Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rupert Murdoch On Hacking Scandal: "No Big Deal!"

"I know who did it but I won't tell because they may get in trouble.  That's not a cover-up, is it?"

It appears the head of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, has finally admitted that there phone hacking was occurring at his companies but has seemed to dismiss the severity of the matter, apologizing, claiming ignorance to the extent, and attempting to downplay the whole scandal.

Richard Allan Greene wrote the following for CNN:
Rupert Murdoch admitted to a phone-hacking cover-up at one of his tabloid newspapers and apologized Thursday for not paying more attention to a scandal that has convulsed his media empire and rocked the British political establishment.

"I also have to say that I failed," he said before a long pause. "And I am very sorry for it."

Murdoch also admitted to a "cover-up" of phone hacking at his British Sunday tabloid The News of the World, but said his News Corp. had been a victim of it, not the perpetrator.

"Someone took charge of a cover-up, which we were victim to and I regret," he said.

He blamed "one or two very strong individuals" at the paper, but did not name them, saying it was because they could still face criminal charges.

Murdoch was being questioned at the independent British inquiry prompted by illegal eavesdropping by his newspaper.

The scandal forced the company to close the best-selling tabloid and has led to dozens of arrests, two parliamentary investigations and the Leveson Inquiry, before which Murdoch was testifying Thursday.

He suggested key parts of the scandal have been overblown.

"The hacking scandal was not a great national thing until the Milly Dowler disclosure, half of which has been somewhat disowned by the police," Murdoch said.

He was referring to the revelation that people working for him had hacked into the voice mail of a missing 13-year-old who later turned out to have been murdered.
So let's get this straight - Murdoch knew about the cover-up but didn't say anything about it and then claimed to be the victim once he was drawn into the investigation and put the blame on a couple unnamed individuals because they could face criminal charges, which by the way, knowing the names of these "very strong individuals"  but refuse to tell their names to investigators because they could face charges seems to be the exact definition of a "cover-up."

Murdoch then continues by saying the hacking wasn't a big deal until the public revelations that his employees (those very same ones he knew about but wouldn't name) hacked into a murdered 13-year-old girl's voice mail and that those details should be forgotten because they have been "somewhat disowned by the police."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ann Romney: "I Love That You Have No Choice But To Work And Raise Your Children!"

"I love that you are not rich like me and you have no choice but to work and raise your children."

Mitt Romney believes he can relate to the average voter despite being worth a couple hundred million dollars and having an extremely low tax rate.  So does his wife Ann, and even more so since the uproar the right caused when Hillary Rosen said Ann never worked a day in her life despite Ann being a stay-at-home mom (with the help of several domestic servants).

Even though the news has moved onto the next big stories, such as the secret service prostitution scandal or the fact that the Romneys drove across the country with a sick dog strapped to their roof, Ann is still stuck on the whole stay-at home thing.  Previously she swooned over the idea that she had the choice to stay at home because hubby is worth millions.  Now Ann has something to say about those who don't have the option to stay at home - Ann says that she "loves" that people aren't rich like her.

"I love the fact that there are also women out there that don't have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids," said Romney.

Doesn't that echo the sentiments you hear around the water cooler at work?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sarah Palin Invents Constitutional Article, Complains About Prostitution Scandal

Uh oh.  Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee and all hopes for the Alaskan Clap Trap being president have been dashed, Sarah Palin has been trying to become relevant again by speaking to the press, and by press I mean Fox News.

Palin, known for her in depth analysis on politics and current events decided to weigh in on the most recent prostitution scandal to hit the airwaves, and no I don't mean Todd visiting the local Alaskan masseuse for a happy ending - Palin joined her Scientologist gal pal Greta Van Susteren to talk about the matter of secret services protecting President Obama visiting prostitutes while on official business in Colombia.  It seems that Palin had something to say about this situation because one of the agents in question actually served on her security detail four years ago.

Here is what Palin had to say:
It's a symptom of government run amok, though, Greta. And it's, like, you know, who's minding the store around here? And when it comes to this particular issue of Secret Service, again, playing with the taxpayer's dime and playing with prostitutes and checking out those whom they are guarding.

