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The Roundup for June 17, 2012

Hope you enjoyed this Father’s Day. Seems the Sanskirt ‘pitr’ is the origin of ‘papa’, ‘baba’ and ‘father’. ‘Dad’ was first recorded in the 1500s and ‘fader’, precursor to ‘father’, in the late 1500s. ‘Pops’, straight out of the USA, made its first appearance in the 1830s.

International Developments

? French President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party has won enough seats to be an “absolute majority” in parliament.

? Egyptian presidential elections are occurring in a very complicated situation with the Supreme Council of Armed Forces having declared parliament “null and void” yesterday. Soldiers are now stationed around parliament, there are calls for voting boycotts, and “Pro-revolutionary groups . . . say they will stage a protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Sunday night . . ..”

? According to the opposition Syrian National Council, the army is tightening “its grip Sunday on Homs, assaulting the besieged central city with shelling and gunfire.” The Syrian National Council also “slammed the United Nations on Sunday for suspending its observer mission . . ., saying it is “unjustifiable and unacceptable” for the international community to fail to protect civilians from attacks.”

International Economics

? Waiting in the wings for the US-led military departure from Afghanistan, “predator nations [particularly, China, Iran and India] are pouring lavish praise, diplomatic agreements and buckets full of cash on Afghan leaders, trying to win access to the nation’s vast natural resources . . ..”

? “Norway’s Ministry of Finance announced Friday that a state fund that is Europe’s largest equity investor would no longer invest in Israeli construction company Shikun and Binui” based on findings of an ethics board “which found the company was in contravention of international law . . ..”

The War on Women

? A physician describes the scene between herself and an attending physician concerning a pregnant woman with “a poorly repaired heart defect” and history of heart failure during a previous pregnancy. You know where this leads: medical decision-making gets overridden by zealous politicians’ ignorance.

? Is this supposed to be a step forward or something: “Women Who Disagree With Catholic Church Now Accused of Radical Feminism Instead of Witchcraft”. More like a great leap sideways.

? MI state Rep. Lisa Brown has been barred from the House floor ever since she used the word ‘vagina’ on said floor a few days ago. Rep. Brown will, instead, perform the “Vagina Monologues” on the state capitol steps Monday night.

Politics USA

? “President Obama has just opened a floodgate of opportunity for young illegal immigrants in the United States, but could it squeeze the aspirations of legal Americans in the process?” Thus, the Washington Post enters the fray, raising the specter of “the new measure’s probable impact on competition for jobs at the low end of the economic scale . . .” with scant evidence offered in support of that statement.

? Education in Louisiana’s schools seems to have hit rock bottom, though the situation is so fluid who knows where rock bottom really is. Eternity Christian Academy, for example, has been in existence since 2010 and”applied for one hundred vouchers for the coming year”, though it isn’t licensed and some officials didn’t even know it existed.

? ME Senators Snowe and Collins, saying the Obama administration didn’t move fast enough, want a floor vote on the nomination of William Kayatta Jr to the First Circuit of Appeals. Kayatta was confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in April.

? The National Congress of American Indians is meeting in Lincoln, NE, bringing together “dozens of tribes and 800 or more tribal representatives” from through the USA. Climate change, violence against women and economic advance of the tribes are among topics highlighted during the 4-day event.

Heads Up!

? At 3:00 pm (EDT) today, civil rights, faith, labor and community groups began a silent march against the Stop-and-Frisk program in NYC.

? Senators may have swooned, but regular folks who attended Jamie Dimon’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee stood up and asked him to face “the thousands of homeowners . . . that are losing their homes because of his work.”

Planet Earth News

? The current Rio+20 meeting is a bumpy one. On the positive side is the statement “it is crucial that we honor all previous commitments, without regression” which was aimed at US efforts to “rip up the Earth Summit agreement of 1992 . . ..” However, in terms of climate change, global inequity and unsustainable consumption, language in the agreement is weak. There’s even reluctance to agree that the earth’s peoples have a right to clean water.

? Also from the Rio+20 summit: “Efforts to deal with increasing acidification of the oceans will get a signal of support . . . with a U.S. announcement that it will provide $1 million over the next three years to launch a global monitoring network.” Scientists, however, estimate “a robust global ocean acidification monitoring effort will cost $50 million.”

Latin America

? In 1968, the Paiter Amazonian people first came into contact with whites. Since then their lands have been “terribly threatened by the violence of the Polonoroeste program, the corruption and omission of government agencies, and the invasion by unauthorized individuals, including lumberman and miners.” Paiter chief Almir has been working for five years with google to develop “a cultural map of [the Paiter], a digital tool that will help the Amazonian tribe share their vast knowledge of the forest and fight illegal logging.” The site has now been launched. Not all parts of it are yet in English, but it is an amazing venture.

? Imagine the possibilities here in the US of A. “Bolivian officials get spy pens in anti-corruption effort”

? With the Rio+20 conference on-going 2200 miles to the south, some 300 “indigenous and green activists occupied Friday the construction site of a huge hydro-electric dam across the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon . . . ” “We call on the world to let our river live,” said Antonia Melo of the Xingu River Forever Alive Movement.

? 14 drug cartel members in Mexico have been indicted in the US for money laundering.

? Approximately 40 politicians in Colombia will be ordered to “respond to accusations that they had ties to the local paramilitary death squad.”

Hunger & Health

? India’s economy may have accelerated, but “more than three-quarters of the 1.2 billion population eat less than minimum targets . . . up from two-thirds . . . in 1983.” Overall, 40% of the world’s malnourished children are Indian–“more than in all of Africa.”

? The “number of [Palestinian] children being treated for diarrhea has doubled in five years” and “Israel’s five-year blockade of the territory is preventing crucial sanitation equipment from getting in.” Water available in Gaza is dangerous to drink.

Mixed Bag

? RIP Rodney King

? Glenn Beck has seen the tee vee show “Glee” and he is shocked! shocked! at what he considers a “horror show”. Beck concluded “There is no way to beat this.”

Break Time

? Not exactly a magic carpet ride, but ‘pert near it (as my beloved Southern grandfather would have said).

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