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So Edith Jones, a federal judge for the 5th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals decided to go to UPenn Law School and give a nice little speech to our nation's budding scholars. Some of her nuggets of wisdom for the next generation:

Among her statements:

 That certain “racial groups like African Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime,” are “'prone' to commit acts of violence,” and get involved in more violent and “heinous” crimes than people of other ethnicities;
That Mexican nationals would prefer to be on death row in the United States rather than serving prison terms in Mexico, and it is an insult for the United States to look to the laws of other countries such as Mexico;

That Defendants' claims of racism, innocence, arbitrariness, and violations of international law and treaties are really nothing more than “red herrings” used by opponents of capital punishment;

That claims of “mental retardation” by capital defendants disgust her, and the fact such persons were convicted of a capital crime is itself sufficient to prove they are not in fact “mentally retarded”; and

That the imposition of a death sentence provides a positive service to capital-case defendants because defendants are likely to make peace with God only in the moment before their imminent execution.

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This has been going on for years.  When large debt buyers find out about widespread illegality within their company before they are actually sued for it, they do the following:

1.  Call up a friendly debt collection attorney.

2.  Convince said attorney to bring a class action.  Have the attorney give as little notice to potential class members as a court will let them get away with.

3.  Settle that class action for literally less than a penny on the dollar of the value of all the claims that could possibly be brought against them, without admitting liability.

4.  Sit back and enjoy immunity from any further lawsuits stemming from their illegality .  (The debt collection attorney gets himself a nice little fee in the process as well).  

Its a nice little game for everyone involved, except of course consumers which have been subjected to illegal debt collection and are left without any legal recourse.

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Justice Scalia is rightfully catching a lot of flack for this

While speaking at Princeton University on Monday, Antonin Scalia provided a reminder of why some gay rights proponents are nervous about the Supreme Court's decision to take on Prop. 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act next year. During the question and answer session, freshman Duncan Hosie asked Scalia why he's equated laws that ban homosexuality with those that outlaw bestiality and murder in his legal writings. "It's a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the 'reduction to the absurd,'" snapped Scalia. "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?"
Thus far, much of the criticism has focused on the assertion that it is offensive to widely shared current moral norms to compare murder to homosexuality.

However, I think these criticisms, while undoubtedly correct, are too narrow and miss the bigger and more obvious retort to Scalia's argument from absurdity: which is that legislatures proscribing any act based on the perceived immorality of the act is a bad idea.  A bad idea which, ironically, is almost guaranteed to lead to immoral results that serve no public utility.  A better approach is a utilitarian approach to legislation that focuses on limiting societal harms and starts from the basic premise that life and liberty and prosperity should be maximized.  While this approach is open to criticism and also leads to immoral outcomes, those outcomes are not advanced in the name of some false notion of morality, but instead advanced in order to better society.  

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CNET has a scoop on developments over at the Senate Judiciary Comittee where Patrick Leahy has re-written an earlier draft of a bill designed to protect Amercan's e-mail privacy.

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.

CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week.

It all sounds scary, but they have this all wrong.
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So here we are again.  This is all depressing and predictable.  Hamas has fired many rockets into Israel, with most of them being intercepted by the Iron Dome.  Tragically, some of them haven't been intercepted and three Israeli's were killed.  Israel has responded by bombarding Gaza with missile and drone strikes. As of this writing the respective death toll for Israel stands at 3, and for Gaza, 91.  

The primary justification for this disproportionate response over the years is echoed in President Obama's recent remarks:

"Let's understand what the precipitating event here that's causing the current crisis and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles that were landing not just in Israeli territory but in areas that are populated, and there's no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” Obama said at press conference in Thailand at the start of a three-nation tour in Asia.

“So we are fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself from missiles landing on people's homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians."

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Many followers of the Occupy Wall Street movement are undoubtedly already aware of it's latest endeavor--the Rolling Jubillee Movement.  The movement describes itself in the following way on their website:

How Does Rolling Jubilee Work?

Banks sell debt for pennies on the dollar on a shadowy speculative market of debt buyers who then turn around and try to collect the full amount from debtors. The Rolling Jubilee intervenes by buying debt, keeping it out of the hands of collectors, and then abolishing it. We’re going into this market not to make a profit but to help each other out and highlight how the predatory debt system affects our families and communities. Think of it as a bailout of the 99% by the 99%.

I'm profoundly intrigued by this movement's potential for a number of reasons.
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Obama will likely have to replace many key figures on his cabinet in the coming year, as is customary for Presidents elected to serve a second term in Washington.  Many have argued that Obama's second term will see a significant progressive shift.  Others have expressed skepticism.  While Washington incessantly focuses on the what the marginal tax rate will be for millionaires, the Patraeus scandal, and the "fiscal cliff", progressives should instead look at who Obama seeks to appoint to his cabinet in a second term with a keen eye. In almost every case, Obama looks poised to appoint someone who made their mark in the world as a corporate hack.

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Understandably, many of you might not have noticed this with all the election news.

According to a rule the agency published Wednesday, the CFPB will investigate whether debt buyers, third-party collection agencies and attorneys are being honest with consumers about who they are and how much consumers owe. It also plans to evaluate whether companies are responding adequately to consumers' complaints.

The bureau announced plans to examine debt-collection agencies in February, but the final plan and examination guidelines provide the industry with key details about what to expect from these audits....

The bureau decided to examine companies with more than $10 million in annual receipts from consumer debt activities.  

Unfortunately, the CFPB's plan suffers from a fundamental misunderstanding of the debt collection industry and is unlikely to yield many positive results to consumers, while wasting precious CFPB resources that could be better utilized elsewhere.
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Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:34 AM PST

It's Citizen's United Stupid....

by tiimbitz4786

There is a startling lack of cognitive dissonance going on in the progressive community right now.  Here's my problem--we all recognize the enormous influence that outside interest played in this past election and will play in future elections, yet make no mention of that spending in discussing the political failures of Democrats to get X or Y issue through.

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On Tuesday, August 3rd, Missouri will become the first state to put health care reform up to a plebiscite.  The measure, officially coined the Missouri Health Care Freedom Act (Proposition C), is expected to pass based  on the fact that reform is unpopular in Missouri and based on the expectation that, in an august election with low turnout, the more enthusiastic health reform opponents will show up to the polls in disproportionate numbers.

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I have to hand it to Beck in one regard:

Every once and a while, just when I think I've heard it all from him, and his act is tired and he's pushed things as far as they can possibly be pushed, he always manages to surprise me and push them just a little farther.

Pardon the relatively brief and to the point diary but I feel like this stuff speaks for itself

Warning---offensive slavery denial from Beck appears below the fold as well as very graphic images to remind people about the real history of race relations in this nation that Beck is glassing over.

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Look, I'm sympathetic to your point of view Keith.  And yes, I agree that the comment that was posted about your response being pre-meditated was at best a stupid conspiracy theory.  If you want to portray the entire dkos community as Obama's lapdogs who are attacking you solely because you had the audacity to go after Obama that is your prerogative.  

But for many of us, myself included, our rift with you has been a much longer process that has led to the point where I can't even watch Countdown anymore.

I don't expect this diary to be popular--but it is an honest attempt at flipping the switch on your GBCW diary to a GBCW to your rather sub par cable news show.

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