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Thu, 23 Jan 2020
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Airplane

'Designed by clowns and supervised by monkeys': Senate investigation into Boeing air disasters reveals what employees thought of 737-MAX


Comment: Ouf, this is a bad look!


737 Max 8
© Getty
A 737 Max 8 is seen outside Boeing's factory in Renton, Wash.
Newly released internal emails from Boeing Co. paint a disturbing picture of its 737 Max program, with employees bragging about fooling FAA regulators and ridiculing its safety.

The emails were part of more than 100 pages of documents sent Thursday by Boeing to House and Senate committees that have been investigating the aircraft maker in the wake of two crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed a combined 346 people. The 737 Max family has been grounded for nearly a year, with no return date yet.

The emails were also made public, in three batches: here, here and here.

"This airplane is designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys," read one email.

Comment: This comes on the heels of two of only the most recent revelations of the alarming safety issues plaguing Boeing's planes: See also: Boeing introduces 737 Max software overhaul as lawmakers question FAA policies


Cell Phone

Vermont Bill would ban cell phone use for anyone under 21: 'Cell phone is much more dangerous than a gun'

double cell phone
© REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
A bill proposed by Democratic Vermont state Sen. John Rodgers would ban cell phone use for anyone under 21.

The bill, introduced on the first day of Vermont's 2020 legislative session, would punish anyone under 21 years old who is caught with a cell phone with one year in prison, a $1,000 fine, or both, NBC5 reported.

The legislation claims the reasons for the ban are that cell phones are an important factor in teen driving deaths, bullying, and radicalizing teens into "terrorists, fascists, and other extremists."

Comment: Although it's meant as a hyperbolic illustration, the Senator makes a good point. How much better would the lives of youth be without cell phones? While banning them, punishable by prison time, might be a few steps too far (and only suggested to make a point), the negative effects of cell phones on young adults is well documented.

See also:


Gold Seal

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange awarded Dignity Prize from Catalans

julian assange
© Justin TALLIS / AFP
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London.
Despite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange being kept in his prison cell for up to 23 hours a day in London's high security Belmarsh jail, it has not stopped him winning a major award.

The Catalan Dignity Commission has honoured him with its 2019 Dignity Prize for raising awareness around the world about the plight of the Catalans in the lead up to the 2017 independence vote.

Announced on Friday, the prize recognises his efforts to correct misreporting of events and to provide live video updates to the world of the peaceful Catalan protesters and the brutal crackdown on them by Spanish police.

Comment: See also:


Sheriff

Atlanta police make monumental move, disband entire drug unit to focus on actual crime

police marijuana
In one of the most revolutionary moves we've reported on to date, the Atlanta Police Department announced this week that they are disbanding their narcotics unit so they can fight actual violent crime. This move is both revolutionary and heartening and is another nail in the war on drugs' coffin.

According to a report from WSB-TV Atlanta, the massive change was confirmed on Tuesday. The department confirmed with WSB-TV reporter, Mark Winne, noting that all the officers in the drug unit will be assigned to other areas.

Comment: See also:


Yellow Vest

450,000 join France's ongoing strike action including nurses, teachers and lawyers

France Strike
© Reuters / Charles Platiau
Protesters at the Thursday march shouted anti-government slogans, waved red flares and held banners saying "on strike until withdrawal."
At least 450,000 demonstrators marched in towns and cities across France on Thursday as teachers, district nurses and lawyers joined strike action over pension changes, as the country's longest transport stoppages in decades entered their 36th day.

By morning rush hour, there were more than 124 miles (200km) of traffic jams in the greater Paris area as public transport was badly disrupted, leaving millions of commuters struggling to get to work.

More than a third of teachers stopped work across the country and dozens of schools closed in the capital. Rail services across France were severely hit and there were warnings of potential delays and disruption to flights. Energy workers were also striking, with refinery stoppages. Thousands of police officers were poised for a protest march in the centre of Paris.

Comment: RT provides coverage of some of the massive protests:
In Paris, a six-hour rally kicked off at 1:30pm causing major disruption for commuters. Only two out of 14 Paris metro lines were running normally, with reduced services on other lines as well on buses and trams.

Protesters at the Thursday march shouted anti-government slogans, waved red flares and held banners saying "on strike until withdrawal."



Some videos on social media appeared to show riot police forcibly removing some protesters from a city bus depot.




Demonstrations are also happening in Marseille, Lyon, Strasbourg, and other cities.

Paris was chaotic last weekend as pension protesters and anti-Macron Yellow Vest protesters filled the streets. A new round of negotiations over pension reform is set to take place between trade unions and the government this week.
Graphic footage from France's Rouen shows scenes of police brutality that became commonplace during the Yellow Vest protest's, and those protess, which seem to be merging with the strikes, have now entered their second year:
Eyewitness footage from the scene shows riot police engaging with demonstrators in ever-increasingly aggressive encounters, ranging from pushing and shoving, to tear gassing, before eventually the police begin swinging batons at the unarmed protesters.

The altercation took place at the corner of rue Jeanne d'Arc and rue du Gros-Horloge in the city center at around noon local time.

One man was filmed with blood streaming down his face after the encounter. The bloodied 61-year-old was treated at the scene by paramedics and firefighters, before being transferred to Rouen University Hospital.






There was at least one arrest as a result of the scuffles, and several people were reportedly injured.

