10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:
AP Wire
Jul 22, 2014

 

1. UKRAINE REBELS COOPERATING — RELUCTANTLY

The pro-Russian militants finally release a train full of bodies and hand over the black boxes from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane.

2. WHY ISRAEL'S MOOD HAS DARKENED

In a country where military losses are considered just as tragic as civilian ones, reaction to the deaths of 25 Israeli soldiers in the Gaza conflict has been electric.

3. 'ROGUE' GYNECOLOGIST COSTS JOHNS HOPKINS

The medical center is paying $190 million to 8,000 women and girls secretly recorded and photographed by the doctor during pelvic exams.

4. HOW MANY HOMELESS PEOPLE MAY HAVE BEEN ATTACKED IN NEW MEXICO

One of three teens accused of fatally beating two homeless men in Albuquerque tells police that he and the two others have terrorized perhaps 50 transients in recent months.

5. RED MEAT NOT VERY GREEN

Compared with other animal proteins, raising beef requires 11 times more water for irrigation and 28 times more land, a study says.

6. TEXAS SENDING TROOPS TO THE MEXICO BORDER

Gov. Rick Perry says he'll dispatch up to 1,000 members of the National Guard to help deal with an influx of immigrants from Central America.

7. OBAMA SIGNS BILL PROTECTING GAY, TRANSGENDER FEDERAL WORKERS

He says it's unacceptable that being gay is still a firing offense in many places in the U.S.

8. MANY U.S. VOTERS STAYING HOME

More than half the states to hold primary elections so far have seen record-low turnouts, according to a survey.

9. GLOBE SIZZLES IN BACK-TO-BACK MONTHS

The world sets another heat record in June after breaking a record in May.

10. WHO DIDN'T WANT 'TRUST FUND' KIDS

Instead, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman decreed that his estimated $35 million fortune should go his longtime partner and the children's mother, court documents say.

Comments

Lanivan

11. Looks like Detroit is turning a corner....
Detroit Retirees Approve Pension Cuts, A Crucial Step In Bankruptcy Case

A year after filing for bankruptcy, Detroit is building momentum to get out, especially after workers and retirees voted in favor of major pension changes just a few weeks before a judge holds a crucial trial that could end the largest public filing in U.S. history.

Pension cuts were approved in a landslide, according to results filed shortly before midnight Monday. The tally from 60 days of voting gives the city a boost as Judge Steven Rhodes determines whether Detroit's overall strategy to eliminate or reduce $18 billion in long-term debt is fair and feasible to all creditors. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...

Vladtheimp

Yup - Liberal Democrats having run Detroit into the hellhole that it is now, all Michigan taxpayers are paying into the bailout, and all U.S. taxpayers since GM and Chrysler are contributing with money that they didn't return to cover taxpayer losses from Obama auto bailout.

Plus, now in Detroit if you don't want to pay for a city service, like water and sewer charges, you don't have to pay since water is a Constitutional right - I sorrowfully predict this won't end well.

But on the bright side, crime is down since the Police Chief has been urging citizens to arm themselves.

"Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies in 2014 than during the same period last year, 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30 percent fewer carjackings. Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns." http://www.detroitnews.com/artic...

Lanivan

Correction: Liberal Democrats, years of Republican congressional control (think John Engler), years of unprecedented power, control, and profits within the auto industry, and years of passing the buck and kicking the can has resulted in the hellhole that Detroit is...almost.

Some people are looking at Detroit, it's iconic history, architecture, and spirit, and are inspired by the sheer investment potential the bankrupt city offers, seeing a possibly very high rate of return, and are actively moving forward while the rest of Michigan sits on their collective arses and whines.....http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/1...{%221%22%3A%22RI%3A11%22}

Tri-cities realist

Shouldn't Dan Gilbert, who is a member of the 0.1%, have had his wealth confiscated, so that it could be redistributed to the poor? But now you seem to be supportive of him. I'm so confused.

Lanivan

Please provide substantiation whereby I said that members of the 0.1% should have their wealth confiscated, and I will try my best to help you with your confusion.

