Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Police Stop, Handcuff Every Adult at Intersection in Search for Bank Robber

Police in Aurora, Colo., searching for suspected bank robbers stopped every car at an intersection, handcuffed all the adults and searched the cars, one of which they believed was carrying the suspect.
Police said they had received what they called a “reliable” tip that the culprit in an armed robbery at a Wells Fargo bank committed earlier was stopped at the red light.

“We didn’t have a description, didn’t know race or gender or anything, so a split-second decision was made to stop all the cars at that intersection, and search for the armed robber,” Aurora police Officer Frank Fania told ABC News.

Officers barricaded the area, halting 19 cars.

“Cops came in from every direction and just threw their car in front of my car,” Sonya Romero, one of the drivers who was handcuffed, told ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver.

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New Pew Survey: Only 40% of Republicans Support Safety Net Programs

By Blue Texan

I've been arguing for some time now that the current crop of radicalized Republicans don't just want to "reform" social safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- they want to get rid of them entirely.

Well, a new extensive Pew study on partisan polarization validates this view.
Since 2007, Republican support for the safety net has declined significantly even as Democrats continue to support government assistance to the poor and needy as they have over the last 25 years. As a result, although the safety net has long been one of the areas where the opinions of Republicans and Democrats most diverge, the current party gap is now larger than ever.
 Majorities of Republicans now say they disagree that the government should guarantee every citizen enough to eat and a place to sleep (36 percent agree, 63 percent disagree) and take care of people who can’t take care of themselves (40 percent agree, 54 percent disagree). As recently as 2009, Republican opinions on these questions were more evenly divided.   READ MORE

Mike Huckabee Accidentally Tells The Truth About Fox News

By karoli


Oops! This slipup by Mike Huckabee accidentally reveals the truth about our favorite non-news channel. In this clip, he declares that the nation would think Barack Obama was doing just fine if it weren't for Fox News. Boy howdy, I'll bet he feels like a weight has lifted from his shoulders after that confession.
Raw Story:
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) had an oops moment on his radio show Monday, and this one’s going to leave a mark.Speaking about America’s media landscape in general, Huckabee suggested that without Fox News acting as a counterweight to “mainstream media,” most Americans “will assume that Obama really is just doing a great job and he just can’t get those crazy Republicans to help him out.”

Catholic Bishops Go After Girl Scouts

A Girl Scout cadet with Troop 4458 adjusts her
sash during an awards ceremony at the Cathedral
Basilica of St. Louis, 04/03/12. (photo: Lisa
Johnston/St. Louis Review)
By Mary E. Hunt, Religion Dispatches
05 June 12

Bishops search for condoms in cookie boxes.

he United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is having a Saturday Night Live moment. Emboldened by the Vatican's hostile takeover of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the gentlemen have shown their prowess by choosing to investigate the Girl Scouts of the USA. Which would be comical - first the nuns, now the Girl Scouts - if the goal were not so pernicious and the outcome so damaging, especially to the bishops.

The tactics against the girls and the women are taken from one playbook, the goal of intimidation is the same, and the pushback in both cases is distracting from more pressing problems at hand. Still, you wonder who does their public relations, as the bishops are now about as popular as a recession.
The apparent goal of this exercise of "investigating" gender female persons is to set up and enforce a male-defined model of girlhood/womanhood. A Vatican-, or in this case, USCCB-launched investigation is what Sister Sandra Schneiders, IHM, calls the equivalent of a grand jury investigation. 

There is the presumption that something is wrong, not something right, that there is guilt to be uncovered, not virtue to be unleashed. What is wrong seems to be women and girls thinking for themselves and acting for the common good.   READ MORE

How Republicans Prevented Thousands of Wisconsin Students From Voting

Student voters cast their ballots in the Wisconsin
presidential primary at Memorial Union's Tripp
Commons at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,
02/19/08. (photo: Bryce Richter)
By Scott Keyes, ThinkProgress
05 June 12

oter ID will not be in effect for today's recall vote in Wisconsin, but that won't stop last year's anti-voter bill from disenfranchising thousands of students across the state.

A year ago, Wisconsin Republicans pushed through Assembly Bill 7, which enacted one of the worst forms of voter ID in the nation. Since then, two state judges have blocked voter ID from taking effect because the Wisconsin state Constitution guarantees that "every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district," regardless of whether or not they have an ID.

