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6 hours 41 minutes ago by Dave Fields

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is visiting Maurice, La., Tuesday to show support for Sen. Mary Landrieu’s re-election bid and to discuss with Acadiana officials what he said is Landrieu’s longtime support for Second Amendment gun rights for Louisianians.

According to the senators, the pair have worked closely together on protecting Second Amendment rights, increasing support to build the Keystone Pipeline, and fighting onerous regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency, among other issues.

Manchin took the opportunity to enjoy the GOL shooting range with area leaders while in Maurice.

Excerpt from:
W. Va. Sen. Manchin visits with Landrieu, local officials at Maurice shooting range

Sep 272014

Gay marriage advocates are counting on Supreme Court justices to be watching the Sunday shows ahead of their first private conference of the new term Monday.

Freedom to Marry, a group thats long pursued gay marriage legalization in courts, will air a new ad aimed at urging the Supreme Court to take up one or more of the five cases currently on its docket. Most expect the Court to take up a caseand ultimately legalize gay marriage across the countrythis term. The justices could decide to start a case moving as early as Monday, though they could also wait until a future conference in the coming months.

Currently, 19 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized gay marriage. The cases already up for consideration by the court are from Utah, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Virginia and Indiana, with another from Ohio expected to follow soon.

(PHOTOS: Where same-sex couples can wed)

One nation, indivisibleexcept if youre gay, the narrator of the Freedom to Marry ad says, as a map appears on screen with all the states that have legalized marriage in bright blue, against the dull grey for all the rest.

Proponents and opponents alike are eager to see the Supreme Court establish one set ruling, a swift change from even just a few years ago. Thats not the only shift: now the wide expectation is that the court will rule in favor of legalization, likely with the courts four liberal justices joining Anthony Kennedy, whos spent years writing opinions that have eased restrictions on gays. Some even think Chief Justice John Roberts might join a legalization decision too.

(PHOTOS: 26 gay-rights milestones)

Over photos of gay couples, the narrator of the ad says, theyre taxed unfairly, denied Social Security and parenting rights, and can lose a family home when their loved one dies.

Our ad underscores the human costs of prolonging marriage discrimination. Every day of denial is a day of real and needless injury, indignity, and injustice to too many families across the countryand time matters, said Freedom to Marry found and president Evan Wolfson.

America is ready for the freedom to marry, 40 lower courts have affirmed the freedom to marry, even opponents are saying its time to bring the country to national resolution, Wolfson added. And it is, indeed, time.

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Freedom to Marry ad targets court

The Freedom Bank of Virginia announced that effective September 18, 2014 its common stock began trading on OTCQX. The Banks symbol will continue to be FDVA. The OTCQX

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Freedom Bank of Virginia Begins Trading on OTCQX

Managers of bankrupt Freedom Industries continue to work toward getting their Elk River facility into a voluntary industrial remediation program, but Department of Environmental Protection officials want the company more focused on actually cleaning up contaminated soil at the site of the January chemical spill that polluted the drinking-water supply for hundreds of thousands of people.

Scott Mandirola, director of the DEP Division of Water and Waste Management, said he has been concerned about the possibility that some cleanup work could be delayed while the company worked to establish its eligibility for the agencys Voluntary Remediation Program.

It appears that we should have been moving faster down the remediation pathway, said Mandirola, whose staff has been overseeing the cleanup since the Jan. 9 spill of a mixture of Crude MCHM and other chemicals at Freedoms tank facility. Im looking for a little more in terms of when are you going to start digging?

Last week, Freedom submitted an updated plan to DEP to outline its proposal for more soil and groundwater testing that will help determine how much remediation work needs to be done. And today, Freedom hopes to begin cutting apart and tearing down the last of its chemical storage tanks.

But on Tuesday, the company faces a hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Pearson, who early this month issued a strongly worded order questioning whether Freedom was really committed to the cleanup. Pearson complained that Freedom was spending too much on lawyers and other professionals, wasnt making adequate progress at the site, and had warned in bankruptcy court filings that it might abandon the Elk River facility if cleanup costs appeared to be coming in too high.

Pearson ordered Freedom officials to appear in court prepared to answer serious questions about the extent to which the company intends to comply with existing demolition and cleanup orders and pay necessary environmental administrative claims to do so.

The dispute over Freedoms cleanup efforts comes just three months after Pearson had proclaimed in a formal court order that Freedom had been working conscientiously and diligently to implement a cost effective and safe means for demolition and cleanup at the site, located just 1.5 miles upstream from West Virginia American Waters regional drinking water intake.

