Greetings!

International Developments

❖ “Gaza missiles fired at Tel Aviv”, 3 Israelis killed earlier from rockets, 15 Palestinians killed in 2 days by IDF. Bellicose words flying back and forth. What will Egyptian President Morsi do?

❖ “Turkey Recognizes New Syrian Rebel Group as Legitimate Head of Syria”.

Argentina has appealed to the International Sea Tribunal to gets its ship released from the port of Tema, Ghana, where it was seized because NML Capital says Argentina owes it money.

International Finance

The “Largest European Strike Ever”. 300,000 were in the streets of 100 Italian cities; protests in 100 French cities and in 30 Portuguese cities with 10s of thousands in the streets; 80% of the Spanish workforce on strike, with 100s of thousands on the Madrid’s streets. Dramatic videos. “the question is no longer if but when the social explosion will hit. . . . All it will take is a spark.”

Money Matters USA

Krugman thinks “austerity bomb” is “a much better term than ‘fiscal cliff”. He notes that those shrieking about the ‘bomb’ are “in effect acknowledging that the Keynesians were right all along, that slashing spending and raising taxes on ordinary workers is destructive in a depressed economy”. He also discusses Lipitor and Ireland.

❖ “In a stunning move,” JPMorgan Chase’s energy-trading division “was suspended from California’s wholesale [electricity] market for six months starting April 1.” This was done by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

People say nonprofits can accomplish more than the federal government (91% vs 56%), but not quite 2% of the nation’s economic output goes to charity–and the federal government provides about 1/3 of charitable institutions’ income. With the fiscal bomb/cliff looming, this issue becomes more pressing: abolish charitable deductions, slash government programs such as FEMA, etc.?

❖”Community banks say they may be pushed out of the residential mortgage market, leaving it in the hands of a few lending giants, because of an effort by global regulators to make banks hold more in their reserves in the event of a crisis [which] will hit smaller banks harder”.

Politics USA

❖ President Obama’s list of seven nominees to US District Courts has been sent to the Senate for approval.

❖ A Senate bill that would have “increased information-sharing between intelligence agencies and private companies” has died, “opposed by business and privacy groups”.

USPS is reporting a $15.9 billion loss for federal fiscal year ended September 30. And no wonder!

❖ The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions. 8-7 decision.

Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) held a press conference about the Benghazi matter yesterday–at exactly the same time administration officials were in a closed-door briefing about Benghazi with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, of which McCain is a member. McCain was not pleased when asked about the missed meeting.

❖ Some are advocating Jane Harman as new CIA Director. She is a strong advocate for Israel and a strong critic of Iran, at one time advocating breaking up Iran “along ethnic lines”.

❖ Wouldn’t it be amazing if reform of the costly, ineffective US prison system got a big push forward from conservatives?

❖ KKKKarl’s Crossroads GPS is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(4) (*cough* *cough* social welfare) organization, but then didn’t register with the Commonwealth of VA, which it was required to do.

❖ There’s a petition out now to impeach FL Republican Gov Rick Scott “for his blatant voter suppression activity during the 2012 elections.”

❖ Voter fraud alert! The Chair of ME’s Republican Party says there were “dozens–dozens of black people who came in and voted on election day.”

Paula Broadwell’s personal computer contained “substantial classified information that should have been stored under more secure conditions” according to officials.

❖ Both Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley have had their security clearances yanked.

❖ That FBI agent who sent Jill Kelley a picture of his bare-chested self has been identified. He is Frederick W. Humphries II and he has an interesting history in terrorism investigations. And here’s the shirtless pic.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

FL Republican Gov Rick Scott, in the wake of a series of Democratic election victories, including the Presidency, has decided it’s time to “negotiate” on Obamacare. “Let’s have a conversation,” he says. Mmmm-hmmm.

Women & Children

❖ “House GOP leaders aren’t yielding to a bipartisan coalition of Senate leaders demanding they extend the protections of the Violence Against Women Act.” The Senate’s reauthorization version adds new protections, which House Republicans don’t like.

Lackland AFB, TX sex abuse investigation results: 11 instructors criminally charged, 5 convicted, 6 facing disciplinary actions, 2 commanding officers “relieved of duty”. Staff Sgt Luis Walker “found guilty of 28 rape and sexual assault charges . . . sentenced to 20 years in prison”. 46 recommendations aimed at accountability and leadership. Here are other recommendations the Air Force should also find of interest.

WA’s Superintendent of Public Schools is considering “legal action against I-1240, the charter schools initiative financed by Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Jeff Bezos.” Apparently, the initiative would create a “new agency under the governor’s office to oversee ten to forty pubic schools”.

❖ Today’s the birthday of Margaret Haley, Chicago’s “Labor Lady Slugger“, who took on the Chicago school system at the turn of the last century, and left an impressive legacy for teachers’ rights, women’s suffrage and protection of children.

Working for A Living

❖ John Metz of FL “is the franchisor of Hurricane Grill & Wings . . . and president and owner of RREMC Restaurants” (40 Denny’s and several Dairy Queens). He’s going to impose a 5% surcharge for Obamacare–and he’s giving customers the option of reducing accordingly the amount of tip they would give to the server.

❖ Ian’s Pizza has four locations in WI. Ian’s Pizza owners are pleased that outfits such as Papa John’s are going to have to raise their prices to afford Obamacare for their employees. Ian’s Pizza has been doing that for years. Kind of leveling the playing field.

Hostess Brands has announced intentions to “liquidate the company this week unless enough workers stop a nationwide strike by the end of the workday Thursday”.

Heads Up!

Rolling Jubilee, or Occupy The Debt, has now purchased $100,000+ of medical debt, which they bought for $5,000, and intend to abolish. Tonight they are holding The People’s Bailout Variety Show and Telethon.

Planet Earth News

❖ “Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rose 2.5 Percent In 2011″. China was the highest emitter.

Cracks in the reactor head found at the nuclear power plant north of Columbia, SC.

Canada has a “multimillion dollar proposal to cull grey seals“, but scientists say doing so will not replenish the cod. As you might suspect, the cod industry “collapsed in the early 1990s from overfishing [not by grey seals] so severe the stocks have still not recovered.”

❖ “A system by which you eat what you see“, and sow and harvest, too. Scroll down to video

Mixed Bag

❖ Maybe we need an Off the Deep End Section. GA’s state GOP senators met last month “to discuss Agenda 21, a supposed UN conspiracy to deny private property rights, which Obama will help accomplish through a mind-control technique known as Delphi.” Obama’s also going to make everybody relocate to cities. Presumably, “inner city” areas.

❖ For $150, you can go to Combat City in FL and shoot someone.

❖ A man in Key West, FL who owned a tanning parlor wrote “F*ck Obama” on his will and killed himself.

Break Time

❖ Eerily beautiful lenticular clouds.