Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 35,860
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 35,860
President Obama released his fiscal year 2015 budget this week, telling reporters that the document "is about choices, it's about our values." And the White House is making the case that those values have everything to do with creating a better life for black people in America.
Of course, you'll find little of the controversial race-specific "black and Latino" language that characterized the recent launch of the My Brother's Keeper initiative in the budget. But a related fact sheet released by the White House, titled "Opportunity for All: Supporting African American Families" (pdf), encourages Americans to read between the lines with an eye to where the president is looking out for black people.
While the document largely reflects Obama's long-held "the most important thing I can do for the African-American community is the same thing I can do for the American community, period … " stance—trumpeting general, national priorities from "Supporting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act" to "Spurring Economic Growth and Job Creation by Providing Access to Capital"—it does get more specific at times when it comes to fostering racial equality.
Some budget highlights from the fact sheet:
On support for minority businesses (pdf): "The budget includes $28 million for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to provide counseling, training, and technical assistance to minority business owners."
On protecting Civil Rights (pdf): "The budget supports activities at the Department of Justice to ensure the protection of civil rights, including enforcing Federal prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination. In addition, the Budget provides resources to prevent and remedy discrimination in the workplace by maintaining strong support for the Equal Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs."
On reducing racial disparities (pdf) in juvenile justice: "The budget, through the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, includes a new youth investment initiative that will incentivize state efforts to increase the availability of alternatives to incarceration, reenroll youth back into school after confinement, and reduce ethnic and racial disparities in the juvenile justice system ... "
On supporting HBCUs (pdf) and access to college: "The budget provides $75 million for College Success Grants to support sustainable strategies to reduce costs and improve student outcomes at Minority Serving Institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions. The cudget also sustains funding for GEAR UP and TRIO to help provide support services for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to prepare for, enroll, and complete postsecondary education."
Posted by Blue_Tires | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:13 AM (2 replies)
Jet aborts takeoff after 'fish strike' at Florida air base
A jet departing from a Florida military base had to abort its takeoff because of a "fish strike."
Officials from the MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa tell The Tampa Tribune a Gulfstream G-IV jet being flown by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hit "a 9-inch sheepshead" fish in the incident, which occurred in September.
Bird strikes, of course, are a significant safety concern at airports across the nation. But, as you might expect, "fish strikes" are exceedingly rare.
"We were nearing the point in the takeoff where we needed to rotate, or raise the nose of the airplane off the ground, when an osprey with something in its claws flew in front of our aircraft," Lt. Cmdr. Nick Toth, one of the NOAA pilots operating the flight, says in an online story published last month by the 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs staff.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:11 AM (0 replies)
Old, but still good if you haven't read it before:
Let me tell you a little about the truck driver you just flipped off because he was passing another truck, and you had to cancel the cruise control and slow down until he completed the pass and moved back over.
His truck is governed to 68 miles an hour, because the company he leases it from believes it keeps him and the public and the equipment safer.
The truck he passed was probably running under 65 mph to conserve fuel. You see, the best these trucks do for fuel economy is about 8 miles per gallon. With fuel at almost $4 per gallon — well, you do the math. And, yes, that driver pays for his own fuel.
He needs to be 1,014 miles from where he loaded in two days. And he can't fudge his federally mandated driver log, because he no longer does it on paper; he is logged electronically.
He can drive 11 hours in a 14-hour period; then he must take a 10-hour break. And considering that the shipper where he loaded held him up for five hours because it is understaffed, he now needs to run without stopping for lunch and dinner breaks.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Wed Mar 5, 2014, 12:05 PM (54 replies)
Just hours after last weekend’s ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, one of Pierre Omidyar’s newest hires at national security blog “The Intercept,” was already digging for the truth.
Marcy Wheeler, who is the new site’s “senior policy analyst,” speculated that the Ukraine revolution was likely a “coup” engineered by “deep” forces on behalf of “Pax Americana”:
These are serious claims. So serious that I decided to investigate them. And what I found was shocking.
Wheeler is partly correct. Pando has confirmed that the American government – in the form of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – played a major role in funding opposition groups prior to the revolution. Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from a US billionaire who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests. This was by no means a US-backed “coup,” but clear evidence shows that US investment was a force multiplier for many of the groups involved in overthrowing Yanukovych.
But that’s not the shocking part.
What’s shocking is the name of the billionaire who co-invested with the US government (or as Wheeler put it: the “dark deep force” acting on behalf of “Pax Americana”).
Step out of the shadows…. Wheeler’s boss, Pierre Omidyar.
It's going to be entertaining to see how Greenwald responds to this...