Tri-cities realist

It was your multiple posts decrying wealth inequality. Perhaps you can elaborate on how you propose to solve it, if not by taking from the wealthy.

Lanivan

I have never once, in a comment or a link, advocated for the confiscation of anyone's money, rich or poor. What I have done is point out the explosion of extreme wealth disparity whereby CEO's of major corporations now average a wage 400 times greater than their average worker, and the wealth concentrated among the 0.1% is now the greatest in recorded history, while statistics show that wage gains for the middle class and working poor have stagnated, or in some cases, decreased during the same time period, after decades of steady growth.

And that excessive amounts of profits are being kept in off-shore, tax-free accounts - we're talking in the Trillions.

Tri-cities realist

And for the umpteenth time, how do you propose to fix it? Put up or stay quiet.

Lanivan

And for the umpteenth time, I've responded to your inquiry with umpteen million words, facts, figures, charts, statistics, editorials, and economic strategies.

If those weren't good enough for you, or if they didn't fit into your rigid ideological philosophy, go suck an egg.

Vladtheimp

#6. GOVERNOR PERRY ACTS, CAPTAIN FLIM FLAM TRIES ANOTHER BAMBOOZLE

The hapless Obama demands we borrow $3.8 Billion from China to address the "Emergency" on the border he largely created by unconstitutionally bypassing Congress and providing amnesty for illegals.

CBO scores his legislation and finds only $25 million will be spent this year and none of it on border security. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20... emergency.

Never let a crisis that you created go to waste President Alinsky!

Mr. Obama, put up that wall!

12. LOIS LERNER AND THE IRS STRIKE AGAIN!

"IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane said in transcribed congressional testimony that more IRS officials experienced computer crashes, bringing the total number of crash victims to “less than 20,” and also said that the agency does not know if the lost emails are still backed up somewhere.

The new round of computer crash victims includes David Fish, who routinely corresponded with Lois Lerner, as well as Lerner subordinate Andy Megosh, Lerner’s technical adviser Justin Lowe, and Cincinnati-based agent Kimberly Kitchens." http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/2...

13. OBUMBLER MAKES IRAN PAY FOR ITS STALLING TACTICS - WILL GIVE THEM $2.8 BILLION IN FROZEN ASSETS IF THEY PROMISE TO KEEP STALLING

"The United States will give Iran access to another $2.8 billion over the next several months and appears to have conceded to Iran’s demand that it be permitted to domestically enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, according to senior Obama administration officials." http://freebeacon.com/national-s...

echo5oscar

.....and with all that.....on with the fundraisers!

Tri-cities realist

The Campaigner in Chief cannot be inconvenienced by having to govern. Frankly, I'm in full support of anything that keeps him away from his pen.

Lanivan

6. That's right, right wing Republican Congress!! Biotch, whine, moan, and complain that Obama is doing TOO much via executive orders for immigration while you all take extended vacations, shunting immigration reform from congress to congress for 5 years.

Of course, we all know there is more border patrol and border security deployed at the border than under any other president, over 600 miles of fencing completed, a peak of 21,000 border patrol agents hired, and $860 million for technological tools, and a higher number of criminal illegals deported than any other president.

Yet, amid a wailing from Republicans, Obama asks for a measly $3.8 Billion (about 1/8 of the $24 billion lost during the 16-day Republican government shut-down), and now suddenly the Repubs are complaining that they refuse to approve the requested funds because the money won't be spent quickly enough or on those things they really want - a greater militarization along the border.

No, they are refusing to cooperate on solving a problem of their own making, due to their craven intransigence and inability to problem-solve because once again the money requested will not be going to private security contractors, Big Agriculture, gun manufacturers, or to themselves.

The money would be spent on humanitarian relief efforts, housing for the kids, and more temporary judges to handle the enormous caseloads so that this situation stabilizes.

