Sunday Reads: Long Weekend LinksPosted: May 26, 2013
Plenty of links for you this morning, so let us just get down to it…
In the New York Times this weekend, more information was reported about the DOJ investigation into Fox News reporter James Rosen, as well as other DOJ press investigations during the Obama administration: Leaks Inquiries Show How Wide a Net Is Cast
Even before the F.B.I. conducted 550 interviews of officials and seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters in a leak investigation connected to a 2012 article about a Yemen bomb plot, agents had sought the same reporters’ sources for two other articles about terrorism.
The emerging details of these and other cases show just how wide a net the Obama administration has cast in its investigations into disclosures of government secrets, querying hundreds of officials across the federal government and even some of their foreign counterparts.
The result has been an unprecedented six prosecutions and many more inquiries using aggressive legal and technical tactics. A vast majority of those questioned were cleared of any leaking.
You can read the rest of the article at that link, it is rather a long read.
There is one thing about all this Rosen stuff I do find interesting, this little tidbit reported by Tommy Christopher at Mediaite: DOJ Document Reveals Fox News Reporter James Rosen Wanted To Impact U.S. Foreign Policy
The emails revealed in the government’s affidavit appear to show, however, that James Rosen’s solicitation of government secrets wasn’t nearly so narrow. The affadavit describes how Rosen assigned himself the codename “Alex,” and Mr. Kim the moniker “Leo,” and in their early contacts, explained the noble aims of their prospective relationship:
Thanks Leo. What I am interested in, as you might expect, is breaking new ahead of my competitors.
Sure, that sounds bad, as if James Rosen would jeopardize America’s contacts in a hostile foreign government just to get some eyeballs away from his competition, but surely, every reporter has this competitive urge. Although it was the first thing Rosen mentioned, there was another consideration. After outlining the kinds of secret information he hoped to get from “Leo,” Rosen summed up his intention to… report the news objectively? To serve the public?
Let’s break some new, and expose muddle-headed policy when we see it – or force the administration’s hand to go in the right direction, if possible.
Wait, what? Is that what a News reporter is supposed to do, force the administration’s hand to guide American foreign policy to the reporter’s whim? Separate and apart from the DOJ investigation, this email seems to indicate that James Rosen is not just a News reporter, but an activist intent on pushing his own agenda, with the stated goal of manipulating U.S. foreign policy.
Enough on that, check out the latest legislation getting passed in Dakinikat’s state: The Volokh Conspiracy » Louisiana Set to Criminalize Publishing That Someone Has a Concealed Carry Permit
The bill is HB8, though there’s a Senate amendment; apparently, the Legislature plans to enact the bill as amended. The bill bars the government from releasing information about who has applied for or gotten a concealed carry permit, and the Legislature certainly can impose such restrictions on the government itself. But then it also criminalizes speech by everyone else (I merge the House Bill and the adopted Senate amendment):
Absent a valid court order requiring the release of information or unless a recipient of a concealed handgun permit is charged with a felony offense involving the use of a handgun, it shall be [a misdemeanor] … to release, disseminate, or make public in any manner any information contained in an application for a concealed handgun permit or any information regarding the identity of any person who applied for or received a concealed handgun permit issued pursuant to this Section.
So blogging that you happen to know that a gun control advocate actually has a concealed carry permit himself would be a crime. Or say that you know someone has a concealed carry permit, and that person is sued for supposedly making death threats, or is criminally prosecuted for a felony offense involving a shotgun, or otherwise seems dangerous and unstable — mentioning the permit in publicly discussing the situation would be a crime. Mentioning applicants’ names in giving examples of cases where you think a concealed handgun permit was wrongly issued, or wrongly denied, would be a crime, too. So would talking about a person’s concealed carry permit in a biography of the person, or in a newspaper or magazine story that is trying to give a sense of the kind of person he is.
There is more analysis at the link.
That bridge collapse in Washington could have been a lot worse, at least there were no fatalities. Click here on this link for a infographic on bridges in the US: Bridge Collapses And Structurally Deficient Bridges Across The Country (INFOGRAPHIC)
In his State of the Union address this year, President Obama urged repairs of “the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.” He proposed a plan called “Fix it First,” which would have invested $50 billion in repairing transportation infrastructure, starting with the most urgent repairs.
Instead, Congress failed to avoid the sequester and transportation repair spending faces a $1.9 billion cut.
