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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yep, they went ahead and did it ...

Remember that ridiculous training incident that was set to occur in Watauga County?

The one described as "the most realistic thing" some officers said they would likely see.

Yep, they went ahead and did it.


Police fighting METH dealers, armed with paint guns ...

From the description, about a lost elderly man ...

About 10:30 a.m.: A search-and-rescue team tracks Budnik's bracelet to a field near a barn off Summit Meadow Lane. They cannot find the man but stumble into an active methamphetamine lab, where five searchers are “shot” and several have caustic drug substances thrown onto them, according to the scenario. One other searcher escapes to call for help.

10:48 a.m.: Law enforcement arrives, and a gunfight ensues -- paintball guns, in this case. For the next 45 minutes, sporadic gun battles break out as the SWAT team encounters the angry meth cooks. Noise-makers and smoke bombs simulate the explosion of the meth lab, and chaos erupts.

Yes, that sounds very realistic in Watauga County (irony).

http://www2.wataugademocrat.com/News/story/Training-exercise-tests-response-id-005963

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How's that war going?

Props to the mainstream press for (finally) telling this story.


In its final report to Congress due to be released Wednesday, the bipartisan "Commission on Wartime Contracting" warns that waste and fraud have undermined American diplomacy, fomented corruption in host countries and tarnished the US image abroad.
Specifically, the Pentagon has wasted more than $30 billion on contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan due to shoddy management and a lack of competition.

The commission found that the United States went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003 without sufficiently preparing to handle the "enormous scale and numbers of contracts." 

As a result, "America is over-relying on contractors," they said.

The commission chiefs also warned that another $30 billion or more could be wasted if the Iraqi or Afghan "governments are unable or unwilling to sustain US-funded projects after our involvement ends."

And remember the earlier conclusion from the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group that "most of the costs of the war show up not in the normal budget request but in requests for emergency supplemental appropriations"? The report said: "This means that funding requests are drawn up outside the normal budget process, are not offset by budgetary reductions elsewhere, and move quickly to the White House with minimal scrutiny. Bypassing the normal review erodes budget discipline and accountability."

What this says to me is American wars are an enormous drain on resources. Given that we've achieved our stated objectives there, you'd think our leaders would start calling for an end, if for no other reason, to save money. And you'd think that "Tea Party" folks would be all over this one, since they supposedly care so much about wasteful government spending and the national debt.

Unless they're a bunch of hypocrites or something.

???



Monday, August 29, 2011

Criminal justice policy in the news

Today there are several stories in the news about criminal justice policy--specifically, police reliance on eye-witness testimony


Police Lineups Start to Face Fact: Eyes Can Lie

New York Times - Erica Goode - John Schwartz - 10 hours ago
... conduct a central technique of police work, criminal justice experts say. ... when the policy was instituted, a major departure from the days when the ...


  • Most police departments use old lineup methods Boston Globe - Erica Goode - John Schwartz - 4 hours ago
    ... conduct a central technique of police work, criminal justice experts say. ... when the policy was instituted, a major departure from the days when the ...




  • If you sit back and you think about how unreliable these techniques are, you wonder what can possibly be done to assure that we don't get the wrong people. There are literally thousands of innocent people picked out by witnesses and victims who they actually think committed the crimes. We clearly cannot rely on DNA and forensics since this evdience is rarely found in criminal cases, and often it is not reliable due to tampering (like in North Carolina).

    Don't think it can happen to you? Think about that time someone came up to you and told you they saw someone who looked just like you. That's happened to me at least three times.

    Scary thought!

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    THIS is music????

    Driving into work today, NPR was doing something boring so I turned the dial to a pop radio station, and this is what I heard.

