There is a truly bizarre story this week involving a former Indiana University law professor who resigned from West Point Military Academy’s law department as a disturbing article was published where he denounces other scholars who exhibit “pernicious pacifism” as aiding and abetting terrorists. The case raises free speech and academic freedom issues in handling controversial writings of academics. However, it also raises the poor standards for selecting faculty at West Point, a concern that I have had in the past with regard to its legal studies as well as those at other military educational programs. Not only does Bradford have extremist and disturbing views but he has been previously accused of exaggerating his credentials.
The Chinese regime followed its recent market meltdown in true Maoist fashion this week. It dragged out a journalist, Wang Xiaolu, to confess that he helped start the crash. It cannot be the centrally planned, artificially dumped up system itself. No, it was a journalist.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Oakland Police, which has a License Plate Recognition system that gathers thousands of its citizens’ license plate data via cameras, decided to reduce their license plate data-mining retention time after the underlying hard drive storing the data filled up, crashing the storage system. The culprit was a desktop computer running Windows XP on an 80 gigabyte hard drive.
If that wasn’t enough the replacement of this hard drive, at least, was curtailed by a firewall of red tape that seems to have prevented the city from buying a replacement drive. A one terabyte hard-drive can easily be found for fifty dollars.
Former TV judge Joe Brown, 66, has surrendered to Tennessee deputies to begin serving a five-day jail term for contempt of court. Brown was held in contempt by Magistrate Judge Harold Horne for an outburst in Juvenile Court in March 2014. He took the issue all the way up to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which denied Brown’s application to appeal a Court of Appeals upholding the ruling. Brown called the court a “circus” and a “sorry operation.” Of course real judges do not have producers and set designers. When Horne told him to stop, Brown did not. He gave him a day in jail but Brown continued until he had five days in jail.
We often discuss the “perils of the press” in humorous stories of the unexpected for journalists. However, we are often reminded of the dangers faced by reporters in their daily jobs. Today offered one such tragic example from Moneta, Virginia. Vester Lee Flanagan, who used the name on-air of Bryce Williams, shot and killed WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27. He then posted the filmed event and tweeted about it. It is a bizarre and chilling example of how social media has become intertwined with such crimes in our society. Flanagan later shot himself in a confrontation with police.
The crackdown on free speech continued in Russia this week with the sentencing of a leading critic of Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was given 20 years for conspiracy to commit terror attacks. Critics have denounced the case as a sham prosecution of a critic and compared the move (like so many under Vladimir Putin) as a return to Soviet-style trials for critics.
We have been discussing the ever-expanding copyright and trademarks claims on what seems every object and observation in modern life, including such things as pictures taken of public scenes in London, in Paris, and in New York. Now the Inglewood City Council has attempted to use copyright law to silence critics and control public information by invoking protection over Inglewood city council meeting footage used on YouTube videos. Fortunately, Joseph Teixeira prevailed in City of Inglewood v. Teixeira after a federal court ruled that it could not use copyright to silence him or others.