Saturday, October 9, 2010

ACLU Iowa 75th Annual Meeting 10-9-2010

I covered the meeting for WHO Radio and for my Blog.

Workshop 1: Racial Justice

Dave Kuker: Very disproportionate number of people of color incarcerated. Most arrest though are misdemeanors. project implicit a site to test your prejudices. They have tests on multiple items including race.  People of color at all stages of criminal Justice system have worse outcome then kids of non-color.  A lot said and basically can be summarized as if your of color the system is against you no solutions or suggestions at all.

Keynote Speaker.  Robert Sheer, journalist and social, political commentator.

Covered Vietnam war, 6Day war, interviewed Fidel Castro (first American), interviewed all presidents from Nixon to Clinton.  The Great American Stickup is his book just out.  will be having his talk on video.

Robert Scheer
He recommended check out Paul Conrads writings. He talked about the topic of his last two books were abuse of political power and abuse of financial power. Freedoms and local control broke down with the alien and sedition laws. The founding fathers foresaw that if you tried to be an empire you would loss individual freedoms.  Washington talks about this in his Farewell address(full Text).  Instead of trying to figure out why 9-11 happened we just used it to increase the military budget.  When it comes to war and peace rational discussion of freedoms and specifically freedom of the press take a back seat.  You can not have a republic and an Empire at the same time.  An empire by definition is more totalitarian.
You go to war forget a free press.  He talked about how 9-11 report has disclaimer that they had no direct access to witnesses but had to submit questions through military.  So even presidential commission did not have free access to info.  How can we expect reporters to do better.  Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch are examples of how military lies to press.  The military try to change the stories to aid public image of war and not the truth.
Our economic meltdown.  Ronald Reagan wanted to remove regulations but then savings and loan debacle hit and he pulled back.  Clinton ended federal obligation to poor people i.e welfare reform.  Then Rubin got rid of Glass-Steagal act.  The in 2000 the commodities future act. He asked to have it explained and was told it was too tricky to understand and was referred to lobbyist working for Wall Street. Formation of Citigroup was major blow to the protections in place from the 1930's.  He went through micro dissection of mortgage breakdown.  Nothing new but very good summary.Informed public making basic decisions about public policy.  He implied that we do not have an informed public but a deceived public.
Questions:  No ones going to touch Social Security.  There has been no more successful program in USA.
Person hood of corporations: Corrupting our political system.  Should FOX news be considered a political party and not a news media.  They are news said Scheer

Inteview with Robert Scheer

Workshop :Media:Are newspapers dead? The Future of in Depth Reporting. Rekha Basu, Kevin Cooney, Joyce Russell, Brian Steffen.
Brian Steffen-communication Prof Simpson  four of his 16 students did not know the name of the Governor.  They had an average score of three out of ten.  There were a couple of college students that only got Pres Obama right.
Joyce Russell Iowa Public Radio:New ways to get news since newspapers are cutting back.  ProPublica new type of free lance investigative news agency.Iowa center for news. web site. 

Rekha Basu

Rekha Basu:Newspapers are not dead but they are morphing.  The Des Moines Register is no longer calling itself a newspaper but a media outlet.  In India her mother reads 6 newspapers a day and is typical.  She also went into a journalism class and only a few of the students read newspaper on daily basis.  We cannot be everything to everyone.  WE can bring contextual information you can not leave to chance.
Kevin Cooney
Kevin Cooney:We are not as interested in medium but the message.  They will die but that doesn't talk about the message, i.e. in depth reporting.  That is decreasing because the media cannot pay for it. 
Robert Scheer:  Predictions of death are premature however the real question is will journalism survive and it will.  Readership is way up but profits are down.We are now subject to a ruthless honesty that our predicators did not.  Journalism should be driven by passion not that you are making a big living.  I wrote a column attacking proPublica.  James Leach (former US Rep.Iowa(R)) led fight to get rid of financial regs and is the Chairman of the Board of ProPublica.  We are not the Good Old Days but the future is much more promising.

Workshop 3: LGBT: Marriage equality.  Mostly a report on the retention vote and were public opinion is on gay marraige issue.  The most interesting item is that on Tuesday Oct 19th at Simpson College West Desd Moines 1450 28th Street between 4:30 and 6 pm there will be the only discussion between both side with Van De Platts being there.  All must attend.

Performance by 'Thursday's Children' did musical based upon the Tinker case.  Here is one song from it.

The Garst Family Tribute.  over 50 years of the Garst family supporting the ACLU.

Jonathan Turley:  Shapiro Chair for public interest at George Washington Univ.Legal Expert for major news outlets.  Considered one of the top 100 attorneys in the country.
Fantastic victory in Iowa on civil liberties.  Stripping the court of these three judges is an assault upon all civil liberties.  Why we have independent judiciary.  The Independence of judges is important to protect us from people of ill Jefferson.  At issue is not the future of these judges but the future of all Iowans.
Many Judges want to be Judge Judy and engage in outrageous actions.  Discussed Supreme Court.  A deeply flawed institution. He has suggestions to fix it.   Increase court to 19 members.  does not have ability to reform itself.  No term limits and serve for life.  Madison is only framer that looks good.  He was trusted by both sides.  He would have been a member of ACLU he insisted on and wrote Bill of Rights.  Mandatory retirement at 70.  his pick of nine greatest Justices of all time:  We have a disfunctional political system. 

Jonathan Turley: Supreme Court Flawed, History and Fix Part 1

Jonathan Turley: Supreme Court Flawed, History and Fix Part  2

Jonathan Turley: Supreme Court Flawed, History and Fix Part  3

I will be covering the World Food Prize and the many associated conferences and lectures and will be reporting on them her.

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