However, a little-noticed provision in AB 7 will likely prevent thousands of college students from voting in today's recall election.  READ MORE

Want to Find an Expert on "The War on Women?" Media Chooses Men

Are you a lady with lady opinions on issues that affect ladies?
Then shut your stupid ladyhole, stupid lady, because no one cares what you think about that lady stuff. At least, that's what the traditional media thinks, according to an analysis by The 4th Estate and shown in the infographic above.

The numbers are stark, but not exactly surprising. When it comes to coverage of issues that directly affect women, the beacons of traditional journalism—the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Sunday talk shows—clearly subscribe to the Darrell Issa school of thought: that the people best qualified to talk about women are, in fact, men.

Rep. Issa, you may recall, held a congressional hearing in February about the president's new policy mandating that health insurance providers cover birth control without copays. This, as we know, made Issa and his fellow Republican men in Congress, as well as his friends at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (aka, the Catholic wing of the Republican Party), have a very sad sadness of sad. So sad that they needed to have an all-male hearing to share their sad feelings and console one another about how women's access to affordable birth control will simultaneously destroy the republic and bring forth armageddon. And, most importantly, make them very sad.  READ MORE

Increase In Multiple Amputations For Troops In Afghanistan

The Army Surgeon General’s office data reveals that amputations resulting in multiple limb-loss rose for U.S. troops serving in the Afghan war. Nearly half of last year’s record 226 combat amputations ended with the troop losing two or more of their arms and legs, compared with only a quarter in 2009. Bigger improvised explosive devices (IED) targeting U.S. forces and better techniques for hiding them alongside roads led to the increased limb-losses, said a former top military doctor. USA Today prepared this chart to go along with its report on the trend:

By Ali Gharib | Sourced from Think Progress

Posted at June 5, 2012, 12:25 pm


Anti-Choicer Threatened to Blow Up Doctor's Car, Now Countersuing Because 'God Told Her to Do It'

Angel Dillard was arrested for sending
threatening letters to Dr. Mila Means
When Angel Dillard was arrested for sending threatening letters to Dr. Mila Means, her original defense was that it wasn't a "true threat." She wasn't really going to put a bomb under the doctor's car, her lawyer argued, so it shouldn't count.

But now Dillard is taking a new approach.  She is counter-suing and now claims God was speaking to her.

Dillard responded with a lawsuit saying the government's suit violates her freedom of speech and religion. Government lawyers have criticized her arguments and asked the court to dismiss her counterclaim. Her attorney asked the court Friday allow her to amend her lawsuit to address "any pleading defects" and support its allegations.

"Angel Dillard believed she was inspired by God to send a letter to Dr. Means in an attempt to convince her not to pursue her plan to abort babies in Wichita," attorney Donald McKinney said. "Angel Dillard wrote the letter quickly, in a matter of minutes, and believed that her message was divinely inspired."

Goldman Sachs CEO Describes 'Secret Meetings' at Insider Trading Trial

Blankfein, Lloyd CEO Goldman Sachs
NEW YORK — The CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, told a New York federal court that his former colleague Rajat Gupta regularly attended highly confidential board meetings.

The chief executive took the stand for the second time in as many years to testify about Gupta, accused in one of the highest profile insider trading cases for years.

Talks at board and committee meetings on which Gupta sat -- before allegedly passing insider tips to hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam -- were not for public consumption, Blankfein said.
"You're not supposed to discuss," he said.

Referring to a 2008 strategy meeting held by the powerful US bank in Saint Petersburg, Russia, he said: "The fact it was in the board meeting meant it was confidential."

Blankfein is one of the biggest witnesses prosecutors are using against Gupta, an Indian-born immigrant who reached the pinnacle of US business. The former Goldman board member was also on the board of Procter & Gamble and the director of McKinsey & Co.   READ MORE

Senate Republicans Block Vote on Paycheck Fairness Act

Senate Republicans block paycheck fairness bill
Today, in yet another volley in the war on women, Senate Republicans blocked voting on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Proponents of the bill needed 60 votes in order to break a G.O.P. filibuster, but were able to muster only 52. Some 47 Republicans voted against a floor vote.

Because women continue to be paid less than men in similar positions, making just 77 cents to the dollar, the legislation was an effort to increase protections for women suing for gender discrimination. Businessweek described the legislation this way:
The bill, sponsored by Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, would increase potential damages to plaintiffs in pay- discrimination suits and enhance the legal burden on employers to show that pay disparities aren’t gender-based. It would create a grant program to train women on how to negotiate with employers on their pay.

