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Archive for October 31st, 2014

SpaceShipTwo Crashes on Test Flight

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

SpaceShipTwo Crashes on Test Flight
A “serious anomaly” resulted in the “loss” of SpaceShipTwo during a test flight Friday, and the status of the pilots isn’t known, Virgin Galactic said. Virgin Galactic has planned for years to sell trips in which SpaceShipTwo transports passengers about 62 miles above Earth — the beginning of outer space — and let them experience a few minutes of weightlessness before returning to ground.


Chicago Marathon champion Jeptoo fails doping test

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Chicago Marathon champion Jeptoo fails doping test
STELLENBOSCH, South Africa (AP) — Leading female marathoner Rita Jeptoo of Kenya failed a doping test a few weeks before winning her second consecutive Chicago Marathon, her agent and national federation said Friday.

Microsoft promises new Office for Macs next year
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After a long wait, Microsoft says it plans to release a new version of its popular Office software package for Mac computers — but not until next year.

Kurdish Official Blames Turkey for Peshmerga Delay
The delay in fighters to Kobani is because of Turkey, says Kurdish official.


Defense Secretary defends decision to isolate soldiers returning from West Africa

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Defense Secretary defends decision to isolate soldiers returning from West Africa
The U.S. military is defending its decision on a three-week Ebola quarantine for troops returning from West Africa. Charlie Rose reports.


What Conservative Media Miss In Coverage Of Controversial Time Teacher Story

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

What Conservative Media Miss In Coverage Of Controversial Time Teacher Story

Rushing to defend a recent Time magazine article critical of teacher tenure, several conservative media outlets neglected to discuss what is at the core of a major backlash against the article: due process.

Time CoverTime‘s November 3 cover story, titled “The War on Teacher Tenure” and promoted on the cover as “Rotten Apples”, has spurred significant backlash, particularly among teachers. The Huffington Post noted on October 27 that a petition from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) “asking Time to apologize for the cover had reached 72,000 signatures.” In response to the uproar, Time published reactions to its piece from various individuals, including Rep. George Miller (D-CA), AFT President Randi Weingarten and National Education Association (NEA) President Lily Eskelsen Garcia.

Various conservative media outlets covered the Time controversy by defending the article and cover, attacking teachers unions, and mischaracterizing teacher tenure. The common thread in all of this coverage, however, was a lack of discussion about due process, or why due process policies like tenure exist.

On the October 30 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski hosted Time‘s Nancy Gibbs to discuss the backlash. The segment did not include a discussion or even a mention of tenure or due process, though Scarborough claimed, “It’s absolutely silly. There are rotten apples. There are horrible teachers. There are horrible lawyers. There are horrible journalists. There are horrible TV hosts. In every field you can go, there are rotten apples in that field.”

Fox News’ Outnumbered on October 27 also neglected to discuss due process during a discussion of the Time piece, though co-host Andrea Tantaros stated that teachers unions are “destroying America” while co-host Jedediah Bila claimed:

BILA: And unfortunately, the reality is, is that a lot of bad teachers stay. They have tenure.& You cannot get rid of them. They want no accountability, and they are bringing schools down in every city across this country.


Outsourcing: The Last Talking Point?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Outsourcing: The Last Talking Point?
Mona Charen, RealClearPolitics
When I fretted to my friend and colleague Jay Nordlinger that Republicans may learn the wrong lessons from success in 2014, he noted sagely that he prefers to wait until the results are in before drawing any lessons. While that ought to have stayed my hand, I think some contours are discernible, and so I plunge in! The 2012 election was essentially a protracted exercise in character assassination. Democrats painted Mitt Romney and Republicans generally as extremist cretins who held rigid views on abortion, were hostile to the point of combat toward women, engineered the financial crisis to…

More Than 80% of Americans Say Nation’s Long-Term Debt Is Important Factor in Deciding Their Vote This Election Day
Peter G. Peterson Foundation, RealClearPolitics
Voters Say Addressing Long-term Debt Will Boost Economic Opportunity, Increase Business Confidence and Spur Investment Voters More Likely to Support Candidates Who Have a Fiscal Plan to Reduce Debt and Who are Willing to Work Across the Aisle An overwhelming majority of Americans, 82 percent, say the long-term national debt is an important factor when it comes to deciding how they will vote in the November midterm elections, according to a new poll released today by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The survey, prepared by polling firms Global Strategy Group and North Star Opinion Research,…


‘Family test’ for policies outlined

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

‘Family test’ for policies outlined
All policies will be measured against the impact they have on the formation and support of stable families, ministers say.

