Search This Blog

Thursday, November 29, 2012

BP in the news ...

If you ask a criminologist about BP, he or she might describe the company as a mass murderer (someone who kills more than one person at one time). Or he or she might characterize BP as a serial killer (someone who kills more than one person over a long period of time).

I'd call them a serial mass murderer, since they've killed more than one person at one time, more than once over a long period of time.

Someone like that ought to be in the news. Here's the latest on BP:

  1. White House stops new BP contracts

    The Daily Advertiser-3 hours ago
    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration put a temporary stop to new federal contracts with British oil company BP on Wednesday, citing ...

  2. BP suspended from new government contracts

    USA TODAY-18 hours ago
    U.S. Coast Guard fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the BP operated off shore oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, in the Gulf of ...
  3. Abu Dhabi's Taqa Buys BP North Sea Assets for $1.1 Billion

    Bloomberg-Nov 28, 2012
    Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA) bought stakes in North Sea fields for $1.1 billion from BP Plc (BP/), the energy producer that's disposing ...
  4. 3 BP employees arraigned on Gulf oil spill charges

    Businessweek-14 hours ago
    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two BP rig supervisors and a former BP executive pleaded not guilty Wednesday to criminal charges stemming from ...
  5. EPA suspends BP from new federal contracts in wake of oil spill

    Washington Post-13 hours ago
    The Environmental Protection Agency has suspended BP from bidding on any new federal contracts, including drilling leases, as a result of the ...
  6. US bans BP from new government contracts after oil spill deal

    Reuters-13 hours ago
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government banned BP Plc on ... BP and its affiliates are barred from new federal contracts until they ...
  7. BP shut out of US contracts: Feds cite deadly blast, poor response

    Los Angeles Times-by Michael Muskal-18 hours ago
    BP, which has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges in connection with the nation's worst offshore oil spill, was suspended from new ...
  8. 3 from BP plead not guilty in connection with gulf oil disaster

    Los Angeles Times-by Michael Muskal-13 hours ago
    Two BP employees and a former executive pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a variety of charges, including manslaughter and concealing ...
    But there is also this piece of news!

    Energy stocks end higher, BP shares rise

    MarketWatch-50 minutes ago
    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Energy stocks turned higher Wednesday, tracking the broader market and as U.S.-listed shares of BP PLC ...
     So apparently it is not stopping the company from making money. Serial mass murder for profit?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Every once in a while, a person has courage

... and says what he feels to be the truth, RIGHT on the air and RIGHT in your face.

You know the story of the Benghazi attacks. Or at least part of it. You've heard about it in the news, right? If not, GOOGLE it.

And one network has been hyping it over and over and over again, even as the others have let the story go.

So when that network (Fox News) had an interview on Monday with an man who has covered the military for a long time, they probably had no idea he would basically dismiss them as a wing of hte Republican party (his words, not mine).

That interview ended rather abruptly on Monday after he took not one but two jabs at the network hosting him.

Co-anchor Jon Scott interviewed Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Thomas Ricks, who has covered the military for decades, about his new book The Generals. Scott asked Ricks weigh in on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and Sen. John McCain's criticisms of Amb. Susan Rice.

"I think Benghazi was generally hyped by this network especially," Ricks said. He added that he thought McCain seemed to be "backing off" from criticizing Rice since "the campaign [was] over."

"When you have four people dead for the first time in more than 30 years, how do you call that hype?" Scott said, pushing back against Ricks' characterization of the network's coverage.

Ricks compared the situation to security contractors who were killed in Iraq. He described the attack in Benghazi as a "small fire-fight" and added, "I think the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox is operating as the wing of the Republican Party."

At that point, Scott thanked Ricks for his time and ended the interview after about 90 seconds.

UPDATE: According to the New York Times' Brian Stelter, a Fox News staffer told Ricks he was rude following the interview. Ricks said that he thinks the hit lasted "about half as long as planned."

Watch it here:

Monday, November 26, 2012

What does Bangladesh and a fire have to do with criminal justice?

Nothing, unless you are thinking critically.

So did you hear about the huge fire that killed more than 100 people in Bangladesh the other day?

Here is the story:

The 100-plus workers who died in a fire late Saturday at a high-rise garment factory in Bangladesh were working overtime making clothes for major American retailers, including Wal-Mart, according to workers' rights groups.

Officials in Bangladesh said the flames at the Tazreen Fashions factory outside Dhaka spread rapidly on the ground floor, trapping those on the higher floors of the nine-story building. There were no exterior fire escapes, according to officials, and many died after jumping from upper floors to escape the flames.

As firemen continued to remove bodies Sunday, officials said at least 112 people had died but that the number of fatalities could go higher.

The Tazreen fire is the latest in a series of deadly blazes at garment factories in Bangladesh, where more than 700 workers, many making clothes for U.S. consumers, have died in factory fires in the past five years. As previously reported by ABC News, Bangladesh has some of the cheapest labor in the world and some of the most deplorable working conditions.

Got that?

You go shopping for cheap crap and people DIE as a result.

That seems like news to me. Props to ABC and Yahoo News for covering this story ...

READ the original ABC News report.

"The industry and parent brands in the U.S. have been warned again and again about the extreme danger to workers in Bangladesh and they have not taken action," said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, an American group working to improve conditions at factories abroad that make clothes for U.S. companies. Nova said the fire was the most deadly in the history of the Bangladesh apparel industry, and "one of the worst in any country."


WATCH the 'Nightline' report on deadly factories.

 Workers' activists went into the burned-out remains today to document which major retailers were using the Tazreen factory.