You know, the president, for one, he better be wary there of -- when Secret Service is accompanying his family on vacation. They may be checking out the first lady instead of guarding her.

And I say that not just tongue in cheek, but I say that seriously, that the president, the CEO of this operation called our federal government has got to start cracking down on these agencies! He is the head of the administrative branch and all these different departments in the administration that now people are seeing things that are so amiss within these departments.
The buck stops with the president. And he's really got to start cracking down and seeing some heads roll. You know, he's got to get rid of these people at the head of these agencies where so many things, obviously, are amiss.
Why is Palin way off base with her comments?

Because if you think about it, this one particular agent was with her four years ago.  Who was minding that store?  What did the secret service do when they were watching Palin, and if Palin was so concerned with her agents protecting her, why would she distract them by posing for pictures with them?  If she was more vigilant maybe this never would have happened.

Palin also over-concerns herself with some Facebook banter.  The agent was just making a smart ass comment.  Did she seem that concerned when her daughters took to Facebook calling people "faggots?"  If you use the same logic Palin is using for the secret service agent and apply it to her own family, then her head should have rolled.  Instead, Sarah Palin defended her daughter's reprehensible online activities.

There were also a couple other things I found interesting about the interview with Greta Van Susteren - Palin cites a non-existent constitutional article to attack the president.

"And the number one thing, Greta, that he is responsible for is -- he today violating Article 1, Section 19, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution in not having a budget. Going on three years, over a thousand days with no budget, no blueprint to run our federal government!

Article 1 of the constitution only has 10 sections - not 19 - and in those 10 sections there is no mention of the president presenting a budget, and technically, wouldn't it be congress' job to make the budget in the first place? Wouldn't they be the actual ones responsible for writing a budget?  The president could make suggestions but I think the constitution limits his role a bit.

Greta, by the way, totally agreed with Palin on the non-existent constitutional article.

Anyway, to cap off this article I leave with these two other lies by Palin:

"We're getting higher unemployment numbers than when Barack Obama first took over," Palin said. "We're getting less energy secure than when Barack Obama took over."

First, unemployment is lower than when Obama took office (see graph).

Secondly, energy production has been up under Obama, especially renewable energy sources.
Since President Obama entered office three years ago, renewable energy production in the US has climbed 26.9%, according to the Energy Information Agency’s (EIA) latest “Monthly Energy Review.”

For the three years ending November 30, 2011, domestic oil production has also risen, by 13.7%, natural gas production grew 13.4%, nuclear power decreased by 2.8% and coal production plummeted by 7.3%.

For the first 11 months of 2011, renewables accounted for 11.76% of domestic energy production, up from 10.83% for the same period in 2010.

In terms of actual production, renewables rose 13.4% in 2011, with hydropower supplying 34.9%, followed by biomass (26.6%), biofuels (22.0%), wind (12.7%), geothermal (2.4%), and solar (1.3%).
Isn't that something?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nikki Haley Violated State Law Because It Was Easier.

"I break the law because it is the easier thing to do!"

South Carolina governor Nikki Haley is in more hot water recently, and no, we are not talking about another one of her alleged trysts. Instead, Haley and her campaign have gotten into some trouble for using state money to pay for security details while on the campaign trail fundraising. Doing so is a violation of South Carolina state law.

What did the Haley camp have to say about their improprieties?

Marisa Crawford, a Haley campaign aide, had stated that the reason for violating state law was because it was "easier" then to abide by it.

That's right.

Nikki Haley chose to improperly use state funds because she didn't want to be inconvenienced. Haley may have also created a new way for fledgling incumbent campaigns to stay afloat - use taxpayer dollars to foot the bill and then pay at a later date, sort of like a loan. Now that is being fiscally conservative, don't 'cha think?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sarah Palin To Speak At Dairy-Deli-Bake Event Despite Role In Dairygate

Here is some interesting Sarah Palin-related news that doesn't involve her opening her mouth and complaining about what someone said about her or her latest analytical gem she would deliver on Fox News. Sarah Palin will be speaking on June 11, 2012 at the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association's (IDDBA) Dairy-Deli-Bake convention at an event titled "The Heart of a Rogue Trailblazer."

