Wednesday, the day after….Morning reads.

Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey

Good morning everyone.

Horrible weather is making its way across the US, so first…before we get to any reads, make sure you keep an eye out for bad storms.

Intellicast – Current Radar in United States

Severe Weather Warnings Page

This image of a lighted tree in a pope mobile/sleigh is appropriate for the wet and cold days this holiday.

Let’s start this post with some thoughts on Newtown, CT., both of which are very emotional…for different reasons.

Mom of Sandy Hook Child Victim Shares Daughter’s ‘Message From Beyond the Grave’ in Incredibly Moving CNN Interview

Grace McDonnell was one of the 20 children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School this month. As her parents are grieving the loss of their bright-eyed, seven-year-old daughter, they can take at least some solace in a sign of comfort that she left behind.

Grace was known for leaving messages on the family’s bathroom window — notes and symbols that would show up once fog clouded the room from shower steam. And the day after her death, seemingly on cue, one of these notes appeared to her mother.

Grace McDonnell Leaves Sign for Her Mother Lynn on Bathroom Window | Sandy Hook

Grace McDonnell, one of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre (Photo Credit: CNN)

On the first day without her daughter, Lynn McDonnell said that the message on the window was a peace sign, Grace’s favorite symbol. Above it were the words, “Grace, Mom.” CNN was moved to call the family’s finding “a message from beyond the grave.”

“I looked and there was her peace sign in the window and I was like, ‘That’s a sign from my Grace,’” Lynn said. ”She was all about peace and gentleness and kindness.”

Heartbreaking. As many of us are thankful this holiday season is almost over, it makes me stop and think how lucky we are to even have a holiday filled with the usual stresses and family dinner get-together, whether they are enjoyable or not.

The other link I have for you is just more discussion on gun-control, in an op/ed from Michael Moore: 3 Reasons America Is Falling Apart — And How We Can Save Ourselves

After watching the deranged, delusional National Rifle Association press conference on Friday, it was clear that the Mayan prophecy had come true. Except the only world that was ending was the NRA’s. Their bullying power to set gun policy in this country is over. The nation is repulsed by the massacre in Connecticut, and the signs are everywhere: a basketball coach at a post-game press conferencethe Republican Joe Scarborougha pawn shop owner in Floridaa gun buy-back program in New Jerseya singing contest show on TV, and  the conservative gun-owning judge who sentenced Jared Loughner.

So here’s my little bit of holiday cheer for you:

These gun massacres aren’t going to end any time soon.

That is just the first few lines of the op/ed, please take a look. I don’t usually post links to the rants of Michael Moore…but he sure as hell got the Columbine story the attention it deserved…along with other gun related shootings and killings in his film, Bowling for Columbine. Anyway, take a few minutes to read his opinion.

This next story is fascinating from an environmental stand-point.  After you read it, just think of the disaster in the making:  Proposed Coles Hill uranium mine: Buried treasure or hidden threat?

Beneath an estate that’s been farmed by the Coles family since just after the Revolutionary War lies the nation’s largest untapped uranium deposit, a potential $10 billion bonanza amid rolling hills, oak trees, pastures and a historic plantation home.

The radioactive treasure in the Blue Ridge foothills is pitting neighbor against neighbor and North Carolinians against Virginians. North Carolina is only about 20 miles from the proposed uranium mine and residents, public officials and lawmakers there worry that a catastrophic release of radioactive waste could poison Kerr Lake, the drinking water source for more than 118,000 North Carolinians, as well as contaminate the fishing- and recreation-rich Roanoke River as far east as Pamlico Sound.

With the recent ProPublica report on the contamination of water aquifers by the US government, this “mother-lode” of radioactive uranium seems like a mining operation that is just asking for trouble.

From the Guardian, this question is one we all should be asking…from Carl Bernstein:     Why the US media ignored Murdoch’s brazen bid to hijack the presidency

CEO Rupert Murdoch

The Ailes/Petraeus tape made clear to many that Murdoch’s goals in America have always been nefarious. Photograph: Reuters

So now we have it: what appears to be hard, irrefutable evidence of Rupert Murdoch‘s ultimate and most audacious attempt – thwarted, thankfully, by circumstance – to hijack America’s democratic institutions on a scale equal to his success in kidnapping and corrupting the essential democratic institutions of Great Britain through money, influence and wholesale abuse of the privileges of a free press.

In the American instance, Murdoch’s goal seems to have been nothing less than using his media empire – notably Fox News – to stealthily recruit, bankroll and support the presidential candidacy of General David Petraeus in the 2012 election.

And like the rest of the articles I have for you this morning, it is just a few first lines, read the rest at the link.

That is all I have for you this morning, how was your holiday and what have you been ready lately?


Wednesday Reads: After the Strike Round-up…“Vado a bordo, cazzo!” Edition

Good Evening!

We’re baaaaaack!  Or should I say, we are back on board?

So, did you miss us? If you did, I certainly hope you sent a message to your congresscritters about stopping SOPA/PIPA.

Since we have been post free and comment free this Wednesday, today’s evening reads is going to be a big fat juicy one! Lots of links for you today, so grab your afternoon drink of choice and let’s get down to business.

I’ll go ahead and break the links down into sections.

First lets dive into the ripple effect today’s blackout is having on the proposed SOPA/PIPA bills. Hmmm…what shall we call this section? How about “Catching up on the Blackout Revolution!”

It looks like the blackout may be working, for now…but concerns about the bills being slipped through within a larger piece of legislation are still in the backs of people’s minds.

First a few video links:

You may have already seen this video via vimeo…

Here is a clip from RT News, discussing the blackout from a foreign press point of view…

From the Video Cafe at Crooks and Liars…MSNBC Brings on MPAA Lobbyist Chris Dodd for ‘Fair and Balanced’ Discussion on SOPA Protest | Video Cafe

MSNBC decided to bring on recently retired Senator and now lobbyist for the motion picture industry, Chris Dodd, for a nice “fair and balanced” discussion on the blackout. Dodd more or less accused the web sites participating in the blackout of acting like a bunch of spoiled children and offered little in the way of details to address the concerns of those who are against the legislation.

And here are a couple basic links discussing the blackout:

Your SOPA and PIPA Crash Course – Truthdig

SOPA, PIPA, Righthaven, NewsRight – and going dark | Pam’s House Blend

For a geeky way to understand and follow the events of today, this flowchart is fantastic, take a look at it: Choose Your Own PIPA-SOPA Protest Adventure [Flowchart] | Geekosystem

Let’s focus on the effects of the blackout, from the users point of view. From gamers to right wing megalomaniacs to students, this blackout has given many time to think and ponder just how important freedom of speech on the web is…

First let me say that I would never do a report that relied on Wikipedia…that said, here are a few tweets from the crowd who depends on their Wiki resources.

Wikipedia Blackout | Tweets From Students | SOPA | PIPA | Mediaite

Just like Jon Hendren’s Christmas brat list, fellow Internet superstar Katie Notopoulos’ tweet curation is a brilliant way to peek into a world of obliviousness. Apparently some people just have a hard time accepting an important symbolic gesture when that big book report is on the line.

Here’s a sample:

Don’t these people know who to actually look something up other than on the Wikipedia site? Sorry, but this is a bit ridiculous. Hopefully, these people will stop a minute and realize just what the blackout was about…and that their complaints are proving the point!

From the Gaming perspective: EA Speaks Out on SOPA | Piki Geek

SOPA is a hot topic among gamers, and understandably so. The effect the bill would have on the gamer community would be huge, as much of our culture revolves around the internet with things ranging from streams, to Let’s Play videos on YouTube, to sites like this one. So, it’s reasonable to want to know what our favorite game companies feel about the bill, especially since the ESA has put their support behind it.

Responding to a user on reddit, EA’s head of corporate communication, Jeff Brown detailed their lack of a stance on the legislation.

