CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for February 26, 2013

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Good evening!

International Developments

? “Syrian missile strikes killed at last 141 people in Aleppo”, Syria, with children accounting “for more than half of those who died last week”. [emphasis added]

? “Mali Conflict Enters New Phase“–suicide bombings, guerrilla warfare.  Photo gallery.

? Op-antiSH (“Oppantish”), the vanguard movement fighting for freedom of all Egyptians to come and go as they please without sexual violence, harassment and intimidation.

? Following Mohamed ElBaradei’s lead, the National Salvation Front party has announced it will boycott Egypt’s upcoming elections.

? “Four people suspected of involvement in the assassination of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid have been arrested”.

? “US-led military forces in Afghanistan have admitted that an error led them to mistakenly claim a fall in the number of attacks by the Taliban last year.”

? According to Symantec, an early version of Stuxnet was used in 2005 to attack Iran nuclear plants.

? “South African Platinum Miner’s Struggle Creates Political Rupture:  New Miners union growing as workers split with ANC supported union; increasing consciousness amongst workers that the issue now is class.”

International Finance

? Thanks to Platform for Mortgage Victims, a “citizen protest movement”, some homeowners in Spain are defying eviction–and winning.

? “Markets rocked by Italian political stalemate“–“markets tumbling”, “euro fails against the dollar”, etc.

Money Matters USA

? “Land grab cheats North Dakota tribes out of $1 billion“.  Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people were forced by the US government to live on “arid and barren” land, which just happens to sit on the Bakken Shale.  Lawsuits galore.

? Yves Smith’s article on “Jack Lew’s Grotesque Employment Deal and the Institutionalization of Corruption” begins: “Corruption has now become so routine in Washington . . . ”

? “Tips on Quitting Your Job from Jack Lew”

? “Ben Bernanke played down concerns about quantitative easing limits in dovish testimony to Congress that suggests the U. S. Federal Reserve will continue to purchase assets.”

? “JPMorgan Chase & Co plans to cut 3,000 to 4,000 jobs in its consumer bank in 2013″.

? At end of the 4th quarter, 2012, US banks’ earnings were up 37%.  “Banks with assets exceeding $10 billion drove the bulk of the earnings . . . they accounted for about 82 percent of the industry earnings”:  Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo.  BTW, their lending increased by 1.7%, home equity loans decreased by 2.2%.

? “Wall St bonuses rise 9% amid job cuts.”  Average take-home cash?  “$121,900–up from the $111,340 handed out last year.”

? US home prices “rose in December by the most in more than six years.”  Claim is the home price surge is part of a “broadly based” trend across the country.

? Gas prices soaring with no end in sight due to “breakdowns and seasonal maintenance at refineries [which]  reduce fuel supplies”.

Politics USA

? Whoa!  “Black Churches Condemn Obama Administration’s Drone Policy as Murder and Evil”–The National Black Church Initiative, consisting of 34,000 churches.

? Chuck Hagel (R) has been confirmed Secretary of Defense by the Senate, 58-41.

? Oh, nooooos.  “Immigration and Customs Enforcement Frees Detainees as Sequester Looms.” Republicans are unhappy.

? Jack Lew’s nomination for Secretary of Treasury has now gone to the full Senate.

? “The Senate Intelligence Committee has closed its investigation into the ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ filmmakers’ contact with the CIA”.  Emptywheel has more.

? 62% of those responding to a Pew Poll say the “GOP is out of touch with Americans”, while 46% said the Democrats are out of touch.  52% said the GOP is “too extreme”, while 56% said Democrats are not.

? Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) wants to end overtime pay for hourly workers.

? A federal court ruling soon on ex-Sen. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig (R-ID)‘s using $216,000 in campaign funds “to defend himself against an arrest for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer in an airport bathroom.”

? GOP voter disenfranchisement  expert, Hans von Spakovsky, will no longer be an elections official in Fairfax County, VA come March.

Gun Corner

? Court records pertaining to the trial of Jared Loughner for killing six and severely wounding former US House Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) have been unsealed.

? Threat to a CO legislator whose son was murdered and who supports gun control efforts: “hopefully somebody Giffords . . . both of your asses”.

? NV state assemblyman Steven Brooks (D), “arrested twice in the past two months, . . . for threatening the NV House Speaker (a female) and for domestic battery, tried to purchase a rifle in Sparks, NV, but a background check prevented that.


? “In a 5-4 decision, the court’s conservative justices ruled that lawyers, journalists, human rights activists and others lacked standing to challenge a law passed in 2008 that increases the government’s ability to intercept international communications.”

Women & Children

? Startling, disturbing US teen birth rate stats, state-by-state, from 2008.

? Ashley Judd will be at the George Washington School of Public Health & Health Services in DC on Friday to speak about women’s reproductive health.

? Bill in the OK legislature would allow employers to opt out of including “contraceptives and abortions in employee insurance plans”.  Wait’ll you see why.

? KS’ Supreme Court “issued a ruling protecting the rights of same-sex couples to both be recognized as the legal parents of the children they are raising together.”

Westboro Baptist Church picketed Santa Monica High School Monday and the community responded–in droves.  The six Westboro Baptist Church pickets left after about 45 minutes.  Pics and video.

? Women in Somalia can now drive cars.

? 14-year-old girl, charged with having sex with a married man, sustained 70 of 101 lashes before she dropped and “was taken to hospital, where she died a week later.”  Sharia law, Bengladesh.

Planet Earth News

? “Thousands across Mexico demand their government reject permits for GMO Corn while Monsanto defends their patent on life in U.S. Supreme Court.”

? If chemicals in our environment are causing otters’ genitals to shrink, could human shrinkage be far behind?

Mixed Bag

? For the sheer love of music.  Video.

? Hankie alert!

? Ready for PANSTARRS?

Break Time

? Hesitation Blues

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