¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

International Developments

❖ “The Syrian government said that Israeli air strikes against military targets around Damascus amounted to “a declaration of war”.  Syria has claimed the Israel air strikes were “‘co-ordinated with the terrorists’.” The Arab League, “which has given its Syria seat to the rebels”, is demanding the “UN Security Council . . . ‘act immediately’ to end the attacks.”

The White House “is ‘horrified’ by reports that more than 100 people were executed in Syria” May 2nd.

❖ “Obama’s ‘Red Line’ Comment ‘Unscripted’”.

❖ Thought that little expose about CIA “wads of cash” delivered to Afghanistan President Karzai would stop the practice?  Think again.  The “C.I.A.’s station chief” reportedly assured Karzai that deliveries of the “wads of cash” would continue.

Guantanamo prisoner describes hunger strike motivations and what’s going on inside the facility during the hunger strike.  The Economist:  “Enough to make you gag: The prison is a deeply un-American disgrace.  It needs to be closed rapidly.”

Deadly riot in Dhaka, Bangladesh by Islamists who want the death penalty for those insulting Islam, greater segregation of men and women and who are opposed “to a national development policy for women”.

Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali, Pakistani prosecutor, was on his way to former President Pervez Musharraf’s bail hearing when he was shot 13 times, dying moments later.

❖ “Violence between Muslims and Christians in the northeastern Nigerian town of Wukari [has] left 39 people dead”.

❖ “M23 rebels in [Democratic Republic of the Congo] prepare for battle with new UN force”.

International Finance

❖ 620+ bodies found so far in the rubble of that collapsed garment factory in Bangladesh.

Portugal to cut “30,000 civil service jobs,  . . . raise the retirement age by one year”, etc.  They’re inflicting this pain in return for a EU bailout.

❖ “Tens of thousands of supporters of leftist parties are marching through central Paris to express disappointment” with President Francois Hollande.

❖ “The Walt Disney Co. is pulling out of Bangladesh in part because of fatal accidents in factories.”  A deeper look, however, reveals the “real problem in Bangladesh has been the complex trade apparatus erected by the U.S.”.

Money Matters USA

Between 2009-11, “the richest 8 million families  . . .  saw their wealth rise from $1.7 million to $2.5 million each. Meanwhile the bottom 93% (that’s 111 million families) suffered an average . . . decline of $6,000 each.”  In grand totals that’s a $5.6 trillion gain for them and a $669bn loss for us.

❖ “Texas Plant That Blew Up Carried $1M [Insurance] Policy”.

❖ Surprise, surprise:  explosive fertilizer is banned in “the United Kingdom, Germany, Colombia, the Philippines, and China”.

Apple has $100bn stashed offshore.

Wage Theft:  The “top trend of the 21st-century labor market.”

On April 1, stock traders learned “the outcome of a key Medicare funding decision”, causing much trading in shares of Humana, Aetna, etc.  However, the “key Medicare funding decision” was made public only after the markets closed that day.  Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is investigating.

❖ “President Obama set a goal of 1 million new manufacturing jobs in his second term.  Last month we added zero. . . . We did add low-wage jobs, though.”

Tweet from Chuck Yeager, “I was asked my opinion about the F-35.  It’s a waste of money.  Far too expensive.  Give me an F-15E”.

Politics USA

❖ “The Commons That Connects Us Six Days a Week:  The Post Office is under siege from many sides, but is showing political resilience”.  Can’t let down our guard on this one.

Wish he’d heed his own words.

Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) plans to introduce a bill this week that will lift the cap on the payroll tax and “keep Social Security solvent for the next 75 years.”  Also includes the CPI-E, which will increase benefits.

VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) leads Terry McAuliffe (D) in the governor’s race, 46-41%.  McAuliffe insight.

WI Gov Scott Walter (R) went to America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, DC to tout his achievements.  The US Chamber of Commerce released a report at the Summit which ranked WI “44th for overall economic performance and 50th–as in dead last–for short-term job growth”.

What your state excels in and what it doesn’t.

Gun Corner

❖ NRA advice:  Parents should “store a gun in their kids’ room”.

World’s first 3D-printed gun.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ Bereft of ideas for reducing the deficit, the O-team is proposing saddling Medicare “beneficiaries with higher costs.”  Republicans like the idea, which goes to show what team the O-team is on.

❖  Gov Rick Scott (R) was for it, but the FL legislature “adjourned Friday after passing a budget that does not include funding for a Medicaid expansion.”

The War on Women

❖ Hooray! A man steps up to the plate:  “Rape Culture: 3 Reasons Most Men Are to Blame For Misogyny”, and what society must do to put an end to it.

Two teen males “accused of gang-raping an intoxicated, unconscious 13-year-old girl in [Torrington, CT] in 2011 were each sentenced to five years in prison, suspended after four months served”.

Heads Up!

❖ The US secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)  approved 100% of the 1,856 applications submitted by the government during 2012 “to conduct electronic surveillance and/or physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes.”

❖ “Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police commissioner Raymond Kelly expand public appearances in place of testifying in court” in the on-going trial over their stop-and-frisk program.

Planet Earth News

300 gallons of crude oil discharged into the Mississippi River when a ship struck a barge fleet.

❖ “Physicians Unite with Solar Energy Companies to Form New Group:  Californians Against Utilities Stopping Solar Energy”–in the interest of public health.

Neonicotinoid pesticides, recently banned by the EU Commission because of their toxic effect on bees, are also toxic to aquatic insects.

Glyphosate, “the major component of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide” could “trigger . . . debilitating diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s”.

Mixed Bag

Too cool!

Could they be the Arawaks?

Break Time

Veracruz