“EA has not expressed a position on SOPA,” Brown said, “We never supported so, naturally, never withdrew. We tried to correct the record but there is still plenty of confusion.”

Brown went on to point out that while the ESA supports SOPA, not all of publishers and developers that are members individually support it.

From some of the Wikipedia’s volunteer editor’s standpoint: Today’s e-Reads: Some Wikipedia Editors Question Blackout; E.U. to Decide Soon on Google Probe – Juliana Gruenwald and Josh Smith – NationalJournal.com

Some of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors are criticizing the site’s decision to protest controversial antipiracy legislation by blacking out the site, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal editorial also assailed the blackout protest by many websites.

Murdoch has been in a furry today, thank you Boston Boomer for these next three links on Murdoch’s reaction to the blackout…it was a big help as I was putting this long post together.

The Story Behind Rupert Murdoch’s Rants About Google and SOPA – Forbes

How Rupert Murdoch’s Fear Is Getting in the Way of Internet TV – Technology – The Atlantic Wire

Rupert Murdoch tweets his fury at Google in US piracy row – Telegraph

From a legal perspective, the First Amendment and connecting it to the “corporations are people” decision, this is a good one: The Volokh Conspiracy » The Google Anti-Stop-Online-Piracy-Act Statement, Corporate Speech, and the First Amendment

Following Citizens United, I heard many people argue that the Court was wrong because corporations should not be seen as having First Amendment rights — not just that they do have First Amendment rights but that there’s some special compelling interest that justifies restricting corporate speech about candidates, but that corporations aren’t people and therefore can’t have First Amendment rights at all. (UPDATE: I don’t agree with this, for reasons that include those briefly sketched here, but I set those arguments aside for now.) Let me then ask this question of our readers who take this view:

Today, Google’s U.S. query page features an anti-Stop-Online-Piracy-Act statement from Google. Say that Congress concludes that it’s unfair for Google to be able to speak so broadly, in a way that ordinary Americans (including ordinary Congressmen) generally can’t. Congress therefore enacts a statute banning all corporations from spending their money — and therefore banning them from speaking — in support of or opposition to any statute. What would you say about such a statute?

Here is the “Abuse of power” angle: SOPA Blackouts: Free Speech or ‘Abuse of Power’? – Josh Smith – NationalJournal.com

Among the thousands of lesser-known websites that blocked access to their content or posted statements against the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, were big names such as Wikipedia, Craigslist, and the online news aggregator Reddit.

But the names not on the list highlight a fine line for companies that depend on neutrality to maintain their credibility.

While they oppose the legislation, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter, whose CEO called the blackouts “foolish,” decided to sit the protest out.

Google, which is so sensitive to its neutral reputation that it recently punished itself after inappropriately promoting its own web browser, was among those taking a middle road. The search giant remained up and operating but blacked-out its logo and linked to a petition against the bills.

And now for the important reactions to the blackout, meaning the change in various congresscritter support for the bills…Support for Internet Bill Wanes as Protests Spread – NYTimes.com

A freshman senator, Marco Rubio of Florida, a rising Republican star, was first out of the starting gate Wednesday morning with his announcement that he would no longer back antipiracy legislation he had co-sponsored. Senator John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who heads the campaign operation for his party, quickly followed suit and urged Congress take more time to study the measure, which had been set for a test vote next week.

By Wednesday afternoon, Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah and one of the Senate bill’s original co-sponsors, called it “simply not ready for prime time” and withdrew his support.

[…]

Protests organized in the real world drew far less attention. A rally convened in Midtown Manhattan outside the offices of Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, who co-sponsored some of the proposed legislation, drew a few hundred protesters.

Members of Congress, many of whom are grappling with the issues posed by the explosion in new media and social Web sites, appeared caught off guard by the enmity toward what had been a relatively obscure piece of legislation to many of them. The Internet sensibility of the Senate was represented a few years ago in remarks by the late Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, who called the Internet “not a big truck” but a “series of tubes” — an observation enshrined in the Net Hall of Shame.

