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Archive for January, 2009

A Dozen Things to Watch for at Eric Holder’s Confirmation

Of all the Obama nominees, Eric Holder is likely to have the most contentious confirmation hearing. Here’s a look forward at what to expect starting Thursday in a town that sees this type of activity as sport and entertainment.

By Joe Palazzolo and David Ingram
Legal Times
WASHINGTON — Two months of silent preparation will reach a climax Thursday when Eric Holder Jr. enters the Russell Senate Office Building for his confirmation hearing to be attorney general. He will face the most difficult hearing of his life. His opponents will look for opportunities to question his judgment-and perhaps score political points.
Helping Holder prepare has been a team of Washington lawyers led by Ron Weich, chief counsel to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and including Covington & Burling’s James Garland and Steptoe & Johnson’s Reid Weingarten, and they’re expressing confidence in their man. “There’s no magic here. The record is as open as it could possibly be,” Weingarten says.
Civil rights leaders and several law enforcement associations lined up behind Holder last week, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has even “guaranteed” that the Senate will confirm Holder.
But Republicans, led by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), are promising a prickly hearing.
Here are 11 things you’re likely to see this week, and maybe one to hope for.


For Full Story

Humor: HBO’s Ali G Interviews Former Atty. Generals Richard Thornburgh and Ed Meese

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYKa0G9QkmQ

Homeland Security Approves Kansas State U. Site For Lab to Study Livestock Diseases and Biological Threats

In the heartland of America, scientists will be tasked with saving our food supply.

By JASON GERTZEN
The Kansas City Star

Kansas gained final approval Monday for a $650 million federal biodefense laboratory that officials heralded for its potential to protect the food supply and boost the state’s economy.
Last month Kansas emerged as the top recommendation for the planned National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. On Monday, Jay Cohen, undersecretary for science and technology for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, made the pick official.
Cohen signed a “record of decision” that will bring to the Manhattan campus of Kansas State University a complex that will employ hundreds of scientists and other workers.
The facility is charged with developing innovations for detecting and countering potentially devastating outbreaks of diseases that can affect livestock, and possibly public health.
For Full Story In the heartland of America, a lab could help protect us from one of the the biggest dangers in the 21st Century: biological threats to the nation’s food supply.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ronald Turk Named SAC of ATF’s New York Office

Ronald B. Turk has been named special agent in charge of the New York field division of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Previously, Turk was assistant special agent in charge of the Nashville field division, where he oversaw daily operations of 9 field offices in the state, ATF said. He began his career with the agency in 1989 in Trenton, N.J.

What the Heck is Going On? FBI Says Crime Drops But Murders Rise in Smalltown USA

When we think of the fictional town, Andy of Mayberry, we think of petty crime: moonshining, shoplilfting. But the FBI says in the real smalltown USA, murder is up. What’s going on?

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The FBI says crime declined in the first half of 2008, despite an alarming spike in small-town murders.
Violent crime nationwide fell 3.5 percent, and property crime dropped 2.5 percent, according to the bureau’s preliminary figures released Monday morning.
Murders dropped 4.4 percent nationwide, though the drop wasn’t universal. In mid-sized cities _ those with 50,000 to 100,000 people _ murder and manslaughter increased 3.3 percent.
Murders in small towns _ those with fewer than 10,000 people _ rose nearly 10 percent, the FBI reported.
For Full Story

See Report

Did Baseball Star Pitch the Truth? Grandy Jury Investigating Roger Clemens to See if He Lied to Congress

Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens

His integrity was questioned before. Now apparently the feds are questioning it again. Will this baseball legend pass the honesty test or become another Pete Rose?

By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury is investigating whether Roger Clemens lied to Congress last year, two people briefed on the matter told The Associated Press on Monday.
Both spoke on condition of anonymity because grand jury proceedings are supposed to be secret.
Congress asked the Justice Department to look into whether the seven-time Cy Young Award winner lied last February when he testified under oath at a deposition and a public House hearing that he never took illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
That contradicted the sworn testimony of his former personal trainer Brian McNamee, who said under oath that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone.
By bringing the case to a grand jury, the Justice Department escalated the case from an FBI investigation. A grand jury allows prosecutors to get sworn testimony from witnesses and collect documents.
The grand jury’s involvement first was reported by ESPN.com.
For Full Story

Ex-Head of Secret Service in St. Louis Appointed Missouri Dir. of Public Safety

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has appointed former Secret Service agent John M. Britt as Director of Public Safety.
Britt, a 27 year veteran of the Secret Service, headed up the agency’s St. Louis office and went on in 2002 to become senior director for global security at Anheuser-Busch Companies in St.Louis. He retired from the company last year.
“Coming directly from the private sector, John will offer new, fresh ideas about improving and streamlining operations, and I look forward to him on my team,” said Gov. Nixon in a prepared statement.
The director of public safety oversees a number of state programs and agencies including the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Missouri Capitol Police, the Missouri National Guard and the State Emergency Management Agency.

NRA Rifles Off Letter to Judiciary Opposing Holder For Atty. Gen.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – The National Rifle Association is voicing opposition to the nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr. for Attorney General, saying it has “serious concerns” about his anti-gun stance.
In a Jan. 9, three-page letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the NRA wrote: “Mr. Holder has long opposed the Second Amendment’s guarantee of an individual right to keep and bear arms, supported extremely restrictive laws that curtail gun owners’ rights, and, in one particularly egregious case, was personally involved in prosecuting a gun owner under circumstances where any prosecution at all can only be considered grossly excessive.”
The letter, signed by Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, and Chris W. Cox, excecutive director, went on to say: “We believe that Mr. Holder’s overall record raises substantial concerns about his ability to perform the duties of Attorney General in a manner that respects the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
The Senate confirmation hearings begin Thursday.
Read the Full Letter