You reap what you sow, be careful what you wish for, et cetera.
BREAKING: The Supreme Court has handed down its #McCutcheon v. FEC decision, deciding to strike down aggregate limits on direct political contributions by claiming they are unconstitutional based on the First Amendment.
It’s another major blow to America’s campaign finance system.
While we are not surprised by today’s outcome, we are disappointed that the plutocracy we predicted is now sanctioned by the high court. Thanks to the high court, wealthy donors can now pour millions more into federal elections - the decision effectively ties a big bow around Congress and delivers it to the 1%.
Read Sunlight’s full response to #SCOTUS's decision here: http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/04/02/sunlights-response-to-scotus-ruling-on-mccutcheon-v-fec/
President Obama, delivering a lengthy, emotional address on Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman and race just moments ago.
Stating that Martin “could have been me 35 years ago,” Obama nonetheless said that the issue of race in America has improved, though there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Read more on the president’s surprise remarks over at Politics Now.
===WASHINGTON — George Zimmerman is unlikely to face federal charges for killing black teenager Trayvon Martin because it would be difficult to prove he acted out of racial bias, Justice Department officials said Tuesday.
… [A] successful federal prosecution of Zimmerman would require clear evidence that he set out to attack the unarmed Martin because he was black.
Although that is exactly what many Americans see in the fatal shooting of the 17-year-old, it can be very hard to prove in court, legal experts said. So far, prosecutors have not shown evidence that Zimmerman acted out of racial bias.
In 2010, (Marissa) Alexander, a mother of three, fired what she said was a warning shot after she felt threatened by her husband.
According to (Congresswoman Corinne) Brown, Alexander’s husband had said, “If I can’t have you, nobody going to have you.”
Alexander’s attorney invoked the “Stand Your Ground Law,” which gives the benefit of the doubt to a shooter who feels threatened.
But that argument didn’t fly with the jury, which decided she was not acting in self-defense. Prosecutors argued that Alexander fired in the direction of her husband and two of his children, endangering their lives.
The act amounted to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Because Alexander fired the gun while committing a felony, Florida’s harsh gun laws required the 20-year sentence.
“If women who are victims of domestic violence try to protect themselves, the Stand Your Ground Law will not apply to them,” wrote Brown, who added, “If you are black, the system will treat you differently.”
Well before (Trayvon Martin’s killer George) Zimmerman was acquitted, the contradictory nature of the two cases was already evident to Brown and many others." -
The New York Daily News, "Black Woman’s Failed ‘Stand Your Ground’ Claim Raises Allegation of Racial Double Standard."
And don’t even get me started on what would’ve happened if Trayvon had survived being shot by George Zimmerman and then claimed a Stand Your Ground defense.
A man carries cooking oil he received at a relief center for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sanaa August 2, 2012. Around 8,000 of the IDPs who have fled fighting between Shi’ite rebels and government forces in northwestern Yemen have yet to return to their villages two years after the fighting ended.
[Credit : Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]
The latest issue of TIME, featuring our cover story, “One A Day,” will hit newsstands Friday.
Read more about the cover story here.
(Photograph by Dan Winters for Time)
George Zimmerman, who slipped out of jail on $150,000 bail in the early morning darkness, went back into hiding Monday and likely fled to another state to avoid threats as he awaits his second-degree murder trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin.
His release from jail came less than a day before the Sanford City Commission rejected, by a 3-2 vote, the resignation of Police Chief Bill Lee, who was roundly criticized for not initially charging Mr. Zimmerman.
Even though authorities can pinpoint Mr. Zimmerman’s location with a GPS ankle bracelet, that he must wear round the clock, the public may not see him again for some time. Mr. Zimmerman has waived his appearance at his upcoming arraignment next month, so he can stay underground if he wants.
Mr. Zimmerman already has experience laying low: For more than a month before his arrest, he eluded the media and his whereabouts were not known. His attorney has suggested he had several options for where Mr. Zimmerman can stay this time, and a judge indicated he was willing to let Mr. Zimmerman leave the state.
Until the next time he must come before a judge, Mr. Zimmerman will have to skip such routine pleasures as eating in a restaurant or taking a stroll outside, said Jose Baez, a former attorney for Casey Anthony. Ms. Anthony, acquitted last summer of killing her 2-year-old daughter, went into hiding after her release from jail.
“He may be free, but he’s not free,” Mr. Baez said.
A day after the Syrian Army overwhelmed the main rebel stronghold in the embattled city of Homs, the Red Cross was reported to have sent a relief column into the beleaguered city on Friday with food and aid for civilians trapped there for a month.
Carla Haddad, a a spokeswoman for International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, told Reuters that the convoy had reached Homs and was preparing to enter the enclave of Baba Amr, which had been at the epicenter of a four-week government effort to dislodge rebels and army defectors.
