YDATL Blog NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.
Friday, April 29, 2005
GA - Zell Miller falls ill during speech in Gainesville
Zell Miller falls ill during speech in Gainesville | ajc.com: "Former U.S. Sen. and Georgia Gov. Zell Miller was released Friday from the North Georgia hospital where he was taken Thursday night after falling ill minutes into a speech in Gainesville. He had been suffering from flulike symptoms for several days, his wife said."
"Books by any gay author would have to go: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal. Alice Walker's novel 'The Color Purple' has lesbian characters.
Allen originally wanted to ban even some Shakespeare. After criticism, he narrowed his bill to exempt the classics, although he still can't define what a classic is. Also exempted now are Alabama's public and college libraries."
The new manual, the first revision in 13 years, will specifically prohibit practices like stripping prisoners, keeping them in stressful positions for a long time, imposing dietary restrictions, employing police dogs to intimidate prisoners and using sleep deprivation as a tool to get them to talk, the officials said."
Restrictions abound for reporters covering court-martial
Military Reporters and Editors: "Is the military being too restrictive in the ground rules some reporters are being required to sign before cover courts-martial?
That question is the crux of a recent story by a reporter covering the murder trial of an Army soldier accused of killing other soldiers with a grenade attack just days before the invasion of Iraq. Reporter Jeff Schogol stated he had to agree to 14 conditions before he was allowed to cover the trial of Sgt. Hasan Akbar at Fort Bragg.
Schogol reported he 'can't talk to any soldiers or civilians on the base without permission' and 'when I go to the men's room, my escort waits patiently outside.'"
Panel Backs Bill To Rein In '527' Advocacy Groups: "The Senate rules committee approved legislation yesterday to prohibit '527' organizations such as Swift Vets and POWs for Truth and the Media Fund from using unlimited contributions to run political commercials."
TIME.com: But Did He Inhale?: "DeLay has long been one of Congress' most vocal critics of what he calls Castro's 'thugocracy,' which is why some sharp-eyed TIME readers were surprised last week to see a photo of the Majority Leader smoking one of Cuba's best—a Hoyo de Monterrey double corona, which generally costs about $25 when purchased overseas and is not available in this country. The cigar's label clearly states that it was made in 'Habana.' The photo was taken in Jerusalem on July 28, 2003, during a meeting between DeLay and the Republican Jewish Coalition at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem."
In a Zogby International poll for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cox was dead even with Perdue, Georgia's first Republican governor since Reconstruction. Perdue, meanwhile, was 13 percentage points ahead of Taylor in a head-to-head matchup.
The poll gave Cox a lead over Taylor among respondents who identified themselves as Democrats."
U.S. Figures Show Sharp Global Rise In Terrorism: "The number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year, according to U.S. government figures, a sharp upswing in deadly attacks that the State Department has decided not to make public in its annual report on terrorism due to Congress this week."
What the software - known as an artificial neural network - managed to do was to predict with more than 90 percent accuracy who would be executed."
"What some observers find alarming about the outcome is that the 19 points of data supplied on each death-row inmate contained no details of the case. Only facts such as age, race, sex, and marital status were included, along with the date and type of offense."
The bill, called the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, or CIANA, would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion in order to evade a parental notification law, unless she has obtained a waiver from a judge. The bill would also require a doctor to notify a minor's parent before performing an abortion, if that girl is a resident of another state. The second part also contains provisions that allow a minor to get around parental notification."
My Way News: "The number of people sentenced to death last year fell to the lowest level since the Supreme Court reinstated the penalty in 1976.
There were 125 people sent to death row in 2004, down from 144 the previous year and the sixth consecutive annual decline, according to figures compiled by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In 1998, 300 people received death sentences."
Yahoo! News - Bush Adds DeLay to Social Security Tour: "President Bush is adding a helper to his Social Security road tour: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is facing allegations of ethical improprieties but is seen by the White House as crucial to pushing Bush's plans through Congress."
Zogby International: "President George W. Bush, despite low marks on most facets of his job, would still beat Democrat John Kerry (46% to 41%)—and would still win handily in the Red States that handed him his re-election victory last fall (50% to 36%). That’s the finding of a new Zogby International survey of 1011 likely voters conducted from April 15 through 19, 2005, with a margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points. The Zogby America poll also found that President Bush’s initiative to reform social security is unpopular with nearly two-in-three (64%) voters."
