Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Zero tolerance means jail for minority youth

SHARON SMITH reports that a 6-year-old's temper tantrum in school can bring felony charges.

The U.S. is the only United Nations member state except Somalia that has neglected to ratify the UN's 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. In February 2001, George W. Bush explicitly objected to its "human rights-based approach"--which, among other things, prohibits incarcerating children as adults because their minds are too immature to form "criminal intent."

Indeed, the U.S. is home to more than 99 percent of youths serving life sentences without the possibility of parole worldwide. More than 100,000 children are currently incarcerated in local detention and state correctional institutions.

"Zero tolerance" advocates would have us believe our nation is overrun with teenage predators committing an unprecedented number of heinous crimes. But statistics belie this explanation.

The murder conviction rate for youths fell from 2,234 in 1990 to 1,006 in 2000, a drop of almost 55 percent. Yet during that same period, the percentage of children receiving sentences of life without parole more than tripled, from 2.9 to 9 percent.

Over the last decade, scores of children have been handcuffed, arrested, fingerprinted, jailed and convicted of crimes stemming from incidents as trivial as temper tantrums in kindergarten or schoolyard fights--which once would have meant a trip to the principal's office at worst. Now a six-year-old's temper tantrum can bring felony charges.

When kindergartner Desre'e Watson of Avon Park, Fla., threw a tantrum last month, she was arrested and charged with battery on a school official (a felony), disruption of a school function and resisting a law enforcement officer (both misdemeanors).

Watson's arrest is not at all unusual in Florida. Back in December 2000, the St. Petersburg Times reported, "Nowadays, children as young as 6 or 7 are carted off in handcuffs, locked up and saddled with permanent criminal records...More than 4,500 kids 11 and under were charged with crimes in Florida during the fiscal year that ended in June."

The Times continued, "Kids as young as seven spend the night in detention centers. Kids as young as 10 are sent away for a year or more. And in a very few cases, children enter the justice system at even younger ages, such as a 5-year-old St. Petersburg boy charged this year with burglary; and incredibly, a preschool arson suspect who went through a pretrial diversion program in South Florida at age 3."

In December 2001, after arresting a 10-year-old autistic fourth grader for disrupting his special education class, Rick Hord of the Okaloosa, Fla., Sheriff's Department argued, "[T]here's no question but that we had all the elements of a felony crime present."


Earth may be too hot for humans by 2300

SYDNEY: Climate change could make much of the world too hot for human habitation within just three centuries, research released Tuesday showed.

By Jumadi-ul-Awwal
Scientists from Australia's University of New South Wales and Purdue University in the United States found that rising temperatures in some places could mean humans would be unable to adapt or survive.

“It would begin to occur with global-mean warming of about seven degrees Celsius (13 Fahrenheit), calling the habitability of some regions into question,” the researchers said in a paper.

“With 11-12 degrees Celsius warming, such regions would spread to encompass the majority of the human population as currently distributed.”

Researcher Professor Steven Sherwood said there was no chance of the earth heating up to seven degrees this century, but there was a serious risk that the continued burning of fossil fuels could create the problem by 2300.

“There's something like a 50/50 chance of that over the long term,” he said.

The study - which examined climate change over a longer period than most other research - looked at the “heat stress” produced by combining the impact of rising temperatures and increased humidity.

Sherwood said climate change research had been “short-sighted” not to probe the long-term consequences of the impact of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

“It needs to be looked at,” he told AFP. “There's not much we can do about climate change over the next two decades but there's still a lot we can do about the longer term changes.”

In a commentary on the paper, published in the US-based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Australian National University academics said climate change would not stop in 2100.

“And under realistic scenarios out to 2300, we may be faced with temperature increases of 12 degrees (Celsius) or even more,” Professor Tony McMichael said.

“If this happens, our current worries about sea level rise, occasional heatwaves and bushfires, biodiversity loss and agricultural difficulties will pale into insignificance beside a major threat - as much as half the currently inhabited globe may simply become too hot for people to live there.” – AFP

Do Not Call Registry creator joining Facebook security team

The social networking site Facebook is having an issue with account holders having concerns about the privacy of their personal and account information. Facebook is used by millions of users and easily overtook MySpace as the most popular social networking website. However, because of a glitch that allowed a breach to occur with private information on the site, Facebook has needed to take action to protect their business and their users.

