❖ “Syrian missile strikes killed at last 141 people in Aleppo”, Syria, with children accounting “for more than half of those who died last week”. [emphasis added]
❖ “Mali Conflict Enters New Phase“–suicide bombings, guerrilla warfare. Photo gallery.
❖ Op-antiSH (“Oppantish”), the vanguard movement fighting for freedom of all Egyptians to come and go as they please without sexual violence, harassment and intimidation.
❖ Following Mohamed ElBaradei’s lead, the National Salvation Front party has announced it will boycott Egypt’s upcoming elections.
❖ “Four people suspected of involvement in the assassination of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid have been arrested”.
❖ “US-led military forces in Afghanistan have admitted that an error led them to mistakenly claim a fall in the number of attacks by the Taliban last year.”
❖ According to Symantec, an early version of Stuxnet was used in 2005 to attack Iran nuclear plants.
❖ “South African Platinum Miner’s Struggle Creates Political Rupture: New Miners union growing as workers split with ANC supported union; increasing consciousness amongst workers that the issue now is class.”
❖ Thanks to Platform for Mortgage Victims, a “citizen protest movement”, some homeowners in Spain are defying eviction–and winning.
❖ “Markets rocked by Italian political stalemate“–”markets tumbling”, “euro fails against the dollar”, etc.
Money Matters USA
❖ ”Land grab cheats North Dakota tribes out of $1 billion“. Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people were forced by the US government to live on “arid and barren” land, which just happens to sit on the Bakken Shale. Lawsuits galore.
❖ Yves Smith’s article on “Jack Lew’s Grotesque Employment Deal and the Institutionalization of Corruption” begins: “Corruption has now become so routine in Washington . . . ”
❖ ”Tips on Quitting Your Job from Jack Lew”
❖ “Ben Bernanke played down concerns about quantitative easing limits in dovish testimony to Congress that suggests the U. S. Federal Reserve will continue to purchase assets.”
❖ “JPMorgan Chase & Co plans to cut 3,000 to 4,000 jobs in its consumer bank in 2013″.
❖ At end of the 4th quarter, 2012, US banks’ earnings were up 37%. “Banks with assets exceeding $10 billion drove the bulk of the earnings . . . they accounted for about 82 percent of the industry earnings”: Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo. BTW, their lending increased by 1.7%, home equity loans decreased by 2.2%.
❖ “Wall St bonuses rise 9% amid job cuts.” Average take-home cash? “$121,900–up from the $111,340 handed out last year.”
❖ US home prices “rose in December by the most in more than six years.” Claim is the home price surge is part of a “broadly based” trend across the country.
❖ Gas prices soaring with no end in sight due to “breakdowns and seasonal maintenance at refineries [which] reduce fuel supplies”.
❖ Whoa! “Black Churches Condemn Obama Administration’s Drone Policy as Murder and Evil”–The National Black Church Initiative, consisting of 34,000 churches.
❖ Chuck Hagel (R) has been confirmed Secretary of Defense by the Senate, 58-41.
❖ Jack Lew’s nomination for Secretary of Treasury has now gone to the full Senate.
❖ “The Senate Intelligence Committee has closed its investigation into the ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ filmmakers’ contact with the CIA”. Emptywheel has more.
❖ 62% of those responding to a Pew Poll say the “GOP is out of touch with Americans”, while 46% said the Democrats are out of touch. 52% said the GOP is “too extreme”, while 56% said Democrats are not.
❖ Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) wants to end overtime pay for hourly workers.
❖ A federal court ruling soon on ex-Sen. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig (R-ID)‘s using $216,000 in campaign funds “to defend himself against an arrest for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer in an airport bathroom.”
❖ GOP voter disenfranchisement expert, Hans von Spakovsky, will no longer be an elections official in Fairfax County, VA come March.
❖ Court records pertaining to the trial of Jared Loughner for killing six and severely wounding former US House Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) have been unsealed.
❖ Threat to a CO legislator whose son was murdered and who supports gun control efforts: ”hopefully somebody Giffords . . . both of your asses”.
❖ NV state assemblyman Steven Brooks (D), “arrested twice in the past two months, . . . for threatening the NV House Speaker (a female) and for domestic battery, tried to purchase a rifle in Sparks, NV, but a background check prevented that.
❖ “In a 5-4 decision, the court’s conservative justices ruled that lawyers, journalists, human rights activists and others lacked standing to challenge a law passed in 2008 that increases the government’s ability to intercept international communications.”
Women & Children
❖ Startling, disturbing US teen birth rate stats, state-by-state, from 2008.
❖ Ashley Judd will be at the George Washington School of Public Health & Health Services in DC on Friday to speak about women’s reproductive health.
❖ Bill in the OK legislature would allow employers to opt out of including “contraceptives and abortions in employee insurance plans”. Wait’ll you see why.
❖ KS’ Supreme Court “issued a ruling protecting the rights of same-sex couples to both be recognized as the legal parents of the children they are raising together.”
❖ Westboro Baptist Church picketed Santa Monica High School Monday and the community responded–in droves. The six Westboro Baptist Church pickets left after about 45 minutes. Pics and video.
❖ Women in Somalia can now drive cars.
❖ 14-year-old girl, charged with having sex with a married man, sustained 70 of 101 lashes before she dropped and “was taken to hospital, where she died a week later.” Sharia law, Bengladesh.
Planet Earth News
❖ “Thousands across Mexico demand their government reject permits for GMO Corn while Monsanto defends their patent on life in U.S. Supreme Court.”
❖ If chemicals in our environment are causing otters’ genitals to shrink, could human shrinkage be far behind?
❖ For the sheer love of music. Video.
❖ Hankie alert!
❖ Ready for PANSTARRS?