GA - Poll finds strong support for smoking ban, abortion bill, voter ID
Poll finds strong support for smoking ban, abortion bill, voter ID | ajc.com: "A Zogby International poll conducted for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week found that 64 percent of Georgians favor the smoking ban approved by the Legislature, but only 38 percent support shielding the names of people who give money to public universities. About 54 percent opposed the idea.
Poll participants supported a bill that requires voters to show photo identification to cast a ballot and another that requires a woman seeking an abortion to wait at least 24 hours after receiving information about the medical risks."
The Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange, or Matrix, contained billions of commercial and government records, and was intended to help police track down terrorists and kidnappers. But the system was shut down on April 15 when federal funds ran out."
"Law enforcement searched the database 1,866,202 times between July 2003 and April 2005, though less than 3 percent were related to terrorism investigations, according to Florida officials."
States Rein In Health Costs: "In Tennessee, Gov. Phil Bredesen plans to end coverage for more than 320,000 adults, many of them elderly. In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to shift more Medicaid recipients into managed care and require some to pay monthly premiums.
Minnesota may stop insuring 27,000 college students and adults without children. Washington state may require senior citizens to pay $3 for each prescription that Medicaid used to provide for free.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have proposed privatizing Medicaid. Bush wants to give recipients vouchers so they can shop around for their own insurance plans. Sanford wants to set up Medicaid bank accounts; the state would deposit a fixed sum of money for each patient to spend on medical expenses.
In Missouri, where nearly one in five residents is enrolled in Medicaid, Gov. Matt Blunt is poised to sign the most drastic overhaul of all: a bill that would eliminate the program entirely in three years."
DeLay Airfare Was Charged To Lobbyist's Credit Card
DeLay Airfare Was Charged To Lobbyist's Credit Card (washingtonpost.com): "The airfare to London and Scotland in 2000 for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was charged to an American Express card issued to Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist at the center of a federal criminal and tax probe, according to two sources who know Abramoff's credit card account number and to a copy of a travel invoice displaying that number."
"House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists."
'We're in the lame-duck period,' said John Zogby, an independent pollster. 'Each day that passes, the duck gets lamer. The window (of opportunity) has passed. If he wasn't able to come off the voting (in Iraq) and turn it into more of a popular mandate, I don't know what he can do.'"
Testimony of U.N. Nominee Is Disputed: "A former U.S. ambassador to South Korea said Thursday that John R. Bolton, President Bush's choice for U.N. ambassador, might have misled the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about a provocative and controversial 2003 speech on North Korea."
Quinnipiac University | Polling Results: "'The numbers show clearly that Sen. Santorum has lost ground in his re-election bid over the last two months. The Senator has come under strong criticism for his outspoken involvement in the Schiavo case and his campaigning for President Bush's unpopular Social Security proposal,' said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute."
"State Treasurer Robert Casey, Jr., has a 49 - 35 percent lead over incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in the 2006 Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac poll released today. "
Regents scuttle UGA Foundation | ajc.com: "The state Board of Regents slammed the door on the University of Georgia Foundation on Wednesday, effectively ending a two-year battle that began when a beloved athletics director was told it was time to retire.
The regents' decision marked the second time in less than a year that they have ordered the state's flagship university to terminate its affiliation with the foundation, a powerful nonprofit organization controlled by some of the school's biggest and most influential boosters."
Santorum reads nuke polls, applies the brakes: "Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the “nuclear option” to end the Democrats’ filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal party polls.
Details of the polling numbers remain under wraps, but Santorum and other Senate sources concede that, while a majority of Americans oppose the filibuster, the figures show that most also accept the Democratic message that Republicans are trying to destroy the tradition of debate in the Senate."
Texas may have put innocent man to death, panel told
Yahoo! News - Texas may have put innocent man to death, panel told: "With Texas' criminal justice system the subject of intense scrutiny for a crime lab scandal and a series of wrongful convictions, a state Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday about the possibility that Texas had experienced the ultimate criminal justice nightmare: the execution of an innocent person"
Soros says be patient: "George Soros told a carefully vetted gathering of 70 likeminded millionaires and billionaires last weekend that they must be patient if they want to realize long-term political and ideological yields from an expected massive investment in “startup” progressive think tanks.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., meeting, called to start the process of building an ideas production line for liberal politicians, began what organizers hope will be a long dialogue with the “partners,” many from the high-tech industry. Participants have begun to refer to themselves as the Phoenix Group."
