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March 03, 2013

The Roundup for March 3, 2013

Posted in: Uncategorized

Good evening!

International Developments

❖ “Nato commander apololgises after . . .  Coalition soldiers kill two boys in Uruzgan province” of Afghanistan.

❖ “Islamist militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar has been killed by Chadian soldiers in Mali”. Belmokhtar reportedly “ordered January’s attack on an Algerian gas plant where at least 37 hostages were killed.”  More on Belmokhtar.

Syrian rebels “‘seize most of Syria police academy‘” near Aleppo, “after a fierce battle resulting in heavy loss of life.”

❖ “An Iranian dhow seized off the Yemeni coast was carrying sophisticated Chinese antiaircraft missiles . . . [which] were part of a larger shipment . . . American and Yemeni officials say was intended for the Houthi rebels in Northwestern Yemen.”

❖ Motorcycle, or truck, bomb exploded outside a Shiite mosque in Karachi, Pakistan, killing at least 28 and wounding “dozens of others”–including women and children.  Sunni militants suspected.  Update: 37 killed, 141 wounded.

❖ “Nigeria army ‘kills 20 [Islamist militant] Boko Haram members in the north-eastern Borno state’.”

International Finance

❖ Re-thinking Iceland:  “It is a myth that Iceland allowed banks to fail completely and that other countries could do the same without feeling consequences”.

Egypt’s debt burden is 80% of its GDP, with 1/4 of all public spending dedicated to servicing the debt.  Egypt receives $2 billion from the US–for buying weapons from US companies–and 1/4 of Egypt’s wheat comes from the US. Such ties allow the US Ambassador to demand specific economic policies.  Update: US Secretary of State John Kerry just announced release of $190 million of $1 billion pledged in economic aid to Egypt.

Almost 68% of Swiss voters approved a referendum that imposes limits on “‘Fat Cat’ Executive Pay.”

❖ A University of California, Berkeley and University of Toronto research team conducted a series of studies and reached a major conclusion:  ” the rich behave more unethically and greedily than lower-class individuals.”

Money Matters USA

A 4% increase in wages would help stabilize the economy, end recession.  How can recovery come about without stimulus on the consumption side, which means higher wages?  Classic case of micro vs macro economics.

Over 30 “top economists and financial experts” believe that the economy cannot recover unless the big, insolvent banks are broken up in an orderly fashion.  Drum roll for just a few:  Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Paul Volcker, Robert Reich, Bill Black, Sheila Bair, etc.

Politics USA

❖ Kevin Drum has put together a handy, concise “The Sequester, Explained”.

Right-wing gazillionaire Sheldon Adelson, “has informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that his Las Vegas Sands Corporation ‘likely violated a federal law against bribing foreign officials.’” Surely investigations are forthcoming.

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) led the commemorative “Bloody Sunday” march at Selma today.  Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) attended.  Why?  His record on supporting the Voting Rights Act isn’t exactly stellar.

❖ “Mitt Romney: ‘It kills me’ to not be president.”

KS Gov. Sam Brownback (R) is determined to eliminate state income taxes. 52% of  Kansans polled last week disapproved of the job he’s doing.

Gun Corner

❖ A 16-year old boy and two others on a Fort Meyers, FL school bus wrestled a loaded revolver from one student who’d threatened to kill another.  All involved were given “emergency suspensions.”  Investigation underway.

❖ The National Rifle Association is reaching out to minorities now, posting their first video featuring a black male.  Wonder if Eddie Murphy is interested in doing one?

Droning On

❖ In their on-going series, “The Drone War”, Propublica assembled available info in an attempt to determine what a “signature strike” actually is, since the US government won’t tell.

Domestic drone use is just taking off.  Not just Homeland Security or local police but also entrepreneurs.  One company registered as a 501(c)3 nonprofit “to sidestep the ban on commercial drone use.”

❖ “If you live in Texas or Arizona, chances are a Predator drone is soaring somewhere nearby as part of border surveillance efforts.  But could the controversial eyes in the sky also soon have an ear on the ground?”

Women & Children

Ashley Judd (D) appeared at George Washington University on Friday for a wide-ranging Q&A, including about sexual abuse, including her own experiences as a “Three-Time Rape Survivor.”

She signed an employment agreement with San Diego Christian College that stipulated she would not engage in premarital sex.  Later she was fired for being pregnant.  Later still the college hired her now-husband, even though he’d had premarital sex, too.   Gloria Allred is on the case.

List of House of Representatives members by “Aye”/”No” vote on the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization.

❖ Wonderful photos from the Women’s Suffrage March, March 3, 1913

Planet Earth News

Canada’s railroads will be transporting more than a quarter each day of what the Keystone XL Pipeline would.  Indeed, both “Canadian and U.S. railroad companies have been busy installing new track and loading facilities . . . [for] the oil sands crude from northern Alberta” to US and Canadian refineries. “Innovations in drilling techniques have allowed oil companies to cull oil from shale formations in South Texas, North Dakota and elsewhere faster than pipeline companies have been able to connect the wells to market.”

❖ “New Book Digs up the Dirt on Processed Foods“.  Example: “drench [gmo soybeans] with hexane, . . . known to cause nerve damage in humans, . . . treat the oil with sodium hydroxide and phosphoric acid, then bleach . . . and deodorize it under heat and an intense vacuum . . . ,” hydrogenate it and, finally, you have cooking oil.

❖ The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists devotes its March/April, 2013 issue to the US exit from nuclear power, examining it from various angles.

❖ Well, hot damn:  “Duke [Energy Corp] Explores Rooftop Solar as Panels Slow Electricity Demand, CEO Says”.

❖ Update on OR’s attempts to reduce conflict between wolves and ranchers.

WA state Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama) wants to apply a $25 tax to the purchase of every $500+ bike.  Why?  Bicyclists “are actually polluting when they ride.”

Mixed Bag

❖ Curious article:  ”Why Is JPMorgan’s Gold Vault, The Largest In The World, Located Next To The New York Fed?”

Break Time

El Condor Pasa



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