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Blue_Tires's Journal
Blue_Tires's Journal
December 13, 2014

Longtime Delta employee, labor activist Kip Hedges fired

A longtime Delta Air Lines employee and Twin Cities labor activist, Kip Hedges, was fired this week from his job as a baggage handler after championing a $15 minimum wage for airline workers.

According to multiple postings on social media, Hedges gave an on-camera interview to Workday Minnesota, where he said, "A lot of the Delta workers make under $15 an hour. As a matter of fact, I would say probably close to half make under $15 an hour."

Delta officials told Hedges he was being fired for "disparaging remarks," according to an account on Workday Minnesota. It's unclear how many Delta baggage-claim workers make less than $15 an hour, but some do, while others earn significantly more.

After a reporter inquired about the matter, Delta said Thursday in a statement, "Delta regrets any instance where a longtime employee is terminated. However, Delta requires all employees to meet company performance and conduct standards. This includes upholding our core values of respect and honesty in any communications regarding Delta."

The airline's statement continued, "Delta invites healthy, constructive discussion across all areas of its business. We apply our policies consistently and in a nondiscriminatory manner, based on an individual's conduct and record of job performance, without regard to anyone's personal views."

Hedges, a 26-year Delta (and Northwest Airlines) employee, has long been an outspoken voice on equity and labor-management issues.


December 13, 2014

Report: 12 Navy sailors now implicated in sub shower scandal

Source: WTKR-TV

Eleven more Navy sailors are now suspected of watching secretly recorded videos of female shipmates in showers on the Kings Bay-based ballistic-missile submarine Wyoming, according to a report from the Navy Times.

It was previously reported that a 24-year-old sailor was being investigated for recording and producing the videos. But a new investigative report reveals that 11 other sailors possibly watched and didn’t report the videos to officials.

The Wyoming was one of the first submarines to allow women in 2011. This investigation comes as the Navy is set to expand the role of women on subs, with six women set to report to two subs in January.

It’s unclear how many of the women onboard the submarine were recorded, according to the Navy Times.

The Navy has not yet reported any possible punishments from the investigation.

Read more: http://wtkr.com/2014/12/12/report-12-navy-sailors-now-implicated-in-sub-shower-scandal/

More info:

December 11, 2014

Itís time for Tor activists to stop acting like the spies they claim to hate

Apparently I have to have time for this.

I don’t have time for this, you understand. What with Uber executives threatening my business partner and Pando being credited for opening up a new legal flank in the Techtopus anti-wage-fixing lawsuit (more on that soon), and a new issue of PandoQuarterly about to go to press… what with all of that, I really don’t have time to respond to an increasingly bizarre attempt by some senior Tor developers to undermine our reporting on their funding sources by trying to smear Pando reporters as trolls and bullies.

And yet apparently I have to have time for that. So I’ll keep this as brief as possible.

For the past few months, Pando writer Yasha Levine has been reporting on how several senior developers of the anonymizing service Tor are, or have been, on the payroll of the US government. This, Yasha has argued, is a relevant conflict of interest for developers promoting a technology that, in part, claims to help users avoid the attention of that same US government.

Following Yasha’s initial report, some Tor supporters argued that Tor’s connection with the government was already common knowledge and so not worth reporting on. We’ve heard that argument before. Others insisted the connection was irrelevant as it couldn’t affect the maths underlying Tor’s encryption. That’s a perfectly reasonable position to take, and it’s one that deserves thorough debate, here on Pando and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, as Yasha later reported, a small but highly aggressive group of high profile Tor advocates, including activist Jacob Appelbaum and the Intercept’s Micah Lee apparently decided that a better way to respond to Pando’s reporting was to attack Pando’s and Yasha’s credibility through a seemingly orchestrated smear campaign.


Interesting to see the Guardian be the useful idiots of this campaign, too...

December 11, 2014

Question submitted by Blue_Tires

Seriously?? I've had some really borderline hides before, but someone truly need to explain this one to me:

On Thu Dec 11, 2014, 05:37 AM an alert was sent on the following post:

Another Putin ass-kisser got this week's memo


This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate.


Looks like somebody can't make a lucid response, so they resort to name-calling. If you disagree with the poster, explain why. Drop the name-calling.


A randomly-selected Jury of DU members completed their review of this alert at Thu Dec 11, 2014, 05:41 AM, and voted 4-3 to HIDE IT.

