Long time, no see.

International Developments

❖ “Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has accused Iran’s leaders of incompetence and ignorance”.

❖ “Iran has installed hundreds of new centrifuges at its Natanz plant, the UN’s atomic agency says”.

❖ “Suicide bombers have struck a military camp and a French-run uranium mine” in Niger. At least 19 killed, 18 of them soldiers.

❖ “Britain to be physically removed from Europe”. ;)

International Finance

❖ Two points of light?  “Chile’s Recent Lead Negotiator on Trans-Pacific Partnership Warns It Could Be a ‘Threat to Our Countries’”.   There’s also concern in Japan.

Ireland’s a wee bit uncomfortable with Apple’s disclosure of its Irish tax breaks.  Ireland’s Finance Minister pointed to the 150,000 Irish jobs generated by the Apple tax arrangement.  Prime Minister Enda Kenny called for a “new international consensus on tax regimes for multinationals” as he headed out the door to a EU meeting.

❖ “Shrinking eurozone output suggests recession in second quarter”.  France and Germany “still in contraction territory.”

Stockholm suburbs ablaze  again due to “unrest sparked by long-term youth unemployment as poverty spreads.”

Money Matters USA

❖ “[D]esperate actions by desperate people fighting a rigged economic system and their own government’s implication in the policies that support it.”  Do-not-miss article by DDay on job action by fast food workers and federal minimum wage employees, homeowners’ protest in front of the DOJ, etc.

Damage “caused by the relentless corporate drive for profits” is obvious.  ‘Multinationals’ = “No Allegiance to Anyone”, plus “Making the World Pay for Them”; includes a dirty quote from Larry Summers.

Average CEO pay went from a record $9.6m in 2011 to $9.7m in 2012.  “Health care and media CEOs enjoyed the highest pay, while utility CEOs had the lowest”.  Oh, and 60% of CEOs got a raise last year.

The West, TX fertilizer plant explosion last month “highlights the failing of a U.S. federal law intended to save lives during chemical accidents”.

Politics, USA

Medea Benjamin of Code Pink interrupted President Obama today as he gave his counterterroism speech.  Video.

❖  Do the “new classified policy guidance” on drone killings from President Obama almost constitute an ACLU victory?

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY):  “My Colleagues Just Voted to Arm the Allies of al Qaeda.”

President Obama standing on principle in the AP documents seizure.

❖ “Lack of cooperation” characterized IRS officials’ response to Rep Darrell Issa (R-CA)’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and  the Treasury Department Inspector General’s investigation. The IRS is now conducting an internal investigation, and the Justice Department a criminal one.  Update:  Internal emails “indicate . . . that the agency’s targeting of conservative groups was designed by low-level employees in the Cincinnati office”–who were supervised by somebody, right? Update:  Lois Lerner placed on administrative leave.

Jon Stewart upends both the IRS and Apple matters.

The House voted 241-175 to  declare that a presidential permit was not needed to approve the Canada-to-Nebraska leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline.”  This legislative wonderment is not expected to succeed in the Senate.  Update: “House supporters of KXL received $56m from fossil fuel industry.

❖ Booga-Booga.  Senators Harry “Leader” Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are “sniping” at each other over the “nuclear option”.

❖ Oh, joy.  WI Gov. Scott Walker (R)’s visiting IA next week and being coy as to why.

SC Gov. Nikki Haley has appointed “a white supremacist to her steering committee.”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ “More than 100 leukemia experts from around the world have signed an opinion piece objecting to the high prices of cancer drugs.

❖ Amazing: 3-D printing for an infant’s airway tube.

IA Gov. Terry Branstad (R) and the IA legislature have agreed that the state will accept federal funding for expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

UnitedHealth, Aetna and Cigna aren’t participating in CA’s “new health insurance market”; Kaiser, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield are participating.

The War on Women

❖ How utterly stupid:  Barbara Listing of MI’s Right to Life has compared rape to a car accident and thinks women who fear rape should purchase their own insurance to cover abortions in such instances. Video of her actually saying this.

Army Sergeant at the Military Academy at West Pointtook “inappropriate photos and videos of women” and is now under arrest. There was a year-long delay in formally charging the sergeant.

“Oklahoma Senate Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood Two Days After Tornado”.

WI Republicans have a bunch of bills “aimed at regulating abortion services, restricting insurance coverage for abortions and birth control and bolstering constitutional protections for religious groups and activities.”

Is this the future in the USA?  Gender-specific torture?

Education Directions

Amazing stuff about Rahmbo’s Chicago school closures.  E.g., 48% of Crispus Attucks elementary school students are homeless. The school is now scheduled for its second move in five years, this time for a merger with another school which also has many homeless students.

9-year-old socks it to Rahmbo!

Planet Earth News

The UK’s Prince Charles has called for a war on animal poachers.  Sure beats the one on drugs.  Update: World Wildlife Fund intends to deploy drones (Africa or  Asia) in an effort to counter poaching.

71-27, the vote by which the US Senate rejected a amendment allowing “states to require labeling of genetically modified foods.”

❖ “Russia to evacuate Arctic station over melting ice”.

10 US cities that will be hardest hit by global warming.

Latin America

❖ The conviction of former Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt for genocide and crimes against humanity has been overturned.  A US photographer/Pulitzer Prize winner who was in Guatemala during those years of terror reflects.

Argentina has charged three “former Ford Motor Co. executives . . . with crimes against humanity for allegedly targeting Argentine union workers for kidnapping and torture after the country’s 1976 military coup.”

Mixed Bag

A “supermassive galaxy ten times the size of the Milky Way”.

How tornadoes form.

Break Time 

❖ Flight through Monument Valley