Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

280px-Logo_ustelecom_lgWe have previously discussed how the United States lags behind many countries in the speed and availability of high-speed Internet. As noted earlier, this is due primarily to the powerful lobby in Washington and members who do their bidding in Congress to allow certain companies to control and profit off of such access. The U.S. cable industry and its lobbyists however have been careful to stay out of the public eye to protect their income and the members that they use in Congress. Now, however, the industry has made a rare play in the open. The industry is moving to block plans in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina to offer high-speed internet services to their citizens. Lawyers and lobbyists for USTelecom, which represents cable giants Comcast, Time Warner and others, have mobilized to stop this trend where municipalities have responded to the demand of their citizens for such access. In the world of Washington lobbying, the slowest in this field has continued to win the race. While slow in service, our telecom companies are fast in making friends in Congress.

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ebolaThere is a chilling international report out of this week on the origins of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Researchers from the United States and Africa were able to trace the origins of the outbreak to a funeral in Guinea. The report expanded the data on Ebola by 400 percent. However, the standard listing of authors on the study have a chilling notation, a “‡” designation for “Deceased.” Five team members died in the effort to trace this Ebola stain and the release of the report honors their extraordinary sacrifice.

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The National Report has released another highly disturbing story out of Louisiana there Paul Horner, 15, allegedly was given 25 years to life for “swatting” — calling in a face police report on an online gaming opponent. The problem is that the story is entirely untrue. There is nothing funny of course about the article like an Onion publication. National Report, which we have previously discussed, is a fake new site in which grown adults do nothing but try to trick blogs and news sites into republishing false stories. That is it. Just a juvenile “gotcha” site that is the equivalent to journalistic graffiti. Now, once again, here is my question: why do advertisers support this site and why hasn’t someone sued these people? The latest fake story shows the picture of a person crying in a courtroom surrounding by officers. The editors list the photo as an Associated Press photo and the website appears to have removed its prior disclaimer that the stories are false.

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PrisonCellThe website of Attorney Delbert Joe Modlin, 63, proclaims in big bold letters that “Joe Modlin Protects the Elderly.” Indeed, the Sacramento attorney describes his lifelong passion for “Elder Law” and “championing the elderly and ensuring they are not taken advantage of.” It was somewhat incongruous therefore when Modlin was last week with financial elder abuse as well as grand theft and securities fraud. Making it all the more bizarre was the allegation that he bilked a 90-year-old man of his savings to invest in what he claimed was a new type of litter box that he had invented.

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Entreating the Godfather

In a ruling likely to embolden other cities and counties in Washington to prohibit legal marijuana businesses Pierce County Superior Court Ronald Culpepper ruled that Initiative 502, Washington State’s voter approved marijuana legalization and regulation measure, does not pre-empt local governments from adopting ordinances banning the legal marijuana industry.

We have previously discussed local ordinances and moratoria with the city of Wenatchee as a focus (HERE, HERE, and HERE) In this case plaintiff Tedd Wetherbee, who received state approval to found and operate a marijuana retail business in the City of Fife was denied a business license by the city by reason of an ordinance prohibiting such businesses.

The ruling could lead to further erosion of the voter-approved initiative having main purposes of ending the criminal element of marijuana distribution and providing the state with an additional source of tax revenue.

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Submitted By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

manual-scavengingWe have discussed the sad plight of the low castes of Indian society and their removal from the benefits of India’s emergence in the world. In particular is the notion of certain human beings are considered to be untouchable. Examples include being last to be rescued during floods (HERE), a case of doctors refusing to treat an untouchable woman in labor resulting in she and her child dying (HERE) Children suffering horrific acts of violence (HERE) Child Rapes (HERE) and others.

Deutsche Welle recently published an interview with Meenakshi Granguly, the South Asia Director for Human Rights Watch who co-authored a study titled “Cleaning Human Waste: ‘Manual Scavenging,’ Caste, and Discrimination in India.” The study focused on “Manual scavenging” – the cleaning of human waste from open roads and dry pit latrines by communities considered low-caste – [that] is still being practiced by hundreds of thousands of people in India” The report was released August 25th. It is one of sorrow and deep social injustice.

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Mullet-Samuel_storyThere is an interesting case out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit this week on the limits of hate speech prosecutions. The court overturned the hate-crime convictions of 16 men and women in a bizarre series of attacks where Amish victims had their beards cut off. It was personal hatred not religious hatred that prompted this Amish on Amish crime in the view of the court. I had previously criticized the prosecution of the defendants under the hate crime law. Amish bishop Samuel Mullet Sr. (left) was convicted in September of organizing a series of raids in 2011 against religious enemies and disobedient family members. This was an intra-Amish dispute in which the men’s beards were forcibly sheared and women’s hair was cut. He was given 15 years in prison for federal hate crimes in an extreme interoperation of the law by the Obama Administration, which claimed jurisdiction in what appeared a state offense. They did so by building the case around the “Wahl battery-operated hair clippers” used to cut the beards of Amish men and insisted that federal jurisdiction followed the clippers which crossed state borders in their manufacturing and sale. The case is United States v. Miller, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 16532, 2014 FED App. 0210P (6th Cir.).

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