13. It's way, way worse than this! Obama, brilliantly, is quietly forming alliances as a long-term strategy, based on our waning need for Middle East oil that has kept the US deep in the middle of Middle Eastern politics - to our extreme detriment and disadvantage, and is looking long-term, at the Big Picture. Oh - how Vlad will go ballistic over this!!! (said with delicious sarcasm)....."in Iraq, the United States could soon find itself working on the same side as four normally unfriendly foes: the Assad regime; Iran, Assad's primary backer and the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism; Hezbollah, Iran's Lebanese proxy group; and Russia, with whom the U.S. is sparring over its continued stirring of unrest in Ukraine.

Basically, nine months after a Russian-brokered chemical weapons deal in September re-legitimized Assad as an international partner, the Iraq crisis is building an Iran-Assad-Russia-U.S. alignment that no one would have thought possible."

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/o...

12. LOIS LANE AND CLARK KENT STRIKE AGAIN: http://www.redboots.net/lane2/ll...

echo5oscar

#13. Using the word "brilliantly" with Obama's foreign policy and strategy? WOW!

Lanivan

Ok, maybe you prefer I say "effulgently"? Obama's foreign policy and strategy has thus far managed to keep the US from:

1. Entering into two major troops-on-the-ground wars that resulted in the deaths of over 4,000 American soldiers and over a hundred thousand civilians, and were entirely unfunded.

2. The doubling of the Federal debt, increasing it by 101%, and costing taxpayers over $6 trillion.

3. Creating a massive influx of veterans on the VA system, requiring specialized mental and physical treatments and much greater medical staff than previously.

4. Macho, "Mission Accomplished" cowboy approach to foreign policy, and juvenile mumblings ("pootie-pute"), goosing Angela Merkel, etc, made the US a laughing stock when foreign leaders weren't totally appalled by the lack of intelligence.

5. Very nearly bankrupting the US which will take a decade or more to reverse, and from which a great deal of the fall-out will be nearly irreversible.

6. Allowing the US foreign policy to be governed and controlled by Darth Vader and his band of neo-cons, based on lies, falsehoods, bad intelligence, and petty dust-ups.

Yeah - WOW!

echo5oscar

You covered BUsh, but you forgot your daily Koch brothers rant.

Lanivan

Per your recommendation, see today's "10 things to know today".

Tri-cities realist

Hooray! We are going to align with Iran-Assad-Russia. Now that is what I call fundamental transformation. Don't we all wish we were a bit more like the Iranians? What a bastion of tolerance and justice, Iran is! Lanny, perhaps you would volunteer to be a special envoy for Obama. Just think you go live in Iran for a while, and report back to us, how much we could learn from them! A win-win all around.

Lanivan

You may joke, but this is dead serious stuff. Please take a minute and read the following link, which examines the differences between the Bush "Doomsday Doctrine" and the Obama "Cooperation and Consent" philosophies of US foreign policy. http://www.salon.com/2014/07/23/...

Tri-cities realist

Finish the border fence and then we can discuss next steps.

Lanivan

"A plan for 700 more miles of fencing along the southwest U.S. border — part of a immigration-bill deal forged in the Senate this week — would come with a mammoth and unpredictable price tag, judging by past efforts.

The original legislation crafted by the bipartisan Gang of Eight set aside $1.5 billion for fencing — and that was before a deal was struck with Republican senators to add more to the massive border security and fencing proposal. So how much would a new bigger border fence cost?

Customs and Border Protection spent $2.4 billion between 2006 and 2009 to complete 670 miles of border fence, and the vast majority of that was single-layer — one line of fencing designed to keep either pedestrians or vehicles from crossing into the United States, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

The new plan calls for a double-layer fence — two parallel barriers on either side of a corridor manned by Border Patrol — that would require more land acquisition, more supplies and more labor to build.

There is no firm cost for the fence outlined in the "border surge" agreement announced Thursday, and the price of previous fence construction has varied wildly.

A 2009 analysis by the GAO found that the cost of pedestrian fencing ranged between $400,000 and $15 million per mile with an average of $3.9 million a mile. The price of less expensive vehicle fencing ran anywhere from $200,000 to $1.8 million a mile, for an average of $1 million a mile.

That same year, Customs and Border Protection set aside $58 million to build a 3.5 mile stretch of fence along "difficult terrain" in San Diego, according to the GAO, an investigative arm of Congress.

