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Tuesday, Sep 16th

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Alaska State Senator Pleads Guilty to Public Corruption Charges

Alaska State Senator John Cowdery, 78, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to bribe another Alaska state legislator, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division announced.

Cowdery admitted to conspiring to offer more than $10,000 in campaign contributions to another Alaska state senator (State Senator A) in exchange for State Senator A's support of oil tax legislation during the 2006 Alaska state legislative session.
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U.S. Corps of Engineers Caught Harassing Activists on Internet

Using free internet tracking software, the grassroots group levees.org found solid evidence that multiple individuals at the US Army Corps of Engineers are posting bogus information about the New Orleans flooding and attacking those wanting the truth.

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Bush administration eases railroad route safety rule

Saying it wants to help protect people like Neuschwander, the Bush administration is pushing through a new rule that requires railroads to use the safest and most secure routes to transport hazardous cargo.

But the rule, which becomes effective during Bush's last month in office, would leave route-making decisions to railroad companies and would not require them to seek input from residents or local governments when assessing which route is safest.

Critics say the rule will allow railroads to continue sending dangerous materials through densely populated areas rather than taking longer routes that bypass cities.

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Court sides with ACLU, strikes down Patriot Act gag provision

A federal appeals court ruling late Monday is the cause célèbre of the American Civil Liberties Union, as another provision of the Bush administration's Patriot Act falls to the judicial system.

Until the ruling, recipients of so-called "national security letters" were legally forbidden from speaking out. The letters, usually a demand for documents, or a notice that private records had been searched by government authorities, were criticized as a cover-all for FBI abuses.

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State AG Conference paid for by lobbyists and big corporations

Attorneys general from around the nation are attending professional and political conferences this month — paid for in large part by corporations and lobbyists with potential legal issues in their states.

The donors? Drug companies, tobacco firms, alcohol lobbyists, banks, energy companies and labor unions, among others.  Critics say the conferences — combined with corporate donations, sponsorships and political contributions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — represent at least the appearance of a conflict of interest for the attorneys general, and could be improper.

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TVNL Comment:  There is no appropriate comment other than DUH!

Spying on pacifists, environmentalists and nuns

Maryland officials now concede that, based on information gathered by "Lucy" and others, state police wrongly listed at least 53 Americans as terrorists in a criminal intelligence database -- and shared some information about them with half a dozen state and federal agencies, including the National Security Agency.

Among those labeled as terrorists: two Catholic nuns, a former Democratic congressional candidate, a lifelong pacifist and a registered lobbyist. One suspect's file warned that she was "involved in puppet making and allows anarchists to utilize her property for meetings."

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New rules ease ban on guns in national parks

People will soon be able to carry concealed, loaded guns in most national parks and wildlife refuges.

The Bush administration said Friday it is overturning a 25-year-old federal rule that severely restricts loaded guns in national parks.

TVNL Comment: How sweet. Good old Republican values.

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