Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


petronius's Journal
petronius's Journal
December 11, 2015

Interesting. Previous articles made it sound like just the

'no-fly' list, but this one says it's the much broader watchlist - an even bigger misstep, I'd say.

I've posted my opposition to using these lists to deny citizens and residents their civil rights/liberties, but here are a couple of DU thread linking well-articulated arguments from outside sources:



December 3, 2015

There's a world of difference between NICS and the Terrorist

Watchlist (and its 'no-fly' subset). In the former, entry into the dataset follows after hearings, courts, convictions, is based on a transparent process, and uses a clearly-defined set of criteria. For the latter, entry is secret, based on non-transparent criteria, with no judicial process, and the appeal process (to the extent that it's possible) is likewise murky.

I've given my opinion in previous threads, but overall I would oppose any expansion or use of the Terrorist Watchlist or other secret lists beyond the investigatory realm, and I'd encourage our representatives to cast a very skeptical eye on the lists in general...

November 30, 2015

More generally, should a civil liberty be predicated on having a fixed (mailing) address?

I'm pretty sure that when it comes to voting for example, homeless persons can list shelters or a range of non-traditional addresses (like Dear's off-the-grid shack). I'd argue that something similar should apply to 2A rights, although it could get complicated in terms of public carry, and/or storage laws, for people who don't have access to a 'shack,' vehicle, storage locker, or the like...

November 29, 2015

It was never a ban in the usual meaning of the word, but rather a proscription

on advocacy inserted into the appropriation bill for the CDC coupled with some (temporary, albeit obviously pointed and threatening) removal of funding. CDC interpreted those action as a full-on ban on research. Here's the text of the 'ban'

“None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

And here's an article from the Washington Post that gives a decent background...
November 22, 2015

From the article, this part I agree with:

The FBI is notified when a background check for the purchase of firearms or explosives generates a match with the watch list, and agents often use that information to step up surveillance on terror suspects.

A NICS access seems like an appropriate datapoint for investigators. But I'm very leery of (suspicious of, opposed to) any expansion of the use of these secret lists, to further limit civil rights/liberties or basic privileges.

This part was interesting to me:

About 420,000 people are on the list administered by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, though only about 2 percent of those are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents legally able to buy guns.

That 420,000 is substantially lower than I've seen elsewhere, and I'd not seen before a percentage of US citizens/residents. If it's really as low as 2%, and if the 420,000 is correct, that's only 8400 citizens/residents. A really small number of people who would be able to buy a firearm in the first place. I think we should be critically questioning these lists in general, but another question that arises is: "Is it really worth allowing a secret government program to take precedence over and undermine the BoR, just in case some of that tiny number of people may be up to no good?"
November 21, 2015

The list in question is not the 'no fly' list, it's a much broader list of people for

whom the FBI believes it has "reasonable suspicion that the person is a known or suspected terrorist." A recent source I saw said there are ~700,000 people on the list, other source say up to 1.5 million people. They may not all be US citizens/residents, but I strongly disagree with Senator Feinstein et al. that this is an appropriate tool to deny civil liberties, civil rights, or privileges.

From the article:

The FBI is notified when a background check for the purchase of firearms or explosives generates a match with the watch list, and agents often use that information to step up surveillance on terror suspects.

This is as far as I think use of the list should go. (And just practically, if the people on the list are serious suspects, why tip them off with a NICS denial? And if they aren't serious suspects, why are they on the list?)
November 14, 2015

The Pedagogy of the Meaning of Racism: Reconciling a Discordant Discourse (by Carlos Hoyt Jr.)

The Pedagogy of the Meaning of Racism: Reconciling a Discordant Discourse
by Carlos Hoyt Jr.


Racism is a term on which a great deal of discourse does and should turn in all realms of social work theory, practice, policy, and research. Because it is a concept heavily freighted with multiple and conflicting interpretations and used in a wide variety of ways, the idea and action of racism is not easy to teach or learn in a simple and straightforward manner. It is a term the meaning of which has been the subject of so much argument and mutation that its utility as a clear and reliable descriptor of a crucial form of ideology or behavior is less than certain. In this article, an analysis of the dispute over the proper definition of racism is undertaken, and an approach to teaching about the term is offered in an effort to provide both teachers and students with a clear, consistent, and useful understanding of this important and challenging phenomenon.

Social Work (2012) 57 (3): 225-234. doi: 10.1093/sw/sws009


These 'definition of racism' threads come up a lot, and I've never been clear on the background and utility of the newer definition, the power + prejudice definition. (And, I see some issues with how that definition moves out into general discussion--such as on DU--in an unexamined way. There are shades of the ecological fallacy, it seems.)

The article above was informative for me, at least as a starting point...
October 1, 2015

Scientists Are Recording 24-Hour Soundtracks of Rainforests

In the dense rainforest of Papua New Guinea's Adelbert Mountains, birds-of-paradise, flightless cassowaries, frogs and insects are constantly making noise. But as the forest gets more developed, that could be changing. A group from the Nature Conservancy is keeping tabs on the health of the ecosystem by listening to its soundtrack.

The researchers have been working with community groups in the region for 15 years, trying to help them establish land use plans that sustain the growing communities and the forest’s native flora and fauna in the face of logging, clearcutting and farming. They had been doing small-scale sound recording, but now, with new technology, the group is recording day-long tracks and using a new technique to analyze the sound they record.

--- Snip ---

Bioacoustics give the researchers a broad picture of what’s going on in the ecosystem without them having to painstakingly count individual animals, the way they would in a traditional fauna survey.

“Sound is terrific because it captures a lot of stuff that is localized,” Game says. “We can look at indexes of sound as a gross measure of what’s happening in the landscape. Frogs, bats, insects, birds, they’re all vocalizing, and in an ideal intact forest, they all vocalize at different frequencies and patterns. As you lose species, you lose pieces of that spectrum.”

--- Snip ---

September 29, 2015

Why beef is the new SUV (CNN)

This is the story of a giant pile of beef.

--- Snip ---

But before I get into the business of explaining where this meat came from, and why eating this stuff has a massive, unexpected effect on climate change, I feel the need to confess something: That huge slab of brisket, which came to me by way of Snow's BBQ, a delightful shack of a place out here in the heart of Texas beef country, easily was one of the most food-orgasm-y things I've tasted.

--- Snip ---

But eating beef, as I'll explain, has come to be seen, rightly, in certain enviro circles, as the new SUV -- a hopelessly selfish, American indulgence; a middle finger to the planet. It's not the main driver of global warming -- that's burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation -- but it does contribute significantly.

Globally, 14.5% of all greenhouse gas pollution can be attributed to livestock, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the most reputable authority on this topic. And a huge hunk of the livestock industry's role -- 65% -- comes from raising beef and dairy cattle.

--- Snip ---


Nice long article tracing the climate impacts in the beef supply chain (and well-written, aside from some gratuitous snark about Vice-President Gore...)
September 15, 2015

I'm going to nominate another: The Cloud, by Percy Bysshe Shelley



I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: California
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 26,566

About petronius

Inveniet quod quisque velit; non omnibus unum est, quod placet; hic spinas colligit, ille rosas.

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»petronius's Journal