That vintage cartoon panel sure would have made me laugh a year ago…I would have used it in one of my cartoon mash-ups, depicting the populous fleeing a GOP debate. Now I can only think how prophetic that little drawn rectangle frame could be. If I had a way, I’d be gone. Wouldn’t you?
So, soon Comey is supposed to come out and speak.
Before I get to the political cartoons, let me put a couple more tweets here:
Below is the copy of that above link, via TwitLonger:
Now the cartoons.
The one thing I love about the cartoonist Pat Bagley, if you follow his twitter…he will post many comments and statements aside from his wonderful cartoons.
Here is a link to the past 10 cartoons by Pat Bagley:
That’s all, because it is 1pm…go time?
I would like to say that the primary season is totally over and that we can move on to more important things like destroying Donald Trump’s chances for getting near the White House but, not so fast. Bernie Sanders just will not concede to Hillary Clinton. The media opened up a a window for him to “address his supporters” hoping he’d go quietly into that great night. Once again, we got his stump speech. There was one big difference. The media cut him off after it was clear it was the same old stuff and the same old Bernie. He didn’t drop out but the media dropped him. THUD!
In his 30-minute speech live-streamed to his supporters and also shown on cable news channels, Sanders slammed Democratic leadership but said defeating Donald Trump in November was his top concern. The senator also said he would be announcing how he would be participating in the general election “at some point very soon.” This marked the point at which the news nets began to tune out.
The Democratic Party’s convention will be held in Philadelphia from July 25-28. The Obama- and Biden-endorsed Clinton is expected on the first ballot to be the first woman nominated by a major American party for President.
Sanders’ speech comes on a day that saw the President and Vice-President in Orlando meeting with victims of the fatal shooting at the Pulse nightclub saw 49 people killed. The speech also comes as the NBA Finals gets down to the near-wire with the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers facing off in what could be a clinching Game 6 for the defending champions.
The Sanders speech was short for him, and he reiterated the issues his campaign has long been focused on and urged supporters to keep fighting until the convention.
Clinton has been the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee since winning the California primary on June 7. At the time, Sanders vowed to keep campaigning to force a contested convention. As part of that, the Vermont senator played hard to voters in Washington, D.C. in advance of the final Democratic primary held there Tuesday, coming out in support of statehood for the U.S. capital. Clinton still decisively won the D.C. primary.
At last, the bloom is off the rose. I’d like to share this Harvard study with you that was released this week by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. It basically proves what we’ve known all along. The angry white dudes were beloved by the media. They picked on the girl.
A new report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy analyzes news coverage of the 2016 presidential candidates in the year leading up to the primaries. This crucial period, labeled “the invisible primary” by political scientists, is when candidates try to lay the groundwork for a winning campaign—with media exposure often playing a make or break role.
The report shows that during the year 2015, major news outlets covered Donald Trump in a way that was unusual given his low initial polling numbers—a high volume of media coverage preceded Trump’s rise in the polls. Trump’s coverage was positive in tone—he received far more “good press” than “bad press.” The volume and tone of the coverage helped propel Trump to the top of Republican polls.
The Democratic race in 2015 received less than half the coverage of the Republican race. Bernie Sanders’ campaign was largely ignored in the early months but, as it began to get coverage, it was overwhelmingly positive in tone. Sanders’ coverage in 2015 was the most favorable of any of the top candidates, Republican or Democratic. For her part, Hillary Clinton had by far the most negative coverage of any candidate. In 11 of the 12 months, her “bad news” outpaced her “good news,” usually by a wide margin, contributing to the increase in her unfavorable poll ratings in 2015.
The Shorenstein Center study is based on an analysis of thousands of news statements by CBS, Fox, the Los Angeles Times, NBC, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. The study’s data were provided by Media Tenor, a firm that specializes in the content analysis of news coverage.
The invisible primary is the stage of the campaign where journalists have the most latitude in deciding what and who to cover. It’s also the stage where the press forges its “metanarratives”—its dominant personal narratives of the leading contenders. The term was devised by former journalists Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel to describe what they saw as the tendency of reporters in the 2000 campaign to portray the party nominees in simplified terms—“Bush is dumb,” “Gore is a liar.” They deplored the tendency, arguing that, once a metanarrative is in place, it’s hard for journalists to argue to the contrary and equally hard for them not to play up trivial developments that align with the stereotype.