There is speculation going around that Facebook has offered Tim Muris a job helping the company deal with privacy issues. For those who may not know much about Muris, he worked in President George W. Bush’s administration. He is an attorney and is most widely known for creating the Do Not Call registry. The registry was designed to help Americans stop being hounded by telemarketers. They can be put on the do not call registry and opt out of having their names and information being used by telemarketers.

Many Facebook users have stated that Facebook allows private information to be used because Facebook has advertisers that want the information. The Electronic Privacy Information Centre has filed a lawsuit against FTC because they feel that this violates privacy laws. Some have said that by having Muris working for Facebook it is a win-win situation for the company. They can have someone defending them in their lawsuit and can have Muris deal with privacy concerns that users have at the same time. Only time will tell if Facebook can do what it says and keep their users’ information secure and private. If not, some users may continue to delete their accounts and look elsewhere for a good social networking site.

The End of the Oil Boom?

By Michael Swartz

The Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico drew limited headlines upon its occurrence, with the biggest news at the time being the 11 workers missing after the rig's explosion and fire. It wasn't until the discovery that crude oil was leaking into the Gulf because of a faulty shutoff valve that the story moved to front-page headline status.

At a rate of perhaps 5,000 barrels per day, the spill — more properly described as a gusher akin to the proverbial Texas oil strike because of the pressure bearing from beneath the Gulf floor — may turn out to rival the amount of oil lost in the 1989 Exxon Valdez shipping accident.

Obviously the immediate environmental damage from the oil spill will be severe and economic damage to the local seafood industry catastrophic; fortunately, we also know from the Exxon Valdez accident that eventually the region will be able to recover. Since crude extracted from the Gulf is relatively light in weight, the oil isn't the thick black gunk most people think of when they think of an oil spill; rather, the result is a silvery sheen on the surface which may be easier to disperse through chemical means.

Long-term impact on the oil industry may be more disastrous. Needless to say, environmentally-conscious Democrats called on Barack Obama to drop his proposed offshore exploration program in the wake of the accident, and White House adviser David Axelrod agreed, saying, "no additional drilling has been authorized and none will be until we find out what has happened here." Axelrod's response to the accident, ironically occurring on the eve of Earth Day, suggests the open-ended nature of the moratorium may lead to more regulatory hurdles for oil operations in the Gulf.

For decades, exploration in the Gulf of Mexico had progressed without incident, and the more than 3,500 platforms already producing in our portion of the Gulf routinely endured shutdowns brought on by approaching hurricanes and regular maintenance. In these cases the shutoff valves did their job, making the Deepwater Horizon incident an outlier. Nor can the prospect of sabotage or terrorism be ruled out given the enticing target presented by what was essentially a seagoing vessel tenuously rooted to a wellhead 5,000 feet below the surface. The Deepwater Horizon was one of only about two dozen rigs situated in a water depth more than 1,000 meters — the technology of deepwater drilling is still maturing.

Yet billions of barrels of oil lie entombed underneath the Gulf of Mexico. Undoubtedly there is an argument underscored by the Deepwater Horizon tragedy which says we need to back down, but when you compare the safety record of Gulf drilling to that of shipping 9 million barrels of oil per day for our use over many of those same waters and the prospect for disaster there, the risk is worthwhile.

As we stand right now, there is no perfectly safe or perfectly reliable form of energy out there and the Deepwater Horizon accident points out the possible (but historically unlikely) downside of oil dependence. But coal also has drawbacks and safety concerns as recent mining accidents remind us, while the pesky problem of waste and threat from radiation dogs proponents of nuclear power. Renewable energy is great in concept, but the reliability of solar and wind energy obviously depends on optimum weather conditions.

Accidents will happen, but there's no reason to stop oil exploration after this tragedy. The record of safety is no longer unblemished but still exemplary, and on balance the benefits still outweigh the risks. Let's get oil workers back to work.

Michael Swartz, an architect and writer who lives in rural Maryland, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer for Americans for Limited Government.

Your Retirement Savings May Be Next

By Rick Manning

Could the Democrats in Congress actually be considering confiscating all 401(k), SEP and IRA accounts in exchange for offering Americans a "guaranteed annuity"?

The subject almost seems too far out there to even write about. While it is something that I had heard rumors of, I just couldn't believe this type of proposal would ever be considered in America. Let alone become part of an active public policy debate.

But when the Wall Street Journal writes on the subject, and the House Republicans on the committee that oversees our nation's pension system send a letter expressing concern to both Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis expressing concern, and then issue a press release on it, it is time to get concerned.

The least damaging scenario is that the Democrats are considering changes to the retirement security system that takes away the tax deductibility of retirement savings in exchange for using those dollars to create a new "guaranteed annuity" that will provide workers with a fixed amount each month. Sounding eerily like the insolvent Social Security system, these accounts would ensure that all people living in America had some small fixed amount of income each month in retirement.

However, this doesn't really solve the biggest problem facing the Democrats. Their largest donors, organized labor, have a huge pension insolvency problem. Labor unions, both private and public, have severely mismanaged their pension funds. In fact, Moody's considers many private funds to be in "critical condition".

Believe it or not, public employee pension funds are in even worse shape. California's public employee pension fund alone is reported to be underfunded by a whopping $500 billion (that's half a trillion bucks or $500,000,000,000.00).

So, who has the money to make these colossal failures whole and keep union leaders and their members happy?

That's right, you guessed it. The poor slob who doesn't have a guaranteed pension, but has been putting off vacations and eating burger rather than steak for his/her whole career to put 5% of his income into a tax deferred retirement account is the one with the money. Right in his/her tax deferred retirement accounts.

According to the Investment Company Institute, in 2008, $2.4 trillion was invested by private citizens in 401(k) accounts.

Quite a tempting morsel of money if the Democrats in Congress can just convince the American public that they will be getting the security of a GUARANTEED payment every month, rather than dealing with the nasty ups and downs of the market.

As stated at the beginning of this piece, this isn't yet a proposed law, but is merely a twinkle in the eye of those in the Obama Administration and in Congress who are desperate for cash to fill big labors pension black hole. But every bad idea starts as the twinkle in someone's eye, and no bad idea seems to be too extreme for this gang of looters who have temporarily been given the keys to the nation.

So beware readers, when you start hearing about the need to avoid retirement risk coming from those who brought you government health care, and are in the process of putting into law a system that would monitor every single one of your financial transactions all under the guise of economic security.

Realize, that if you have been putting money away for your future, that these same jackals are eyeing your nest egg, to feather the nests of their political supporters.

Remember, forewarned is forearmed. So stay vigilant.

Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government, and the former Chief of Staff of the Public Affairs Office at the U.S. Department of Labor that oversees the 401(k) system.

Tyranny in Disguise

By Robert Romano

Government just needs a little more power, it says.
Proponents of unlimited bailouts are once again blaming the management of bailouts for their inherent failures to mitigate the crises they profess to avert. Last week, the EU Monetary Affairs Chief Olli Rehn blamed the financial crisis on the "failure" of the federal government to save Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy, and used the example to justify an EU-IMF bailout for Greece.

Said Rehn, "Little did authorities of the United States know in September 2008 what the bankruptcy of investment bank Lehman Brothers would lead to. The consequence was that the world's financial system was paralyzed in a way that led to the biggest global recession since the 1930s. Consequences from Greece's insolvency would be similar if not worse."

So, argues Rehn, Greece must be bailed out. And so she has been, with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (filled with U.S. taxpayer dollars) offering €110 billion in handouts from Germany and France.

This inherent premise, that if only Lehman had been saved in a timely manner, market participants would have somehow been saved the wrath of having overleveraged themselves, is reinforced by a recent Financial Times piece by former Chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board Allan Mendelowitz and Penn State Associate Professor John C. Liechty. They believe regulators need more information on the interconnectedness of banks, firms, and other entities so that government reacts quicker when "systemic risk" is detected, and have thus proposed the creation of an Office of Financial Research.

The authors write, "the reality was no one knew the extent to which important market participants were exposed to Lehman and no one could see how the vast counterparty network connected market participants together… The data was just not there and [then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson] had no way of knowing that the failure of Lehman would cascade through the markets resulting in a panic that would ultimately freeze the $2,000bn commercial paper market."
Senator Chris Dodd has therefore included the Office of Financial Research in his legislation in the U.S. Senate, which Barack Obama supports. As detailed in a recent summary by Americans for Limited Government, if the bill is not amended, the Office would be tasked with the power to "collect, validate, and maintain all data necessary" to maintain financial stability "obtained from member agencies, commercial data providers, publicly available data sources, and financial entities."

