Howdy!

The FBI has rescued 105 victims of child sex trafficking.  The youngest was 9 years old.  150 pimps and others were arrested, as part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative in operation since 2003 (FBI, Dept of Justice, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children).

International Developments

Yesterday’s news about Palestinian-Israeli peace talks sounded almost too good to be true.  Today, things are a bit more familiar  as they’re arguing over the  peace talks “formats”.  Update:  “Obama hails Mid-East talks, warning of ‘hard choices’.”

❖ “A wave of car bombs has killed at least 51 people in mostly Shia areas of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and in other cities around the country.”

“Europe’s top diplomat pressed Egypt’s rulers . . . to step back from a growing confrontation with the [pro-Morsi] Muslim Brotherhood.”  Update:  “Fifteen killed in Cairo gunfight between street vendors and shopkeepers.”

❖ “Tunisia’s Islamist-led government will not step down despite opposition demands”, according to Prime Minister Ali Larayedh.  Two popular politicians killed by “suspected Islamist militants”; 8 soldiers gunned down “near the Algerian border”.

❖ “Italy: at least 37 dead after bus plunges into ravine . . . near town of Avellino”.  Update:  40 injured as trains collide in Switzerland.

ICBMs have been around since Reagan and they still don’t work.  Nonetheless, they’re scheduled for installation on both coasts and in “Japan, Guam, Jordan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.”

Money Matters USA

“The GOP’s Relentless Quest to Destroy The US Postal Service Is Almost Done.”  Thanks to  2006 legislation, the Postal Service must “pre-fund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in just a ten-year time span.”

Average income in Detroit is $15,261 while it’s $67,580 in one suburb.  As a result of “white flight” to the suburbs, Detroit’s population is 83% black. Question is whether to restore Detroit (and how).  More:  “Bad Derivatives Trades Added to Detroit’s Woes.”

Have we beaten the Austerity Monster?  “For the first time in three years, the U.S. Treasury will announce plans to begin reducing debt sales in a victory for stimulus over austerity”.

USA!  We’re tops in:  cost of having a baby, obesity, anxiety, gun ownership, incarcerations, energy consumption, health care cost, cocaine.

❖ “Fast food workers protest in 7 cities.“  From New York City today on to Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Flint (MI).  They want to unionize and they want $15/hour minimum.  McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Papa John’s.  Seattle, too.

PA schools have been so hard-hit by budget cuts that when “Bethlehem Area School District advertised it was looking to hire 20-some elementary school teachers this summer, . . . more than 1,200″ applied for the jobs.

❖ “More than three months after a Texas fertilizer plant [in West, TX] exploded killing 15 people and hurting hundreds, the state still has not started surveying blast injuries.”

Boeing now wants inspection of “up to 1,200 aircraft across its fleet to gather data on Honeywell . . . emergency beacons . . . following a fire on a parked 787 Dreamliner two weeks ago.”

Surveillance Planet

From the UK:  “PRISM and beyond: Is the government’s capture of public data spiralling out of control?”

❖ Fallout:  “Russia’s defense industry is cutting down on its use of foreign electronics” thanks to Edward Snowden’s leaks.

❖ “So there are two men, both of whom, Washington is convinced, must be brought in: one to face ‘justice,’ one to escape it.”  Amazing story in contrasts:  Robert Seldon Lady and Edward Snowden.  Don’t miss.

The NYTimes:  “what began on the political fringes only a week ago has built a momentum that even critics say may be unstoppable” in both houses of Congress.  Pivotal moment.

Sen. Dick Durban (D-IL), Majority Whip:  the FISA court is “fixed in a way. It’s loaded.  There’s only one case coming before the FISA court: the government’s case.  Let’s have an advocate  . . . to speak up for the privacy of Americans”.

❖ “Signs at Pentagon Metro station support Edward Snowden“.  Others have been erected “near military bases in California, Texas, and Georgia.

Politics USA

James Comey approved as the new Director, FBI.

Virginia is for Lovers.

❖ “Think you have the right to vote?

Beleaguered Bob McDonnell (R), governor of VA, did repay $124,000 in loans from businessman Jonnie Williams, Sr., but apparently still has all those nice gifts.

Anthony Weiner (D), would-be mayor of NYC,  sent an email to supporters asking them “To Focus On His ‘Vision’ Rather Than ‘Revelations From My Past’.”

❖ “Rush Limbaugh is finished“.

Court employee provided info that helped free a wrongfully convicted man.  She’s been fired.

Gun Corner

Editorial from the Tampa Bay Tribune begins, “Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ self-defense law should be titled the Criminals Relief Act” and gathers steam from there.

The War on Women

Pew Research report on abortion shows US overall opinion little changed over time, but increased opposition lately in the South, and among “white evangelical Protestants” and Mormons.

Heads Up!

❖ “FBI Files Show Snipers Targeted Occupy Houston”.

❖ “Verdict in [Bradley] Manning trial to be read Tuesday.” Kevin has more.

❖ “Frightening.”  Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued a ruling in May that it’s “no longer . . . necessary for prosecutors to demonstrate that . . . information . . . could potentially damage national security or benefit an adversary.”

❖ “A High Court judge has blocked three security researchers from publishing details on how to crack a car immobilisation system.”  More here and here (interesting video following the annoying ad).

❖ “Students ‘spoof’ GPS system to gain control of a yacht: It has all sorts of implications.”

Planet Earth News

“Fukushima Problems Escalating, Radioactive Water Going into Pacific.”

A group of park rangers, concerned about oil and gas drilling near our national parks, have formed the Park Rangers for Our Lands “to urge the federal government to curb drilling near the parks.”

Fragile balance between elk, bears and wolves in Yellowstone.

❖ “Nepal sees tiger population go up by 63% since 2009.” Today is International Tiger Day.

Mixed Bag

Who’s buried next to Richard?

RIP, J. J. Cale.

Break Time

Magnolia