Lawmakers Protest ‘High Bar’ Set for Pigford II Settlement Payments

December 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

From The Hill:

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are complaining that legislation funding a settlement for discrimination against black farmers sets too high a bar for claimants.

The lawmakers argue language added by the Senate, which is meant to prevent fraud in the program, sets higher standards for proving a claim than were required for other groups trying to prove loan discrimination by the Department of Agriculture.

“There’s no question. The bar is much higher,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), a CBC member and chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

The legislation to be sent to the president would provide $ 4.55 billion to settle longstanding discrimination claims with the Department of Agriculture from black and Native American farmers.

The additional steps added to the claims process include an audit by an inspector general and oversight by the attorney general’s office, as well as a review by the secretary of Agriculture, who must sign off on a farmer’s claim.

Attorneys involved in cases must swear in writing that the claims are legitimate, and a special federal “adjudicator” must also take an oath that the claim is legitimate and may request additional information and documentation. At the end of the process is another round of oversight and review from the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice at the top levels.

Thompson argues the additional standards are unfair, and that black farmers are being treated differently from other groups.

Read the whole thing here. An audit? Oversight and a review? Verification that claims are legitimate? These aren’t obstacles to compensation, they are, or damn well ought to be, basic minimum requirements for any multi-billion dollar taxpayer-funded settlement. These provision had to be added…


Big Government

A Silent Protest In Defense Of Wojnarowicz

December 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

The Smithsonian's decision to withdraw a short David Wojnarovicz video from its remarkable new exhibit, Hide/Seek, at the National Portrait Gallery is discussed below. If you are in DC, a silent protest of this act of cowardice and the bullying that prompted it will take place today at 5.30 pm. Details here.





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Networks Reported on Tom DeLay, ‘Convicted Felon,’ But Skipped DeLay’s Words of Protest

November 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Big Three networks all briefly covered the conviction of former House Minority Leader Tom DeLay for campaign money laundering on Wednesday night. But none of them allowed DeLay air time to defend himself. "This is an abuse of power," he said outside the courtroom. "It's a miscarriage of justice, and I still maintain that I am innocent. The criminalization of politics undermines our very system, and I am very disappointed in the outcome."

CBS Evening News substitute anchor Harry Smith seemed to revel in the verdict:

He was once the most powerful Republican in Washington. Tonight, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is a convicted felon. A jury in Austin convicted him today of money laundering charges. Prosecutors said he illegally funneled corporate donations to legislative campaigns in Texas. DeLay, who is 63, could get anywhere from five to 99 years in prison. His lawyer called the verdict a miscarriage of justice and vowed to appeal.

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NewsBusters.org – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Networks Reported on Tom DeLay, ‘Convicted Felon,’ But Skipped DeLay’s Words of Protest

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Big Three networks all briefly covered the conviction of former House Minority Leader Tom DeLay for campaign money laundering on Wednesday night. But none of them allowed DeLay air time to defend himself. "This is an abuse of power," he said outside the courtroom. "It's a miscarriage of justice, and I still maintain that I am innocent. The criminalization of politics undermines our very system, and I am very disappointed in the outcome."

CBS Evening News substitute anchor Harry Smith seemed to revel in the verdict:

He was once the most powerful Republican in Washington. Tonight, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is a convicted felon. A jury in Austin convicted him today of money laundering charges. Prosecutors said he illegally funneled corporate donations to legislative campaigns in Texas. DeLay, who is 63, could get anywhere from five to 99 years in prison. His lawyer called the verdict a miscarriage of justice and vowed to appeal.

read more

NewsBusters.org – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Workers, Supporters Protest Del Monte’s Greed

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

When Fresh Del Monte Produce moved its port operations from Camden, N.J., to Gloucester, N.J., it said goodbye to a 22-year relationship with Longshoremen (ILA) Local 1291 and left 200 workers without a job. In Gloucester, they hired members of an independent union and now pay cheaper wages and provide few, if any, benefits.   

Yesterday, hundreds of ILA members and supporters joined in a Day of Action with rallies and protests in Philadelphia, Galveston, Texas and at Del Monte’s North American headquarters in Coral Gables, Fla. Carrying signs that proclaimed ” Protect Good-Paying American Jobs”, they protested what they called the company’s corporate greed.

