How Do GOP Candidates Feel About The Confederate Battle Flag?

The website Vox created a graphic to describe how the Republican presidential candidates feel about the Confederate battle flag.  The graphic shows the choices “remove the flag now” vs. “states rights.”

http://www.vox.com/2015/6/23/8828215/Confederate-flag-states-rights

African-American Justice, Representation, And The State’s Attorney In Baltimore


MSNBC

MSNBC talks with Christina Greer, Mychal Denzel Smith, Lester Spence, and Neil Roberts about justice, political representation in Baltimore, and the role of the new State’s Attorney.

Strange: Indicted Baltimore Police Threaten To Sue State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby

According to the British publication The Guardian, on Friday, the Baltimore police officers being prosecuted over the death of Freddie Gray threatened to sue the city’s top prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, for arresting them.

They threatened the lawsuit as they demanded that she step down from their case over alleged conflicts of interest.

“As part of a barrage of hostile court filings that also sought to dismiss all charges against the officers on technical grounds, their lawyers attacked Mosby, the state’s attorney for Baltimore, who announced their charges in the Gray case in a shock statement last Friday,” writes The Guardian.

In an “extraordinary 109-page motion,” the officers’ lawyers said all six may sue Mosby and mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for arresting and detaining them unless the city pays them tens of thousands of dollars in damages.

“They accused Mosby in sharply personal terms of breaching the US constitution, the Maryland declaration of rights, and her professional code,” writes The Guardian.

Constitution?

CNN states:

“On Thursday, the city and the state each received a notice that the defense believes it has cause to file a civil lawsuit claiming unlawful arrest and detention of the six officers. The officers were justified in their arrest of Gray for an illegal knife, the document says, so detaining them amounted to false imprisonment. The motion also says Mosby’s public comments expose her to civil liability. The letters act as a request for a financial settlement for “more than $75,000″ for each officer.”

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/08/baltimore-freddie-gray-police-threaten-to-sue-marilyn-mosby

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/08/us/freddie-gray-case-dismissal-motion/

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/05/09/410271/Baltimore-police-officials

Baltimore Officers Charged In Freddy Gray’s Death Want Case Dismissed

According to the Associated Press, attorneys for the six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a man who died of a spinal injury while in custody, asked a judge Friday to dismiss the case or assign it to someone other than the city’s top prosecutor.  They claim she has too many conflicts of interest to remain objective.

The lawyers state that at a minimum, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby should be replaced with an independent prosecutor.

The motion was filed in Baltimore District Court.

In the latest legal move to challenge the charges, the motion says Mosby’s prosecution has been “overzealous” and “politically motivated.”

Ms. Mosby announced the charges a day after receiving an investigative report from the police. The motion argues that part of the reason she acted so swiftly was to quash protests that gave way to violence in West Baltimore, where Gray was arrested and “where Mosby’s husband, Nick Mosby, is a city councilman,” according to the Associated Press.   A separate motion argues that her rapid decision could be at odds with a law that requires a thorough investigation prior to filing charges.

(Updated article)

http://news.yahoo.com/officers-charged-arrested-mans-death-want-case-dismissed-022710467.html

Project In Southern U.S. Promotes ‘Music Triangle’

Blues. Jazz. Country music. Rock n’ roll. Gospel. Southern Gospel. Cajun-zydeco. Soul/ R&B. Bluegrass.

Nine of America’s most well-known music genres now have their own road map, states souixcityjournal.com.

The initiative was led by Nashville preservationist Aubrey Preston along with a group of historians and music lovers.  They have come up with the “Americana Music Triangle.”

Stretching from Nashville to Memphis to New Orleans, the triangle includes locations in the South that contributed to the birth of the musical genres, from Clarksdale, Mississippi, the home of blues masters Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the site of the famed music studio where Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and many others recorded songs.

Like other small towns in the triangle, Clarksdale, Mississippi – a city of about 17,200 about 1 ½ hours’ drive south of Memphis – has seen its share of population loss, poverty, troubled schools and blight.  They are now looking to earn more tourist dollars.

Destinations are connected by the so-called “Gold Record Road,” a 1,500-mile stretch of highway made up of Interstate 40 from Nashville to Memphis, Highway 61 —the “Blues Trail” — from Memphis to New Orleans, and the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi.

Travelers planning road trips can use a flashy website, or “web guide,” that gives destinations in the triangle and describes points of interest in more than 30 communities in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.

The online driving trail map is at americanamusictriangle.com.

http://siouxcityjournal.com/ap/travel/new-project-in-us-south-promotes-music-triangle/article_5c3d8507-6de4-5c73-b29c-6f147e04f047.html

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/life/2015/05/07/mississippi-heart-americana-music-triangle/70952700/

Low-Level Campaign Finance Win

According to The Huffington post, in a 5-4 decision on Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld the right of states to ban elected judges from soliciting campaign contributions for their own campaigns. The majority decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by the court’s four liberal justices, writes the HuffPost.

So, states have the right to ban elected judges from receiving money for their campaigns.

Oddly, the decision comes after a long string of court rulings that overturned campaign finance regulations, among them the well-known 2010 Citizens United and the 2014 McCutcheon cases. The ruling, by contrast, maintains the ability of the states to uphold campaign finance reform in regards to elected judges. It does so by making a strong distinction between the role of the judiciary and the role of elected legislative and executive officials.

The distinction seemed weak. Roberts, writing for the majority, said: “A State’s interest in preserving public confidence in the integrity of its judiciary extends beyond its interest in preventing the appearance of corruption in legislative and executive elections. As we explained in [Republican Party of Minnesota v. White], States may regulate judicial elections differently than they regulate political elections, because the role of judges differs from the role of politicians.”

In the case before the court, Florida judicial candidate Lanell Williams-Yulee had signed her name to a fundraising solicitation letter while running for office in 2009. She did so despite Florida’s ban on fundraising solicitation by judicial candidates.

Candidates like Williams-Yulee are allowed to raise money through campaign committees, but they may not ask for the funds themselves. Williams-Yulee challenged the law as a restriction of her First Amendment right to free speech.

MSNBC’s Reaction To Netanyahu’s ‘State Of The Union Address’

Is it acceptable for a foreign leader to give a “State of the Union”-style speech to the U.S. government?  Would it be okay if Vladimir Putin did the same?

TYT Network discusses MSNBC’s reaction to the recent speech given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to both houses of the United States Congress. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was less than pleased.

Could Netanyahu’s speech have been an attempt to de-rail the President’s current P5+1 talks with Iran over its nuclear program?

Interestingly, Senate Republican leaders had been planning to take a bill next week that would have given Congress an up-or-down vote on any agreement international negotiators make with Iran.

CNN: “Senate Republican leaders ditched plans Thursday to take up a bill next week that would have given Congress an up-or-down vote on any agreement international negotiators — led by the United States — make with Iran on its nuclear program, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN.

“The move comes after Democrats, who were upset GOP leaders decided to fast-track the legislation, threatened to block taking up the bill. Democrats fear immediate consideration could disrupt the sensitive talks with Iran that face an important March 24 deadline.”

The National Review writes about Matthews:  “He saw the speech as an attempt to sabotage and undermine the nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and it’s allies and Iran. Matthews has been quoted as saying, ‘This man, from a foreign government, walked into the United States legislative chamber and tried to take over U.S. foreign policy.'”


TYT Network

Updated post

GOP Launches Full Assault On Reproductive Rights: Are Democrats The Underdogs?

31 of the 50 governors are Republicans. 69 out of the 99 state legislative bodies (Houses and Senates) are Republican dominated.

The state legislators have been able to expedite one of their top policy priorities – restricting access to abortion – given the historic gains they made in last year’s midterm elections, according to the Huffington Post.

State lawmakers have raced to file bills concerning all aspects of the procedure. As of last week, lawmakers have introduced more than 100 bills regulating abortion in more than half of all states, according to data from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.”


TYT Network

What Is The Water Outlook In The Western States?

According to tucson.com, the state agency that operates the multibillion-dollar Central Arizona Project warns that water shortages could hit Tucson and Phoenix as soon as five years from now.

