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Archive for February 9th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Los Angeles

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 9th, 2011 5:47 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Los Angeles
SugarcultLos Angeles — set to video of landing at LAX International Airport via the SADDE Six Arrival, as viewed from the cockpit.

SugarcultLos Angeles — set to video of landing at LAX International Airport via the SADDE Six Arrival, as viewed from the cockpit.  From the YouTube page:

It was an amazing night and the combination of the Sadde Six approach, the sunset, the visibility, an empty aircraft (maintenance ferry), and ATC vectoring us down to 2,500 feet all worked together.
(snip)
The video is sped up to somewhere between Mach 1 and Mach 2 (depending on actual airspeed about 8X). The original idea was to a) compress a 30 minute approach into three minutes; and b) to see what it would look like if you you were riding on the back of a cruise missile. There will also some minor timing issues to get it to “fit” with the song.

What’s on your mind?

h/t Spocko

B(eyond) P(arody)
It’s good to know what the really important priorities are nowadays…corporate profits trump mass murder every time.

photo via Ian Tait at flickr.com

Oh BP was there no bit of moral turpitude beyond your grasp last year? Guy in jail for killing 270 people by bombing a jet over Lockerbie, Scotland pales in comparison to an oil drilling deal:

BP, Europe’s second-largest oil company, successfully lobbied the government to get Al-Megrahi included in a prisoner transfer agreement after the Libyans warned they would pull out of deals if he were left out.

And helping out, naturally:

British government ministers secretly advised Libya on how to get convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi released from a life sentence in a Scottish prison, American documents published by WikiLeaks allege.

But there was nothing “improper” about this somehow.

We cannot let the little matter of international terrorism and mass murder get in the way of our precious corporate profits — that’s what limiting peoples’ civil liberties are for.

Good thing the American government doesn’t do stuff like this (casual whistling ensues). And that last statement is true because being an American, history usually matters only when it can be used on various sports teams’ message boards, or worshiping a version of the “founders” they’d laugh at three-fifths of the time. Besides, we’ll never get to see those Cheney Energy Task Force notes anyway.


Chris Hedges: ‘Death of the Liberal Class’ on Book TV

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 9th, 2011 5:46 am by HL

Chris Hedges: ‘Death of the Liberal Class’ on Book TV
Author, journalist and Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges takes his bracing argument from his latest book, “Death of the Liberal Class,” about the takeover of U.S. liberal organizations and institutions by the corporate state, to Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., in this Book TV clip.

Author, journalist and Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges takes his bracing argument from his latest book, “Death of the Liberal Class,” about the takeover of U.S. liberal organizations and institutions by the corporate state, to Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., in this Book TV clip.

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New App Brings Confession Tech to the Faithful
It’s not supposed to be a replacement for the more conventional confessional setup for observant Catholics, but at least this new iPhone app, “Confession: A Roman Catholic App,” has actually been blessed by a member of the clergy—and it’s only $1.99.  —KA CNN Tech: Worry not, faithful Catholics: The $1.99 application, for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, is not intended to replace the confessional. Instead, it’s designed to complement the act of confession, offering a “personal examination of conscience” (password-protected, of course) and a step-by-step guide to sin-confessing. The app provides suggested acts of contrition and the “ability to add sins not listed in standard examination of conscience.” Read more

It’s not supposed to be a replacement for the more conventional confessional setup for observant Catholics, but at least this new iPhone app, “Confession: A Roman Catholic App,” has actually been blessed by a member of the clergy—and it’s only $1.99.? —KA

CNN Tech:

Worry not, faithful Catholics: The $1.99 application, for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, is not intended to replace the confessional. Instead, it’s designed to complement the act of confession, offering a “personal examination of conscience” (password-protected, of course) and a step-by-step guide to sin-confessing.

The app provides suggested acts of contrition and the “ability to add sins not listed in standard examination of conscience.”

Read more

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Coleen Rowley: British Consul Closes Office to Duck Assange Letter

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 9th, 2011 5:45 am by HL

Coleen Rowley: British Consul Closes Office to Duck Assange Letter
Apparently when Attorney McGrann learned we were drafting a letter, he panicked and overreacted, not only closing his office early and sending his staff home, but also calling the police to seal off all entrances to the building.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Fannie’s Scandalized, Freddie’s Dead – And The Next Financial Meltdown May Have Already Started
Here’s an idea: Let’s give hundreds of billions of dollars in government-backed guarantees to private banks so they make a fortune writing mortgages without any…

Clarence B. Jones: A Redefined “American Exceptionalism” in the Age of Obama
Support for Cairo and the peaceful relinquishment of governing power by Mubarak presents a formidable challenge for Obama: the future of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.

THE COUNTDOWN: Chico’s Twisted Ties, Rahm’s Favorite Pizza
In exactly two weeks, we will be glued to the television (or internet!) waiting for election results. Until then, we’ll be right here talking about…


Beck Expands His Egypt Theory With Red-Baiting Union Smears

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 9th, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Beck Expands His Egypt Theory With Red-Baiting Union Smears

Glenn Beck expanded on his theory about Egypt by leveling a series of wild smears at labor unions, alleging that they are “led by communists” and that they are working to “help stomp out the free market and capitalism,” which is “why they’re rushing in to support the democratic revolution in Egypt.” Beck supported this theory with false claims about unions.

Beck Smears Unions, Claiming They Want To “End The Western Way Of Life”

Beck: “Powerful” Unions That Are “Led By Communists” Want To “End The Western Way Of Life As You And I Understand It.” From the February 7 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: Do you remember the big progressive One Nation rally? One Nation stuck out to me.

It’s [unintelligible] Van Jones autographed one of my books, he wrote, “Glenn, let’s just be one nation.”

Working together — working together with the red star in between. Working together on what? Towards what — is what bothered me, especially when you saw all of these groups together.

What does the Young Communist League have to do with the UAW or the steelworkers? Progressive, socialist, Marxist groups, religious groups, green groups, communist, powerful unions led by communists, SEIU, AFL-CIO. Radical groups like La Raza — what did all of these groups — what were they all working together for?

Well, in one way or another, they want to end the Western way of life as you and I understand it. They may disagree on exactly what the new way of life will be.

For example, Van Jones, he wants a new green utopia. At least that’s what he says. Leave old, gray capitalism to a new green capitalism. And then he says, will it stop there? Oh, no, it won’t be enough.

Another one might want a communist utopia. But they’ll work that out later. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/7/11]

Beck: Unions Are Working To “Help Stomp Out The Free Market And Capitalism,” Which Is “Why They’re Rushing In To Support The Democratic Revolution In Egypt.” From Glenn Beck:

BECK: The people that are in some of these really radical, communist or socialist Marxist Mexican-first groups that are aligned here may want to give the southern half of the United States back to Mexico. Well, does the AFL-CIO really want that?

So, how can they come together? Well, they’re working together to help stomp out the free market and capitalism. They’ll work everything else out later. That’s why Code Pink and the AFL-CIO can stand together in America. And it’s why they’re rushing in to support the democratic revolution in Egypt. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/7/11]

Beck: Labor Unions “Agree” That “The Western Way Of Life Is Over” And Are “Good At Causing Chaos.” From Glenn Beck:

BECK: Now, take this American coalition that is changing America in the cover of darkness. You don’t know it. Most Americans don’t know they’re being manipulated.

And if you understand that, that they’ve all made a deal with another and they’ve all tolerated each other for an end goal, they put their differences aside for the end game — the enemy of my enemy is my friend — then you understand, or begin to, what is happening.

The same thing is happening in Egypt. That’s what these groups have done to some degree or another. Al-Jazeera, Muslim Brotherhood, Al- Qaeda, the April 6th Youth Movement, the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt. We have some demands from the socialists of Egypt.

And I want you to listen to some of these demands and see if you have heard any similarities to the community here in America. Listen.

This is the revolutionary socialists in Egypt, “Glory to the martyrs, victory to the revolution. Mubarak’s departure is the first step, not the last step. The country’s wealth belongs to the people and must return to it.”