Even if metanarratives are not as self-fulfilling as Kovach and Rosenstiel suggest, there is no question that journalists create and apply them as a shorthand way to describe presidential candidates. In 2008, for example, journalists early on embraced the idea that Barack Obama represented hope and change and could deliver it through his charismatic leadership and communication skill. It was a narrative that carried all the way to the November election.
Whether the metanarratives that emerged during the 2016 invisible primary will persist is a yet unanswered question but the outlines of these early narratives was unmistakable. Trump was the shoot-from-the-lip bully, given to braggadocio and insulting and outrageous comments. Yet, he also had a finger on the anger felt by many middle- and lower-class white voters. As regards Clinton, she was the candidate best prepared for the presidency as a result of her experience and detailed knowledge of policy issues. But this positive metanarrative competed with more frequently employed negative ones—that she was difficult to like, overly calculating, and hard to trust. As for Sanders, the storyline was that he means what he says—that he speaks, not from what the polls say is expedient, but from what he believes.
The candidates’ metanarratives, along with the contours of the news media’s 2016 election coverage, will be the subject of subsequent Shorenstein Center reports.
Notice the graphic showing Trump’s positive coverage by the media including WAPO which Trump says covered him unfavorably right before he removed their credentials. Even Paul Ryan thought that was an over the top reaction.
In a news conference Thursday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was asked about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s move to deny press credentials to The Post. His immediate answer was unspectacular: “Don’t think I’ve ever heard about it before. I think that’s a new one. I don’t know a whole lot about it. I hope and assume this will get worked out.”
Then he did something that tells us what he really thinks about Trump and The Post. “Who’s with The Post here, by the way? Is [Mike] DeBonis here? [Paul] Kane’s here. Okay, last question.”
DeBonis proceeded to press Ryan on . . . Donald Trump: “This morning, Mr. Speaker, you rolled out your plan to . . . rein in executive power. Mr. Trump yesterday said this, addressing congressional leaders like yourself — ‘Be quiet. Just please be quiet. Don’t talk.’ What is your reaction to that and . . . how do you have any confidence that this is a guy who’s gonna have respect for separation of powers.”
“You can’t make this up sometimes,” responded Ryan, in part. He left the podium after riffing on the importance of “government by consent” and advising the press corps to call their fathers this weekend.
Point made: Ryan isn’t blacklisting The Post or any other media outlets. Since Trump clinched his status as presumptive nominee, his relationship with the House speaker has seesawed. For weeks, Ryan held off on endorsing Trump, only to declare that he’d vote for the longtime real-estate mogul. Following Trump’s comments doubting the ability of federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel — born in Indiana and of Mexican heritage — to adjudicate lawsuits affecting Trump University, Ryan blasted away, saying Trump had made the “textbook definition of a racist comment,” while still affirming his support of Trump over Hillary Clinton. Now we have Ryan repudiating Trump on The Post thing, not with his words, but with his actions.
The moment on Capitol Hill provides a good opportunity to check in on how Trump’s action against The Post is working. As the Trump campaign made clear on its website: “We no longer feel compelled to work with a publication which has put its need for ‘clicks’ above journalistic integrity.” That meant that the Trump people had, in effect, pulled the newspaper’s rally badge
The role of the media in this election has been as perplexing as the look on their faces and the words from the keyboards over the last year. We’ve got a serial liar as a major party candidate that no one even took seriously last year. We’ve got another one that has lost by every meaning of the word and will not concede. We’ve got right wing conspiracy theories flying around in the main stream press as if they’re as serious as our real issues. Here’s some further analysis by Carter Maness.
Though 28 percent of Clinton’s coverage was about issues, 84 percent of those stories were negative in tone. To compare, Trump only notched 12 percent on issues, with 43 percent negative in tone. That’s much heavier accountability for the Democratic nominee in a race that received less than half the coverage of the Republican contest. But, for Clinton, it’s easy to see the negative trend reversing as we enter the general election.
“The tide may be shifting as the campaign focuses on Clinton vs. Trump and she takes advantage of the focus and the contrast to strike a more ‘presidential’ tone,” said Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. “If the recent Bloomberg poll is substantiated elsewhere, the narrative will likely shift to Hillary as frontrunner, which will produce some more sharp coverage—and Trump will never let up in his attacks—but also more positive coverage that reflects the shifting sands.”
Given that poll, which found Clinton with a commanding 12-point lead in the general election, the frontrunner scrutiny won’t let up. But increasingly negative coverage of Trump, whose private jet might finally be plummeting back to earth, will likely become a big positive for Clinton.
Her greatest asset as a candidate will be her opponent. Trump’s recent slate of controversies—from lambasting a federal judge’s Mexican heritage to his tonedeaf reaction to the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando—has kept his name on front pages, but the stories are much harsher in tone than when he was battling Ted Cruz for the nomination. Media coverage is becoming more concerted in its effort to debunk Trump’s lies and question his more outrageous statements.
Bill Jasso, professor of practice at the Newhouse School of Public Relations at Syracuse University, believes the media will start holding candidates to higher standards. “The most significant societal question for me is: Will the American news media—both traditional and new digital—hold the candidates accountable for the veracity of their statements and positions, or will they continue to cover the presidential campaign like it was a UFC cage match? I have faith that most journalists realize ‘the fun’s over’ and are ready to embark on the hard work of reporting on substantive issues and real-world solutions.”
A focus on real solutions should benefit Clinton, as should the competition in unfavorability ratings. Trump is currently receiving yet another round of negative coverage from a new ABC/Washington Post poll which shows he is disliked by 94 percent of African-Americans, 89 percent of Hispanics, 77 percent of women, and a whopping 70 percent of all adults. For at least the time being, nobody is talking about Hillary Clinton, which, for her, is positive coverage.
That study actually just verifies some earlier analysis done by a socia media software analytics company and covered by Vox and Media Matters. Clinton received the most negative stories.
A newly released media analysis found that the “biggest news outlets have published more negative stories about Hillary Clinton than any other presidential candidate — including Donald Trump — since January 2015.” The study, conducted by social media software analytics company Crimson Hexagon, also found that “the media also wrote the smallest proportion of positive stories about her.”
As Media Matters has noted throughout the primary campaign, the coverage of Hillary Clinton has tended to focus on fake scandals such as her use of a private email server while her Republican counterparts have enjoyed more positive characterizations. This criticism has been backed up by a former New York Times editor who agreed that the publication has given the Clinton’s “an unfair ‘level of scrutiny.’”
Crimson Hexagon’s analysis, reported by Vox’s Jeff Stein, “shows that the media has battered Clinton more than any other candidate, perhaps because of the ongoing controversy over her emails.” Accusations of “the media being in the tank for Clinton,” Stein notes, simply “may not square with reality.” Crimson Hexagon’s analysis — which examined reporting from The Washington Post, Politico, Fox News, the Huffington Post, and CNN — ultimately found that more “negative stories” were published about Clinton than any other presidential candidate, and that Clinton herself received “the smallest proportion of positive stories.”
I’ve been hoping some of this will turn around now that we know that Bernie is delusional and Trump suffers from what appears to be a major Personality Disorder or three. However, BostonBoomer pointed out to me yesterday that Howard Kurtz and other pundits continue their sexist and misogynistic coverage of Clinton. Again, this is from a last month’s analysis done by Media Matters that points out Kurtz and his use of sexist tropes.
Gender bias and sensationalism in the media is something political figures like Hillary Clinton simply need to “deal with,” according to Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz.
In a May 28 column, Kurtz highlighted a newly released excerpt from Hillary Clinton’s upcoming book, Hard Choices, in an attempt to analyze Clinton’s purported wariness of the press. He gave particular attention to aNew Yorker article, published the same day as the book excerpt, which detailed the media’s obsessive focus on Clinton. While the New Yorker noted that Clinton supporters attribute “some of the negative” coverage she has faced to sexism, Kurtz offered an alternate take:
My take is this: Let’s say Hillary’s people are right and that the press is petty, sensationalist, often unfair and sometimes mean to women? Deal with it. It’s like complaining about bad weather. Every candidate has to cope with an adversarial media, and Democrats usually get a break at least on social issues.
Media coverage of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign was a gender debacle. Press featured “news” segmentson Hillary’s hair style, examinations of the Clinton “cackle,” and even a 750-word rumination on the “startling” amount of cleavage then-Sen. Clinton “displayed” on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
In recent months, right-wing media have worked overtime to stir up concern about Clinton’s age, an effort led in part by conservative strategist and Fox contributor Karl Rove in anticipation of a possible 2016 presidential run. The conservative bubbled first encouraged the media to revive old conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health,relentlessly hyped their own attack, and then demanded that Clinton respond with evidence to their specious claims. Far from subtle, as recently as May 27 Fox News painted Clinton “old and stale,” amplifying an affront first used by Rove.
