Oh yeah…I got the stuff!
Plenty of things for you today, so much that I have decided to break this post up into two…one for the morning…one for the early afternoon.
First some headlines:
A 21-year-old Hofstra University student who was killed in a home invasion on Friday was mistakenly shot in the head by an officer who fired eight times at a man who was holding a gun to the student’s head and then pointed it at him, the police said on Saturday. Seven of the bullets hit the man, who was also killed.
At least one officer had entered the home as Mr. Smith, clutching Ms. Rebello in a headlock with a gun to her head, tried to get to the back door, Detective Azzata said. After noticing the officer in the hallway, Mr. Smith brought Ms. Rebello closer to his body, Detective Azzata said. Mr. Smith then pointed his gun at the officer.
“At that point, the police officer fires several rounds,” Detective Azzata said. “Seven of those rounds struck our subject; one of those rounds struck the victim.”
Ms. Rebello was taken to the hospital, where she died. Mr. Smith’s weapon, a 9-millimeter handgun, had one bullet in the chamber and another in the magazine, Detective Azzata said. He never fired a shot.
Detective Azzata said the officer who fired the shots was a 12-year veteran of the force, but would not identify him or say whether the officer had acted according to protocol. He said the authorities were still investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
When this shooting first took place, the police insisted the victim was shot by the suspect.
A Hofstra University student was killed in her home Friday morning during a botched robbery.
Andrea Rebello, 21, of New York, was shot dead by a masked gunman while her twin sister was in the house, cops told the New York Post. The gunman was also killed in a firefight with police.
The intruder broke into the home at about 2:20 a.m., where the sisters, one of their boyfriends and another woman were staying. The suspect held them hostage for a short time, but let the unidentified woman go to get cash from an ATM. She called police, NBC News reports.
Rebello and the gunman were killed during a firefight that erupted when police arrived. Police told the Post that the suspect killed Rebello, and cops killed him.
It is a shame that this young woman is dead, I won’t get into a debate about the details of how she became a victim of a policeman’s bullet…considering this was a hostage situation, the police knew it was a hostage situation, a lone cop entered the house, the gunman was found to have had two bullets in gun and did not shoot his weapon, the cop unloaded his gun (well, fired 8 times and hitting suspect 7 times, Rebello once) and the investigation is ongoing.
I guess we all expected this nugget of news about the IRS thing: Evidence emerges that Obama administration official knew of IRS targeting during 2012 campaign – CBS News
There were new questions Saturday night concerning if anyone in the White House was aware of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.
Inspector General Russell George said he informed a deputy at the Treasury Department in June of 2012 about the probe into the IRS.
The Treasury Department confirmed the timeline but said they did not know the details of the investigation until last week.
It’s the first evidence that someone within the Obama administration knew about the practice during the presidential campaign.
It is unknown whether anyone in the White House was told of the federal investigation.
And, if any of you are lucky enough: Lucky numbers for biggest Powerball jackpot are…
The winning Powerball numbers are 10, 13, 14, 22, 52 with a Powerball number of 11.
After all the mess BP caused with their Deepwater Horizon Spill you’d think drilling into deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico would be out of the question. Shell presses ahead with world’s deepest offshore oil well
Royal Dutch Shell is pressing ahead with the world’s deepest offshore oil and gas production facility by drilling almost two miles underwater in the politically sensitive Gulf of Mexico.
John Hollowell, a Shell executive vice-president, said: “This important investment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to usher in the next generation of deepwater developments, which will deliver more production growth in the Americas. We will continue our leadership in safe, innovative deepwater operations to help meet the growing demand for energy in the US.”
The move comes despite ongoing controversy over offshore exploration – especially in the Gulf of Mexico, where in April 2010 a fire and explosion on the BP Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and started a leak that took three months to cap. Last month BP said it had paid $25bn (£16bn) of the $42bn it has set aside to cover the damage caused by the spill.
Shell’s Gulf of Mexico field, called Stones, was discovered eight years ago 200 miles south-west of New Orleans and is 2,900 metres (9,500ft) below the sea. Perdido, another Shell site in the region, is currently the world’s deepest offshore well at 2,880 metres below the surface. Meanwhile the company has several other projects nearby, including its 900 metre-deep Mars field, where it is adding new infrastructure, plus its Appomattox and Vito discoveries.
Sticking with environmental issues for now, Google Earth enters fourth dimension, highlights humanity’s heavy hand | Ars Technica
Roughly four years ago, Google engineers started working with the US Geological Survey to create what it’s now calling Google Earth Engine. Thanks to NASA satellite imagery obtained as part of the Landsat program, the USGS has decades of historic images of the Earth from space, totaling somewhere in the neighborhood of 900TB of data. Google has now combed through these pictures, finding a series of consecutive images that collectively cover much of the planet’s land surface. All of the images were chosen specifically for being cloud-free and having good lighting conditions.