Red Cross official in Geneva did not respond to further requests for clarification of the situation. The convoy was accompanied by ambulances from the Syrian Red Crescent, Reuters said.
If it succeeds in entering Baba Amr, the relief convoy will be the first major opportunity for humanitarian officials to survey the results of the fighting there since dissident forces withdrew on Thursday, setting the stage for elite government soldiers to turn their attention — and superior firepower — to other insurgent redoubts farther north, despite the increasing international pressure for a cease fire. .
In announcing their “tactical withdrawal” from Baba Amr on Thursday after enduring a pounding by artillery, tank and sniper fire for nearly a month, the rebel Revolutionary Brigades of Baba Amr said in statement that they were both heavily outgunned and unable to justify keeping thousands of civilians marooned under dire conditions. In a quarter where most buildings are pockmarked by shell blasts, residents lack food, medicine, water and electricity, and are cut off from the outside world." - The New York Times, “Aid Reported to be Nearing Battered Syrian Enclave” (via inothernews)
I have been immeasurably honored to serve the people of Maine for nearly 40 years in public office and for the past 17 years in the United States Senate. It was incredibly difficult to decide that I would not seek a fourth term in the Senate.
Some people were surprised by my conclusion, yet I have spoken on the floor of the Senate for years about the dysfunction and political polarization in the institution. Simply put, the Senate is not living up to what the Founding Fathers envisioned.
During the Federal Convention of 1787, James Madison wrote in his Notes of Debates that “the use of the Senate is to consist in its proceedings with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom, than the popular branch.” Indeed, the Founding Fathers intended the Senate to serve as an institutional check that ensures all voices are heard and considered, because while our constitutional democracy is premised on majority rule, it is also grounded in a commitment to minority rights.
Yet more than 200 years later, the greatest deliberative body in human history is not living up to its billing. The Senate of today routinely jettisons regular order, as evidenced by the body’s failure to pass a budget for more than 1,000 days; serially legislates by political brinkmanship, as demonstrated by the debt-ceiling debacle of August that should have been addressed the previous January; and habitually eschews full debate and an open amendment process in favor of competing, up-or-down, take-it-or-leave-it proposals. We witnessed this again in December with votes on two separate proposals for a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
…The great challenge is to create a system that gives our elected officials reasons to look past their differences and find common ground if their initial party positions fail to garner sufficient support. In a politically diverse nation, only by finding that common ground can we achieve results for the common good. That is not happening today and, frankly, I do not see it happening in the near future." - The Washington Post, “Olympia Snowe: Why I’m Leaving the Senate” (via inothernews)
Women and children endure wintry weather as they wait in line to buy bread in Al Qusayr, a city in western Syria about 3 miles from Homs, on March 1, 2012.
[Credit : Goran Tomasevic / Reuters]
But Ms. Colvin’s frustrations were also more particular than that: she worried that her accounts of indiscriminate bombing by forces loyal to the Syrian government were not able to reach the widest possible audience.
Days before her death, she asked a fellow journalist to sidestep the online subscription requirement for her newspaper, The Sunday Times of London, and share her latest article from Syria with nonsubscribers. “Getting the story out from here is what we got into journalism for,” she wrote in a message that was republished on Wednesday by Bill Neely, the international editor for ITV News in Britain.
“You have my permission to post it, as in I will take the firing squad in the morning,” Ms. Colvin said, indicating that her bosses might object to the reposting of her articles elsewhere. “I’m just not able to technically do it, as I am still in Baba Amr.”
This puts a seriously human face on a problem widely plaguing the newspaper industry — how do you get your stories read and paid for? The Times’ paywall, implemented by News Corp. in 2010, is the worst of the worst, as you can’t even read excerpts from the stories without a subscription. Newspapers need to make money, yes, but when does the public interest, which Marie Colvin was deeply interested in, take precedent?
Susan G. Komen for the Cure is backing off of its decision to cut off grants to Planned Parenthood, announcing in a blog post that the organization will continue to be able to apply for future grants.
“We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue,” Komen’s founder and CEO, Nancy Brinker, says in the statement. “We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics — anyone’s politics.”
The full text of the blog post:
We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.
The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.
Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.
Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.
It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics — anyone’s politics.
Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.
We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.
It’s a dramatic about-face for the group. In a video posted on YouTube late Wednesday, Brinker said her group would “never bow down to political pressure.”
“The scurrilous accusations being hurled at this organization are profoundly hurtful to so many of us who put our heart, soul and lives into this organization,” she said. “But more importantly, they are a dangerous distraction from the work that still remains to be done in ridding the world of breast cancer.”
But the pressure on the group was powerful, with everyone from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell expressing disapproval. Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, reported a flood of new contributions — and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg seemed to pave the way for even more by promising to match up to $250,000 in donations to the group.