EDIT: Greenwald's o̶b̶f̶u̶s̶c̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ response -- https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/03/01/journalistic-independence/
and Pando Editor Paul Carr's rebuttal: http://pando.com/2014/03/01/on-the-importance-of-keeping-investors-out-of-the-newsroom-and-not-treating-your-readers-like-fools/
Just to get everyone up to speed -- There is an ongoing history between Ames and Greenwald (to be fair, Greenwald has a lot of 'histories' with others in the industry and out; many of them are easy to find online), most recently dating back to this piece:
and Greenwald's response: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/12/02-5
Now my two cents:
First off, I didn't post this because I'm some Obamabot, of I'm jealous of Greenwald or I'm trying to discredit the NSA story (although I do have dozens of still-unanswered questions, but those are for another thread), so do me a favor and save the childish namecalling for GD...
To be honest, even though it's newsworthy there isn't even that much 'there' in this story, and Ames does leap to some of his conclusions...I just love this piece so much because it's such a perfect mirror-image mimic of Greenwald's writing "style", and Greenwald's pissy response is so similar to many of his opponents/rivals/enemies, the irony is just too thick to digest in one sitting...Yes, Greenwald and his circle do look like morons for not knowing about this (since Ukraine is only the biggest story on the planet right now), but life goes on and barring any more ugly conflict-of-interest skeletons in Omidyar's closet, they will all survive just fine...
My issue at the moment is with Omidyar himself...Personally I don't believe in miracles and I don't believe in pennies from heaven, so I'm always skeptical when big-business billionaires decide to venture into a new field and throw hundreds of millions around... Bezos buys the WaPo, and Omidyar is dumping $250 mil into an online news site? At that number he could buy any legacy in the world and instantly have a bigger readership than what his site might aspire to in 5-10 years...Something about this just isn't right, folks...No billionaire, however philanthropic, dumps that much into an investment unless he's on his deathbed, or expects to make a return in spades...
Posted by Blue_Tires | Sat Mar 1, 2014, 12:15 AM (46 replies)
Janet Mock has arrived. The 30-year-old New Yorker is the American transgender community’s most vocal and visible advocate. Her memoir, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, released earlier this month, recounts her experiences as a trans woman navigating poverty, abuse, familial dysfunction, sexism, racism, and—as if that weren’t enough—finding love in New York City. Mock’s tale was ultimately a triumph, and the book a fiery success—it reached No. 19 on The New York Times Best Seller list last week. Author and feminist activist bell hooks called it a courageous work: “Told with a spirit of raw honesty that moves beyond confession to redemptive revelation, this book is a life map for transformation—for changing minds.”
The publication of Redefining Realness also kicked off a flurry of high-profile interviews: The Colbert Report, Melissa Harris-Perry, and two now infamous spots on the recently canceled Piers Morgan Live. After the first interview, Mock accused Morgan and his production team of trying to “sensationalize” her experience, placing undue emphasis on her transitional surgery and asking obtuse, invasive questions like, “How would you feel if you found out the woman you are dating was formerly a man?”
In an interview with BuzzFeed Politics, Mock said Morgan was “trying to do info-tainment. He doesn’t really want to talk about trans issues, he wants to sensationalize my life and not really talk about the work that I do and what the purpose of me writing this book was about.”
Morgan’s response was predictably petulant. On top of Alec Baldwin’s front-page cri de coeur against allegations of antigay speech, it’s safe to say that while February was an excellent month for Janet Mock, it was not so great for heterosexual white dudes navigating privilege. As a heterosexual white dude, probably just as susceptible to foot-in-mouth disease as Morgan or Baldwin, I was somewhat apprehensive at the prospect of interviewing Mock, face-to-face. We met just before she took the stage Tuesday evening at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library for a discussion with Washington Post columnist Helena Andrews.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Fri Feb 28, 2014, 08:49 PM (1 replies)
DULUTH, KS—Claiming it is “impossible” to get him to consider different points of view, exasperated acquaintances of local man Kyle Dunham told reporters Wednesday that the 34-year-old is completely unwilling to listen to even a single argument as to why homosexuality is an abomination.
Sources familiar with the account manager’s maddeningly rigid beliefs said that no matter how patiently and logically they present the extensive evidence demonstrating that gays and lesbians are systematically destroying society, the narrow-minded Dunham simply tunes them out.
“You try to have a rational conversation with him in which you carefully explain, point by point, how the Bible reveals that homosexuality is abhorrent and dangerous, and his eyes just glaze over,” said neighbor Alex Richardson, who told reporters he has never met anyone in his life so resistant to facts that contradicted his preconceived ideas. “Even when I bring up something basic that most informed people agree on—like how a man who lies down with another man is condemned to eternal hellfire—he just shakes his head.”
