CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for May 24, 2013

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Good evening.

? Here’s to a great-great-great-grandmother and all the others who perished on that long walk to Oklahoma which began 175 years ago today. The Trail of TearsNu na da ul tsun yi.

International Developments

? Britain’s Foreign Secretary fears the two-state “solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict [is] slipping away”, with no “Plan B”.

? “Afghan Taliban attack central Kabul”.   A Nepali guard and an off-duty policeman were killed, along with several militants.”

? “US pushes Europe to amend arms embargo on Syrian rebels:  John Kerry seeks support for British-led move as means of pressuring Bashar al-Assad to enter into peace negotiations”.  Update:  “Syrian government agrees to attend Geneva conference”, according to Russia.

Human Rights groups are very concerned about President Obama’s call for a “special court or oversight board” to approve lethal drone use.  Ben Emmerson, UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur, however, praised Obama’s speech as a ‘significant step towards increased transparency.”

? “Reinforcements of specially trained police are being sent to Stockholm after five nights of unprecedented rioting in the capital’s suburbs.”

A Milan court said it upheld ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conviction because of his  involvement in a tax fraud scheme while he was head of government”.

International Finance

? “BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil have been named in the first lawsuit to be filed after a European Commission Antitrust investigation into alleged manipulation of oil prices and benchmarks.” Prime International Trading of Chicago filed the suit, alleging the three “intentionally manipulated and conspired to fix the price of Brent Crude oil, the global benchmark.”

? According to OECD, inequality increased more between 2007-2012 than in the previous ten years.  The USA “has the fourth-highest level of inequality in the developed world, trailing only Chile, Mexico, and Turkey”.  Much more.

? A government report on the Bangladesh factory building collapse that killed 1,130 workers uncovered numerous violations and recommends “life sentences for the builder’s owner and the owners of five garment factories operating there.”

Money Matters USA

? “The Mad Science of the National Debt:  With Congress gridlocked by the debt-ceiling debate, the Federal Reserve is conducting a radical experiment with the American economy.”  Matt Taibbi guides us, the unwilling participants, through this “mad experiment”.

? ABC News/Washington Post Poll:  37% report they’re negatively affected by the federal budget sequester, up from 25% in March.

? Robert Reich asks,  “Who needs Republicans when Wall Street has the Democrats?”

? That bridge collapse on Interstate I-5 over the Skagit River in WA was apparently caused by a “too-tall load of drilling equipment” on a truck which hit “an overhead bridge girder”.

? MD has passed “the largest expansion of the prevailing wage law in the state’s history.”  It applies to “the massive suburban Maryland water utility . . . just as it is embarking on $2-3 billion in work”.

? “Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said Thursday that U.S. taxpayers made a substantial profit [$12 million+] from a government loan provided to the all-electric carmaker.”

? “AT&T Inc. has . . .  a new monthly administrative fee of 61 cents [for] its contract wireless lines”. They’ll slip the fee in below the dashed line on consumer bills.

Politics USA

? The US Department of Education “has generated nearly $120 billion in profit off student borrowers”, more  profit than reported by Exxon and Apple.  What do House Republicans do? By “a vote of 221-198  [they passed] a bill that would raise student loan rates.”  Not only that, but they approved a variable rate to really stick it to students.

? OK, so who did this?  “Anthony Weiner’s [New York City] mayoral site features the Pittsburgh skyline.”

? Ouch! FL Gov. Rick Scott (R) “signed a bill to reverse his own election laws by restoring early voting days and ballot limits, among other measures.”

? “Gabriel Gomez, Republican nominee in the Massachusetts special U.S. Senate election” has called his opponent, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) “pond scum”.

? The Roundup’s Sweetness & Light award this week goes to “Fox’s Andrea Tantaros [who] Tells Listeners: If You See Obama Supporters, ‘Punch Them In The Face’.”

Children & Youth

? With 60% in favor, the Boy Scouts voted “to allow gay youth to participate in scouting.”

? Christian Brothers of the Roman Catholic church will be paying “$16.5 million to more than 400 adults who said they were sexually abused as children by religious leaders”.

? Just ghastly:  More than 19,000 children are missing in Colombia.  Remains of 4,210 children have been found in a mass grave, children who “were displaced or ended up recruited by illegal armed groups involved in the country’s armed conflict.”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? Democrats in the ME legislature approved the state’s participation in the expanded Medicaid program under the Affordable Care act.  The governor “immediately began veto procedures.”

? A move in KS to lower the sales tax on food from 6.3% to 4.95% is opposed by state Sen. Jeff Melcher (R) who says, “It seems to me we are encouraging the behavior of purchasing food and discouraging the behavior of purchasing anything else.”

The War on Women

? A case before Mississippi’s state Supreme Court might open the door for women suffering stillbirths and miscarriages to be charged with manslaughter.

? The Medical Ethics Board of TN has found Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R), a physician, had sex with patients and tried to talk one of them into having an abortion.   DesJarlais is pro-life and all.

Planet Earth News

? Elephants rising!  “Elephant stomps on a poacher who tried to shoot him.”

? The distinction between terrorists and terraists, homicide and terracide.

? A French court in Lyon “ruled that Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller formula . . . caused [farmer] Paul Francois to develop lifelong neurological damage”.   Compensation to be established.

Latin America

? “Chile blocks Pascua-Lama mine, fines Barrick for environmental violations”.   $16 million fine, the “maximum allowable” because Barrick Gold Corp failed “to keep its promises to build systems for containing contaminated water.”

Mixed Bag

? Toronto Mayor Rob Ford:  No I didn’t!

? The Deep South, Utah and porn.

 Break Time

? See The Light

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