Packed Court of radical, activist GOP Justices invent imaginary 'historical' reasons to cancel reproductive freedoms, personal privacy rights, gun safety laws; Also: Many more well-established Constitutional rights now in peril...
Following Thursday's 2-to-1 decision by a three-judge panel from an appellate court in Texas overturning the 2010 felony money laundering convictions of former U.S. House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R), the Travis County District Attorney announced her intention to seek a review of that decision by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
"We strongly disagree with the opinion of Judges Goodwin and Gaultney that the evidence was insufficient," Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg said in a statement. "We are concerned and disappointed that two judges substituted their assessment of the facts for that of 12 jurors who personally heard the testimony of over 40 witnesses over the course of several weeks and found that the evidence was sufficient and proved DeLay's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."
She said her office is "preparing a response to this opinion and will ask the full Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to review the ruling."
I've been poring over both the majority decision [PDF] by the three-judge panel's two Republicans, and the dissent [PDF] issued by the Democratic Chief Justice of that court. I'm no expert here, and I'm trying to learn more, but the majority's decision seems to invoke some fairly impressive tortured logic in order to overturn the 12 jurors finding that DeLay committed these crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.
Nonetheless, that logic, twisted or otherwise, may well work at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the court of last resort for criminal matters in the Lone Star State...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Climate science denial on display in US House in advance of new UN report as DOE, EPA defend climate action; Mexico reeling from simultaneous twin hurricanes; Arctic sea ice 6th lowest on record; PLUS: Confirmed: toxic oil and gas leaks in CO floodwaters ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Researchers struggle to project how fast, how high and how far sea levels will rise; Utilities shocked as more big companies self-generate power; E-waste a 'global time bomb'; Solar Decathlon heads to CA; Japan balked at steps to control Fukushima water in 2011; Clean energy less costly than fossil fuels; USDA guts public organic review process to limit synthetics ... PLUS: California wins right to clamp down on carbon ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Ironically enough, I had the opportunity to speak for a few minutes with former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman in federal prison over the weekend. Siegelman, a Democrat, has so far served nearly two years for a "crime" that had never before been considered a crime before he was found guilty of it. He is likely to serve many more years in prison for the charges brought by Republicans, including a federal prosecutor whose husband was the Chief of Staff of Siegelman's gubernatorial rival Bob Riley, a team of folks, including the judge, who are all good friends of Karl Rove and who are said to have "coached, cajoled and threatened" the star witness in the case.
Today, in the meantime, Tom DeLay, the former Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, who was convicted of money-laundering hundreds of thousands of corporate dollars in Texas to give them to candidates --- something which has been an actual crime for decades in the state --- was acquitted of all charges by a 2 to 1 decision of a Texas appeals court.
DeLay never served a day in prison. Siegelman, on the day he was convicted, before the appeals process could even begin, was literally shackled and carted away. The basis for Siegelman's conviction has subsequently been challenged in a letter signed by a group of 113 bi-partisan former state attorneys general.
For the record, when I spoke with Siegelman from his federal penitentiary in Oakdale, Louisiana over the weekend, he seemed to be in incredibly good spirits. At least that's the impression he offered during our very short chat. I can only imagine how dispiriting it must be today, however, for him to read the news about DeLay.
• My interview with Siegelman and his daughter Dana, from just over one year ago, after he had finally been released on appeal after serving nine months, and just one week prior to being ordered back to prison, can be heard right here.
UPDATE 9/21/13: DeLay is not entirely out of the woods yet. Here's a more detailed explanation of the court's decision in which the two partisan-elected Republican judges reversed the conviction, while the lone Democrat (the Chief Justice of the Third Court of Appeals in Texas) dissented. As I explain in that follow-up, the Travis County D.A. has now vowed to seek a review of the lower court's ruling at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, though she may run into partisan concerns at that higher court as well.
On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio we spoke first with Jim Naureckas of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) about whether the MSM --- despite recent hand-wringing over failures in the run-up to Iraq 10 years ago --- repeated the same behavior in the run-up to the almost-war in Syria.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Rescue turns to recovery and rebuilding amidst Colorado's "biblical" flooding, while concerns grow after floodwaters swamp oil & gas fields; It's official: August 2013 was the 4th hottest on record; PLUS: Here's to Alaska! Mining giant pulls out of controversial Pebble Mine project ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): CDC confirms role of factory farms in rise of superbugs; Human fingerprints visible in atmospheric changes: study; Hansen: climate sensitivity is high, burning all fossil fuels would make most of planet ‘uninhabitable’; NM cleans up after floods; Chipotle video takes on factory farming; Fracking may emit less methane than previously measured; African grass could reduce livestock industry emissions; WA State braces for coal export explosion; Canadian scientists charge government censorship ... PLUS: Save the Pandas! We Need Their Poop. ... and much, MUCH more! ...
