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Category Archives: #politics

Disgraced ex-Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, accused of presiding over decades of brutality and torture, has died

Jon Burge, the disgraced Chicago police commander and felon whose sordid legacy of torture and other misconduct exacted an agonizing price from the city, has died in Florida at age 70, according to police union officials and a Florida funeral home.

Details about his death were scarce as the union and family members declined to speak with members of the news media, which spent years reporting on the numerous cases in which Burge was accused of torturing suspects in order to obtain confessions.

Jon Burge

Representatives of Zipperer Funeral Home in Ruskin, Fla., confirmed receiving Burge’s body but declined to share any further information, citing the family’s wishes. Burge, who had previously been treated for cancer, lived in nearby Apollo Beach.

“They (family members) let us know they’re not doing anything in any newspapers,’’ said Sarah Zipperer.

Stories of the violence committed under Burge — including beatings, electric shock, suffocation with typewriter covers and games of Russian roulette — proved to have a long reach. Although most of Burge’s alleged misconduct took place in the 1970s and ’80s, his accusers played a fundamental role in former Gov. George Ryan’s decision to vacate Illinois’ death row in 2000 and declare a moratorium on capital punishment in the state.

Lawsuits from Burge’s victims, meanwhile, have cost taxpayers many millions in settlements and judgments, much of it paid out of city coffers in the past decade.  Read More

 

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Senator to FTC: You guys really should look at Google one more time

A Utah senator has written a formal letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking it to “reconsider the competitive effects of Google’s conduct in search and digital advertising.”

In a two-page document released Thursday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) noted that, when the agency closed its previous investigation into the search giant in 2010, the FTC partly based its decision on the expectation that Apple would become a “strong mobile advertising network.” This did not pan out.

As Ars noted a year ago, Google is under renewed pressure from both the conservative and liberal ends of the political spectrum.

Not only did the FTC examine Google in 2010, it also did so in 2012. That’s when the commission’s competition unit urged a lawsuit that was ultimately overruled by the FTC’s commissioners, who voted unanimously not to pursue charges against Google.

Google did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

In particular, on Wednesday, Trump tweeted a video that claimed, incorrectly, that Google did not feature his first speech to Congress as president.  Read More

Trump travel ban oral arguments: what you need to know

Three federal judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals are set to hear oral arguments at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday in the challenge to President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

The lawsuit, brought by attorneys general of Washington and Minnesota, has captivated the nation since last Friday when a federal district court judge put a stop to Trump’s executive order restricting travel for foreign nationals, and as a result, temporarily opened US borders to immigrants once again.
The hearing will be by telephone and livestreamed; here’s what to listen for:

What’s the hearing about?

US District Court Judge James Robart upended Trump’s executive order nationwide Friday by temporarily halting the key provisions restricting travel for foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries (Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen) and refugee admissions.
The central question for the appellate court is whether Robart abused his discretion by putting a temporary hold on the travel ban. No court has addressed the constitutionality of the executive order thus far.

The players

The attorney general of Washington state, Bob Ferguson, filed the case and was later joined by the attorney general of Minnesota, Lori Swanson.
The suit is being defended by lawyers at the Civil Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.
The randomly assigned three-judge panel includes Judge William C. Canby Jr, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter; Judge Michelle T. Friedland; who was appointed by President Barack Obama; and Judge Richard R. Clifton, an appointee of President George W. Bush.

When is this hearing?

The appellate court has set an hour-long telephonic oral argument in the case for Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET. It will be available for live streaming through the court’s website.
Each side will get 30 minutes to make their case.

What are the states saying?

On Monday attorneys for the states that filed the lawsuit submitted their brief urging the appellate court to keep the travel ban suspension in place.
The states say that the temporary restraining order should remain in place because the President had “unleashed chaos” by signing the order.
They also argue that the government’s claim — that it would be “irreparably harmed” by keeping Robart’s temporary suspension order in place while the case proceeds to the merits — doesn’t make any sense.
To accept DOJ’s position, they argue, “would mean that until the (Executive) Order was issued, Defendants were suffering some, unspecified, ongoing irreparable harm. That makes no sense. …Preserving the status quo against sudden disruption is often in the interest of all parties.”

What is the Trump administration’s argument?

