Good evening, all.
❖ “In Syria, US mission creep with moral creep: President Obama is leaning toward providing nonlethal military equipment to certain rebels in Syria. Doing so runs moral risks. But doing nothing to stop the violence is also a moral risk. Can the US walk this fine line?” Things are creeping along: “US to bolster support for Syria rebels“.
❖ Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq Prime Minister has warned “that a victory for rebels in the Syria civil war would create a new extremist haven and destabilize the wider Middle East, sparking sectarian wars in his own country and in Lebanon.”
❖ Some 430,000 Malians are refugees and are afraid of returning to their homes. Car bomb attack at a check-point in the Mali town of Kidal. The check-point was being manned by a group of Tuaregs who decided to join with the French.
❖ 21 people in a hot air balloon over Luxor, Egypt. The balloon caught fire and crashed to the ground. Only two survivors–a British tourist and the balloon pilot.
❖ Inability to obtain medications in Greece is now a crisis: “Panic in Greek pharmacies as hundreds of medicines run short: Pharmaceutical companies accused of cutting supplies because of low profits and unpaid bills.”
Money Matters USA
❖ “51 Post Offices You Should See Before They’re Gone”
❖ Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) had an–ahem–interesting exchange yesterday during the Senate Banking Committee meeting. Video. Another take on testimony “highlights”.
❖ “Orders for U.S. durable goods excluding transportation equipment climbed in January by the most in a year, showing companies are planning to expand capacity”.
❖ Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) “is pressing for more information on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention policies” since the agency announced it released “hundreds of illegal immigrants” due to sequestration cuts. The White House has denied being behind that decision. UPDATE: A Homeland Security official has reportedly resigned over this matter.
❖ Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter of Watergate fame, comes in for some pretty potent criticism over his aggressive attack blaming President Obama for the sequester.
❖ Robin Kelly (D) is now the Democratic nominee for former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr (D-IL)’s seat. This is also a victory for NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s superPAC, Independence USA, which “poured more than $2 million into the race”.
❖ A supposedly “liberal” group, Progress Kentucky, has caused a major uproar within the Democratic Party for tweeting offensive ethnic messages about Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’s wife, Elaine Chao.
❖ There was speculation that Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) would run for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)’s seat. Latham has declined, which “would potentially give fellow Iowa Congressman Steve King a clear shot to win the GOP nomination”. Even KKKKarl doesn’t like King–he’s that extreme.
❖ Where do they find these guys? NH state Rep. Mark Warden (R) wants to downgrade the penalty for simple assault because “a lot of people like being in abusive relationships.”
❖ Senator (again), or perhaps governor? Public Policy Polling shows 53% of WI voters have a “favorable opinion” of Russ Feingold (D-WI), former US Senator. Feingold was preferred 52% to 42% over current Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and 49% to 47% over Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI).
❖ Florida Atlantic University decided to name their new football stadium after the for-profit prison company, GEO Group. Florida Atlantic students decided to occupy the University President’s office in protest.
❖ The 10th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals: ”the Second Amendment does not protect a right to carry a concealed firearm”.
❖ Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) concluded the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing by saying “we will continue to fight” to get assault weapons banned. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took on the Milwaukee Police Chief, Edward Flynn during the hearing. Chief Flynn fired right back.
❖ The Cherokee Scout (Cherokee County, NC) editor asked the sheriff for the “names of concealed carry permit holders and applicants in his area.” The sheriff got so riled up he posted the editor’s request on Facebook, followed by so many death threats that the editor has resigned, and moved.
❖ The ACLU has just released documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that show “for the first time that the U.S. Marshals Service has experimented with using drones for domestic surveillance.”
❖ Here it comes, right on cue: “Scalia: Voting Rights Act Is A ‘Perpetuation Of Racial Entitlement’”. He also disparaged Congress’ role in “repeatedly” reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act.
Women & Children
❖ “The rate of advanced breast cancer for U.S. women 25 to 39 years old nearly doubled from 1976 to 2009, a difference too great to be a matter of chance”. Moreover, many of the cases metastasized quickly, leading to lower survival rates than among older women.
❖ The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has “struck down Florida’s controversial 2011 law requiring all welfare recipients and applicants to undergo drug testing.” This will affect “nearly identical” legislation in GA.
❖ New spin on the old ‘revolving door’: “US prosecutors and other senior officials who spearheaded the war against drug cartels have quit their jobs to defend Colombian cocaine traffickers, saying their clients are not bad people and that United States drug policy is wrong.”
❖ Over “1.6 million Mexicans left their homes because of drug violence from 2006 to 2011 [with an additional] 70,000 Mexicans slain in the drug war.” Entire towns have been emptied through a swath of the state of Guerrero, people fleeing the “masked men [who] come down from the mountain”.
❖ What the global war on drugs has wrought: Interview with “Popeye”, “right-hand man of Pablo Escobar, head of Colombia’s Medellin cartel.”
❖ RIP Van Cliburn, who rocked Moscow in 1958.
❖ Van Cliburn.