Friday, August 5, 2011

The Short List - August 5, 2011

Intergalactic
International
  • Syrian army's assault intensifies after protesters show renewed energy on the first Friday of Ramadan.  U.S. and European governments have begun to discuss the effectiveness of a boycott of Syrian oil.

  • Global financial markets took a beating yesterday, as the markets grow increasingly concerned the global economy could slide back into a recession.  U.S. 10-year bond rates fell to 2.4%.  It would seem a good time for America to invest in critical infrastructure, but the political will is weak.

  • The famine in Somalia has killed 29,000 children in the last 90 days according to U.S. officials.  The UN has declared three new areas of Somalia as famine zones.  If the numbers seem distant, these photos do not.
  • The Chilean miners that captivated the world for two months last year have largely returned to the poverty they knew before the ordeal.  And they say the mines are still not safe.  Your editor was in Santiago during the rescue of the miners.  It was an exciting time in Chile, but you got the sense that it was a story that wouldn't hold people's attention once the last man came up.

  • President Aquino of the Philippines and the leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front met in Tokyo as a first step in negotiations to end the rebellion in the southern island of Mindanao.
Domestic
  • Congress has reached a short-term compromise on FAA funding, but it's unclear if laid off construction workers would receive back pay.  The deal also leaves the main obstacles to a long-term funding authorization unresolved.

  • SecDef Panetta, in his first press conference in his new role, warned cutting the Pentagon budget too deeply would undermine the military's ability to protect the country.

  • A super PAC called Restore Our Future that raises money largely to benefit presidential candidate Mitt Romney received a $1 million donation in April from a company that formed in March and dissolved in July.  The company's physical location, board members, and any staff it might have had on payroll is unknown and many suggest the donation runs afoul of campaign finance laws, as defanged as they are following the Citizens United decision.

  • Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was convicted of sexually assaulting two child brides.
Pundit's Corner

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