Virtual Front Page, Monday, October 3, 2011

Very quickly…

  1. Stocks Hit Low for Year (WSJ) — Stop telling me stuff like this!
  2. Knox acquitted of Kercher murder (BBC) — After four years in an Italian jail.
  3. S.C. GOP primary to be held Jan. 21 ( — So is this actually final? I think so. I think we need to get used to this being in January.
  4. Bridge protesters tell their story (The Guardian) — It’s interesting that British news outlets seem to be making an even bigger deal of the Wall Street Protest than Americans. The Guardian’s web front had six separate links on it.
  5. Sprint to ‘Bet the Company’ on iPhone (WSJ) — I’ve got an affinity for these tech stories. Perhaps you can tell. Frankly, I don’t see how you have a viable mobile company without the iPhone…
  6. Emails Imply White House Knew Solyndra Might Fail (NPR) — But the president did his photo-op anyway. NPR blurb says, “Republicans say many more questions need to be answered.” They probably don’t, however, want questions such as these raised.

44 thoughts on “Virtual Front Page, Monday, October 3, 2011

  1. bud

    It’s interesting that British news outlets seem to be making an even bigger deal of the Wall Street Protest than Americans.

    That’s because the American media is owned by the corporate elitists who don’t want to face up to the fact that the USA is becoming an elitist plutocracy. Thankfully we have an energetic foreign press to cover these kinds of stories.

  2. Juan Caruso

    Let’s not judge Knox innocent quite yet. If she actually has been, the next 5-10 years will prove it.

    People with criminal tendencies are never gain freedom from their underlying habits. We see this all the time, even in politicians who try to disguise it.

  3. Norm Ivey

    I’ve been following the Occupy Wall Street protest with some interest. There were some overzealous officers last week, but overall the protesters have voiced the opinion that many of the NYPD officers are sympathetic to the protest. Is it possible that the entire Brooklyn Bridge incident was orchestrated to help generate some publicity for the protests? As you point out, it’s receiving more coverage overseas than here at home.

  4. j

    Juan, your comments are just unbelievable. Were you putting this up in jest or do you believe what you wrote? “Let’s not judge Knox innocent quite yet. If she actually has been, the next 5-10 years will prove it.. People with criminal tendencies are never gain freedom from their underlying habits.”

    Like to see SC justice? Read this about a 14-yr old kid put to death by SC in 1944.

    He never had the opportunity to prove his innocence or gain his freedom by judicial review. Tortured Enough Already? It’s a good perspective on political aspirations and race which hasn’t been erased in SC yet.

  5. Steve Gordy

    I have a pretty high opinion of my own level of knowledge, but I never considered myself an expert on the legal definitions of guilt and innocence that apply in foreign countries. It’s amazing that we have someone who apparently has that level of knowledge.

  6. j

    Juan, this is a perspective from a thoughtful person who is also named Juan.
    “Amanda Knox and Troy Davis
    Posted on 10/04/2011 by Juan Cole

    The overturning of the conviction for murder of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito by an Italian court on Monday contrasts with the fate of Troy Davis.

    In both cases, a conviction was built on shoddy evidence. In both cases, during the appeal the weakness of the case became apparent. But in the US, the verdict was allowed to stand. If Amanda Knox had been in Georgia’s legal system, she would probably be dead instead of on an airplane home.

    Would it help for appeals in the US, like those in Italy, to have a jury? That step might counter-act the natural instinct of any court to preserve its authority by resisting a charge of having made a major error. The Italian system often modifies the original judgment on appeal, which seems to me a virtue. Would it help if attorneys could serve on the appeal juries, as in Italy?

    Would it help for the United States, like Italy, to abolish the death penalty?

    That is obvious. But it won’t happen as long as a significant part of the country actually cheers executions (the part that otherwise claims ad nauseam to be ‘pro-life.’)”

  7. j

    Courts shouldn’t have to review the execution appeal because of a postal error! Brad, sorry to over post, but the examples of our busted legal system relative to the death penalty is so pervasive.

