I wrote about the news that a Jackie Robinson biopic was in the works last year, and expressed some concern that the movie had found its Branch Rickey?initially Robert Redford, now, apparently, Harrison Ford?before its Jackie Robinson, who rightfully should be at the center of the movie. But I am glad to hear that the movie is starting production, and that it’s supposed to reach theaters on April 12, 2013.
It seems like some of the other cast is shaping up nicely. Sensitive hardasses are Christopher Meloni’s wheelhouse, so he should be dandy as Leo Durocher, the manager who laid down a clear line in support of Robinson. T.R. Knight, who knows a thing or two himself about hostile workplaces and coworker solidarity, will play Ralph Branca, the first Dodger player who stood with Robinson in public. And Nicole Beharie, who was just smashing as Michael Fassbender’s coworker and potential girlfriend in Shame will play Rachel Isum, Robinson’s wife. I just am not that familiar with Chadwick Boseman, who is playing Robinson, and I do worry that the movie who will marginalize him in favor of exploring the reactions of white people to a key moment in Civil Rights history. But it is nice for a younger, less-famous black actor to get a shot at stardom through a big sports biopic.
A spokesperson for the airline told the local NBC affiliate that they won’t be refunding Meekins’ ticket:
“Our reservations are non-refundable, which means we don’t do refunds and we are not going to issue Mr. Meekins a refund. We offer our customers affordable travel insurance to cover a variety of unexpected circumstances that may arise and many of our customers choose to take advantage of this option.
“We receive many requests for refunds every day for similar situations. It wouldn’t be fair to bend policy for one and not all. We will not make customers who follow the rules pay for those who don’t. It’s just not fair.”
Watch the report:
Meekins said that now it’s not about getting his money back. “My primary goal is to have them change their policy of a blanket coverage of no refund,” he said.
Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) relies on campaign contributions from some of the same oil and gas companies that he has a financial stake in.
During the first three months of 2012, Tipton raised $31,600 a week, relying heavily on large campaign and corporate contributions. Public Campaign reports that one-third of Tipton’s first quarter fundraising comes from corporate PACs and party committees, while only 14 percent comes from small donors of less than $200.
His backers include companies with some of the deepest pockets in the world, such as the oil giants ExxonMobil (which donated $5,000), Chevron ($3,000), Koch Industries ($3,000), and BP ($1,000). He has also taken thousands from coal companies, like Arch Coal ($2,000) and Oxbow Carbon ($1,000).
Tipton’s financial disclosure forms show he owns stakes in Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP.
Just last week, the congressman, who has been a vocal proponent of oil interests on the Hill, sponsored legislation requiring the Interior Department to develop a pro-oil drilling plan for public lands every four years.
Tipton, a freshman flushed into office in 2010 wave, is facing a tough reelection battle this year from state Rep. Sal Pace (D) in a race that is likely to attract national attention.
Donald Trump is on a warpath against wind turbines, because they may obstruct the view of his billion-dollar golf resort in Scotland. Protesters greeted Trump today as he asked Scotland to abandon a project to build 11 offshore turbines.
Trump has encountered controversy on his golf resort from the start, since he bulldozed over environmentally sensitive sand dunes.
With his resort due to open in July, Trump has only heightened the attacks. In February, while digging up 1,235 acres for his resort, he said wind farms are “destroying” Scotland. In March, he called windmills “disgusting.”
Now, Trump says they will destroy Scotland’s economy:
“Scotland, if you pursue this policy of these monstrous turbines, Scotland will go broke,” Trump told the group. “They are ugly, they are noisy and they are dangerous. If Scotland does this, Scotland will be in serious trouble and will lose tourism to places like Ireland, and they are laughing at us.” [...]
“When challenged to produce hard evidence about his claims on the negative impact of turbines, Trump said: “I am the evidence, I am a world class expert in tourism.”
Trump also said the project “is the most serious problem that Scotland will have or has had.”
That is unlikely, however much the 11 turbines seem like the end of the world to Trump.
This afternoon, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D-CT) signed a bill that prevents anyone new from being added to Connecticut’s death row — henceforth, the stiffest sentence in that state will be life without the possibility of parole. The bill does not, however, change the sentences of the eleven men who are currently on Connecticut’s death row. Moreover, unlike most states, the governor of Connecticut does not have the authority to commute these men?s sentences to life in prison.
Opposition to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) has already forced changes to the bill but this opposition might end up sending it back to the drawing board.
The White House Office of Management and Budget has issued a lengthy statement in opposition to the bill, which includes a veto threat. OMB says the bill "departs from longstanding efforts to treat the Internet and cyberspace as civilian spheres."
The grounds for the White House opposition are substantial:
"If H.R. 3523 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill," OMB said. As of this morning, the bill was slated to be voted on Friday. No word yet whether this development will change that. Let's not take any chances.