VIDEO: Immigration week in 60 seconds
The political week of immigration headlines is reviewed in one minute by Adam Fleming.


Open Source: Street-Level Views of the Protests in Burkina Faso

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Open Source: Street-Level Views of the Protests in Burkina Faso
Video posted on YouTube offered vivid glimpses of the demonstrators who forced Burkina Faso’s longtime president, Blaise Compaoré, from office.



U.N. Says Iran Is Silent on Efforts for a Bomb
Remarks by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency come as Secretary of State John Kerry prepares for further negotiations.



Spy Allegations in a Presidential Race Conjure Romania’s Authoritarian Past
A spying allegation tapped into a rich vein of Romanian political culture clogged with accusations and counter-accusations of undercover skulduggery.



News Analysis: In Nigeria, Fragile Hopes of Boko Haram Freeing Schoolgirls Are Dashed
After the Nigeria Army reported reaching a cease-fire with the militant Islamist group Boko Haram two weeks ago, its leader Friday denied any truce had been reached.



In Air and Cyberspace, on Land and Sea, Russia Shows Muscle
Air activity over Europe, an Estonian officer in custody, the hunt for a submarine and claims of cyberattacks have ramped up tensions with the West.


Here’s How Oil Industry Members Reacted When Told To Use ‘Fear And Anger’ To Win Fracking Fight

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Here’s How Oil Industry Members Reacted When Told To Use ‘Fear And Anger’ To Win Fracking Fight

“It’s brilliant in its simplicity,” said one audience member. “The way you’re going is really neat,” said another. “This has been very, very helpful,” said one more.

The post Here’s How Oil Industry Members Reacted When Told To Use ‘Fear And Anger’ To Win Fracking Fight appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Rick Berman appears on Rachel Maddow in 2010

Rick Berman appears on Rachel Maddow in 2010

CREDIT: MSNBC/Screenshot

“It’s brilliant in its simplicity,” said one audience member. “The way you’re going is really neat,” said another. “This has been very, very helpful,” said one more.

This is how some oil and gas industry members immediately responded after hearing a political strategy speech from lobbyist Richard Berman, secretly recorded and published by the New York Times on Friday. The speech, given at the annual meeting of the Western Energy Alliance in June, recommended the oil and gas industry exploit “fear and anger” in voters, personally embarrass individual environmentalists, and “get people into a position of paralysis” about the issues in order to win the contentious fight over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

“You get in people’s mind a tie. They don’t know who is right. And you get all ties because the tie basically insures the status quo,” Berman said, according to the speech transcript. “Fear and anger have to be part of this campaign. If you want to win, that’s what we’re going to do.”

According to the attendee list obtained by the Times, Berman’s speech was heard by representatives of some of the biggest oil and gas companies and organizations in the United States, many of which are engaged in a high-profile political battles with environmental advocates over fracking. They included the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, BP America, Anadarko Petroleum, and the American Energy Alliance.

After the speech concluded, attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions, almost all of which complimented Berman on his ideas. One attendee, labeled “audience member #2,” said the advice was “very, very helpful,” but wondered how to combat environmentalists who he said also use “emotional ploys” to claim that the oil and gas industry is “greedy.”

Berman recommended meeting environmentalists head-on. “Just because they are using emotion doesn’t mean that we can’t use emotion,” Berman said. “We just have to use emotion that’s factually based on go after them … Remember, they’re in the business of doing this.”

Another attendee, deemed “audience member #3″ by the transcript, called the advice “brilliant in its simplicity.” “But I have to ask,” audience member 3 said. “Who is funding your efforts?”

Berman would not answer, saying it doesn’t matter who gives him money to say what. “If I quote authoritative sources, it doesn’t matter who funds me,” he said. Berman said he had already collected six-figure contributions from some of the company representatives in the room, and takes pride in not telling anybody who they are. “There is total anonymity,” he said. “People don’t know who supports us.”

