January 15, 2012

Advisory Board: LightSquared, GPS Can’t Coexist; Bland News Stories Avoid Falcone, Obama and Dem Campaign $

LightSquaredLogoOn Friday, two Deputy Secretaries, one at the Department of Transportation and the other at Defense, in their capacities as co-chairs of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee, released a one page letter concluding that the modified broadband deployment plan of LightSquared could not coexist with current GPS devices and their spectrum. That’s because: a) LightSquared’s deployment “would cause harmful interference to many GPS receivers”; b) It would not be “compatible with several GPS-dependent aircraft safety-of-flight systems,” and c) “there appear to be no practical solutions” to the problems.

Stories about the release, to the extent they exist, are largely avoiding the mention of “Falcone” (that’s hedge fund operator and heavy Obama campaign contributor Philip Falcone, “SEC” (which is investigating Falcone and his hedge fund, and “Obama” (as in President Barack Obama, the beneficiary along with the “Democratic Party” — another unmentioned term in any variation — of said contributions). Coverage by Daniel Fisher at Forbes at least brings up Falcone, the SEC, and the Obama administration:

The finding by the PNT committee strikes a severe blow against Falcone who has poured billions of dollars of his own and investors’ money into LightSquared. He suspended redemptions from his Harbinger Capital after investors, who made $10 billion off of his successful bet against subprime securities, sought to pull their money from the fund that has since shrunk to $5 billion. He also faces unrelated Securities and Exchange Commission allegations of insider trading that could result in his suspension from the securities industry.

In response to the PNT committee announcement Harbinger said this: “We are confident that the tests, when the protocol is disclosed and the details are examined, will be shown to be invalid. … This is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt by government agencies to protect the interests of the GPS industry who are unauthorized users infringing on spectrum licensed to LightSquared.”

Regardless of how Falcone fares, his spectrum will likely remain valuable. In the letter, the PNT committee said it continues to “strongly support” President Obama’s push for an additonal 500 megaherz of spectrum for broadband wireless use as cellular phones and other devices display an exponentially rising hunger for wireless bandwidth.

By contrast:

  • I couldn’t locate any mention of LightSquared in over a month in an advanced search on the company’s name at the New York Times.
  • The Associated Press story by Joan Lowy has a bland “Don’t read me, I’m boring” headline (“Officials: Broadband plan would disrupt GPS”) and contains none of the four key words/terms listed earlier.
  • The Washington Post is only carrying the AP story and a somewhat puffy item about the company’s new Chief Financial Officer (hmm).
  • A Google News search for the past week done tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET (sorted by date without duplicates) returns 73 results — pretty light for a story of this gravity.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air brought up another point I didn’t see elsewhere:

The ball now goes back to the FCC’s court, but they have a big problem. The newly-signed National Defense Authorization Act created a legal restriction on the FCC to ensure that current GPS services remain free of interference, and have to report every 90 days for the next two years on that status. With two governmental bodies reporting to the FCC that LSQ’s system substantially interferes with GPS systems in commercial, military, and aviation applications, there is almost certainly no legal way that the FCC can sign off on Philip Falcone’s attempt to build a 4G network on the cheap.

If the Obama administration is lucky, LightSquared will quietly go away. The press is ready to bury it; the only question appears to be whether the company and Falcone will cooperate by dropping their current contentious posture and sell the valuable spectrum to someone else.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Barely News: North Korea’s ‘Criticism Sessions,’ and Reported Punishment of Those Not Sufficiently Mourning Kim’s Death

KimJongIlDearLeaderDec11Yet another episode being reported from the totalitarian nightmare that is North Korea is getting short shrift in most of the world’s press, namely “criticism sessions” (i.e., rat out your neighbor, coworker, etc.) identifying North Koreans who allegedly weren’t sufficiently grief-stricken over the December death of Kim Jong Il, weren’t sufficiently demonstrative about it, or didn’t attend enough mourning events, as well as the punishments for such transgressions which have reportedly followed.

The source is the Daily NK, a South Korea-based web site described by AFP as “an Internet website run by opponents of North Korea.” The opening paragraphs from Wednesday’s Daily NK report read as follows (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Harsh Punishments for Poor Mourning

The North Korean authorities have completed the criticism sessions which began after the mourning period for Kim Jong Il and begun to punish those who transgressed during the highly orchestrated mourning events.

Daily NK learned from a source from North Hamkyung Province on January 10th, “The authorities are handing down at least six months in a labor-training camp to anybody who didn’t participate in the organized gatherings during the mourning period, or who did participate but didn’t cry and didn’t seem genuine.”

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David Axelrod Tries to Re-Wright History

Jeremiah Wright spewed for 1,000 weeks, not “ninety seconds,” and Obama knew.

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Note: This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Friday.

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President Barack Obama’s head campaign thug — er, “chief political strategist” — David Axelrod wants America to take the two-decade relationship between Obama, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and the Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) on Chicago’s south side off the electoral issues table in the 2012 presidential election campaign.

Axelrod said as much in a speech delivered on January 10 as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series of Southern California. There is apparently no evidence that he expressed a similar desire relative to Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, Newt Gingrich’s and Rick Santorum’s Catholicism, or Rick Perry’s evangelical Christianity. What a surprise.

You might think that Axelrod’s argument would be that Obama attempted to personally distance himself from Wright’s black liberation theology-based radicalism and fundamental hostility to his country in late March of 2008, and that he quit TUCC two months later.

Nope. Axelrod made it clear that he is pushing for a full historical “re-Wright” of a critical aspect of Barack Obama’s life when he told his California audience that the negativity surrounding Wright, who when last tracked was targeting a luxurious retirement in the 98% non-African-American Chicago suburb of Tinley Park, is the result of a ginormous media-driven misunderstanding. Axelrod’s axiom is that initial reports about Wright selectively used “ninety seconds of vitriol plucked from thirty years of sermons by some enterprising opposition researcher.”

Axelrod’s implication, of course, is that 90 seconds of “vitriol,” a word which as defined carries an implicit assumption of underlying truth (better words and terms describing the substance of Wright’s rants would include slander, defamation, overt racism, hatred, and lies), is all that could be found. His 90-second limitation quickly leads to what has been and what the left wants to remain as the mother of all 2008 presidential campaign fictions, namely that Obama did not know that Wright was a racist America-hater.

One can almost prove the contention wrong based on other video evidence alone. The March 13, 2008 report broadcast by Brian Ross at ABC (now at YouTube; the incomplete text summary at ABC’s web site, which once had the video, no longer does) stated that it had “reviewed more than a dozen sermons offered for sale by the Church,” and clearly could have provided far more material in its report if more time had been available. In an interview with Fox News’s Major Garrett the very next day, Obama characterized himself as a “regular in spurts” TUCC churchgoer. Thanks to Wright’s abundant variety of Africa-inspired vestments, we know that his most controversial comments occurred in at last a half-dozen separate sermons. The likelihood that frequent attendee Obama didn’t hear any of them, or about any of them, is quite remote.

Then there’s the video shown here, where at the 3:30 mark, Wright tells his congregation:

… one of our members just might … turn the tables on white supremacy and have a black woman sleeping legally at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

We’re supposed to believe that neither Barack nor wife Michelle (assuming they weren’t actually there) could possibly have heard a word about Wright’s perception of their presidential mission.

Beyond that, of course, there are the church bulletins the Obamas would have received at virtually every service they attended during his twenty years of involvement and at least the first sixteen years of her marriage to Barack. The bulletins’ editorials by Wright and others within the church frequently denounced America as a country founded and still based on inhumanity to blacks, as a nation controlled by rich white people, and as the number one killer in the world. Guest commentators in the bulletins’ pages included a Hamas terrorist and several black liberation-spouting clerics.

A TUCC spokesperson who claimed to be in a position to know told me in 2008 that bulletins were distributed each week to attendees before services. So Barack Obama had them, but somehow we’re supposed to believe his claim that he never read them. In March 2007, Ryan Lizza, attending a TUCC service while writing for the New Republic, observed how Obama “watches the preacher carefully and writes notes.” Since he almost certainly received a bulletin upon arrival, and since the bulletins always contained at least one blank but lined page for taking notes, the odds that Obama was taking those notes in a bulletin he supposedly never read are quite high. Lizza never responded to several messages I left in 2008 asking him if he saw where Obama was recording his notes. I think I know why.

Finally, there was Wright’s now-defunct Trumpet Newsmagazine, the place for longer diatribes and features on assorted peacemakers like Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, and White House-visiting misogynist rapper “Common.” Obama was featured on its cover at least three times, but wants us to believe that had no idea of its other contents.

Getting to the details is a column for another time, but the fact is that despite his departure from TUCC, Barack Obama took much of Jeremiah Wright’s mindset into the Oval Office, where it has contributed in both overt and subtle ways to the horrible havoc his administration has wrought.

Sorry, David Axelrod. There is no way you should get your way on this one — and hopefully you won’t.

Positivity: Rick Reilly — ‘I believe in Tim Tebow’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:54 am

Excerpts from Reilly’s January 13 ESPN column:

I’ve come to believe in Tim Tebow, but not for what he does on a football field, which is still three parts Dr. Jekyll and two parts Mr. Hyde.

No, I’ve come to believe in Tim Tebow for what he does off a football field, which is represent the best parts of us, the parts I want to be and so rarely am.

Who among us is this selfless?

Every week, Tebow picks out someone who is suffering, or who is dying, or who is injured. He flies these people and their families to the Broncos game, rents them a car, puts them up in a nice hotel, buys them dinner (usually at a Dave & Buster’s), gets them and their families pregame passes, visits with them just before kickoff (!), gets them 30-yard-line tickets down low, visits with them after the game (sometimes for an hour), has them walk him to his car, and sends them off with a basket of gifts.

Home or road, win or lose, hero or goat.

Remember last week, when the world was pulling its hair out in the hour after Tebow had stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers with an 80-yard OT touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in the playoffs? And Twitter was exploding with 9,420 tweets about Tebow per second? When an ESPN poll was naming him the most popular athlete in America?

Tebow was spending that hour talking to 16-year-old Bailey Knaub about her 73 surgeries so far and what TV shows she likes.

“Here he’d just played the game of his life,” recalls Bailey’s mother, Kathy, of Loveland, Colo., “and the first thing he does after his press conference is come find Bailey and ask, ‘Did you get anything to eat?’ He acted like what he’d just done wasn’t anything, like it was all about Bailey.”

More than that, Tebow kept corralling people into the room for Bailey to meet. Hey, Demaryius, come in here a minute. Hey, Mr. Elway. Hey, Coach Fox.

Even though sometimes-fatal Wegener’s granulomatosis has left Bailey with only one lung, the attention took her breath away.

… It’s not just NFL defenses that get Tebowed. It’s high school girls who don’t know whether they’ll ever go to a prom. It’s adults who can hardly stand. It’s kids who will die soon.

… There’s not an ounce of artifice or phoniness or Hollywood in this kid Tebow, and I’ve looked everywhere for it. …

Read the whole thing.

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011512)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Pope baptizes 16 babies in Sistine Chapel

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Vatican City:

Jan 8, 2012 / 02:51 pm

Pope Benedict XVI baptized 16 newborn babies during Sunday Mass within the historic surroundings of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel on Jan. 8.

“We can say that this was your first educational choice as witnesses of the faith to your children: the fundamental choice,” said the Pope to the parents, godparents, families and friends.

The annual ceremony marks the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and thus, the conclusion of the Church’s Christmas celebrations. The Pope explained to those gathered that their role is now to educate their children in conjunction with God.

“Educating is very demanding; it is sometimes arduous because of our human capacities, which are always limited,” he said.

“But education becomes a wonderful mission if it is done in collaboration with God, who is the first and true educator of every man.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.