Wednesday, November 27, 2013

  • Three More NYC Contractors Found Guilty in Massive CityTime Scandal to Modernize Payroll System

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    Three computer consultants were found guilty on Friday of multiple charges for defrauding New York City of millions of dollars in the largest corruption case in city history. Private consultants were found guilty of siphoning tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks from the scandal-ridden $700 million CityTime payroll project. Last year, the project’s main contractor, SAIC, was forced to repay the city $500 million as part of a deferred prosecution agreement. Meanwhile, a top SAIC official is poised to become the next secretary of the Air Force. The Senate is expected to soon hold a confirmation vote for Deborah Lee James, who was in charge of "corporate responsibility" at SAIC at the time of the CityTime scandal. We get an update on the story from Democracy Now! co-host Juan González, who originally broke the story in the New York Daily News.

  • Plea to End Deportations Heard Nationwide as Activist Interrupts Obama Speech on Immigration

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    Two days after he interrupted a speech by President Obama, Ju Hong, an immigrant rights activist from South Korea, joins us to talk about how Obama’s immigration policies have impacted him. As Obama continued his campaign for comprehensive immigration reform with a speech in San Francisco, Hong interrupted him to call for an end to deportations. Obama then turned around to address him directly, and Hong continued talking. Those who placed Hong behind Obama during the speech may not have realized he is one of the most outspoken young immigrant activists in California. He has been arrested previously during immigration protests — most recently over the summer when he opposed the confirmation of former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as president of the University of California system. Hong is a member of ASPIRE — Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights Through Education. "I thought about my family, I thought about my personal struggle as undocumented, and I thought about my friends and my communities who have been deported and who are currently in detention centers," Hong says about why he spoke out. "I felt I was compelled to tell the truth to President Obama that he has the ability stop the deportations for all."

  • The Pope Slams "Tyranny" of Capitalism and "Idolatry of Money," But Opposes Shift on Women, Abortion

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    Pope Francis has used his first major written work to attack capitalism as a "new tyranny," while urging global leaders to fight poverty and inequality. In a document published Tuesday, Pope Francis denounced the "idolatory of money" and "trickle-down" economic policies, as well as consumerism and a financial system which he says rules rather than serves. The pope urged politicians to guarantee all citizens "dignified work, education and healthcare." However, the pope rejected change in two other areas: the ordination of women to the priesthood and the church’s view on abortion. We speak to two dissident priests. Matthew Fox is former Catholic priest who was first stopped from teaching liberation theology and Creation Spirituality, then expelled from the Dominican order. Father Ray Bourgeois is a Catholic priest and the founder of the School of the Americas Watch.

  • Religious Rights for Corporations? Supreme Court Takes Up Challenge to Contraception Coverage

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    The Supreme Court has agreed to take on cases that could decide if corporations can ignore parts of federal law based on the religious beliefs of their owners. The cases center around the controversy over whether for-profit corporations must fully cover birth control in the health insurance they provide for their employees. Two companies — Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood — object to provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring companies to provide contraceptive coverage in employees’ health plans. The firms say they oppose birth control mandates on religious grounds. The case could force a rehashing of the landmark Citizens United decision, which ruled companies have freedom of expression rights that allow unlimited spending on political campaigns. The court could now decide whether companies also have religious freedom rights. We are joined by Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the Reproductive Freedom Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.