Greetings.

International Developments

❖ Aftermath of Israeli hits inside Syria:  “Russia, China express alarm”. Israel’s Prime Minister said the air strikes “did not aim to weaken [President Bashar al-Assad] and dismissed the prospects of an escalation”.  Oil prices went up.  Turkey won’t intervene “because it’s terrified Moscow will retaliate” if it does. At least 42 Syrian soldiers killed in the airstrike, according to “anti-regime activists”.

Did rebel forces use sarin, as the UN human rights investigators have said?   “US says it has no evidence rebel forces used sarin gas.  State department casts doubt”.  Update: UN commission downplays claim Syria rebels used sarin”.  Update:  President Obama’s “red line” comment “was deliberate”.

❖ “Religious Fundamentalism Growing in Gaza:  Hamas is under extreme pressure from small Salafi extremist groups to impose Islamic and Sharia law.”

International Finance

❖ “Eurozone recession set to deepen as private sector shrinks for 15th month: Data for April also shows [sic] contraction in Germany’s business activity, with prospects for service sector ‘increasingly gloomy’.”

❖ They’re worried that Slovenia will be needing an EU bailout next.  That’ll be the sixth.

❖ “[A]ll 27 EU members [will be forced] to share confidential information on individuals’ investment income and capital gains” in order to “clamp down on tax avoidance by wealthy investors”.  And where will the investors hide?

Wal-Mart is #1 on the Fortune 500 list for the year.

Money Matters USA

❖ “[O]ne in four working renters watched housing devour more than half of their paycheck pie in 2011″.

The sequester reduced long-term unemployment checks by 10.7% beginning April 1st, affecting “about 1.8 million workers”.  Since this didn’t interfere with congresscritters’ comfortable existence, those 1.8 million will just have to lump it.

Krugman on “The Chutzpah Caucus” or “the fiscal irresponsibility that prevails when, and only when, hard-line conservatives are in power”, or Austerity USA.

The potential of worker co-ops and changes in the law that must be made to encourage them.

General Motors, “profitable for 13 consecutive quarters, is planning to invest about $16 billion on U.S. factories and facilities, through 2016, more than it will spend in China.

President Obama is set to encourage more export of liquified natural gas.

Politics USA

Emptywheel wonders why the White House won’t release the 6,000 page torture report from the Senate Intelligence Committee.

President Obama golfing today with Republican Senators Bob Corker (TN) and Saxby Chambliss (GA).  Democratic Sen. Mark Udall (CO) will be there too, ensuring it’s bi-partisan-y.

❖  Latest Public Policy Polling: former SC Gov. Mark “Appalachian Trail” Sanford (R) is at 47% and Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D) at 46% in their race for the open US House Seat in SC.

Charles Pierce on PA Gov. Tom Corbett (R): his “re-election prospects at the moment look like an offer for a free introductory case of cholera.”

Gun Corner

❖ The NRA has asked a vendor to remove a target on display at the NRA convention.  Target in question resembles Obama and bleeds when shot.  Same outfit also sells “The Ex” target, a female image that bleeds when shot.

❖ “Keystone Sporting Arms, the company that makes Crickett rifles for kids . . . has taken down [its] web site, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages” that were used for marketing the deadly things.

❖  A march announced for July 4th, in the nation’s capital by people with loaded rifles–and no permit to march.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

How community clinics divert chronically ill patients from dependency on emergency rooms for primary care.

❖ Health impacts of global warming:  In the UK, expected increase in malaria.  In the US, there has been an 850% increase in Valley Fever from 1998-2012, mostly in CA and AZ.

❖ Good news:  “New Font Helps Dyslexics Read”.

❖ “Why did Komen for the Cure give [CEO] Nancy Brinker a 64 percent raise?”

CA’s Supreme Court has ruled that “city governments have the authority to outlaw local medical marijuana dispensaries.”

The War on Women

❖ The Archbishop of Tuxla Gutierrez (Mexico) says “abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”

❖ “Sequester cuts to domestic violence programs leave victims stranded” and “The fallout is already bleak, advocates say”.  Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)’s office “estimates that 70,120 fewer domestic violence victims” will be  helped as a result.

❖ “‘[B]ro-culture’ pastors, sexist Christian comedians and abuse apologetics disguised as female empowerment.”

❖ Not just robbery anymore, but now rape, too, on buses in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

❖ “Pro-choice activists in Ireland are risking up to 14 years in prison with a guerilla-style information campaign designed to help the estimated 11 Irish women per day who travel to Britain for terminations” of pregnancies.

Education Directions

❖ “With fifth-grade test now revealed, New York’s tougher new reading exams set students up to fail, critics warn”.

Planet Earth News

❖ “Arctic Ocean ‘acidifying rapidly’.”

Republican-sponsored bill in the WI legislature “Would Treat Organic Milk, Sharp Cheddar, Brown Eggs as ‘Junk Food’.”

Latin America

❖ “Obama says U.S. watching ‘crackdowns‘ on Venezuela opposition”,  refuses to say whether the US recognizes Nicolas Maduro as the duly-elected president of Venezuela.  Update:  President Maduro fires back.

Documentary film-maker Tim Tracy is accused by Venezuela “of being behind [post-election] violence”.  President Obama says the allegations are “ridiculous”.  Venezuela insists they have “ample evidence” against Tracy.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused ex-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe “of plotting to assassinate him.”

❖ Uh-oh: “Venezuela to Tap Military to Fight Crime”.

Major “infrastructure deficiencies” and debt plague Venezuela’s oil industry.  Venezuela intends to open the “Orinoco belt, site of the world’s biggest oil reserves” with the “aid of oil firms from China, Russia, the U.S., Italy, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan and Spain.” Is that wise?

❖ The PetroCaribe countries and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) countries are meeting to deliberate creating a unified economic zone.

Colombia and Peru have signed the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.

Mixed Bag

Time Crystals and the Theory of Time.

Break Time

Sicka Cicadas