Supreme Court says Montana cannot ignore Citizens United ruling (NPR)
June 25, 2012 -- The state of Montana has lost a closely watched bid to challenge Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that lets corporations deploy their money to help or attack specific candidates.
Citizens United dramatically loosened the restraints on corporate involvement in political campaigns. It also set strict new limits on what's considered "corruption or the appearance of corruption" when it comes to restricting money in politics.
Supreme Court rules juvenile life without parole is cruel and unusual punishment (Chicago Tribune)
June 25, 2012 -- The Supreme Court Monday limited the use of life terms in prison for murderers under 18, ruling that judges must consider the defendant’s youth and the nature of the crime before putting him behind bars with no hope for parole.
In a 5-4 decision, the high court struck down as cruel and unusual punishment the laws in about 28 states that mandated a life term for murderers, including those under age 18.
GM Grass linked to Texas cattle deaths; fields found toxic with cyanide produced by crop (CBS)
June 23, 2012 -- A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.
Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.
E-mail change angers Facebook users (CNN)
June 25, 2012 -- If you're a Facebook user, you have a @facebook.com email address, whether you use it or not. Facebook is now automatically posting those addresses to users' profiles and displaying them as the default email address.
Cue the backlash. Facebook told CNNMoney the change has been rolling out for "a few weeks," but many users weren't aware of it until a spate of blog posts and news articles began drawing attention to it on Monday.
Thousands evacuated as wildfire nears Colorado towns (USA Today)
June 23, 2012 -- The total number of homes destroyed by a two-week old wildfire in northern Colorado was raised to 248 on Sunday as residents of a subdivision near Fort Collins learned that 57 more homes in their neighborhood had been lost, authorities said.
With no vote, taxpayers stuck with tab on bonds (New York Times)
June 26, 2012 -- Surprised local taxpayers from Stockton, Calif., to Scranton, Pa., are finding themselves obligated for parking garages, hockey arenas and other enterprises that can no longer pay their debts.
Officials have signed them up unknowingly to backstop the bonds of independent authorities, the special bodies of government that run projects like toll roads and power plants.
Issa: No evidence White House covered up `Fast and Furious’ fallout (Los Angeles Times)
June 24, 2012 -- House oversight committee chairmanDarrell Issa said Sunday that he has no evidence the White House was involved in what could be a Justice Department"cover up” to contain fallout from the botched “Fast and Furious” operation.
In a series of interviews on the political talk shows, the California Republican repeatedly accused Justice Department officials of lying to Congress about the gun-trafficking sting operation and withholding documents from congressional investigators.
Obama invokes executive privilege over ‘Fast and Furious’ documents (Los Angeles Times)
June 20, 2012 -- Just as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was about to vote Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena for documents in the flawed Fast and Furious gun-tracking case, President Obama asserted executive privilege and backed up the attorney general’s position in refusing to turn over the material.
The fast-moving events Wednesday morning at the White House and on Capitol Hill significantly ratcheted up a growing constitutional clash between the two branches of the federal government, one that ultimately may not be resolved until it reaches the courts.
Rubio sticks to GOP doctrine over immigration (The Hill)
June 24, 2012 -- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), an important GOP liaison to Hispanic voters, said Sunday that Congress must strengthen border security and crack down on employers before considering a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
He stuck fast to his party's positions on immigration despite flirting earlier this year with a legislative proposal that would have stopped the deportation of immigrants who came to the United States at a young age.
Cash rules at Romney retreat while Condoleeza Rice steals the show (Yahoo news)
June 24, 2012 -- If the majority of donors who attend this weekend's gathering of hundreds of high dollar fundraisers go back home as fired up as Rodger Young, the Romney campaign will be in quite strong a financial position and the investment in time and effort for the event will be paid back many times over.
"I am going to bundle every penny I can bundle," said Young, a donor at this weekend's mixer for Romney donors, GOP stars, and Republican leaders.
Until this weekend, Young was merely a donor not a bundler, but that has now changed.
Analysis: Mexican ruling party faces defeat but may back reforms (Reuters)
June 26, 2012 -- Mexico's ruling party faces heavy defeat at a presidential election on Sunday and already is preparing for life in the opposition, where it could help pass economic reforms that it was unable to push through in power.
