Howdy! Hope your plans for a fine weekend are shaping up nicely. Meanwhile, the news:

International Developments

❖ “US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi have said their countries will co-operate on Asia issues”

❖ “The Obama administration formally lifted prohibitions on U.S. investment in Burma . . ..”

❖ “Syria’s ambassador to Iraq defected on Wednesday . . .”, was fired on Thursday “and could face prosecution for actions that contradicted his duties to defend Syria.”

International Economics

Unemployment among young people 15-24 years old, according to March figures, was 51% in Spain and 52.3% in Greece.

Ireland will soon “unveil [its] stimulus package,” which will “enhance the capacity of the economy to be more productive, including road and school projects . . ..” The European Central Bank, European Commission and the International Monetary Fund have approved.

❖ “Euro banks pass capital test, sort of”–They relied “heavily on government aid, accounting techniques, asset sales and other methods” to do it.

Politics USA

❖ “Americans’ Confidence in Television News Drops to New Low”–from 27% last year to 21% now.

MI’s Supreme Court will rule on whether repeal of the draconian “emergency manager law” should be on the November ballot.

❖ “Leaders of a Republican-led drive that qualified a referendum for the November ballot to overturn California’s newly drawn state Senate districts have decided not to seek its passage.”

❖ “Colorado Threatens to Sue DHS If They Don’t Assist With The State’s Voter Purge Efforts”

Alan Grayson continues to “make the case for health care on a moral basis”–profoundly.

Money Matters USA

❖ “Regulators Shake-Up Seen as Missed Bid to Police JPMorgan“. 40 new examiners were dispatched by the Federal Reserve Bank of NY to JPMorgan. By the time they got up-to-speed on operations, they had missed key goings-on. Nonetheless, the ability of the banks to hide things and the sometimes ill-defined role of the examiners contributed to the crisis.

❖ Feel the excitement! On Friday, the NY Fed “will release . . . documents [that] show it took ‘prompt action’ four years ago to highlight problems with the benchmark interest rate known as Libor and to press for reform . . ..”

Republicans are trying to scare people about President Obama’s proposed tax hikes, including a “small-businessopen mic site” put together by the Republicans on the House Small Business Committee. However, as examples demonstrate, some “of what they’re saying is that they don’t know what they’re talking about”.

❖ As though they weren’t cocky enough, some traders on Wall Street are now loading up on . . . testosterone.

❖ “Burlington Coat Factory receives $40M from GrowNJ program to keep headquarters in New Jersey”. Guess who owns Burlington Coat Factory? “The company was founded in 1972 by Monroe Milstein and sold in 2006 for $2 billion to Bain Capital Partners.”

❖ There is concern “that the tax increases and government spending cuts set to take effect at year’s end have already begun to cause companies to hold back on hiring and investments.’ The Congressional Budget Office has predicted “the changes would cause roughly a 4 percent reduction in economic output” while others fear recession.

❖ “The Huffington Post is launching a series of articles examining the global impact of austerity, from the loss of affordable housing in San Francisco to increasing class sizes in New York’s public schools, fewer food inspectors in Canada, loss of disability benefits in the United Kingdom, the decimation of France’s solar industry and more.”

❖ NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman won a case against 3 Asian makers of liquid crystal display screens. Around “$692 million will be available for partial refunds to consumers in 24 states after court approval.”

Working for A Living

❖ “San Bernardino’s labor unions pushed back at the suggestion that lucrative labor agreements were forcing the city to seek bankruptcy protection. . ..” A spokesperson for the firefighters’ union noted labor groups had already made “$10 million in concessions. He cited the mayor and former city manager’s pet projects, including a call center and new movie theater downtown, as reasons for the $46 million deficit.”

❖ CT’s Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy “walked a picket line Wednesday with striking nursing-home workers, accusing HealthBridge Management of New Jersey of violating labor laws in its battle with employees at its five facilities in Connecticut.” This followed on the heels of a National Labor Relations Board “complaint accusing the company of bargaining in bad faith . . ..”

❖ The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has “failed to implement” a heat standard to protect workers from heat-related deaths. Instead, OSHA “has launched an education and outreach campaign to inform employers of the dangers of extreme heat.” Gah!

❖ A Brookings study of the ability of working people to get to their jobs using transit services showed that, while 3/4s of jobs in “the 100 largest metropolitan areas are in neighborhoods with transit service,” typically, “only about 27 percent” of the metropolitan workforce can reach their jobs in “90 minutes or less”. Much more.

Heads Up!

NYPD’s “Stop-and-Frisk” program is running into all kinds of legal questions which could lead to more definitive rulings. As one criminal justice professor asked, “How can you be legitimately following the law, when no one can explain what the law means?”

❖ “Wikileaks declared victory Thursday in the first round of its campaign against the U.S. financial blockade imposed by Visa and MasterCard after an Icelandic court ordered a local company to resume processing credit card donations to the secret-spilling site.”

❖ Back in 2004 in Davis, CA, police fired a pepper ball into a crowd, causing permanent injury to one student’s eye. A 3-judge panel on the 9th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals has ruled that police can be held liable for that action.

❖ Need econ info? The Center for Popular Economics, which “supports and stands with the Occupy movement,” have published two booklets, the “Economics for the 99% Booklet/Zine” and “Economic Timeline and Narrative”.

❖ Speechless. “Within the next year or two, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will instantly know everything about your body, clothes, and luggage with a new laser-based molecular scanner fired from 164 feet (50 meters) away.”

Planet Earth News

DuPont and Monsanto are locked in a legal battle over a patent. Maybe they’ll make each other broke in the process.

❖ “Rising carbon dioxide confuses brain signaling in fish”

San Francisco plans “to block local government agencies from buying new Apple Macintosh computers” since Apple will not participate in a “green certification scheme designed to identify which electronic devices pose the least risk to the environment.”

❖ The High Plains Underground Water District # 1 in Lubbock, TX has recorded the third highest decline in the Ogallala Aquifer.

Mixed Bag

❖ “In the mid-1980s, a small band of policy wonks began convening for lunch in the back corner of a dimly lit Italian bistro in the U.S. capital.” Their combined efforts, working with Washington insiders and southern Sudanese leaders, contributed significantly to the eventual establishment of the Republic of South Sudan.

Guns good; medical pot bad.

Break Time

Paw de deux.