Juan E. Mendez, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, said his request for a private interview with Manning was denied by the Defense Department on Friday. Instead, he has been told that any visit must be supervised.
Mendez has been seeking to determine whether Manning’s confinement at a military brig at Quantico amounts to torture, following complaints about his treatment and an incident in which the private was forced to strip in his cell at night and sleep without clothing.
“My request . . . is not onerous: for my part, a monitored conversation would not comply with the practices that my mandate applies in every country and detention center visited,” Mendez said in a statement Monday, noting that at least 18 countries have allowed unmonitored interviews.
A simple conclusion: yes, it’s indeed torture and the US knows it.
Since taking office in January, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has stripped public workers of their collective bargaining rights, proposed wage cuts to local government employees, and insisted that his “state is broke” and that its public workers are overpaid. But Walker applies a different standard to himself.
Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveals that Walker is using state funds to pay more than $81,500 a year to the 26-year-old son of a major campaign donor with no college degree and two drunken-driving convictions.
Despite having almost no management experience, UW Madison college dropout Brian Deschane now oversees state environmental and regulatory issues and manages dozens of Commerce Department employees. After only two months on the job, Deschane has already received a 26 percent pay raise and a promotion.
Transocean Ltd. had its "best year in safety performance" despite the explosion of its Deepwater Horizon rig that left 11 dead and oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the world’s largest offshore-rig company said in a securities filing Friday.
Accordingly, Transocean’s executives received two-thirds of their target safety bonus. Safety accounts for 25% of the equation that determines the yearly cash bonuses, along with financial factors including new rig contracts.
General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.
The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.
Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.
All these poor, poor corporations, being driven out of business by oppressive tax schemes. Thank goodness there’s a whole raft of business-friendly politicians finally installed in office who can give them the tax breaks they so desperately need to get the economy back on track!
3.2 billion = 64,000 50k/yr jobs.
Tell GE to take a hike, hire 64,000 people to build infrastructure, and get some of that 50k back in income taxes.
Rep. Christopher Lee is a married Republican congressman serving the 26th District of New York. But when he trolls Craigslist’s "Women Seeking Men" forum, he’s Christopher Lee, "divorced" "lobbyist" and "fit fun classy guy." One object of his flirtation told us her story.
The emails aren’t especially interesting, but they point to Rep. Lee’s hypocrisy, given his anti-woman, anti-gay voting record.
Rep. Chris Lee, weeks into his second term as Congressman for New York’s 26th District, has resigned the office.
He says he “made profound mistakes”…
And as a result, the OkCupid web post about why you should never pay for a dating site can now only be found in Google Cache
Web developers have tried to compensate for this problem by creating IPv6 — a system that recognizes six-digit IP addresses rather than four-digit ones.
Aha! Today I learned there are only 9999 devices on the entire internet! Hooray for smarty-pants web developers who will soon expand it to 999,999 devices! Enough for everyone! Hooray!
Miss Nebraska, Teresa Scanlan, became champion of the 2011 Miss America pageant tonight. She has deep thoughts on foreign policy and radical transparency.
She won after strutting in a black bikini and a white evening gown, playing “White Water Chopped Sticks” on piano and telling the audience that when it comes to the website Wikileaks, security should come before public access to government information.
“You know when it came to that situation, it was actually based on espionage, and when it comes to the security of our nation, we have to focus on security first and then people’s right to know, because it’s so important that everybody who’s in our borders is safe and so we can’t let things like that happen, and they must be handled properly,” she said.
So they are feeling unjustly blamed for the actions of an extremist… Maybe they can ask Muslims for advice on how to deal with that.”
You think those days are over? Think again!
In a rather astounding example of burying the lede, the Washington Post writes today about how many airports are considering using private contractors, instead of the TSA, to handle airport security. Then the Post interviews the incoming House Transportation chairman, who trashes the TSA and is pushing airports to switch to the private contractors.
Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.), the incoming chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has written to 200 of the nation’s largest airports, urging them to consider switching to private companies.
The TSA was “never intended to be an army of 67,000 employees,” he said.
“If you look at [the TSA's] performance, have they ever stopped a terrorist? Anyone can get through,” Mica said in an interview. “We’ve been very lucky, very fortunate. TSA should focus on its mission: setting up the protocol, adapting to the changing threats and gathering intelligence.”
What the Post doesn’t tell you, until the end of the story, is that one of the big private contractors is in the House Transportation chairman’s own district.
