New surgeon general approved despite remarks on guns, contraception

Los Angeles Times, By Melissa Healy, December 15

Overruling the objections of gun-rights advocates, the U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy, a British-born, American-educated internal medicine specialist, to become the 19th surgeon general of the United States.

The 51-43 vote makes Murthy, a 37-year-old graduate of Harvard University and Yale University Medical School, […]

Federal ‘Cromnibus’ spending bill also effectively ends U.S. ban on medical marijuana

Raw Story, By Arturo Garcia, December 16

The newly-passed $1.1 trillion federal spending bill also includes a bipartisan provision that signals the end of the federal ban on medical marijuana, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The provision bars federal agents from raiding medical marijuana retailers in the 32 states and the District of Columbia where […]

Washington march: Civil rights protest over US police killings

BBC, December 13

Thousands of people have marched through the US capital, Washington DC, to protest against the recent killings of unarmed black people by police.

Relatives of Michael Brown, shot dead in the Missouri town of Ferguson, and Eric Garner, who died being restrained in New York, were among them.

Both died after encountering […]

Rockefeller under fire for blocking FOIA bill

The Hill, By Julian Hattem, December 5

Retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is being blamed for placing a secret hold on a bipartisan bill to update the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The bill, which the Judiciary Committee unanimously approved last month, has broad support among transparency advocates who have begun vocally criticizing Rockefeller […]

Airport and border screening exempt from new federal restrictions on racial profiling: Washington Post

Reuters, By Bill Trott, December 6

New federal restrictions on racial profiling will still allow some officials to use the controversial practice along the southwestern U.S. border and in screening of airline passengers, the Washington Post said.

The rules will ban racial profiling from national security cases for the first time and will bar the […]

LAPD shoots man with pocket knife. 15-year-old killed in MO hit-and-run hate crime. Deep South goes deeper GOP. It’s hard to

not go into brain-freeze or a national seizure at the pace of militarized police killings, racial/religious/you-name-it hatred, and the racialized rightward whirlpool of the GOP’s appeal to fearful whites.

In the latest of a spate of fatal shootings, officers of the infamous Los Angeles Police Department raced to touristy Hollywood Boulevard, where they fired […]

Federal appeals court spares mentally ill man from execution – for now

Al Jazeera, By Lauren Carasik, December 4

On Wednesday, hours before his scheduled execution, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay for Scott Panetti, 56, amid a national outcry about the legality and morality of killing an inmate with a 35-year history of severe mental illness. Panetti’s guilt is not in doubt. […]

Missouri police condemn NFL players’ gesture in support of Michael Brown

Guardian – A Missouri police union has condemned players from the St Louis Rams football team for making “hands-up” gestures on the field in solidarity with Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old shot dead in Ferguson, and has threatened to boycott NFL advertisers in response.

[…]

New Benghazi report says security flaws were known, but not why Stevens was there

McClatchy, By Nancy A. Youssef, November 21

Washington — A House Intelligence Committee investigation of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. outposts in Benghazi concludes that while the Central intelligence Agency had properly secured its compound in the Libyan city, the State Department knew its security precautions were inadequate at the U.S. Special Mission […]

Court rules Michigan has no responsibility to provide quality public education

The Michigan Citizen, November 13

Detroit, MI — In a blow to schoolchildren statewide, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Nov. 7 the State of Michigan has no legal obligation to provide a quality public education to students in the struggling Highland Park School District.

A 2-1 decision reversed an earlier circuit court ruling […]

US Federal Reserve Initiates Investigation of New York Federal Reserve

Value Walk, By Mark Melin, November 21

After press reports reveal more than a cozy relationship, but sharing of confidential documents, investigation called for on eve of Senate testimony on the issue

After a withering expose in The New York Times that showed bank regulators at the New York Federal Reserve sharing confidential information with […]

Senate fails to pass NSA reform bill

IDG News Service, By Grant Gross, November 18

The U.S. Senate has voted against a bill that would rein in the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone records within the country, possibly killing any NSA reforms until next year.

Supporters of the USA Freedom Act, in a Senate vote late Tuesday, failed to get […]

The Police Are Still Out of Control

I should know.

Politico Magazine, By Frank Serpico, October 23

In the opening scene of the 1973 movie “Serpico,” I am shot in the face—or to be more accurate, the character of Frank Serpico, played by Al Pacino, is shot in the face. Even today it’s very difficult for me to watch those scenes, which […]

US cities brace for protests off Ferguson decision

Associated Press, By Philip Marcelo, November 15

Boston – From Boston to Los Angeles, police departments are bracing for large demonstrations when a grand jury decides whether to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

The St. Louis County grand jury, which has been meeting since Aug. 20, […]

Government planes mimic cellphone towers to collect user data – report

US Marshals Service reportedly fitting aircraft with ‘dirtboxes’ that interrogate phones on ground for identity and location

The Guardian, By Spencer Ackerman, Dominic Rushe & Paul Lewis, November 13

New York – The US justice department is reportedly using electronic equipment on aircraft to simulate cellphone towers so it can collect phone location and identifying […]

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