Gather ’round, folks. Your news is here.
❖ “A Syrian-bound plane intercepted by Turkey was carrying Russian-made defence equipment destined for Syria’s defence ministry, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.”
❖ A Yemeni security official who worked for the US Embassy in Sana was assassinated “on his way to work when a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire and fled the scene”. Speculation is the killing was by an “offshoot” of al-Qaida.
❖ The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) “issued a safety alert to U.S. commanders warning that the agency had identified potentially ‘significant contract fraud’ from an Afghan contractor that was supposed to protect against roadside bomb attacks.”
❖ Under a1994 law the US cannot provide money to “international organizations that accords [sic] Palestine the same rights as [UN] Member States”. So, when UNESCO allowed Palestine to join the organization, the US automatically and abruptly cancelled its allocation, which is about 22% of UNESCO’s entire budget. Congress is not expected to “alter or repeal the law in the near future.”
❖ “A group of leading think tanks in Germany” are predicting Germany’s economy will grow by only 1% next year, down from the 2% earlier predicted. Not only that, but “this assumes that the crisis in the eurozone does not worsen.” Good luck with that.
Money Matters USA
❖ Former shareholders of businesses taken over by Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts filed suit in 2007. An unsealed version of court papers, heavily redacted, has been released containing emails between high muckety-mucks involved. “These e-mails are strong signals of anticompetitive behavior” an antitrust law professor says. Blackstone and KKR “scoff at the idea”.
❖ “Mr. President: Tweak This!” Good article, with humor, by someone who will “be gritting my teeth to vote for, Rockin’ Barack Obama.” The gist of it: “It is a scandal of modern American politics that a vital program presently needing no change at all, as far as solvency goes, is widely believed to be on a path to bankruptcy.”
❖ “Wall Street Compensation Reaches ‘Near-Record Levels‘ In 2012″–$60 billion total, up 4% from 2011, not including year-end bonuses. And you’ll love this: “pay isn’t always linked to performance”.
❖ Do not miss: “The 2012 VP Debate Drinking Game”
❖ Laughter-inducing history of lifeblogging political events, beginning with the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in 2000–from a motel “at the very edge of Philadelphia”.
❖ Who feeds him this ‘info’ or does he just make it up? Mitt Romney is now claiming that “having insurance is not a matter of life and death for Americans”–contrary to a Harvard study “that nearly 45,000 people died in the United States each year largely because they did not have insurance.”
❖ “Five crazy things Paul Ryan actually believes”: “Some rapes are worse than others”; “Abortions are not OK, ever”; “Social security is going bust and the only way to save it is to…destroy it” and so on.
❖ He’s endorsed by Republican veep candidate Paul Ryan. He’s WI Republican state Representative Roger Rivard and he’s up for re-election. He believes, as his father told him, that it’s oh-so-easy to accidentally rape women. Update: Paul Ryan has withdrawn his endorsement of Rivard.
❖ Super PAC Planned Parenthood Votes has a new ad out, capitalizing on Romney’s seemingly pro-choice statement on Tuesday followed by a promise on Wednesday to defund Planned Parenthood. Scroll down for the ad.
❖ WI Republican Gov Scott Walker is going up to MT today, supposedly to endorse Rick Hill for governor of that state. Last February Hill “attended a private gathering, which included members of the Aryan Nation. . . Hill was there to address the Militia of Montana”, “one of the best known of the paramilitary ‘patriot’ militias” and it goes on and on.
❖ AZ Republican Representative, and current Senate candidate, Jeff Flake “denied signing the no-tax pledge authored by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and promised he wouldn’t sign such a pledge”. Problem is, he already did sign the thing.
❖ He’s baaaaack. James O’Keefe shows in yet another video how a TX Democratic National Committee staffer “appeared to offer to help someone figure out how to vote simultaneously in two states”. The DNC has fired the staffer.
❖ “The 5 most educated countries in the world“. The US is 5th, Canada 2nd. No peeking: Can you guess who’s 1st?
Women and Children
❖ A pivotal moment has been reached: “Taking their cue from the Arab Spring, but fearing a backlash from Islamists the uprisings brought to power, Arab cyber activists have embarked on a daring campaign urging women fight for equality.” They’ve set up a Facebook page, “The uprising of women in the Arab World”, which now has 35,000 “likes”. Facebook page link is included.
❖ Yesterday we learned about the pediatrician in Canton, GA who is giving children Adderall, even though they do not have ADHD, to help them concentrate in school. Stephen Colbert responded with a sparkling, hard-hitting piece on “Meducation” which underscores the results of underfunding our public schools. Scroll down for the video.
Working for A Living
❖ “Weekly jobless claims fell last week to a four-year low”, or by “30,000 to 339,000, the lowest since February 2008.” Major update: One “large state”, not identified, hadn’t submitted all relevant data, so the report was produced without that information. Why didn’t they explain that when they released the report? Sheesh.
❖ American Crystal Sugar, following several other companies, has locked out 1,300 “skilled, highly trained workers”–in American Crystal’s case, for 15 months now. Farmers aren’t being paid as much for the sugar beets, and the costs of the lockouts on the workers is huge. Meanwhile, executive pay has gone up-up-up.
Planet Earth News
❖ “Disney breaks ties with paper makers over Indonesian rainforest concerns: Publisher pledges to use alternative sources as activist rejoices that ‘The Jungle Book will no longer be destroying the jungle”.
❖ BP’s Macondo Well just keeps on giving: “New Sheen In Gulf Of Mexico Linked To Macondo Spill By Coastguard”.
❖ Newly re-elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has named Nicolas Madura as Vice-President. “Mr. Maduro, a former bus driver and one of the president’s closest advisers, had been foreign minister since 2006.”
❖ The City of Oakland, CA has approved suing the feds in an effort to keep Harborside Health Center, the major medical marijuana dispensary, open. The City reaps over $1 million in taxes from medical marijuana sales annually. Harborside has 100,000 patients.
❖ “Asian Seafood Raised on Pig Feces Approved for U.S. Consumers”. In case you were wondering: the US Food and Drug Administration “inspects only about 2.7 percent of imported food.”
❖ “A landmark food safety law passed nearly two years ago was supposed to help curtail [food-borne illness] outbreaks. But the Obama administration has yet to issue the final rules”. While rules are stalled, the “outbreaks have worsened.” Another concern: Even when the rules are released, will there be enough in the budget to “actually implement the law”?