They say they found labels for Faded Glory, a Wal-Mart private label, along with labels they said traced back to Sears and a clothing company owned by music impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs.

"There's no question that Wal-Mart and the other customers at this factory bear some blame for what happened in this factory," Nova said.

Nova also said that Wal-Mart "knew exactly what's going on at these facilities. They have staff on site in Bangladesh."

Wal-Mart actually warned of dangerous conditions at the Tazreen factory last year, in a letter posted online by the factory owner.

Wal-Mart told ABC News that the company has not yet been able to confirm that it was still making clothes at the factory.

In a statement, Wal-Mart told ABC News, "Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this tragedy. ... [F]ire safety is a critically important area of Wal-Mart's factory audit program and we have been working across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh.

"As part of this effort, we partnered with several independent organizations to develop and roll out fire safety training tools for factory management and workers. Continued engagement is critical to ensure that reliable, proactive measures are in place to reduce the chance of factory fires. "
In a statement, Sears disputed reports by activists that it sources clothes from the Tazreen facility. 

"Our thoughts are with the victims of this tragedy," said the statement. "We can also confirm that Sears Holdings does not source from this factory."

"In addition, Sears recognizes that fire safety is a critical international issue that we intend to address through specialized training for management in those factories that produce merchandise for Sears Holdings."

Worker Rights Consortium said that numbers of the labels of garments found in the factory could be traced back to Sears.

A spokesperson for Combs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

What do you think? Still want to shop at Wal-Mart?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy holidays!

First, a national conference.

And now the holidays.

Eventually I'll be back!

It's not anything is happening. Well, except for the death of the US Constitution. ...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why some Americans are actually shocked about the election

I closely followed the news heading into the recent elections, like I always do. And so I knew there was actually a very good chance Barack Obama would be re-elected President. By election day, the odds were better than 90%, according to statistical wizard and New York Times blogger Nate Silver over at

His predictions were based largely on polling data in the battleground states, those handful of states that could go either way (since most are very stable and reliably go one way or the other). Maybe this is why?

Slave holding states and Republican voting states today: Nearly identical

But anyway, back to the point ... those polls in the battleground states were almost universally pointing to Obama wins in all of them, with the only exception in North Carolina and perhaps Florida. Obama would end up winning all of those states, except North Carolina, and is leading by a tiny margin in Florida with 99% of the votes counted.

So, the only people who could have been surprised by this are those that were not paying attention.

Or, perhaps, those getting their news from organizations that were not paying attention.

Take Fox News and talk radio, for example. As you may know, I listen to Rush Limbaugh, so I know he was predicting a huge Romney win. So too was Sean Hannity on his radio show, as were all the guests he has on his show. And then these are talking heads like Dick Morris on Fox News who were also confidently predicting not only a Romney win but a huge win.

In fact, all these folks said there were three possibilities on election night: A huge Romney win, a small Romney win, or a small Obama win. No one in these organizations was saying Obama could win big. Which he did.

Why? The answer is simple. They dismissed the polling data, attacked it, and relied on internal polling data produced by Republican operatives. They insisted that their people were being under-polled and would actually show up in higher numbers than Democrats. But, they were wrong. Very very wrong.

Yesterday, the day after the election, Rush Limbaugh actually said that no one saw this coming and no one could have seen it coming because the only thing that showed that this could happen was the polls! But then he went on to dismiss the polls because, according to him, they showed the two candidates were tied (which they did not). Of course, many people saw this coming and boldly predicted it online (see Nate Silver).

So we've arrived at a point in time when some people are getting their information (the point of the news) from sources that are not only biased but also factually inaccurate. The minimum cost of this is a group of miserable people who end up gullible and easily distracted and even misled.

This has enormous consequences for our nation and the policies we create or don't create to try to solve our problems. And much of the problem can be blamed on for-profit news organizations.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's election day and ...

... this is the lead story on Fox News right now:

GOP officials booted, Black Panthers return — and Obama at polling site?

  • New Black Panthers Return to Scene of 2008 Polling Station Confrontation
  • First Election Day Votes Cast as Romney Battles on, Obama Goes Home
  • PREDICT THE ELECTION: Take Your Best Shot at Predicting the Final Electoral Map | VIDEO: Electoral Map Still in Play
  • North Carolina Poll Worker Allegedly Tells People to Vote Democrat | US Election Closely Watched Abroad
  • Election Day User's Manual | Unions Under Fire for Voter Roll Allegations | OPINION: Vote Comes With Responsibility
  • Oregon Elections Worker Fired After Allegations of Ballot Tampering | Biden to Run in 2016? | CANDIDATE TRACKER
  • THE COUNTRY DECIDES: Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly Bring You Complete Election Night Coverage Starting at 6PM ET

  • So let's get this straight, according to Fox, there are allegations of irregularities on election day, and ALL of them are against Democrats or people who vote Democratic.

    But don't worry, because on the same website, Fox News has its bias alert ready to go:

    Campaign 2012 Coverage Unequal — and Unfair?

  • OPINION: Media Makes Outrageous Romney Claims Days Before Election
  • FOX BUSINESS OPINION: America... Let's Not Wreck It

  • But the problem is, the only bias they see is that against their chosen candidate.

    This is supposed to be a news organization!

    You think they will ever turn their bias alert on themselves?

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Should this be a crime???

    David Frum says the voting system gives too much power to local authorities and political parties, leading to a chaotic process. FULL STORY | ELECTION OVER? NOT SO FAST | CHALLENGES | ZELIZER: IF IT'S CLOSE, WATCH OUT

    Have you seen what is going on in Florida? 7 hour long lines to vote.

    By design it turns out. The plan of a Governor who wants to reduce the number of people who vote. See?