It’s International Women’s Day, which always brings this to mind:

I swear it to you,

On my common woman’s head. 

The common woman is as common as a common loaf of bread. 

. . . And will rise

--Anonymous, from somewhere in the ’60s-early ’70s

International Developments

❖ “UK and French instructors involved in US-led effort to strengthen secular elements in Syria’s opposition”.  Jordan is hosting the training of Syrian “secular elements”.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made his first official foreign trip today, flying to Afghanistan.

❖ Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Syrian President Bashar Assad “‘is not bluffing’ about his determination to stay in power”.  Meanwhile, the World Food Program is preparing to feed “2.5 million Syrians by next month, up from 1.7 million now” and negotiations continue to free the 21 UN personnel held by Syrian rebels.

❖ “Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law pleads not guilty in New York court”.

❖ “Leaked Pentagon Report:  The F-35 Won’t Stand A Chance In Aerial Combat”.

International Finance

❖ Great interactive tool on the Eurozone crisis:  25 Oct 2009 to the present, overall and by individual country.

❖ “The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has officially revoked the banking license of HSBC S.A.”.

❖ “Britain is preparing to champion genetically modified crops in Europe”.

Money Matters USA

❖ Yes! Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Harry Reid (D-NV) have introduced legislation “to strengthen Social Security by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax that nearly every else already pays.”  Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR) is sponsoring the House bill.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) “has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate” Lender Processing Services for possibly using “an improper fee structure that resulted in double-billing homeowners or mortgage investors for legal services”.

❖ Politicians in Washington, DC have managed to reduce the Postal Service to this–selling off our assets.  What’s going to happen to the WPA murals, the classic architecture?

❖ From Deloitte Center for Financial Services:  “60% of preretirees believe health care costs will consume their savings no matter how much they save”, and 39% “believe investment returns won’t be high enough to provide decent retirement income.”  Much more.

236,000 more jobs in February, and a “sharp drop”in unemployment from 7.9 to 7.7%, indicate “that stimulative Federal Reserve policies are creating growth”.  Growth sectors:  professional and business – 73,000 jobs, construction – 48,000 jobs, health care -32,000.  Public sector shed 10,000, however.

❖ “J. C. Penney Cutting 2,200 Jobs as Sales Plunge”.

Politics USA

❖ “Thomas Perez, currently the assistant U.S. attorney general for civil rights,” is said to be President Obama’s choice for Labor Secretary.”

Locked up for drunk driving (though never prosecuted) in a New Mexico jail and essentially “forgotten” for 22 months, he will collect $15.5 million in settlement.

❖ “Opponents of a voter identification bill threatened a lawsuit Thursday if Nebraska lawmakers approve it”.  And wouldn’t you know it, “No cases of voter fraud have been reported in Nebraska.”

❖ While OK state agencies are cutting staff and program following budget cuts, OK legislators are spending money on all kinds of other things.

Gun Corner

A “charity”, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, organizes events where gun groups,  can meet, greet and influence elected government officials–and it’s tax deductible, too!

Teachers in SD can now carry guns into classrooms.

The CO senate takes up 7 gun-control bills, sponsored by Democrats who have a 20-15 majority but support is wavering among a few.  Opposition is fierce including “threatening emails and phone calls.”

GA state House members voted 117-56 “to allow people who have voluntarily sought inpatient treatment for mental illness or substance abuse to get [gun] licenses”.

❖  “Smith & Wesson earnings more than triple [from $4.4 million profit Nov-Jan 31, 2012 to $14.6 million Nov-Jan 31, 2013] as demand for guns soars.”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ From the US National Library of Medicine, an article on marijuana and Alzheimer’s. Specifically,  THC is “considerably more effective . . . than the approved drugs for Alzheimer’s disease treatment”.  THC “simultaneously” treats  “both the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

❖ A man “who said he was injured by Johnson & Johnson’s all-metal hip implants” was awarded $8.3 million by a Los Angeles jury.

Women & Children

Women around the world: great photos.

“Violence Against Women Is a Choice Men Make: 4 Ways to Make the Right One”. Powerful  personal recollection from Patrick Stewart. Video.

❖ “GOPers Brag About VAWA After Voting Against It.”

House GOPers want to include exempting birth control as part of spending cuts under the sequester–and that’s in addition to the $86 million in cuts to family planning and reproductive health services.

❖ “Texas GOP:  Planned Parenthood Is Convincing Teens To Get Pregnant So It Can Perform Their Abortions”.

Education Directions

❖ “Nearly 80 percent of New York City high school graduates need to relearn basic skills before they can enter the City University’s community college system.” The article specifically mentions the Manhattan and Brooklyn school districts.  A list of NYC charter schools, and their “authorizers”, by district, is here.

Planet Earth News

“In 100 years, we’ve gone from the cold end of the spectrum to the warm end of the spectrum.  We’ve never seen something this rapid.”  Latest research results from Oregon State University.

Landowners Against TransCanada Pipeline, a non-profit, has been formed “to assist landowners in the U.S.” faced with eminent domain and disruption by the pipeline.  First-hand account and photos.

Latin America

Former Argentina President Carlos Menem lost an appeal, challenging the guilty verdict imposed for his “smuggling arms to Croatia and Ecuador in the 1990s during a decade in power remembered for free-market reforms and corruption.”  Several co-defendants.  Menem’s wiki.

❖ “Venezuelan Economic and Social Performance under Hugo Chavez, in Graphs”.

Another Canadian mining company, this time Macusani Yellowcake Inc., is chomping at the bit to begin open pit mining for uranium in Peru.

Mixed Bag

Pan-STARRS will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere beginning today.

❖ “‘You’re My Best Friend,’ Says Obama To Drone That Appears Outside Bedroom Window Every Night.”

Break Time

We shall shine!