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Resolution Calling to Amend the Constitution Banning Corporate Personhood Introduced in Vermont

corporate personhood cartoon
© Unknown
On the anniversary of the Citizens United decision, Vermont politicians are moving to deny corporations the rights that humans enjoy.

A year ago today, the Supreme Court issued its bizarre Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections as a form of "free speech" for the corporate "person." Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the dissent, had the task of recalling the majority to planet earth and basic common sense.

"Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires," wrote Stevens. "Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their 'personhood' often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of 'We the People' by whom and for whom our Constitution was established."

Fortunately, movements are afoot to reverse a century of accumulated powers and protections granted to corporations by wacky judicial decisions.

In Vermont, state senator Virginia Lyons on Friday presented an anti-corporate personhood resolution for passage in the Vermont legislature. The resolution, the first of its kind, proposes "an amendment to the United States Constitution ... which provides that corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States." Sources in the state house say it has a good chance of passing. This same body of lawmakers, after all, once voted to impeach George W. Bush, and is known for its anti-corporate legislation. Last year the Vermont senate became the first state legislature to weigh in on the future of a nuclear power plant, voting to shut down a poison-leeching plant run by Entergy Inc. Lyons' Senate voted 26-4 to do it, demonstrating the level of political will of the state's politicians to stand up to corporate power.

The language in the Lyons resolution is unabashed. "The profits and institutional survival of large corporations are often in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of human beings," it states, noting that corporations "have used their so-called rights to successfully seek the judicial reversal of democratically enacted laws."

Thus the unfolding of the obvious: "democratically elected governments" are rendered "ineffective in protecting their citizens against corporate harm to the environment, health, workers, independent business, and local and regional economies." The resolution goes on to note that "large corporations own most of America's mass media and employ those media to loudly express the corporate political agenda and to convince Americans that the primary role of human beings is that of consumer rather than sovereign citizens with democratic rights and responsibilities."

Ambulance

21 workers killed in Colombian mine blast

Columbian mine blast
© AP Photo/Fernando Vergara
Rescue workers comfort Caterine Zapata, center, wife of mine worker Jorge Lara, outside La Preciosa mine in Sardinata, northeastern Colombia, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Lara is among 20 miners feared dead after an explosion believed to have been caused by a methane gas buildup rocked the underground coal mine early Wednesday. Methane gas was also believed to be the cause of an explosion at the mine in 2007 that killed 32 miners.

Sardinata - An explosion likely caused by a methane gas buildup ripped through an underground coal mine in Colombia during a shift change Wednesday, killing 21 workers, officials said. A similar fatal blast occurred at the same mine four years ago.

Five of the victims died at the mine's entrance and by afternoon two bodies had been removed from the mine with another 14 left to recover, said the provincial Colombian Red Cross director, Johel Enrique Rodriguez.

He told The Associated Press that rescuers had seen the rest of the bodies, which he said were covered in burns and scattered throughout the kilometer-long (0.6 mile-long) tunnel that extended horizontally beneath a verdant mountain.

Eye 1

Jesse Ventura Files Suit Against TSA Over Body Scans

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© Unknown
Jesse Ventura, the pro-wrestler turned Minnesota governor turned Conspiracy Theory host, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, saying their full body scanners and pat-down methods are unconstitutional, according to The Associated Press.

Ventura, who is nicknamed "The Body," alleges the TSA's new methods for flight screening violate the the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The suit argues that "unwarranted and unreasonable intrusions on Governor Ventura's personal privacy and dignity and are a justifiable cause for him to be concerned for his personal health and well-being," the AP reported.

Laptop

US: Stolen NFL Laptops Didn't Contain Security Data

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© Getty Images
An iPad and two laptops stolen from the Dallas Convention Center don't contain Super Bowl security information after all, Dallas police said Wednesday.

The items belonged to a private investigator and security consultant based in California. Sources say the company was hired to do work for the NFL in some capacity during the Super Bowl. The owner of the items association to the big game led to concerns about the contents of the laptop, but police now say security hasn't been compromised.

"After talking with the victims, it was determined that neither the laptops nor the iPad contained any information that would compromise or jeopardize the security of any Super Bowl related events," said Kevin Janse, with the Dallas Police Department. "Detectives further believe the laptop theft was nothing more than a crime of opportunity and that the suspects probably didn't even realize who the owners of the property were."

Initially, police said the items were taken from a Starbucks kiosk inside the convention center. The latest information indicates those items were taken while inside a ballroom where they were left unattended for about 25 minutes, Janse said.