Juror #1 voted to HIDE IT
Explanation: No explanation given
Juror #2 voted to HIDE IT
Explanation: No explanation given
Juror #3 voted to HIDE IT
Explanation: No explanation given
Juror #4 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: I'm assuming "ass-kisser" refers to the author of the Truthout piece, not the OP.
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: No explanation given
Juror #6 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: ...and if you disagree with the responder, write another response rather than alerting for this.
Juror #7 voted to HIDE IT
Explanation: name calling.

I can't call some no-name writer spewing obvious Kremlin propaganda an "ass-kisser?" After all the things I get called on a daily basis (see sig)?

December 10, 2014

The New Republic: An Appreciation

It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that black lives didn't matter much at all to the magazine.

Last week, Franklin Foer resigned his editorship of The New Republic. A deep, if not broad, mourning immediately commenced as a number of influential writers lamented what occurred to them as the passing of a great American institution. The mourners have something of a case. TNR had a hand in the careers of an outsized number of prominent narrative and opinion journalists. I have never quite been able to judge the effect of literature or journalism on policy, but I know that in my field, if you had dreams of having a career, you had to contend with TNR. My first editor at The Atlantic came from TNR, as did the editor of the entire magazine. More than any other writer, TNR alum Andrew Sullivan taught me how to think publicly. More than any other opinion writer, Hendrik Hertzberg taught me how to write with "thickness," as I once heard him say. A semester in my nonfiction class is never quite complete without this piece by Michael Kinsley. TNR's legacy is so significant that I could never have avoided being drawn into the magazine's orbit. Even if I had wanted to.

Earlier this year, Foer edited an anthology of TNR writings titled Insurrections of the Mind, commemorating the magazine's 100-year history. "This book hasn't been compiled in the name of definitiveness," Foer wrote. "It was put together in the spirit of the magazine that it anthologizes: it is an argument about what matters." There is only one essay in Insurrections that takes race as its subject. The volume includes only one black writer and only two writers of color. This is not an oversight. Nor does it mean that Foer is a bad human. On the contrary, if one were to attempt to capture the "spirit" of TNR, it would be impossible to avoid the conclusion that black lives don't matter much at all.

That explains why the family rows at TNR's virtual funeral look like the "Whites Only" section of a Jim Crow-era movie-house. For most of its modern history, TNR has been an entirely white publication, which published stories confirming white people's worst instincts. During the culture wars of the '80s and '90s, TNR regarded black people with an attitude ranging from removed disregard to blatant bigotry. When people discuss TNR's racism, Andrew Sullivan's publication of excerpts from Charles Murray's book The Bell Curve (and a series of dissents) gets the most attention. But this fuels the lie that one infamous issue stands apart. In fact, the Bell Curve episode is remarkable for how well it fits with the rest of TNR's history.

The personal attitude of TNR's longtime owner, the bigoted Martin Peretz, should be mentioned here. Peretz's dossier of racist hits (mostly at the expense of blacks and Arabs) is shameful, and one does not have to look hard to find evidence of it in Peretz's writing or in the sensibility of the magazine during his ownership. In 1984, long before Sullivan was tapped to helm TNR, Charles Murray was dubbing affirmative action a form of "new racism" that targeted white people.

Two years later, Washington Post writer Richard Cohen was roundly rebuked for advocating that D.C. jewelry stores discriminate against young black men—but not by TNR. The magazine took the opportunity to convene a panel to "reflect briefly" on whether it was moral for merchants to bar black men from their stores. ("Expecting a jewelry store owner to risk his life in the service of color-blind justice is expecting too much," the magazine concluded.)

TNR made a habit of "reflecting briefly" on matters that were life and death to black people but were mostly abstract thought experiments to the magazine's editors. Before, during, and after Sullivan's tenure, the magazine seemed to believe that the kind of racism that mattered most was best evidenced in the evils of Afrocentrism, the excesses of multiculturalism, and the machinations of Jesse Jackson. It's true that TNR's staff roundly objected to excerpting The Bell Curve, but I was never quite sure why. Sullivan was simply exposing the dark premise that lay beneath much of the magazine's coverage of America's ancient dilemma.

