The attorney general’s Capitol Hill testimony was so contentious that cries of ‘Order!’ persisted throughout. Eleanor Clift on what Holder said about Benghazi, the AP, and the IRS.
It was a little like listening to right-wing radio, as one Republican member after another assailed Attorney General Eric Holder for the intrusion of big government into American life, a motivating principle among conservatives that the Obama administration has, with its handling of several issues, unwittingly given new life. A trio of scandals, a contentious nomination, and the generalized hostility that exists between the Republican-led Congress and the attorney general produced several contentious exchanges during Holder’s four hours of testimony Wednesday before the House Judiciary committee.
Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill, May 15, 2013, before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Pressed repeatedly for more information about the Justice Department’s seizing of journalists’ phone records and also about the newly launched Justice probe of the IRS, Holder declined to answer most questions with any specificity because both matters are the subject of ongoing criminal investigations. By the time Ohio Republican Jim Jordan got his five minutes to question Holder, some two hours into the marathon hearing, the congressman said he was keeping a tally on how many times the AG said he couldn’t answer. He wanted Holder’s assurance that the Justice Department investigation into the IRS wouldn’t interfere with Congress’s hearing next week into the IRS targeting of conservative groups seeking a federal tax exemption.
Tried to dribble a soccer ball from Seattle to Brazil.
A Seattle man who was trying to dribble a soccer ball from Seattle to Brazil in anticipation of the World Cup died Tuesday after being hit by a car in Oregon. Richard Swanson, 42, was hit by a car at around 10 a.m. while walking south along Highway 101. Swanson, who was between jobs, had undertaken the walk to raise funds for One World Futbol Project, a Berkeley, California, charity that donates durable blue soccer balls to people in the developing world. Swanson’s website said he left on his journey May 1 and expected the trip to take more than a year. He planned to stay with people he met on the road.
Holdover from 1920 gift.
Nice to know Columbia was doing its part for affirmative action—oh, never mind. Columbia University still has a “whites only” scholarship on its books—and it may even be illegal, according to papers filed in a Manhattan court. Benefactor Lydia C. Roberts, the heir to her husband’s medical-patents company, had left the bulk of her $509,000 estate to Columbia in 1920, but she stipulated the student who receives the scholarship must be white, from Iowa, not be studying law (we might understand that one), and must return to Iowa for two years after graduating. Oh, and none of the stipulations can be changed without a court order. The scholarship, now estimated to be worth about $800,000, has not been given since 1997, and it’s unclear if Columbia followed all the rules in the years it awarded it.
Gosnell ran a criminal enterprise, not a health-care facility, write Dayle Steinberg and Eric Ferrero of Planned Parenthood.
By now, most Americans have heard about Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted in Pennsylvania for three murders, one case of involuntary manslaughter, and a slew of other charges. It is a shocking and gruesome case.
Kermit Gosnell, 72 (right), gets escorted to a van leaving the Criminal Justice Center after getting convicted on three counts of first degree murder on May 13, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Yong Kim/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT, via Landov)
The indictment against him laid out nearly 300 pages of brutal crimes against desperate women who came to him seeking medical care, including safe abortion, and were instead subjected to unthinkable conditions.
19 people were injured in shooting.
New Orleans police on Monday identified the first suspect in the shooting on Mother’s Day that injured 19 people, including two 10-year-olds. Akein Scott, 19, has been positively identified by more than one witness, police said. Police searched two locations for Scott, both of which are just blocks from the shooting site. Ronal Serpas, New Orleans’s police superintendent, said Scott has been arrested before on charges of firearms possession, narcotics possession, and resisting arrest. Serpas said it was too early to know if Scott was the only shooter.
Humans may not be able to stop climate change. But they can take preventative action to mitigate it’s effects. The Rockefeller Foundation is kicking off a $100 million project to make cities more resilient in the face of more powerful storms and rising tides.
The foundation associated with one of America’s most iconic, historical names is launching a challenge to bring better resilience and sustainability to cities around the world. The Rockefeller Foundation announced Tuesday that it will invest $100 million into cities worldwide to help make them better equipped for the ecological challenges they may face in the future.
Waves washed over the seawall at Battery Park in New York during Hurricane Sandy. (Craig Ruttle/AP)
“In this world today we will not be able to predict or prevent every catastrophe, take climate change—extreme weather, raging fires, vicious storms,” Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin told the Daily Beast. “That’s where resilience comes in. We can prevent their catastrophic impact much better, by implementing resilience strategies that let us buffer those shocks more effectively.”
White House insists “no knowledge” of phone-records seizure.
Excuse us, we have to go check our phone records right now. The Associated Press on Monday slammed the government for the “massive and unprecedented intrusion” of seizing the news agency’s phone records, while the White House insisted it had “no knowledge” of the Justice Department’s operation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington confirmed Monday that it had issued subpoenas of the AP’s phone records in an effort to track down a source who had disclosed an alleged Yemeni terrorist plot. The White House tried to distance itself from the latest public-relations disaster, with Press Secretary Jay Carney insisting that it is not involved. The Justice Department, for its part, said it values press freedoms, but that the public interest outweighed them. Well, that’s not really comforting.
Pine nuts, bacon, soft-shell crab—these are the flavors of caterpillars, beetles, and tarantulas, if you can believe it. On the heels of a U.N. report urging more insect consumption, Nina Strochlic rounds up the yummiest.
A new study from the United Nations is encouraging people to take a break from red meat, poultry, and fish and instead fill their plates with an alternative protein source: insects.
Supplementing a diet with bugs is not only nutritious but reduces pollution, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization writes. “Insects are everywhere and they reproduce quickly, and they have high growth and feed conversion rates and a low environmental footprint,” the report notes. Besides, they’re high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Indeed, more than 2 billion people around the world already eat insects, but most Western countries have been slow to adopt the practice. The main problem? “Consumer disgust,” writes the agency.
The right has tried to turn Gosnell’s horror show into an argument against legal abortion. They have it exactly backwards.
The conviction of Kermit Gosnell on three counts of first degree murder, one count of involuntary manslaughter, and hundreds of lesser charges should make it very clear that the horrors he committed in his squalid West Philadelphia clinic were illegal. This should be crushingly obvious, but it’s been ignored by the right-wing pundits who have tried to turn this deeply disturbing case into an argument against legal abortion.
Yong Kim/Philadelphia Daily News/MCT, via Landov
This has always been a story about illegal abortion, a phrase that appears over and over in the Gosnell Grand Jury report. It’s about what women will subject themselves to when they see no other option for ending an unwanted pregnancy. It’s about the appalling lack of health care for poor women in this country, especially when it comes to abortion, which, thanks to the Hyde Amendment, isn’t covered by Medicaid. It’s about murdered babies from pregnancies that never should have gone as far as they did.
17-year-old Zach Sobiech passed away Monday from osteosarcoma. Before he died, he wrote and recorded the song 'Clouds.' Here, friends and celebrities, from Bryan Cranston to Sarah Silverman, sing along, and Zach had two weeks to see this video before going where 'the view's a little nicer.'