Cookie

US: 2 Girl Scouts Robbed By Drive By Cookie Monster

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© NBCDFW.com
Woman snatched close to $100 from Palm Beach Girl Scouts

There's another cookie monster on the loose in West Palm Beach and she's behind the wheel of a car.

Two Girl Scout cookie sellers were targeted by a woman who drove up to their cookie stand and snatched their hard-earned dough, reports WPBF.com

The drive-by happened Sunday night at a shopping center in Palm Beach Gardens.

A woman in a maroon, four-door Honda pulled up to 7-year-old Vanessa Bergeron's cookie table and asked for a box of the treats. Her mother, Missy, was also at the table and walked up to the vehicle with a box in hand.

Attention

US: Elderly NYC Couple Viciously Attacked, Robbed Of $18

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© Juliet Papa
Joseph Naimo, 81 and son Rocco , with black eye and stitches, after being beaten and mugged
Son Saves The Day But Only After Getting Beaten Up, Too

Police on Staten Island are looking for a man and woman robbery team that viciously attacked an elderly couple as they were entering their home on Sunday night.

As CBS 2's John Slattery reports from the Tompkinsville section is the borough, it was the victims' son who put an end to the beatings.

Joseph Naimo, 81, and his son, Rocco, were recovering Wednesday night from the beatings they received. Joseph's wife, however, took the worst of the attack.

"They beat her up bad. They beat her up bad. They beat her up very bad," Joseph said.

Document

Celebrity Journalist: I Never Spoke to Hawaii Gov About Obama Birth Certificate

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© The Associated Press
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie
A celebrity journalist now claims he misspoke when he said last week that Hawaii's governor told him he was unable to find President Barack Obama's original birth certificate after a search of state and hospital archives.

Mike Evans told FoxNews.com on Wednesday he was remorseful and embarrassed that he appeared to have given the impression that he had discussed the search for Obama's birth certificate with Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Evans, who says he has been a close friend of Abercrombie since the 1980s, appeared on Minnesota's KQRS radio last week and said he'd been told by the governor himself that Obama's birth certificate was nowhere to be found. Evans told KQRS on Jan. 20:

"Yesterday, talking to Neil's office, Neil says that he searched everywhere using his powers as governor ..... there is no Barack Obama birth certificate in Hawaii. Absolutely no proof at all that he was born in Hawaii."

But that's no longer Evans' story.

"Only this I can you tell you is 100 percent fact: that Neil never told me there was no birth certificate," Evans told Fox News. "I never talked to him."

Last week's radio interview was part of Evans' syndicated five-minute feature, On the Road with Mike Evans, which is broadcast on 34 stations across the country each morning.

Heart - Black

South Africa: 750 African Greys die on Durban flight

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Durban - More than 750 African Grey parrots worth about R2m died on a flight from Johannesburg to Durban.

The news has caused shock waves among conservationists, bird breeders and those involved in the aviation industry. The parrots died on December 24 on a flight operated by 1time.

Dr Steve Boyes, director of the organisation World Parrot Trust Africa, said steps should be taken to ensure that something like this never happens again.

The parrots were part of an order of 1 650 adult African Greys which were caught in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to be sold to South African breeders.

Pistol

Arizona lawmakers OK'd to carry guns in Senate

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© Scripps Media, Inc.
Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce says it's OK for State Senators to carry guns inside the Senate building.

The Arizona Republic reports the Mesa Republican issued a memo Tuesday to lawmakers clarifying his policy.

Pearce says a member of the Legislature does not lose his or her Second Amendment rights when coming to work each day.

The policy does conflict with state law that prohibits weapons inside the Arizona House and Senate.

Pearce counters that the Arizona Constitution gives him the authority to make the rules within the building.

Pistol

What to do with child psychopaths? 13 year old American Jordan Brown appeals against being tried for murder as an adult

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© Ho/AFP/Getty Images
Judges are to rule on whether Jordan Brown, who has been charged with homicide, should be tried as an adult.
Jordan Brown, who was 11 when he allegedly killed his father's pregnant fiancee, could face life sentence with no parole

Lawyers for a child in Pennsylvania who was 11 when he allegedly shot and killed his father's pregnant fiancee attempted today to persuade an appeals court not to try him as an adult under America's harsh system of juvenile justice.

Unless the lawyers for Jordan Brown who is now aged 13, can convince the judges to change tack, he will be tried in adult court and if convicted will serve an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole. He would become the youngest child in US history to be sentenced to be incarcerated forever.

The US is the only country where juveniles are serving life imprisonment without parole under the so-called "life means life" policy. Only the US and Somalia have refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which rules out life sentences with no chance of release for crimes committed before the age of 18.