Essentially, this is the power to monitor, and in extension, control all economic and financial activity in the country without regards to an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy. So, to stave off any future crises, government wants limitless powers to monitor the financial system including, should they deem it necessary, all personal and proprietary finances. That way, if anything goes wrong, they'll be able to act quickly.

Unfortunately, this misguided view is based upon the myth that government is the primary driver of economic activity, that economic downturns can somehow be avoided through enlightened government action, and that poor financial decisions can be prevented through government micromanagement of individual judgment.

For similar reasons, some argue that politicians should only make "positive" statements on the economy, so as to not "spook" the markets. That, somehow, the government is in the command-and-control driver's seat of the economy.

Therefore, the decisions made by government — and the information it presents to the public — at the helm can somehow steer markets away from the corals, but the decisions must be made quickly, like a general in war. There can be no debate. The idea here is that with Lehman, or Greece, if only bailouts were speedier and uncontroversial (and the people who have to pay for them didn't stand in the way), they would work.

This is a very dangerous proposition, because it also implies the inverse: that markets and the public should actually have less information about government interventions. Indeed, those bailouts should be made in secret and by executive edict so that no credible opposition to them may be mounted, which would slow down their implementation.

In fact, this is precisely the direction the debate over the Dodd financial takeover bill took last week. For example, last week Senator Bernie Sanders agreed to weaken an amendment to the bill that would have provided for a full audit of the Federal Reserve after the Fed and Obama Administration cried foul, and said the central bank's independence was threatened.

The amendment would have lifted restrictions on the Government Accountability Office to audit the Fed's discount window lending, deliberations, open market operations, and transactions with foreign central banks or governments.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke thinks we're better off not knowing about these activities. If everyone knew what was behind the curtain, he warns that "Such amendments, if enacted, would seriously threaten monetary policy independence, increase inflation fears and market interest rates, and damage economic stability and job creation." In other words, the Fed bailouts may be worse than anyone knows.

If the people knew more about them, they wouldn't be happy. Markets would also behave accordingly. Seeing the full scope of monetary expansion, they would price inflation in accordingly. As prices rose across several types of consumer goods, including energy, housing, and medicine, the people would demand Congress that the easy money be reined in.

So, to solve the problems posed by public oversight, bailout proponents actually want less transparency of government interventions into the economy.

They also want an unlimited, speedy bailout authority in the Dodd bill. And, despite Senate Republican attempts to remove it, the limitless "orderly liquidation fund" is still included in the bill. It has not been removed, despite claims to the contrary.

To summarize, those who want unlimited bailout authority believe that the more "compliant" the public and markets are with the corporatist regime, and the less they know about how it works, the less "disruptive" government interventions into the economy will be. Meanwhile, they argue that they must know everything about every financial transaction in the country to detect "systemic risk."

Not only is this authoritarian, it's provably false. Markets crashed as a direct result of the command-and-control policy decisions by government to loosen credit, expand the money supply, and promoting the social policy of low-income home ownership, thus creating the mother of all asset bubbles. Markets played along, like sheep, throughout the 1990's and 2000's. It made billionaires out of those who gamed the system.

And when the bubble popped, the American people were the ones left holding the bag. Now, having wrecked the global financial system, government seeks more power to manage the unintended consequences of its own policies.

Market interventionism is ascending to a level that historically has been reserved for military planning and intelligence. And Politburos. This is tyranny in disguise, and it must be stopped.

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of ALG News Bureau.

Lakers Sweep Jazz, Advance to Western Conference Finals to Face Suns

The Los Angeles Lakers swept the Utah Jazz in their Western Conference Semifinal series with a decisive 111-96 road victory on Monday night
Today's News NJ Staff

With the Phoenix Suns awaiting them in the Western Conference Finals after they swept the experienced San Antonio Spurs in four games, the Los Angeles Lakers wasted no time in eliminating the overmatched Utah Jazz. The Lakers capitalized on their opportunity to sweep Utah in game four of their Western Conference Semifinal series on Monday night by earning a decisive 111-96 victory. Kobe Bryant scored 32 points while Pau Gasol scored 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting and 9-of-11 from the free throw line.

