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ACLU seeks to salvage FOIA ruling

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to leave undisturbed a lower court ruling that limits the government’s power to keep secret photos or documents that reveal official wrongdoing.

In its new filing, the ACLU contended that the new law in no way undercuts the ruling of the Second Circuit, so the Justices should simply deny review of the government’s case.

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National intelligence director to evaluate CIA missions

Reporting from Washington - Sensitive CIA operations overseas will face new scrutiny from the nation's intelligence director under a plan approved by the White House and outlined in a memo to the espionage workforce last week.

The move marks an attempt by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair to assert greater authority over clandestine operations at a time of mounting bureaucratic frictions between the CIA and Blair's office.

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FBI Lets Barred Tycoon Visit U.S.

One of Russia's most powerful tycoons -- barred entry to the U.S. for years due to U.S. government concerns about possible ties to organized crime -- visited the country twice this year under secret arrangements made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska met with FBI agents in August and earlier this month as part of a continuing criminal probe, according to two administration officials. The focus of that probe couldn't be learned.

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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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