The collapse of the Interstate 5 Bridge over the Skagit River in Washington State on Thursday once again sounded alarms over our nation’s aging infrastructure. While this incident had no fatalities, there are hundreds of other bridges in Washington with worse sufficiency scores and more than 150,000 structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges across the nation.
And when this bridge collapsed, there was another article that caught my attention as reported by a local Seattle news station: 911 Dispatcher Tells Woman About To Be Sexually Assaulted There Are No Cops To Help Her Due To Budget Cuts « CBS Seattle
An Oregon woman was told by a 911 dispatcher that authorities wouldn’t be able be able to help her as her ex-boyfriend broke into her place because of budget cuts.
Oregon Public Radio reports that an unidentified woman called 911 during a weekend in August 2012 while Michael Bellah was breaking into her place. Her call was forwarded to Oregon State Police because of lay-offs at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office only allows the department to be open Monday through Friday.
“Uh, I don’t have anybody to send out there,” the 911 dispatcher told the woman. “You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away? Do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?”
The woman told the dispatcher that Bellah previously attacked her and left her hospitalized a few weeks prior to the latest incident. The dispatcher stayed on the phone with the woman for more than 10 minutes before the sexual assault took place.
“Once again it’s unfortunate you guys don’t have any law enforcement out there,” the dispatcher said, according to Oregon Public Radio.
The woman responded: “Yeah, it doesn’t matter, if he gets in the house I’m done.”
Police say Bellah choked the woman and sexually assaulted her. He was arrested by Oregon State Police following the incident.
“There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t have another victim,” Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilberson told Oregon Public Radio. “If you don’t pay the bill, you don’t get the service.”
The sheriff’s department had to cut 23 deputies and the entire major crimes unit after it lost a multi-million dollar federal subsidy, according to Oregon Public Radio. There are now only six deputies left.
The sheriff’s department even put out a press release warning domestic violence victims to “consider relocating to an area with adequate law enforcement services.”
You can read more about this and hear the 911 calls at the OPB report quoted by the CBS article: Josephine County Tax Levy Would Add Deputies, Fund The Jail » News » OPB
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma…look what got defunded on the quiet: Oklahoma Senate Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood Two Days After Tornado
In the wake of one of the most destructive tornadoes in history, Oklahoma state senators passed a bill on Wednesday that would effectively defund Planned Parenthood.
Senate Bill 900, which re-allocates family planning funds to public providers and hospitals instead of private providers like Planned Parenthood, passed by a vote of 33 to 8. The state Senate was able to pass the bill somewhat under the radar because it was not posted on Wednesday’s legislative agenda.
Planned Parenthood operates five clinics in Oklahoma and serves about 8,400 men and women there a year. The family planning provider has faced scrutiny from Republicans in recent years because it provides abortions, even though it cannot use public family planning funding to pay for abortion services.
State Rep. Doug Cox (R), a family physician, said he will vote against the legislation when the House takes it up on Thursday. “To defund a program like Planned Parenthood would be a mistake,” he told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. “They perform a valuable service as far as breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, parenting classes, many things that benefit our state that we’re sorely in need of.”
Cox said he believes that some of his Republican colleagues in the House also support Planned Parenthood, but they still feel pressured to vote for bills that would defund it. “I have people who tell me they feel the way I do, but are afraid to vote the way I do,” he said.
That is a real shame, too bad those GOP Reps don’t have the cahones to stand up to the PLUBs who got them into office.
On with the rest of the morning’s post after the jump…
I don’t know why Roman Polanski is still given any international forum to show his films…Roman Polanski complains birth control pills are ‘masculinizing’ women | The Raw Story
Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski on Saturday blamed birth control pills for “masculinising” women, as he premiered what he called a satire on sexism.Polanski unveiled “Venus in Fur” starring his wife Emmanuelle Seigner, which was the last movie in competition to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
Asked by a reporter how his views of women had changed over time, the filmmaker said he thought feminism and advances in contraception had blurred the distinctions between the sexes.
“I think that now offering flowers to a lady becomes indecent, that’s how I feel about it,” he told a news conference after a well-received screening of his film.
“I think to level the genders — it’s purely idiotic. I think it’s a result… of progress in medicine. I think that the Pill has changed greatly the woman of our times, ‘masculinising’ her — how would you say it?” he said, looking to his cast for a prompt.
He added: “I think that it chases away the romance from our lives and that’s a great pity.”
