Almost 2 weeks ago, I showed an excerpt from a Rush Limbaugh show where he talked about how they can’t find any of the oil spilt. From a single source, he went on a tirade about how the spill was overblown.
At the the top of that show, he quotes from the New York times, and follows with a little commentary of his own.
“– that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.” I told you all this on day one and certainly the first week I pointed out this is light crude, it will evaporate quickly, that it will be dispersed.
Sorry Mr Expert, but it seems you were *shock horror* Wrong Again! Who woulda thunk it? Experts are saying that the oil is on the sea bed, and at toxic levels, clearly they’re not dittoheads
There are a number of restrictions here at WordPress that have had me chafing a bit. The main one is embedding video links. When I wrote about Hulu+, I couldn’t include the relevent section of the hulu+ promo video. I can only use Youtube, googlevideo, or dailymotion videos, which is quite restrictive. As you saw on the Muon1 post, I can’t add digg, slashdot, or any other kind of social media buttons either, which is a bit frustrating.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like WordPress a lot – it’s got a GREAT editor, and it’s ability to push to twitter and Facebook are great, and I like the stats it provides me about what’s popular. Maybe when I can get to the position of buying and hosting my own site myself, I’ll go back to wordpress. For now though, the inability to even change the copyright message you see at the bottom frustrates me no end. So, I’m moving hosting.
I’ll keep here going with a few copies of articles until the end of the year, and I presume the articles here will stay here, until WP takes them down, but for now I’m moving to pastures new.
The new site is
i’ll be adding tags on the rest of the posts, and will copy over all previous posts to the new home, so you won’t miss a thing. If you’ve linked to one of my pieces in the past, I suggest you update the links (once I’ve got it ported over). I’ll try and keep the dates the same, so you can find it easily. It’s been an interesting year, here, and I thank the thousands that have visited.See you at the new place,
Back in March, there was a consultation to be made on the Joint Strategic Plan on Copyright Enforcement. I wrote a very nice response for it, and then sent a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT one by accident (hence the topic). I noticed it 4 days later, and sent an email explaining, and giving the corrected version.
The responses are now on the web, here.
My response is not there. Either one. A bit disappointing really. Make that VERY disappointing. Read more…
There are days when you just want to curl up into a ball. Today is one of them. I realised, when going to check back over things, that rather than the document I believed I had submitted as part of the PRO IP act consultation, I had actually submitted a copy of my comments to the US trade representative. I made the same mistake on my short piece about the submission.
Terrorism. An innocuous word to some, but it makes US government officials lose their collective minds. In an orgy of CYA (cover your ass) clusterf*cks, they manage to turn even the simplest blunders into terrorist activities.
Let’s first reflect on the actual DANGERS of terrorism. As I wrote about a few months ago, there are more deaths, on average, EVERY MONTH on US roads, than in every terrorist attack targeting at least one US Citizen from 1994-2005 combined, and that over the same period, mother nature – in the form of tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, snow/ice and even plain old heat – killed twice as many over the same time period as the dreaded T-word. Fivethirtyeight.com also breaks down air-based terrorist incidents by miles travelled, time travelled, and number of passengers involved. Their results?
one terrorist incident per 16,553,385 departures.
one terrorist incident per 11,569,297,667 miles flown
one terrorist incident per 27,221,877 hours airborne.
the odds of being on given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade
You can read their source data and maths on their article.
So, on Christmas Day, we have ‘an attempted bomb plot’ (which is included in the figures above) that ended up fizzling. This is 8 years after the complete overhaul of air travel ‘security’ to prevent it from happening. After it happened, there were more TSA CYA’s, including a security directive which went out to over 10,000 people worldwide. When it was made public by two different bloggers, the TSA came down on them. For making public a government document. ‘Strangely’, after that was made public, both the directive, and the subpoenas served on the bloggers have gone away. That indicates that there was fear of the public reaction – fear of the exposure of their tactics and methods.
