I am just completing some interior renovations and about to start some exterior work and so was talking to a couple of contractors. The first told me a conspiracy theory a friend of a friend had told him from the Rush Limbaugh show, whereby the government was alleged to be requiring spy cameras in every HD TV set. I have not been able to track down what Limbaugh might have said to have triggered this claim, but the 'Chinese whispers' effect is instrumental in the workings of this type of propaganda. The speaker makes a claim that is hedged with qualifications and caveats knowing that their words will be repeated without them.
The second conspiracy theory involved a story on Glenn Beck's site about a government 'plan' to ban PVC pipe. The headline has a question mark but it is clear that the reader is intended to believe this is a real proposal.
Banning PVC pipe in home building probably isn't much of a concern to most people but it would certainly worry the people in the building trade most of whom are the blue collar males who are the target audience for Beck and Limbaugh.
The propaganda follows a pattern that will be familiar to anyone who has watched Beck's show. First there is an incredibly detailed introduction that is designed to prove to the reader that the writer is an authority on the subject by stating a long list of essentially irrelevant facts that could be found on wikipedia. Next there comes a sequence of paragraphs that juxtapose facts in a way that is essentially irrelevant to the point but intended to create an association in the reader's mind. The big lie must be preceded by an advance guard of spurious but hard to check claims designed to distract attention from the blatant misrepresentation to follow:
First off, LEED certification is not cheap. Design and construction review of a new building can cost up to $27,500. In fact, in 2009, the USGBC made over $74 million from accreditation, membership dues, and certification fees. The non-profit organization reported $53 million in net assets at the end of that year.It $27K for LEED certification expensive or cheap? It all depends on the cost of the building and the planning considerations. $27K would be rather expensive for a single residential building and a rounding error for a developer building an office block or a 100 unit residential community.
The extent to which the federal government subsidizes the USGBC is made clear when you realize the amount of LEED-certified building space in Washington, DC, which has more LEED-certified space on a per-capita basis than in any of the 50 states. Over 18.9 million square feet, or 31.5 square feet per resident, is LEED certified in the Washington, DC; the closest state is Colorado, with 2.7 square feet per person.Does it really make sense to compare a city to a state? Isn't it rather likely that Manhattan, Chicago and Boston have more LEED certified office space per capita than any of the 50 states as well?
And this brings us all the way back to PVC. As first mentioned, the GSA is considering new USGBC regulations that include the ?avoidance? of the popular material.OK so assuming that the government is not intending to shut down the construction industry by banning PVC pipe, what is really going on?
As the proposal states: The intent is to ?decrease the concentrations of chemical contaminants that can damage air quality, human health, productivity, and the environment.? And to this end, LEED will certify whoever uses products or materials ?that do not contain intentionally added substances present in the end product.? This includes Polyvinyl chloride.
Use a minimum of 20%, by cost, of at least 3 building product and material typesThe option then lists a series of highly toxic materials; lead, mercury cadmium and so on. PVC isn't even in the list. So these are requirements that only apply to 20% of the building materials costs. A PVC building floating on a lake of mercury could qualify for the pilot credit provided at least 20% of the cost was other materials. I don't know how much my plumber spent on PVC pipe but I doubt it added up to more than a few hundred bucks. It certainly didn't amount to 80%.
meeting one of the options below
Meet the requirements of Option 1.AND Use third party certified building products and materials that do not contain intentionally added substances present in the end product over the reporting thresholdsWhat this appears to say is that if your materials don't contain PVC or the other substances in concentrations higher than those allowed they count double. So you only need to source 10% of your components from these sources.
below. Calculate compliant building products and materials at twice the cost.
Allen Blakey, vice president of Industry and Government Affairs for the Vinyl Institute, says his organization is ?astonished to see PVC added to the USGBC?s list of chemicals to avoid,? the report adds. According to Blakey, PVC is a material that?s been studied for some time by the USGBC itself.And finally the writer heads off into crazy loopsville:
So why is LEED trying to blacklist the material?This are not the ravings of a lunatic, they are the work of a deliberate, cynical propagandist. Deconstructing the propaganda is really not hard but it does require some critical thinking skills. The type of skills that Republicans would rather not see taught in schools.
