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In the spirit of putting their mobility into their own hands -- or hands and feet in this case -- 35 bicycle riders and support crew will pedal 540 miles across California from UC Berkeley to UCLA in order to raise awareness for comprehensive immigration reform.

The 5th annual Tour de Dreams, which was conceived of by undocumented university students, begins at UC Berkeley early Friday morning and arrives 10 days later at UCLA. The trip serves as both fundraiser and as political activism to raise awareness of the lives of undocumented students and workers and the need for a federal DREAM act and comprehensive immigration reform.

The riders are congregating in Berkeley tonight!

The tour is made up of "undocumented students, undocumented workers, people of color, friends, allies, and U.S. citizens" of all stripes.

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Did the the U.S. military's laissez-faire attitude toward punishing a sexual offender result in the shooting deaths of two California police detectives? Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo (San Francisco Bay Area) wants to know why the U.S. Army dropped rape charges against the man who went on to murder two Santa Cruz police detectives who were questioning him on a sexual assault charge:

WASHINGTON -- A member of the House Armed Services committee on Monday called for a full investigation into the Army's dropped rape charges against Santa Cruz cop killer Jeremy Peter Goulet.

A prominent critic of the military's handling of sexual assault cases, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, said she wants a Capitol Hill hearing on why two Army court-martials brought against Goulet in 2006 were dropped in exchange for an "other than honorable" discharge.

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Given its dismal performance in the last elections, one would think that California's GOP would be looking for any way possible to expand its base:

Having sunk to its lowest depths in its 159-year history, the California Republican Party's first order of business at this weekend's convention will be to lick its wounds.

The state party is still reeling from humiliating defeats in November that gave Democrats two-thirds majorities in the Assembly and state Senate. It's $500,000 in debt and doesn't even have offices for its staff, which has dwindled to a handful of employees who work from home. The GOP's only gubernatorial prospect for 2014 is a conservative assemblyman who was once a border vigilante. And Republican voter registration in the state is at an all-time low of 29.3 percent.

... An essential question, political analysts say, is whether GOP activists are ready to explore the depths of their troubles, starting with repairing their awful reputation among Latinos and other minorities.

But when faced with the candidacy of accomplished San Francisco lawyer Harmeet Dhillon, who is female and a devout Sikh, for the office of Republican party state vice-chair, members of the state's Republican base have made her "the target of a nasty racist effort to slur her as a Muslim terrorist sympathizer and a 'Taj Mahal princess.'":
Dhillon, currrently chair of the San Francisco GOP, immigrated from India as a child and is a devout Sikh. She’s wrapping up a campaign to become the party’s vice chair, an election which will be held Sunday as the state GOP wraps up its three day convention in Sacramento

Vera Eyzendooren, the president of the San Bernardino County Federation of Republican Women — an official party group — slammed Dhillon in a recent Facebook post, which included a photo of an Islamic terrorist who beheaded two people.

“I was told by one of Harmeet’s friends that because of her religion, her loyalty is to the Muslim religion,” Ms. Eyzendooren wrote on Facebook. “So she will defend a Muslim beheading two men without any hesitation……she is not a Republican.”

...

San Francisco GOP activist Gail Neira, in a recent widely circulated letter, wrote: “This particular woman candidate for state v.p. appears to see herself as the dowager princess with the CAGOP as her Taj Mahal.”

Whoa - how to even begin unpacking this?

Let's start with Religion 101 - because she's a devout Sikh her loyalty is to the Muslim religion?  GOP Fail number 1: check.

But beyond that, haven't we been reading for months that Republicans have a demographic problem? Here they have a chance to expand their base, but the existing base instead launches a GOP civil war.

Eyzendooren later deleted her facebook post, but its screenshot lives on.

 photo image001_zps057a469b.jpg

Party officials tried to undo the damage, saying "Blatant racism has no place in the party of Lincoln. We strongly denounce this hateful speech in this and any other venue." but it remains to be seen if they can save her candidacy.

