September 4, 2014 was jam-packed with significant and interesting news, including the following:
1. Appeals Court rules gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional
AP/The Huffington Post reports:
The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago issued a scathing, unequivocal ruling Thursday.
" The unanimous, 40-page decision from a three-judge panel blasted the states' justifications for their bans, several times singling out the argument that only marriage between a man and a woman should be allowed because it's — simply — tradition."
"Judge Richard Posner, an appointee of Republican President Ronald Reagan, wrote the opinion. During oral arguments, Posner fired tough questions at the bans' defenders, often expressing exasperation at their answers.
The other two judges on the panel were 2009 Barack Obama appointee David Hamilton and 1999 Bill Clinton appointee Ann Claire Williams.
The ruling echoed Posner's comments during oral arguments that "hate" underpinned the bans."
To read more, click here.
Hmmm. What a slap down to Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen who'd pursued the appeal.
2 Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, wife found guilty on multiple corruption charges
"A federal jury has convicted the Republican ex-governor on 11 public corruption charges and his wife, Maureen, on 9, deciding that the cash and gifts they received from a former nutritional supplement mogul constituted bribery," ----------reports New York Daily News.
"The U.S. Department of Justice ... hailed the guilty verdicts, saying in a statement that the McDonnells “turned public service into a money-making enterprise. 'Today’s convictions should send a message that corruption in any form, at any level of government, will not be tolerated,' the department said."
Hmmm. Corruption in government --at any level-- should not be tolerated in Wisconsin, either.
On her show Thursday, Rachel Maddow pointed out that Bob McDonnell ran for office as a "family values" conservative, pious Christian, defender of marriage, etc. However, he resorted to the so-called "crazy wife" defense during the trial. McDonnell tried to evade responsibilty by putting blame on his spouse and his crumbling marriage. He trashed and publicly humiliated his wife. What a cad. For more, go to the Washington Post Op-ed Robert McDonnell Throws His Wife Under The Bus At Trial
McDonnell is reportedly the first governor in Virginia history to be tried for a crime, and now the first to be convicted. The McDonnells face lengthy prison terms and hefty fines.
3. BP found grossly negligent for 2010 Gulf spill
A federal judge in Louisiana ruled that BP was grossly negligent in setting off the biggest oil spill in U.S. history (2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster) and may face fines as much as $18 billion.
"Under the Clean Water Act, the maximum penalty for an oil spiller found "simply negligent" is $1,100 per barrel spilled. But if a company is found "grossly negligent," as was the case Thursday, that obligation jumps to as much as $4,300 a barrel."
See bloomberg.com for details.
4. Department of Justice Announces Ferguson Police Probe
AP/ABC News: " The Justice Department launched a broad investigation Thursday into the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting last month of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer.
The investigation, which is separate from an existing federal probe into the Aug. 9 shooting of Michel Brown, will look for patterns of discrimination within the predominantly white department and focus on how officers use force, search and arrest suspects, and treat inmates at the city jail. The police department said it welcomed the investigation."
5. Comedian Joan Rivers dies