10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:
AP Wire
Jul 15, 2014



It's the first time the Israelis have encountered an unmanned aircraft since the start of their offensive against Hamas militants last week. Egypt, meanwhile, calls for a cease-fire.


The bank acknowledges a pattern of deception that Attorney General Holder says "shattered lives" and contributed to the worst financial crisis in decades.


Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai tells the AP's John Daniszewski that a U.S.-brokered pact lays the foundation for a national unity government.


Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. But it's unclear when investigators will ask about his disappearance that led to his being held captive by the Taliban for five years.


That's what Britain's prime minister is calling the Church of England's vote in favor of allowing women to become bishops.


School cafeteria managers are sampling bean burgers, peanut butter substitutes and other alternatives at a convention in Boston.


An appeals court says the government offered little backup for the notion that a military commission was the appropriate place to try Ali Hamza al-Bahlul for material support for terrorism and solicitation.


Malala Yousafzai, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012, visits Nigeria and urges Islamic extremists to free 219 kidnapped schoolgirls.


The deadly shipwreck Costa Concordia is successfully refloated in preparation for it to be hauled away for scrapping, 30 months after it capsized.


Seattle's Felix Hernandez will take the mound for the American League and St. Louis' Adam Wainwright will open for the National League at the All-Star game.




"The TRUTH is that overall state funding has risen dramatically when compared to 2012, which was the first budget proposed by Governor Snyder and passed by the legislature. Funding levels in the newly-signed FY ’15 School Aid Budget, which is $1 billion higher than 2012, are actually the highest in history. Choose yours – or any – school district below to see funding details for the past three years." http://www.mikidsfirst.com/share...


"More than 44,000 home-based care givers who were shanghaied into the union under a plan concocted during the Granholm administration have chosen not remain in the SEIU now that they have the freedom to decide." http://www.mackinac.org/20034


#12. Let's give credit where credit is due. "On Aug. 5, 2009, Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, introduced Senate Bill 731, which would give statutory cover to a scheme transferring approximately $6.6 million in taxpayer money annually to the SEIU government employee union,...

Wendy Day of Common Sense in Government has reported on Facebook that Allen was the recipient of a $2,000 campaign contribution from the SEIU on June 22, six weeks before SB 731 was introduced. In another post she hints that introducing and passing the bill was part of a quid-pro-quo between Senate Republicans and the SEIU for union support of former state representative Mike Nofs in a November 2009 special election, which state Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser had characterized as among the party's top priorities. Day observes that the SEIU endorsed Nofs on August 22nd, two weeks after SB 731 was introduced, and sent four full-time workers to help on his campaign.

Senate Bill 731 was co-sponsored by these Republican Senators:

Roger Kahn, Bruce Patterson, Valde Garcia, Tony Stamas, Judson Gilbert, Mark Jansen, Randy Richardville, and Patricia Birkholz.

It was also co-sponsored by the following Democratic Senators:

Raymond Basham, Martha Scott, Dennis Olshove, Irma Clark-Coleman, Michael Switalski, Gilda Jacobs, Deborah Cherry and Gretchen Whitmer.

SB 731's primary sponsor Sen. Jason Allen is more commonly identified as a leading promoter of a massive expansion in Michigan's corporate welfare empire (see his "economic development" bills, amendments and votes here). http://www.michigancapitolconfid...


Well, apart from the fact that your story is 5 years old and Jason Allen no longer represents anyone in the legislature (he is now apparently Senior Deputy Director for Veterans Affairs, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, State of Michigan) (surprise), i absolutely share your concerns with any representative, from whatever party, who supported Granholm and her democrat colleagues in perpetrating this fraud on Michigan taxpayers and home health providers. We both can agree that this 80% reduction in SEIU membership once people were given Freedom of Choice is a good thing. Thanks for the history - FYI here is a fuller back story. http://www.michigancapitolconfid...


Thank you, kind sir, for the fuller back story.

