Recent Commentaries

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"FCC walked away from the public interest oversight it was established to do"

  • Posted on: 1 July 2011
  • By: luaptifer

The FCC recently released hundreds of pages of their two-year long review of US media.  It amounts to the most substantial overview  in decades.

If you have not heard about it, you already understand some of the problems but including a focal point of the report, the increasingly neglected coverage of local news by an ever concentrated cadre of media owners. 

The report is quite a tome at 360 pages.  Because I'm still absorbing it, myself, in lieu of coverage, I'll refer you to "On The Media" audio reporting of the FCC's analysis, below, and the working group's index page for downloading "The Information Needs of Communities" in MS WOrd, PDF, or text format.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns approves forced medication for Tuscon shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner

  • Posted on: 30 June 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

From the Overnight News Digest on Daily Kos:


Judge: Prison Can Forcibly Drug Tucson Suspect


Drug testingNPR

A judge ruled Wednesday that prison officials can forcibly give the Tucson shooting rampage suspect anti-psychotic drugs in a bid to make him mentally fit for trial.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns' decision came after Jared Lee Loughner's attorneys filed an emergency request last week to prevent any forced medication of their client without approval from a judge. The judge said he did not want to second guess doctor's at the federal prison in Springfield, Mo., who determined that Jared Loughner was a danger.

Defense attorneys said Loughner had been forcibly medicated since June 21.

This ruling can set a dangerous precedent - one that was already avoided in another case which may be familiar to our readers: the story of Susan Lindauer, as told in Symbol Susan - "Thought this be madness..." as well as other pieces, several by guest contributor Michael Collins. In particular, check out Michael Collins: Did Justice Order Forced Psych Medication?. It's an eye-opener.

While I'm certainly no fan of Loughner, and I'd like to see a trial, the history behind forced medication - particularly in light of events tied to the Susan Lindauer prosecution/persectution - raises some troubling questions.

What's your take? Comments are open below the fold.

 

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Makin' It New

  • Posted on: 29 June 2011
  • By: Aaron Barlow

Years ago, there was a kid I would read to regularly. By the time he was four, we had progressed to E. Nesbit's 1899 book The Treasure Seekers. When we were done with that, and it having been a success, I cast around for something in a similar vein, and settled on C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. We started with The Magician's Nephew, for that, chronologically, is the first in the series.

At the very beginning, we ran across a reference to Nesbit's book. The kid was beside himself. He got the connection and was wildly impressed that another book contained a mention of something he was already familiar with.

A few days ago, in The New York Times, A. O. Scott offered an article called “Catch That Reference?: There'll Be a Quiz.” He's dealing with the references found in the current crop of summer movies, but the topic extends far beyond just that.

Michael Collins: Scalia Sets Standard for Massive Mortgage Fraud Class Action Law Suit

  • Posted on: 28 June 2011
  • By: MichaelCollins

There hasn't been much in the way of justice for the average citizen for quite a while.  Often, those accused of crimes cannot afford adequate representation and are subject to "let's make a deal justice."  If you're unfortunate enough to be sued or party to a divorce proceeding, you soon learn that the court system is an entitlement program for attorneys, not a civilized means of settling disputes. (Image)

The last decade has been devastating for what many thought were inviolable fundamental rights.  The Bush administration dismantled as much of the Constitution as time allowed including habeas corpus which prevents detention without a charge. Through a presidential directive, an even older legal tradition went by the way, the right to be indicted and tried before facing capital punishment.  I am, of course, referring to President Obama's declared option to assassinate citizens of the United States identified as terrorists by anonymous bureaucrats.

Who shut down the Asymmetric Threat Division at JFIC before 9-11?

  • Posted on: 27 June 2011
  • By: susie dow

Cross posted at the Missing Man

Reviewing the two recent articles over at Truth Out about the shut down on an intelligence program within Joint Forces Intelligence Command and withholding information to Congress about 9/11.

Thinking a bit out loud here and feeling my way around it all. I'm trying to figure out where the pressure was coming from.

