Open Thread

Josh Silver, in Huffington Post, reports on a widely circulated letter signed by more than 100 groups, urging President Obama to preserve net neturality and make media reform a priority.

"On Thursday, an alliance of more than 100 groups, unions, musicians, bloggers and media and technology leaders sent a letter to President-elect Barack Obama calling on his administration to appoint leaders who will reform the media and protect the open Internet."

You can read the letter and add your own name here

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Yesterday the Illinois Supreme Court refused a request to find embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich unfit for office. A. P. reports that the Illinois Governor's lawyer now claims that the federal wiretaps which are central to the case against him were illegally obtained, and therefore should not feature in the impeachment proceedings.

I don't doubt that Bagojevich is corrupt and no doubt unfit for office, but it seems to me that their are serious civil liberties issues raised by this case.

The issue of illegal wiretapping?

To what extent are his conversations protected under the first amendment.? Is this a case of political horse-trading run amok or was blackmail involved.? The wrong doing is obvious but was there a "criminal" offense.

Too often in the past eight years, expediency has been used as justification for flouting the Constitution and the internationally accepted norms of justice, as in the case of denying so-called enemy combattants in Guantanimo Bay the right to legal protections, and using torture as a procedure in interrogations. This has led to the blurring of  the legal protections of U.S. citizens as in the case of FISA.

In my opinion, how the charges against the Illinois governor are dealt with in the courts and by the Illinois State Legislature are important.  It is wrong to condone police-state measures whatever the despicable or threatening behavior of the offenders, and in the end far more destructive than the original offense.

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Fat man in red hat says toys won't show up unless S. Claus Inc. gets bailout

Senate Republicans yesterday turned down S. Claus Inc.'s request for a bridge loan to keep the North Pole business from having to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

Levi's mom's been arrested

WASILLA, Alaska — A 42-year-old Wasilla woman was arrested Thursday at her home by Alaska State Troopers with a search warrant in an undercover drug investigation. Sherry L. Johnston was charged with six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance.

Forget about little sarah running again, Turn this family into a Reality Show, it would be the best comedic show in the lineup next year!!

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

Prosecuting Bushco: it's not about them, it's about us

Why We Must Prosecute Bush And His Administration For War Crimes

Here, Justice Jackson answers another question about war crimes – who bears the greater responsibility: those who committed barbaric acts in the field or those who created the conditions for barbarism?

The case as presented by the United States will be concerned with the brains and authority back of all the crimes. These defendants were men of a station and rank which does not soil its own hands with blood. They were men who knew how to use lesser folk as tools. We want to reach the planners and designers, the inciters and leaders without whose evil architecture the world would not have been for so long scourged with the violence and lawlessness, and wracked with the agonies and convulsions, of this terrible war.

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

In the Hawai'i Army National Guard, a felony conviction usually is enough to get a citizen soldier kicked out of the military.

But when Guard member Ernie Gomez was convicted of a felony in 2005 for terrorizing his wife with a semiautomatic weapon, his military career was far from derailed.

Free on bail, the convicted domestic-violence felon was able to transfer from the Guard to the Army Reserve, get mobilized to active duty status in New Jersey and start an Army job that required a "secret" security clearance to train war-bound troops.

Gomez even was able to enroll in and complete a military police training course while a felon.

Wish I could say this surprises, but it doesn't, and not only as to recent history, but we as a Nation are going to have alot of problems coming out, and it's not going to be the fault of most as to what they were before, but how they are now!

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

In his NY Time Op Ed column, he asks the following question:

 So, how different is what Wall Street in general did from the Madoff affair? Well, Mr. Madoff allegedly skipped a few steps, simply stealing his clients’ money rather than collecting big fees while exposing investors to risks they didn’t understand. And while Mr. Madoff was apparently a self-conscious fraud, many people on Wall Street believed their own hype. Still, the end result was the same (except for the house arrest): the money managers got rich; the investors saw their money disappear. 

the whole economy's been a Ponzi scheme. And while we're reading how UAW worker's are expected to come to the table to give up more wages and benefits, according to the terms of Bush's bridge-loan bailout, here's how the situation looks at the top. Again Krugman:

Last year, the average salary of employees in “securities, commodity contracts, and investments” was more than four times the average salary in the rest of the economy. Earning a million dollars was nothing special, and even incomes of $20 million or more were fairly common.

How did they earn that money, you might well be wondering.

But surely those financial superstars must have been earning their millions, right? No, not necessarily. The pay system on Wall Street lavishly rewards the appearance of profit, even if that appearance later turns out to have been an illusion.

You got it, rewards the appearance of profit. And that's the grand Ponzi scheme, step right up to the trough if you can.

carol

Or if you prefier, "Down with Upward Mobility." Terrance Heath *a blogger at Our future) has a good riff on this.

carol