Hey folks, good day to you.

Nelson Mandela’s Death and Legacy, Day 7

- “Mandela and the Politics of Immortality

- Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI): U.S. shouldn’t have lowered flags for Mandela

- Obama failed to give a “long-overdue apology” to Mandela

- How the ANC sold out its poor

- “Nelson Mandela’s lying in state draws queue of thousands to say goodbye

- Video of a gospel choir singing in a store (today’s Break Time too) in tribute to Mandela

International Developments

Overall

- The real Obama story at Mandela’s funeral

- “United Nations officials say a major offensive has begun against a Rwanda-linked rebel group in eastern Congo following last month’s defeat of the M23 rebels.

- Why did the U.S. and Iran reach a deal?

- “Gaza’s Hamas government said its prime minister held a rare phone conversation with Russia’s foreign minister Wednesday.

- “The Need for an Ethical and Political De-Colonization of Human Rights

- “The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court accused the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday of prolonging the conflict in Darfur by its failure to take action to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and others accused of war crimes.

Middle East

- Part 2 of interview with Phyllis Bennis

- “Gulf Arab states demanded foreign militias quit Syria and said President Bashar Assad must have no future role Wednesday, in a declaration his Iran- and Hezbollah-backed regime denounced as meddling.

- “America’s top military officer warned the withdrawal of most U.S. and allied forces from Afghanistan by the end of next year could reverse gains made in the war against the Taliban and further destabilize the region.

- Britain and U.S. suspend sending aid to northern Syria after Islamists seize weapon warehouses, fearing guns into the wrong hands

- “Al-Qaeda tightens grip on western Iraq in bid for Islamic state

- “How Insurgency, Drones and Revolution Are Tearing Yemen Apart

- “Nineteen people and companies in Europe and Asia acted as middlemen for Iranian airline Mahan Air, helping it procure supplies from the United States in violation of U.S. sanctions, the U.S. Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

- One dead, four injured in Balochistan, Pakistan violence

- “A warning of a possible attack in the part of Yemen’s capital where UN offices are located has prompted an order for staff to stay home on Thursday, a UN source said.

- Israel rejects blood from Ethiopian-born lawmaker

- “A decade after Saddam Hussein’s arrest, the now-executed Iraqi dictator’s legacy of conflicts, sanctions and repression still exact a heavy toll on the country.

Asia and Oceania

- “South Korea’s parliament is considering a law that would classify online gaming as potentially antisocial addiction alongside gambling, drugs and alcohol.

- Indian Supreme Court has made consensual sex between homosexuals illegal and can be charged with 10 year sentence. Protests occur in response

- “Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s red-shirted supporters said on Wednesday they were ready to defend her government in the streets from an elite-backed protest movement seeking to install an unelected ‘People’s Council.‘”

- “Japan will set up a new amphibious military unit and deploy unarmed surveillance drones in its south-west, where it faces a row with Chinaover disputed islands, according to drafts of the nation’s latest defence plans seen on Wednesday.”

- Burma has released 41 political prisoners

- “A Seoul court has denied Samsung’s claim that Apple violated three of its patent related to short message services.”

Africa

- Can the violence in Central African Republic be eased by foreign troops?

- “Religious leaders sought reconciliation between Muslims and Christians in Central African Republic on Wednesday during a lull in violence that has killed hundreds of people and drawn in French troops seeking to stop the bloodshed.

- So our government is concerned when foreign authority abuses its power? “The United States says it is “concerned” by reports the Malian government threatened to shut down a Malian website, after it published an AP article.”

- “Tribal leaders have brokered a deal with the head of the Political Bureau of Cyrenaica, Ibrahim Jedhran, bringing to an end the federalist movement’s blockade of three eastern oil terminals.

- “Libya’s General Oil and Gas Union has denied claims that it would close the country’s oil terminals if they were reopened by Ibrahim Jadhran next Sunday.”

Europe

- A big year for Pope Francis as he is named by TIME Magazine as Person of the Year

- Here’s a feel good story. Greek students help out another classmate without heating or electricity by raising and giving the student money

- “ Ukrainian protesters stood their ground on Wednesday after an overnight sweep by riot police and their leaders dismissed an offer of talks from a president they say must quit for favoring ties with Russia over the European Union.

- Golden Dawn’s interest in guns and where leftists hangout found in photographs

- Unemployment in Greece still at 27 percent for six month in a row

- Enrico Letta, Prime Minister of Italy, has survived a vote of confidence and has promised reforms

- Ukraine will restart with EU talks due to protest pressures

- U.S. is considering sanctions against Ukraine

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- “How to Balance the Rights of Indigenous and Local Communities with Economic Development in Ecuador?”

- Senate in Mexico has passed an oil-friendly bill that leftists are rightfully fighting back against

- “The Brazilian government may delay “by one or two years” the implementation of a law requiring automakers to install frontal air bags and anti-lock braking systems in all new cars, the finance minister said Wednesday.

