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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 40,578

About Me

Blocked on Twitter by that rat bastard fuck @ggreenwald

Journal Archives

David Foster Wallace on non-voters:

Brazil unions sue McDonald's, try to block new stores

Source: AP via the Chicago Sun-Times

SAO PAULO — Brazilian labor unions are suing McDonald’s and its local franchisee Arcos Dourados for allegedly violating labor laws for at least 30 years.

The suit filed Monday in Brasilia also seeks to prevent McDonald’s from opening new stores until it complies with legislation and asks that it be slapped with penalties of up to 30 percent of its revenue in Brazil.

The suit was spearheaded by the union for fast food restaurant workers.

It says in a statement that the defendants have “violated minimum wage laws, committed timecard fraud, failed to pay overtime, denied employees regular schedules, and used underage workers, among other illegal actions.”

Arcos Dourados said by email that it has not been notified of the lawsuit and that all of its labor practices conform to Brazilian legislation.

Read more: http://chicago.suntimes.com/business/7/71/392328/mcdonalds-brazil-unions#share

College student accused of rape claims he was reenacting ’50 Shades of Grey’

A college student who has been accused of raping a classmate told authorities he was reenacting scenes from “50 Shades of Grey,” authorities said.

After bringing the 19-year-old woman back to his dorm room at the University of Illinois at Chicago on Saturday, Mohammad Hossain, 19, used multiple belts to restrain and beat his victim while he assaulted her, the State’s Attorney’s office told The Post.

Hossain, who is studying bionuclear engineering, has been charged with one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault. If convicted, the felony is punishable by six to 30 years behind bars, authorities said.

When a judge set his bail at $500,000, Hossain’s attorney, Cook County public defender Sandra Bennewitz, told the judge that her client had been “involved with several UIC leadership programs, was a student ambassador to the alumni association and was on the triathlon team,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Sandra, how can someone involved in all that let a movie persuade him to do something like this?” asked Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr., according to the Tribune.

“He would say that it was consensual,” she replied.


I'm surprised it took this long for someone to test a "50 shades defense" in court

Way ahead of us, Australia is...WAY ahead!

First ever public jetpack company zooms onto Australian Stock Exchange

A New Zealand man has made millions of childhood dreams come true, after taking a massive leap in the world of personalised jetpacks.

Glenn Martin started working on the Martin Jetpack, which he calls "the world’s first practical jetpack," 34 years ago in his back shed in Dunedin, New Zealand. On Tuesday, he listed his company Martin Aircrafts on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Martin has spent his life dedicated to the cause of creating a machine that replicated the one seen in science fiction as early as the 1920s — perhaps best remembered as the device that saved James Bond in Thunderball.

The first Martin Jetpack was launched in 2008 at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It wasn't a rousing success. Glenn's son Harrison hovered at only three feet above ground level before returning to Earth.

Although the crowd seemed impressed, American media slammed the device. In a 2011 interview with New Zealand current affairs show Sunday, Glenn spoke of how the negative reaction affected him.

"You spend 28 years of your life developing something and I made no claims about it ... I just wanted to go to Oshkosh and introduce it to the aviation world," Glenn told Sunday. "And then all these people came in and started getting negative about it and it is very hurtful. it just makes you more determined."

On Tuesday at 11 a.m. AEDT, that determination paid off. With newly-appointed CEO Peter Coker and an investment agreement with Hong Kong company KuangChi Science, Martin Aircraft listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The Initial Public Offering (IPO raised A$27 million ahead of the listing at an offer price of A$0.40 per share, with KuangChi Science purchasing A$21 million of the shares. Martin Aircraft said this will allow the company to "focus 100% on the commercialisation of the jetpack."


Lawmaker with lavish decor billed private planes, concerts

Source: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock, a rising Republican star already facing an ethics inquiry, has spent taxpayer and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by some of his key donors, The Associated Press has found. There also have been other expensive travel and entertainment charges, including for a massage company and music concerts.

The expenses highlight the relationships that lawmakers sometimes have with donors who fund their political ambitions, an unwelcome message for a congressman billed as a fresh face of the GOP. The AP identified at least one dozen flights worth more than $40,000 on donors' planes since mid-2011.

The AP tracked Schock's reliance on the aircraft partly through the congressman's penchant for uploading pictures and videos of himself to his Instagram account. The AP extracted location data associated with each image then correlated it with flight records showing airport stopovers and expenses later billed for air travel against Schock's office and campaign records.

Asked for comment, Schock responded in an email on Monday that he travels frequently throughout his Peoria-area district "to stay connected with my constituents" and also travels to raise money for his campaign committee and congressional colleagues.

He said he takes compliance with congressional funding rules seriously and has begun a review of his office's procedures "concerning this issue and others to determine whether they can be improved." The AP had been seeking comment from Schock's office since mid-February to explain some of his expenses.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/e2f1f52c3eb34caca7d74e5bf90f27f9/lawmaker-lavish-decor-billed-private-planes-concerts

Best insider expose of a Russian troll factory yet:

Yle Kioski Traces the Origins of Russian Social Media Propaganda – Never-before-seen Material from the Troll Factory

We followed the operations of the secretive so called troll factory in Saint Petersburg on the spot for three days.

