The Justice Department is objecting to a proposed $20 million severance payment for American Airlines CEO Tom Horton, saying it’s bigger than allowed by bankruptcy law.
Horton became CEO when American filed for Chapter 11 protection in November 2011. The proposed merger of US Airways Group Inc. and American calls for Horton to lose that job and become chairman of the combined company. American has proposed giving him severance pay of almost $20 million and lifetime flight benefits.
The objection filed Friday by the U.S. trustee’s office says bankruptcy law caps such payments, even if they are agreed to in bankruptcy court but not made until the company exits bankruptcy protection. Bankruptcy law limits severance payments to executives and aims to make sure companies can repay as much of their debt as possible.
The objection also says previous company filings showed that Horton would get a maximum of $6.4 million if he had left at the end of last year, and raises the question of why he should get so much more money now. American has said in filings that the money for Horton is in recognition of his efforts during the airline’s restructuring and his role in overseeing the merger with US Airways.
The trustee’s objection also says American should be required to explain how its board determined that $20 million was the right amount for Horton, and to say whether independent directors approved of the payment.
Progressive Activism Is Bubbling Up Across the Country — Here’s What’s Happening That the Corporate Media Can’t Be Bothered to
This was a week that exemplified the historic moment in which we live. We will look back at these times and see the seeds of a national revolt against concentrated wealth that puts profits ahead of people and the planet.
Mike Lux, who authored a history of the movements of the 1960s, wrote this week that when he researched his book he “was struck by the fact that so many big things happened so close together.” Comparing that moment to today he writes, “We are living in such a moment in history right now, that organizers and activists are sparking off each other and inspiring each other, that there is something building out there that will bring bigger change down the road.”
That is how we felt as we watched and participated in this week’s unfolding. We began the week prepared to focus our attention on the amazing teacher, student and community actions that were occurring in defense of schools. In Philadelphia, there was a giant walk-out of schools last Friday as students demanded their schools remain open and be adequately funded. The photos of young people fighting for the basic necessity of education were an inspiration.
That was followed by three days of protests in Chicago that were equally inspiring, students organized and communities came together to fight for education. Though corporate-mayor Rahm Emanuel’s carefully selected board voted to close 50 elementary schools and one high school (while the city funds the building of a new basketball stadium), the Chicago activists say they are not done. They are just getting started. It is that kind of persistence that wins transformation. These school battles are part of a national plan to replace community schools with corporatized charter schools. The battles of Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities are all of our battles.
But, when you read reports about police acting in this undemocratic way, don’t forget that many of them do not like doing what they are ordered to do and that pulling them to join the popular revolt is part of our job. A mass movement needs people from the power structure to join it in order to achieve success. We highlight one this week, Officer Pedro Serrano of New York who took the great personal risk of taping his superiors as part of an effort to end the racist ‘stop and frisk’ program of the NYPD.
So the Afghanistan President put forth a decree, banning or otherwise making illegal:
- Child Marriage
- Forced Marriage
- Domestic Violence
- "Women as Chattel" (Giving a daughter or sister away to settle a debt)
- Murdering Rape Victims as Adulterers
Which puts the country at least one baby step closer to being actually sane.
So of course there’s a riot about it:
More than 200 male students protested in Kabul yesterday against women’s rights, calling for the repeal of a presidential decree on the ‘Elimination of Violence Against Women’, which they say is un-Islamic.
Every time I try and defend Muslims against the venom I hear going towards them from the ultra-far right here in the states, I’m reminded of stuff like this. Of course, if the ultra-far right had their way, our country would look suspiciously like the Middle East in a few years.
Fifty years ago, African-Americans were targets of the Ku Klux Klan’s violent hate agenda as the Civil Rights movement gained steam in desegregating public institutions across the South.
The Birmingham church bombings, which killed four little girls in 1963, was one of the most violent crimes the Ku Klux Klan has been responsible for in attacking Black Americans (on Friday, the president signed a bill designating the Congressional Gold Medal commemorating the lives of the four young girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing).
In 2013, the Ku Klux Klan is still active and fighting to hold on to the legacy of their forefathers. Triple Hate, a new VICE documentary, profiles a recent KKK rally against the Memphis city council’s decision to rename Confederate parks.
But why are groups like the KKK still holding on to the past? According to Bill Nigut, Southeast regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, the issues of the KKK are deeper than just wanting to defend their history and keep the Confederacy alive.
“They are venting their anger and frustration. They are looking to blame people for issues in their own lives,” says Nigut. “It is not surprising that in a time of economic uncertainty there are people looking to blame other people for their own problems.”
Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel is clutching his pearls and cranking up the faux outrage machine once again, this time over a pamphlet sent out to management at the Department of Justice that offers suggestions on how to maintain a positive work environment for LGBT employees. And he lies about the content of that pamphlet in order to claim that it’s an “attack on freedom.”
Our sources have provided Liberty Counsel an internal DOJ document titled: “LGBT Inclusion at Work: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers.” It was emailed to DOJ managers in advance of the left’s so-called “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month.”
The document is chilling. It’s riddled with directives that grossly violate - prima facie -employees’ First Amendment liberties.
Following are excerpts from the “DOJ Pride” decree. When it comes to “LGBT pride,” employees are ordered:
“DON’T judge or remain silent. Silence will be interpreted as disapproval.” (Italics mine)
That’s a threat.
And not even a subtle one.
Oh, nonsense. First of all, this is a pamphlet of “practical tips to help managers create a truly inclusive workplace
climate.” It’s not a set of commandments delivered from Mt. Sinai. It wasn’t even sent out by DOJ officials, it was sent out by DOJ Pride, the Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Employees of the U.S. Department of Justice and Their Allies. And when you look at this in context, it becomes clear what that little out-of-context snippet means
With less than six weeks left until the interest rate on Stafford loans are set to double if Congress doesn’t act, proposals on how to address these federal interest rates have been pouring in from all branches of the government.
On Thursday, the House passed the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, which would put Stafford loan interest rates in step with financial markets from year to year, ending a system in which rates are set by Congress. This “simple” solution likely won’t get far, as it faces opposition from Senate Democrats who have a competing bill that would extend the current interest rate of 3.4 percent for two years, giving Congress time to consider a long-term approach to address the growing student debt crisis that impacts 38 million Americans.
President Obama also threatened to veto the bill, calling it the “wrong approach” for students and their families, citing the lack of transparency and clarity for student and parents who try to garner the true price tag of borrowing for college, missing repayment options for borrowers who don’t attend school anymore, and shifting the burden of reducing the deficit on the shoulders of student loan borrowers among others.
In response to the House’s passage of the bill Carmel Martin, executive vice-president for policy at the Center for American Progress, our parent organization, said in:
The decision by the House of Representatives to approve Rep. Kline’s proposal is a step in the wrong direction for students and the economy. Rep. Kline’s bill taxes students to pay down the deficit. Congress should act to stop rates from doubling and build in protections for students to help them manage their debt. The House measure would divert $3.7 billion from the program to deficit reduction and result in an increase in student debt of close to $4 billion over what borrowers would pay under current law.
A Houston man faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted on charges that he called in bomb threats to two Jewish synagogues, federal prosecutors said.
A criminal complaint against Dante Phearse, 32, was unsealed Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
More: Courthouse News Service
This case should be interesting - this is where “reasonable expectation of privacy” butts up against journalistic freedom. I believe that Svenson has stepped over the line here, but the courts could rule otherwise.
The Fosters say they did not consent to be photographed, and would have refused if asked.
They say they were “deeply distressed” to find that their “children’s faces were clearly recognizable,” potentially “compromising their safety and security.”
“Plaintiffs were also greatly frightened and angered by defendant’s utter disregard for their privacy and the privacy of their children,” the complaint states. “Plaintiffs now fear that they must keep their shades drawn at all hours of the day in order to avoid telephoto photography by a neighbor who happens to be a professional photographer.”
The Fosters claim that Svenson stands to profit handsomely from “The Neighbors.” A bit of Internet research showed that a Los Angeles gallery’s exhibition quoted pictures of the children at $5,000 to $7,500 apiece, according to the complaint.
“Upon information and belief, Svenson intends to sell five prints of ‘Neighbors #6’ and ‘Neighbors #12’ for a total of $50,000-$75,000,” the complaint states.
“Neighbors #6 shows Martha Foster holding her son James, with her daughter Delaney standing beside her. Delaney is wearing a bathing suit and James is wearing a diaper.
“Neighbors #12 shows Martha Foster holding Delaney in her arms. Delaney is wearing a bathing suit.”
Svenson’s press statements demonstrate his “disregard” of privacy concerns, the Fosters say.
“For my subjects there is no question of privacy,” Svenson said in a promotional statement, according to the complaint. “The neighbors don’t know they are being photographed; I carefully shoot from the shadows of my home into theirs. I am not unlike the birder, quietly waiting for hours, watching for the flutter of a hand or the movement of a curtain as an indication that there is life within.”
Martha Foster claims she told Foster that she does indeed have questions about her family’s privacy.
“Greatly concerned for the safety and security of her children, plaintiff Martha Foster contacted Svenson on or about May 2, 2013, to express her concerns and attempted to resolve the situation amicably,” the complaint states. “Defendant was unwilling to completely stop selling and displaying images of plaintiffs’ children.”
After this conversation, the Fosters retained attorneys and publicity for Svenson’s project exploded, with NBC, CBS and ABC, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and New York Post lining up to profile the photographs, according to the complaint.
“These videos and articles include photographs that clearly picture plaintiffs’ apartment building and many provide its address. ‘Neighbors #12’ continues to be displayed on a Facebook web page attributed to Svenson,” the complaint states.
More: Courthouse News Service
White House aides rankle at any comparison to Bush and Cheney. They dutifully note that in his first days in office, Obama ended the use of torture (a.k.a. enhanced interrogation techniques) and declared his intention to shut down Guantanamo. (Gitmo remains open, but that’s mainly because congressional Republicans and Democrats thwarted the White House effort to develop a high-security facility in the United States to house the detainees.) And the Obama-ites contend they have reformed some of the Bush-Cheney policies, such as the use of military commissions, to justify maintaining these practices. Also, they are not reluctant to add that Obama did end the war in Iraq and is downsizing the war in Afghanistan (at a faster pace than then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-CIA chief David Petraeus urged in 2011). But much of this defense has tended to get lost as the administration has fired off drone strikes without acknowledging the individual attacks and has, following in the path of previous administrations, resisted certain congressional oversight efforts.
So Obama’s speech Thursday on counterterrorism policies—which follows his administration’s acknowledgment yesterday that it had killed four Americans (including Anwar al-Awlaki, an Al Qaeda leader in Yemen)—is a big deal, for with this address, Obama is self-restricting his use of drones and shifting control of them from the CIA to the military. And the president has approved making public the rules governing drone strikes.
The New York Times received the customary pre-speech leak and reported:
A new classified policy guidance signed by Mr. Obama will sharply curtail the instances when unmanned aircraft can be used to attack in places that are not overt war zones, countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The rules will impose the same standard for strikes on foreign enemies now used only for American citizens deemed to be terrorists.
Lethal force will be used only against targets who pose “a continuing, imminent threat to Americans” and cannot feasibly be captured, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a letter to Congress, suggesting that threats to a partner like Afghanistan or Yemen alone would not be enough to justify being targeted
A new NASA and university analysis of ocean data collected more than 135 years ago by the crew of the HMS Challenger oceanographic expedition provides further confirmation that human activities have warmed our planet over the past century.
Researchers from the University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay, Australia; and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., combined the ship’s measurements of ocean temperatures with modern observations from the international Argo array of ocean profiling floats. They used both as inputs to state-of-the-art climate models, to get a picture of how the world’s oceans have changed since the Challenger’s voyage.
The Challenger expedition, from 1872 to 1876, was the world’s first global scientific survey of life beneath the ocean surface. Along the way, scientists measured ocean temperatures, lowering thermometers hundreds of meters deep on ropes.
“The key to this research was to determine the range of uncertainty for the measurements taken by the crew of the Challenger,” said Josh Willis, a JPL climate scientist and NASA project scientist for the upcoming U.S./European Jason-3 oceanography satellite, scheduled to launch in 2015. “After we had taken all these uncertainties into account, it became apparent that the rate of warming we saw across the oceans far exceeded the degree of uncertainty around the measurements. So, while the uncertainty was large, the warming signal detected was far greater.”
Uncertainties around the Challenger’s measurements were caused by the limited areas measured during the voyage; the actual depths the thermometers descended to; and the likely natural variation in temperature that could occur in each region during the voyage.
“Our research revealed warming of the planet can be clearly detected since 1873 and that our oceans continue to absorb the great majority of this heat,” said researcher and lead author Will Hobbs of the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. “Currently, scientists estimate the oceans absorb more than 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases, and we attribute the global warming to anthropogenic (human-produced) causes.”
The Challenger expedition measurements also revealed that thermal expansion of sea water caused by global warming contributed about 40 percent of the total sea level rise seen in tide gauges from 1873 to 1955. The remaining 60 percent was likely to have come from the melting of ice sheets and glaciers. Prior to this research, climate models offered the only way to estimate the change before the 1950s.
Results of the study are published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
For more on the study, visit: imas.utas.edu.au .