    This is interesting..”The court clerk likewise did nothing when the notices came back indicating the lawyers were no longer at the firm, even though the lawyers’ personal telephone numbers and home addresses were in the court’s file on Maples. Garre, who served as the top Supreme Court lawyer for President George W. Bush, says the clerk’s inaction in a capital case “defies common sense” and should lead the justices to rule for Maples.

  8. bud

    It’s refreshing to see young people protesting again. This is the type of issue that cries out for policy initiatives to help make our economic system work better for all Americans and not just a tiny fraction of people who have been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.

    Many hard working Americans are finding themselves in the midst of hardships that a few years ago would have been unthinkable. Sadly this inequity situation will ultimately result in the economic collapse of the the country and even the super rich will be affected. Until then they can wine on expensive French champagne, dine on Russian Cavier and tour the country in an Italian sports car. In the meantime the rest of us hunker down on good ole American weenie beenies and tap water while we catch the GM-built bus to the locally run unemployment office. At least those of us at the bottom are buying American.

  9. Brad

    Just an FYI about me and my own prejudices…

    Young people (or cranky old people — see Tea Party) protesting bring out the grumpy old man in me. Before I even hear their cause, they have an uphill climb with me. I don’t like civil disturbance.

    Not in this country, I don’t. This isn’t Egypt, where legitimate means of dissent are so curtailed that people are forced to take to the street to bring about change, or Libya, where dissent leads to armed insurrection because of the unwillingness of the established order to concede anything.

    There are just so many other ways to express ideas other than acting out in the street.

    I make distinctions, of course. Quiet, dignified witness of the sort that MLK modeled is vastly different from the kind of show-your-fanny street theater that bugs me. I thought 60,000 people showing up at the Statehouse on MLK day to say, in an orderly way, “take down the flag” was actually useful. It communicated an important message in a way that probably could not have been communicated in any other way.

    And I found Joe Riley’s march to Columbia, also about the flag (pictured at the top of this page), to be rather inspiring.

    OK, dang it. I keep thinking of exceptions. But the fact is that when I see a bunch of kids acting out in public, it does NOT endear me to their cause…

    As one of my children has lectured me, I probably react this way because I have always found it relatively easy to be heard when I have a point to make. Granted. But I no longer have the pulpit of being editorial page editor of SC’s biggest newspaper. And I see people all around me getting heard without making a scene in the streets…

  10. T.J.


    Corporate media is not giving a voice to young people who are protesting corporate media. If I were protesting corporate media, corporate censorship, and corporate money in politics and my only outlet was participation in politics amongst two parties completely beholden to corporate media and corporate money, or somehow getting my voice heard in the media, I would probably chose option (c)- protest.

    Your comments seem to demonstrate your belief that these are merely children behaving badly by mucking things up for the rest of the decent folk.

    The fact is that there no longer is an outlet for a large portion of young people (unemployed, educated and sick of being told that their unemployment is because of some fault of their own) to express themselves. The slanted coverage of the protest events by American media outlets (as opposed to European and particularly English coverage) merely reinforece the point the protesters are making regarding media bias to protect the interest of their parent company and corporate friends.

    And I would love who around you is getting heard without making a scene and what it is they are protesting. I sincerely doubt that the issues being discussed have anything to do with the above three entrenched interests.

  11. Lynn T

    With the Citizens United decision inundating a political system that is already fueled by big money, it really isn’t very easy for most people to be heard in any effective way.

    It is true that one does see people apparently “being heard.” For example, we can now testify at SCDOT Commission meetings. However, the commissioners have made it clear that they will then proceed to ignore anything that is said. Sadly, this is what a lot of public comment amounts to (although the SCDOT gang are more arrogant and in-your-face with their contempt than most).

    Your children are right, you have found it easy to be heard and aren’t a fair example. Have some patience with young people who have little hope of the kind of long-term employment making your opinions known that you enjoyed for many years.

