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Indefinite detention bill passes in Senate December 16, 2011

December 15, 2011

by legitgov


Breaking: Indefinite detention bill passes in Senate 16 Dec 2011 ( Exactly 220 years to the date after the Bill of Rights was ratified, the US Senate today voted 86 to 13 in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, allowing the indefinite detention and torture of Americans. After a back-and-forth in recent days between both the Senate and House yielded intense criticism from Americans attempting to hold onto their Constitutional rights, NDAA FY2012 is now on its way to the White House, where yesterday the Obama administration revealed that the president would not veto the legislation, cancelling a warning he offered less than a month earlier.

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Tiger wins his first tourney in 2 years December 5, 2011

(CNN) — Tiger Woods won his first golf tournament in more than two years, narrowly defeating fellow American Zach Johnson to capture the Chevron World Challenge title Sunday.

Woods finished three strokes under par for the day, allowing him to leapfrog Johnson for the one-stroke win at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, according to the PGA Tour’s website.

The victory was the 35-year-old golfer’s first since capturing the Australian Masters title in November 2009.

“It feels awesome,” said Woods on his official website, “It was a lot of fun coming down the stretch.”

The five-time winner was one stroke behind Johnson going up the 17th, before he birdied the final two holes — including a 16-foot putt at 17 — to clinch the title.

“If I don’t make that putt it’s in Zach’s control,” Woods said. “That putt was huge.”

Despite the disappointing finish, Johnson was quick to pay tribute to his rival.

“He made two great putts,” he said, in quotes carried by “You just tip your hat. I’m proud of how I handled the situation and continued to fight.”

Woods the hero as United States retain Presidents Cup

There were 18 players total in the Chevron field, far fewer than in more traditional tournaments. Even so, the PGA Tour website noted that Woods moved up 20 spots in the Official World Golf Ranking with the win.

Woods had reigned as golf’s No. 1 for a record 623 weeks between 1997 and 2010, until his career stalled amid a slew of injuries and well-publicized reports of affairs that led to the end of his marriage.

In October, he dropped out of the world’s top 50 for the first time in 15 years.

The PGA Tour’s 2012 “regular season” schedule officially begins the first week in January at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Hawaii. In April, Woods likely will be among those battling in the season’s first major, The Masters, which he has won four times.

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In other news: silent but deadly | Ana Marie Cox November 11, 2011

We have named this column. To celebrate, I am writing this column, despite my feeling like I should not rely on this column too much.

Here is a series of clips of Ryan Gosling being poignantly silent.

‘What is this boy thinking?’ A Rick Perry campaign mailer sent out in Iowa. Photograph:

• Apparently, we are supposed to like Rick Perry because he was once a child. To be fair, this does distinguish him from Mitt Romney.

• Did the Senate refuse to hold a hearing on the appointment of Edward DuMont to a federal court because he’s gay?

• A proposition so simple it has to be announced in the op-ed pages of the New York Times: end bonuses to bankers. Some logic that clearly you have be an economist to understand:

“Bonuses are particularly dangerous because they invite bankers to game the system by hiding the risks of rare and hard-to-predict but consequential blow-ups.”

• More economics: with the McRib, “McDonald’s exploits the value differential between pork’s cash price on the commodities market and in the Quick-Service Restaurant market.”

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Occupy Wall Street: protesters fear eviction October 13, 2011

3.18pm: Occupy Wall Street have said the statements by police and Brookfield amount to “attempt to shut down #OWS for good”.

The demonstration is calling for protesters to gather at Zuccotti Park at 6am tomorrow – an hour before cleaning is due to begin – to “defend the occupation from eviction”.

Occupy Wall Street statement:

Last night Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD notified Occupy Wall Street participants about plans to “clean the park”—the site of the Wall Street protests—tomorrow starting at 7am. “Cleaning” was used as a pretext to shut down “Bloombergville” a few months back, and to shut down peaceful occupations elsewhere.

Bloomberg says that the park will be open for public usage following the cleaning, but with a notable caveat: Occupy Wall Street participants must follow the “rules”. These rules include, “no tarps or sleeping bags” and “no lying down.”

So, seems likely that this is their attempt to shut down #OWS for good.

