Howdy, all!

International Developments

Malala Yousafzai, the 14 year-old who was shot while on the school bus, “is being sent to the UK for medical treatment, the Pakistani army has said.” The Taliban accused her of “promoting secularism” and has said if she survives they will again shoot her. Update: She is now in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England.

❖ “UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has appealed for Iranian help to implement a ceasefire in Syria over the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.”

❖ “The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution that gives regional leaders 45 days to provide specific plans for an international military intervention to oust [al-Qaeda-linked] rebels in northern Mali.”

❖ “The CIA paid an al Qaeda spy $250,000 to help find a bride for American-born terrorist Anwar al Awlaki in a plot to locate and kill him”.

International Finance

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has dug in her heels, rejecting “a second debt writedown for Greece”. Instead, she’s “working on sensible solutions with the Greeks and our European partners.” “Sensible solutions”–to this mess?

❖ In spite of everything else that’s going on, Spain is in the midst of a real estate buying spree, with banks slashing prices on housing around the country.

Iran has announced it will “cut imports of nonessential goods and urged its citizens to reduce their use of foreign-made cellphones and cars, as the country struggles to cope with Western economic sanctions.”

Money Matters USA

❖ JPMorgan’s private equity company, One Equity Partners, owns NCO Group, debt collector for student loans from the feds. According to one woman, whose husband was on active duty in Iraq, when NCO tried to collect $9000 her husband owed on his student loan they told her they’d contacted his “commanding officer in Iraq, and that if she didn’t pay back the loan, her husband would be dishonorably discharged . . ..”

❖ “Citigroup’s three-month profits have plunged after the bank wrote down the value of its stake in a brokerage [Morgan Stanley Smith Barney]“. “Net income for the three months to the end of September fell to $468m . . . from $3.8bn in the same period of 2011.”

They’re playing us for fools. US consumers don’t benefit from oil drilling nor huge pipelines. There is “no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump”.

The feds knew over 2 years ago that some cheap Chinese jewelry sold in the US contained cadmium, but “failed to pursue recalls” and “have not warned parents about the contaminated items already in their homes.” BTW, retailers “argued their high-cadmium items shouldn’t be recalled” since they “were deemed not to meet the legal definition of a ‘children’s product’.”

Politics USA

David Stockman strikes again! “Bain Capital . . . has garnered fabulous winnings through leveraged speculation in financial markets that have been perverted and deformed by decades of money printing and Wall Street coddling by the Fed. So Bain’s billions of profits were not rewards for capital creation; they were mainly windfalls collected from gambling in markets that were rigged to rise.”

❖ Did MA Gov Mitt Romney engage in “‘Medicaid Money Laundering’ and a ‘swindle’”? According to this article, Romney’s campaign “promises to enable it”.

Mitt won’t be on The View Thursday morning, but Ann will.

❖ Discouraging news for the Obama campaign: Romney leads Obama “by five percentage points among likely voters in the nation’s top battlegrounds, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and he has growing enthusiasm among women to thank.

❖ Dust off your yellow feathers, folks, there’s going to be a Million Muppet March on November 3rd at the National Mall in Washington, DC as freedom-loving folks try and save Big Bird from “possible extinction”.

❖ We could all use some good news: “Rush Limbaugh has lost ‘tremendous chunk of advertising revenue’; ad support ‘dwindling’.”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ Noting fears that HPV vaccinations would lead to increased promiscuity, Kaiser researchers followed 1,400 girls who received either HPV or another immunization for three years after the vaccinations Results: Girls who received the HPV vaccine were not “more likely to engage in sexual activity after vaccination.” Some perspective seems in order: HPV can lead to cancers of the cervix, mouth, head, neck, penis and anus, as well as genital warts.

❖ “Top lawmakers and federal officials tried for years to increase regulation” of drug-compounding pharmacies, but a “countereffort by the industry and a series of court decisions helped beat that back.” And now we have the meningitis tragedies.

Working for A Living

❖ Three people were arrested while protesting the closure of Sensata Technologies in Freeport, IL. Bain Capital, which owns Sensata, is currently moving the plant, and 170 jobs, to China. Update: IL Democratic Sen Dick Durbin will visit “Bainport” tomorrow and Al Sharpton will be there October 20th.

❖ In addition to Westgate Resorts and ASG Software Solutions, Koch Industries has warned its 45,000 Georgia Pacific workers they may “‘. . . suffer the consequences’ of voting for President Obama and other Democrats in the 2012 elections”, together with a list of candidates preferred as well as two editorials, “one by David Koch, supporting Mitt Romney, and the other, by Charles Koch, condemning Obama.”

Planet Earth News

Who benefits? Biofuels are grown rather than food badly needed by many hungry populations, while waste and byproducts which could be converted to fuel are ignored. They “serve the interests of large industrial groups rather than helping to cut carbon emissions and ward off climate change,” concludes a new study.

❖ Meanwhile, researchers at Iowa State University are taking biomass “such as corn stalks and sawdust” and using thermochemical and biochemical means to produce “renewable fuels and chemicals”.

❖ A CA businessman, Russ George, took it upon himself to dump 100 tons of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean “as part of a geoengineering scheme off the west coast of Canada in July”. He’s violated “two international moratoria” in the pursuit of “net lucrative carbon credits”.

❖ “University of Tennessee collaborates in study: Dire drought ahead, may lead to massive tree death”

Latin America

❖ Good grief! Students at three teachers’ colleges in Mexico’s Michoacan are protesting having to learn English and computer science by seizing buses and trucks–even setting some of them afire.

Mixed Bag

❖ RIP Norodom Sihanouk, who lived through some very turbulent times.

DuckDuckGo, a “small, privacy-minded startup search engine”, did a bit of research and it does appear that Google and some others personalize search results based on the inquirer’s past search history.

British researchers have concluded, after a 6-year study, that “possession of small amounts of controlled drugs should no longer be a criminal offence and . . . will not lead to a significant increase in use.”

❖ Remember GWB? He whiles away his time now painting dog portraits. Really. As someone said, “He’s become increasingly agoraphobic. . . . But he doesn’t like people, he never did, he doesn’t now.”

Break Time x 2

❖ A soothing moment from the universe.

❖ If you remember “Kismet“, you’ll be in familiar musical territory. Otherwise, just enjoy the trip.