Sunday, January 31, 2016

DOJ's head of pardons and clemency petitions resigns due to frustration over lack of resources

By Josie Duffy
Thursday Jan 21, 2016 · 10:44 AM EST

For two years Deborah Leff has been the Justice Department's pardon attorney, heading the effort to review clemency petitions from federal inmates. But at the end of this month she'll step down, due to frustration over "a lack of resources for one of the president's centerpiece criminal-justice initiatives." Right now, the office has 22 lawyers trying to process more than 9,000 clemency petitions. The DOJ is requesting that Congress approve an increase of 24 lawyers in the pardon office, bringing the total to 46.

So far, Obama's commuted the sentences of 184 inmates, which is "more commutations than the past five presidents combined." He wants to grant more commutations and pardons before he leaves office, according to White House officials. The need is especially great in the wake of the drug war that left many people in federal prison for an extremely long time. The Washington Post reports:

[Leff] released a statement saying that she has known President Obama for more than 20 years and that she thinks “his commitment to reinvigorating the clemency process — and the promise that holds for justice — can change the lives of a great many deserving people.”

But Leff added: “It is essential that this groundbreaking effort move ahead expeditiously and expand.”

Leff’s leaving should be a wake-up call. The hope is that the administration, the DOJ, and Congress can work together to ensure that the office is sufficiently resourced and staffed so that these clemency petitions can be assessed and many of them granted.

Screwing over the working class to enrich the wealthy

From Robert Reich
Richmond, CA ·

Last Friday, a federal appeals court rules that billionaire Carl Icahn, who now controls the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, doesn’t have to honor the labor agreement the casino has with its workers.

That’s how bankruptcy now works -- courtesy of legal changes in the federal bankruptcy code favoring big investors like Icahn and Donald Trump (who, when the casino he founded filed for bankruptcy, gleefully praised himself for his “great timing” in selling most of his investment beforehand).

But if you’re a worker, you’re screwed. And if you’re a homeowner who can’t make your mortgage payments (say, because you lost your job or wages at the Trump Taj Mahal), the current bankruptcy law doesn’t allow you to reorganize your mortgage debt. And if you’re a college graduate who can’t make payments on your student loan (say, because you lost your job or wages at the casino), the bankruptcy law doesn’t allow you to reorganize your student debt.

Why? Because Icahn, Trump, the big banks, mortgagors, and major student loan creditors have had the political power to get the bankruptcy law they want. Workers, mortgagees, and student debtors have not.

That’s what this election is all about: Getting the power back.

Ted Cruz: 'I'm a Christian first, American second.' Imagine if Muslim or Jewish politician said that

By Ian Reifowitz
Friday Jan 22, 2016 · 3:19 PM EST

If this guy was president, his first loyalty would be to his religion, not his country. His words, not mine.

His Christianity is probably the last thing Ted Cruz ever thought would give him problems. However, a new ad produced by Americans United for Values attacks him for being, get this, a “false prophet.” Among other slings and arrows hurled, the ad slams Cruz for not tithing—donating 10 percent of his income to charity—something many Christians believe is a sacred obligation. Cruz, it seems, has donated only about one percent of his income—which came to around $1 million annually—to charity between 2006 and 2010.

In response to the ad and other attacks on his Christianity as well as his conservatism, Cruz responded:

“I’m a Christian first, American second, conservative third and Republican fourth...I’ll tell ya, there are a whole lot of people in this country that feel exactly the same way.”

The politics of this aside, I want to highlight here something we might call Christian Privilege. Could you imagine, for example, a Jewish candidate for president saying that he or she was a Jew first and an American second? Now imagine the sheer outrage if a Muslim American of any prominence whatsoever declared that he or she was Muslim first and American second. People’s heads would explode.

On a related note, imagine a presidential candidate saying he or she was black, white, or Latino (or any other ethnic group) first, and American second. President Obama—and, having done extensive research on his conception of ethnic and national identity, I believe he sincerely feels this way—made crystal clear before 2008 that his identification as an American took precedence over his blackness.  Without doubt, he could not have been elected president without having done so.

I want, no, I demand, a president whose first loyalty is to the Constitution, and to the people—all the people—he or she was elected to serve. Only a Christian has the privilege—and only ones like Ted Cruz, who present themselves as holier than thou, would have the gall—to claim otherwise.

Re-post of a favorite: Indoctrination

Re-post of a favorite: We have become an empire builder, and that never works out well.

Five OBG posters

The only reason to vote Republican 
They're still getting theirs...

Wall Street greed

How NOT to support America

Screwed up priorities 

Religiously speaking

Sorry folks, but here is the truth of it.

There is stupid, then there is deeply disturbed stupid.

Brainwashing - sometimes it doesn't work.

Living with America's gun culture

Chicago Sun-Times
5 wounded in Chicago shootings, including two 17-year-old boys
About 7:30 p.m., a 40-year-old man was wounded in a drive-by shooting in the Pilsen neighborhood, Alfaro said. The man was in a car at a stop sign ...
New York Times
Milos Raonic Wins Match While Grieving for Victims of aShooting in Canada
Informed that there had been a school shooting in Saskatchewan, a Canadian province, Raonic pulled out his smartphone and performed a quick ...
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
State representative's sister killed in shooting; suspect crashes vehicle after chase
A fatal shooting outside a Homewood bar that killed a state legislator's sister earlyFriday prompted a police chase in which officers fired into the ...
2 injured, including child, in shooting on Las Vegas strip
A juvenile passerby was injured Friday night after officers fired on a man who was walking in and out of traffic on the Las Vegas Strip waving a gun ...
Chicago Sun-Times
Man killed in Homan Square shooting
As the police cordoned off the area where the shooting took place and began their work, Taylor's body remained uncovered and visible through a ...
Los Angeles Times
Man and woman killed in South Los Angeles shooting
shooting Saturday night left a man and a woman dead outside a liquor store in South Los Angeles, police said. Two others were wounded and taken ...
ABC News
Man in Jail for Murder in Connection With Good SamaritanShooting
A 27-year-old was in jail charged with murder Saturday after he allegedly shot and killed a Good Samaritan who tried to help him when he was stuck ...
The Denver Channel
Homeowner involved in shooting with 2 men in Littleton
Homeowner involved in shooting with 2 men in Littleton. Deputies are searching for a man in gold Mustang. Anica Padilla, April Schildmeyer.
Investigators: Attempted robbery ends with fatal shooting in E. Houston
The shooting happened at a mechanic shop, where investigators are examining evidence. Bullet markers surround a white truck at the scene where ...
Suspect in shooting surrenders after 8-hr standoff in Kaufman
Authorities say a suspect in a domestic disturbance shooting has surrendered ... Ashooting surrendered after a more than eight-hour standoff on Jan.
The Sun Herald
Man hospitalized after Eau Claire officer-involved shooting
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting in Eau Claire, that put a man in the hospital. It happened shortly after ...
Deadly Shooting Investigation Underway In Whittier
WHITTIER ( — Police Monday investigated the shooting death of an adult man in Whittier. Shortly before 1 a.m., officers were sent to the ...
KCRA Sacramento
Friends, family mourn victim after deadly shooting in Lodi

Other than some hunting and some competitive target shooting,...


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Sarah Palin - true to her core principles.

Cherry picking the Bible

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One very small step for mankind...

Next time a conservative talks to you about our "founding fathers"...

Straight out of the caves...

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