MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki
has been collaborating with NJ journalist Brian Murphy
on some investigative journalism about the Chris Christie administration's alleged withholding of Sandy Relief funds until the Mayor of Hoboken agrees to fast-track a real-estate development. Hoboken was one of the hardest-hit communities and has so far received $6 per resident. Christie became governor after leading a US Attorney investigation which convicted NJ politicians of crooked real-estate deals.
Sexual Assault In The U.S. Military
is the focus of a serious contender for Best Documentary Feature at this year's Academy Awards. The Invisible War
is a groundbreaking investigative doc that sheds light on the under-reported epidemic of sexual abuse against female members of the military
, as well as the lack of punitive action in these crimes: of the 8 percent of sexual assault cases that are prosecuted in the military, only 2 percent result in convictions. A female soldier in a combat zone is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.
By official estimates
from The Department of Defense, 19,000 violent sexual crimes occurred in the military in 2011 alone
. Sexual assault is grossly under-reported
in the military. In 2011, 3,191 assaults were reported when its likely that somewhere between 19,000 and 22,000 assaults occurred.
The women in the film speak about the physical and mental abuse they underwent while serving in the military - and about the the lawsuit they joined and the verdict in which their experiences were labeled "occupational hazards".
The film is already garnering much attention, especially as front-running Oscar Nominee - and lawmakers are taking notice. [more inside]
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law.
The product of a strict party line vote following a
of debate, disinformation
, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act
would (among other popular reforms
) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool
for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives
(including presidential contender Mitt Romney
) is the central question facing the justices today
. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step
of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured
, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state
But despite the pessimism of bettors
, some believe
the Court will demur, wary of damaging
its already-fragile reputation
with another partisan 5-4 decision
. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know
. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog
for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
- Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider
) has investigated News Corporation
for PBS Frontline [transcript]
. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered
" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air
But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK
. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
The Naked Rambler now in prison for 6 years for nudity
Six years ago, Naked Rambler Stephen Gough's hike from Land's End to John O'Groats brought him media fame – and a prison sentence. Then another, and another, and… why has he been locked up ever since?
Drew Curtis' FARK.com has settled a lawsuit with a patent troll.
The popular "not news" site was sued by "Gooseberry Natural Resources LLC" which held a ridiculous broad patent (6,370,535) that it claimed covered the basic concept of generating a press release online.
Other sites targeted included Reddit, Digg, Slashdot, TechCrunch & Others.
In the case of Fark, the suit was settled for $0. Curtis writes, "I paraphrased our best one-time settlement offer as "how about jack sh*t and go f*ck yourself."
Sotomayor, Kagan shift Supreme Court debates to the left.
The liberal wing is no longer drowned out by Scalia and his fellow conservatives during oral arguments.
In response to an incest case
in which a man imprisoned, raped and fathered two children
with his own daughter, Poland's Lower House of Parliament has approved an amendment to their penal code which makes chemical castration
of pedophiles mandatory
in certain cases
. [more inside]
, a Christian
registrar, has won her discrimination case
after refusing to conduct same sex civil partnerships
. " Islington Council cared too much
about the "rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual" community, the panel ruled. "
--as reported by BBC News, on this day in 1962 (video clip too)--her travails and travels, the law, publicity, and what happened afterwards. (more here from American Prospect
in 05: ...A Gallup Poll taken that year showed that the majority of Americans supported Finkbine, and her case was a turning point ...
Ethicsgate continues: Today, the bipartisan Government Accountability Office
declared that the Bush administration broke the law
by paying Armstrong Williams
to write favorable columns about the No Child Left Behind Act
, funneling public funds to a PR firm to sift through news stories and gauge media perception of Bush policies, and financing phony TV news reports
giving the President's education policies "an A-plus," creating what the GAO called "covert propaganda." [Williams et. al. previously discussed here
The End of Internet P8rn? The updated 2257 regulations
, which go into effect June 23, will expand the proof of age record-keeping requirements that producers of sexually explicit content must follow. Industry insiders are scrambling to prepare for the new regulations
and claim they are too burdensome to 'net p9rn providers and are illogical. (The AVN links are NSFW) The Free Speech Coalition
is seeking a temporary restraining order
(Doc file) to enjoin the enforcement of the new regulations hoping to prevent what some predict to be an industry wide shutdown.
Is this a matter of the law keeping up with technology, or an assault on .xxx?
The Australian media is calling them the 'Bali nine'.
Nine young Australians are being held in Bali under suspicion for attempting to smuggle 8.3 kg (or 11.25 kg depending on what you read) of heroin through Bali's airport. They were caught with the drugs allegedly strapped to their bodies while accomplices were apprehended at a nearby hotel. Most of the nine Australians are now cooperating with police enquiries even though they fear doing so will further endanger the lives of their families
(e.g. drug lords punishing them for talking). Don't get this latest case mistaken, however, with the other high-profile Australian drugs case in the Australian media right now. Beauty therapist Schapelle Corby, 27, is also being held in Bali for the 4.1 kg of top-notch marijuana found in her bodyboard bag
some months ago. Prosecutors in that case have asked for a life sentence
to be handed down to Corby. She has supposedly escaped death by firing squad. Her legal team and family, though, say she was a victim of dodgy baggage handlers and an Australian interstate drug smuggling operation that uses unknowing interstate Australian travellers as drug mules. Most Australians are worried about this, too
. Of course, the strain of the case on Corby is beginning to show
But getting back to the 'Bali nine'. What will their fate be? Another Australian was just given an execution order in Vietnam for also smuggling Heroin
. It's all nasty stuff, hey. News reports indicate that Australian officials will seek clemency
for those involved in the latest Bali bust. Yeah, but how much good will that do? Indonesia is well known for enforcing strong anti-drug laws. And who can blame them?
When he was seven years old, Brandon Maxfield
was accidentally shot in the face, becoming permanently paralyzed below the neck. [More inside]
Joe Previtera, a 21 year old student at Boston College, was arrested Wednesday and charged with felonies after dressing as a hooded Iraqi prisoner in front of a military recruitment center in downtown Boston
. Previtera faces misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and felony charges of making a false bomb threat and using a hoax device. The charges apparently reflect the District Attorney's concern that Mr Previtera might have been mistaken for a terrorist
You just knew that as soon as gay marriages were legal
they'd be screwing in the trees, and damned if it didn't happen
Man Beheads (statue of) Margaret Thatcher. His "sense of 'satirical humour' left him no choice but to carry out the attack" on the £150,000 Maggie as 'artistic expression and [his] right to interact with this broken world.' Jury fails to convict
and a retrial is scheduled. Perhaps there is a creative solution
to replacing the head?
The city of Enoch, Utah
, population 3467, has an annual animal-control budget of $25,000. A budget this small means that Enoch's Animal Control must display some creativity when it comes to dealing with the problem of stray or unwanted animals. Mark Havnes of the Salt Lake Tribune
describes Enoch's solution
"No sterile lethal injections here. No pressurized bottles of toxic gas. Enoch attaches a hose to the back of a city-owned Dodge pickup and funnels lethal carbon monoxide into a shedlike death chamber. The unwanted, unadoptable critters then are placed inside...'We have no trouble sleeping at night,' says...the city's part-time animal-control officer... 'We can't see a darn thing wrong with what we are doing."
When police go bad: Boycott Starbucks
A Seattle community’s response to what was seen as racially motivated use of excessive force by police was to boycott the company that is funding their own schools and projects. A strange story all around.