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Fight Back Against Media Consolidation
Author: livingonli    Date: 12/15/2007 09:33:45

Greetings fellow bloggerinos. I’m filling in for Tri who’s off on a little expedition. A little weekend with the scouts in the cold while another nor-easter bears down upon us. I guess I prefer my creature comforts.

One thing about me is that I have been following the media for many years, and not just because I work in the industry. And the one thing that has been a very disturbing trend has been the concentration of ownership in fewer hands. It seems like as the number of options has increased between cable/satellite TV, satellite radio, digital TV and HD radio, the number of companies providing content has decreased considerably from the 30 companies that controlled most media when Ben Bagdikian first wrote The Media Monopoly in 1980 to about 5 or 6 today. How well are you informed about what’s going on in the world if all the information is being filtered through Disney, News Corp., GE, Viacom, Time Warner, and Clear Channel. To look at one example, here are the US Holdings of News Corp. (better known as 20th-Century Fox, whose news coverage serves as part of Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda mill). Here are their US holdings via the Wiki;

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25 comments (Latest Comment: 12/23/2007 13:48:15 by maggiesboy)

Weird Science
Author: BobR    Date: 12/14/2007 13:00:33

The news out of Washington has been so aggravating and frustrating and maddening lately that - being a Friday - it's perhaps in our own best interests to take a deep breath, let it out, and try to focus on things amusing and uplifting today.

Being a bit of a science geek, I thought maybe reviewing some of the science-related stories would be just what the doctor ordered.

To start with, scientists have been able to eliminate normal fear responses in mice:
A University of Iowa study shows that loss or chemical inhibition of a protein, known as acid sensing ion channel protein (ASIC1a), reduces innate fear behavior in lab animals, making normally timid mice relatively fearless.

The findings might provide useful insight into anxiety disorders and may even point the way to a new therapeutic target.

For humans and other animals, some fears seem to be, in large part, instinctive and inborn rather than learned. For example, laboratory animals fear certain predators even though they have never been exposed to a predator. However, little is known about the brain mechanisms involved in innate fear responses.

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235 comments (Latest Comment: 12/15/2007 07:49:50 by livingonli)

Bush Kills Children's health care-- AGAIN...
Author: Raine    Date: 12/13/2007 13:06:44

Sometimes it seems like Groundhog Day.
Bush vetoed the second passing of the SCHIP bill. HE did it in private, where he would not have to be a man and face people when he did this disgusting act. From The AP:

...It was Bush's seventh veto in seven years — all but one coming since Democrats took control of Congress in January. Wednesday was the deadline for Bush to act or let the bill become law....

The bill Bush vetoed would have increased federal funding for SCHIP by $35 billion over five years, to add an estimated 4 million people to the program that provides insurance coverage for children from families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance. The joint federal-state program currently provides benefits to roughly 6 million people, mostly children.

A major point of contention with the White House was Bush's demand that nearly all poor children eligible for the program be found and enrolled before any in slightly higher-income families could be covered. He originally proposed adding $5 billion to the program over five years but later said he was willing to go higher as long as his conditions were met.

...Of the 43 million people nationwide who lack health insurance, more than 6 million are under 18 years old. That's more than 9 percent of all children.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the House will take up the extension question Thursday in a bill that also will make adjustments to Medicare.

"We'll obviously need to put additional money" into the children's health insurance program, Hoyer said, because several states say they will have to remove recipients from their rolls if the current funding level continues into next year.

So, If no extension is done to this program, the current existing program will fold... leaving states to have to pay for this on their own. States Rights you say? Is this what Republicans wanted when they called for more states rights? The right to let it's citizens go without Healthcare? The right to go further in debt? The right to choose between Oil or Food or medicine?
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284 comments (Latest Comment: 12/14/2007 04:07:51 by livingonli)

The Forgotten War
Author: BobR    Date: 12/12/2007 13:08:57

With all the talk and focus on the "war" in Iraq, you almost never hear stories or discussion about the military actions happening in Afghanistan. It reminds me of the Katrina aftermath - all the discussion was about New Orleans and Biloxi got short shrift despite the heavy destruction they endured.

Sure there have been "only" 734 miitary deaths so far, compared to the 3000+ in Iraq. But this war is now in it's 6th year. What have we gotten for all of the time and money and blood, toil, tears, and sweat invested there?

Apparently, not enough. Sec. Def. Robert Gates is asking for more troops:
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363 comments (Latest Comment: 12/13/2007 12:16:04 by TriSec)

Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 12/11/2007 11:40:10

Good Morning.

Today is our 1,728th day in Iraq.

We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures courtesy of Antiwar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 3887
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3748
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3427
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3028
Since Election (1/31/05): 2450

Other Coalition Troops: 306
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 469

We find today's cost of war standing at:

$ 476, 075, 050, 000.00

and for comparison's sake, I ran across this tidbit last night on a WWII trivia site:
From 1941 to 1945, a total of 17,955,000 Americans were medically examined for induction into the armed forces. Some 6,420,000 (35.8 percent) were rejected as unfit because of some physical disability. Altogether, 16,112,566 Americans served their country in World War 11. A total of 38.8 percent (6,332,000) were volunteers. In all, 405,399 American service men and women gave up their lives in a war that cost the US $288 Billion Dollars.

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187 comments (Latest Comment: 12/12/2007 02:53:53 by livingonli)

Blogging for Grinches!
Author: TriSec    Date: 12/10/2007 23:24:56


So we're sitting here watching the Grinch for the umpteenth time this season...I just had to post it.

Every Who
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot...

But the Grinch,
Who lived just North of Who-ville,
Did NOT!