Here is the bio of Palin from the IDDBA's brochure:
In 2006, Sarah Palin became the youngest person and the first female to be elected as governor of Alaska. A short two years later, she was tapped to be the vice-presidential running mate for Senator John McCain. She was the first Alaskan on the national ticket and the first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency. She has since endorsed and campaigned for the Tea Party movement. She is a contributor to FOX news where she offers political commentary and analysis and participates in special event political programming. She’s the author of Going Rogue: An American Life and America by Heart. She was named to Time magazine’s 2010 “100 Most Influential People” list. Known for the meteoric rise that captured the hearts and minds of a global audience, Palin is a groundbreaker who speaks on her vision for energy independence, national security, fiscal responsibility, health care, and small government.
Why is this interesting? Because the event billed as a "must-attend" event for retailers, manufactures, and industry professionals is inviting a woman who failed to listen to industry professionals and used her political position to fire them and appoint a bunch of cronies to a government oversight board helping funnel money from Alaskan taxpayers and the U.S. Treasury to her friends and their businesses.

It was called "Dairygate."

That's right.  If you haven't heard of it before it is because the events occurred before she became John McCain's titanic pick to be the vice-presidential nominee and as we had seen with that, there was very little research done by the media (or anyone apart from a few dedicated journalists and bloggers) that highlighted Palin's not-so-lustrous career as an Alaskan politician.

Dairygate is not that easy to sum up but here is a good overview from a 2008 DailyKos article:
In the summer of 2007, Matanuska Maid, the 70-year-old dairy the state had taken over in the 1980’s, was probably beyond saving. The rising cost of milk, and price competition from national brands, made it unlikely the struggling dairy would ever make its way back to profitability. Alaskans are practical, independent and a little sentimental. The Matanuska Maid logo was a treasured icon in southern Alaska. As one of the few buyers of local milk, its closing would have ripple effects throughout the local agricultural community. But giving out precious tax dollars so a few well-connected dairy farmers could make products most Alaskans couldn’t afford to buy didn’t make much sense to the Creamery Board, the Board of Agriculture and Conservation(BAC) subcommittee that had direct oversight of the state-owned company. So they refused a $600,000 state grant to keep Mat Maid going, and did what they felt they had to do as responsible overseers: put the troubled dairy out of its red-ink-drenched misery.

Palin was outraged at this callous disregard for the well-being of local farmers, and insisted the dairy simply needed to be properly managed. Radical measures clearly needed to be taken. Palin fired the whole BAC. The new Board Palin appointed quickly designated itself as the new Creamery Board. This group of local notables was much more likely to keep Mat Maid alive: it was composed solely of relatives and associates of the dairy farmers most likely to benefit from continued milk purchases by Mat Maid.

But the farmers’ political connections went even deeper: Franci Havermeier, Director of the Division of Agriculture, was the real estate agent for BAC/Creamery Board chair Kristen Cole. This connection was apparently sufficient to qualify Havermeier, a housewife, as Director over a well recognized agriculture industry expert and a UAF Professor with a degree in agricultural economics. Franci’s father in law, Bob Havermeier, was one of the dairy farmers to benefit from the continued payouts by Mat Maid.

We shouldn’t be surprised that Havermeier was as unqualified as she was well-connected. None of Palin’s appointees to the BAC had any actual expertise in the dairy field, either, just family or business ties.

Once the new Board was seated and the death sentence on Mat Maid lifted, Palin immediately authorized paying out the $600,000 state grant to Mat Maid. The money disappeared into the corporation’s general funds, where it was used to fund operations. Payments to the well-connected dairy farmers continued uninterrupted, even as other bills piled up. In my last post I mentioned how raising the price of milk Mat Maid paid to dairy farmers only made Mat Maid’s economic predicament worse. The Creamery Board’s lack of experience running a dairy might explain such a violation of basic business sense, if it weren’t for the fact that the beneficiaries of the continued payments were the Board’s own friends and relatives. By ignoring the taxpayers’ interests and putting her own people in place, Palin was able to keep state funds flowing to thefavored few in her hometown of Wasilla and nearby Palmer.