What makes Del Monte’s move so cynical is the way the company left Camden. It gave the workers only four days notice about the move after pushing them to approve $ 5 million in givebacks. The employees agreed to the givebacks even though they have not had a wage increase in 19 years and had the lowest pension plan in the industry, according to Local 1291.

In an effort to keep the Del Monte jobs and business, the state of New Jersey, which owns the Camden port, responded immediately, making some $ 25 million in infrastructure improvements, offering more acreage at no cost and decreasing the cap on Del Monte’s electricity bills by nearly half—from $ 1.3 million down to $ 700,000. Despite the rapid response by the state and generous concessions by the union, Del Monte still moved its business to a private port.

It’s not like the company needed the money. Monaco-based Fresh Del Monte Produce—which is not affiliated with Del Monte Foods, the maker of packaged food products—had one of its best years in 2009, with more than $ 3 billion in sales and a net profit of $ 144 million.

Leonard Riley, a South Carolina longshoreman, who was protesting in Galveston, told the Galveston County Daily News:

We’re not going to let this cancer spread. This isn’t a call to stop work or strike. We’re just talking about awareness. This could be the first in a malicious trend of events. We believe that what happened there isn’t right. We are going to hope that something will happen now, that we force it back to the table and they do what’s right.

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

New York Times Skips Pro-Life March, But Sends Writer and Photographer to Georgia for ‘Dwindling’ Anti-Army Protest

November 23, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The New York Times has a funny way of defining protests as "news" or "not news" depending on who is being protested. For example, they've entirely ignored the March for Life against abortion in Washington in 2008 and 2009 (and in 2010, gave it part of a sentence). But in Monday's paper, they openly worried that a left-wing protest is dwindling in popularity. They sent Times writer Kim Severson and a photographer to Columbus, Georgia against U.S Army training center for Latin American military leaders. The headline was "A Protest Dwindles, If Not Its Passion: Activists Once Flocked to Fort Benning. Now It Seems More Like a Straggle."

The story stood at the top of the National section on page A14 with a large color photograph (about six inches high, nine inches across) of leftists marching with large circular flower signs. Severson began with wistful memories of a larger protest:

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The annual November protest here at the gates of Fort Benning used to really be something.  

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NewsBusters.org – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Tory Associations withhold money from CCHQ in protest at HiSpeed Rail plans

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

thetorydiary

York University threatens rabbi for wanting to protest Galloway

November 19, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

From Richard Cravatts in Pajamas Media:

York University in Toronto, which has gained for itself the dubious distinction of being Canada’s epicenter of campus anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, is displaying once again the moral inversion that seems to have infected its student body and administration when the issues of the Middle East are discussed.

The issue at hand is a November 16th visit to the York campus by British MP George Galloway, as the invited guest of the York Federation of Students. In 2009, Mr. Galloway had been barred from entering Canada due to his public support of and donations to Hamas, a group designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the U.S. State Department, Canada, and the EU, but a court has since overturned that decision and given Galloway access to Canada once again.

Not everyone was thrilled with the prospect of having Galloway, who, according to wry commentator Christopher Hitchens is “100 percent consistent in support for thugs and criminals,” arriving on the York campus to spew forth his rabid fulminations against Zionism, Israel, and the West. In particular, Toronto-based Rabbi Ahron Hoch took it upon himself to post an announcement on his Aish web site in which he urged readers to proactively protest Galloway’s appearance, and to take specific steps to inform the greater community about the noxious speaker, including emailing York’s president, calling the dean’s office to lodge a formal complaint, and participating in a rally to be held on the York campus.

Feeling that the Galloway visit was one more contribution to the cesspool of anti-Semitic, pro-Palestinian activism that has punctuated the York campus for years now, Rabbi Hoch took York’s president, Mamdouh Shoukri, to task for allowing Galloway to speak “under the pretext of freedom of speech,” even though it “was never meant to be used as a vehicle to spread support for terror, murder and genocide.”

And more relevant to Rabbi Hoch was that York’s president had again failed to take a strong stand to rid his campus of anti-Israelism that frequently has morphed into anti-Semitism. “Mr. Shoukri has again showed his amazing tolerance for anti-Semitism and lack of vigilance regarding the feeling of safety for Jewish students on campus,” Hoch wrote.