    Katy Perry, Last Friday

    There's a stranger in my bed,
    There's a pounding my head
    Glitter all over the room
    Pink flamingos in the pool
    I smell like a minibar
    DJ's passed out in the yard
    Barbie's on the barbeque

    There's a hickie or a bruise
    Pictures of last night
    Eended up online
    I'm screwed
    Oh well
    It's a black top blur
    But I'm pretty sure it ruled

    Last Friday night
    Yeah we danced on tabletops
    And we took too many shots
    Think we kissed but I forgot

    Last Friday night
    Yeah we maxed our credit cards
    And got kicked out of the bar
    So we hit the boulevard

    Last Friday night
    We went streaking in the park
    Skinny dipping in the dark
    Then had a menage a trois
    Last Friday night
    Yeah I think we broke the law
    Always say we're gonna stop-op
    Whoa-oh-oah

    This Friday night
    Do it all again
    This Friday night
    Do it all again

    Trying to connect the dots
    Don't know what to tell my boss
    Think the city towed my car
    Chandelier is on the floor
    With my favorite party dress
    Warrants out for my arrest
    Think I need a ginger ale
    That was such an epic fail

    Pictures of last night
    Ended up online
    I'm screwed
    Oh well
    It's a blacked out blur
    But I'm pretty sure it ruled
    Damn

    Last Friday night
    Yeah we danced on table tops
    And we took too many shots
    Think we kissed but I forgot

    Last Friday night
    Yeah we maxed our credits card
    And got kicked out of the bars
    So we hit the boulevards

    Last Friday night
    We went streaking in the park
    Skinny dipping int he dark
    Then had a menage a trois
    Yeah I think we broke the law
    Always say we're gonna stop-op
    Oh whoa oh

    This Friday night
    Do it all again
    Do it all again
    This Friday night
    Do it all again
    Do it all again
    This Friday night

    T.G.I.F.
    T.G.I.F.
    T.G.I.F.
    T.G.I.F.
    T.G.I.F.
    T.G.I.F.

    Last Friday night
    Yeah we danced on table tops
    And we took too many shots
    Think we kissed but I forgot

    Last Friday night
    Yeah we maxed our credit cards
    And got kicked out of the bar
    So we hit the boulevard

    Last Friday night
    We went streaking in the park
    Skinny dipping in the dark
    Then had a menage a trois

    Last Friday night
    Yeah I think we broke the law
    Always say we're gonna stop
    Oh-whoa-oh
    This Friday night
    Do it all again
    ________________________

    This was one of three straight songs about sex, drugs, and crime.

    Now I am well aware that these issues have long been sung about, even on the radio, but these songs go into new territory where "singers" are actually promoting these behaviors.

    Wonder what impact this has on listeners, especially the impulsive and naiive young?

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Memo to the Media: Stop Ignoring ....

    ... Serious Policy Issues

    The US pursues many policies in our names.

    Lots of them deal with war.

    War on crime.
    War on drugs.
    War on terrorism.

    Believe it or not, the US military is involved in all of these.

    And we spend a lot of money on all of them.

    So, this is a story that should be getting some media attention (but it's not):

    The Defense Department has just released its annual assessment of China’s military capabilities and development to Congress. The report is being covered in much of the media as a dire warning to the United States warning of the looming threat of Chinese military expansion.

    The Hill notes that the report will be “fuel for congressional hawks — mostly Republicans in the House, who point to China as the main reason annual Defense Department budgets must continue to grow.” Politico quotes Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), whose most major campaign contributions come from the defense industry, saying that American security will be “jeopardized” by defense cuts in the wake of China’s military rise:
    “China clearly believes that it can capitalize on the global financial crisis, using the United States’ economic uncertainty as a window of opportunity to strengthen China’s economic, diplomatic, and security interests,” said Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a leading opponent of deep defense spending cuts. “Security in the Pacific could be further jeopardized if our regional allies also come to believe that the United States will sacrifice the presence and capability of the US military in an attempt to control spending. This is an unacceptable outcome in such a vital region of the globe.”
    What both the Hill and Politico fail to provide in their coverage of the Pentagon’s report and the right-wing response to it is any context about the relative levels of US and Chinese military spending. The US defense budget is six times as large as annual Chinese military spending. The following graphic from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute chronicling U.S. defense spending from 1989 to 2008 visualizes this:  

    While it’s not unreasonable to discuss the growth of Chinese military spending and debate the US response, these discussions in the media should include the context of relative spending between the two countries to best serve readers.