Clinton’s age has long been a focus of right-wing media’s ire. Last year The Washington Times claimed that Clinton’s age by 2016 is “not particularly old for a man,” though at her age “a woman in public life is getting past her sell-by date.” Fox’s Erick Erickson asserted that by 2016, “I don’t know how far back they can pull her face.”
Gender bias is definitely at play here as is general CDS as stoked by the right. However, the unMerry Band of Bernie and his Dead-Enders continue to sally forth with less media hooplah than before.
SANDERS WILL JOIN EFFORT TO DEFEAT TRUMP IN A ‘VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME:’Bernie Sanders did not formally concede or back his primary rival Hillary Clinton during a live online address to his fans last night, despite Clinton last week securing enough delegates to become the Democratic Party’s nominee. Sanders did, however, promise to join her and the Democratic party in a more active role in their effort to defeat Donald Trump. “The major political task that together we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly, and I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time,” he said in his remarks, which he filmed in a television studio in his hometown and read off of a teleprompter. ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS has more.http://abcn.ws/1Uz6NOh
What the hell does join the effort mean to Sanders? That’s wtf I would like to know. He’s weakening every position he may have had with the Democratic Party. Exactly what kind of leverage does he have other than threatening to turn the Dead-Enders into violence Zombies at the convention ala Trumpsters? Dudes, you lost!! You’re LOSERS!!!
Leverage: it’s the one thing Bernie Sanders’ advisors and aides consistently point to when asked why, exactly, he’s formally staying in the Democratic primary race that he’s lost to Hillary Clinton.
But it’s the one thing he’s been bleeding every day ever since he dropped California’s primary by a much wider-than-expected margin last week. Sanders’ summer was supposed to be all about building leverage for the Democratic convention, providing him with a better hand to play as he presses Clinton to accept his policy positions and party reform suggestions. Now, the people closest to him aren’t sure how exactly to get it back.
His first and most prominent endorsers have jumped off the bandwagon, congratulating and in some cases endorsing Clinton — from Sen. Jeff Merkley to Rep. Raul Grijalva, and from the Communications Workers of America to MoveOn.org.Each of the big-name Democrats and groups who steadfastly remained neutral in the primary have flocked to Clinton over the past week, from President Barack Obama to Sen. Elizabeth Warren to the AFL-CIO. Even Sanders’ highest-profile congressional endorsee, Nevada’s Lucy Flores, lost her primary bid on Tuesday despite his cash injection into her campaign.
Yet on Thursday night, speaking to over 200,000 viewers who tuned into his live-streamed video address, Sanders vowed to press on — pledging to fight to defeat Donald Trump but refusing to formally back Clinton and insisting his army of supporters isn’t going anywhere.
“We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become,” he said, nearly acknowledging defeat but making a point not to concede while reading from a prompter in a cramped television studio deep in his hometown. “And we must take that energy into the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia where we will have more than 1,900 delegates.”
I’ve been told that we still have to pay attention to the Bernmeister because he got so many passionate voters. Trump has passionate voters too. Lots more of them. Whose crazy, delusional base deserves more coddling these days? I’m sure Hillary’s Veep pick and her general election strategy to include her recent ad buys are finding tranches of voters that outnumber BernieBros easily. I mean Utah is in play. FUCKING UTAH!
I can’t imagine most of the journalists in this country are big Trump fans. I’m pretty sure the ones that were slobbering all over Bernie have gotten sober. But, I’m certain that will see the gender bias, the sexism, the misogyny and the CDS carry on in media outlets beyond Fox. As long as Maureeen Dowd and Howard Kurtz can still get jobs, we’re in for a long summer and fall.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Time lapse photography is something that fascinates me, I think we can look at a picture of a time lapse image and see a metaphor for life. Movement, continuous and repetitive.
(Like the sunset images you see by artist, Matt Molloy. )
Or the long exposure method, where the camera shutter remains open for a long period of time and exposes the film to the image it is photographing.
These particular long exposed photos are blurred in appearance. Creating a glowing, disoriented, disturbed, ghostlike, or drugged feeling when you look at them.
It seems as if we are living in a time lapsed state of mind, as you have been reading the Boston Boomer’s and Dak’s coverage of late, the mess in Missouri is just the result of what has been building over time. Like the images you will see below throughout the post…the same scenarios have been played out all over the US. The actual persons involved may be different, but the general characteristics are the same. When we see the reports of racial violence play out on the news, we feel that repetition. Like the time lapsed images, the scenes become blurred. Yet we know what happens at the end of the shot. There is a good example of the differences in media treatment of violence here by the way: When The Media Treats White Suspects And Killers Better Than Black Victims be sure to look at that….No need to belabor the point, I will just let this op/ed by Farai Chideya from the Guardian do that for me.