"The per mile costs to build the fencing varied considerably because of the type of fencing, topography, materials used, land acquisition costs, and labor costs, among other things," the office's report said.

For example, while some 2008 contracts were being finalized, estimates began to balloon because the construction boom in Texas led to labor shortages and rising steel and cement prices, budget watchdogs noted.

And then there's the need to commandeer private land. The government can seize private property under eminent domain, but the costs of that action may not manifest themselves until legal battles are resolved.

This US-Mexico 'border-fence' runs right into the Pacific Ocean near San Diego. The cost of building such fences has ranged wildly making it difficult to pinpoint the price tag of expansion.

Scott Nicol, chair of the Sierra Club Borderlands Team, which opposes fence expansion because of the threat to wildlife, expects much of the new double-layer fence would run through south Texas, where "you do have a lot of people who are just like, 'I'm not going to sell my land.'"

An Associated Press analysis of court documents last year found that when homeowners reject the feds' initial offers to buy their borderlands, the cost skyrockets.

The Nature Conservancy balked at an offer of $114,000 for a fence on its land in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, and ultimately settled for $1 million. A developer in Brownsville, Texas, was offered $233,000 but ended up with $4.7 million three years later.

Building border fortifications didn't always cost so much. Earlier fence projects were carried out using scrap metal and Border Patrol or National Guard laborers, but as more and more barriers were approved and deadlines imposed, private contractors overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers took over the work.

For a sense of the scope of the contracts, consider a 2009 push to erect 38 miles of 19-foot fence near El Paso, Texas. The contractor, New Mexico-based Kiewit, said in a summary that more than 1,100 people and 600 pieces of equipment were mobilized to complete it in four months. The total cost of that segment: $170 million.

Like any large government initiative, border security is not immune from waste. A 2011 report by the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security found that Customs and Border Protection needlessly spent about $69 million by botching the order of steel and approving a high-priced subcontractor.

The payoff of all this infrastructure is unclear. Illegal entries to the United States fell 69 percent between 2006 and 2011, while drug and contraband seizures nearly doubled, the GAO said in a March report. At the same time, the report said, Customs could not account for the impact of the fence.

In response to a 2009 recommendation, the agency undertook an outside analysis to measure the effect of border fencing. Last year, officials said that based on preliminary results it will take another three to five years to come up with a "credible assessment" of how well the first 670 miles of fence is working.

If the full Congress eventually approves another 700 miles of double-layer barrier as part of an overall immigration bill, the cost-effectiveness may not be clear until after the last fence post is driven into the ground.

Tri-cities realist

A "measly" $3.8 Billion would pay for about 1000 miles of fence. How about we spend the money to prevent the problem, rather than just wasting it on another band-aid?

Harry Kovaire

Fed appeals court panel says most Obamacare subsidies illegal

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101819065

But the Obama Administration will just ignore the court ruling anyway.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101846539

Vladtheimp

Obama's lawlessness is catching up to him through application of the rule of law - although Obama will appeal the ruling, it is clear that his unconstitutional executive actions (here through his IRS) has put the health insurance of untold millions of Americans in jeopardy. Two citations from the D.C. decision amplify the Rule of Law, and how difficult it will be to overrule that decision:

We have repeatedly emphasized that it is “not our role” to “engage in a statutory rewrite” by “insert[ing] the word ‘only’ here and there.” Adirondack Med. Ctr. v. Sebelius, 740 F.3d 692, 699-700 (D.C. Cir. 2014); see Lamie
v. U.S. Tr., 540 U.S. 526, 538 (2004) (rejecting an interpretation that “would have [the Court] read an absent word into the statute” because such an interpretation “would result ‘not [in] a construction of [the] statute, but, in effect, an
enlargement of it by the court’” (second and third alterations in original) (quoting Iselin v. United States, 270 U.S. 245, 251 (1926))); Pub. Citizen, 533 F.3d at 817 (“Congress knows well how to say that disclosures may be made only under specified provisions or circumstances, but it did not do so here.” (footnote omitted)). Section 1312(a)’s actual language simply establishes the right of a qualified individual to enroll in any qualified health plan, at any level of coverage.7 On this reading, giving the phrase “established by the State” its plain
meaning creates no difficulty, let alone absurdity. Federal Exchanges might not have qualified individuals, but they would still have customers—namely, individuals who are not “qualified individuals.”8

