Good evening, all! Seems like tons of stuff happened over the last 24 hours. Here’s some of it.
❖ The face-off between Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi and the generals continues with the Egyptian parliament “briefly convened”. Update: “The highest court in Egypt has overturned” President Mursi’s decree convening parliament. Hundreds are now in Tahrir Square in protest.
❖ “A New Zealand court has delayed an extradition hearing for internet tycoon and Megaupload founder Kin Dotcom until March 2013 because of questions about the search and seizure of evidence by the United States where he faces charges of internet piracy and fraud.”
❖ “The Russian version of Wikipedia has shut down for 24 hours in protest at a law that would give the government powers to blacklist certain sites.”
❖ Remember Moktada al-Sadr of Iraq, “Shiite leader and America’s most unyielding enemy”? He went to Iran to pursue religious studies, but is now back in Iraq pursuing “cross-sectarian alliances”.
❖ “Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for recruiting and using child soldiers in his rebel army in 2002 and 2003.” Heart-wrenching detail: “When [one child soldier who was going to testify] came face to face with Lubanga in the dock, [he] crumbled and was unable to present his evidence.”
❖ How “the people at the top of some of our biggest businesses . . . used their positions to extract money, rather than earn it, and how politicians and regulators have connived at this organized looting.” On to the larger point: “the British state, through its implicit guarantee of Barclay’s high-street business, is allowing the company . . . to run an enormous credit risk that could sink the entire country.”
❖ “Chinese trade surplus jumps to $31.7bn”
Money Matters USA
❖ “Even Nouriel Roubini Says We Need to Jail or Hang Some Bankers” He also said, “I am NOT calling for the overthrow of the government. In fact, I am calling for the reinstatement of our government. I am calling for an end to lawless dictatorship and a return to the rule of law. Rather than trying to subvert the constitution, I am calling for its enforcement.”
❖ Uh-oh, “Customer Accounts Frozen at Futures Broker PFGBest“, and about half “customers’ money, or roughly $200 million of $400 million, has gone missing”.
❖ Nice chart comparing the Obama and GOP plans for the Bush tax cuts.
❖ And now there are 29–groups that have dropped ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). Latest are Hewlett Packard, CVS, BestBuy, Deere and MillerCoors.
❖ PA school districts and the state each pay 50% of pension costs. However, a formula schools districts must use “theoretically provides charter schools with 150 percent of pension costs.”
❖ “Florida Democrats Sell Out To School Voucher Lobby“.
❖ Believe in Santa Claus? Unicorns? “The head of the U.S. spy agency that eavesdrops on electronic communications overseas sought . . .to reassure Americans that the National Security Agency would not read their personal email if a new cybersecurity law was enacted to allow private companies to share information with the government.”
❖ LA Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, a Democrat who ran against Jindal for governor, calls out Jindal: “He eats free. his laundry is free, he has servants and bodyguards and chauffeurs and free travel. He and his family have access to state-subsidized health care–and yet he denies health care for hundreds of thousands of Louisiana residents who cannot afford it. It’s the worst form of hypocrisy.”
❖ NV Democrat Representative Shelly Berkley will be investigated by the House Ethics Committee because of her “advocacy on behalf of a kidney transplant program at University Medical Center in Las Vegas where her husband works . . ..” Berkley is currently trying to unseat Republican Senator Dean Heller, who has also advocated for the program in the past, but Berkley is the one under investigation.
❖ Hizzoner the NYC Mayor’s very own police force arrested a middle-aged couple for dancing at a subway stop at almost midnight. Is the Charleston a little too risqué for the sensibilities of a NY cop?
❖ Students in FL will now be able “to read and recite ‘inspirational message[s]‘ at all non-compulsory school events, including graduations, assemblies and sports events . . . Teachers and school officials . . . can neither interfere nor direct the students’ speech.”
❖ Colorado too? CO’s Secretary of State and Attorney General are pressing Department of Homeland Security’s Janet Napolitano “to help the state verify the citizenship status of about 5,000 Colorado voters.”
❖ Interesting article in the NY Times on how two states, MD and KS, took two entirely different approaches in establishing “the proper balance between taxing and spending . . ..” MD, run by Democrats, raised taxes on top earners; KS, run by Republicans, made tax cuts.
❖ Republican SC Governor Nikki Haley over the weekend “destroyed the South Carolina Commission for the Arts . . . The arts in South Carolina brings in $9.2 billion and creates 78,000 jobs at a cost of 1.9 million to the Arts Commission. It’s a phenomenally stupid cut . . ..” (see “The War on Women” too)
❖ While some Democrats are shying away from Obama’s proposal about extending tax cuts for those earning under $250,000, a couple of others are making “strong cases that this plan is a political winner for Dems. . ..” Meanwhile, Republicans are reining in their attacks on the Affordable Care Act.
❖ The thing that will not die. TX Republican and US House Judiciary Committee chief Lamar Smith is sneaking in an intellectual property rights bill which supposedly goes even further than the SOPA version.
❖ Chicago Public Schools “diverted about $70 million, largely from teacher salaries and unemployment benefits, to avoid paying teachers a promised 4 percent contractual raise last school year. The money was instead given to the Chicago Police Department, . . . most as payment for services previously rendered under prior agreements. . . . [Although] CPS then falsely told the media that these payments were ‘owed to’ CPD, and that CPS ‘had no choice’ but to make these payments’.
The War on Women
❖ SC Republican Governor Nikki Haley has cut $453,000 from the budget that was to have been used by the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic VIolence and Sexual Assault’s rape crisis centers” which Haley stated “distract from the agency’s broader mission of protecting South carolina’s public health.
❖ “Kansas AG pays [outside firm] $675K to defend state abortion laws”
❖ From The Lancet: Family planning can “contribute to the reduction of poverty and hunger and would avert 32% of all maternal deaths and nearly 10% of childhood deaths, if it were available to all who wanted it . . . ”
❖ We were discussing the military draft in yesterday’s Roundup comments. Here are three such proposals.
❖ Yet one more call to forego law in favor of safety. “US urged to recruit master hackers to wage cyber war on America’s foes: Top defense expert says the US should avoid ‘ridiculous’ prosecutions and use hackers’ skills to detect and track enemies.”
❖ At last, she’s gone! “Wealthy socialite and top Democratic donor Denise Rich denounces her U.S. citizenship–saving her tens of millions of dollars in taxes”. (Her husband was Marc Rich, indicted on tax evasion charges and pardoned by Pres. Bill Clinton.)
❖ Hey, come on in, have a seat and relax.