    While China’s military spending remains far eclipsed by that of the United States, there is one area where it is besting the United States: investing in clean energy. China invests twice as much money in clean energy as the United States, and for every dollar it spends on clean energy, it spends two to three dollars on defense. In the United States, every clean energy dollar is paired with 41 dollars of military spending

    http://www.truth-out.org/memo-media-us-spends-six-times-more-military-china/1314284649

    Oh, and then there is this, which ought to be important when politicians are SO CONCERNED about debt reduction:

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ....

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    What's hot in criminal justice policy?

    I am starting a new criminal justice policy class tonight and the news media rarely discuss this issue.

    So I jumped on Google News to see what is trending right now on that topic. These are the top results.

    There is some interesting stuff here, but nothing ground-breaking. If you pay attention to criminal justice policy, you already know most of this. If not, your eyes are about to be opened!
    1. New training to enhance police response to domestic violence calls

      YNN - Sarah Blazonis - 2 hours ago
      The State Division of Criminal Justice Services offered a two-day ... It focused on changes to the statewide policy for dealing with domestic incidents. ...
    2. Local law enforcement learn new policies for domestic violence ...


      WKTV - Joleen Ferris - 3 hours ago
      ... NY (WKTV) - Officials with the State Department of Criminal Justice ... law enforcement a new policy for police response to domestic violence calls. ...
    3. THC driving limits: Could work group meeting today give life to ...


      Westword (blog) - Michael Roberts - 4 hours ago
      ... under Governor Ritter's administration to the Drug Policy Task Force, ... of Criminal Justice, 700 Kipling Street, in the fourth floor meeting room. ...
    4. Stanislaus homes policy is approved


      Modesto Bee - Garth Stapley - 15 hours ago
      The county hired Crout & Sida Criminal Justice Consultants three years ago, agreeing to pay $128700 for drawings. Various amendments such as Tuesday's have ...
    5. Cops under-reporting domestic violence


      Independent Online - 10 hours ago
      Further, “jerking on synergy of all components” of government's criminal justice cluster of ministries was also imperative to uproot gender-based violence. ...
    6. REGION: Hunter bill would speed up illegal immigrant deportation cases


      North County Times - 16 hours ago
      Under the policy announced last week, President Barack Obama's administration said it wants the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department ...
      Blog: Obama Administration Can Improve Immigration Policy in Many WaysForbes (blog)
      Young immigrant buoyed by change in deportation policyWinston-Salem Journal
      City Council Challenges Obama Administration on DeportationsGotham Gazette
      Jamaica Gleaner - Florida Independent
      all 207 news articles »

      New York Daily News
    7. When Mark Kleiman Isn't Writing About Criminal Justice and Drug ...


      National Review Online - Reihan Salam - Aug 12, 2011
      The politics of grinding those who disagree with us into the dust isn't likely to help us achieve better policy outcomes.
    8. Airport Screening Policy: Repression or Discretion?


      MWC News - William John Cox - 1 day ago
      A reasonable and practical balance in airport security screening policy ... college graduate with a degree in criminal justice and who earned his or her way ...

      MWC News
    9. 176 parolees off sex-offender list


      Austin American-Statesman (blog) - Mike Ward - 6 days ago
      Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, ... Parole officials had not commented publicly on the about-face in policy, ...
      Local: Court ruling prompts sex offender status changeHouston Chronicle
      all 47 news articles »

      abc13.com
    10. Overloaded Public Defense Systems 'Jeopardizing The Fairness of ...


      Juvenile Justice Information Exchange - Chandra R. Thomas - 1 day ago
      As such, defenders should be actively engaged in the policymaking process for criminal justice policies as equal partners in the justice system. ...



























































    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Looking at today's top stories ...

    These are the top stories from Yahoo News. Notice the latter three stories are unique to my state and thus come from North Carolina news sources. You Yahoo News will specialize the top (crime) stories from your area (Yay!).

    Of the top 9 stories, 4 specifically deal with crime. They are bolded below.
     Four of nine is 44%! Crime pays, at least for the news.

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Local TV news: It's killing us


    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a 478-page report warning that local television news coverage is suffering due to a greater emphasis on sensationalistic, tabloid-style reporting.