(One note however, it makes a uncomfortable point when Rand Paul gets a pat on the back from a black woman…considering the neocon racist misogynistic shit he usually spews…but you’ll get the point the author is making.) On race, America has far to go. Ferguson won’t be the last flash point
I spent my very early years in New York, living a very multiracial Sesame Street life, a big swinging bellbottom of a childhood. And then our family moved to Baltimore and the iron curtain of the “colour line” fell. I felt that I had moved from the 1970s through a time warp where black and white were the only two colours and never the twain shall socially meet.
I grew to understand what the 50s were actually like in Baltimore, when my mother, for example, was permitted to buy clothes from the major department store but not try them on. (Heaven forfend some black lady should be in the dressing room, right? You know they leave a residue of blackness on the clothes.)
America has never had one racial reality, but a series of them strung together from San Antonio to Pittsburgh to Appalachia. What we are seeing in Ferguson, Missouri, is the result of life in a specific type of heavily racialised zone. Yes, a city such as New York, where a black man was recently choked to death by police officers, has its own very clear forms of racialisation and it’s a national issue. But the police killing, last week, of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen in Ferguson has sparked national protests because it represents a specific type of racialisation. This is of the majority black city, big or small, with a white economic and political power structure.
Read the whole opinion piece. This is the part about Rand Paul though, it comes in comparison to Obama’s reactions to Ferguson’s Police Departments militarization:
After the killing of another black youth, Trayvon Martin, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a seminal piece for Atlantic magazine called “Fear of a Black President”, describing President Obama as “conservative… in the very sphere where he holds singular gravity – race.”
Two years later, with Ferguson, the president still holds tight to that caution about addressing racial inequality. In terms of day-to-day Washington governance, there is no fear of a black president. Congress fears him not, certainly not the Republicans and not even some members of his own party. And now, with a particularly tepid and circular statement on Ferguson, the president has gone even further.
He seems obsessed with convincing white Americans he is not some goblin come to take their privilege away, rather than recognising that, pragmatically, America still has enough deeply held racial biases that he will be perceived as a race man by some, no matter what he does. (Black Americans learned his political strategy on race early in his first term, as a group of leaders of African American organisations came to ask for more White House focus on jobs in black communities and were rebuffed. They held their televised press conference outside the White House in a snowstorm, a nature-made bathetic fallacy.)
Last week, the president delivered a speech that seemed to weigh police intimidation and harassment of protesters and press with acts of vandalism almost equally. “Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particularly those of us in positions of authority,” he said. “Let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family.”
In this diffuse speech, the president could have spoken out more forcefully against the militarisation of local police forces, as Republican Rand Paul has done. He could have tackled the unacceptable level and variety of unwarranted stops, searches and frisking of black men in particular. For bonus points, he could have gotten into black incarceration rates or, as author Michelle Alexander puts it, the “New Jim Crow”.
You can read the rest at the link. That is something…when an asshole like Rand gets kudos from a black woman who has the phrase “New Jim Crow” in the same paragraph. But I think I get her point….yes? I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with her, but she could have pick a different politician to highlight…am I right? Let’s not forget that Paul is the dude who didn’t support the Civil Rights Act…no matter what shit he says now: Wash. Post Recasts Rand Paul As Civil Rights Ally, Forgetting Their Own Reporting | Blog | Media Matters for America
Anyway…I need to move on.
In another Op/Ed, this one from the Sprinfield News-Leader, which is quoted as, “This editorial is the view of the News-Leader Editorial Board, Linda Ramey-Greiwe, President and Publisher, Paul Berry, Executive Director, Cheryl Whitsitt, Managing Editor.” Our Voice: Rights lost in Ferguson riots
It is very good, and I feel it is too important not to quote the entire thing:
On Aug. 9, unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson at 12:01 p.m. in Ferguson. A vigil on Aug. 10 turned violent.
The situation deteriorated from there.
Riots and arrests. Tear gas and rubber bullets. Real bullets, riot gear and military-grade displays of force. Injuries to both protesters and police. Looting and needless destruction of property. For four straight nights, the clashes escalated, the national media descended, and still, no clear information was put forth about the death of a young, unarmed black man. After a day of relative calm gave hope that the situation was beginning to defuse, tempers flared again Friday.
As unrest continues, the blame game is already underway. At this point, it would be easy to join in on the finger-pointing based on half-truths.
