Thursday, October 2, 2008

Need a Job? The CIA Is Hiring


I took note of an ad spot running on local radio station KFOG. The CIA is, it turns out, recruiting employees. Curious, I went to the web page referenced by the announcer, and found this particular job opening for a ‘Core Collector‘ where you’ll “serve on the front lines of human intelligence collection overseas for the National Clandestine Service” and must “must demonstrate the skills, abilities and personality traits necessary for the safe, secure, and effective conduct of clandestine intelligence collection operations overseas.”

You will be “focused full time on clandestinely spotting, assessing, developing, recruiting, and handling individuals with access to vital foreign intelligence on the full range of national security issues” and “deal with fast-moving, ambiguous, and unstructured situations by combining [your] ‘people and street smarts’ with subject matter expertise and a knowledge of foreign languages, areas, and cultures.” Count on “long, irregular hours,” and stressful situations.

As for requirements, you’ll need to “complete a thorough medical and psychological exam, a polygraph interview and an extensive background investigation.” A second language is useful, especially Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Indonesian, Korean, Pashto/Pashtu, Persian, Russian, Turkish, or Urdu. Please note that “applicants must generally not have used illegal drugs within the last twelve months.”

And, finally “Knowledge by non-Agency personnel of your association with the Central Intelligence Agency or the Intelligence Community may limit your ability to perform or preclude you from certain assignments… We urge your discretion throughout the entire hiring process to ensure maximum flexibility for your potential NCS career.” I guess we don’t call them ’spies’ anymore…

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Financial Downturn Further Weakens Newspapers

From the Wall Street Journal:

The financial turmoil is adding headaches for troubled newspaper publishers.

The Star Tribune said Wednesday it skipped a debt payment as the Minneapolis newspaper tries to restructure $430 million in borrowings. Publisher Chris Harte indicated the company is testing all options with its lenders.

Gannett Co., the country's largest newspaper publisher, meanwhile said Wednesday it had tapped its credit line as short-term financing markets stall. And alternative weekly publisher Creative Loafing Inc. filed for Chapter 11 this week. [Click for MORE]

> FORBES: For Newspapers, The Storm Gets More Perfect

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

1910 Bombing of the Los Angeles Times Building

From Los Angeles Times Pressmen 20-Year Club:

The bombing of the Los Angeles Times in the early 20th century was a major political event.

98 years ago today.

From the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive...

"From 1886 to 1917, Harrison Gray Otis was the owner and publisher of the Los Angeles Times. During that time the newspaper pursued a strong conservative viewpoint, and was militantly anti-union in its editorials and in its relationship with employees.

On October 1, 1910, in the middle of a strike called to unionize the metal trades of the city, the Times building was dynamited. The south wall facing Broadway Street collapsed, causing the second floor to also collapse under the weight of its machines onto the first floor. The first floor then collapsed into the basement, destroying the heating plant and gas mains. The building, with many of its workers trapped inside, was soon an inferno. There was a loss of life of at least 20, and about the same number were injured, some of them permanently.

In an unusual move the mayor hired a private investigator who was able to implicate a number of men in the bombing. These included Ortie McManigal, James B. McNamara, and his brother John J. McNamara (secretary-treasurer of the International Union of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers). McManigal agreed to testify against the McNamara brothers.

Organized labor, in turn, saw this as an all-out attack on the unions and labor in general. Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, hired Clarence Darrow to defend the brothers. Darrow called them "pawns in a vast industrial war."

By the time the trial began, however, Darrow had come to the conclusion that the brothers were guilty. Rather than fighting a hopeless battle, he persuaded the brothers to plead guilty. That decision stunned the city and inferiorated the Gompers (sic).

James McNamara got a life sentence, while his brother received a sentence of 15 years. Two others, David Caplan and Matt A. Schmidt, were later implicated and received life sentences. The damage from the trial was to plague Clarence Darrow for the rest of his life." [additional photos and information]

Submitted by Brian Humphrey,
SpokesmanLos Angeles Fire Department

Video supplied by Daniel Mitchell Professor-Emeritus UCLA
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Patriotic ideals

This letter appeared on today's editorial page in the Los Angeles Daily News.

Patriotic ideals

Sen. John McCain has made patriotism an issue in his campaign for the presidency. Patriotism is indeed a legitimate issue and McCain, shot down, captured and imprisoned for years, suffered greatly. Patriotism, however, must extend beyond military service. Of the dangers threatening our country today, one of the most subtle has been the erosion of standards of honorable behavior and failing ethics.

We have had a president who has lied, given support to torture and whose enemy-combatant ploy can, at his whim, jail a citizen for years without evidence, without trial, with no appeal and with no explanation of the charges. This is fascism.

The principal focus of patriotism today must be the defense and reaffirmation of the ideas and ideals that made our country great. Surely truthfulness is one of these ideals. How, then, can we support a candidate for the presidency whose campaign includes many lies - most recently, one falsely accusing Barack Obama of proposing sex education for tiny tots?

Yes, this is politics, but should not political attacks be limited to the issues? McCain's tactics are to divert attention from them and to focus instead on unrelated nonsense.


The letter writer is chairman of the board of the MediaNews Group, the Daily News' parent company.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Calif. Law Protects Student Journalism Teachers

Administrators will be prohibited from retaliating against high school and college journalism instructors under a bill signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The bill by Sen. Leland Yee makes it illegal to dismiss, transfer or discipline teachers for protecting students' free-speech.

The California Newspaper Publishers Association says teachers have been punished at least 12 times since 2001 because of stories or opinion pieces written by student reporters.

The bill by Yee, a San Francisco Democrat, would allow administrators to remove teacher advisers for poor performance.

Yee says the bill, which Schwarzenegger signed Sunday, shows the state's commitment to protecting freedom of the press on campuses. It takes effect Jan. 1. -- Associated Press


On the Net:

Read SB1370 at

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The Sun Sets

Click image to enlarge
From the New York Observer:

"I told the staff," said Seth Lipsky, editor of The New York Sun, "that I tend to be an optimist. And I held out hope for a favorable outcome as late as mid-afternoon today."

By 4 P.M., Mr. Lipsky was informing his staff that the Sun would fold, and tomorrow's edition would be their last.

"You know it has been the honor of my life to be in the harness with this group of journalists and I did what I wanted to do," he said.

Media Mob asked about how difficult it is to hang it up, particularly in the middle of an enormously important news day in New York.

"I agree, it’s a tremendous story, but I'm very focused on putting out tomorrow's paper," he said.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Redesigned Newspapers Launch in Three Cities

It was a busy weekend for redesigns among U.S. newspapers. The Hartford Courant's new look debuted Sunday, with a dramatically different nameplate and a lead story on the death of one of Connecticut's most well-known residents, Paul Newman.

The Chicago Tribune and The Oklahoman both launched this morning. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content