CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for September 11, 2012

Good evening to you!

International Developments

? Turkey is adamant that it will not return Iraqi Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemia to Iraq where he has been sentenced to death in absentia.

? Within hours of handing Bagram over to Afghan authorities, the airfield was hit by four rockets, killing three Afghans and destroying a NATO helicopter.

? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is upset that the US will “not set deadlines or draw ‘red lines’ for Iran over its disputed uranium enrichment activities”. Meanwhile, the White House rejected meeting with Netanyahu at a UN conference in New York later this month.

? “Egyptian demonstrators climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today and pulled down the American flag to protest a film they say is insulting to the prophet Mohammad.”

? Where is China’s Vice President Xi Jinping? He’s been out of sight for over a week with no explanation–through rumors abound.

? President Obama has nominated Robert Stephen Beecroft (career diplomat) as US ambassador to Iraq.

? Over 1,000 pages about the massacre of some 22,000 Poles by Russian forces in WW II have been released by the US National Archives. They are said to support the contention that the US “helped cover up Soviet guilt” for the massacre.

? The Italian Supreme Court’s President “has raised the call for a criminal investigation of 9/11 . . ..”

International Finance

? Oh, noooos. “Several UK-based investment banks have been accused of mis-selling financial products [derivatives] to Italian cities and regions.” Normura, UBS and Deutsche are accused of “mis-selling” to the tune of about 35 billion euros. Italian prosecutors have brought the charges, though it seems “London’s financial watchdog was made aware of the mis-selling, but failed to act.” More, with video.

Money Matters USA

? RI Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said of any attempt to attack Social Security in the lame duck session: “They would have a colossal war with the vast majority of the Democratic caucus.” He also “expects” Democrats will “hold the line” on the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. More.

? Consumers everywhere are complaining about the low interest rates available for savers. But governments are doing rather well, since low interest rates enable them “to refinance, erode or liquidate their debt . . ..”

? “The Complete Guide to America’s Jobs Crisis And The Failure of [Bernanke] Monetary Policy Using Animated Gifs”

Politics USA

? Democrats seem to have adapted themselves to 9/11 with the result that the “troops will come home from Afghanistan, [but] the war that began on September 11, 2001 may never end.” Meanwhile, the FISA Amendments Act, potent response to 9/11 containing provisions hotly contested by civil liberties groups and others, remains.

? PA has disenfranchised the father of CNBC host Jim Cramer, who summed up the situation on Twitter: “My dad, a vet, won’t be allowed to vote in Pa because he does not drive, he is elderly, and can’t prove his citizenship”. The PA Supreme Court will take up PA’s new voter rules on Thursday.

? CO’s Republican Secretary of State has “decided not to pursue a voter purge . . ..”

? Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin “believes that national Republican groups could come around to his Missouri Senate bid against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill after the Sept 25 deadline for Akin to pull out of the race . . ..” He’s got a plan.

? From deep in the Bible Belt: “Romney’s going to help the upper class. . . . He doesn’t know everyday people . . ..” The speaker is white, makes $28,000/year, lives in Lynchburg and will be voting for Obama: “At least he wasn’t brought up filthy rich.”

? Kurt Eichenwald’s op-ed about the Bush White House ignoring 9/11 warning signs “Is Neither Juicy Nor Full of Scoops.”

? Although granted “extraordinary access to President Obama”, author Michael Lewis had to abide by “the widespread but rarely disclosed practice of quote approval” which affected only 5% of his story.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? “Over 100 national, state and local faith leaders are imploring Republican governors to expand their states’ Medicaid programs to cover an estimated 17 million low-income Americans” currently excluded.

? “Between 1999 and 2012, workers’ health care costs grew four times faster than their earnings . . ..” Health insurance premiums soared and the cost to workers soared accordingly–180% and 172%, accordingly, in comparison to an increase in workers’ earnings of 47%.

? Health insurance premiums are now at $15,745 for a family of 4, a 4% increase over 2011

The War on Women

? “Anti-abortion group demands Indiana Planned Parenthood produce surgical license to dispense drugs”. Ignorance seems to be in play since the Planned Parenthood clinic under fire does dispense RU-486, though it does not perform surgical abortions.

? Karen Handel, former Susan G. Komen for the Cure Vice-President, reveals in her book that Karl Rove told the organization “to reverse course” and not cut off funds for Planned Parenthood.

Planet Earth News

? US Chemical Board investigators have studied that section of pipe thought to have failed and caused the huge fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, CA last month. It “had thinned dangerously”, and has been sent to a lab for further analysis.

? The University of Calgary is part of a “much closer integration of academic and private industry”. U of C receives about $285 million each year from energy industry companies for research and development. Over at the University of Alberta, Syncrude, a “consortium of the largest oil sands players”, “gives $6-million each year to support research . . ..” More.

? The European Union set a target in 2009 for greater reliance on renewable energy sources, but is revisiting it due to failure of biofuels to reduce greenhouse gases. While “environmental and anti-poverty campaigners welcomed the news”, others think biofuels should be “scrapped altogether” and food crops used to feed people.

Heads Up!

? There was a “raucous protest” against police brutality last night in Montreal. Over 200 people were arrested.

? A New York state Supreme Court judge has ruled Twitter must turn over tweets sent by Malcolm Harris, an Occupy Wall Street protestor, or be fined.

? And from Wisconsin: “New Capitol Police Tactic: Home Delivery of Citations”. Rather than handcuffing and arresting people displaying prohibited signs, Capitol Police are videotaping them and hand-delivering citations to them.

Latin America

? Mexican poet Javier Sicilia and over 100 activists on buses finally arrived in Washington DC to “press for a new approach” to illegal drugs. Their caravan “is a bi-national effort involving more than 100 US organizations and more than 50 in Mexico”, fed up with the violence and death on both sides of the border.

? The claim that illegal gold miners in Brazil had crossed into Venezuela and dropped bombs from helicopters and killed 80 Yanomami people has now been withdrawn by Survival International. Venezuela did send a team to the area to investigate, but could find no evidence of such a massacre.

Mixed Bag

? A judge in VA was charged with growing 40 marijuana plants, got sentenced to 30 days in jail, fined $500, put on probation for 2 years and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

? Six federal courthouses are to be shut down, if no budget emerges from Congress, resulting in an estimated savings of $1 million/year in rent. Those courthouses are in Gads[d]en AL, Pikeville KY, Meridian MS, Wilkesboro NC, Beaufort SC and Amarillo TX.

Break Time

? Bear fishing.

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