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The Roundup for January 13, 2013

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Good Evening, again.

International Developments

? Desperation in a rain-soaked, muddy, frozen potato field where Syrians seek refuge.

? “Iran unable to get life-saving drugs due to international sanctions: Western measures targeting Tehran’s nuclear programme have impeded grade of medicines for illnesses such as cancer.”

? Britain is joining France in “operations against Islamist rebels in Mali” by providing transport of troops and equipment.  “The United States was also said to be weighing possible involvement . . . such as intelligence-sharing with France and logistics support.” Update:  The French have “extended their attacks deep into rebel-held territory.”

Money Matters USA

? Proof that capitalism works for those special few:  Meg Whitman will be paid more than $15m for her first year on the job as Hewlett-Packard’s CEO.  Also on Meg’s first year on the job, “HP lost nearly $13 billion for the fiscal year, revenue slipped, and the shares lost nearly half of their value”.

? A light, shiny moment has passed:  “Treasury Dept. rules out trillion-dollar coin

Politics USA

Scathing review of the Obama administration’s policies and actions throughout the near economic collapse, the too-big-too-fail excuse, the mortgage crisis, and the actors, –including Summers, Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner and Jack Lew.  Outcomes:  “an even more dangerously concentrated, politically even more powerful, still highly corrupt, unproductive financial sector . . . an administration largely managed by people who were, and remain, part of the problem”.

? President Obama is being pressured by liberals to appoint “strong consumer advocates atop the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and for the No. 2 leadership spot in the Treasury Department.”  Concerns and arguments presented for and against certain possible appointees.

? New York Times editorial on “Misguided Social Security ‘Reform’, including the warning that “the administration seems determined to include the COLA cut [to Social Security] in any new package of spending reductions.”  No longer a “bargaining ploy”, it has now become “a worthy end in itself” to the Obama administration.

? The Washington Games:  “Newly unemployed lawmakers buzzing about million dollar lobbying jobs.” Many contenders this year.

Gun Corner

? Guess who’s a lead sponsor of the biggest gun trade show on the planet.

? Daly City, CA was the site for the Crossroads of the West gun show yesterday.  10,000 people showed up to buy guns and ammo since “Obama wants to take everybody’s guns away”.

? The National Rifle Association’s president has declared that an assault weapons ban will not pass Congress.

? “An Eastern Kentucky sheriff [Denny Peyman of Jackson County) said Saturday that he will not enforce any new gun control laws that he considers unconstitutional.”  It’s a “moral obligation”, you see.

? “Demand A Plan to End Gun Violence”, petition and other info, from 800+ US mayors.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

?1,000 Section 8 housing vouchers were scheduled for distribution in Taylor, MI on Friday, with over 5,000 people showing up in the hopes of getting one.  A chaotic scene erupted as the time for distribution neared, leading to closure of the building and “several lanes” of a roadway in front of it.

? NY Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo has declared a public health emergency due to the flu epidemic in the state.  Over 20,000 cases reported there so far.

Women & Children

? Another gang-rape on a bus in India, this one in Punjab, perpetrators being the bus driver and five others. All six are under arrest.

Education Directions

Buckeye Education School in Berea, OH, a “Christian” school, used its students, “some as young as 13” to gut an old building filled “with the deadly substance, asbestos.  The students wore no protective gear.”  Sterling Education has oversight over Buckeye Education School.  Video.

? Teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School are protesting giving the Measure of Academic Progress test to their students.  Already there is interest growing at Ballard High, online petitions and so forth.  More on Garfield High.

Heads Up!

? A bill to create a mass violence commission will be introduced in the Senate by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).  Apparently, this is something their “dear friend” Joe Lieberman wanted.

? Aaron Swartz’ family is saying his suicide at age 26 “is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.”

? Gil Kerlikowske, head of Obama’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, “stressed there is no ‘war on drugs'” but said high schoolers are being misled that “marijuana is less harmful” than tobacco, legalization “is a false choice” and medical marijuana “has never been through the FDA process”.

Planet Earth News

? Scientists “say a new study ‘conclusively’ proves that tar sands oil is both highly carcinogenic and that toxic contamination in Albert, Canada covers a much wider area than previously acknowledged.”  New report published in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

? ND’s Bakken shale oil production is slipping, with  producers  “pulling rigs out of the state.”

? Hazardous levels of pollution in Beijing, China for the third straight day, so bad this comment appeared in a state-run newspaper:  “This is a warning to the Government and Beijing’s citizens.  We have to think about what kind of modernisation we want and how to manage it.”  Photos.

? A global atlas of solar and wind resources around the world is now on-line.  It’s produced by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

? Stoopid decision:  The New York Times intends to shut down its Environmental Desk.

Latin America

Used as a “mild stimulant and sacred herbal medicine” among Andean peoples for thousands of years, coca leaves were declared an “illegal substance” by the UN in 1961.  Bolivian President Evo Morales has waged a campaign against the UN ban, and has won.  Only fifteen countries objected, including the US, Canada and Mexico.

Mixed Bag

? “US journalist Paul Salopek is going to spend the next seven years walking from Ethiopia to the tip of South America, retracing the journey of early humans out of Africa and around the world.”  Map showing route with brief explanations.  Tierra del Fuego: Fin de Mundo.

If this is true, whatever went askew here on Planet Earth?

? Yuck.  It took them ten years to get legal permission to do so, and last month Arizona Snowbowl finally blew artificial snow onto its slopes–yellow artificial snow.  Rusty pipes or recycled, treated sewage?

Break Time

? Good feelin’ kick-off for your week.

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