Good evening.

International Developments

“At least 23 people have been killed in a series of deadly bomb attacks in Shia districts of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.”  10 more people were killed in bomb attacks in Kirkuk.

❖ “A suicide bomber has blown himself up near a convoy of foreign troops” in Kabul.  Update: “15 dead including two US soldiers, four Nato employees and two children”.

❖ “Syria crisis: number of refugees tops 1.5 million . . . number fleeting conflict continues to soar”.

International Finance

❖ “Egypt ‘suffering worst economic crisis since 1930s’”

❖ “The concrete roof at the [shoe] factory” in Cambodia “crashed on to employees as they were working”.  Two deaths.

❖ Bloomberg fallout continues:  “Citi bans forex traders from using Bloomberg internal chat groups”.

Is JPMorgan Chase considering suing Bloomberg?

Four LulzSec hackers “who masterminded a string of sophisticated cyber-attacks on major global institutions” were given jail sentences  in the UK of 20- to 32-months.  “All will serve half their sentences.”

Money Matters USA

Investigators at the West, TX fertilizer plant don’t know what caused the explosion, but have not ruled out “an intentional, criminal act.”

❖ “84 percent [of] NY fast food workers report wage theft”.

❖ “Jobless claims jumped by 32,000 to 360,000 . . ., exceeding all forecasts”.  Those on “emergency and extended payments increased by about 29,000 to 1.79 million”.

❖ “Why Washington Saved the Economy, Then Permanently Destroyed the Labor Market”.

❖ To answer yesterday’s question (‘Who said everything is rigged?’):  Matt Taibbi.  In his  “Everything is Rigged  and Everything is Rigged Continued.

❖ KBR, “recipient of the largest government services contract in U.S. history”, $38b,  says they’ll need “13 years and half a billion dollars to finish off . . . work stemming from the Iraq war.”  KBR’s very interesting history.

Apple CEO Tim Cook “is coming to Washington to testify in front of a panel of senators about stashing more than $100 billion overseas”.

Politics USA

President Obama: “‘No Apologies‘ For Investigating Leaks Of Classified Information”.

Michael Isikoff:  ” Bomb plot briefing may undercut DOJ case for AP records seizure.”

❖ What will be focus of the Department of Justice’s IRS criminal investigation?

The “only known 501(c)(4) applicant to have its status denied happens to be a progressive group: the Maine chapter of Emerge America, which trains Democratic women to run for office.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Citizens United and the IRS scandal:  “We must pass a law that makes it clear that these so-called social welfare organizations must make their priority social welfare rather than engaging in politics.”  Recent article helps illustrate that point.  Update: Andy Kroll contends that “a lesser-known case . . . decided by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals two months” after the Citizen United decision “did the trick”.

How states rank in terms of “disclosure requirements for super PACs, nonprofits and other outside spending groups.”

❖ McClatchy reminds:  ”Ambassador Stevens twice said no to military offers of more security, according to U.S. officials.”

❖ Next up?  The Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General has been asked “to review claims of bias against conservatives amid fight over IRS”.

Danny Werfel has been appointed as Acting Commissioner of the IRS.  Werfel previously was Controller, White House Budget Office (and not a University of FL  quarterback).

Ernest Moniz is the new Secretary of Energy.

❖ “Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is likely to be tapped as the next National Security Advisor”

Democrat Ed “Markey up 7 in Mass. Special Election”.

Terry McAuliffee (D) has a 5-point lead over  VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) in the governor’s race.

❖ The Senate Judiciary Committee “voted unanimously to approve Sri Srinivasan . . . to serve as a judge” on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.  That position’s been vacant since 2006.

Gun Corner

❖ “The Washington, D.C. City Council is considering legislation that would force people to take out at least $250,000 in insurance before they are eligible to obtain a gun license.”  Medical care for gunshot victims is about $4b/year and lifetime medical costs for gunshot injuries is $2.3bn

A 19-year-old male has been arrested in connection with the shootings of 19 people in New Orleans during a Mother’s Day parade.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

Marilyn Tavenner is the new Chief for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  She was employed by Hospital Corporation of America (the Frist family) from 1981-2005.

The War on Women

NC is trying to impose a variety of measures to inhibit women’s access to reproductive health services.  Throw-backs to an earlier era even include no treatment for teens with STD without a notarized parental note.

The US Department of Education “has fined Yale University [$165,000] for failing to report serious sex crimes and endangering students who thought campus was safer than it really was.”

❖ Nepotism thrives in TX charter schools, by law.

Planet Earth News

❖ “Of more than 4,000 academic papers published over 20 years, 97.1% agreed that climate change is anthropogenic”. So why isn’t something being done?  The study suggests “strenuous lobbying efforts by industry” are to blame.

A UC Santa Barbara scientist drove from CA to FL with special instruments aboard a camper van and “found that methane emissions across large parts of the U.S. are higher than currently known”.  Highest levels in east TX.

Indigenous community in Newtok, AK is sinking and desperate efforts to move the village to safety continue to run into bureaucratic inertia and confusion.  They are running out of time.

❖ “German Scientists Use Offshore Wind Farms to Replenish Lobsters”.

❖ “Chinese protesters take to streets in Kunming over plans for chemical plant” (paraxylene)

Latin America

❖ “Colombia’s Supreme Court convicts ex-lawmaker of masterminding massacre [of 43 people by right-wing paramilitary fighters more than two decades ago], sets 30-year sentence.

That construction company that demolished the 2,300-year-old Mayan temple in Belize for gravel for a road is owned by a local politician.

Mixed Bag

❖ It’s a “cosmic punching bag.”

❖ “10 gross ingredients” in food.

Break Time

The Penguin Launch