    "The stations are generally pumping up the volume of news while reducing staff, and give short shrift to serious topics like education, health care, and government," noted the FCC report, according to the web site paidContent. "The [FCC] report cites a TV news study by the Annenberg School of Communications that found such hard news topics took up a little over one minute in a 30-minute news broadcast. While coverage of city government withers, crime news proliferates. And the report notes the disturbing trend of 'pay-for-play' arrangements, as well as the airing of 'video press releases' masquerading as news."

    Now there is a novel (a form of media) out that captures what can happen in such a world.

    Death by Deadline is written by Larry Kane, a 40-year veteran of the news business and an Emmy Awarding-winning news anchor in Philadelphia and other major markets.

    I say check it out.
    But before you do, consider what is already happening to us all in this media world where crime dominates and serious issues are ignored.

    People are afraid.

    Turn on the news at any time and you'll see bad news, crime news, disaster news, disorder news. Reporters move from one such story to the next, without any effort to provide any greater context, leaving the viewer with the sense that the world is ending and that there is no good in it.
    And we're getting dumber.

    Without serious discussion of important issues, Americans get less informed every year. And thus politics turns into a shouting match between parties so uninformed about the issues that there is not even a chance of reasoning rationally with them.

    And we blame the education system for this problem. The fault may also be with the media.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Standard & Poor's investigated by the Justice Department

    Here is what we all (should) know:

    * Mortgage-backed securities played a major role in the financial meltdown that led to the 2008 financial crisis.
    * Standard & Poor's is a ratings agency that, like all the others, consistently overrated these financial instruments due to greed. This resulted in the illusion of profit, sort of like a pyramid scheme, so that the stock market rose, but every bit of profit was fake.
    * A lack of government regulation permitted them to do it.
    * The US suffered a serious economic recession as a result. The stock market lost half its value.
    * Only a massive spending spree by the federal government could prevent a major depression (in times of economic turmoil, when individuals and corporations do not have money to spend, the only entity that can stimulate the economy is the government).
    * President Obama signed into law a federal stimulus bill in the hundreds of billions of dollars, preventing a major depression but also increasing the federal debt.
    * Billionaire Republicans invented a "Tea Party" movement to start blaming President Obama for the country's economic woes, ignoring the primary sources of the debt (which included the Bush era tax cuts and the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, something he had little to do with).
    * The mainstream media gave this "Tea Party" movement significant coverage, characterizing it as a real social movement with roots on the ground in common America (Fox News even encouraged people to go to the events on live, national TV, becoming cheerleaders rather than reporters)
    * Subsequently, the nation's attention turned to reducing the national debt rather than fixing the economy or creating jobs for Americans.
    * President Obama's ability to get anything done was significantly weakened by radical elements of the Republican Party affiliated with this new "Tea Party" and concerned only with reducing the national debt.
    * President Obama gets blamed, and "Tea Party" Republicans start screaming that the problem is the big federal government needs to get off of our backs and stop hurting the "job creators" (i.e., corporations and rich people). The problem is NOT financial greed or a lack of government regulation. The problem is the US spends too much money and thus needs to stop helping poor and elderly people, needs to cut education and health care and anything that sounds like "socialism."
    * The wrangling over the debt limit issue caused Standard & Poor's to downgrade the US credit rating from TRIPLE A to DOUBLE A PLUS, for the first time in US history.
    * President Obama gets blamed for this, too, even though the debt deal gives Speaker John Boehner "98% of what I want" (his words).
    * Shortly thereafter, the US Justice Department announces it is investigating Standard & Poor's for allegedly overrating mortgage-backed securities

    In other words, the problems that caused our economic woes have not only NOT been fixed, they've not even been addressed. And we have a lame President who cannot or will not do anything about it, plus a field of Republican party candidates who consistently pledge to, if elected, erode governmental regulation and get the government off the backs of the people that are responsible for our economic crisis.

    Anyone in the media care to tell this story?

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/18/news/companies/sp_investigation_mortgages/


    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Another Columbine?

    Police in Tampa, FL say they thwarted another Columbine attack.

    The story is all over the news, including overseas. Her is the story in the UK's The Guardian.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/17/tampa-police-thwart-teen-columbine

    See the link to Columbine? He wanted to hav

    It should be pointed out that the Cole more victims than Columbine.

