Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links
- Goons With Guns: The Movie Shooter Is Denied Bail
- The End of the Internet? Maybe.
- Counting the Days at Guantánamo
- Sigmund Freud, Smashed Again
- Dostoevsky’s Doodles
- David Rieff on His Mother, Susan Sontag
- Swift Boat Veterans For Truth Clear John Kerry
- Your Friends Really Are Richer, Happier and More Popular Than You
From the Tampa Bay Times: “A Pasco circuit judge Tuesday denied bail to the former Tampa police officer accused of fatally shooting a man over a texting dispute, noting “the evidence of guilt is significant” in the case. Authorities said Curtis Reeves Jr., 71, was in Auditorium 10 at the Cobb Grove 16 theater in Wesley Chapel when he got into an argument with Chad Oulson, 43, seated nearby, who was texting on his phone. The confrontation escalated suddenly, ending with Oulson dead from a gunshot to the chest and Reeves jailed on a second-degree murder charge. […] Neither man threw a punch, according to the report. Witnesses said Oulson hurled a bag of popcorn at Reeves, who then pulled a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol from his pants pocket and fired once, the report states. The bullet struck Oulson’s wife, Nicole, in the hand, which was on her husband’s chest as she tried to break up the argument. Sumter County sheriff’s Cpl. Alan Hamilton was sitting five seats away and grabbed the gun from Reeves, deputies say. The two struggled for control for a few seconds before Reeves let go. The gun was jammed when Hamilton turned it over to deputies. […] In an interview with detectives, Reeves acknowledged the argument and said he feared he was being attacked. Pasco investigators believe Reeves had the gun with him when he first entered the theater, which has a ban on weapons. Reeves walked out of the theater Monday afternoon in a white hazmat suit, his hands in front of him bound by zipties. News cameras showed him at one point walking four paces behind a deputy, otherwise unconfined. The video prompted speculation that Reeves, who spent 27 years on the Tampa police force, had received special treatment. “It’s a big no-no to handcuff people in the front,” said Lyann Goudie, a criminal defense attorney in Tampa, pointing to the 1998 case in which Hank Earl Carr was handcuffed in front, slipped his restraints and killed two Tampa officers. “But for all you and I know, (Reeves) might have some medical reason for why they did it. I have no idea.” The full story.
- Another Floridian Goon With a Gun
- Double-Murder Charge Dropped as Stand Your Ground May Head for Supreme Court Review
- Warning Shot Bill: Public Defenders Back a Revised Version of Marissa Alexander-Inspired Measure
- Lt. Gen. Mikhail T. Kalashnikov and the AK-47: Half an Obituary
From the Daily Beast: “On Tuesday, the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., trashed (PDF) the Federal Communications Commission’s “Open Internet” rules. Translation: The judges just killed Net Neutrality. Less-wonky translation: Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable or whoever provides your Internet connection can now block, slow or otherwise mess with websites, apps and other services. And the FCC—the agency that’s supposed to protect Internet users and oversee communications networks—can’t do anything about it. […] The court just invalidated the way the FCC tried to make Net Neutrality rules in a 2010 order. The judges rejected the legal framework used by the FCC and said the agency currently lacks the authority to implement and to enforce these rules. Indeed, the court specifically stated that its “task as a reviewing court is not to assess the wisdom of the Open Internet Order regulations, but rather to determine whether the Commission has demonstrated that the regulations fall within the scope of its statutory grant of authority.” […] If you think cable TV sucks, just wait. ISPs like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon want to take the worst aspects of the cable system and impose them on the Internet. Expect Internet blackouts that extend far beyond the popular content vendors, as smaller websites are caught in the crossfire. Tweets, emails and texts will be mysteriously delayed or dropped. Videos will load slowly, if at all. Websites will work fine one minute and freeze the next. Your ISP will claim it’s not their fault, and you’ll have no idea who is to blame. You also won’t be able to vote with your feet or your wallet, because there’s no competition in broadband, and all the big ISPs will be playing this game. You see, ISPs hate the idea that they’re nothing more than providers of “dumb pipes.” Now that they are free from any legal restraints, the ISPs will try to get Internet companies to pay extra tolls—and threaten to block or delay them if they don’t. Exclusive deals could become the norm, with AT&T exclusively bringing you Netflix, while Comcast is the sole source for YouTube. […] Without Net Neutrality, the next Google being built in a garage somewhere will never get off the ground. […] And if privacy is your main concern, this ruling frees ISPs to monitor everything you do and say online—and sell that information to the highest bidder. ISPs have something that companies like Google and Facebook don’t: direct control over your connections to the Internet and the devices you use to connect to it. So if this decision stands, it won’t be long before your ISP requires you to connect via their list of approved devices and then uses those devices to literally watch you. Forget about encryption—your ISP could require the key as condition of using its network.” The full story.
