On this day in 1789 James Madison introduced twelve proposed amendments to the Constitution in the US House of Representatives. By 1791, ten of them had been ratified and became known as The Bill of Rights. Today . . .
❖A federal judge in Manhattan has ruled that a lawsuit filed against the NYPD over arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge of some 700 Occupy Wall Street protestors can go forward.
❖Another federal judge has clarified her decision last month: “the White House cannot use the NDAA to indefinitely detain American citizens.”
❖NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactic has generated so much interest that NYC representatives and US Congress members will meet with the US Department of Justice about them next week.
❖”Tienanmen veteran Shen Tong now lives in the United States and, more than two decades after the events in Beijing, he is demonstrating for a different cause: Occupy Wall Street.”
❖Former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley criticized TSA’s airport security approach today, saying “To be effective, airport security needs to embrace flexibility and risk management–principles that it is difficult for both the bureaucracy and the public to accept.” I’d accept that in a heart-beat, wouldn’t you?
❖”Nearly 900 homeless people are asking [the city of] Sacramento to reimburse them for tents and other items that police seized in raids.” In 2009 the county of Sacramento settled with the homeless for property seizures to the tune of $488,000 “and the development of elaborate policies for tagging and storing items seized during sweeps of illegal campsites.”
❖”C30, the sweeping Canadian warrantless Internet surveillance bill, is back . . ..” Under the rubric of “perimeter security”, the bill “would expand the warrantless surveillance to US authorities, who could also access Canadians’ private information.”
Working for a Living
❖”Colorado accidentally overpaid $128 million in unemployment benefits last year, and now the state is billing the jobless to get that money back . . ..” Other states have, too, to the tune of $5.1 billion, though it’s unclear whether they will follow Colorado and demand return of the overpayments.
❖”Teachers and staff at the Youth Connection Leadership Academy have filed an unfair labor complaint with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board”, and have been joined by the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, the American Federation of Teachers, and the AFL-CIO. Seems the Academy closed its doors the day after the teachers voted to unionize.
❖”New York City-based teachers of English as a second language at the Washington Post Co.’s . . educational subsidiary, Kaplan, Inc., voted [2-1] today for workplace representation by the Newspaper Guild of New York . . .. Some of the teachers were reportedly paid as low as the $7.25 federal minimum wage.
❖Palermo’s Pizza Workers in WI have called for a state-wide boycott against Palmero’s.
❖It’s being done anonymously, but a new website, “App Developers Union“, advertises itself as representing “third-party software developers that make applications for Apples App Store.”
❖Acting General Counsel of the US National Labor Relations Board has said that “employers cannot prohibit employees from discussing working conditions, including salary, with coworkers on social media” and found a few other provisions imposed by employers on use of social media by employees illegal.
❖Emails released by House Republicans show that a BigPharma lobbyist in June 2009 “e-mailed Nancy-Ann DeParle, the president’s top health care adviser” expressing concern about inclusion of imported medications in the health care bill. DeParle responded that she and others had decided to oppose importation “based on how constructive you guys have been . . ..” And, lo and behold, it became so.
❖Emails between MD Gov Martin O’Malley (Dem) and a general counsel of poultry giant Perdue Inc. reveal some interesting activities by O’Malley that benefited Perdue. Not only that, but apparently Perdue shifted its campaign contributions from the Republican Governor’s Association to the Democratic Governor’s Association, and so on.
❖Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) and a group of Democrats in the House are proposing raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.00/hour.
War on Women
❖Discrimination charges by almost 2000 women from 48 states were filed against Wal-Mart on Wednesday.
❖Once again, the International Violence Against Women Act has been introduced in the US House of Representatives. Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), noting that Republicans opposed the Act in the past because it failed to prohibit abortions, said “This bill has nothing to do with abortion. Women’s rights are human rights.”
❖Victims of Austerity: “Irish unemployment hits 14.8%”
Planet Earth News
❖Shades of King Canute! A NC Senate Committee “has approved a bill that restricts state agencies’ ability to take global warming into account when making sea-level rise projections.” At least King Canute commanded the sea to stop making waves in order to illustrate the folly of human arrogance.
❖Fracking in ND has resulted in toxic spills and waste dumping “with increasing regularity.” Over “1,000 accidental releases of oil, drilling wastewater or other fluids” were reported in 2011, though many others were not. Only 50 disciplinary actions have been issued by the state in three years and state officials “rely on companies to clean up spills voluntarily . . .”
❖The Environmental Protection Agency has been sued by seven conservation groups for its failure “to regulate the use of toxic lead bullets in hunting.” This follows a petition by 100 groups in March, which the EPA rejected in a nod to gun rights organizations.
❖”A parasitic mite has helped a virus wipe out billions of honeybees throughout the globe, say scientists”
❖India has established four more tiger sanctuaries, adding over 200 square miles to protected forest areas. They’ve also set up “tiger corridors” so tigers can move more safely from one forest to another.
❖NJ’s Department of Environmental Protection has been sued by the Resources Defense Council and Environment New Jersey because Republican Gov Chris Christie illegally withdrew from the regional cap-and-trade initiative.
❖In an anecdote related by Gary Sanger in his book about Obama’s secret wars, John Brennan’s colorful account of the Bin Laden raid stunned top brass in the Pentagon. So much so that then Secretary of Defense Gates told Tom Donilon of a “new strategic communications approach” he’d recommend. And what was that? Replied Gates: “Shut the fuck up!”
❖Graphic illustrating the contradiction between what makes us healthy and what we spend on being healthy.
❖The moon wins; Large Hadron Collider dazed.
Have a great weekend!