The conservative National Action Party, or PAN, ushered in a new era in Mexican democracy in a 2000 election that broke the Institutional Revolutionary Party's (PRI) 71-year grip on power and raised high hopes of change.
Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi named Egyptian president (CBS)
June 24, 2012 -- Islamist Mohammed Morsi was declared the winner Sunday in Egypt's first free presidential election in history, closing the tumultuous first phase of a democratic transition and opening a new struggle with the still-dominant military rulers who recently stripped the presidency of most of its powers.
In Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the uprising that ousted autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, joyous Morsi supporters wept and kneeled on the ground in prayer. They danced, set off fireworks and released doves in the air with Morsi's picture attached in celebrations not seen in the square since Hosni Mubarak was forced out on Feb. 11, 2011.
Morsi quits Muslim brother hood, vows to unite country (NBC)
June 23, 2012 -- Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed candidate, was declared Egypt’s first Islamist president on Sunday with 51.7 percent of last weekend's run-off vote, defeating Ahmed Shafiq, who had been tapped as prime minister by former President Hosni Mubarak.
In an address to Egyptians late Sunday night, Morsi reiterated his platform of unifying all Egyptians. Of those who died while protesting more than a year ago, he said, "Their blood will not go in vain."
Morsi becomes Egypt’s fifth president, following Mubarak, who was president for nearly 30 years before mass protests across the country forced him to resign in February 2011.
WIND ENERGY NEWS
Iberdrola to explore sale of U.S. wind plants and projects (Recharge News)
June 28, 2012 -- The decision "does not change Iberdrola’s strategic position towards the US renewable energy market," Iberdrola Renewablescommunications director Jan Johnson tells Recharge. "Iberdrola remains committed to the US renewable energy market. We are always looking for opportunities to optimize our portfolio."
Johnson says the development projects, in markets where Iberdrola is oversupplied and has "some merchant exposure", are "capable of coming online in the near term" and are being marketed in an effort to maintain a "right-sized pipeline".
Quatar takes state in Iberdrola (The National)
March 15, 2011 -- Qatar Holding yesterday bought a major stake in Iberdrola, a publicly listed utility company based in Spain, for €2.02 billion (Dh10.35bn).
The outlay will give the division of the Qatar Investment Authority 6.16 per cent of the company, the head of Qatar Holding said yesterday.
Texas wind energy fails again (National Review)
August 29, 2012 -- Wednesday brought yet another unspeakably hot day to Texas and, alas, it was yet another day when wind energy failed the state’s consumers.
Indeed, as record heat and drought continue to hammer the Lone Star State, the inanity of the state’s multi-billion-dollar spending spree on wind energy becomes ever more apparent. On Wednesday afternoon, ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, declared a power emergency as some of the state’s generation units began to falter under the soaring demand for electricity. Electricity demand hit 66,552 megawatts, about 1,700 megawatts shy of the record set on August 3.
Presidential projects on wind power flawed according to new book (KXXV)
May 30, 2012 -- Presidents Bush and Obama both supported wind power development by publicly referencing a Department of Energy (DOE) study that contains serious flaws, according to a new environmental book by UC Berkeley visiting scholar Ozzie Zehner. GREEN ILLUSIONS (University of Nebraska Press, June 2012) draws upon previously unpublished interviews with the DOE. According to Green Illusions, the DOE report renders a picture of wind energy that is up to six times more impressive than the department's own field experience would indicate. http://www.kxxv.com/story/18654436/presidential-projections-on-wind-power-flawed-according-to-new-book
The trouble with turbines: an ill wind (Nature)
June 20, 2012 -- Marc Bechard turned a worried eye skywards as he walked among the limestone hills at the southern tip of Spain. It was October 2008, and thousands of griffon vultures — along with other vulnerable raptors — were winging towards the Strait of Gibraltar and beyond to Africa. But first they had to navigate some treacherous airspace. The landscape on either side of the strait bristles with wind turbines up to 170 metres high, armed with blades that slice the air at 270 kilometres per hour.