This who is being rejected by Republicans:

Harmeet Kaur Dhillon, is an experienced business trial lawyer, trusted boardroom advisor, and passionate advocate for individual, corporate and institutional clients across numerous industries and walks of life. She has been awarded the prestigious designation of Northern California Super Lawyer in business litigation by Thomson/West Publishing, an accolade reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the jurisdiction. From an early interest in constitutional litigation, to a stint at the Department of Justice, to a decade of practice at prestigious international law firms, to founding Dhillon & Smith in 2006, Harmeet’s legal career has been marked by a passion for justice, a zeal for attacking legal challenges, and an intense sense of satisfaction in helping her clients realize creative and practical solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
"Oh if only she were a white male!"

I don't know much about her, but if her track record continues to include accomplishments like this ...

Harmeet’s clients at Dhillon & Smith have included e-Commerce leaders, private companies, entrepreneurs, celebrities, film and music artists, authors, advertising executives, franchisees, public utilities, educational institutions and nonprofits. She has won numerous awards and recognition for her pro bono legal work on behalf of domestic violence survivors, religious discrimination plaintiffs, and political refugees
... she might want to consider changing parties.

Until then, we should sit back and enjoy the notion that it's the Republicans who are forming the circular firing squad.

Discuss

Welcome to the Overnight News Digest


     (graphic by palantir)

The OND is published each night around midnight, Eastern Time.

The originator of OND was Magnifico.

Regular editors are jlms qkw, Bentliberal, wader, Oke, rfall, JML9999, and chief cat herder NeonVincent; with guest stints from maggiejean and annetteboardman. .

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Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 09:00 PM PDT

Overnight News Digest

by BentLiberal

This hasn't been getting much play in US Progressive circles - but it's very serious. These young ladies were sentenced to two years in a prison colony in Russia for making political statments that criticized the church and the government. It's outrageous and it's been getting a lot of play elsewhere. --BL

Moscow Court Postpones Pussy Riot Hearing - The three women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, and Maria Alyokhina, 24, were convicted in August of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in a prison colony for staging a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral last February. They said the stunt was intended to protest against Vladimir V. Putin, who was running for president at the time, and to criticize support for Mr. Putin by the church patriarch, Kirill I.

The prosecution of the three women, two of them mothers of young children, became an international sensation, and prompted wide criticism of Russia over the suppression of political speech. The women received support from a number of major music stars, including Sting and Madonna, as well as many governments. On the day of their conviction and sentencing, supporters rallied in dozens of cities around the world, many wearing colorful balaclavas – Pussy Riot’s trademark head gear.

But the judge who convicted the women, Marina Syrova, said that political comments were spliced into a video of the stunt later and that her verdict was based on the infiltration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the women’s behavior in front of the altar, which she said amounted to “the insult and humiliation of the Christian faith and inciting religious hatred.”

...

With Pussy Riot now one of the best-known symbols of the Russian political opposition, any development in their case attracts enormous attention and mobilization efforts. Security was tightened around the courthouse on Monday as defenders of the Russian Orthodox Church chanted hymns and engaged in public prayer. Meanwhile, supporters of Pussy Riot brought an inflatable doll to the courthouse wearing a balaclava. Several people were arrested, including members of a Ukrainian male dance group called Kazaky, who appeared in support of Pussy Riot.

--DAVID M. HERSZENHORN, nytimes.com



Photobucket
Pussy Riot members Maria Alekhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in a glass cage at a courtroom in Moscow. (Mikhail Metzel / Associated Press / August 17, 2012

(Look at the T-shirt:  "No Pasaran" was an historic anti-facisct saying from England. - BL)

Pussy Riot gets support from Yoko Ono and Amnesty International - Yoko Ono, with the backing of the human rights group Amnesty International, said Monday that the LennonOno Grant for Peace is being awarded to the beleaguered female Russian punk band whose members received jail terms for staging a public protest against President Vladimir Putin at Moscow cathedral earlier this year.

Even as Pussy Riot submits to the tender mercies of the Russian judicial system, international pressure continues to build to secure the group's release. The award from John Lennon's widow coincides with the European Parliament nominating Pussy Riot for the Sakharov Prize, named for the Soviet-era scientist/dissident Andrei Sakharov.

Reed Johnson, latimes.com




Welcome to the Overnight News Digest


     (graphic by palantir)

The OND is published each night around midnight, Eastern Time.

