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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Morning News and Views

Today is the 20th anniversary of the LA riots in the wake of a decision to acquit LA Police officers in the Rodney King beatings. 

One year ago President Obama oversaw the attempted capture and death of Osama bin Laden. What was a unifying moment, in which the president performed well and was given credit even my his opposition party, has turned into a bitter patrician football. Can't we all just be good Americans and celebrate a true "mission accomplished?"

More than one in ten returning vets remain unemployed six months after returning home, despite federal law that says employers have to rehire you. The ongoing slow recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression complicates matters, along with changes in work force needs. Unemployment among National Guard and Reservist sits closer to one in five, as experienced workers come back over qualified for jobs where the pay has gone  down. In addition Reservist and National Guard remain subject to recall,which has employers nervous about training them as employees. More than a quarter of a million reservist and Guard members have returned home over the past year. Civilians also do not seem to understand returning vets, fearing PTSD where there is none, scheduling Guardsmen and reservist on their drill weekends. Complicating things has been the expansion in Right-to-Work states or similar legislation where employers do not legally have to provide cause to hire or for termination. 

Politicians, journalists, and celebrities gathered in Washington, D.C., last night for the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. Guest host David Greene chats with veteran White House. The host was Jimmy Kimmell, who showed actual fear as the audience included the media, Hollywood celebrities and the President of the United States. The first lady was seen comforting Kimmel. As always it was  the time for the sitting president of the United States to become a stand-up comedian.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda meets with President Barack Obama in Washington on Monday.

Twenty years ago Los Angeles erupted into riot. Even before the ashes of the Los Angeles riots had cooled, then-Mayor Tom Bradley announced the formation of an organization that would restore and even improve the city. It was called Rebuild L.A., and it would be led by business executive Peter Ueberroth  who had headed the Los Angeles Olympics. Most of the money would come from the private sector.

Since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, pundits in Israel have been predicting an end to the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. This week's announcement that Egypt was terminating a high-profile gas deal between the two countries confirmed the fears of many, who said it was an indication of the new Egyptian governments stance on Israel. Many are hoping that strong military ties between the two countries could save the treaty from collapse. The treaty has been in effect since Egypt suffered a solid military defeat in the1967 "Seven Day War" between Arab states and Israel.

An Egyptian court upholds the conviction against famous comedian Adel Imamfor offending Islam in some of his most popular films. But he received a suspended sentence and paid about $170 fine, despite protests by Islamists, as the judges ruled the films were made in the past. But the ruling bolsters worries that an Islamist ruled Egypt will stifle freedom of speech.  Imamfor was simply the comic actor star in the film about a bureaucrat who is mistaken as a terrorist.

Chen Guangcheng is a leading Chinese human rights activist, who has reportedly been granted asylum in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing after escaping house arrest in Shandong Province. Chen, a blind, self-taught lawyer, rose to prominence defending women against forced abortion and sterilization. Chen's case presents US and Chinese officials with difficult quandaries as a large US delegation, including Secretary of State Clinton,  arrives in Beijing for previously scheduled talks this week.  His position is one that finds the US at large with their host country.

The Beijing auto show opened to the public this weekend in what in what is now the world's largest car market. But its the huge potential growth in car ownership in China that has the car manufacturers salivating - there are a 1.3 billion people in China -- the vast majority of whom have never owned a car. The U.S. auto industry now sees China as its primary market. Ford plans to expand its manufacturing base there, and General Motors recently announced it was adding another 600 dealerships.

You can be all that you seek to be! Former Yankee Jim Abbott has a new memoir "Imperfect: An Improbably Life," which chronicles his life and success as a major league pitcher, despite only having one hand.  His parents faced the reality of seeing a newborn son who was missing most of his right hand. Intimately his parents came to the realization that God had given him a lot and that he needed to focus on what he was given and make the most of his life. He pitched a no-hitter at Yankee stadium, and when he did the announcer and most of the press never mentioned that he did it with only one hand. Once at Chicago's Comisky Park a fan shouted "what are you going to do with one hand." His manager and the players heard it and went into a new famous fight with fans, as the manager climbed into the stands. Abbott says it made him feel proud and glad to be a Yankee.

With baseball in full swing, it's time to look at one of America's favorite summer foods. Josh Chetwynd  has a new book out about the origin of the hot-dog bun. Chetwynd's new book is "How the Hot Dog Found Its Bun: Accidental Discoveries and Unexpected Inspirations That Shape What We Eat and Drink." 

Obama's policies are why 23 million Americans are unemployed, when the recession hit during the Bush administration ans was the result of over thirty years of policies by presidents and congresses of both parties. Yet they blame, and the sound bites resonate, it's Obama's fault.

The BBC this morning compared the US to England and Europe. We are strong, growing rapidly considering the anchor weight of the international marketplace we cannot isolate ourselves from not  matter what people may think. Our Gross National  Product is not only the best in the world, but three times that of China. We have a robust stock market, steady growth in job numbers and retail is improving. This is despite the Republican dictated government layoffs that are not hitting hard, with a strong impact on women. They blame Obama for unemployed women, despite the layoffs being made by the policies and actions of Republican governors and legislatures, with the strongest impact on education.