“I could spend all day calmly and methodically spelling out what befell the Sodomites,” Richardson added. “But it all goes in one ear and out the other.”
Despite intending to do nothing more than engage Dunham in a frank but nonjudgmental conversation about his inflexible views, most of his acquaintances said they could not even broach the possibility that homosexuality was a vile obscenity without being immediately dismissed.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Fri Feb 28, 2014, 11:15 AM (8 replies)
Very entertaining reading...
Posted by Blue_Tires | Thu Feb 27, 2014, 07:56 PM (0 replies)
Pentagon plans to cut 20,000 jobs at NSA, 23 other agencies, offices Action part of bid to drop 150,000 to 175,000 workers from defense payroll
WASHINGTON -- A sweeping plan to restructure the Defense Department calls for a total of 20,000 jobs to be cut from two dozen offices and agencies, including the Fort Meade-based National Security Agency, the largest employer in Maryland.
The Pentagon's plan, called the Quadrennial Defense Review and scheduled for release next week, would cut about 18,000 civilian and 2,000 military jobs at agencies that include NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, as well as field activities such as the POW/MIA office. The job reductions are to be completed by 2003, defense sources said.
Even more job cuts at the same agencies are expected as a result of a task force named Wednesday by Defense Secretary William S. Cohen. The task force will not only determine where the quadrennial-review job cuts will be made; it has also been directed to produce further staff cuts and savings in those agencies' administrative operations.
It is too early to say exactly how many job cuts each agency would absorb, defense officials said. Nor did the officials have an estimate of the total number of employees at the 24 agencies.
NSA, an intelligence agency that eavesdrops on foreign communications and makes and breaks codes, employs about 20,000 at Fort Meade. Together with the nation's other spy agencies, NSA has already been ordered by Congress to reduce its civilian staff 24 percent by 2001 and is in the process of doing so.
Yeah I know, pre-9/11 world and all that...But do I have that right? Congress can bring about a heavy reduction in manpower and resources with a simple order?
Posted by Blue_Tires | Thu Feb 27, 2014, 04:24 PM (0 replies)
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It is the symbol most associated with the Zodiac Killer - the cross hairs. Drawn on letters, the side of one of the victim's cars and on the outfit the killer wore at the Lake Berryessa attacks.
"It was a black mask and it came over, over his shoulders, down his front, around his back and had a circle with cross hairs in the center," says retired Napa County Sheriff's Deputy Dave Collins.
Collins was one of the first responders to the Lake Berryessa crime scene.
But Randy Kenney says those aren't cross hairs. He says his friend Louie Myers confessed to him that he was the infamous murderer and told Kenney what the symbol really means.
"The Zodiac sign is a Celtic Cross. That's not the cross with the sights," according to Kenney.
Kenney says that Myers was obsessed with his Scottish heritage and that's why he chose the Celtic Cross.
Today, you can find the symbol at some the zodiac crime scenes.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Thu Feb 27, 2014, 04:07 PM (5 replies)
The Pentagon Wants to Communicate With Big Inflatable Balls
The Pentagon has seen the future of communications, and it is… inflatable.
It makes sense, if you think about it. Pentagon brass want the military of tomorrow to be nimble and easily deployed, which means its equipment must be as well. That’s why an alphabet soup of Pentagon offices, led by the U.S. Army Project Manager, chipped in for a five-year, $440 million contract to give the Army, Marine Corps and others an inflatable satellite antenna (ISA) currently available only to the badasses in Special Ops.
The big balloon is made by the Alabama company GATR. It’s got a flexible parabolic dish mounted within an inflatable sphere, an arrangement that cuts the weight and packaging volume by as much as 80 percent compared to rigid antennas. The system is designed for ground use and is particularly useful in remote areas where consistent, sustained communication can be a challenge.
GATR offers the rig in three diameters: 2.4, 1.8 and 1.2 meters. The company says the larger dish size enables more efficient use of satellite bandwidth capacity, which increases bandwidth for everyone on the system and lets more people communicate simultaneously. The system can be ready to, er, roll in 30 minutes. The largest antenna can be packed into as few as two cases and weighs less than 100 pounds, making it a whole lot easier than rigid rigs to schlep in the field. The smallest rig weighs just 70 pounds and can be packed into a backpack. The light weight is easier on troops, and on beancounters in Washington. Since it weighs less, it costs less to transport. It’s also cheaper than conventional SATCOM systems.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Thu Feb 27, 2014, 03:51 PM (4 replies)