Freedom contractors have removed most of the more than a dozen chemical storage tanks that stood at the companys Etowah Terminal prior to the Jan. 9 spill. Four tanks that remain were being used for storage of stormwater runoff while Freedom worked out a deal to ship that waste to the Charleston Sanitary Board, for treatment and disposal in the Kanawha River. The next phase for Freedom is removing those four tanks. Stormwater will then be collected in temporary storage tanks.

The companys new, 161-page Remediation Delineation and Investigation Work Plan, submitted to DEP last week, spells out a plan for additional contamination testing at the site, leading up to submission in December of an application for the site to enter DEPs voluntary cleanup program.

If allowed to proceed in this program, Freedom could have to meet less-stringent contamination standards than under existing DEP enforcement orders. Under existing orders, Freedom likely would have to clean up the Elk River site to the point where no MCHM can be detected in soil left at the location. Under the voluntary program, the cleanup standard would be a risk-based one, which would depend on what sort of potential for human exposure exists based on the planned future use of the land.

Original post:
DEP concerned about pace of Freedom Industries cleanup

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May 092014

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Inside the Classroom with Professor Leslie Kendrick
University of Virginia School of Law professor Leslie Kendrick discusses special relationships and how they affect sovereign First Amendment rights during a lecture in her course Constitutional…

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In January, 300,000 residents of the Charleston, W.Va., area lost access to drinking water when 10,000 gallons of a coal-cleaning chemical leaked into the Elk River. The little-known company behind the disaster, Freedom Industries, was swiftly besieged by dozens of lawsuits and then hustled into bankruptcy court for legally sanctioned dismemberment. So much for Freedom Industries.Or so one might have thought.

A week ago, the Charleston Gazette published ascoopthat can only be described as mind-blowing: Some of the executives who once managed Freedom Industries have been involved in forming a new West Virginia corporation with an equally anodyne name, Lexycon, whose characteristics, the local paper reported, are strikingly similar to Freedom Industries.They wouldnt dare, one might think.

Oh, yes they would.In a May 5 bankruptcy-court filing, lawyers representing the remains of what was once Freedom Industriesthe debtor, in Chapter 11 lingoconfirmed that Lexycon would provide employment to former Freedom executives. Those lawyers also asked the bankruptcy judge overseeing the case for permission to sell whats left of a Freedom-owned facility in Nitro, W.Va., to the former Freedom execs now operating under the Lexycon banner. In other words, Freedom lives!

The Nitro coal industry chemical facility, also known as Poca Blending, is irrevocably tainted due to the incident, the Freedom Industries motion observed in something of an understatement. The media attention associated with the debtor and the underlying nature of the assets comprising the Nitro facility force the conclusion that on a net-net basis, these assets were actually a liability to the debtor and its bankruptcy estate, the motion added. Demolishing the Nitro plant, the motion estimated, would cost Freedom Industries about $400,000.

So rather than tear it down, the lawyers in charge of shutting Freedom asked the judge to allow a sale of Poca Blending for $575,000. The proposed buyer: Lexycon.

Mark Welch, the chief restructuring officer hired to dispose of Freedom Industries, filed a declaration in which he explained that he was introduced to Lexycon by Gary Southern, Freedoms former president. Lexycons principal, a man named David Carson, is a personal friend of Gary Southern, Welch told the court. Moreover, he added, the president of Lexycon, Kevin Skiles, is the former vice president for research and technology and Dennis Farrell, a former Freedom Industries owner and ex-executive, will serve as a consultant to Lexycon.

I strongly advocate the proposed transaction as being in the best interests of Freedom, its bankruptcy estate, and creditors, Welch concluded. He did not say whether hed sought the opinion of the many Charleston residents who might be skeptical of having the Freedom Industries boys continuing to do business in their midst. The judges ruling is expected shortly.

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They're Back: Freedom Industries Execs Return to West Virginia

UPDATE 5/8/14 @ 11:38 a.m. CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A bankruptcy judge is concerned that a company responsible for a West Virginia chemical spill wants to sell remaining property to a company tied to former executives.

Freedom Industries has filed a motion to sell chemicals and property at a leased secondary facility, Poca Blending in Nitro, to Lexycon LLC.

Lexycon President Kevin Skiles and independent consultant Dennis Farrell are former Freedom executives.

Lexycon was formed in Florida in March.

In court filings Wednesday, Judge Ronald Pearson questioned possible advantages for insider interests, transparency issues and opportunity for participation in the sale.

Pearson also questioned Freedom’s timeframe. Freedom wants to sell by May 20 to let Lexycon prepare for its dust control product season.

A preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday.

The January spill contaminated 300,000 people’s water for days.

Freedom Industries filed court motions Monday seeking permission to sell chemicals and property in Nitro at Poca Blending, which Freedom leases. Lexycon LLC would be the buyer.

