Short Takes: News From All Over: January 20, 2005

Abu Ghraib Abuse Firms are Rewarded
By Peter Beaumont, The Observer
The perpetrators caught on film in the Abu Ghraib scandal are starting to pay the price. Just this week, for instance, Army Reserve Spc. Charles Graner — dubbed the ringleader — was sentenced to 10 years in a military prison. But while the two companies that stocked Abu Ghraib with civilian contractors, interrogators, and analysts are being sued, they have avoided scrutiny by the media and the criminal justice system. Worse yet, reports The Observer, these same companies — CACI International and Titan — have been awarded new multimillion dollar contracts by the Pentagon. — Hannah Lobel,6903,1391431,00.html

A Star from Mosul
By Najma Abdullah, A Star from Mosul
A young woman writes about life in U.S. occupied Iraq. Using a pseudonym, she chronicles visits to Baghdad and, working out of her home in Mosul, she gushes about her niece and waxes nostalgic about school days when the most annoying predicament she faced was having to constantly correct her teacher. This is one of several blogs by Iraqis or about Iraq that can be found at, not all of which have been vetted as being written by Iraqis. But please read with an eye of caution. — Hannah Lobel

Bernie DeKoven: Fun-Maker, Fun-Philosopher, Fun-Guru
By Bernie DeKoven, Deepfun
Bernie DeKoven is a true visionary when it comes to fun. And he wants to spread his Buddha-like wisdom to other adults so that they can strive to have more playtime in their lives, as well. DeKoven lives and breathes fun as a way of life and taps into the deeper, therapeutic aspects of play. His interactive web site is stuffed to its cyber-gills with every sort of game a person could dream of and is constantly updated with blogs, related links, articles, and classes that are true to his obsession. — Marca Bradt

Antipreneuer: Can Activists Harness the Entrepreneurial Spirit?
By Staff, Adbusters
It is called the Blackspot Anticorporation and they have just launched their first product — a sneaker with the Converse design, colored green, and stamped with a black spot where the logo should be. If you’ve ever conjured up a dream product or fantasy business, Blackspot Anticorp encourages you to launch your idea on their weblog where you can get feedback and develop a business plan. The idea is to place people before profit and to provide corporate capitalism a little competition, even if it’s one shoe at a time. — Marca Bradt

Heartaches of Journalist Bloggers
By Adam L. Penenberg, Wired News
Mainstream media outlets have reacted differently to the blog revolution. To cash in on the next big thing, some have scouted out popular bloggers and put them on the payroll. Others have labeled blogging as conduct unbecoming to an objective journalist and instructed their employees to cease and desist. Both tacks are wrong-headed, argues Wired News writer Adam L. Penenberg. The first because it strips blogs of the scoops and opinions that attract readers in the first place. The second because it makes the age old mistake of confusing objectivity with he said, she said reporting. — Hannah Lobel,1284,66251,00.html

Garbage to You
By Jim Schutze, Dallas Observer
Dallas alternative press muckraker Jim Schutze was forced by his wife’s nagging to look into the city’s decision to trash what it considered homeless people’s trash. Schutze inventories the losses of several victims of the clean-up operation and offers a glimpse of the personal treasures in the duffels, trash bags and shopping carts that, like Dallas’ powers that be, many of us assume are stuffed with garbage. — Hannah Lobel

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