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Unreal. A new low in modern journalism – via the WaPo:
A Sky News reporter drew criticism over the weekend when he rummaged on camera through a bag belonging to a victim of the MH17 air crash in Ukraine, even as he said he “probably shouldn’t be doing this, I suppose.”
It appeared to be a momentary lapse and the reporter, Colin Brazier, quickly put an item back in the bag after picking it up to display to viewers. Coming as foreign leaders were criticizing Ukraine separatists for piling up bodies of victims and going through personal belongings, the footage was not well received.
According to the Guardian, Sky News later apologized:
Here’s an image from the “news” segment, which you can watch at YouTube. I didn’t feel comfortable posting the video here.
Just an incredible, stunning lack of judgement, basic sensitivity and common decency, not to mention a total disregard for the feelings of the families of those killed in the crash. As the WaPo noted, even Brazier realized as he was doing it that it was wrong – but really, the whole segment was about sifting through the personal effects of dead passengers. Highly unseemly, to say the least.
I’m sure Sky News has heard quite an earful about this – if you haven’t let them know your thoughts, tag their Twitter account and let them know. And please rise above and express your thoughts respectfully, as hard as it may be to lash out over the completely inappropriate on-scene reporting of Brazier.
**Posted by Phineas
This time, Perry’s Poachers have snagged Omnitracs LLC of San Diego, a fleet management firm that will be moving to Dallas and taking 450 jobs with it:
Fleet management software company Omnitracs LLC will relocate it headquarters to Dallas from San Diego, creating 450 jobs and $10 million in capital investment, Gov. Rick Perry’s office announced Friday.
The company will move into KPMG Centre downtown.
Omnitracs is the latest in a wave of California relocations to North Texas announced this spring and summer.
The Texas Enterprise Fund is providing a $3.9 million incentive to attract Omnitracs. The new headquarters will house jobs in a variety of high-paying fields, including engineering, research and development and finance.
Omnitracs provides fleet management solutions for the trucking industry. Its services include software applications, GPS fleet tracking, platforms and information services.
Omnitracs is just the latest in a long line of businesses that have fled or are about to flee the once-Golden State. The article lists others, including Toyota, and mentions Vista Equity Partners, a California firm that specializes in buying firms and moving them to Texas.
Yes, the one business that California can keep is one that helps others get the heck out.
Well, we bloody well deserve it, with a business climate that’s designed to drive people away, not bring them here. I’m old enough to remember when California was a place to people rushed to, in order to build a future.
Now, thanks to 40 years of progressive misrule, they rush to get out, in order to save what future they have left.
via Stephen Frank
RELATED: Victor Davis Hanson, a fellow Californian, on our frivolous legislature. Must reading.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The IRS said under oath Friday that former agency official Lois Lerner’s hard drive was destroyed and recycled, echoing earlier testimony from its commissioner.
In its most extensive comments yet on Lerner’s hard drive, the agency said in court filings Friday that the hard drive was destroyed in 2011 to protect confidential taxpayer information.
Before that, the IRS said, the hard drive underwent a process designed to permanently erase stored data. That process occurred after a series of IRS technical officers examined Lerner’s hard drive, and found that it couldn’t be restored after a crash.
The IRS’s court filings came as part of a lawsuit filed against the agency by True the Vote, a conservative activist group.
A week ago, Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court in Washington imposed a Friday deadline for the IRS to tell the court what happened to Lerner’s hard drive, among other questions.
The IRS said last month that Lerner’s hard drive crashed in 2011, leaving a chunk of her emails for the previous two-plus years missing.
That admission reignited the investigations into the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt groups. Lerner kicked off that controversy in May 2013 by apologizing for the IRS’s behavior, and has since become the central figure in the inquiry.
[GOP] skeptics, along with Judge Walton, also sought the serial number to Lerner’s hard drive.
In its court filing, the IRS said that it got the hard drive’s serial number from an outside contractor who sold the agency Lerner’s laptop computer. The IRS added that it only puts bar codes on larger pieces of equipment, like laptop or desktop computers.
The IRS said that it was standard practice for hard drives to be shredded before any of their parts were recycled. Because of its tracking system, the IRS said that it’s now impossible to say what happened to any of the parts of Lerner’s hard drive that might have been put back into use.