- Uruguay has legalized cannabis 

Surveillance Planet

- “Senior US officials, fighting to forestall a push to end the bulk collection of Americans’ phone data, told a Senate panel they would be “failing” the country if the controversial surveillance practice ceased, and suggested that a congressional move to stop it would not be the final word on the matter.

- The Guardian has a live blog of what happened today with Alexander too

- Profits are the motive for tech industries to oppose government surveillance

- Whistleblowers pen letter to intelligence officials 

- Emptywheel: “FISA Orders for Hacking Help

- Juan Cole: “Dear Pres. Obama: Dissent isn’t Possible in a Surveillance State

Financial Matters

- Retirement in the U.S. is facing a crisis as cities raid pension plans and benefits

- Robert Reich: The time for wealth redistribution is now

- “A government report has determined a fleet of aircraft owned by Google’s founders and former CEO received improper discounts on jet fuel that saved the three billionaires up to $5.3 million.

- A problem with the BLS statistics

- “Now that the central question before the Federal Reserve has shifted from whether to cut its extraordinary stimulus to when exactly to pull back, the debate at next week’s meeting will center on how best to communicate that plan.

- “Airline Deregulation: How Ideology Triumphed Over Evidence in the U.S. Airline Industry

- TPP seems to have hit a “bump in the road,” though I don’t like that term as it implies it will succeed.

- “Microsoft fended off a challenge to its $8.5 billion takeover of messaging service Skype as Europe’s second-highest court ruled against claims by rival Cisco that the 2011 deal would harm competition.

- Stanley Fischer, former chair of Bank of Israel, has been asked to be Fed vice chair when Janet Yellen takes over as chair

- “Stocks posted their largest drop in a month on Wednesday as traders locked in recent gains after a provisional budget deal out of Washington removed one of the near-term reasons for the Fed to keep up its current pace of economic stimulus.

- A message on the path of policy will be debated for the Fed to move forward

- “Morgan Stanley has launched a formal effort to sell its controlling stake in U.S. oil terminal and transport business TransMontaigne, four sources said on Wednesday, following other Wall Street powerhouses in yielding to intense regulatory pressure to get out of commodity investments.

- Unsure  on the Volcker Rule? The Guardian has the answers.

- “When Outsourcing Public Services to Private Companies Goes Wrong

- Why a Bitcoin libertarian paradise would be horrible

Labor’s a-Brewing

- Stephen Colbert on Wal-Mart and exclusivity

- “Supreme Court Dismisses Mulhall v. Unite Here, Giving Labor a Lucky Escape

- Interest-rate swaps, not pensions, are the blame for Detroit’s problems

- “Obama, de Blasio, Fast-Food Workers and the Challenge of Inequality

- Should it get worse?

- Study: Labor violations don’t stop government contracts

- “The future of Arab labor movements

Politics USA

Washington USA

- What’s in the latest budget deal? Here’s the scoop (not a literal scoop) and the AP has some too

- “Congress Blew It – Again: The National Budget Should Reflect National Priorities

- Pew: 61 percent of Americans want their lawmakers to commit to bipartisan deals, even if they disagree with the deal

- The new deal will raid pensions, so yeah bipartisanship!

- “Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday were falling in line behind a two-year budget deal negotiated behind closed doors, indicating that the normally rambunctious group of lawmakers is not spoiling for a year-end fiscal fight.

- Budget deal, however, faces attacks by both sides in Congress

- Absolutely hilarious headline: “U.S. budget deal could usher in new era of cooperation

- “The Obama administration is working to help Holocaust survivors in the United States, many of them living in poverty, by coordinating assistance, working with aid groups and using diplomatic means to help recover property confiscated during the Nazi era.

- Gallup: 12 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Congress

- “The Senate began an around-the-clock talkathon Wednesday over some of President Barack Obama’s nominees as embittered and outnumbered Republicans refused to let the Senate take a break given new, Democratic-driven curbs on the GOP’s power.”

- Pew: 49 percent of Americans disapprove of what Obama is doing

- Jason Jones of The Daily Show talks to a person who gerrymanders districts, even the terrible ones

- “U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday asked the department’s inspector general to investigate the performance of private contractors in the flawed launch of the Obamacare website.

- Kathreen Sebelius: I’d have delayed Obamacare web rollout had I known of glitches

- “Payment Due: The Obamacare Deadline No One Is Talking About

- Over 1 million people have signed up for Obamacare

- Gallup: 42 percent of Americans view Democratic Party favorably and 32 percent view Republicans in same way

- “Corporate Democrats in DC Already in Freakout Mode That Liz Warren Is a Threat to Their Power

- Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)’s chief of staff is on leave due to federal investigation on child pornography

- “Possible House action this week against Iran could fall short of new penalties that might derail a short-term nuclear agreement and Senate steps seem further off, legislatives aides said Wednesday, as the Obama administration appealed for patience.

