Category Archives: Media

When in Rome: Team America shut down

From George Weigel at National Review Online:

… Still, the point is that at their press conferences, the American cardinals leaked precisely nothing. The discussion focused on issues, emotions, states of mind, and conclave process; there was no violation of the confidentiality of the General Congregations whatsoever. What there was, however, was a real exchange, with journalists from all over the world — an exchange that helped develop stories of a positive character. What was happening was the New Evangelization, in an extended sense of that term.

So in order to try to solve a problem caused by the unscrupulousness of the Italian press acting in tandem with unscrupulous leakers who had nothing to do with the American cardinals, the Americans’ press conferences — the most refreshing and media-friendly source of positive information and commentary on a story that has riveted the world’s attention, and an extraordinary opportunity to explain what the Catholic Church is — were shut down….

Read it all.

Pro-Romney ad on “act of terror”


Hey, I like it.

VDH: It was the power, stupid!

Because Victor Davis Hanson is always a good read:

In my dumber days, between 2001-2008, I used to wonder why the Left relentlessly hammered the war on terror (e.g., renditions, tribunals, predators, preventative detention, Patriot Act, intercepts, wiretaps, Guantanamo Bay) when these measures had not only proven quite useful in preventing another 9/11-like attack, but had been sanctioned by both the Congress and the courts. In those ancient times, I was not as cynical as I am now. So I assumed that Harold Koh and MoveOn.org, though mistaken, were worried about civil liberties, or measures that they felt were both illegal and without utility.

But, of course, the Obama (who attacked each and every element of the war on terror as a legislator and senator) Left never had any principled objection at all. Instead, whatever Bush was for, they were in Pavlovian fashion against. I can say that without a charge of cynicism, because after January 2009, Obama embraced or expanded every Bush-Cheney protocol that he inherited. In response, the anti-war Left simply kept silent, or indeed vanished, or went to work extending the anti-terrorism agenda. Guantanamo Bay, in other words, was a national sin until the mid-morning of January 20, 2009….

What is going on? Two things, really. One, the media believes that the noble ends justify the tawdry means. So if it is a choice between emphasizing the latest Obama embarrassment by digging into the scary Fast and Furious, the “millions of green jobs” Solyndra insider giveaways, the Secret Service decadence, the GSA buffoonery, and the work while getting food stamps con in Washington OR endangering Obamacare and by extension “the children,” or the war to eliminate autism, or the right to breath clean air–well, why would one ever wish to derail all that by weakening a landmark progressive and his enlightened agenda?

Or for you more cynical readers, why would you wish to enervate the present comfortable culture in Washington in which the press and politics are at last one? Or why undermine the first African-American president, who is a constant reminder of our progressive advancement? Or why weaken our only chance some day to have open borders or gay marriage?

Two, the Left has always operated on the theory of medieval penance. We surely must assume that Warren Buffett has never had problems with the ethics of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. or had a company he controls sued by the IRS for back taxes. Why? Because he has confessed his sins, and accepted the faith and paid his tithe to the Church. Ditto a Bill Gates or a rich celebrity like Sean Penn or Oprah. In the relativism of the left, if the one-percenters will simply confess that their class is greedy and needs to pay their fair share—even if they are entirely cynical in the manner of GE’s Jeffrey Immelt and penance is written off as the cost of doing business—then they become exempt from the wages of them/us warfare and the “you want to kill the children” rhetoric.

There is no difference in the way the Koch brothers or Exxon run their empires and the way that  GM, GE, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Google do. But the former are enemies of the people, while the latter are protectors who have have confessed to their bishops and agreed to mouth doctrine and thereby obtained penance to make as much money as they want and to spend it as they damn well please. Suddenly in America after 2009 there are good and bad cable networks, good and bad celebrities, good and bad CEOs, good and bad sports teams (ask Lovie Smith), good and bad states, good and bad everything—not adjudicated on the actual basis of behavior, but rather on whether some are willing to go to reeducation camp, admit their errors, and join the effort to clean the air and feed the kids….

