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Thursday, Jul 24th

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Bush Rule Changes Could Block Product-Safety Suits

Bush administration officials, in their last weeks in office, are pushing to rewrite a wide array of federal rules with changes or additions that could block product-safety lawsuits by consumers and states.

The administration has written language aimed at pre-empting product-liability litigation into 50 rules governing everything from motorcycle brakes to pain medicine. The latest changes cap a multiyear effort that could be one of the administration's lasting legacies, depending in part on how the underlying principle of pre-emption fares in a case the Supreme Court will hear next month.

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CIA Tactics Endorsed In Secret Memos

The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques against al-Qaeda suspects -- documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public.

The classified memos, which have not been previously disclosed, were requested by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, according to four administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents.

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Bipartisan House report finds that Bush made ‘inappropriate’ use of executive privilege

A bipartisan report released today by the House Oversight Committee finds that President Bush made a ‘legally unprecedented and an inappropriate use of executive privilege” when the administration withheld Patrick Fitzgerald’s interview with Vice President Cheney on the CIA leak scandal. A separate report also criticizes Bush’s assertion of executive privilege regarding his recent climate change and Clean Air Act decisions:

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TVNL Comment:  And the penalty for such misconduct is.....???

Man jailed for brown lawn gets help from neighbors

It was a story in the St. Petersburg Times about a 66-year-old grandfather, Joseph Prudente, who was jailed without bail on Friday because his lawn was brown. For nearly a year, he ignored letters from his Beacon Woods homeowners' association and a court order because, he said, he barely had the money to pay his mortgage. He was trying to keep his house and didn't care about the lawn.

TVNL Comment: What kind of cops would make this arrest and what kind of judge would declare no bail? What country is this? How much you want to bet that the cops, the people who complained and the judge call themseves Christians?

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Insider’s Projects Drained Missile-Defense Millions

Thanks to important allies in Congress, he extracted nearly $350 million for projects the Pentagon did not want, wasting taxpayer money on what would become dead-end ventures. Recent scandals involving former Representative Randy Cunningham, Republican of California, and the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, both now in prison, provided a glimpse into how special interests manipulate the federal government.

The national missile defense program has cost the United States more than $110 billion since President Ronald Reagan unveiled his Star Wars plan 25 years ago. Today, the missile defense effort is the Pentagon’s single biggest procurement program.

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Conn. high court rules gay couples can marry

Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay couples have the right to marry, making the state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions through the courts.

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Report: U.S. spied on Americans' intimate conversations abroad

The chairman of the Senate intelligence committee is looking into allegations that a U.S. spy agency improperly eavesdropped on the phone calls of hundreds of Americans overseas, including aid workers and U.S. military personnel talking to their spouses at home.

The allegations, by two former military intercept officers assigned to the National Security Agency, include claims that U.S. spies routinely listened in on intimate conversations and sometimes shared the recordings with each other. At least some of the snooping was done under relaxed eavesdropping rules approved by the Bush administration to facilitate spying on terrorists.

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