There have been 55 complaints of religious discrimination at the academy in the past four years, including cases in which a Jewish cadet was told the Holocaust was revenge for the death of Jesus and another was called a Christ killer by a fellow cadet."
Soldiers' 'Wish Lists' Of Detainee Tactics Cited (washingtonpost.com): "Army intelligence officials in Iraq developed and circulated 'wish lists' of harsh interrogation techniques they hoped to use on detainees in August 2003, including tactics such as low-voltage electrocution, blows with phone books and using dogs and snakes -- suggestions that some soldiers believed spawned abuse and illegal interrogations."
The Guardian of Orthodoxy (washingtonpost.com): "[Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI] wrote a letter of advice to U.S. bishops on denying communion to politicians who support abortion rights, which some observers viewed as a slam at Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry. He publicly cautioned Europe against admitting Turkey to the European Union and wrote a letter to bishops around the world justifying that stand on the grounds that the continent is essentially Christian in nature. In another letter to bishops worldwide, he decried a sort of feminism that makes women 'adversaries' of men."
Bill Would End Gag Clauses That Stifle Victims Who Sue
Bill Would End Gag Clauses That Stifle Victims Who Sue: "For decades, negligent doctors and other professionals in California have deterred their victims from reporting them to state regulators by making silence a condition of settling lawsuits. Regulators, consumer advocates and lawmakers say these legally dubious gag clauses are among the most troublesome gaps in California's consumer protection efforts.
They are pressing to ban the stipulations, even though Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to do so last year"
But as Republicans exercise their growing power in Washington, they increasingly are ignoring that fundamental belief, with a host of legislation aimed at trumping state authority.
The trend is becoming a source of squeamishness among many conservative intellectuals, who warn that Republicans' frequent disregard for the limiting principle of federalism won't come without a price."
The Washington Monthly: "the percentages of Americans who say they are 'fairly or very satisfied' with their own health system:
* Poor: 45%
* Elderly: 61%
* Everyone else: 34%
[note that the poor and the elderly are effectively on a state healthcare system]"
Sirotablog: Bush: Bad Data Means Stop Publishing: "A careful look shows the Bush White House has systematically tried to stop publishing government information that it finds embarrassing or disagrees with - the opposite of 'transparent.' See the record for yourself:"
American Prospect Online - ViewWeb: "Family Research Council president Tony Perkins: “The [Supreme] court has become increasingly hostile to Christianity, and it poses a greater threat to representative government -- more than anything, more than budget deficits, more than terrorist groups,”"
KR Washington Bureau | 04/13/2005 | Statistics on disease prevalence often inflated: "A Baltimore Sun report says 20 million Americans suffer from depression. A patient-care newsletter says 10 million Americans older than 50 have the bone-wasting disease osteoporosis. Other published reports say 13 million Americans have hypothyroidism, 7.9 million are alcoholics, 40 million have the hearing defect known as tinnitus, 62 million have digestive diseases and 70 million have some form of arthritis.
Add up the published claims about disease prevalence and the average American has at least two ailments at a time."
The bank had agreed to pay the former workers for a certain number of weeks as they searched for new jobs. But in the letters sent to them, Bank of America said it had overpaid, and it asked the employees to send a check to Fleet.
One former worker, Alisa R. Drayton of Roxbury, said the bank asked her to send a check for more than $7,000 in December."
"In their study, vom Saal and Hughes suggest an explanation for conflicting results of studies: 100 percent of the 11 funded by chemical companies found no risk, while 90 percent of the 104 government-funded, nonindustry studies reported harmful effects."
Current laws would eliminate the estate tax in 2010, only to resurrect it the following year. Republican lawmakers want to keep the repeal in place, decreasing government revenue by roughly $290 billion over a decade."
Deadly Flu Strain Shipped Worldwide (washingtonpost.com): "A dangerous strain of the flu virus that caused a worldwide pandemic in 1957 was sent to thousands of laboratories in the United States and around the world, triggering a frantic effort to destroy the samples to prevent an outbreak, health officials revealed yesterday."
N.Korea Seeks International Help to Fight Bird Flu
Health News Article | Reuters.com: "North Korea has asked the international community for help in combating a strain of the bird flu virus that has recently killed 50 people in Asia, the world animal health body OIE said Friday."
