Friday, December 16, 2011
Christopher Hitchens once wrote that he always tried to live up to a maxim imparted languidly to him by his erstwhile friend Gore Vidal: “One should never miss a chance either to have sex or to appear on television.” Certainly, Hitchens rarely passed up TV – programs like “Firing Line” were great arenas for displaying his gladiatorial skills. He was deliciously merciless, an Olympian orator whose cuts and slices left every forum stained with the blood of the fallen.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
On Wednesday of last week, Rick Perry’s campaign posted a video on YouTube that caused a bit of a stir.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.
A week after the video was posted, it had 6.5 million views, 22,000 “likes,” and 675,000 “dislikes,” making it the most disliked political video in YouTube history. (For anyone keeping track, Justin Bieber’s “Baby” still holds the crown for the most hated non-political video.) Perry’s ad quickly spawned a slew of parodies, featuring an array of personalities, from Jesus to Voldemort.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
This is a small but insane story. Classified interviews conducted by the US military into what happened during the massacre in Haditha, Iraq were supposed to be destroyed as the last US troops leave Iraq. Instead they wound up in a kind of junk yard and The New York Times found them. I think it's the best story of classified documents exposed I've ever heard.
An attendant was burning them as fuel to cook a dinner of smoked carp.
Friday, December 09, 2011
When the diplomatic cables leaked online last year via Wikileaks, the world saw thousands and thousands of behind-the-scenes conversations that are ordinarily classified. The American Civil Liberties Union saw an opportunity. They filed a freedom of information request with the State Department and requested 23 of the cables that discussed particularly controversial topics, including torture, rendition, Guantánamo, and targeted killings by drones. When the State Department refused, the ACLU sued and now 11 of the cables have been released (albeit heavily redacted). Compare the two and you get an amazing glimpse of what the U.S. government chooses to censor and why.
This week Brooke speaks with Ben Wizner of the ACLU’s National Security Project about the redacted and unredacted versions. But you know what they say about pictures and words and equivalency; the ACLU have created a webpage that shows the cables with redactions – but when you move your mouse over the blacked out sections, the text underneath is revealed. It’s great fun and we encourage you to check it out: http://www.aclu.org/wikileaksFOIA
Thursday, December 08, 2011
This weekend, we will be airing an interview with Mark Lemley, who is representing a website called Rojadirecta that had its domain name seized by the US government for copyright infringement in February of this year. But several blogs are reporting today that the Justice Department, which has worked with the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on a domain name seizure operation known as Operation In Our Sites, has returned a mistakenly seized domain after a year of legal wrangling.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
In the aftermath of the News of the World phone hacking scandal, British Prime Minister David Cameron declared that a public government inquiry would look into the practices and ethics of the British press. For weeks now, the Leveson Inquiry has been hearing testimony from witnesses like Hugh Grant, J.K. Rowling and the parents of Milly Dowler, the 13-year-old murder victim whose phone was hacked by NOTW back in 2002.
On Tuesday, one of the most shocking and eye-opening testimonies was given by former NOTW deputy features editor Paul McMullan, who openly talked about some of the questionable techniques he utilized as a tabloid reporter, like posing as a teenage prostitute to entrap a priest. We managed to track down McMullan, who spoke to Brooke by phone from the cellar of a pub he owns in Dover, England.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Big things have been happening in South Africa since Bob went there last month. On November 10, the ruling ANC party suspended its high-profile young firebrand, Julius Malema, for five years. Then this past Tuesday—labeled "Black Tuesday" by protestors—Parliament passed the Protection of State Information Bill, which will allow the government to imprison anyone who discloses state secrets for up 25 years. The bill lacks any clause to protect whistleblowers who disclose secrets in the public interest.
Friday, November 18, 2011
At about 1:30 AM Tuesday, as the NYPD was evicting protesters from Zuccotti Park, Tim Pool picked up his cell phone and started streaming video to his Ustream channel. Twenty-one hours, 100,000+ views, and countless batteries later, the 25-year-old activist put down his camera and found he had been declared “the eyes of the movement.”
Friday, November 18, 2011
Last weekend was the weekend of my epic win - doing a lap around Prospect Park on my bike. This week Brooke and I did a sort of debriefing interview with Superbetter designer Jane McGonigal about my experiences playing the game to recover from being run over by a car. In the interview, I described my feelings about riding my bike around the park, but my comments didn't make it into the final cut. Brooke has entreated me to write a blog post about my ride to share with the people who have been following my progress over the past 6 weeks, so here it is!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
It wasn't too long ago that On the Media interviewed Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann about the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The act, written in 1986, was designed to outlaw criminal computer hacking, but according to Hofmann, it is written in such a technically imprecise manner that it could be used to prosecute someone who violated Terms of Service for a site like Facebook.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Six months ago, I was hit by a car while I was riding my bike, and spent months in and out of the hospital and recuperating from incredibly painful surgeries. Six weeks ago, I began using Superbetter, a game designed by game designer and theorist Jane McGonigal, with the express purpose of helping people recover from traumatic injuries and achieve health goals. This weekend, I will wrap up my 6 weeks stint using the game.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
James Murdoch is currently testified before parliament this morning about the News of the World voicemail scandal that erupted earlier this summer. Parliament is streaming the hearing live via its website, and you can follow the Twitter reaction to the hearings right here. If we find an embeddable live stream of the hearings we will embed it on this site as well. See below for the Parliament hearings.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
UPDATE: On Thursday, November 10, the Senate split along party lines to defeat the measure that would overturn the FCC Net Neutrality rules. You can read more at Wired's Threat Level blog.
Via The Hill, the Senate is planning a vote to overturn the controversial FCC decision last year to implement net neutrality rules, mere days before they would go into effect:
The FCC’s net-neutrality regulations prevent Internet service providers from slowing down or speeding up access to websites. Wireless carriers are banned from blocking lawful websites or applications that compete with their services.
Supporters of the rules say they preserve competition and protect consumer choice, but opponents argue they impose unnecessary burdens on businesses and amount to government regulation of the Internet.
The FCC approved the rules along party lines last December. They are scheduled to go into effect Nov. 20.
The House already approved the repeal of the FCC's rules in April. The Obama administration has indicated it would veto the law if passed, saying it "would undermine a fundamental part of the Nation’s Open Internet and innovation strategy – an enforceable, effective but flexible policy for keeping the Internet free and open."
Friday, November 04, 2011
Unfortunately, this week's entry will be kind of short. My work week has been incredibly busy, and I haven't been able to devote as much time as I like to Superbetter. I'm hoping that next week, I'll have more time.
Friday, November 04, 2011
On this week's show, we'll be looking at the way SuperPACs are already having an impact on the 2012 presidential race. Remember, PACs can't explicitly be linked to a candidate, but several have popped up with clear intentions to back one particular person. Here are a few of the ads we've noticed, with links to the PACs behind them. If you want to add to the list, post a link in the comments section below.