Declaring a First Amendment right to videotape police making an arrest in public, the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has denied a police claim of immunity and allowed a civil rights suit against three Boston police officers to go forward. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston on behalf of Simon Glik, a Boston attorney who was arrested on the evening of October 1, 2007 for using his cellphone to record police officers making an arrest on the Boston Common.

Glik's suit claims police violated his First Amendment rights by stopping him from recording and his Fourth Amendment rights by arresting him without probable cause. The officers appealed a district court ruling denying them qualified immunity from the suit. A ruling by a three-judge panel of the appeals circuit on Friday of last week upheld the lower court's decision.  
 

One of the terms of the recent debt ceiling deal between Congress and the White House was that Congress would vote on, but not necessarily pass, a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. The deal did not, however, specify the language in the amendment, giving legislators plenty of opportunities to sneak in loopholes that might very well render any amendment that does pass meaningless.

One Senator, in fact, is doing just that. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) has proposed an amendment with more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese — “the worst idea of them all,” according to Colin Hanna, president of the Pennsylvania public-policy organization Let Freedom Ring. While Udall’s amendment does require the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress, it also provides Congress with several ways to skirt the same requirement for the budget it passes.

For instance, if 60 percent of both houses of Congress votes to override the balanced budget requirement for the current fiscal year, it’s a goner. (Hanna notes that this “effectively applies only to the House, since the Senate typically requires 60% for nearly everything already.”)

Despite accusations by some that Ron Paul is being ignored by the mainstream media, there has been an uptick in coverage of the good doctor’s campaign. Scan the channels and you're likely to see Ron Paul's face more than once.

The fact remains, however, that many subsidized media outlets dismiss Ron Paul’s candidacy as a chimera is indisputable, though. Even a cursory review of the headlines in scores of newspapers and magazines reveals the prevailing wisdom that Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, and Mitt Romney are all more viable choices then the congressman from Texas.

Evidence of such relegation to second banana status on the part of the traditional sources of news is everywhere. Take for example the fact that CNN spotlighted a Sarah Palin appearance instead of covering a speech by Ron Paul, a declared candidate for president. As the U.K.’s Telegraph put it:
 

The decision of local union bosses to ban Republican politicians from this year’s labor-day parade in Wausau, Wisconsin, is sparking nationwide attention and criticism, adding even more fuel to the political turmoil in the state following months of partisan battles over the power of government-sector unions.

In addition to the national outcry from activists on both sides, locals are fighting back as well. Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple, who is not affiliated with either party, said the union organizers would have to foot the bill for the parade themselves if their decision to bar the GOP stands.

“The banning of a political party from participation at any event co-sponsored by the City is against public policy and not in the best interest of all the citizens of the City of Wausau. And therefore, we encourage the event organizer to invite all interested parties, or reimburse the city for other costs,” the Mayor said in a statement.

Not long after Rick Perry became Governor of Texas, according to an Associated Press release on May 12, 2001 he signed the James Byrd Hate Crimes Act (HB 587) named for a black man in Jasper, Texas, who was dragged to death behind a pickup in 1998.

In a bill-signing ceremony on May 11, 2001 Perry said:

As the Governor of our diverse state, in all matters it is my desire to seek common ground for the common good. In the end, we are all Texans and we must be united as we walk together into the future. That’s why today I have signed House Bill 587 into law. Texas has always been a tough-on-crime state. With my signature today, Texas now has stronger criminal penalties against crime motivated by hate.

President Obama signed a similar law, and the Texas statute signed by Perry does effectively establish a special “protected class” status including enhanced sentencing for crimes allegedly motivated by bias against it.

A federal district judge has blocked Alabama’s tough new immigration law from going into effect and says she will decide whether it is constitutional.
Sharon Lovelace Blackburn, chief judge for the Northern District of Alabama (a post for which she was nominated by the elder President Bush), acted on behalf of a coalition of Hispanic activists and leftist lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Obama administration, and various leftist churches.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported that Blackburn's ruling will last in until September 29 "or until she issues an order on the specific injunction requests, whichever comes first. That order would come no later than Sept. 28."

The law was scheduled to go into effect on September 1.

As Rick Perry preaches his down home, “Don’t mess with Texas” version of the neo-con gospel (see his latest comment regarding “taking the fight to the enemy”), he is coming under increased scrutiny not just of his record (and there is plenty there to scrutinize), but of his gravitas.

Along those lines, Politico asked, “Is Rick Perry Dumb?”
 
There is something about Rick Perry and the manner in which he attempts to exude populism while embracing one after the other of the neo-con, Republican establishment articles of faith that make Politico’s question not nearly as daft as it may at first sound.
 
The article in Politico opens with a very quick survey of Governor Perry’s past problems with being regarded as a deep thinker:

Just a week ago this Monday, the Cherokee Nation’s Supreme Court ruled that the tribe may revoke the citizenship rights of black members. The case stemmed from a 2007 vote in which the Nation amended its constitution to allow the expulsion of the descendants of Cherokee-held slaves; this inspired a lawsuit by the “Freedmen,” as the black Cherokee are known. A district court found in favor of the Freedmen, but the Supreme Court overturned that ruling, arguing that the Cherokee alone have a right to determine who is and is not a fellow tribesman. The result is that these erstwhile Cherokees, approximately 3,000 strong, will now be denied benefits that inclusion in the tribe affords, such as free healthcare and education, and voting and housing rights.

The Freedman had enjoyed Cherokee citizenship status ever since it was granted through a treaty with the U.S. government after the War Between the States.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell took sharp issue Sunday with what he called "cheap shots" at him and other officials in the Bush administration by Dick Cheney in the former Vice President's memoir, In My Time, scheduled to be released this week. In an interview on CBS's Face the Nation.

Powell told host Bob Schieffer that if certain "White House operatives" and members of the Vice President's staff had been more forthcoming, the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame would not have been necessary and the investigation would have been shortened by more than two years. Powell made that comment while responding to Cheney's statement in his book that Powell preferred to express his doubts and differences with administration policy to others, rather than directly to the President.

 "It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government," Cheney wrote about the former head of the State Department.

The implications in the New York Times’ article about Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) were clear even in the title: “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself” — Issa was using his position as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to enrich himself.

In the article, Eric Lichtblau implied that even the close proximity of his congressional office and his business office “on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course” in San Diego, signaled a highly suspect intermeshing of corporate and political interests. Lichtblau said that as Issa’s personal fortune has grown during his years in Congress (he was first elected in 2001), “so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman’s government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts.”

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