Monday, December 10, 2012

NYT: Same-Sex Issue Pushes Justices Into Overdrive

The New York Times

December 9, 2012

Same-Sex Issue Pushes Justices Into Overdrive


WASHINGTON — Life moves fast these days, and so does the law.
In the civil rights era, the Supreme Court waited decades to weigh in on interracial marriage. On Friday, by contrast, the court did not hesitate to jump into the middle of one of the most important social controversies of the day, agreeing to hear two cases on same-sex marriage.
By taking both, the court gave itself the chance to issue a sweeping ruling that would cast aside bans on same-sex marriage nationwide. But the speed with which the court moved also raised the possibility of a split decision, one that would provide federal benefits to same-sex couples married in states that allow such unions but would permit other states to forbid gay and lesbian couples from marrying.
Gay rights advocates said they were optimistic that the time had come for marriage equality across the nation.
“We are at a major turning point in the arc of gay and lesbian rights,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia. “The cases are moving fast, and the country is as well.”
There has indeed been a rapid shift in public opinion, with a majority of Americans now saying they support same-sex marriage. With last month’s elections, nine states and the District of Columbia now allow such unions.
Still, the Supreme Court’s move came just eight years after Massachusetts became the first state to permit gay and lesbian couples to marry and just four years after voters in California rejected a ruling of their Supreme Court allowing same-sex marriages there.
The cautious move for the justices would have been to hear just one of the cases they were asked to consider, the one posing the relatively modest question of whether the federal government can discriminate against same-sex couples married in the places that allow such unions.
But the court went big on Friday, also taking the case from California filed by Theodore B. Olson and David Boies. Their case seeks to establish a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in the remaining states, almost all of which have laws or constitutional provisions prohibiting it.
“We are now literally within months,” Mr. Boies said Friday, “of getting a final resolution of this case that began three and a half years ago.”
The speed with which the court is moving has some gay rights advocates bracing for a split decision. The court could strike down the federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, saying that the meaning of marriage is a matter for the states to decide. At the same time, it could reject the idea that the Constitution requires states to allow same-sex marriage, saying that the meaning of marriage is a matter for the states to decide.
That may be why supporters of traditional marriage sounded pretty cheerful on Friday.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Brian S. Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage. “Taking both cases at the same time exposes the hypocrisy on the other side.”
It is entirely possible, then, that the votes to grant review in the California case came from the court’s more conservative justices. They may have calculated that they had a shot at capturing the decisive vote of the member of the court at its ideological center, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, at least in the California case.
But while the court is moving fast, it has left itself plenty of offramps. Officials in California refused to defend Proposition 8, the voter initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the state, or to appeal the lower-court decisions invalidating it. They left those tasks to proponents of the initiative.
On Friday, the justices directed the parties to address the issue of whether the proponents of banning same-sex marriage had suffered the sort of direct injury that gave them standing to appeal. If the answer is no, the trial court decision requiring the state to allow same-sex marriage would stand, but its sweep in the short term could be limited to two California counties or perhaps even to just the couples who brought the case.
The justices could also affirm a California-only rationale relied on by the appeals court. That court said Proposition 8 must fall because voters had withdrawn a constitutional right from gay men and lesbians. Whether the establishment of such a right was required by the Constitution in the first place, it said, was a question for another day.
Finally, the justices could pursue what Kenji Yoshino, a law professor at New York University, calls the “eight-state solution,” one that would affect California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island. Those states give gay and lesbian couples all the benefits and burdens of marriage but withhold the name “marriage.” That distinction, the court could rule, violates equal protection principles.
Such a ruling, though, could have “perverse effects,” Professor Yoshino says. States prepared to enact laws allowing gay and lesbian couples to join in civil unions — marriages in everything but name — might hesitate, for fear of being forced by the courts to adopt same-sex marriage if they do.
But the eight-state solution would also be unlikely to give rise to the sort of reaction that imposing same-sex marriage on, say, Mississippi would. However the court rules in the California case, its very decision to consider it is a change from the caution of an earlier era.
In private correspondence in 1957, Justice Felix Frankfurter said the court was doing all it could to avoid hearing cases that would require giving the nation an answer about whether bans on interracial marriage — anti-miscegenation laws, in the parlance of the day — were constitutional.
“We twice shunted it away,” Justice Frankfurter wrote to Judge Learned Hand, “and I pray we will be able to do it again without being too brazenly evasive.”
Judge Hand responded that “I don’t see how you lads can duck it.”
But Justice Frankfurter was unpersuaded.
“I shall work, within the limits of judicial decency,” he wrote, “to put off decision on miscegenation as long as I can.”
The Supreme Court did not strike down laws banning interracial marriage until 1967, in Loving v. Virginia, when 16 states still had them on the books. That was almost two decades after the California Supreme Court in 1948 struck down a law making illegal “all marriages of white persons with Negroes” in Perez v. Sharp.
It has been just four years since the California Supreme Court, citing Perez, struck down two state laws limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
“We are in the midst of a major social change,” Justice Carol A. Corrigan wrote in dissent. She said she supported allowing “our gay and lesbian neighbors” to marry. But she said change must come from the political process, not the courts.
“Societies seldom make such changes smoothly,” Justice Corrigan wrote. “For some the process is frustratingly slow. For others it is jarringly fast.”

Friday, December 7, 2012

News Review - MNSI - 12.7.12

via Health on 12/6/12
Pot smokers lit up in Washington state, when it became the first U.S. state to legalize possession of marijuana without a doctor's prescription.

via Opinion on 12/6/12
Historically, defensive measures lag behind offensive capabilities. Not so with Israel's new antimissile system.

Congress overturned long-standing trade restrictions with Russia, overcoming concerns about the nation's human-rights record to achieve a top trade priority for U.S. businesses.

No one likes doing homework, but the non-compulsory alternatives are autonomous, non-alienated illiterates. Michael Weiss reviews James C. Scott's "Two Cheers for Anarchism."

via Opinion on 12/6/12
Natural gas exports are good for America.

via Opinion on 12/6/12
Midnight in the former City of Light.

via Opinion on 12/6/12
The meeting in Dubai isn't the time for multilateralism.

via Health on 12/6/12
Health officials are reporting new infections from contaminated steroids linked earlier this fall to a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis, but say the latest cases aren't life-threatening.

T-Mobile USA is answering Apple's call. And that could create some static for Sprint Nextel.

The U.S. economy added a solid 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008. The government said Superstorm Sandy had only a minimal effect on the figures

The U.S. economy added a solid 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008. The government said Superstorm Sandy had only a minimal effect on the figures.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

11:36 AM 12/5/2012 - Mike Nova's starred items

11:36 AM 12/5/2012

James Bond makes an explosive return in his finest film to date
From the opening pre-title sequence on board a runaway train to the Adele soundtrack to the explosive and thrilling finale, director Sam Mendes has created a movie that is anchored in the real world and is true to the spirit of Bond. When an operation goes ...

and more »


Би-би-си: Путин страдает от сильных болей в спине
Российский президент Владимир Путин страдает от сильных болей в спине, делает вывод Русская служба Би-би-си на основе многочисленных фотографий его визита в Турцию. Би-би-си отмечает, что, судя по фотографиям, турецкому премьеру Реджепу Тайипу Эрдогану даже ...

и другие »

via Nation - Google News on 12/5/12


Hearings Resume Today in Pfc. Manning's Court Martial
Courthouse News Service
FT. MEADE, Md. (CN) - Hearings resume today in the court martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history. On Sunday, a Marine assigned to be Manning's counselor and advocate at a now-defunct military prison in ...
Bradley Manning's 'Unlawful Pretrial Punishment' Hearing, Day 7Firedoglake
Hearing on WikiLeaks suspect's confinement resumesWTVC

all 222 news articles »

via Nation - Google News on 12/5/12


Clinton has majority support for 2016 bid
The Hill (blog)
Buoyed by widespread approval of her work as secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has the backing for a 2016 presidential bid of a majority of voters both nationwide and in her former home state of New York. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed in a new ...
Hillary Clinton In 2016: Celebrities Who Support ClintonHuffington Post
New York poll: Hillary Clinton, not Andrew Cuomo, in 2016Politico
Hillary Clinton Wins High Popularity, Majority Support for a 2016 BidABC News (blog)
Business Insider
all 72 news articles »

via Russia - Google News on 12/5/12

CSuisse moves Russia investment banking to London
The Swiss bank will move its debt and equity capital markets, and corporate advisory businesses to London, the main venue of major recent Russian share offerings by Sberbank and MegaFon, in which the bank was involved. Russia CEO Steven Hellman ...
UPDATE 1-Credit Suisse moves Russia investment banking to LondonReuters UK

all 3 news articles »

via Business - Google News on 12/4/12

Fiscal cliff pressures stocks; euro near seven-week high
Reuters India
By Steven C. Johnson and Leah Schnurr. NEW YORK | Wed Dec 5, 2012 1:32am IST. NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday as investors fretted about Washington's ability to avoid a year-end budget crisis, but a Greek plan to buy ...

and more »

via Nation - Google News on 12/5/12

Daily Mail

Bogus war hero sentenced to 30 days in federal prison
Fox News
A Houston man who embellished his military record to appear as a highly-decorated war hero has reportedly been sentenced to 30 days in federal prison. reports Paul A. Schroeder, 41, was convicted of altering a military or naval discharge ...
Fake war hero from Houston area gets 30 days in prisonHouston Chronicle
Shenandoah man heads to prison for altering military recordYour Houston News
Fake war hero ordered to federal prisonKHOU
all 39 news articles »

via Business - Google News on 12/5/12


ADP Says US Companies Added 118000 Workers in November
Play. ADP Reports 118,000 Jobs Created in November. Companies in the U.S. added fewer workers in November than a month earlier after superstorm Sandy battered the East Coast and temporarily shuttered some businesses. The 118,000 increase in ...
ADP: Private Sector Employment Rose by 118000 in
Private sector adds fewer-than-expected jobs in November: ADPReuters
Report indicates that Hurricane Sandy slowed job growthLos Angeles Times
CNNMoney -Wall Street Journal -Washington Post (blog)
all 261 news articles »

via Health - Google News on 12/5/12

Extending Tamoxifen Saves Lives, Study Finds
ABC News
In a study that many breast cancer experts say may change practice, researchers have reported that extending the use of the drug tamoxifen to 10 years -- rather than the currently recommended five years -- could save lives by thwarting cancer's return.
Extended Use of Breast Cancer Drug SuggestedNew York Times
Long-term treatment cuts breast cancer deathsUSA TODAY
10 Years of Tamoxifen Better Than 5: StudyU.S. News & World Report
BBC News -Salon
all 212 news articles »

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

NYT: A New Director or a New Direction?

Room for Debate: A New Director or a New Direction?

Should changes be made in the way the agency is run and the way intelligence is gathered and used?

Updated December 3, 2012 9:59 PM



sweeping at CIA Pool photo by Dennis Brack The lobby of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Va.
As the president considers a replacement for Gen. David Petraeus at the Central Intelligence Agency, is it time to consider not just a new leader for the agency but a new direction? Since 9/11 the C.I.A. has taken a more active paramilitary role with little public discussion. And it has continued to be embarrassed by intelligence shortcomings, like its failure to recognize the strength of the Arab Spring. Should changes be made in the way the agency is run and the way intelligence is gathered and used?
Read the Discussion

Sunday, December 2, 2012

News Review - 12.2.12 - MNSI

News Review - 12.2.12

via cia - Google Blog Search by Joe on 11/28/12
In what they say is a first-ever event, today the CIA is holding a recruitment event in association with the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Steve Rothaus has the story at the Miami Herald: “This is the first ...

via cia - Google News on 11/29/12

ABC News

Petraeus Sex Scandal: Former CIA Chief Tells Friend He 'Screwed Up Royally'
ABC News
One of David Petraeus' closest friends says the former CIA director admitted that he "screwed up royally" by having an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. Retired Brigadier Gen. James Shelton has been friends with Petraeus for more than three ...
Former CIA Director Petraeus Blames His
CIA headed in the wrong general directionSan Angelo Standard Times
General Petraeus Should Not Have ResignedHarvard Crimson
Christian Post (blog) -Huffington Post
all 91 news articles »


via cia - Google News on 11/29/12

Foreign Policy (blog)

The Art of the Deal
Foreign Policy (blog)
With the abrupt departure of Director David Petraeus, the revolving door on the CIA's seventh floor continues to spin: The average tenure of the agency's last five leaders has been less than 20 months. COMMENTS (0) SHARE: Twitter. Reddit. Bookmark and ...
The Fog of

all 3 news articles »


The Art of the Deal

Why the CIA needs a diplomat, not a spy, to lead it. - Print Version


With the abrupt departure of Director David Petraeus, the revolving door on the CIA's seventh floor continues to spin: The average tenure of the agency's last five leaders has been less than 20 months.

The timing of this leadership upheaval could not have come at a worse time for the agency. The CIA once ruled the operational and analytic fiefdoms of the U.S. Intelligence Community with near-monopolistic control. But bureaucratic reorganization and the expansion of military intelligence during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars brought an end to a half-century of preeminence. The steady diminution of the CIA's influence over the past decade echoes the travails of Microsoft -- the spy agency is weakened, beset by competitors, and facing an uncertain future.
The paradox of this post-9/11 reality is that the CIA is now more mission-focused than at any time since the height of the Cold War. Its aggressive, collaborative prosecution of terrorist networks has been wildly successful and saved American lives here and abroad. This was by design, aided in large part by reform efforts to eliminate intelligence agency stovepipes, force information sharing, and enhance paramilitary capabilities. The results have borne out the wisdom of these and other steps to remake the Intelligence Community.
And yet, the CIA's traditional primacy has taken a number of body blows. The creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and its "community" superstructure in 2004 abolished the CIA director's authority beyond Langley and foreign stations. Increased military intelligence collection and operations overseas sometimes lacked coordination and caused confusion in the field as to who was in charge. The proliferation of new intelligence and analysis offices, such as the one within the Department of Homeland Security, created rival (and welcome, some would contend) judgments and estimates. Even inside the White House, the president has appointed his own trusted homeland security and counterterrorism deputy, John Brennan, to ride point on pressing security threats. With remarkable swiftness, the CIA director was crowded off of his privileged perch as the president's chief intelligence advisor.
Those reportedly on the shortlist of qualified candidates to replace Petraeus possess the intelligence expertise traditionally sought to run the agency. For the next CIA head to excel, however, more than a mastery of our nation's intelligence apparatus is required. Bureaucratic tug-of-wars and overseas challenges have rewritten the chief spymaster's job description. The next director must have the skills of a hard-nosed negotiator and the acumen of a Washington insider if the agency is to reclaim lost ground. Being an experienced clandestine operative, veteran intelligence manager, or seasoned congressional overseer is no longer sufficient. The CIA needs a power broker, because only a director with clout, someone who is well-versed in the art of the deal, will be able to win the fights brewing within the administration's national security team.
In the intelligence universe, the "battlefield" is always evolving and the lines of engagement are in constant flux, particularly when it comes to transnational threats like terrorism. Clear parameters of authority and operational responsibility are essential in order to locate, track, monitor, and -- if need be -- arrest or attack the enemy. Bringing this cohesion to the Intelligence Community has been a necessary and at times painful process -- and one that still continues today.
The Defense Department moved aggressively after 9/11 to ramp up counterterrorism collection, and it expanded its footprint further after the 2003 Iraq invasion. A more robust, forward-leaning military counterterrorism strategy was needed, but efforts were not always coordinated with the CIA and foreign missions and information were not always corroborated and vetted before making it into the national policy chain. Most notably, the insertion into senior policymaker briefings of faulty Defense Department analysis claiming an operational relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda promoted a linkage that the Intelligence Community did not believe existed, and buttressed calls for military action. Notwithstanding efforts to resolve such issues, reducing the tension between defense and intelligence collection efforts overseas remains unfinished business for the incoming director.
The operational command of missile-equipped drones is another flashpoint between the intelligence and defense communities. Who exactly controls these assets -- the lethal point of the intelligence spear, if you will -- both inside and outside military areas of operations? There have been vocal critics of the "militarization" of the CIA in recent years, but similar concerns exist over the military's mission creep into the civilian agency's traditional clandestine portfolio.
And what of the growing, long-term threat of cyber attack against the homeland? The Pentagon created U.S. Cyber Command in 2009 to protect military networks, and similar efforts are underway at the Department of Homeland Security to secure civilian networks. With the National Security Agency carrying out both Defense Department combat support and Intelligence Community duties, the question remains as to how the responsibilities for cyber operations beyond America's borders are to be distributed among the key players. If the post-9/11 axiom that the best defense is a good offense remains valid, then the outcome of this ongoing policy debate will be consequential for both the CIA's prerogatives and the protection of the nation's cyber infrastructure.
The negotiation challenges facing the next director will not all be inside the Beltway. Strong foreign partners have and will continue to be the backbone of overseas intelligence operations. The new head of the CIA will be asking increasingly skittish -- and, in some cases, suspect-- foreign services to do more in moving against terrorist networks and hunting down operatives, as well as to cooperate on other shared security priorities. Hammering out these sensitive particulars requires the deft hand of a savvy and respected broker.
CIA director is arguably the most thankless job in Washington. The agency workforce is highly-motivated, and their individual and collective efforts to protect the United States are shrouded in secrecy -- until, that is, there is a leaked failure. And the agency continues to pay a price in the public's mind for past missteps, both real and imagined. The operational tempo will remain high at Langley and in the field for the foreseeable future. CIA employees will be looking for a leader who will not only support the agenda of the Intelligence Community as a whole and work collaboratively with his or her defense counterparts, but also be an effective advocate for the CIA at the interagency negotiation table -- someone who can help restore the agency's centrality in carrying out the nation's most sensitive operations.


via cia - Google News on 11/29/12


CIA Sued for One Very Bad Trip
Slate Magazine (blog)
It's no secret the CIA experimented with LSD as a form of behavioral engineering and mind control in the early 1950s. Now, a new lawsuit alleges the agency might have drugged one of its own scientists with the psychedelic agent before assassinating him ...
Lawsuit in death of Detrick scientist alleges CIA misdeeds 59 years agoGazette.Net: Maryland Community News Online
CIA Sued Over Alledged 1953 Murder of Military ScientistBusinessweek
Family sues CIA over scientist's mysterious deathPolitico
Huffington Post -RT
all 236 news articles »

via cia - Google News on 11/28/12

Lawsuit holds CIA accountable for death of U.S. bio-weapons scientist
A lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday seeks to hold the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) accountable for its involvement in the death of Frank Olson, a bio-weapons scientist and covert CIA ...

via Videos matching: cia by slatester on 11/29/12
It's no secret the CIA experimented with LSD as a form of behavioral engineering and mind control in the early 1950s. Now, a new lawsuit alleges the agency might have drugged one of its own scientists with the psychedelic agent before assassinating him and engaging in a decades-long cover-up. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by the sons of Frank Olson, a biological warfare expert who worked developing bioweapons for the agency in its early years. According to the suit, Olson became disturbed with CIA practices after he witnessed "extreme interrogations" in which he saw his own chemical agents used for murder. Shortly afterward, the suit alleges he was given a bottle of LSD-laced Cointreau by agency colleagues and suffered a nervous breakdown. The CIA claimed that after being sent for psychiatric evaluation in Manhattan, Olson committed suicide by leaping from his hotel window. But after a 1993 forensic examinations revealed signs of foul play, his family now believes he was murdered. Though the CIA has revealed thousands of pages of documents detailing their LSD experiments, and even admitted to drugging Olson, the agency continues to deny any involvement in his death or cover-up afterward.
Time:01:00More inNews & Politics

via cia - Google News on 11/29/12

CIA Accused of Coverup in Military Scientist's 1953 Fatal Fall
Concord Monitor
CIA employees murdered military scientist Frank Olson in 1953 after he raised concerns about testing chemical and biological weapons on human subjects without their consent, according to a lawsuit brought by his two sons. Eric and Nils Olson, in a ...
Family sues U.S., says CIA murdered scientist in
CIA Sued for One Very Bad TripSlate Magazine (blog)
Lawsuit in death of Detrick scientist alleges CIA misdeeds 59 years agoGazette.Net: Maryland Community News Online
all 242 news articles »

via cia - Google News on 11/29/12

News Tribe

US wants doctor who helped CIA trace Osama released and safe
Times of India
... Shakil Afridi, who helped CIA trace Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, to be "released and safe". A Pakistani doctor, Dr Afridi is accused of helping the CIA in tracing Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida terrorist, and has been sentenced to 33 years of ...
Pakistani officials have denied reports that Afridi - the detained Pakistani ...Deutsche Welle
Doc who helped CIA hunt down Osama on hunger
Shakil Afridi hunger strike: US demands safety, release of CIA spyNews Tribe
Daily Bhaskar
all 73 news articles »

via cia - Google News on 11/30/12

The Week Magazine

Why the CIA should get out of the killing business. Again.
The Week Magazine
ith the new vacancy on the fifth floor at Langley, a robust debate has resumed over whether the Central Intelligence Agency should continue trending toward paramilitary activity and targeted killings, or return to its traditional focus on sending spies ...