"We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance. At
least until states that wish to can set up Exchanges, our ruling
will likely have significant consequences both for the millions
of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges
and for health insurance markets more broadly. But, high as
those stakes are, the principle of legislative supremacy that
guides us is higher still. Within constitutional limits, Congress
is supreme in matters of policy, and the consequence of that
supremacy is that our duty when interpreting a statute is to
ascertain the meaning of the words of the statute duly enacted
through the formal legislative process. This limited role
serves democratic interests by ensuring that policy is made by
elected, politically accountable representatives, not by
appointed, life-tenured judges."

Lanivan

Don't break out the champagne yet! From what I understand, this ruling comes from a 3-judge panel, made up of 2 Repubs and 1 Dem, from an 11-judge panel that is 7 Dems to 4 Repubs; and the lone Dem on the 3-panel of judges is calling the ruling political. Many legal minds are predicting the ruling will not stand.

But beyond this, the ruling is a morally repugnant decision, a reductio ad absurdam right-wing approach to literalism. What happened to justice? Intent? This is yet another case where conservative judges find a bit of language in a law that supports their pre-determined conclusion, use the wording to justify a literal reading of the text, and then blame legislators.

If allowed to stand, this ruling will raise taxes on millions of Americans, or will strip them of their health insurance. I wonder if Mitch McConnell and John Roberts are feeling a wee bit queasy in the abdominal area upon contemplating the unintended consequences of this decision?

Vladtheimp

1. If you want judicial decisions by party affiliation rather than by analysis using centuries old accepted Canons of Construction, you will have succeeded in destroying the rule of law that has kept us together as a United States constitutional republic - if that's really what you want, you will deserve what you get. The D.C. Circuit achieved its current composition by virtue of Harry Reid overturning 200 years of Senate precedents and packing the Court. Two can play that game, unfortunately.

2. Rather than blathering on, I respectfully suggest you read the opinion, where the statute's language, the Canons of Construction, the determination of legislative intent, and other legal issues are extensively discussed. http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/int...$file/14-5018-1503850.pdf

3. Obamacare has stripped more Americans of their insurance than it has provided insurance; no one is "stripped of insurance" to which they were entitled. Obama changed the law written and passed by Democrats, and provided taxpayer funded subsidies than were not provided for under the law. But, I understand that talking reason and legal requirements with a Socialist who care for nothing but to use the power of the state to bend everyone to what she believes is best for them is a waste of air.

Tri-cities realist

The lone Dem says it's political, then you note the 7 to 4. So party affiliation is all that is needed to determine the rulings? You should let the court know that they could save a lot of time, by ignoring the evidence and the rule of law, and just vote based upon party affiliation. Think of the increase in judicial throughput! Or perhaps, the rule of law still means something in this country.

The reality is that the Dems took a chance when they wrote the law by not including subsidies for the federal exchange (to entice the states to setup exchanges), and for now, they lost the bet. But as we all know... It ain't over.

Tri-cities realist

And I forgot to mention: what gall these 2 judges had to actually take literally what the legislative branch wrote into the law! I mean, come on, everyone knows that judges should be able to rewrite the laws to conform with their own agenda. Separate but equal, nah, it is called Supreme for a reason. :-S

Lanivan

Vlad and TCR: Since you are loathe, Vlad, to give me credit for my "blather", I offer a quote from a portion of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond that opposed the ruling, which is the basic gist of my "blather":

"What they may not do is rely on our help to deny to millions of Americans desperately-needed health insurance through a tortured, nonsensical construction of a federal statute whose manifest purpose, as revealed by the wholeness and coherence of its text and structure, could not be more clear".

Tri-cities realist

Well if it was so clear, how could it be "misinterpreted"? The language seems pretty clear to me, and the 2 judges correctly interpreted the law based upon what it said. The authors of the legislation could have easily fixed this, but chose not to.

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