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Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: May 06, 2013 Charts: Why You're in Deep Trouble If You Can't Afford a Lawyer:Fifty years after the groundbreaking "Gideon" ruling, public defenders are overworked, underpaid—and America's poor are paying the price
QUOTE: the Supreme Court disappointed reformers when it refused to rule on a case involving a Louisiana man serving a life sentence after waiting five years in jail while the state came up with money to pay his court-appointed lawyer....Since the 1963 Supreme Court decision, America's prison population has grown more than tenfold—from 217,000 inmates to 2.3 million—largely due to decades of the war on drugs and tough-on-crime policies. It's been nearly impossible for the public defense system to keep pace.
Mother Jones Dec 01, 2012 As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price
QUOTE: states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains. The cost of the awards is certainly far higher....A portrait arises of mayors and governors who are desperate to create jobs, outmatched by multinational corporations and short on tools to fact-check what companies tell them....Many of the officials said they feared that companies would move jobs overseas if they did not get subsidies in the United States. Over the years, corporations have increasingly exploited that fear, creating a high-stakes bazaar where they pit local officials against one another to get the most lucrative packages.
New York Times Dec 01, 2012 Utah Hunters Criticize Market Approach to Licenses and Conservation
QUOTE: It especially bothers him — and other hunters — that those with means can buy public licenses through private outlets, paying thousands of dollars to move to the head of the line. More than any state in the West, Utah has expanded hunting opportunities for the well-to-do and has begun to diminish them for those seeking permits directly from the state.
New York Times Mar 13, 2012 Rage grows over mortgage deal
QUOTE: As more details emerge about the massive $26 billion foreclosure settlement between the five biggest mortgage lenders and the states' attorneys general, a growing number of borrowers are realizing that the deal will do little, if anything, to help them out.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 11, 2012 Cry, the Beloved Constitution (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: Both liberals and conservatives have the American Constitution in the cross hairs. They assault the Constitution in their different ways, each with damaging effects on our nation. Conservatives attack the courts on one hand and seek to have them advance their activist agenda on the other. Liberals, when it suits them, embrace rights that have not been enumerated in the Constitution and cry for restraint only when their pet bills come under fire. The result is a national jurisprudence whetted by political appetite, with our democratic values as the victims.
International Herald Tribune (IHT) Jan 11, 2012 Mississippi judge blocks release of pardoned prisoners
QUOTE: A Mississippi judge Wednesday evening issued a temporary injunction forbidding the release of any more prisoners pardoned or given clemency by outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour, whose actions created an uproar.
CNN (Cable News Network) Sep 08, 2011 The Lingering Injustice of Attica
QUOTE: FORTY years ago today, more than 1,000 inmates at Attica Correctional Facility began a major civil and human rights protest — an uprising that is barely mentioned in textbooks but nevertheless was one of the most important rebellions in American history....more than 500 state troopers burst in, riddling catwalks and exercise yards with thousands of bullets. Within 15 minutes the air was filled with screams, and the prison was littered with the bodies of 39 people — 29 inmates and 10 hostages — who lay dead or dying.
New York Times Aug 12, 2011 Health Law Is Dealt Blow by a Court on Mandate
QUOTE: The provision in President Obama’s health care law requiring Americans to buy health insurance or face tax penalties was ruled unconstitutional on Friday by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta. It was the first appellate review to find the provision unconstitutional — a previous federal appeals court upheld the law...
New York Times Aug 02, 2011 Reaping Millions in Nonprofit Care for Disabled
QUOTE: [Young Adult Institute Network] and the Levys have earned many admirers in the field for the quality and range of their programs...But their spending is seldom scrutinized, and, even when state officials turn up questionable expenses, there are few consequences.
New York Times Jul 13, 2011 Amazon Takes On California
QUOTE: Amazon said this week that it would push a voter initiative in California that could eliminate sales tax for virtual sellers with only a modest physical presence in the state. Its move instantly escalated the company’s long-running battle with many states over collecting sales tax, taking the question directly to voters. And it has sharply intensified its dispute with physical retailers like Wal-Mart Stores and Target, which have vowed to fight the measure.
New York Times Jul 13, 2011 Amid Minnesota Crisis, Pawlenty Faces Scrutiny
QUOTE: ...Mr. Pawlenty’s fiscal record as governor is drawing closer scrutiny. And while Mr. Pawlenty did face economic and political challenges in balancing the state’s budget each year, his record includes what critics say was an overreliance on one-time accounting maneuvers that failed to address the underlying problems.