?The basis for the Administration's view is mostly based on the lack of critical infrastructure regulation, something outside of our jurisdiction. We would also draw the White House's attention to the substantial package of privacy and civil liberties improvement announced yesterday which will be added to the bill on the floor. The SAP was limited to the bill in "its current form"?however, as the bipartisan managers of the bill announced yesterday?they have agreed to a package of amendments that address nearly every single one of the criticisms leveled by the Administration, particularly those regarding privacy and civil liberties of Americans. Congress must lead on this critical issue and we hope the White House will join us."Since when is regulation outside of Congress's jurisidiction? It's in the Senate version of the bill. Privacy concerns, like the fact that collected data would go to intelligence agencies when it shouldn't go beyond Homeland Security, haven't been answered in the changes, nor has immunity for private companies for liability in misusing data. They're lying.
Our regular featured content-On This Day In History April 25 by TheMomCatPunting the Pundits by TheMomCatThese featured articles-"We need to look forward..." by ek hornbeckFlaming Chunks of Twisted Metal by ek hornbeckTinkerbell Is Dead! by ek[...]
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It's nice to have so many allies from around the country coming out in support of the effort to defeat Amendment One. One such partner is Democracy for America (DFA), a nationwide grassroots PAC with one million members strong. DFA's chair, Jim Dean,[...]
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In the second part of his take on Mitt Romney?s speech last night, Jonathan Chait makes a key observation about Romney?s message for the campaign:
Romney has to couch the implications of his argument carefully, but the underlying logic is perfectly clear. He believes that fairness is defined by market outcomes. If Romney earns a thousand times as much as a nurse in Topeka, it is solely because his character, education, or hard work entitle him to that. To the extent that unfairness exists, it is solely the doing of government: clean energy, laws permitting union dues, overpaid government employees, and so on. Aside from unfairness imposed by government, poverty is attributable to the bad choices or deficient character or upbringing of poor people.
Everything about Romney?s campaign is centered on this basic idea. His domestic policy plan?a repurposed version of the Ryan budget?calls huge tax cuts and a huge reduction in the size and scope of the social safety net. If passed in its entirety?which, as Ezra Klein points out, is a real possibility?the Romney/Ryan plan would flatten federal income tax rates, eliminate most forms of support for low-income families, and drastically cut key drivers of economic mobility, like Pell Grants and Head Start.
Under Romney, government would abandon efforts to mitigate the grossly lopsidied outcomes of a market economy. The ?losers? of capitalism?aka ordinary people?would be left to the mercy of employers and market forces. Lost your job because your company moved to automated labor? Don?t count on unemployment insurance from the government. Can?t afford health insurance or decent child care? You should have gotten a better education. Can?t afford college? Too bad. Want to organize to defend your interests in the workplace? That would be ?unfair.?
More than anything, Romney is running on a plan to generate wealth for the wealthy and protect privilege for the privileged. This isn?t an artifact of his position in the Republican Party; he genuinely believes that the most just outcome is one where the privileged are undisturbed in their position. Need proof? Look at how Romney responds to any mention of his immensely privileged background:
?I?m certainly not going to apologize for my dad and his success in life,? Romney told Fox News. ?He was born poor. He worked his way to become very successful despite the fact that he didn?t have a college degree, and one of the things he wanted to do was provide for me and for my brother and sisters.?
This is a straightforward defense of unearned privilege. It?s not just that Romney benefited from the success of his father, it?s that he deserved the tremendous advantage it conferred. He essentially claims the hard work of his father, as if there were a transitive property to overcoming disadvantage.
?I?ve been very successful. I?m not going to apologize for that.? This has been Romney?s line on wealth since the campaign began, and it?s galling. Romney entered life with tremendous advantages?he grew up in a world where poverty was out of view and hard work always rewarded. His life, in other words, was shaped by an immense amount of good fortune. But Romney has advanced an agenda that ignores unearned privilege and relies on the fiction of ?just desserts.? Poor people are poor because they?re lazy, rich people are rich because they work hard, and Mitt Romney is running to ensure a world where government does does nothing to interfere with that fantasy.
?Before you get into what the case is about,? Chief Justice John Roberts told Solicitor General Donald Verilli at the beginning of the government?s argument in United States v. Arizona, ?I?d like to clear up at the outset what it?s not about. No part of your argument has to do with racial or ethnic profiling, does it? I saw none of that in your brief.?
A non-lawyer might be puzzled. The case, argued Wednesday, is testing the constitutionality of part of Arizona?s S.B. 1070, a statute that seeks to drive undocumented immigrants out of the state by rigid law enforcement.
S.B. 1070, passed in a state that borders Mexico, will bring about many more stops and detentions of brown-skinned people, citizens or not. But the government chose not to argue that issue in its brief, and Verilli agreed that the profiling issue was off the table.
