May 2011

Hackers Attempt to Breach Defense Contractor

Lockheed Martin takes counter-measures against a "significant and tenacious" hacker threat.

     With the unprecedented breach of the Sony Network, which compromised the consumer information of over 100 million users around the globe, hackers have been emboldened to attack larger, more secure targets with the intent of going after even more sensitive data, even national secrets. In a recent Associated Press article, Lockheed Martin came under a "significant and tenacious" cyber-attack on May 21st. Though the hackers were detected almost immediately, and counter-measures supposedly protected any critical information from being compromised, it's not the first time the company has been targeted. Four years ago hackers infiltrated their Joint Strike Fighter program, though the company says that again, it prevented any critical information from being compromised.

Political Super-PACS: Who's Got A Bigger Package?

Dems and GOPs line up their Super-PACS to see whose is bigger.

     Republicans and Demcrats have started to align their forces for the upcoming election battle. Political Action Committees (PACs) are putting together their strategic plans, the White House has developed its own army with the ambitious goal of raising $1 billion this campaign season, and elected officials all over the country are beginning to throw their hats into the ring. What each of these groups are looking at, in simplest terms, is money. Republicans, thanks to a Supreme Court decision, have a lot of it. Democrats, on the other hands, are depending on major grassroots donation and mobilization (hey, it worked in 2008).

To Be American

America always seems so boring after I get back from a foreign diplomacy mission. Sometimes that's a good thing, like when I spend some time in one of the more violent parts of the world. "Interesting" is often synonymous with "dangerous" in the political realm. But Europe? Man, they've got style there. As much as Americans like to go on about how big and powerful the White House looks, the truth is that it's bland and puritanical next to any old palace in Europe. I go to England and France, the place is chock full of incredible mansions with intricate exterior designs and lavish interiors. If Westminster Abbey is the Waldorf Astoria, then the White House is a Holiday Inn.

Controversial Anti-Union Law Struck Down in Wisconsin

Other States Make Progress Against Ultra-Conservative Anti-Union Initiatives

     Today is a good day for America's working class. A Wisconsin judge has struck down Gov. Scott Walker's controversial anti-union law, which would have taken away nearly all collective bargaining rights for public employees other than base salary. The judge, Dane Country Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi, found that Republican senators violated the state's open-meeting law during the passage of the bill, which renders the law void. Reactions to the decision, though still relatively new, are mixed. Many unions and state workers, understandably, are overjoyed, while others expected this outcome. Still other Wisconsinites (Wisconsonians?) maintain that the fight isn't over.

How Wall Street and Politicians Profit from Terrorism

The banking industry isn't the only private industry to get a payout during the recession.

     There has been an incredible injustice perpetuated in this country for the last 70 years, bolstered by Cold War paranoia and financial gain, becoming so institutionalized that the public is either no longer aware of it, or disregards it as "the way things are" or even as "necessary". The "Military industrial Complex", as it was referred to in a speech by President Eisenhower in 1961, is the incredibly profitable relationship that exists between our national legislators, the armed forces, and the private industry that supplies them. In that speech, Eisenhower warned the American people, prophetically as it turns out, to "guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex.

Getting Divorced? No Sex for You!

This is one of those propositions that should be filed under “Dumbest Laws and Wastes of Tax Dollars Ever.” Seriously, they should make a TV show for the asinine stuff that our legislators seem to have endless amounts of time to dream up, something along the lines of The World’s Dumbest Criminals. And the weirdest part is that the law is in Massachusetts, one of the most liberal states in the country—a place where you’d think your sex life wouldn’t be in the law books.

The law being proposed is simple enough: if you’re filing for divorce and you are a parent, you can’t have sex with anyone—anyone—until your divorce is over.

I’ll wait while you laugh.

