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Archive for October 7th, 2009

SCOTUS Ponders Dog-Fighting Videos, ‘Human Sacrifice Channel’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 7th, 2009 4:45 am by HL

SCOTUS Ponders Dog-Fighting Videos, ‘Human Sacrifice Channel’
Sometimes when making a legal argument, it’s useful to go to hyperbolic extremes to illustrate the ideological flaws or possible outcomes associated with a potential ruling, which is why the conversation in the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday ranged from dog-fighting videos to a (hypothetical) cable channel for human sacrifice enthusiasts.  —KA The Los Angeles Times: Justice Antonin Scalia, an avid hunter, insisted the 1st Amendment did not allow the government to limit speech and expression, unless it involved sex or obscenity. “It’s not up to the government to tell us what are our worst instincts,” said Scalia. He repeatedly cited German dictator Adolf Hitler and his policies of extermination. Scalia asked, “Can you keep him off the screen” just because his deeds were vile? But Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. garnered the attention of his colleagues with a series of questions on whether videos portraying humans being killed would be protected as free speech. Alito said there may well be a “pay-per-view” market for programs made outside the United States, so there would be no criminal jurisdiction here, that showed real people being killed. He called it the “Human Sacrifice Channel” and wondered aloud whether Congress could outlaw the showing of such programs in this country. What about “snuff films,” asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

SCOTUS

Sometimes when making a legal argument, it’s useful to go to hyperbolic extremes to illustrate the ideological flaws or possible outcomes associated with a potential ruling, which is why the conversation in the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday ranged from dog-fighting videos to a (hypothetical) cable channel for human sacrifice enthusiasts.? —KA

The Los Angeles Times:

Justice Antonin Scalia, an avid hunter, insisted the 1st Amendment did not allow the government to limit speech and expression, unless it involved sex or obscenity.

“It’s not up to the government to tell us what are our worst instincts,” said Scalia. He repeatedly cited German dictator Adolf Hitler and his policies of extermination. Scalia asked, “Can you keep him off the screen” just because his deeds were vile?

But Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. garnered the attention of his colleagues with a series of questions on whether videos portraying humans being killed would be protected as free speech.

Alito said there may well be a “pay-per-view” market for programs made outside the United States, so there would be no criminal jurisdiction here, that showed real people being killed. He called it the “Human Sacrifice Channel” and wondered aloud whether Congress could outlaw the showing of such programs in this country.

What about “snuff films,” asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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791 U.S. Military Deaths In Afghanistan Since Start Of War

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 7th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

791 U.S. Military Deaths In Afghanistan Since Start Of War
As of Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009, at least 791 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of…

Obama’s Modern Art (PHOTOS): White House’s New Art On Display
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Al-Qaida Showing Smaller Presence In Afghanistan
KABUL — Al-Qaida’s role in Afghanistan has faded after eight years of war. Gone is the once-formidable network of camps and safe houses where Osama…


Byron York runs with discredited Fox smear, falsely asserts that student Jennings counseled was 15

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 7th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Byron York runs with discredited Fox smear, falsely asserts that student Jennings counseled was 15

Reviving a smear that even Fox News has repudiated, Fox News contributor and Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York reported as fact that a student counseled by Education Department official Kevin Jennings in 1988 regarding the student’s “encounter with an older man” was 15 at the time, adding that “some defenders now say the boy was 16.” In fact, Media Matters for America has definitively proven that the student was 16 at the time — the legal age of consent in Massachusetts — producing a statement from the student and his driver’s license, evidence that CNN subsequently reported on and confirmed.

York reported as fact that student was 15, says “some defenders” say he was 16

From York’s October 6 article:

As a young teacher, nearly two decades ago, Jennings was approached by a 15-year old boy (some defenders now say the boy was 16) who said he had had an encounter with an older man. Instead of pursuing the matter with the authorities, Jennings, by his own account, offered some simple advice: “I hope you used a condom.”

Fox-promoted claim that student was 15 has been debunked

Student was 16 at the time of the incident. The former student at the center of the Jennings controversy, whom Jennings has referred to as “Brewster,” provided Media Matters with a statement that he was “a sixteen year-old” and “was of legal consent at the time.” Additionally, Media Matters obtained a copy of the student’s driver’s license, which shows that he was 16 at the time — the legal age of consent in Massachusetts.

CNN’s Yellin cited student’s license, statement in debunking right-wing smears. After reporting that CNN spoke to Brewster and reading from the same statement Brewster provided to Media Matters, CNN’s Jessica Yellin reported that “the critics have also contended that Brewster was 15 at the time of this incident; the Fox News website continues to report that.” Yellin then aired an image of the student’s driver’s license, stating that it “verifies he was actually 16 at the time, not 15, which means that if there had been sex, he was actually the legal age of consent in Massachusetts.” [CNN’s The Situation Room, 10/2/09]

Fox News tirelessly advanced false accusation that Jennings covered up “statutory rape.” Fox News and its websites Fox Nation and FoxNews.com repeatedly advanced the smear that Jennings, in the words of Fox News host Bill Hemmer, knew of a “statutory rape” and “never reported it,” based on the falsehood that the student was 15.

FoxNews.com later issues “Editor’s Note” confirming student was 16 at the time. Fox News has appended the following editor’s note to two FoxNews.com stories that stated or suggested that Brewster was 15 at the time: “Since this story was originally published, the former student referred to as ‘Brewster’ has stepped forward to reveal that he was 16 years old, not 15, at the time of the incident described in this report.”

York falsely claims that “defenders” only now “say the boy was 16”

Jennings’ attorney in 2004: Conversation was “with a sixteen-year-old student”; “no factual basis” that Jennings was “aware of any sexual victimization of any student.” In an August 3, 2004, letter, Constance M. Boland of the law firm Nixon Peabody — which represented the organization that Jennings ran — wrote that the “conversation” Jennings had was with “a sixteen-year-old student” and that there “is no factual basis whatsoever for” the “claim that Mr. Jennings engaged in unethical practices, or that he was aware of any sexual victimization of any student, or that he declined to report any sexual victimization at any time.” [Boland letter, 8/3/04]


APPF Was Handed Keys To Hardin Jail Before Deal With Town Was Sealed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 7th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

APPF Was Handed Keys To Hardin Jail Before Deal With Town Was Sealed
Why was a private security firm given control of a jail in Hardin, Montana, before a lease agreement with the town was finalized? Hardin officials are having a tough time answering that question.

California AG Won’t Probe Duvall’s Sex Bragging
California Attorney General Jerry Brown says he won’t probe former state lawmaker Mike Duvall’s claim of an affair with a lobbyist, because it wouldn’t constitute a violation of law even if true. But the FBI is investigating.

APF Deal Let Shady Firm Provide Law Enforcement For Hardin
The contract signed by American Private Police Force and the economic development agency for the city of Hardin, through which APPF took over the city’s prison, also gave the security firm the option of taking a role in law enforcement for the town.



Bankers’ Code of Ethics

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 7th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Bankers’ Code of Ethics
Several years back, there was a news story about an old guy who would buy a new car quite frequently.  When it was discovered that he was senile and that a salesperson at the car dealership was taking advantage of the poor old fellow, some consumer protection laws were passed and it was established that […]


Pig and Turkey Farming in the Inner City: One Woman’s Amazing Adventures in Taking Urban Farming Beyond the Garden Plot

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 7th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Pig and Turkey Farming in the Inner City: One Woman’s Amazing Adventures in Taking Urban Farming Beyond the Garden Plot

Dumpster diving for her hungry pigs is only one of the many hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking adventures Novella Carpenter experienced in taking urban farming to a new level.

The Economic Revolution Is Already Happening — It’s Just Not on Wall St.

Thousands of alternatives to the punishing corporate model have sprouted up across the US, building up an alternative economy as Wall St. crumbles.

Pig and Turkey Farming in the Inner City: One Woman’s Amazing Adventures in Taking Urban Farming Beyond the Garden Plot

Dumpster diving for her hungry pigs is only one of the many hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking adventures Novella Carpenter experienced in taking urban farming to a new level.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 7th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Presented By:

What If Iran Offers To Trade Its Nuclear Program For End To Israeli Occupation
Akiva Eldar, the distinguished journalist for Ha’aretz, wonders what the US would do if Iran offers to give up its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for Israel ending the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. (Israeli troops…


Sponsored Topics: IsraelWest BankEast JerusalemGazaMiddle East


In just one hour, Sotomayor asked more questions than Thomas has in years.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 7th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

In just one hour, Sotomayor asked more questions than Thomas has in years.
Yesterday was the Supreme Court’s opening day, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor took an active role in oral arguments. Sotomayor “displayed no reticence on the first day of her first term on the court; in the two cases on the docket, she asked as many questions and made as many comments as Chief Justice John […]

Clarence Thomas Yesterday was the Supreme Court’s opening day, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor took an active role in oral arguments. Sotomayor “displayed no reticence on the first day of her first term on the court; in the two cases on the docket, she asked as many questions and made as many comments as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.,” reported the Washington Post. “The only sign of her newness was that she at times forgot to turn on her microphone before posing a question.” McClatchy also observed that in just an hour, she actually asked “more questions than Justice Clarence Thomas has asked over the course of several years.” Thomas has gone three years straight without posing a question during oral arguments.

Nineteen more advertisers dump Glenn Beck.
Yesterday, ThinkProgress noted that British supermarket Waitrose had dropped all its advertising from Fox News in the UK after customer complaints about Glenn Beck. Today, Color of Change is announcing that 19 more advertisers — including Waitrose — have dumped Beck. That number includes multinational drinks company Diageo (the maker of Guinness and Johnnie […]

Guinness Poster Yesterday, ThinkProgress noted that British supermarket Waitrose had dropped all its advertising from Fox News in the UK after customer complaints about Glenn Beck. Today, Color of Change is announcing that 19 more advertisers — including Waitrose — have dumped Beck. That number includes multinational drinks company Diageo (the maker of Guinness and Johnnie Walker, among others), which has also pulled its advertising from all of Fox News in the UK. Here are some of the responses Color of Change received from Beck’s advertisers:

We are appalled at what’s going on. Metropolitan Talent Management is 100% dedicated to not buy advertising on any part of Fox News.” — Metropolitan Talent Management

– “We’re no longer going to book any of his air time. I’m really glad to be informed of what you guys are doing.” — Overture Films

– “The Seoul government has no plan to extend, resume, or add its commercial on the program. In other word [sic], there will not be Seoul commercial in the Glenn Beck program any more.” — Seoul Metropolitan Government

– “You will not see Flexitol commercials on the Glenn Beck show. Period.” — Eulactol USA, makers of Flexitol

Eighty companies have now distanced themselves from Beck since Color of Change launched its boycott in in August. Help hold Beck accountable here.


White House Gets Republican Backing for Bipartisan Reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 7th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

White House Gets Republican Backing for Bipartisan Reform
Seeking to provide fresh evidence of bipartisan support for health-care reform, the White House is orchestrating a series of endorsements from GOP heavyweights around the country.

Obama Sets Sights on Urban Renewal
President Obama is putting a new emphasis on revitalizing U.S. cities with a coordinated effort that involves stimulus funding and getting multiple agencies to work together to improve schools, housing and neighborhoods.

Balz’s Take: On Afghanistan, Old Debates – and Dangers – Reemerge
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was well intentioned when, on Monday, he urged military and civilian advisers to President Obama to keep their counsel private and not engage in a public debate over the administration’s Afghanistan policy. That may help shut off some of the leaks that have fuele…


Too Big to Fail Must Not Continue

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 7th, 2009 4:30 am by HL

Too Big to Fail Must Not Continue
Niall Ferguson, Daily Telegraph

Time to Choose a Course in Afghanistan

The Continuing Battle Over Obama’s Radicals
Byron York, DC Examiner