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Morning Hot Links

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With the holiday coming up, we’ve asked one of our excellent commenters, fatster, to suggest stories and links for a morning post.  Our regular readers have been enjoying fatster’s contributions for a long time, so why not put them in a post?  So . . . here are fatsters hotlinks for today.

  • Goldman Sachs might have budgeted 24% less for employee pay in 2011 than in 2010, but the average amount, for 34,200 workers, was $292,836– “nearly six times the median household income in the U.S., where 49.1 million live in poverty . . ..”  Meanwhile, those former 200,000 high-and-mightier types who’ve lost their jobs in the worldwide financial services industry this year are experiencing “panic attacks, binge drinking and chest pains” according to a psychiatrist who treats some of them.  Really.
  • Go fresh! “People who ate canned soup for five days straight saw their urinary levels of the chemical bisphenol A [BPA] spike 1,200 percent compared to those who ate fresh soup.”  BPA is an endocrine disruptor and is also linked to cardiovascular problems and diabetes.  Not only used to line cans for food, BPA is also used in dental fillings (!) and some plastic and polycarbonate bottles.
  • A few courageous women –15 Libyan mass rape victims and their two lawyers–continue their struggle for justice. They have been successful thus far: Tunisia has agreed to extradite Baghdadi Mahmudi, an important member of Qaddafi’s inner circle. NATO released a tape last August on which Mahmudi is heard ordering another Qaddafi henchman “to station five young men in front of every house in Zwara so that kitaib men can ‘enjoy themselves’ inside.” In other promising news: the new Libya Minister for Health is a female opathalmologist, Dr. Fatima Hamroush.
  • Major news about HIV/AIDS trends worldwide.  AIDS deaths are now down 21% since the peak in 2005, and new HIV infections are down 21% since that peak in 1997. Unprecedented access to treatment is responsible.
  • Who hasn’t dreamed of living on a Greek island?  Seems a back-to-the-islands movement may be underway, with people re-learning and revitalizing myriad farming techniques in efforts to try and sustain themselves in the midst of the deepening financial crisis which has engulfed the cities.
  • Protest plans for Nov 30 – Dec 2 in Arizona are aimed at ALEC’s meeting in Scottsdale AZ.  This is the third of ALEC’s annual gatherings.  Protestors greeted them in Cincinnati in the spring and in New Orleans in the fall.  Protests are scheduled for Phoenix and Scottsdale, with particular emphasis on ALEC’s push for and promotion of the private prison industry.  In Arizona, of course, that includes detention of immigrants.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley