Monday, May 10, 2010
By Marisa Taylor
WASHINGTON Since the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded on April 20, the Obama administration has granted oil and gas companies at least 27 exemptions from doing in-depth environmental studies of oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico.
The waivers were granted despite President Barack Obama's vow that his administration would launch a "relentless response effort" to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the gulf. One of them was dated Friday the day after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he was temporarily halting offshore drilling
The exemptions, known as "categorical exclusions," were granted by the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) and included waiving detailed environmental studies for a BP exploration plan to be conducted at a depth of more than 4,000 feet and an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. exploration plan at more 9,000 feet.
"Is there a moratorium on off shore drilling or not?" asked Peter Galvin, conservation director with the Center for Biological Diversity, the environmental group that discovered the administration's continued approval of the exemptions. "Possibly the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history has occurred and nothing appears to have changed."
Author: M.L. Stein
Publisher: Julian Messner, Inc.
Discovered at: Salvation Army, Olathe
The Cover Promises: Permanent, established institutions are not immune to change, so one of these pictures has some chicks in it.
- "The journalist enjoys good standing in his community. He is even likely to be held in awe." (page 47).
- "The day may not be far off when a city editor will say to a reporter, 'Check your space gear. You're going to the moon.'" (page 86).
The easy thing would be for your Crap Archivist to treat M.L. Stein's perversely optimistic Your Career in Journalism like I would Edgar Whisenant's 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988 or Rudy Giuliani's Leadership -- as Crap proved so absurd by time that its chief value comes from strip-mining it for hilarious quotes.
That's especially tempting thanks to jewels like these:
- "If you are a college graduate in journalism, you may land a job before you even leave the campus."
- "The story that a reporter worried and sweated over will be read by thousands and perhaps millions of people who will be informed, enlightened or amused. ... He has prestige and influence that most persons can never hope to attain."
And there's this, on landing that first big break:
- "By far the best idea is to go directly to a newspaper and ask the city editor for a job."
Or this goofy thought:
- "There is an accepted tenet in the newspaper business that an experienced copyreader can always get a job."
Experienced copyreaders? But it's so much easier to crowdsource those jobs to online commenters!
Easy as it is to laugh at Stein's optimism, remember that he writes with all the certainty of 1965, the last possible moment when it still made sense to hold an absolute faith in journalism, government, or most other chunks of the all-American bedrock. (These also included segregation, Frank Sinatra, and the idea that youth culture wasn't the only culture.)
Sometimes, Stein seems admirably forward-thinking. He writes, "The door is no longer closed against you, girls, and you can often compete with men for the same positions at the same salary."
The FCC has given Hollywood permission to activate the "Selective Output Control" technologies in your set-top box. These are hidden flags that allow the MPAA to deactivate parts of your home theater depending on what you're watching. And it sucks. As Dan Gillmor notes, "Fans of old TV science fiction will remember the Outer Limits. Given Hollywood's victory today at the FCC -- they'll be able to reach over the lines and disable functions on your TV -- the intro to the show takes on modern relevance."
The FCC says that they're doing this because they believe that if they do so, the MPAA will start releasing first-run movies (the ones that are still in theaters) for TV. They say that Hollywood won't make these movies available unless they get Selectable Output Control because SOC will stop piracy.
This is ridiculous.
First, it's ridiculous because this can't ever stop piracy or get first-run movies into your living room. Even with SOC, the studios are not going to release high-value movies that are still in theatrical distribution for viewing in your house, where you could set up a tripod and high-quality camera (along with ideal lighting) in order to make your own camcordered copy and put it online.
Now, the FCC could have solved this by saying that only movies that are in their first theatrical release run can have SOC turned on, but they didn't, because they knew that the MPAA was lying through its teeth about using SOC to enable the "new business model" of showing you first run movies in your home.
Second, it's ridiculous because it's possible in the first place. The FCC (and the candy-ass consumer electronics companies) allowed for Selectable Output Control to be inserted into your devices even though they claimed all along that they would never allow it to be used. Read your Chekhov, people: the gun on the mantelpiece in act one will go off in act three. Allowing the MPAA to get SOC in your set-top box but "never planning on using it" is like buying a freezer full of chocolate ice-cream and never planning on eating it.
If the CE companies and FCC wanted to prevent SOC from being used, the best way of doing that would be to not include it in devices in the first place.
Amy Goodman, host of the "Democracy Now!" news program and two of her producers filed a federal lawsuit against the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Wednesday, following the journalists' arrest and mistreatment while covering the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Filed with the Center for Constitutional Rights in a federal court in Minnesota, the lawsuit says authorities violated the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to Goodman, her producers and other journalists when they interfered with their right to gather news.
This is not only a violation of freedom of the press, but a violation of the public's right to know. "When journalists are arrested, that has a chilling effect on the functioning of a democratic society," said Goodman, whose show airs on over 750 radio and TV stations across the country. "We shouldn't have to get a record to put things on the record."
According to a telephone conference with Goodman, she and her producers, Nicole Salazar and Sharif Abdel Kouddous were arrested despite visibly holding their press passes and equipment and identified themselves as journalist. They were then physically assaulted, detained for a long period and had their cameras, video and other media equipment, as well as their personal belongings, searched and seized.
Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, who only recently signed up to Twitter, has rapidly risen up the ranks to become the top tweeter in the country, despite having previously described the service as a "tool of terror." The leader has also hired hundreds of staffers to reply to tweets.
Chavez ("Presidente de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela. Soldado Bolivariano, Socialista y Antiimperialista" according to his bio), has, at the time of writing, 239,994 followers and enjoys inclusion on 7,538 lists. Presumably some of which list people who are "threats to the open web."