LOL...."Two forced unionizations took place while Gov. Jennifer Granholm was governor. One involved home-based day care workers. That situation ended shortly after Gov. Rick Snyder came into office." Right. That's about the time Snyder slashed the corporate tax rate in half in one swell swoop, putting the already compromised financial health of the state in even greater distress, thus the necessity of raising taxes on senior citizens and the poor, and was pressured into passing the union-killing ALEC RTW bill literally in the dead of night, behind closed doors, in a lame duck session, with no public discussion allowed, all financed by the philanthropist, Rich DeVos. I'm not aware of any Democrat collusion on that one, but I'm sure michigancapitolconfidential.com would have some research on the topic, seeing as how the Mackinaw Center for Public Policy is so unbiased.

Harry Kovaire

That was weak.

Your big partisan point is that your favorite criminal organization masquerading as a labor union engages in bribery? You should only receive half-pay for that propaganda.

You would have been better off to just take a pass.


An eloquent and effusive, yet inscrutable to the naked eye, way of saying I'm right. And isn't it time I get another poem?


13.) VA Health Bill Deadlock Continues Despite a Reduced Cost Estimate

A House-Senate conference committee tasked with writing a compromise veterans’ health bill continues to struggle with a Congressional Budget Office cost estimate for what it will take to allow veterans to seek care from private health care providers and avoid notorious treatment delays at veterans’ medical centers.

CQ Roll Call’ s Ellyn Ferguson reports that CBO has reduced its estimate by 15 percent to $38 billion per year, down from $50 billion, but Republicans are still keen on spending offsets while Democrats are urging a non-offset emergency designation for the bill.


I'm confused. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago our Republican lawmakers were livid that Obama single-handedly created the VA decades-long corruption that has been the source of several major reports since the mid-1990's? And called for immediate action via any means possible to repair the destruction he single-handedly wrought?

As the Trib's token socialist, I am quick to surmise that the Republican lawmakers perceive that the US military is a socialist institution, hence the VA is socialist, and let's use this unveiling of corruption and mis-management as a tool to #1 - politicize the VA corruption, and then, #2 - privatize the VA! Think: Corporate welfare, another way to capitalize on and profit off from war and it's aftermath!

Otherwise, since they declare themselves to be concerned for our veterans, why aren't they working harder to find the funds to work toward a solution to improve a system that oversees over 50 million appointments a year, and has an 85% approval rate from the millions of veterans who actually use the system?


Of course, renege on the praised "bipartisan budget deal" while the ink is still drying and borrow more money from China for our children and grandchildren to repay, rather than cutting wasteful government spending elsewhere. Recall Cloward-Piven - only 4 days ago " to undermining our financial system by running up huge and unpayable debt that will be passed on to our children and grandchildren;"

Well, I guess you favor the philosophy of Nanny Rictus McBotox Pelosi:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Republican-led efforts to rein in government spending are pointless because there is nothing left to cut in the almost $4 trillion-a-year federal budget.

“The cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make. It’s really important that people understand that,” http://www.washingtontimes.com/n... (If you don't like the source we can go to video).

Where did I read the Government is making $100 Billion in improper payments - and they can't find a measly $38 Billion to clean up Obama's mess at the VA? Oh yeah - it was two days ago in the Tribune.

As the Tribune's Leading Socialist, you're just confirming that since Big Government is using Other People's Money to cover its failings, borrowing more is good for the economy - no harm no foul.


"The accounting of the financial cost of the nearly decade-long Iraq War will go on for years, but a recent analysis has shed light on the companies that made money off the war by providing support services as the privatization of what were former U.S. military operations rose to unprecedented levels.

Private or publicly listed firms received at least $138 billion of U.S. taxpayer money for government contracts for services that included providing private security, building infrastructure and feeding the troops.

Ten contractors received 52 percent of the funds, according to an analysis by the Financial Times that was published Tuesday.

The No. 1 recipient?

Houston-based energy-focused engineering and construction firm KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR), which was spun off from its parent, oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL), in 2007.

The company was given $39.5 billion in Iraq-related contracts over the past decade, with many of the deals given without any bidding from competing firms, such as a $568-million contract renewal in 2010 to provide housing, meals, water and bathroom services to soldiers, a deal that led to a Justice Department lawsuit over alleged kickbacks, as reported by Bloomberg."