“Glory to the martyrs. System — down with the system. All power to the people. Victory to the revolution.” Blah, blah, blah. I mean, does any of this sound like a pro-democracy, pro-freedom declaration? Not to me.

But these groups, and so many more, have organized what is called a shadow parliament. Look it up. Do your own research. We’ll be talking about that in detail tomorrow and the next day, and the cobbling of these groups together.

The activists, the labor unions, the radicals — they all came together because they can agree on one thing. The western way of life is over and each of them thinks they have the answer.

Well, they’re good at causing chaos. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/7/11, via Nexis]

Beck Suggests Money From Unionized TSA Workers Will Be “Spent Overseas Organizing Revolutions,” Connects This To Egypt. From Glenn Beck:

BECK: But also, understand one thing. Understand the power, the power that you are giving these unions.

We warned you that this would happen when we talked about Greece last summer. Because Greece – remember, they couldn’t get gas? People couldn’t go on the trains. They were having a hard time at the airport.

At the time, we played you the videotape. I think it was Los Angeles. But here is yet another one. This one is from Houston’s communist party and what they had to say about the labor unions over in Europe.

Quote, “We particularly like to salute the Greek communist party, its labor federation and allies left and people’s forces for their heroic role in the resistance to the reactionary capitalist offensive. They are fighting our fight and merit our support and gratitude.”

Basically, what the unions were doing was making sure that you couldn’t get gas if you were over in Europe. Unionizing the TSA, while potentially disastrous for the country, is going to be great for the unions because the union membership has been going down.

But now, they will have 50,000 potential new members and as much as $30 million a year of your money. You see, you pay the screener. They pay the union. I wonder how much of that money will be spent in America, and how much will be spent overseas organizing revolutions.

Oh, I’m sure it has nothing to do with this particular push. I’m sure over in Egypt, it’s all about workers’ rights. Sure. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/7/11, via Nexis]

Beck: AFL-CIO Head Trumka’s Support Of Egyptian Dissent “Sounds Almost … Chinese.” From Glenn Beck:

BECK: And speaking of unions, AFL-CIO head, Richard Trumka, wrote to the Real Estate Tax Authority in Egypt, the workers president and to the director of the independent Egyptian labor group, the Center for Trade Union Workers Services, and he supported their uprising there.

He said, quote, “Their organizations symbolize the strength and the courage of the Egyptian workers and their families who have been standing up to repression for many, many years. We salute you this brave endeavor, forming the new labor federation and join the international labor movement in the standing with you.”

That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic. By the end of the week, that will make the hair on the back of your neck. The people’s movement for democracy in Egypt and the role the unions are playing for freedom and workers’ rights.

He says, “Inspire us and will not be forgotten.” He then concludes, democracy. Democracy. Democracy will rise up. Really. Sounds beautiful. Democracy. The people’s movement for democracy — wow, that even sounds better. It’s sounds almost — I don’t know — Chinese, doesn’t it?

I feel confident that the workers in Egypt will absolutely thrive under a new government formed by these guys and supported by all of these guys. That’s going to be fantastic.

Look at the wonderful freedoms enjoyed by the Iranians after their Islamic revolutionary council took over. And unions and workers? Oh, that is great! That’s great. The unions — they’ll think they are dealing with John Adams and Patrick Henry by the time the brotherhood seizes control. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/7/11, via Nexis]

Beck’s False Claim: Congress “Specifically Ruled Out Collective Bargaining Rights” For TSA Screeners

Beck Falsely Claims Congress “Specifically Ruled Out Selective Bargaining Rights For Screeners.” From Glenn Beck:

BECK: When big stories develop, we often warn you, watch the other hand, because that’s when this administration can and does slip in some of their most controversial agenda items unnoticed.

So while Egypt was on fire, what has the other hand been doing? Well, on Friday, in a significant victory for federal employee unions, the Federal Labor Relations Authority decided that the TSA staffers will be allowed to vote on union representation.

The decision clears the way for a campaign by the government’s two largest labor organizations, the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union, to represent 50,000 transportation security officers.

Now, let’s get this right. The TSA will be union. May I remind you that we all said that could not happen? When Congress created the Homeland Security Department, it specifically ruled out collective bargaining rights for screeners.