Gasol added 14 rebounds, including seven offensive boards, as the Lakers’ superior size, quality postseason experience and overall talent level proved to be too much for Utah to overcome. Los Angeles received more resistance from the Oklahoma City Thunder during their hard fought Western Conference Quarterfinal series in which they were taken to six games and pushed to the limit by a young, athletic and highly talented squad led by All-NBA first team forward Kevin Durant and promising point guard Russell Westbrook.

The Lakers won three out of four matchups against the Phoenix Suns during the regular season but Bryant revealed his opinion that the Suns are more dangerous at the moment due to their momentum. Bryant told members of the media during the post-game press conference, “The difference with how they played when we met them in the regular season and how they play not I think is just confidence. They believe in what they’re doing. They want it. They are very, very hungry.”

Miss USA 2010 Scandal

Miss USA contest is annually held since 1952 to select Miss United States entry for the Miss Universe Pageant. Unlike any ordinary pageants, Miss USA doesn’t have talent competition portion. Only they are competing in Evening Gown, Swimsuit and Interview or Question and Answer.

This years’ Miss USA pageant isn’t just like the past pageants. It is now rolled with controversy for their shoot called “Waking Up in Vegas”, wherein 51 state representatives wear only lacy lingerie in a black and white inspired bedroom. They posted the pictures in Miss USA website. It was compared to last years’ pageant wherein it was more traditional and much more covered up theme.

This idea of extending to their limits created a huge disagreement from the pageants’ watchers. Pageant officials up to this date are receiving angry calls from the watchers because they think it was overly seductive nature. But the people behind the show stand behind their idea and explained that it was just a form of art wherein contestants can show their beauty, sexiness and relevance.

Watchers are now waiting for the airing of the pageant on May 16 at 7 PM on

Ken Griffey, Jr. Sleeping During Mariners Game?

I know everyone needs a little rest sometimes and quite honestly, I would sleep through Mariners games too. Reports say that Junior, (Can we call him that anymore? He is 40 now.) was sleeping in the clubhouse during an unspecified game last week when the team needed him to come in the game as a pinch hitter.

There was a teammate that came out and said he went in the clubhouse to get a jacket and never came back out. Hey, maybe he needed that jacket to use as a blanket but got real comfortable in his chair. You know those MLB clubhouses are nice. A second teammate who was trying to help Griffey said that he was having trouble sleeping at home because he was away from his family.

That reason is a little weird since Junior has been in the league for 21 years. This situation is not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things but you have to stay awake for games or at least fake an injury to get to the clubhouse. It is getting close to the end for one of the all-time greats, but somebody pass the man a sugar-free Red Bull before he sleeps through what could be his final season.

Why Euro is Falling Despite the EU/IMF Plan

By Kathy Lien
The big story in the financial markets today is the mammoth EU/IMF rescue plan. A lot has been written about the plan on many sites including our own. Given that the plan which in many ways is just as significant as the TARP will be the focus of the financial markets for weeks to come, it is important to have a good understanding of the details and their implications for the foreign exchange market. Over the past few weeks, uncertainty in the Eurozone has affected risk appetite in assets across the globe and even with the rescue plan developments in Europe will continue to dominate trading in the coming weeks. The price action in the forex market indicates that even though investors are relieved to see this major announcement from EU/IMF/ECB, they are not completely confident that it will be a game changer. The goal was to spread calm through the financial markets and if you look at the VIX which fell sharply or equities which rose significantly, you could say the goal was achieved, but if you look at the move in currencies, you would be more skeptical.

Read more..

SEC Announces – Major Exchanges Agree To Modify Rules

By Spencer Osborne
The Securities Exchange Commission announced this evening that the major equity exchanges have agreed to new rules that should help avoid a market melt down like the one that occurred last week. Six major exchanges agreed to initiate “circuit breakers” that are restrictions designed to curb trading when a stock index or individual stock or other security rises or falls to a specified level in the course of one trading day.