Israel, Palestine and the Arab Spring

I'm not gonna lie, I wanna kick ass in the Middle East, just not in the usual way. America has been sending soldiers and bombs to the region, fighting proxy wars and doing dodgy things in the oil industry for a long time now and I think it's pretty safe to say that approach hasn't worked. Well, not unless your goal is killing brown people. It's done plenty of that. But as far as building strong, progressive nations, advancing human rights and making peace a reality, the war method hasn't born much fruit. The way I see it, if Julius Caesar couldn't calm that part of the world when the best they had were rough swords, rocks and only the slightest inkling of national identities, we shouldn't be so arrogant as to believe we can put a collar around it when they've got thousands of years of pride and a near-infinite supply of modern munitions. So, let's try this diplomacy thing.

No Such Thing as a Sure Thing, Not Even for Obama

President Obama Needs To Become Candidate Barack!

     I urge caution. Obama's approval rating is higher than any time since he took office, but polls are fickle and misleading. Right now the national conversation is on terrorism and disaster response, two of Obama's strong suits. In fact, within one week Obama's administration managed to take both the birther debate and the national security debate away from the GOPs. What are they left with? The economy; Obama's weak-point.

Governor Walker Targets Gay Community

The shameful tale of Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's rein as governor continues on.  He started his term as governor with an attack on his political opponents, which were the public employees of the state, particularly the teachers, and now has turned his focus to the gay community.  According to the Washington Post, "Governor Scott Walker has told a judge he wants to stop defending Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry in court because he doesn’t believe it’s constitutional."  It stems from the conservative group, Wisconsin Fam

Dispatches from Conservative Talk Radio Part 1

What They are Really Talking About

    I need to start with this article with a confession. I have been listening to conservative talk radio for the last eight years. Yeah, for more than one hour a day a couple of times a week. I know I don't seem like that guy and believe me I'm not. But I've had a job for the last eight hours; where my boss wanted to list Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and all the other conservative pundits. And yes it was quite annoying but it did have some merit. This is not going to be an attack piece on conservative media there are enough of those. Consider this a primer. Some notes from the underground on an apathetic liberal listener who can give you the inside details on what goes on conservative talk radio and what they really think. So here we go.       

Sorry for the build up it's not like I am putting my life on the line for this article. Though if my boss found it he just might figure out that I am quite useless at my job and replace me. But it's worth the risk, right? Luckily for me the odds of him stumbling on to this site and reading this article are pretty much non-existent. The first thing you need to know about conservative talk radio listeners is that they like to keep to their own. It reminds me of first generation Italians when they came over on the boat. They would only shop at Italian grocers, only all Italian churches, and heck even the police officers better have some Italian in their genelogoly. Conservative listeners are exactly like the Italians in this regard. They only visit pre-approved websites like The Blaze, or Politico, or a few other conservative sites. They claim they research what other sites are saying but I can tell you they aren't. And if you aren't watching Fox News you aren't a conservative. Every radio host reiterates this telling the listner over and over that are only one that gets it right.       

But to try and check out one of the other news stations would be blasphmeous. You don't need to know what lies they are telling you because Michael Medved has already done the research. When talking about consevative radio and its listenrs you have to understand how strong the tie is between the two. In my eight years of working with said boss we would listen from nine in the morning till four in the afternoon. First off that much talk radio of any kind will make you want toblow your brains out but consevative talk does begin to have an averse effect. And the crazy thing is they don't really add much to the story. The first talk host is usually Glenn Beck or Dennis Miller or a local guy usually. They run down the headlines of the day. On slow news day these shows can really grind to a halt. Most of them other than Beck don't offer to much of a world view just kind of poke and make fun about the story usually beginning to give it the story a conservative bent. This is usually in the much more laid back fashion of "gee, I wish these damn liberals would get off our backs." They never get too angry or upset just light the fire and step back and watch it burn. I think this laid back approach is pretty smart. In the morning you're just waking up you don't want to hear theroies and reasons. You just want to wake up, get some coffee in you, and get to the first job. These shows give a basic rundown of the paper and start to set-up the late morning early afternnon shows.       

And in this case I am talking about one man Rush Limbaugh. He doesn't just dominate the eleven am to two in the afternoon shift. He owns it. It's his he invented and I can't think of a consevative talk radio listener whose dial is turned to him. There might be challengers are some stations in some markets but really at this point you might as well counter program. The first thing you need to know about Rush Limbaugh is that he's good at his job. Say what you will about the man politics he runs the hell out of his radio show. He keeps the show moving, he doesn't let bad callers take him off topic, and you know what he's good with the nicknames. These might be stupid reasons to praise a man but nicknames are the key to conservative talk radio. Every single talk radio host I've ever heard has pet names for the main five to ten liberals that are annoying them that year. Some of them are beyond cheesy; Mike Gallagher seems to be the worse at it. But Rush he can sum up someone with one perfect nickname. And it'll stick even after there dead. I still hear him refer to deceased Senator Robert Byrd as Sheets Byrd. Man, can't let a joke drop. It's in this Rush does his best work. He attacks liberals and their secret agenda all the while making quip about there lameness. He make you feel like your on his team and he has all the answers. It's a pretty intoxicating combo for a leader and he has been the unofficial head of the Republican Party for years. He sets the storylines, he decides who gets a pass, and who should be mocked incesstantly. I firmly believe his deep seeded hatred of John McCain kept him from making a better showing in the last election. It was funny Rush couldn't hide his hatred of one candidate even as he annointed his running mate a saint. Rush Limbaugh has the power to appoint Senators or destroy careers before they get going. He is aware of this power, but as a radio host he is the best. And if liberals want to overtake him one day they better study up.

Dispatches from Conservative Talk Radio Part 2

What They are Really Talking About

Dispatches from Conservative Talk Radio Part 1

       The rest of the day is pretty much a mixed bag when it comes to host. You got our Michael Medved or sometimes a local conservative guy. My favorite of course comes on towards the end of the day and his day is Michael Savage. This guy is great. He's not the best host or even the best at backing up his theories with facts. No Michael Savage is truly his own type of crazy. And again to avoid this being a hit piece I don't want to talk about whether I agree or disagree and on what subjects. But Michael Savage is my favorite because he just lets it fly. He doesn't try and hide behind that "I'm just entainer" shtick that Rush like to use. He doesn't try to win you over with facts. He just spews out his ideas and let's them hang out there. He attacks everyone including conservatives and takes very few calls. This makes him a favorite of mine just because he avoids the daily annoyance that is callers. It's like these people have never heard of a landline or the fact that kissing the host ass is just boring to listen to.  But Savage has no use for them. He is the mad poet untethered by daily events or callers he tends to just rant and ramble. Yes, if you read more than one of my artciles you can begin to see why I am attracted to him. No, what I like best is in not sticking to the party line and just free associating off the top of his head; I feel you get a clear idea of the conservative mind. He seems to speak to universal problems that a consevative mind fears and a certaint truth comes out in that.       

The one thing that drives me nuts with conservative talk is that they are always talking about there authenticity. Host will talk on and on about how they are the most honest and conservative talk show host; which if you have to tell me then it's probably not true. And see that's the problem with trying to reach the conservative talk show listner you can't. They don't want to hear from you and no matter what you say it's going to be filled with distrust. Year after year of listening to that stuff is a way of indoctrinating yourself. I'm not saying conservative are out there trying to indoctrinate listners not at all; I'm just saying listening to same thing over and over will cloud your judgement. At some points after listening in for too long I would start to feel I had conservative beliefs and then in saying them out loud I would realized this isn't something I believe at all. You can reach out all you want but once a Rush Limbaugh listener always a Rush listner. There only hope is the vaccum is when he finally leaves the air to finally snag a few on the fence listeners. But the odds are people will continue on listening to whomever they pop up into the top seat. My guess is Sarah Palin. She's perfect for this business. You're either a fan or you're not and that's exactly how conservative talk radio likes it.

Fire Sale: The U.S. as a House

Hint: This is a metaphor.

Hello! Welcome to my home, the United States. Sorry about the wall outside, but we were worried that if we put a gate in it just anyone would come over and we couldn’t have that! Every once in awhile we have people try to get over the wall. We have them work in the yard for awhile and then send them back. It’s the least they can do after coming over here!

