquake zone, we won't have warning:
Thursday night's massive earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami warnings that have alarmed U.S. coasts, seem likely to ignite a debate over a previously little-discussed subsection of the spending bills currently being debated in Congress.
Tucked into the House Republican continuing resolution are provisions cutting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including the National Weather Service, as well as humanitarian and foreign aid.
Presented as part of a larger deficit reduction package, each cut could be pitched as tough-choice, belt-tightening on behalf of the GOP. But advocates for protecting those funds pointed to the crisis in Japan as evidence that without the money, disaster preparedness and relief would suffer.
"These are very closely related," National Weather Service Employees Organization President Dan Sobien told The Huffington Post with respect to the budget cuts and the tsunami. "The National Weather Service has the responsibility of warning about tsunami's also. It is true that there is no plan to not fund the tsunami buoys. Everyone knows you just can't do that. Still if those [House] cuts go through there will be furloughs at both of the tsunami warning centers that protect the whole country and, in fact, the whole world."
The House full-year continuing resolution, which has not passed the Senate, would indeed make steep cuts to several programs and functions that would serve in a response to natural disasters (not just tsunamis) home and abroad. According to Sobien, the bill cuts $126 million from the budget of the NWS. Since, however, the cuts are being enacted over a six-month period (the length of the continuing resolution) as opposed to over the course of a full year, the effect would be roughly double.
Just remember: When it comes to disaster preparedness and relief, Republicans are the folks who brought you the Hurricane Katrina fiasco.