Then there was the lovely incident yesterday, at Newark airport. Someone got from the public side to the secure side, and caused the entire airport to go into lock down. The ‘best’ part of all? Hours later they still don’t know who. It is nothing more than a clear case of TSA incompetence, and lack of common sense.
What makes it even more of a farce was the White House’s weekly address, published a day earlier.
Let’s never forget what has always carried us through times of trial, including those attacks eight Septembers ago.
Instead of giving in to fear and cynicism, let’s renew that timeless American spirit of resolve and confidence and optimism.
Fear is the entire reason the TSA exists; and it is what has been carrying the US through the last 8 years. It’s been the rational for a lot of legislation over the past 8 years, and it’s the bread-and-butter of both this Administration and the last one. The US Federal code even defines (18 U.S.C. §2331) as using violent acts to, amongst other things -intimidate or coerce a populace. Brandishing weapons, detaining people – both can be considered violent acts. By the circular reasoning, that the US Government loves, it gets even better. The THREAT of a terrorist act is in fact a terrorist act. If you say “unless xyz happens, there will be an attack”, that is a terrorist threat.
Now we’re down to how the Department of Homeland Security was created, and that’s a whole other story. I leave you with something I saw on twitter, ‘re-tweeted‘ by my good friend, and political blodder, Aaron Landry, from the KARE news station in the twin cities.
No, it’s just the state of “Anti-terrorist” paranoia in a climate of security theatre, and that’s pretty sad.
There’s a big brouhaha going on right now about conflicts between The White House, and the Fox News Channel (FNC). The spat is because the White House feels Fox news is overly biased towards the Republican party, while Fox news points out that the segments the White House points to are Opinion shows, not News.
The problem is, though, that to many, if not most – of FNC’s viewers, the opinion show hosts, are the face of ‘news’. Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, treated as serious journalists, which even FNC admits, they are not. Why? Part of the problem is the branding. There is no clear distinction made between the News programming, and the opinion programming. Perhaps they should replace the station bug (the little icon in the corner) with one that says Fox Opinion, highlighting that it is not currently showing news. When it goes from Glenn Beck at 5-6 PM, to Special Report w/ Bret Baier for the following hour, there’s nothing to tell anyone watching that the previous hour was just opinion, and the next hour is “News”. In a newspaper, the Editorial column is usually marked as an editorial, other columnists are similarly marked. Why can’t Fox (and indeed, other news channels) do the same?
The second problem is one of a more legal bent, and directly results from Fox, although it is prevalent throughout the country in news reporting. There is no hard requirement that news reporting in the US be factually based. There is a FCC guideline that reporting be factually based, but it is not binding. This was the verdict of a court in a case involving Jane Akre. The case, is New World Communs. of Tampa, Inc. v. Akre, 866 So. 2D 1231(2003), and you can find more details at wikipedia, enough to find out more for yourself – I’m not going into it here. The upshot is, legally, news reports can be full of lies, and there is nothing that can be done about it, except for the various libel and slander laws. Don’t think that Fox is to blame though, just about every other major news organisation supported Fox.
The point is, without a news media that self-identifies what is news, and what is opinion, and without the requirement that what is labelled as news be factually acurate, the US news media is a mess. There is no honesty, and no integrity. Major news organisations are owned by large conglomerates, and so they often slant their coverage to match the views of their shareholders.
What would solve this? Well, simply put a strengthening of the FCC regulation, from being a ‘news distortion policy” to a “News Distortion Rule” would do it. There is a constitutional guarentee in the US, regarding the freedom of the press. However, while this might seem like a restriction of the freedom of the press, all it does is specify a minimum conduct expected of the press in their news coverage, and require that the press identify which is news coverage, and which is opinion. In short, to qualify for freedom of the press, it should be identified as news, and be factually based. If it is non-factual, or actually opinion, then it’s not news, it’s opinion, or a party political statement.
