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Monday, Jul 28th

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President Signs Law Giving Defense Department Authority To Exempt Photos From Freedom Of Information Act

President Obama today signed into law a Homeland Security appropriations bill that grants the Department of Defense (DOD) the authority to continue suppressing photos of prisoner abuse. The amendment, which would allow the DOD to exempt photos from the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), is aimed at photos ordered released by a federal appeals court as part of an American Civil Liberties Union FOIA lawsuit for photos and other records related to detainee abuse in U.S. custody overseas, although it would apply to other photos in government custody as well. Earlier this month, the ACLU sent a letter to Secretary Robert Gates urging him not to exercise the authority to suppress the photos in their case, stating that the photos "are of critical relevance to an ongoing national debate about accountability."

TVNL Comment: How is that for "change"?

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Former right-wing leader warns of religious right violence: ‘Anyone can be killed

Frank Schaeffer is an outspoken critic of the politicized Christian evangelical right. He sees the “End Times” movement as anti-Semitic. He fears that a right-wing terrorist might assassinate the President of the United States.

None of these talking points would be novel on the left, but Schaeffer is hardly a bleeding heart liberal. His father, Dr. Francis Schaeffer, is considered to be the godfather of the modern religious right movement. Schaeffer himself took up the family mission and became a prominent speaker and writer, promoting many of the sentiments that have given rise to the politically active, extremely well organized and zealous movement of today.

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Orthodox Jews Relying More on Legal Prosecution of Sex Abuse

Of some 700 child sexual abuse cases brought in an average year, few involved members of the ultra-observant Orthodox Jewish community  But in the past year, there have been 26. District Attorney Charles J. Hynes has brought charges against a variety of men — yeshiva teachers, rabbis, camp counselors, merchants and relatives of children. Eight have been convicted; 18 await trial.

If the sudden spike in prosecutions is startling, even more surprising is the apparent reason: ultra-Orthodox Jews, long forbidden to inform on one another without permission from the rabbis who lead them, are going to the police and prosecutors on their own.

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U.S. contracts meant for small businesses in Florida often go to huge companies

What do Dell Computer, General Electric and Boeing have in common? These massive corporations were all counted as ``small businesses'' doing work in Florida last year.

The three firms -- along with a dozen other billion-dollar companies -- soaked up at least $76 million in federal contracts that were recorded as going to small businesses during fiscal year 2008, according to government data. While the federal government is obliged to put 23 percent of all direct, or prime, contracts in the hands of small firms, it has missed that mark for the past three years.

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Justice Dept. to Review Bush Policy on DNA Test Waivers

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has ordered a review of a little-known Bush administration policy requiring some defendants to waive their right to DNA testing even though that right is guaranteed in a landmark federal law, officials said.

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Criminalizing everyone: the rapid and dangerous expansion of federal criminal law

Kathy and George Norris lived under the specter of a covert government investigation for almost six months before the government unsealed a secret indictment and revealed why the Fish and Wildlife Service had treated their family home as if it were a training base for suspected terrorists. Orchids.

That's right. Orchids. By March 2004, federal prosecutors were well on their way to turning 66-year-old retiree George Norris into an inmate in a federal penitentiary - based on his home-based business of cultivating, importing and selling orchids.

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G20 protesters blasted by sonic cannon

US police spark outrage by using wartime acoustic weapon to disperse G20 protesters in Pittsburgh.

Only a few hundreds protesters took to the streets of Pittsburgh to mark the opening day of the G20 summit of world leaders, but the police were taking no chances.

Sonic weapons or long-range acoustic devices have been used by the US military overseas, notably against Somali pirates and Iraqi insurgents.

But US security forces turned the piercing sound on their own citizens yesterday to widespread outrage. Pittsburgh officials told the New York Times that it was the first time "sound cannon" had been used publicly.

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