Chances are expected to rise in the next few years due to drought, growing water demand and declining water levels in Lake Mead at the Nevada border.

Over a 10-year period ending in 2026, the likelihood of urban CAP shortages is 17 to 29 percent in a given year depending on weather, particularly the impacts of climate change, CAP says.

Such shortages would occur if Lake Mead, now about 1,085 feet elevation, drops below 1,000 feet. Then the lake becomes what CAP calls a “dead pool” in which operations are sharply curtailed.

If that happens, the consequences could be dire, including:

  • Diversions from the Colorado River into the CAP’s 336-mile-long concrete canal for urban and Indian users would likely — if not almost certainly — be cut and could be eliminated, although CAP officials say that’s unlikely. Agricultural users by then would most likely have their CAP supplies reduced sharply.
  • Hoover Dam’s electric power, which is generated by the lake and serves cities and farms in three states, would be cut by nearly half or possibly much more. Arizona urban and farming users buy nearly 19 percent of the dam’s power at subsidized rates. Southern California users buy more than 50 percent. Nevada users buy the rest.
  • Las Vegas, which gets more than 90 percent of its water from the Colorado, would be unable to withdraw any. A new pump station would be needed to bring the water up, at a cost of $250 million to $300 million.
  • The U.S. Interior Secretary could intervene in advance to hold down states’ water diversions. CAP could receive 950,000 acre-feet just to meet Arizona’s core municipal needs and fulfill the feds’ obligations to Indian tribes. Nevada would get enough to meet health and safety needs. Farms’ water would be reduced drastically, and Mexico would get less water than it’s already agreed to take in times of shortage, leading to increased international tension.
  • In that case, the Interior Secretary’s discretion would replace the historic “Law of the River,” a series of laws, court rulings and regulations that have governed the Colorado’s operations for a century.

That could trigger controversy and potential litigation.  CAP officials say states and the federal government need to take action soon to prevent that from happening.

The New York Times States “Arizona could be forced to cut water deliveries to its two largest cities unless states that tap the dwindling Colorado River find ways to reduce water consumption and deal with a crippling drought…”

The federal Bureau of Reclamation forecasts that Lake Mead, a Colorado River reservoir that is the network’s sole water source, will fall to a level not seen since the lake was first filled in 1938.

If Phoenix and Tucson do not reduce consumption, “the cuts could be necessary by as early as 2019, according to an analysis by the water project, and officials said that depending on drought conditions, the chances of water cutbacks by 2026 could be as high as 29 percent,” states the New York Times.

In related news, tucson.com states that the worst drought in 1000 years is coming to the Southwestern U.S. after 2050, according to a new study written by scientists at Columbia and Cornell universities and released Thursday.

http://tucson.com/news/study-worst-sw-drought-in-years-coming/article_d35d8127-e781-5aa1-b3d7-c84c27703321.html

Irresponsible Government Meltdown? 17 States To Sue Obama Over Immigration Executive Order

JohnBoehner
John Boehner

According to Reuters, Texas is leading a 17-state coalition that sued the Obama administration on Wednesday over its executive order to ease the threat of deportation for some 4.7 million undocumented immigrants, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said.

“The President’s unilateral executive action tramples the U.S. Constitution’s Take Care Clause and federal law,” Abbott said in a statement.

(The Take Care Clause states that the President must exercise his law-execution power to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”)

The case filed at the Federal Court in the Southern District of Texas said the executive order was unlawful.

Abbott, a Republican and the Texas governor-elect added the order requires federal agencies “to award large benefits to individuals whose conduct contradicts the priorities of Congress.”

With 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, Obama’s plan would let some 4.4 million who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to remain in the country temporarily, without the threat of deportation.

“The President is abdicating his responsibility to faithfully enforce laws that were duly enacted by Congress and attempting to rewrite immigration laws, which he has no authority to do,” Abbott said.

Several presidents have, of course, issued executive orders on immigration, including Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Many of the states in the coalition are Republican strongholds and include Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi and Utah.

Meanwhile, in Washington this week, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner urged fellow Republicans to pass a long-term government spending bill next week, hoping to avoid a government shutdown and pushing any budget fight over Obama’s executive order on immigration into 2015.