The government?s argument, taken as a whole, is this: The Constitution gives the federal government exclusive authority over immigration and naturalization. That was done because immigration concerns foreign affairs, and the states can?t have their own foreign policies. The U.S. can only deport 400,000 aliens a year, and the federal government, entrusted by Congress with discretion, has chosen to focus on violent criminal aliens; by permitting Arizona to arrest, detain, and imprison those who would otherwise not be charged under federal law, S.B. 1070 attempts to force the United States to adopt Arizona?s policy of maximum enforcement. In addition, the working of Arizona?s statute will lead to widespread discrimination against some citizens, and against nonresidents who have a right to remain in the U.S. It will also create serious foreign policy problems with Mexico.
Arizona?s case, in essence, is this: Our state deals with a disproportionate number of illegal border-crossers. The federal government won?t or can?t control the borders, and we are left to deal with increased problems of crime and of illegal aliens taking jobs away from our citizens. We have created a program that simply uses existing federal requirements and gives our police officers a role in enforcing them.
The challenged portions of S.B. 1070 are:
The provisions form a whole, which is aimed at jailing the undocumented: 2(B) requires police investigate the immigration status of people stopped for other crimes. If they turn out to be undocumented, they may then be sent to prison under Section 3 for not carrying registration papers they by definition can?t have. If they have jobs, they can also be imprisoned for violating 5(c). Section 6 expands the power to detain because a person may once have committed a crime in another state?even if that person has served a full sentence, and even though the person is legally in the United States because the federal government waived deportation. Being ?removable,? in and of itself, is not a state or federal crime.
But Judges are like young kids playing with Barbies: they like to pull things apart and play with different parts. So the Court treated each provision as if it were independent of the others. They discussed Section 2 only in connection with the arrest?how long would a ?suspect? be held? Remarkably, Justice Stephen Breyer suggested reinterpreting the statute to save it: ?Can I make the following statement in the opinion ... ?We interpret ... Section 2(B) as not authorizing or requiring the detention of any individual under 2(B), either at the stop or in prison, for a significantly longer period of time than that person would have been detained in the absence of 2(B).?? (The answer is no: a federal court has no power to narrow or limit a state statute; Breyer?s construction would have, as far as I can tell, no effect).
Breyer and Justices Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor worried that the 2(B) verification requirement would result in detention of American citizens who just happened to be out without papers?jogging, Breyer suggested, with nothing but a bottle of Pedialyte. Justice Sotomayor asked Verilli whether the federal databases included a list of all citizens. She dryly alluded to the forbidden topic of profiling: ?Today if you use the names Sonya Sotomayor, they would probably figure out I was a citizen. But let's assume it's John Doe, who lives in Grand Rapids.? No, Verilli said; there is a list of passport holders, but if you don?t have a passport, the state inquiry will come back with nothing?the same reading as if you were undocumented.
The Justices fretted that Section 3 imposes criminal sanctions that duplicate federal laws. Section 5 conflicts with federal policy: In 1986, Congress imposed civil and criminal penalties on employers who knowing hire undocumented aliens, but chose not to penalize undocumented workers. Can Arizona in effect adopt the policy Congress rejected? Finally, Section 6 might require local officers to engage in a tricky inquiry about whether an out-of-state offense is one for which ?removal? is required.
Verilli tried to direct the Court?s attention to the overall effect of 1070. ?[Y]ou?re going to have a situation of mass incarceration of p[people who are unlawfully present. That ... poses a very serious risk of raising significant foreign relations problems. And these problems are real.? Justice Scalia had a ready answer for that one: ?[C]an?t you avoid that particular foreign relations problem by simply deporting these people? ... [W]e have to enforce our laws in a manner that will please Mexico. Is that what you?re saying??
Scalia asked Verilli why Arizona can?t have its own immigration policy: ?What does sovereignty mean if it does not include the ability to defend your borders??
Verilli responded, ?[t]hey cannot do what Arizona is seeking to do here, Your Honor, which is to elevate one consideration above all others.?
Justice Samuel Alito focused on dismembering the ?federal discretion? argument. This is a case of federal pre-emption, and pre-emptive power has to be exercised by Congress, he said. But Verilli was arguing pre-emption because S.B. 1070 worked against executive priorities. ?Suppose that the federal government changed its priorities tomorrow... . Would the Arizona law then be un-preempted?? It was Congress, Verilli responded, that explicitly gave the executive the power to set those priorities.
With Justice Elena Kagan conflicted out, the Court may strike some sections and affirm the rest. On some points it may divide 4-4, affirming the lower court opinion that struck them down. That would leave those issues to be settled another day.
Some of those have already been raised in civil rights suits pending below brought by advocacy groups who are not afraid to point out what everybody knows: Ethnic profiling is at the heart of 1070 and other state laws like it. Can ?driving while brown? be made a state crime?