I have a confession to make that may upset readers. I was neutral in the Republican primaries, but especially interested in one fact: who would take off the gloves and run a “war room” campaign in the fashion of Bill Clinton in 1992 (as opposed to the McCain model of emulating Mike Dukakis in 1988)? Romney did it first and most effectively.

The result is that when we hear that Rush Limbaugh should be taken off the air for his profane misogyny, almost immediately now there are accounts of Bill Maher’s $1 million gift to Obama and his far greater and unapologetic slurs against women. When we hear all those creepy “concerns” about Romney’s great-grandfather as a polygamist in Mexico, suddenly we are reminded that Obama’s father in Kenya was, too. Putting a dog on the car roof is now not quite the same as eating a dog and then matter-of-fact reading one’s account of it on an audiotape. Trivial? Yes. Distractions from the current economic mess, and beneath us all? Perhaps. All Romney’s doing? Of course not.

But at least 2012 won’t be a default campaign. In other words, to quote Obama, Romney will get in “their faces” and “bring a gun to a knife fight.” McCain more graciously and nobly lost by putting all sorts of concerns off the table. I would expect that should Obama keep harping about Romney’s tax returns, Romney will demand Obama’s transcripts and medical records at last to be released. If Obama’s surrogates keep writing about Mormonism, we will learn of new disclosures about Trinity Church….

Read it all.

Antle: The Hush Rush syndrome

From the American Spectator:

Pat Buchanan was hounded off the air in February, ostensibly for things written in his latest book that in fact differed little from views he had expressed for years. MSNBC president Phil Griffin proclaimed the book unfit for the “national dialogue” despite the fact it was a New York Times bestseller.

If ideas with enough reach to land on the bestseller lists are too dangerous, we should not be surprised some liberals believe the radio talk show host with the largest audience should not be heard either. Rush Limbaugh may admire Ronald Reagan, but it is his critics who want sponsors to say, “I paid for this microphone.”

“No apology is good enough,” read feminist Gloria Feldt’s indictment. “Rush must go. Period.” What of his 20 million listeners, many of them women, who do not want Rush to go? The right side of the sisterhood must get with the program. “Time for women to make Rush Limbaugh history.”…

No longer is it good enough to disagree with conservatives. They must be fired from their jobs, separated from their advertisers, booted from the airwaves, buried under a prehistoric rock. The tactics attributed to Joe McCarthy tied to the polemical rigor associated with Jenny McCarthy….

Read it all.

Bill Maher: Obama’s million dollar man

From ShePAC:

Hey, I think that video’s pretty good at presenting the facts and hypocrisy of the left on this issue.

I think President Obama’s campaign not returning the money is more a testament to their desperate desire for cash than their inability to see the hypocrisy. They need the money so they’ll overlook everything else.

Legal Insurrection focus: Carbonite

Prof. William Jacobson has been doing the heavy lifting on keeping track of Carbonite, one of the companies deciding last week that they could no longer be associated with the Rush Limbaugh radio show (although Carbonite management apparently has no problem advertising on left-leaning programs whose hosts have run into their own language problems).

Not only has the professor set up the Carbonite Accountability Project at Legal Insurrection to post info on where and how Carbonite does advertise, he has also run several posts on the legal and financial repercussions for the company:

I think it will be very interesting to keep track of the company business over the next few months to see if reaction to their CEO’s very public renunciation of Rush has any long-term effect on their bottom line.

Investors.com: The Harvard hug: What else are media hiding?

From Investors.com, on the Prof. Derrick Bell revelation:

Bias: We were wrong. The media elite did in fact vet this president, but they covered up what they found. And now that citizen journalists are digging it up, they’re trying to rebury it.

Exhibit A is the controversial video of Barack Obama praising and hugging radical Harvard law professor Derrick Bell. The media knew it existed four years ago and conspired with academia to hide it to get Obama elected.

