The Roundup for November 1, 2012

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Your Thursday evening news:

International Developments

? “Dozens of gunmen have occupied Libya’s parliament to register their anger over the formation of the new government.” They want some ministers removed who are suspected of “links to the late Muammar Gaddafi’s regime”. Trucks carrying anti-aircraft guns are outside Parliament.

? Russian President Vladimir Putin is rumored to have serious health problems. The Kremlin “scoffed” at such claims.

? “US warns Israel off pre-emptive strike on Iran: Arab spring has left US-friendly rulers in region nervous about possible impact of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear programme.”

International Finance

? “Global inequalities in wealth are at their highest level for 20 years and are growing, according to a new report by Save the Children.” In 32 developing countries. “the rich had increased their share of national income since the 1990s”, while, in one-fifth of those countries, “the incomes of the poorest had fallen over the same period.”

? Greek journalist Costas Vaxevanis is on trial for publishing the “names of 2,000 Greeks with Swiss bank accounts”. He’s charged with breach of privacy, faces up to 2 years in prison. Update: Not Guilty!

? “Royal Dutch Shell has reported profits of $6.12bn . . . for the past three months, down from $7.2bn for the same quarter last year” and “US oil giant Exxon Mobil also reported a 7% fall in net profit to $9.75bn in the third quarter”.

? Apple lost its patent suit against Samsung in the UK, and was supposed to issue an apology to Samsung. It issued something it called an apology, but the judge didn’t agree, so ordered Apple to write an appropriate apology. Apple is dragging its heels.

Money Matters USA

? Big headline from Bloomberg Businessweek: “It’s Global Warming, Stupid”. You may ignore the scientists, the article tells its business audience, but what about this: “On Oct. 17 the giant German reinsurance company Munich Re issued a prescient report [showing] the rate of extreme weather events is rising”–and it fingered “global warming vs. other causes.”

? 12 Oregon jurors are deciding whether 12 Oregon National Guard “soldiers and veterans have proven that KBR was negligent or committed fraud in its conduct at Iraq’s Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in 2003” and “exposed [the Guardsmen] to a deadly chemical.” KBR sought indemnification from the feds, but was denied. The judge prohibited mention of four topics: Dick Cheney, Erin Brockovich, Agent Orange and “Ladies of the Evening”. More on KBR and the feds, and KBR and Dick Cheney.

? Revitalize America: an “Urgent National Priority”. New report from the Alliance for American Manufacturing: the US “is at risk of being dangerously unprepared for serious emergencies because of the offshoring of critical manufacturing sectors and a reliance on foreign suppliers for products needed in the wake of catastrophic events.”

? Although his policies pushing longer-term yields lower could tempt investors to “imprudently” try riskier ventures, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said, “We have seen little evidence thus far of unsafe buildup of risk or leverage.”

? An artwork about massive pine and spruce deaths related to global warming erected on the University of Wyoming campus in late 2011 suddenly disappeared in May 2012. Officials cited “water damage”. University emails, however, reveal that Marion Loomis, President of the Wyoming Mining Association, asked the university “What kind of crap is this?” Other industry reps and legislators got involved and the university’s funding was threatened “in no uncertain terms.”

Politics USA

? Early voting stats are right here.

? Mitt Romney now assures that he will get FEMA all “the funding it needs to fulfill its mission”–after repeatedly dissing the agency in the past.

? From the St. Petersburg (FL) Times: “The long lines at the polls show it was clearly a mistake for the GOP controlled Legislature in Tallahassee to cut early voting in half–but it is past time for Governor Scott to show some leadership and fix that mistake.”

? WA Republican John Koster, congressional candidate, said: “‘the rape thing’ is not a good enough reason for a woman to have an abortion”; “Incest is so rare, I mean it’s so rare”; “On the rape thing, it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime–how does that make it better? You know what I mean?”

? Larry Flynt of Hustler Magazine has offered IN Senate candidate Richard Mourdock $1million for proof that, as Mourdock maintains, pregnancies from rape are “a gift from God.” Full-page ad in the Indianapolis Star.

? Do not miss: “Republican Rapid Rape Response Squad”.

? Yesterday it was the Democrats; today the Republicans: Republican Party History Animation.

? Bernie Sanders, Independent Senator from VT, “is coasting toward re-election with a campaign that broke all the rules.” Sanders’ volunteers in every VT town knock on doors, urging people to come to the town halls where he speaks and answers questions. He has a 69-21 lead over his Republican challenger.

? Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein “was arrested on Wednesday while attempting to deliver supplies to activists in Texas who’re camping in trees to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.”

? A CA Superior Court judge has ordered the non-profit corporation in AZ which “made the largest anonymous campaign donation in California history [$11 million]” to submit to an audit by state campaign finance regulators by 5 pm today.

? A record 1.4 million new voters registered in CA–Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2 to 1.

? Interesting Rick Perlstein essay on lying in politics (Mitt Romney’s “dossier of Mittdacity”, for example), lying in right-wing mass e-mails, etc.: “Lying is an initiation into the conservative elite . . . Closing the sale, after all, is mainly a question of riding out the lie”.

Women & Children

? Detroit Prosecutor Kym Worthy has already identified 21 serial rapists from the first 153 of 11,000 police rape kits which were found in a Detroit warehouse in 2009. Not just a Detroit problem, either: San Antonio has 11,000, Albuquerque 1,200 and Houston 4,000 rape kits sitting in warehouses while rapists roam free.

? “Bush Appointed Judge Rules Against Obama Administration’s Guarantee of Access To Birth Control”. In this instance, the owner of a for-profit company has religious beliefs against contraceptive coverage for women, which was agreeable to the judge. Major legal issues in this ruling.

? Bug or feature? “[E]rrors in a [TX] state-crafted database intended to help women find reproductive health care providers are ‘a real problem'” according to TX Health Commissioner Kyle Janek. The data base is intended for “women displaced by the new rule” barring state funding for Planned Parenthood.

? Ex-Penn State University President Graham Spanier “has been charged in relation to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal”.

Working for A Living

? Long-term unemployment, which afflicts nearly 5 million Americans, is “incredibly urgent”, is not being effectively addressed and threatens to become structural. Little attention has been paid to the issue during this campaign and it “has largely fallen off politicians’ list of priorities”.

? Menards, popular mid-West home improvement store, is “encouraging employees to take an at-home online ‘civics'” course that is strongly anti-Obama. Course materials are from Prosperity 101, “a program concocted by Koch-linked operatives Mark Block and Linda Hansen”. The FBI has been investigating “two non-profit organizations founded by Block [and] linked to Prosperity 101”.

Mixed Bag

? Electricity back in Manhattan tomorrow or Saturday. That’s the good news. Taxicabs in New York are being “pulled off the roads” due to gasoline shortage. Subways and airports “are running again, but bridge traffic is backed up for miles.”

Break Time

? Pods of poetry.

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