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The Roundup for February 25, 2013

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Good evening!

International Developments

? “America’s promise of democracy is anything but . . . for Iraqi women; Iraq’s jailers learned their abuses from the allied occupiers.  And under today’s sectarian regime, women are under assault”.

? Leaflets [signed by a new Shiite militant group] are “turning up at Sunni households in the Iraqi capital’s Jihad neighborhood . . . bearing a chilling message: Get out now or face ‘great agony’ soon.”

? “Lebanon’s president and prime minister urged Syria . . .  to stop shelling Lebanese territory after four Lebanese were killed by gunfire from the Syrian side of the border”.

? “Italian election results: gridlock”

? Centre-right leader Nicos Anastasiades elected President of Cyprus.

? “US Caught in Awkward Embrace of Myanmar ‘Crony'”.

? “Scotland’s Roman Catholic archbishop, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has resigned amid allegations that he abused four men studying to be priests in the 1980s.”

International Finance

? Dead horses everywhere, including in Ikea’s frozen meatballs, in Europe.

? “How Austerity Stifled The British Economy (And The Rest of Europe) In Three Charts.”

? Grounding  the F-35 fleet “will complicate a push this week by Lockheed and U.S. officials to convince Australian lawmakers and generals . . . to buy 100 of the jets.”

? “5 Reasons the World Is Catching on to the Financial Transaction Tax“, including increased revenues and encouragement for “real growth”.

? As Italy’s Mario Monti departs, the Financial Times takes on Krugman.

Money Matters USA

? Telling comparisons between the US and Norway along with key economic variables–Average CEO Compensation, Employment Protections, Hourly Wages, Unemployment, Poverty, etc.

? “White House releases state-by-state breakdown of sequester’s effects.”

? “How Eric Cantor Gave Us an Endless Series of Fiscal Crises“–including the looming sequester, a “horrible monster”.  (PS:  he’s got a 27% favorable rating in VA.)

? Bill Black:  “President Obama has revealed his real preferences in the current blame game by not calling for a clean bill eliminating the Sequester. . ..  The only logical inference . . . is that Obama remains committed to inflicting the ‘Grand Bargain’ . . . on the nation”.

Krugman: Republicans “don’t care about the deficit.  They care about exploiting the deficit to pursue their goal of dismantling the social insurance system. They want a fiscal crisis; they need it; they’re enjoying it.”

? DDay on the only “individual singled out for actual jail time for her role in the massive mortgage document fraud that plagued this nation. . . . she stands alone among the multitudes of fraudsters, including those at the highest reaches of the financial industry.”

? Much lip service for closing the “carried interest loophole” which hugely benefits “private equity and hedge fund managers . . . venture capitalists and partners in real estate investment trusts”.  Little action because “of the financial lobby’s clout”.

? 58% of Hill Poll respondents say the “Pentagon should bear the brunt of deficit cuts”.

? Deficits are the number one concern of 87% of the wealthy.  “In contrast, only 7 percent of the general public mentions deficits or the national debt as the most important problem facing the country; more than 50 percent cite the economy and jobs.”

Politics USA

? “In 1901, an American officer was sentenced to 10 years at hard labor for waterboarding a Filipino prisoner.” Fast forward into the next century: “While . . . President Obama has unambiguously stated that [waterboarding] is a method of torture, his administration declared that no one would be prosecuted for utilizing it or any other ‘enhanced interrogation technique’.”

? After all these decades, the Census Bureau is dropping the term ‘Negro‘ and instead using the terms ‘black’ or ‘African-American’.

? Movement afoot in the House to abolish the Selective Service System . . . [which] manages draft registration.”

WI GOP computers used “to develop Republican friendly voting maps” are ordered open for examination.

MI GOPers want “14 of the state’s 16 electoral votes” given to the “candidate [who] got the most votes in each congressional district” and the other two to “go to the state-wide vote total winner.”

Gun Corner

? “Most Mass Shootings Target Women and Families; Study Finds Men With Legal Guns Are to Blame: Data suggests that a gun present in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent”.

? MN’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says that, since 2003, “justifiable use of a firearm by a permit holder” has happened 5 times.  Also, “permit holders have been convicted of 124 crimes using a firearm since 2003.”

? Gunman fired “unauthorized tracer rounds” inside the Dallas-Ft. Worth Gun Range, leading to a four-alarm fire.

Droning On

? Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary, “says that he was once instructed by the White House not to acknowledge the administration’s use of drones.”  That extends the deception back to at least 2009.

ND’s legislature has passed a law “that would require a warrant to use unmanned planes for surveillance on people.”


A “convicted killer who claims he is too mentally disabled to be executed” should not be returned to death row, per the US Supreme Court.

? “The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a decision upholding a century-old ban on corporate campaign contributions in federal elections.”

? Justice Sonia Sotomayor “slammed the racially insensitive comments of a federal prosecutor in a Texas drug case Monday, calling his words ‘an affront to the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws'”.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? After three years of decline, it appears the number of adults in the US who have health insurance covered by their employer has stabilized–to 45% of the workforce.

? Synopsis of Medicaid expansion on a state-by-state basis.

Planet Earth News

Energy executives demand approval by “Congress and the White House [of] more drilling projects and . . . the Keystone XL pipeline”.

? “Timeline of Gulf Oil Spill and Ensuing Legal Cases”: April 20, 2010 – present.  The trial is underway.

? National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: “hot, wet climate has cut the amount of work people can do in the worst heat by about 10 percent in the past six decades”.

Mixed Bag

? APB alert:  “500-year-old arrest warrant for . . . Niccolo Machiavelli”.

Break Time

? Tibetan Horses

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