Here we are at the end of the week and almost at the end of June, 2012. Hope you’ve got a great weekend awaiting you. Enjoy, and see you back here Sunday evening.

International Developments

❖ Newly-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi addressed the crowds in Tahrir Square and “swore a symbolic oath. . . telling them they were ‘the source of all authority’.” He also promised “to be a ‘president for all Egyptians’ . . . [and promising] I will not give up on any of the powers given to the president.”

Politics USA

❖ There it is, 5th paragraph down from the top. Mitt Romney, while bragging about the success of RomneyCare in MA, said: “First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility . . . ” and blah blah blah.

❖ For a brief few seconds, savor the spectacle of Mean Jean Schmidt as she thinks the US Supreme Court has just overturned “Obamacare”.

❖ What’s up with this? “San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said he is considering implementing the controversial stop-and-frisk policy used in other major cities, including New York and Philadelphia to reduce violent crime.” The legal director of the American Civil Liberties Uion of Northern California said he’s “shocked”. Police Chief Greg Suhr, however, says, “We do not racially profile in San Francisco . . . And we never will.”

❖ In a 2011 case involving corporate contributions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, a VA district court ruled that Citizens United “gave corporations First Amendment rights to free political speech that were equal to those of individual people” and thus “companies could donate directly to political campaigns.” The 4th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals has reversed that decision.

❖ Couldn’t happen to a more well-deserving . . .. The “IRS Takes a Closer Look at Rove’s Dark-Money Group“. At issue is whether Rove’s Crossroads GPS organization (and others like it) are actually non-profits, which is how they’re registered with the IRS. If the IRS revokes their non-profit status, such organizations “could be held liable for large tax bills for the millions of dollars they have received tax-free.”

❖ A right-wing star story. Joe Olivo, owner of Perfect Printing in Moorestown, NJ, has now been interviewed by NPR and NBC regarding the hardships “Obamacare” will impose on his small business. He’s also testified before the House and Senate committees on the same subject and appeared on Fox Business Network a few times. He’s also opposed any increase in the minimum wage on MSNBC. How’d he get to be such a star? He’s “linked to the ALEC and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, and to the usual rogues’ gallery of right-wing zillionaires.”

❖ Big right-wing donor, billionaire Sheldon Adelson “personally approved of prostitution and knew of other improper activity at his company’s properties” in Macau, China.

❖ CA’s Department of Parks & Recreation “has already struck deals with private donors, foundations and non-profit groups to continue operating 40″ state parks even though Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed funding for the parks. This is a temporary solution, though no ending date for the arrangement was issued.

Money Matters USA

❖ Bernard Madoff’s younger brother, Peter, has “pleaded guilty to criminal charges that he helped advance the multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme but denied knowing about the epic, decades-long fraud.”

The War on Women

She was in a NV prison “for attempting to steal about $300 worth of casino chips”, when she went into labor. She was taken to the NV University Medical Center, with her legs shackled. The shackles were removed, at medical personnel insistence, but were placed back on 10 minutes after delivery. She is suing.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ Between 2009-10 and 2010-11, there was a 13% increase in the number of homeless students in the USA–to 1,065,794! Most, 71% were “doubled-up” or living with others, while 19% were in homeless shelters. Only 52% of all homeless students met or exceeded state proficiency in reading tests and 50% in mathematics

❖ RI’s Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed that Homeless Bill of Rights that passed the legislature earlier this month. It “is being held up as a national model for protecting homeless individuals from discrimination” and “goes further than any other law in the nation to prevent discrimination . . ..” Definitely bucks the trend of some municipalities we’ve noted recently.

❖ According to two ex-Merck employees involved in a lawsuit with the pharmacy giant, Merck didn’t disclose that its MMR vaccine became less effective over time. As a result, “government health programs paid for the product for 10 years without knowing it didn’t live up to the company’s claims.” Merck has labeled the lawsuit “completely without merit.”

Heads Up!

Occupy the Fourth! Occupy groups from all over are descending on Philadelphia “for a national gathering on Independence Mall, seeking to unify their far-flung movement against economic inequality a half-year after police evicted protesters from encampments in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York and other cities.”

Planet Earth News

Farmer Pederson’s pigs suffered from “chronic diarrhoea, birth defects, reproductive problems, reduced appetite . . . and smaller piglets, and reduced litter sizes.” He looked into the subject of Frankenfoods “and decided to stop feeding his 450 sows with GM soybean, replacing them with fishmeal and non-GM soybean.” Within 2 days, he noticed diarrhea had lessened, and longer-term benefits have been dramatic. The Danish government, following-up on Pederson’s results, is now undertaking research.

❖ Contrary to some assertions, wind power does cut CO2 emissions–even when the manufacture and transport of the wind towers are taken into consideration.

❖ “Sea ice in the Arctic has melted faster this year than ever recorded before, according to the US government’s National Snow and Ice Data Centre . . ..” There were 318,000 fewer square miles of “floating ice that melts and refreezes every year” compared to 2007.

❖ “Up to 200,000 reported lining streets of Tokyo for protest” against nuclear power.

Latin America

Will Washington DC never learn? “It was three years ago this week that the Honduran military . . . kidnapped [President Mel Zelaya] and flew him out of the country. The Obama administration . . . knew about the coup in advance . . . and did not condemn [it]. . . . Unlike Washington and its few remaining rightwing allies in the hemisphere, most of Latin America saw the coup as a threat to democracy in the region and, indeed, to their own governments.” The Ecuadoran coup attempt in 2010 occurred as predicted, as did the ouster of President Lugo in Paraguay last week.

Paraguay will be suspended from the Mercosur trade organization, although Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay will not seek economic sanctions against the country. This action stems from the unprecedented five-hour impeachment and subsequent ouster of the elected president, Fernando Lugo.

❖ “A retired Colombian police general [Mauricio Santoya, the security chief for ex-President Alvaro Uribi who allegedly collaborated with paramilitary group AUC and the Medellin crime syndicate] wanted by the U.S. for drug trafficking was wiretapped by local police and the Drug Enforcement Administration . . . for months . . ..”

❖ If you possess less than 22 grams of marijuana or 1 gram of cocaine you will no longer be prosecuted or detained in Colombia, according to the Constitutional Court.

❖ El Salvador Vice-President Salvador Sanchez will be running for president in 2014. He was a leader in the Marxist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front during the Civil War which ended in 1992.

Break Time

JS on CNN & Fox News Report Supreme Court Decision