Skip to main content

 title=

OND Editors  OND is a community feature  on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary.  Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

OND Editors  consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editor annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you.

BBC:Syria 'submits chemical weapons data' to Hague watchdog


Syria 'submits chemical weapons data' to Hague watchdog

Syria has begun sending details of its chemical weapons as part of a US-Russia brokered deal to make them safe, the chemical arms watchdog has said.

The Hague-based OPCW added that it expected more details from Syria in the coming days and had postponed a meeting planned for Sunday.

Syria was given a Saturday deadline to give a full list of its chemical arms.

The US had threatened military action over a chemical attack in Damascus which the UN says was a war crime.


BBC:Blackberry to cut 4,500 jobs amid earnings plunge

Blackberry to cut 4,500 jobs amid earnings plunge

Blackberry has announced it is planning to cut 4,500 jobs, or 40% of its worldwide workforce, in an attempt to staunch huge losses.

The smartphone maker said it anticipated a loss of as much as $995m (£621m) when it reports its second-quarter earnings next week.

Shares in the firm closed down 17% after briefly being halted following the announcement.

In August, the Canadian company said it was evaluating a possible sale.


BBC:Diplomats protest over West Bank clash with Israel troops

Diplomats protest over West Bank clash with Israel troops

Diplomats from a number of European countries and the UN have reacted angrily after Israeli soldiers intervened to prevent them delivering aid to Bedouins in the West Bank.

One French diplomat said she was forced to the ground from her vehicle.

The aid was being delivered to Khirbet al-Makhul after homes there were demolished under a High Court order.

An Israeli spokesman said it was reviewing whether the diplomats had abused their privileges.


BBC:Pakistan to free Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Baradar on Saturday

Pakistan to free Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Baradar on Saturday

Former Afghan Taliban second-in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is to be released from prison in Pakistan on Saturday, the foreign ministry says.

A spokesman said the release was to "further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process".

Mullah Baradar is one of the four men who founded the Taliban movement in Afghanistan in 1994.

He became a linchpin of the insurgency after the Taliban were toppled by the US-led invasion in 2001.


BBC:Sri Lanka set for historic vote in northern areas

Sri Lanka set for historic vote in northern areas

Voters in Sri Lanka's north are set to elect their first ever semi-autonomous council, four years after the army defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

The Tamil-majority Northern Province, which was first promised such a body decades ago, is the only region which has never had its own council.

But the run-up to the vote has seen allegations of army intimidation - all denied by the authorities.

On Friday a Tamil opposition candidate said her home had been attacked.  


BBC:Nigeria's 'Boko Haram': Abuja sees security forces targeted

Nigeria's 'Boko Haram': Abuja sees security forces targeted

 A cell of suspected Islamist militants has opened fire on security forces in Nigeria's capital Abuja, say officials.

The clash occurred at about 03:00 local time after a tip-off about the location of a suspected Boko Haram weapons cache, Nigeria's spy agency said.

The State Security Service did not give any details about casualties. A witness told the BBC he saw nine bodies.

However, other witnesses told Reuters news agency the shooting came during an attempt to move squatters.


Reuters:Guatemala arrests suspected drug trafficker wanted for ties to Mexican cartel

Guatemala arrests suspected drug trafficker wanted for ties to Mexican cartel

(Reuters) - Guatemalan and U.S. law enforcement agents on Tuesday arrested a suspected Guatemalan drug trafficker wanted for ties to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, the gang run by drug lord Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.

Waldemar Lorenzana was captured by Guatemalan officials working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Teculutan, Zacapa, some 130 km (80 miles) northeast of Guatemala City, the attorney general's office said in a statement.

Lorenzana, 48, belongs to a family with a strong pedigree in drug trafficking and the U.S. government had issued a $200,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

The Guatemalan attorney general's office said Lorenzana was wanted for trafficking cocaine to the United States from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.


Reuters:Lockheed Martin clinches $4 billion Pentagon missile defense deal

Lockheed Martin clinches $4 billion Pentagon missile defense deal

(Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Friday it has finalized a contract worth $4 billion with Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) to supply equipment for a missile defense system to the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

The deal involves Lockheed's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system that is designed to intercept ballistic missiles in midair.

The contract reflects growing confidence and demand for the missile defense system, said Riki Ellison, founder of the non-profit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.

The deal, which has been in negotiation for several years, will combine orders for the United States and UAE, generating savings for the United States of about 10 percent, said Mat Joyce, Lockheed program manager for THAAD.


Reuters:U.S. singer Selena Gomez cancels Russian concerts

U.S. singer Selena Gomez cancels Russian concerts

(Reuters) - U.S. pop singer Selena Gomez has scrapped two concerts in Russia after falling foul of new visa rules which critics say can be used to keep out Western artists who promote gay rights.

The concert organizers said the "Come and Get It" singer pulled out of the planned performances in St. Petersburg and Moscow next week when it became clear she would not be able to secure a visa in time.

They blamed the delay on the new rules, which they said were prompted by official concern over two concerts in Russia at which Madonna and Lady Gaga defended gay rights, and a gig in neighboring Ukraine where the lead singer of U.S. group Bloodhound Gang stuffed a Russian flag down his trousers.

"The situation is a result of the scandals over the Madonna, Lady Gaga and Bloodhound Gang concerts, after which the Russian authorities changed procedures for issuing visas to foreign musical and artistic groups," said the promoters, the Russian Entertainment Academy.


Reuters:Fumes sicken dozens at Tacoma elementary school

Fumes sicken dozens at Tacoma elementary school

(Reuters) - Forty-two students and five staff of an elementary school in Tacoma, Washington were taken to area hospitals on Friday after being sickened by fumes, possibly from a leaf blower being used on the school roof.

The students and staff from Edison Elementary School were treated for dizziness, nausea and headaches related to the fumes, which became noticeable shortly after classes began, Tacoma Fire Department Battalion Chief David McRoberts said.

McRoberts said the symptoms did not appear to be serious and a spokesman for Tacoma Public Schools said all of those affected were ready to be released from the hospital by mid-afternoon.

"We're definitely thankful that all of the injuries and illnesses were minor and not worse," the spokesman, Dan Voelpel, said.


Reuters:Japan firms resist Abe's calls to raise wages: Reuters poll

Japan firms resist Abe's calls to raise wages: Reuters poll

(Reuters) - Japanese companies are largely ignoring Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's calls for higher wages in the face of an expected sales tax increase, a Reuters poll shows, underscoring the difficulties the government faces in trying to defeat entrenched deflation.

Abe will make a final decision on October 1 about whether to lift the tax to 8 percent from 5 percent in April. While necessary to bolster state coffers, the hike threatens to take the wind out of the success he has had with boosting stocks and weakening the yen.

Now that Japan Inc has begun to benefit from his bold monetary and fiscal policies, the prime minister wants companies to return the favour by lifting wages, which in turn will boost consumption and prices, and make the recovery sustainable.

"The government will consider bold steps in order to achieve a virtuous circle of rising profits, jobs and wages," Abe told a meeting on Friday of government, business and labour leaders. "I'd like to ask people from the industry and labour circles to make bold efforts for their part as well."


Reuters:White House rounding up support for Yellen to take reins at Fed

White House rounding up support for Yellen to take reins at Fed

(Reuters) - White House officials are mustering support among Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee to back Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen, three sources said on Friday, laying the groundwork for her expected nomination to the Fed's top job.

Two Senate Democratic aides, who requested anonymity, said officials had encouraged senators to support Yellen and talk her up, hardening the sense that President Barack Obama has settled on her to replace Fed chief Ben Bernanke when his term ends in January.

A third source familiar with the calls said the White House had reached out to some of the 20 Democratic senators who had signed a letter to Obama in July urging him to appoint Yellen, who would be the first woman to hold the job if confirmed by the Senate.

This source said the White House had not communicated that Obama had made a decision on who to nominate, but wanted to make sure any negative reports about Yellen did not go unanswered.


PC WORLD:Ballmer: Three-layered plan will lead to 'One Microsoft'

Ballmer: Three-layered plan will lead to 'One Microsoft'

It’s been two months since Steve Ballmer unfurled his plan to restructure Microsoft’s operations, and inquiring minds would like to know what stage the process is at.

In fact, he was asked just that on Thursday during the company’s meeting with Wall Street analysts, but Ballmer’s answer wasn’t entirely clear or specific.

The analyst who brought up the subject asked whether the process was completed and, if it’s not, whether it would take several more quarters for all the pieces of the different teams to be in place and for everyone to know whom they report to.  

 
EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever" (13+ / 0-)

    Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is considered one of his most memorable films, and critics generally cite it as a classic horror movie.

    However, Stephen King has been very vocal about how much he loathes Kubrick's adaption of his work, and went so far as cooperating with an ABC miniseries version of the story that he felt was truer to his vision. King has stated Kubrick was "a man who thinks too much and feels too little," and couldn't grasp the themes of his story. According to King, his book was about a normal man who goes crazy after being victimized by the malevolence of the hotel, where Kubrick's film is about a crazy man who goes absolutely bonkers as part of a domestic tragedy.

    King is releasing a sequel to The Shining called Doctor Sleep next week. As part of the press tour for the book, King has been restating his opinions about Kubrick's The Shining.


    From Indiewire:

    "[It's] cold, I'm not a cold guy," King told BBC arts editor Will Gompertz. "I think one of the things people relate to in my books is this warmth, there's a reaching out and saying to the reader, 'I want you to be a part of this.' With Kubrick's 'The Shining' I felt that it was very cold, very 'We're looking at these people, but they're like ants in an anthill, aren't they doing interesting things, these little insects.' "

    And when it came to Jack Nicholson's signature turn as Jack Torrance, King felt there wasn't enough mystery behind whether or not he was losing his mind. "Jack Torrance in the movie, seems crazy from the jump. Jack Nicholson, I'd seen all his biker pictures in the '50s and '60s and I thought, he's just channeling 'The Wild Angels' here," he said. Actually, that movie doesn't have Nicholson, but Peter Fonda, but we suppose King was thinking of "Hells Angels On Wheels," so easy mistake.

    However, King saves his greatest criticism of "The Shining" for its portrayal of Wendy, the beleaguered wife of Jack. "Shelley Duvall as Wendy is really one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film, she's basically just there to scream and be stupid and that's not the woman that I wrote about," the writer stated.

  •  Thanks JML! (13+ / 0-)

    In Japan...

    "The government will consider bold steps in order to achieve a virtuous circle of rising profits, jobs and wages," Abe told a meeting on Friday of government, business and labour leaders. "I'd like to ask people from the industry and labour circles to make bold efforts for their part as well."
    In the USA...
    It's wicked socialism.
  •  Thanks JML9999 ... (8+ / 0-)

    Much appreciated.

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 09:25:48 PM PDT

  •  JML9999 (7+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this evening`s OND.

    Thank you very much.

    DSCN5448

    I`m already against the next war.

    by Knucklehead on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 09:28:29 PM PDT

  •  Oil Spills in Colorado (6+ / 0-)

    Daily Camera: State now tracking 10 oil and gas spills in Colorado flood zones

    Rushing floodwater loaded with heavy debris damaged oil and gas pipes and tanks and led to two of the largest of 10 spills state and federal regulators were tracking Thursday.

    Eight of the releases were classified as minor by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission — sheens coming off of a piece of equipment rather than a measurable volume of petroleum product.

    Anadarko Petroleum Corp. reported two larger releases in Weld County Wednesday. About 125 barrels spilled — or 5,225 gallons — into the South Platte near Milliken. A tank farm on the St. Vrain River released 323 barrels — about 13,500 gallons — near Platteville.

  •  Elizabethan guinea pig portrait (6+ / 0-)

    Guardian: Behold the oldest depiction of guinea pig in English art

    The oldest guinea pig in English art, clutched by a solemn seven-year-old Tudor girl, will soon go on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

    The little animal looks more content than its anxious owner, probably secure in the knowledge that it was unlikely to become her lunch, as it certainly would have done at home in South America.

    The painting is believed to be by an anonymous Flemish or Dutch trained artist, much in demand among the English gentry for high-status portraits depicting every pearl and gold button.

    It dates from around 1580, and is believed to be the earliest depiction of the animal in England. It was painted at a time when guinea pigs, tender chunks of protein in South America, were beginning to be imported by the Spanish as exotic pets for wealthy Europeans.

  •  Thanks, JML... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trix, Aunt Pat, maggiejean, jlms qkw, JML9999

    Have a good weekend all.

    All sane people detest noise. Mark Twain

    by Man Oh Man on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 10:08:35 PM PDT

  •  The IDF blasted European diplomats (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, JML9999

    with sound grenades, for trying to feed Palestinian bedouins whose homes they had just destroyed.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    The world won't tolerate this behaviour much longer.

    … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

    by mosesfreeman on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 10:20:37 PM PDT

  •  the One True Microsoft: the pin in a linchpin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Man Oh Man

    of dangerous roof leaf blowers

    He became a linchpin of the insurgency
    Ballmer: Three-layered plan will lead to 'One Microsoft'

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 10:26:22 PM PDT

  •  Sullivan: Kristol prays on Netanyahu on Iran (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Man Oh Man

    Apparently not previously referenced on Dkos:

    Andrew Sullivan sums up Bill Kristol's "latest screed":

    This American is calling for a foreign government to ignore the American president and disrupt his foreign policy by an act of pre-emptive war. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
    This is in response to Kristol’s prediction and “prayer”:
    we’ll see a charm offensive worthy of Richard III by the new Iranian president and veteran deceiver of the West, Hassan Rouhani… who doubts that the couple will end up where Iran, the leading partner, wants to go?
    ...
    As Iran moves closer to nuclear weapons.... Despite imprecations from the Obama administration, Israel will act. One prays it will not be too late.
    More is available at the Sullivan link above. If you cannot resist giving Kristol the click in order to see it's labored Hitler and Churchill analogies, his original post is here.
  •  radio waves (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    basquebob, Man Oh Man

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    how radio waves are produced

    Historical variation of day length because of tidal acceleration400 million years ago years lasted 410 days, meaning that days were 21 hours long. This is because the Earth's speed of orbit was once much faster than it is today.

    John Boehner sees pink elephants and imaginary Americans ~ Joan McCarter ::: Republican attempt to defund Obamacare makes them just like Rosa Parks, say Republicans ~ Jed Lewison

    by anyname on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 12:03:03 AM PDT

  •  rewind: what particle are you flowchart (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Man Oh Man

    John Boehner sees pink elephants and imaginary Americans ~ Joan McCarter ::: Republican attempt to defund Obamacare makes them just like Rosa Parks, say Republicans ~ Jed Lewison

    by anyname on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 12:55:05 AM PDT

  •  1994: A Whole New World USSB (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    1994 video produced for the launch of the USSB direct broadcast satellite service. USSB was founded in 1981 by Hubbard Broadcasting founder Stanley S. Hubbard, who is widely considered to be the father of modern satellite broadcasting. Hubbard spent most of the 1980's raising awareness and money to launch a digital satellite television service.

    In the 1990's, he had teamed up with RCA/Thomson Consumer Electronics and Hughes Electronics Corporation to come up with a practical digital satellite service capable of 175 channels.

    The original name of the service was HUBTV, named after Hubbard, but was soon changed to USSB before launch. When the service launched, USSB offered a comparatively small slate of channels, but included almost all of the major American premium channels. while Hughes offered programming under the banner of DirecTV. DirecTV later acquired USSB.

    http://www.celebritynetworth.com/...

    Hubbard

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    60 plus association

    The 60 Plus Association is an American 501(c)(4) organization founded in 1992 and based in Alexandria, Virginia. Its stated purpose is to promote solutions to seniors' issues that are grounded in free markets, less government, and less taxes.

    Over the years, it has sought to offer a privatized option for Social Security, end the federal estate tax, and strengthen gun rights. Current issues include opposing certain health care reform proposals, opposing federal energy standards, opposing the structure of the General Motors bailout, supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act, and opposing tax increases. 60 Plus is a member of the Cooler Heads Coalition.

    In 2002, the Washington Post reported that 60 Plus received an unrestricted educational grant (which can be used as most needed) from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, also known as PhRMA.

    http://www.stealthpacs.org/...

    60 Plus Association

    Stated Purpose:
    A non-partisan seniors advocacy group with a free enterprise, less government, less taxes approach to senior issues.

    Tax Status:
    501(c)(4)

    Political Orientation:
    Republican

    Profile:

    September 2004  —  60 Plus Association was formed in the early 1990s with help from Richard A. Viguerie, a conservative direct mail guru who has had ties to two other purported senior citizens' advocacy organizations that have served the causes of Republicans and the pharmaceutical industry in recent years: United Seniors Association and the Seniors Coalition.

    60 Plus sent direct mail or broadcast radio messages in at least 24 federal election contests in the months leading up to Election Day 2002. In nearly every case in which the content of its direct mail or radio advertisements was reported, 60 Plus communications concerned prescription drug benefits for senior citizens.

    The group appears to have coordinated its 2002 electioneering efforts with at least two other 501(c) organizations believed to be at least partially funded by the pharmaceutical industry: America 21 and the Seniors Coalition. The three groups chose to advertise in many of the same contests. In Colorado's 7th District congressional contest between Republican Bob Beauprez and Democrat Mike Feeley, all three groups sent out direct mail pieces that misspelled the Republican's name identically as "Beuprez." The mailers had similar or identical type faces, and each promoted Beauprez's support for a Medicare prescription drug benefit.

    "While the Special Interests are selling another scheme for government run health care ... Bob Beuprez [sic] is supporting a Medicare prescription drug plan that works for America's seniors," the mailing said.

    60 Plus President Jim Martin told the British Medical Journal in 2003 that his group had 225,000 donors, whom he said he would not disclose to protect their privacy. But in 2002, 60 Plus received nearly $11 million (91 percent of its total revenue) from a single undisclosed donor, according to the group's Form 990 filing with the IRS.

    It is quite likely that such a large contribution came from the pharmaceutical industry. The Washington Post reported that 60 Plus was the beneficiary of an unrestricted educational grant in 2002 from PhRMA, the trade association of the brand name prescription drug industry; AARP Bulletin reported that 60 Plus received contributions in 2001 from PhRMA and from drug giants Pfizer, Merck and Wyeth-Ayerst.

    In the last three years, 60 Plus has relied increasingly on contributions of $5,000 or more, according to its disclosures to the IRS. The group's 2003 revenue represented a dramatic leap. Its annual revenue from 1999 to 2001 ranged from about $1.6 million to $2 million.

    60 Plus reported to the IRS that it had zero political expenditures from 2000 to 2002, representing to the IRS that none of its advocacy communications were intended to influence the outcomes of elections.15 That claim appeared particularly suspect for 60 Plus communications in at least five U.S. House contests and one U.S. Senate contest in which the group praised or criticized candidates who did not hold federal office and were not in a position to vote on the issues 60 Plus raised.

    Although 60 Plus bills itself as a non-partisan organization, its electioneering messages in 2002 exclusively benefited Republicans. Martin, the group's president, has long been associated with Republican politics. Among other things, the group's Web site advertises that Martin "was instrumental" in hiring George W. Bush for his first job in politics to work on the successful 1968 U.S. Senate campaign of Edward J. Gurney (R-Fla.).

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/...

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/...

    The 60 Plus Association is described in an article posted November 1, 2009 on FireDogLake.com as a Big Pharma front group. FireDogLake reported that the group has "ties to the national GOP" and is "almost fully funded by the pharmaceutical industry." The 60 Plus Association is reported to have been a front for Big Pharma since it's inception.

    In a segment on her August 10, 2009 show, Rachel Maddow discussed the 60 Plus Association's ties to the G0P, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the lobbying group Bonner & Associates"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...
    The Cooler Heads Coalition is " an informal and ad-hoc group" financed and operated by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It described itself as "focused on dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis".

    John Boehner sees pink elephants and imaginary Americans ~ Joan McCarter ::: Republican attempt to defund Obamacare makes them just like Rosa Parks, say Republicans ~ Jed Lewison

    by anyname on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 07:41:16 AM PDT

  •  Pentagon's Top Ten (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BusyinCA

    http://www.forbes.com/...

    EXCERPT

    How The Pentagon's Top Ten Contractors Dealt With The Last Downturn

    The Soviet Union went out of business the day after Christmas in 1991.  For the first time since Pearl Harbor was bombed 50 years earlier, the United States faced no major threats in the world.  Some defense-industry executives feared their companies might end up following the USSR into Trotsky’s “dustbin of history.”

    The fear was well-founded.  America didn’t have a real defense industry before the Soviets came along, because conflicts were too few and far between to sustain one.  With the Red Army gone, politicians were eager to claim a “peace dividend.”  Dick Cheney set the tone during the four years he served as defense secretary from 1989 to 1992, killing a hundred major weapon programs.  By 1990, the buying power of the Pentagon’s procurement budget had fallen a third from its Reagan-era peak in 1985; by 1995, it had fallen two-thirds.

    Against this backdrop, each of the Pentagon’s major suppliers had to decide whether they would stay in the defense business or get out.  What followed was the biggest fire sale in the history of the sector, as two dozen medium-sized companies at the top of the food chain necked down to six.  Today, each of the half dozen survivors has become a behemoth, thanks to the military buildup that followed 9-11.  But 20 years ago, nobody knew that demand for military goods was coming back anytime soon, so the choices companies made provide insights into how today’s defense downturn might unfold.

    For McDonnell Douglas, the Pentagon’s biggest contractor, 1991 began with clear signs of trouble ahead.  The sprawling aerospace company forged from the merger of McDonnell Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft in 1967 saw its carrier-based A-12 bomber canceled in January, and then lost the competition to build a successor to its signature F-15 fighter three months later.  Secretary Cheney’s decision to scale back development of the C-17 airlifter the previous year had put the company in such dire financial circumstances that bankruptcy was a real possibility.

    McDonnell’s last hope of remaining a first-tier player in the military-aircraft business was to win a huge contract to develop the Joint Strike Fighter for three different services.  But in November of 1996, it lost the “down-select” from three competitors to two, being bested by the same companies that had defeated its bid to build an F-15 successor — Boeing and Lockheed.  With few new military programs left to pursue and its jetliners being squeezed out of the commercial-transport market by Airbus and Boeing, McDonnell Douglas had run out of options: in 1997 it merged with Boeing and disappeared from the ranks of Pentagon contractors.

    The Pentagon’s second-ranked contractor in 1991 was McDonnell Douglas’ former crosstown rival in Saint Louis, General Dynamics.  GD had begun in the defense business as builder of the Navy’s first submarines a century earlier, but by the end of the Cold War it had expanded into the nation’s biggest military conglomerate, building everything from fighters to missiles to tanks to warships.  With the Cold War winding down, the Crown family of Chicago that controlled GD decided to bring in former General Electric executive William Anders to “monetize” the company’s franchises before valuations collapsed.

    In 1991 GD’s information-systems unit was sold to Computer Sciences; in 1992 its missile division was sold to Hughes Aircraft and its military-electronics unit was sold to the Carlyle Group; in 1993 its fighter business was sold to Lockheed and its space-launch division was sold to Martin Marietta.  But when market conditions made it too hard to unload the tank and submarine units, the company then reversed course under a brilliant trial lawyer from Chicago named Nick Chabraja, and began buying up defense properties that no one seemed to want.  Running GD according to strict financial standards, Chabraja did dozens of transactions that restored the company to the top ranks of Pentagon contractors, and made it the most profitable enterprise in the sector.

    Under the equally disciplined Jack Welch, number-three Pentagon contractor General Electric applied a similar financial template to its business and came up with a very different strategy.  In late 1992 it sold its aerospace unit to number-eight ranked Martin Marietta, doubling the latter company’s revenues while largely removing GE from the defense business.  The New York Times correctly interpreted the transaction as a move by Martin to ascend to the highest tier of military contractors — a goal confirmed by its merger with Lockheed three years later to form what would be the biggest military contractor in the world.  GE held on to its jet-engine business, which made both commercial and military products.

    General Motors was the fourth-ranked military contractor in 1991 by virtue of its purchase of the storied Hughes Aircraft in 1985.  GM’s initial reaction to sector consolidation was to participate as an acquirer, purchasing the General Dynamics missile business in 1992.  But as the 1990s wore on and Pentagon weapon spending showed no sign of recovery, GM executives in Detroit became less enchanted with their sprawling defense business.  In 1997 most of the Hughes defense lines were sold to Raytheon, which had become highly acquisitive in defense after sitting on the sidelines for years.  Four years later, GM sold the Hughes space business, concentrated in communications satellites, to Boeing — thereby reducing GM to a pure-play vehicle business.

    John Boehner sees pink elephants and imaginary Americans ~ Joan McCarter ::: Republican attempt to defund Obamacare makes them just like Rosa Parks, say Republicans ~ Jed Lewison

    by anyname on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 07:50:12 AM PDT

    •  Crown (0+ / 0-)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      EXCERPT

      Lester Crown (born June 7, 1925) is the son of Chicago financier Henry Crown (died 1990), who created Material Service with two brothers in 1919, which merged with General Dynamics in 1959.

      He has been a perennial member of the Forbes 400 list since 1982. Lester controls family holdings, including large stakes in Maytag, Hilton Hotels, Alltel, Aspen Skiing Company, New York's Rockefeller Center, and pro basketball's Chicago Bulls. He also holds a stake in the New York Yankees, being a Partner since 1973.

      Presumably, the large stake held in Bank One at the time of the 2003 Forbes 400 listing has converted to JPMorgan Chase stock and was derived from an interest in First Chicago Bank, which was enumerated in the 1998 Forbes 400 list as First Chicago NBD shares.

      Recent achievements include brokering a controversial agreement to expand O'Hare International Airport, and spearheading the funding of the new Cook County Hospital (Stroger Hospital). He is a major benefactor of Jewish charities, universities and the Aspen Institute. He is the chairman of the Commercial Club of Chicago and Chicago Council on Global Affairs. His current hometown is Wilmette, Illinois.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      EXCERPT

      Henry Crown (1896 – August 14, 1990) was an American industrialist and philanthropist. Among other things, he founded the Material Service Corporation, which merged with General Dynamics in 1959. At the time of his death, he was a billionaire. Henry Crown and Company, of which he is the namesake, is an investment firm that owns or has interests in a variety of business assets

      Material Service Corporation

      In 1919, on borrowed capital of $10,000, Crown established (with his brother Irving) the Material Service Corporation (MSC). In its first year the company made a profit of $7,000 on sales of $218,000. MSC sold gravel, sand, lime, and coal to builders in the Chicago area.

      Crown gained a controlling interest in General Dynamics in 1959, when he merged the company with MSC. By this time, MSC was a $100 million company.

      John Boehner sees pink elephants and imaginary Americans ~ Joan McCarter ::: Republican attempt to defund Obamacare makes them just like Rosa Parks, say Republicans ~ Jed Lewison

      by anyname on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 07:59:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site