It would be easy join the chorus of voices calling out our elected leaders, Gov. Nixon, U.S. Sens. McCaskill and Blunt and President Obama, for waiting so long to intervene.
It would be easy to place blame on the protesters for turning violent and rioting, citing the need for peaceful assembly.
It would be easy to hoist the burden of responsibility onto local authorities in Ferguson for their poor handling of the situation, inciting protesters to riot rather than bringing calm.
It would be easy to join in blaming the media for stirring up the situation by giving attention to it.
It would be easy to, as some are now doing, blame the young man himself for allegedly participating in a theft prior to his altercation with the police.
But there is nothing easy about the situation in Ferguson. A solution for the community will take doing the hard work.
Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol is doing the hard work. Rather than waging a battle, Johnson is working to open the lines of communication and erase the artificial boundaries between authorities and protesters.
State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal and St. Louis alderman Antonio French are doing the hard work. Providing on-the-ground leadership, standing up to rioters, calling for peaceful protests and documenting events on Twitter, their work is reason to hope that the community will make it through this crisis.
There is no shortage of people being thrust forward to take the blame for what has happened in Ferguson. But at this moment, as the nation watches a community teetering on the edge of chaos, we must take the time to examine exactly what we are losing.
An unarmed young man was shot and killed by police. His right to due process was violated, which demands an explanation. With an investigation underway, it is our duty as citizens to care as much about the process and outcome of the investigations by the FBI and Department of Justice as we do the riots.
As the black community in Ferguson protested, it was met with aggression, intimidation and eventual force from authorities. Some people rioted, which cannot be condoned in our society and should be dealt with. But many assembled peacefully, and were met with the same treatment. Peacefully assembled crowds had their rights violated as well. We must seek answers as to why.
Two reporters, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post, were taken into custody as they tried to follow police orders to leave a McDonald’s restaurant, where they were working. Other journalists were specifically told to stop reporting what was happening. Again, rights were violated, this time in an attempt to silence the press that is promised to remain free.
Blame is as easy to assign as it is to dodge. At some point, someone will “take responsibility” for what happened. Over the past several years, this has come to mean little more than an acceptance that people will think poorly of the person for a few weeks.
As Americans and Missourians thankful for the rights afforded to us by our Constitution, we must not lose interest in these events because the spectacle stops. Now is the time to wade through the rhetoric in order to hold our government and society accountable for what is happening in Ferguson.
It’s the only way we’ll manage to restore those rights.
Good for the Springfield News-Leader! Damn glad there is a press out there near the heart of the situation that is keeping check on things. The News-Leader is a Gannett newspaper…
As I was getting ready to shut down the laptop, these headlines caught my attention:
It’s around 4:00 AM btw.
Ferguson On Edge On First Night With Curfew Huffington Post
Okay. Next up, another op/ed, a link from last week: Rekha Basu: Iowa summit serves reminder of why religion, politics don’t mix | Opinion | McClatchy DC
Of everything coming out of this year’s Iowa Family Leadership Summit, the fear factor is what stayed with me.
It was a constant, discomfiting undercurrent, like a loose nail poking up in your shoe. It was organization President Bob Vander Plaats declaring this a time of “spiritual warfare,” and speaker Joel Rosenberg announcing America is “on the road to collapse” and “implosion,” and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, warning grimly, “We are living in some very dangerous times.”
The third year of the event sponsored by the self-described Christ-centered organization that seeks to influence policy and elections, brought big name politicians Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz and Rick Perry to Ames, Iowa, this past weekend. They were there to rally the Republican base in the lead-off caucus state. But the upbeat, love-God-and-country tone of previous events appeared at times to have been replaced by a somber, calamitous note of foreboding. Even Satan got a few mentions.
Projected onto a giant screen to punctuate Vander Plaats’ remarks was a video filled with haunting images of Osama bin Laden, Adam Lanza and the Boston marathon bombings. It depicted a rising national debt, marijuana, Boys Scouts, gay rainbow flag and a woman holding up a “Keep abortion legal” sign. It ended with someone yelling, “God is dead. Hail Satan!”
Sponsors and speakers still exalted matrimony and procreation in heterosexual relationships, called for putting God back in the classroom and government, and called abortion murder. But this year’s message was: The nation is in moral decline. Ignore it at your own peril. That was even carried into foreign policy.
I am telling you all, I live in the bible belt. I see these assholes everyday. They are powerful. And they vote.