Well, maybe it?s important to understand a little bit more about LEED?s ?founding founder? Robert Watson, a man who infamously said ?Buildings are far and away the worst thing humans do to the environment.?
Lest we forget. "Buildings are far and away the worst thing humans do to the environment," Rob Watson of the Natural Resources Defense Council tells Grist magazine (November 25). "All of the buildings in the U.S. consume more than twice as much energy as all of the cars in the country." Chicago has a building that does much better--the Chicago Center for Green Technology, at 445 N. Sacramento, is the third building in the country to receive a "platinum" rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Here's a transcript of the major portion of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz's reply -- at the Seattle-based coffee company's annual shareholders' meeting yesterday -- to the second of the two questioners in the clip who wanted to know if the company's decision to stand up for the rights of what he called "a small percentage of our employees" unwisely risks offending consumers "in other parts of the country" and "in other countries."
I think what we tried to do in responding to the issue is look at the history of the company, what we stand for, and what we believe in. And the company is not a political organization, but clearly Starbucks has become part of a culture in a number of cities and now countries.
I think the lens in which we tried to respond and answer this question, candidly, was that there's 200,000 people who work for Starbucks. Starbucks in so many ways -- the equity of the brand has been defined by the relationship we have with them, and the relationship they have with our customers. And I think the success that we've enjoyed, which is linked to shareholder value, has a great deal to do with whether or not our people are proud of the company they work for, and feel as if they are part of something larger than themselves.
And in responding to the issue, we made a decision that we believe is right for our company. We believe it's defensible. But we're not reaching that decision to in any way offend you or anyone else, and I would say candidly, since we made that decision, there has not been any dilution whatsoever in our business, and as you can see, shareholder value has increased significantly, in large part because management has made the right kind of decisions that is in the best interest of the entire company.
We have multiple constituencies. The three most important ones are our people and our customers, and we've linked shareholder value to the communities we serve and our people, and I think performance in many ways should be one of the metrics to decide whether or not this decision in any way has been dilutive, and it hasn't been. Thank you.
What concerns me is possible economic boycotts, shareholder resolutions, things that might affect the sales of our company, the earnings, the stock value, things that affect everybody in this room, and other shareholders outside of this room. My question is this: Is it prudent to risk the economic interests of all the shareholders for something that might affect the private lives of a very small percentage of our employees?
Oh Puhleeze, As If! NOM Sez ?Boycott Starbucks!? for Supporting Marriage Equality
Lisa Derrick Wednesday March 21, 2012 8:16 pm
Hot on the heels of their loss in New Hampshire, those dregs of America, the National Organization for Marriage, are steaming like frothy Santorum and calling for a nationwide boycott of Starbucks because:Starbucks corporation issued a memorandum to all ?US Partners? declaring that same-sex marriage ?is aligned with Starbucks business practices? and ?is core to who we are and what we value as a company.?
In addition to declaring its corporate-wide position in support of gay marriage, Starbucks also used its resources to participate in a legal case seeking to overturn a federal law declaring marriage as the union of one man and one woman?.
This is why we must urge all consumers to ?dump Starbucks,? as well as Seattle?s Best Coffee and Evolution Fresh juices, which are owned by Starbucks.
The Right-Wing Noise Machine has shown itself so effective at hoodwinking and hornswoggling large swaths of a gullible American populace that I have considerable respect for the shrewdness of its well-funded chief manipulators. Even so, every now and then we get striking reminders of the extent to which these people are trapped inside their own echo chamber, deluding themselves into thinking that the crackpot ravings they foment actually represent the "thinking" of anyone outside their sphere of influence.
A spokeswoman for the retailer declined further comment on the issue but did say in an e-mail to Reuters, "jcpenney stands behind its partnership with Ellen DeGeneres" and added that its announcement of the agreement last week sums up the company's view of the popular TV personality.
In that statement on January 25, company president Michael Francis called DeGeneres "one of the most fun and vibrant people in entertainment today, with great warmth and a down-to-earth attitude."
The spokesperson matters especially since it is the Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. In shareholder settings like this one, his presentation is particularly strong ? no lectern, no barrier between him and his audience, and not a hint of defensiveness in his tone.
This is the measure of a company?s influence and voice, when its leaders take a principled stand, and defend their decisions intelligently and respectfully. His statement cannot and won?t persuade critics and adversaries, but it goes a long way towards building more allies, empowering his employees, and reminding the market that the corporation stands for something.
A memorable and teachable moment for many if not all business leaders too.
Starbucks is proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington State legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. Starbucks strives to create a company culture that puts our partners first, and our company has a lengthy history of leading and supporting policies that promote equality and inclusion.
This important legislation is aligned with Starbucks business practices and upholds our belief in the equal treatment of partners. It is core to who we are and what we value as a company. We are proud of our Pride Alliance Partner Network group, which is one of the largest Employer Resource Groups for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) employees in the U.S., helping to raise awareness about issues in the communities where we live and work.
For the last 20 years, our benefits program has offered domestic partner benefits in the U.S. These benefits include medical, dental, vision, prescription drugs and alternative health care coverage. All partners (part-time and full-time) in all work locations, whether in a store, a roasting plant or a corporate office, adhere to the same eligibility requirements for health coverage and have access to the same comprehensive health plans.
We are deeply dedicated to embracing diversity and treating one another with respect and dignity, and remain committed to providing an inclusive, supportive and safe work environment for all of our partners.
We look forward to seeing this legislation enacted into law.
Executive Vice President, Partner Resources
we need to keep standing up to the narrow-minded, uptight, bigots who seek to control our minds and our bodies by telling us who and how we should love. And that means letting your local Starbucks manager and the corporate leadership know that you appreciate their stance by crossing their corporate threshold, ordering a cuppa and thanking the Starbuck?s baristas for their company?s all-American, open-minded stance. The same goes for any company that speaks up for marriage equality.
In many communities, Starbucks is the go-to coffee spot providing WiFi, snacks, a place to socialize, read and write, and the ever-important caffeine. And seriously, does NOM actually think that its own members will give up skinny frappuccinos or double caramel lattes? Those NOM moms will be sneaking the Starby?s guiltily, making the mochas even more delicious for their sinfulness.
Make mine a double.
A WORD ABOUT THE STARBUCKS MEETING YOUTUBE CLIP#
The clip was posted, incredibly enough, by the NOM loons, who don't seem to understand how badly their side is shown up. Maybe they're just incapable of recognizing someone speaking with the calm dignity that Howard Schultz maintained? This raises the possibility that some of the smarter loons may come to their senses and de-post the clip. In fact, a colleague in the U.K. reported today that no matter what he tried -- and he's been doing this for a while -- he was unable to get sound from the clip.
One of the things that I've found curious about the pearl-clutching over the revelation that dramatist/monologuist Mike Daisey embellished his experiences at Foxconn is that these self-same media types have no problem breathlessly reporting the next "gotcha" journalism prank of punk James O'Keefe and other Breitbart minions, no matter how ridiculous or epic fail it might be. You'd think "fool me once..." would apply when it comes to a convicted criminal like James O'Keefe, but sadly, it hasn't.
However, there's at least one person who sees O'Keefe clearly for what he is and she's sharing what she knows. Of course, it shouldn't surprise you to hear that she's been subjected to some of the most ugly attacks on Twitter for daring to expose what a puerile, ugly and downright pathological jerk he is.
Last week, we reported that Nadia Naffe, self-described ?accomplice? to conservative activist James O?Keefe , had begun publishing a multi-part tell-all series of posts to her blog. Thursday morning, Naffe published the second part, which details her version of the events that led her to file a criminal harassment complaint against O?Keefe in November, and which includes documents related to a sexual harassment settlement between O?Keefe and ?CNN Sex Boat Caper? whistleblower Izzy Santa. O?Keefe filed suit against Naffe on Wednesday to obtain an injunction against publication of those documents, and of emails that O?Keefe claims she stole from his computer.
Since publishing the first part of her tell-all, Nadia Naffe has been the subject of relentless attacks on Twitter, and has responded defiantly, promising to publish 7 years worth of O?Keefe?s emails and documents (which she says she obtained when the conservative provocateur borrowed her Android phone and linked his Gmail account with hers), and to give a full accounting of the events that led her to file a criminal harassment complaint against him in November.
Naffe's account is really seedy, suggesting that O'Keefe may have drugged her beer, leaving her disoriented and unable to get herself back to the train station and away from O'Keefe. But that's not even the seedy part:
When you observed me lying in bed, talking on the phone with a male friend, you became noticeably upset. You picked up your penny loafers and stormed out of the room like a 10-year old boy having a tantrum. You called me on the phone moments later demanding to know why I was talking on the phone with someone else in your presence. You were furious.
Emphasis mine throughout. Nadia writes that she "turned my back to James? as he stopped in the kitchen, where my beer was sitting, on his way out the door." Then:
I tried to escape from the barn as quickly as I could. I tried to run away, but I didn't know where I was. I felt disoriented after drinking the alcohol you purchased. It was pitch black outside and there were no lights. It was freezing cold inside the barn, there was no heat inside and I couldn't see the steps leading downstairs. I called and texted you dozens of times that night, insisting that you return me to the train station or provide me with transportation out of the remote location which you brought me to. When I told you I felt sick, you didn't seem surprised. You advised me to lye down in bed and that everything would be better in the morning.
My last resort was to threaten to call the police. It was only then, did you agree to take me to the train station in New York. I had hoped this would be a smooth process, but with you James, there is no nuance>.
Not sure what sort of "nuance" is involved when threatening to call the cops, but let's return to the letter:
When you returned to the barn, you brought an older white male with you to intimidate me. You never advised me of his presence. He stood in the dark, hiding downstairs behind the staircase. I heard his footsteps and began screaming and shouting at the both of you. I thought you brought him there to assault me. But even as I screamed and yelled at you and that man, you and he persisted in trying to convince me to spend the night in the barn.
James, I am not a fool. The barn is the same place where you taped intimate moments with Emma, without her knowledge. You are looking for a reason to blame me for what happened that night, so that you can become the victim. Perhaps, you believe by denigrating my personal character and using the same sexually suggestive tactics that are currently being used against Herman Cain, that my reputation will be ruined and so that yours can be spared. But James, the only place your version of the facts has any merit is in your paranoid head.
Wait....wait...wait. Rape barns? Sex tapes? Intimidation by hidden older male friends? WTH? Isn't this guy on probation still? Shouldn't he be getting visits from the authorities?
James, this is not junior high. You need to grow up and be a man. Do not continue to make a fool of yourself by calling to offer me money, as you did on Oct. 24th. I was never with you for the money. I'm not looking for a payoff. Be a man and return my panties and scarf that were in the trunk of your car. Do not keep my undergarments as a trophy or souvenir to show off to your friends.
Seriously, this story makes me want a shower. Ew. Obviously, I have absolutely no way to no if Nadia Naffe is telling the truth or not, but it would be the height of irony if O'Keefe's own tactics have been used against him as he has done to his targets.
The Rude Pundit, on guns, Trayvon Martin and the NRA:
Seriously, if the ACLU were as deranged in defending the First Amendment as the NRA is in defending its distorted version of the Second, you'd be able to walk up to a crucifixion statue in the middle of St. Boyrape's Cathedral, shit on Christ's face, and claim "freedom of expression," and the laws would back you up and how dare anyone be such a pussy as to claim that shitting on Christ's face isn't free speech.
The Obama Administration recently announced that it would begin an "interagency process" to implement commitments made on human rights before the UN Human Rights Council just over a year ago. Coinciding with the announcement, the American Civil Liberties[...]
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When Galveston voters approved parking fees long the Seawall last year, they did so with the expectation that they were voting for Seawall enhancements. All you need to do is look at the picture above to see what I am saying. I took that picture last year during the campaign for parking fees on the [...]
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I would note that the Illinois delegates are technically unbound. While DCW is reporting the Illinois delegates in our main delegate count, you could argue that the RNC should not.
Also, check out the Santorum super-PAC delegate analysis. They basically assume every technically unbound and unpledged delegate us up for grabs. Their count:
The group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization comprised of police officers, prosecutors, judges and other criminal justice professionals, endorsed Initiative 502 in Washington State. The initiative, if approved by voters, would legalize[...]