The clean up of the park is set to take 12 hours, Brookfield has said. Tomorrow could be a very long day.

NYPD confirmed to the Guardian that there will be police present to facilitate the clean-up from 7am. If there is an influx of protesters at 6am, things could get quite interesting tomorrow morning.

2.58pm: Just spoke to NYPD. They say protesters will not be completely cleared from Zuccotti Park, it will be cleaned in thirds, and protesters allowed to be present while cleaning takes place.

However a police spokesman confirmed that protesters would not be allowed to keep sleeping equipment in the park.

The notice posted by Brookfield, which you can view here (opens), reads:

Zuccotti Park is a privately-owned space that is designed and intended for use and enjoyment by the general public for passive recreation.

For the safety and enjoyment of everyone, the following types of behaviour are prohibited in Zuccotti Park:

Camping and/or the erection of tents or other structures

Lying down on the ground, or lying down on benches, sitting areas or walkways which unreasonably interferes with the use of benches, sitting areas or walkways by others.

The placement of tarps or sleeping bags or other covering on the property.

Storage or placement of personal property on the ground, benches, sitting areas or walkways which unreasonably interferes with the use of such areas by others.

The use of bicycles, skateboards and roller blades.

Removal of objects from trash receptacles.

Any other activities prohibited by law or statute.

It’s pretty comprehensive. Lying down on the ground or lying on benches pretty much prevents people from living there, as does the placement of tarps or sleeping bags on the property.

2.41pm: Protesters will not be allowed to bring sleeping bags and other camping gear back to Occupy Wall Street after Zuccotti Park is cleaned tomorrow, police have said.

Police commissioner Ray Kelly told the New York Post all demonstrators will have to leave the park while cleaning takes place – contrary to reports which suggested the park would be cleaned in sections, allowing occupation to continue – and while they will be allowed back, they will not be able to bring any of the items they have been using to camp out.

From the Post:

The party’s over!

The city’s top cop said today that the Occupy Wall Street protesters who clear out of Zuccotti Park tomorrow so their filthy makeshift campsite can get a much-needed cleaning can come back when the job is finished — but they can’t take their tents, coolers and other gear with them.

“People will have to remove all their belongings and leave the park,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, “After it’s cleaned, they’ll be able to come back. But they won’t be able to bring back the gear, the sleeping bags, that sort of thing will not be able to be brought back into the park.”

Pamplets were handed out to protestors by security guards hired by the park to inform them of the changes. The order would put an end to the campout at the park that began on September 17.

This morning Occupy Wall Street protester Ed Needham told the Guardian protesters would not leave the park, for fear of not being allowed to return by police.

2.27pm: Video of Tom Morello at Occupy Wall Street this afternoon:

Earlier Morello, who performs under the name the Nightwatchman, tweeted: “Today at noon The Nightwatchman will Occupy Wall Street. Will you?”

1.58pm: New take on tomorrow’s clean-up from AP:

City officials have informed protesters that they will need to leave Zuccotti Park on Friday so that it can be cleaned, but that they’ll be allowed to return afterward.

As a steady drizzle fell Thursday over the park, owned by Brookfield Properties, confusion was high over when the protesters will be ordered out and where they’ll go during the evacuation.

“The cleanup is a pretext to remove us from the camp. And we can return only if we abide by the rules of Brookfield Properties,” said Justin Wedes, 25, a public high school science teacher from Brooklyn who was sweeping the pavement with others. “We’re redoubling our efforts today.”

Brookfield did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the cleanup. City officials remained mum on logistics.

“This is the cleanest protest I’ve ever witnessed,” said Emilio Montilla, 29, a laid-off teacher’s assistant. “We take care of ourselves. We’re self-sufficient.”

1.01pm: Protesters will stage a demonstration in Times Square on Saturday, according to Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook page.

This Saturday, October 15th, hundreds of cities across the country will host demonstrations in support of the #Occupy movement. In New York City, dozens of community groups, unions, student organizations and lots and lots of regular folk are taking to the streets in a mass protest that will culminate in Times Square at 5pm, then moving (by train party!) downtown.