The originator of OND was Magnifico.

Regular editors are jlms qkw, Bentliberal, wader, Oke, rfall, JML9999, and chief cat herder NeonVincent; with guest stints from maggiejean and annetteboardman. .



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Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:00 PM PDT

Overnight News Digest

by BentLiberal

Welcome to the Overnight News Digest


     (graphic by palantir)

The OND is published each night around midnight, Eastern Time.

The originator of OND was Magnifico.

Regular editors are jlms qkw, Bentliberal, wader, Oke, rfall, JML9999, and chief cat herder NeonVincent; with guest stints from maggiejean and annetteboardman. .

Continue Reading

Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 09:00 PM PDT

Oh for knight Gnus Dye jest (OND!)

by BentLiberal

FBI: Spying on Occupy was within rules -(09-17) 17:20 PDT OAKLAND -- The FBI says its newly disclosed surveillance of the Occupy movement in Northern California stayed within federal rules ...

The American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained FBI surveillance documents on the movement in a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, wants to know why the agency is withholding nearly two-thirds of the records it says it has, and why it is citing national security as one reason for the nondisclosure.

"Why does a political protest amount to a national security threat?" ACLU attorney Linda Lye asked Monday.  ...

In addition to asking the agency for surveillance documents on local Occupy activities, the ACLU requested training material and justifications for any federal investigation of the protest movement around the nation.

--Bob Egelko, sfgate.com  (Chronicle)

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Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:10 PM PDT

Overnight News Digest

by BentLiberal

Memos show US hushed up Soviet crime - WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The American POWs sent secret coded messages to Washington with news of a Soviet atrocity: In 1943 they saw rows of corpses in an advanced state of decay in the Katyn forest, on the western edge of Russia, proof that the killers could not have been the Nazis who had only recently occupied the area.

The testimony about the infamous massacre of Polish officers might have lessened the tragic fate that befell Poland under the Soviets, some scholars believe. Instead, it mysteriously vanished into the heart of American power. The long-held suspicion is that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn't want to anger Josef Stalin, an ally whom the Americans were counting on to defeat Germany and Japan during World War II.

Documents released Monday and seen in advance by The Associated Press lend weight to the belief that suppression within the highest levels of the U.S. government helped cover up Soviet guilt in the killing of some 22,000 Polish officers and other prisoners in the Katyn forest and other locations in 1940.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

A memorial to the victims of Katyn, the Soviet massacre of 22,000 Polish officers in 1940, in Warsaw, Poland pictured on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. On Monday the U.S. National Archives is releasing about 1,000 newly declassified documents related to Katyn. Some shed further light on decades of suppression of Soviet guilt within the U.S. government. The cover-up began during World War II when the U.S. needed the Soviets to defeat Germany and Japan, and continued on some level long after. Photo: Czarek Sokolowski / AP

--RANDY HERSCHAFT, Associated Press, VANESSA GERA, Associated Press  via SFGATE

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New Orleans Isaac Updates: Food stamps, PODs, Power Outages, Sanitation - NEW ORLEANS, LA — This afternoon, the City of New Orleans provided a status update on clean-up and recovery efforts following Hurricane Isaac. The City is still operating two emergency cooling shelters, and all six POD sites for commodity distribution remain open at this time. Also, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services also announced earlier this morning that Orleans Parish residents impacted by Hurricane Isaac may now be eligible for Disaster Food Stamps.
The City also urged residents to continue to exercise an abundance of caution as crews continue clearing debris from the streets and repairing traffic signals throughout the city. Residents are asked to treat intersections with non-functioning traffic signals as a four-way stop and use an abundance of caution while driving. The NOPD will be out in full force throughout the event to enforce the law.

--BayouBuzz.com, Louisiana




FEMA, SBA recovery centers open in St. Bernard, New Orleans - FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) opened Monday in  St. Bernard and Orleans parishes to assist homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage to their home or personal property as a result of Hurricane Isaac.