December 10, 2014

The Koch brothers are getting close to having their own political party

Over the past few election cycles, the Koch brothers have poured tens of millions of dollars into controlling our political process. In fact, by now they've practically created their own political party, existing to support and steer the Republican Party:

The Koch network also has developed in-house expertise in polling, message-testing, fact-checking, advertising, media buying, dial groups and donor maintenance. Add mastery of election law, a corporate-minded aggressiveness and years of patient experimentation — plus seemingly limitless cash — and the Koch operation actually exceeds the RNC’s data operation in many important respects. [...]
The least-known vehicle for the Kochs is a for-profit company known as i360, started by a former adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign after McCain lost to Barack Obama in 2008. Subsequently, it merged with a Koch-funded data nonprofit. The Koch-affiliated Freedom Partners, formed in late 2011, eventually became an investor, officials confirmed to POLITICO.

Spending more than $50 million in cash over the past four years, i360 links voter information with consumer data purchased from credit bureaus and other vendors. Information from social networks is blended in, along with any interaction the voter may have had with affiliated campaigns and advocacy groups. Then come estimated income, recent addresses, how often a person has voted, and even the brand of car they drive. Another i360 service slices and dices information about TV viewing to help campaigns target ads more precisely and cost efficiently.

It's not just data, of course. The Koch shadow party infrastructure extends not just to Americans for Prosperity's 550 staffers but to a Latino outreach group with 80 staffers across seven states, a young voter outreach group with 30 staffers in 10 states, and a veterans outreach group with 60 staffers in 14 states.
In short, Republican campaigns aren't backed by just one political party. Favored Republicans, or ones in states with a strong Koch presence, are bolstered by the resources of the Republican Party and the Koch shadow party. This is what Democrats are up against and this, not just television ads, is what we mean when we talk about money in politics.


December 9, 2014

State (LA) Democratic chairwoman blames Koch brothers, Fox News for party's woes

The Koch Brothers and Fox News are to blame for the Democratic Party's woes in Louisiana, at least in the mind of Louisiana Democratic Party chairwoman Karen Carter-Peterson.

In a column on the Cenlamar website, Carter-Peterson wrote that while the party enjoyed some success in this year's election cycle, the Koch's and Fox News kept the party from selling it's message of working for Louisianans.

"But the fact of the matter is this -- the non-stop, onslaught of negative and inflammatory Koch Brothers ads, added to the toxic media environment driven by Fox News and the right-wing echo chamber, have made it challenging for us to drive out our message to voters," Carter-Peterson wrote.

The column came just days after Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy defeated three-term Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu with 56 percent of the vote. Republicans also won the 5th and 6th Congressional District seats over Democrats that made the runoff in decisive victories.

Charles and David Koch's political action committee, Americans for Prosperity, spent about $2 million in ads against Landrieu, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. It spent the fourth-most amount of money of any outside group behind the pro-Landrieu group Patriot Majority USA at about $3 million, pro-Landrieu group Senate Majority PAC at about $2.4 million, and pro-Cassidy group Crossroads USA at $2.1 million.

Landrieu's campaign spent about $16.8 million compared to $11 million spent by Cassidy. Part of Landrieu's problem, however, was that she spent most of the her money before the runoff. That's coupled with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee yanking their ad buys in the runoff, resulting in pro-Cassidy or anti-Landrieu ads making up the bulk of what voters saw on television in the weeks leading up to the election.


Kudos for Carter calling them both out...Sadly she's going to take a lot of shit for this, since there is always a harsh crackdown on anyone who dares tell the public to look behind the curtain...

December 9, 2014

Why is Kate Upton's magical cleavage hawking some geeky video game??

And why would I ever be motivated to download that game unless Kate Upton came with it??

December 9, 2014

How to identify a troll on DU almost as fast as Brother Blue_Tires:


This information is just for everyone's benefit -- We have to tread lightly here because we're going to be getting into some unsavory stuff, and too many past discussions of the topic have descended into shriek-filled accusations of "purity purges" and the like...I'm *not* saying everyone needs to use this guide to "out" some posters they may have a grudge against; this guide is just so people will recognize when these techniques are in use and act accordingly...

EDIT: It is also critical to remember when we unconsciously revert to these techniques ourselves, since it only serves to perpetuate the problem...(Even I am not immune to this )

December 9, 2014

Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General

The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.

But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.

“Outstanding!” William F. Whitsitt, who at the time directed government relations at the company, said in a note to Mr. Pruitt’s office. The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature. “The timing of the letter is great, given our meeting this Friday with both E.P.A. and the White House.”

Mr. Whitsitt then added, “Please pass along Devon’s thanks to Attorney General Pruitt.”


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Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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About Blue_Tires

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