June 19, 2009
An infographic at scotusscores.com illustrates the ideological tendencies of the U.S. Supreme Court as a whole and of individual justices on a liberal-conservative scale.
June 17, 2009
While the media is not being allowed to report what is happening in Iran, Iranian protesters are risking their lives to record video of the situation and upload it to the internet using very limited bandwidth. At the same time, Youtube is deleting them soon after they are uploaded. Most likely because the deleted footage is graphically violent. UPDATE (07:30 17 June 2009): The twitter hashtag for this censorship is #youtubefail. There is a torrent for 11 videos removed from Youtube. The videos may also have been removed by illegitimate DMCA requests by supporters of Ahmadinejad claiming copyright infringement. This is a good reason why the Digital Millenium Copyright Act should be repealed in the U.S.A. UPDATE (08:58 17 June 2009): In response to being called out on this, Youtube has made a statement congratulating itself on going out of it's way to not delete more of these videos because of the critical nature of the situation and suggesting that these videos may have been removed by the users themselves, presumably just after risking their lives attaining them and uploading them with limited bandwidth available. Here is the relevant part of their statement:
We've noticed some claims going around that YouTube has been engaging in acts of censorship and removing some of these videos from the site. Unless a video clearly violates our Community Guidelines, we will not take it down. In general, we do not allow graphic or gratuitous violence on YouTube. However, we make exceptions for videos that have educational, documentary, or scientific value. The limitations being placed on mainstream media reporting from within Iran make it even more important that citizens in Iran be able to use YouTube to capture their experiences for the world to see. Given the critical role these videos are playing in reporting this story to the world, we are doing our best to leave as many of them up as we can. YouTube is, at its core, a global forum for free expression. Take note that if you see a video that is unavailable on the site, it may be because the user decided to remove the video him or herself.Apparently Youtube's idea of a "global forum for free expression" is one which censors documentation of bloodshed and death at pivotal moments in history--you know, the kind of expression which matters the most.
June 11, 2009
Flickr, the Yahoo photo sharing site, has deleted a user's paid Pro account for posting critical comments about the Obama adminstration's policies on the White House's Flickr photostream. Shepherd Johnson has lost access to the only copies of his photos which he stored on Flickr. Here's the story at Valleywag. Here is the White House photostream in which Johnson commented. If you have a Flickr account, I suggest you make yourself heard after you make sure you have a backup of all your photos on there. There's another incident in 2007 when Flickr removed a photo by Rebekka Guðleifsdóttira with accompanying text in which she complained about a gallery which was selling her photos without permission. The photo also had 450+ user comments which were deleted. You can read about it at thomashawk.com.
June 8, 2009
This is a photograph of David Carradine's body by forensics investigators. It was featured on the front page of The Thai Rath newspaper, the original publisher. Another, slightly different version of the photo can be seen at greenstijl.nl. TMZ.com reports a statement by Keith Carradine, David Carradine's brother, saying "The family wants it understood that, per attorney Mark Geragos, any persons, publications or media outlets will be fully prosecuted for invasion of privacy and causing severe emotional distress if the photos are published." Apparently they are under the impression that dead people have privacy rights and that the source of the family's distress is the information about his death rather than the death itself. Or maybe they would rather use their wealth to threaten journalists with the financial consequences of being embroiled in the U.S. legal system than accept Carradine's kinks. Carradine's ex-wife Marina claimed in their divorce trial that he took part in "deviant sexual behavior which was potentially deadly". Another ex-wife of his, Gail Jensen, claims he would take days preparing bondage scenarios for himself and that "he liked to be tied up. And he could tie himself up ..." In spite of this, Geragos explained on Larry King Live that it is likely Carradine was killed in response to investigative work he may have been doing to uncover a secret underworld martial arts society. As a side note, commenter PRIAPISM EROTICAL on TMZ.com believes that David Carradine was making a political statement about the exorbitant suicide rate in China which they say is the real issue here. Some of Mark Geragos' previous clients include Scott Peterson, convicted of killing his pregnant wife; Chris Brown, ex-boyfriend of Rihanna whom he beat badly enough that she couldn't perform at last year's Grammy Awards; and Susan McDougal, who was convicted for multiple counts of fraud in the Whitewater controversy and later pardoned by President Bill Clinton.
June 4, 2009
According to media reports, actor David Carradine died in Bangkok last night or this morning at the age of 72. He was found in his hotel closet. While earlier reports from the U.K. mentioned rope tied around his genitals and his neck, the stories have since been sanitized of all mention of his genitalia and the implication of auto-erotic asphyxiation. Compare the following screen captures of the story from bbc.co.uk taken 61 minutes apart: telegraph.co.uk, both marked "Published: 3:34PM BST 04 Jun 2009". abclocal.go.com, which initially reported Carradine's agent suggesting that he had died of natural causes. Kung Fu and a number of movies including Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2. He is survived by his wife Annie Bierman and their three children.
UPDATE (16:26 04 June 2009): Commenter friendlyfires on thesuperficial.com makes some interesting points about Carradine's death and says author David Foster Wallace died of auto-erotic asphyxiation and it was covered up as a suicide. UPDATE (19:08 04 June 2009): While most other media outlets are just hiding the details of the incident, Fox News is trying to sell this as a suicide despite all the evidence against it. Who commits suicide half-naked with rope around their dong? UPDATE (04:42 04 June 2009): The Huffington Post has a good article about what happened.