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.



 


April 2011 Our current posts June 2011


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

      ♦ After three nuclear power plant meltdowns in recent weeks (three things you probably haven't seen on the teevee news), Germany and Switzerland are getting ready to unplug from nuclear power, and even Japan seems suddenly much more receptive to solar power. That's a silver lining, I guess, on the radioactive clouds.

      ♦ It's been obvious for ages, but what the hell, let's do the rerun, courtesy of Scientific American: Heavy rains, deep snowfalls, monster floods and killing droughts are signs of a "new normal" of extreme U.S. weather events fueled by climate change.

      ♦ George Takei rocks.

      ♦ Ginormous cinema chains like AMC Entertainment don't even know how to project a damned movie on a theater's screen. Or worse and more accurately, they don't even care.

      ♦ Our real-life lives are extra hectic right now, so Unknown News postings will probably be brief or non-existent for a few weeks.

More news at  Dr Sputnik's Society Pages


Cops you won't see on TV's COPS
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Las Vegas police officer arrested for strangling ex-wife

New Orleans cop is finally fired for his involvement in cover-up of 2005 murder

Philadelphia police harass, threaten to shoot man legally carrying gun; then charge him with disorderly conduct for recording them

California drug cop charged with marijuana crime

New Jersey police officer charged after allegedly pulling gun in bar confrontation

Florida deputy arrested for producing child porn

Video shows California police officers on tape possibly stealing property

Oregon woman wins $82K, after asking cop for ID and getting arrested

San Antonio police officer fatally shoots unarmed teen who scared him

Oregon deputy arrested on assault, mistreatment charges

Scandals plague "controversial" wingnut Arizona sheriff

Florida deputy gets plea deal on domestic violence charges

Texas deputy sentenced to 6 years in prison for his role in a plan to smuggle contraband into county jail

L.A. County to pay nearly $5 million in deputy's drunk driving crash

Illinois police officer charged with stealing drugs

Michigan police officer gets five years in sex assault case

New York cop arrested for assault

California deputy arrested, suspended on domestic violence charges

New York cop gets one year in jail for bribery, coercion

Immigration officer gets 5½ years in prison for accepting bribes

Georgia ex-cop charged in bookstore threat

New revelations of unchecked misconduct among LA traffic cops

Mother and son Louisiana police officers arrested after nightclub fight

Massachusetts K-9 officer starved dog to death

North Carolina police officer on leave after arrest on assault charge

More bad cops  


Mystery links, mostly just for fun  
Tuesday, May 31, 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  


Monday, May 16, 2011

      ♦ Here's a good, succinct explanation of "voter ID" laws, which should more accurately be called Jim Crow-lite laws.

      ♦ And here's a good, succinct explanation of the risk inherent in taking libertarian thought seriously.

      ♦ Award-winning science journalist Brian Deer explains in London's Guardian why he scuttled a deal to write for the respected science journal Nature. They sent him a contract in which he — the writer — had to indemnify Nature — the science journal — against any manner of legal dispute over the article.

      ♦ Our real-life lives are extra hectic right now, so Unknown News postings will probably be brief or non-existent for a few weeks.

More news at  Dr Sputnik's Society Pages


Cops you won't see on TV's COPS
Monday, May 16, 2011

California cop allegedly robbed prostitutes whose operations were competing with his own brothel

New York cop accused of rape says woman tried to seduce him

Arizona cops said guy they shot 71 times shot first, but that's not true

Washington cop in videotaped stomping incident will get to keep job

Pennsylvania cops' story doesn't pass smell test

Two NYPD cops eyed in case of Long Island killings

Two curiously un-named Wisconsin deputies arrested in separate incidents

City in New Jersey pays $15,000 to settle lawsuit against four police officers

Veteran Florida cop charged with sexual battery and lewd and lascivious battery

Un-named New York sheriff's deputy charged for illegal drug possession

Fired Oregon deputy accused of rape

California cop arrested on rape charge

North Carolina police officer, cadet arrested in 2007 car break-in

Former California police officer arrested for security fraud

Kansas lawman charged in wife's death

Former Illinois police officer charged with theft of guns

Illinois police officer suspended for part in strip club brawl

Louisiana deputy fired, charged with indecent behavior

Georgia police officer charged with theft of tools, suspended

Lawyers explain that Illinois cops charged in sex assault are guilty only of bad judgment