Affluenza Afloat: The Dangers of Supersized Cruise Ships in Our Peak-Oil World

Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean
Habitual over consumption on billion-dollar high rise vessels comes at a huge cost to both the environment and the widening schism between rich and poor.
June 5, 2012

This story first appeared on EcoSalon.
Recent news that the 2,600 passenger Grand Princess cruise ship will be docked in San Francisco one year from now has unleashed a titanic blast of excitement. Naturally, the thrill of thousands of passengers and crew routinely disembarking at the pier is music to the ears of struggling retailers and restaurateurs. In the meantime, avid cruise fans enticed by dramatic discounts can sail from the Bay and save on airfare for voyages to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and the California coast.

“Having the ship sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and berth at the foot of Coit Tower will be spectacular, both for the guests on board and the people of San Francisco,” raves Monique Moyer, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco.

But critics of the supersized cruise ship trend are signaling foggy conditions ahead for accessing the country’s needs to keep its affluenza afloat. Habitual over consumption and the demand for cool aqua parks and live theaters on billion-dollar high rise vessels comes at a huge cost to both the environment and the widening schism between rich and poor. This, amid a growing discontent among the masses worldwide and a contagious occupy mentality. Will occupy the Grand Princess be next?

Americans Love Class War!

A poll shows majorities of swing voters, Democrats and even Romney supporters don't admire the rich.
June 5, 2012

Americans still hate the rich, according to yet another poll. And not just godless secular liberals! Pew’s major Trends in American Values poll shows class resentments bridging the partisan divide: “Majorities in all educational and income groups agree that ‘today it’s really true that the rich just get richer while the poor get poorer.’ In the current survey, 76% of the public agrees with this statement, about the same as the 74% that agreed in 1987.”

Even the moderate pundit crowd’s beloved independents agree: Our ruling classes are worthless parasites. A mere 22 percent of “swing voters” “admire the rich.” (How many Romney supporters “admire the rich,” you ask? Thirty-eight percent. No one likes rich people.)

As Elspeth Reeve puts it, succinctly and correctly, “swing voters are not libertarians.” They’re also not “socially liberal and fiscally conservative,” like the vast majority of our well-off media elites tend to consider themselves.  READ MORE

How Israel's Fear of Arab Democracy Leaves the Jewish State More Isolated

Egyptians demonstrate outside the Israeli embassy .
Photo Credit: Gigi Ibrahim/Flickr
Middle East expert Reem Abou-El-Fadl explains how Arab solidarity with the Palestinians is being reflected at the official level in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.
June 5, 2012

As the struggle for democracy and dignity in the Arab world rages on in countries like Tunisia and Egypt, the Israeli establishment’s response has been to disparage the revolts and hunker down.

Israel’s right-wing leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, laid out this response in a speech to the Israeli Knesset last year. The Arab revolts have turned into an “Islamic, anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli and anti-democratic wave,” Netanyahu said. “Israel is facing a period of instability and uncertainty in the region.”  READ MORE

Ayn Rand Thinks He's a Parasite, But My Brother Kevin Contributes Greatly to Our Society

Ayn Rand cashed her disability checks
A government that helps the wealthy and powerful over the poor and disabled is a government with no decency.
June 5, 2012

At my father's funeral, the presiding minister, Ebb Munden, was a man who had been one of my dad's closest friends. Ebb talked about how the last time he had gone to see my dad before he lost consciousness, he had been very emotional, but that my dad had comforted him by gripping his hand and telling him it would be all right; that he was at peace and Ebb should be, too. 

The lesson was that even at our physically weakest, we could still help other people and make things better in the world.

I was thinking of that this past weekend when I went to see my brother Kevin back home in Lincoln, Nebraska. Kevin is one of those people whom followers of Ayn Rand's philosophy would call a leech on society. Rand believed that people with disabilities were leeches and parasites on society, and that the “parasites should perish.” Kevin’s birth father broke a chair over his head and gave him brain damage, so he is developmentally disabled and has difficulty speaking clearly.

He came to my family when we were both 11 years old, and has been not only my brother but one of my closest friends ever since. As an adult in recent years, his body has continued to betray him as he is hard of hearing, can't see well, and has muscular dystrophy. Recently, he had to go into the hospitial for major surgery and then developed pneumonia – his muscular dystrophy makes it especially tough to recover from all this.  READ MORE

Inside the Fearful Conservative Mind: The Right-Wing's Latest Race Terrors

Bill O'Reilly
In the conservative media's alternate reality, racism only exists when white people are the "victims." This couldn't be further from the truth.
June 5, 2012

The conservative media has invented a new terror in their imagined race war: hordes of black people coming after innocent white folks. 

