Newscast for Wednesday, December 14, 2011
- Year: 2011
- Length: 29:10 minutes (26.71 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
The House of Representatives took up the controversial National Defense Authorization Act today. The bill was revised after President Barack Obama threatened to veto a previous Senate version. But the language in this new bill still has civil liberties advocates concerned. Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings.
“With this legislation we are undermining over 200 years of Constitutional protections. We are returning American society to an age when an all-powerful executive can command unaccountable power over people’s lives. To codify in law the power of the president to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or trial is an egregious affront to our nation’s system of justice.”
Meanwhile, the House passed a bill Monday evening that temporarily extends both unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut, but includes environmental and economic provisions that has the Senate and President Obama threatening to block it. FSRN’s Alice Ollstein reports from Capitol Hill.
Federal judge blocks Alabama anti-immigrant law provision as legal challenges advance
This week, challenges to harsh immigration laws moved forward in Arizona and Alabama. The US Supreme court said it will hear a case involving Arizona’s SB 1070 law and whether it is preempted by federal jurisdiction on immigration. In Alabama, a federal judge temporarily blocked a provision of the state’s HB 56 law that threatened to push families out of their homes if they couldn’t prove their legal status. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled Monday on the Alabama law in a suit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and a coalition of civil rights groups. For more we’re joined by Kristi Graunke, senior Staff Attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In a report out today, Human Rights Watch found that Alabama’s law has “given police and private individuals a license to harass and abuse unauthorized immigrants as well as minority US citizens and permanent residents.” It also documents how children are particularly hard hit. Alma Martinez, a mother and resident of Alabama for eighteen years, told a congressional hearing in November that the law has created a climate of fear in her community - and put an intense burden on children.
“I have an eight year old son who was born here and I dread the day that anyone will question whether he belongs in this country. Since the introduction of HB 56 my son has anxiety that he’s going to lose me and has nightmares that I have been killed or disappeared. The weekend after the law passed, my friend called me worried about her 16 year old son and told me that he didn’t want to come out of his bedroom, saying that he would rather die than go back to Mexico because he fears for his life due to the drug cartels violence. He was brought to this country when he was just two years old and the United States is the only country he knows.”
The Human Rights Watch report, titled No Way to Live, calls for a repeal of the law and for US Congress to take up comprehensive immigration reform. To view the HRW report, No Way to Live: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/12/08/no-way-live
As Occupy encampments across the country have dealt with police crackdowns, severe weather and at times, shifting support from local politicians, one thing remains a familiar scene: the general assembly. Shortly after the Occupy Movement began in New York, participants implemented the process as a way to meet and make decisions based on consensus. Organizers said it was an important part of challenging a top-down political process. Quickly, the model spread across the country. This was a new process for many and came with various challenges at different sites, as activists both young and old discovered. FSRN’s Sue Hilderbrand in Chico, California files this report.
In Colorado, oil and gas interests are setting their sights on nearly 3,000 new wells. Recent estimates by Anadarko, a Houston-based company that wants to drill the wells, say Colorado’s Front Range is sitting on possibly 1.5 billion barrels of oil. Most oil and gas wells are hydraulically fracked and have traditionally been in rural areas, which has many residents and some local lawmakers concerned over the potential environmental and health consequences. In the first of a series of FSRN reports on the controversial practice of hydro-fracking, FSRN's Maeve Conran reports.