Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Updates To some Continuing Stories

Looking back over my archives, I see a couple of places where I should probably issue updates to articles I’ve written here.

President George W. Bush is joined by legislators, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2005 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, as he signs the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. White House photo by Paul MorseIn late October of 2005 I wrote about Retrograde Gun Control, and Bill S397, “The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” which prohibited liability lawsuits against gun and ammunition manufacturers and gun dealers when the guns and ammunition made/sold is used in an illegal act.

The bill was signed into law by Pres. G.W. Bush on Oct 26, 2005, and prevents lawsuits based upon misuse of firearms to be brought against the manufacturers and sellers, and also stopped action on all suits that were either in the courts or pending. Note that the same logic that this bill uses to provide the shield against lawsuits (that manufacturers or vendors should not be held liable for misuse by those operating the equipment) was exactly the logic that was used to *bring* suits, by the music industry, against the peer-to-peer networks, claiming that the software providers were responsible for the acts of independent third-parties.

The full text of the law (Public law 109-92) can be found here, at the GPO website.

Massachusetts National Guard shoulder patchesIn January and March of this year I wrote about the lawsuit to force the Massachusetts National Guard to pay the expenses for food, transportation and lodging for postings to provide infrastructure security, to the tune of $100 million.

Since my first reporting, one of the complainants, Capt. Louis P. Tortorella has died, and he, according to court documents, was insolvent and his home close to foreclosure, presumably due to the thousands of dollars he, effectively, advanced to the state government when he paid his food and lodging expenses out of his own pocket, expecting the National Guard to actually reimburse him for the per diem payments he was entitled to by law. The suit continues to go forward.

Armed Forces Radio and Television ServiceIn October I reported on a dustup when, with less than a week’s notice, the DoD reversed a decision to air the middle-of-the-road-to-progressive radio talk show hosted by Ed Shultz on Armed Forces Radio.

A second reversal came after a raft of stories that tied the cancellation of the scheduling to reportage that noted that one of President Bush’s “unstaged Q&A session” with some troops in Iraq was really as scripted as a professional wrestling bout.

Two months after the cancellation, Shultz’s radio show was finally available over the cable-tv and satellite audio feeds available to armed forces personnel on military bases throughout the world. I haven’t been able to determine if the show is available through the broadcast service available to be heard off-base.

Yearbook photograph of Dominique SamuelsIn May I wrote about the dearth of non-local reportage in the rape and murder case of Dominique Samuels.

On 05/12/06 Boston Police arrested Roderick Taylor as a suspect in the case. The prosecution’s theory is that Taylor raped and murdered Samuels after a party at the house she shared, first positioned the body in the victim’s bed to make it appear she was just sleeping, then returned several days later to take the body and burned it in an attempt to destroy evidence.

All this is ripe for tabloid exposure. But there’s still nothing carried on outlets outside of New England.

A quick Google search using the terms “Dominique Samuels murder” still returns only Massachusetts local outlets, one bit on CNN (who was interviewing a Boston Herald reporter) and one of the aggregators for independent papers, which picked up coverage by the Boston Phoenix. It looks like it’s still a case of “murdered while black = spike the story”


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