Posts Tagged ‘law’


This would of course happen in DC…where the appeasement of those making food and bussing tables for the political elite is most desirable. Nonetheless a good story, given that even walmart’s threats were unable to kill the bill. Bottom line: Companies with over $1 billion in annual corporate sales and using facilities over 75,000 square feet will be forced to add a few extra dollars per worker per hour to the payroll budget.

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WASHINGTON (PAI) – Walmart’s reversion to its normal widespread labor law-breaking – firing workers who led walkouts against it last fall and this spring – has prompted Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., to introduce legislation to protect the workers.

Though his legislation is not expected to go anywhere in the tea party-run GOP-controlled House, Grayson used HR2311, the “Worker Anti-Retaliation Act,” to spotlight the retail monster’s continual repression of its low-paid no-benefits workers…

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On Friday afternoon, a federal judge temporarily blocked a new law in Alabama that would have forced most of the health clinics in the state to stop providing abortion care. HB 57 was set to take effect on Monday, but Friday’s ruling delays that deadline until July 18.


Alabama’s law would impose burdensome regulations on the state’s last five abortion clinics. Clinic buildings will need to make unnecessary and expensive renovations to their facilities, like widening their doorways, and abortion doctors will need to obtain admitting privileges from local hospitals. These restrictions are the exact same type of laws that are forcing abortion clinics in other states to close their doors. And they’re the same measures that thousands of activists in Texas are currently protesting

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The US has gone from ‘model of human rights’ to manipulator of internet rights, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party wrote. China has struck back at the US over its allegations that Beijing allowed NSA leaker Edward Snowden to leave Hong Kong…

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ImageHartford, CT – Those of us looking to take a breather from our relentless defense of the public’s “right to know” will apparently have to wait. Most of us are already aware of wiretaps at the Associated Press, accusations of journalists compromising national security at the DOJ and closed courtrooms at the Manning trial. Now the assault on the freedom of the press continues to rage as Connecticut officials secretly try to pass a bill designed to suppress details of the Sandy Hook Massacre and any similar events in the future.

On Tuesday the Hartford Courant obtained an e-mail written by Timothy J. Surgue, who serves as a top assistant to Chief State Attorney Kevin Kane. The e-mail was addressed to Kane along with two of his other subordinates and the man in charge of the Sandy Hook investigation, Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky. This e-mail described a new bill being drafted by both House and Senate leaders to deny public access to information surrounding the tragedy in Newtown, specifically citing 911 audio recordings and certain photographs as being matters of “complete agreement”. The message stated that the draft might even be ready by the end of the day. This is despite it having not gone through the usual committee process, which would normally require a public hearing. In fact, were it not for the e-mail being leaked to the Courant, none of us would likely have even been aware of this at all until the bill was signed into law. According to Governor Dannel Malloy’s director of communications, Andrew Doba, on Tuesday night neither the House nor Senate were yet fully prepared to move forward with the bill. However the intention to pass legislation which will deny the press access to critical details of this and other incidents is crystal clear.

The Connecticut government is of course citing the protection of the victims’ families as their primary reasoning, and there is little doubt that this is truly the motivation for many involved. One can easily understand the desire to spare these people any additional heartache by filtering information which might find its way onto everyone’s front pages or televisions. Yet this does not explain the deliberate lack of transparency in the preparation of this new bill. If those orchestrating this were so convinced that they were doing the right thing, why keep the public in the dark about it?

The bigger issue here is the precedent that is being set. Regardless of what happened in Newtown, our government does not and should not have sole rights to investigate these or other events. Freedom of the press exists so that journalists and the public at large can weigh all of the available facts and make their own determinations. With bills like this the government can deem anything to be “gory and irrelevant” without anyone ever checking their math. If they miss something in a bloody picture which might have otherwise been caught by the press or the people, too bad…even if that discovery could potentially lead to enhancing public safety and/or bringing co-conspirators to justice. Moreover, are we supposed to simply trust that our government will never have any intention to exploit this law in order to cover their own misdeeds? The same government who decided the public should not even be made aware of the drafting of this legislation?

It may already be too late to stop this runaway train, but we must still try to pull with all our might on the break levers. Maybe this will be one of those rare cases where public outcry can make a real difference. Maybe with a little luck one or more of the victims’ families will somehow still have the strength after all they have been through to tell lawmakers that they do not want this…that nobody wants this. While we can never imagine their pain, we cannot succumb to the emotional temptation of letting that pain replace common sense as our social guide. We owe it to them and to ourselves to ensure public scrutiny of these incidents themselves, and certainly of what gets branded as the “official story” in all such cases. Even if what we are being told is the truth, it does not give those who are telling it to us the right to demand that we take it on faith alone. No law or action which inhibits the freedom of the press ultimately benefits the public at large, and we must remember that the control of information is always the surest way for the unscrupulous to exert undue influence.