The Obama administration stomps on the First Amendment. A 10-year-old who’s seen way too much heartache. And if Facebook updated your real life


You know, for nearly five years now I’ve been telling myself that the Obama administration is light-years different from the horrendous era that preceded it  in the White House.
And in some ways, it is. But then I see something repulsive like this phone records seizure from one of the largest media organizations in America, and I get as repulsed as I was when Cheney and Bush were lying like Pinocchio on steroids.

If you aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about, a quick primer: Last May the Associated Press printed a story about a foiled terrorist plot, and had some super-secret sources providing details, very likely sources from inside the government.
This leak ticked off the Obama Justice Dept. something fierce, and to help expedite their investigation, they decided to secretly obtain phone records from last April and May of more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to the AP and its journalists.
According to this story, “the records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.”

So to recap, the U.S. government, where last I checked the First Amendment was still being enforced, decided to secretly spy on one of the nation’s most trusted and important news organizations because it was unhappy with a story they printed.

A story, I might point out, that the AP actually held for a while, it says, because the government asked it to out of concerns for national security. But nope, that wasn’t enough; ole’ Eric Holder and Co. decided to trample on press freedom (something Obama speaks about often, and eloquently) and basically eavesdrop on reporter’s calls.
The ex-journalist in me is outraged. But the U.S. citizen in me is just disgusted that this administration that promised transparency and sunlight and respecting boundaries continues to run afoul of the law, and common decency, yet again.
Hilariously, the U.S. attorney general claims he had no idea about this while at the same time defending his dept’s practices.

Just an awful mess. Then there’s this IRS/Tea Party mess, as Jon Stewart eloquently talks about here, validating so many of the nutjob right-wing conspiracy theories.

When do we get the administration we were promised in 2008, Mr. President?

**Next, we’ve all used Facebook, and most of us get frustrated at the site’s constant changes and supposed “upgrades” to its site.
So this really cool video spoofs what it would look like if Facebook updated your life.
I laughed quite a bit.


**Finally, a beautiful and heartbreaking story about a 10-year-old New Orleans boy named Ka’Nard Allen, who in his brief life has been shot twice, and seen two relatives killed as well. Ka’Nard was injured in the Mother’s Day parade shootings in New Orleans (which got very little play in the mainstream media, probably because it didn’t involve missing white women), and he’s finding it really, really hard to be a kid.
Reporter Danielle Dreilinger does what great reporters do when dealing with a story like this: Get out of the way and just let the facts, and the boy, speak for himself.
A wonderful story that made me want to buy this kid some ice cream and give him a hug.



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