“Audience member #4″ also said it was a “great presentation,” and wondered how much it would cost for companies that want to contribute to Berman’s website, Big Green Radicals. Berman said that if companies spent $2-$3 million dollars on extending his campaign in one state, it would be a “game changer,” but that companies can give whatever they want. “We’ve had six figure contributions to date from a few companies in this room to help us to get to where we are,” Berman said.

After Berman’s speech was made public on Thursday, ThinkProgress reached out to all the attendees listed on the Western Energy Alliance meeting’s roster to find out if any company would stand by Berman’s strategy. Most did not return the request — representatives from Encana Oil & Gas, J-W Power Company, First Western Trust, and Adam James International said they didn’t attend the speech. Representatives from Amegy Bank’s Rocky Mountain Energy Group and Colorado oil and gas operator Vaughney & Vaughney both declined to comment.

At least one company, however, attempted to distance itself. Anandarko Petroleum spokesperson John Christiansen said the company works to combat misinformation about its operations in an “open and transparent manner.”

“We do not support Mr. Berman’s approach,” Christiansen said. “That does not align with our values.”

Peter Mueller, the Vice President of Operations at Colorado-based oil and gas operator Saga Petroleum, said he didn’t attend the speech, but said he did take away at least one thing from reading about it.

“I will offer that I’ve seen extreme tactics used by anti-oil and gas groups to paint this industry in a bad light … People on both sides have read the same play book and are using similar tactics, ” he said. “The opportunity for reasoned debate seems to be slipping away.”

The post Here’s How Oil Industry Members Reacted When Told To Use ‘Fear And Anger’ To Win Fracking Fight appeared first on ThinkProgress.

GOP To Iowans: Your Neighbors Will Know If You Don’t Vote Republicans

Beyond “vote shaming.”

The post GOP To Iowans: Your Neighbors Will Know If You Don’t Vote Republicans appeared first on ThinkProgress.

The GOP is trying to convince Iowa voters on Facebook that their neighbors will know if they voted Republican.

Screenshots of Facebook ads, promoted by the official Facebook page of the Republican National Committee feature an ominous message: “NOTICE: All Voting Is Public.” The ad tell voters that “In a few months, Iowa will release the list of individual who voted in this election.” Most troublingly, the ad includes an arial view of a neighborhood with checkmarks indicating that “These People Voted GOP.”

GOP_Facebook

CREDIT: Facebook Screenshot

It is true that voter participation in elections in public information. But how a someone voted, including what party they voted for, is not. The secret ballot has long been considered a hallmark of American democracy.

The ad is a variation of a GOTV (Get Out The Vote) strategy called “vote shaming.” The tactic is employed by liberals and conservatives to use social psychology to increase the chances that people vote. In every state but Virginia, whether or not you participated in an election is public. “[I]f you publicize something, it has a very powerful effect on behavior,” Chris Larimer, an Iowa political scientist, told USA Today in 2012.

The Facebook ads at issue go beyond traditional “vote shaming” by strongly implying that their ballot will not be secret. Two Facebook users who posted screenshots of the ad on social media confirmed to ThinkProgress that they had seen the ads on their Facebook newsfeed.

The RNC and the Iowa GOP did not return requests for comments.

The post GOP To Iowans: Your Neighbors Will Know If You Don’t Vote Republicans appeared first on ThinkProgress.


FIFA Denies Women’s World Cup Players an Equal Playing Field—Literally

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

FIFA Denies Women’s World Cup Players an Equal Playing Field—Literally
From: Dave Zirin

A bafflingly sexist move could scar the 2015 Women's World Cup.

Did Ferguson Police Violate Human Rights During the Protests?
From: Melissa Harris-Perry

A new report documents the most major concerns.

If These Videos Don’t Convince You to Vote, Nothing Will
From: Peter Rothberg

These videos, culled nationally from the current electoral cycle, make clear why it's so important to vote on Tuesday.

The Senator Defending Your Privacy Is Fighting for His Political Life
From: John Nichols

Colorado Senator Mark Udall has challenged the NSA and defended the Constitution.