Wednesday, Oct 07th

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Feds: Homes with Chinese drywall must be gutted

Chinese drywall from the Alfonso Sanchez home in Davie, Fla.Thousands of U.S. homes tainted by Chinese drywall should be gutted, according to new guidelines released Friday by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The guidelines say electrical wiring, outlets, circuit breakers, fire alarm systems, carbon monoxide alarms, fire sprinklers, gas pipes and drywall need to be removed.

"We want families to tear it all out and rebuild the interior of their homes, and they need to start this to get their lives started all over again," said Inez Tenenbaum, chairwoman of the commission, the federal agency charged with making sure consumer products are safe.



While describing "highly inappropriate behavior" by some of the workers caught on secret video tapes made by Rightwing activists, CA AG Jerry Brown's report finds that "the evidence does not show that the ACORN employees in California violated state criminal laws in connection with their conversations" with activists posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend.


The criminal NSA eavesdropping program

While torture and aggressive war may have been the most serious crimes which the Bush administration committed, its warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens was its clearest and most undeniable lawbreaking.  Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker yesterday became the third federal judge -- out of three who have considered the question -- to find that Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program was illegal (the other two are District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor and 6th Circuit Appellate Judge Ronald Gilman who, on appeal from Judge Taylor's decision, in dissent reached the merits of that question [unlike the two judges in the majority who reversed the decision on technical "standing" grounds] and adopted Taylor's conclusion that the NSA program was illegal).


FBI Warns Extremist Letters May Encourage Violence

The FBI is warning police across the country that an anti-government group's call to remove governors from office could provoke violence by others. A group that calls itself the Guardians of the free Republics wants to ''restore America'' by peacefully dismantling parts of the government, according to its Web site.

As of Wednesday, more than 30 governors had received letters saying if they don't leave office within three days they will be removed, according to an internal intelligence note by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The note was obtained by The Associated Press.


1 dead, 3 missing in blast, fire at Wash. refinery

An explosion and fire at an oil refinery shook homes and shot flames into the night sky early Friday, killing one person, leaving three workers missing and critically injuring four others.

The fire struck the Tesoro Corp. refinery in Anacortes, north of Seattle, at about 12:30 a.m., the company said in a statement. The blaze occurred at the naphtha unit while maintenance work was being performed and was extinguished in about 90 minutes, the company said.

There was one confirmed fatality, four employees were hospitalized and three employees were unaccounted for, the company said. Nearby residents, some five miles from the complex, called Washington TV stations after midnight with reports of an explosion, saying flames were being blown by high winds.


U.S. Revamps Screening of Travelers

The Obama administration and foreign governments will roll out in the next few weeks a more intelligence-based system to try to stop potentially dangerous passengers from boarding U.S.-bound flights, a senior administration official said.

The new system is the product of a three-month review ordered by President Barack Obama after the attempted bombing of a flight to Detroit on Christmas Day. It will replace mandatory secondary screening for all passengers from 14 countries, including nations designated as state sponsors of terrorism and many Muslim-majority countries. That policy—widely criticized as too broad to be effective—was put in place shortly after the bombing attempt.


Supreme Court: Bad advice on deportation can void guilty plea

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that defendants are entitled to know that the potential consequences of a guilty plea include deportation for noncitizens, a decision that could have broader significance for the more than 12.8 million legal immigrants who live in the U.S.

The case, Padilla v. Kentucky, focused on Jose Padilla, a Honduran-born immigrant who faces deportation after pleading guilty to felony marijuana trafficking. He isn't the U.S. citizen of the same name who was convicted in 2007 of conspiring to aid terrorists.

"It is our responsibility under the Constitution to ensure that no criminal defendant — whether a citizen or not — is left to the 'mercies of incompetent counsel,' " Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in the majority opinion. "To satisfy this responsibility, we now hold that counsel must inform her client whether his plea carries a risk of deportation."


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