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As for the killing of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama did what virtually any commander in chief would have done in the same situation. Even President Bill Clinton says in the film “I hope that’s the call I would have made.” For this to be portrayed as the epic achievement of the first term tells you how bare the White House cupboards are. – Wall Street Journal
Only a Republican could get away with a statement like this one.
Karl Rove obviously didn’t read The New Yorker‘s account of “Getting Bin Laden,” by Nicholas Schmidle.
Mr. Rove’s entire op-ed is a petty belch, but the real insult is Rove’s flippant assertion that the mission to kill Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan wasn’t an “epic achievement” by SEAL Team Six, as well as one hell of a gamble by Pres. Obama.
What gives Rove the nerve to be so disrespectful?
It’s that he knows Democrats won’t mount an argument and make what he wrote in his Wall Street Journal op-ed an issue.
It’s because he doesn’t know the risk or the cost of such a mission. He’s a man who never served a day or faced an armed enemy, but who did have the gall to expose a C.I.A. NOC, Valerie Plame, causing sources to be burned, all for political reasons.
Karl Rove, a creature of Lee Atwater, is someone who began our walk into scorched earth partisanship, which he shows today by making the killing of Osama bin Laden a partisan event.
For this to be portrayed as the epic achievement of the first term tells you how bare the White House cupboards are. – Karl Rove
Can you imagine the spectacle Republicans would have made about a Democrat equal to Rove’s standing saying the killing of the mastermind of 9/11 wasn’t an “epic achievement”? Limbaugh and Hannity’s heads would have exploded, with Fox News running clips of the slur all day long.
Rove also forgets that one other commander in chief didn’t exactly think bin Laden on the loose mattered.
“I just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.” – Pres. George W. Bush (see video above)
The Democrats should have taken Karl Rove to the woodshed on this one.
Pres. Obama did what George W. Bush didn’t do and couldn’t get accomplished. He did it by ordering a very risky mission inside of Pakistan that was significantly dangerous. By all accounts it was harrowing, with the booty recovered inside Osama bin Laden’s lair reportedly impressive, making it worth the risk, according to experts.
There is no hope for us unless we can all agree on certain very simple facts and the appreciation of a job well done for this country.
One of those is the order by Pres. Obama and the subsequent carrying out of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden by SEAL Team Six.
Michael Moore and others have argued bin Laden should have been tried, but that’s another subject. There should be no disagreement, disrespect or dissembling of the magnitude of what Pres. Obama ordered done.
That Karl Rove would reveal his sour grapes openly and without a hint of self-awareness on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal is an unprecedented act of gracelessness.
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If you're a Republican and you would like to come on the air and repeat one talking point after another virtually unchallenged, this Thursday, Chuck Todd once again showed us he's happy to oblige you. Todd allowed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to get away with a series of lies right off the bat, like pretending increasing domestic oil drilling will have any major impact in lowering the price of gasline (it won't), or that Republicans have some sort of "principled" stance on energy production, unless you consider always doing the bidding of the oil companies "principled."
Todd then asked Hutchison about the Republicans "war on women" and he allows her to get away with claiming that Republicans don't want to restrict women's access to contraception after she just voted for the Blunt amendment. Heaven forbid he might have reminded her of that during the interview.
She finished up with giving a half hearted defense of Planned Parenthood, saying she disagreed with Gov. Rick Perry's decision to turn down the state's Medicaid funding. It would have been nice if she'd bothered to say something when the House Republicans were seeking to defund it last year.
Think Progress has more on Hutchison's defense of Planned Parenthood which I don't think was particularly brave given that it was mainly prodded on by Chuck Todd.
During an interview on MSNBC this morning, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) voiced rare support for Planned Parenthood, noting that the organization provides much-needed preventive care to low-income women. The outgoing Texas senator also condemned a recently-enacted Texas law that prohibits Planned Parenthood from participating in the Medicaid program and providing health care services to some 130,000 women. The controversial measure has led the federal government to officially stop funding the Texas Women?s Health Program, but Gov. Rick Perry (R) insists that the state will fill the funding gap using state funds.
Hutchison criticized Perry?s decision to turn his back on the federal dollars, which she argued, provide critical care to lower-income women.