Rabbi Hoch did receive a response from the university, but not the one he had probably hoped for. In fact, what he received was a formal letter from Harriet Lewis, York’s general counsel, who ordered the rabbi, in no uncertain terms, to remove the announcement “from [his] web site and to direct [his] supporters to cease and desist” any further distribution of the online poster. Why was the university demanding these steps? Because it believed that Hoch’s comment about President Shoukri was “untrue, harmful to [him] and his reputation, and to that of the university.” More ominously, the university considered the rabbi’s words “actionable,”( read: criminal), and expected “a retraction and apology forthwith.”

The letter also warned Hoch that his request for individuals to come to the York campus to protest Galloway’s appearance “might disturb and provoke others to disturb the peace” and “that this too is actionable and may constitute criminal behavior.”

The article goes on to detail specific, abhorrent incidents at York where misozionistic speech is allowed and pro-Israel speakers are protested and stopped from speaking by the Israel-hating mob.

I managed to find a cached copy of the entire message posted by Rabbi Hoch. See if you think it is beyond the pale, compared to the vitriol and protests that York allows against pro-Israel speakers:

Urgent Message! George Galloway at York University
It has been brought to my attention that the York Federation of Students is presenting George Galloway at York University, Tuesday, November 16 • 7:00pm – 9:00pm.

George Galloway is a known supporter of Hamas and an activist for terrorist organizations.

Using the language of a humanitarian and an anti-war activist, he openly supports Hamas and Hezbollah, who are utterly committed to the destruction of Israel. They are movements who target civilians, have no compunction to commit atrocities for the sake of their cause, and to whom life is cheap!

Mamdouh Shoukri, President of York, defends the decision to allow him to speak under the pretext of Freedom of Speech. The concept of Freedom of Speech was never meant to be used as a vehicle to spread support for terror, murder and genocide.

Mr. Shoukri has again showed his amazing tolerance for anti-Semitism and lack of vigilance regarding the feeling of safety for Jewish students on campus. This needs to be strongly protested.

Here are some things we can do:

1) Write to the Mamdouh Shoukri, office of the President and Vice-Chancellor, York University Research Tower, Room 1050, 74 York Blvd, ON, M3J 1P3 or email [email protected]

2) Call the Dean’s office and make an official complaint – 416 736 5200.

3) Attend the rally against the event. This will take place on the York campus

Tuesday Nov 16 6:30-9:00pm
Outside the Price Family Cinema, Accolade East 102

4) Get 10 of your friends to do one of the above.
It is important that not only students but members of the general public take part in protesting this outrage.

In the words of Prime Minister Stephen Harper “we are morally obligated to take a stand [against anti-Semitism and the forces that want to see Israel destroyed]. Demonization, double standards, delegitimization [of Israel], the 3 D’s, it is a responsibility, to stand up to them.”

Rabbi Ahron Hoch

York University is a cesspool.

Here is a radio interview with Rabbi Hoch.



Elder of Ziyon

Amidst National Islamophobic Upheaval, Arizonans Protest Mosque That’s Actually A Church

November 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

In an era saturated with absurd moments of anti-Muslim fear-mongering, mosques have become a touchstone for Islamophobia. Even unbuilt mosques have set off a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment in Tennessee, Texas, California, and most notably, New York. Not to be outdone, the people of Pheonix, AZ were quick to call foul over the appearance of a dome-like structure along an interstate. But in the clamor over the impending Muslim takeover, these Arizonans missed one small detail — the building is not a Mosque, it’s a church:

A new dome-like structure near 19th Avenue along Interstate 10 in Phoenix is the Light of the World church, a nondenominational Christian church hoping to modernize traditional worship services, a church spokesman said

Since the distinctive dome shape went up, church leaders said they have received phone calls from concerned neighbors who’ve mistaken the building for an Islamic mosque.

On Wednesday, church officials hung a sign reminding people they’re Christian congregation. “We’re trying to let people know that we’re Christian and our churches are modern,” said Uzieo Martinez.

Watch a report from KPNX-TV:

“It is unfortunate that people are so intolerant to differences that they aren’t willing to see that the place of worship is not a mosque,” said Tayyibah Amatullah of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Arizona chapter. But with so many high-profile figures selling unfounded, anti-Muslim fear to the public, is it any wonder that all many Americans can see in Islam is a phantom menace?