You are invited to be a part of it. Come join the Occupation Party and participate in a stunning moment expressing hope and a new vision for the future – and showing our solidarity with the people who have already been occupying Wall Street for weeks.

Meet at the TKTS kiosk in the north section. From our street carnival in Times Sq. we will take the protest party to the trains and head downtown.

12.27pm: Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine fame has been performing to Occupy Wall Street protesters this afternoon. I’m hunting around for video footage, will post shortly.

12.15pm: OWS has raised over $150,000 dollars, reports CNN.

This massive fundraising was made through donations via mail, two websites — and — and in person to members of what the movement calls its “Finance Working Group.”

Separately, four days ago, “Occupy Wall Street Media” successfully raised over $75,000 worth of donation pledges to be used toward the protest’s official publication, The Occupy Wall Street Journal, according to the online funding platform Kickstarter.

In addition to overseeing fundraising, members of the Finance Working Group, distinguishable by their gold dollar sign armbands, are also charged with disbursing funds to the other groups within the movement. These groups, which range from more permanent teams like Security and Media, to temporary teams assigned to isolated tasks, become eligible for funding upon approval by the general assembly.

11.57am: According to Reuters, Occupy Wall Street protesters have “threatened to block any efforts by clean-up crews to enter their camp”.

Occupy Wall Street pledged to resist any effort by cleaning crews or police to enter the park, asking protesters to create a human chain around the area to “peacefully/non-violently stand our ground,” according to a post on its Facebook page.

The movement, which began on September 17, plans to undertake its own massive clean-up effort and sent out requests for mops, brooms, garbage bags and power washers. But protesters also objected to Bloomberg’s description of the camp.

I can’t find the post the report refers to on Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook page, and this seems to contradict what I was told by activists this morning. More as we get it.

11.28am: Amanda Michel, engagement editor at ProPublica, is in Italy and tweeting pictures from an occupy movement in Rome.

@amichel Pic: Here in Rome people are organizing #occupiamobancaditalia near Banca Italia

Occupy Wall Street has inspired a similar occupation in Rome Photograph: Amanda Michel

@amichel Pic: You can see police camped out down street from #occupiamobancaditalia

@amichel Pic: What #occupiamobancaditalia in Rome looks like at the moment

11.12am: The son of US business magnate (and third wealthiest person in the world) Warren Buffet has come out in support of Occupy Wall Street.

Howard Buffett, director of the Berkshire Hathaway Inc, told Bloomberg that Wall Street protesters were provoked by abuses from corporations amid a widening disparity between rich and poor.

“I think it takes that to make things happen sometimes,” Howard Buffett, 56, said of the demonstrations in an interview yesterday in Des Moines, Iowa. Over the past 15 years, “we saw large corporations really screw people.”

Occupy Wall Street has drawn out protesters from New York to Seattle and gained empathizers among the top executives at Citigroup Inc. (C) and Blackrock Inc. Warren Buffett, the world’s third-richest person, has said he is concerned about inequity in the U.S. The younger Buffett, a farmer and philanthropist, said obtaining enough food has become more difficult for more people.

“There has never been a larger gap between earnings in this country,” said Howard Buffett, who was in Des Moines to deliver a speech at the World Food Prize conference. “There has never been a time in my lifetime when the government is going to cut an incredible amount of programs that support poor people and feed them.”

10.57am: Four Occupy Austin protesters were arrested this morning after refusing to leave a protest outside City Hall, according to Austin police.

The protesters were arrested for criminal trespassing when they would not move to allow workers to clean the area.

Reuters report:

The majority of the protesters agreed to leave City Hall while they cleaned up,” police spokesman Corporal Anthony Hipolito told Reuters. “Four refused to leave.”
Hipolito said the four did not resist arrest.

The protest later resumed, and by 8:15 a.m., there were about a dozen protesters at City Hall.

The Austin protest is one of many being held across the country by demonstrators who say they are angry over economic inequality and what they see as Wall Street greed.

“There wasn’t really any reason for them to get arrested,” said protester Lex Simko, 26, a musician. “Maybe they could have been gently escorted away instead.” In general, though, he said, the protesters and the police have been getting along smoothly.

One day last week, for example, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo mingled with the crowd, stopping to pose for photos with a protester who carried a sign that said “Shame on NYPD, God bless APD.”