Review of Joint Forces Intelligence Command Response to 9/11 Commission PDF
Deputy Inspector General for Intelligence
September 23, 2008


(U) JFIC's Asymmetric Threat Division (DO5)

 

(U) In 1999, the [Joint Forces Intelligence Command]created the Asymmetric Threat Division (DO5) to take a non-traditional approach to analysis. The Director of Operations recruited JFIC personnel from the command based upon their counterintelligence and counterterrorism expertise. The DO5 provided current intelligence briefings and produced the Worldwide Terrorist Threat Summary in support of the USJFCOM Intelligence staff. The DO5 also provided support to the Joint Task Force-Civil Support (JTF-CS). The JTF-CS assisted civil authorities with disaster assistance. The DO5 supported the JTF-CS exercises by establishing fictional terrorist organizations that would mimic real world terrorist groups.

 

Anyway, what I am trying to understand is this: why were commanding officers so opposed to the Asymmetric Threat Division's intelligence analysis regarding al Qaeda? Just what the heck was going on over there - was it a Navy thing or was there more to it than that?

Monday Morning Open Thread: Fires, Floods, Nuclear Plants and Other Minutia - Gadhafi Edition

  • Posted on: 27 June 2011
  • By: Open Thread

First up - our environmentally challenged nuclear plants. As in, "the environment around them is going wild."

Regarding the flooding at and around the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station - From ABC News, Nuclear Regulator: No Danger at Flooded Nebraska Plant:

That sounds - and looks - a tad scary. But our top nuclear regulators are on the job, and guess what?

Good news for Nebraska: Top Nuclear Regulator Tours Neb. Nuclear Plant.

I'd keep an eye on this until flood waters recede a bit.

Meanwhile, Wildfire threatens Los Alamos National Lab. Fires and floods. Must be the season of insanity.

In world news, just a brief blurb or two. First, the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for Gadhafi and loud explosions were heard in the center of Libya's capital. Sounds like things are heating up.

Finally, French banks have agreed to roll-over their Greek debt holdings for 30 years. The deal could help ease some of the issues surrounding the Greek financial crisis.

And that's the news blurb for Monday, 27 June 2011.

If you have any news you'd like to add, please feel free to do so in comments - remember, this is an Open Thread.

 

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Is shale gas the next Enron?

  • Posted on: 26 June 2011
  • By: standingup

The New York Times has a big scoop today on shale gas exploration and production. Natural gas from the shale formations in the U.S. has been hawked to be the nation's newest form of cheap energy. Concerns with the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas are well known. The Times reveals there are also serious concerns with the economics of shale gas production.

But the gas may not be as easy and cheap to extract from shale formations deep underground as the companies are saying, according to hundreds of industry e-mails and internal documents and an analysis of data from thousands of wells.

Saturday Open Thread: NY Equality and Soul-Sucking Poverty Edition

  • Posted on: 25 June 2011
  • By: Open Thread

One of the biggest news topics of the day on the topic of gay rights occurred in New York late yesterday. From Voice of America News:

The U.S. state of New York has approved same-sex marriage, handing American gay rights advocates a major victory in their quest for equality.

After extensive debate, the New York State Senate approved the legislation Friday night by a vote of 33 to 29, as two previously undecided Republican lawmakers cast the deciding votes in favor of it. A short time later, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law.

With the final approval, New York became the sixth U.S. state where gay couples can wed, and by far the largest state. Gay couples can begin marrying in the state in 30 days.

As the right to marry spreads from state to state across the nation, perhaps the adult perspective and realization of shared humanity will help quell further foolish attempts to discriminate against others due to factors like race, gender, religion or sexual identity.

Some people may be unable to evolve and grow up, and thus never accept the growing, expanding realization of common humanity that marks an advancing civilization's mental and ethical state, but as more people through the nation are introduced to the concepts of equality it will be just that much more difficult for isolated bubbles of self-interest and hatred to propagate.

Congratulations, New York.

For our second topic: have you ever been in, or witnessed, poverty in the United States - or anywhere, for that matter? Did you realize that poverty in the United States is on the rise, or the impact that it has on individuals and families? Did you know that it's actually more expensive to be poor than not? This is a topic that gets a bit of a review by teacherken of Daily Kos in a piece called Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul. He draws upon a recent piece by Charles Blow and adds his own heartfelt commentary. Here's a bit of it:

America is increasingly becoming morally corrupt. Those who are wealthy and powerful are not even punished when they are caught - they are allowed to pay a relatively small portion of their ill-gotten gains and somehow keep the rest. Hello, Wall Street, and not just Goldman Sachs.

Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul.

And not just the souls of those we are condemning to remaining in poverty. It strikes at the very soul of the nation, and should strike at the soul of every person who is part of We the People.

That it does not so strike is to my mind a moral condemnation of America.

You should check out the whole piece here. After reading it, please also check out the comments from some of the insightful commenters.

 

That's it for this Open Thread. If you've got some news to share, or if you'd like to comment on either of the topics listed here, or something else, the comments are open. You know what to do.

 

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Unabashed Insanity: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

  • Posted on: 24 June 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

A 2010 DVD release called Scott Pilgrim vs. The World just came up on my radar this morning: the clip looks suitably insane to actually suggest a pretty fun experience.

If you've seen it, or at least watched the trailer, let us know what you think in the comments below.

 

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Writing for Yourself

  • Posted on: 22 June 2011
  • By: Aaron Barlow

The other day, when I should have been doing something else, I Googled myself.  One of the pages I found was on Writing Skills for a site called Paper Due.  At first, I was flattered, thinking someone was actually using something I had written to aid others in developing their prose style.

Then I was, well, "horrified" would be too strong a word.  "Bemused," perhaps too weak.  Anyway, I realized that the site is selling papers on the topic of "writing skills."  Potential writing teachers can buy them, using them to satisfy their own teachers that they know a little about what they might, one day, be doing.

Except, of course, they won't.

Michael Collins: Questions for The Money Party - Negative Job Growth for 11 Years

  • Posted on: 21 June 2011
  • By: MichaelCollins

The Money Party is a very small group of enterprises and individuals who control almost all of the money and power in the United States.  They use their money and power to make more money and gain more power. It's not about Republicans versus Democrats.  The Money Party is an equal opportunity employer. It has no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests. Democrats are as welcome as Republicans to this party. It’s all good when you’re on the take and the take is legal. Economic Populist

Negative job growth for eleven years is the best evidence concerning our economic troubles.  There were 135 million jobs in 2000 for a workforce of 144 million.  Today, there are 139 million jobs for a workforce of 154 million.  That represents negative job growth when you factor in population growth.

My Fellow American

  • Posted on: 21 June 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

A message from My Fellow American:


Muslims are our fellow Americans

They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country’s principles of liberty and justice for all.

 

Too often, the politics of hate and fearmongering are used without care or consequence to achieve goals that are anything but consistent with our nation's founding principles.

Thank you, to My Fellow American, for sharing this with us and giving us the opportunity to help bring more attention to it.

 

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A Message to Joe Biden

  • Posted on: 21 June 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

I received an email from the Barack Obama campaign this morning - specifically addressed as if it was from Vice President Joe Biden - asking if I'd be willing to send in $5 for a chance at a drawing to enable 5 people to have dinner with the President.

I had to decline.

As folks may realize from the two diaries currently on the Rec list by shannika and stonedoubt, jobs are a big issue right now; the economy as a whole, of course, is a huge issue. And if you read a little into stonedoubt's diary, you'll find a comment from me that explains my response to Joe indirectly: I'm closing my business.

Below the fold is the short, simple text of what I sent back. I realize it will never be seen by Vice President Biden, or the President. I know it will likely never be read by anyone in Congress or in a position to pass along my simple response.

Nonetheless, I felt better sending it. No histrionics, no propaganda - just a simple statement and plea.

Make the jump if you'd like to read it, and perhaps add your own comment.

Namaste.

 

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Maddow on the Republican Obstruction to Recovery: The Nation Recoils in Horror

  • Posted on: 21 June 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

Two Maddow embeds - one below the fold. Both well worth watching and sharing. Today's Republican "leadership" is not what they proclaim themselves to be - and their actions (and inaction) speak louder than their words. And are horrifying to the average American, and to the American dream.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy.

 

And if you think that's not encouraging...It gets worse. Rachel breaks it down after the jump.

 

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