“We hid this during the 2008 campaign,” confessed Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree. PBS had it then, but cut both the audio and the hug in a report on Obama’s Harvard days. The footage served as wallpaper. Now that Breitbart.com has put the entire video online, the major media have gone into damage-control mode for Obama….

They knew what he was about. Anybody who has read Bell’s works knows he’s militantly anti-white and anti-America. He didn’t try to hide that, unlike his fans in the media today.

Bell was too radical even for Harvard, which sacked him, but not too radical for our president, who embraced him as a 30-year-old law student. And who then went on to indoctrinate his own law students in Bell’s hate when he was a University of Chicago professor.

Obama required them to read Bell’s “Race, Racism and American Law,” which argues American law is illegitimate because it’s derived from “white power structure.”

Relevance today? Obama’s close relationship with Bell fits a pattern of radical associations that have carried over into his administration….

Read it all.

Chaput: A thread for weaving joy

From Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Diocese of Philadelphia, speaking at the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life in Washington, DC:

…In practice, medical professionals can now steer an expectant mother toward abortion simply by hinting at a list of the child’s possible defects.  And the most debased thing about that kind of pressure is that doctors know better than anyone else how vulnerable a woman can be in hearing potentially tragic news about her unborn baby.

I’m not suggesting that doctors should hold back vital knowledge from parents. Nor should they paint an implausibly upbeat picture of life with a child who has a disability. Facts and resources are crucial in helping adult persons prepare themselves for difficult challenges. But doctors, genetic counselors, and medical school professors should have on staff – or at least on speed dial – experts of a different sort.

Parents of children with special needs, special education teachers and therapists, and pediatricians who have treated children with disabilities often have a hugely life-affirming perspective. Unlike prenatal caregivers, these professionals have direct knowledge of persons with special needs. They know their potential.  They’ve seen their accomplishments. They can testify to the benefits – often miraculous – of parental love and faith.  Expectant parents deserve to know that a child with Down syndrome can love, laugh, learn, work, feel hope and excitement, make friends, and create joy for others.  These things are beautiful precisely because they transcend what we expect.  They witness to the truth that every child with special needs has a value that matters eternally.

Raising a child with Down syndrome can be demanding.  It always involves some degree of suffering.  Parents grow up very fast.  None of my friends who has a daughter or son with a serious disability is melodramatic, or self-conscious, or even especially pious about it.  They speak about their special child with an unsentimental realism.  It’s a realism flowing out of love – real love, the kind that forces its way through fear and suffering to a decision, finally, to surround the child with their heart and trust in the goodness of God.  And that decision to trust, of course, demands not just real love, but also real courage.

The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is never between some imaginary perfection or imperfection.  None of us is perfect.  No child is perfect.  The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is between love and unlove; between courage and cowardice; between trust and fear.  That’s the choice we face when it happens in our personal experience.  And that’s the choice we face as a society in deciding which human lives we will treat as valuable, and which we will not….

The Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer once wrote that, “A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.” Every child with Down syndrome, every adult with special needs; in fact, every unwanted unborn child, every person who is poor, weak, abandoned or homeless – each one of these persons is an icon of God’s face and a vessel of his love.  How we treat these persons – whether we revere them and welcome them, or throw them away in distaste – shows what we really believe about human dignity, both as individuals and as a nation.

The American Jesuit scholar Father John Courtney Murray once said that “Anyone who really believes in God must set God, and the truth of God, above all other considerations.”

