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The Roundup for November 16, 2012

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Here’s your Friday news. See you back here Sunday evening.

International Developments

? “Egyptian Prime Minister Hasham Kandil arrived in Gaza to show solidarity wth Palestinians there who have been at the center of an intensifying conflict”. Meanwhile, “Israel Drafts 16,000 Reservists As Conflict With Hamas Escalates”. Update: Hamas fired a rocket at Jerusalem, which, fortunately, caused no casualties.

? “Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan decried Israel’s air strikes on Gaza on Friday as a pre-election stunt and said he would discuss the crisis with Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo this weekend.”

International Economics

? Another suicide in Spain due to mortgage-related eviction, this one in Cordoba.

? “France Draws Up Its Own Volcker Rule“. Proposed legislation would “force banks to hive off part of their investment-baking activities into separate entities . . . [as France moves ahead] of the rest of the euro zone in a bid to protect depositors and taxpayers.”

Money Matters USA

? Riding in to the rescue of NY: Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has been appointed by President Obama as the “point person for rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy”.

? Thumbs up! Simon Johnson has three recommendations for the Securities Exchange Commission Chair, which may soon be vacant. Former DE Sen. Ted Kaufman, a consistently strong voice “for financial-sector reform”; Neil Barofsky, former inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, who is “more than capable of standing up to Wall Street in an appropriate manner” and who enjoys bipartisan support; Dennis Kelleher, former senior leadership aide in the Senate, who now runs Better Markets, constantly “arguing on behalf of taxpayers and ordinary citizens”.

? Ron Kirk, former Dallas mayor and current US Trade Representative, has announced he is leaving Washington and returning to Dallas. There is some speculation he might be asked to be Secretary of Commerce.

? Grover Norquist and the pledge-he-envisioned-when-he-was-12, cont’d: Grover’s now saying that “Any Tax Plan That Generates Additional Revenue From Deduction Changes Violates Pledge.”

? University of London Professor Emeritus John Weeks: “Is the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ a Fiction?” Another question: Who owns the US debt?

Politics USA

? At its hearing on “Benghazi and Beyond”, the House Foreign Affairs Committee rapidly deteriorated into a “shouting and accusations forum.” Republican Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (CA) and Jean Schmidt (OH) called the Obama administration liars. Several Democrats counter-charged “McCarthyism”, etc. No challenges to a duel yet, though.

? Ouch! Rep. Peter King (R-NY) “has admitted that the CIA and intelligence community approved U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice’s talking points before she made her much-derided Sept. 16 appearance on several Sunday news shows to discuss the attacks on Benghazi.”

? A District judge in SC has “cleared a previously blocked provision of the state’s immigration law”, the “Show Me Your Papers” part. The judge “held today that he was obligated to unblock the provision” given the US Supreme Court’s allowing AZ’s “Show Me Your Papers” law to stand.

? Mitt Romney’s comments about all the gifts the Obama administration has bestowed upon the 47% in exchange for votes has been denounced by other Republicans here, here, here, etc. Leave it to JS to show us the contents of that “Extraordinary Bag of Gifts“.

? Guess where almost 1,000 uncounted ballots were found yesterday: FL, Broward County.

? It’s finally official: Democrat Ami Bera is the new representative from CA’s 7th Congressional District. Voters have retired Republican Dan Lungren. Whew!

? Representative Republican Brian Bilbray has conceded CA’s 52nd Congressional District race to Democrat Scott Peters.

? And in AZ’s 2nd Congressional District, the count in the race between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Ron Barber is going in Barber’s favor.

? Well, dagburnnit, what’s a person to do? “Arizona Gun Store: No Obama Voters Allowed”. The Southwest Shooting Authority store in Pinetop, AZ has a sign on its door, and an ad in the local paper, that states “if you voted for Obama, your money is no good here.”

? The personal life of tea-partier Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) became more transparent with publication of his 2001 court testimony that he “encouraged his ex-wife to have two abortions and had affairs with patients, co-workers and others.” The TN Democratic Party couldn’t get the court transcript released prior to the November election. DesJarlais won by 57% of the vote.

? Ain’t that speshul? “Ten Commandments monument is installed at Oklahoma state Capitol”. Unfortunately, “it didn’t pass spell check.”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? It should come as a surprise to no one that the deadline for states to declare whether they will operate their own insurance exchanges has been extended. They now have until December 14th. Of 2012.

Women & Children

? Women and men who care about them have taken to the streets in candlelight vigils in Ireland, protesting the death of a woman who developed septicemia while undergoing a miscarriage and was denied a life-saving abortion by the hospital which was supposed to be providing her care. Will the Irish parliament now do anything about this?

Working for A Living

? Real earnings “have declined across most industries and sectors since the Great Recession. Since 2002, in fact, it’s effectively been a lost decade for workers.”

Planet Earth News

? Whammo! WH Press Secretary Jay Carney: “We would never propose a carbon tax and have no intention of proposing one.” Instead, they are focused on “the need to extend economic growth, expand job creation.”

? Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK) is proposing the wind power tax credit be extended “for one year as a bridge to an eventual phaseout.” Republican Sen. and Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) expects the wind credit to pass this year as it has bipartisan backing.

? Is “extend economic growth, expand job creation” going to be the theme under which continued environmental deterioration and profit-taking occur? “The President is also under pressure from Canadian officials and the oil industry to give the $7 billion, 1,700-mile [Keystone XL] pipeline project a green light for the sake of the health of the global economy.” Click through to the 2010 newspaper report confirming tar sands contamination.

? “Over the last 5 years, commuting by bike has risen 25%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Dozens of companies have sprung up to fill the demand.”

Mixed Bag

? It’ll give you goose-bumps. Voyager I has travelled 11.4 billion miles from Earth over the past 35 years and is on the verge of leaving our solar system and discovering even more unknown wonders than we can imagine. It’s already found magnetic bubbles out there–bubbles only 100 million miles wide. Video.

? “Misheard Lyrics Through the Ages” Scroll down.

Break Time

? Something soothing after all the sweaty pictures and broken hearts revelations visited upon us this week.

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