  12. bud

    Bottom line: If Brad thinks the cause being protested is a good one, it’s “inspiring” or “dignified”. If it’s something he oppposes it’s “show-your-fanny street theater”. If it wasn’t for that “show-your-fanny street theater” we’d probably still be fighting and dying in Vietnam. You go protesters. I wish I was out there with them.

  13. Karen McLeod

    Oh, and the tea partiers are making their position known by staying quietly at home?? Seriously, it occurs to me that the current political situation is all too uncomfortably similar to the one that led to the rise of the “Know-Nothing Party.” The Republican party, like the Whig party of that time, is about to come apart at the seams. The fear of immigrants had heightened greatly then, and is a major driver of political propaganda now. The partisan bickering was as bad then (or worse) than it is now.

  14. Phillip

    I think many people might say that “unwillingness of the established order to concede anything” is a condition that may be said increasingly to describe the United States. And “established order” wouldn’t necessarily be limited to the government, but to all the entities that actually determine our course of action as a nation.

    Also you seem to have absorbed a kind of time-sanitized or denatured view of MLK’s tactics. MLK endorsed a nonviolent approach of course, but one man’s “quiet, dignified witness” was once another’s “civil disturbance” in those days. After all, the phrase as handed down from Thoreau to MLK and beyond, is “civil DISOBEDIENCE” which obviously implies that the action involves the violation of some laws, whether it is refusal to pay taxes, or obstructing traffic in a march setting. I haven’t followed that Wall Street protests that closely, but it certainly seems that they are sticking to nonviolence.

    As has been pointed out recently, it’s now official that more Wall St. protesters have gone to jail than the number of unethical and crooked financiers whose actions contributed to the 2008 collapse. Salman Rushdie put it this way in a tweet: “The world’s economy has been wrecked by these rapacious traders. Yet it is the protesters who are jailed.”

  15. Brad

    Yeah, you would.

    It doesn’t increase my level of patience with protesters.

    And of course, I don’t agree one bit that the United States is a place with an entrenched power elite that won’t concede anything. That borders on paranoia, and bears no resemblance to anything I see.

    And if I have some sort of general dissatisfaction with the world — which seems to be what we’re talking about — I’m not going to take the the streets and chant about it, or whatever.

    And Bud misunderstands me completely, but he often does, because his cognitive processes work differently from mine.

    Let’s think of something I would like to see in our world that I am frustrated about, that I despair of ever see getting better. OK, how about a single-payer health system? Or, closer to home, a really awesome public transportation system here in the Midlands…

    The factors arrayed against these things happening are huge, and complex. And in the first case, great corporate interests are aligned against it (but unlike T.J., I’m only going to say “corporate” once in making my point here).

    But I cannot see any practical way in this universe that my going out onto the street and marching or yelling or carrying signs is going to bring either of those things about.

    And… I simply don’t see the world in a simple “us against them” way. For instance, on the single-payer thing. Yep, there are big companies arrayed against it. But… the real obstacle is political, spread out among the populace. Folks with my position have badly lost that argument so far, because there is such deep, profound prejudice against it in the minds of so many average voters. As far as the — OK, I’ll use the word again — corporate interests are involved… well, if the political landscape changed the strong ones among them would probably still have strong businesses. A good chunk of BC/BS’s business is administering government plans. I could see such contracts expanding greatly under single-payer. They could adapt, and they already have the models in place for it.

    No, the problem is political, a problem of widespread attitudes, not a few evil actors.

    Same deal with getting decent public transportation. There are big economic barriers to having something like the London Tube here — population density and the like. But the fundamental barrier to having a decent bus system in this community is broad-based, and political. And solvable. Just not by marching in the streets.

  16. Brad

    Oh, and I expect someone to say, “Let’s have a one-day (or multi-day) strike of bus riders to show everyone the economic need for a bus system.”

    Interesting idea, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Here’s why. We already have enough of an “us vs. them” problem in this case. A large portion of the electorate does not want to pay taxes for a bus system because they see it as being something for “those people.” That might make you think, “Well, this sort of action might persuade them otherwise.” Maybe it would. But I really, really doubt it.

