President Obama announced minutes ago that, in response to the revelation that the IRS discriminately targeted conservative-leaning groups for scrutiny, he’s asked for and accepted the resignation of Miller, the acting IRS Commissioner. The commissioner at the time of the targeting was Donald Shulman; Miller didn’t assume the post of acting commissioner until November of last year, after the probe ended. However, he did have knowledge in May that the probe had taken place.
Entertainment News - NYTimes.com
Walters may be the single most important TV personality of the last 50 years — just not for the reasons we’ve heard. More than any other journalist, she tore down the wall separating news from entertainment, the serious from the frivolous, the public figure from the celebrity. Ms. Walters was always more of an entertainer than a journalist, at least as traditionalists understand the latter term … [figures] wanted the media spotlight that Ms. Walters and Today provided, so that they might have the opportunity to humanize themselves away from political reporters. Ms. Walters was happy to oblige. They received the same treatment from Ms. Walters as the movie stars she interviewed.
The cowardly move by the Justice Department to subpoena two months of the AP’s phone records, both of its office lines and of the home phones of individual reporters, is potentially a breach of the Justice Department’s own guidelines. Even more important, it prevented the AP from seeking a judicial review of the action. Some months ago, apparently, the government sent a subpoena (or subpoenas) for the records to the phone companies that serve those offices and individuals, and the companies provided the records without any notice to the AP. If subpoenas had been served directly on the AP or its individual reporters, they would have had an opportunity to go to court to file a motion to quash the subpoenas. … Even beyond the outrageous and overreaching action against the journalists, this is a blatant attempt to avoid the oversight function of the courts.
In other news, Attorney General Eric Holder was the subject of a hearing with the House Judiciary Committee - where members of the House grilled Holder about the AP subpoenas - and where Holder (to my enjoyment) called Rep. Issa’s conduct as Congressmember “shameful”.
Justice Department Subpoena of AP Journalists Shows Need to Protect Calling Records | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Cindy Cohn, Kurt Opsahl, and Nate Cardozo
This revelation of government’s secret access to huge amounts of calling records as part of its leak investigation should not be such a surprise. The DOJ has long maintained that no one has any privacy interests in their call data records and has also engaged in unprecedented and aggressive prosecutions around government leaks … But it should sound a wake-up call for the rest of us, including members of Congress and the courts. Government data-mining of Americans’ calling records and other metadata held by phone companies and ISPs should require more than a mere subpoena and should be protected by more than a hortatory regulation, whether the target is the news media or an ordinary citizen.
While we as Americans revere in our amazing freedom, we tend to forget just how much freedom we don’t have. Some can argue that Americans have a Constitutional right to privacy, but not if something like the third party doctrine (“…knowingly revealing [info] to … third party relinquishes Fourth Amendment protection in that [info]) has something to say about it.
Here’s what happened concerning the Department of Justice and the Associated Press:
The government, however, should not be able to seize information the way they have done against the Associated Press. It is disrespectful towards the 1st Amendment and towards the American people.
This has always been a story about illegal abortion, a phrase that appears over and over in the Gosnell Grand Jury report. It’s about what women will subject themselves to when they see no other option for ending an unwanted pregnancy. It’s about the appalling lack of health care for poor women in this country, especially when it comes to abortion, which, thanks to the Hyde Amendment, isn’t covered by Medicaid. It’s about murdered babies from pregnancies that never should have gone as far as they did. … For decades now, reproductive rights advocates have warned of the return of the unsafe, clandestine procedures prevalent before Roe v. Wade. Well, after a multi-decade assault on reproductive rights, they’re here.
Kermit Gosnell is a criminal, and it was the right thing to do to convict this man (read the Grand Jury report here).
Some have taken up Gosnell’s situation to continue arguing against abortion, when something like the Hyde Amendment (that prohibits public funding of abortion) is what makes women go to people like Gosnell in the first place.
My Medical Choice - NYTimes.com
On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved, … I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action… I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options
Good for you Angelina Jolie. Just some troubling stats on breast cancer:
One World Trade became the tallest building in the western hemisphere this morning. Here is an Iron Worker taking in the view after this momentous achievement - Imgur
“New figures from Public Policy Polling find voters more likely to support Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) after they voted ‘yes’ on tightening background checks. These numbers are especially notable because both Democratic senators are up for reelection in 2014 in red states.” ‘On the flip side, as we showed here on Tuesday, approval ratings for several senators in both parties who voted against the measure—ultimately defeating it—have taken a noticeable dip. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Mark Begich (D-AK) were among the most bruised, according to the numbers.”
Rhode Island on Thursday became the nation’s 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, as a 16-year effort to extend marriage rights in this heavily Roman Catholic state ended with the triumphant cheers of hundreds of gays, lesbians, their families and friends.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law on the Statehouse steps Thursday evening following a final 56-15 vote in the House. The first weddings will take place Aug. 1, when the law takes effect.
“We need strong, effective leadership today to help guide and shape the policies that will have a profound effect on our state,” she said in a statement. “This race will not be about personalities. It will be about service, experience, and effectiveness.”