Anyway, come on in. Yeah, the place looks pretty good. We just did some redecorating, more of a light and friendly environment now, ya know? Well, it’s mostly my wife’s doing. She likes making people feel welcome in our home. Me, I’m more unilateral. Did I say that? I meant utilitarian. I believe a house should be making something for me, not just sitting there.

What is the American Dream?

I have noticed so many boarded up storefronts that were once home to many a small business. It makes me sad in the core of my being when I really the shuttered up storefront may have contained that persons physical manifestation of their pursuit of the American Dream.

The American Dream,as a concept, means many things to many different people. Back in the 50's it meant owning a single family home, having a few kids, and owning a car. To many Americans it means the right to have large houses, live like movies stars, and to have the things you 'deserve.' But thats another article..

School-side Economics: Why Investing in Schools, Not Big Business, Is The Way To Go

A return on investments in schools is no different than a return on investments in corporations. It's a question of whose pocket that return ends up i

            "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" So goes the famous quote from the 1976 film, Network. I have to say, I’m beginning to have the same feeling. Teachers, teachers’ unions, and schools have come under constant and sustained fire from nearly every private and political sector in the U.S. These attacks are most commonly from individuals that have little or no understanding of how a classroom functions or what is truly valuable in making students successful. Instead, they look at public education through a business model and they make outrageous statements, even policy decisions, using a managerial framework.

Why Didn't the Banks and Bank Execs Get Punished?

William D. Cohan offers some advice in an Op-Ed piece he penned for the New York Times: Stay angry at the banks and their executives for their responsibility in the financial crisis.

 

The bank executives—who incidentally received and doled out $150 billion in bonuses for their role in creating the greatest economic downturn since the depression—are of course whining that the now is the time to stop complaining about the poor banks and the poor bank executives. In a way, the bank executives are right; despite the constant protests of the American people, the whining about the banks hasn’t been heard.

 

Obama 2012 Campaign Office

No one was surprised when President Barack Obama announced his bid for re-election. His current term has been busy, controversial and in many ways productive. Though President Obama has quite the edge over his potential Republican opponents thanks to the preference for the incumbent and a lack of a clear frontrunner on the Right, his campaign leaders are taking their jobs seriously. They recently moved into their headquarters, a 50,000 square foot office in a high rise in downtown Chicago. It may seem like an unassuming workplace, but Obama 2012 HQ is a state-of-the-art facility, collecting some of the sharpest minds and most impressive technology in modern politics to ensure that the President remains sitting. Here are some of the key features of so-called Central Hope Control.

Joel Osteen should endorse a 2012 Candidate already - so he can keep being rich

Joel Osteen is not your typical fire-and-brimstone pastor.  Rather than speaking about waiting for heaven's reward, Osteen preaches the “prosperity gospel,” succinctly described as God making his believers wealthy and healthy on earth.  Not surprisingly, Osteen’s gospel is popular in the United States. Osteen, who is wealthy himself, preaches to a 47,000-member strong church in Houston and his sermons are broadcast to more than 100 countries and 7 million people.

Stop the Sell of Polar Bear Parts

One would think that after so much attention—from An Inconvenient Truth to Earth to basically any and all footage we’ve seen of polar bears drowning and trying so hard to save their young—protections for the species would be at an all-time high. Sure, we’ve listed them as endangered, but in many countries, that simply doesn’t count for anything.

In fact, there are so-called collectors who enjoy paying big bucks for polar bear “parts”—from skulls to claws to their skins for rugs—apparently completely void of a heart or soul that would surely banish such deplorable actions from the mind in the first place.

Dr. Congressman and Mr. Hide The Money

Why the current economic debate is a side-show to the real solutions.

     “Scoring points rather than solving problems”, is the best way to characterize our U.S. legislators’ response to the economic recovery and U.S. debt crisis. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have touted the need to cut wasteful spending as a response to eliminating our national debt, which is approaching a percentage of the GDP unprecedented even after World War II (in the neighborhood of $14.3 trillion at the moment).

Pages