Specialists from the state of Louisiana, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors

--http://www.bayoubuzz.com



Now surge-tested, levees around New Orleans get post-Isaac inspections

Louisiana officials and residents protected by a new 133-mile federal levee system sing its praises for withstanding a storm surge and flooding from hurricane Isaac. Coastal areas outside the system didn't fare so well.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos An air boat glides along the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Norco, La., about 30 miles upriver from New Orleans in May 2011. Since hurricane Katrina, Louisiana is protected by a new 133-mile federal levee system. Coastal areas outside the system didn't fare so well in hurricane Issac.

Patrick Semansky/AP







Hurricane Isaac has come and gone. Floodwaters in southeastern Louisiana are receding. For Chris Gilmore, it's time to take initial stock of how his segment of a $14.5-billion, 133-mile defensive wall of earth, steel, and concrete preformed in the first real-world test of post-Katrina improvements in flood protection for New Orleans and portions of surrounding parishes.

Isaac was a minimal hurricane when it made landfall overnight Aug. 28-29. But its large size and excruciatingly slow motion – at one point stalling for hours over the southeastern part of the state – built a surge whose height here at St. Bernard Parish, estimated at between 14 and 15 feet, rivaled the height of the surge Katrina delivered.

The view from the levee top reveals large patches of dead-wood debris lying along the levee's base like so many casualties of a siege assault. Behind the levee and the new pair of massive steel floodgates that close across the four lanes and center median of Louisiana State Road 46, boats on trailers, RV trailers, and even trailers from 18-wheelers are parked along the highway shoulders. They belong to residents who live beyond the levee and who sought its protection for their hard-earned assets.

--By Pete Spotts, Staff writer, Christian Science Monitor

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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest


     (graphic by palantir)

The OND is published each night around midnight, Eastern Time.

The originator of OND was Magnifico.

Regular editors are jlms qkw, Bentliberal, wader, Oke, rfall, JML9999, and chief cat herder NeonVincent; with guest stints from maggiejean and annetteboardman. .

Continue Reading

Photobucket

Last Saturday I was part of the enthusiastic crowd of well-wishers who welcomed approximately 30 cyclists in the Tour de Dreams to UC Santa Cruz (in California). These students and other young people are cycling over 500 miles from UC Berkeley to UCLA in celebration of the recent passage of the California DREAM Act, to draw support for the Federal DREAM Act, and to create a better public understanding of the challenges faced by undocumented students pursuing higher education.

The ride also coincides with the implementation of a new policy  by President Obama's DHS.  Qualified undocumented youth who immigrated to the US as children with their parents, can apply for a new status known as deferred action. If accepted, they will qualify for termporary works permits that are valid for 2 years.

Today is the first day that those who meet the criteria can apply.

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Young Mexicans caught in bitter drug war

Rachel Levin is an award-winning producer and correspondent who has been at Al Jazeera since 2006.

The first time I covered the drug war in Monterrey was in 2007, when the uptick in the violence was just beginning to be felt. I travelled there as a producer and we recorded a chilling story about how the war between rival cartels was effecting everyday Mexicans. A little more than 200 people were killed that year - including politicians and high-level police officers.

But nothing prepared me for my week-long reporting trip in August 2012. At least three people were killed each day we spent in the city. The murders were gruesome, involving teenagers caught in the crossfire, drug dealers shot down by police and victims hanged from bridges in broad daylight. The number of murders in the past year alone exceeded 1,600.

The upsurge in violence reflected a national trend over the past six years - since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels. Monterrey is the second largest city in Mexico, and an industrial powerhouse. Home to dozens of major companies and factories, the city contributes more than 7.5 per cent of the gross national product. People here have a saying: "If Monterrey goes, then so does the entire country."

Three major cartels are all at war in this city of more than four million people. The Sinaloa Cartel (allegedly controlled by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman), the Gulf Cartel and the infamous Zetas Cartel (reportedly started by former members of the military) are all killing each other over control of the lucrative drug routes that run through this city. The top prize is getting drugs across the border to the United States, the billion-dollar market as it is understood to be home to the largest number of drug consumers in the world.

One of the most moving stories we have reported was about the thousands of dead bodies that turn up, or are discovered, but never claimed. More than 16,000 corpses throughout the country remain nameless. Some of them are so mutilated that only fragments remain.

--Rachel Levin, Al-Jazeera

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