Monday, September 29, 2014

US wants secret hearing on force feeding at Guantanamo

Looks like the Obama administration is trying to force feed the court a load of bulsshit:
The Obama administration has asked a federal judge to hold a highly anticipated court hearing on its painful force-feedings of Guantánamo Bay detainees almost entirely in secret, prompting suspicions of a cover-up.
Justice Department attorneys argued to district judge Gladys Kessler that allowing the hearings to be open to the public would jeopardize national security through the disclosure of classified information. Should Kessler agree, the first major legal battle over forced feeding in a federal court would be less transparent than the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay.
Attorneys for Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian detainee on hunger strike whose court challenge is slated to begin next week, said the government was using national security as an excuse to prevent the public from learning the extent of a practice that the judge in the case has considered brutal.
But the case “includes inextricably intertwined classified, protected and unclassified information,” argued Joyce Branda, an acting assistant attorney general, in a motion filed Friday.
And what classified information would that be, Branda? The identities of the force-fed? The numbers of the force-fed? The numbers of those who are hunger striking? The evidence that force feeding a hunger striker by tying him down, forcing a tube down his nose, through his esophagus and into his gut, and pumping liquid nutrients down that tube, repeating that process every day, amounts to torture? The fact that force feeding hunger strikers violates medical ethics? I guess we won't find out what kind of information must be kept secret if Branda gets her way and the hearing is held is closed.

"Umbrella revolution"

Unforgettable images from Hong Kong, along with the ongoing story of mass demonstrations pushing for democratization. Little of either is available on the mainland, with Chinese government censorship choking off news and information outlets.

email from fake academic publishers: Sky edition

I got this in my inbox the other day, headed 'Call for article submission":
Introducing ‘Sky Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences (SJMMS)(ISSN:2315-8808)
Of course, I am not in the fields of medicine and medical sciences, but what the heck.
The Sky Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences (SJMMS) provides rapid publication (monthly) of articles in all areas of Medicine and Medical Sciences. It covers all areas of medicines such as Clinical Medicine, Basic Medical Sciences, Experimental Medicine and Social Medicine. The Journal welcomes the submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of significance and scientific excellence. Papers will be published approximately one month after acceptance. All articles are peer-reviewed.  The following types of papers are considered for publication:
•         Original articles in basic and applied research.
•         Critical reviews, surveys, opinions, commentaries and essays.
Our objective is to inform authors of the decision on their manuscript(s) within four weeks of submission. Following acceptance, a paper will normally be published in the next issue.
You have probably inferred that this Beall's listed "journal" and its"publisher", are a scam operation, whose content providers, charged high fees for publication, are simply vehicles for revenue. Sadly the authors who fall for the scam naively assume that the journal is a legitimate scholarly venue, run and read by scholars in the relevant fields, but that assumption is incorrect. "Open access" publishing includes many fine titles, but it also invites this kind of fraud ; while 'legitimate' for-profit academic publishing constitutes its own kind of scam, at least that sort can get people promoted (though I suspect plenty of administrators vetting candidates for hiring and promotion also fall for this scam, or don't really care, so in some cases authors hoping to burnish their cv's get the results they pay for).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

wtf philosophy: public meltdown edition

The philosophy blogosphere is roiling over Leitergate. If you haven't paid attention, you probably don't want to. I will only say that those who write about Nietzsche would be well advised to avoid channeling Nietzsche---and let's be real: Nietzsche (pre-Turin) did it so much better.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This modern world

I know I have lived a long time so I don't expect to be able to list the number of military actions the US has mounted in my lifetime from memory alone, but without further research, I find I am currently unable even to list the number of military actions the US has mounted since 9/11. Can you?
To help your recollection, read some Tom Tomorrow:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Don't be evil

Google apparently just figured out that association with ALEC goes against its own bumpersticker.
Oh, rilly? How perceptive of you to notice.
Other major corporations including Coca-Cola, General Motors, Bank of America, and Proctor & Gamble have severed ties with ALEC in recent years. National Journal reported that more than 50 liberal groups had urged Google in a letter sent earlier this month to disavow the group.
Besides pushing 'castle doctrine' guns everywhere laws, and voter ID disenfranchisement legislation, what has ALEC been up to recently?
One of its recent initiatives, according to the Huffington Post, has been model legislation that would require a "balanced" teaching of climate science.

Nuclear spring

Looks like the deep state wins again. (Or in the alternative, the nuclear arms industry, with its congressional cheerleaders, salivating at the prospect of a trillion dollar infusion over the next three decades.) My question is whether the nuclear arms industry paid Putin to invade Ukraine.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

PA lobbyist charged with sexual assault

Well. this is embarrassing. A well-connected Pennsylvania briber lobbyist has been charged with sexual assault.
 Andrew J. Marsico, 40, of South Penn Square, Philadelphia, was arrested Saturday and charged with sexually assaulting an unidentified 27-year-old woman Aug. 21 in Center City, police said.
A.J. Marsico is identified on the website of the Harrisburg lobbying firm Greenlee Partners as a lawyer and senior associate, who joined the firm in 1999.
Marsico is charged with indecent, simple, and aggravated assault; unlawful restraint; and related offenses, police said.
His attorney says Marsico maintains his innocence.

He is married to 6ABC reporter Annie McCormick. His brother is longtime Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico, and a cousin, Ron Marsico, is a Republican state representative from the Harrisburg suburbs.
Harrisburg insiders consider Greenlee the biggest, most prominent lobbying firm in Harrisburg.

Among Marsico's clients were tobacco interests and the British firm Camelot, which won the bid in Gov. Corbett's unsuccessful attempt to privatize the Pennsylvania lottery. He had access to Democrat and Republican leaders in the legislature.
I guess for some members of the politico-lobbyist corruption complex, being rapacious is not merely metaphorical.