- Department of Homeland Security has fired an employee who ran a site predicting a “race war

- Key word: ‘nation’s finances’ “The U.S. government ran a much smaller deficit through the first two months of the budget year than the same period last year, signaling further improvement in the nation’s finances.”

- “Congress Wants More Scrutiny of New Arms Export Rules – and Obama Administration Doesn’t

- “Lawmakers are raising questions about the secret U.S. diplomacy with Iran that led to last month’s nuclear breakthrough, demanding greater transparency and expressing disappointment at being left in the dark.

Everything Else USA 

- Gallup: 51 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party

- Stephen Colbert talks about the ridiculous argument by Bloomberg columnist Virginia Postrel

- Pew: 90 percent of Americans say closure of their local library would have an effect on their community and more

- A 16 year old drunk driver escapes jail after killing four and injuring nine because “he was spoiled” by his rich parents

- “The city of Oakland has agreed to settle a claim by an Iraq War veteran who was beaten by a police officer during an Occupy Oakland protest two years ago.

- “Why Don’t Contemporary American Novels Reflect the Fact That We Are Perpetually at War?

- “New York mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announces move to Gracie Mansion

- ALEC is bragging that all state lawmakers in Iowa and South Dakota are both lobbied and funded

- “Police in Pennsylvania are investigating the death of a New York City college student during a fraternity ritual.

- “New York mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announces move to Gracie Mansion

- A disabled man has been banned from Wal-Mart for ad-matching

- “Two doctors and a Santa Fe woman with advanced uterine cancer want physicians in New Mexico to be able to prescribe — without the fear of prosecution— the needed medications for terminally ill patients who want to end their lives on their own terms.

- Race problem in video games go all the way up to the top

- “From Top Cop to the Corporate Boardroom: Ex-Police Chiefs Spin Through Revolving Doors Into the Private Sector

- “Higher security fee set to boost travel costs

We Don’t Need No Education

- Jon Stewart on American education

- What happens to the students who are pushed out of the high-stakes testing?

- Regarding racism and education

- When the academics fail

Top Gun! (Stories)

- Study: Close to 200 children have died since Newtown due to guns

- The gun laws passed this year

- After Sandy Hook, are we any safer? Not at all.

- “Police and school officials say American University’s campus in the nation’s capital is on lockdown after police received calls about a man with a gun.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- To avoid depression, anxiety and broken relationship, rejection of materialism/consumerism must occur

- “E-cigarettes: a burning question for U.S. regulators

- The healing qualities of dirt

- “In a bid to stem a surge in human resistance to certain antibiotics, U.S. regulators announced new guidelines to phase out their use as a growth enhancer in livestock.

- “Dallas Accused of Using Federal Money to Fuel Housing Discrimination

- Coca-Cola’s campaign against tap water

- Iowa’s Medicaid expansion gets federal approval with 100K now eligible for health insurance coverage

The Second Sex

- Despite men as head in business world, women are gradually increasing in that role

- Pew: Pay gap is slowly closing between men and women, though setbacks are still in the air. How it was measured.

- The University of Connecticut is now under federal investigation due to its neglect of sexual assaults

- The FDA has, once again, rejected “female Viagra

- Supreme Court in North Dakota considers challenge to anti-abortion law

- “Men able to justify domestic violence and abuse with variety of excuses, NGO report shows

Planet Earth

- Problems at National Zoo blamed on “stretched resources

- Pennsylvania’s new environmental chief was previously unaware of “adverse effects” of climate change

- Study: Climate change can lead to depression; No kidding

- “DiGiorno, the nation’s largest it’s-not-delivery frozen pizza industry, has cut ties with Wiese Brothers Farm after a video surfaced depicting alleged abuse of the farm’s dairy cows.

- Researchers have found a greenhouse gas 7,000x more dangerous than CO2. It’s man-made.

- Great! China has banned shark fin soup to be served in official diners.

- Love for lipstick tied to dwindling amount of forests in Africa

- “Leaders from around the West convened a two-day meeting on Wednesday in Las Vegas to discuss land use, wildfires and environmental conservation.

- Oil flowing through southern part of Keystone XL. Steve Horn has more here.

- “Walton Family Foundation Dumped $91.4 Million Into Greenwashing in 2012: Walmarting the Rivers and Oceans

- On Ecuador, activism and dissolution of a NGO group

Mixed Bag

- “In a “rainbow” universe, time may have no beginning

- UK Supreme Court: Scientology is a religion

- “The only copy of the Magna Carta in the United States is the centerpiece of a new museum gallery that opened Wednesday at the National Archives and traces the evolution of U.S. rights and freedoms for African-Americans, women and immigrants.

- Labor glossary

- “NASA said Wednesday it was looking into a problem with a malfunctioning cooling pump on the International Space Station, but there was no immediate danger to the six crewmen on board.

Break Time

- Madiba Tribute