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The Roundup for June 26, 2012

Here’s your news on this last Tuesday afternoon in June, 2012. As always, do share news items with the rest of us.

International Developments

? Egypt’s newly-elected President Mohamed Morsi has said his first appointments “will be a woman and a Coptic Christian . . . as he moves to allay fears of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

International Economics

? “Britain’s economic outlook has worsened markedly in the space of just six weeks due to the deepening euro zone crisis and signs that a global slowdown is taking root in the United States and emerging markets, the Bank of England said on Tuesday.”

? Moody’s has downgraded 28 Spanish banks, including Banco Santander {from A3 to Baa2).

? “Greek designated finance minister Vassilis Rapanos resigns” from his not-quite-a-week appointment as Finance Minister. He’s just had eye surgery.

? Spain is “on its knees”. The economic crisis has so impoverished some Spanish families that they have become squatters. Unemployment in Spain is 24.3%, the highest in Europe, followed by almost 22% in Greece. Court-ordered evictions in Spain have reached 100,000, four times higher than in 2007.

Money Matters USA

? Joseph Stiglitz points out “Our political system has written rules that benefit the rich at the expense of others” although evidence “suggests a link between equality, growth and stability.” We are at a “tipping point” in terms of the economy and our society. Our country has been there before but pulled back. “The question is, will it do so once again?”

? Home prices in the US rose 1.3% in the month of April. Michael Olenick cautions about celebrating, and advises careful assessment of solutions being offered. He points to principal modifications, since the re-default rate using them is only 12%. He concludes, “We have to deleverage the middle-class, just as we did the banks in 2008 . . ..”

? States with no income tax have “no discernible boost in growth [no boost to incomes or employment] over the last decade compared to states with relatively high income taxes.”

? “Stimulus Isn’t a Dirty Word”. What is needed, says Alan Blinder, are: short-term stimulus with long-run deficit reduction; public investment, particularly in infrastructure and in the critical area of public education; and upgrading the tax code, including increasing the rate on top earners.

Politics USA

? Sharp guy named David Dayen was on The Young Turks. He was talking about the US Supreme Court and its shift toward corporate-friendly rulings–100% of the time.

? “‘Not the Internet, not the recession, not private competition, Congress is killing the postal service,” Community and Postal Workers United wrote in a statement. How? Because Congress voted to make the Postal Service “pre-pay its retiree health care and benefits fund”. Congress’ relatively recent history concerning the Postal Service is disturbing.

? Press leaks in the Milwaukee County, WI “John Doe” case “suggested [Republican Gov. Scott] Walker’s county exec administration wasn’t fully cooperating in the investigation into the theft of money from . . . a fund that was to pay for a veteran appreciation event.”

? Here’s more on the textbooks used in the charter schools LA Republican Governor Bobby Jindal has encouraged in his state. We learned about the Loch Ness monster being real yesterday. Turns out “The Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbek, to advance a socialist agenda.”

? Rep. Jessie Jackson Jr. (D-IL) is taking a medical leave due to exhaustion.

? “Gov. Rick Scott insists Florida’s voter rolls must be scrubbed carefully to remove any non-U.S. citizens, but his administration is keeping secret a list of more than 180,000 voters whose citizenship may be in question.”

Working for A Living

? In TX, 35% of American Airlines workers designated they wanted to unionize, automatically triggering a union election from June 21 – Aug 2 for the Communications Workers of America. But that’s now been halted by a US District Court Judge who says the union needed 50%, not 35%, based on a law passed in May–and which the judge, alone, has decided must be enforced retroactively. Stay tuned.

? US Census Bureau business data just released show that CA had 878,128 businesses employing 13.8 million workers who earned $633.8 billion/year in 2006. In 2010, however, CA had 849,875 businesses employing 12.5 million workers who earned $635.6 billion.

Heads Up!

? Scientific American seems rather fed up, too: “The TSA’s Dumb Air-Security Rules Are Not Based on Science: Outdated screening rules aren’t making for safer skies–just longer lines” Conclusion: “Still, on balance, the TSA’s irrational half measures and out-of-date electronics policies don’t protect us all that well from terrorists. They do, however, make life miserable for the innocent.” And then there’s this ghastly story, too.

? She “is fluent in Urdu and Hindi, . . . holds both a law degree and a master’s in international development . . . was born and raised in Arkansas . . . ” was offered a job with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, then had the job offer rescinded “because she’s Muslim”. She’s suing? You bet.

? The NYC PD strikes again. If marijuana is “in public view”, arrests are in order. So, during their Stop-And-Frisk activities, the NYPD orders people to empty their pockets whereupon any marijuana they might have on them comes “in public view” and so they are arrested. “Almost 90% of those arrested were Black and Latino, the majority of them young men.” Lawsuit has been filed against the city and the PD.

Health & Hunger

? “‘[T]he main reason’ for the HIV/AIDS epidemic in certain parts of the world” is due to the international war on drugs. That’s the conclusion of the Global Commission on Drug Policy (comprised of former national leaders including “presidents of Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Poland, Switzerland and Brazil”). They urge the United Nations’ support of “clean needle exchanges, safe injection centers and doctor-administered addiction therapies.” More.

War on Women

? “Major news outlets, print and TV, turn mainly to male sources for their take on abortion, birth control and Planned Parenthood, according to a study by 4th Estate, a research group that monitors campaign coverage.” Women’s Rights? 31% of the sources are women (men are 52% and institutions and organizations the rest). Abortions? “[M]en were four to seven times more likely . . . to be the ones offering an opinion.” And on it goes.

Planet Earth News

? “Federal court upholds EPA’s greenhouse gas rules“. The US Court of Appeals ruled the Environmental Protection Agency was “‘unambiguously correct’ in using existing federal law to address global warming.” Regulations upheld are aimed toward reducing “emissions of six heat-trapping gases” from huge factories to vehicle tailpipes.

? The White House is now saying “that regulations to toughen oversight of oil-and-gas ‘fracking’ on federal lands are on track despite a two-month extension of the public comment period announced last week.” Environmentalists had worried about the implications of the extension.

? Interesting report on how the LA marshes have responded to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. There has been recovery in some instances, but permanent losses in others.

Break Time

? Louis CK is selling direct tickets to his tour, upending tradition.

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