- In Defense of Net Neutrality: How To Keep Biggest Internet Providers From Running Amok
- Net Neutrality: The First Amendment Issue of Our Time
From the ACLU: “The U.S. government took its first prisoners to Guantánamo Bay 12 years ago [Jan. 11]. In the 4,380 days since, we have seen indefinite detention without formal charge or trial, the use of torture and other abusive treatment, and unlawful and inherently unfair military commission proceedings. Now home to 155 men, the detention camp has for 12 years violated both the basic rights of its captives, and our American values. But there is cause for hope that we may someday soon stop counting the days of injustice and abuse at Guantánamo. Last month, the president signed into law the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which loosens restrictions on transfers of detainees from Guantánamo. These measures represent the first legislation ever passed by Congress to facilitate – rather than impede – the closure of the detention facility. Specifically, the provisions in the NDAA replace an unnecessarily cumbersome process for transferring abroad detainees from Guantanamo with a more sensible, factor-based standard designed to mitigate any risks related to transfer. With these measures in place, the administration may more easily move forward with transfers of the vast majority of men at Guantánamo who have never been charged with a crime. The new foreign transfer provisions follow a renewed commitment by the Obama administration to close the prison. That commitment is in large part a result of a months-long hunger strike Guantánamo detainees conducted as a desperate protest against their indefinite detention. In response, the president reasserted his commitment to close the prison in a speech last May at the National Defense University. He appointed new envoys at the Department of Defense and Department of State who are responsible for overseeing the closure of Guantánamo. Since those appointments, the population at Guantánamo has shrunk at a faster rate faster than any time since 2010. Even under the more restrictive foreign transfer language in the FY2013 NDAA, nine detainees were transferred from the island prison in December. For purposes of comparison, consider that only three detainees were transferred in all of 2012, and only one in 2011.
Still, significant work remains to be done by Congress and the administration to ultimately close the detention facility and put an end to the practice of indefinite detention by the U.S. government. The foreign transfer provisions in the FY14 NDAA do not affect the unconstitutional and broken military commissions system, in which six men are presently being tried. Still intact in the recent defense authorization bill is the prohibition against detainee transfers to the United States, even for trial. Though federal criminal courts have successfully completed terrorism-related prosecutions for more than 500 defendants since the September 2001 terror attacks, the government continues to rely on the flawed and extremely costly military commissions system at Guantánamo. To date, the military commissions have cost the American taxpayer some $600 million while delivering seven convictions. Two of these convictions have been reversed and the majority was arranged through plea bargains. Meanwhile, the Periodic Review Board process announced by President Obama in 2011 and only first initiated this past summer is slowly moving forward. Just this week, the first case of approximately 70 up for review was successfully completed. All these developments provide strong reason to believe that the tide is turning at Guantánamo Bay. Just last week, State Department Special Envoy for Guantánamo Closure Cliff Sloan told PBS that he is convinced that Guantánamo will close with Congressional support and intensified administration action. As that day draws nearer, the administration must ensure that detainee transfers abroad are carried out swiftly and with regard to detainees’ welfare. And the administration and Congress must continue to work together so that we may finally stop counting the days at Guantánamo.” Click on the graphic below for larger view.
From the Guardian: “An attempt has been made to steal the remains of Sigmund Freud – or more plausibly, the ancient Greek urn in which the ashes of the father of psychoanalysis, and those of his wife, Martha Bernays, were interred at a crematorium in north London. Staff at the crematorium in Golders Green discovered broken pieces of the urn, which dates from around 300BC and came from Freud’s collection of antiquities, lying on the floor on New Year’s Day, after thieves apparently broke in overnight and smashed it in the attempt to steal it. The urn had been on public display since Freud was cremated at Golders Green in 1939, after his death aged 83. When his widow died in 1951, aged 90, her ashes were added. Detective Constable Daniel Candler called theft attempt as “a despicable act”. […] Staff at the crematorium said the urn was severely damaged, and had now been moved to a secure location. Security at the site is being reviewed. In beautiful grounds and buildings including a listed mausoleum designed by the architect Edwin Lutyens, Golders Green also holds the ashes of scores of famous names including Bram Stoker, the creator of Dracula, and fellow authors Enid Blyton and Kingsley Amis, the ballerina Anna Pavlova, the rock star Marc Bolan, the former prime minister Neville Chamberlain, the playwright Joe Orton, and the actors Sid James and Peter Sellers. […] Freud, born in 1856, escaped Vienna with his family in 1938, finding sanctuary in London. His consulting room in Hampstead still holds his oriental carpet draped couch, on which some of the most famous patients in the history of psychiatry lay and revealed their traumas, including “wolf man”, “Dora” and “rat man”.” The full story.