Illinois cop accused of planting evidence to get promotion

More bad cops  


Mystery links, mostly just for fun  
Monday, May 16, 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  


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

      ♦ A friend says: "The killing of Osama Bin Laden raises doubts about the truthfulness and/or intelligence about Obama and his advisors.
      "Supposedly defeating Al Qaeda is the reason we're waging a Global War On Terrorism (GWOT), and one might imagine that being able to interrogate the Commander In Chief of Al Qaeda would be extremely valuable to Western Intelligence (sic).
      "But the attack on OBL's mansion was planned from the start to kill OBL.
      "Why is that? Could it be that Osama's information is more damaging to Amerika than anything they might learn from him?
      "Or was it decided that a dramatic death would serve a higher and better purpose politically than something minor like winning the fucking war?
      "P.S. Bringing someone to "justice" is different than assassinating him. But killing the greatest military leader in the history of the planet is more glorious than justice :-) We don't need no stinking trials anyway..."
      To which I say only: Yup and yup again. Killing Osama bin Laden wasn't at all about "justice," it was just bloody propaganda.

      ♦ It's more than sickening but less than surprising that the official story of bin Laden's killing has been more fluid than a glass of lemonade. Who the hell knows what really happened? I don't really doubt that bin Laden was executed, but I agree with Michael Moore that the American people should be told the truth about it. Cripes, though — from the Gulf of Tonkin to this morning, I don't think we've been told the truth about any of the big things, or many of the small things.

      ♦ I've been wondering what Wisconsin Republicans would do to circumvent the recall elections coming this summer. My prediction was that the Republicans, who control both houses of the state Congress and the Governor's office, would rush through legislation to abrogate the recall process. They haven't tried that yet, but this could be almost as effective: They're rushing voter ID legislation that will disenfranchise lots of poor folks, college students, and senior citizens.

      ♦ Our real-life lives are extra hectic right now, so Unknown News postings will probably be brief or non-existent for a few weeks.

More news at  Dr Sputnik's Society Pages


Cops you won't see on TV's COPS
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

California city suspends its "ride-along program" after second deputy is arrested for having sex with teen Explorer Scout

Kansas cops break saggy-pants high school sophomore's arm and Taser him

Florida sheriff says jail guard propositioned inmate

Massachusetts deputy busted for trafficking coke

Idaho deputy is arrested after wife is strangled to death

Michigan deputy charged with forgery, theft

Mississippi police officer charged with felony child abuse

Once-fired Florida police officer in trouble again

Former Virginia cop ordered to register as sex offender

Ohio police officer gets prison term in stalking case

Louisiana police officer who was key witness in Katrina shooting trial arrested for alleged hit-and-run

California police officer arrested on child molestation charges

Texas police officer arrested on theft charges

California police officer jailed in drug unit scandal

Tennessee police officer sentenced to prison after shooting an unarmed man

North Carolina police officer is convicted of lying at trial

Oklahoma police officer is arrested on sexual assault complaint

More bad cops  


Mystery links, mostly just for fun  
Tuesday, May 10, 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  


Monday, May 2, 2011

      ♦ As you no doubt know, President Obama broke into prime time teevee last night to announce the death of the despised terrorist Osama bin Laden: "Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body."
      That line made me go hmmm. Assuming that the President's words are chosen carefully, bin Laden was executed "after a firefight," not killed in battle. Maybe bin Laden was rushing at someone while waving a knife or a sword or a gun? I hope so, but pending further details as yet unknown, it sounds like an on-the-spot execution, which seems odd and improper to me, and will probably seem odder and more improper to people who sympathize with ObL's agenda.
      I've always had doubts about bin Laden's guilt in the 9/11 massacres, but there's little doubt that he was a bad guy, a ghastly and murderous character. Still, the world would be a better place if ObL had been captured alive and then tried in a genuine courtroom, with evidence and testimony the presumption of innocence, and guilt legally proven.
      Ah, but America doesn't offer fair trials like that even for Americans any more, so bin Laden was never going to see a courtroom. This was the only end possible for him, by American policy.
      Still, so long as airport security remains an insult to human decency, so long as cops go bonkers and clear the block when a lunchbag is left on a public bench, so long as surveillance is the norm and privacy is neither respected nor expected, the terrorists have clearly won. America is not what it was in 2000, and never will be again. And of course, America's ongoing wars against so-called terrorism in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Pakistan, in Libya... will go on.

      ♦ Hundreds dead as tornadoes sweep the American Midwest and South. Hell of a tragedy, but something's missing in the media coverage: "Extreme weather" is just another way to say climate change, so when severe weather strikes and it's reported as "historic" or record-setting or the worst such event in decades, the link to climate change really ought to be mentioned.
      It's like the way cancer rates go up near industrial dumps. You can't prove conclusively that any particular cancer was caused by the chemical dump, and you can't prove conclusively that any particular tornado was caused by climate change. But it's inarguable that industrial dumps make cancer more common, and it's inarguable that climate change makes severe weather events more common.

      ♦ Despite Obama administration lies that they'd stop pushing medical marijuana raids and prosecutions, it continues to be Bush-Obama policy to aggressively keep people from life-saving medicine, and to criminally prosecute and punish people who provide or obtain medicine. The medicine, of course, is marijuana, and if you know anything about the serious, proven medical effects of marijuana you'll understand that the policy is beyond barbaric. It's really just a more polite form of torture for the sick.

      ♦ Since I don't have many years left in this life, I tend to look at America in short-term terms, and in the short-term, Barack Obama being re-elected is better than any plausible alternative. But that said, for long-term thinkers who see themselves living into the 2030s or beyond, I'd have to agree with Ian Welsh that America will be better off, long-term, if Obama loses to a Republican in 2012.

      ♦ The International Association of Firefighters gets it: They're done donating to the Democrats' federal candidates for office, since Dems at the federal level have made it so clear (with only the rarest exceptions) that they don't give a rip about workers' rights. The Firefighters' union is shifting its donations to the state and local level, where the idea that Democrats will stand up for little people isn't yet completely laughable.

      ♦ Which of your local commercial TV stations are owned by scumbags? In my town there's no commercial channel free of paid ads by this lying douchebag, so it's obvious scumbags own every channel on the dial that ain't PBS.

More news at  Dr Sputnik's Society Pages


Cops you won't see on TV's COPS
Monday, May 2, 2011

Washington cop won't be disciplined for sleeping through Amber alert while 12-year-old girl was murdered

Ohio chief deputy charged with rape, gross sexual imposition, endangering a child and kidnapping

Michigan deputy charged with forgery, theft

New York police officer pleads guilty to 100 armed robberies, stealing 250 kilograms of cocaine and $1M

Off duty New York cops guilty in attack on motorist

Denver deputy behind bars for sexual assault on a child

Georgia police officers accused of excessive force in melee at IHOP

Missouri city pays $130K to settle police brutality lawsuit

North Carolina sheriff's detective charged with molesting a child; fired by department

Ohio police detective arrested on felony charge

Florida police mistakenly raid judge's home and order family out of house at gunpoint during Easter dinner

Seattle police officer informs handcuffed suspect that "I'm going to beat the f*cking Mexican piss out of you, homey" and delivers as promised

Veteran Indiana police officer accused of stealing from drivers during traffic stops

Alleged illegal searches byNYPD may be increasing marijuana arrests

Former North Carolina local law enforcement officer arrested for sexually abusing his own child

California sheriff's deputy arrested on suspicion of having sex with an underage girl

Louisiana sheriff's deputy charged with assault, battery

California deputy charged with domestic violence

Justice Dept. probe of Seattle Police aided by self-incriminatingSPD video, court evidence

More bad cops  


Mystery links, mostly just for fun  
Monday, May 2, 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  



April 2011 Our current posts June 2011


   
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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:
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