The government submitted its own brief in response Monday evening.
DOJ continues to emphasize that the states do not have the ability to sue in this case and a district court judge does not have the right to second-guess the President’s national security judgment in the immigration context.
But the government also raised a fallback argument in its latest court filing — suggesting if the appellate court is inclined to uphold the Seattle district court’s decision, then it must at least limit it to the class of people who have been previously admitted to the US — like someone traveling on a student visa. In the government’s view, aliens outside of the US who have never stepped foot on US soil have no constitutional right to enter the US.

What happens next?

The judges have a number of different options at their disposal to resolve this case, but it is unlikely that they would rule on whether the ban is constitutional (since that is not the question before them) — the central issue is whether the executive order should remain suspended for now.  Read More

CNN Courting ABC’s Jake Tapper: Report

Jake Tapper

CNN is reportedly trying to court ABC News’ senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper.

Fishbowl DC’s Betsy Rothstein, who was first to report the news, learned that CNN chiefs were looking for a “game changer” and were interested in Tapper.

Tapper and senior vice president and spokesman for ABC News Jeffrey Schneider, both released statements to The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone. Tapper said, “Being the White House correspondent for ABC News is a dream job, one I’m focused on 100 percent. I couldn’t be happier where I am right now.”

Schneider echoed Tapper’s sentiment. “Hardly surprised to read about all kinds of poachers being interested in Jake Tapper. That’s what happens when you are at the top of your profession. We’re thrilled Jake works for ABC News and expect him to have a leadership role for a long time to come,” he said.

It’s not surprising to hear that CNN is looking for a “game changer.” The network experienced its lowest-rated month in more than a decade in April 2012. A Time Warner spokesperson said that CEO Jeff Bewkes was “clearly not satisfied” with CNN’s performance and planned to turn up the heat on the network and company-at-large “to come up with a plan to restore momentum.”

Tapper is still under contract with ABC News though that does not prevent other networks from talking to him about new opportunities.  Read More

President Obama Threatens to Veto CISPA Cybersecurity Bill

If the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, better known as CISPA, reached President Obama’s desk in its current form, he would veto the bill, according to a statement from the White House.

CISPA, says the White House, would allow the government and the intelligence community unfettered access to Americans’ personal information and data, sacrificing individuals’ personal privacy and civil liberties.

CISPA is designed to allow private firms to share information about cybersecurity threats with one another and with the federal government. The bill’s advocates call such information sharing a necessary step in defending the U.S.’s networks from a “digital Pearl Harbor,” while opponents argue that sharing puts the civil liberties and personal privacy of Internet users in jeopardy.

“[CISPA] would allow broad sharing of information with governmental entities without establishing requirements for both industry and the government to minimize and protect personally identifiable information,” reads the statement.

The White House also believes that CISPA would allow private companies to share users’ information with one another — unhindered by adequate supervision or transparency — while simultaneously shielding them from lawsuits that spring up as a result of that information sharing.

“Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held legally accountable for failing to safeguard personal information adequately,” reads the statement. “The broad liability protection not only removes a strong incentive to improving cybersecurity, it also potentially undermines our Nation’s economic, national security, and public safety interests.”  Read More

Gov. Mitch Daniels Speaks Out About the Possibility of Becoming the GOP Vice Presidential Nominee

Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) appeared on Fox News Sunday and spoke about the possibility of becoming the GOP vice presidential nomination. Daniels has already endorsed Mitt Romney and told Chris Wallace that he thinks Romney is more in touch with the American people than President Obama. “He’s been out there, he’s been roughed up in the primaries, he’s been face to face with the really serious lingering economic difficulties America faces.”

Wallace asked Daniels about comments he made to the Indianapolis Star in which he stated, “You have to campaign to govern not just to win. Look at everything through the lens of folks who have yet to achieve. Romney doesn’t talk that way.”  Read More

Obama joins Wisconsin’s budget battle, opposing Republican anti-union bill

President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin’s broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits and planning similar protests in other state capitals. Obama accused Scott Walker, the state’s new Republican governor, of unleashing an “assault” on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would change future collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers. Read More

Lessons from Obama’s Keystone Cave-In

Yesterday, President Obama stood in front of a pile of big green pipes – yes, green pipes – in Cushing, Oklahoma, and promised to expedite approval of federal permits for the southern leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.  It was a crushing defeat for enviros and clean energy activists, many of whom have waged a long and pitched political battle over the fate of the pipeline.  Read More

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