Stewart Baker at the Volokh Conspiracy legal blog quips:
Why? According to The Hill, “the agency said in court filings Friday that the hard drive was destroyed in 2011 to protect confidential taxpayer information.”
I’m sure the IRS feels it’s a little ungrateful of Tea Party groups to complain about the agency’s heroic efforts to protect them.
Indeed. The irony, and much more importantly, the bull sh*t IRS excuses are so thick you could cut them with a knife. I know it’s just a fantasy that will never in reality happen but I’d love every one of these sad excuses for “public servants” be carted off to prison to serve some serious time for what they’ve done. It’s absolutely sickening – and rest assured, if this happened under the Bush administration those involved would have already done the perp walk, and then some.
**Posted by Phineas
(Source: Israel MFA)
Leave it to Charles Krauthammer to clear away the nonsense and lay bare the key difference between democratic Israel and the Hamas dictatorship in Gaza:
“Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”
Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent “cycle of violence.” This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d’etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.
Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli left in Gaza.
And what happened after the Israelis left Gaza? Did the residents take the numerous greenhouses the Israelis left behind to grow food for their own people? Did they build roads and schools and a reasonable social safety net? Did they attract foreign investment to provide their people with productive jobs and a better life?
Oh, heavens no. That would be to imitate the Jews next door, and we can’t have that!
No, Hamas and their supporters destroyed the greenhouses and used all the aid and money the world (including Israel) gave them to instead dig tunnels, tunnels in which they hid weapons (and their leaders, for those times when Israel has had enough). They spent those millions buying rockets to fire at Israeli civilians (and at a nuclear reactor!), out of a religious need to fight and kill Jews.
Not “Zionists.” Jews. Because Allah tells them to.
And Hamas turns their own civilians into human shields not just to protect their precious missiles, but in the hope of getting some of their own civilians killed, because they want gory photos to wave before the world while shouting “See what those awful Jews did to us!” As for Gazans who get killed, well, it was Allah’s will and Allah will welcome them as martyrs. Whether they wanted to be one, or not.
That is the so-bright-it’s-almost-blinding difference the jihad-terror group Hamas, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the State of Israel, and any attempt to draw any equivalence between them is obscene.
Be sure to read the whole thing.
PS: Israel has launched a ground offensive into Gaza, and I hope they go all the way and destroy Hamas. I think this time they could do it, because Egypt, under President al-Sisi, who loathes the Muslim Brotherhood (along with many Egyptians), will do nothing to protect its Gazan branch.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Still too early to know exactly what has happened but here’s an initial report from Fox News:
A Malaysian Airlines passenger plane with 295 aboard was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Ukraine near the Russian border, according to multiple reports.
The airline, the same one whose plane disappeared over the Indian Ocean in March, confirmed only that “an incident” had occurred involving the Boeing 777, which was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam.
“Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam,” read a tweet from the airline. “The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow,” read a tweet from Malaysia Airlines’ account.
Multiple reports said the plane was shot down at cruising altitude. Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister told The Associated press that the plane, carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew people onboard, was shot down.
Gerashenko says on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was hit Thursday by a missile fired from a Buk launcher. A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.
The adviser also told Russian news agency Interfax that all onboard have been killed.
Prayers to the families of those hurt or killed, of course.
**Posted by Phineas
Radio host Dennis Prager cuts to the heart of the issue in this short lesson for his Prager University: the root of the Mideast problem is that one side wants the other side dead.
The one quibble I have with Prager’s lesson is that he leaves begging the question of why Arab Muslims want Israel destroyed. Why do they teach hatred of Jews in their media and their schools — even on children’s TV?
The answer is straightforward: Islam defines Jews as the mortal and eternal enemies of the Muslims. The Qur’an, Islam’s sacred book, is rife with antisemitism. And, indeed, a hadith in one of the most revered collections of the sayings and deeds of Muhammad informs the Muslims that Judgment Day cannot come until the Muslims fight and kill the Jews:
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.
–Sahih Muslim, Book 41, #6985
So, the root of the “Middle East problem” is that one side wants the other dead, and the reason for that is simple: Allah commands it. Think about it for a moment, and Hamas’ seemingly insane actions make perfect sense.
Thus I ask again: How can anyone be expected to negotiate with another party, when that other party’s is on a mission from God to kill the first party?
hat tip: JCinQC
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Brown, 46, has become an articulate voice and recognizable face opposing tenure, the century-old system of laws and contractual guarantees giving public-school teachers due-process rights in layoffs and terminations. Brown argues that tenure makes it difficult and expensive for school systems to remove underperforming teachers, and it protects their jobs at the expense of their students.
“I’m a mom, and my view of public education begins and ends with the fundamental question: Is this good for children?” Brown says by phone from New York, where she lives. “In a situation where it’s the child or the adult, I’m going with the child. .?.?. Tenure is permanent lifetime employment. There’s no reason why anyone’s job should become untouchable for the rest of their life.”
Campbell the journalist might interrupt an interview subject to take exception to that kind of generalization. Teachers unions and their advocates say tenure — instituted to prevent widespread abuses of a female-dominated workforce — doesn’t guarantee much beyond a fair hearing. Tenured teachers deemed ineffective or negligent, after hearings and evaluations, are fired, they point out.
“I have trouble with this issue because it’s so totally illogical,” says Diane Ravitch, an education historian. “It’s hard to understand why anyone thinks taking away teachers’ due-process rights will lead to great teachers in every classroom.”
As for Brown, Ravitch is dismissive: “She is a good media figure because of her looks, but she doesn’t seem to know or understand anything about teaching and why tenure matters. .?.?. I know it sounds sexist to say that she is pretty, but that makes her telegenic, even if what she has to say is total nonsense.”
Far be it from me to stoop to the level this so-called “education historian” did by snidely boiling down Brown’s popularity and smarts to her looks, but I have no idea – none at all – why the woman would come across as jealous of another woman’s looks. None whatsoever.
Continuing on, I don’t know her political leanings but Ravitch displays the typical behavior of a left wing feminist educrat know it all who thinks not only do they know best how to educate children and young adults, but that anyone who disagrees with them must be dismissed as “extreme” or “all hat no substance” — as a person whose opinions are not worthy of serious consideration. By doing that, self-important elitists like Ravitch can therefore summarily without a second thought dismiss a person’s arguments without taking the time to read and/or hear them and later provide a reasonable analysis after careful consideration.
Jon Chait, no friend to conservative education reformers by any stretch nevertheless slammed Ravitch here on a multitude of levels:
Why, yes, that does sound rather sexist. Now, Ravitch suggests here that Brown’s analysis is so transparently illogical that perhaps only her looks can account for her views. Why, Ravitch wonders, would the elimination of a job protection help attract better teachers? Let me reveal, via the power of logic, how this can work.
The basic problem is that some proportion of American teachers is terrible at their job and immune to improvement, yet removing them is a practical impossibility. (A good overview of the research on chronically ineffective teachers can be found here. Standard caveat: The author is my wife.) Under some conditions, loosening tenure laws can lead directly to more effective teachers in the classroom. For instance, when the Great Recession drove states to lay off teachers in order to balance their budgets, last-in, first-out hiring rules led them to fire teachers regardless of quality, thus removing highly effective (yet unprotected) teachers from classrooms.
In most fields, your pay is based on your perceived value rather than on the number of years you have spent on the job. Value-based pay does not work perfectly in any field. It certainly doesn’t work perfectly in my field, which explains, for instance, Howard Kurtz’s rumored extravagant wealth. Yet if we stopped paying journalists on the basis of their perceived value and started paying them on the basis of time served, I’d argue it would reduce the quality of journalism.
Opponents of reform relentlessly pick apart the various performance pay measures that are being implemented by reformers, and it’s true that none of those measures is perfect, either. But nearly all of them work better than paying people on the basis of how long they’ve held a job and making it functionally impossible to fire them for being terrible at their job. In places like Washington, D.C., education reformers have given teachers a chance to forfeit their tenure in return for the possibility of much higher pay.
Whatever side of this issue a person is on is irrelevant to how the debate over it is conducted. Ravitch’s sneers and condescending attitude towards disagreement in any form are beneath contempt and, frankly, are not worthy of the children for who she claims to be fighting. Time to grow up, ma’am. As many in your circle have often said in the past, this is not about you. It’s about the children. So stop acting like one.