In a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on Monday, the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper accuses the corrections department of violating the federal Clean Water Act by illegally piping a stream and failing to protect the waterways from mud and silt draining off the construction site."
"Doctors Without Borders" by Shannon Brownlee: "In a recent survey of clinical researchers, nearly 20 percent of respondents admitted to delaying publication of their results by more than six months at least once in the last three years to allow for patent application, protect their scientific lead, or to slow the dissemination of results that would hurt sales of their sponsor's product--often without overt pressure from the company."
The New York Times > Washington > Military Bill Carries Range of Extra Spending: "As the Senate began to debate President Bush's request for more than $80 billion in supplemental military spending on Monday, senators seized a chance to pack pet projects into an unstoppable bill, adding provisions dealing with oil drilling, forest services, a new baseball stadium for Washington and economic assistance to Palestinians.
On Monday night, others were seeking to incorporate changes to immigration laws as well."
It is, by contrast, very easy to think of liberal initiatives that filibusters have blocked."
"In the past, of course, the filibuster is most famous for its role in delaying the dawn of civil rights. Less well known is that it was integral to the defeat of Bill Clinton's health care plan in 1993. If liberals ever get another chance to go for comprehensible health-care reform, the filibuster will once again rear its ugly head.
At any given moment, the filibuster rule helps the minority party. Right now, that's Democrats. But taking the long view, the filibuster is bad for Democrats."
GA - If you can't stand the shrapnel, stay out of the foxhole
If you can't stand the shrapnel, stay out of the foxhole | ajc.com: "Should Gov. Sonny Perdue sign the [voter id] bill — and there's no reason to believe he won't — any voter will be able to cast an absentee ballot, via mail, 45 days before an election."
"Absentee ballots will require no excuse, but will have to be requested by a voter. And for the first time, special interest groups — the National Rifle Association, the Christian Coalition, and the AFL-CIO — will be able to include absentee ballot requests in their mass mailings."
Jackson asked the caucus to help his national civil rights organization, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, organize a national march in Atlanta on Aug. 6 — the 40th anniversary of the day the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law."
The company reported last month that intruders may have accessed personal details of 32,000 people via a breach of its legal and business information service LexisNexis' recently acquired Seisint unit. It now says that figure is closer to 310,000 people."
ABC News: 10 States to Sue EPA Over Mercury Rules: "Wisconsin has joined a list of states suing the federal government's environmental policies, challenging new regulations they say fail to protect children and expectant mothers from dangers posed by mercury emissions.
In announcing his approval of the lawsuit, Gov. Jim Doyle said Monday the Bush administration has cowed to big business with new guidelines for power plant emissions that could allow 19 states to increase mercury emissions in the next five years by setting caps that are higher than current levels.
The New Jersey attorney general's office is taking the lead on the lawsuit. The eight other states involved are California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York and Vermont."
Police have arrested former employees of an Indian call centre that handles US customer accounts for allegedly stealing consumers' funds."
"Police said the employees allegedly stole customers' personal account information and transferred just under £200,000 to fake accounts in Pune. Sanjay Jadhav, the assistant commissioner of police, said about one million rupees (£12,000) of the fraud money has already been recovered. The call center workers left their jobs last December."
Among them was Alexander Dunlop, who said he was arrested while going to pick up sushi.
Last week, he discovered that there were two versions of the same police tape: the one that was to be used as evidence in his trial had been edited at two spots, removing images that showed Mr. Dunlop behaving peacefully. When a volunteer film archivist found a more complete version of the tape and gave it to Mr. Dunlop's lawyer, prosecutors immediately dropped the charges and said that a technician had cut the material by mistake."
OpinionJournal - Featured Article: "It has been almost 11 years since the last vacancy opened up on the Supreme Court. The current group of justices has served together for longer than any other group of nine justices in American history. What is more, the average tenure of justices has gotten a lot longer in the last 35 years. From 1789 until 1970, justices served an average of 14.9 years. Those who have stepped down since 1970, however, have served an average of 25.6 years. This means justices are now staying more than 10 years longer on average on the Supreme Court than they have done over the whole of American history."
Coughlin Says Cash Helped Wal-Mart (washingtonpost.com): "The former head of Wal-Mart's U.S operations, ousted from the board after the alleged misuse of corporate funds, has maintained that the money was spent on anti-union activities such as paying people to identify stores where union leaders planned to recruit, according to a source familiar with the matter."