Of course, this naked money grab needed camouflaging. So the new Board spent several months, and tens of thousand of dollars, investigating the prior Board’s behavior, hiring an accounting firm (Mikunda, Cottrell and Company) to review the financial records of Mat Maid and look for the classic mismanagement trinity: waste, fraud and abuse. No significant improprieties were found.
There were also some concerns addressed to the governor's office by a man named Red Secoy, an Alaskan real estate agent in an email to Joe Balash, the Deputy National Resources Commissioner:
I'm a little worried about the way the Governor is handling this Mat Maid thing . I still have a lot of faith in her and her ideas. But I believe that maybe she isn't getting the whole picture on this dairy business. Dairy nation wide has been supported by government for many decades. Now with the ethanol growth the price of feed is going to put a squeeze on even the best run dairy ' s in lower 48. Joe Van Treeck is a very capable and honorable man. He has already done miracles keeping Mat Maid operating for last 25 years .. He took a lot of heat early on by importing milk to keep production up. Through out the years he has introduce many innovative products to keep the dairy diversified. I do believe that if Joe Van Treeck can ' t keep Mat Maid going then no one can. My point is I don ' t want to see Sarah get into something which will backfire and haunt her for the rest of her administration . Although she is quite committed publicly almost Frank like . I do not believe that the dairy can once again operate without lots of government dollars. If she goes and puts 2-3 million dollars into to save livelihood of 4 or 5 farmers it will not set very well with a lot of people in the state.

Also by axing board members that aren ' t yes men she puts other state directors into the position of maybe not being quite candid enough so as not to lose their jobs . I don ' t really believe in the my way or highway approach when you are dealing with knowledgeable people . You end up with too many yes men and too many failed projects.
Yes man Joe was quick to respond to Palin defending the 5 farmers who would eventually be subsidized by Palin's new board:
This guy has sent me a couple of notes in the last two weeks-he obviously likes JVT , but I am concerned about the line about helping 5 farmers . We need to make sure our message today includes the destanilizing effect the elimination of the dairy segment will have on the overall agricultural industry ... not to mention the 100+ jobs at the creamery.
Not to be one-sided, here is Palin's take on the issue by looking at a2007 email conversation with her chief-of-staff, Mike Tibbles, as well as others.

Tibbles apparently showed up at the dairy plant but was denied a tour because the only authorized person to do so, CEO Joe VanTreek, was not there (even though Tibbles believed VanTreek knew he was waiting).  Tibbles wrote the following to Palin:
Waited as long as we could for my noon tour of Mat Maid - VanTryck never showed up though
he knew we were there . He was the only one "authorized" to let us tour. Kris was
communicating with him for over two hrs trying to track him down - this was amazing.

Rumors running are that VanTryck has been working on a set up deal to bring the water
bottling back on line with him as owner/operator. Other rumors have to do with his very
golden parachute, thus his and the board's hesitency to release contract and other info I
need to get to the bottom of the issue here.

Bottom line - he submitted a letter of resignation that the bd still hasn't accepted. Mat Maid' s management appears to have run the business in the ground without fair notification given the entity's owner (the state).

we stuck our neck out asking legislators for the funds to keep this running while a plan was put in place - as requested by MatMaid - then they ripped that opportunity out from under us, the farmers, all Alaskans, and he decides to resign before the closure "emergency".

I need an investigation of this entity' s management asap because this is a cluster and certainly there's got to be a consideration of malfeasance on someone ' s part here.

Businesses don't just go belly-up overnight.

Farmers are holding their breath, counting on us to help . MatMaid dumped a nuclear situation on our lap.

Does the board have attorneys working for members and VanTryck - protecting them and their information - from the AG ' s office or the private sector? I hear they do have attorneys from somewhere on board.
Upset for not getting a tour, Tibbles starts spouting off rumor after rumor - water bottling aspirations, golden parachutes, and attorneys at work.

