Republicans slam Thurgood Marshall, demand to see his birth certificate and resegregate schools

Thurgood Marshall Takes Center Stage At Kagan Hearings (VIDEO) | TPMDC

Ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) criticized Kagan for having “associated herself with well-known activist judges who have used their power to redefine the meaning of our constitution and have the result of advancing that judge’s preferred social policies,” citing Marshall as his son, Thurgood Marshall Jr., sat in the audience of the Judiciary Committee hearings.

In an example of how much the GOP focused on Marshall, his name came up 35 times. President Obama’s name was mentioned just 14 times today.

Sessions said Kagan’s reverence for Marshall “tells us much about the nominee,” and he meant that more as an indictment than a compliment.

One justice away from ending a ridiculous trend

UPDATE: US High Court Rules Against Expanding Business Method Patents –


Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, declined to adopt “categorical rules that might have wide-ranging and unforeseen impacts,” and chose instead to decide the case narrowly.

“With ever more people trying to innovate and thus seeking patent protections for their inventions, the patent law faces a great challenge in striking the balance between protecting inventors and not granting monopolies over procedures that others would discover by independent, creative application of general principles,” Kennedy wrote. “Nothing in this opinion should be read to take a position on where that balance ought to be struck.”

Four justices, led by Justice John Paul Stevens, would have held that methods of doing business are not patentable.

For those that haven’t followed this, there is a ridiculous trend that has happened since this ‘business method’ patent model took off. The idea starte when you take something obvious (like selling something) and add ‘using a computer network’ to the method, and then patenting that ‘process’. Amazon’s “one-click checkout” being one of the more notable cases (with hundreds that are similar).

What makes these shenanigans so obvious is how patent attorneys ALL try to get ALL these cases tried in East Texas with the most technologically-ignorant juries possible. They then get restrictive rulings and start suing everyone. The worst thing about the pracice is that is has nothing to do with innovation or invention and everything to do with getting an ignorant jury to side with a slick lawyer.

So we were *that* close to ending an anti-competitive practice that threatens every small business owner (are you paying the license fee to use the ‘business method’ of taking orders using a computer network while digitally storing customer information, say in a cookie. If not, you are a thief, as someone (well, something) owns that idea).

“Climategate” lies revealed, like the ACORN thing, nothing was actually done wrong

Newspapers Retract ‘Climategate’ Claims, but Damage Still Done – Newsweek

The article “UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim” (News, Jan 31) stated that the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report had included an “unsubstantiated claim” that up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest could be sensitive to future changes in rainfall. The IPCC had referenced the claim to a report prepared for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) by Andrew Rowell and Peter Moore, whom the article described as “green campaigners” with “little scientific expertise.” The article also stated that the authors’ research had been based on a scientific paper that dealt with the impact of human activity rather than climate change.

In fact, the IPCC’s Amazon statement is supported by peer-reviewed scientific evidence. In the case of the WWF report, the figure . . . was based on research by the respected Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) which did relate to the impact of climate change. We also understand and accept that . . . Dr Moore is an expert in forest management, and apologise for any suggestion to the contrary.

The article also quoted criticism of the IPCC’s use of the WWF report by Dr Simon Lewis, a Royal Society research fellow at the University of Leeds and leading specialist in tropical forest ecology. We accept that, in his quoted remarks, Dr Lewis was making the general point that both the IPCC and WWF should have cited the appropriate peer-reviewed scientific research literature. As he made clear to us at the time, including by sending us some of the research literature, Dr Lewis does not dispute the scientific basis for both the IPCC and the WWF reports’ statements on the potential vulnerability of the Amazon rainforest to droughts caused by climate change. . . . A version of our article that had been checked with Dr Lewis underwent significant late editing and so did not give a fair or accurate account of his views on these points. We apologise for this.

Republican strategy, “Do nothing, watch the suffering, blame Obama for it, take over (rinse repeat)”

Ezra Klein – The Senate unemployment bill founders

The bill also has a raft of tax cuts and investments, including billions for the Small Business Administration to offer more loans to small businesses, bonds to fund infrastructure development, money to encourage private-sector R&D. and more. A full list of the bill’s provisions, and its subsequent modifications, can be found here.

Those modification documents are important, because Democrats have made a lot of changes to the bill in response to Republican opposition. The total cost went from $200 billion to about $110 billion. The bill went from being deficit-funded — which is what you want for stimulus — to largely paid for, with only the $30 billion or so in unemployment benefits adding to the deficit. The $25 addition to unemployment checks was eliminated, and states now have to pay more for Medicaid, adding to their budget woes. The bill, in other words, has been made smaller and weaker. And that’s despite 9.7 percent unemployment.

And still, it looks like Democrats might lose the vote today. And when I say “lose the vote,” I don’t mean that a majority of the Senate will vote against it. I mean that 58 senators, rather than 60, will support the legislation. All Republicans, and possibly Ben Nelson, appear to remain opposed. And why not? The less that Democrats appear to be doing on jobs — and the fewer jobs that Democrats actually create — the better Republicans will do in November. Substantial compromises on the bill haven’t brought any new votes, and that’s in part because Republicans see no political upside in passing the legislation.

Neocons blame Turkey for, well, everything (this week, it’ll change back to Iran soon)

U.S.: Neo-Conservatives Lead Charge Against Turkey – IPS

The onslaught is ironic both because of the neo- conservatives’ long cultivation of Turkey and their avowed support for promoting democratic governance – of which they have singled out Turkey for special praise – in the Muslim world.

Neo-conservatives were among the most important promoters of the military alliance between Israel and Turkey that began to take shape in the late 1980s and was consolidated by the mid-1990s.

Supreme Court sides with Skilling’s appeal

“The Government charged Skilling with conspiring to de-fraud Enron’s shareholders by misrepresenting the company’s fiscal health to his own profit, but the Government never alleged that he solicited or accepted side payments from a third party in exchange for making these misrepresentations,” the court said.

When you are using the system to rip people off, you don’t *need* a third party. Anyone will do.