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The Roundup for July 17, 2012

Wow, this month is rolling right along, isn’t it? Hope you had a good day and are ready for some news.

International Developments

? “The U.S. Embassy in India expressed condolences Tuesday after an American naval vessel [the Rappahannock supply ship] in the Persian Gulf opened fire on a small fishing vessel, killing an Indian and wounding three others.” India wants the United Arab Emirates to investigate (the shooting took place in UAE waters). Update: A fisherman on the small boat has said they heard no warning shots.

International Economics

? Iceland shines! Since 2009, a police commissioner, Olafur Hauksson, in a small port town “tracks down and brings to justice those who played a role in the country’s economic collapse of 2008.” Icelanders demanded those who collapsed the economy be brought to justice, the left came to power and Hauksson was the only person to apply for the job of special prosecutor set up by the new government. Good read.

Politics USA

? Yesterday we learned about OK Republican Senator Tom Coburn’s NYTimes Opinion piece on Grover Norquist and his adolescent pledge. Apparently, Grover was highly displeased, saying Coburn’s “piece is filled with ‘lies'” and Coburn is violating the pledge and I don’t know what all. He even dragged in adultery. Nothing like a Grover spurned, I guess.

? Yesterday we also learned about the planned waivers to states to help them help TANF families by trying “new, more effective ways” to get parents working. Yesterday, UT’s Republican Senator Orrin Hatch rose in the Senate to vow to stop the waivers–even though his state was one of two that requested them.

? Ever attuned to the times and pressing issues of the day, “House Republicans are blocking Democrats’ push for a hearing on the extreme weather that has ravaged the nation, from record heat waves to severe storms.” (see also Money Matters USA)

? According to a Pew Research Center poll, 44% agree with Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on households making at least $250,000/year (22% thought it would be harmful, and 24% thought it would make no difference). 44% also thought Obama’s proposal “would make th tax system fairer.”

Money Matters USA

? “Companies operating along the Mississippi river are seeing a drastic cut in business as severe drought lowers water levels and makes shipping increasingly difficulty.”

? “Nebraska Farmers Told to Halt Irrigation as Drought Drains Rivers”. An echo of yesterday’s report about the corn and soybean crops baked to a crisp in the fields.

? Article from Financial Times which argues that fracking has been good for the economy (600,000 jobs), reduced reliance on foreign oil (from 2/3s to 1/2) as well as on coal (substituting natural gas), and our citizens just don’t have that much interest in tackling global warming through mandatory steps and know that global emissions “will roughly double in the next 20 years . . ..” Amazing how the thinking goes.

? Well, all right. The City of Los Angeles has sued U.S. Bancorp, “accusing a unit of the fifth-largest U.S. commercial bank of becoming one of its biggest slumlords and blighting the city by allowing hundreds of foreclosed homes to fall into disrepair.”

Working for A Living

? “The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (AIM) today filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court opposing an attempt by Hawker Beechcraft, Inc., to expedite the sale of it assets to a little-known Chinese company, Superior Aviation Beijing Co., Ltd. (Superior).” AIM noted not only loss of jobs but “compromising U.S. national security interests” since “valuable commercial and military-related technology” would be transferred to China.

? Tropicana workers in Atlantic City “suspended for participating in a civil disobedience action as part of a union protest last month, returned to work after their month-long suspension.”

? Janitors in Minneapolis are picketing “in support of the week-long, citywide strike by janitors in Houston. Picketing is also planned in seven other cities. Service Employees International Union Local 26 is organizing the effort. Other cities are Washington, DC., Seattle, San Ramon and Oakland, CA, Boston, Los Angeles and Denver.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? According to the Congressional Budget Office, “Active and retired service personnel and their families are increasing their use of the military health care system at a faster rate than civilians enrolled in comparable private health programs . . ..” Estimated cost: from $51 billion in 2013 to $65 billion in 2017, to $90 billion by 2030.

? “US FDA approves first drug shown to reduce risk of HIV infection: Pill potentially offers powerful weapon in battle against Aids, but support group labels move ‘completely reckless’.” The Aids Healthcare Foundation points out that the drug may cause kidney damage, in addition to other concerns.

The War on Women

? Planned Parenthood has been successful in obtaining injunctions against anti-women’s health legislation in IN, KS, NC, TN and TX, and has now taken on AZ for denying state funding for Planned Parenthood since abortions are performed by the organization (about 3% of all services).

? VA has a new law “stipulating that abortion clinics must adhere to the same architectural regulations as hospitals” which would, of course, “have closed most of the state’s 20 abortion clinics.” VA’s Board of Health, by a 7-4 vote, said the abortion clinics were exempt from the law. “Republican Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli refused on Monday to certify [those] regulations . . ..”

Planet Earth News

? “Royal Dutch Shell’s preparedness to drill . . . has been called into question by a series of recent events” in Alaska. They almost lost control of their drilling rig in Dutch Harbor, their vessel may have run aground (they deny it, onlookers say it did), the Coast Guard will not certify their “oil spill response barge”, and so on. Note: these things are happening in a relatively calm area–not near the North Slope where things are much more precarious and unpredictable. The Anchorage Daily News has more.

? “A massive iceberg larger than Manhattan has broken away from the floating end of a Greenland glacier this week, an event scientists predicted last autumn.”

Break Time

? JS on a Bain roll (just scroll down).

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