From an exhibit of Dostoevsky’s doodles at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute: “Fyodor Dostoevsky created his fiction step by step as he lived, read, remembered, reprocessed and wrote. For much of his life, he would plan his novels and then his chapters through much of the night, sleep in the morning and dictate them in the afternoon to his wife, Anna Grigoryevna, whom he had first met as a stenographer. The hundreds of pages of notes that the greatest Russian scholars have edited over the years, therefore, represent that key moment when the accumulated proto-novel crystallized into a text. Like many of us, Dostoevsky doodled hardest when the words came slowest. Konstantin Barsht, a researcher at the Russian Academy’s Institute for Russian Literature (Pushkin House) in St. Petersburg deplores the absence of the doodles from the great editions of Dostoevsky’s notebook materials and in 2005 edited an eight-hundred-page volume of them (XVII) for the Voskresenye edition of Dostoevsky’s works published in Moscow. His notes for this exhibit, a selection of those materials, suggest persuasively that some of Dostoevsky’s descriptions of his characters are actually the descriptions of doodled portraits he kept reworking until they were right. Dostoevsky doodled with calligraphy as much as human and architectural images, and Barsht has offered notes that may connect these doodles, too, with the concerns and thought processes that emerge in Dostoevsky’s novels and other writings. It is exciting to find new access to the workings of literary genius through an activity so many of us mortals engage in, too.”
From Crime and Punishment:
From The Devils, also known as The Possessed:
The Library of America has just published Susan Sontag’s Essays of the 1960s & 70s, edited by her son, David Rieff. “Susan Sontag was an incandescent presence in American culture, whether as essayist, fiction writer, filmmaker, or political activist. As a critic, she became the most provocative and influential voice of her time. More than a commentator on her era, she helped shape it. This volume brings together four essential works of the 1960s and 70s, books whose intelligence and brilliant style confirm her credo that “the highest duty of a writer is to write well—to leave the language in better rather than worse shape after one’s passage…Language is the body, and also the soul, of consciousness.” In an interview, Rieff was asked: “In Sontag’s view, who were the most important European writers undiscovered or neglected in the U.S.? Did she think of herself as a critic who bridged the intellectual worlds of Europe and America?” Rieff’s answer: “As an American, my mother was uncompromisingly engaged in the great political issues of her time—the Vietnam War, feminism, American power after the Cold War. But as a writer, and without denying or repudiating her “American-ness,” my mother saw herself as an international person, if you will, a citizen of the Republic of Letters—an idea that, while of course she knew it to be metaphoric, counted for her. So the idea that the U.S. and Europe were two separate and distinct worlds did not make much sense to her. That said, as someone steeped in French culture particularly, early in her career she brought writers like Nathalie Sarraute, Roland Barthes, E. M. Cioran, and others to the attention of New York publishers. Later in her career, my mother often offered to write prefaces to works she hoped U.S. publishers would have translated.” More here.
From the Library of America Blog:
From the Onion:
Blame Facebook. From the UK Independent: “According to a new – and pretty depressing – study, researchers have shown for the first time that it’s not just our own insecurities and aspirations that make us look longingly at our peers. Scientists from universities in France and Finland claim that their discovery is based on the “generalised friendship paradox”. This reveals that most people have only a small number of friends. However, a handful of people have a significantly greater number of friends. It is this second category that distorts how you regard your friendship group as a whole. They say their study doesn’t just apply to friendship and can also be related to wealth, the number of sexual partners people have and how successful they are. It could also help to explain why active social networking service users are less happy. In other words, there is a genuine logical excuse for anyone who wonders why they don’t seem to have as many friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter as everyone else. […] In other words, don’t get annoyed the next time your friend posts a picture of an engagement, a new car or a status about a promotion. Statistically speaking, they were always going to be better than you anyway.” The full story.
- Facebook, First Amendment Rights and Employers’ Censors: The New Rules
- How Companies Mine Your Facebook Profile, Tweets and Posts, and Sell Your Habits
- A Florida Senator’s Facebook Addiction