    So the hospital is understaffed a day. The kind of people who think in “those people” terms wouldn’t give a damn, unless someone close to them was in the hospital that day and they could see clearly, directly, a negative impact. And if they could, they’d just get ticked off at the strikers. We’re simply not going to get a decent transit system with adversarial action.

    It’s the NAACP boycott fallacy. The NAACP doesn’t understand that persuading the NCAA not to have basketball tournaments her or whatever will never, EVER persuade the General Assembly to get rid of that flag. That flag is only going to move when this state grows up enough to put aside such foolishness. You will never, ever persuade the descendants of those people who fired on Fort Sumter to give something because you’re trying to MAKE them do it….

    But I digress…

  17. Brad

    All of this, of course, is a measure of my deep faith in the deliberative process. Even as we embrace polarization that makes such deliberation more and more difficult. But that’s why I oppose parties…

  18. Norm Ivey

    Street protests (peaceable assemblies) are not about causing change directly–they never have been. They’re about drawing attention to a concern–about publicity for those who lack the resources to publicize through, say, political advertising. Whether it’s the war in Viet Nam, the cruelty of Jim Crow and segregation, or the Boston Tea Party, civil disobedience is meant to express displeasure with the state of things to those who hold the power to make change.

    The Wall Street protesters and the Tea Party have something in common here–both are distressed by the lack of responsiveness of the government to the people. Both the Tea Party and this protest started with individuals with widely disparate goals, and while the Tea Party has ostensibly settled on taxes and anything Obama-related, this current protest still has some maturing to do.

    The Wall Street protesters, I think, have the potential to generate some incredible news and draw some real attention to their cause(s). Many (even most at this point) of these are young people with the ability to communicate with strangers outside of normal publicity channels through Facebook, Twitter, and other modern technology. Their ability to reach like-minded people who are ignored or overlooked by other forms of mass communication multiplies their strength and influence many times more than similar predecessor groups. Imagine what MLK could have accomplished if he had the resources of Facebook, or if the Bostonians of 1773 could have Tweeted their plans to draw a larger crowd.

  19. bud

    The bus system and health care are really bad examples. Neither is really a blatant form of oppression the way Jim Crow or Vietnam were. Sure many folks are hurt by the lack of a good bus system but it’s a broad-based sort of hurt and one that is best handled in a deliberative process.

    The current protests are aimed at those who are dominating the political process merely to make huge amounts of money at the expense of the rest of us. Seems like a pretty good case to call this to everybodies attention by noisy protests. It’s worked before (I cited two specific examples). And it can work again. We can only hope. As an unreformed hippie I respect folks like this who have the courage and fortitude to risk pepper spray (and maybe worse) for a cause they believe in. Sitting back and waiting for the right politicians to come along is a fools game so long as the corporate media continues to game the system. And the rich will pump money into demonizing the protesters. Just watch FOX news and see how these patriotic Americans are verbally assualted.

  20. Brad

    I was never any kind of hippie. I just wore jeans, T-shirts and long hair.

    Your dichotomy doesn’t work, Bud. Our involvement in Vietnam wasn’t “a blatant form of oppression.” Jim Crow was.

    Which reminds me of a point I was going to make above, but wandered off.

    You had said I approve of protests with which I agree, etc.

    No. I just think the civil rights demonstrations — the peaceful witness to something that truly was an injustice — brought the nation’s attention to something intolerable. Something that the national consensus simply had to see happening — peaceful, earnest people having fire hoses and dogs turned on them, people beaten and persecuted simply for wanting to vote — in order to decide it was intolerable. And that changed the country. But it changed because Jim Crow was profoundly inconsistent with what a consensus of the country wanted their country to be. So doing something that brought attention to it, when so many of the people involved had no real participation in the deliberative process, was one of those really unusual situations in our history.

    Yes, it is a cause I believe in. But it’s also a situation in which I believe the protest approach was efficacious, the way to go. That is very, very rare.

