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Snakes in Suits

Broncos, Seahawks, worth a billion dollars each, among least charitable NFL teams

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Like all teams in the NFL, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are each worth over a billion dollars. They're owned by philanthropic billionaires who personally are very charitable. But the teams themselves are very chintzy when it comes to public giving. These two, about to go at it in the Super Bowl, are among the cheapest.

The Denver Broncos Charities, according to their federal tax filing, only managed to give away $145K in 2012. And that was down significantly from 2011′s 247,315K. Indeed. the Broncos charities have been declining year by year. Owner Pat Bowlen is routinely heralded in Denver for donating a much quoted "$25 million since 1993″ to local Denver organizations. It must have been mostly at the beginning of that time period.

More surprising: The Seattle Seahawks Charitable Foundation managed to give away only $170K in 2012. Lynne Allen, sister of billionaire team owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, is president. Separately Paul Allen has a $300 million personal foundation..

Monkey Wrench

The job skills gap: a convenient myth for preserving profits

job losses
© Jim West/jimwestphoto.com
Instructor Dan Blue (left) works with a student on a drill press at the Machinist Training Institute in Detroit. Workers are improving their skills, but that doesn’t mean there are jobs out there.
Haven't seen too many "Help Wanted" signs lately? You haven't been looking hard enough. At factories across the country, thousands of good jobs are going begging.

If that doesn't sound quite right to you, take it up with the National Association of Manufacturers. NAM and other industry groups insist at least 600,000 factory positions remain open.

These vacancies are supposed to be the result of a "skills gap" - a shortage of workers with the right stuff for today's high-tech factories. The gap looms large in high-level discussions of what ails the American economy - and it drives much public policy.

"America wants a country that builds things," says Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman, industry's leading skills gap spokesman (and board chair of the NAM), "but we have a problem. We don't have the people we need."

Politicians of both parties echo this refrain. "Businesses cannot find workers with the right skills," says Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, and Republican Senator Rob Portman agrees: "Let's close the skills gap and get Americans working again."

President Obama, too, maintains that America's manufacturers "cannot find enough workers with the proper skills."

Such bipartisan agreement is reflected in budget priorities. Retraining is a touchstone for the Obama White House, and since the president took office more than 18 billion federal dollars have gone to job training programs. Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin recently committed $8.5 million to training.

Propaganda

Journalism in America

Journalism in America_1
© EricPetersAuto

What happened to journalism that actually challenged - or even questioned - authority? You know, looked into things - and (as the slogan of a big-time paper styles it) exposed wrongdoing to the world without fear or favor? When did journalists become the leashed Shih Tzus of the powers that be, barking ferociously at times but never or very rarely at anything that really matters?

I can speak to this - as a guy who did work within the system as a writer/editor (and who personally knows people who still do).

There is no written code one must follow to get hired - and to avoid getting fired - as a journalist in America. However, there is a very clear sub rosa understanding as regards the opinions one must possess (or not express) which results in a startling - almost Stalinist - degree of political orthodoxy at major papers, TV networks, magazines and so on.

The independent thinker is not wanted - and the independent actor will quickly find himself unemployed and/or unemployable.

The media is also extremely insular and controlled. There are very few independent newspapers, for instance. Most of the medium-sized (and small) city/local papers are just shells. They are either owned by a national media conglomerate (e.g., Gannett) or they obtain most of their "copy" from "the wire" - the AP - and produce very little of their own, independent copy. The editors at these smaller papers simply pluck the stories - invariably the same stories, written by a handful of writers - and place them on the page. Hence the startling uniformity of the stories (and the opinions expressed). It is just like McDonad's. A Quarter Pounder With Cheese in Seattle tastes pretty much exactly like a Quarter Pounder With Cheese in Pittsburgh.