Covenant, based in Mica’s home district in northeastern coastal Florida, has airport screening contracts in Sioux Falls, S.D., Tupelo, Miss., and seven small airports in northern and eastern Montana. Its deal at San Francisco International is by far its largest. Covenant employs nearly 1,100 people in the bay area, who make up nearly all of its 1,150 workers. The last four-year contract, from 2006 to 2010, totaled $314 million. A new contract has been put out for competitive bids. Meanwhile, Covenant is operating on a two-month contract ending in February.
Um, kind of a relevant fact that deserves to be highlighted a tad earlier.
For millions of Americans the economic recovery can’t get here soon enough. In 2010 a record 40.3 million Americans received food stamps. That’s a 20 percent jump from 2009.
This Oklahoma family of five saw no choice but to apply for food stamps. Their $500 benefit lasts two to three weeks but hardly four.
Just before midnight on the last day of every month, Sheri and her husband make a trip to the grocery store to beat the midnight rush.
“We get excited,” says Sheri. “Like, ‘Oh, we’re going to go shopping tonight!'”
On the first of the month food stamp debit cards are automatically refilled with benefit money from the government. On an average night between midnight and 3 a.m., a store could bring in about $3000. On the first of the month that number is 10 times as much with almost everyone using food stamps.
Hard times can be good times — for the aggressively avaricious. Where others see pain, they see opportunity. In desperation, they delight. The grimmer the economic outlook, the more ghastly their grabbing.
And who grabbed the most outrageously in 2010? We offer below our annual take on America’s ten greediest of the year.
Earlier this week, we noted how the owners of the various hiphop blogs and Torrent-Finder, the torrent search engine, that were seized by Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) group still hadn’t been provided the details on why their domains were seized. However, that’s no longer the case. A partial affidavit and the seizure warrant for those sites has been released, and it highlights how ridiculously clueless Homeland Security is on this issue (you can read the whole thing at the bottom of this post). What’s troubling isn’t just that the folks who made the decision to seize these domain names don’t seem to know what they’re talking about, but that they seem to have relied almost exclusively on the MPAA for their (lack of) knowledge on the subject at hand.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity. We’ve notified the account holder of this action.
Translation: Bank of America knows they’re next in line with Wikileaks, and threatened us to stop all transactions with us, and we caved immediately.
After a week of waiting in line, rotating shifts and Thanksgiving Day in a Best Buy parking lot, the ‘First Family of Black Friday’ finally reached the inside of the store.
Tina Thain and Lorie Davenport were the first in line outside the Best Buy near Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg. Lined up on November 17, Thain and Davenport, were determined to be the first to get their hands on items.
The Davenports purchased a Nook (electronic reader), a wireless router, gift cards, DVDs and a label maker.
She said they accomplished their goals and had a great experience during the week.
That label maker made the whole thing worth it, I’m sure.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|It Gets Worse PSA|
For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.
But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.
“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”
There are a couple hundred people in dog kennels in Cuba right now who can attest about the U.S. Government not really giving a shit about fact-checking whether or not someone’s actually a member of the Taliban.
”I don’t think it’s appropriate they feel discriminated against, and I’m very upset they feel that,” [principal Heather Schnagl] said.
You don’t think it’s appropriate that your students have the ability to form independent thoughts? You don’t think it’s appropriate that your students feel that way about a policy which bars them from attending an event with their peers because their partners don’t have a penis?
How dare they embarrass you for being a fucking bigot.
A funny thing happened on the way to tighter public disclosure rules for fracking fluids in Pennsylvania.
Halliburton sent a letter of objection and bingo, the rules suddenly got less stringent.
Christine O’Donnell, the surprise Tea Party-backed Senate candidate in Delaware, threatened to sue a local radio station if it did not turn over a videotape of an interview it conducted with her.
O’Donnell’s campaign later apologized to the station for the threat, WDEL reports.
O’Donnell appeared on WDEL’s "The Rick Jensen Show" Tuesday, during which she fielded several questions from listeners and the host. Upon the conclusion of the interview, an O’Donnell aide demanded video of the interview be turned over to the campaign and destroyed because such videotaping had not been previously approved.
It was then, according to WDEL, that O’Donnell herself threatened to sue the station if it did not comply with the request. WDEL also says it later fielded a phone call from O’Donnell campaign manager Matt Moran, who threatened to "crush" the station with a lawsuit if it did not agree to turn over the tape.
WDEL’s attorney was soon involved and told the campaign there was nothing illegal about videotaping the interview for later use on the station’s website and added that such action is protected by the First Amendment.
Upon further investigation, WDEL says O’Donnell’s attorney called the station to apologize for the uproar and threat of litigation.
Tim Profitt — the former Rand Paul volunteer who stomped on the head of a MoveOn activist — told told local CBS station WKYT that he wants an apology from the woman he stomped and that she started the whole thing.
"I don’t think it’s that big of a deal," Profitt said. "I would like for her to apologize to me to be honest with you."
As the progressive Blue Virgina blog reported Monday — and I independently confirmed from one of the recipients Tuesday — Virginia Beach Republican Party chair Dave Bartholomew forwarded a racist email comparing African Americans to dogs. The email, subject line "my, dog," consists of a racist parable about African Americans and welfare. In the first 24 hours since the email came to light, Democrats condemned Bartholomew and he resigned his position with the Republican Party.
The e-mail was dated March 15 and sent from the address that Bartholomew uses as party chairman. Bartholomew forwarded it without reading the contents when “he was first getting familiar with the Internet,” Byler said.
Well, I guess you’re pretty familiar with the Internet now!
He says he’s not a racist. He not only has black friends, he calls them man’s best friend!
In the winter of 2009, Georgia state legislator Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Canton) led a high-profile campaign against the teaching of public university courses that dealt with sexual health and related topics. Hill was joined by a small cadre of other conservatives who sought to end the teaching of courses dealing with topics such as male prostitution and gay history, and some of his acolytes even called for firing professors who taught these courses. Hill even appeared on CNN and boasted about an award he received for leading the battle to shut down courses dealing with sexuality. “Our public colleges are not the place for our young adults and future leaders to experiment and experience these types of sexually explicit behavior,” Hill said at the time.
Now, the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Jim Galloway reports that, while Hill may think that sex is too hot of a topic for the young adult students at public colleges in the state to handle, he’s perfectly fine making a buck off it. Galloway writes that Hill’s Democratic opponent, Stephanie Webb, has discovered that the company Hill serves as CFO of, Gila Distributing, sells numerous sex gadgets and gay pride paraphernalia through the company. These products include “stress relievers” in the shape of male sex organs and Gay Pride flag lapel pins.
Outgoing BP CEO Tony Hayward defended his company’s safety record Wednesday in the face of questions from British lawmakers, and said the Gulf of Mexico oil spill should not lead to a universal ban on deepwater drilling.
Hayward insisted that BP’s safety record is “better than the industry average” and said no corners had been cut in the interest of saving money.
And those hundreds of violations in their gulf rigs over the past few years don’t mean anything. Industry standard. Everyone does it. Right?
A Washington-based research group says two BP refineries in the U.S. account for 97 percent of "egregious willful" violations given by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret "kill team" that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies.Five of the soldiers are charged with murdering three Afghan men who were allegedly killed for sport in separate attacks this year. Seven others are accused of covering up the killings and assaulting a recruit who exposed the murders when he reported other abuses, including members of the unit smoking hashish stolen from civilians.
And they wonder why nobody greets them as liberators any more…
The problems thrust Brown in the spotlight two weeks ago when, first, he was charged with felony assault and accused of twisting his fourth wife’s arm behind her back and then, three days later, he forfeited in court any rights to see his children from his third wife. Throughout, he wore an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Those are just the latest of Brown’s skirmishes. In 2002, he was charged with and later convicted of beating his pregnant third wife with a broken bedpost and pulling her down the stairs by her hair. In 2006, the Texas Medical Board revoked his license after he tested positive for cocaine. He’s been treated for narcissistic personality disorder, bipolar disorder and depression and spent time at an addiction rehab center and court-ordered anger management counseling, according to the medical board and other public records.
In court, public documents and earlier news articles, Darlina Barone, Brown’s since-remarried third wife, told how he had an obsession with sex and firearms. He threatened to kill her if she ever tried to divorce him, she said.
In 2008, he was awarded a Republican Congressional Medal of Distinction, which included a lunch with Vice President Dick Cheney and a dinner with President George W. Bush.
Thomas Bodström, chair of the Parliamentary Justice Committee and former justice minister, has come out in favour of voluntary drug testing, but when Sveriges Radio asked him to submit to a test, he refused.