But these are only links dealing with the earthly environment, let us take a look at something spectacular that occurred on the lunar surface. Check it out, Huge Rock Crashes Into Moon, Sparks Giant Explosion | Space.com
The moon has a new hole on its surface thanks to a boulder that slammed into it in March, creating the biggest explosion scientists have seen on the moon since they started monitoring it.
The meteorite crashed on March 17, slamming into the lunar surface at a mind-boggling 56,000 mph (90,000 kph) and creating a new crater 65 feet wide (20 meters). The crash sparked a bright flash of light that would have been visible to anyone looking at the moon at the time with the naked eye, NASA scientists say.
“On March 17, 2013, an object about the size of a small boulder hit the lunar surface in Mare Imbrium,” Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office said in a statement. “It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we’ve ever seen before.” [The Greatest Lunar Crashes Ever]
Video and larger photos at the link.
Last week there was a showdown between Gohmert and Holder that involved a vegetable…asparagus to be precise. Colbert Takes On Gohmert’s ‘Asparagus-gate’: ‘How Dare You Cast Aspersions On That Man’s Asparagus!’ | Mediaite
Of all the contentious moments during Eric Holder‘s time before a congressional committee Wednesday, the one that stuck out to Stephen Colbert was when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) exclaimed, seemingly out of nowhere, that the attorney general was trying to “cast aspersions on my asparagus.”
Gohmert’s remark was particularly appropriate, in the eyes of Colbert, since cable news pundits had spent the hours leading up to the hearing hyping the “grilling” Holder would receive and previewing the questions he’d be “peppered with.”
“Grilled and peppered,” Colbert said. “That explains why Darrell Issa was wearing that ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron.” But, he added, Holder “bit off more than he could chew” when he went face-to-face with “magical talking cantaloupe” Louie Gohmert.
Holder challenged Gohmert’s assertion that the FBI wasn’t completely thorough in their investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings, which led to Gohmert’s accusation that the attorney general was trying to “cast aspersions on my asparagus.”
“How dare you cast aspersions on that man’s asparagus,” Colbert fired back at Holder. “What is next, sir? Libeling his lettuce? Questioning his quinoa? Arguing with his arugula? Repudiating his rutabaga? Vilifying his vinaigrette before drizzling it on his scandal salad?”
“Clearly, nation,” Colbert concluded, “we are going to need a lot more hearings on Asparagus-gate. Because the more I digest this, the worse it smells.”
Now a bit on LGBT Rights…in the country of Georgia. What I find interesting is and the men of faith who are leading the violent protest: Gay Rights Rally Is Attacked in Georgia
A throng of thousands led by priests in black robes surged through police cordons in downtown Tbilisi, Georgia, on Friday and attacked a group of about 50 gay rights demonstrators.
Carrying banners reading “No to mental genocide” and “No to gays,” the masses of mostly young men began by hurling rocks and eggs at the gay rights demonstrators.
The police pushed most of the demonstrators onto yellow minibuses to evacuate them from the scene, but, the attackers swarmed the buses, trying to break the windows with metal gratings, trash cans, rocks and even fists.
At least 12 people were reported hospitalized, including three police officers and eight or nine of the gay rights marchers.
“They wanted to kill all of us,” said Irakli Vacharadze, the head of Identoba, the Tbilisi-based gay rights advocacy group that organized the rally.
Violence promoted at the hands of the priest, what I do find curious is the statement at the end of this article…regarding the priest and the law.
A police officer helped an injured man. Gay rights marchers said priests from the Georgian Orthodox Church led the charge past police cordons.
The attack comes amid an increase in antigay talk in Russia and Georgia, whose Orthodox churches are gaining political influence.
In a statement Wednesday, the leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, compared homosexuals to drug addicts and called the rally a “violation of the rights of the majority” of Georgians.
Conservative-minded Georgians traveled from other cities to condemn the gay rights demonstrators, and one told a television station that she had come to “treat their illness.”
“We are trying to protect our orthodoxy, not to let anyone to wipe their feet on our faith,” said Manana Okhanashvili, in a head scarf and long skirt. “We must not allow them to have a gay demonstration here.”
In a telephone interview, Mr. Vacharadze of Identoba said that priests from the Georgian Orthodox Church had led the charge that broke through a heavy police corridor.
“The priests entered, the priests broke the fences and the police didn’t stop them, because the priests are above the law in Georgia,” he said.
Things never change do they. Priest always seem to be above the law.
As far as women’s rights go, in Egypt: Man Dresses As Woman to Experience Egypt’s Sexual Harassment
Would men stop sexually harassing women, or at least understand what it feels like to be verbally and physically abused, if they were to experience it themselves?
One TV program in Egypt has looked at the issue of sexual harassment by doing just that.
“Awel el Khayt” – roughly translated as “The Thread”–- is a seven-episode series aimed at covering longstanding socio-political and economic problems in the North African country.
In a recently aired 30-minute episode titled “Sexual Harassment in Egypt,” young actor Waleed Hammad took to the streets of downtown Cairo dressed as a woman in order to experience harassment firsthand.
According to an interview with Waleed Hammad at AllAfrica.com,
Hammad, who studied Economics and Theatre at the American University in Cairo, told Aswat Masriya on Monday that he blames neither men nor women for sexual harassment, but society as a whole.
“Honestly, I felt sorry for all Egyptians because the harassment wasn’t only from men; it was from women as well,” Hammad told AM, adding that receiving assaults from women was even sadder because they were oppressing their own gender.
The 24-year-old actor said that some of the catcalls were mild, while others were obscene, adding that when they first started filming, he feared that someone would blow his cover and “make a scene”.
He explained, however, that his fear was minimal as he was surrounded by the television crew which followed him during the experiment.
“When I put on the veil in the experiment, harassment became more vicious and in your face, so it’s not a problem of covering up,” Hammad said, explaining that his experiment proves wrong the argument that covering up is the solution for sexual harassment.
Take a look at the rest of the allAfrica article to read the rest of the interview with Hammad, interesting to see what his experience has showed him about living as a woman in Egypt.
And since we are on the subject of Egypt, I don’t know if you could call this life imitating art? Or at least life imitating South Park…Tunneling KFC to Gazans Craving the World Outside
The French fries arrive soggy, the chicken having long since lost its crunch. A 12-piece bucket goes for about $27 here — more than twice the $11.50 it costs just across the border in Egypt.
And for fast-food delivery, it is anything but fast: it took more than four hours for the KFC meals to arrive here on a recent afternoon from the franchise where they were cooked in El Arish, Egypt, a journey that involved two taxis, an international border, a smuggling tunnel and a young entrepreneur coordinating it all from a small shop here called Yamama — Arabic for pigeon.
Professor Abu Heen noted that when Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, breached the border with Egypt in 2008, during the height of the Israeli siege, thousands of Gazans flooded into El Arish and bought not just medicine and food staples but cigarettes, candy and things they did not need — just to show they had managed to bring something back from outside. Breaking the blockade, then and now, is seen as part of resisting the Israeli enemy, giving a sense of empowerment and control to people here, even if it comes in the form of fried chicken.
Even as Israel has relaxed restrictions on imports over the past few years, hundreds of illegal tunnels have flourished in Rafah. Weapons and people are smuggled underground, but so are luxury cars, construction materials and consumer goods like iPads and iPhones. And now: KFC.
Yes, they smuggle KFC through tunnels, like drugs are smuggled through Border tunnels here in the US. Now that image up top, look how closely it resembles the one below, taken from the South Park episode Medicinal Fried Chicken where:
You Got The Stuff? In this clip Cartman is picking up a delivery of goods and discovers a problem…
[Elsewhere in South Park, Cartman walks into an alley and looks around. Further in the alley he runs across a man]
Cartman: Are you Teabag?
Teabag: Maybe I am. Who’s askin’?
Cartman: Cut the crap. You got the stuff?
Teabag: Oh, I got the hookup. Question is, you got the money? [Cartman hands him a wad of bills] Alright, we’re in biz. [turns right and grabs a couple of bags of KFC food, then hands them to Cartman, who looks inside each bag] It’s all there, man.
Cartman: Extra crispy? [opens a small bowl of gravy and samples it carefully]
Teabag: ‘Course, man, I ain’t no fool.
Cartman: You trying to fuck me dude? This is cut with Boston Market gravy!
Teabag: Awww, it’s all the same shit, man.
Cartman: IT’S NOT THE SAME SHIT! [reaches behind his back for a pistol and aims it at Teabag]
Teabag: Okay okay I’m sorry, oh… [gets on his knees and shields his face]
Cartman: You’re cuttin’ Colonel’s gravy with Boston Market to try and save yourself some fuckin’ money!
Teabag: I’ll take back the gravy.
Cartman: [lunges at him with the pistol, making him get on all fours] Like anybody wants KFC without gravy!
Teabag: AAAH please. Please, I’m sorry! Take your money back! Take the KFC too! [Barbrady walks by and stops to look]
Barbrady: What’s going on back there?
Cartman: Nothin’, it’s cool.
Well, that all for this morning edition…I’ve got some real cool ass links coming up this afternoon! (Cool ass? That doesn’t sound right…) Anyway, be sure to let us know what you are reading about if you are around the internets and have a few minutes to comment today. Otherwise, see ya later on for the second half of the show.
Just a warning before you read any further, this post is going to start of with a smidgen of whine and a half-hearted rant about…stuff.
It has been such a struggle lately….have you been feeling it? Maybe it is just something I am going through alone these days.
