Bloggers blast treatment of "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla. They also trash radio personality Dennis Prager and welcome a new breed of "mobile journalists."
Padilla TV: The New York Times obtained a video depicting detainee and "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla being escorted out of solitary confinement for a trip to the dentist. Padilla's lawyers say the video, in which guards in riot gear outfit Padilla with blackened goggles and noise-blocking headphones, illustrates "outrageous government conduct." A psychiatrist who examined Padilla said that as a result of prolonged isolation, he "lacks the capacity to assist in his own defense," according to the article. Bloggers exhaust the thesaurus entry for appalled.
Anti-torture pundit Andrew Sullivan calls Padilla's treatment "unconscionable" and connects it to Congress' suspension of habeas corpus: "This could happen to any American anywhere this president decides to call an 'enemy combatant.' " Liberal Bitch Ph.D. sighs, "[T]he only hope left is that we'll learn something from having literally used all the power of the government to ruin a man without so much as charging him with a crime."
Liberal Hungry Blues compares the still images to photos from Guantanamo Bay's Camp X-ray, which depict prisoners subjected to sensory deprivation. Liberal Marc Parent at Crimes and Corruption of the New World Order News likens Padilla's treatment to classic CIA psychological torture techniques and wonders why this treatment continued for so long: "[T]hey surely must have realized that he had no secrets to reveal. So why continue? One can only speculate. Were they conducting a barbarous experiment, trying to determine what it would take to destroy his personality? Was it simply brutal punishment for the humiliation experienced by those who ordered this treatment after they realized he was not the big terrorist they had fantasized they had in their power?"
Liberal Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory reserves his most brutal sarcasm for Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz, whom he accuses of belittling the issue in an online chat: "In Kurtz's world, the only thing this non-story really implicates are some routine matters involving prisoner security which only whiny human rights hysterics would be upset about. … It's just some leg shackles and goggles. What's all the fuss about?"
Lance at A Quiet Noise wonders how many Americans justify such treatment and "at the same time put forth that we are a Christian Nation": "I thought the Inqusition was over centuries ago. And the Salem Witch Trials, at least they got a trial!"
Read more about Jose Padilla.
Prager v. Ellison: Conservative radio host and columnist Dennis Prager wrote recently that newly elected Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim, should take his oath of office on the Bible instead of the Koran. The Council on American-Islamic Relations called his views "bigoted" and demanded his ouster from the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Most bloggers side with neither party.
Fellow conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters writes that Prager "got this issue spectacularly wrong." For one thing, he notes, House members may opt for an "affirmation" instead of a religious oath. But secondly, "if using a religious text for an oath has any significance at all … one would suppose that it would have to be a religious text with significance to the person swearing the oath. … Why wouldn't we want Ellison to swear his oath on the one religious text he holds sacred, if we want him to feel some responsibility for acting in its defense by fulfilling his oath?"
At Huffington Post, conservative Christian David Kuo weighs in on Ellison's side: "In courts across America today, people pledge to tell the truth and the whole truth without putting their hands on the Bible if they so choose. (The same thing is true in swearing-in ceremonies). President Bush participates in celebrating Ramadan. If Islam is good enough for President Bush, I suppose its holy book is good enough for a swearing in ceremony."
Group blog Shakespeare's Sister arguesthe book is beside the point: "If you've got contempt for the Constitution, there isn't a book in the world upon which swearing to protect and uphold it will make a damn bit of difference." And anyway, she wonders, "Why the hell is Dennis Prager on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council in the first place?"
Read more about Prager's remarks.
News on wheels: Newspaper giantGannett is streamlining its labor force by employing "mobile journalists"—also called "mojos"—to cover "hyper-local" news. Bloggers feel a certain kinship.
Brian C. Russell at Yesh hopes this change means more respect for bloggers: "My main concern is how will media companies fairly compensate citizen journalists. I'm not necessarily talking about money. Some bloggers happily donate their work. … But if companies don't respect users (bloggers, citizen journalists) then their partnerships will fail." But Greg Sterling at media blog Screenwerk looks askance at the move: "Newspapers need to retain the integrity their greatest asset, editorial content, and not pump a bunch of 'cat in local tree' stories onto their sites for the sake of having local content."
Media watcher Mathew Ingram thinks "mojos" just do "what good reporters have been doing for decades": "The secret is to get close to your audience and talk about the things that matter to them, and they will get close to you."
Read more about Gannett's "mojos."