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Nine Circles of Hell!: Thursday, April 12, 2012 Nine Circles of Hell!
Time for the Nine Circles of Hell! – all the news that gives you fits in print – the nine most hellish news stories, including a bonus story on who’s making money and who ain’t, for Thursday, April 12, 2012.
Click on any of the Nine Circles! in bold, or the bonus story in italics to go to the original article.
It’s frightening when you find yourself agreeing with someone you would rather not. A court has decided that political candidates can now run ads on PBS and NPR. This led Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the rrrrright-wng American Enterprise Institute and a former board member at PBS to worry that this could “fundamentally change the character of public television and radio … I know how much we struggled to get adequate funding, This is just going to move us further away from what remains of a public square. … To be truthful, it scares me to death.” What scares me to death is that I agree with Norman Ornstein! But I’m also scared of going to the corner store to get some groceries. Strong demand and tight supplies drove US food prices up. Americans still spend less of their money on food than any other country. What has changed is that back in the 1970s, farmers got about a third of all revenue off a theoretical basket of food. Today, that number’s down to less than a sixth. (The farmer isn’t the only one who you’d think was making a killing right now but ain’t. Get this: when gas prices go up, gas station profits drop as nobody wants to spend money on greatly marked up sodas and snacks.) When you consider how things aren’t going so well in the US, you can usually find a bit of relief by remembering, at least you’re not in Detroit – that is, unless you are in Detroit and if you are, go Tigers! Detroit now faces Greek-style austerity with deep budget cuts and income tax increases just as the city seemed on the verge of a comeback due to heroic work by some of its proud citizens. Traffic’s about to slow to a crawl in the UK, too. The UK is on the verge of a massive oil trucking strike that could stop everything Saturday. The strike’s said to be about safety and training issues, but the workers also want a pay floor fearing that their wages are about to drop … again. The Muslim Brotherhood’s fear that an old Mubarak crony would take power in the ‘New Egypt’ has subsided – for now. Egypt’s parliament has approved a law prohibiting Mubarak’s regime members from running for office. Things are very tense in Egypt. There’s still the little matter of controversial IMF loans that the interim leadership from the army may approve before leaving their unelected office. The tension’s also thick in Syria. The media kept giving reports of increased violence as we drew closer to today’s UN peace accord deadline. There was uncertainty if the bloodshed would cease, even temporarily. Special Envoy Kofi Annan now says, “I am encouraged by reports that the situation in Syria is relatively calm and that the cessation of hostilities appears to be holding, All parties have obligations to implement fully the six-point plan. This includes both the military provisions of the plan and the commitment to move to a political process.” Detroit, the UK, Egypt and Syria all seem to be in some sort of tenuous calm, almost like the eye of a storm. That storm has hit Sudan. Yesterday, South Sudan seized the home to around half of Sudan’s oil production. The UN Security Council has “deep and growing alarm” over an “escalating conflict.” Of course, that storm of violence never seems to leave some places. The Democratic Republic of Congo is ending their war against violent rebels in the eastern provinces. It’s not that peace has, at last, come to this corner of the region. Nope. DRC military desertions have forced the abandonment of their mission to bring stability. Sometimes, you can even predict where that storm will hit next. Africa’s last absolute monarchy is finally facing the challenges that other leaders on the continent met head-on last year. Just like royalty, Swaziland King Mswati III responded to protest with police force.
That’s today’s Nine Circles Of Hell!
Come back tomorrow at 4:20 PM (central) for the latest Nine Circles!