It has become a struggle to run my eyes over the headlines on Memeorandum.com or read the items in my RSS feed reader. Maybe it is feeling so much frustration…seeing Romney’s name plastered all over the place? Maybe it is the touch of coolness in the air…the leaves turning from green to gold, signaling a new season. My favorite season. Fall.
Last night before I started to write this morning’s post, I found myself finding little superficies to waste time. Yeah, just doing stupid things that would give me a reason to procrastinate a bit longer. Just the thought of clicking the laptop on, and scouring the news sites made me want to forget about the blog…and avoid writing this post.
I was thrilled to see Boston Boomer posting a thread late yesterday, it meant I could even avoid doing a quick evening reads. And believe me, I have saved up some good cartoons to share with you all…but my enthusiasm was lacking for even that kind of post.
We all experience that feeling of being fed up, yes? Different things affect us, and make us scream inside ourselves…and bring about a desire to run into the hills pulling our hair out. Cleaning the bathroom sink becomes more appealing than listening to one more politician drone on about shit we know is ridiculous and flat-out wrong.
Anyway, that is it…there was my whine and feeble complaint about the Political Affective Disorder that has hit me…big time.
So, it should come to no surprise that the news links for this morning reads will be in Link Dump fashion.
The top news story, I guess the one getting most of the trending traffic this morning on Google News, was this: Top Republicans demand answers from over Benghazi attack
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton watch as Chris Stevens’ remains are returned to the US at a military base in Maryland. Photograph: Molly Riley/Getty Images
Senior Republicans in Congress have written to Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, claiming to have evidence of a previously undisclosed attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and threats to American ambassador in Libya in the months before he was killed.
Darrell Issa, chairman of the House oversight and government reform committee, and Jason Chaffetz, chairman of a subcommittee on national security, are demanding Clinton hand over information about previous attacks and threats as Republicans step up pressure on the White House with accusations of incompetence and a cover-up over the assault that killed the US ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other American officials last month.
The letter says that US diplomats in Libya made repeated requests for increased security at the Benghazi consulate but were rejected by officials in Washington. The congressmen have called a hearing for October 10 and want Clinton to reveal what the state department knew about earlier incidents and how it responded to the growing security threat.
I do like that photo from this Guardian story. It shows compassion and genuine feeling of sympathy. Geez, what are we going to do without Hillary? I mean, it doesn’t matter who wins…Romney or Obama, she is gone next year. Sigh..
Another story making the popularity list is this bit of news from Penn State. Mike McQueary files defamation suit against Penn State
he former Penn State graduate assistant who complained he saw former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a young boy on campus and testified at his sex abuse trial sued the university on Tuesday for what he calls defamation and misrepresentation.
Mike McQueary’s whistle-blower lawsuit claims his treatment by the university since Sandusky was arrested in November has caused him distress, anxiety, humiliation and embarrassment. The complaint, filed in county court near State College, where the university is based, seeks millions of dollars in damages.
Hey, McQueary got that promotion to assistant coach when he neglected to go to the “real” police after it was obvious that telling Paterno about the sexual assault he witnessed in the shower…did absolutely nothing…as far as Sandusky is concerned.
Yesterday there was a shooting on the border. Here is the latest: Border Patrol shooting: No suspects yet I don’t know, the timing of this thing is a bit too convenient for me. With the election a month away, I guess perhaps my spider senses are somewhat over sensitive.
And over in Georgia..the results are in. Georgia election: US and Russia hail parliamentary vote President Mikheil Saakashvili is out and the Dream Party is slated to take over. Let’s see what comes of this change…I guess it would give Romney a reason to start talking about how the Soviet Union will respond to new President, Bidzina Ivanishvili.
On to a few Human Rights stories. Rights group: Mentally ill patients in Ghana chained up for months at a time at prayer camps
Mentally ill patients suffer from severe abuse at psychiatric hospitals and so-called healing centers in Ghana, with many chained to trees and even denied water, a human rights group said Tuesday.
Some 1,000 residents live in squalid, overcrowded quarters in Ghana’s three psychiatric hospitals, according to Human Rights Watch. Patients face physical and verbal abuse, and some are given electroshock therapy without their consent, said the group’s report.
The abuse is even worse in healing centers known as “prayer camps,” which lack government oversight, it said.
Thousands of mentally disabled people in the West African nation are sent to the camps, usually by their family members to be “cured” by self-proclaimed prophets through miracles, prayer and fasting. In most prayer camps, residents are only allowed to leave when the prophet deems them healed.
Fucking “organized” religion…used as an outlet for cruelty. Like we haven’t seen this shit before.
This next link is just too upsetting for words. Rights group: Police rape woman in Tunisia, then charge her with indecency
Tunisian women protest Tuesday, October 2, in front of a courthouse in Tunis where a young woman faces charges of indecency by two police officers accused of raping her.
While on the subject of rape.
Gawd, I really hate that man.
I posted a cartoon the other day about the State Supreme Court mess down in Florida: Republican Party Aims to Remake Florida Supreme Court
You may remember it? The one with the Justices up in a tree, and an elephant revving up a chain saw?
