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Archive for July 16th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Sad Song

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 16th, 2011 4:47 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Sad Song
Paul WilliamsSad Song, from episode 108 of The Muppet Show.

Paul WilliamsSad Song, from episode 108 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?


If McCain Had Won

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 16th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

If McCain Had Won
Nothing reveals the true state of American politics today more than the fact that Democratic President Barack Obama has left the Democratic Party far weaker than it would have been had McCain been elected.

By Fred Branfman

Nothing reveals the true state of American politics today more than the fact that Democratic President Barack Obama has left the Democratic Party far weaker than it would have been had McCain been elected.


Related Entries



City Attorney Announces Intent To Sue PG&E Regulators

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 16th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

City Attorney Announces Intent To Sue PG&E Regulators
With the anniversary of the tragic San Bruno pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed several homes just weeks away, San Francisco City Attorney…

GOP Congressman And Wife Separating After 27 Years
DALLAS — Republican Rep. Pete Sessions, of Texas, says he and his wife of 27 years are separating. The Dallas Morning News reports that 56-year-old…

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ To Remain In Place, Court Rules
LOS ANGELES — The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is back in place for the time being, with one major caveat: the government is…

Ian Fletcher: No, Obama, We Don’t Need Free Trade Agreements with Panama, Colombia, and Korea
You think America has learned its lesson from NAFTA, which the Labor Department has estimated cost us 525,000 jobs? Think again.


PHONE HACKS: A Guide To Resignations, Arrests, And Convictions During The News Corp. Scandal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 16th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

PHONE HACKS: A Guide To Resignations, Arrests, And Convictions During The News Corp. Scandal

The News Corporation phone hacking and bribery story has brought down executives, reporters, and editors on both sides of the Atlantic. Here is a list of arrests, convictions, firings, suspensions, and resignations that have occured during the scandal.

Les Hinton

Job At News Corp.: Executive chairman of News International  (News Corp.’s British newspaper group), 1995-2007; CEO of Dow Jones , 2007-2011

Status: Resigned, 7/15/11

What Happened:

“Hinton was chairman of News International, the UK newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch’s empire, from 1995 to 2007 – the period in which much of the phone hacking was done by the News of the World. He has been accused of giving misleading information to parliament on two occasions, in 2007 and 2009, by saying there was no evidence of widespread malpractice within the company.” [The Guardian, 7/15/11]

“Debonair and unflappable, former journalist Les Hinton served as Rupert Murdoch’s consigliere for over a decade, smoothing the ruffled feathers of the rich and powerful whenever they were on the receiving end of stories published in News International’s stable of titles.” [The Guardian, 7/8/09]

“Les Hinton, the top executive of Rupert Murdoch’s Dow Jones & Co, resigned on Friday after becoming a target of criticism for the phone-hacking scandal that occurred when he oversaw News Corp’s British newspapers. [Reuters, 7/15/11]

Rebekah Brooks

Job At News Corp.: Editor of News of the World, 2000-2003; editor of The Sun, 2003-2009; CEO of News International, 2009-2011.

Status: Resigned, 7/15/11

What Happened:

“Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the News of the World tabloid, resigned Friday as head of the British newspaper division of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, saying she had become a focal point of the scandal in a way that was jeopardizing the company. … Rising to the post of chief executive of News Corp.’s British operation, Brooks has long been one of Murdoch’s favorites, a woman with trademark flaming red hair whom he once described as like a ‘daughter.’ She headed News of the World from 2000 to 2003, a time when the paper allegedly routinely used illegal phone hacks to gather insider tidbits from both celebrities and ordinary citizens, going as far as to interfere in a police investigation of a young girl who was kidnapped and killed in 2002.” [The Washington Post, 7/15/11]

“Pressure has intensified on 43-year-old Brooks to stand down since the hacking scandal re-erupted following the Guardian’s disclosure on 4 July that private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, working for the News of the World, allegedly hacked into Dowler’s mobile phone between her disappearance and the discovery of her body in 2002.” [The Guardian, 7/15/11]

Andy Coulson

Job At News Corp.: Deputy editor of News of the World, 2000-2003; Editor of News Of The World, 2003 – 2007

Status: Arrested, 7/8/11

What Happened:

“He became deputy editor of the News of the World in 2000, acting as a tough and disciplined lieutenant to Rebekah Brooks. In a hearing before a parliamentary committee in 2003, the more freewheeling Mrs Brooks admitted that News International had at times paid police officers for information. A stony-faced Coulson quickly shut down the line of questioning. He succeeded his flame-haired mentor, and close friend, later that year and presided over the paper until 2007. While allegations of phone hacking had rumbled quietly for years, they crashed into the public eye with the conviction of the paper’s royal correspondent Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. He quit in January of that year, the day convictions came through, saying he took ‘ultimate responsibility’ for the scandal but claimed he was unaware the hacking was taking place. But he wasn’t out of a job for long. In May 2007, he was hired by David Cameron as the Conservative Party’s director of communication, tasked with bringing a bit of tabloid directness to a party in need of definition.” [The Telegraph, 7/8/11]

“The prime minister’s communications chief Andy Coulson has resigned, blaming coverage of the News of the World phone hacking scandal. Mr Coulson said coverage had ‘made it difficult for me to give the 110% needed in this role.’ He faced pressure after claims about phone hacking while he was editor.” [BBC, 1/21/11]

“Andy Coulson, the prime minister’s former press spokesman, has been arrested and is being held in custody at a police station in south London. Scotland Yard said that at 10.30am on Friday officers from Operation Weeting – the phone-hacking inquiry – and a team investigating illegal payments to police officers within the Metropolitan force arrested a 43-year-old man who had arrived by appointment. Scotland Yard said he was being held in custody and would be questioned in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking.” [Guardian, 7/8/11]

Tom Crone

Job At News Corp.: “Senior lawyer who vetted News of the World stories for more than 20 years.” [The Independent, 7/13/11]

Status: Reportedly left the company on July 13. “News International declined to confirm whether he resigned or was asked to leave.” [The Independent, 7/13/11]

What Happened:

“The senior lawyer who vetted News of the World stories for more than 20 years has left the newspaper’s publisher as the phone-hacking scandal continues to grow. Tom Crone has stepped down as legal manager of News International, which also publishes the Sun and the Times, after 26 years at the company, a source said. His main responsibility was to advise the News of World and the Sun on legal matters relating to editorial before and after publication. News International declined to confirm whether he resigned or was asked to leave.”  [The Independent, 7/13/11]


Lon Jacobs

Job At News Corp.: Deputy general counsel at News Corp., 1996-2004; general counsel at News Corp, 2004-2011

Status: Reportedly departed voluntarily in June 2011

What Happened:

 “Lawrence ‘Lon’ Jacobs, the general counsel of media giant News Corp. and a close confidant to Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch, is leaving the company. Jacobs, 56, has been with News Corp. for 15 years and has served as its general counsel since 2004. He also has played a key role in several major media deals, including the company’s purchase of the Wall Street Journal. ‘I will always be grateful to Lon not only for his wise counsel, but for his key role in helping build News Corporation into one of the world’s largest and most successful diversified media companies,’ Murdoch said in statement. The departure of Jacobs comes at a crucial time for the company as it tries to clean up a legal mess in Britain having to do with an investigation into phone hacking of celebrities and politicians by News Corp.-owned newspapers. One black mark on Jacobs tenure was News Corp.’s settling a lawsuit filed against it by Valassis Communications, a coupon company that charged that the media giant was engaged in anti-competitve practices. News Corp. paid $500 million to settle the lawsuit.” [LA Times, Company Town blog, 6/8/11]

“Mr. Jacobs’s resignation comes at a time when News Corporation is still dealing with the repercussions of a far-reaching phone hacking operation at one of its London newspapers, The News of the World. While Mr. Jacobs is not known to have had any involvement in the matter, he was the highest ranking legal officer in the media conglomerate during a period when the subsidiary that owns The News of the World, News International, was forced to apologize and pay out settlements to celebrities and others who had their phone voice mail systems hacked.” [The New York Times, 6/8/11]

Glenn Mulcaire

Job At News Corp.: Private investigator hired by News of the World

Status: Pleaded guilty, 1/26/07

What Happened:

“A private investigator in Cheam has been jailed for six months for unlawfully intercepting messages from Princes Harry and William. Glenn Mulcaire, 36, immediately issued an apology through his barrister to the royal household for the gross invasion of privacy. The former AFC Wimbledon footballer had signed a contract with the News of the World worth £104,988 for ‘research and information’.” [Wimbledon Guardian, 2/2/07]

“Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator at the centre of the News of the World phone-hacking case, passed phone intercept information to several individuals working on the tabloid’s news desk, the high court heard today. The private eye – who was on a £100,000-a-year contract with the News of the World – was quoted in court documents as saying that he dealt with a number of people on the news desk at the tabloid and cannot recall precisely who received certain items of information.” [Guardian, 2/18/11]

Ian Edmondson

Job At News Corp.: News of the World assistant editor

Status: Arrested in April 2011 on suspicion of conspiring to intercept phone messages

What Happened:

“April 5: Detectives arrest the News of the World’s former news editor Ian Edmondson … on suspicion of conspiring to intercept phone messages.” [AFP, 7/15/11]

“Ian Edmondson, who has been suspended from active duties after allegations that he was linked to phone hacking at the News of the World, was one of Andy Coulson’s inner circle of executives when David Cameron’s director of communications was editor of the paper, according to a former reporter on the tabloid. As assistant editor (news), he was one of a handful of senior employees who would discuss sensitive stories privately after editorial meetings had taken place. ‘You had an elite and Edmondson was definitely in on that and enjoyed being in on that,’ the former reporter said. ‘There would be [the editorial] conference in the morning, then the news desk would be back in [to Coulson’s office] and it was discussed in privacy. Then the stories would be dished out [to reporters].’ Edmondson was hired by Neil Wallis, then Coulson’s deputy editor at the paper, in November 2004 as a news executive although, according to the former News of the World source, ‘Edmondson reported directly to Andy because he was the editor. Wallis had a nice title and a bit of power … but Andy was in charge of that paper.’ … Edmondson had been a reporter at the News of the World but left to take up a more senior role at the Sunday People in early 2000, before Coulson became editor in 2003. Coulson promoted Edmondson to assistant editor (news) in October 2005.” [The Guardian, 1/6/11]

Clive Goodman

Job At News Corp.: Former News of the World royal editor

Status: Pleaded guilty, 2007; arrested again, 7/8/11

What Happened:

“Clive Goodman, 53, former News of the World royal editor, was arrested at his home on July 8 because of allegations that he bribed police for stories. Goodman had previously been jailed for four months in 2007 for writing stories that used information gleaned from phone hacking by private detective Glen Mulcaire.” [Reuters,  7/15/11]

Neil Wallis

Job At News Corp.: Deputy editor of The Sun, 1993-1998; deputy editor of News of the World, 2003-2007; executive editor of News of the World, 2007-2009

Status: Arrested, 7/14/11

What Happened:

“Neil Wallis, 60, deputy editor of News of the World when Andy Coulson was editor, was arrested on July 14 on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications. Wallis, who was previously a deputy editor of the Sun and editor of The People, became executive editor of the News of the World in 2007.” [Reuters,  7/15/11]

Neville Thurlbeck

Job At News Corp.: News of the World’s chief reporter

Status: Arrested, 4/5/11

What Happened:

“[A]rrested on April 5 on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and unlawful interception of voicemail messages.” [Reuters, 7/15/11]

Sean Hoare

Job At News Corp.: Former show-business reporter for News of the World

Status: Fired in 2005; questioned by police, September 2010

What Happened:

“A former show-business reporter for The News of the World, Sean Hoare, who was fired in 2005, said that when he worked there, pinging cost the paper nearly $500 on each occasion. He first found out how the practice worked, he said, when he was scrambling to find someone and was told that one of the news desk editors, Greg Miskiw, could help. Mr. Miskiw asked for the person’s cellphone number, and returned later with information showing the person’s precise location in Scotland, Mr. Hoare said.” [New York Times, 7/12/11]

“A lawyer for Sean Hoare, a former News of the World reporter who has said he was involved in a phone hacking scandal, said that Mr. Hoare had been questioned by detectives about whether Andy Coulson, the newspaper’s editor at the time, had asked him to hack phones. Mr. Coulson, now the communications director for Prime Minister David Cameron, has denied knowing anything about the hacking. After several former employees said in an article in The New York Times Magazine that phone hacking had been widespread under Mr. Coulson, Scotland Yard said it might reopen an investigation. Mr. Hoare appeared to be the first person to have been questioned in the new inquiry.” [New York Times, 9/14/10]

James Weatherup

Job At News Corp.: Assistant news editor, News of the World 2004-2011

Status: Arrested, 4/14/11

What Happened:

“James Weatherup, the latest News of the World journalist to be arrested in Scotland Yard’s new investigation into phone hacking, was at the heart of Andy Coulson’s team when David Cameron’s former media adviser was editor of the paper. He was brought back from the Sunday Mirror by Coulson in 2004 to become news editor of the News International red-top, a demanding desk job – before returning to a reporting role two years later. However, he retained his title as assistant news editor as a mark of seniority.” [The Guardian, 4/14/11]

“Weatherup’s arrest stunned those at the highest level of the paper. News International executives have been saying privately that they were confident Edmondson and Thurlbeck were the only staffers still working at the paper who were likely to be implicated in hacking. The Met was so determined to conceal the new direction of its investigation that Weatherup, 55, was not given notice that he was being investigated by police officers. [The Guardian, 4/15/11]

Dan Evans

Job At News Corp.: Feature writer, News of the World

Status: Suspended, April 2010

What Happened:

“The material – a high court document and a brief statement from lawyers – shows that Kelly Hoppen, an interior designer who is stepmother to the actor Sienna Miller, is suing the News of the World and one of its feature writers, Dan Evans, for ‘accessing or attempting to access her voicemail messages between June 2009 and March 2010’. The Guardian has previously reported that Dan Evans was suspended in April last year. Details of the case remain concealed by court orders. However, a senior News International executive has claimed that Dan Evans’s defence is that he phoned Hoppen’s number for legitimate reasons and accidentally accessed her voicemail when the keys on his phone got stuck.” [The Guardian, 1/27/11]


FBI Probing News Corp Over 9/11 Victims Allegations

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 16th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

FBI Probing News Corp Over 9/11 Victims Allegations
The FBI has opened an investigation into whether reporters for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp hacked into the phone records of 9/11 victims, according to the FBI’s New York office.

How Darrell Issa’s Investigation Into Financial Crisis Commission Backfired On GOP
The House Oversight Committee’s investigation into the government commission that was supposed to figure out the cause of the the financial crisis appears to have backfired on the Republicans who lead the committee.

Voting Groups To Feds: Don’t Let Florida’s Restrictive Voting Law Go Through
A group of voting rights organizations are asking the Justice Department not to clear a Florida law which places restrictions on third-party voter registration efforts and shortens the early voting period.



Skin cancer operation: Before & After

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 16th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Skin cancer operation: Before & After
In the course of living, all sorts of bad things can happen to our bodies — that’s a given. But the only thing that really matters is whether or not we can keep our spirits clean and whole. And the very worst thing that any human being can do to make his or her soul […]


7 Winning Issues for Democrats (If They Only Had the Guts to Fight)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 16th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

7 Winning Issues for Democrats (If They Only Had the Guts to Fight)
It’s not enough for progressives to count on Republicans to lose in 2012. Democrats need to find some issues to fight for. Here’s a few suggestions.


Murdoch’s America in 190 Words

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 16th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Murdoch’s America in 190 Words
Here’s what Rupert Murdoch means for American public discourse, in 190 words — the closest I’ll come to a tweet-like summary of the longer argument in the longer post below: Alexander Hamilton founded the New York Post in 1801 because…


What Blinds Murdoch Apologists Like Roger Cohen?
Why is it that journalists who’ve written very credibly as impassioned defenders of the public sphere also swoon over Rupert Murdoch, the brilliant entrepreneur, as if his business triumphs cleansed what he does to every public sphere he touches? In…


BREAKING: Ninth Circuit Maintains Bar On Discharges Under Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 16th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

BREAKING: Ninth Circuit Maintains Bar On Discharges Under Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell
In response to a petition from the Department of Justice seeking an emergency stay on a July 6 ruling that blocked further enforcement of the 1993 law, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals late today granted the government’s request on a temporary basis ahead of further proceedings next week — technically putting the law back […]

In response to a petition from the Department of Justice seeking an emergency stay on a July 6 ruling that blocked further enforcement of the 1993 law, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals late today granted the government’s request on a temporary basis ahead of further proceedings next week — technically putting the law back into effect.  The latest ruling in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, however, came with one big asterisk that will prevent discharges from moving forward.  Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly explains:

The move puts the 1993 law banning military service back into effect until the court can make a more complete determination about whether to reconsider the July 6 order — while continuing to prevent the military from “investigating, penalizing, or discharging anyone from the military pursuant to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.”

?

663 DC Teachers Getting Raises Thanks To Performance Pay
I wish Bill Turque’s column about the latest IMPACT teacher evaluation news out of DC hadn’t focused so heavily in the lead and headline on people getting fired. The much more important part is way down: Another 663 teachers (16 percent) were rated highly effective, making them eligible for performance bonuses of up to $25,000. […]

I wish Bill Turque’s column about the latest IMPACT teacher evaluation news out of DC hadn’t focused so heavily in the lead and headline on people getting fired. The much more important part is way down:

Another 663 teachers (16 percent) were rated highly effective, making them eligible for performance bonuses of up to $25,000. The vast majority were rated effective.

There’s nothing wrong with the government paying high salaries if doing so gets you high quality personnel. If generous salaries mean you get a lot of applicants, that’s great. But it’s worth looking at whether your hiring decisions have worked out well. And then if they have, you should by all means spend money. It might cost a lot to hire a lot of excellent teachers and keep them teaching in your school system. But that’s money well spent. The idea that it’s somehow “anti-teacher” to want to identify and compensate the best people in the system is bizarre.


Beyond a default: Catastrophic calculations

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 16th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Beyond a default: Catastrophic calculations

It’s easy to understand why the government will have more trouble borrowing if it fails to pay its debts. It’s a bit harder to see why ordinary Americans, the city of Pittsburgh, hospitals in Iowa, or medium-size corporations will have more trouble borrowing.

But they will.

And their trouble borrowing is the primary way a default, or even something too close to it for the market’s comfort, could deal a body blow to the economy.

Read full article >>

Lawmakers dispute TSA’s definition of ‘sensitive’ information

The Department of Homeland Security has complained to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) about what it says was an inappropriate disclosure of sensitive security information to the media by the House oversight subcommittee that he chairs.

That drew an angry response Friday from the head of the full committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who called the assertions “meritless” retaliation for congressional efforts to address “TSA deficiencies.”

Joseph B. Maher, DHS deputy counsel, wrote Chaffetz in a letter dated Wednesday that “sensitive security information” provided by the Transportation Security Administration was illegally disclosed to the media.

Read full article >>

‘Green card lottery’ blunder comes as program’s future is in question

For Olivier Millogo, there was one last chance to hit this year’s jackpot.

He’d been lucky the first time in May, winning a prized slot in the State Department’s “green card lottery” and a chance to live and work legally in the United States.

But 12 days later, the 36-year-old from Burkina Faso was crushed when federal officials discovered a computer problem with the drawing and canceled the results. A second drawing on Friday brought no good news for him.

Read full article >>