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Late Late Night FDL: Aladdin

By: Friday April 18, 2014 10:00 pm

Marty Feldman and GonzoAladdin, from episode 518 of The Muppet Show.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the coffee table, and try to only throw soft items at the screen please. This is Late Late Night Firedoglake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?

Late Night: The Roundup

By: Friday April 18, 2014 8:00 pm

Hey folks, how are you today?

International Politics


- Very interesting and informative interview on the situation in eastern Ukraine and what is actually happening in the area

- Arundhati Roy: “Another World Is Not Only Possible, She Is on Her Way

- The psychologist who helped make torture possible in Guantanamo Bay and other black sitses defends the program and admits he conducted torture as well; How sick

- The U.S. threatens more economic sanctions if Russia does not follow the recently agreed international agreement

- A former Colonel writes on the rabid pro-war feeling among Western officials to respond to Russia over eastern Ukraine

Middle East

- Opposition groups in Iran said officials use extreme violence against political dissenters in prisons

- Again, I would rarely do this compared to older Roundups, but I think this statement speaks for itself: “Why Jews must oppose muzzling of Palestine solidarity activists“; I find it interesting the author is a former executive of Northeastern University’s Hillel Foundation

- State-run Syrian news reported 14 people died and at least 50 were wounded in Homs after a car bomb exploded

- A bomb exploded in a shopping area of Baghdad, Iraq killing three people

Asia and Oceania

- At Mount Everest, 12 people died and four went missing after an avalanche

- The captain who escaped from a ferry that sank in South Korea and led to the deaths of hundreds has been arrested; A transcript found the captain delayed efforts to save passengers


- A bomb exploded in central Cairo, Egypt, which left one police officer dead and four people injured

- An education official in Nigeria said 24 school girls were released by Boko Haram, but 84 are still being held

- An anti-corruption watchdog figure in Egypt said his job has gotten fierce attacks by those in the establishement for doing his job

The Magic and Beauty of Hiding Behind Front Groups

By: Friday April 18, 2014 6:30 pm

Cover up False Front From a great diary at Daily Kos, ”Industry Expert Says StopRush Has Destroyed Limbaugh’s Business For Good“ by Proglegs:

Speaking yesterday on the Ed Schultz radio show, industry insider Holland Cooke credited a persistent online activist movement with completely destroying right wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s business model by using the very free speech that El Rushbo claims gives him carte blanche to do what he does.

The piece quotes Cooke on the Ed Show and discusses the lower ratings, Rush’s move to smaller stations and the impact of less income for Rush’s distributors and radio stations.

Being the self-important Vulcan I am, I commented on the piece and my role in the process that lead to this.

Discussing the article with my friend Jeff Tiedrich of the Smirking Chimp there was some confusion.

Wait, how does losing advertisers result in fewer listeners? Seems to me they’re two different problems.

I explained they they were indeed separate issues. I created the Spocko Method specifically to reduce revenue in an environment where the ratings wouldn’t necessarily be impacted by an action and could even increase the ratings because of controversy.

I know that when KSFO, Savage, Beck or Limbaugh lost advertisers that didn’t necessarily mean they would lose ratings. In fact. they would keep bragging about the ratings because people were tuning in to hear the controversy. See the Streisand Effect

Higher ratings usually translate to higher ad rates. But if no one wants to advertise or sponsor the show, then high ratings are moot, especially to the people wanting to make money off of ratings. However, the ratings are still useful to people who want to push a message.

“Russia With Love”: Alaska Gas Scandal Is Out-of-Country, Not Out-of-State

By: Friday April 18, 2014 4:57 pm

A legal controversy — critics would say scandal — has erupted in Alaska’s statehouse over the future of its natural gas bounty.

It’s not so much an issue of the gas itself, but who gets to decide how it gets to market and where he or she resides.

The question of who owns Alaska’s natural gas and where they’re from.

The Neocon Money Machine

By: Friday April 18, 2014 3:45 pm

In 2003 writer Eli Lake declared that the neoconservatives were the “most influential wing in the current administration,” and that those empowered neoconservatives were chiefly responsible for the expedited time table to launch what would become the disastrous Iraq War. A war that would, among other things, bring Barack Obama to power as the American public near-universally rejected not just the blunders and false promises that sold the war, but the ideology underpinning it. Americans no longer saw trying to bring “democracy” by the barrel of a gun to every corner of the world as a good idea, let alone a duty worth killing and dying for.

Keystone XL Review Extended, Delaying Final Decision Until After 2014 Elections

By: Friday April 18, 2014 2:45 pm

Reuters and Politico broke a major story today that TransCanada’s northern leg of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will not be decided on until after the 2014 mid-term elections.

“The U.S. State Department will…extend the government comment period on the Keystone XL pipeline, likely postponing a final decision on the controversial project until after the November 4 midterm elections.”

Clapper Goes on Tour to Persuade University Students Snowden Is No Whistleblower, Not a Hero

By: Friday April 18, 2014 1:45 pm

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is touring universities and colleges in the United States in an attempt to persuade students that they should not consider former NSA contractor Edward Snowden a whistleblower or a hero.

Overwhelming Support for Medical Marijuana in Key Presidential Swing States

By: Friday April 18, 2014 12:40 pm

In the top swing states of Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Iowa over 80 percent of voters back allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana. It is possibly the least controversial policy issue that has not yet been adopted.

Top Ten At Ten

By: Friday April 18, 2014 11:36 am

Some of the stories from today’s Top Ten At Ten.

* Ukraine Is Not Ordering Its Jews to Register (TNR)

* Russia and China forge closer ties, as EU explores sanctions (EU Observer)

* Gabriel García Márquez, Conjurer of Literary Magic, Dies at 87 (NY Times)

New Approach Oregon Begins Gathering Signatures for 2014 Pot Legalization Initiative

By: Friday April 18, 2014 10:35 am

They have just under three months to gather the roughly 87,000 valid signatures if they want to qualify. While that is a short window, the campaign claims they are confident they can get it down.

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Upcoming FDL Book Salons

Saturday, April 19, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
Poison Candy: The Murderous Madam: Inside Dalia Dippolito’s Plot to Kill
Chat with Mark Ebner about his new book. Hosted by Beth Karas.

Sunday, April 20, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
The Gulf of Tonkin Events – Fifty Years Later: A Footnote to the History of the Vietnam War
Chat with John White about his new book. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah J. Nelson.