What Is A Recruiting ‘Funnel?’

(Photo: Playced)

The above picture is an interesting graphic, called a recruiting funnel. It applies to all intercollegiate sports, but this one specifically refers to Division I college football.

The numbers for other sports are different, but the concept is the same. In this case, out of roughly 12,000 messages sent out, a college will sign maybe 25 people who will then get a scholarship to play football on that team.


Rape Videos Online

It’s safe to say that rape is not left-wing. Nor does it seem to be right-wing.

According to humanevents.com, many search engines give billions of people access to hundreds – possibly even thousands – of videos that show women being sexually abused, raped. humanevents.com is a self-described coservative website.

According to humanevents.com, there are graphic websites that that allow users to upload media anonymously or by using an alias. Rapists have uploaded videos of their rapes. Most of the women in these videos are young, heavily intoxicated or drugged, and in many cases they are unconscious.

humanevents.com found dozens of videos of women being raped, which together had been viewed more than 21 million times.

Pornography websites rely heavily on search engines to receive much of their traffic. Google and other search engines provide their users access to these pornographic sites, earning a profit from the increased advertising revenue that comes from having additional site traffic.

Users who find these horrific rape videos in the “videos” section of Google not only have access to the videos themselves but also can “preview” images that appear in the search results the search engines provide. This means users do not ever need to leave Google to see graphic pictures of these rape victims.

Over the past four months, humanevents.com made multiple attempts to get Google, Yahoo, and Bing to ban the rape videos, but after four months, not one had been removed.

Many websites themselves are based overseas, where laws to protect women from sexual crimes are minimal, and very little can be done by U.S. law enforcement to halt these videos from being distributed by pornography sites. This leaves victims with virtually no way of preventing these videos, which reportedly fit the legal definition of obscenity, from getting into the hands of millions of people – except through search engines.

humanevents.com writes that public pressure could force search engines to consider changing their policies so these videos are not so easily accessible. If search engines agree to permanently ban any website that shows rape videos, after giving a specified period for the websites to remove the material, this problem could potentially be solved overnight – since porn websites rely so heavily on search engines for their traffic.

Search engines that do not change their policies could be at risk of violating federal, and possibly state, law. The Department of Justice (DOJ) says on its website, “Federal law prohibits the possession with intent to sell or distribute obscenity, to send, ship, or receive obscenity, to import obscenity, and to transport obscenity across state boarders for purposes of distribution.”

Some may argue that taking down videos of rape somehow violates the right to free speech.

In 1919, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr. wrote:

“The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic … . The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger.”

So there are limits to the right to free speech.

Think of it this way: what if there were a video of your kid being raped on the internet? Would you want it up there?

How about obscenity laws?

humanevents.com writes that “Obscene material” has largely been defined in important Supreme Court cases, such as Miller v. California (1973). From those cases, a test has been formulated to determine whether material is legally categorized as obscene. The Department of Justice outlines the test online, indicating that “[a]ny material that satisfies this three-pronged test may be found obscene.” Below are the “three prongs”:

“1. Whether the average person, applying contemporary adult community standards, finds that the matter, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interests (i.e., an erotic, lascivious, abnormal, unhealthy, degrading, shameful, or morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion);

“2. Whether the average person, applying contemporary adult community standards, finds that the matter depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way (i.e., ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, masturbation, excretory functions, lewd exhibition of the genitals, or sado-masochistic sexual abuse); and

“3. Whether a reasonable person finds that the matter, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

In other words, the law takes into consideration the views of the average person and community standards. Most people would probably find a video of an actual rape to be obscene.

Liberty Through Strength Act

According to Salon.com, the far-right Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton is using the terrorist attack in Paris as a reason to introduce the Liberty Through Strength Act, which would delay the upcoming implementation of the USA Freedom Act.

The USA Freedom Act was passed in June to curtail the National Security Agency’s bulk metadata collection program, which a federal appeals court ruled unconstitutional in May.  That collection program was authorized under the Patriot Act after 9/11, and allowed the NSA to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk and store them in huge databases for years.

Salon writes that under the USA Freedom Act, phone records being accessed by the NSA would instead remain stored with the wireless carriers who operate the nation’s cellular phone networks.

The government could only access that information with specific warrants and requests related to investigations.

According to Arkansas Online, Mr. Cotton voted against the USA Freedom Act.

What Did Reagan Think Of The Japanese Internment Camps?

Many on the right wing (and those who call themselves “Reaganites”) are calling for the surveillance of Muslims and the shutting down of Mosques.

The mayor of Roanoke, VA, David Bowers, recently cited Japanese internment during World War II to defend rejecting Syrian refugees.  Star Trek actor George Takei and actor Telly Leung pointed that out in an article in The Huffington Post.

They also pointed out that in 1988, Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, which apologized and compensated the victims of the Japanese internment.

Takei also testified before a congressional panel in the 80s, which found that racial prejudice, war hysteria and a lack of political leadership all contributed to the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II.

NPR writes:

In 1988, President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act to compensate more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent who were incarcerated in internment camps during World War II. The legislation offered a formal apology and paid out $20,000 in compensation to each surviving victim.

It would seem that Reagan in no way supported the Japanese internment camps in World War II.


Will Canada Pull Out Of Iraq And Syria?

Earlier in the fall, Justin Trudeau – the new prime minister of Canada – opted to pull Canadian forces out of Iraq and Syria.

It is hard to find new information on that situation.

According to globalnews.ca:

“In the immediate aftermath of Friday’s attacks in Paris, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seemed reluctant to say whether he’d be changing course on his government’s plan to pull Canadian fighter jets out of the skies over Syria and Iraq. Asked if the attacks gave him pause, Trudeau replied that ‘it is still early moments.’

“On Monday morning, however, he was unequivocal during a nearly 40-minute press conference in Turkey, where he was attending a G20 summit: Canada will end the bombing mission before March 30, 2016.”

Ipsos Market Research gave the results of a poll:

“Despite the government’s insistence that the air strikes against ISIS targets will end, two in three (68%) Canadians ‘agree’ (36% strongly/32% somewhat) that they ‘support the use of Canadian Forces Fighter Jets in the international coalition’s airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria’, while one in three (32%) ‘disagree’ (13% strongly/19% somewhat) with the mission. While strong, support for the airstrikes is down 6 points since March; opposition is up 6 points.

“While there exists strong support for the current air-strike mission, Canadians are split on whether Trudeau should keep his election promise to end the mission: one half (52%) agree (24% strongly/28% somewhat) that the Prime Minister should ‘stay committed to his campaign promise to remove Canadian CF-18 jets from the airstrike mission against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria’, while the other half (48%) ‘disagree’ (22% strongly/26% somewhat) that he should keep his promise, ultimately believing he should keep the jets in their current mission.

“Three quarters (73%) of Canadians ‘agree’ (33% strongly/40% somewhat) that ‘the coalition of allies can win the war against ISIS’, while one quarter (27%) ‘disagrees’ (6% strongly/21% somewhat) that this is a battle that can be won. These figures are unchanged since March.”

cbc.ca write that Canada may pull its fighter planes out of the region, and instead focus on training local forces.

The Guardian and other sources claim that the new prime minister has not set a timetable for withdrawing the fighter jets.


Does The Media Have A Liberal Bias?

The Young Turks

Recently, the news network CNN punished reporter Elise Labott for a tweet on refugees.  Her suspension was confirmed on Friday by an unnamed executive at the network.  Below is the tweet.

At the same time, CNN pundits pushing the pro-war agenda such as CNN’s Jim Acosta or Christine Amanpour are not disciplined.

Is CNN showing both sides of the story?