And on Thursday morning, a protester approached a police officer to offer him a flower.

10.34am: I’ve just spoken to Ed Needham from Occupy Wall Street about tomorrow’s cleaning effort, who said protesters will remain at Zuccotti Park in a bid to ensure it is not seized by police.

“We’d like to take people at their best intentions,” Needham said. “But this has been a tactic used by police departments around the world – police come in and dissolve what’s going on. We’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Needham said Occupy Wall Street intend to have “plenty of people on the ground” while the clean up takes place, in order to remain entrenched in Zuccotti Park.

“We won’t be leaving the place [while the park is being cleaned],” he said.

10am: Good morning. Mike Bloomberg visited Occupy Wall Street on Wednesday, briefly chatting with protesters and announcing that Zuccotti Park would be cleaned on Friday.

Associated Press reports:

Bloomberg told them park owner Brookfield Properties plans to clean the public space on Friday, and said they would be allowed to return after the park is clean.

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said in a statement that the protest has “created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park.” He said Brookfield Properties asked for police help to clear the park so it can be cleaned.

Although protesters have been told they will be able to return to the park after it has been cleaned, some are wary of the motives behind the cleansing.

Beth Bogart told the Guardian: “They’re gonna try and move us on Friday, if you read between the lines.”

She said similar tactics were used to evict M15 demonstrators in Spain, who also held occupied protests.

“There is an awareness that this is a pretext to shutting down Occupy Wall Street,” Bogart added.

Bloomberg’s visit came after another day of protest marches organised around OWS. On Wednesday hundreds of Wall Street office cleaners marched near Wall Street on Wednesday demanding good jobs and protesting economic inequality.

From Reuters’ report:

More than 750 cleaners, security guards and other building service workers converged on the financial district to march for better-paying jobs, while at a nearby rally outside a JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) skyscraper police said about 100 people walked around the building and then returned to their camp in the park. Police said they arrested four people at the bank building.

Barricades had been placed outside the JPMorgan Chase building in preparation for the protest, and many police officers stood on duty.

The building service workers union, Service Employees International Union, which organized the march, said contracts for tens of thousands of workers were about to expire.

“We’re out here because there’s no jobs and we’re about to lose our jobs. We’re tired and we’re fed up and we need these people in here to hear us,” said Carla Thomas, 47, a building security guard, gesturing toward Wall Street.

Today around 90 US college campuses are holding rallies in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, while Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine is due to visit Zuccotti Park at 12 noon.

I’ll post updates through the day on protesters reaction to the cleaning of the park and latest developments from elsewhere. Share your views by commenting below or tweeting me @AdamGabbatt

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Yahoo and ABC to share news October 3, 2011

Yahoo and ABC News have announced a deal to share news stories across their websites, starting with a live interview with Barack Obama to be broadcast online on Monday.

The tie-up will see ABC News publish Yahoo News stories while sharing its own video reports, including the popular Good Morning America, with the internet company’s website. and have a combined monthly audience of 100 million unique users. is the most popular US news website according to figures published last week by web metrics firm Nielsen.

Online traffic for the Yahoo News website and ABC News will be reported together as part of the new arrangement.

George Stephanopoulos, co-anchor of Good Morning America, will interview the US president live on the two websites on Monday afternoon, with questions submitted by Yahoo and ABC News readers.

The Obama interview will be the first video event shared across both sites, before the launch of a Newsmakers series featuring high-profile ABC News anchors Katie Couric, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts.

Christiane Amanpour will front a series on global news, and Bill Weir will host an online series on new technology.

The two news providers will maintain editorial control over their content, although they will share “integrated bureaux” in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

Monday’s announcement builds on a video-sharing deal announced by the pair in 2005, which saw ABC News provide video reports for Yahoo’s news website.

Ben Sherwood, president of ABC News, said: “This relationship will give ABC News an unrivaled ability to reach across the web, combining Yahoo’s vast distribution and cutting-edge technology with our award-winning journalism. For years, we’ve proudly proclaimed that more Americans get their news from ABC News than any other source.

“Going forward, we will greatly expand this leadership by building a connection with a whole new online audience.”

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