    As for the examples I offered: I’m sorry you found them inadequate. They’re just the first things I could think of where I, personally, feel frustrated by the lack of change. So I used them.

  21. Doug Ross


    You don’t consider being drafted to fight on the other side of the world in an undeclared war to be even the least bit oppresive? Maybe for those guys with rich parents (see Bush, George W.)… for a lot of other kids it was a death sentence for a cause a large percentage of Americans never believed in.

  22. bud

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree on Vietnam. To me it was the worst kind of oppression. Young men, and only young men who were not well connected (Bush), married (Cheney) in school (Stephen Forbes) or had a pimple on their ass (Rush Limbaugh), were forcibly conscripted into an undeclared war against an enemy that posed us no harm. Thousands died. In Brad’s worldview as long as something is declared a military operation oppression is just fine. I find that kind of thinking very wrong and extremely dangerous.

  23. bud

    …doing something that brought attention to it, when so many of the people involved had no real participation in the deliberative process, was one of those really unusual situations in our history.

    That could describe the current Wall Street protests, Vietnam, Boston Tea Party, Current Tea Party movement, Jim Crow, Iraq war protests, Confederate flag and a host of other “unusual situations”. Probably not the bus system though.

    And I should have noted above that for much of Vietnam the voting age was 21 and the draft age 18. Folks under 18 had absolutely no way to work within the system for change.

  24. Karen McLeod

    “I don’t agree one bit that the United States is a place with an entrenched power elite that won’t concede anything.”

    But Brad, that’s exactly what’s been happening for the past 3 years or more. When speaking about single payer health insurance you attribute its failure to a “deep, profound prejudice against it in the minds of so many average voters.” The main reason for that “prejudice is the propaganda developed by the corporate powers who don’t want a single payer system. They have the money, and they’ve used it in commercial after commercial. They have no interest in civil debate or our deliberative process. They want to win. Against that massively funded campaign, those of us who want such a system have no real voice. We can’t afford cleverly crafted commercials, or a bunch of lobbyists for that matter.

    Part of the problem is that those of us who don’t agree with much of what is now going on don’t agree with each other on everything. We also are not so ideologically pure as to have many absolute ‘deal breakers.’ That leaves us even less able to mount a propaganda campaign to support our views. Nevertheless we are witnessing our system of government being subverted by sources who are able to buy attention and spin positions. That, I think, is why there are so many at the Wall Street protest. Protesting may truly be the only way to be heard.

  25. Doug Ross

    When Bud and I agree so completely on an issue, we have to be right.

    I think the fact that your father is a Vietnam veteran and served while you were in your formative years may have greatly impacted your views on the subject. My father served in both WWII and the Korean War and thought the Vietnam War was a travesty… to the point where he would have sent my older brother to Canada if he had reached draft age.

  26. bud

    My question to anyone who still believes it was a good decision to go into Iraq: Is there ANY war that is not justified if the president says it it? Even Brad’s dad was oppossed to that one.

    My dad was a WW II vet and was probably the most adament opponent of Vietnam I ever knew. Family situations do matter.

  27. Doug Ross


    Were you still in your formative years when the Iraq “war” started?

    The father-son bond can greatly impact your views on the world during the teenage years.

  28. Doug Ross


    Right – so all these “hippies” were protesting against (metaphorically) your father. Naturally, as one who obviously has great respect for his father, you would think they were wrong.

    But based on how things turned out, it becomes much more difficult to prove that the protesters weren’t right. We’ll see the same thing one day with Iraq… wasted lives, wasted money all on a trumped up cause in order to satisfy the economic interests of the military/industrial complex. Eisenhower was very aware of what was coming down the pike.

  29. Doug Ross

    And today on Yahoo we see that even a significant number of veterans find Iraq and Afghanistan to be “wastes”:

    “WASHINGTON (AP) — One in three U.S. veterans of the post-9/11 military believes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting, and a majority think that after 10 years of combat America should be focusing less on foreign affairs and more on its own problems, according to an opinion survey released Wednesday.”

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