One of the main reasons for the freedom of the press, was to ensure that the press was able to print the news, honestly, and without worry of being silenced by those that didn’t want the truth to come out. Now, the freedom of the press is being touted as a reason to NOT print the truth. Let’s be very clear, news is reporting on what is happening, with an emphasis on the facts and the truth. Also, just as there are responsibilities involved in most jobs, and breaching or abusing those responsibilities will lead to punishment (doctors for instance are allowed to proscribe restricted pharmaceuticals, but if they abuse that, they face sanctions, police officers are allowed to carry weapons and detain members of the population, abuse that and THEY face consequences) Why is it that our journalists, the job of which is to spread news, the power to shape public opinion, the ability to make or break governments, able to disregard the public trust in them with no consequences.
There is a reason that many people now consider John Stewart the most trusted person in news, even though he doesn’t consider himself a journalist. That’s because he deals with facts, and attacks both of our two main parties, without partisanship. He doesn’t take the role of news reporter seriously, and so that is perhaps why he isn’t tainted by the pox that is American television journalism. The facts, and more importantly, the reporting of the facts, are funny enough to not need a spin or a lie. However, if it is a comedy, it’s a tragic one, as lets be fair, the state of news reporting in the US can be nothing BUT a tragedy.
So, if you’re in the US, why not contact your Senators, and your Congressmen, and ask them to please work on making news organisations accountable, TO THE TRUTH. I wonder just how many would dare to approve. If you do get a response, please, share them with me, I’d be very interested to hear what they have to say. And if you’re not in the US, pass it around, corruption and misinformation could be coming to your country soon!
Watching Brewsters Millions for the first time in years, a line in it exemplified perfectly what is wrong with “democracy” in the US, or rather why elected officials ignore common sense and the good of the people.
Heller and Salvino are both just a couple of overgrown Wharf Rats. Why else would anybody spend $10Million to get a $60,000/year job, unless he planned to steal it back with interest.
The ‘job’ (for those that haven’t seen the film recently) is Mayor of New York City. Heller and Salvino are the two candidates running for it seriously, before Brewster starts a campaign of “vote None of the Above”.
Money is a serious problem in US politics. If you don’t have any, you won’t get elected. If you’re the incumbent, it’s much easier to get money, to get you re-elected. Many people just don’t realise how much getting elected costs either. In the 2008 Senate race here in Georgia (which went to a December runoff):
Saxby Chambliss (R) $15,692,294 (FEC data)
Jim Martin (D) $7,508,505 (FEC data)
Allen Buckley (L) $28,666 (FEC data)
No surprises who won. Even less surprisingly, is that the salary is significantly less than this, $174,000 per annum. (as a side note, when the flm Brewsers Millions was made, in 1985, the Senate salary was $75,100). That’s for a 6 year seat, but what about the House, where it’s a 2 year seat? Again, my local race, for Georgia’s 8th district,
Jim Marshal (D) $1,736,540 (FEC data)
Rick Goddard (R) $1,192,303 (FEC data)
No surprises, but Jim won. the Salary is $174,000/year.
Many people weren’t aware of this HUGE money requirement in US politics. When this was pointed out on the Pirate Party International list, one Finn replied “My jaw just hit the floor and did not stop falling until it hit the basement.” It’s pretty damned crazy.
Also, at the same time you’re raising funds, you’re being paid for your job. Only in politics, are you paid by your job, while actively seeking another. Last year, both Obama and McCain deprived their states of half their senatorial representation, because they were busy campaigning for president, and not doing their job. That’s $87,000 in taxpayers money paid to them to do a job they’re not doing (assuming they spent half their time campaigning). both were elected in the November 04 elections, for a seat that expires in January 2011 (the 2010 elections)
Personally, I’d love to be busy applying for a job, for a year, ignoring any job I may have right now, and still be paid for it. For a public servant though, it’s just wrong. If you’re an elected representative, and you seek a different office, you should resign from your current one. Doesn’t matter if you’re Mayor and want to run for Governor, a governor and want to run for President, or a member of the House or Senate (state or Federal) If your current job isn’t what you want, let someone else have it, and actually do the job. It also means you’re not breaking your oath of office
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Running for another position, when you’re supposed to be doing your job doesn’t seem like following your oath to me.