It is anticipated that the agreement in principal will be refined to a final version by Thursday, May 13, 2010. The NYSE, Nasdaq, BATS Global Markets, DirectEdge, International Securities Exchange, and Chicago Board Options Exchange all agreed on the following changes:

•Update existing market-wide “circuit-breakers” that will halt trading if the Dow drops by a certain percentage.
•Create market-wide “circuit-breakers” for individual equities.
•Establish clear rules for which trades should be canceled in cases of extreme volatility.
Regulators and exchanges have been examining data from millions of trades trying to determine what caused Thursday’s computerized sell-off. The Dow later recovered to close the session down 342 points.

The SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission are continuing their investigation while also working to implement safe guards sooner rather than later. It is anticipated that the investigation will take months to complete. Certainly part of the investigation should include protocols of the government agencies that allowed the lose rules in the first place. One thing that will be looked at closely is the computer generated programs that seem to milk the markets dry, and could be part of the problem we saw last week.

BIZARRE: CVS Manager Fatally Strangles Shoplifter Over Toothpaste

Anthony Kyser didn't have money for the tubes of toothpaste he stuffed in his jacket before he walked out of a Little Village CVS store Saturday morning.

He paid with his life, instead.

Chased out of the store and down a litter-strewn alley shortly before 11
a.m., the 35-year-old unemployed barber was strangled to death by a
CVS employee who had seen him shoplifting, officials said.

Witnesses said Kyser, of the 1400 block of South Hamlin, cried, "I can't
breathe, I can't breathe!" as the CVS worker held him in a chokehold for
what they thought was several minutes. Three other men attempted to
restrain him in the alley behind the 2600 block of South Pulaski, the
witnesses said.

The medical examiner ruled Kyser's death a homicide, saying an autopsy
showed he had been strangled, but police said Sunday the employee who
killed him won't be charged.

Police are treating the death as "accidental," Chicago Police spokesman
Daniel O'Brien said.

That's a decision Kyser's outraged family can't understand.

"Why would you kill someone over toothpaste?" his ex-wife, Ann Balboa,
said through tears Sunday.

Mayor Bloomberg Will Study London's 'Ring of Steel' for Tips on Securing New York

Mayor Michael Bloomberg will examine London's much ballyhooed "Ring of Steel" security network Tuesday—10 days after the failed car bomb plot in Times Square—to help determine how New York City can best improve its counter-terrorism efforts.

The "Ring of Steel," a network of thousands of surveillance cameras that is designed to identify, monitor and deter terrorists, has been credited with providing British law-enforcement officials with invaluable evidence in major investigations, such as license plate numbers and suspects' images.

New York officials plan to bolster the "Lower Manhattan Security Initiative," which is modeled after London's program, and expand it to Midtown.

This expanded network of closed-circuit cameras, license-plate readers and sensors will increase our ability to detect and disrupt possible attacks in real time, and also provide us with more information more quickly about such incidents," Mr. Bloomberg said Sunday during his weekly radio address.

Since Mr. Bloomberg became mayor in 2002, less than four months after terrorists toppled the World Trade Center, the police and fire departments and the city's Office of Emergency Management, have beefed up their counter-terror capabilities.

Still, the mayor declared on Sunday: "There's even more we can and must do."

In Lower Manhattan between Canal Street and the Battery, river to river, feeds from cameras, license-plate readers and radiation sensors flow to a coordination center that is staffed with officials looking for potential terrorist activities.

An alarm sounds if, for example, a package is left unattended for more than a minute at a building entrance, or the same truck circles a location for the third time.

Within the next few years, the city intends to have 3,000 cameras feeding into the coordination center. As of now, there are hundreds.

Mr. Bloomberg is aiming to duplicate the system in Midtown between 34th and 59th streets.

Aides at City Hall said the mayor wants to visit London's "Ring of Streel" to learn what has worked best. He plans to pay particular attention to security in London's subway system. In New York City, the NYPD is responsible for security in the city's subways.

Last week, the mayor and the police commissioner, Ray Kelly, lobbied Congress to fund the project. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have also been calling on the federal government to increase security funding to the city. "There is nothing more important than keeping New Yorkers safe from an attack," Mr. Schumer said.

Mr. Bloomberg will stop in London Tuesday as he makes his way to Berlin, where he will receive the Henry A. Kissinger Prize for his contributions to building a stronger transatlantic relationship.

Medical Marijuana Clinic Firebombed In Montana

It is being reported that a marijuana clinic located in Billings Montana was firebombed by an angry resident.

