Category Archives: Law

Want Everyone to have Access to Braodband? Follow the Fins…

As of July 1st, every person in Finland will have the right to broadband access as decreed by the government. Yep…very person.

What does this mean?

Well, it means that the U.S. has officially fallen further behind the rest of the world in the realm of Internet technology but it also means something more. It means jobs for telecomminication workers who will be compelled to extend service to all households (in Finland). It also means empowering all ciitizens by providing the information that can transform lives and enrich cultures (in Finland). All fo this seems to be lost on the U.S. (…but not in Finland).

As for president Obama and his promise of broadband expansion in this country? Well, that seems like little more than a pipe dream at best. In fact, telecommunication providers in the U.S. are declining to accept government funding for just such a project. They claim accepting the funds would wrap them in government red tape and subject them to following government project rules.

Perish the thought.

One has to wonder if the real reason is simply that most corporate conservatives are just plain old anti-anything-Obama, even more than they are wildly (as a result of shear greed and ignorance) anti-regulation on any level.

Meanwhile, every Finn will have the right to access to a 1Mbps (megabit per second) broadband connection by 2015.

Conclusion? The rest of the world gets it and we don’t.

The premise is simple. Internet services are no longer just for entertainment purposes, they are an essential part of every citizen’s life. Would any government deny their citizens of basic communication and telephone service? Probably not I’m guessing.

Why should the Internet be any different?

Read the full story on the BBC here…

A poll conducted for the BBC World Service earlier this year found that nearly four in five people around the world believed that access to the internet is a fundamental right.

I happen to agree.

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Filed under Economy, International, Law, Media, Politics, Technology

Before You Make Any Long-Term Plans…You Better Read This….

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, off Louisiana, in this handout photograph taken on April 21, 2010 and obtained on April 22, 2010.

(This article was re-printed from 

By Christian A. DeHaemer

The Dwarves dug too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum… shadow and flame.

 — Saruman, The Lord of the Rings

There is something primordial about BP’s quest for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an Icarus-like story of super-ambition; of reaching too far, delving too deep. I don’t know if you’ve stopped to contemplate what BP was trying to do…The well itself started 5,000 feet below the surface. That’s the depth of the Grand Canyon from the rim. And then the company attempted to drill more than 30,000 feet below that — Mt. Everest would give 972 feet to spare. Furthermore, the company sought oil in a dangerous area of the seabed. It was unstable and many think BP sought it out because seismic data showed huge pools of methane gas — the very gas that blew the top off Deepwater Horizon and killed 11 people. More than a year ago, geologists criticized Transocean for putting their exploratory rig directly over a massive underground reservoir of methane. According to the New York Times , BP’s internal “documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of ‘well control.’ And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.” The problem is that this methane, located deep in the bowels of the earth, is under tremendous pressure… Some speculate as much as 100,000 psi — far too much for current technology to contain. The shutoff vales and safety measures were built for only 1,000 psi. It was an accident waiting to happen… And there are many that say it could get worse — much worse. Geologists are pointing to other fissures and cracks that are appearing on the ocean floor around the damaged wellhead. Continue reading

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Filed under Crime, Energy, Environmental Policy, Global Warming, Health and Wellness, International, Law, Politics, Scandals

Iceland Passes Sweeping Legislation to Protect Journalistic Integrity

The Icelandic parliament has voted to create the strongest media freedom laws in the world aimed at protecting journalists and preserving news integrity.

Known as the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, the new law requires changes to Icelandic law to strengthen journalistic source protection, freedom of speech, and government transparency. It isn’t clear at this early stage if this new law will result in the desired effect but its potential is obvious, especially for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Experts and critics are already referring to it as a server safe law, meaning it would probably prevent servers from being forcibly shut down, if the powers that be deem them a nuisance..

There might be other benefits too.

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Filed under CapitolStreet News, Congress, International, Law, Media, Politics

Ellen DeGeneres Marries Girlfriend in L.A.

Afternoon talk show host Ellen DeGeneres married her life partner, actress Portia de Rossi, at their home in Los Angeles this past Saturday. 

DeGeneres, 50, and de Rossi, 35, exchanged their own vowes at  small ceremony, after dating for about four years. During that time they have been open about their relationship.

DeGeneres announced her plans to marry de Rossi, on her daytime talk show in May after California’s Supreme Court overturned a state ban on same-sex marriage.

If you remember, it was DeGeneres who broke the ‘gay’ T.V. barrier in 1997 when her television character came out of the closet on her sitcom “Ellen.” Afterward, she disappeared for a bit from T.V., but has resurrected her career.

I say good for her, as this is more proof that love cannot be simply legislated away. People who think homosexuality is a conscious lifestyle choice made to impress people, are wrong-headed. In Ellen’s case, she is finally able to express here love for here mate, and vice-versa, the way all other people who are in love, choose to express it…through marriage. 

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Filed under Culture, Law, Media, Politics

U.S. Army Threatens Kids with ‘Jail’ for not Enlisting

Army recruiter Sgt. Glenn Marquette, has been lying to high school students about their obligations under a non-binding military “delayed entry program.” Worse yet, he has been threatening them with jail if they don’t follow through and enlist when the students are under no obligation to do so.

Eighteen year old high school senior Irving Gonzales told KHOU 11 News in Houston that he thought about enlisting in the Army as a way of helping out his family financially, so he signed up for the “delayed entry program.” The rules of the program are specific. Anyone who signs up for the program is in no way obligated to follow through and enlist. It’s like pre-season football sort of.

But when Gonzales told U.S. Army recruiter, Glenn Marquette, that he’d changed his mind and would, “…just stay here, go to college,” Marquette informed him he couldn’t get out because “you signed a binding contract.”

U.S. Army recruiting regulations state that “delayed entry members can leave any time” and “under no circumstances can a recruiter threaten or intimidate future soldiers,” much like Marquette did.

In an audio recording played by KHOU News in Houston, Gonzales asked, “What if I just don’t show up?”

Marquette replied flatly, “Then guess what? You’re AWOL. … You want to go to school? You will not get no loans (nice grammar)… As soon as you get pulled over for a speeding ticket … they’re going to see that you’re a deserter. Then they’re going to apprehend you, take you to jail.”

Marquette added, “All that lovey dovey I want to go to college and all that? Guess what? You just threw it out the window.”


Marquette refused to be interviewed and has not responded to Capitol Street’s request for comment via e-mail. 

The Army says that making threats as Marquette did, is a violation of recruting regulations and that he has been removed from his duties. 

This is the second time in the past year that KHOU News  has uncovered such behavior by U.S. Army recruiters. The last officer involved in that earlier incident was even promoted to station commander, responsible for training and supervising other recruiters.

And so it goes.

Remember kiddies, there are a few simple rules in life. One is, the house always wins. The other , is that recruiters always lie…always. Besides, you don’t have to enlist to lose your retirement and get screwed out of your benefits, just go to work for any American company and wait a while. At least you won’t be getting shot at in Iraq.

End of the lesson.

Link to KHOU story here

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Filed under Crime, Democratic Party, Law, Politics, Scandals, War in Iraq

Cheney’s Office Allegedly Alters CDC Climate Testimony

With all the talk of the ‘Oxfam’ protests at the G8 meeting in Tokyo, it comes as no surprise that Vice President Dick Cheney wants to sweep climate change debate under the rug. In fact, it appears the effort is years in the making.

Vice President Dick Cheney’s office pushed to delete references about the ‘consequences’ of climate change on public health from congressional testimony, a former senior EPA official claimed Tuesday.

Jason K. Burnett, former top level EPA administrator, said that White House was concerned that the testimony last October by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, might make it tougher to avoid regulation.

Burnett, until last month a senior adviser on climate change at the Environmental Protection Agency, described that Cheney’s office was deeply involved in getting nearly half of the CDC’s original testimony removed. The office of the vice president was seeking deletions to the testimony concerning any references to human health consequences, as a result of of climate change.

Sernator Barbara Boxer maintains that the deletions are the first part of “a master plan” with the goal of “covering up” the real dangers of global warming.