Troll. TROLL.

Everyone having discussions on the Internet knows the word.

It means a person who annoys and provokes others participating in web discussions on purpose.

In Russia, this word of web slang has a new meaning: a troll is an employee who is paid to post ingratiating comments in the social media about president Vladimir Putin anonymously and often aggressively.
But what kind of a workplace employs people whose job is said to be to praise Putin’s Russia? Kioski investigated the background of the secret office building in Saint Petersburg that is called “the troll factory” and followed the life in it for three days. A satellite image on Google Maps shows that the troll factory is a fairly large office building.​​A satellite image on Google Maps shows that the troll factory is a fairly large office building.​​


According to the information revealed by hackers and journalists, the salaries of the employees of the Troll Factory are paid by “Internet Research Agency”, Agentstvo Internet Issledovanii, in Savushkin Street 55.

The company that is funded by Russian businessmen has not commented on the information. The connection of the troll factory with the Kremlin has not been proved but, then again, there is no proof about all the forms of information warfare, in general.

We studied the job advertisements of the Internet Research Agency. On 2 February, there were ten of them on a Russian job website. The company is not looking for “trolls” but, for example, “social media specialists”, “Internet operators”, “content managers”, and “copywriters” for day and night shifts.

The advertisements state that the company wants to recruit people who “can work on the Internet, produce web content to different types of audiences, and rewrite texts”. The monthly salary varies from about 400 euros for regular employees to approximately 660 euros for managers. The job is described as “steady” in the advertisements.

The Internet Research Centre is looking for a Content Manager whose tasks, according to the job advertisement, include writing and moderating news, info material, and analyses.​The Internet Research Centre is looking for a Content Manager whose tasks, according to the job advertisement, include writing and moderating news, info material, and analyses.​

We called the recruiter at the Internet Research Agency and asked for more information about the jobs. The close-lipped woman answering our questions reveals that the copywriter and content manager mostly write about political topics in English.

Much, much more at the link -- VERY definitive:

CIA looks to expand its cyber espionage capabilities

Source: WaPo

CIA Director John O. Brennan is planning a major expansion of the agency’s cyber espionage capabilities as part of a broad restructuring of an intelligence service long defined by its human spy work, current and former U.S. officials said. The proposed shift reflects a determination that the CIA’s approach to conventional espionage is increasingly outmoded amid the exploding use of smartphones, social media and other technologies.

U.S. officials said Brennan’s plans call for increased use of cyber capabilities in almost every category of operations — whether identifying foreign officials to recruit as CIA informants, confirming the identities of targets of drone strikes or penetrating Internet-savvy adversaries such as the Islamic State.

Several officials said that Brennan’s team has even considered creating a new cyber directorate — a step that would put the agency’s technology experts on equal footing with the operations and analysis branches that have been pillars of the CIA’s organizational structure for decades.

U.S. officials emphasized that the plans would not involve new legal authorities, and that Brennan may stop short of creating a new directorate. But the suggestion underscores the scope of Brennan’s ambitions, as well as their potential to raise privacy concerns or lead to turf skirmishes with the National Security Agency — the dominant player in electronic espionage.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-looks-to-expand-its-cyber-espionage-capabilities/2015/02/23/a028e80c-b94d-11e4-9423-f3d0a1ec335c_story.html?postshare=7501424727445250

Ah, the news we miss while busy polishing Academy Awards....

Ken Silverstein resigns from Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, blasts ‘dishonest’ leadership

Investigative reporter Ken Silverstein has resigned from First Look Media’s The Intercept after 14 months, saying he and others were hired “under what were essentially false pretenses told we would be given all the financial and other support we needed to do independent,inter important journalism, but instead found ourselves blocked at every step of the way by management’s incompetence and bad faith.”

He adds:

The most telling example, was what happened to Racket. I won’t repeat that whole story but I will say that after the company forced Matt Taibbi to resign — and they left him no choice — and then told the rest of the staff that perhaps we could all continue working on a version of Racket without Matt.

None of us really believed it and in the end it was clear First Look had no intention of proceeding with such a project, it just a game it played so Pierre Omidyar and other people in the corporate leadership would look like they seriously cared about the Racket staff when in fact they clearly didn’t.

Silverstein’s story about his time at the Omidyar-owned news site is set to “Friends Only” on Facebook, but the former Harper’s Washington editor gave me permission to share it with Romenesko readers. His posts begin after the jump./CONTINUES

From Ken Silverstein’s Facebook wall:

February 20 at 6:12pm
I quit my job and my kids are good with that and I am at the Wizards-Cavaliers game with my son and a friend. The seats are not great but I guess on balance the day is OK.