Here’s what that means.  Catholic public officials who take God seriously cannot support laws that attack human dignity without lying to themselves, misleading others and abusing the faith of their fellow Catholics.  God will demand an accounting.  Catholic doctors who take God seriously cannot do procedures, prescribe drugs or support health policies that attack the sanctity of unborn children or the elderly; or that undermine the dignity of human sexuality and the family.  God will demand an accounting.  And Catholic citizens who take God seriously cannot claim to love their Church, and then ignore her counsel on vital public issues that shape our nation’s lifeGod will demand an accounting.  As individuals, we can claim to believe whatever we want.  We can posture, and rationalize our choices, and make alibis with each other all day long — but no excuse for our lack of honesty and zeal will work with the God who made us.  God knows our hearts better than we do.  If we don’t conform our hearts and actions to the faith we claim to believe, we’re only fooling ourselves.

We live in a culture where our marketers and entertainment media compulsively mislead us about the sustainability of youth; the indignity of old age; the avoidance of suffering; the denial of death; the nature of real beauty; the impermanence of every human love; the oppressiveness of children and family; the silliness of virtue; and the cynicism of religious faith.  It’s a culture of fantasy, selfishness, sexual confusion and illness that we’ve brought upon ourselves.  And we’ve done it by misusing the freedom that other — and greater — generations than our own worked for, bled for and bequeathed to our safe-keeping.

What have we done with that freedom?  In whose service do we use it now?

Catholics need to wake up from the illusion that the America we now live in – not the America of our nostalgia or imagination or best ideals, but the real America we live in here and now – is somehow friendly to our faith.  What we’re watching emerge in this country is a new kind of paganism, an atheism with air-conditioning and digital TV.  And it is neither tolerant nor morally neutral.

As the historian Gertrude Himmelfarb observed more than a decade ago, “What was once stigmatized as deviant behavior is now tolerated and even sanctioned; what was once regarded as abnormal has been normalized.”  But even more importantly, she added, “As deviancy is normalized, so what was once normal becomes deviant.  The kind of family that has been regarded for centuries as natural and moral – the ‘bourgeois’ family as it is invidiously called – is now seen as pathological” and exclusionary, concealing the worst forms of psychic and physical oppression.

My point is this:  Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak.  When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it.  So it always has been.  So it always will be.  And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God….

Read it all.

Going viral: Are you kidding me?

One man’s rage against the machine:

Media Matters could become the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of 2012 Obama campaign

Or so says liberal Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz:

“Well I think if swing voters in the pro-Israel community had any idea how extreme Media Matters was on issues of Israel and supporters of Israel, they would regard Media Matters as another, you know, Rev. Wright,” Dershowitz told The Daily Caller.

“And for many, many in the pro-Israel community, it would be a game changer.”…

Though Dershowitz says he doesn’t think the Obama administration and Media Matters are close, he believes the White House has to clearly distance itself from the organization because Democrats like him cannot exist within a tent that tolerates Media Matters….

And my response is, so what? Prof. Dershowitz tolerated Candidate Obama’s membership in the Rev. Wright’s church, and the president’s relationship with the reverend apparently did little to harm his campaign in 2008, thanks to a compliant and complacent press.

Why does the professor think things will happen differently this campaign season? Silly, silly man.

Catholic Charities walks it back . . . a little


The initial statement released by Catholic Charities after Pres. Obama’s so-called “compromise” of February 10 was presented as a positive by the administration and the media (but I repeat myself):

Rev. Larry Snyder, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), responds to the Administration’s announcement on religious freedom.  While CCUSA is not prepared to endorse the accommodation, we believe it is a step in the right direction. Fr. Snyder says:

“Catholic Charities USA welcomes the Administration’s attempt to meet the concerns of the religious community and we look forward to reviewing the final language.

We are hopeful that this is a step in the right direction and are committed to continuing our work to ensure that our religious institutions will continue to be granted the freedom to remain faithful to our beliefs, while also being committed to providing access to quality healthcare for our 70,000 employees and their families across the country.”

Once they realized their position had been skewed, they released a clarification:

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is in the process of carefully reviewing the revised language released by the Administration and intends to take full advantage of the comment period to express our questions and concerns. As such, we have not taken a position endorsing the Administration’s proposed “accommodation.” Our focus remains on our ability to maintain our Catholic identity and religious liberties as an organization and to ensure continued access to quality care for our 70,000 employees and their families across the country.

CCUSA shares the goals of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in preserving the religious freedom that is essential for us to do our work and will continue our work with them to that end….

And have even  stronger wording on the first page of their website:

In response to a great number of mischaracterizations in the media, Catholic Charities USA wants to make two things very clear:

1. We have not endorsed the accommodation to the HHS mandate that was announced by the Administration last Friday.

2. We unequivocally share the goal of the US Catholic bishops to uphold religious liberty and will continue to work with the USCCB towards that goal.

Any representation to the contrary is false.

Who’s for and who’s against: Pick a side, any side

One way to figure out which side of an issue you should be on is to see who else is on that side. I learned this when living in California, the land of the ever-expanding propositional ballot. Those measures were often written to purposely confuse and confound the voter, so I would always check to see who wrote the proposition and who was for and against it.

So, let’s take a look at Pres. Obama’s so-called “compromise” on the HHS mandated “free” contraception coverage. Does this regulatory language presented to us on February 10 actually do what the White House said it would: remove the obligation from churches and religious institutions to provide and pay for birth control coverage, including contraception and abortifacients?

On the “for” side (Obama has given us something we can live with/something we like/we’re happy, very, very happy), we have:

  • NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, at least until 2003, when they chose to stop spelling out the acronym–gee, I wonder why? Just what you want, an organization that tries to hide what it is)
  • Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States
  • RCRC (Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a group that uses religion as a fig leaf to cover up their abortion agenda and even presents as one of their ethical justifications the idea that abortion can be considered a self-defense measure)
  • CHA (Catholic Health Association, the useful idiots of the abortion coalition)
  • Liberal columnists like E.J. Dionne and Jon Meachem (and as a mark as to how low Time Magazine has fallen, the last time I checked, Meachem’s article had only seven comments)

On the “against” side (Obama continues to violate the First Amendment/this “compromise” was no compromise/this is insulting), we have:

Okay, time to pick your side; I know mine.

Beware the Jabberwock: When language loses meaning

A look at how the news media is framing the health care contraceptive debate, from J.E. Dyer at HotAir:

On retrieving my paper copy of the Wall Street Journal this morning, I saw the discouraging headline: Obama Retreats on Contraception

My first thought was, “Surely the Journal knows better than this. Why would they headline this story as if Obama had, in fact, backed off on the mandate? What are they, USA Today?”

The headline doesn’t reflect reality.

…Obama has merely shifted the basis for the mandate.  The insurance companies – I use that term loosely – will be required to provide “free” contraception services to the insured who work for Catholic employers.  This means that the premiums paid by Catholic employers will fund contraception services.  And the overall mandate to purchase the insurance will continue.

If the federal government can step in and arbitrarily require a company to provide things for “free” that were previously elective, premium-based services, then it is no longer an insurance company.  We are not buying insurance from it; we are simply participating in a mandatory government program whose features can be changed at any time, regardless of what we or the “insurers” want.  There is no contract.  There are only the one-sided decisions of bureaucrats and future presidents.

This Obama move is the opposite of a retreat.  It’s a decision to reveal the future to us, and to insist on remaining on course for it….

The president’s people say he has changed his mind on the contraception mandate; in the shallowest of political terms, that can be seen as a “retreat”; and no care is taken to frame the overriding reality that Catholic employers will be required to pay for “insurance” programs that distribute contraception to their employees.

That is not a change of heart, it’s a significant broadening of the state’s control, undertaken at the drop of a hat – and we have a huge mainstream media apparatus that simply does not frame what’s going on in realistic terms.  The clear implications of the Obama decision were widely discussed across the conservative blogosphere yesterday, and even on some MSM opinion pages.  But in their news reporting, the MSM characterized what had happened – falsely – as a retreat by the president.

Are they idiots?  Are they all “in the tank” for Obama?  It may feel good to excoriate them in these terms, but I see it differently in the case of at least some of the MSM….

Read it all.

Washington Free Beacon: A new source for news

Washinton Free Bacon (I mean Beacon)

Okay, when I first saw the name in passing, I thought it said “Washington Free Bacon” – is there nothing bacon can’t do? Check it out anyway.

From Matthew Continetti, editor in chief:

What would happen, though, if a website covered the left in the same way that the left covers the right? What picture of the world would one have in mind if the morning paper read like the New York Times—but with the subjects of the stories and the assumptions built into the text changed to reflect a conservative, not liberal, worldview? What would happen if the media wolf pack suddenly had to worry about an aerial hunting operation?

You are about to find out. The Washington Free Beacon is here to enter the arena of combat journalism. Our talented staff will add to the chorus of enterprising conservative reporters, publishing original stories, seeking out scoops, and focusing on the myriad connections between money and power in the progressive movement and Obama’s Washington. Our research and war room divisions will supplement that reporting with context, additional materials, and breaking video. At the Beacon, you will find the other half of the story, the half that the elite media have taken such pains to ignore: the inside deals, cronyism cloaked in the public interest, and far-out nostrums of contemporary progressivism and the Democratic Party. At the Beacon, all friends of freedom will find an alternative to the hackneyed spin, routine misstatements, paranoid hyperbole, and insipid folderol of Democratic officials and the liberal gasbags on MSNBC and talk radio. At the Beacon, we follow only one commandment: Do unto them.

Susan G. Komen: does she or doesn’t she?

Okay, this has gotten incredibly confusing–full of conflicting stories and vague press releases, so at this point, for me, I’m requesting a refund of the donation I sent the Susan G. Komen Foundation and will wait this out.

Here are some links–see if you can make sense of it all:

CatholicVote.org may be right in that this is not a complete reversal of their decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood by Susan G. Komen. All I know is that the MSM is sure reporting it as if it were–celebrations galore that PP is getting more Komen money. This will teach me to contribute to an organization before I really know what they’re doing.

The legacy of Roe v. Wade

double jeopardy (creator unknown)

Partisan politics and vicious assaults

From Peter Wehner at Commentary:

First it was Alan Colmes; now it is Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, who went on MSNBC to mock  Rick Santorum for how he and his wife Karen dealt with the death of their son Gabriel. (A severe prenatal development led to his very early delivery, and Gabriel died two hours after his birth.)…

The second point is the casual cruelty of Robinson and those like him. Robinson seems completely comfortable lampooning a man and his wife who had experienced the worst possible nightmare for parents: the death of their child. It is one thing to say you would act differently if you were in the situation faced by Rick and  Karen Santorum; it’s quite another to deride them as “crazy” and “very weird,” which is what commentators on the left are increasingly doing, and with particular delight and glee.

We are seeing how ideology and partisan politics can so disfigure people’s minds and hearts that they become vicious in their assaults on those with whom they have political disagreements. I would hope no one I know would, in a thousand years, ridicule parents who were grappling with unfathomable human pain. Even if those parents were liberal. Even if they were running for president and first lady.

The third point is it tells you something about the culture in which we live that in some quarters those who routinely champion abortion, even partial-birth abortion, are viewed as enlightened and morally sophisticated while those grieving the loss of their son, whom they took home for a night before burying, are mercilessly mocked….

Read it all.

Goofus and Gallant

Let’s do a little comparison, shall we? Politics aside, which group would you rather be a part of?

A Tea Party gathering:

On the Mall after the Restoring Honor Rally by thebenedict (You Tube)

…Just as stunning as the tableaux of the massive throngs lining the reflecting pool were the images of the spotless grounds afterward. If someone had told attendees they were expected to mow the grass before they left, surely some of them would have hitched flatbed trailers to their vehicles for the trip to Washington and gladly brought mowers along with them.

This was the revolt of the bourgeois, of the responsible, of the orderly, of people profoundly at peace with the traditional mores of American society. The spark that lit the tea-party movement was the rant by CNBC commentator Rick Santelli, who inveighed in early 2009 against an Obama-administration program to subsidize “the losers’ mortgages.” He was speaking for people who hadn’t borrowed beyond their means or tried to get rich by flipping houses, for the people who, in their thrift and enterprise, “carry the water instead of drink the water.”…

Or an Occupy gathering:

Occupy Wall Street (Copyright Stefan Jeremiah)

Tension had been building for days in the Occupy Oakland camp before it erupted into violence Monday and Tuesday. When it finally did, Don Hughes, a substitute teacher and full-time tent resident of the camp, found himself amid a full-blown melee.

The next thing Hughes knew he was in a headlock, then he was being punched, and then he was on the ground as a large man began to choke him.

“This is a revolution, and we want it to be open to everybody,” said Hughes early Wednesday morning, “but this guy crossed too many lines.”

As dawn came Wednesday, the protest’s 10th day, an almost overwhelming sense of urgency was developing around the need to resolve internal security issues that have bedeviled residents and passers-by alike. The tent city that has sprung up on the steps of Oakland City Hall has attracted a diverse range of people, many with competing ideologies and world views. Homeless people, ex-convicts, at least one registered sex offender, students, unemployed hotel workers, anarchists and reform-minded activists freely mingle together in what amounts to a democracy free-for-all.

Sometimes, everyone appears to be on the same page. But the skein of civility has been frequently shattered as bullies, the mentally ill, drunks, thugs and anarchists have threatened the safety and well-being of the camp’s more peaceful residents. Occupy Oakland has grown out of demonstrations that began in a New York City park a month ago as a protest against what occupiers see as corporate greed.

Organizers have stressed the need for consensus in the camp’s decision-making process. But as the demands for individual safety and security have grown, the movement’s priorities have begun to bump up against people’s concerns for their own well-being and that of their friends and, in some cases, their children.

One Oakland police officer, who asked to remain anonymous for reasons of police protocol, described the scene in tent city as akin to a scene from “Lord of the Flies.” And, indeed, the on-the-fly rule-making can often veer into an oppressive, anarchic mood….

There’s a reason why societies over time develop rules and mores for dealing with how individuals and groups should function within that society. Human nature needs structure, not oppression and not anarchy, but structure. I think that’s something a few of the Occupy protesters are just beginning to realize.

Transparency redux: “A black cow, at midnight, eating a licorice…”

Yes, friends, this is the information the DOJ thinks you (and Congress) are entitled to review about the ATF Fast and Furious program:

DOJ redacted Fast and Furious file shown by Rep. D. Issa (R-CA)
Moe Lane has more, including the entire CBS Face the Nation segment on Fast and Furious with Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA):

…[This] is one of the pages that the Department of Justice considered to be an adequate response to an information request by the House Oversight Committee. About the only information that you can gather from that is that the Justice Department apparently has plenty of black ink.

Check it out.

Cool Hunting Fridays v 1.7

Of course, this week there are the obligatory Steve Jobs links:

1. Macbook Memorial

A lot of love has been shown for the Apple CEO, but MintDigital’s portrait of Steve Jobs made from the parts of a Macbook Pro really stands out for its clever concept and beautiful execution.

and

3. Steve Jobs Patents

If you can measure a man by his patents, the NY Times has a nice interactive piece covering many of the 317 held by the late Steve Jobs. They range from iPod design to Apple store layouts, offering an interesting glimpse inside the mind of highly touted tech genius.

But my favorite this week is this:

7. Toilet Bike

Only in Japan could you find a gem like this. The three-wheeled Toilet Bike Neo is powered by “100% biogas”, which we can only imagine to mean just what you’re thinking. This weekend will start its trek across Japan from Kyushu to Tokyo.

Hey, if it’s a Toto, you know it’s good.

Check them all out.