The molotov cocktail was lobbed through the window of the storefront, and the message “not in our town” was sprayed on the wall of the building.
This is the second such incident in consecutive days, and is a clear sign that residents are not in favor of the clinic offering pot for medical purposes.

Obviously residents of Billings are not pleased with the fact that there is a medical marijuana clinic in their town and are letting their feelings be known.

According to Billings police, an empty beer bottle was filled with gasoline and set on fire and then thrown inside the clinic.

Clinic owner Trevor McFarren says that he has never had any problems regarding vandilism since he opened for business in January.

Paterson statement on extender passage, furloughs

Mere minutes after Assembly approval puts the measure on his desk, here’s Gov. David Paterson’s statement on the extender and the furlough plan it contains:

by Casey Seiler

“I commend the Legislature for approving my emergency appropriations legislation, which will ensure the continued orderly operation of government and achieve necessary workforce savings through State employee furloughs. Over the next week, I will work closely with my agency commissioners to expeditiously implement these furloughs in a manner that both reduces taxpayer costs and minimizes any potential impact on public services.

“The budget that I have proposed reflects the principle of shared sacrifice. It includes tough but necessary cuts across every single area of State spending. At a time of unprecedented fiscal crisis, every single organization and individual that relies upon State funding needs to make sacrifices. Unfortunately, however, all we’ve heard so far from the leadership of our State’s public employee unions are expletives and excuses.

“I recognize that these furloughs represent a difficult sacrifice for many of the State’s public employees. That sacrifice is only necessary because their union leadership has rejected all other reasonable attempts at compromise. One such proposal that I put forward is to eliminate a scheduled 4-to-7 percent general salary increase for State employees, which I believe is a fair concession at a time when more than a quarter of million New Yorkers in the private sector have lost their jobs and other local public employee unions across the State are reopening their contracts. These furloughs were a last resort.

“In the days ahead, the special interests will use every tool at their disposal to try and prevent me from doing what is necessary to put our State’s fiscal house in order. My only objective is to help New York turn the corner on this fiscal crisis and that goal guides every decision I make as Governor. And I will continue to make the difficult decisions needed to close our $9.2 billion deficit and put taxpayers first. The sooner our State is on a path to economic recovery, the better for every New Yorker.”

Eric Holder: Miranda Rights Should Be Modified For Terrorism Suspects

Via: Huffington Post:

Attorney General Eric Holder said for the first time today on ABC’s “This Week” that the Obama administration is open to modifying Miranda protections to deal with the “threats that we now face.”

“The [Miranda] system we have in place has proven to be effective,” Holder told host Jake Tapper. “I think we also want to look and determine whether we have the necessary flexibility — whether we have a system that deals with situations that agents now confront. … We’re now dealing with international terrorism. … I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public-safety exception [to the Miranda protections]. And that’s one of the things that I think we’re going to be reaching out to Congress, to come up with a proposal that is both constitutional, but that is also relevant to our times and the threats that we now face.”

America’s system of Miranda rights developed out of a 1966 Supreme Court ruling which found that the Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment rights of an alleged rapist and kidnapper, Ernesto Arturo Miranda, had been violated during his arrest and trial (Miranda was later retried and convicted).

The Court ruled that before being interrogated, a person in custody must (among other things) “be clearly informed that he or she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says will be used against that person in court,” and that they “must be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning.”

Gordon Brown to Resign as UK Prime Minister

by Jon Bershad
This morning, Gordon Brown announced that he would be resigning as Prime Minister by September. His resignation follows the general election last week which resulted in a hung parliament despite the Conservative Party winning the most seats. Brown stepping down as the leader of the Labour Party will lead to another election for a new Prime Minister.
Brown’s resignation marks an attempt by the Labour Party to work with the Liberal Democrats to form a government following the election. Until the announcement today, much of the talk had been of the Conservatives working with the Liberal Democrats but the news today significantly changes any plans.

From the The New York Times here:

“I have no desire to stay in my position longer than is needed to ensure the path to economic growth is assured and the process of political reform we have agreed moves forward quickly,” Brown said.

“As leader of my party I must accept that that (the election result) is a judgment on me. I therefore intend to ask the Labour Party to set in train the processes needed for its own leadership election,” he said.

Here is a report on Brown’s statement from the BBC: