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Archive for September 11th, 2011

Cockburn: Reject 9/11 Conspiracies

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 11th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Cockburn: Reject 9/11 Conspiracies
Alexander Cockburn: It’s hard to determine the goals of 9/11 conspiracists — but the movement reflects our changing ideas about belief. One in seven Americans and one in four among those aged 16-24 (so a recent poll commissioned by the BBC tells us) believe that there was a vast conspiracy in which the U.S. government was involved. But across those 10 years have the charges that it was an “inside job” — a favored phrase of the self-styled “truthers” — received any serious buttress? The answer is no.



Late Late Night FDL: Barbecue Hound

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 11th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Barbecue Hound
Huckleberry Hound in Barbecue Hound. This Hanna-Barbera cartoon first aired on January 29, 1959.

Huckleberry Hound in Barbecue Hound.  This Hanna-Barbera cartoon first aired on January 29, 1959.

Produced and Directed by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera. Written by Charles Shows. Dialogue and Story Sketches by Charles Shows and Dan Gordon. Animation by Kenneth Muse with additional animation (uncredited) by Carlo Vinci, Lew Marshall, Michael Lah, Don Patterson, Ed Love, George Nicholas, Dick Lundy, Gerard Baldwin, Hicks Lokey, Allen Wilzbach, Don Williams, LaVerne Harding, Edwin Parks, Bob Carr, Hugh Fraser, Ed Aardal, Ken O’Brien, Ed De Mattia, and Art Davis. Layouts by Dick Bickenbach. Backgrounds by Art Lozzi. Titles by Lawrence Goble. Production Supervision by Howard Hanson. Voices by Daws Butler (Huckleberry Hound). Music by John Seely.

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?


A Decade After 9/11: We Are What We Loathe

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 11th, 2011 4:41 am by HL

A Decade After 9/11: We Are What We Loathe
We have still not woken up to whom we have become, to the fatal erosion of domestic and international law and the senseless waste of lives, resources and trillions of dollars to wage wars that ultimately we can never win.

By Chris Hedges

We have still not woken up to whom we have become, to the fatal erosion of domestic and international law and the senseless waste of lives, resources and trillions of dollars to wage wars that ultimately we can never win.


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Columnist Calls Nikki Haley ‘Condescending, Catty’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 11th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Columnist Calls Nikki Haley ‘Condescending, Catty’
A columnist for the South Carolina Post and Courier accused Governor Nikki Haley of stooping to a “condescending, catty low” for her comments about a…

9/11 Anniversary: Marking 10 Years Since America Changed Forever
NEW YORK — Ten years on, Americans come together Sunday where the World Trade Center soared, where the Pentagon stands as a fortress once breached,…

George Lakoff: The Use of 9/11 to Consolidate Conservative Power: Intimidation via Framing
In the post-2008 return to 9/11 style intimidation by framing, conservatives have been winning. They have protected industry from regulation and successfully attacked the very idea of the public — public education, employees, unions, parks, housing, and safety nets.


Kevin Harpham Pleads Guilty, Admitting Racial Bias Behind Attempted MLK Day Bombing

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 11th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Kevin Harpham Pleads Guilty, Admitting Racial Bias Behind Attempted MLK Day Bombing
The Justice Department announced Wednesday that Kevin Harpham, the man arrested for planting a bomb at a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade in January, has pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempt to commit a federal hate crime.

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The Capitalist Crack-Up

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 11th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

The Capitalist Crack-Up
Fitzgerald, by then deep into an inglorious relationship with Gin Rickeys, was lucid enough, in 1936, to explain that “all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work – the…

Libya, The Climax
I wrote about my time in Libya, and of the country’s serious potential, back in February, just as the uprising started. I am not sure there is anything to add, except to caution against all the analysis that emphasizes the…


Top Seven Progressive Policies That Strengthen The National Football League

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 11th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Top Seven Progressive Policies That Strengthen The National Football League
As the NFL begins a new season this weekend, America will celebrate the sport not just as a wonderful national pastime, but also as a prime example of progressive policies in action. We’ve cataloged seven unique ways in which the NFL is strengthened by its progressive approach to the sport, including equality, fairness, and diversity: […]

As the NFL begins a new season this weekend, America will celebrate the sport not just as a wonderful national pastime, but also as a prime example of progressive policies in action. We’ve cataloged seven unique ways in which the NFL is strengthened by its progressive approach to the sport, including equality, fairness, and diversity:

1. Revenue sharing: Fifty years ago, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle set the NFL on a strong progressive path by implementing a system of revenue sharing between the teams. In essence, revenue from the league’s massive TV and radio contracts is divided evenly amongst the 32 NFL teams today. As a result, smaller market teams like the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings are able to stay competitive with big market teams like the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.