California State Sen. Alex Padilla continues to mislead the public about SB 360, his radical election reform bill passed recently by the state legislature along partisan lines, and now waiting for a signature, or veto, from Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bill, as we explained in our detailed exposé last week, would end all federal testing of new e-voting systems in the state of California. The use of only federally-approved voting systems had long been a requirement in the state. Moreover, the measure would grant unprecedented sweeping executive powers to the Sec. of State to approve new voting and tabulation systems for use in real elections without any certification testing at all, even by state auditors.
Last week, we explained how Padilla has been cynically selling this bill for many months as necessary in order for jurisdictions like Los Angeles County to own their own non-proprietary voting systems. Who, after all, other than private voting machine companies (and/or folks who'd like to use such systems to game elections), would be against the idea that voting systems should be publicly owned by the jurisdictions which use them to run their own public elections? But that explanation doesn't really tell the full story.
L.A. has been in the process of developing a new, publicly-owned, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system for some time. (See a new video of their design concepts, all quite troubling for those of us familiar with new, touch-screen e-voting systems, right here or at the bottom of this article.) The county has said they hope to sell their new system to other counties in the state and across the country. But, what Padilla doesn't mention to lawmakers or to the public while pitching his legislation, is that L.A. already owns their own current voting system and has for many years.
"I've introduced a piece of legislation that doesn't mandate, but allows, at the county level, county governments to own their voting systems," Padilla misleadingly announced on KSRO the day before the bill was finally approved by both chambers of the state legislature earlier this month. He cited L.A. County's development as the reason that counties should be able to own their own voting systems...which, he didn't mention, L.A. already does.
You can listen to Padilla's brief, 9/5/2013 interview on KSRO here [appx 4.5 mins]:
Since SB 360's introduction back in February, Padilla has been quoted similarly, and misleadingly, in every press release we've seen issued by his office, touting that "Allowing counties to develop, own and operate voting systems will increase voter confidence in the integrity of our elections."
The next, even more misleading part of the oft-used Padilla quote, has been modified only slightly in his press releases since the bill's introduction last February...
The thing about climate change deniers is that, not only will no amount of thoroughly peer-reviewed and independently verifiable science --- even mountains of it, corroborated over and again over decades --- convince them they are fools, they also seem to take delight in simply ignoring how their specious assertions continue to be debunked time and time again with that same science.
Case in point, last week we highlighted how the dupes, stooges, patsies, pawns, chumps, rubes and suckers of the Climate Change Denial Industry had fallen hard for David Rose's completely inaccurate, misleading and/or fabricated claims in the British tabloid Mail on Sunday, which falsely asserted that the predictable variability evidenced by an increase in Arctic ice surface extent this summer signified that "global COOLING!" (the Mail's ALL-CAPS) is now under way!
The chumps who fell for Rose's silly claims forgot, or were too incurious to learn, that the increase over last year was an increase over the Arctic's record low minimum ice extent last year, falling squarely into decades of predictable variability along a very clear decades-long trend line of an alarming decrease in Arctic ice. Like the article, the same patsies also failed to note the difference between this year's temporary extent (area) and the longer-term, harder to measure volume (thickness) of ice that also continues to decline along the same disturbing, demonstrable and predicted trend lines.
Unfazed by being roundly and verifiably debunked, disputed and scoffed at by virtually every scientific corner of the globe (if not by the Fossil Fuel-funded Denial Industry and its lazy dupes who trumpeted the false report), Rose and the Mail unleashed yet another pile of demonstrably false, easily debunked nonsense Climate Change Denier Link Bait on Sunday, featuring this wholly deceptive --- okay, just plain inaccurate --- headline...
Today, President Obama offered an address to mark the fifth anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and the beginning of the 2008 collapse of the Wall Street casino or, as the President described it, "the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes." (He also spoke briefly, at the top of his remarks, on our latest mass shooting rampage which took place at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard this morning, reportedly resulting, in the deaths of at least 12 people at the military installation.)
"It was five years ago, this week, that the financial crisis rocked Wall Street, and sent an economy already into recession, into a tail spin," Obama reminded us. "And it's hard sometimes to remember everything that happened during those --- those months, but in a matter of a frightening few days and weeks, some of the largest investment banks in the world failed, stock markets plunged, banks stopped lending to families and small businesses, our auto industry --- the heartbeat of American manufacturing --- was flat-lining."
The President went on to tout the reforms and the recovery that have taken place since that time, arguing that "we’ve cleared away the rubble from the financial crisis and we’ve begun to lay a new foundation for economic growth and prosperity," while conceding "we are not yet where we need to be."
"Most of the gains have gone to the top one-tenth of 1 percent," Obama correctly noted. "So, in many ways, the trends that have taken hold over the past few decades of a winner-take-all economy, where a few do better and better and better, while everybody else just treads water or loses ground, those trends have been made worse by the recession."