New York Times Jul 01, 2011 Divided appeals court strikes down Michigan's affirmative action ban
QUOTE: A divided federal appeals court on Friday struck down Michigan's controversial ban on consideration of race and gender in college admissions....The affirmative action ban was passed five years ago in a referendum and was added to the state's constitution...
CNN (Cable News Network) Jun 30, 2011 Local Laws Fighting Fat Under Siege
QUOTE: Several state legislatures are passing laws that prohibit municipalities and other local governments from adopting regulations aimed at curbing rising obesity and improving public health, such as requiring restaurants to provide nutritional information on menus or to eliminate trans fats from the foods they serve.
New York Times Jun 29, 2011 California targets Kindle lab in Amazon tax spat
QUOTE: Amazon.com said today that it's reluctantly severing ties with affiliates in California, a move that it hopes will let it continue shipping products to state residents without collecting sales taxes.... The measure says that any retailer who "through a subsidiary" has any "place of business" in California must collect sales taxes.
CNET Jun 23, 2011 Let’s Make a Deal, Amazon Tells Texas
QUOTE: Texas has granted sales tax rebates to companies on goods and services they buy, but has apparently never allowed one to stop collecting taxes from its own customers. The Texas Retailers Association blasted the proposed Amazon deal as a carve-out that would leave the state’s brick-and-mortar stores at a disadvantage to the giant Internet retailer.
New York Times Jun 16, 2011 A Schizophrenic, a Slain Worker, Troubling Questions
QUOTE: Massachusetts, which compared with other states faces a relatively modest budget shortfall of $1.5 billion, is hardly alone in cutting money for mental health care. State mental health departments, serving vulnerable populations with little political clout, almost always get disproportionately squeezed during tough times. During the current fiscal crisis, many states have sharply reduced both inpatient and community-based mental health care.
New York Times May 21, 2011 New Mexico Judge Charged in Bribery Case, but Former Governor Draws a Mention
QUOTE: Mr. Richardson said in a statement that suggestions that he appointed judges based on campaign contributions were “outrageous and defamatory.” His supporters call the case politically motivated, pointing to the involvement of two prominent Republicans, including Gov. Susana Martinez, who succeeded Mr. Richardson in January.
New York Times Apr 20, 2011 The New Anti-Abortion Math
QUOTE: Terrible sex education programs and a lack of access to contraceptives leads to a huge number of births to poor women… The Texas baby boom… marches off to underfunded schools... One of the first things the cash-strapped Legislature tried to cut was family planning.
New York Times Mar 09, 2011 Wisconsin Senate Limits Bargaining by Public Workers
QUOTE: Democrats, meanwhile, condemned the move as an attack on working families, a violation of open meetings requirements (most of them did not know there was to be a vote until not long before), and a virtual firebomb in state that already found itself politically polarized and consumed with recall efforts, large scale protests and fury from public workers.
New York Times Mar 03, 2011 Government Report Finds Elder Abuse on the Rise
QUOTE: Kay Brown, director of education, work force and income security at the accountability office, testified that state agencies also were seeing increasingly complex cases involving multiple types of abuse. Yet funding for state-level adult protective services agencies... is not keeping pace.
New York Times Feb 21, 2011 Why America's teachers are enraged
QUOTE: Thousands of teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public sector workers have camped out at the Wisconsin Capitol, protesting Republican Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to reduce their take-home pay -- by increasing their contribution to their pension plans and health care benefits -- and restrict their collective bargaining rights.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jan 30, 2011 Issues of Race Bubble Up as Republicans Assert New Power in Albany
QUOTE: An otherwise routine session last Monday in the New York State Senate erupted into an argument over seating arrangements and office space that hinted at issues of race and gender that are percolating as Republicans assert their authority as the majority party.
New York Times Jan 03, 2011 Strained States Turning to Laws to Curb Labor Unions
QUOTE: Faced with growing budget deficits and restive taxpayers, elected officials from Maine to Alabama, Ohio to Arizona, are pushing new legislation to limit the power of labor unions, particularly those representing government workers, in collective bargaining and politics...in some cases — mostly in states with Republican governors and Republican statehouse majorities — officials are seeking more far-reaching, structural changes that would weaken the bargaining power and political influence of unions, including private sector ones.
New York Times Dec 20, 2010 Homes at Risk, and No Help From Lawyers
QUOTE: a new state law that sharply restricts how [lawyers working on loan modifications] can be paid.... unintended consequence: the honest lawyers can no longer afford to assist Ms. Bell and all the others who feel helpless before lenders that they see as elusive, unyielding and skilled at losing paperwork.
