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The Roundup for November 13, 2012

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Well, folks, here’s your Tuesday news.

International Developments

? Two more self-immolations by Tibetans in China.

? 100,000 stood in the evening rain in front of the Japanese Diet to protest nuclear power.

? According to a leaked report, “The United Nations failed in its mandate to protect civilians in the last months of Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war.” At least 40,000 people were killed in the last five months of the conflict, which ended May 2009.

International Finance

? While waiting until Nov 20th to learn if the eurozone will release the funds it promised, Greece sold $5.15 billion in treasury bills in order to cover payments due for treasury bills sold earlier. What a heartless business this is!

Money Matters USA

? Noting that in Britain the right “owned the language and framed the debate”, we are cautioned that the US does need “a serious debate about its long-term budget outlook. But that needs to take into account how to reduce its debt fairly and sustainably and in a way that allows for growth. Exactly the debate that, two years into its austerity government, Britain is still waiting to have.”

? “Welcome to the NutHouse: How Private Financial Fiat Creates a Public Farce“. Listing several “Farces” (example: “High-level financial crimes, no matter how egregious or widespread, are not being prosecuted”), the author concludes: “It is our job now to form the next principles and new, healthy practices as we turn away from a corrupted system.”

? A Senate bill supposed to “help millions of homeowners and accelerate the economic recovery” was supposed to be voted on already. It’s been “pushed off while a sportsmen’s bill” is completed.

? “An improved housing market has triggered the biggest rally that home-builder stock have seen in years, with prices of some stocks more than doubling this year.”

Politics USA

? One great election defeat wasn’t even on the ballot: Grover Norquist’s Pledge! “About a dozen newly elected House Republicans refused to sign” the blamed thing “and another handful of returning Republicans have disavowed their allegiance to [it].”

? President Obama has decided to retain Eric Holder as US Attorney General.

? This seems about right: “Ugh, not Erskine Bowles for Treasury”.

? “Obama considering John Kerry for job of defense secretary”. Kerry was interested in Secretary of State, but that might go to Susan Rice, current US Ambassador to the UN. CIA head? Between John O. Brennan (oh,nooos) or the acting director, Michael J. Morell.

? Whatever her involvement with generals might be, we do know Jill Kelley can cook gator.

? What’s scandalous? “The circumstances of Petraeus’s departure from the CIA are a little alarming; you’d rather your chief spy not be reckless. But the circumstances of his arrival at the CIA a year ago were more troubling” since that signaled the “creeping militarization of the CIA . . . “That’s scandalous.”

? Is the US Justice Dept’s Civil Rights Division looking into the ballot counting mess in AZ, where “Latino voters were allegedly steered towards provisional ballots”? They aren’t saying. As of Saturday “approximately 486,405 ballots” were still uncounted, about 322,000 of them from Maricopa County.

? “A large number of evangelical organizations, including 150 evangelical leaders, plan to play a major role in the push for immigration reform.” Why? Much of the growth in the evangelical community recently has come from Latinos.

? Despite the yearnings of some Texans to secede, Republican Gov Rick Perry “believes in the greatness of our union and nothing should be done to change it.”

? Maybe “urban areas” is code for “non-white areas”, and that’s the nearest we come in this article to knowing what Paul Ryan thinks was the cause of the Romney-Ryan loss. Ever the optimist (perhaps code for delusionist?), Ryan believes “we certainly didn’t lose it on [budget issues], especially on Medicare”. Whatever.

? The federal investigation of Representative Jesse Jackson Jr (D-IL) for allegedly misusing campaign funds has now been expanded to include his wife, Sandi.

? $174,000/year-plus-benefits-at-taxpayers’-expense Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) said, “we’ve got to the point in this country where we incentivized people not to work . . . We shouldn’t be allowing people to game the system by maybe only working part time so that they can get these benefits.” Time to incentivize his return to political nonentity.

Women & Children

? Saturday was Malala Day in Pakistan. Wonderful pictures.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? “Yes, Virginia, There are Poorhouses, and Scrooge Would be Proud of Them”. Since homelessness is now an accepted part of the US landscape, seems like a good enough time to experience the situation as recounted by yet one more American who has fallen on hard times.

? “The Dust Bowl” is Ken Burns’ latest in re-living America’s history. Sounds as though it will be a fitting tribute to those who struggled mightily to survive those events.

? Good grief! A second pharmacy being investigated as a result of the meningitis outbreak revealed thick residues of gunk on equipment used to prepare drugs, insects “and at least one flying bird” in packaging and storage rooms, etc.

? At the Brain and Mind Institute, University of Western Ontario, neuroscientists have been able to communicate with a man previously declared in a vegetative state. They talked to him “while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine” and observed his responses.

Working for A Living

? Bob Moore of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods has decided, at age 81, to hand “over the keys to his 209 employees”, some with 30 years at the company. Mr. Moore will continue as a member of the board of directors and the company will “be run by an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).”

Heads Up!

? Glenzilla: “FBI’s abuse of the surveillance state is the real scandal needing investigation”, noting the irony that the generals being investigated are “the stars of America’s national security establishment”. And Google reports that “In the first six months of this year, authorities worldwide made 20,939 requests for access to personal data from Google users.” In the last six months of 2009, such requests totaled 12,539.

Planet Earth News

? “Not only is the Earth warming at the high-end of predicted models, but now human produced carbon dioxide emissions are accumulating in greater amounts in the upper reaches of the atmosphere”. Results of a team effort of Canada’s University of Waterloo and the US Naval Research Laboratory’s Space Science Division.

? In San Juan [gorgeous islands] County, WA it is now illegal to “propagate, cultivate, raise or grow plants, animals and other organisms which have been genetically modified.”

Latin America

? The presidents of Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica and Belize want a special session of the UN to be held by 2015 “to examine the ‘successes and limits’ of current strategies against drug trafficking.” 60,000 people have been killed in Mexico since 2006 due to the “brutal turf way” between gangs.

? For “the 21st year in a row“, the UN voted to “condemn the U.S. commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba”. 188 in favor, 3 against (the US, Israel and Palau) and 2 abstentions (Marshall Islands and Micronesia).

Mixed Bag

? As of yesterday, 220 misdemeanor cases of pot possession were dismissed in the Seattle area, following voters’ approval of marijuana legalization state-wide.

? “What would you rename Iceland?” Smartland would be appropriate–look how they handled the banks. Or maybe just Cool.

? Well, duh! “Human intelligence slowly declining, says leading geneticist.” This cartoon seems appropriate (WARNING: very bad word used).

Break Time

? No fools in this line-up.

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