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Archive for March 12th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: The Gnu Song

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2011 5:46 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: The Gnu Song
The Gnu Song from episode 519 of The Muppet Show.

The Gnu Song from episode 519 of The Muppet Show.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the coffee table, and try to keep the spitballs off the screen please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?


Manning’s Treatment Assailed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2011 5:45 am by HL

Manning’s Treatment Assailed
“Ridiculous … counterproductive … stupid.” Those are the words chosen by U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley to describe the country’s treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged WikiLeaker being held in solitary confinement in a military jail. —JCL The BBC: The US treatment of the man accused of leaking secret cables to Wikileaks, is “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”, US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley has said. Mr Crowley made the remarks about Bradley Manning to an audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Nonetheless Bradley Manning is in the right place,” Mr Crowley said. Private Manning is being held in solitary confinement at a maximum security US military jail. Read more

“Ridiculous … counterproductive … stupid.” Those are the words chosen by U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley to describe the country’s treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged WikiLeaker being held in solitary confinement in a military jail. —JCL

The BBC:

The US treatment of the man accused of leaking secret cables to Wikileaks, is “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”, US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley has said.

Mr Crowley made the remarks about Bradley Manning to an audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Nonetheless Bradley Manning is in the right place,” Mr Crowley said.

Private Manning is being held in solitary confinement at a maximum security US military jail.

Read more

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Marian Wright Edelman: The New Jim Crow: Social Control, Social Death

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Marian Wright Edelman: The New Jim Crow: Social Control, Social Death
As Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow clearly shows, our incarceration policies have evolved into a historically punitive form of social control and social death for people of color.

Alan Grayson: Did They Die in Vain?
On May 4, 1886, in Haymarket Square in Chicago, the public rallied peacefully in support of 40,000 workers in Chicago who had gone on strike,…

Frank Dwyer: A Helpful Idea for a Great First Lady
Bullying summit? Michelle, please teach Barack how to defend himself.

A Suggestion From Putin Throws Biden Off Balance
When Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. sat down for his meeting with Vladimir V. Putin this week, the Russian prime minister opened with a…

Gray Davis Pollster Bullish On Wisconsin Recall Elections
The lead pollster for Gov. Gray Davis (D-Calif.) in 2003, the year Davis was turned out of office by a recall election, says he is…


Dick Morris Falsely Claims That NYC Teachers Are Paid To Watch TV In “Rubber Rooms”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Dick Morris Falsely Claims That NYC Teachers Are Paid To Watch TV In “Rubber Rooms”

In an attack on teachers unions, Dick Morris falsely claimed that, because of New York City’s contract with its teachers union,  4,000 “incompetent” New York City teachers “go to rubber rooms every day” where they “read the paper and watch TV.” In fact, the New York City teachers union opposed the “rubber rooms” and the city has closed them while streamlining the disciplinary process for teachers with the union’s approval.

Dick Morris Falsehood: 4,000 Bad Teachers Being Paid To Watch TV In “Rubber Rooms”

Morris: NYC Is Paying Teachers Who “Are So Incompetent They Are Not Allowed To See Students.” On Fox News, Dick Morris claimed that, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is currently unpopular because of the bill he recently pushed cutting bargaining rights, this perception will change once the public learns more about teachers unions. As evidence, Morris stated that, because of a union contract, New York City has been unable to fire 4,000 teachers who “are so incompetent they are not allowed to see students. They go to rubber rooms every day and read the paper and watch TV and we pay them full salary.” From Fox News’ On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

MORRIS: Americans realize that it is only by limiting the power of the teachers union that you can get rid of bad teachers, promote good ones, and give parents the choice as to where to send their children. And now that Walker has taken those issues off the table in the collective bargaining process, real education reform can happen.

[…]

DICK MORRIS: And there will, of course, have to be lay-offs in any case in the schools. The question is who you lay-off? In New York City, I’ll give you a great example, there are 4,000 teachers that are so incompetent they’re not allowed to see students. They go to rubber rooms every day and read the paper and watch TV and we pay them full salary. We can’t fire them because of the union benefits.

Mayor Bloomberg has to fire 4,000 teachers. He wants to fire those teachers, and the union agreement won’t let him. He’s going to have to fire all the new, young, enthusiastic, creative teachers who we’ve hired in the last three years. So it’s things like that that are really going to drive people nuts.

And when you understand that that’s what the union contract is about and that’s what Walker has saved Wisconsin from, I think he’s going to do very well. [Fox News’ On The Record with Greta Van Susteren, 3/10/11]

In Fact, The “Rubber Rooms” Were Closed In NYC With The Support Of Teachers Union

New York Times: June 28, 2010 Last Day Of ‘Rubber Rooms’ For Teachers. From The New York Times:

Monday was the last day of school for the city’s 1 million students. But at the “rubber room” on West 125th Street, it was also the end of an era.

For the last several years, teachers accused of incompetence or wrongdoing have been forced into rubber rooms, formally called Temporary Reassignment Centers, where they receive a full salary but do not work while they wait for the Department of Education or a hearing officer to decide their fate. But in April, city officials and the teachers’ union agreed to eliminate the rooms, which had been a source of embarrassment for all. Beginning in the fall, those teachers will perform administrative duties or be sent home if they are deemed a threat to students. [The New York Times, 6/28/10]

NYC Dept. Of Education: Closing Rubber Rooms Was A “Landmark Agreement” With Teachers Unions To Fix Process For Dealing With Those Charged With Incompetence Or Misconduct. The New York City Department of Education reported that the decision to close rubber rooms in New York City was a “landmark agreement”  with the teachers union, to fix a “broken process”  and “ensure that [teachers] do not have to wait for months or years to have their cases heard”:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew today announced a landmark agreement to eliminate temporary reassignment centers, or “rubber rooms,” where teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence are assigned pending resolution of their cases. Under the new agreement, most teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence will be assigned to perform administrative work in Department of Education offices or given non-classroom duties in their schools while their cases are resolved.  

“Despite everything we’ve accomplished together to improve our City’s public schools, we still have major reforms and improvements to tackle–and that is exactly what we are doing,” Mayor Bloomberg said.  “Fixing this broken process gets us all back to what we want to be doing, giving our kids the education they need and deserve.”

“The rubber rooms are a symptom of a disciplinary process that has not worked for anyone–not the kids, not the schools, and not the teachers,” UFT President Mulgrew said. “This agreement is designed to get teachers out of the rubber rooms and to ensure that they do not have to wait for months or years to have their cases heard.” [NYC Department of Education, 4/15/10]

Teachers Union: Fixing Rubber Rooms Problem “Has Been A High Priority For Me.” In a statement published by the Huffington Post, president of United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew, stated rubber rooms “don’t work for schools, students or teachers.” From the Huffington Post:

Rubber rooms, where New York City teachers can sit for years while being investigated or while going through a hearing process, don’t work for anyone. They don’t work for schools, students or teachers.

Fixing this problem has been a high priority for me ever since I became President of the UFT eight months ago.

In a groundbreaking agreement between the UFT and the Department of Education, we have agreed to shut the rubber rooms down; from now on teachers under investigation or facing charges will generally be employed in administrative tasks in schools or DOE offices.

Closing the rubber rooms is an important step, but in order to ensure that the overall teacher disciplinary process is both faster and more fair, we have also established limits on how long investigations and hearings may take. [Huffington Post, 4/15/10]

Teachers Union: Disciplinary Process For Teachers Will Now Be “Faster And More Fair.” From Mulgrew’s Huffington Post piece:

Closing the rubber rooms is an important step, but in order to ensure that the overall teacher disciplinary process is both faster and more fair, we have also established limits on how long investigations and hearings may take.

There will be a cap of 60 days on how long most teachers accused of misconduct can be removed from a classroom while being investigated and before being charged. For teachers accused of incompetence the limit will be 10 days. Teachers not charged within these time limits will be returned to their classrooms; for those whose investigations result in charges, we have made arrangements to speed up the hearing process, including plans to increase in the number of arbitrators who hear such cases.

Why is this important?

Teachers sitting in rubber rooms cost the Department of Education an estimated $30 million a year, an unacceptable expense as our schools face dramatic budget cuts. We expect to realize substantial savings by shortening a process that now can take years into one that takes months or even weeks. [Huffington Post, 4/15/10]


James O’Keefe Releases Second Secret NPR Recording

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2011 5:42 am by HL

James O’Keefe Releases Second Secret NPR Recording
James O’Keefe has posted to his Project Veritas website a second recording of conversations between his group of pranksters posing as Muslim potential NPR donors and NPR executive Betsy Lilely, NPR’s director of institutional giving.

Presented By:

‘Sovereign Citizens’ Arrested In Alaska For Alleged Plot To Kill Police, Federal Judge
Militia activist Schaeffer Cox and four associates who reportedly stockpiled weapons were arrested on Thursday for allegedly conspiring to kill multiple Alaska State Troopers and a federal judge.



The Tattlesnake – Defending Charlie Sheen Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

The Tattlesnake – Defending Charlie Sheen Edition
Is it crazy to stand up to corporations and media parasites that are trying to tell you how to live your life? Charlie Sheen’s gotten a bum rap from the media lately because he refused to play the corporate and tabloid-TV game: the Shamed Celebrity is supposed to enter rehab and emerge contrite and chastened and […]


Sex Party: What Happened at My First Orgy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

Sex Party: What Happened at My First Orgy
Like many forms of sex deemed "deviant," group sex seems to be becoming more mainstream.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Presented By:

Why The Street’s Euphoric Birthday Has Almost Nothing to Do with a Buoyant Economy
What a difference two years makes. On March 9, 2009 the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit the bottom — closing at a 12-year low of 6,547. Today the Dow is soaring well over 12,000. From its peak in October, 2007…


Front-Group Mailer Attacks Female Candidate For Being ?Unmarried?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

Front-Group Mailer Attacks Female Candidate For Being ?Unmarried?
Less than two weeks ahead of Election Day in Tampa, FL, a nasty mail advertisement surfaced yesterday attacking candidate Rose Ferlita. Funded by Less Government Now, a 527 group, the mailer urges voters to vote against Ferlita because she is “Unmarried. Unsure. Unelectable.” (Click for full size): The mailer suggests that because Ferlita is not […]

Less than two weeks ahead of Election Day in Tampa, FL, a nasty mail advertisement surfaced yesterday attacking candidate Rose Ferlita. Funded by Less Government Now, a 527 group, the mailer urges voters to vote against Ferlita because she is “Unmarried. Unsure. Unelectable.” (Click for full size):

The mailer suggests that because Ferlita is not married, she is incapable of valuing family or holding public office. “Rose Ferlita has put her political ambition first and foremost, while her opponent is a dedicated family man with two children — Ferlita is an unmarried woman with a suspect commitment to family values,” it reads. Moreover, as Florida blog Saint Petersblog notes, “unmarried” is a “codeword” — “if you read between the lines is a subtle way of casting doubt on Ferlita’s sexual orientation.” Other mailers sent by Less Government Now going after men have focused on the candidates’ record or policy positions, not their personal lives, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Less Government Now appears to be tied to Scott Maddox, a Democratic operative who unsuccessfully ran for Agricultural Commissioner last year, and has been used to bolster tea party candidates in an attempt to split the GOP vote. Tampa has non-partisan mayoral elections, but Ferlita, a current county commissioner, is a Republican.

State Dept. Spokesman: Treatment Of Bradley Manning Is ?Ridiculous And Counterproductive And Stupid?
This past May, the military arrested Private First Class Bradley Manning, a soldier who worked in military intelligence and had served overseas in Iraq, over charges that he was involved in leaking numerous classified documents and videos to the Wikileaks whistleblowing group, including a video of a U.S. attack helicopter killing numerous unarmed journalists. Since […]

This past May, the military arrested Private First Class Bradley Manning, a soldier who worked in military intelligence and had served overseas in Iraq, over charges that he was involved in leaking numerous classified documents and videos to the Wikileaks whistleblowing group, including a video of a U.S. attack helicopter killing numerous unarmed journalists.

Since his arrests, civil liberties groups and members of Congress have protested his treatment, which involves being kept in solitary confinement, being denied access to a pillow or bed sheets, and being forcibly stripped naked every single night.

Last night, as reported by former BBC America journalist Philippa Thomas, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley commented on Manning’s treatment during an event organized by the Center for Future Civic Media. Crowley blasted the treatment of Manning by his “colleagues at the Department of Defense“:

Around twenty of us were sitting around the table listening to his views on social media, the impact of the Twittersphere, the Arab uprisings, and so on, in a vast space-age conference room overlooking the Charles River and the Boston skyline. And then, inevitably, one young man said he wanted to address “the elephant in the room”. What did Crowley think, he asked, about Wikileaks? About the United States, in his words, “torturing a prisoner in a military brig”? Crowley didn’t stop to think. What’s being done to Bradley Manning by my colleagues at the Department of Defense “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” He paused. “None the less Bradley Manning is in the right place”. And he went on lengthening his answer, explaining why in Washington’s view, “there is sometimes a need for secrets… for diplomatic progress to be made”. [..]

A few minutes later, I had a chance to ask a question. “Are you on the record?” I would not be writing this if he’d said no. There was an uncomfortable pause. “Sure.” So there we are.

Crowley’s response is the strongest condemnation yet by an American official of the treatment of Manning. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), who was asked about the soldier last month, defended his treatment. “There are concerns about what is happening, but a strong argument is being made that they’re trying to preserve his safety, they don’t want him harming himself, and using his own clothing to hang himself, or do something like that,” Kerry said.


Wisconsin governor wins his battle with unions on collective bargaining

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2011 5:35 am by HL

Wisconsin governor wins his battle with unions on collective bargaining
Gov. Scott Walker wins his drive to enact a law to strip the state’s government workers of nearly all of their collective-bargaining rights.

New fronts open in abortion wars
The passage of the health-care overhaul opened new fronts in the fight over abortion. In many states, legislators are pondering bills that would make it illegal for any private insurance plan to cover the procedure.