Polanski wasn’t the only one talking shit: Artsy Male Directors At Cannes Say Sexist Shit Too. Who’da Thunk?
These might the kind of sound bites you’d think would come from, say, the premiere of a Michael Bay movie, but — nope! Roman Polanski and Francois Ozon, two iconic male directors, with scores of nuanced, sensitive and artistic films behind them (although, obviously, not without a patchy sexual history on Polanski’s end) went to Cannes, arguably the highest-minded annual film festival there is, and said some of the most ass-backwards shit about women’s relationships with contraception and prostitution that I’ve ever heard. As if it would be completely okay to do so. Except, as far as we know, it was received okay at the festival; after all, only one female director’s movie was selected for competition up against 19 entries from men.
Uh, this quote up top is from Jezebel, written by Anna Breslaw and I think that opening sentence is a bunch of shit.
…not without a patchy sexual history on Polanski’s end.
In March 1977, film director Roman Polanski was arrested and charged in Los Angeles with a number of offenses against Samantha Gailey, a 13-year-old girl – rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. At his arraignment Polanski pleaded not guilty to all charges, but later accepted a plea bargain whose terms included dismissal of five of the initial charges in exchange for a guilty plea to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse.
Polanski underwent a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, and it was expected that he would only receive probation at his sentencing. However, upon learning that he was likely to face imprisonment and deportation, Polanski fled to France in February 1978, hours before he was to be formally sentenced. Since then Polanski has mostly lived in France and avoided visiting countries likely to extradite him to the United States.
That is no way a “patchy sexual history.” At least I wasn’t the only one who thought that. Not sure if she was being sarcastic or not but still…What The Fuck?
You may have missed this from yesterday: Colin Powell: Soldier’s convicted of rape shouldn’t be ‘categorically’ discharged | The Raw Story
Former Defense Secretary Colin Powell said Saturday that U.S. troops convicted of sexual assault should not be automatically dishonorably discharged from the military.
“You can’t make a categorical statement like that,” he told Bloomberg TV. “We have a military justice system that is driven by our law, and it is not that dissimilar to the civilian system.”
Despite the high rate of sexual assault and instances of convictions being overturned by commanders, Powell said the military justice system was working.
“There will always be a case where somebody disagrees with a judgment made by somebody in the appellate procedure,” he explained. “Well, lets examine that, but lets not toss out a system that I think has worked very, very well over the years. I have been in that position as a commander. I have been the appellate authority. I have decided who should get tried and who should not get tried, and I can tell you that in my experience as a commander, we take it very, very seriously.”
Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Barbara Boxer (CA) have proposed legislation that would change the way the military prosecutes sexual assault cases. Currently, unit commanders handle the prosecution and investigation of sexual assault cases. Under Gillibrand and Boxer’s bill, that authority would be transferred to an independent body.
All I can say is that what ever the military is doing now…it ain’t working!
Hey, this is something good to pass on, Prince is back and with an all girl band. Singing Prince “Fixurlifeup” video: Prince goes political in music video for new song.
Prince leads his new band 3rd Eye Girl through a throwback video filmed, ’80s style, in front of an audience. Prince has always featured people of all colors and genders and sexualities in his bands, and here he emphasizes the subversive nature of his all-female backing group: “Girl with a guitar is 12 times better than another crazy band of boys/ Trying 2 be a star when you’re just another brick in the misogynistic wall of a noise,” he sings, before ceding the floor to bassist Ida Nielsen and guitarist Donna Grantis, who each rip into a solo.
Though he takes aim specifically at the U.S. and Britain, the overall message—squarely in line with his power-to-the-people dance anthems like “Uptown” and “1999”—is utopian: “When the leaders learn how to follow and let all the people lead/ Instead of everybody getting’ what they want, they can get what they need.” One of the song’s final messages could also apply to Prince himself, who seems to be excelling lately in a groove of his own: “Don’t worry about what the crowd does/ Just worry about just being good at what you love.”
The rest of the links will be in link dump fashion…
“That hunger and malnutrition should persist in a land such as ours is embarrassing and intolerable.” So declared Richard Nixon in May 1969 in his now widely forgotten “Special Message to the Congress Recommending a Program to End Hunger in America.” In that document, he summoned the country to a new level of generosity and concern and laid out a series of strong legislative steps and executive actions, including a significant expansion of the food-stamps program.
Employers are increasingly recognizing they may be able to avoid certain penalties under the federal health law by offering very limited plans that can lack key benefits such as hospital coverage.
Benefits advisers and insurance brokers—bucking a commonly held expectation that the law would broadly enrich benefits—are pitching these low-benefit plans around the country. They cover minimal requirements such as preventive services, but often little more. Some of the plans wouldn’t cover surgery, X-rays or prenatal care at all. Others will be paired with limited packages to cover additional services, for instance, $100 a day for a hospital visit.
Federal officials say this type of plan, in concept, would appear to qualify as acceptable minimum coverage under the law, and let most employers avoid an across-the-workforce $2,000-per-worker penalty for firms that offer nothing. Employers could still face other penalties they anticipate would be far less costly.
Federal Judge Chronicles Lawlessness of Joe Arpaio-Led Sheriff’s Office The self-proclaimed “most famous” sheriff in America, engaged in the illegal racial profiling and harassment of Latinos in his County.- Andrew Cohen – The Atlantic
If you’re in the mood to have your mind blown, these 10 optical illusions will definitely do the trick.
Anthropologists have discovered a beautiful Greek waterfront paradise once inhabited by generations of Neanderthals up to 100,000 years ago, according to a new study.
An analysis of ancient dog burials finds that the typical prehistoric dog owner ate a lot of seafood, had spiritual beliefs, and wore jewelry that sometimes wound up on the dog.
Discussions of the relationship between time and medieval artworks often hinge on examinations of use and reception: how has the meaning of this object changed over time? To what new purposes was it put in its later life, or, to what new purpose did it put existing things? The recent developments in the conception of object agency shift these questions somewhat, so that we find ourselves asking what these works do or have done over certain stretches of time. Of course, these recent claims for the agency of objects have met with resistance, much of it rooted in skepticism about ascribing to non-sentient things the ability to act. Really, now, these are inanimate objects: how much can we claim they really do ? Are we perhaps just projecting a frenzy of activity on things that are so clearly inert?
Scientists have used plant samples collected in the mid-19th Century to identify the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine.
Haiti this week marks its 210th anniversary as the world’s first Black republic. The descendants of Haiti’s self-emancipators have been forced to defend their national sovereignty in each succeeding decade. Yet, their struggle for freedom was “the single most important factor in shaping the geopolitical trajectory of the Western Hemisphere since Columbus.”
IT was the year President John F. Kennedy traveled to Berlin to proclaim “ich bin ein Berliner” and the year he gave his famous American University speech arguing that peace was “the necessary rational end of rational men.” It was the year the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke from the Lincoln Memorial of a “dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”
In American history, 1963 was a year rich in speeches. But of all the signature speeches that year, it’s the one that has been all but forgotten that might have transformed the country the most.
Fifty years ago, on Memorial Day in 1963, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson gave a speech in Gettysburg, Pa., that foreshadowed profound changes that would be achieved in only 13 months and that mark us still.
The occasion was a speech that almost wasn’t given at all, for an anniversary that was still a month off, delivered by a man who had grown weary of his apparent uselessness in an office that neither interested him nor engaged his capacious gifts. It is a reminder that the titanic events of history sometimes occur away from the main stage — and proof of the power of a great idea, even if it is delivered ahead of its time.
“One hundred years ago, the slave was freed,” Johnson said at the cemetery in a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. “One hundred years later, the Negro remains in bondage to the color of his skin.”
With those two sentences, Johnson accomplished two things. He answered King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” And he signaled where the later Johnson administration might lead, which was to the legislation now known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Now that is one op/ed you have to read in full…
And finally, take a look at these images by Photographer George Hoyningen-Huene there are 122 pictures spanning the 20’s, 30’s 40’sand 50’s. Here are a few of my favorites:
Ava Gardner by George Hoyningen-Huene in 1956
Unframed (matted) gelatin silver print, Horst Study (Twisted Torso), by George Hoyningen-Huene (American/Russian, 1900-1968)
Elsa Schiaparelli, 1932 Photographed by George Hoyningen-Huene
“I don’t think, I will ever actually climb to the top of the ladder, as I am always adding more rungs.”-Hattie Carnegie, 1942 Photograph by fashion photographer George Hoyningen-Huene Dress by Hattie Carnegie, 1935
Lillian Gish, 1920s, photo by George Hoyningen-Huene
Aren’t those wonderful? I put the one picture with Schiaparelli since we were talking about her last week…anyway…enjoy your long Memorial Day Weekend. If you have time, leave a comment or link and have a good Sunday!