Palin's responded with the following two messages:
Fyi - mat maid situation is a mess. And being denied the tour is an odd thing to have just
faced. Hmmmmm. Mr . Tibbles, et al, will help us get to the bottom of this. And I will be
replacing the board asap. As soon as I know the proper steps to do so via Tibbles and Ivy.
Msg also has to include: "the creamery bd voted to close MM, hence their work is done and they'll not have any task in front of them anymore..." (Is this accurate? Wasn't their entire mission to operate the now defunct MM?) "...hence the need for a new bd with new focus..."
Palin's view was that the BAC was no longer relevant because they were supposed to ignore any and all financial problems and cut endless checks from the state to keep her friends back home satisfied.  Essentially, everything Red Secoy predicted came true, but the ever-delusional Palin still saw things differently.  Here is what she said when she resigned from being governor:  "We took government out of the dairy business and put it back into private-sector hands - where it should be."

Excuse me?

Didn't Palin try to do everything to keep government in the dairy business?

This is all very interesting because now Palin, the woman who ignored the advice of industry professionals is giving a speech to industry professionals.  What do you think about that?  Is Palin a trailblazer or just another corrupt politician who is now profiting off her career in government?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bachmann's "Pray Away The Gay" Clinic Caught On Tape

Sign the petition to defund Bachmann & Associates now!

Recently, a new undercover video has been released by documentary filmmaker Kristina Lapinski, and unlike the schlock released by Project Veritas and criminal propagandist James O'Keefe, this video has a lot of merit in exposing the religious government-subsidized religious clinic operated by once-GOP candidate and current crazy Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann and her believed-to-be-closeted husband, Marcus.

In the video, there is proof that Bachmann's clinic engages in a practice commonly known as "praying the gay away," in which patients are indoctrinated in conservative Christian beliefs that marriage is to only be between a man and a woman.

Lapinski entered the clinic with a back story describing herself as a lesbian engaged to her male friend to make her Christian parents happy. Lapinski recalled the experience for a blog on Gay U.S.A.:
"She asked if I believed in God, and I answered, 'yes.' She pulled out a bible, handed it to me and asked me to read a passage out loud. It was about love, and then she asked me to analyze it with her. We talked about love and commitment, and even though I have never been attracted to my fiancé, the commitment, she noted, was a form of love.

She told me to follow God’s road. 'The Bible says one man one woman…two great halves come together….' and then spoke to some extent about a woman's duty to keep the man company…I found that oddly sexist...

She talked a lot about submitting to God, giving my life path over to him and letting him direct the way. She told me if I wanted to be happy I could “give my problems to the Lord and he could take them away.”

We ended the session with a prayer and Sheila J. Marker asked the Lord to take away my 'desire' and allow me to pursue a relationship with my fiancé."
With these not-so-unexpected revelations, and considering the push from religious extremists in recent years, whether teaching the bible in public schools or allowing evolution to be taught with the same level of credence as mythology, this exposure should be enough to motivate Americans not only to the polls but to engage in healthy discourse with their elected officials.

Did you know that the Bachmanns have received government subsidies for their clinic?

Now is the time to stand up and defend the wall of separation of church and state before the church builds their own wall to imprison everyone who stands in their way.

Sign the petition now to defund Bachmann & Associates by clicking here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ann Romney To Critics: "I Choose To Be Unemployed!"

"My maids work very hard so I am perfectly aware of what the average woman goes through."
Mitt Romney has been using his wife, Ann Romney, as a campaign surrogate to try and gain traction with women voters, claiming his wife was a perfect example of the average American woman - a hard-working stay-at-home mom - so it wasn't a surprise when someone spoke out against the latest Romney campaign meme.  Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen made a comment about the aspiring first lady while on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.

"Guess what?" Rosen said. "His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing."

Rosen continued, "There's something much more fundamental about Mitt Romney. He seems so old-fashioned when it comes to women, and I think that comes across, and I think that that's going to hurt him over the long term. He just doesn't really see us as equal."

This, of course, has caused an uproar on the right.  For example, Katie Pavlich's headline at was as follows: "Obama Advisor Attacks Cancer Survivor, Mother, Grandmother Ann Romney"

Seems that "advisor" label is sticking with conservatives.

