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The Roundup for December 19, 2012

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Wednesday evening and time for your news.  Here ’tis:

International Developments

?  Doing what UN Ambassador Susan Rice did not do, President Obama has “called on Rwandan President Paul Kagame to end all support for rebels in the conflict-wracked Democratic Republic of Congo”.  In addition, sanctions have  been imposed on M23 top leaders because of their use of child soldiers and targeting of children.

? An independent panel investigating the Benghazi attack has reported its results, which “sharply criticized the State Department for a lack of seasoned security personnel and for relying on untested local militias to safeguard the compound”.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton  accepted all 29 recommendations and has asked for certain funds transfers to ensure security at diplomatic sites and installations abroad. Update: Three upper-level people in the State Department have resigned, including “Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security” who assured House members recently that consulate security was just fine.

?  The Obama Administration “slammed Israel” yesterday for new settlement plans on territory Palestinians claim.

International Finance

Greek public workers have launched a 24-hour strike, protesting new austerity measures.

Politics, USA

? Charles P. Pierce: “The Grand Sellout Emerges” (accompanied by a great illustration). “The Democrats . . . are prepared to concede on an issue that has absolutely nothing to do with the deficit.”

? MI Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has “appointed six people . . . to conduct a 60-day review of Detroit’s municipal finances and decide if the state should put an emergency manager in charge of the city’s checkbook”.

?  The Center to Protect Patients Rights, the NV group that funneled $11 million into CA during the last election is headed by one Sean Noble who used to be a congressional aide, and who’s head of DC London.  From there you can follow some of the major fund dispersals to various campaigns in 2012, and note addresses in common with DC London.

? Most of what you might want to know  about gun ownership and the American public by party affiliation and other characteristics–from Nate Silver.

? What a moment awaits us:  On December 21, the NRA will be saying something about Newtown.

? “Gun sales surge across US after Newtown amid fears of crackdown: From Oregon to Connecticut, gun shops reported soaring sales over the weekend as national attention returns to gun control”.  Some portion of the American public just never fails to get it all wrong.

? Meanwhile, Dick’s Sporting Goods is suspending sales of all hunting rifles, and Wal-Mart is suspending the sale of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle.

Newton, CT firefighters, joined by others, have gathered “to block the promised picket [of funerals] by the Westboro Baptist Church”.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? CA seems prepared to participate in the Medicaid (MediCal in CA) expansion through the Affordable Care Act.

Women & Children

? Teen-age suicides are rarely publicized.  Why?  Emile Durkheim, in his classic 1897 study,  Suicide, documented suicide contagion among teens, which set in motion research that finally resulted in media guidelines, approved by the Center for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health, for teen suicides.  Why don’t we have similar media guidelines to prevent copy-cat murders?  (Durkheim’s classic is in e-book form here.)

? Five one-star and higher generals “have been reprimanded or investigated for possible misconduct in recent months.”  Latest is one Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair who is charged with “forcible sodomy, . . . wrongful sexual conduct, . . . inappropriate sexual relationships,” with persons other than his wife, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany and Ft. Bragg, NC.

? Two Irving, TX women (an aunt and her niece) are filing a federal lawsuit claiming that Texas State Troopers performed cavity searches (without changing gloves) after they were pulled over for tossing a cigarette butt out the car window.  They were eventually charged with littering.

? Women in New Delhi attended a demonstration following the gang-rape of a 23-year old student on a public bus earlier this week.  Police responded, including with water hoses as some of the protestors tried to “tear down steel barricades outside the official residence of New Delhi’s Chief Minister.”  The bus driver and four others have been arrested.

Education Directions

? Why are public school students in the Bronx paying $1.00/day to park their cell phones in “privately owned trucks” before entering the school, while “students in more prosperous neighborhoods [are] unofficially allowed to ignore similar bans?  (The cell-phone trucks, btw, pull in “$22,800 a day, or $4.2 million a year”.)

? Good on them! Orleans Parish, LA’s School Board has voted to “ban the teaching of creationism as science” and the “‘revisionist’ history curriculum promoted by the state of Texas.”

? MA has the second-largest income-gap in the country. Better-paying jobs are tied to better education, and there’s also an education-gap, reflecting the income-gap.  Weston (“booming”) and Gardner (blue-collar) communities near Boston contrast the “educational attainment and financial fortune” challenges facing MA.

Working for A Living

? Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) will be joining forces–and funds–to buy ads “targeting key House Republicans in an effort to keep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security out of any deal” between Republicans and President Obama.

? The Coast Guard and owners at six Northwest terminals are preparing for a longshore worker “lockout or strike” in Portland and Vancouver.

Planet Earth News

? The 9th Circuit “has ordered conservation group Sea Shepherd to stay at least 500 yards away from Japan’s whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.”

Latin America

? “Meanwhile, Maya Descendants Face Discrimination And Poverty”.

? The good ship Libertad has left Ghana and is on its way home to Argentina!

Mixed Bag

? Archaeologists have reconstructed King Richard III’s favorite inn, the Blue Boar, in both a model and digital form.

? Itsy-bitsy clever spider.

? Robert Bork has died at age 85.  It was he who fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, at President Richard Nixon’s behest in what became known as the Saturday Night Massacre.  The country survived that and Congress proceeded in an orderly fashion with the Nixon impeachment matter.  Later, Bork was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to the Supreme Court “only to be eventually rejected by the Senate after contentious debate.”  Bork’s rejection remains stuck in the Republican collective craw to this day.  On the upside, he lives on in the common language where to be “borked” has its own special meaning.

Break Time

? Wonderful animation from 1939, which went unheeded and which you really shouldn’t miss.

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