Thursday, July 10, 2008


Sean Michaels, Guardian, UK If US interrogators have been using pop songs as torture, as has been reported, then they may owe the songwriters performance royalties. Howard Knopf, a Canadian lawyer specializing in intellectual property, was first to raise the question. . . Knopf wondered on his influential copyright blog whether the singer-songwriter might be owed royalties by the US military. Performance rights associations demand that licenses be purchased if music is to be played in a public space.. . . Though in Europe artists enjoy the "moral right" to veto the use of their songs in contexts they do not approve of, it's unclear whether an Englishman would be able to bar the use of his song at the Guantanamo base, an American territory.

DC Examiner Nationwide, 252,363 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice in June, up 53 percent from the same month last year, but down 3 percent from May, Realty Trac Inc. said. One in every 501 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing last month. Foreclosure filings increased from a year earlier in all but 11 states. Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida and Michigan continued to have the highest foreclosure rates. . . Economists project 2.5 million homes nationwide will enter the foreclosure process this year, up from about 1.5 million in 2007.

Jacob Sullum, Reason Last May property rights activists in Clarksville, Tennessee, ran an ad in a local paper urging their neighbors to oppose a redevelopment project that involves the use of eminent domain. The ad, sponsored by the Clarksville Property Rights Coalition, noted that Mayor Johnny Piper, City Councilman Richard Swift, and Downtown District Partnership member Wayne Wilkinson "are all developers" and declared: "This redevelopment plan is about private development. Our city government is controlled by developers. . . This redevelopment plan is of the developers, by the developers, and for the developers." Not only did the plan win the city council's approval, but now Swift and Wilkinson are suing the coalition for defamation, seeking $500,000 in damages.

LA Times Los Angeles police officials announced that 17 officers and two sergeants from the department's elite Metropolitan Division should be punished for their roles in last year's May Day melee in MacArthur Park, which left scores of people injured. The pending discipline revolves "mostly around force issues," LAPD Cmdr. Rick Webb told the civilian Police Commission at its weekly meeting. The department's misconduct findings come after more than a year of investigative work, which included the review of hundreds of hours of videotapes showing officers swinging batons and firing foam rubber bullets at journalists and immigrant rights protesters, officials said. The recommended punishment for the officers was considered confidential and not disclosed by LAPD officials. Under department rules, the penalties can range from a relatively minor official reprimand to termination, authorities said. . . Police Chief William J. Bratton has already conceded that bad decisions by some of his top commanders contributed to the chaos on May 1, 2007. The deputy chief who served as the incident commander promptly retired after Bratton said he was going to demote him. . . Attorney Carol Sobel, who represents 186 protesters and journalists who have filed lawsuits against the police, said she suspects that the officers facing discipline are limited to those whose actions were captured on video that she and others turned over to the police. "The message here seems to be if you do something wrong, make sure it is not captured on the video," she said.

Mark Fitzgerald, Editor & Publisher City Beat, the alternative weekly in Cincinnati, is suing the city's police chief, a county sheriff, three county prosecutors, and others, claiming they are violating the paper's First Amendment rights by pressuring it to stop running "adult services" ads. . . City Beat filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. It named more than 30 defendants, including clergymen and others affiliated with Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values, a group that opposes pornography and sex-related businesses. In June, the group held a press conference and issued an open letter demanding that City Beat drop its classified ads for massage parlors, escorts, and other allegedly sex-related businesses. "There is no question that the adult classifieds of their print and online editions consist primarily of solicitations for prostitution and promotion of businesses that front for prostitution," CCV President Phil Burress said at the time. The press conference followed raids on "spas" in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky that allegedly were running prostitution operations. Law enforcement officials at the time said many of the raided spas were advertisers in City Beat.

The Green Party will select its presidential and vice presidential nominees at its convention this Saturday in Chicago. Cynthia McKinney, the leading candidate for the presidential nomination, has selected Rosa Clemente as her vice presidential running mate. Rosa Alicia Clemente is a community organizer, journalist and hip-hop activist.

Brad Blog - Tehe Pima County, Arizona, Diebold vote tabulation system was manipulated to "pass" a 2006 ballot initiative when, in fact, the measure was actually voted down, according to a startling new allegation revealed today by the election watchdog group Audit AZ. The long-running election integrity battles in Pima flared up again as an explosive affidavit from a former county official was released at a press conference held by the tenacious local organization. On the heels of several recent Audit AZ court victories, resulting in the unprecedented if long overdue release of mountains of previously "proprietary" Diebold election databases, today's presser was well attended by much of the local media. . . According to [the official's] affidavit, "During that conversation Bryan Crane told me he 'fixed' the RTA, or Regional Transportation Authority election on the instructions of his bosses and he did what he was told to do. Mr. Crane expressed his concern about being indicted and said he would like to talk but couldn't trust anyone."

Karl Rove failed to respond to a Capitol Hill subpoena based on a claim of immunity that committee chair Rep. Linda Sanchez was invalid.

The Ecuador Constitutional Assembly - composed of one hundred and thirtydelegates elected countrywide to rewrite the country's Constitution - has voted to approve articles for the new constitution recognizing rights for nature and ecosystems. "If adopted in the final constitution by the people, Ecuador would become the first country in the world to codify a new system of environmental protection based on rights," stated Thomas Linzey, Executive Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

Agence France Presse Nearly half of Britain's troops have regularly considered leaving the country's armed forces, a major survey by the defence ministry showed. . . Overall, 45 percent of armed forces personnel said they were not happy with the level of separation from friends and family, with 38 percent of respondents saying it made them more likely to leave the military, though 47 percent said it made no difference.

Michael Hirsh, Newsweek Israelis, to whom Iran's nuclear program represents a threat to their existence, are coming to believe that the time for patient diplomacy is running out. . . Both the Israelis and the Bush administration have said that an Iranian nuclear weapon--Tehran still says it has no intention of developing one--is unacceptable. But there appears to be increasing daylight between Washington, which is eager to avoid military action, and Jerusalem, which is reluctantly coming to the conclusion that there may be no choice.

Jim Lobe, Anti War There appears to be a growing consensus here that the chances for war, at least between now and the US elections in November, have actually receded in recent days. . . The back pages suggest . . . that, in advance of a period of intensified diplomacy, all sides are seeking to gain as much leverage as possible. That diplomacy is likely to center around the latest proposal, submitted last month by the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany to offer a range of incentives, including security guarantees, if Iran agreed to freeze its uranium enrichment efforts. While Tehran's written response was reportedly disappointing, diplomats here and in Europe believe that the offer, combined with the latest financial sanctions imposed by the European Union and rumors of war, has strengthened those within the Iranian leadership who favor a deal.


TMZ Not only has Audrina Patridge become incredibly famous for doing nothing, now The Hills star is charging $5,000 an hour to do nothing . . . and getting it. has unearthed a contract that shows Audrina will make $10k for two hours worth of "work" at a nightclub in San Diego -- and by "work" we mean she has to show up and stand there. The contract also demands that Audrina gets, "a secure VIP area with complimentary beer, mixed drinks and bottle service (two bottles) and at least one security guard at all times."


Huffington Post The Abu Dhabi Investment Council has bought the landmark New York skyscraper, the Chrysler Building, for 800 million dollars, sources close to the deal said. Media reports had said the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, an investment fund based in the United Arab Emirates, had been holding negotiations with a subsidiary of Prudential Financial Inc. over its 75 percent stake in the renowned Art Deco building.

Atheist soldier sues Army


At July 10, 2008 4:40 PM, Anonymous m said...

"Karl Rove failed to respond to a Capitol Hill subpoena based on a claim of immunity that committee chair Rep. Linda Sanchez was invalid. "

And so Conyers continues to beg, please Mr Rove, I will give you five more days, please Mr Rove.

At July 11, 2008 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A comment on the mortgage hysteria of the last few days: a 50% increase from last year's foreclosure rate of 2% means the rate is now 3%. Does that seem anywhere near as scary to you as the talking heads have been making it sound?

At July 11, 2008 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If one correlates percentage to actual numbers of home going under, then yes, it is as scary as the talking heads make it sound.
According to the VA, there have been 1,200,000 foreclosures
For the month of June alone, there were actually 252,363 foreclosure filings.
50% of the foreclosures over the last two years in Orange County, California, for example, have occurred in the last four months. That's some trend line.
As a result, home prices have declined by as much as 30% in some cities. That's a lot of equity that has disappeared almost overnight. For many, home equity is the sum of their assets. Millions of individuals now find themselves going from a position of positive net worth to one that would have them thousands of dollars in debt should they have to sell their home.
That's pretty fucking scary.


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