Further information at: Not-so-Random Information: Introduction and Table of Contents
Iraq War Veteran Who Rescued Wounded Children in 2007 Apache Attack Describes Emotional Toll of Witnessing Infamous Killings - “Iraq war veteran Ethan McCord was one of three US soldiers who were on the ground during the Apache helicopter assault on twelve civilians in Baghdad in 2007 that was captured in a video released by WikiLeaks. McCord is seen on the video carrying one of the wounded children in his arms to get medical help.”
Pres Obama Signs Bill Killing Anti-Corruption, Pro-Transparency STOCK Act Provisions - “President Obama completed this rope-a-dope deception by signing this new bill, which stripped key provisions from the STOCK Act and rolled back a lot of the progress that the original bill made in promoting transparency and open government. The bill was signed without any cameras or fanfare, which is in stark contrast to the very public signing of the actual STOCK Act. It seems President Obama was glad to parade around the signing of the pro-transparency bill, but was not so open about his reversal of the most important parts of it a year later! Open Secrets describes the key provisions stripped out of the bill and labels this action ‘A reversal of the STOCK Act’:
The elements of the STOCK Act that were removed include:
- Creation of searchable, sortable disclosure of the information contained in reports even for Congress, the president, vice president, the president’s cabinet and congressional candidates.
- Required electronic filing for Congress, the president, vice president, the president’s cabinet and congressional candidates, as well as high-level executive and congressional branch employees. Even images of the staffers' filings will not be available for viewing on the web.
Wikileaks Releases Kissinger Cables and Two Decisions in Manning Trial - “Michael Ratner: Kissinger files show important role Wikileaks continues to play revealing real history of US foreign policy; Judge makes one decision favorable to Manning, one not.”
Gitmo Is Killing Me - “ONE man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago. I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity. I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial. I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a ‘guard’ for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.”
Digital Disconnect: Robert McChesney on "How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy" - “Longtime media-reform advocate Robert McChesney looks at how the future of American politics could be largely determined by who controls the Internet in his newest book. "'Digital Disconnect' talks about the difference between the mythology of the Internet, the hope of the Internet, that it would empower people and make democracy triumphant, versus the reality, which is that large corporate monopolies and the government, working together, are taking away the promise of the Internet to suit their interests," says McChesney, the co-founder of Free Press and the National Conference for Media Reform. His book begins with a simple claim: ‘The ways capitalism works and does not work determine the role the Internet might play in society.’”
National Disgrace - “Harry Levine has often described what reform of marijuana arrest policies should look like in this country: Everyone should be treated like white, upper-middle class people already are (“they don’t get arrested, ticketed, or fined”). The Queens College, CUNY sociology professor has published reports and articles about marijuana arrests in New York City, California, Colorado, Washington, and other states and major cities. His research, compiled with attorney Loren Siegel, has served as a key resource for those urging recognition that pot arrests in the United States are, as Levine tells TNI, racist to the point of national scandal.”
Elizabeth Warren’s Foreclosure Settlement Bombshell: Banks Determined the Number of Victims of Their Own Foreclosure Frauds - “There is only one thing more Kafkaesque than the ongoing Wall Street frauds and that is watching a live United States Senate investigation of a diabolical settlement the banks themselves concocted to repay the victims of their own fraud. Such was the case yesterday when Senators Sherrod Brown, Jack Reed, and Elizabeth Warren grilled regulators from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Reserve along with outside consultants over allowing banks to hand pick the consultants to do their foreclosure reviews, negotiate confidentiality agreements with them and pay them directly.”
Further information on the Senate Hearing available at: U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. The full session can be viewed at: Outsourcing Accountability? Examining the Role of Independent Consultants (Note: the coverage begins at approximately 25:25). Fifteen minute segment from the hearing embedded below.
The Art of Harvey Kurtzman - “Cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993) founded the satirical MAD magazine in 1952 and forever altered the way young readers experienced the media and consumer culture around them. As the late film critic Roger Ebert explained, ‘I learned to be a movie critic by reading MAD magazine. I learned a lot of other things from the magazine too, including a whole new slant on society. MAD's parodies made me aware of the machine inside the skin--of the way a movie might look original on the outside, while inside it was just recycling the same dumb old formulas. I did not read the magazine, I plundered it for clues to the universe.’ After MAD, Kurtzman worked with a team of artists including Al Jaffee, Jack Davis and Will Elder on a series of short-lived but influential publications, including TRUMP, HUMBUG and HELP! At HELP!, a fortuitous nexus of nascent sketch comedy and underground ‘comix,’ Kurtzman worked with then unknowns Woody Allen, Gloria Steinem and R. Crumb, among many others. Terry Gilliam, who met John Cleese while working there, considered Kurtzman ‘one of the godparents of Monty Python.’”
Embedded below is a segment from the documentary: Piece By Piece (San Francisco Graffiti Documentary). Further info on TIE ONE at: The untimely death of a graffiti writer and Saber Remembers His Friend, TIE ONE .
Terrorism and the other Religions - “Muslims are not more violent than people of other religions. Murder rates in most of the Muslim world are very low compared to the United States. As for political violence, people of Christian heritage in the twentieth century polished off tens of millions of people in the two world wars and colonial repression. This massive carnage did not occur because European Christians are worse than or different from other human beings, but because they were the first to industrialize war and pursue a national model. Sometimes it is argued that they did not act in the name of religion but of nationalism. But, really, how naive. Religion and nationalism are closely intertwined. The British monarch is the head of the Church of England, and that still meant something in the first half of the twentieth century, at least.”
Massive Cheating Scandals Rock School Districts Nationwide - “New allegations of test impropriety under Michelle Rhee in Washington DC follow 35 criminal indictments in nation's largest ever cheating scandal in Atlanta.”