As many as six of 14 total pages of CDC testimony may have been deleted. 

Megan Mitchell, Dick Cheney’s press secretary, dismissed the allegations by Burnett and said, “We don’t comment on internal deliberations.”

Jason Burnett, a lifelong Democrat, resigned last month from the EPA for the second time since 2004, because of the EPA’s position on climate change and other issues. He currently supports Barack Obama for president.

He has registered strong concerns about Cheney’s office fighting to not link climate change directly to public health or damage to the environment.

Burnett wrote that The White House, at Cheney’s urging, “requested that I work with CDC to remove from the testimony any discussion of the human health consequences of climate change.” 

Burnett refused to press CDC on the deletions, because he believes the CDC’s draft testimony was “fundamentally accurate.”

In 2007 The Supreme Court directed the EPA to determine whether carbon dioxide endangers human health and welfare and, if so, begin to regulate it under the Clean Air Act. With this type of obstruction by Cheney and the rest of the Bush administration, that process is not likely to get off the ground until a Democrat is elected. 

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Filed under Congress, Environmental Policy, Global Warming, Law, Politics, Republican Party

Woman and Daughter Held for Decades in Sex Dungeon

An Austrian man,  Josef Fritzl, was arrested and has admitted to holding his daughter, and three of her surviving children, in a basement dungeon under his home.

The children are products of an incestuous relationship between Fritzl and his daughter Elisabeth. She was raped by her father.  

Elisabeth Fritzl and other children who were held captive, some for decades, are also slowly adapting to modern life. 

Doctors placed Kerstin Fritzl in an artificial coma after she was admitted to a hospital in April for multiple organ failure. They suspected something was terribly wrong, and arrested Josef Fritzl, Kerstin’s father.

She has recovered.

Josef Fritzl split the family – those who were locked in the basement dungeon like Kerstin, and those who lived above ground. Apparently those above ground were unaware of the abuse of their mother and siblings.

The basement dungeon  was five and a half feet high, dark, damp and very small. It was secured with an electronic lock.

Police say Josef confessed to holding Elisabeth captive since 1984 and raping her repeatedly.

If I’m a cop, this guy never sees a jailhouse or courtroom. Actually check that – I think I would take him to jail, by tying a rope around his testicles and dragging him there behind my police cruiser.

Talk about wackos.

Read CNN article here

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Mid-Day Discussion Thread – 9/11 Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to Be Arraigned Today

Mohammed and his four co-defendants, all charged for their alleged roles in the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York and Washington, will be arraigned at Guantanamo Bay today. Do you think they will receive a fair trial? Are you surprised Mohammed wants to defend himself and die a martyr? We want to hear from you.

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Filed under Crime, Law, Mid-Day Discussion Thread, Politics, War in Iraq

Your Morning Cereal – Man Says Workout Shouts Led to NYC Gym Assault

A man who couldn’t help shouting “Woo-woo!” or “Great song!” or “Good burn,” or “You go, girl!”, was a victim of a gym assault.

Stuart Sugarman, a hedge fund manager testified yesterday, taking the stand as the victim in the bizarre case of a New York City gym assault, the New York Post reported.

“These are words that would get me charged up and really come out automatically.”

Manhattan prosecutors say that because of his annoying hooting and bellowing, Sugarman was brutally tipped up and off his exercise bike last summer by an irate stockbroker. Christopher Carter, had been sitting two bikes down at an Equinox gym at 85th Street and Third Avenue and was ticked off by the distractions. So…he tipped Sugarman over.

Carter is fighting a possible year in jail on the misdemeanor charges.

The moral is, don’t go to a gym where stock brokers work out. The economy isn’t doing so well right now! Or, just exercise and keep your trap shut. I don’t know…

Read the full article here

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Filed under Culture, Law, Morning Cereal, Politics

Mid-Day Open Thread – Labor Unions and America

Do you think pro-labor union legislation is good or bad for the country. We want you to weigh in.




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Filed under Economy, Labor, Law, Mid-Day Discussion Thread, Politics