Lexycon President Kevin Skiles and independent consultant Dennis Farrell are former Freedom executives. The company was formed in Florida in March.

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UPDATE: Bankruptcy Judge has Concerns Over Freedom Sale

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – The now-bankrupt company at the center of West Virginia’s chemical spill wants to sell what’s left at its other site to a company tied to former executives.

Freedom Industries filed court motions Monday seeking permission to sell chemicals and property in Nitro at Poca Blending, which Freedom leases. Lexycon LLC would be the buyer.

Lexycon President Kevin Skiles and independent consultant Dennis Farrell are former Freedom executives. The company was formed in Florida in March.

Freedom’s motion says the sale would save $387,000 in net costs, like potentially demolishing the Poca site. Instead, Freedom would sell to Lexycon for $575,000.

Dozens of businesses suing Freedom are among the creditors seeking its dwindling assets.

The Jan. 9 spill contaminated 300,000 people’s water for days. Freedom filed for bankruptcy Jan. 17.

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Freedom Industries Wants to Sell Chemicals and Property to Former Company Execs

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The founder of a Swiss trust pleaded guilty to helping Americans evade taxes and said Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) was involved in the scheme, adding to pressure on the bank as it tries to resolve a U.S. criminal probe.

Josef Dorig, 72, said in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, that he helped the banks U.S. clients cheat the Internal Revenue Service by hiding the owners of accounts through phony trusts and foundations. He was indicted in 2011 with seven Credit Suisse bankers on a charge of conspiring to hide $4 billion from the IRS. The U.S. told Credit Suisse then that it was a target of the probe.

Dorig is cooperating with prosecutors probing Zurich-based Credit Suisse, the largest of 14 Swiss banks under U.S. criminal investigation amid a crackdown on offshore tax evasion. The bank has said its trying to negotiate a resolution with the U.S. Former Credit Suisse banker Andreas Bachmann, who pleaded guilty on March 12, also is cooperating in the probe.

Todays plea further pulls back the curtain on efforts by Swiss banks to help U.S. taxpayers evade taxes through the use of sham trusts and foundations, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said in a statement.

Dorig, who worked at Credit Suisse or its units from 1961 to 1997, helped set up structures like foundations, trusts and companies. They supposedly owned accounts which were actually controlled by U.S. clients, he said.

In 1997, the subsidiary where he worked spun off the structures linked to undeclared accounts to a new trust company controlled by Dorig. Credit Suisse bankers then referred U.S. clients seeking to avoid domestic taxes to Dorig Partner AG. Despite the obfuscation, Credit Suisse recorded the real owners of accounts, Dorig said.

It was Dorigs role to create a paper trail that made it appear the structure operated independently and the U.S. person who owned the assets in the undeclared account linked to the structure had no control over the assets, according to a 17-page statement of facts. In truth, Dorig regularly acted at the direction of the U.S. person who owned the assets.

Dorig implicated several bankers under indictment, including Markus Walder, former head of North American offshore banking; Susanne Ruegg-Meier, a former member of senior management in cross-border banking; and Roger Schaerer, who worked in the banks New York office and was a senior manager. They have not responded to the 2011 indictment.

Dorig, a citizen of Switzerland and Italy, said he went to Miami, Beverly Hills, California, and other U.S. cities with Credit Suisse bankers to help U.S. clients set up the structures. After he set up the structures, clients visited Credit Suisse bankers in Zurich for cash. Between 2004 and 2008, one client took out $30,000 in cash on one trip, $11,000 on another, $50,000 on a third, and then $55,000, Dorig said.

Walder and Ruegg-Meier signed a contract in 2005 that required Dorig to pay a referral fee to Credit Suisse for clients. The bank terminated the deal in 2008, when Walder told him the bank would no longer maintain undeclared accounts. At that point, the U.S. was stepping up its offshore crackdown.

Originally posted here:
Credit Suisse Pressure Increases With Enablers Plea

Fueled by growth in both loans and deposits over this quarter last year, The Freedom Bank of Virginia earned a net profit of $348,215 for the quarter ending March 31, 2014.

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Freedom Bank Generates Record Loan Growth While Improving Asset Quality

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) The latest in a string of successful court challenges to college "free speech zones" is unfolding in Virginia, where lawyers are negotiating a settlement in the case of a student who was barred from preaching on campus.

Continued here:
Va. college 'free-speech zones' latest to fall

The freedom and openness of the Internet are at stake after the U.S. government announced plans to end its contractual oversight of ICANN, some critics said Thursday.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administrations announcement last month that it will end its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to operate key domain-name functions could embolden other nations to attempt to seize control, some Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee said.

