Good evening, all!

International Developments

❖ “Increasing numbers of children in Syria are being recruited by armed groups on both sides of the conflict”, according to Save the Children.  Many Syrian children now  have no health care, are traumatized, living in “unsanitary conditions” and in families “struggling for food”.

❖ “Tunisia’s new Islamist-led government won a confidence vote [from the Assembly] on Wednesday”.  An election is supposed to be held later this year.  Major multiple woes plaguing Tunisia at this time.

Aung San Suu Kyi, long-imprisoned Burmese activist now part of the government, favors a “Chinese-backed copper mine in north-western Burma”–scene of major protests met violently by the Burmese government.  Her position has enflamed activists who argue that the “welfare of their own people–poor local villagers–rather than good relations with China” should prevail.

❖ Initially it was 2,000; now it’s 6,000 dead pigs pulled out of the Huangpu River, major source of water for Shanghai.

International Finance

❖ Ain’t Austerity Grand? “Majority of British children will soon be growingup in families struggling ‘below the breadline’ . . . because of welfare cuts, tax rises and wage freezes”.  In addition, 1000s of British senior citizens and disabled are left to die in cold homes every year.

Financial adviser in Switzerland, who “helped 60 [US citizens] hide $184 million in secret offshore accounts . . . mailed a list of his U.S. clients, including . . . incriminating details, which somehow wound up in the hands of federal authorities.”

Italy has sold “its first issue of long-term debt since a rating agency cut its credit rating last week”, but  at “higher rates, reflecting investors’ concerns about political and economic turmoil”.

Money Matters USA

❖ “The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country”.  Emptywheel has more on “this batshit crazy plan”.

❖ Chutzpah much? The US government spent $182billion bailing out AIG. Former CEO, Maurice Greenberg, now with Starr International (which owned 12% of AIG), is suing the government over the bailout claiming it was “unconstitutional and wrongly cheated shareholders out of billions of dollars.”

❖ Heh. “States Crack Down on Top Earners Who Flee as Levies Rise:  Taxes.”

Retail sales were up 1.1% in February which “exceeded all projections”.

❖ The Federal Aviation Administration has approved “a set of fixes to the battery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner”.

Politics USA

❖ The Cave: “Obama Tells Democrats They Must Be Open to Entitlement Changes.”   Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT)  asked for “an assurance that Medicare and Social Security benefits would be untouched in any ‘grand bargain’ agreement.”   Sen. Harkin said some Democrats “urged Obama to avoid any agreement “that pulls the rug out from under the elderly, or our sick, our needy.”  Alex Pareene: “The undead, unnecessary, unhelpful Grand Bargain”.

❖ “The AFL-CIO, the . . . Alliance for Retired Americans, the Steelworkers and the Auto Workers back new legislation to close Social Security’s funding gap”.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Republican efforts to filibuster the nomination of Richard Cordray as permanent Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:   “The American people . . . deserve a Congress that worries less about helping big banks and more about helping regular people who have been cheated on mortgages, on credit cards, on student loans, on credit records.”

“If Americans understood what Republicans are doing with this debt and deficit hoax . . . they would riot in the streets and dismantle Wall Street brick by brick.”

FL Lieutenant Gov. Jennifer Carroll (R) has resigned.  Something about an Internet cafe fraud investigation.  Not her first time of being involved in questionable matters, either.

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’s wife, Elaine Chao (R) is attacking back at ProgressKentucky for their attempt to smear her.  Meanwhile, McConnell’s campaign ad showing him “as a hard-working senator suffering dirty attacks from his political opponents” is being disparaged by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) takes on his critics Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in a National Review interview.

MO Gov. Jay Nixon (D) and Republican state senate leaders are working together to abolish a state renter’s credit for 104,000 low-income persons.

❖ “A federal judge sounded skeptical Monday of former Sen. Larry [Wide-Stance] Craig’s claim that he properly used $217,000 in campaign funds for his legal defense after his arrest in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting.”

Health, Homelessness  & Hunger

❖ Employers in states with no Medicaid expansion plans will have to pay higher “shared responsibility payments”.  E.g., $447,852,136 – TX, $107,520,742 – GA, $85,027,254 – PA, $98,347,927 – NC, $77,583,826 – LA .  In states “Undecided”: “$89,354,540 – TN, $54,793,518 – IN.

Women & Children

❖ “Raising 5 Kids in a Tiny Camper?  The Atrocious Ways America Treats Poor Women and Children: What happened to a safety net that’s supposed to catch poor women and children when they fall?”

❖ “The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles is to pay out nearly $10m . . . to settle four cases of sexual abuse by a former priest, Father Michael Baker.”

US “Military justice ‘broken’, say sexual assault survivors at Senate hearing.  More here.

Education Directions

❖ “Getting rich off of schoolchildren: Stop pretending wealthy CEOs pushing for charter schools are altruistic ‘reformers’.  They’re taking in billions.”

Planet Earth News

❖ “The oil industry, conservative groups and House GOP leaders will ramp up opposition to proposals that would strip industry tax breaks and impose taxes on industrial carbon emissions.”

St. Charles, MN’s City Council “unanimously passed a resolution denying all annexation requests from landowners in neighboring St. Charles Township who are aligned with frac sand developer, Minnesota Proppant LLC, for a major project.”

❖ “Mineral riches uncovered by climate change at stake in Greenland election”.  Many seem to be  seeing $$$s to be made off global warming.

Latin America

❖ Uh-oh.  “Venezuela to probe Chavez cancer poisoning accusation.”

The body of Chile’s great poet, Pablo Neruda, will be exhumed for further cause-of-death testing–including whether the Pinochet regime poisoned him.

Break Time

Memories