Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday Reading



Editors Cut
Katrina vanden Heuvel

Michael Copps, a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), stops by The Nation offices every year to talk about what is happening to our media landscape. Invariably, he let's us know that no matter what a person considers his or her #1 issue – whether it be fighting poverty, ending the war, affordable health care, or anything else – the #2 issue better be media matters.

As he recently said in an interview with Salon: "Your No. 2 issue has to be this media issue, because all those other issues you care about… are funneled and filtered through big media, if they're lucky enough to get in that funnel at all…. Then they're covered with the slant of a few particular companies."

Copps is currently battling FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's attempt to circumvent public comment and rush through an anti-democratic plan that would make it easier for a single company to own multiple media outlets in a single market. Though Martin claims he would only allow companies in the top 20 markets to own both a daily newspaper and a broadcast outlet, Copps points out that that represents approximately 43 percent of US households, and there is a major loophole allowing companies to do the same in "just about any market on the basis of meeting a few loose criteria." Martin's consolidation not only would weaken an already lacking diversity of voices in the media as well as in media ownership, it would also deepen the political crisis of our time – our downsized politics of excluded alternatives.

@ The Nation
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Bill Moyers has an excellent report on the FCC shenanigans as well as an excellent interview with Keith Olbermann today you do not want to miss.
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Kevin Martin, the FCC chair is working for Bush/Cheney, from WIKI:

Before becoming a commissioner, Martin was a Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. He has also served as the Deputy General Counsel to Bush-Cheney 2000, on the Bush-Cheney recount team in Florida, and on the Presidential Transition.

Before joining Bush-Cheney 2000, Martin served as legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, in the Office of the Independent Counsel, and as an associate of Wiley Rein LLP.

Upon graduation from law school, Martin served as a judicial clerk for Judge William M. Hoeveler of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.
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Despite numerous town hall meetings where people rejected media consolidation overwhelmingly, this jerk puppet boy follows his masters voice.

.

32 comments:

micki said...

Another Saturday read...too bad about the last two elections!

The New York Times

December 15, 2007
Ohio Elections Official Calls Machines Flawed
By BOB DRIEHAUS

CINCINNATI — All five voting systems used in Ohio, a state whose electoral votes narrowly swung two elections toward President Bush, have critical flaws that could undermine the integrity of the 2008 general election, a report commissioned by the state’s top elections official has found.

“It was worse than I anticipated,” the official, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, said of the report. “I had hoped that perhaps one system would test superior to the others.”

At polling stations, teams working on the study were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. At boards of election, they were able to introduce malignant software into servers.

Ms. Brunner proposed replacing all of the state’s voting machines, including the touch-screen ones used in more than 50 of Ohio’s 88 counties. She wants all counties to use optical scan machines that read and electronically record paper ballots that are filled in manually by voters.

She called for legislation and financing to be in place by April so the new machines can be used in the presidential election next November. She said she could not estimate the cost of the changes.

Florida, another swing state with a history of voting problems, is also scrapping touch-screen machines and switching to optical scan ones for the election. Such systems have gained favor because experts say they are more reliable than others and, unlike most touch screens, they provide a paper trail for recounts.

Ms. Brunner, a Democrat, succeeded J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican who came under fire for simultaneously overseeing the 2004 election and serving as co-chairman of President Bush’s re-election campaign in Ohio.

She ordered the study as part of a pledge to overhaul voting after problems made headlines for hours-long lines in the 2000 and 2004 elections and a scandal in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, that led to the convictions of two elections workers on charges of rigging recounts. Ms. Brunner’s office temporarily seized control of that county’s board of elections.

The study released Friday found that voting machines and central servers made by Elections Systems and Software; Premier Election Solutions, formerly Diebold; and Hart InterCivic; were easily corrupted.

Chris Riggall, a Premier spokesman, said hardware and software problems had been corrected in his company’s new products, which will be available for installation in 2008.

“It is important to note,” he said, “that there has not been a single documented case of a successful attack against an electronic voting system, in Ohio or anywhere in the United States.”

