Wednesday, October 26, 2011

N.H. panel votes to recommend gay marriage repeal |

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire committee is asking the House to repeal the state's 15-month-old same-sex marriage law and replace it with civil unions for any unmarried adults including relatives.

The Judiciary Committee voted 11-6 Tuesday to recommend repealing the gay marriage law and establishing civil unions for any unmarried adults competent to enter into a contract.

The bill isn't the same civil unions law that was in effect before gays were allowed to marry. That law granted gays all the rights and responsibilities of marriage except in name. The Legislature changed that to legalize gay marriage.

State Rep. David Bates, the bill's sponsor, said there is no reason to limit civil unions and the legal protections they provide solely to same-sex couples or speculate on the unions' sexual nature.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Anti-Violence Project: Boston Police Lacked Probable Cause for Unlawful Assembly Arrests

From the Anti-Violence Project of Massachusetts
In ordering protestors to leave the Rose Kennedy Greenway early Tuesday morning, the Boston Police Dept. invoked G.L. c. 269, § 1 which empowers the Mayor or police of a city or town to "[command] ten or more persons,  ... unlawfully, riotously or tumultuously assembled [to] immediately and peaceably to disperse [in the name of the Commonwealth] ...." In so doing, the Boston police blatantly disregarded the elements of the offense of "unlawful assembly" under Massachusetts law. As the Massachusetts Appeals Court has held, the crime of "unlawful assembly" requires that the persons so gathered "have formed a common intent to 'engage[] in a common cause . . . to be accomplished with violence and in a tumultuous manner... or 'through force and violence' ...." Commonwealth v. Abramms, 66 Mass. App. Ct. 576, 585-86 (2006)(Cites omitted.) "Thus, an 'essential element' of ... 'unlawful assembly' is 'the intent to commit an act of violence.'"Id. (Emphasis added." Only violent assemblies may be dispersed by order of the police under Massachusetts law. "[P]eaceful assemblies, [but] not violent gatherings, are protected by the First Amendment [and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights art. 19]." Id. at 587.
The Occupy Boston demonstrators on the Rose Kennedy Greenway were assembled peaceably. The only force employed on the morning of October 11, 2011 was that of Boston police officers dispersing a non-violent protest without a legal basis for declaring an "unlawful assembly." In invoking the "unlawful assembly" statute without probable cause and using force against citizens exercising constitutional rights, the Boston Police themselves violated "clearly established" federal and state constitutional rights, as embodied in the Abramms decision. See Glik v. Cunniffe, No. 10-764, slip op. (1st Cir. 8/26/2011.) In so doing, each and every police officer who participated in the forcible break-up of the assembly on the Rose Kennedy Greenway may have exposed him or herself to personal liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Police Use Violence Against Peaceful "Occupy Boston"

Taken from
Boston Police Brutally Assault Occupy Boston
At 1:30 this morning hundreds of police in full riot gear brutally attacked Occupy Boston, which had peacefully gathered on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The Boston Police Department made no distinction between protesters, medics, or legal observers, arresting legal observer Ursula Levelt, who serves on the steering committee for the National Lawyers Guild, as well as four medics attempting to care for the injured.
Earlier in the day, an estimated ten thousand union members, students, veterans, families, men, and women of all ages marched from the Boston Common to Dewey Square, and then to the North Washington Bridge to demand economic reform on Wall Street and the end of special interest influence in Washington.
Following this massive outpouring of public support, dozens of police vans descended on the Greenway, with batons drawn, assaulting protesters and arresting more than one-hundred people. Members of Veterans for Peace carrying American flags were pushed to the ground and their flags trampled as the police hauled them away.
Following the raid, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis made no mention of veterans, organized labor, students, or families, nor did he issue an apology for his department’s aggressive tactics. Since the beginning of its occupation, Occupy Boston has worked tirelessly and successfully to maintain a positive working relationship with city officials. Today’s reprehensible attack by the Boston Police Department against a movement that enjoys the broad support of the American people represents a sad and disturbing shift away from dialogue and towards violent repression.
Despite the city’s attempt to silence us, Occupy Boston remains, and bears no ill-will towards the men and women of the Boston Police Department who were simply following orders. We hope that someday the peaceful pursuit of economic justice will not provoke the beating of elderly veterans and the arrest of medics and legal observers. We encourage everyone who continues to feel as strongly as we do about limiting the influence of Wall Street on our democracy to join us tomorrow, and in the future, down in Dewey Square.
“We will occupy. We are the 99 percent and we are no longer silent.”
Occupy Boston is the beginning of an ongoing discussion about reforming Wall Street and removing special interests from government. The continuing occupation of Dewey Square (outside South Station) is just one of more than 120 separate Occupy encampments in cities across the nation and a symbol for “Occupiers” everywhere who support real and lasting change. Video:

Monday, October 10, 2011 Catches Bachmann Spinning More "Truth"


Michele Bachmann is wrong to say allowing illegal immigrants in Texas to pay in-state tuition is “an abuse of an executive power.” Gov. Rick Perry did not impose the policy by executive fiat. The Legislature overwhelmingly passed the bill in 2001, and Perry signed it.
Minnesota Rep. Bachmann — who has criticized Perry’s executive order on HPV vaccines as an inappropriate use of power — made her statement in a Web video posted Sept. 29.
Bachmann, Sept. 29: We can’t settle for a president who would encourage more illegal immigration through magnet policies, like tuition breaks for illegal aliens or their children. That’s an abuse of an executive power.
That’s just not true. The change in tuition policy followed the usual legislative process.
The bill passed by votes of 142-1 in the House and 27-3 in the Senate. The Houston Chronicle wrote: “The surprise at such potentially polarizing issues passing the House and Senate is surpassed only by wonder at the ease with which they have been approved.”
Of course, Perry could have chosen not to sign the bill. But he signed it on June 16, 2001 — four months after it was introduced. “We want bright, new Texans to stay here, and contribute great things to our future,” he said in a speech six days after signing the bill.
– Eugene Kiely

Monday, October 03, 2011

Weekly Presidential Address, October 1, 2011

Hello, everyone.  It’s been almost three weeks since I sent the American Jobs Act to Congress – three weeks since I sent them a bill that would put people back to work and put money in people’s pockets.  This jobs bill is fully paid for.  This jobs bill contains the kinds of proposals that Democrats and Republicans have supported in the past.  And now I want it back.  It is time for Congress to get its act together and pass this jobs bill so I can sign it into law. 

Some Republicans in Congress have said that they agree with certain parts of this jobs bill.  If so, it’s time for them to tell me what those proposals are.  And if they’re opposed to this jobs bill, I’d like to know what exactly they’re against.  Are they against putting teachers and police officers and firefighters back on the job?  Are they against hiring construction workers to rebuild our roads and bridges and schools?  Are they against giving tax cuts to virtually every worker and small business in America? 

Economists from across the political spectrum have said that this jobs bill would boost the economy and spur hiring.  Why would you be against that?  Especially at a time when so many Americans are struggling and out of work. 

This isn’t just about what I think is right.  It’s not just about what a group of economists think is right.  This is about what the American people want.  Everywhere I go, they tell me they want action on jobs.  Every day, I get letters from Americans who expect Washington to do something about the problems we face. 

Destiny Wheeler is a sixteen year old from Georgia who wants to go to college.  She wrote to me saying, “Now-a-days it is hard to see myself pushing forward and putting my family in a better position, especially since the economy is rough and my starting situation is so poor.  Yet, the American Jobs act gives me hope that I might start to receive a better education, that one day job opportunities will be open for me to grasp, and that one day my personal American Dream will be reached.”  Destiny needs us to pass this jobs bill. 

Alice Johnson is an Oregon native who, along with her husband, has been looking for a job for about two years.  She writes, “I have faithfully applied for work every week…Of the hundreds of applications I have put in, I received interview requests for about 10…I too, am sick of all the fighting in Washington DC.  Please tell the Republicans that people are hurting and are hungry and need help, pass the jobs bill.”  Alice Johnson needs our help. 

Cathleen Dixon sent me pictures of the aging bridge she drives under when she takes her kids to school in Chicago every day.  She worries about their safety, and writes, “I am angry that in this country of vast resources we claim that we cannot maintain basic infrastructure.  How can we ever hope to preserve or regain our stature in this world, if we cannot find the will to protect our people and take care of our basic needs?”

I also heard from Kim Faber, who told me about the small carpet business her husband owns in New Jersey.  “We hang on by a shoe String,” she writes, “my husband worries every day about if checks might bounce, he uses our home loan to put money in the business so they will be covered.  Please pass this jobs bill! This is the job creating we need right now! It breaks my husband’s heart when he has to let people go! Pass the bill!”

Kim said it best: Pass the bill.  I know one Republican was quoted as saying that their party shouldn’t pass this jobs bill because it would give me a win.  Well this isn’t about giving me a win, and it’s not about them.  This is about Destiny Wheeler and Alice Johnson. It’s about Cathleen Dixon’s children, and the Fabers’ family business.  These are the people who need a win, and I will be fighting for this jobs bill every day on their behalf.  If anyone watching feels the same way, don’t be shy about letting your Congressman know.  It is time for the politics to end.  Let’s pass this jobs bill.