In reaction to the pending legislation, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia went dark. Google’s home page had a black banner across its home page that led to pointed information blasting the bills.

Such new-media lobbying was having an impact.

Give that New York Times a read through, it has more info on the support flip-flops the blackout seems to have influenced today.

More on the “…new-media lobbying” i.e. blackout that is having an impact. Oh yes it is…Terry to remove name from bill – Omaha.com

Rep. Lee Terry said Tuesday that he will pull his name as a co-sponsor of a heavily debated bill that has taken aim at online piracy and intellectual property protection.

The Nebraska Republican co-sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, because of the economic impact that online piracy has on the U.S. economy, said Charles Isom, a Terry spokesman.

But after waves of negative sentiment toward the bill from free speech and civil rights groups, technology companies and others, Isom said, Terry has concluded that SOPA, as currently drafted, isn’t the solution.

SOPA blackout leads co-sponsors to defect – Jennifer Martinez and Tony Romm – POLITICO.com

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — who was a co-sponsor of the PROTECT IP Act — became the latest lawmaker Wednesday to pull his support. In the House, Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), originally a co-sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act, pulled his name from the list of sponsors on Tuesday. A spokesman for Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), meanwhile, told the Omaha World-Herald on Wednesday that the congressman is also unable to support SOPA as written.

The widespread Internet protest is even bringing new Washington voices into the fray. Mostly silent in the debate, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) tweeted Wednesday he doesn’t back the bills.

“I support intellectual property rights, but I oppose SOPA & PIPA,” DeMint tweeted. “They’re misguided bills that will cause more harm than good.”

And this from The Maddow Blog – Senator Blunt withdraws sponsorship of PIPA, blames Senator Reid I especially love the picture associated with this post at Maddow!

Photo: Andrew Dallos

Protesting today in New York, where Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are both listed as supporters of PIPA. Click for whip list.

Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) has pulled his sponsorship of the Protect IP Act, or PIPA. He writes:

“American innovation is a cornerstone to our nation’s economic growth, and job creators have lost $135 billion in revenue annually as a result of rogue internet sites.
“While I believed the bill still needed much work, I cosponsored the Senate version of the Protect IP Act because I support the original intent of this bill – to protect against the piracy of lawful content.

“Upon passage of this bill through committee, Senate Judiciary Republicans strongly stated that there were substantive issues in this legislation that had to be addressed before it moved forward. I agree with that sentiment. But unfortunately, Senate Leader Harry Reid is pushing forward with legislation that is deeply flawed and still needs much work.
“That is why I’m withdrawing my co-sponsorship for the Protect IP Act.

“The right to free speech is one of the most basic foundations that makes our nation great, and I strongly oppose sanctioning Americans’ right to free speech in any medium – including over the internet.
“I continue to believe that we can come to a solution that will cut off the revenue sources for foreign websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy that steal American jobs, hurt the economy, and harm consumers. But the Protect IP Act is flawed as it stands today, and I cannot support it moving forward.”

We trust that Senator Blunt’s decision had nothing to do with Vice magazine exposing him earlier today as a violator of copyright laws himself. In the last 24 hours, Senators Scott Brown, Marco Rubio, and Jeff Merkley have come out against PIPA. Senator Ben Cardin, a cosponsor of PIPA, said earlier this week that he won’t vote for it.
UPDATE: Senator Tim Holden, another cosponsor, withdraws his support. And Senator John Cornyn.

Look for more links in the comment section.

Moving on, we come to the Global “Extra Extra” portion of the post…after the jump…as I said this is a looooong ass post!

Read the rest of this entry »


SDB Evening News Reads for 071811: Phone Hacking, Neanderthals and Happy Birthday Mandela!

Good afternoon everyone.  My mother is making a Boliche Roast and the smells coming from the kitchen are absolutely delicious.  Tonight at  8pm,EST, Anthony Bourdain show is highlighting Cuba.  It is a great episode, so if you can watch it, please do…all I can say is that I wish I could go to Cuba and see it first hand.