Ken Fields, a spokesman for Election Systems and Software, said his company strongly disagreed with some of the report’s findings. “We can also tell you that our 35 years in the field of elections has demonstrated that Election Systems and Software voting technology is accurate, reliable and secure,” he said.

The $1.9 million federally financed study assembled corporate and academic teams to conduct parallel assessments. A bipartisan group of 12 election board directors and deputy directors acted as advisers.

The academic team, made up of faculty members and students from Cleveland State University, Pennsylvania State, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Pennsylvania, said systemic change was needed. “All of the studied systems possess critical security failures that render their technical controls insufficient to guarantee a trustworthy election,” the team wrote.

In addition to switching machines, Ms. Brunner recommended eliminating polling stations that are used for fewer than five precincts as a cost-cutting measure, and introducing early voting 15 days before Election Day.

DEN said...

I saw Al Gore speech, he pasted the chimp to the wall. HA!

The neo-fascists must go if we are to survive.

micki said...

this jerk puppet boy follows his masters voice.

Good line, Den! Perfecto.

micki said...

His Master's Voice Poster -- Nipper

micki said...

From the NYT today:

The Justice Department and the C.I.A.'s inspector general have begun a preliminary inquiry into the destruction of the tapes, and Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said the department would not comply with Congressional requests for information now because of "our interest in avoiding any perception that our law enforcement decisions are subject to political influence."

Those effin' jerks. January 20, 2009 is a long way in the future....

DEN said...

And HE is not a political influence himself?

Projecting again.

Pot, meet kettle.

DEN said...

Speaking of Muck,

I sent you some.

DEN said...

If you read the 178 pages of answers to questions that were submitted by Senators, some as many as 30, 35 questions, you see the independence of Judge Mukasey. In response to question 20 by Senator Kennedy, Judge Mukasey said this:

There can be no political litmus test for the hiring of career civil service employees. This is, and must be, a bedrock principle.

(Feinstien in her statement to Congress.)

We shall see.

DEN said...

And, why then Kevin Martin?

DEN said...

Homeland security invasion:

When it comes to catching crooks, Steve Reed is resourceful.

The latest move by Arden Fair's security chief: installing a camera system that automatically records the license plates of every car parked in the mall.

Using a $42,000 federal Homeland Security grant, he's equipped two patrol vehicles with roof-mounted cameras. As of Jan. 1, the vehicles will roam the mall's sprawling parking lots, zoom in on license plates and forward the numbers to the Sacramento Police Department.

@ The SACBEE

micki said...

Boy, Den! Senator Feinstein's "rationale" for voting to confirm Mukasey is absolutely mind-bending in its verbal gymnastics!

She is one disgusting toady!

micki said...

Carey -- I hope Brandon and your cat are on the mend. Do cats eat chicken soup?

How's everyone?

David B. Benson said...

I didn't even know there was an H.R. 370, much less its status...

carey said...

Well, I've lost a cat. It was a fight but we lost him. Apparently the neurological whatever he was born with, (he's slow on response) had come to fruition in death.

My other cat is upset. Everybody's upset. Particularly my boy.

David B. Benson said...

Maybe, just maybe, Big Coal took a hit:

IHT: U.S. reversal under pressure leads to climate deal

carey said...

The doctor is doing an autopsy because it's a mystery. For free, he's an old friend. Oh, the cat was 10 years. Still, he always had problems, just not medical until a few months ago.

I'm going with my sons to get a Christmas tree tonight. That'll make us all feel a little better.

At the same time, in the doctor's office, my sister's cat has been diagnosed with, we hope, a benign bump. Getting this looked at in depth Tuesday.

Pet Insurance? It's pet HMO, we talked to the vet about it. They're just like people HMOs. They cover only some things, no prexisting conditions, etc.

I can't take it. Now our pets' health can put us out on the street.

I will say this, Ken and I knew he might not last too long. He's definitely happier now.

David B. Benson said...

Here is a more update take on the Bali conference, from Biopact:

Breakthough on climate change reached in Bali, as U.S. makes U-turn

carol said...