    That is it.

    So there is no link.

    Notice the lack of context. How often does this occur? What was his motivation? How safe are schools? What is actually most dangerous to kids?

    This young man ahd "bomb making materials" at his house, whatever that means (heck, we all do).

    It should be pointed out that the Columbine attackers also used bombs, but they all failed to detonate. What is to say this kid was not just as inept?

    Yet, the media needs us to be afraid, even of things that are extremely rare, so that we do not focus on bigger issue that might call into question the status quo.

    You'll find no such answer in this story or any others on this "event."

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    You just cannot make this stuff up

    Top story today on Yahoo News is this account of a run-in President Obama had with a "Tea Party" member in Iowa.

    US President Barack Obama went head-to-head with a prominent conservative Tea Party activist, in a microcosm of a political clash that will play out in the 2012 election.

    Ryan Rhodes, a leader of the group in Iowa, took on Obama during an open-air town hall meeting, which marked a moment of new intensity in the president's campaign for a second term.

    Rhodes shouted out that the president's calls for more civility in politics had little chance of coming to pass after "your vice president is calling people like me, a Tea Party member, a 'terrorist.'"

    His question referred to media reports that Vice President Joe Biden made such a remark in a private meeting with House of Representatives Democrats at the height of a debt showdown earlier this month.

    The clash came as Obama was intent on wrapping up the meeting in the shadow of a red country barn draped with an American flag, as the sun set on a rural corner of Iowa.

    "I know it's not going to work, if you stand up, and I asked everybody to raise their hand... I didn't see you, I wasn't avoiding you," the president said, but later circled back to answer Rhodes's question.

    "I absolutely agree that everybody needs to try to tone down the rhetoric," he said, before going on to detail some of the more explosive charges that conservatives have laid against him.

    "In fairness, since I have been called a socialist who wasn't born in this country, who is destroying America and taking away its freedoms because I passed a health care bill, I am all for lowering the rhetoric."

    Obama and Rhodes later engaged in an animated conversation as he greeted supporters on a rope line after the event, and the activist later told reporters that he believed that Obama was indeed a socialist.

    The president was on the first day of a three-state bus tour in which he is sympathizing with Americans dismayed and frustrated by the slow pace of the economic recovery and trying to repair his battered political standing.

    Rhodes backed winning candidate and Tea Party favorite Representative Michele Bachmann in last weekend's Iowa Straw poll, and is regarded as a founder of the anti-big government movement in the state.

    The Tea Party lacks a centralized national leadership but emerged in the 2010 congressional election cycle as a powerful influence on conservative Republican politics, with its message of low taxes and cutting spending.

    The movement was also seen as a key driver of Republican leadership tactics in a debt showdown with Obama, and some Democrats accused Tea Party activists of holding the country hostage over raising the government's borrowing limit.

    _________________________

    So he wants to tone down the rhetoric but immediately thereafter calls the President a socialist?

    You just cannot make this stuff up.

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    I see WHITE people

    Turn on CSPAN and you'll see lots of white people. Whites are highly overrepresented among lawmakers.

    And the mainstream media are becoming whiter too.

    From the article:

    "As the American Society of Newspaper Editors has reported, racial and ethnic minorities make up less than 13 percent of newsroom employees. Minority ownership of television stations hovers around 3 percent, while radio station ownership is at 7 percent, despite the fact that the minority population of the U.S. is roughly 28 percent."

    In the book I show the benefits of alternative media. One of them is non-corporate owned media are more demographically diverse. They also show a wide range of viewpoints that you don't tend to see in the mainstream press.

    As noted in this article: "The role of the news media is to provide a forum for discussion and engagement for all people in society."

    But if you rely on the corporate media for information, you're getting very limited, pro status quo viewpoints from an increasingly white population.

    http://www.truth-out.org/media-growing-more-white-what%E2%80%99s-fcc-doing-about-it/1313244498

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Part of health care law unconstitutional

    From Reuters:

    An appeals court dealt a blow to President Barack Obama's healthcare law on Friday, leaving a mark on constitutional law, the healthcare industry, U.S. politics and U.S. states.


