CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for May 16, 2013

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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

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