2. Salary cap: The NFL currently sets a team salary cap at $120 million. This prevents teams with wealthy owners from simply purchasing all the best players in the league, as the New York Yankees have done in Major League Baseball. As a result of the salary cap, the NFL enjoys much more equality, competition, and fairness than it would if owners were permitted to field teams with as high a salary as they pleased.

3. Strong unions: One primary reason there was an extended lockout during the offseason was because NFL players enjoy a strong union that did not back down in the face of new demands from the owners. Indeed, over the past few decades, the National Football League Players Association has used collective bargaining to win such concessions from owners as free agency, pension and health care improvements, and minimum salaries.

4. Affirmative action: Since 2003, the NFL has enforced the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching vacancies. The impact has been undeniable; the percentage of minority coaches increased from 6 percent to 22 percent over the past eight years. Among these new leaders are some of the most successful coaches in the league, including Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, both of whom who have taken their teams to the Super Bowl.

5. Progressive draft system: At the end of every season, the league awards the first pick in next year’s draft to the team with the worst record, followed by the second worst, and so on. By taking a progressive approach to the distribution of draft picks, the NFL fosters competitiveness and parity among the teams. This has allowed teams like the 2008 Atlanta Falcons to make the playoffs under the leadership of a star rookie one year after having the third worst record in the league.

6. Schedule equalizing: Just as the worst-performing teams are given a boost in the draft, so too are the following year’s schedules tweaked to improve equality. In other words, the better a team does in one season, the more difficult their schedule will be the following season. This focus on equality makes the NFL far more exciting than a league dominated by a static group of elite teams.

7. Socialistic Super Bowl champions: Last year’s Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers, are a socialist organization. Rather than being controlled by a single owner like the 31 other teams, the Packers are owned by the community – 112,158 shareholders to be precise. (This is what an owners meeting looks like.) The team is a nonprofit and has rules in place to prevent any individuals from taking control of the franchise. Were the Packers controlled by a single owner, it’s unlikely they would still play in Green Bay, the smallest hometown of any NFL team, particularly while a vacancy in the highly profitable Los Angeles market exists. It’s no stretch to say that socialism saved the Green Bay Packers.

Exxon Makes Billion-Dollar Bet Climate Change is Real, Here Now and Going to Get Worse But Keeps Funding Deniers
Hard-core deniers assert that the current warming is just part of a natural cycle.  Joe Bastardi, for instance, in a Climate Progress comment, absurdly predicted that “the earth will cool back … to levels we saw in the late 70s, and the [Arctic sea] ice will increase back to those levels in the N hemisphere.“ Not. The […]

Hard-core deniers assert that the current warming is just part of a natural cycle.  Joe Bastardi, for instance, in a Climate Progress comment, absurdly predicted that “the earth will cool back … to levels we saw in the late 70s, and the [Arctic sea] ice will increase back to those levels in the N hemisphere.“ Not.

The cynical, climate-destroyers at Exxon, however, are placing a massive bet that global warming is real and that the Arctic will keep warming — even as they keep funding deniers to obfuscate the science and block action (after they publicly stated they would stop such funding).

Below is a guest post by Christopher Jones on this subject.  Jones is a Ciriacy-Wantrup fellow at the University of California-Berkeley.

Exxon’s Climate Admission

by Christopher Jones

This just in: Exxon Mobil has made a multi-billion dollar acknowledgement that climate change is real and is happening now.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for them to admit this, though. Exxon would like you to believe that climate change is neither real nor urgent. That is why they have spent millions of dollars over the last several years funding climate skeptics and fighting legislation that would regulate the emissions of greenhouse gases. When you hear climate skeptics speak, there’s a good chance that Exxon money is in their pocket.

Actions, however, speak louder than words. And Exxon’s most recent action was a thunderclap. According to reports, Exxon has just signed an extensive deal with Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, to develop promising offshore oil and gas deposits in the Arctic Ocean. The companies will begin by investing $3.2 billion to explore in the Kara Sea, with the potential of increasing the investment to $500 billion in the future. Exxon is so convinced of the potential of these sites that it is giving Rosneft ownership rights in several of its global properties to complete the deal.

Large deposits of gas and oil have been known to exist in the Arctic Ocean for decades. So why did they make this deal now? One key thing has changed: the arctic ice is melting rapidly. The Kara Sea has typically been covered by ice floes nine months of the year or more, making commercial development of its resources unprofitable. But for the last several years, the extent and duration of the arctic ice has been diminishing, a phenomenon the vast majority of scientists believe to be caused by climate change. Suddenly, oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Ocean is looking far more attractive. Exxon has realized that a warming planet offers some new opportunities for profit and is adjusting its strategic decisions accordingly.

Exxon is not the only big oil company whose actions show it believes climate change to be real. British Petroleum made a major play for developing the same resources several months ago, but the proposed deal was rejected by a coalition of BP’s other Russian business partners. Not only does big oil know climate change is happening, it is planning its future around it.

That does not mean Exxon is likely to publicize this knowledge. Despite issuing a tepid statement acknowledging anthropogenic climate change in 2007 and promising to cease funding anti-climate change groups in 2008, Exxon remains up to its old tricks. Freedom of Information Act requests have revealed a continued pattern of funding for climate skeptics as well as collaborations with the conservative Koch Industries to support legislation that removes any restrictions on carbon emissions.

We should no longer be distracted by these words. Exxon is a smart and savvy company, and even if its actions are reprehensible, they make sense in a political system that allows corporations to pay millions of dollars to avoid costly regulations. Blaming Exxon for these activities is like blaming a raccoon for going through your trash. They’re simply responding to available opportunities.

This is exactly why we should focus on actions, not words. This deal is a multi-billion dollar investment predicated on Exxon’s belief that the planet is warming. It is one of the most powerful admissions of the reality of climate change imaginable. Michele Bachmann and the other Republican presidential candidates cannot blame this on disconnected academic scientists or members of a liberal conspiracy. This is the embodiment of free market American capitalism saying climate change is real.

All this begs the question: If Exxon Mobil believes climate change is worth acting on now, isn’t it time for the rest of us to follow suit?

– Christopher Jones is currently writing a book on the history of energy transitions.

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National security emerges as Obama strong point

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 11th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

National security emerges as Obama strong point

Barack Obama was always vulnerable to charges that he would be weak on national security.

He was a relative political newcomer with no history of military service. He opposed the war in Iraq and pledged to roll back many of the George W. Bush administration’s toughest anti-terrorism policies.

At one politically perilous moment just months into Obama’s presidency, the young commander in chief appeared at the National Archives to declare a “new direction” in fighting terrorism, only to be scolded as “naive” by former vice president Dick Cheney, the graying architect of aggressive post-9/11 policies.

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9/11 memorial for victims of Flight 93 is dedicated near Shanksville, Pa.

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — In the middle of a vast stretch of grassland in western Pennsylvania, poet Robert Pinsky read out 40 names to a somber and silent crowd. After the poet said each name, two large bells were chimed.

Former presidents, state officials, bereaved relatives, artists and members of the public gathered Saturday to open a 1,500-acre national park on the outskirts of Shanksville, in honor of the 40 passengers and crew members who died on United Airlines Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.

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As states lag in implementing health-care law, bigger federal role looks likely

Across the country, states are lagging in preparations to erect the health insurance market­places at the heart of the 2010 health-care overhaul, bogged down by a combination of partisan hostility and practical hurdles.

Faced with the delay, administration officials have been ramping up talks with state leaders in recent weeks over ways the federal government could pitch in without having to completely take over — speaking both informally and at a series of regional meetings underway.

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All eyes on New Hampshire in 2012 governors races

As Republican gubernatorial candidates in Kentucky and Missouri have utterly fizzled, the GOP’s attention has turned to other states like West Virginia and Washington looking for opportunities to grow their nationwide majority of governorships.

The latest potential Republican opportunity? New Hampshire with a big “if”. That “if”? If Democratic Gov. John Lynch (D) decides to retire.

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The 9/11 Decade

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 11th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

The 9/11 Decade

Doubling Down on Failed Policies
Matthew Continetti, Weekly Standard
Hot Topics: Get alerts when there is a new article that might interest you.Stop us if you've heard this one before. The economy is suffering from low growth and high unemployment. Families are struggling with debt. Many are living in homes whose mortgages cost more than the property is worth. All over the world, governments are reeling from the economic and political consequences of excessive sovereign debt.The president of the United States, Barack Obama, appears before Congress to offer his solution. America, he says, is experiencing a collapse in what economists call aggregate demand….

The Wounded Warriors of the 9/11 Generation
Anthony Dolan, WSJ
I heard the thump as I was saying over the phone to John Gibson at the National Security Council that it couldn't be an accident, since now a second plane had hit the World Trade Center. Putting down the phone, I walked over to the window and looked out on Route 110, which runs in front of the Pentagon. Construction workers, their faces reflecting fear, even terror, were running across the major highway like it was a country road. They had seen the smoke pouring out from around the corner where Flight 77 had hit the building.

To Pass Jobs Act, Obama Should Channel LBJ
Jonathan Alter, Bloomberg