Welcome to UNKNOWN NEWS "News that's not known, or not known enough."
Helen & Harry's cranky weblog of news and opinion.

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Like the URL says, this website is about unknown news.

Our news comes only from mainstream, professional journalists or (rarely) other sources we trust entirely, with no nuttiness and no interest in the same news you see everywhere else.

What we believe

We believe in liberty and justice for all, so of course, we oppose many US government policies. This doesn't mean we're anti-American, redneck scum, pinko commies, militia members, or terrorist-sympathizers. It means we believe in freedom, as more than merely a cliché.

We believe you have the right to live your own life as you choose, and others have the equal right to live their lives as they choose. It's not complicated.

We believe freedom leads to peace, progress, and prosperity, while its opposite -- oppression -- leads to war, terrorism, poverty, and misery.

We believe it's preposterously stupid to hate people because of their appearance, their race or nationality, their religion or lack of religion, how they have sex with other consenting adults, etc. There are far more apropos reasons to hate most people.

We believe in questioning ourselves, our assumptions, each other -- and we especially believe in questioning authority (the more authority, the more questions). We believe obedience is a fine quality in dogs and young children, but not in adults.

Like America's right-wingers, we believe in individual responsibility, hard work to get ahead, and stern punishment for serious crimes. We believe big government should not be blindly trusted.

But unlike most right-wing leaders, we mean it.

Like America's left-wingers, we believe in equal treatment under law, war as a last (not first) resort, and sensible stewardship of natural resources. We believe big business should not be blindly trusted.

But unlike most left-wing leaders, we mean it.

Like libertarians, we believe it's wrong and reprehensible to arrest people for what they think, believe, look like, wear, eat, smoke, drink, inhale, inject, or otherwise do to themselves.

But unlike many libertarians, we're not obsessed with the gold standard, we don't believe incorporation is humanity's highest achievement, and we don't believe everything in life comes down to dollars and cents. We've read and enjoyed Ayn Rand's novels, but we understand that they're works of fiction.

We're skeptical, and we're sick of so-called 'journalists' who aren't skeptical at all.

A reader asks, what are our solutions?

We propose no solutions except common sense, which is never common. We like the principles of democracy, and the ideals broadly described as 'American'. The US Constitution is a fine and workable framework for solutions, when it's actually read and thoughtfully understood by intelligent statesmen and women. So, no manifestos from us. We don't dream that big, and if there's one thing the world doesn't need it's yet another manifesto.

Our suggestion is: think.

A fact-based instead of faith-based approach leads to solutions for most of the recurring issues of our time, from abortion to global climate change, pollution to universal health care, careful but real regulation of industry and economy, hunger, war, terror, human rights for humans not for corporations, science not religious doctrine in public schools, equal protection and prosecution under law, etc. Approach problems without glorifying stupidity, without demonizing intelligence, and answers usually come into focus.

These pages are published by Harry and Helen Highwater, happily married low-income nom de plumes and rabble-rousers from Madison, Wisconsin (with a few friends scattered around the world helping out).

We try to spotlight news that hasn't gotten enough (or appropriate) attention in American media, along with our opinions and yours.

We bang our keyboards against the wall, because it doesn't hurt as much as banging our heads.


May 2011 Our current posts July 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

      ♦ Well, we're back. Sort of. Did you miss us?
      We've been dealing with a health crisis, enduring "the greatest health care system in the world" (which ain't that great), but the prognosis is good. We're still here and we're not going away soon.
      For several weeks, though, we really haven't been following the ordinary news of politics and political repression. And even as we get back to something approximating our semi-ordinary routines, our personal realms are so cluttered and hectic that the day to day bullsh*t news headlines can't much hold our attention. Thus this blog might have a different feel to it. Let's see how this goes.

      ♦ Democracy Now thinks it's newsworthy that Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi’s worked with the United States government to block any increase in wages in the hemisphere’s poorest nation, Haiti.
      My reaction is "of course." I mean, catering to the desires of the rich and powerful is what governments do, and the US government does it really, really enthusiastically. You'd have to be pretty damned naive to envision the USA or giant corporations like Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi’s working to raise wages for third world workers, or even being neutral on the topic. Of course they're working together to keep poor people poor.
      And if you imagine that it's different inside the USA, that the American government of any giant corporation is neutral or favors or isn't actively opposed to higher wages for American workers, cripes, you're on drugs I can't afford.

      ♦ College is overrated and not for everyone, but the blunt truth of the matter is that as middle-class Americans can't afford a college education, America's future in the world grows bleaker.

      ♦ So, is Keith Olbermann's new show any good? We don't have cable but I'd probably watch every episode on-line, complete with commercials if they'd let me. It looks like they won't let me, though. Olbermann's web page seems to offer only clips clips and more clips. And that page puts me in a sour mood every time I land there -- it's almost as aggressively ugly as Homer's web page.
      A long, bad-breathy sigh. I've rather liked Olbermann in the past, while often muttering that maybe he should tone it down a notch, but I'm old and I'm crotchety and I lack the patience to put up with websites that visually fart at me. And that is one ugly website. If anyone reading this knows a link that'll let me view entire episodes of Olbermann's show, not clips, gimme a holler please (newsuneed@yahoo.com). If there's no such link, que sera sera. I'll make do without Olbermann, and Olbermann will do just fine without me.

      ♦ Google's latest annoyance is a little twinkling box beside each and every search result asking me to "Recommend this." I didn't ask for this, it adds no value to my search results, and it actually subtracts value by visually distracting me from the info I care about and searched for.
      But it's just another chance for me to rave about the free, public-sourced Mozilla Firefox browser. Thanks to Firefox, I've easily removed Google's latest eyesore by using the (free) Ad Block Plus Firefox add-on to block this element. Hooray again for Firefox, and for Ad Block. And if you're still using Internet Explorer, you really have no idea how pleasant surfing the internet can be. You can download a far better browser for free, at the Mozilla website.

      ♦ And that's it for today, probably for tomorrow too. For daily updates, please check Dr Sputnik's Society Pages, curated by Helen. Meanwhile, remember, it's really not about left vs right, it's much more about truth vs lies. Stay skeptical, use your noggin, ask questions, and never sit quiet through the lies.

 Dr Sputnik's Society Pages

Cops you won't see on TV's COPS
Monday, June 27, 2011

Illinois cop charged with stealing male enhancement pills

Former California police officer charged in Texas child porn case

Hawaii police officer charged in theft of firearm

Former Virginia police officer accused of sex crimes

Illinois correctional officer charged in bribery, tobacco smuggling scheme

California deputy formally charged in sex with minor case

Michigan sheriff's deputy charged with six felonies and five misdemeanors

New York cop arrested for sexually coercing woman at traffic stop

North Carolina cop arrested for prostitution

Three Georgia sheriff's officers charged with extortion

South Carolina corrections officer charged with 33 counts of fraud

D.A. says North Carolina deputy lied; charged in fatal crash

California deputy pleads not guilty to sex with minor

Fired Nebraska police officer charged in child porn case

Missouri police officer charged with involuntary manslaughter

Virginia police officers under investigation

Former South Carolina sheriff's deputy charged with assault, battery

Seventh D.C. police officer arrested in 5 months, charged with stealing thousands

16 D.C. police officers arrested so far this year

Fired South Carolina deputy sentenced to four years in prison for thefts

Colorado jail deputy arrested; police find loaded gun, steak knife in car

Florida deputy trainee arrested on grand theft charge

South Carolina deputy fired after video shows jailhouse attack on inmate

California jail officer must register as sex offender after conviction for assaults on inmates

Fired North Carolina deputy gets 42 months for embezzlement

California jail guard arrested after ripping his brother's pet snake in half

Massachusetts cop gets two years for viewing child pornography ondep't computers while on duty

Felony charge costs Indiana recruit police job

Crooked Texas cop gets 15 months in prison

Missouri cop convicted of shakedowns gets probation, house arrest

TSA officer arrested after items stolen from baggage found in raid

Off-duty California prison guard arrested after domestic dispute

More bad cops  

Mystery links, mostly just for fun  
Monday, June 27, 2011


Mystery links are offered with no implied endorsement of whatever's at the other end. You may be shocked or disgusted, but we don't care. Links in red are not safe for work, and links in pink include audio and/or video.

More mystery links  

May 2011 Our current posts July 2011

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We assume our readers are well-informed before they click here, so we focus on news that's generally unknown or under-reported. We're generally disinterested in such non-news as reports on what politicians might do, may do, or should do, and we don't usually mention the murders, kidnappings, house fires, auto wrecks, celebrity crap, wacky fluff, and other nonsense that's pushed real news right out of the newscasts.

Disclaimer for dummies:  Our front page is free from nudity, but we make no promise on profanity. If your surfing is monitored this site might not be safe for work, and you may be shocked, offended, or in trouble with your boss. A link doesn't imply that we agree with every sentence and every sentiment on every site we link to. We use our noggins, and suggest you use yours.

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Anything sent to Unknown News may be published. If you don't want it published, say so plainly. When we publish incoming emails, we edit out the sender's last name and email address — if we slip up (or if you want your full name and email address published) please let us know. Of course, if your email is unambiguously intended only to annoy, insult, or threaten us, we'll publish it with all the details and leave it on-line forever.


For in-depth news updates, we recommend Media Matters, ThinkProgress, and Washington Monthly.

A tip o' the hat to A.K. for CSS help, Daniel D., the letter Z, The Agitator, Bad Attitudes, Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog, JR Mooneyham, Newshoggers, Pharyngula, Photography is Not a Crime, Progressive Review, and Right Wing Watch.

Our website is prepared on a refurbished PC bought cheap and occasionally repaired by the good guys at Madison's Computer Store West. Typed and edited using Google Docs. Chairs from Goodwill, chips from Hy-Vee. Site hosted at the censor-free and reliably on-line pair.com, with an emeritus hat-tip to our first web-home at pitas.com, a dang fine place for new bloggers to start.

With no thanks at all to a few faux progressive sites that probably do more harm than good, including the ethically empty Huffington Post and the ceaselessly snarky Wonkette; with a full-frontal fart in the face to Francis Boyle, makethemaccountable.com, RadicalViews.org, free-lance reporter Sherwood Ross, TomDispatch.com, and anyone else who's added us to their email list without even asking (the answer would've been no); and with an enthusiastically flipped finger to the closeted Republican mouthpiece Politico.

The blog's homepage is unknownnews.org, and we welcome your comments at unknownnews@inbox.com. Our Twitter trail is twitter.com/unknownnews.

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Recommended sites for gathering unknown or underreported news:
 Media Matters   ThinkProgress   Washington Monthly   TruthOut 

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