    The court ruled as "unconstitutional" the law's requirement that individuals buy health insurance or pay a fine, but upheld the rest of the law passed by Congress last year. Here is a look at what it means on four fronts:

    THE LAW - Almost everyone agrees at least one of the lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the sweeping reform law, known as the Affordable Care Act, will ultimately reach the Supreme Court, probably next year. This decision shows one way the highest court may rule, by maintaining the bulk of the reforms, but throwing out the so-called "individual mandate" making healthcare a legal requirement for all Americans.

    HEALTHCARE - Throwing out the individual mandate could influence how the healthcare industry approaches the reforms in the law, especially when considering how to price insurance policies. Without the individual mandate, insurance premiums would likely rise. The mandate had guaranteed a large and steady pool of insurance purchasers.

    U.S. POLITICS - The ruling will likely embolden conservatives who derisively call the healthcare reforms "Obamacare." Some have attributed the huge Republican gains in the November 2010 congressional elections to voter discontent over the law, Obama's signature piece of domestic policy. The issue is certain to feature in the campaign for the November 2012 presidential election when the president will seek a second term. Should the Supreme Court rule the same as the appeals court, Obama, a Democrat, could try to persuade Congress to pass a "legislative fix" for the individual mandate's structure, but he would face a tough time getting it through a Congress where Democrats no longer hold a majority in both houses as they did when the law passed in March 2010.

    THE STATES - Friday's decision was in a lawsuit filed by 26 of the 50 states, which are charged with carrying out a bulk of the healthcare reforms. Along with worrying about the costs of implementation, the states say the law usurps their rights. Earlier this year, states that had criticized the law, such as Missouri, adopted an attitude of "if you can't beat them, join them." They began setting up state-run exchanges for health insurance and moving ahead on implementation in the hopes of influencing the reforms and limiting the reach of the law. But of late, they have taken a harder line, with Kansas recently sending back to the federal government a grant it had received to create an exchange. This ruling, at a level just below the Supreme Court, could cause them to further resist carrying out the law.

    *** My take: This ruling means little. The only part of the law the Court found unconstitutional was the part about making people pay if they do not carry insurance. If it issue ever makes the US Supreme Court, the Court will disagree. Yes, even that Court.

    You know why, because they are pro-business. And the law is pro-business (it requires that you purchase insurance from for-profit companies). Nothing socialist about that.

    By the way, know where Obama got the idea to require people to buy insurance or face a fine? Mitt Romney! (Republican candidate for President)

    Tell that to the "Tea Party" people.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Top news stories in your local area?

    Here are the top news stories in our local area right now, from the Watauga Democrat:

    News


    Five stories, all bad.

    Collision.
    Police chase/crime.
    Wreck.
    Scam/crime.
    Assault and theft/crime.

    So you can understand maybe why people are so mad right now, and so afraid, and so worried.



    But there is good news here, too. And lots of people doing great things.

    Yet, none of it is in the paper right now.

    As explained in the book, the media focus mostly on bad news, crime making up a significant portion of that. Apparently that is what sells, so they keep reporting it.

    But I'm not buying it. So at least I am not part of the problem.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Media focused on revenge

    Top two stories on Google News right now:

    ______________

    Revenge against people who harmed cops.

    Fugitive siblings caught in Colorado

    CBS News -
    DENVER - Colorado State Patrol says that three suspects believed to be the Dougherty siblings, who are accused of crimes in Florida and Georgia, were caught after a car chase near Walsenburg, Colo.


    Revenge against people who harmed soldiers.


    US Says Strike Killed Taliban Who Downed Copter

    New York Times -
    The commander, Gen. John R. Allen of the Marines, said the military in Afghanistan had tracked the insurgents after they shot down the helicopter on Saturday, most likely with a rocket-propelled grenade.
     
    ______________

    We love revenge, when the good guys win. Because it makes a good story.

    And because it helps us take our minds off what is really important.
     
     

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Stories you almost never see in the mainstream press

    In the book I explain how mainstream media are owned by large, for-profit corporations.

    While there is still some variation in what news they cover, as well as how they cover it, the bottom line is certain stories are just less likely to make it to the airwaves. That is, corporate ownership of the press limits the breadth of the stories we see.