Rosenberg, an evangelical Christian born to a Jewish father, said the United States must not support a two-state solution in Israel because a sovereign Palestinian state “defies the biblical mandate.” Interesting that a Christian American would presume to tell Palestinian Muslims they don’t deserve a homeland because of what the Bible says. This follows an evangelical belief that Jews from around the world will gather in Israel, where the second coming of Christ will occur and – though Rosenberg didn’t spell this out – be converted to Christianity.
“God loves you but if we don’t receive Christ, there are consequences,” Rosenberg warned.
Is fear a new strategy for the Family Leader and its affiliated Family Research Council and Focus on the Family? Is it a response to flagging interest and political losses? Organizers said there were 1,200 attendees, and that there has been steady growth in three years. But many seats were empty. Is it a concession they’re losing the battle over abortion and gay rights? Abortion has not been completely outlawed, even under a conservative U.S. Supreme Court majority. Having succeeded in getting three justices of the Iowa Supreme Court voted out over same-sex marriage, a few years ago, the Family Leader failed in its more recent campaign against a fourth. Same-sex couples are celebrating wedding anniversaries with children and grandchildren, and the planet has survived.
What the planet might not ultimately survive – global warming – wasn’t on the agenda. In fact, if this were a true gathering of faith leaders, one might have expected some commitment to keeping the environment healthy, some compassion for the poor and immigrants. There were calls for abolishing the entire tax system that sustains the poor in times of need. There were calls for boosting border patrols to turn back young asylum seekers before their cases are heard. Iowa’s governor, Terry Branstad, boasted of having cut 1,400 state employees and cut property taxes, which fund education, more than ever in Iowa history.
But if it were a political forum to vet candidates, a Jewish, Muslim, agnostic or atheist one would have had no place there. In one video, Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, said, “The only place you get right with God is at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.”
As with the other links, I urge you to read it all. That blurred scene that distorts and disturbs….you can feel it!
On the ridiculous notion, I must say this could have been me: South Carolina Mom Arrested For Cursing In Front Of Her Kids
Parents, it looks like it’s time to be ever-vigilant about your choice of words. Dropping an F-bomb in front of your kids can land you in jail.
Mom Danielle Wolf was grocery shopping at a Kroger store in North Augusta, South Carolina when she was arrested for disorderly conduct after cursing in the presence of her two daughters, WJBF News Channel 6 reports.
According to the incident report from the North Augusta Department Of Public Safety, Wolf yelled at her children, told them to “stop squishing the f*cking bread,” and used “similar phrases multiple times.” Another woman at the store then approached the mother and asked her to stop using that language with her children.
But Wolf insists this is not what happened. “She’s like, ‘you told that they were smashing the bread’, and I said ‘no’ I said that to my husband, that he was smashing the bread by throwing the frozen pizzas on top of it,” she told WJBF.
But the woman, who was referred to “Ms. Smith” in the police report and later identified as “Michelle” by NBC affiliate WAGT, reported Wolf to the authorities, leading to the mother’s arrest for disorderly conduct.
“He was like, ‘You’re under arrest’… right in front of kids, in front of my husband, in front of customers,” Wolf told WJBF of the officer who approached her in the store. She added, “I didn’t harm nobody. I didn’t hurt nobody. The lady said she was having a bad day. So, because you’re having a bad day you’re going to ruin somebody’s life.”
Perhaps arresting the mother in front of her kids was more traumatic than telling the dumbass husband to stop “squishing the fucking bread.”
In the world of Amazon and the Washington Post, a buck is a buck: Bezos-owned Washington Post now inserting gross Amazon affiliate links into news articles | PandoDaily
Six paragraphs into the story, we find this…
…a “buy it now” button, wedged into editorial copy and linked to an affiliate account of Amazon.
A quick skim around the WaPost site suggests this is something the Post is doing with all of its book reviews now, as well as on news items and even letters to the editor. The link to the Roald Dahl book links to the Amazon affiliate ID “slatmaga-20″ (presumably short for Slate Magazine, per the Post’s ties with that publication). That ID can also be found in a link within this letter to the editor. Meanwhile, this music book review links to the Amazon affiliate ID “thewaspost-03″.
Despite the various IDs being used, one thing is very clear: The Washington Post now sees reviews of books, and even news reports about books, as fair game for selling those same to readers, editorial independence be dammed.
Shit. What do you think will come next? Brought to you by Carl’s Jr.
(Hope you get that commercial reference.)
This post is getting real…real…real long so let’s just link dump for a bit. After the jump.