The campaign against the justices by Republican state party officials, a conservative group founded by the Koch brothers and a grass-roots group is similar to the successful push by conservative activists in Iowa during the 2010 election. Voters there defeated three Iowa Supreme Court justices over a ruling that allowed same-sex marriage in the state. A fourth Iowa justice who also ruled in the case is being targeted for ouster this year.
In Florida, the issue is not same-sex marriage but another politically divisive matter: President Obama’s health care law. In a 2010 ruling, the Florida Supreme Court removed from the ballot a nonbinding amendment allowing Floridians to refuse to buy mandatory health insurance. The justices ruled that the required ballot summary contained “misleading and ambiguous language” and asked the Legislature to fix it. Lawmakers did, and it is back on the ballot this year.
For an update on Spain: Spanish Regions Agree to Central Government Deficit Plan
Spain’s 17 regional governments agreed on Tuesday to stick to budget deficit targets set by the central government, giving Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy some breathing space as he faces pressure from investors and his European partners to clean up Spain’s banks and public finances.
After a meeting in Madrid with leaders of the regional governments, Mr. Rajoy said, “Spain was giving a good message.” He added that he was “very grateful to everybody” for backing his government’s budget plans and avoiding a full-blown confrontation between the central and regional governments.
And these last two links are for all of us who are dealing with a cold from hell…it seems to be traveling through many of the front pagers on Sky Dancing, as well as some of our readers. (Beata, PD and HT…hope y’all are feeling better.)
Have a good day, and we will see you later on tonight, as Romney and Obama meet for their first debate. I can hardly wait./Snark or should I say, /Sarcasm.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Afternoon all! In Oklahoma they found the little boy who was missing. Ryan Hamil had been ripped from his mother’s arms when his family took shelter in the bathtub of their home. This family also lost Ryan’s little brother Cole . I cannot even begin to comprehend what the family is going through. There is a Facebook Memorial Page set up here, if you would like to send any thoughts their way.
Okay, let’s get this evening news reads started…
More than 230 people remain unaccounted for four days after the deadliest single tornado in more than six decades tore through the middle of Joplin, Missouri officials said Thursday.
Jake Tapper has highlighted this today: Official: President Obama Personally Worked to Have Russia and Georgia Resolve Trade Dispute – Political Punch
One senior Obama administration official told ABC News that the issue is one President Obama has personally been engaged in for months, to the point that he personally arranged for the Swiss to help negotiate the major sticking point: Russia’s occupation of parts of Georgia.
Both countries have taken public positions that suggest little possible common ground: Georgia wants Russian troops to leave; Russia says its troops aren’t going anywhere. But both countries’ participation in the Swiss mediation suggest private positions may be different. There are ways the pot can be sweetened for Georgia, which wants Russia to drop its 2006 embargo on Georgian mineral water and wines and has been pursuing a free-trade agreement with the European Union.
The three-party talks have taken place twice in Bern, with a third meeting scheduled for later this month.
“We think that Russian accession to the WTO will be good for the Russian economy, will be good for the U.S. economy, it will be good for the world economy,” President Obama said today. “And we are confident that we can get this done.”
No mention of Georgia’s human right’s violations. My Cousin Joe Mestas was interviewed again for Russian news: RT.com
Mikhail Saakashvili, Republic of Georgia ordered the police to crack down on peaceful protesters in Tbilisi.
My Cousin Joe states that the US media is not reporting on the human right’s offenses of Saakashvili, which is no surprise to me. I could only find a couple things on the events that took place, and as you can see it is from Russian sources.
In a statement on Thursday, Human Rights Watch urged Georgian authorities to start a probe into what it called a disproportionate use of force against protesters.
Earlier in the day, Georgian police used tear gas water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse a protest rally in central Tbilisi.
Two people were reportedly killed and dozens more injured in the crackdown, including several Russian journalists.
And this one from Eka Gigauri, Executive Director of Transparency International Georgia:
Unfortunately, we didn’t have an opportunity to monitor everything that happened in the Rustaveli Avenue last night. But clearly, we can say there was an excessive use of force. And I think that, first of all, this is a violation of human rights. And another thing that we, Transparency International Georgia, want to underline is that during protests and also in regard to the last events the local media and TV stations didn’t really pay attention to those violations of human rights
Obama’s non-action regarding the atrocities and human right’s violations going on in places like Syria and many countries in Africa is frustrating and worrisome. However, when you see his attitude with his own countries use of enhanced interrogation techniques, and his inhumane treatment of Manning…what else can you expect.
On to a few other things…and this is going to be quick. I must pick up the girl and boy from school.
Check these two articles out.
We all knew this was coming: Dominique Strauss-Kahn lawyers attack rape accuser’s credibility | World news | The Guardian
Some court news from Wisconsin and Arizona:
Sorry for the abbreviated version of evening news reads. Will catch up with you all in the comments.