    That is where organizations like Common Dreams come in. Common Dreams is a nonpartisan, independent media organization. Stories there today include:

    [field_image_caption-raw]
     

    Mark Engler:
     
    ... and more! These are stories largely being ignored by the corporate controlled media, ignored because they deal with issues of power and poverty.

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Wasting resources on drug prohibition

    Here is another example of how even local resources are being wasted on drug prohibition.

    The title of the article is "Law-enforcement agencies smoke out marijuana plants in Watauga County."

    Of course, there is not a single word about whether this impacts availability or use. And that is because it does not, as all the studies and available data clearly show.


    There is also no word about how much of this stuff the police get to keep, including any revenue they find, ironically to fund more drug war.

    Yet, it makes a nice headline, doesn't it?


    http://www2.wataugademocrat.com/News/story/Law-enforcement-agencies-smoke-out-marijuana-plants-in-Watauga-County-id-005824

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    The news that the corporations who own the news don't want you to see

    ... is on independent media websites such as Truthout.

    You literally will not see these stories on popular news channels such as ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and especialy the vastly right-wing Fox News.

    Truthout, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing independent news and commentary on a daily basis which accepts no advertising or corporate backing, has the following as lead stories today:
    Allison Kilkenny, Truthout | News Analysis

    An election took place last fall in Virginia that didn't garner national attention, but it should have - not for the candidates or issues - but for the giant pile of corporate cash manipulating events behind the scenes.
    Rick Boucher, a then-28-year incumbent Democratic Congressman from the Ninth District - the longest-serving Congressman in that district since the Civil War - was surprisingly defeated by Republican Morgan Griffith. The upset came as a shock to many, since an early October poll showed Boucher ahead by double digits, including one measure earlier in the month that put him ahead by 10 percentage points.

    Lisa Graves, PRWatch | Report
    On August 3, the American Legislative Exchange Council kicks off its annual meeting in the Big Easy. State legislators from across the country will arrive in New Orleans to be wined and dined by corporate lobbyists. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, for example, has invited legislators to a big smoke at its cigar reception on Bourbon Street.

    But the meeting is not all fun and games. Legislators will be sitting down with some of the biggest corporations in the world»

    H. Patricia Hynes, Truthout | News Analysis
    Worldwide, the military is the most secretive, shielded and privileged of polluters because the hallowed mantra, national security, trumps the public's right to know. Thus, most of the extant data on pollution from US-military-related sites is available solely because of citizen pressure on the Department of Defense (DoD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Congress to inventory, assess, and divulge the extent of the» ...


    And there is so much more about the corporations that now control virtually all of our lives, starting with the law. Truthout is simply a must read for people who want to know what is really going on in the world.


    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Jon Stewart nails it again

    Imagine if the mainstream news did their job.

    It's simple. Listen to what they say. See if they live up to it.

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Crime news in rural America

    It's funny living in a place like Boone, NC.

    No murder.

    Few rapes ever reported to the police.

    Few robberies or serious assaults, although they occur more now than when I first moved here.

    So we are focused on stupid things, like drug possession, including relatively harmless drugs like marijuana.

    But our obsession is meth.

    And this article about a forthcoming law enforcement training scenario is just plain bizarre.

    Training to grapple with manhunt, meth, mayhem

    by Kellen Moore
    On Aug. 27, controlled chaos will erupt in Watauga County.

    Severallaw enforcement agencies and health care providers will participate that day in a training exercise designed to test their mettle when a missing person case spirals out of control.

    Participants have been briefed on the scenario and met Wednesday to discuss the details.

    “When I read it, I was like, ‘This is perfect,’” said Capt. Kelly Redmon of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. “This is going to be a challenge. This is the most plausible incident I’ve been involved with in a long time.”

    David Hancock, managing partner with C3 Applications and former Watauga County Emergency Management technician, described the situation teams will face.

    In the scenario, a Polish war veteran with Alzheimer’s disease escapes the extended c are center at Blowing Rock Hospital. The hospital goes through its search procedures, then calls for assistance when they can’t find him on site, he said.
     
