Tuesday, May 24, 2005

NYT: Supereme Court to take abortion rights case, Lawrence Franklin, Syria . . .

The Supreme Court accepted its first abortion case in five years on Monday, an unexpected development that despite the rather technical questions that the case presents is likely to add even more heat to the already superheated atmosphere surrounding the court and its immediate future.
The new case is an appeal by the State of New Hampshire of a federal appeals court ruling that struck down a parental-notification requirement for minors seeking abortions.
[. . .]
The court's answers could be important for its consideration of future abortion cases, including ones challenging the recent federal law that prohibits the procedure that abortion opponents call partial-birth abortion. That law has been declared unconstitutional in federal district courts around the country, and appeals by the Bush administration are now pending in three federal appeals courts.
[. . .]
One question facing the court in the current case is whether parental-notice laws, or by extension, any abortion regulations, must explicitly provide exceptions for those women whose continued pregnancy is a threat to their health. Beginning with Roe v. Wade in 1973, and including the court's most recent decision, which invalidated Nebraska's partial-birth abortion law in 2000, the court has held that the government may not constitutionally ban an abortion necessary to preserve a pregnant woman's health.

The above is from Linda Greenhouse's "Supreme Court to Tackle Abortion Again After 5 Years" in this morning's New York Times.

Ed steers us to Albert Salvato's "Soldier Says Killing of Iraqi Was Self-Defense:"

An American soldier accused of murdering an Iraqi police officer while they were on patrol together in 2003 and then concocting a story about being shot during a gun battle said on Monday that he had made "a split-second decision" to open fire in self-defense.
[. . .]
Army prosecutors contended that Corporal Berg lied about the shootings and altered his story several times before admitting that he killed Mr. Zubeidi and shot himself.
"The accused lied about the incident repeatedly," Capt. Dan Stigall, the prosecutor in the case, told the hearing officer, Maj. Samuel Butzbach. Captain Stigall's accusations came during a continuation of an Article 32 hearing, a military proceeding similar to a grand jury review. Major Butzbach will recommend whether Corporal Berg should face a court-martial on charges of murder and lying to investigators.

Eli e-mails to highlight Louis Uchitelle's "The New Profile of the Long-Term Unemployed:"

The experiences of Mr. Gruenhut and Ms. Ellenwood help to explain why many of the nation's unemployed are still struggling to get back to work. Not since World War II has long-term joblessness - the percentage of the unemployed out of work for six months or more - been so high for so long after a recession has ended.
The current trouble falls most heavily on people trapped by the shifting sands of the economy. Today, the unemployment rate is relatively low at 5.2 percent and overall hiring has started to pick up again, particularly for younger workers coming out of college and professional schools. But the presence of middle-aged women and better educated white-collar workers among the long-term unemployed has increased.
"There are just not new jobs being created in the things these people did before," said Andrew Stettner, a policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project and co-author of a study of long-term unemployment. "We are firing fewer people than we did in 2001 and 2002, but we are not hiring many people either, and that cuts off the exit route out of unemployment."

Brendon e-mails to note Laurie Goodstein's "Inquiry Into Dismissal of an Air Force Chaplain:"

An Air Force spokeswoman said Monday that the service had asked the inspector general to investigate the case of the chaplain, Capt. MeLinda Morton, who went public this month with her criticisms of the religious climate at the academy.
The announcement came on the day a task force was to finish a preliminary report on an inquiry into complaints that some officers permitted harassment and inappropriate proselytizing at the academy. The report will not be released for several weeks, Jennifer Stephens, an Air Force spokeswoman, said.

Margot e-mails regarding Douglas Jehl and Thom Shanker's "Syria Ending Cooperation With U.S., Envoy Says:"

Syria has halted military and intelligence cooperation with the United States, its ambassador to Washington said in an interview, in a sign of growing strains between the two nations over the insurgency in Iraq.
The ambassador, Imad Moustapha, said in the interview on Friday at the Syrian Embassy here that his country had, in the last 10 days, "severed all links" with the United States military and Central Intelligence Agency because of what he called unjust American allegations. The Bush administration has complained bitterly that Syria is not doing enough to halt the flow of men and money to the insurgency in Iraq.
Mr. Moustapha said he believed that the Bush administration had decided "to escalate the situation with Syria" despite steps the Syrians have taken against the insurgents in Iraq, and despite the withdrawal in recent weeks of Syrian troops from Lebanon, in response to international demands.

Noting that Douglas Jehl was absent "on Fluffy Saturday" and that the interview for this story took place on Friday, Margot wonders if the paper has been sitting on this article and, if so, why?

Scott Shane was also absent from Saturday's paper. He has a paragraph in "National Briefing:"

A former National Security Agency employee was indicted in Maryland for possession of classified documents. The federal indictment said the employee, Kenneth Wayne Ford Jr. of Waldorf, Md., left the agency in late 2003 and was arrested on Jan. 12, 2004, for illegally possessing secret information "relating to the national defense." The indictment said that Mr. Ford, 34, had reason to believe the classified material "could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of any foreign nation," but it did not accuse him of trying to sell or pass on the documents. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted. A spokesman for the agency said he could not discuss the case. Mr. Ford declined to comment.

Lastly, we'll note David Johnston's "Ex-Analyst Is Expected to Face New Charges:"

A former Pentagon analyst, already accused of illegally disclosing military secrets, will be charged as early as Tuesday with illegally keeping classified documents at his home in West Virginia, his lawyer said on Monday.
The former analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, 58, will be charged in a criminal complaint to be brought in a federal court in West Virginia, said his lawyer, Plato Cacheris. Mr. Franklin was arrested May 4 on a criminal complaint filed in Alexandria, Va., accused of illegally disclosing classified information related to potential attacks on American forces in Iraq.

For those wanting commentary on the latest regarding the filibuster, skip the Times and head over to A Winding Road for Folding Star's "You say Compromise, I Say Sell Out:"

So, I was mid way through a post about the impending filibuster confrontation in the Senate when word comes through on CSPAN (in a little New Flash announcement at the bottom of the screen) that a 'compromise' has been reached.
Out goes that post, immediately rendered outdated.
The 'centrists' in both parties, according to the news reports, have reached a compromise whereby the Republicans won't take away the Democrats right to filibuster and the Democrats will only use the filibuster on 'extreme' nominees.
Excuse the hell out of me, but that's what they were doing already!

Also check out Bill Scher's comments at Liberal Oasis:

Now, thanks to the added pressure, enough Dems capitulated for a few more radical right-wing judges to get lifetime appointments (exactly how many is a little unclear at this writing).
So the corporate cons get more lobbyist-drafted legislation and a few more judges to boot.
Some deal.

Scher went into this last night on The Majority Report. (Link takes you to the Air America Place archived broadcast of that episode.)

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