The Romneys have also hit back with Ann saying she made the "choice to stay home and raise five boys" and son praising his mommy.  The Romney camp also tried to link these comments to the president by calling Rosen an "Obama advisor" despite the fact that she is employed neither by the Obama campaign nor the Democratic National Committee.

Rosen clarified that while being a stay-at-home mom is hard work, she was commenting on the fact that the multi-millionaire's wife wasn't faced with the real world challenges facing the average mother. Ann didn't have to go to work because her husband was worth a couple hundred million dollars.  Tell that to a mom of one who has to get by on a part-time job to scrape by.  Also, average mothers also don't have access to numerous maids - even with the kids all grown the Romney's claimed four maids in 2010!

The Obama campaign has already tried distancing themselves from the comment by praising mothering and declaring families off limits, but does that count for campaign props like Ann, and then look at the defense coming from the right - Pavlich ends her little rant by stating "stay at home moms are worth at least $500,000 per year."

Maybe this is why Romney is claiming he can relate to the average woman - in his eyes a stay-at-home mom is part of the one percent. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Confirmed: Most Florida Albertsons' To Close By June

The Midnight Review First Broke This Story! 
Updated Tuesday, April 20, 2012!

The grocer rumor mill has been in overdrive these past few hours (and has been confirmed by Albertsons Public Affairs Director Christine Wilcox) as rumblings in Florida indicate Albertsons', the once-coast-to-coast food chain, will be shuttering its doors by June of this year.  This doesn't come as a surprise to some - the remaining stores, numbering close to two dozen, have been operating on borrowed time.  Owned by Cerberus Capital Management, one of the largest private investment equity firms in the United States, Albertsons' LLC has pretty much sold off the chain's infrastructure since 2006.  It was only a matter of time since 2008, when Publix Supermarkets acquired the cream of the crop.

Only 4 stores will remain open in Florida - the ones located in Clearwater, Altamonte Springs, Oakland Park and Largo. Albertsons will even close their distribution center in Polk County. This brings into question the viability of the remaining stores being that there seems to be an absence of an efficient supply chain for the remaining locations in the state.

As I had written back on November 17, 2009, I strongly advise associates to start exploring their options and familiarizing themselves with the terms of their eventual termination.  Demand severance agreements, if any, from the human resources department and record everything.  My personal experience with the company demonstrated their lack of commitment to their associates, which is why I offer online the severance agreement for hourly associates from 2008 as a point of reference.  It can be viewed here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sarah Palin's VP Pick: Disgraced Lieutenant Colonel

"I loved the Kid n' Play movies.  That's where I got my haircut from."
Sarah Palin has interjected herself into the presidential campaign yet again.  Trying to remain relevant, Palin through her two cents into the debate by throwing up the person she believes is best fit for the vice-presidential pick, and believe me, Sarah Palin is the best person to get this advice from.

Palin went on her fellow Fox friend Sean Hannity's program on Tuesday and professed her love for Allen West, the Florida freshman teabagger who has made numerous headlines for his incendiary remarks against Democrats.  Palin believed the candidate should be someone "rogue" like her - another maverick.

"I love that he has that military experience, he is a public servant willing to serve for the right reasons," Palin said.  "When I talk about going rogue, what I want is to encourage the GOP nominee to not think that they have to go with somebody necessarily safe. No matter who it is, they're going to get clobbered. The media will make things up about them and their record and their reputations and their families."

Going rogue is exactly what Allen West had done.

While West was serving in Iraq, he heard a rumor that there was a plot against him and used his position to detail an Iraqi civilian, torturing him for information regarding the plot that did not exist, with West even firing a gun beside the civilian's head as a threat.  The civilian surrendered meaningless information as a result.  Did I forget to mention that West was not, and had never been, a military interrogator.  He never even witnessed one.

West violated two articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and during a hearing as part of an Article 32 investigation West admitted what he had done was "not right" and would perform his actions again given the opportunity.  He was fined $5,000 and sent on his merry way.

What did West have to say about the entire situation at the time?

“I’m pleased that it’s over with,” West said. “But I thought that taking $5,000 away from a guy who is about to retire was a little bit unnecessary.

Is this the kind of "rogue" you would want serving as your Vice President? Maybe in a Palin presidency...