A while back Bill O’Reilly, the most watched TV personality on Fox News, ran a series of stories on what he suggests is a “racially motivated” attack on two white journalists in Norfolk, Virginia that he claimed was covered up by the local press. As Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins details, the facts reveal a different reality: a rock was thrown at a car, the occupants had an argument with a group of men and a fight ensued. The reporters were not severely injured. Although an unfortunate incident in a city that is struggling with violent crime, it was neither particularly noteworthy or an anomaly. In fact, the newspaper for which the journalists worked thought the event was a non-story. This did not deter Bill O’Reilly. He could frame the story as part of a national race war by introducing one fact--the victims of the assault were white and the perpetrators were black.

The National Review’s Thomas Sowell legitimated this narrative of a race war against whites in a column which circulated widely throughout the Right-wing media and blogosphere. There he listed a series of such assaults in major cities such as Chicago, New York, Cleveland, and Los Angeles, which involved groups of young black people committing random assaults on pedestrians, robbing people of their cell phones and Ipods, and fighting on beaches and in malls.  READ MORE

Progressive Movement Rises Up But Can't Oust Walker From Wisconsin Governorship

Walker outspent Barrett eight-to-one, but Democrats may have regained control of the state Senate.
June 5, 2012

Progressives held their breaths and grimaced Tuesday evening as the trickle of Wisconsin recall election returns showed that anti-labor Republican Gov. Scott Walker – and four senior GOP state officials – were not going to be removed from office, despite overwhelming turnout in the state’s Democratic urban strongholds. 

With 99 percent of the state’s 3,424 precincts reporting, Walker led Barrett 53 to 46 percent, a lead of nearly 173,000 votes out of 2.5 million votes cast. Barrett told reporters that he called Walker, “and congratulated him on his victory tonight. We agreed that it is important for us to work together.”

A fifth race may offer some consolation to progressives. It appears that Democrat state senate candidate John Lehman beat the incumbent Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard by 779 votes out of more than 71,000 cast, according to late-breaking unofficial returns. Should Lehman's victory hold up when the final count is certified, the Democrats would become the majority party in the state Senate, breaking the GOP's lock on legislative power.   READ MORE

Sandusky allegedly wrote 'creepy' love letters to victim

Jerry Sandusky allegedly wrote "creepy" love letters to one of his victims, and they will be read in testimony once the child sex abuse trial into the former Penn State assistant football coach begins Monday, ABC News reported, citing sources close to the case.
The love letters were allegedly written to "Victim 4," one of eight accusers set to testify against the 68-year-old.
Victim 4 is set to be the first witness to testify and is also expected to show gifts that Sandusky allegedly gave him, including a set of golf clubs.
The letters are allegedly handwritten by Sandusky and one of them entails a story written in the third person.
Victim 4, now 28, met the coach through Sandusky's charity, the Second Mile.

Sandusky trial: nine jurors selected, three (and alternates) to go

Connections to Penn State weren't necessarily keeping prospective jurors from being chosen Tuesday to decide former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's fate on child sexual abuse charges.

Several of the nine jurors who have been seated have links to Penn State as students, alumni or supporters.

By Genaro C. Armas and Mark Scolforo, The Associated Press / June 5, 2012 

Connections to Penn State weren't necessarily keeping prospective jurors from being chosen Tuesday to decide former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's fate on child sexual abuse charges.

The jurors and four alternates could be selected as early as Wednesday, with opening statements not scheduled to begin until Monday. Sandusky is fighting dozens of criminal charges that he abused 10 boys over a 15-year period.
In the first questioning of 40 prospective jurors, about half said they or immediate family members worked at Penn State or were university retirees. One woman rented apartments to college students. Four knew Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach. Two knew his wife.
Sandusky's lawyer won the right to have jurors chosen from the local community, and prosecutors had concerns that Centre County might prove to be nearly synonymous with Penn State. Sandusky had helped build the football team's reputation as a defensive powerhouse known as Linebacker U, his arrest toppled Joe Paterno from the head coaching position just months before his death from cancer and prosecutors say some of the attacks on children occurred inside university showers.
One of the first jurors to be seated wasn't just a season ticketholder since the 1970s: She said John McQueary — a possible trial witness and the father of a key witness — once worked with her husband.   READ MORE