With "Verified Account" status on the service, Chavez follows just five others, but it's unlikely the majority in Venezuela follow him recent estimates put the percentage of the population that boast Internet access at just 31%, although this figure has risen under Chavez's rule.
However, it seems public engagement with the president's new online presence has been high with more than 50,000 messages reported in the two weeks since he's been tweeting. So how does Chavez find time to tweet to the people? A newly appointed team of 200 Twitter aides will help to lighten that load, reports the AP. Chavez said of the new hires, "I'm creating a team due to the avalanche of requests, and some grievances."
Part IV! Pink fried chicken, Oklahoma vaginas, French G-spots
By Mark Morford
This much you already know:
1) The Bible is more violent than the Quran. Wait, what? Really? It's true... sort of. Don't tell this fine racist patriot, but turns out the Bible, America's favorite misinterpreted hunk of swiped fairy tale mythology, is packed like "Saw IV" with wraths and attacks, smitings and genocides, hacked-off limbs and fiery explosions in the sky. Whereas, despite its bad rap and its rather nasty "convert-the-world" directive, the Quran's scriptures are largely peaceful documents that've been hijacked and distorted by fundamentalist jackals for political purposes, to justify all sorts of bias, intolerance and violence against those they hate and fear. Sound familiar?
2) High fructose corn syrup is nasty, obesity-causing swill. I know, right? But here's something you might not know: As a columnist who writes, let's say "unflatteringly" about fast food and the noxious ingredients therein, I've received sneering little letters in the past from the Corn Refiner's Association when I've attacked their sticky cash cow, as they try to claim their synthetic goop is no worse for you than sunshine and flowers. Lying is fun!
Fact: HFCS "prompts considerably more weight gain than sugar," says a big new Princeton study. Fructose also scars the liver. It's nasty stuff, it's in everything from ketchup to soup to the despicable Double Down sandwich, and it's inextricably tied into the federal corn subsidy and the impenetrable farm bill, which in turn is guarded like the Pope's own porn collection by one the most powerful, ruthless government lobbies in America. Upshot: Until the Obama admin takes on the brutal farm lobby, this gummy poison is going to keep right on making everyone thick and fat and stupid.
3) And what happens then? Why, we lose WWIII to the skinny terrorists, that's what. Seems American kids are becoming "too fat to fight," and the U.S. military is in a bit of a panic, as it's becoming increasingly difficult to find recruits who aren't so hugely overweight that they can't even do a single pull-up.
A group of more than 50 retired generals and admirals released a study saying that 30 percent of otherwise eligible recruits are just too chunky to be of any use to the military. And they take anyone. Alert the GOP! The biggest threat to America isn't the gays or the vaginas or the "weak on terror" liberals; it's your own overweight kids.
(At least we're not alone. China, too, is terrified of losing the Great War with Japan -- which is apparently coming around 2025 or so -- due to its own surfeit of obese youth. Yay fast food! You will kill us all!)
by Radley Balko
In February, I wrote the following about a drug raid in Missouri:
SWAT team breaks into home, fires seven rounds at family's pit bull and corgi (?!) as a seven-year-old looks on.
They found a "small amount" of marijuana, enough for a misdemeanor charge. The parents were then charged with child endangerment.
So smoking pot = "child endangerment." Storming a home with guns, then firing bullets into the family pets as a child looks on = necessary police procedures to ensure everyone's safety.
Just so we're clear.
Now there's video... It's horrifying, but I'd urge you to watch it, and to send it to the drug warriors in your life. This is the blunt-end result of all the war imagery and militaristic rhetoric politicians have been spewing for the last 30 yearscops dressed like soldiers, barreling through the front door middle of the night, slaughtering the family pets, filling the house with bullets in the presence of children, then having the audacity to charge the parents with endangering their own kid. There are 100-150 of these raids every day in America, the vast, vast majority like this one, to serve a warrant for a consensual crime.
by Giordano Bruno
Millions of people from countries across the world have begun to wake up to the very real threat of repressive and engineered Globalism, or what the financial elite and the politicians who work for them often refer to as "The New World Order". The movement against this centralization of economic and social power has gained traction in nearly every sphere, to the point where even the mainstream media has been forced on occasion to acknowledge its existence and prevalence. Those of us who have been working more than a few years in this activist organization, what many of us call the "Patriot Movement", or the "Liberty Movement", have seen incredible leaps and bounds in the fight against disinformation and the spread of unadulterated truth. Our work has gone viral, and our membership has skyrocketed, however, the task of diluting ignorance in the overall populace is far from over.
Every researcher, writer, and filmmaker who tackles the New World Order issue will suffer the unfortunate experience of running into people who are almost criminally uninformed, and this will happen on a regular basis. For a long time, our frustration was magnified by our inability to specifically define what it was that made these people the way they were. Were some just mentally inadequate, and unable to effectively process the facts? Were they so indoctrinated by the MSM that there was no turning back? Was there an innate difference in intuitive faculties that made some people quick in picking out a lie, and others slow? Many theories abound, but one thing was certain; in our quest to inform the masses, there were always going to be those who were incapable of hearing or understanding what we had to say, no matter how factual, rational, and refined our arguments. We now call these wonders of intellectual rustication "Sheeple"…
Sheeple can be found in every country, every ethnic background, every religious organization, and every subculture. After years of examination and experience, it has become much easier for the Liberty Movement to identify and categorize the various forms of sheeple, and come to terms with the triggers in the human mind that cause some to willfully ignore logic and wisdom.