Towards Repealing Liberia’s Draconian Press Laws

first_imgAaron Kollie, CEO of Power TV, made a strong point last week when he insisted that the perilous media conditions existing in Liberia can and must be reformed by the Liberian government exercising the political will to make reform happen.Addressing a panel during the two-day Media Law and Regulatory Reform Stakeholders Conference, Mr. Kollie said the free press, which government continuously boasts about, must not be measured simply by the proliferation of media houses and free talk, but by the formulation of laws and policies that safeguard that freedom in line with constitutional foundation.Kollie described the media reform initiative as “a strategic initiative to safeguard the sacred journalism profession.”We are pleased to hear Mr. Kollie describe the journalism profession as “sacred,” but how many Liberian journalists think so? But first, let us understand what “sacred” means. It means holy, consecrated, revered. How many Liberian journalists are practicing journalism in a “sacred” manner? For a very long time the profession has been seen by many as “pay as you go,” meaning you can get anything published or broadcast once you are backed by some unseen hand paying for it. No! That is just as corrupt as the very government which we journalists so often and so vigorously criticize for wrongdoing.This brings us to the main point of Mr. Kollie’s remarks, that Liberia’s perilous media conditions “must be reformed by the Liberian government exercising the political will” to make it happen.True, Liberia’s “perilous conditions” were made “perilous” by the punitive and punishing legislations made by the government itself, without regard to the Constitution. Take the law on Criminal Malevolence passed by the Tolbert Legislature in 1978. That law, seriously criticized by the constitutional analyst and pamphleteer Albert Porte, said the media could not criticize the Head of State of Liberia or any other country or high government official, even if the allegation were true.Mr. Porte urged the government to repeal that law; otherwise it would spell trouble for the country. Like so many other warnings, this one went unheeded and ignored. And what happened almost two years later? The 1980 coup d’état, followed by the civil war.So surely, it is primarily the responsibility of the government, which first put these laws into place, to take the first step to have them repealed and struck off the law books. If the GOL has the political will to do so, it should commandeer all the lawyers under its control, especially those in the Justice Ministry, but also lawyers that GOL can contract or co-opt to help with the repeal process by drafting the repeal bills for forwarding to the Legislature. GOL should then undertake the necessary follow-ups until the repeal process is successfully concluded.But it takes two to tango. The PUL and all Liberian journalists have a stake in this noble and urgent endeavor. Fortunately, the PUL and Liberian journalists are not weak. They have many friends in the legal profession who think that way—lawyers who know that the perilous laws are wrong because they violate the Constitution. These media-friendly legal professionals are willing and ready to help PUL put its case before the Legislature.We refer to such media-friendly lawyers as Counselor Tiawan Gongloe, former Solicitor General and former Labor Minister, Attorney Kofi Woods, former Public Works Minister, and others. We recall that when in 1984 the People’s Redemption Council (PRC) government closed down the Daily Observer and later sued it for “quo warranto” in an attempt to cancel its Articles of Incorporation, Counselor Varney Sherman, then a partner in the Maxwell and Maxwell Law Firm, joined the Observer’s retained Counsel, Counselor S. Raymond Horace, Sr. and other powerful lawyers and came to this newspaper’s defense, free of charge! The Daily Observer won the case before the Justice in Chambers, His Honor Emmanuel Koroma. But the state, under the leadership of the infamous Attorney General, Jenkins Scott, shamelessly took appeal to the full bench of the Supreme Court. All of the Justices on the Supreme Court bench were seen laughing as Counselor Laveli Supuwood, representing the state, floundered while presenting his legal arguments. We the Observer staff present, and our lawyers, knew we had won the case again.Alas, on the day of judgment, Chief Justice Emmanuel Gbalazeh did not have the courage or integrity to place the case on the docket. When, during the Supreme Court’s first recess, Counselor Horace asked him why the Observer case was absent from the docket, the CJ replied, “You think I’m stupid? You want me to lose my job?”Having surrendered his constitutional, judicial authority to the Executive, in clear violation of the “separation of powers,” Chief Justice Gbalazeh was himself listening to the radio on July 26, 1984, when Head of State Samuel K. Doe announced the reopening of the Daily Observer newspaper.We submit that PUL should not wait for government alone to take the repeal initiative, though it should. But we in the PUL, too, should marshal our own team of erudite and patriotic lawyers to join in the repeal process, and work diligently until all these draconian laws are repealed.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Has Cosmic Inflation Been Discovered?

first_imgClaims of a major breakthrough about the big bang are swirling in the news: is it inflation, or inflating the evidence?In “Stop the presses!” style, the science news are simultaneously announcing that gravitational waves have been discovered that reveal evidence for inflation.  Cosmic inflation stems from Alan Guth’s proposal in the 1980s that the universe underwent an unbelievable expansion (much faster than light) for just a few billionths of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second immediately after the big bang (see “State of the Cosmos,” 2/21/05).  Despite undergoing numerous overhauls and versions, inflation theory has become somewhat of a “given” among cosmologists, because it neatly dispenses with two falsifications of the big bang, the horizon problem and the lumpiness problem.  Still, some complained that it was (1) untestable and (2) it created as many problems as it solved.  Science Now openly admits the idea sounds crazy:If imagining the big bang makes your head ache, what happened an instant later might make it explode. Cosmologists think the just-born universe—a hot, dense soup of matter and energy—went through a burst of expansion faster than the speed of light. Like a magical balloon, the cosmos doubled its size 60 times in a span of 10-32 seconds. This phase, known as inflation, ended well before the universe was even a second old.So how can they suddenly claim that inflation has been discovered?Major Discovery: ‘Smoking Gun’ for Universe’s Incredible Big Bang Expansion Found ( direct evidence of cosmic inflation (PhysOrg)First glimpse of big bang ripples from universe’s birth (New Scientist)Cosmic inflation: ‘Spectacular’ discovery hailed (BBC News)Glimpse of the Universe’s First Split Second Boosts Inflation Theory (Science Magazine)Telescope captures view of gravitational waves:  Images of the infant Universe reveal evidence for rapid inflation after the Big Bang (Nature)What really happened is that a team with a sensitive detector dubbed BICEP2 in Antarctica found (they claim) some signals of B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – a very weak signal that leans on various models and the ability to identify noise to subtract out.  They are interpreting swirls on a chart as evidence of gravitational waves (extremely weak and difficult to detect), which they infer were caused by inflation after the big bang, since producing those artifacts would have required very high energy according to theory.  They believe they have ruled out foreground artifacts that might have distorted the signal, but that remains to be confirmed.Science reporters are going nuts with the announcement simultaneously (showing they are all in cahoots with embargoed news, like horses ready to charge out of the racing gates; this BICEP2 study has been going on for years)., in particular, is finding creative ways to capitalize on the “spectacular” announcement with advertisement-cluttered video clips, interviews, photo galleries and infographics, obviously prepared in advance for the big publication day.Deeper reading shows it might be appropriate to hold the horses.First of all, the experiments are highly theory-laden.  It’s a bit like reasoning, “Major premise: If space aliens visited Mars, they would have left faces.  Minor premise: a face has been found on Mars.  Conclusion: Space aliens visited Mars.”  Only if cosmologists assume certain things about what inflation might do to the cosmic microwave background can they claim inflation caused what they think they see.  This signal, for instance, would have had to be imprinted on spacetime almost half a billion years before the CMB became visible. Confirmation bias is a common problem in science and in everyday life (that’s why Karl Popper proposed falsification as a criterion for science.)Second, the data are extremely tenuous.  Gravitational waves are notoriously weak.  Additional support may come from data now being crunched by the ESA’s Planck telescope’s team.  But again, interpretations of the reduced data set after signals considered uninformative are tossed out are not free of theory bias.  The team is claiming, nonetheless, that the signal is stronger than expected.Third, even the “discoverers” of the ripples admit it is premature to conclude their favored interpretation (inflation) is correct.  Deep in the article, team leader John Kovac said he expects a lot of scrutiny to follow the announcement.  “It’s going to be controversial,” he told “We can expect that people will try to shoot at it from every direction, and we invite that — that’s the scientific process, and it’ll be fun and interesting.”  The honest reporters are cautioning their claims with the disclaimer, “If it is confirmed…”.  Mr. Inflation himself, Alan Guth, warned in the New Scientist article, “No experiment should be taken too seriously until there’s more than one that can vouch for it.”  Nevertheless, some are seeing John Kovac on track for a Nobel Prize.Fourth, the announcement does not claim to bring understanding of any physical cause for the signal.  Harvard cosmologist Avi Loeb gives this admission at the end of the article:Still, there is much more to learn about our universe’s first few moments. For example, astronomers still have no idea what the substance that propelled inflation — dubbed the “inflaton” — actually is, Loeb said.“It’s not yet a victory of theoretical physics that we see evidence for a process that took place early on,” he said. “We really need to understand what this substance — this inflaton — is. And until we do that, it’s just like dark matter or dark energy — we give it a name, but we don’t know what it is.“Perhaps it is best to summarize the announcement thus: A very tiny signal of uncertain origin might have been detected from the Earth’s surface in microwaves that might have originated in gravitational waves from deep space, but confirmation is needed.  Some cosmologists have pet theories, but nobody understands what they mean.Update 3/19/14: For Evolution News & Views, Rob Sheldon has analyzed the motivations behind this announcement, as well as its physical claims.Ignoring for a moment the press’s propensity to leap onto bandwagons and toot foghorns in unison, let’s consider what this announcement means for creationists.  If the signal turns out to be real and did come from gravitational waves during the birth of the universe, why should they be surprised?  They believe God stretched out the heavens in the mighty miracle of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  Why wouldn’t a supernatural event like that leave footprints in natural signals?  If we are on the frontier of gravitational wave astronomy, praise the Lord!  We can learn some more things about creation.Oh, but naturalists argue, we have science, so we don’t need miracles to explain the universe.  Oh, yes they do.  Consider: they don’t know what inflation is, they don’t know what an inflaton is (it’s just a name to cover ignorance), they don’t know what triggered the big bang, they don’t know what came before it, they invented inflation to avoid falsification of their naturalistic theory.  Inflation creates as many problems as it supposedly solves, because it merely transfers the extreme-low-entropy initial conditions of the big bang to inflation itself.  Moreover, it was a one-time event, with no explanation, that occurred under no known laws of nature – ruling out the principle of uniformity, the basis of science.  Conclusion: inflation is tantamount to a miracle.  Q.E.D.  So: everyone believes in miracles.  Christians have all the reason to believe that intelligently-designed miracles are superior to mindless miracles of chance, especially when they result in human brains capable of asking questions like this.This announcement, therefore, gives no support to naturalism.  All the problems that existed before are still there.  Guth admitted in 2005 that inflation, which he called a “collection of models rather than a unique theory,” does not remove the Anthropic Principle – an idea that he confessed sounds patently religious.  This announcement is just the latest case of philosophical naturalists and their toady reporters inflating a nanometer into a light-year, claiming far more than they can possibly know, using minds that, by attempting to employ laws of logic, refute their own naturalistic premises. 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Microsemi: digital ceiling PoE switch compatible to any IEEE802.3af/at lighting fixture

first_img Continue Reading Previous dSPACE extends SCALEXIO product line with DS6001 processor boardNext Avnet Silica solutions targeting key application sectors on show at Embedded World Microsemi announced the availability of its PDS-208G power-over-Ethernet switch. Offering an optimal and cost-effective solution designed specifically for digital ceiling installations, the new device is compatible with any IEEE 802.3af or 802.3at PoE lighting fixture and can be installed in ceiling or communication room racks.Microsemi’s new PDS-208G PoE switch, which was installed in multiple successful beta sites in 2017, is well-suited to a number of applications within the LED lighting and enterprise markets, such as smart buildings. The 240-watt fanless switch supports full-power mode by providing 30 W for eight ports simultaneously and any individual port can operate at up to 72 W. The device is also able to perform software upgrades while keeping PoE ports active. With growing demand for energy-efficient lighting systems expected to be the major factor driving the market, the PDS-208G is ideally suited to capitalize on this growing demand.The highspeed PDS-208G PoE switch offers Layer 2 management capabilities, and the device’s eight 10/100/1,000 Mbps ports with PoE capabilities are based on Microsemi’s energy-efficient four-pair PoE technology, enabling 50 percent power loss savings on the Ethernet cables when compared to similar installations using an Ethernet switch. It also features two Gigabit ports which can be used for uplinks and can be remotely managed through Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and the web.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Chips & Components last_img read more