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…
It’s always difficult to report that some one young has died. It’s even worse when the circumstances of death seem beyond explanation as always seems to be the case with suicides. The story of online activist Aaron Swartz is filled with glimpses into a brilliant mind, a passionate advocate for access to knowledge, a search for justice against suppression and censorship and our government who seem intent on prosecuting the wrong people these days for the wrong reasons.
Aaron Swartz, the Internet political activist who co-wrote the initial specification for RSS, has committed suicide, a relative told CNN Saturday. He was 26.
“Great minds carry heavy burdens,” wrote one user on Reddit, a popular social media website that Swartz helped develop and popularize following a merger in 2006.
Swartz also co-founded Demand Progress, a political action group that campaigns against Internet censorship.
A young prodigy, his passion pushed limits and landed him in legal troubles in recent years.
In 2011, he was arrested in Boston for alleged computer fraud and illegally obtaining documents from protected computers. He was later indicted from an incident in which he allegedly stole millions of online documents from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He pleaded not guilty in September, according to MIT’s “The Tech” newspaper.
Yes. Swartz helped develop Reddit and RSS feed. He will now be best known as a victim of government prosecution overkill. It’s an odd story in the endless one where big businesses and government work hard to make sure that anything slightly worth knowing must be associated with some one’s exorbitant profit and a form of ownership.
Congress passed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in 1986 to deal with the then-new problem of malicious computer hacking. Because the law was passed when the Internet was still in its infancy, the exact scope of its provisions remains murky today. For example, there have been cases of employers suing employees under the CFAA for using their employer-provided credentials to access information on the corporate intranet that wasn’t intended for them.
In 2008, the government prosecuted a woman under the CFAA after her “cyber-bullying” of a teenager contributed to her suicide. The government argued that the woman’s actions violated the MySpace user agreement, and therefore constituted unauthorized access to MySpace servers. The woman was convicted, but her conviction was later thrown out by an appeals court.
The government seems to be making a similar argument in the Swartz case. It says he violated the CFAA when he “intentionally accessed computers belonging to MIT and JSTOR without authorization, and thereby obtained from protected computers information whose value exceeded $5,000—namely, digitized journal articles from JSTOR’s archive.” By breaking Swartz’s actions up into five different date ranges and charging him under two different sections of the CFAA for each, the government has ginned up a total of 10 counts, each of which is theoretically punishable by five years in prison. For good measure, they also charged Swartz with one count of “recklessly damaging” a computer under the CFAA and two counts of wire fraud.
It’s a stretch to say that Swartz gained unauthorized access to JSTOR’s servers. Initially, he did have authorization to access both the network and the JSTOR website. But according to the indictment, “each user must agree and acknowledge that they cannot download or export contents from JSTOR’s computer servers with automated computer programs such as Web robots, spiders, or scrapers.” The government seems to believe that once Swartz ran afoul of this contractual requirement, he became an unauthorized user and therefore a felon under the CFAA.
But treating the violation of such use restrictions, or the evasion of efforts to enforce them, as a felony is overkill. Automated crawling of websites is an extremely common activity that can have social benefits. While crawling a public (or, in the case of JSTOR semi-public) website against the wishes of its owner is generally bad manners, it’s hardly comparable to hacking into someone’s computer to access private information.
I have a major soft spot for hacktivists like Swartz. Not only is it a matter of being awed by their brilliance, but by what appears to be an ethos based on just getting knowledge for the sake of knowledge. There’s a basic underlying democratic principle in the idea that human knowledge belongs to all of us. Evidently, JSTOR must’ve agreed with him.
Swartz’s subsequent struggle for money to offset legal fees to fight the Department of Justice and stay afloat was no secret.
After the September charges came down, the wife of Creative Commons founder Larry Lessig – social justice lawyer Bettina Neuefeind – established and organized the site free.aaronsw.com to raise money for his defense.
Demand Progress – itself an organization focused on online campaigns dedicated to fighting for civil liberties, civil rights, and progressive government reform – compared The Justice Department’s indictment of Swartz to “trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library.”
Swartz’s suicide came two days after JSTOR announced it is releasing “more than 4.5 million articles” to the public.
So, this isn’t the most political or strategic post we’ve ever put on the blog. Aaron’s passing isn’t one of those newsy obits that will get played at the end of the year in some tribute gala. I think, however, we need to notice his tragic death, his brilliant short, life and his commitment to an open internet with accessible content. His story is really one about our freedom to know which is really the final frontier of our humanity.