CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for April 4, 2013

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It’s been 45 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. went to Memphis to join a march of striking city garbage workers protesting terrible, even life-threatening, working conditions.   Elmore Nickleberry, veteran of the 1968 March, is still driving a garbage truck in Memphis, even though he’s 81 years old; he was to be in today’s commemorative march.

The struggle goes on:  Memphis sanitation workers are now fighting for their jobs as the Memphis City Council considers privatizing garbage collection.


International Developments

? A US Embassy member in Cairo tweeted a message with a link to Jon Stewart’s take on Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s reaction to Egyptian teevee comic Bassam Youssef, which resulted in a string of rebukes, comments, apologies, etc.  Stewart links here and here.

International Finance

? “2m emails and other documents, mainly from the offshore haven of the British Virgin Islands” have been leaked, revealing “identifies of thousands of holders of anonymous wealth”.  200 gigabytes, “covering more than a decade”.  Dan has more, including this cool interactive tool.

Money Matters USA

? BP’s going to court tomorrow to try to stop the independent claims administrator for BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster from “misinterpreting the settlement in a way that will cost [BP] billions of dollars unless he is stopped.”

?  “Jim Chanos, an early detector of Enron’s fraudulent practices, explains our dysfunctional banking system” and the consequences of doing nothing to the seemingly worst offenders.  “I lay much of the problems about fraud . . . at the feet of the Justice Department.”  Also, “equality under the law is an important concept–one that is being violated now.”

? Speaking of Enron and the US Dept of Justice, “Enron’s Skilling Could Get Early Prison Release.”  Jeffrey Skilling was sentenced to 24 years; he’s served six.

? New unemployment claims “hit four-month high” in March.

? Around “700 million awarded to help Hurricane Katrina victims fortify their homes from future floods is unaccounted for”.  Congressional leaders see this as “a troubling sign of the need for tighter controls”.  Really?

? “”The California Reinvestment Coalition, which lobbies for low-income Californians, said banks continue to pursue foreclosures against borrowers seeking loan modifications . . . [and haven’t provided] well-informed employees to help troubled borrowers one-on-one.”

Politics USA

? New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defended his stop-and-frisk program before the National Action Network annual convention.  Rev. Al Sharpton thanked Kelly for his remarks, but told him “we are still unequivocally opposed to stop and frisk in any form”.

? NY state Assemblyman Eric A. Stevenson (D) has been arrested on federal charges of bribery involving adult day care center developers and operators.

? VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is asking the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals “to reconsider a decision by a three-judge panel last month that overturned the state’s sodomy law.”

? WI Gov Scott Walker (R) penned an editorial about all he’s done for the state.  “Fact Check Shows Self Serving Scott Walker Editorial Ignores Reality”.  On many points.

? WI Gov Scott Walker (R)’s presidential hopes “Start To Implode”.

? The unsurprising has happened:  James Carville has joined the Ready for Hillary PAC.

? Entertainer with a conscience, Dick Gregory is on a hunger strike in support of federal prisoner Lynne Stewart’s struggle to get medical care for metastasized cancer.

Gun Corner

? They’re on a roll: CT Senate passes their “historic and far-reaching gun-control bill”, and a href=”″>its been signed into law;  MD’s House of Delegates voted for “one of the toughest gun laws in the nation.”

? States “with laxer gun laws tend to be the ones contributing the highest shares of national gun deaths and injuries.”

? Very interesting:  “Charts: How Foreign Firms Flood America With Guns–and Get Rich Doing It”.  Psst: Those firms are in countries with “far stricter gun control laws”.

The War on Women

? IN’s house has passed “a bill requiring clinics that administer the so-called abortion pill to also have full surgical facilities”–which is aimed directly at Planned Parenthood and the women it serves.

? Must be that time of month. AZ Dept of Veterans’ Services Director resigned and “his newly hired assistant, Terri Proud, has been fired after she cited menstrual cycles as one possible reason women may not be suited for combat.”  Ms. Proud, btw, once said women seeking abortions should first have to witness one.

Education Directions

? Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union, on what reforms are needed that will allow teachers, students and their communities to sustain and support “the common good of publicly funded public education.”

? Entrapped by their own fears, TN GOPers are considering withdrawing one of their own bills to greatly expand school vouchers since Muslim schools would be eligible.

? TN is also one of a few states setting up special districts for “failing” schools–those with 97% black students.  Most “will be run by charter operators.”

? The impact of PA’s Gov. Tom Corbett’s attacks on the state’s school budgets.

? A worker for a company under contract for Attleboro, MA city schools has been fired for refusing to let 25 students eat lunch since there was insufficient money in their lunch accounts.

Working For A Living

? Some big cities (San Francisco, Washington DC, Seattle, Portland and–hopefully soon–New York City) require employers to provide paid sick days for workers. ALEC is trying to stop that trend.  Anti-paid sick days laws have already passed in WI, LA, and MS; they are now working on FL, AZ, IN, MI, OK and WA.

? Strike at NY’s McDonald’s, Wendy’s KFC, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza.

Planet Earth News

? AR’s Attorney General Dustin McDaniel “is making every effort to ensure that Exxon Mobil will be held fully accountable in his state for the spill” in  Mayflower.

? “Former EPA Climate Adviser Rips Obama Over Environmental Regulations”–and how!

? Australia’s “top climate scientists and science bodies have” agreed that the country’s “climate has shifted permanently in some cases.”

? Antarctica’s Adélie penguins are the one species benefiting from global warming.

? Greenland’s new government is applying “the brakes on more offshore drilling.”  Next up:  their large-scale mining law.

Latin America

? Author of the three-year Mexico-based Blog del Narco, which “has become a must-read for authorities, drug gangs and ordinary people because it lays bare . . . the horrific violence censored by the mainstream media” has finally revealed her gender and her age group (mid-20s).  Brava, “Lucy”!

Break Time

? Ahhhhh.

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