A good part of the reason I started blogging was because I went to a history conference at a UT branch up between Dallas and Fort Worth and found that, contrary to belief, many well known academic historians have found community history projects to be invaluable because of their focus and details. Photos rated high. Photos with details rate high. Interviews with participants in events rated high. Interviews with older people rated high if you cover their experience and perspective.
- Prairie Weather

“Protest works. Just look at the proof”

Free MP3 sites

Be your own program director. Venture off the beaten path. Live a little.

2dopeboyz: Hip hop. (RSS)

3hive: Sharing the sharing. Free and legal MP3s from over 600 underground and undiscovered artists — new ones added daily. (RSS)

Amazon MP3 Download - Frequency: Weekly. Get the latest on Amazon MP3 music downloads - new releases, freshly ripped hits, and special deals.

Audio Drums - A blog for rare, possibly overlooked, maybe forgotten gems of music with a slight emphasis on electronic and indie genres. (RSS)

Common Folk Music - A blog about music, not just folk music, but all music ranging from indie to alt-country to bluegrass, because music is for the “Common Folk”. (RSS)

Discobelle.net (RSS)

Fiddlefreak Folk Music Blog - Folk, bluegrass, Celtic, and other music of the people. (RSS)

Fingertips Music - Free and legal music. (RSS)

Gorilla Vs Bear (RSS)

Hillydilly: Simply Good Music. (RSS)

I Rock Cleveland: Indie Rock, College Rock, Alt Rock, Modern Rock, Cleveland Rock, and Rock. (RSS)

KEXP Song of the Day: KEXP 90.3 FM - where the music matters (RSS)

Kick Kick Snare (RSS)

Line Of Best Fit - TLOBF.COM | Music Reviews, News, Interviews & Downloads (RSS)

Lipstick Disco - Deep House & Disco music blog fronted by Females (RSS)

Minnesota Public Radio Song of the Day: Music lovers from 89.3 The Current share songs with you each weekday. (RSS)

Muruch (RSS)

Music Like Dirt: Music in all its many forms, mp3’s, live reviews and photography. (RSS)

My Old Kentucky Blog - a music blog that parties with unicorns. (RSS)

Nah Right. (RSS)

ninebullets.net. (RSS)

Rollo & Grady: Los Angeles Music Blog, LA Music Blog (RSS)

Said the Gramophone: a music weblog (RSS)

She Makes Music: She Makes Music focuses on the most exciting and impressive new music created by brilliant and talented female musicians. (RSS)


Sounds Better With Reverb (RSS)

Stereogum: All the MP3s on Stereogum.com (RSS)

their bated breath (RSS)

Women of Hip Hop (RSS)

YouKnowIGotSoul (RSS)

Mourn ya till I join ya

The Wheel’s Still In Spin: Focusing on new music releases and reviews of individual albums as original, fictional short stories (RSS)

A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz - This site is just a way for me to have a little fun and share a little music. I’ll highlight some of my favorite artists that I play on the radio and try to expound upon their music in ways I can’t always do on the air. (RSS)

Aminal Sound

Audiofile: Music Blog, Music Articles - Salon.com

Crossfade: The CNET music blog

Direct Current New Music - Adult pop, rock, singer/songwriters, folk, Americana, alt-country, adult alternative, soul, world music, crossover jazz and simply those artists that make us go “hmmm.”(RSS)

GarageBand.com Folk top tracks (RSS)

GarageBand.com Hip Hop top tracks (RSS)

Flawless Hustle: Urban culture blog featuring artist interviews, music reviews, legal music downloads, street art, graffiti and more! (RSS)



The Jon Swift principle: “I will add anyone to my blogroll who adds me to theirs.” Email or leave a comment to let me know.


The Hunting of the Snark

Sites participating in blogroll amnesty day

Jon Swift aka Al Weisel, may he rest in peace. Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day

skippy the bush kangaroo (Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day) (2012)

Vagabond Scholar (2012)
Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety. Keeper of the Jon Swift Memorial Roundup (The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves)

Notes From Underground (2012)

Redeye’s Front Page (2012)

Wisdom of the West (2012)

Zen Comix (2012)

pygalgia (2012)

Mikeb302000 (2012)

The Agonist (2012)

Brilliant At Breakfast (2012)

Bacon and Eggs (2012)

« This Week In Tyranny | Main | This Week In Tyranny »

From Discovery to Concealment

No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post

All presidents are unpopular with a good part of the electorate, but there seems to be little skepticism towards the office itself. There is plenty of distrust and even outright revulsion towards particular presidents based on, for instance, whether one is more outraged by extramarital sex - by a political opponent, not by an ally - or war crimes. (Ironically, Republicans’ approach with Mark Sanford has been to censure and move on; their refusal to use precisely that remedy with president Clinton was key in launching the first highly visible netroots site.) I am not even referring to the lunacy now coming into full bloom in some quarters. All those examples are about who a particular president is or what he has done. I am referring more to what a president ought to be able to do, which has trended almost exclusively towards greater deference and larger grants of authority in the last few years.

It is possible to argue, as Dana Nelson details in her book Bad For Democracy, that the presidency has been slowly but steadily aggrandizing since 1832 when Andrew Jackson “detoured from his predecessors who viewed the president as a mere executive by expanding his power when a clear mandate was expressed to him from ‘the people.’” The president has increasingly come to be central to American political life and even viewed as the personification of the country. For as troubling as that is, though, we recently seem to also have added the idea that the president can act with impunity as long as it can be rationalized (however fabulously) as in the national interest. Presumably blowjobs are still verboten.

The courts have at times been all too eager to assist in this project, and on Monday the New York Times reported (via) their willingness to do so has unleashed some unintended consequences. The Supreme Court’s Ashcroft v. Iqbal decision in May was a civil rights damages lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Javald Iqbal was swept up along with more than 1,000 other mostly Arabic people in America right after 9/11. He claimed mistreatment and filed suit against Ashcroft on the theory that responsibility goes to the top. The Court ruled that essentially unless Ashcroft was physically present and ordering the abuse he was not liable. In other words, in its eagerness to shield the executive branch from being held responsible for this or any other covert lawbreaking it substantially raised the evidentiary bar for lawsuits. Or as the Times described it, the ruling eviscerated discovery:

For more than half a century, it has been clear that all a plaintiff had to do to start a lawsuit was to file what the rules call “a short and plain statement of the claim” in a document called a complaint. Having filed such a bare-bones complaint, plaintiffs were entitled to force defendants to open their files and submit to questioning under oath…The Iqbal decision now requires plaintiffs to come forward with concrete facts at the outset, and it instructs lower court judges to dismiss lawsuits that strike them as implausible…In the new world, after Iqbal, a lawsuit has to satisfy a skeptical judicial gatekeeper.

The article notes it has already been cited as precedent over 500 times and quotes Stephen Burbank, an authority on civil procedure at the University of Pennsylvania Law School: “This is a blank check for federal judges to get rid of cases they disfavor.” It is a clear and substantial act of judicial activism, and yet another example of how the nice-sounding principles of conservatism (see also fiscal probity, sound management and prudent foreign policy) never seem to make it into practice.

The suppression of discovery was a key motive behind last year’s execrable FISA Amendment Act (FAA) as well. Its retroactive immunity provision nullified lawsuits which “had provided some hope that through the process of discovery, the public would at last learn about the extent of the illegal spying program.” Discovery means transparency; the telecom companies who pushed the FAA arguably had more to fear from the PR apocalypse that discovery might have produced than an actual jury verdict against them. This week we learned CBS may also feel its sting as well. Discovery promised perhaps the best avenue for getting the details of Bush-era violations of civil liberties and human rights out in the open, and both the legislative and judicial branches have bent over backwards to shield the executive from it. It suggests an outsized understanding of the presidency that considers it superior to the other two branches. The judicial chaos unleashed by Iqbal is just one example of the mess that can be created in defense of that concept, and the latest reason why it truly is bad for democracy.

Reader Comments (2)

Hey, I am happy to post that I recently cited to the Iqbal decision in one of my gitmo cases...wouldn't it be nice if what goes around comes around?
Of course no one can see how I cited to it because everything filed these days in the gitmo cases is filed under seal...you know, transparentcy and all.
Best regards,

July 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhcgorman

It seems like there's all kinds of, um, unusual applications for it. I tend to think it will be used to quash lawsuits inconvenient to those in power, be it government, business or otherwise. In other words, overall it's a bad thing but if it can be used in some good ways like this then at least there's a silver lining.

July 23, 2009 | Registered CommenterDan

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