CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for June 24, 2013

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International Developments

? Strayed off the ranch much?  “Obama Policy Team ‘Trying To Rein In’ Kerry After Issuing Several Pledges to Allies, Rivals”.

? “Ten car-bomb explosions killed at least 39 people across” Baghdad, Iraq today.

? Sunni-Shiite strife has resulted in the “Lebanese army storm[ing] Islamist mosque [in Sidon] as Syria crisis spreads.”

? “Egypt’s army chief warned on Sunday that the military is ready to intervene to stop the nation from entering a ‘dark tunnel’ of internal conflict.”

? “Pakistan to seek treason charges against Musharraf”.

? Major issues raised by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyp Erdogan’s plans to  build a mosque, a mall and “a replica Ottoman Army barracks” which set off protests in Taksim Square–and the architect caught in the middle.

? Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to 7 years in jail and “banned . . . from public office” for having paid sex with a minor and trying to cover it up.  He’s appealing.

International Finance

? A “co-owner of Coral Springs, Florida-based Specialty Medical Supplies claims that about 80 workers [in their Beijing factory] are blocking every exit of his building around the clock until their demands are met.”

Money Matters USA

? Think he means it? Richard Fisher of the Dallas Federal Reserve “warned the ‘feral hogs’ of financial markets against trying to force the Federal Reserve to . . . slow its bond buying”.  Further, he said the Fed would not be “propping up the economy indefinitely”.

Surveillance Planet

? Jonathan Schell:  “There is a revolution afoot–one that is being carried out by the government against the fundamental law of the land.”

? Why Ecuador?  “First, the country has an enviably loopholed extradition treaty with the United States.”  Second, the ruling regime of Ecuador doesn’t really care what America thinks.”

? Following the David Gregory-Glenn Greenwald mix-up  David Sirota asks:  Why is there a double standard when it comes to questioning other reporters who’ve also released classified information, why a hesitancy to question whether key government officials might not have committed perjury before Congress, and many more.

? An account of Edward Snowden in Hong Kong by a chatty lawyer who tells us about phones, Pepsi and pizza.

? Edward Snowden according to the South China Morning Post:  “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked.  That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”  Glenn Greenwald responds.

? Ecuador issues Snowden a “document of passage”.

? Russia says there’s no legal authority for it to turn Edward Snowden over to the US, while Secretary of State John Kerry demands otherwise.

? While the US “scrambles” to find Snowden, Wikileaks claims to know where he is.

? Continuous updates on the Snowden matter:  e.g., contrary to “NSA claims that the government needs to be able to suck up internet data from . . . Skype and Gmail to fight terrorists: . . . would-be terrorists don’t use those services”; etc.

? “Will The U.S. Be Able To Extradite James Clapper From Northern Virginia?”  You know, for lying to Congress.

? Finally:  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has introduced “the most sweeping bill yet dealing with the fallout over revelation of NSA surveillance of phone records and internet usage.”

Politics USA

? How the top 1% of the top 1% “Now Dominate Our Elections”.

? Political donations are sluggish, with the pro-Obama Organizing for Action having halved [its] $50 million fundraising goal”, and Republicans for Immigration Reform having sufficient funds to buy “just a tiny ad . . . in South Carolina”.

? “The Internal Revenue Service’s screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than has been previously disclosed” according to Danny Werfel, new IRS chief.  Search terms used included ‘Occupy’, ‘Progressive’, ‘Israel’.

? The prosecution’s dramatic opening in the George Zimmerman trial in the death of Trayvon Martin.

? Online map provided by PA’s Department of Transportation showing bridges and highways that could be built under the governor’s and senate’s bills.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? “80% of Pre-Packaged Foods in America Are Banned in Other Countries”.

? “Showdown at the Airport Body Scanner“.

? US Department of Health & Human Services report:  “Obamacare saved consumers nearly $4 billion in 2012”.

The War on Women

? US Air Force Lt. Colonel has been “charged with assault, rape and lewd acts against a child. . . over a six-year period in two states.”

? Major struggle in the TX legislature  over anti-abortion legislation.  700 people signed up to testify against the bills.  Update: The bills were passed “in the wee hours” today and move to the Senate, and possibly a filibuster.

? Maxed-out on ignorance, TX Rep. Jody Laubenberg (R) says, “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out”.  (It’s thought she’s referring to evidence collection kits used in rape cases.)

? “Roy T. Dye, ‘men’s rights activist‘ . . . has to pay women to have sex with him . . . [then] beats them” up.

Education Directions

? Compare top income families’ spending on “higher enrichment” for their children–from $3,536/child in 1970 to $8,872 in 2008–with families  in the bottom income–$835/child to $1,315 over the same time period.

Heads Up!

? O Canada!  “Wearing a mask at a riot is now a crime”, up to 10-years in prison.

Planet Earth News

? “Tar Sands Mining Beginning in Utah: Why the U.S. Is Becoming Ground Zero For the Dirtiest Energy: The practice that has devastated parts of Canada is already underway in the U.S. and things could get a lot worse.”

? How Canada went rogue and became a “reckless petrostate”.

Latin America

? ‘Bout time! “Watchdog groups [in Mexico] are gaining strength, opposition parties are challenging and exposing the faults of the status quo, and social and traditional news media organizations are increasingly seeking to hold officials accountable.”

? Bolivia is considering legalizing abortion.  About one-third of “maternal deaths in Bolivia are due to unsafe abortion.”

Mixed Bag

? Twinkies will be in the stores July 15th.

Break Time

? This Note’s For You.

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