Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Morning Twitter Messages -- June 26

For news junkies this morning has several highs. Wendy Davis held the attention of 120,000 people on-line a few hours ago (past midnight) with a filibuster in the Texas Senate, the economy appears to be taking off and I just watched a grizzly video of Chechen jihadists in Syria beheading three men accused of being collaborators with the regime. (And no... I'm not linking that.)

Gold fell to its lowest in almost three years on Wednesday, putting it on course for a record quarterly loss, as U.S. economic data increased fears the Federal Reserve will soon end ultra-loose monetary policy.

Prices could slide further - some investors saying below $1,000 per ounce - while there is little potential for data, market trends or economic developments in the United States or Europe to reverse an accelerating investor move out of gold.

Spot gold tumbled to its lowest since August 2010 at $1,223.54 an ounce and was down 3.8 percent at $1,227.86 an ounce at 1032 GMT. U.S. gold futures for August delivery were down $47.60 at $1,227.90, having hit a low of $1,223.20.

Strong gains in U.S. orders for durable goods, the largest annual rise in house prices in seven years and rising consumer confidence fuelled speculation the Fed would rein in its $85 billion monthly bond-buying programme, which had helped push gold prices to record highs in recent years.

"We bought gold for two reasons - because we were worried about the inflationary impact of policy and because we thought the financial system was going to fall apart," Sean Corrigan, chief investment strategist at Diapason Commodities Management, said.

►Can't resist -- Roubini's description of gold as a barbarous relic appears to be correct.
Wearing pink tennis shoes to prepare for nearly 13 consecutive hours of standing, Davis began the day with a one-woman filibuster to block a GOP-led effort to impose stringent new abortion restrictions across the nation's second-most populous state.

The filibuster began at 11:18 a.m. CDT Tuesday and continued until 10:03 p.m., less than two hours before the midnight deadline marking the end of the 30-day special session.

Rules stipulate she remain standing, not lean on her desk or take any breaks – even for meals or to use the bathroom. But she must also stay on topic, and Republicans pointed out a mistake and later protested again when another lawmaker helped her with a back brace.

Republican Sen. Donna Campbell called the third point of order because of her remarks on the sonogram law. Under the rules, lawmakers can vote to end a filibuster after three sustained points of order.

If signed into law, the measures would close almost every abortion clinic in Texas, a state 773 miles wide and 790 miles long with 26 million people. A woman living along the Mexico border or in West Texas would have to drive hundreds of miles to obtain an abortion if the law passes.

In her opening remarks, Davis said she was "rising on the floor today to humbly give voice to thousands of Texans" and called Republican efforts to pass the bill a "raw abuse of power."

Democrats chose Davis, of Fort Worth, to lead the effort because of her background as a woman who had her first child as a teenager and went on to graduate from Harvard Law School.

Did you catch that? There were objections to her having a back brace!!!  Does this mean that an elected representative in a wheel chair, or maybe an amputee wearing a prosthesis or two would not meet the standards?  And since when is mention of a sonogram not germane, since a previous Texas statute made that a mandatory part of the procedure?
Lord, give me grace to remain civil.

She knows about single motherhood, and poverty. The 50-year-old Davis had to care for her three siblings at the age of 14 for her single mother, and became a single mother herself at the age of 19.

She knows the law. Davis became the first person in her family to graduate from college, with a degree from Texas Christian University and then Harvard Law School. She clerked, litigated, and spent a few years in the title insurance business before starting her own practice for federal and local government affairs, real estate, and contract compliance.

She put in her political time. Davis spent nine years on the Fort Worth City Council, focusing on neighborhood economic development. When she was elected to the state senate in 2008, shebecame the 12th Democrat in the upper chamber–just enough to keep the Republicans from closing off debate on bills.

She’s got eclectic interests. Davis has sponsored bills on everything from cancer prevention to payday lending to protecting victims of sexual assault to government transparency.

She’s one of the more successful users of the filibuster. In 2011, she used the tactic against a budget that underfunded the state’s public schools by $5 billion, and two years later got most of the money replaced.

Republicans keep trying to shut her down. Her 2008 victory was a squeaker over the Republican incumbent, and she pulled out another in 2012 after federal courts threw out a Republican gerrymandering plan that would have put her in a much more conservative district. Again, she became the last vote needed to deny Republicans a filibuster-proof majority (The 2012 firebombing of her office appears to have been a random act by a mentally ill homeless person). After her 2011 filibuster, the Republican-led house stripped her of her position on the education committee.

She’s got her eye on higher office. Governor, anyone? The fundraising comes easy, anyway.

She’s got “fashion icon status” in the state Capitol. At least that’s what The New York Times says. For this filibuster, she wore pink sneakers.

You go, Ezra!  Molly Ivins, we miss you terribly.

This is all for this morning. I have other commitments. Besides, SCOTUS rulings on DOMA and Marriage Equality are supposed to be out in the next few hours 
(unless they found a way to punt).

(Click for a larger image.)


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