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Archive for July 17th, 2008

Having Technical Problems… Will Resume Posting Soon

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 17th, 2008 4:41 am by HL

Having Technical Problems… Will Resume Posting Soon


Netroots Nation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 17th, 2008 4:40 am by HL

Netroots Nation
Netroots Nation gathers for its third annual convention this weekend in Austin, Texas. We talk to four prominent bloggers about the future of the netroots and how they plan to influence the ’08 election.

Formerly known as the Yearly Kos, Netroots Nation gathers this weekend for its third annual convention in Austin, Texas to discuss politics, the media, and how the netroots can influence the ’08 election. In just three years the event and the blogosphere itself have become a prominent part of our political conversation. Last year, of the Democratic candidates, everyone but Joe Biden made an appearance at the convention. From Howard Dean’s virtual rise and fall to Barack Obama’s web savvy campaign the net has been hyped and some would say over-hyped.

On our roundtable Sam Seder, host of the Sam Seder Show on Air America, Robert George a columnist for the NY Post, Justin Krebs of Living Liberally, and Katie Halper, a blogger and co-founder of laughing liberally discuss the future of the blogosphere.

Halper says that a brief recovery period after Bush leaves office will be necessary but that the left will not retreat. These are after all not the Clinton years. According to Seder the liberal media will continue to grow and in fact become more liberal. Listen to the roundtable here.



The ‘Science’ of Lie Detection

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 17th, 2008 4:39 am by HL

The ‘Science’ of Lie Detection

Try to wrap your mind around this logic:

Joshua Marquis, district attorney in Clatsop County, Ore. … rarely, if ever, drops criminal charges because a defendant passed a lie detector test prior to trial. “The science behind them is not strong,” Marquis said. “The absolute worst offenders — people who are true sociopaths — lying is a way of life for them, so they're going to probably pass them easily.”

Marquis, does, however, see polygraphs as a useful tool in monitoring probationers, a growing practice that has been upheld by dozens of courts despite defense lawyers' claims that such tests violate the constitutional right against self-incrimination.

So lie detector tests aren't reliable when defendants offer them as proof of innocence, but they suddenly become reliable when a probation agent wants to question a probationer. Can't have it both ways, Mr. Marquis. [more …]

A case can be made that lie detector tests shouldn't be admitted in a criminal trial as evidence of guilt because they are too unreliable to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but should be admissible when offered by a defendant since a defendant has no obligation to prove anything but does have a constitutional right to present exculpatory evidence. Courts generally do not accept that analysis, ruling that if the tests are unreliable when offered by the prosecution, they're also unreliable when offered by the defense. That view, which has the virtue of perceived consistency, is preferable to a rule that allows convictions to be based on the unsound science of polygraphy.

Probation agents love lie detectors. In some states they require probationers (particularly those on probation for sex offenses) to submit to regular polygraph examinations, and then require the probationer to pay for the tests. While probation agents don't have to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt, it's a waste of resources (particularly those of the unfortunate probationer who has to pick up the polygrapher's tab) to require probationers to submit to a test that can't be shown to produce valid results.

Even more problematic are the so-called voice stress analyzers, a widely-used gadget that has zero scientific validity. That doesn't stop the police from bullying suspects into taking the bogus test, then telling them they've failed and insisting that they tell the “truth” if they don't want to spend a long, long time in jail. It's the sort of tactic that leads to false confessions.

The linked article suggests that courts are becoming more willing to accept the pseudo-science of polygraphy or voice stress analysis. Let's hope that's not a serious trend.


Overnight

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 17th, 2008 4:38 am by HL

Overnight
One for simels, DWD, and the editors.

Evening Thread
Out for the evening. Don’t steal all the liquor.


Media Coverage of Obama and McCain: “Nuts” or a “Disgrace”?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 17th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

Media Coverage of Obama and McCain: “Nuts” or a “Disgrace”?
The Beltway press has become dysfunctional, failing to see news when it happens and hyping non-stories that require no real reporting.


Obama Goes Up With Second National Security Ad

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 17th, 2008 4:36 am by HL

Obama Goes Up With Second National Security Ad
Obama goes up with his second national security ad in two days, a spot that highlights our changing security imperatives in a way designed to dovetail with today’s “21st Century Threats” summit… There’s no mention of Iraq in the ad,…


Interesting

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 17th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

Interesting
McCain camps unveils new strategy of aggressive whining about coverage of Obama’s foreign trip. From the NYT … The extraordinary coverage of Obama’s trip reflects how the candidate remains an object of fascination in the news media, a built-in feature…


At Netroots Nation…

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 17th, 2008 4:34 am by HL

At Netroots Nation…

…will try to post the sights and sounds the best I can for the next few days.


Watchdog honors whistleblowers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 17th, 2008 4:33 am by HL

Watchdog honors whistleblowers
Today, CREW has released its newest study, Those Who Dared: 30 Who Stood Up for Our Country, recognizing the brave individuals who have acted and spoken out against unethical and dishonorable conduct in the Bush administration…

US plans drills with Chinese military
The United States hopes to conduct its first ever humanitarian disaster relief drills with the Chinese military in late 2009 or 2010, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command said on Wednesday. Admiral Timothy Keating said he and Lt. Gen. Zhang Qinsheng, a senior commander of the People’s Liberation Army, had agreed to begin “active consideration the formulation of a plan that will lead to humanitarian assistance exercises relatively soon.”


After Voting For Education Cuts, McCain Touts Education Reform At NAACP

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 17th, 2008 4:32 am by HL

After Voting For Education Cuts, McCain Touts Education Reform At NAACP
Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in a speech focusing on education, addressed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and suggested that he had the “clarity of purpose” to address education issues in the African American community: Education reform has long been a priority of the NAACP, and for good reason. For […]

mccainbond1.jpgToday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in a speech focusing on education, addressed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and suggested that he had the “clarity of purpose” to address education issues in the African American community:

Education reform has long been a priority of the NAACP, and for good reason. For all the best efforts of teachers and administrators, the worst problems of our public school system are often found in black communities. Black and Latino students are among the most likely to drop out of high school. African Americans are also among the least likely to go on to college.

But McCain’s voting record has only exacerbated the “problems of our public school system.” In fact, McCain received an ‘F’ from the NAACP’s Civil Rights Federal Legislative Report Card for the 109th Congress (the last date for which a complete report is available), voting with the NAACP only 7 percent of the time and tying with 14 other conservative senators for last place. McCain “also received failing grades from the NAACP in every report card of the last decade.”

Here is a sampling of McCain’s record on education:

Voted Against Head Start Programs: In 2005, for instance, McCain voted against increasing “federal spending on Head Start programs by $153 million.”

Voted Against Expanding Pell Grants: While 45 percent of African Americans rely on Pell Grants to pay for college, McCain has consistently voted to cut the value of Pell Grants.

Voted Against Title I Education Grants: McCain voted against increasing spending on Title I education grants, which are designed to help public schools that serve predominantly low-income students, by $3 billion.”

As the Wonk Room has points out, McCain’s campaign proposals do little to improve education in minority communities. On the contrary, the draconian funding cuts needed to pay for his McCain’s proposed tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy and his proposed spending freeze would likely crowd out education initiatives.

Education may be “a priority of the NAACP,” but not for McCain.