A great column in Salon.com is an excerpt from the book “The Invention of News: How The World Came To Know About Itself” by Andrew Pettegree. Anyone interested in the Communications field or just interested in media studies in general will love it.
It gives a good account of how the news world came into being before the NYT or Fox News.
In Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE where lavish tourism sites are being constructed, the work is being done by migrant Indian and Pakistani workers who are being abused.
They are locked into the kafala system (a form of indentured servitude) working for small wages and becoming trapped in the UAE for their visas expire due to long working stints. And this system is not exclusive to the UAE but the Gulf States in general.
Reading this op-ed in the NYT is important to be informed of this human rights violating system.
GOP Presidential Candidates Puckering Their Lips for Adelson
The GOP hopefuls for the 2016 presidential slot are headed to Las Vegas this week in order to try to get as much of mega-donor Sheldon Adelson’s money…excuse me, I meant “speech” (since that what money equals to the Supreme Court), as they can for a possible run. Strange, though. I know some GOP voters and I don’t recall the candidates being as interested in their speech as they are Adelson’s “speech”. I wonder why…
He donated more than $90 million to political candidates and super PACs in the last election cycle. His total donations may never be quantified publicly because various politically active groups that operate as nonprofit organizations don’t have to report the sources of their funds.
Remind me again why money is considered speech and why this isn’t an obvious corruption of the idea of democracy?
Brazil’s Internet Neutrality
Many may not be familiar with the idea of Internet neutrality but it is far more important than most think. Brazil’s government is taking action to make sure access remains equal to all and the potential for inequality is highlighted in the article:
“Without neutrality, the Internet looks more like cable TV, where providers can offer different service packages,” Brazilian law professor Ronaldo Lemo told TechCrunch. “Basic service would include email and the social networks. ‘Premium’ would let you watch videos and listen to music. ‘Super Premium’ would let you download. Today that sounds like an aberration, but without Net neutrality, it’s a possibility.”
Still No Evidence Torture Worked
People are allowed their personal opinions about whether the U.S. was justified in torturing terrorism suspects for information (we weren’t) and how moral that is (it’s not) but there is still one fact that has yet to be proven wrong: it never actually worked in fighting terrorism and, in all likelihood, inspired more terrorism against American targets.
The CIA misled the Justice Department. They told the OLC that it was only after subjecting Zain Abidin Mohammed Husain Abu Zubaydah to “enhanced” techniques that he “identified KSM [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] as the mastermind of the September 11 attacks” and provided information that led to the detention of José Padilla in May 2003. As detailed in the task force’s report, this chronology is false. Abu Zubaydah identified Mohammed as the Sept. 11 mastermind during FBI interrogation long before the CIA was authorized to torture him in late 2002 — and Padilla was actually detained in May 2002, before the CIA tortured Abu Zubaydah. Public record evidence also contradicts the CIA’s claim that its “enhanced” interrogation of Mohammed and several other detainees led to the discovery of a plot to fly hijacked airliners into a skyscraper in Los Angeles and the capture of a 17-member terrorist cell tasked with carrying out the attack.
“Too-Big-to-Fail” Bank’s Advantage Over Smaller Competition
You know how smaller government capitalists like to rave about alleged competition in the market being the key to any and all economic success? They probably aren’t saying much about this:
The series of research papers, published on Tuesday by the U.S. central bank’s influential New York branch, suggests the biggest banks benefited even after the financial crisis from lower funding and operating costs compared with smaller ones...While the study did not pinpoint the reason big banks can borrow more cheaply, Wall Street critics say it is because investors believe the U.S. government would again rescue them in a panic...Fed economists estimated the funding advantage for the five largest banks over smaller peers to be about 0.31 percent, which they said was statistically significant.
In short, the big banks can still take bigger risks because they are confident taxpayers will save them. Taxpayers will have to save them because they have no choice and the alternative is far worse. This is simply another form of the upper echelon being propped up by government at the expense of both smaller competitors and taxpayers.
Travel Through Wormholes
An interesting science article from the BBC appeared on the possibility of traveling through wormholes in space. Fascinating stuff but it might be just a little difficult for now:
As a very rough approximation, you would need the energy the sun produces over 100 million years to make a wormhole about the size of a grapefruit.
Worthwhile for the imagination, I suppose. Maybe someone can figure out how to shrink us down to smaller than grapefruits to solve part of the problem. Where’s Rick Moranis when we need him?
A couple of articles in the NYT that cover all of the angles regarding the arguments the Supreme Court is hearing regarding the ACA’s requirement that employer-funded insurance programs cover contraception costs for their employees.
An article in The Guardian reports that the new book by former President Jimmy Carter rails against violence of all kinds against women and girls. Carter cites in the texts how the violence is justified through gross interpretations of religious texts.
Carter’s new book, A Call To Action, may be a must read according to the report.
The problem regarding sexual assault in the U.S. military is an issue that needs to be taken full-on. And the slap on the wrist given to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair today (a military commander who was on trial for the sexual assault of one of his subordinates) shows why.
Now Brig. Gen. Sinclair’s prosecution had a lot of wholes in it, as reported in the following linked report from the NYT. But allowing him to pay a fine and get-off with his pension proves that something is wrong in the Army and the other armed forces.
A good, almost prose piece in The Atlantic that tackles the myths regarding the so-called “cultural pathology” of inner-city black culture and its pervasiveness across the politically-ideological spectrum.