CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for July 19, 2013

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International Developments

? “Source of Egypt’s Coup:  Morsi Gave Free Hand to Islamic Militants, Ordered Military To Stop Crackdowns on Jihadis.” Large protests continue across the country.

? “‘Madrassas are emptying’ for final US fighting season in Afghanistan.”

? A local politician is being sought in the food poisoning of 55 people, 22 of whom died, in India.  Apparently, it’s part of a “family feud”.

? Remember those bunga bunga parties?  “Berlusconi associates guilty of procuring prostitutes”.

International Finance

? “G20 report warns of global tax chaos: International tax system cannot deal with mobile multinational firms that shift profits to low-tax countries.”

? “‘Is there no limit to what this Government will privatise?’:  UK plasma supplier sold to US private equity firm Bain Capital:  Sell-off puts blood supply at risk”.

? Oh, noooos.  “Judge denies BP request to halt payments while probe of oil spill claims office is underway.”

? “China frees banks to set their own lending rates.” Uh-huh.

Money Matters USA

? “Judge says Detroit bankruptcy filing was unconstitutional, must be withdrawn.”

? Just imagine all the salivating by investors at the prospect of picking up masterpieces from the sale of Detroit’s publicly-owned and prized art collection.

? DDay:  “Elizabeth Warren’s new fight: Why even the Tea Party backs it!  Banks that try to take private losses and pin them on taxpayers may have a new problem.  Here’s what you should know.”

? Occupy Homes in Minneapolis just rescued a family from eviction after they were “illegally dual tracked by JPMorgan Chase Bank”, and reclaimed another home nearby.

? Unemployment in Nevada was 9.6% in June; 10.1% in Las Vegas (7.6% nation-wide).

? While much of the print media is scrambling, “Fashion magazines swell to prodigious sizes in September . . . packed with hundreds of pages of ads”.

Surveillance Planet

? “Germany backs away from claims NSA program thwarted five attacks”.  Not even sure now that the NSA foiled any attacks.

? “A top-secret court [has renewed] secret U.S. surveillance program [so the NSA can] continue to collect telephone data”.

? Round 1:  “The Obama administration [told] a federal judge that wholesale vacuuming up of all phone-call metadata in the United states is in the ‘public interest,’ does not breach the constitutional rights of Americans and cannot be challenged in a court of law.”

? “Mood shifting, Congress may move to limit NSA spying.”

? “Jimmy Carter’s forgotten history lesson: While many scoff at or ignore the ex-president’s every word, he has unique credibility on the NSA.”

? “Michael Hayden, CNN Terrorism Analyst: What Edward Snowden did.”

? Valet-parked cars at airports are being searched by the TSA.

? NJ’s Supreme Court has ruled that “police will now have to get a search warrant before obtaining tracking information from cellphone providers.”

? More “Digital Tools to Help Curb Online Eavesdropping.”

? “Google testing encryption methods to foil government snooping.”

Politics USA

? Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has approved almost “$10 million to hire more than 50 additional Naval Criminal Investigative Service . . . Family and Sexual Violence Program personnel.”

? Gina McCarthy (D) has been confirmed to head up the Environmental Protection Agency.

? Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) will  “chair a Senate judiciary subcommittee on ‘Stand Your Ground'” laws in September.

? “GOP Poll Shows Enzi Crushing Cheney.”

? “The Worst Governors in America”, grouped as Ringmasters, Clowns and Sideshows.  Step right up, ladies and gents, it’s free.

? PA’s Lottery “earned $1.067 billion in net revenue” in fy 2012-13, so Gov. Tom Corbett (R) wants to privatize it.

? Beleaguered VA Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)’s lawyer “released a letter . . . stating that key state agencies did not give any public funds, grants or contracts to the company run by Johnnie Williams”, McDonnell’s big campaign donor.  Meanwhile, federal officials are interested in whether VA’s first lady Maureen McDonnell “got free cosmetic dental work from a prominent dentist”.  And VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R)’s giftsfrom and purchases of Johnnie Williams’ company stocks are also under scrutiny.  Cuccinelli backs anti-sodomy laws, btw.

? Remember young Republican, Colin Small, caught tossing voter registration forms into a dumpster in VA before the 2012 election? All felony and misdemeanor charges dropped.

? PA Republican Party Chair says voter ID laws “frightened a lot of people and when people are frightened about an election, they don’t vote.”

? NC Republicans have a voter identification bill in the legislature that is even more restricted than one passed “earlier this year.”

? “New York and North Carolina are the only two states . . . that prosecute all 16 and 17 years [sic] olds as adults . . .; If found guilty, they are sent to federal prisons where they can be subjected to solitary confinement”.

? Six immigrants rights protesters were arrested as Janet Napolitano was appointed to “lead the University of California”.  1.4 million immigrants were deported during Napolitano’s time at Department of Homeland Security.

Drones ‘n Guns

? The US Navy considers a 50% successful landing rate of drones on its aircraft carriers “to be ‘passing with flying colors’.”  Two drones landed successfully, so– Whoopee!–US tax-payers will pay $2.5 bn in the next four years for Navy drone programs.

The War on Women

? New bill in the TX legislature would ban abortions as soon as fetal heartbeat is detected.

? Outrages!  Brooklyn:  Two men “sexually assaulted a teen on a . . .  rooftop“, then tried to kill her.  Austin: 10 men “allegedly took turns sexually assaulting a 13-year-old [TX] runaway”, cheered each other on and took pictures.

? 24-year-old Norwegian businesswoman has been “sentenced . . . to 16 months in jail [in Dubai] for having sex outside of marriage after she reported being raped.”

Planet Earth News

? Bureau of Land Management continues oil and gas lease sales in NV when there’s barely enough water to keep wild horses alive.

? The EPA is extending “its timeline for release of its study on the impact of hydraulic fracturing from 2014 to 2016″.

? Chants of “Shame on You” as the MN Public Utilities Commission approved expanding a “northern Minnesota oil pipeline”.

? “Big Oil companies, Trans Alaska Pipeline owners, developers and leaseholders demand refunds [for the $50 million+} in property taxes they paid to Alaska”.

Break Time

? Blues with Jimi

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