CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for June 16, 2012

Good evening! Hope you’re enjoying this day, the 183rd birthday of Geronimo, Bedonkohe Apache leader.

International Developments

? “Syrian rebels have held meetings with senior US government officials in Washington as pressure mounts on the US to authorize a shipment of heavy weapons, including surface-to-air missiles to combat the Assad regime . . ..” The UN has suspended its peace mission in Syria because of “escalating violence”. Meanwhile, Jordan has begun to restrict the number of refugees from Syria.

? “Iran and Iraq are forming a strengthening alliance inside Opec, raising concerns among moderate Arab Gulf produces like Saudi Arabia and increasing the potential for discord in the oil producers’ group.”

? Ksenia Sobchak, “glamorous socialite and it-girl,” whose late father was Vladimir Putin’s mentor, has forsaken fashion modeling for a leadership role in Russian protests.

Global Economics

? “The 137-year-old London Metal Exchange has agreed to a [1.4 billion pounds] takeover from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing”. But that’s not all: “The deal will mean massive windfalls for the LME’s largest shareholders, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Metdist.”

? So much for that Spanish bailout coming with no strings attached. The IMF is “urging Spain to raise VAT, reduce public pay and positions, and eliminate housing deductions . . ..”

? Basel III’s “provision on liquidity buffers, are about to be watered down”. “The banks learned that all they have to do is mutter darkly about armageddon when financial markets are rocky and the authorities will fold, pronto.”

Politics USA

? Too many Democrat politicians balked at extending the Bush tax cuts only for those with incomes under $250,000/year in 2010. And by so doing, “Democrats lost all leverage in the tax debate.”

? Whatever happened to the public option? It seems to have disappeared from the political scene. Perhaps liberals should be making “support for public option a litmus test in every contested primary remaining this year.”

? Last Thursday, a 3-member panel of federal judges in KS stepped in and did the redistricting themselves, since the legislature failed to do so, but didn’t touch the deadline for candidates’ filing, which was Monday. Now KS Democrats are saying that the Secretary of State “lost the paperwork of a Democratic candidate and is denying him from running for office.” Stay tuned.

? AZ Republican state senator, Russell Pearce, author of the state’s tough anti-immigration law SB1070 just can’t seem to find a place that will allow him to throw a fund-raiser. Two Mexican restaurants refused and a public school library did, too. His response to the situation is about as savvy as you’d expect.

? Curt Schilling, conservative ex-baseball star, ripped off Rhode Island for $75 million in taxpayer money. This was the talk of Providence last week.

Working for A Living

? Sacramento, CA’s “Teacher of the Year”, Michelle Apperson, has now received a pink slip. Budget cuts and uncertainty about even more budget cuts are to blame. She’s 8th on the re-hire list.

? Those Palermo’s pizza workers in Milwaukee, are still on strike. Palermo’s has threatened them if they attempt to unionize, “including the use of immigration enforcement as a weapon.” A union election is to be held July 6th.

? Almost 100 of the English as a Second Language teachers at Kaplan, Inc. voted to join the Newspaper Guild of New York. Final certification is pending, but the vote was 56 to 28. Major issues are low pay (some at minimum wage) and minimal benefits.

? A Sheboygan Piggly Wiggly is closing Sept 1, terminating 108 jobs, with the workers having no bumping rights at other locations. This follows a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge’s ruling in May that the company had to “restore full-time status and benefits . . . [to employees] . . . whose hours were reduced without bargaining with their union.”

? “Scabs Brought in To Run Nuclear Power Plant During Lockout in Mass.” 250 workers were locked out of Entergy’s Plymouth Station when the Utility Workers Union of America and Entergy could not reach contract agreement.

? Those striking Spanish miners in Asturias have now engaged with the police leading to injuries of “at least seven people”. The miners “fired sky rockets and ball-bearings at riot police who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.” At issue is the government’s plan to cut subsidies from 300m euros to 110m.

Heads Up!

? From “former wall street professional and current Occupy Wall Street activitist,” Alexis Goldstein, comes this gem: “Jamie Dimon Redefines Hedging as a Studious Senate Takes Notes”. And he did, defining all trades as “‘hedges’ against the ‘risk’ of not doing that trade, so . . . all trades are exempt from the Volcker Rule!”

? New York Civil Liberties Union is behind the smartphone ‘Stop-and-Frisk Watch’ app “to help bystanders record police misconduct.” 75,000 people have already downloaded it.

? Those brave Riverdale Mobile Home Park residents on the Susquehanna River in PA fought against their eviction by fracking company Aqua America. They were evicted, but a deeper sense of community now exists among them.

? Kansas City Council “unanimously approved a resolution Thursday opposing the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling . . ..”

? The City of Oakland commissioned a study of its Police Department’s response to Occupy Oakland’s protest last October. The report, by the Frazier Group, is in and it “criticized the department for its ‘outdated, dangerous, and ineffective’ crowd-control tactics, which critically injured one protestor.”

? Actor Giancarlo Esposito “was stopped and frisked by New York police while walking out of a theater . . . After several frantic minutes–with him and officers screaming, and their guns drawn–they realized they had the wrong guy.” This is how stop-and-frisk laws “create huge numbers of incidents where things can go very, very wrong.”

Planet Earth News

? The Energy Information Administration has been underestimating solar energy generation since they exclude facilities under 1 megawatt–or all those “thousands and thousands of small systems people have installed on their roofs . . ..” Including those small systems yields 4,958 gigawatt-hours in 2011–“about 2.6 times the EIA number of 1.800 GWh.”

? “Monsanto Co. corn has been overwhelmed in parts of Illinois by root worms that hatched a month early, renewing concern that the bugs are becoming immune to the insecticide engineered into the crop.”

Latin America

? Who asked him? Rudy Giuliani had the following to say about Colombian President Santos’ plan to make available 100,000 houses for the poorest Colombians: “people only value what they earn . . . Reward them if they evolve and earn a place in society through effort. And take away the benefits if otherwise.”

Break Time

? Message from the Portland Police Department

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