The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

Whatever the reason,
His heart or his shoes,
He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos,
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown
At the warm lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew every Who down in Who-ville beneath
Was busy now, hanging a mistleoe wreath.

"And they're hanging their stockings!" he snarled with a sneer.
"Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!"
Then he growled, with his grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find a way to keep Christmas from coming!"
For, tomorrow, he knew...

...All the Who girls and boys
Would wake up bright and early. They'd rush for their toys!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

Then the Whos, young and old, would sit down to a feast.
And they'd feast! And they'd feast!
They would start on Who-pudding, and rare Who-roast-beast
Which was something the Grinch couldn't stand in the least!

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5 comments (Latest Comment: 12/14/2007 00:59:05 by MMB)

We're paid up...
Author: BobR    Date: 12/10/2007 17:21:03

The bill is paid; the lights will be kept on for another year!




Thanks to everyone that has donated or has promised to donate. We couldn't have done it without you.

There ARE such things as Christmas miracles - they happen when you're blessed with a group of people like this blog has...

4 comments (Latest Comment: 12/12/2007 17:23:57 by Raine)

Insane. Certifiable.
Author: Raine    Date: 12/10/2007 13:15:59

On the Four Freedom's Message Board there is a discussion about the destroyed CIA tapes.
Central Intelligence Agency Director Michael Hayden told employees in a letter that the videotapes were made in 2002 as part of a secret detention and interrogation program that began with the arrest of suspected al Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah.
The Security Risk, according to Hayden was that it would inflame Al-Qaeda. It could reveal the identity of CIA operatives. It was a very interesting coincidence that these tapes were destroyed the same time we learned about Abu Garib. By this time we already knew the identity of Valerie Plame --- who was indeed a CIA operative. She actually worked for the CIA where as those that did commit torture we still are not sure of. Some people went to jail, and others escaped prosecution --- Why? they were "private contractors" WE are still waiting on the release of the rest of those photograph's from the pentagon. I hope they have not been destroyed as well.
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183 comments (Latest Comment: 12/11/2007 03:07:58 by Mondobubba)

Libertarian Saturday
Author: TriSec    Date: 12/08/2007 13:32:55

Good Morning!

In this season of holidays and commemorations, there's one day we don't want to forget. Everyone is aware of December 15, right?

A very important U.S. civic holiday is coming up -- one that far too many Americans are not aware of.

Perhaps you can help bring it to their attention. It's never been more important than today.

December 15 is "Bill of Rights Day" -- a day to celebrate, honor and renew support for our precious Bill of Rights.

It was on December 15, 1791 that the Bill of Rights -- the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution -- went into effect.

One hundred and fifty years later, in 1941, "Bill of Rights Day" was officially recognized as a national civic holiday.

The Bill of Rights is, of course, the great protector of American liberties. It boldly declares that people have certain inalienable rights that government cannot abridge -- fundamental rights like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, and more. It also provides procedures for defending those rights -- such as fair trials and limits on federal power.

The Bill of Rights doesn't just belong to America. It has inspired freedom fighters around the world. The Founders viewed their Revolution as the first blow in a struggle to win liberty for *all* the people of the world. So the Bill of Rights is truly a document for everyone.

That's why I hope libertarians and other freedom lovers will use this upcoming Bill of Rights Day as an opportunity to teach their families, friends, neighbors and others about our precious heritage.

It's a *great* time for a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, discussing the vital importance of our Bill of Rights freedoms and calling for reflection on our heritage -- and urging citizens to speak out against current calls to sacrifice liberty for (alleged) security.

With our fundamental Bill of Rights freedom under unprecedented assault in recent years, this has never been more important.

To help with that, here's a short summary of the Bill of Rights, prepared by students at Liberty Middle School in Ashley, Virginia. (I've added just a few words.) While this condensed version doesn't have the majesty, depth and detail of the entire document, it is short and easy to understand, and may be useful to you in discussions and letters:

THE BILL OF RIGHTS: First Ten Amendments to the Constitution

1. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, right to assemble peaceably, right to petition the government about grievances.
2. Right to keep and bear arms.
3. Citizens do not have to quarter soldiers during peacetime.
4. No unreasonable searches and seizures.
5. Rights of the accused.
6. Right to a fair trial.
7. Right to a trial by jury in civil cases also.
8. No cruel and unusual punishments.
9. Unenumerated rights go to the people.
10. Reserves all powers not given to the national government to the states or the people.

All Americans should be familiar with their Bill of Rights freedoms. Sadly, numerous surveys indicate most are not. A 1991 poll commissioned by the American Bar Association found that only 33% of Americans surveyed even knew what the Bill of Rights was!

Those of us who love liberty should do our best to correct that.

Happy Bill of Rights Day!

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59 comments (Latest Comment: 12/10/2007 02:09:18 by livingonli)

Choose one: Liar or Grossly Incompetent
Author: BobR    Date: 12/07/2007 13:13:39

It seems like deja vu all over again. A news report makes us ask the question: Is Bush a liar or just grossly incompetent?... and which one is worse?

The big news of course is that a recently declassified NIE reports that Iran abandoned its nuclear program 4 years ago. This raises a lot of questions: What did the president know and when did he know it? Why is he just now talking about this? Let's take a look at both of these...

Bush stated in a press conference on Tues that:
he was informed of the intelligence report last week, but said U.S. intelligence chief Mike McConnell told him in August there was new information on Iran.

"He didn't tell me what the information was. He did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze," Bush said.

So he was told in August, but... did the President of the United States ask what the information was? It would seem that new information on one of the "axis of evil" would arouse his curiousity. If it didn't, does he deserve to be president? Did he run away with his fingers in his ears yelling "la la la - I can't hear you!"?
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223 comments (Latest Comment: 12/08/2007 05:16:09 by MMB)

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