CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for September 30, 2012

Good evening, all. Here’s your news harvest for the day.

International Developments

? 2,000 US troops have now been killed in Afghanistan.

? According to the Director of National Intelligence, US intelligence concluded immediately afterwards that the Benghazi, Libya attack had been “spontaneous”, and so advised the White House and Congress. As more information came in, they realized it was a “deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists.” Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, also described the attacks as “spontaneous”. Some Republicans are demanding she resign.

? Someone allegedly from Ramu, Bangladesh posted a photo on Facebook that offended local Muslims, 25,000 of whom subsequently went on a rampage in 15 villages, setting fire to Buddhist temples and 100 homes and looting stores.

? “Omar Khadr, the only Canadian citizen held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, was returned to Canada early Saturday morning, the Pentagon and the Canadian government announced.” He was 15 years old when captured in Afghanistan in 2002.

? Contrary to official denials, turns out Guantanamo Bay detainees were given injections of scopolamine, a so-called “truth drug”.

? “Yemen’s leader [President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi] said Saturday that he personally approves every U.S. drone strike in his country and described the remotely piloted aircraft as a technical marvel that has helped reverse al-Qaeda’s gains.”

International Finance

? Uh-oh. Afghanistan invited Exxon Mobil to come check out their new oil concession, but Exxon declined, “possibly indicating a fading appetite to invest in the conflict-wracked country.”

? “Just when it seemed stability was on the horizon for the tumultuous Eurozone, with Spain getting a grip on its debt financing and a plan to bail out insolvent bans, a fresh threat to the common currency has emerged with Catalonia’s reignited drive to secede from the Spanish kingdom.” Graphs which underscore the Misery in Spain.

Money Matters USA

? Graph (not adjusted for inflation) shows that state and local spending for elementary and secondary schools began leveling off in 2008 and declined in both 2010 and 2011. The “housing crash and liquidity issues” have hit hard, followed by some 200,000 teacher lay-offs. And who gets blamed? Teachers and the public schools.

? JPMorgan Ventures Energy Corp. has been accused by the CIO (California Independent System Operator) of bid-rigging in the wholesale power market in 2010-11 which “may have cost California ratepayers as much as $200 million.” FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) is investigating. So far, each time the CIO has closed one loophole, JPMorgan finds another to exploit.

? California’s dairies are going broke and drying up. 300 have closed since 2008, and “several hundred” are thought to be in danger of bankruptcy. The dairies have been hit hard by soaring feed costs (corn and soybeans) and milk prices lower than in other states.

? On Friday, President Obama blocked a Chinese company’s purchase of four wind farms “in northern Oregon near a Navy base where the U.S. military flies unmanned drones and electronic-warfare planes on training missions.” This type action hasn’t been taken in 22 years.

? Money vs health. Who wins? Currently, poultry inspectors examine 35 birds/minute, but the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service is proposing to increase that to 175 birds/minute–with industry employees doing the inspecting and only one federal inspector being present. Currently, inspectors look at all sides of the bird; under the proposal, they’d see only the backside. Speeded-up production lines will also lead to more “repetitive motion injuries for poultry processing workers. It’s a lose lose lose.” More here.

Politics USA

? Ohio’s Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit Republican Gov John Kasich “had hoped would speed forward the Republican leader’s private jobs agency.”

? Nathan Sproul, Republican operative, has been accused before of having people destroy voter registration forms. His firm was caught recently in 10 counties in FL turning in “faked voter registration forms”. Turns out, Nathan Sproul may also be involved in CA under the name Grassroots Outreach, LLC to which the CA Republican Party has paid $430,840 for services. Grassroots Outreach has the same address as Sproul’s office in Tempe, AZ.

? Seems 27,700+ of Riverside County, CA’s residents have become Republicans since January, although some of them didn’t know they had. Who’s involved? Apparently, Golden State Voter Participation Project, big donor Charles Munger Jr, the California Apartment Assn, Farmers Group, Inc and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing of America. Who’s running it? West Coast Campaign Management.

? NJ Republican Gov Chris Christie is advising the GOP to not support Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin.

? David Plouffe, senior White House advisor, says Mitt Romney will probably do better than President Obama in the debates.

? Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan told Fox News that he just didn’t have the time to explain the math of Mitt Romney’s tax plan for the USA.

? Ann Romney, wife of presidential candidate Mitt, says “her main concern if her husband wins the upcoming election would be over his state of mind.”

? Mitt Romney’s “massive epidemic” lyme disease mailers in Northern VA seem to have been birthed when a “highly influential social conservative”, Michael Ferris, visited the Romney campaign bus. Ferris is convinced lyme disease is chronic and requires long-term antibiotic treatment, contrary to the Centers of Disease Control. He also believes his wife and seven children suffer from it. His wife’s physician who provides the treatment, btw, lost his license to practice in NC “for treating patients with long-term antibiotics.”

? Former Gov Angus King is running as an Independent for ME’s open Senate seat, but his lead is shrinking as his rival, tea-party Republican Charlie Summers, gains support. Democrats have ignored their candidate, Cynthia Dill, thinking King will caucus with them. The ME Democratic Party Chairman has now thrown his weight behind Dill and Democrats have designated $410,000 for Maine airtime.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? In Philadelphia, various groups have been providing food for the homeless outdoors in parks, which led to controversy. A temporary compromise was reached, allowing time for negotiation between the various groups and the city for a more coordinated approach for services for the homeless, including providing food indoors.

? Neil Young joined The Black Keys and Foo Fighters in New York’s Central Park yesterday for “a free concert highlighting efforts to combat extreme poverty around the world”, organized by the Global Poverty Project.

The War on Women

? Kristin Neuhaus, MD referred some patients to Dr. George Tiller’s abortion clinic in KS (Dr. Tiller was subsequently murdered by an anti-abortion zealot). An administrative judge ruled that Neuhaus didn’t “perform adequate mental health exams on 11 patients” she referred to Tiller in 2003, and Neuhaus lost her license. Neuhaus has filed a lawsuit but the State Board of Healing Arts wants her to post a $93,000 bond first. She is now contesting that.

Working for A Living

? “The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Massey Energy Company and its subsidiary, Mammoth Coal Company, unlawfully refused to hire former unionized employees in order to avoid union obligations at a West Virginia coal mine it had purchased.”

Planet Earth News

? A 3.5 earthquake occurred around Dallas-Ft Worth TX about 11:00 pm local time last night. Could recent fracking activity have contributed to that?

Latin America

? Peru is hosting the third summit between South American and Arab countries.

? In the Venezuelan province of Barinas, two men from the opposition party tried to go to a rally held by President Hugo Chavez’s supporters, when they were fired upon by people allegedly in a state oil company van, killing the two. UPDATE: A suspect has been arrested.

Mixed Bag

? Officially, it’s now official: “Officials officially agree to new deal with NFL”.

Break Time

? Young and Harvest Moon

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