New York Times Dec 08, 2010 LAWA Land: The Supreme Court hears about Arizona's other controversial immigration law.
QUOTE: The Supreme Court busies itself today with that law's Mini-Me, the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act, which goes much further than federal immigration law in sanctioning state employers who hire illegal workers. Both today's case and the one the court will inevitably hear about SB 1070 test the same general proposition: Does federal immigration law pre-empt—or preclude—the states from passing their own, tougher immigration laws?
Slate Jun 18, 2010 Justice Dept. Will Fight Arizona on Immigration
QUOTE: The Obama administration has decided to file a lawsuit to strike down a new Arizona law aimed at deporting illegal immigrants, thrusting itself into the fierce national debate over how the United States should enforce immigration policies.
New York Times May 24, 2010 Hard Times Spur Ideas for Change
QUOTE: As states around the country gird for another grim budget year, more leaders have begun to talk not of nipping, not of tucking, but, in essence, of turning government upside down and starting over. Ever growing is the list of states, municipalities and agencies with blue ribbon committees aimed at reconsidering what government should be.
New York Times May 21, 2010 Take Justice Off the Ballot
QUOTE: a balance between lifetime appointment and partisan election by providing for the open, public nomination and appointment of judges, followed in due course by a standardized judicial performance evaluation and, finally, a yes/no vote in which citizens either approve the judge or vote him out. This kind of merit selection system — now used in some form in two-thirds of states — protects the impartiality of the judiciary without sacrificing accountability.
New York Times May 02, 2010 Cash-strapped states go online, hoping to tax sales
QUOTE: Online retailers are vehemently fighting the bills, filing lawsuits and severing business ties in states that have passed sales tax legislation. At stake is not only the small discount that many shoppers enjoy, but the low-price business model that fueled the explosive transformation of Amazon and Overstock.com into giants of the $130 billion e-commerce industry.
Washington Post Oct 09, 2009 Too Much Information, Not Enough Common Sense
QUOTE: A new Oklahoma law will require the details of every abortion to be posted on a public website.
Atlantic Online, The (Atlantic Monthly) Sep 21, 2009 Reports Criticize Pandemic Planning: Flu Readiness Check Finds Gaps In Care, Coverage
QUOTE: Many state and local governments are not adequately prepared to deal with a surge of patients in a flu pandemic or quickly distribute vaccine and antiviral drugs...
Washington Post Sep 19, 2009 California Proposes Plan to Ban Sale of High-Energy TVs
QUOTE: the state's [California] regulatory mavens have formally proposed regulations that would force the industry to make more energy-efficient models.
Time Magazine Aug 24, 2009 Report Cites Abuse at State Juvenile Prison Centers
QUOTE: Children at four juvenile detention centers in New York were so severely abused by workers that it constituted a violation of their constitutional rights, according to a report by the United States Department of Justice made public on Monday.
New York Times Aug 24, 2009 Wyoming split over worker safety: It's the second time lawmakers are weighing measures to decrease the state's high rate of job fatalities, especially in the oil fields.
QUOTE: For the last several years, Wyoming has outpaced the rest of the country in occupational fatalities.
Los Angeles Times Aug 21, 2009 The Deadly Cost of Swooping In to Save a Life (Fatal Flights A Perilous Rush to Profit
QUOTE: Yet as crashes and deaths have mounted [in medical helicopter accidents], top executives at the Federal Aviation Administration and its parent agency, the U.S. Transportation Department, have acted as partners with the industry, issuing reams of voluntary safety advisories with little follow-up. The FAA has sent poorly trained inspectors to monitor operators and used fines and penalties as only a last resort.
Washington Post Aug 13, 2009 Tighter Cellphone Laws Might Face Static: U.S., Local Officials Seek to Curb Drivers' Distractions as Crashes Spike
QUOTE: Text messaging and cellphones have gotten most of the attention lately [as dangerous distractions for drivers], and it might take [U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray] LaHood's federal influence to wean the nation from them. Almost 90 percent of Americans own cellphones.
Washington Post Aug 10, 2009 Subway Safety Panel Foiled by Constraints: 12-Year-Old Oversight Committee Has Little Influence on Metro Operations
QUOTE: Before June's deadly subway crash, no federal agency stepped in to ensure that [the Washington, D.C.] Metro found and fixed the electrical circuits now suspected of contributing to the worst accident in the system's history. That's because none is authorized to.