So, things are getting more interesting in the Murdoch hack job. After the body of Sean Hoare, the scandal’s whistleblower, was found and the police declare the death, “not suspicious” (cough…cough) the press is gearing up for the expected blood bath as Murdoch’s face Parliament tomorrow afternoon.  Rupert and James Murdoch prepare for perilous performance before MPs | Media | The Guardian

James and Rupert Murdoch at Cheltenham

James and Rupert Murdoch at Cheltenham in 2010. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA

It seems fair to say that the stakes could not be higher for Rupert and James Murdoch when they appear in front of 11 members of parliament at 2.30pm on Tuesday.

Their appearance, scheduled to last an hour, will not only be scrutinised by the world’s media but will also be pored over by criminal investigators and investors looking for signs of culpability from one of the world’s most powerful media owners and his heir apparent.

Next up in front of the MPs will be Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International, the newspaper business that owned the News of the World, who is to give evidence after her resignation on Friday and arrest two days later.

The scale of the crisis saw the two men locked in meetings with their advisers over the weekend and all day on Monday, preparing for a performance that could have devastating consequences for News Corp, which owns three national newspapers in the UK as well as the Fox film and television network and a 39% stake in the satellite business BSkyB.

Today is Nelson Mandela’s birthday, he is 93 years old.  (Same age like Betty Ford and my Nana…) So the UN has a special day planned for him.  Nelson Mandela honored with global call to serve – World Watch – CBS News

South African schoolchildren mark Nelson Mandela's 93rd birthday

A group of schoolchildren participate in a symbolic handover on July 17, 2011 at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg to set the tone before the Mandela’s 93rd birthday and Mandela Day on July 18, 2011.

(Credit: Getty)

For 2011, the U.N. is marking Mandela Day, and Mandela’s 93rd birthday, with a request: 67 minutes of community service, from everyone, in honor of the man who has given so much himself.

The “Take Action! Inspire Change” campaign for Nelson Mandela International Day asks communities to take just over an hour for community service to honor Mandela’s 67 years of service, which culminated in his election as the first democratically-elected president of a post-apartheid South Africa.

“Everybody remembers — and, indeed, needs — an inspirational figure who has played a signal role in their lives,” said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “Nelson Mandela has been that role model for countless people around the world.”

Take Action Inspire Change web page can be found here:  Nelson Mandela International Day, July 18, For Freedom, Justice and Democracy

Give it a look see and get inspired.

Alrighty then, now I find this next link interesting…you may remember the study that was done a few years ago about tracing DNA throughout the world to study the migration of peoples.  The Genographic Project – Human Migration, Population Genetics, Maps, DNA – National Geographic

So finding out that non-African people contain Neanderthal DNA is yet another peice of the puzzle in our early history.  All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal, Genetics Confirm : Discovery News

If your heritage is non-African, you are part Neanderthal, according to a new study in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution. Discovery News has been reporting on human/Neanderthal interbreeding for some time now, so this latest research confirms earlier findings.

Damian Labuda of the University of Montreal’s Department of Pediatrics and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center conducted the study with his colleagues. They determined some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals, but only in people of non-African heritage.

“This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred,” Labuda was quoted as saying in a press release. His team believes most, if not all, of the interbreeding took place in the Middle East, while modern humans were migrating out of Africa and spreading to other regions.

The ancestors of Neanderthals left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago. They evolved over the millennia mostly in what are now France, Spain, Germany and Russia. They went extinct, or were simply absorbed into the modern human population, about 30,000 years ago.

From using science to understand human evolution and development to using science to create an internet that has touched every aspect of our present human lives. Check out this “inforgraphic” developed by CISCO and see just how far humans have come since they mated with Neanderthals…The Internet of Things Infographic | Geekosystem

Beyond all that prognostication, this handsome infographic also has some staggering numbers about the how much information is being pushed around the Internet. Read on, and be amazed.

Well? What doyou think of that? Cool huh?