Quotas used for police, officer says | ajc.com: "An Atlanta police officer reprimanded for not making an arrest for a week in one of the city's most crime-ridden areas is accusing the Police Department of using a quota system to beef up arrest numbers, a charge department officials deny.
Officer Andrew Cerul filed a grievance with the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers in late March after he was transferred from day watch to evening watch. Cerul contends the transfer was made because he did not make an arrest during the week of March 13-19."
Defense Tech: REPLACEMENT ARM, GOOD AS NEW: "Darpa, the Pentagon's blue-sky research division, now wants to ratchet [prosthetics] work up about ten notches, by developing a 'neurally controlled artificial limb that will restore full motor and sensory capability to upper extremity amputee patients. This revolutionary prosthesis will be controlled, feel, look and perform like the native limb.'
So, basically, what Luke Skywalker gets in Empire Strikes Back, after Darth chops off his hand. Except, researchers won't have a long, long time to get this limb ready. Darpa wants the robo-arm stat -- in four years or less."
With Friends Like These... - Newsweek National News - MSNBC.com: "Jack Abramoff was somber, bitter and feeling betrayed. Once a Washington superlobbyist, Abramoff is now the target of a Justice Department criminal probe of allegations that he defrauded American Indian tribes of tens of millions of dollars in fees."
"In response, DeLay and his aides have said repeatedly they were unaware of Abramoff's behind-the-scenes financing role. 'Those S.O.B.s,' Abramoff said last week about DeLay and his staffers, according to his luncheon companion. 'DeLay knew everything. He knew all the details.'"
GA - Democrats stuck together, forged new alliances
Democrats stuck together, forged new alliances | ajc.com: "Georgia's Democrats lost their battle to reduce classroom sizes in public schools, failed to stop the nation's toughest voting identification bill from passing, and got steamrollered in their effort to halt a measure capping jury awards on medical malpractice suits.
But in their first stint as the minority party in 130 years, Democrats stuck together on numerous high profile issues, thwarted some GOP initiatives, such as a bill to expand the secrecy of industrial recruitment by government agencies, and pushed through some significant legislation."
'If you're a conservative Republican, you have to be very disappointed, very frustrated,' said former Cobb County Commission Chairman Bill Byrne, who ran against Perdue in 2002. 'They accomplished things for special-interest groups. They didn't accomplish anything on behalf of the state of Georgia.'"
If Chafee, a moderate Republican from Rhode Island who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joins with Democrats who are expected to unanimously oppose the nomination, Republicans will not have enough votes to send the confirmation to the Senate floor."
Noisy demonstrators armed with signs and outrage once again greeted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- this time at San Francisco's Ritz-Carlton Hotel -- at a Tuesday evening fund-raiser expected to raise more than $100,000 for his proposed ballot measures."
Dissent Magazine - Spring 2005: "Democrats would do well to remember, though, that the conservative activists who now control the Republican Party started out by going to war against the Republican Wall Street elites who were wedded to a model of capitalism that Democrats had created and that enabled Democrats to maintain their hold on power. Is it too much to ask Democrats to go to war against Democratic Wall Street elites who are wedded to a model of capitalism that Republicans have created, and that enables Republicans to dominate the government today?"
Md. Passes Rules on Wal-Mart Insurance (washingtonpost.com): "Maryland lawmakers yesterday approved legislation that would effectively require Wal-Mart to boost spending on health care, a direct legislative thrust against a corporate giant that is already on the defensive on many fronts nationwide."
Americans Feeling Pinch of Higher Gas Prices: "A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey finds that higher gas prices are taking their toll on American consumers. Almost 6 in 10 say the higher prices are causing a hardship, the highest number on this measure in the past six years. Fifteen percent say the hardship is 'serious.' More than a third of Americans have cut back significantly on spending because of the higher prices, and about half have cut back significantly on the amount of driving they do. Lower-income Americans feel especially hard hit."
Yahoo! News - Reid Accuses GOP of Arrogance on Courts: "ongressional Democrats on Tuesday said Republican criticism of the federal courts following Terri Schiavo's death showed an 'arrogancy of power' that is leading to a Senate confrontation over filibusters of President Bush's judicial nominees.
'If they don't get what they want, they attack whoever's around,' said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. 'Now they're after the courts, and I think it goes back to this arrogancy of power.'"