Pension reform marches turned violent across the country, with brutal flare ups in the capital Paris, as well as in smaller cities nationwide.
See also: "I am France": No one is calling this a revolution, but it is

And check out SOTT radio's:


Fire

Australia: Owners say 'cultural burning' saved their property from the fires

Leanne King and Phil Sheppard's property
© Rhett Wyman
The fire came within metres of the main house on Leanne King and Phil Sheppard's property in the Hunter Valley.
Phil Sheppard watched with trepidation as a giant blaze approached his beloved Hunter Valley property outside Laguna, near Cessnock.

The 66-year-old had poured his heart and soul into Ngurrumpaa - an isolated 160-acre bushland property with a main house and several huts, offering cultural camps for tourists and Indigenous youth.

Three weeks ago, he and other owners were forced to evacuate, helplessly watching online as the Gospers Mountain fire converged with the Little L Complex fire and appeared to engulf the property.

Comment: That the native aboriginals developed a technique for saving their lands from bushfires (aside from being truly remarkable) is clearly a knowledge that should be passed on. However, it wouldn't surprise us if Mr. Barber was accused of 'cultural appropriation', given the modern political environment.

See also:


Mr. Potato

The most absurd PC moments of the 2010s

Women’s March Washington 2017
© Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Attendees at the Women’s March in Washington D.C., in 2017.
Presented in no particular order.

A lot has happened in the last decade — including a lot of things being called racist, sexist, offensive, or insensitive.

Here, in no particular order, are 24 of the most absurdly politically correct moments of the decade:

1. A college diversity-training course taught that it was culturally insensitive to expect people to be on time.

A Clemson University training course taught its attendees that it is offensive to expect people to be on time, because "time may be considered fluid" in other cultures.

Comment: The mental gymnastics necessary to justify some of these complaints is astounding. Giving in to these demands is literally catering to crazy people. Note that the majority come from Universities, where coddled students who have no real understanding of how the world works are primed to foist their sheltered worldview onto society at large.

See also:


Camcorder

'Deeply troubling': Jail video of Jeffrey Epstein's first suicide attempt was deleted, prosecutors reveal. Literally no one is surprised

Jeffrey Epstein
© New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services | Handout | Reuters
U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein appears in a photograph taken for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services’ sex offender registry March 28, 2017 and obtained by Reuters July 10, 2019.
Surveillance video footage from outside the jail cell of accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein during his first reported suicide attempt in July has been inadvertently deleted, federal prosecutors revealed Thursday.


Comment: Inadvertently? Give. Us. A. Break.


Prosecutors, in a filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, said the video was deleted as the result of a jailhouse computer error about the location of Epstein's cellmate at the time Epstein tried to kill himself.

A lawyer for Epstein's former cellmate said that it was "deeply troubling" to learn that the footage no longer exists. That lawyer, Bruce Barket, has been trying since July to obtain the video.

Comment: So they'd like us to believe that a 'computer error' lead to the loss or erasure of the tape and its backup? How stupid do they think we are? Either Epstein committed suicide and a series of next-to-impossible coincidences have stood in the way of confirming this, or there is some kind of foul play. Only the most ardent coincidence theorist could possibly buy the former.

See also:


Camcorder

'The Report' review - A careful examination of the CIA's interrogation methods

the report adam driver


The Report
, a new film from Vice Studios starring Adam Driver, feels somehow both timely and late. It tells the story of American Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Driver), who was tasked with investigating the U.S. government's "enhanced interrogation" program in the late 2000s. The program, which many denounced as torture, was used to extract intelligence from suspected terrorist detainees at CIA black sites after Al Qaeda's attack on September 11, 2001. It ended years ago and is no longer even legal — the McCain-Feinstein Amendment restricts prisoner interrogation techniques to those listed in the United States Army's field manual, and it passed the Senate with a 78-21 vote in 2015, backed by majorities in both parties.

Among the general public, however, the topic remains controversial, with almost half of Americans saying they think torture could be used to obtain "important military information" from "a captured enemy combatant" and only a little more than half saying they think torture is "wrong." During and after his 2016 campaign, President Donald J. Trump, ever-sensitive to divergences between "elite" and "popular" opinion, promised to revive and even expand enhanced interrogation, claiming that waterboarding is a "minor form" of torture and that "we should go much stronger than waterboarding."


Jones worked for Senator Dianne Feinstein (played in the film by Annette Bening) and was deputized by a bipartisan Senate committee to lead a team of six — three Democrats and three Republicans — to find out exactly what the CIA program had entailed. In the flash-forward that opens the film, we learn that his obsessive dedication to the report cost him his romantic relationship, but as we return to the report's inception and watch events unfold chronologically, we also see that this kind of personality was required to pursue the investigation to completion and release. "Do you ever sleep?" a security guard asks Jones at one point. "I used to," he replies, "but it got in the way of the work."

Comment: See also:


Fire

Thousands evacuated as inferno engulfs Russian refinery in Republic of Komi

refinery explosion fire Komi republic
One person was injured and thousands evacuated as a huge blaze occurred at an oil refinery in the Republic of Komi west of the Ural Mountains. The fire and a column of thick black smoke could be seen for kilometers around.

The fire at the diesel processing unit of the plant in the city of Ukhta, population circa 100,000, was preceded by "two bangs of a technological character," a source in the Emergencies Ministry said.

The blaze spread quickly, covering around 1,000 square meters at its peak. It was assigned the highest category of difficulty, with around 80 emergency workers and 15 firetrucks involved in extinguishing it. A fire train was later sent to help put the blaze out.

Comment: Major Explosions and fires at chemical facilities have become alarmingly common: