Hello! That marvelous machine, the typewriter, first went on sale on this day in 1874. It was invented by Christopher Latham Sholes and Carlos S. Glidden who sold it to the arms manufacturer E. Remington & Sons who began production of it, the Remington I. And what a machine: It could type only in upper-case letters and you couldn’t see what you’d typed as you were typing. In those days, you really had a good excuse for all the typos.
❖ Romania issued a report in 2008 that concluded Romania had nothing to do with CIA rendition and secret detention. Now evidence has been brought to light that Romania did indeed participate in “CIA secret detention and rendition flights”.
❖ “A U.S. drone aircraft killed eight suspected Islamist militants in northwest Pakistan on Sunday . ..”
❖ Egyptian President Mahammed Morsi “Vowed to Win Release of World Trade Center Plotter” . That would be Omar Abdel-Rahman, “the blind sheikh” currently serving a life sentence in federal prison.
❖ Burmese officials have told Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi–the only Burmese to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize, who has just returned to her native Burma after a wildly-successful trip to Europe, and who is head of Burma’s National League for Democracy–that she is not to refer to Burma as ‘Burma’ any longer, but as ‘Myanmar’, the name the current rulers insist on calling Burma.
❖ Marcus Agius, Chairman of Barclays, is calling it quits as a result of the “Libor-fixing scandal” in which he was involved and for which Barclay’s was fined $$50 million. Meanwhile, the Royal Bank of Scotland “has sacked four traders over the Libor-fixing scandal”, too.
❖ The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will not be able to fulfill their oversight of Wall Street reform without funds–and House Republicans are determined to halt those funds. The 2013 Financial Services Bill is the instrument they are pushing through Congress to impede the funding. President Obama has vowed to veto it if it reaches his desk.
❖ One of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)’s model bills contains what’s called the “parent trigger” through which public schools can become for-profit charter schools. This device has been unanimously approved by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is described by outgoing Chairman (and Mayor of Los Angeles) Antonio Villaraigosa as: “Parent Trigger empowers parents to turn failing schools into high-achieving schools.”
❖ What an accomplishment! FL Republican Governor Rick Scott’s purging of the voter rolls has been so successful that of the 2,625 names noted as “potential noncitizens”, 41 (or 1.6%) were actually removed.
❖ Florida’s move toward privatizing prisons is running into some barriers. The legislature used a “proviso instead of a stand-alone law to order the prison privatization” last year. That expired when the budget year ended yesterday. An attempt to move ahead anyway was stopped by a judge. 20 work release centers, however, appear headed for privatization regardless.
❖ “The National Flood Insurance Program extension that was crammed into the highway funding and student loan compromise legislation late on Wednesday has left some senators fuming.” Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), for example, objected to not being able to offer an amendment to reduce the insurance costs for homes in areas covered by levees. “Fiscal conservative groups such as Taxpayers for Common Sense and R Street had been happy that the higher premiums were in the bill.”
❖ Meanwhile, the RESTORE Act has been introduced which “ensures that 80 percent of Deepwater Horizon civil and administrative penalties under the Clean Water Act will go to Gulf Coast restoration, and sets up a framework that can ensure coordination between the Gulf States and the Federal government.”
❖ In defending the White House for exerting executive privilege concerning Fast-and-Furious documents, Chief of Staff Jack Lew asserted, “This administration has been the most transparent ever.” Oh, and Attorney General Eric Holder won’t be prosecuted by the Department of Justice for contempt in the F&F matter, but Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) says that the House Sergeant at Arms could arrest Holder, which Chaffetz characterized as something “hard and dramatic to do . . ..” Mmm-hmm.
Working for A Living
❖ Airbus will be constructing a $600 million factory in Mobile, AL, which is expected to employ about 1,000 people once it’s operational. Building the plant is expected to generate 2,500 jobs and last approximately 2 years.
❖ Negotiations between Consolidated Edison and Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America broke down after just 10 days. 8,500 workers have now been locked out, though ConEd is calling in 5,000 managers to keep things running.
The War on Women
❖ Baltimore has a law requiring the so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers “to post disclosures of their positions on abortion and contraception”. The Centers “lure in women who are pregnant and terrified, and then often try to convince them not to get the procedure.” A lower court “put a hold on enforcement of [Batimore's] law and an appeals court (Fourth Circuit) has agreed.
❖ An ally: “National Religious Group Votes to Make Reproductive Justice A Priority for Action”
❖ “Here’s a Map of the Countries that Provide Universal Health Care (America’s Still Not on It)”
❖ CA Democratic Representative John Garamendi explains ACA
❖ “Medicare Part D (the Medicare prescription Drug Program), is the second Republican attempt at privatizing Medicare. Medicare Advantage was the first and this Program cost the American taxpayer 14% more than original Medicare.” The cost to taxpayers of Medicare Part D will be $806 billion over the next 10 years. And guess who pushed it? House Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), among others, with the backing of the US pharmaceutical industry.
Planet Earth News
❖ “Rising sea levels cannot be stopped over the next several hundred years, even if deep emissions cuts lower global average temperatures, but they can be slowed down . . ..”
❖ Zion nuclear plant on the shores of Lake Michigan is being dismantled, but the company doing the work “is struggling financially just as it nears the riskiest phase of the project–moving the nuclear fuel into storage casks.”
❖ Anti-nuclear protests continue in Japan, with hundreds at the Ohi nuclear reactor showing their their opposition to restarting it.
❖ “Australia has introduced its highly controversial carbon tax, after years of bitter political wrangling.” Fines? $24/ton of greenhouse gases the 500 worst-polluting firms generate. Hardest hit? Mining, airlines, steel makers and energy companies.
❖ War on Drug in CA
❖ This is our planet.