Washington Post Aug 10, 2009 Alaskans question cost of supporting rural outposts: With federal stimulus money going to build infrastructure in tiny, remote communities, many in the state wonder if it's worthwhile.
QUOTE: The cost of keeping rural Alaska afloat has been one of the state's most enduring challenges. Now a place that sees itself as the nation's last frontier, where countless communities depend on bush planes and boats for their food and fuel deliveries, is having to support its outposts in an age of cable television, cellphone networks and the Internet.
Los Angeles Times Aug 09, 2009 Airspace Above Hudson a Highway With Few Signs
QUOTE: Over the years, the air above the Hudson River, from the estuary’s surface to an altitude of 1,100 feet, and the business at the heart of it — helicopters conducting tours — has not escaped calls for greater government control.
New York Times Jul 31, 2009 Do Public Colleges Rip Off Students?
QUOTE: the budget crises, especially California’s, have the institutions [public universities] approaching a tipping point at which the democratic dynamism of the public research university turns into a sloppy copy of the famous private research universities
Jul 30, 2009 Room service not included: Criminal justice
QUOTE: PAY-IF-YOU-GO will be the new model for the criminal justice system if Jim Tedisco, a New York state assemblyman, gets his way.
Jul 26, 2009 In New Jersey, Ideal Conditions for Corruption
QUOTE: As 44 people walked before cameras last week, their hands in cuffs, after they were arrested in the state’s biggest corruption scandal in years — but not, to be sure, that many years — even their most scandal-fatigued constituents, from the gritty precincts of Journal Square in Jersey City to the glittering new condominiums on the Hudson in Hoboken, began to wonder: Why is New Jersey so unshakably corrupt?
New York Times Jul 20, 2009 U.S. Withheld Data on Risks of Distracted Driving (Driven to Distraction)
QUOTE: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, decided not to make public hundreds of pages of research and warnings about the use of phones by drivers — in part, officials say, because of concerns about angering Congress.
New York Times Jul 13, 2009 Tiny Airports Get Big Cut of Stimulus Cash: Small, Rural Airports Get Big Payouts While Safety Violations at Major National Airports Get Little Attention
QUOTE: taxpayers may be surprised to find "that airports they never heard of in communities they will never visit are getting some of the maximum stimulus grants," says Michael Grabell of the non-profit journalism group ProPublica.
CBS News Jul 10, 2009 Efforts at Regulation Have Yoga Teachers Bent Out of Shape
QUOTE: Citing laws that govern vocational schools, like those for hairdressers, chiropractors and truck drivers, regulators have begun to require licenses for yoga schools that train instructors, with all the fees, inspections and paperwork that entails.
New York Times Jun 18, 2009 Federal Inquiry Into Blagojevich Turns to University Admissions
QUOTE: Federal prosecutors are trying to determine if former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his allies used political muscle to influence student admissions at three state universities.
New York Times Jun 01, 2009 Judge Clears Way for Sale of Chrysler to Fiat
QUOTE: A federal judge on Sunday night cleared a path for Chrysler to exit bankruptcy by approving a sale of most of the carmaker’s assets to a new entity to be run by Fiat of Italy....three [Indiana pension funds] have objected to the sale, arguing that they deserve more than the 29 cents on the dollar that they and other secured lenders will receive as repayment.
New York Times Jun 01, 2009 46 States and D.C. to Pursue Common Education Standards
QUOTE: The push for common reading and math standards marks a turning point in a movement to judge U.S. children using one yardstick....Many Republicans oppose nationally mandated standards, saying schools should not be controlled by Washington.
Washington Post Jun 01, 2009 U.S. Effort to Reshape Schools Faces Challenges
QUOTE: President Obama’s education secretary, Mr. Duncan, wants to take school turnaround efforts nationwide....The federal government lacks the authority to close schools, so Mr. Duncan’s first challenge is to persuade local districts to begin school turnarounds that will anger teachers, administrators, parents and local politicians.
New York Times Jan 08, 2009 Nationwide Inquiry on Bids for Municipal Bonds
QUOTE: appears to be collusion among the banks and other companies that have helped state and local governments take approximately $400 billion worth of municipal notes and bonds to market each year....companies did not engage in open competition for this lucrative business, but secretly divided it among themselves, imposing layers of excess cost on local governments, violating the federal rules for tax-exempt bonds and making questionable payments and campaign contributions to local officials who could steer them business.
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