    “We already know where he’s going, believe it or not,” Hancock said.

    The missing man then makes his way to the property off Summit Meadow Lane in Blowing Rock that was recently purchased by Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, where the scenario takes another turn.

    The man wanders into an active meth lab in a barn, where the cooks grab him and drive him away from the area, but not before he loses the tracking bracelet that search and rescue teams are using to find him.

    “It’s been a while since we’ve used the tracker, and we want to make sure we’re up to speed on that,” Sheriff Len Hagaman said.

    When the search and rescue teams trace the bracelet to the site, the meth-makers get violent, and a gunfight — paintball gun, in this case — occurs.

    “They’re not going to be looked upon kindly,” Hancock said.

    That’s where medics and staff of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System will spring into action. Several “wounded” patients will overload the emergency department at Watauga Medical Center, while Blowing Rock Hospital will handle other less serious patients and practice hazardous materials decontamination.

    Once the scenario is under control, time stops. The training will pick up again in Wilkes County Sept. 10, where authorities will expand on the premise for an active shooter drill on the Wilkes Community College campus.

    Throughout the process, the participants will analyze how multiple agencies coordinate, how the computer system expands with the scenario, how narcotics and investigations officers mesh and how the hospitals handle an influx of trauma patients.

    They will study each step “to see what we did right, what we did wrong and how we can improve things,” Hancock said.

    The session originated with Shawn Peele, chief of police for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, and will help the hospitals meet training requirements. The coordinators have received a roughly $24,000 grant to conduct the exercise, said Steve Sudderth, fire marshal and emergency management coordinator.

    The hospitals conducted a similar wide-scale training exercise about two years ago in which the scenario involved an outbreak of respiratory problems and widespread evacuations after a concert on the ASU campus, said Gillian Baker, vice president of corporate communications.

    While the incident might sound a bit far-fetched, it’s not that far from ordinary for the officers, medical staff and search teams involved.

    “Each of those things has happened separately,” Redmon said.

    _________________________

    Sounds like a joke doesn't it?

    http://www2.wataugademocrat.com/News/story/Training-to-grapple-with-manhunt,-meth,-mayhem-id-005799

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Top stories in USA Today

    USA Today is one of the most popular newspapers in America. If you've ever stayed at a hotel anywhere in the US, you've seen it.

    A former colleague of mine, who also studies the media, called it the "McPaper." It's known for its short and quick stories, as only one story covers more than one page (the front-page story, which is continued on the second page).

    The top stories in today's edition include these:

    Debt-ceiling bill awaits Senate vote

    Lawmakers set to vote at noon today on bill to increase the debt limit, averting U.S. default.

    Autopsy set today for 11-year-old N.H. girl

    Woods talks caddies, injuries and winning


    Half-black, half-Hispanic Spider-Man revealed


    10 years later, those who left NYC look back

    People who moved away from New York after 9/11 talk about why they had to leave.

    Census: Richer minorities live in poorer areas

     Biden jokes he and Giffords in 'cracked head club'

     New key arrest in phone-hacking scandal

    Group: 24 killed in Syria as Ramadan starts

    Ex-Detroit mayor freed after 14 months in prison

    So, of the top ten stories listed, four deal with crime, two deal with politics, and one deals with war.

    Where is the good news?

    Even the debt ceiling story will be bad news for most Americans. They just don't know it yet.

    As noted in the book, bad news is what sells. Enjoy your bad news today!

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Fascinating day for media studies

    Go turn on your TV and flip channels back and forth between networks like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox.

    All the talking heads are discussing the debt ceiling issue.

    But they're saying totally different things. And they are featuring different people.

    The one commonality? Lots of "Tea Party" folks being featured.

    Can someone tell me when the "Tea Party" became a real political party and if it really exists why the only people who are members are listed as "Republicans?"

    It's just bizarre.

    CNN:



    GOP Rep. Eric Cantor: Bill is "not perfect."
    Congressional leaders are hoping to vote today on a last-minute deal to raise the debt ceiling. It remains unclear whether they have the votes to ensure the bill's passage. FULL STORY

     Fox:

    Deal's Big Secret: Tax Hikes Possible

    MSNBC: