Miscellany

No Checkpoint, No Self-Defense

“It was not self-defense,” Sgrena said. “The soldiers were to the right of us on the side of the road, they started to shoot from the right and kept shooting from behind but most of the shots came from behind, Calipari was shot from the right and I was shot in the shoulder from behind. When we stopped, they were behind us. We could see that all the back windows of the car were broken from behind. If they are afraid, they can stop the car, they can ask it to stop, then you can shoot at the wheels but they didn’t do that. They didn’t try to stop the car and they shot at least ten bullets at the level of people sitting inside the car. If Calipari had not pushed me down they could have killed me.”

This case sheds important light on the culture of impunity surrounding the U.S. occupation of Iraq. If this is how Washington treats Italy, one of its closest allies in the so-called war on terror, when U.S. soldiers kill the country’s second-highest ranking intelligence official, imagine the struggle Iraqis face as they die in the tens of thousands.

No Checkpoint, No Self-Defense

Miscellany

Military Recruiting 101

Why does the military have direct access to the private information of American high school students? Under the No Child Left Behind legislation, Sec 9528, education funding in America has been turned into a recruiting tool for our military! Buried in this legislation is a section that mandates student’s private information be given directly to the military unless the student’s parent or guardian opts their records out — meaning that a request letter from the parent or guardian must be submitted to the school to keep the student’s records private.

Military Recruiting 101

Miscellany

Love on the Borderline

A few months before Ganzon and Javanella applied for his green card, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), part of DHS, sent an interoffice memo outlining how personnel should handle requests by transsexuals. In the memo dated April 16, 2004, William Yates, associate director of operations, stated that “CIS personnel shall not recognize the marriage, or intended marriage, between two individuals where one or both of the parties claims to be a transsexual, regardless of whether either individual has undergone sex reassignment surgery, or is in the process of doing so.”

Love on the Borderline

Miscellany

The Dems: Bums

The Democratic party leadership’s persistent and bizarre campaign of self-condemnation and Republican bootlicking is one of those things that, on its face, makes very little logical sense. It makes cultural sense; we have come to expect that the cultural figures we call the Democrats will respond to electoral failure first by sniveling and finger-pointing, and then by puffing up their chests and telling their dates they know how to handle themselves in a bar fight. From the Republicans we expect just the opposite; beaten at the polls, they immediately start cozying up to snake-handlers and gun freaks and denouncing school lunches as socialism.

The Dems: Bums

Miscellany

Hey, FCC: OK?

When the Radio-Television News Directors Association gave its First Amendment Leadership Award to Liberty Corporation president Jim Keelor earlier this month, he told attendees at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, “It’s somewhat ironic that about the time I found out about this award, I was in the process of making a decision which ignored the First Amendment.” That decision: He ordered several ABC stations not to air Saving Private Ryan, which raised indecency concerns because it features gory violence and soldiers cursing.

Hey, FCC: OK?

Miscellany

No life support for you

There is one bit of context, however, that seems particularly salient, and it involves a six-month old boy named Sun Hudson. On Thursday, Hudson died after a Texas hospital removed his feeding tube, despite his mother’s pleas. He had a fatal congenital disease, but would have been kept alive had his mother been able to pay for his medical costs, or had she found another institution willing to take him. In a related Texas case, Spiro Nikolouzos, who is unable to speak and must be fed through a tube because of a shunt in his brain — but who his wife says can recognize family members and show emotion — may soon be removed from life support because health care providers believe his case is futile.

The Hudson and Nikolous cases fall under the Texas Futile Care Law, which was signed into law by then-governor George W. Bush.
Thank God George W. Bush isn’t a hypocrite…

No life support for you

Miscellany

McCain-Feingold online

An idea kicking around the FEC a few years ago would require government to calculate the percentage of individuals’ electricity bills that went toward political advocacy (we aren’t joking). Another alternative would be to classify all bloggers as journalists, seeing as how the press is about the only entity exempt from McCain-Feingold. As much we enjoy our profession, we think a nation of journalists is overkill.
Why not? We’re already a nation of lawyers, why not a nation of journalists too? We can’t do any worse than the professional journalists have been doing lately…

McCain-Feingold online

Miscellany

Garry Trudeau: Bush ‘apparently thinks propaganda’s OK’

“I’m not sure it’s commonly understood to what lengths this administration is willing to go to bypass the ‘filter,’ as Bush calls the media,” the cartoonist replied in an e-mail interview. “The president made it official Wednesday — his Justice Department, fresh from signing off on torture, apparently thinks propaganda’s OK too.”

When asked if he thought the press has underreported the Gannon episode, pundit payola, and other examples of media manipulation, Trudeau said: “It’s not that it’s been underreported so far. It’s just that the media, in both its own and the public’s interest, ought to stay with this story. If Bush is prepared to defend fake news, then the media should be equally prepared to say why it’s anti-democratic and an abuse of power.”

Garry Trudeau: Bush ‘apparently thinks propaganda’s OK’

Miscellany

Hit by iPod and satellite, radio tries new tune: play more songs

The Web site of radio station KCJK-FM, known as 105.1 Jack FM, features a picture of an iPod and the taunt: “Guess you won’t be needing this thing anymore, huh?”

After years of tight playlists and narrow music formats, KCJK in Kansas City, Mo., is trying to prove that it can give listeners the same thing an iPod does: an eclectic selection of music.

Previously, like most stations, 105.1 let computer scheduling programs pick the songs from a library of 300-400 titles, with the same 30-40 songs playing most of the time. Now the station is going against the grain of the past two decades in radio, more than tripling the number of song titles played on any given day. With more than 1,200 songs on the playlist, most songs get played only once every few days, rather than several times a day. Program director Mike O’Reilly and his assistants handpick the music and the order in which they are played.

Hit by iPod and satellite, radio tries new tune: play more songs