Media Consolidation and Bush’s new “Pact”

On Media Consolidation – Timothy Karr on Huffington Post writes an interesting post on FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and his attempt to loosen the rules (behind closed doors) regarding media consolidation by December 18th. There were a series of hastily thrown together public hearings around the country. This last one was in Seattle WA, the final of the public hearings, where after 5 days notice over a thousand people showed up to speak their minds. The hearing lasted for hours. There is video available on the Huffington Post article, and its powerful.

And, if you missed it, Bill Moyers Journal did an excellent segment on Media Consolidation as well. BMJ video here.

I wondered about the timing and urgency of loosening these rules.. I’m sure it doesn’t have anything to do with the primaries coming up..
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Turley: “It Is Rather Clear That What The President Ordered Was A Federal Crime”

via: Raw Story and Crooks and Liars

The Bush administration has made widespread use of the so-called state secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits that seek to challenge its domestic wiretaps and other illegal activities. Now two veteran senators, Arlen Spector (R-PA) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA), are teaming up to craft legislation that would direct judges to evaluate the government’s state secrets claims rather than accepting them uncritically.

Keith Olbermann described this proposed legislation with a high degree of skepticism, saying sardonically, “The bill may end up as part of the Senate’s wiretapping law, due for a vote next month — after which the president will sign it and monkeys will fly out of his butt.”

I watched this last night. I could believe it when Keith said that.. Priceless..

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Somethin’ stinks in Rove-ville..

via: RawStory

The federal official helming a probe into potentially illegal partisan political activities conducted by Karl Rove and other White House officials is himself the focus of a federal investigation.

Scott Bloch, the Bush-appointed head of the US Office of Special Counsel, is under investigation for the alleged improper deletion of emails on office computers, The Wall Street Journal‘s John R. Wilke reports.

“Recently, investigators learned that Mr. Bloch erased all the files on his office personal computer late last year,” writes Wilke. “They are now trying to determine whether the deletions were improper or part of a cover-up, lawyers close to the case said.” The inspector general of the Office of Personnel Management is examining the case at the urging of the White House.
Read on…

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U.S. Withdraws Subpoena Seeking Identity of 24,000 Amazon Customers Sought As Witnesses

via: RawStory

Federal prosecutors have withdrawn a subpoena seeking the identities of thousands of people who bought used books through online retailer Inc., newly unsealed court records show.

The withdrawal came after a judge ruled the customers have a First Amendment right to keep their reading habits from the government.

“The (subpoena’s) chilling effect on expressive e-commerce would frost keyboards across America,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker wrote in a June ruling.

“Well-founded or not, rumors of an Orwellian federal criminal investigation into the reading habits of Amazon’s customers could frighten countless potential customers into canceling planned online book purchases,” the judge wrote in a ruling he unsealed last week. Continue reading…

Well, if they start going after peoples’ book-buying and reading habits, they’ll lock me up for sure.. I just hope they let me bring all my books with me. Then perhaps I’ll actually have time to read them!

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Shortcut for the Lazy

Shayne has suggested that I put up a shortcut to the material that I referenced in an earlier post.  On Monday the US Supreme Court declined to hear a case from San Diego County that illustrates the point of my earlier (and longer) post below.  Here are two links to the subject:

Nick Anderson – Higher Ground

Wayne, I knew you would appreciate this! 🙂

Vodpod videos no longer available.
All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle Editorial Cartoonist and Animation Artist.
For Nick’s animations, visit Nick Anderson: Animation Archives.
For Nick’s cartoons, visit Nick Anderson.

Cheney’s Doctors Detect Signs of Heart

via: The Borowitz Report

Sudden Appearance of Major Organ Confounds Experts

In a stunning development that has confounded medical experts around the world, doctors examining Vice President Dick Cheney said today that they have detected signs of a heart.

The vice president was rushed to the hospital over the weekend after complaining of chest pains, but no one in Mr. Cheney’s inner circle suspected that a human heart was the cause.

“We had been operating under the assumption that he didn’t have one,” said chief of staff David Addington, who said that Mr. Cheney also has not had a soul since 1995, when it was purchased by the Halliburton Company.

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Christmas Season Goodies

As we head in to the holiday season, I always get excited because I get to pull out all those recipes I save JUST for this time of year. It is funny that certain tastes and smells can evoke such wonderful memories.. There are a number of recipes that I reserve only for Christmas. This first recipe is my favorite, and one I have used my entire adult life, as did my mother, as did my grandmother. I make a can for all my close friends, including those who live across the United States. I have sent it as far as Amsterdam. Its just too good!
(Recipe below the fold..)

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The Legacy of Man: Darwin Revisited

A retrospective view of “personal freedom” and the “quality of life.”

(Keep in mind this is a dissertation to evoke a discussion at The Zoo, not a lecture for a college Biology or Philosophy class. I have taken considerable poetic license on my descriptions for the sake of brevity and entertainment).

In the beginning… Who cares? I don’t. But to avoid the eternal debate of the placement of the chicken and the egg on the timeline of the Earth I will start someplace after the hen appeared and before Adam and Eve had their first date. At the selected point in time all species of animal life (and plant life to a degree), including man, had two things in common. They all had the drives of Procreation and Preservation.

These two drives were assured by a system that separated the species and assured the preservation of the unique species through the reproduction process of that species. The system maintained a record of the characteristics of the species and the means of recall for the passing of those characteristics from generation to generation. That recording and recall was, and still is, controlled by what we call the Genes. The Genes are divided into two types: intraspecific and interspecific. The intraspecific Genes deal with the process of procreation. They specify the dogness of a Dog and the catness of a Cat. The interspecific Genes deal with the process of preservation. They help solve the problems presented by the environment such as food sources, shelter selection, and the question of fight or flight, among others. They specify the dog vs. dog, cat vs. cat, dog vs. cat, and cat vs. dog actions and reactions. Together these Genes form a social system that allows cats and dogs to be cats and dogs and yet live happily ever after or at least reasonably so. Continue reading

The Wednesday Crooner

A little crooning is never wrong, it helps to elevate the spirits. Here’s Joseph Schmidt, he was an immensely popular singer in the thirties in Europe and America, too, with a very clear and powerful tenor voice. Being of Jewish descent ultimately lead to his early death in a swiss refugee camp on November 14, 1942. “Heut ist der schönste Tag in meinem Leben” is the typical German popular song of the Thirties and is wonderfully oldfashioned.

For those who can’t see the embedded video, here’s the link.

Good Morning from Europe – 418 Days to Go

This Morning’s news round-up turned almost into a Middle East Special. General Musharraf’s resignation as army chief is today’s news. The wrap-up to yesterdays Annapolis Declaration is covered broadly in the media and unsurprisingly the scepticism has returned after yesterday’s reveling in celebration of impending peace. Analysis sheds a dark light on the situation of the broader Middle East and the prospect of an attack on Iran. Iraqi refugees suffer the consequences of US and Iraqi government propaganda and are returning to Iraq in greater numbers, not always out of their own free will. France has suffered renewed violence and in Germany a landlord had his very own domestic surveillance program. For more detailed information on all of these topics, see the post below the fold. “Europeanview” wishes you all a happy, healthy day. Take care!

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