CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup For September 23rd, 2013

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Hello all. Hope you are well this day.

International Developments

While most of the hostages have been freed, the standoff in a Kenyan mall by Somalia terror group, al-Shabaab, is not yet over as it ends its third night.

– Obama offers “support to Kenya” as the FBI sets to investigate the ties to American civilians with the terror group in the attack on the mall.

– Senators call for Obama to still act tough over Iran for no reason at all.

– The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, once in power, is now banned based on an Egyptian court’s ruling.

– Jim White at has a great piece on Afghanistan, security and what has been a result of 12 years of learning nothing by the US.

– Despite positive reactions to Pope Francis’ words, there is still a problem with the Vatican contradicting what he feels.

– Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of Pussy Riot, has declared a hunger strike while in jail to protest conditions there. Here’s Sara’s take.

– Sudan, which has avoided an “Arab Spring”, had police officers firing “tear gas on demonstrators protesting” numerous problems with their government from corruption to fuel subsidies.

Financial Matters

– Chrysler, the Detroit automaker, is preparing for its IPO. Here’s the interesting part: “The shares that will be sold are owned by a United Auto Workers-run trust that pays the health care costs for around 130,000 blue-collar Chrysler retirees. The trust currently owns a 41.5 percent stake in Chrysler, and will get all of the proceeds from the sale if it goes forward.”

In other news, “General Motors Co (GM.N) said on Monday it would buy back just under half of its preferred shares held by the United Auto Workers healthcare trust for about $3.2 billion, essentially cutting company costs by financing the deal with lower-cost debt.”

– $6000. That’s how much the average American family pays big business in subsidies…a year.

– Uh-oh, what’s the punishment now? Time out in the corner? “Bank of America Corp heads to trial this week over allegations its Countrywide unit approved deficient home loans in a process called “Hustle”, defrauding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the U.S. government enterprises that underwrite mortgages.”

Surveillance Planet

– “The program is so secret, so powerful, and so alarming that agents “are instructed to never refer to Hemisphere in any official document,” according to a recently released government PowerPoint slide.” Who is being talked about? The NSA you say? Actually, it’s the DEA.

– Natasha Lennard of gives this on claims of US civilian involvement with Somalian “terror pipeline”: “The possibility of American citizens’ involvement in the attack should prompt a healthy skepticism for the vast surveillance apparatus developed by U.S. law enforcement and spy agencies over the last decade”

– Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on Somalian terror attack: “I would assume that the FBI and local law enforcement are looking into those Somalia-American communities today … using all their sources and resources to make sure there’s no follow-up attempt here in the United States,”

– Snowden’s lawyer: Snowden wears a disguise sometimes and is still in danger.

– Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of The Guardian, talks about surveillance and the Internet to Democracy Now!

Labor’s a-Brewing

Unions are not happy that Walmart has been getting government welfare and publicity, while they are shunned out of discussions by the White House.

Top Gun! (Stories)

– Going to the NRA convention? Don’t bring a gun, they don’t want it to be seen or it being there.

Politics USA

– Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) doesn’t hate Rep. Ted Cruz (R-TX), he really hates Rep. Ted Cruz.

– Disgusting. “Prabhjot Singh, an assistant professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia, who recently wrote about hate crimes in the New York Times, was attacked by a group of teens shouting anti-Muslim sentiments over the weekend. Singh — who is a Sikh, not a Muslim — told NBC 4 that “I heard ‘Get Osama’ and then ‘terrorists,’ and then the next thing I felt was someone moving past me, ripping at my beard and then hitting me in the chin.”

– Donald Sachtleben, ex-FBI agent, has pleaded guilty for “revealing secret information for an Associated Press story about a U.S. intelligence operation in Yemen in 2012.” The plea agreement calls for 140 months in prison as it also entails possessing and distributing child pornography.

– Remember Troy Davis? His family, friends and supporters still carry his memory by pushing to end the death penalty once and for all.

– Uh-oh. “The [California] bill that was finally approved with virtually no debate in either the Assembly or the Senate or among the public is now a 39-page radical overhaul of the election code, rewriting, repealing or otherwise amending well over 70 sections, including doing away with the requirement that all e-voting systems be federally tested and certified before being considered for use in the state and allowing for new, uncertified e-voting systems to be used in “pilot programs.”

– Here’s something that the New York Times thought was news: Bill de Blasio was a young leftwing advocate who supported “democratic socialism” and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Yes, I know. Has the NYT really run out of ideas?

Getting Clinton fatigue in 2014 and the relationship with the richest in society.

– Rich person complains about being rich. writes an article that gives the best response: Relax, you entitled jerk.

– Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will learn by January whether the federal government will seek the death penalty.

– Just a horrible place in general. Graduate goes public with lawsuit against Catholic school that hid a sexual predator and refused to fire him.

Health, Homelessness, and Hunger

“Nine Nastiest Things In the Meat You Eat.”

– Need expired food? Can’t find the store that sells it? Well fret no more! New supermarket to open by ex-President of Trader Joe’s in Dorchester, Massachusetts that sells just that.

– Good news! HIV infections rates have “plummeted since 2001.”

The War on Women

“The Real Mommy Wars”

An event in the UK that featured an all-men lineup of scientists (Richard Dawkins included) had to remove a question from their FAQ that talked about “feminists” in a negative light.

– “Progress toward achieving gender equality around the globe has stalled in recent years, with women still holding fewer salaried jobs than men and receiving lower wages for their work, the IMF said in a study on Monday.” More here.

Planet Earth

Here’s a map that shows where there is a lot of arsenic in drinking water. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

New study shows map where deaths are attributed to air pollution.

Mixed Bag

“Free weed” given to residents in Boulder, Colorado to “relieve stress.”

“How Drunk Is the Fox & Friends Twitter feed?”

“How ‘U.S. News.’ Ranks Colleges”

“Learn theoretical physics with Stephen Hawking in under three minutes”

Break Time

Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong

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Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan is a freelance journalist in Queens, NY and written for publications such as The Nation, In These Times, Truthout and more.