All hyperbole aside, this hearing is about nothing less than the future of the Internet and, significantly, who has the right, the ability and the authority to determine it, said Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican. Should it be decided by a few people in Washington, Beijing, Moscow, Sao Paolo or even Silicon Valley or should it be determined by those who use and stand to benefit from it?

Goodlatte suggested that other countries would try to control ICANN after the U.S. ends its contract. The U.S. can rightly take credit for the freedom that exists the Internet today, he said during a hearing. When we let go of that final link, will that institution be safer from those efforts to regulate the Internet, or will it be more exposed because it no longer has the protection of the United States?

The Internet engineers, companies and civil society groups involved in ICANN wouldnt allow a government takeover of the organization, supporters of the NTIAs plan said. I cannot imagine the Internet engineers that I know agreeing to do any of the parade of horribles that people are concerned about, said Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat.

Separately, the technology subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted Thursday to approve the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act, which would require a U.S. Government Accountability Office study about the effects of the transition before it happens. Members of that committee raised similar concerns in a hearing last week.

President Barack Obamas administration opposes the bill because it raises questions about the U.S. governments long-term support of a multistakeholder governance model at ICANN, said NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling.

Strickling assured Judiciary Committee members that the agency would not give up oversight of ICANN unless it is satisfied that the organization has a transition plan in place that prohibits a government takeover.

Several Republicans committee members questioned NTIAs move to end its contractual relationship with ICANN as soon as late 2015, but Strickling defended the plan, saying one of the main reasons for the change is to remove the perception in some countries that the U.S. has too much control.

While the NTIAs contract for ICANN to operate the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions is largely symbolic, the move would show the world that the U.S. supports a multistakeholder governance model at ICANN that it has advocated since 1998, Strickling said.

Excerpt from:
End of ICANN contract puts Internet freedom at risk, critics say

Zephaniah : 'Mystery' surrounds Mass Dolphin Deaths along the East Coast (Aug 03, 2013)
Summertime in Virginia Beach is chance for visitors to enjoy sand, sun and sea life. But hundreds of dead dolphins are washing up on the beaches from New Yor…

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Zephaniah : ‘Mystery’ surrounds Mass Dolphin Deaths along the East Coast (Aug 03, 2013) – Video

Replica bullets and a dud shotgun shell got a man convicted of weapons charges in the nation’s capital, in a case gun rights activists say shows how overzealous authorities are trampling the Second Amendment.

On Friday, just two days after his conviction of attempted possession of unlawful ammunition, Mark Witaschek went to a Washington, D.C., police station to register in the city’s Gun Offenders Registry. The act was part of a sentence meted out after Witaschek lost his two-year legal battle that began when police searched his home and found an inert shotgun shell, a spent shell casing and a box of muzzle-loader bullets.

Im completely outraged by it, Witaschek, who moved to Virginia after he was arrested following the 2012 search, told the Washington Times. This is just a continuation of the nightmare. Just to sit there. I could not believe it.

Witaschek was also handed a $50 fine, punishments he fought as a matter of principle.

“This case is yet another example of D.C. run amok over citizens Constitutional rights,” the National Association for Gun Rights said in a statement. “Its no wonder anyone with the option and half a brain is fleeing D.C. for areas where self-defense is a virtue, and not criminalized.”

The search was in response to a complaint from his estranged ex-wife. The evidence presented against Witaschek included a 12-gauge shell that failed to fire while Witaschek was hunting years ago, a spent .270 Winchester shell casing, and a box of .45 caliber Knight muzzleloader bullets with plastic sabots. The muzzleloader bullets were for use in only antique or replica firearms.

Witaschek is an avid hunter, but says he never kept his guns in Washington D.C., because he know of the city’s strict gun laws.

Witascheks attorney, Howard X. McEachern, vowed to appeal the verdict.

Clearly the judge thought that this was overkill the sentence reflects how he felt about the prosecution of this case, he said when asked for his opinion of the verdict.

The judge never ruled on the shotgun shell itself, which was what the prosecutions case was built around.

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Man gets weapons conviction for replica bullets in DC

Today’s special event: March 16, 1751, is President James Madison’s birthday.

The Constitution is presented in several ways on this site. This page presents the Constitution on one large HTML-enhanced page. Other pages present the Constitution as a series of individual pages, in plain text, in standard Palm DOC format, and in enhanced TealDoc format. A quick reference is also available, as are photos of the Constitution. The Constitution of China is available for comparison.

In these pages, superseded text is presented like this: (This is superseded text.) Added text that is not a part of the Constitution is presented like this: (This is added text.)

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Section 1 – The Legislature

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section 2 – The House

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

(Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.) (The previous sentence in parentheses was modified by the 14th Amendment, section 2.) The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and Georgia three.

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The United States Constitution – The U.S. Constitution …

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