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The Roundup for May 7, 2013

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International Developments

? “Internet Access Cut Off in Syria“.

? “Russia, U.S. call for Syria conference with both sides” for this month.

? “Syrian Rebels Seize 4 U.N. Peacekeepers” who were patrolling the Golan Heights.

? “Israel tries to tamp down Syrian anger after killing dozens of its elite soldiers (+video).”

? “No universally applied principle justifies the Israeli attack on Damascus.  Only self-flattering tribalism does that.”

? “Nigerian Islamist [Boko Haram] raid in northeast [Nigerian] town kills 55″.

? According to US officials, North Korea has moved its missiles–“away from launch site”.

? “Beijing is engaged in systematic cyber spying on the US military and private businesses . . . according to the Pentagon.”  Update:  China says the charge is “hype“.

? “UK Prime Minister David Cameron says Somalia has made ‘huge progress’ in efforts to end more than two decades of conflict”.

International Finance

? Bangladesh garment factory collapse toll now at 700–“the worst ever in the garment sector, surpassing New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire.”

? “Austerity: The History of a Pernicious Idea“.  Austerity kills, so why are we living it?

? Slovenia is trying to figure out a way to avoid an EU bailout.  Guess what they’re considering?  Selling off their assets.  Austerity: they’ve gotcha every which way.

? Adidas “is encouraging workers in factories of some of its Asian suppliers to anonymously share possible grievances directly with the company via text message.”

? Brazilian Roberto Azevedo is now head of the World Trade Organization.

Money Matters USA

? “5,000 Children’s Products Contain Toxic or Dangerous Ingredients”.

? Robert Scheer: “in the midst of the continuing cycle of misery brought on by the chicanery of the financial community[,] two key Cabinet positions dealing with business practices will likely be occupied by people [Penny Pritzker and Jack Lew] who specialized in those financial rip-offs.”

? NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman plans to sue Bank of America and Wells Fargo “for violating the terms of a settlement designed to end mortgage servicing abuses.” Bur can he actually do that? Meanwhile, illegal foreclosures continue “on thousands [because] the housing settlement allows it.”

? There is no “churn” in the labor market–people are not quitting their jobs because they have no confidence they can find better ones.

Politics USA

? Stunning photographs from The Border.

? Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who played golf with President Obama Monday, said today, “I do think we’ll be arming the [Syrian] opposition shortly”.

? Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has introduced a bill providing weapons “to some vetted groups of Syrian rebels.”

? Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), running for MA’s US Senate seat, by email:  “Tell Obama: Don’t cut Social Security.

? WI Gov. Scott Walker (R)’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has become more of a joke following the resignation of its public image restorer who just happens to owe the state $44,000 (delinquent taxes and unemployment insurance he shouldn’t have received).

? He came out in support of gay marriage and has been hounded by his Republican colleagues ever since.  So, Pat Brady has resigned as chair of the Illinois GOP.

? AZ Secretary of State, Ken Bennett (R), gets $70,000 for his state job–and $2,000/month for being a Cancer Treatment Centers of America board member. The CTCA is a “for-profit company founded by . . . one of the key people behind the tea party group FreedomWorks.”

Gun Corner

? Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) really needs to improve her back-pedaling technique.

? Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) will support expanding background checks so long as internet gun sales between friends is not included.

? 102-41, the vote by which the TX House “approved a final version of controversial legislation that would allow concealed weapons on college campuses in Texas.”

? “Gun violence has dropped dramatically nationwide over the past two decades, but nearly three-quarters of all homicides are still committed with a firearm”.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? Major study using a database of 10 million+ who had health insurance with “large firms in 2007-11” concludes that a “slowdown in the growth of health spending [is occurring and] may persist”.  Could result in reduced “public-sector health care spending [by] $770 billion” over 10 years–three-quarters of the sequester!

? The US Dept. of Justice has filed a false claim lawsuit against Vitas Hospice for billing for “Ineligible Patients and Inflated Levels of Care”; Medicare fraud in 18 states and DC.  Vitas’ owner is Chemed which also owns Roto-Rooter.

? In the UK they’re claiming that “40% of patients with chronic back pain could be cured with a course of antibiotics”.

The War on Women

? Lt.Col. Jeff Krusinski was head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office; he’s now suspended after his arrest for groping a woman in a parking lot in VA.  Update: Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) says a Pentagon report due to be released soon estimates an average of “70 sexual assaults involving military personnel every day.”  Update: VA prosecutors won’t hand the Krusinski case over to the military, so dual prosecutions are possible.

Heads Up!

? 30 more arrests in Raleigh, NC as the NAACP leads “protests of Republican policies in the state capital”.  50 arrests so far.

? Willie Jerome Manning will be executed tonight by the state of MS, in spite of the Justice Department stating that evidence from their analyst was “invalid”.  Manning has been consistently refused new DNA tests.

? Revolution USA?

Planet Earth News

? Release of some radioactive water into Lake Michigan” from the Palisades nuclear plant in Covert Township, MI.  9th shutdown since 2011.

? “Greenland ‘snow drought’ makes big 2013 melt more likely”.

Latin America

? He was brutally tortured, almost executed several times, suffers ill health from it all–but he may see his determined efforts for justice reach fruition for “those seeking compensation from Chile and a full investigation of past crimes” during the Pinochet reign of terror.

? “Brazil has begun negotiations to hire at least 6,000 Cuban doctors to work in rural  areas”.

Mixed Bag

? 15,000-year-old ultraconserved words.

? 2,000-year-old computer.

Break Time

? Tangled Up in Blue.

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