February 20 at 10:26pm
You know what’s cool about being a former employee of First Look/The Intercept? That Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Betsy Reed and Pierre Omidyar all believe in Free Speech and the First Amendment so they won’t mind my writing about my time working for and with them. Tentative title: “Welcome to the Slaughterhouse.”

February 20 at 11:39pm
I have to go to sleep soon but before I forget, you know what my favorite part of working for First Look was? Last year’s holiday party when two of our fiercely independent staffers “interviewed” Pierre Omidyar and asked him what he did in the morning. Since you are all hanging on the edge of your seats, he drinks tea and reads stuff, the NYT and other things and then The Intercept was about #5 (he claims). And for the record, I boycotted this embarrassing affair and sat in a conference room with two other people, one who no longer works there and one who may or may not. It’s hard to keep track. What a joke.

February 21 at 11:34am
Wow, it is amazing how good it feels not to work for The Intercept. And what feels even better is the incredible support I have received from friends and editors (some editors who are friends). I have lots of work lined up and the day could not be better. Also, just one last comment on First Look Media: The fact that that it hired so many talented people to create Racket and spent millions of dollars on it and in the end fired everyone and Racket never published a single story is probably the greatest squandering of money and example of criminal ineptitude in the history of modern journalism. Again, what a pathetic joke. Oh yeah, I was not originally hired to work at Racket and didn’t get fired, so I am not including myself in the group of “talented” people I mentioned above. Thanks again everyone.

February 22 at 10:24am
So this will be my last post about First Look. First, let me say I’ve had a great weekend enjoying by status as a former FL employee and hanging out with my son and talking to friends and otherwise having a fine time. Though it may appear otherwise, I am not blindly lashing out at FL. My prior posts reflect the anger and disillusionment I feel towards the company, and my anger and disillusionment is shared by many former employees. I am one of a many employees who was hired under what were essentially false pretenses; we were told we would be given all the financial and other support we needed to do independent, important journalism, but instead found ourselves blocked at every step of the way by management’s incompetence and bad faith….


Mysterious ’08 Turkey Pipeline Blast Opened New Cyberwar

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The pipeline was outfitted with sensors and cameras to monitor every step of its 1,099 miles from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. The blast that blew it out of commission didn’t trigger a single distress signal.

That was bewildering, as was the cameras’ failure to capture the combustion in eastern Turkey. But investigators shared their findings within a tight circle. The Turkish government publicly blamed a malfunction, Kurdish separatists claimed credit and BP Plc had the line running again in three weeks. The explosion that lit up the night sky over Refahiye, a town known for its honey farms, seemed to be forgotten.

It wasn’t. For western intelligence agencies, the blowout was a watershed event. Hackers had shut down alarms, cut off communications and super-pressurized the crude oil in the line, according to four people familiar with the incident who asked not to be identified because details of the investigation are confidential. The main weapon at valve station 30 on Aug. 5, 2008, was a keyboard.

The revelation “rewrites the history of cyberwar,” said Derek Reveron, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

Countries have been laying the groundwork for cyberwar operations for years, and companies have been hit recently with digital broadsides bearing hallmarks of government sponsorship. Sony Corp.’s network was raided by hackers believed to be aligned with North Korea, and sources have said JPMorgan Chase & Co. blamed an August assault on Russian cyberspies. Security researchers just uncovered what they said was a campaign by Iranian hackers that targeted commercial airlines, looking for vulnerabilities that could be used in physical attacks.


Well that can't be right...Snowden said it was specifically the NSA who opened the Pandora's Box of cyberwar with Stuxnet, remember? http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/8/7513415/snowden-on-cyberwar-we-have-more-to-lose-than-any-other-nation-on ....So how did this little incident escape his memory?

Russian news report: Putin approved Ukraine invasion before Kiev government collapsed

BERLIN — A Russian newspaper claims to have an official government strategy document outlining the invasion of Ukraine that was prepared weeks before the Ukrainian government collapsed last year.

The editor of Novaya Gazeta, Dmitri Muratov, reported the document during an interview with Echo of Moscow, a radio station. In the interview, which was reported by news outlets Saturday, he did not reveal how the newspaper came into possession of the document in the media unfriendly Russian world, but said he had confidence it was authentic.

Novaya Gazeta is considered a rarity in Russia these days, an independent investigative newspaper that’s known to anger the Kremlin on a regular basis. The editor said the paper’s plan is to publish the full details of the strategy document next week.

Muratov said the document characterized then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych as “a person without morals and willpower whose downfall must be expected at any moment.” Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia on Feb. 22, 2014.

Muratov said the Russian document appears to have been drafted between Feb. 4 and Feb. 15 last year. He said the overall strategy included plans on how to break Ukraine into automonmous sectors, immediately attaching now war-torn southeastern Ukraine to Moscow’s tax union, with a longer term plan for annexation.

The plan suggested “the main thrust should be Crimea and the Kharkhiv region, with the aim of initiating the annexation of the eastern regions.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/02/21/257386/russian-news-report-ukraine-invasion.html#storylink=cpy
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