Happy May Day! Ah, that first day of the month of May is upon us. So I will begin this Sunday’s post with a few items about the special day.
There are many marches/parades set for today to support workers and immigrants. For a calendar of May Day events: List of Events »
One sign carried in almost every May Day march of the last few years says it all: “We are Workers, not Criminals!” Often it was held in the calloused hands of men and women who looked as though they’d just come from work in a factory, cleaning an office building, or picking grapes.
The sign stated an obvious truth. Millions of people have come to the United States to work, not to break its laws. Some have come with visas, and others without them. But they are all contributors to the society they’ve found here.
This year, those marchers will be joined by the public service workers we saw in the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison, whose message was the same: we all work, we all contribute to our communities and we all have the right to a job, a union and a decent life. Past May Day protests have responded to a wave of draconian proposals to criminalize immigration status, and work itself, for undocumented people. The defenders of these proposals have used a brutal logic: if people cannot legally work, they will leave.
Activists in Downtown Fresno will join others in more than fifty cities across the country this Sunday, marching for immigration reform.
A rallying cry for immigration reform rang out in Downtown Fresno. Members of the May Day committee say a path to obtain citizenship is needed in the Valley, and they are hoping to get a crowd of five thousand people to march in favor of it.
May Day is commonly known as international workers day, but since record breaking crowds marched in cities across the country, including Fresno back in 2006, it’s has come to be known as an immigrant rights movement day. Supporters say the crowds are smaller now but the needs have not gone away.
Now for some items of interest in the good ol’ US of A.
First a bit about a sexist jerk that has a furry rodent for a hairdo. I am always expecting the squirrel that sits atop Trumps head to lift up its tail that covers Trump’s forehead and shoot little squirrel pellets out at the people while Trump spews crap from his own mouth.
Not only are Trump’s comments about “the blacks” getting him called a racist, but some are digging up the sexist remarks he has made through the years as proof that he is a…well, I will leave that word out for now and save it for the comments section:
Fresh off the allegations that Donald Trump’s various “birther” and affirmative action conspiracies about President Obama were racist, now the spotlight is being shone on Trump’s long history of sexist, if not downright sleazy, comments about women.
In a column for the Washington Post, Anna Holmes brings up the “Trump Rule,” as described by beauty queen Carrie Prejean, in her book about the Miss USA pageant. According to Prejean, the Miss USA pageant had a requirement that contestants parade in front of pageant owner Donald Trump so he could separate out those he found sexually appealing from those he did not.
“Many of the girls found this exercise humiliating,” Prejean wrote. “Some of the girls were sobbing backstage after [Trump] left, devastated to have failed even before the competition really began . . . even those of us who were among the chosen couldn’t feel very good about it — it was as though we had been stripped bare.”
This is not the only incident of Trump’s blatant focus on the physical attributes of women over other qualities. Indeed, the list goes on and on. Gail Collins recently wrote a column in which she reminisced about how Trump once sent her a copy of her column with the words “Face of a Dog!” scrawled on top of her picture. Trump was accused of asking the men on “The Apprentice” to rate their female peers, based on appearance. He disparaged actress Angelina Jolie for having too many sexual partners. Perhaps creepiest of all, Trump even once said of his daughter Ivanka Trump, “She does have a very nice figure . . . if [she] weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
Okay, that last bit is disgusting! How can people be serious about this guy. Wake up and see him for all that he is…a pig.
On to some more disgust. This time in the form of a woman governor signing a law to give “fetus” rights…and this is a Democrat Woman Governor mind you. Gov. Perdue Signs Fetus Protection Law – News Story – WSOC Charlotte
Suspects accused of causing a fetus to die or injuring it inside the womb at any stage of development would face separate criminal charges under a law Gov. Beverly Perdue has signed.
The measure Perdue signed on Friday doesn’t apply to legal abortions but does convey legal status upon fetuses unable to survive outside their mother’s womb.
The Democratic governor said twice in a statement that she strongly supports abortion rights, but “I do support punishing any person who would attack or kill a pregnant woman. I sign this bill today to show that support.”
“I have children of my own, and grandchildren,” Perdue said.
“I know the powerful instinct of a mother to protect her children, and I know how I would feel if anyone had harmed my daughters-in-law or me when we were pregnant.”
When the bill takes effect Dec. 1, North Carolina will join 35 other states and the federal government in recognizing an unborn child as an additional victim of crime. Laws in nearly two dozen states say crimes against the fetus can come at any time after conception, like the North Carolina law does.
Republicans have sought the additional protections for several years and took advantage of their majority in both chambers this year to push through the law that supporters say would punish people for harm caused to expectant babies. Opponents said the measure was a gift to conservatives who believe life begins at conception.
