Breathalyzer Risks, MTV’s West Virginia, Classical Music’s Women Problem: Five Reads Friday
FlaglerLive | December 7, 2012
How anti-terrorism “Fusion Centers” are invading your privacy: “Fusion centers are state and regionally based information-sharing hubs designed to pool the knowledge and expertise of state, local, and federal law enforcement, intelligence agencies, military officials, and private sector entities. [...] Already, there are 77 fusion centers across the US, and the federal government alone has invested vast sums – the Senate subcommittee estimated as much as $1.4 billion between 2003 and 2010 – in their operation. [...] But are they being run properly? As the recent Senate investigation report corroborates, the evidence demonstrates the very real risks fusion centers pose to civil liberties – and the need for safeguards to lessen those risks. For example, a report we helped to prepare for The Constitution Project found that several centers have issued bulletins that characterize a wide variety of religious and political groups as “threats” to national security, including Muslim hip-hop bands and supporters of former presidential candidate Ron Paul. Since fusion centers routinely share “suspicious activity reports” with other centers and the FBI, innocent Americans exercising constitutionally protected rights can end up in centralized counter-terrorism databases. [...] One of the dangers of the national fusion center network is that misinformation developed in one jurisdiction can rapidly spread to other law enforcement agencies all across the country. To prevent errors from spreading, we need a process for individuals to challenge the information in the database whenever they suffer a harm they believe is the result of a mistaken fusion-center report.” See the full column in the Christian Science Monitor by Mary McCarthy and Bob Barr. And see FlaglerLive’s previous piece on fusion centers.
What you need to know about breathalyzers: Breathing into a tube isn’t always in your best interest: “Rep. Tim Ryan D.-Ohio., was arrested for public intoxication this past summer, but managed to get case dismissed this week. How did he accomplish this? By refusing to take a breathalyzer test. You might be thinking: “Those politicians get all the breaks!” But it turns out that refusing to take a breathalyzer can be the a cunning move. [...] Michael Pignone, a DUI lawyer in Virginia shared … information: “For public intoxication, if you’re lawfully stopped, if the officer has reason to believe you’re intoxicated, you can be arrested for being in public. Officers don’t have the right to have you breath tested. He has to be able to produce enough evidence (eyes, behavior), that you’re intoxicated. Even after you’ve been arrested, they can’t make you take a breath test. They just base it on what the see.” If readers absolutely must test this advice they’d be well advised to know the law in their state.” From Salon.
China’s Mo Yan, Winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature: The Nobel Lecture. “My earliest memory was of taking our only vacuum bottle to the public canteen for drinking water. Weakened by hunger, I dropped the bottle and broke it. Scared witless, I hid all that day in a haystack. Toward evening, I heard my mother calling my childhood name, so I crawled out of my hiding place, prepared to receive a beating or a scolding. But Mother didn’t hit me, didn’t even scold me. She just rubbed my head and heaved a sigh. My most painful memory involved going out in the collective’s field with Mother to glean ears of wheat. The gleaners scattered when they spotted the watchman. But Mother, who had bound feet, could not run; she was caught and slapped so hard by the watchman, a hulk of a man, that she fell to the ground. The watchman confiscated the wheat we’d gleaned and walked off whistling. As she sat on the ground, her lip bleeding, Mother wore a look of hopelessness I’ll never forget. Years later, when I encountered the watchman, now a gray-haired old man, in the marketplace, Mother had to stop me from going up to avenge her. “Son,” she said evenly, “the man who hit me and this man are not the same person.” [...] My most remorseful memory involves helping Mother sell cabbages at market, and me overcharging an old villager one jiao – intentionally or not, I can’t recall – before heading off to school. When I came home that afternoon, I saw that Mother was crying, something she rarely did. Instead of scolding me, she merely said softly, “Son, you embarrassed your mother today.” [...] My illiterate mother held people who could read in high regard. We were so poor we often did not know where our next meal was coming from, yet she never denied my request to buy a book or something to write with. By nature hard working, she had no use for lazy children, yet I could skip my chores as long as I had my nose in a book.” The full lecture.
NO ENEMIES, an animation based on an extract from the statement, “I Have No Enemies” was written by Liu Xiaobo and intended to be read at his trial on 23 December 2009. On 25 December 2009 Liu Xiaobo was setenced to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power,” and in October 2010, at the announcement that Liu Xiaobo was that year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, his wife Liu Xia was placed under house arrest. The words in the video and below are an extract from this essay. The essay in its entirety can be read here. The voice overs are those of Salman Rushdie, Seamus Heaney, Ariel Dorfman, Mark Kilroy and Adam Shapiro
Classical Music’s Women Problem:
Marin Alsop, principal conductor of the Baltimore and São Paulo State Symphony Orchestras, explains at Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s Women in the World summit in Brazil that classical music is a ‘very very conservative field.’ From the Daily Beast.
MTV’s Latest Irreality Target: West Virginia: “Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) isn’t too wild about MTV’s new reality show, “Buckwild.” The show is scheduled to debut next month and follows a group of nine twenty-somethings living in and around Sissonville, W.Va., a town of just 4,000 residents. The program has been described as “The ‘Jersey Shore’ of Appalachia,” referring to the now-canceled reality show that earned the ire of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and state lawmakers. In the case of “Buckwild,” Manchin said he’s only seen previews for the show — but that the teases that staffers showed him were enough to compel him to send a letter Friday to MTV President Stephen Friedman asking that the network “put a stop to the travesty called ‘Buckwild.’” [...] “This show plays to ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia,” he said. “Let me tell you: People have given their all for this great country. They’ve done the heavy lifting to produce the energy that is needed to produce the steel that builds our factories and cities,” he wrote. “The proud veterans of our state have shed more blood and made more sacrifices than most other states to keep America free.” An MTV spokesman declined to comment on the senator’s letter but said the reality show is slated to run for 12 episodes beginning in January.” From the Washington Post.
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