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Citizens of OH town win open government case

Dayton Daily News:

Clearcreek Twp. in Warren County [Ah yes! Warren County! For those who came in late....] has been ordered to pay almost $200,000 in attorney fees to lawyers who represented a resident in an open-meetings lawsuit.

In 2011, the lawyers sued the township, claiming the trustees regularly met from 2009 to 2011 before public meetings to work out their positions on issues before beginning open sessions.

Trustee Ed Wade said it was the largest judgment he had seen in 36 years in office in the township, home to about 16,000 people just south of the Montgomery County line and outside Springboro.

A lawyer with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said the award was significant for several reasons.

“That is a large award for this kind of litigation,” said Emily Grannis, a lawyer with the group involved in open meetings and open records cases around the country. “It certainly is encouraging. It makes it worthwhile for lawyers to take this kind of work.”

Judge James Flannery last week ordered the township to pay $183,807 in fees and $12,748 in costs to lawyers Chris Finney and Curt Hartman.

More good news. Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

MA drops illegal wiretapping charges against woman who filmed her own arrest

Mass Live:

Prosecutors on Tuesday dropped a wiretapping case brought by Springfield police against a Chicopee woman who allegedly used a cell phone to record audio of her own arrest.

Karen Dziewit, 24, of 26 Kontiki Cir. Chicopee, was arrested in the early hours of May 11 when police responded to a report of a disturbance on Chestnut Street. Dziewit was initially charged with disorderly conduct and carrying an open container of alcohol; a charge of unlawful wiretap was added when, police said, Dziewit activated an audio recording app on her smartphone during the arrest.

At a pre-trial hearing held Tuesday morning, prosecutors filed a nolle prosequi on the wiretap charge, meaning they will not proceed with the case.

Good. Read below the fold...

In the garden: Black-eyed Susans pop

Voters asking for single payer in the MA local races

Lowell Sun:

The issue of single-payer health insurance is starting to trickle down from the governor's race to local races, such as the campaign for state Senate in the Attleboro area.

Both Democrats running in a primary contest for the right to face off with state Sen. Richard Ross said Monday they have been hearing from voters about a single-payer system as they campaign from Needham to Attleboro.

Dunno if that's trickle down or grassroots pressure, given that the leading Dem gubernatorial candidate, Martha Coakeley, opposes single payer. Read below the fold...

"Research suggests Maine is one of America’s most ideologically ‘loose’ states"

Bangor Daily News:

Don’t read that headline the wrong way. For the purposes of this discussion, ideological “looseness” is strictly referring to how flexible — or not — people are in terms of enforcing rules and accepting variances from social norms.

As opposed to -- not that I want to skew the argument too much with binary thinking -- "possibles" (dark green) vs. "hellholes" (bright red), possibles meaning if I were considering moving out of "possible" Maine (which I'm not), and not to stigmatize all the inhabitants (victims) of the hellhole states (local oligarchies). Here's the handy map: Read below the fold...

In the garden: Wildflowers in profusion!

I wonder what species will bloom next?! (Wildflower mixes are staged, so one species' blooming follows another through the whole season, a process I may have messed up by planting them too late, like everything else this season. We'll see!) Read below the fold...

In the garden: Raising the stakes

OK, OK.... Anyhow:

Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

In the garden: Hurricane damage!

Well, not quite. Hurricane Arthur -- here let me touch wood to avoid the wrath of the wind gods -- blew past us on the way up to Nova Scotia, and all we got was very heavy rain and some wind.

Read below the fold...

Chuck Schumer is a horrible human being, or why we should tax the rich

WaPo describes the end of Obama's brief flirtation with "income inequality":

With Democrats split on inequality issues, Obama shifts talk away from income gap

Wow!!! Who could have seen that coming?! But this quote from Chuck Schumer caught my eye:

Both the White House and the Senate agreed that the decline of middle-class incomes was the most serious issue we face in this country, but the focus had to be on how to get middle-class incomes up, rather than drive other people’s incomes down,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), the messaging chief for Senate Democrats.

We most definitely should drive "other" [i.e., wealthy] people's income down: Read below the fold...

In the garden: The first tomato!

(I have The First Noël going through my head, even though "The First Tomato" doesn't scan properly.)

Read below the fold...

Fourth of July Open Thread: What does it mean to be an American?

I missed the parade. Which seems about right. Read below the fold...

WaPo starts Goring Hillary Clinton -- 29 months before election day 2016!

chezmadame alerts us to a new series from old-school blogger The Howler (Bob Somerby) who, for readers who came in late, owns the story of how our famously free press constructed a (false) narrative around Al Gore in 2000 -- remember "Al Gore invented the Internet"? Disinformation! -- and how they are using the same well-worn playbook against Hillary Clinton. I'm going to quote most of it so those of you who aren't familiar with The Howler can get the flavor:

Part 1—Balz on board: With the death of his mentor, the late David Broder, Dan Balz is sometimes considered the dean of the Washington press corps.

In yesterday’s Washington Post,
Balz affirmed the instant narrative his own newspaper created last week. In the process, he raised a question which can only be answered by the anthropologists who emerge, on the rare occasion, from within his own corrupt guild.

A pause to remind readers that the Howler originate the "media critique." He's the original, and still the best. (Media Matters, by contrast, is a funded Democratic talking shop, not some guy in Baltimore like Somerby.) Read below the fold...

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