Protecting sources

Judges get all worked up when anyone violates their gag orders, but a journalist doing her job shouldn’t go to jail for it:

While the press in Colorado is consumed with its coverage of the capital murder prosecution of James Holmes for the slaughter he perpetrated in a movie theater in the town of Aurora on July 20, 2012, a related court proceeding is taking place in the same courthouse that the local and national press would be wise to cover.

My Fox News colleague, Jana Winter, an experienced journalist of impeccable integrity, is being threatened with incarceration by a Colorado judge unless she reveals the sources for the excellent and highly newsworthy piece she wrote for FoxNews.com revealing the existence of a notebook written by Mr. Holmes before the murders and sent to his psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton.

Crazy

This is so fucking crazy, on so many levels:

LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s first clinical trial designed to explore using a hallucinogen from magic mushrooms to treat people with depression has stalled because of British and European rules on the use of illegal drugs in research.
David Nutt, president of the British Neuroscience Association and professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, said he had been granted an ethical green light and funding for the trial, but regulations were blocking it.

“We live in a world of insanity in terms of regulating drugs,” he told a neuroscience conference in London on Sunday.
He has previously conducted small experiments on healthy volunteers and found that psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, has the potential to alleviate severe forms of depression in people who don’t respond to other treatments.

Following these promising early results he was awarded a 550,000 pounds ($844,000) grant from the UK’s Medical Research Council to conduct a full clinical trial in patients.

But psilocybin is illegal in Britain, and under the United Nations 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances it is classified as a Schedule 1 drug – one that has a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical use.

Gun violence

Doesn’t only affect little white kids:

“Statistics suggest that as a young, black man, you have a greater chance of being shot and killed in Philadelphia than you would have if you were a soldier serving in the conflicts in Afghanistan or Iraq,” Charles said. “That’s absurd to me.”

Both sides hate it

Did you call yet? Call your senators, call your congress critter, call the White House.

The chained CPI. And yet, the Very Serious People are Very Serious about it”

On the news that President Obama’s budget indeed contains a highly unpopular proposal for Social Security cuts known as “chained CPI,” a new poll by the American Association of Retired Persons shows us exactly how unpopular it is.

The AARP reveals that 70 percent of voters age 50-plus oppose the use of the chained CPI to cut benefits, and two-thirds of them – including 60 percent of Republicans — say they would be “considerably less likely” to support a congressional candidate if he or she backed a new way of calculating consumer prices. And 84 percent of voters over 50 say Social Security has no place in budget-deficit discussions, since it is self-financed.

On every single question, Republicans lag only a point or two behind Democrats in their opposition to Social Security cuts.

Michael Lind explains why it’s such a bad deal on policy terms here. I’ve written about it many times, including here. The AARP opposes it on policy terms. Now its new survey shows how risky it is politically.

“The chained CPI reduction snowballs over time and would increase taxes for most taxpayers — at the same time that it cuts benefits for children, veterans, widows, retirees, and people with disabilities,” said AARP executive vice president Nancy LeaMond in a statement. “As this survey shows, older Americans oppose the chained CPI and they’ve historically made their opinions known to their elected officials.”

Just remember, a lot of the people who will make angry statements over the next few weeks are the same people who insisted they wouldn’t support the affordable care act without a public option. So time will tell who’s full of shit.

Dirty little wars

Amy Goodman:

As President Barack Obama prepared to be sworn in for his second term as the 44th president of the United States, two courageous journalists premiered a documentary at the annual Sundance Film FestivalDirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield reaffirms the critical role played by independent journalists like the film’s director, Rick Rowley, and its narrator and central figure, Jeremy Scahill.

The increasing pace of US drone strikes, and the Obama administration’s reliance on shadowy special forces to conduct military raids beyond the reach of oversight and accountability, were summarily missed over the inaugural weekend by a US press corps obsessed with first lady Michelle Obama’s new bangs. Dirty Wars, along with Scahill’sforthcoming book of the same title, is on target to break that silence … with a bang that matters.

Scahill and Rowley, no strangers to war zones, ventured beyond Kabul,Afghanistan, south to Gardez, in Paktia province, a region dense with armed Taliban and their allies in the Haqqani network, to investigate one of the thousands of night raids that typically go unreported. Scahill told me:

“In Gardez, US special operations forces had intelligence that a Taliban cell was having some sort of a meeting to prepare a suicide bomber. And they raid the house in the middle of the night, and they end up killing five people, including three women, two of whom were pregnant, and … Mohammed Daoud, a senior Afghan police commander who had been trained by the US.”

Scahill and Rowley went to the heart of the story, to hear from people who live at the target end of US foreign policy. In Gardez, they interviewed survivors of that violent raid on the night of 12 February 2010. After watching his brother and his wife, his sister and his niece killed by US special forces, Mohammed Sabir was handcuffed on the ground. He watched, helpless, as the US soldiers dug the bullets out of his wife’s corpse with a knife. He and the other surviving men were then flown off by helicopter to another province.

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