Quenelle - Golden

Dieudonné's latest video: Comedian thanks French Interior Minister Manuel Valls' witch-hunt for making him more popular than ever! (English subtitles)

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Dieudonné posted this vlog, filmed from his La Main d'Or theater in Paris on January 31 2014, in which he quickly summarised the various moves made by the French State against him since Interior Minister Manual Valls began his campaign to 'eradicate' the comedian in December 2013, updated his supporters with information about upcoming show dates... and sung a little tune with his wife.


Comment: For reference

On Manuel 'El Blanco' Valls...
Who is Manuel Valls? France's Socialist Sarkozy

French philosopher Alain Soral denounces Zionist Manuel Valls

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls sent packing by angry crowd doing 'la quenelle' at Rennes train station

Dieudonné ban "a victory for French Republic", declares Manuel Valls: Poll shows 95% of France disagrees with Interior Minister, jeered by large crowd in Brittany
The 'Cahuzac' Dieudonné refers to...
French fiscal scandal widens: Finance Minister Moscovici feels the heat as it emerges he knew of Budget Minister Cahuzac's secret offshore accounts

Hypocrisie en France: Tax evasion scandal widens as ex-banker hands in list of 15 'big name' politicians with undeclared bank accounts in Switzerland

French government ministers implicated in scandal to use police to protect themselves from tax evasion
Some of the actions taken by the French (and UK) State... along with some unanticipated consequences...
British government teams up with French government to ban stand-up 'comic-terrorist' Dieudonne from travelling to UK

French police raid comedian's home and offices, arrest owner of alternative media website

Police state: Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, the creator of Nicolas Anelka's controversial 'Quenelle', is arrested in France

Nicolas Anelka faces minimum five-match ban over 'quenelle'

Rise of the far-right extremists: French Jewish vigilante group comes out of shadows

French comedian Dieudonne holds press conference, accepts ban of his show 'The Wall', announces new show about French-African issues, government immediately bans it without having seen the material

As local authorities ban his next show in Tours, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls seeks to ban comedian Dieudonné from Internet

France's 'quenelle' crackdown begins: Nine teenagers threatened with fine of 45,000 euros for 'insulting the President of the Republic'
For current and historical context to understand what's happening in France...
Protest turns into riot as 120,000 take to Paris streets to demand President's resignation

Dieudonné: 'Quenelle' is a gesture of emancipation, there's nothing Nazi about it

Dieudonné M'bala M'bala interview: "I'm just trying to show that the age of colonialism never ended"

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls has a paranoid conspiracy theory: 'Comedian Dieudonne is financed by Iran'

French comedian Dieudonné explained in 5 mins

Dieudonné M'bala M'bala and the Quenellization of France

French state enlists support of Jewish Defense League to crush dissent

The Move to Muzzle Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala



Snakes in Suits

Woody Allen: Boy, I've really put you in a tough spot, haven't I?

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[The Onion is a satire site]

As those who have followed the uproar surrounding my lifetime achievement award at this year's Golden Globes are aware, my name has again become the source of controversy. Once more, the media, the general public, and my own family members have called into question the propriety of continuing to honor and lavish praise upon an individual - myself, legendary film director Woody Allen - who has been accused of committing crimes of the most deplorable nature. Addressing this highly contentious matter would require you to delve into the following ethical quandary: Do you continue to support me as a filmmaker, writer, and human being who has technically not been convicted of any crime, or do you henceforth cease your admiration of me and my work due to the admittedly pretty damn compelling evidence that I molested at least one young child?

I mean, wow, I've really put you guys in a pretty tight spot here, haven't I? Can't say I envy you people one bit; this one's a real doozy.

Comment: Related : Woody Allen: An open letter from Dylan Farrow


Eye 1

Connecticut Prosecutor: Woody Allen can't be prosecuted - Shameful!

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© Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images
A Connecticut prosecutor says the statue of limitations has expired for prosecution of child molestation claims against film director Woody Allen.
The Connecticut prosecutor who investigated Woody Allen on child molestation claims more than 20 years ago but didn't file charges says it's too late for the film director to be prosecuted.

Former Litchfield County state attorney Frank Maco said in a phone interview Sunday with The Associated Press that the statute of limitations on adopted daughter Dylan Farrow's accusations ran out at least 15 years ago.

Maco had said in 1993 that he lacked evidence to prosecute Allen but suspected the abuse did occur. He retired in 2003.

Farrow renewed allegations against Allen in an open letter to The New York Times on Saturday, saying he sexually assaulted her when she was 7 after he and actress Mia Farrow adopted her.

Allen has denied the accusations.

Handcuffs

Connecticut parents arrested in connection with toddler's death

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© New Haven Police

The parents of a 19-month-old boy whose baby sitter was charged with manslaughter in his death have been arrested, New Haven police said Thursday.

Police the parents, Thenmozhi Rajendran, 24, and Sivakumar Mani, 33, were charged with risk of injury to a child and interfering with police. Police did not say why they were charged but said the baby sitter is the prime suspect.

The parents were not supposed to use the baby sitter because of a previous incident, according to an arrest affidavit.

The sitter, 27-year-old Kinjal Patel of New Haven, told police she became angry with the boy on Jan. 16 and forced him to the floor, causing him to strike his head.

Comment: See also: Connecticut babysitter charged with manslaughter in toddler's death


Handcuffs

Connecticut babysitter charged with manslaughter in toddler's death

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© New Haven Police

A 27-year-old babysitter is charged with manslaughter and risk of injury to a child in the death of a toddler she was caring for.

New Haven Police say 19-month-old Athiyan Sivakumar died Sunday as a result of injuries he suffered earlier this month. He was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital with a skull fracture and rushed into surgery.

Police say the baby-sitter, Kinjal Patel, admitted to becoming angry with the child, and forcing him to the floor, causing him to strike his head. The Chief State Medical Examiner's Office concluded that the death was a homicide caused by blunt force. Patel is held in lieu of a million dollars bond.

New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman called the death "senseless" and says it deeply affected members of his department.

Oscar

500,000 march in France's major cities to protest against corrupt elites

french protests lgbt
© Eric Feferberg/AFP
Supporters of the "La Manif Pour Tous" (Protest for Everyone) movement demonstrate to defend their vision of the traditional family, on February 2, 2014 in Paris.
Tens of thousands of people marched in Paris and Lyon on Sunday against new laws easing abortion restrictions and legalising gay marriage, accusing French President Francois Hollande's government of "family phobia".

Police said 80,000 people took to the streets of the French capital, creating a sea of blue, white and pink -- the colours of the lead organising movement LMPT (Protest for Everyone) -- who gave a far higher turnout figure of half a million.

Demonstrator Philippe Blin, a pastor from nearby Sevres, said he felt a "relentlessness against the family" in France.

At least 20,000 rallied in Lyon, many of them ferried in aboard dozens of buses, waving placards reading "Mom and Dad, There's Nothing Better for a Child" and "Two Fathers, Two Mothers, Children With No Bearings" -- a slogan that rhymes in French.

Comment: Although the media in France and abroad has been trying to spin the mass demonstrations in France as 'right-wing extremist', it's clearly anything but, with people from all ethnic and political backgrounds protesting against the corrupt elites.

The 500,000 figure is what the organizers claim, which is probably far closer to reality.


Syringe

Missouri inmate executed while Supreme Court Considered his appeal‏

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© Unknown
Last Wednesday, the state of Missouri executed a man while his appeal was still being considered by the justices of the Supreme Court.

In an article in The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen reports that Herbert Smulls - a black man convicted by an all-white jury - was on the phone discussing the status of his pending federal appeal when he was taken to be executed.

Cohen constructs a time-line of the events surrounding Smulls's final minutes: at 10:11 p.m., lethal injection protocols were initiated, and Smulls was pronounced dead at 10:20 p.m. Ten minutes later, at 10:30 p.m., the Supreme Court notified Smulls lawyers that they denied his request for a stay of execution at 10:24 p.m., four minutes after he had been pronounced dead.