March 22, 2012

Posted by orrinj at 6:36 PM


Protesters See Tweets Used Against Them (TAMER EL-GHOBASHY, 3/22/12, WSJ)

As they prosecute hundreds of Occupy protesters on lower-level charges such as disorderly conduct, Manhattan prosecutors have turned one of the movement's principal organizing tools--social media such as Twitter--against the defendants.

In short Twitter messages, protesters coordinate activities and warn others of law-enforcement efforts. In doing so, prosecutors believe some have revealed an intent to break the law.

"The lesson is, if you're speaking publicly and leaving a record as to who you are, that's information the government can legally access," said Orin Kerr, a professor of law at George Washington University who specializes in electronic evidence and Internet law.

Tweets could address a key problem for prosecutors as the cases move through court: establishing the actions and intentions of specific people who were arrested in huge groups.

.Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very prison!
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Posted by orrinj at 3:36 PM


Biden in 2016? Not so crazy (Glenn Thrush, March 22, 2012, Politico)

Obama aides, by and large, are amused rather than threatened by Biden, although they are none too eager to reprise the veep vs. White House storyline in the "West Wing" TV show or the real-life Bill Clinton-Al Gore drama that inspired it.

But if Biden was picked in part because he posed no threat to the man at the top of the ticket...

....than in the fact that Dick Cheney (along with Don Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Tommy Thompson, etc.) was already qualified to be president, whereas no one in this administration was.

Posted by orrinj at 6:59 AM


Who's Progressive? (PETER HANNAFORD, 3.22.12, American Spectator)

It is not surprising that the "mainstream" media use the word "progressive" without quotation marks to describe liberal Democrats and their proposals. What is surprising is that conservative commentators often do the same thing, as if the people who use the word to describe themselves deserve it. Even some Republican lawmakers in interviews treat the word as a common description. and not what it is, an effort by their adversaries to attach good overtones to bad ideas.

Here is a proposal: Let every Republican office holder or office seeker and every conservative commentator vow to put quotation marks around "progressive" in any written communication or article and, in radio or television appearances, precede it with the phrase "so-called." Thus, in print, it would be the "progressive" wing of the Democratic Party and in broadcasts, the so-called "progressive" wing of the Democratic Party." Bolder voices might go further and call it by its accurate name, the regressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Indeed, it is currently folks like Paul Ryan and Ron Wyden, who are prepared to move past both the First and Second Ways, who are progressive, though W was the most progressive politician we've had since FDR.

Posted by orrinj at 6:50 AM


In Iraq, growing gap sets Kurdistan apart (Ernesto Londoño, 3/10/12, Washington Post)

This is Iraqi Kurdistan, a region that was semiautonomous even under Saddam Hussein, but one that has been transformed in remarkable ways since the American invasion of 2003. While the rest of Iraq remains saddled by scars and trauma from the conflicts the U.S. invasion unleashed, the Kurdistan region increasingly stands apart, with its own fractious, impoverished past mostly a distant memory.

But Kurdistan can only be held up as a success story with significant caveats. Security has come at the expense of the repressive features of a police state. Two ruling political parties have held on to power through a vast network of patronage that has given the opposition little breathing room.

Perhaps most alarmingly, its historically acrimonious relationship with Baghdad has become downright poisonous since the last U.S. soldiers left the country last December -- casting a pall over the sustainability of its aspirations. 

"If the other Iraq cannot lift itself you will have a gap, and that gap will lead to conflict,'' Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to Kurdistan's president, Massoud Barzani, said in an interview in his office in Irbil.

Declare nationhood and end the charade.

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Posted by orrinj at 6:48 AM


I'd forgotten this one, courtesy of Friend Driscoll.
Posted by orrinj at 6:43 AM


Roberto Clemente: The King of Béisbol: Fifty years ago, the sports superstar and humanitarian transcended baseball's borders (David Maraniss, April 2012, Smithsonian)

What a surprisingly light object this helmet is! The sensation is of holding balsa wood, so insubstantial it seems almost ready to float away. Six and a half ounces, fiberglass and polyester resin, made from the formula used in bulletproofing materials for the armed forces. Coated in black, with a yellow P embossed on the front--the colors of the Pirates. Eight air holes on top, no ear flaps (they would not be mandatory in the Majors until 1974), scuff marks here and there, many of them with flecks of green. How could this object protect a head from the impact of baseballs thrown at velocities of 90 to 100 miles an hour from a distance of 60 feet 6 inches by the likes of Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax and Juan Marichal? The question raises many thoughts, but first consider the remarkable head inside that helmet.

Clemente represents more than baseball. That explains why his helmet is at the museum, where it will appear among more than 100 objects--along with the Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz, the original Kermit the Frog and a 150-pound piece of Plymouth Rock--in the exhibition "American Stories," which opens April 5. Clemente became a patron saint in the Spanish-speaking baseball-playing world, as well as in his adopted hometown of Pittsburgh, a black Latino embraced by the nation's quintessential white working-class town. His devoted following extends around the world; 40 schools and more than 200 parks are named in his honor, from Puerto Rico to Africa to Germany. The way he died is part of it. The plane that carried him to his death at age 38 was bound for Managua, Nicaragua, from San Juan, carrying humanitarian aid to a nation that had been devastated by an earthquake. That trip was in keeping with the way Clemente lived. He was that rare athlete who was growing as a human being as he aged; so many diminish as their talents diminish. In the final years of his life, his mantra was: If you have a chance to make life better for others and fail to do so, you are wasting your time on this earth. Clemente was aboard the plane because earlier aid sent to Nicaragua had been diverted by military thugs working for the nation's strongman ruler, Anastasio Somoza Debayle. If I go, it will reach the people, he said.

Months after he died, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the first Latino so honored, and joined Lou Gehrig, who also died young, as the only members not required to wait five years after their playing days were done. Clemente was not the best ever, but there was no one like him on the field or off. Here is No. 21 in full--the soulful way he looked in his cutoff Pirates uniform with the black long-sleeved undershirt; the way he moved slowly to the plate, as though about to face an executioner, rolling out the persistent kinks in his neck all the way from the on-deck circle; the trademark clothesline throw from the deepest corner of right field to third base; the incessant physical complaints of a perfectionist and hypochondriac; the busting pride for his homeland and the determination with which he confronted American sportswriters who ridiculed his accent (none of them spoke Spanish) and described him in the racial stereotypes of that era; the beautiful fury with which he swung his big-barreled bat at any pitch within reach and ran the bases as if fleeing a horror, his helmet often flying off as he rounded first after another of his precisely 3,000 hits.

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