Odd coincidence, isn't it, that the amount estimated to address VA needs is about equal to the amount of no-bid Iraq military privatization contracts awarded to Halliburton/Cheney by the Republicans and Bush, who, by the way, still managed to more than double the Federal Debt, increasing it by 101%.

That's right. Cloward-Piven = Republican strategy of massive resistance to government in order to justify privatization and the furtherance of the march to fascist, Corporate-controlled government.


So, the implication is clear from your non-response that:

You agree with breaking the Murray-Ryan budget deal and borrowing more money from China;

You agree with Ms. Pelosi that there is nothing to cut from the Obama 4 Trillion budget;

You believe the government's making of $100 Billion in improper payments is acceptable;

It's still Bush and Cheney's fault - sorry, that horse left the barn long ago - it's Obama's economy, foreign policy, immigration policies now. But keep it up - it simply shows how lame the excuses for Obama are and how far our Leading Socialist will go to obfuscate and defend the indefensible.


1. What I would do about VA? a.) Summarily dismiss every administrator and manager guilty of corruption, neglect, or mismanagement. b.) Replace about 1/2 of them with people who are dedicated to making life healthier for their customers, the vets. c.) Don't replace the other open positions. Use the money to begin hiring more medical staff. Freeze all raises and expense accounts until the budget crisis is solved. d.) All private contracts would be open bid only. e.) I wouldn't borrow money from China - I would close out a few Pentagon projects and shift the money to the VA to target demographically high-traffic areas in need of expansion of facilities.

2. Ms. Pelosi was expressing the fact that between sequestration cuts and the federal budget cuts made during conference - which were considerable - Dems had cut about as much as they were willing, considering Repubs wouldn't consider any tax increases or closing of tax loopholes, again - another example of ongoing Republican massive resistance to governance.

3. I suggest you re-read my posts. I show how proactive the Obama admin has been, beginning in 2010, to dramatically address the problem of improper payments through a variety of avenues, and how effective these measures have been. Both the VA and immigration problems are fine examples of Republican intransigence, obstruction, and neglect that accomplishes nothing but to exacerbate the compromised situations and compound the problems. But it does allow for plenty of opportunities to cowardly blame Obama and pull more wool over the eyes of their base.

Obama takes the responsibility for everything that is thrown his way. However, you are also very, very wrong about Bush/Cheney. This country will be paying, and paying dearly for a very long time, for their staggering failures, despite your snark attack to the contrary.

Tri-cities realist

Obama takes responsibility... I nominate that for Joke of the Year!




The bee that makes the honey doesn't stand around the hive,
and the man who makes the money has to worry, work, and strive,
Except in the Land of Obama - entitlements and Jive. http://youtu.be/_8yGGtVKrD8


I like this one better.....Let's dance - shwaaaa!. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...


Oh my, Lanny is deconstructing even quicker than I realized:

1. To utter the name Little Antony (as we said in NY in the day) without a reference to "Tears on My Pillow" is sacrilege;

2. To prefer the staged, dare I say Vanilla moves of Doo Wop, designed to appeal to young whites, with the raw, authentically black music and moves of jive, especially as demonstrated in the Cab Calloway / Nicholas Brothers link is difficult to fathom.

3. In lieu of Shimmy Shimmy, I vote for this - http://youtu.be/691r2DDdWn4


I love the trance-like hypnotic effect Shimmy Shimmy induces....smooooth. (Plus I was thinking of your advanced age) Meanwhile, Whoa Vlad - rock 'n roll?? This is a first, for you! Looks like you have challenged me to pull out the big guns.....

Try this one for size - I leave you with....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...


Apart from the obvious fact that your link resembles a Geritol commercial, I get the trance-like effect- If Barack Obama had a son, he would look like Little Antony.


A little sensitive about my "advanced age" crack, eh wot? Just following up on a similar remark you made about my age not so very long ago....And I think Little Antony is cute, but - wouldn't he be more Obama's father?

And not a word about my 2nd link - which by the way, I am proud to say is a favorite tune I listen to on my daily 3-mile walk when not swimming laps...8^].


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deuce liti

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