Excuse me…but if you support abortion rights, don’t sign a bill that conveys legal status on fetuses that can’t even survive out of the womb. This is just going to give those PLUBs a way to weasel the rights of women out from under them.
Some news on the HCR situation in the courts. Clinton: Supreme Court could rule against healthcare law – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room
There’s a chance that the Supreme Court could rule the so-called “individual mandate” in the healthcare reform law unconstitutional, but on the whole the bill will stay in tact, former President Bill Clinton said.
“Well, I think – I guess, you know, there’s some chance, given how political it is, the courts, that they would strike down the mandatory purchase, although I find it amazing that they would I mean you can make people buy automobile liability insurance,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN taped Friday. “And the combined impact of the burden of people not being insured on the rest of us economically is nowhere near that of health care.”
Ah, and on the subject of Healthcare…the affordable kind for women, Daniels in Indiana is signing a bill that is cutting of Medicaid for Planned Parenthood. Another nail in the coffin. I would love to kick this little guy in the ass for this one. And yes, if you think that is violent comment towards a politician, so be it. I would be sure to wear pointy shoes so that my foot goes squarely up his…well, you get the picture.
Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana said Friday that he would sign a bill cutting off Medicaid financing for Planned Parenthood, a move that lawmakers in several states have begun pondering as a new approach in the battle over abortion. Indiana becomes the first state to go forward.
Abortion rights supporters condemned the decision, saying it would leave 22,000 poor residents of Indiana, who use Planned Parenthood’s 28 health facilities in the state, with nowhere to go for a range of women’s services, from breast cancer screening to birth control. Planned Parenthood of Indiana said it would file an injunction to block the measure from taking effect.
Let’s see if the recent lifting of stem cell research ban will have a good outcome, or will laws like that one giving “conceived” fetuses rights come in conflict with harvesting stem cells. (I would not put it past the PLUBs to start some campaign against this Court’s decision.)
A US federal appeals court has ruled that government funding for embryonic stem cell research can go ahead, handing a major victory to President Barack Obama’s administration.
Friday’s ruling reverses a previous decision that said the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines was in violation of a 1996 law that prohibits the use of taxpayer’s money to pay for research that destroys human embryos.
Opponents of human embryonic stem cell research, including many religious groups, find such research unacceptable – tantamount to abortion – because human embryos must be destroyed to obtain the stem cells.
Stem cells come from days-old human embryos and can produce any type of cell in the body – ideally meant to replace diseased cells.
Scientists hope to be able to use them to address spinal cord injuries, cancer and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The 2-1 decision said opponents of the research were not likely to win their battle in court, so funding should resume.
“We conclude the plaintiffs are unlikely to prevail,” read the decision by the US Court of Appeals in Washington, referring to a coalition of groups that challenged the legality of the research.
Judge Douglas Ginsburg wrote that it was “entirely reasonable” for the NIH to interpret the law as “permitting funding for research using cell lines derived without federal funding, even as it bars funding for the derivation of additional lines.”
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson said the federal law was clear about banning funding for human embryonic stem cell research and that the court majority was engaging in “linguistic jujitsu” by taking a straightforward case and issuing an unnecessarily complicated 21-page ruling.
The ruling was hailed by both the White House and the NIH, which allocated about $40 million to human embryonic stem cell research in 2010 and has set aside $125 million this year – a fraction of its $31 billion budget.
The White House said the ruling was a victory for scientists and patients.
As the death toll in the South continues to rise I will link to this post from yesterday…it has links to the Red Cross and Salvation Army and pictures of people who have been affected by these tornadoes.
On to world events and news…You may have missed this about Saif al-Arab Muammar Gaddafi. Here are a few more links about Libya:
As NATO warplanes bombed his capital early Saturday, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi delivered a disjointed but defiant speech on Libyan state television, offering a cease-fire while pledging not to leave the country.
Bryan Denton for The New York Times
“Come France, Italy, U.K., America, come, we’ll negotiate with you,” Colonel Qadaffi said. “You lie and say I’m killing my own people. Show us the bodies.”
The speech, which was broadcast about 2:30 a.m., was the latest in a series of rambling proclamations from the Libyan leader, and it was made as NATO forces said they would broaden their list of targets to include palaces, communication centers and other administrative buildings that Colonel Qaddafi relies on to maintain power.
NATO and the rebels immediately rejected the call for a cease-fire, which they described as a disingenuous ploy.
This asshole has to be one of those sick dictators that needs to disappear. I know that Boston Boomer linked to his advocating rape as a weapon, well it seems he is taking it ever further: Gaddafi ‘supplies troops with Viagra to encourage mass rape’, claims diplomat | World news | The Guardian
One of America’s most senior diplomats claimed at the United Nations security council that Muammar Gaddafi is supplying his troops with Viagra to encourage mass rape, according to diplomats.
Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN made the claim while accusing Gaddafi of numerous human rights abuses. Earlier in the week Rice also claimed, without offering any evidence, that Iran is helping Syria suppress internal dissent.