Over the weekend, the 40-year old advocacy group, Public Citizen, marked the same occasion of the fifth anniversary of the 2008 crash with an email blast highlighting a few numbers the President did not highlight in his remarks today, including a few jarring stats that remind us how and why, despite the modest recovery and incredibly tepid reforms of the past five years, the "too big to fail" foxes still remain firmly in charge of America's economic hen house...
Dear incurious dupes, stooges, patsies, pawns, chumps, rubes and suckers of the Climate Change Denial Industry: Please study the animated GIF below (courtesy of Skeptical Science) carefully.
That chart could help you become less of an incurious dupe, stooge, patsy, pawn, chump, rube and/or sucker of the Climate Change Denial Industry, which is the fully-owned subsidiary of the Fossil Fuel Industry, which also happens to be the most profitable industry in the history of civilization. (Remember that whole "follow the money!" thing you folks like to parrot when you believe you're being clever and think you're debunking global warming, but are actually only debunking yourselves? Yes, please do "follow the money" in this case. No, the money ain't going to the scientists, it's going to the Fossil Fuel Industry. If scientists were only interested in money, they'd be making the big bucks working for the Fossil Fuel Industry which is dying to pay for science that discredits global warming!)
But, I suspect you aren't really worried about continuously embarrassing yourselves at this point, now that you've surrounded yourselves with similarly incurious dupes who support the confirmation bias you seek for your disinformed contrarianist blather on a daily basis.
Yes, the dupes, stooges, etc., have a fresh scam they've fallen for this week, which they've been spreading broadly amongst themselves and others of late. It stems from a wildly (and purposefully) misleading article by David Rose in the British tabloid Mail on Sunday with this purposely misleading headline (the only part of the article, if any, that the dupes and stooges likely bothered to read anyway):
Of course, you'll be stunned to learn that both the headline and article are misleading (at best) and that the incurious dupes, stooges, pawns, chumps, rubes and suckers of the Climate Change Denial Industry have nonetheless, as usual, fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
I debunked it cursorily during the very top of yesterday's Green News Report, but could only touch on it very quickly given the time constraints of the radio podcast. Seeing as how this latest con is being touted in the wingnut media, it deserves a slightly more detailed response here as well --- if only for future reference, as these phony denialist memes live on (and on and on) for some time in the denalist community, like herpes, no matter how thoroughly they are debunked.
"Global warming, yes, it's finally dead!," incurious dupe Greg Gutfeld of Fox "News" embarrassingly and inaccurately declared this week in trumpeting the Mail article, followed with this insanely inaccurate assertion...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Deadly flash floods after "biblical" rains in CO; Senate Republicans hold energy efficiency bill hostage; Clean up or close up: EPA's new rules put the squeeze on coal; Huge new aquifers discovered in Kenya; Debunking the Daily Mail/Fox 'News' ruse about '60% increase in Arctic ice' ruse; PLUS: Molasses spill kills thousands of fish in Hawaii ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): EPA Chemist Who Revealed Twin Towers Toxic Dust Fired; Utilities Realize Solar Energy's Threat to their Survival; Boulder Colorado and the Quest for Local Control of Energy; CNBC’s Joe Kernen Lies About Climate Change on Squawk Box; '50 dirtiest' US power plants emit more greenhouse gases than South Korea; Australian military: Climate change is a 'threat multiplier'; Tesla challenges BMW on home turf; Nuclear energy on 'collision course' with U.S. water supplies ... PLUS: VIDEO: A Climate Alarm, Too Muted for Some ... and much, MUCH more! ...
It was a content packedBradCast this week on KPFK/Pacifica Radio! Listening will make you smarter and a generally better person in every regard.
First up: We were joined up by Francesco Femia of the Center for Climate and Security to discuss the climate change connection to the civil war in Syria and other regions where national security dangers loom, thanks to the "threat multiplier" that is global warming. Femia is the founding Director of D.C.-based think tank with an advisory board of retired senior military officers and national security experts. Fascinating conversation!
Next up: New documents disclosed by Edward Snowden and reported today by The Guardian reveal the NSA's agreement with Israel to share SigInt (signals intelligence) such as phone and email content without removing private metadata and content of U.S. persons first.
Finally (or close to it): The disaster that is SB 360, the CA law passed last week and headed to the Governor for his signature...or veto. SB 360, as The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively earlier this week, will abolish all federal testing of CA's electronic voting systems and even allow the Sec. of State to approve new e-voting systems for use "in a legally binding election" without ever being tested for state certification at all. It's a terrible bill, and we call on Governor Jerry Brown to veto it. You can (and should) too, right here...
Then Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as usual, though not before updating us on her latest Twitter fight with some jackass at CNBC. Enjoy!
Pretty incredible 12-year long animated GIF of the WTC site, on today's 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It's rather amazing and well worth checking out. [Click the sample frames below to be taken to the actual animation.]