Sorry about your cat, Carey. I know how it is. We lost one last year and the second one this year. No more cats in the house yet I still find myself staring at the floor in the dark hallway so I don't step on someone. I still expect a cat to be by my feet under the computer desk. I put the winter door on the outdoor kitty door since there's no one going in and out. Makes a difference. It's the first year it's actually warm by the back door.

Carey said...

Thank you dear Carol. It's a somber mood out here today. My boy's still dragging around a measly cold and now this.

I must tend to him. He's down.

Carey said...

Snuck away to note the "change-of-heart" the administration supposedly had at the world climate talks in D.C.

Hmmmm.

DEN said...

Carey, clean up all the remnants of poor kitty and toss them. Then go to the shelter and find a couple(2) sibling kittens.

Guaranteed this will be just the cure.

Two kittens are a hoot to watch and they provide hours of entertainment.

Do it! Choose carefully though, there are some screwy cats out there.

Hajji said...

Carey,

We are sad to hear about your family's loss. We know what a hole a lost pet can create.

Our own day was brightened by several cards recieved today one was from you and Brandon. Thank you so much for thinking about us.

I also bought a new washing machine today. After months of battling the canatankerous, overused, 10-year old Whirlpool monster, I went to H.H.Gregg and bought a GE that lists for $450 for only $271.

One of those "Loss Leaders" the retailers are throwing out to bring in the Holiday buck-suckers in the doors.

If it hadn't been right off the I-385 exit on the busiest retail road in town, I'd not have bothered.

A quick peak down Woodruff Road's bumper-to-bumper sent me scurrying for my little mountain as fast as "Baby Blue" Rodeo could putter!

I gotta go back and pick up up, tomorrow, didn't have the trailer, wouldn't fit in the Rodeo...ah, well...

-T

Annoyed at blogger/google said...

Horrors:

Will Congress plunge us (again) into the nuke power abyss?

carey said...

That Smirking Chimp article is an illustration of how corruption perpetuates it's own illnesses.

Thank you Hajji.

Den,

I have to do the big move first. My other cat also needs time to adjust to her loss.

carey said...

If you're up to it, these pre-Christmas sales are some of the best buys year-round. I finally put that together this year. If you're gonna do a bigger purchase of some sort, perhaps consider doing it at Christmas.

Congratulations, Hajji, on your new machine. Hope it behaves like a charm.

micki said...

Oh, Carey, I'm sorry about your kitty. Cats are such great companions. Try to take comfort in knowing that your wonderful cat had a great life with you and your family and wouldn't have traded it for anything.

My sympathy.

micki said...

The Checklist - The New Yorker

If something so simple can transform intensive care, what else can it do?

Hajji -- I thought of you when I read this article. It's not centered on ER work, but it's a fascinating article, IMO.

micki said...

The Des Moines Register endorses Hillary on the Dem side -- and John McCain on the Repub side.

For the campaigns and their supporters, this is a BIG deal.

December 15, 2007

Democratic endorsement editorial: Why Clinton

THE REGISTER'S EDITORIAL BOARD

A deep, talented field in the Democratic caucus race offers both good and difficult choices.

No fewer than three candidates would, by their very identity, usher the nation to the doorstep of history. Should the party offer the nation the chance to choose its first woman president? Or its first black president? Or its first Latino president?

Or should the party place its trust in two senators, Joe Biden or Chris Dodd, who have served their nation with distinction for more than 30 years each? Or should it heed John Edwards’ clarion call to restore opportunity for all Americans?

Beyond their personal appeal, the candidates have outlined ambitious policy proposals on health care, education and rural policy. Yet these proposals do little to help separate the field. Their plans are similar, reflecting a growing consensus in the party about how to approach priority issues.

The choice, then, comes down to preparedness: Who is best prepared to confront the enormous challenges the nation faces — from ending the Iraq war to shoring up America’s middle class to confronting global climate change?

The job requires a president who not only understands the changes needed to move the country forward but also possesses the discipline and skill to navigate the reality of the resistant Washington power structure to get things done.