Foreign affairs specialists expressed scepticism about both claims.
The Viagra claim surfaced in an al-Jazeera report last month from Libya-based doctors who said they had found Viagra in the pockets of pro-Gaddafi soldiers. But it is a jump from that to suggesting Gaddafi is supplying troops with it to encourage mass rape.
Rice is one of the advocates of liberal intervention in the Obama administration, along with the White House foreign affairs adviser Samantha Power, and helped persuade President Obama to intervene in Libya.
A UN diplomat at the closed session on Thursday said: “I was in the room when she mentioned Viagra. The remark did not cause a stir at the time. It was during a discussion about whether there is moral equivalence between the Gaddafi forces and the rebels. She listed human rights abuses by Gaddafi’s forces, including snipers shooting children in the street and the Viagra story.”
She was trying to persuade doubters that Libya was not just a civil war and that Gaddafi was encouraging human rights abuses. Russia and China have complained that the military strikes on Libya are going beyond the UN mandate.
Can you see Gaddafi doing something like buying Viagra and giving it to his troops…I can, he probably is giving them some of his own stash…I could see him stockpile the stuff for his own use. Anyway, I am glad the children were not in school when this NATO strike hit:
Shattered glass litters the carpet at the Libyan Down’s Syndrome Society, and dust covers pictures of grinning children that adorn the hallway, thrown into darkness by a NATO strike early on Saturday.
It was unclear what the target of the strike was, though Libyan officials said it was Muammar Gaddafi himself, who was giving a live television address at the time.
“They maybe wanted to hit the television. This is a non-military, non-governmental building,” said Mohammed al-Mehdi, head of the civil societies council, which licenses and oversees civil groups in Libya.
The missile completely destroyed an adjoining office in the compound that houses the government’s commission for children.
The force of the blast blew in windows and doors in the parent-funded school for children with Down’s Syndrome and officials said it damaged an orphanage on the floor above.
“I felt sad really. I kept thinking, what are we going to do with these children?” said Ismail Seddigh, who set up the school 17 years ago after his own daughter was born with Down’s.
“This is not the place we left on Thursday afternoon.”
There were no children at the school when the missiles hit early on Saturday morning, since Friday begins the weekend in Libya. Children had been due to come in on Saturday morning.
On to Japan’s nuclear crisis…and some new radioactive waste sites in the Ukraine.
A senior nuclear adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has resigned, criticizing the government for ignoring his advice on radiation limits and not doing enough to deal with the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Toshiso Kosako, a professor at the University of Tokyo, was only recently named an aide to Kan on March 16, five days after a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan
In a teary news conference on Friday night, Kosako said he could not stay on while the government set, what he deemed, inappropriate radiation limits for elementary schools near the plant.
“I cannot allow this as a scholar,” he said, adding that he also opposed the government raising the limit for radiation exposure for workers at the plant.
The government has set 20-millisievert limit for radiation exposure as safe, but according to Kosako, that is 20 times too high, especially for children, who are considered more vulnerable to radiation than adults.
Plant workers are now allowed to be exposed to 250 millisieverts of radiation over a five-year period, up from 100 millisieverts.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that runs Fukushima Daiichi, revealed Saturday that the radiation exposures for two workers have been found to have reached the limit of 250 millisieverts.
‘I cannot help but to think [the government and other agencies] are only taking stopgap measures.’—Toshiso Kosako
Kosako went on to criticize the lack of transparency in Kan’s government in dealing with the radiation leak and blasted it for not taking long-term action.
“I cannot help but to think [the government and other agencies] are only taking stopgap measures.”
In a statement, Kan’s administraton called the resignation “unfortunate,” reiterating that the government “has consistently followed the advice of the nuclear safety commission in addition to the opinions from relevant sources.”
Ukrainian authorities have made plans to store a portion of the country’s nuclear waste at the site of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, near the region’s major water supply.
For 25 years, the radioactive waste has been sealed by a concrete structure known as a “sarcophagus,” which is now vulnerable to collapse, experts say.
Ugh, all I can think of is Blinky, the three eyed fish caught near the Nuclear Plant that Homer Simpson works at….
Bart catches a three-eyed fish in a river downstream of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. This causes the plant to become inspected, and in order to prevent it from being shut down, Mr. Burns decides to run for governor. After a hard campaign which sees Burns rise from being universally despised to running neck and neck with incumbent Mary Bailey, it is decided that Burns will have dinner with a random employee the night before the election. Homer is chosen, much to Marge‘s chagrin.
Journalists have described the episode as a satire on both American politics and environmentalism. It won an Environmental Media Award in 1991 for being the best television episode of the year with an environmental message. Since the episode first aired, the three-eyed fish Blinky has been mentioned several times in news articles regarding nuclear waste and mutation. The episode was positively received by television critics for its satire on American politics.
More world news after the fold, so keep on reading!