ThinkProgress

Nude Protest in Kiev

November 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(John)

Several years ago, mostly for entertainment value, we covered a series of nude protests, most of which were in support of causes with which we had little sympathy. On Thursday, however, there was a demonstration in Kiev that had more merit. A group of feminists called Femen went topless at an event at the Iranian embassy to protest the sentence of death by stoning that Iran meted out to Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani. Few things attract attention like a group of topless women; you can see what happened in this brief, somewhat-explicit video:

This photo shows one of the protesters being apprehended:

ukr_sefarat___11_13_8.jpg

We take our hats off to the ladies of Femen. If any government deserves topless protests, it is the barbaric Iranian regime.




Power Line

German “flesh mob” strips in airport to protest TSA body scanners

November 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Tired of pat-downs by touchy-grabby TSA Agents or these intrusive body scanners? Melissa Clouthier called it and it was the tweet heard around the world.

The Pirate Party of Germany did, and strip in an airport in protest. This viral video shows that not only American conservative and libertarians have had enough of this intrusiveness.

Germans are protesting and asking the question: “To be a good citizen, do we have to drop our pants?”

Liberty Pundits Blog

Amazon pulls pedophilia manual after protest

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Retreat.


Amazon has apparently conducted an about-face over its sales of a book that allegedly promotes pedophilia after a national outcry over its policy. ABC News reports now that the book, while still listed at Amazon, no longer can be purchased through the website after its controversial position was widely criticized by its customers. ABC earlier […]

Read this post »

Hot Air » Top Picks

NYC: Openly Gay State Sen. Tom Duane Among Those Arrested At AIDS Protest

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Openly gay and openly HIV+ New York state Sen. Tom Duane was arrested along with several other AIDS activists in a protest at City Hall tonight.

The act of civil disobedience was meant to draw attention to a housing bill that was vetoed by the governor earlier this year. The bill would insure that poor people living with HIV/ AIDS wouldn’t have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. Advocates argue the bill saves money in the long run, by lowering the rate of evictions and homelessness. Governor David Paterson vetoed the bill at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s urging. Both men call it an unfunded mandate that neither the city or state can afford. Advocates say the bill would affect about 10,000 low income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS.

At the time of the veto, Gov. Paterson remarked that it was the hardest decision he’d had to make since taking office.

Joe. My. God.

The Good Guys At The NARTH Protest

November 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Members of NARTH are featured in the slideshow one post down, these photos are all the good guys, the thinkers, those whose minds are unbound by prehistoric religious dogma and twisted unscientific hooey. I think we had about 40 folks willing to sacrifice a beautiful Saturday morning for a schlep out to a remote airport hotel crawling with people who wish them dead. They did this for you. Enjoy their signs.

Joe. My. God.

King Tells Women Who Protest His Vote Against Rape Protection: You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About

November 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has a knack for championing the ridiculous. But now he’s being called out for opposing the obvious. Last Friday, some of King’s constituents gathered outside his Sioux city office to demand an explanation for his vote against the Tribal Law and Order Act, legislation “designed to ease the stubbornly high rates of violent crime, including rape and sexual assault, within Indian reservations.”

Three years in the making, the measure finally “gives tribal courts tougher sentencing powers” to combat the declining rate of prosecutions (which are at 50% for murders and 30% for rape and sexual assault). And with one in three Native American women likely to be raped and more than 86 percent of these rapes being carried out by non-native, mostly white men, the need for this legislation was evident.

Despite overwhelming support for the bill, King was one of only 92 Republicans — including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — and the only member of the Iowa delegation to vote against the legislation in July. And while he “got a little memo” about the protest last week, King failed to offer any real explanation for his opposition. Instead, he called the protest “a campaign stunt” and declared the protesters, many of them Native American women, ignorant of “what law they’re talking about”:

“They’ve never contacted me about this issue.This is completely a campaign stunt, and it should be viewed as that,” said King.

King would not answer why he voted against the legislation.

“They don’t even know what law they’re talking about,” said King.

King would not give an answer why he voted against the law, but many of the Native American women felt like he was not looking out for their well being.

Watch local coverage here:

King’s flippant dismissal doesn’t change the fact that his actions “put us in harm’s way,” said one Native American woman. “As women, we are very much in distress, and feel very unsafe at this time in Fifth District under the leadership of Mr. Steve King.” His democratic opponent and protest participant Matt Campbell called his opposition “appalling,” “particularly when the rest of the Iowa Congressional delegation including Tom Latham [R-IA] voted for the measure.”

In spite of King’s opposition, Congress overwhelmingly passed the bill and President Barack Obama signed the Tribal Law and Order Act into law on July 29, 2010. (HT: Iowa Independent)

ThinkProgress

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