That candidate is New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

From working for children’s rights as a young lawyer, to meeting with leaders around the world as first lady, to emerging as an effective legislator in her service as a senator, every stage of her life has prepared her for the presidency.

That readiness to lead sets her apart from a constellation of possible stars in her party, particularly Barack Obama, who also demonstrates the potential to be a fine president. When Obama speaks before a crowd, he can be more inspirational than Clinton. Yet, with his relative inexperience, it’s hard to feel as confident he could accomplish the daunting agenda that lies ahead.

Edwards was our pick for the 2004 nomination. But this is a different race, with different candidates. We too seldom saw the “positive, optimistic” campaign we found appealing in 2004. His harsh anti-corporate rhetoric would make it difficult to work with the business community to forge change.

Unfortunately, for many Americans, perceptions of Clinton, now 60, remain stuck in a 1990s time warp. She’s regarded as the one who fumbled health-care reform as a key policy adviser to her husband, President Bill Clinton, or as a driving force in the bitter standoff between the “Clinton machine” and the “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
Her record in the Senate belies those images. Today, she’s widely praised for working across the aisle with Sam Brownback, Lindsey Graham and other Republicans.

Determination to succeed and learning from her mistakes have been hallmarks of Clinton’s life. She grew up in Park Ridge, Ill., graduated from Wellesley College and earned a law degree from Yale. As first lady in Arkansas, she was both strategist and idealist, borne out by her commitment to children and families. As the nation’s first lady, she in essence spent eight years as a diplomat, traveling to more than 80 countries and advocating for human rights.

In the Senate, she has earned a reputation as a workhorse who does not seek the limelight. She honed knowledge of defense on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She has proactively served rural and urban New York and worked in the national interest, strengthening the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Clinton is tough. Tested by rough politics and personal trials, she’s demonstrated strength, resolve and resilience.

Can she inspire the nation? Clinton is still criticized in some quarters as being too guarded and calculating. (As president, when she makes a mistake, she should just say so.)

Indeed, Obama, her chief rival, inspired our imaginations. But it was Clinton who inspired our confidence. Each time we met, she impressed us with her knowledge and her competence.

The times demand results. We believe as president she’ll do what she’s always done in her life: Throw herself into the job and work hard. We believe Hillary Rodham Clinton can do great things for our country.

DEN said...

Sorry Carey I missed the 'still have one cat part, disregard my suggestion in that case about more kittens.

We went through two cats dying within 6 months of each other and when the first one went we tried adding a cat for a 'friend'to the one left ......ERROR!

All cats were gone then we moved in the little ones.

Big move?

carey said...

I'm forced into selling the house. I'll be moving a few miles closer to my sister, just a hop and a skip.

DEN said...

Hope you have help, have a yard sale! less stuff to move that way.

I moved 17 times, traveled light, you will get it all back and more in the next place.

Stuff builds up, (at least around here it does.)

Hajji said...

Micki,

Great New Yorker article. We do a lot of the "checklist" thing...sometimes the most important item is a periodic "all-stop" to allow the checklist to catch up!

(quite often in the ER, though, we can't afford the time for such)

Nurses are constanlty keeping docs from doing silly things, techs keep nurses from errors, and dept coordinators, transports, lab and radiology techs try and keep it all flowing in some sort of body-fluid drenced, funky-smelling ballet.

While there's been a great improvement "door-to-balloon" cardiac catheterization times (we regularly diagnose, stabilize and get a patient on the Cathlab table in under 30minutes!) one of the coolest things to come with a checklist, lately has been our Geriatric Hip Fracture Center protocols.

From the time EMS calls with an obvioius fracture (shortened leg length, rotated foot position, extreme pain, etc) we can have an orthopedic surgeon, mecidal clearance specialist (hospitalist) and an OR team scrubbed and standing by when the patient hits the door.

Such quickly repaired hips have the patient in and out of the OR and starting on physical therapy within a few hours! Weight-bearing sometimes begins within 12 hours...a huge leap forward to recovery. Granny's dancing the rhumba inside a month!
(funny, she never danced the rhumba before!)

-T