What a Monday this has been! Hope yours is winding down nicely. And here’s some news:
❖ “Pakistani authorities deployed paramilitary forces in Islamabad and shopkeepers shut early as thousands of supporters of an Islamist group converged on the capital to protest the decision to reopen NATO supply routes.”
❖ Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi announced the re-opening of Parliament, taking the generals by surprise, and now Egypt’s highest court has rejected his order, asserting that the court’s “ruling that led to the assembly’s dissolution is binding.”
❖ “Libya’s former interim prime minister Mahmoud Jibril has won a landslide victory in the country’s first democratic election, early figures show, defying expectations that the Muslim Brotherhood would sweep to power.”
❖ “Spanish and Italian 10-year bond yields have been rising ahead of a summit of eurozone finance ministers on Monday.”
❖ Greece’s left coalition party is resisting the government’s plan “to speed up the sale of state-owned assets–including state railway systems, water infrastructure, and power utilities . . . .” Alexis Tsipras of the Syriza has “predicted his party will soon come to power because the coalition government–having abandon[ed] its promises to the Greek people–will fail.”
Money Matters USA
❖ The Congressional Budget Office estimates the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 “has saved up to 3 million jobs. But nearly every economic measure since then has been blocked by GOP obstruction, filibusters and brinkmanship.” The “unemployment rate would be under 6% were it not for deliberate GOP wrecking.”
❖ The Congressional Budget Office also says the federal budget “for the first nine months of fiscal 2012 is $66 billion lower than for the corresponding period in 2011 . . ..” Why? “Corporate tax revenue grew by $42 billion, largely because tax rules on deductions for investment in equipment were changed . . ..”
❖ London-based Rolls-Royce has been awarded a $183 million contract to service the US Army’s helicopter engines.
❖ Prepare for a stampede of the cities. A city in Southern CA, Vista, is a charter city and has declared itself exempt from the state’s wage law. CA’s Supreme Court has agreed.
❖ It does get technical and weedy, but this is an interesting article on the impact of Libor on financial models and everyday lives–such as the (very false) expectation people have that the mortgage rate they get is “the rate set by Federal Reserve and the Bank of England.”
❖ “A Mexican cocaine-trafficking cartel [the Zetas] used accounts at Bank of America Corp. to hide money and invest illegal drug-trade proceeds in U.S. racehorses,” according to the FBI. As for Bank of America, it “hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing and is cooperating with authorities in the case . . ..”
❖ “Romney outraised Obama in June, $106 million to $71 million”
❖ “Your lethality is expansive in both practice and principle; you are fighting terrorism with a policy of preemptive execution, and claiming not just the legal right to do so but the legal right to do so in secret.” Major article on “The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama”, intertwined with the life (and death) of Anwar al-Awlaki.
❖ “Some 53 percent of respondents in the CNN/ORC poll say they believe the House did the right thing when voting 255-67 late last month to censure [Attorney General Eric] Holder for failing to turn over documents related to the ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-tracking operation’–even though 61% thought the vote was a GOP political move “to gain an upper hand politically.” **throws up hands**
❖ NC Democratic Representative Larry Kissell declared he would not support Barack Obama and that he would “vote to repeal the health care law.” In response, the “NC 8th Congressional District Black Leadership Caucus political action committee . . . announced it would not endorse Kissell . . ..”
❖ TX is saying the Voting Rights Act “does not apply [to TX] because the state is simply enforcing anti-fraud measures in order to ‘protect the integrity of the vote’.” The ‘anti-fraud measure’ at issue is the “state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.” Update: A 3-judge panel began its hearing on the TX photo ID law this week in DC.
❖ Another Flori-DUH moment. FL’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services can’t access the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System” to determine if a gun-carry applicant has a record of mental illness (or is an illegal immigrant, dishonorably discharged, drug addict, etc.). FL’s Dept of Ag and Consumer Services can’t access the data base since it is not a law-enforcement agency.
❖ General McChrystal is back in the news this week, saying the US should bring back the draft “if it ever goes to war again.” Again? How many are we in now?
❖ Follow now the John Solomon saga, from the Moonie–er, “Washington Times” to the Center for Public Integrity to the Huffington Post to bluefin tuna and now to something he’s launching called “The Washington Guardian” which, the article concludes “means it’s time to run for cover.”
❖ “. . . telecom companies are handing over [to the feds] things like text messages, voicemails, geolocation data . . . and which phone numbers you’re calling when.” Much of this information is available without a warrant because . . . [the] government isn’t searching you, it’s asking for information from a private third party to whom you’ve willingly given this information by signing on as a subscriber.”
The War on Women
❖ “US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a powerful plea Sunday for the rights of women in Afghanistan, using a global forum to insist that they must be part of the counter’s future growth”. Nonetheless, last March Afghan President Hamid Karzai “endorsed an edict by the country’s highest Islamic authority. . . . which states women were worth less than men and should avoid mixing with men.” So, what are the chances?
Health, Homelessness & Hunger
❖ Serious tuberculosis outbreak in FL–and a coverup? US Centers for Disease Control issued a report on April 5 detailing the worst TB outbreak in 20 years in Jacksonville, FL. Nine days earlier, FL Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill closing Holley State Hospital In Lantana, “where tough tuberculosis cases have been treated for more than 60 years.” And the CDC report? “Today, three months after it was sent to Tallahassee, the CDC report still has not been widely circulated.”
❖ TX Republican Gov Rick Perry has “‘proudly’ declared that he will decline to implement key tenets of the Affordable Care Act–a move that will see his state forgo an estimated $164 billion dollars in federal aid and leave over 1.2 million low-income Texas . . . helpless and uninsured.”
❖ Hearings are underway to “decide if city [of Philadelphia] officials have a legal right to regulate where and how religious groups may feed homeless people.”
❖ Big fish WellPoint has gobbled up smaller fish Amerigroup for $4.9 billion. Just getting ready to reap those $$$s from the Affordable Care Act.
Planet Earth News
❖ Whoa! “Canada’s PM Stephen Harper faces revolt by scientists: Scientists to march through Ottawa in white lab coats in protest at cuts to research and environmental damage” and to his “broadly pro-industry policies.”
❖ “More than 2,600 of the world’s top marine scientists Monday warned coral reefs around the world were in rapid decline and urged immediate global at ion on climate change to save what remains.”
❖ “[President Ronald] Reagan understood that the Argentine generals played a central role in the anti-communist crusade that was turning Latin America into a nightmare of unspeakable repression. The leaders of the Argentine junta saw themselves as something of pioneers in the techniques of torture and psychological operations, . . .. ”
❖ RIP, Ernest Borgnine.
❖ He has given the world so much, enchanting and inspiring us through his writings, and now Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombian native, aged 85, is in the grips of dementia.
❖ ‘The Invisible Hand‘”