When they were becoming federal employees under the TSA, we said, “No, why?” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/7/11]

Reality: Decision On Collective Bargaining Lies With TSA Administrator

Wash. Post: “The Legislation That Established” TSA “States That The Decision On Whether To Allow Collective Bargaining Rests With The TSA Administrator.” From The Washington Post:

Border Patrol agents can do it. So can federal protective officers and U.S. Capitol Police. But Transportation Security Administration officers, who screen passengers at airports across the country, are not allowed to engage in collective bargaining.

The unions representing TSA employees say that one result is the agency has the lowest morale and highest attrition rate of all federal agencies, and that they are eager to see change.

[…]

The legislation that established the agency after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, states that the decision on whether to allow collective bargaining rests with the TSA administrator. [The Washington Post, 4/2/09]

AP: Law That Established TSA “Gave The TSA Administrator The Authority To Decide Whether Collective Bargaining Should Be Allowed.” From an Associated Press article hosted on Glenn Beck’s website TheBlaze.com:

When the agency was created in 2001, it was excluded from regulations that give other federal workers the right to union protections. The law gave the TSA administrator the authority to decide whether collective bargaining should be allowed, and under the administration of President George W. Bush it was always prohibited. [Associated Press, via TheBlaze.com, 2/4/11]

Beck’s False Claim: You Can’t Fire Teachers If They “Aren’t Doing Their Jobs”

Beck: “If People Aren’t Doing Their Jobs, You’ve Got To Be Able To Fire Them. Try That Once The Union Takes Over. Can’t Do It In Schools.” From Glenn Beck:

BECK: When they were becoming federal employees under the TSA, we said, “No, why?” Well, for a couple of reasons. First of all, we should be able to fire people, right? I mean we shouldn’t have — shouldn’t we have the ability to fire people if they’re not doing the job?

And you also wouldn’t want to unionize the nation’s security team, because, man, it’s almost like they have become defense force, isn’t it? Not for you. If people aren’t doing their jobs, you’ve got to be able to fire them.

Try that once the union takes over. Can’t do it in schools. What makes you think you can do it when they screen people? [Glenn Beck, 2/7/11, emphasis added]

Reality: Tenure Does Not Guarantee Teachers A Job

Education Professor: “It Is A Myth That Teacher Tenure Provides A Guarantee Of Lifetime Employment.” From a post by Lehigh University education professor Perry Zirkel on the Washington Post blog The Answer Sheet:

It is a myth that teacher tenure provides a guarantee of lifetime employment. Tenure is no more than a legal commitment (set by the state and negotiated union contracts) to procedural due process, ensuring notice and providing a hearing for generally accepted reasons for termination, such as incompetency, insubordination, and immorality.

Tenure’s primary purpose is economic job security, tied to the otherwise uncompetitive pay in comparison to other professions; however, tenure is not a lifetime guarantee. [Perry Zirkel, The Answer Sheet, WashingtonPost.com, 7/13/11]

National Education Association: “Tenure Does Not Guarantee Teachers A Job, But Instead Mandates That Due Process Be Followed Before Tenured Teachers Are Dismissed.” From the National Education Association website NEAToday.org:

If you thought tenured teachers couldn’t lose their jobs, you’re not alone — it’s a common misunderstanding, but that doesn’t make it accurate. Tenure does not guarantee teachers a job, but instead mandates that due process be followed before tenured teachers are dismissed.

The reason is simple enough, said Alabama educator Shannon Keith Ginn, who calls tenure a “measure of protection against personal vendettas and personality conflicts.”

After all, qualified, effective educators who are benefiting students and raising student achievement should not be removed from the classroom because of political disagreements with an administrator — or because the sibling of a local, influential figure wants a job. [NEAToday.org, 9/17/10 (emphasis in original)]

NEA: “[C]ontracts Between Unions And School Districts In No Way Forbid The Firing Of Tenured Teachers.” From NEAToday.org:

Much of the public debate over tenure has focused on whether it is possible to fire tenured teachers who are no longer making the grade. The fact is, contracts between unions and school districts in no way forbid the firing of tenured teachers. [NEAToday.org, 9/17/10 (emphasis in original)]


Christine O’Donnell Will Use Committee To ‘Investigate’ Left-Wing Groups

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 9th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Christine O’Donnell Will Use Committee To ‘Investigate’ Left-Wing Groups
Failed GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell is back, and she’s telling supporters she wants her newly formed political action committee ChristinePAC to “investigate and counter attack leftwing groups.”

Did DC Public Relations Firm Fully Disclose Its Work For Egyptian Steel Tycoon?
Qorvis Communications, a powerful player in the D.C. media world, had a two-year contract with Egyptian steel tycoon and National Democratic Party insider Ahmed Ezz from 2007 to 2008. Egyptian protesters have torched the Cairo headquarters of Ezz’s multinational steel company three times in the last month, displaying a particular hostility for Ezz and the politically powered wealth he represents, the New York Times reported Monday.

Rep. Issa Releases Business Community’s Wish List
Late last year, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), now the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent letters to hundreds of businesses to solicit feedback on government regulations that they felt impede job creation. Today, he posted…



Mr. Teabagger on Native-American History

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 9th, 2011 5:40 am by HL

Mr. Teabagger on Native-American History


Prosecutors Seek Trial for Berlusconi

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 9th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

Prosecutors Seek Trial for Berlusconi
Italian prosecutors filed a request to try Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on criminal charges related to prostitution and abuse of office, the New York Times reports.

He’s accused of paying for sex with a 17-year-old and abusing his office by calling the police to intervene on her behalf after she was detained for petty theft.

“The scandal has been raging in the Italian news media for weeks, but the growing outrage of many Italians has not translated into political defeat for the prime minister, who holds a narrow majority in Parliament. The center-left opposition is weak and Mr. Berlusconi’s center-right coalition has shown no clear intention of replacing him.”


A True Friend of Egyptian Democracy and Our Own

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 9th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

A True Friend of Egyptian Democracy and Our Own
When I lampooned here yesterday the enthusiasms, “wisdom,” and real motives of neo-conservatives who are pontificating about democratic upheavals in Egypt and other Arab states, I presented them as false prophets and knew better than to offer myself as a…

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Rep. Fred Upton On Global Warming: ?I Do Not Accept That It Is Man-Made?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 9th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Rep. Fred Upton On Global Warming: ?I Do Not Accept That It Is Man-Made?

At a public forum today, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the new head of the House energy committee, denied that climate change is manmade. Upton, who received $20,000 from Koch Industries in his most recent campaign, had called for a reduction in greenhouse emissions as recently as June 2009. Upton has now introduced legislation with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) to overturn the scientific finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that greenhouse pollution threatens public health. This morning, Upton was pressed by National Journal‘s Ron Brownstein as to why the Upton-Inhofe bill describes climate change as “possible.” After repeated attempts to avoid the question, Upton finally explained his wide-straddling stance: he accepts that the planet is warming, but not that the billions of tons of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity are a cause:

I have said many times, and there was a report a couple of weeks ago that in fact you look at this last year, it was the warmest year in the last decade, I think was the numbers that came out. I don’t — I accept that. I do not say that it is man-made.

Watch it:

Upton then repeated the falsehood that “even if cap-and-trade had been enacted, it would not have changed the temperature by a tenth of a degree anywhere in the world.”

In reality, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that U.S. cap-and-trade would avoid several degrees of catastrophic warming. And 2010 was not just the hottest year this decade, but the hottest year in recorded history. This is why the National Academies of Science found last year that “climate change is occurring and is caused in large part by human activities” and that the United States should “act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Instead, tomorrow Upton will hold a hearing with several witnesses funded by Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries to praise the Upton-Inhofe pollution act.


White House walks fine line on Muslim Brotherhood

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 9th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

White House walks fine line on Muslim Brotherhood
As the uprising in Egypt enters its third week, two questions persist in Washington: is the Obama administration in direct contact with the Muslim Brotherhood? And, would it accept the group as part of a new Egyptian government?