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July 09, 2009

Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp accused of illegally hacking victims' phones

Murdoch papers paid out L1m to gag phone-hacking victims | Media | The Guardian
Rupert Murdoch's News Group News�papers has paid out more than �1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories. The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public �figures to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills. Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars were all targets of the private investigators. Today, the Guardian reveals details of the suppressed evidence, which may open the door to hundreds more legal actions by victims of News Group, the Murdoch company that publishes the News of the World and the Sun, as well as provoking police inquiries into reporters who were involved and the senior executives responsible for them.

July 01, 2009

Microcosm Publishing - In case you ever wondered what happened to zines

oogly-nav4.gifI honestly didn't think people did this on paper anymore. Wow. Clearly, I need to get out more. Finding stuff like The Stark Fist of Removal and 8-Track Mind and Loompanics catalogs and so on in the corners of used magazine stores and comics racks was my tenuous link to any kind of subculture back in the Reagan 80s. Microcosm Publishing
Microcosm Publishing is an independent publisher and distributor based in Bloomington, IN and Portland, OR. We distribute & publish zines, books, pamphlets, stickers, mini-buttons, patches, t-shirts, posters, films, and more! We hope to add credibility to zine writers and their ethics, teach self empowerment, show hidden history, and nurture people's creative side. We began in 1996 with one person doing part time mailorder out of a bedroom.... Microcosm specializes in DIY goods. That's a pretty vague term, but all our items are DIY in some sense. Most of the items in the catalog are of a similar spirit, passion, and set of intentions. We began Microcosm with the goal of making available those materials that would otherwise be difficult for people to get their hands on. The content of books and zines is important too. We wouldn't carry something that we thought was irrelevant; but that doesn't mean it has to be overtly political social commentary either. Basically, it has to have some entertainment value and some greater purpose or universal appeal. We like history, educational, and instructive zines. Personal zines are great, but it's important for readers to be able to relate to them also. "I think that the punk ethos of you don't need anything, you just need to do it and figure out what you're doing as you go, has probably informed everything I've done since. It seemed a pretty sensible and refreshing idea at the time. Likewise the idea that you ought to be enjoying what you're doing and be doing it because you think it's cool and fun. The idea that mistakes are part of what make things interesting, and it's probably wisest to get it right and move on and not spend the rest of your life polishing it." - Neil Gaiman
Some titles: Sick: A Compilation Zine on Physical Illness; Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills; Applicant ["One night while rooting through the recycling bin for magazines, I found all the confidential Ph.D. applicant files for the biology department at an Ivy League university from the years 1965-1975."]; Privilege and Solidarity: Challenging Capitalism, Challenging Philanthropy; Assholes, Politicians, Economists, and Cops: A Billion Reasons to Oppose Globalization; If It Ain't Cheap, It Ain't Punk: 15 years of Plan-it X

June 27, 2009

Boys Beware!

Lawyers, Guns and Money: Beware! An anti-gay PSA from the 50s.
Something worth noting: We often think of anti-gay bigotry as a pre-existing social fact that is, slowly but appreciably, slipping into history. But that's not quite right. Homophobia is, to substantial effect, the product of campaigns of propaganda on the part of political and religious institutions. This is to say that beliefs about the ickiness of homosexuality exist, at least to a degree, because the state took it upon itself to insist that homosexuality was icky. People had to be taught that they found homosexuality repulsive.

June 25, 2009

Utah and Louisiana give private citizens the right to publicly censor books

Conversational Reading: Utah and Louisiana Start Down the Slippery Slope to Censorship
There is a disturbing new trend in censorship legislation. Bills have been introduced in Utah and Louisiana this year that give private citizens the right to sue booksellers and other retailers for committing an "unfair" trade practice by selling "offensive" material to a minor. The defendants in these lawsuits would have to hire a lawyer to defend them and could be forced to pay thousands of dollars if they lost.