CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for November 4th, 2013

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Hello all, how are you today?

International Developments


– “The United States and Saudi Arabia promised each other and the region Monday that they would continue to work together, with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal saying “our two friendly countries” are busy dealing jointly with troublesome issues like Syria, Iran and the Mideast peace process.”

– Gallup: Northern America leads in workplace engagement

– “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested on Monday an attack that killed the Pakistani Taliban leader was justifiable but added Washington was sensitive to Pakistan’s concerns, after Islamabad denounced the raid as a blow to peace talks.

– Pew: Despite foreign policy attention waning, attention on Asia increasing by US public

– UN: 9.3 million Syrians need “humanitarian help” Rania Khalek has more.

– “In the end, the Malaysian defense contractor known in military circles as “Fat Leonard” would use prostitutes, plane tickets and other bribes to hook the U.S. Naval officer into a scheme that overbilled the Pentagon by millions, investigators say in court papers.

Middle East

– “A Bahraini court has sentenced four Shia Muslims to life and six others to 15 years in jail on charges of setting up a militant cell linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard aimed at assassinating public figures in the Gulf Arab kingdom.

– “Thousands of Iranian hardliners have rallied at the former US embassy in Tehran to commemorate the 1979 US hostage crisis, highlighting the domestic challenges the country’s president, Hassan Rouhani, faces in his bid to mend ties with the west.

– Israel has planned new colonies and oil drilling on Palestinian lands during “peace process

– “A ceasefire between Yemeni Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims fighters intended to end days of clashes that have killed at least 100 combatants and civilians appeared to be crumbling on Monday after Sunnis reported a resumption of fighting.”

Asia & Oceania

– Julian Assange may be able to get a chance at a Senate seat in Western Australia

– “A high-ranking military officer in western China was sacked days after a deadly attack in the heart of Beijing, suggesting that the incident may have rattled China’s leadership enough to precipitate a political fallout.”


– “Ousted President Mohammed Morsi refused to wear a prison jumpsuit, entering the caged dock in a dark business suit as his co-defendants applauded. He defiantly questioned the legitimacy of the court and proclaimed himself still Egypt’s leader. His fellow Muslim Brotherhood members chanted, “Down with military rule!”Trial was adjourned for chaos.

– “Officials say four people have been killed in northern Mali after their truck ran over a landmine — the latest sign of insecurity in the nation following a French-led intervention against Islamic radicals.

– “A Kenyan court has charged four Somali men with terrorist offences for helping al-Qaida-linked militants carry out an attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi that killed 67 people.

– “A letter from Western Sahara, a land under occupation

– “African leaders and international envoys appealed to Congo’s government and M23 rebels on Monday to stop fighting and embrace a peace deal after the two sides bombarded each other near the Ugandan border.


Talks to begin on Tuesday between Greece and the Troika over financial concerns

– UK’s Royal Mail privatized and sold to investors

– Vatican says female cardinals rumor “nonsense

Latin America (& Canada)

– “Brazil’s growth could use a boost

– Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Elias Jaua: “Interventionalist activities” are a problem that is keeping U.S. — Venezuelan relations frozen

– “A loud and smoky protest has accompanied U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s meeting with the president of Haiti in the capital of the impoverished nation.

“Thirteen killed in border city of Matamoros as gunmen clash with Mexican armed forces in region ravaged by drug gangs

Financial Matters

– “In one of the largest health care fraud settlements in U.S. history, Johnson & Johnson will pay $2.2 billion to end civil and criminal investigations into kickbacks to pharmacists and the marketing of pharmaceuticals for off-label uses, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Monday.

– Gallup: America’s self-reported spending up in October

– “Be very afraid: the American economy is cannibalizing itself and we the people are going to pay a huge price

– “BlackBerry has abandoned its bid to sell itself and is replacing its chief executive.”

– “SAC Capital Advisors will plead guilty to criminal fraud charges, stop investing money for others and pay $1.8 billion — the largest financial penalty in history for insider trading — to resolve criminal and civil claims against the hedge fund giant, the government announced Monday.” Also, they are done as a business! No welfare for them, just a fresh boat to no where.

A new AP/CNBC poll found skepticism on Twitter’s IPO

– Meanwhile, Twitter claims $13.6 billion valuation, raising its stock price

– “More than two years after the commencement of the Occupy Wall Street protests, former Wall Street executive and financially devastated man Arthur Stratton, 65, told reporters Monday from his modest one-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights that he continues to attempt to piece his life back together in the wake of the monumental social movement that left him ruined.

Surveillance Planet

– “The Obama administration’s top national security lawyers on Monday rejected the idea that the government should stop collecting copies of every American’s telephone records every day, telling an independent oversight board that it would lose valuable time if each time it launched a terror investigation it had to seek the private billing records from individual phone companies.” Because rights of people take too long!

– “US authorities have failed to respond to queries relating to monitoring of phones of [former Greek] prime minister Kostas Karamanlis and others

– “The Brazilian government confirmed Monday that its intelligence service targeted U.S., Russian, Iranian and Iraqi diplomats and property during spy activities carried out about a decade ago in the capital Brasilia.”

– “Lawyers acting for Jeremy Hammond, the Chicago-based hacktivist facing up to 10 years in prison for releasing internal emails from the private intelligence agency Stratfor, have lodged 265 letters of support with the federal judge who will determine his sentence on 15 November

– The CIA has forced doctors to perform torture on suspects for information purposes. Kevin has more.

– Chairman of Google: Spying on our data centers “outrageous

The White House and other lawmakers are still adamant about charging Snowden

– “America’s anti-Greenwald hypocrisy: Is the NYT ‘terrorist’ too?

– Emptywheel: “DOJ Did Not Fulfill Legally Required Disclosure on Section 215 to Congress Until After PATRIOT Reauthorization

– “The U.S. government is open to some changes to how it conducts its phone and Internet surveillance programs as long as they do not undermine the programs’ effectiveness, U.S. officials told a privacy oversight board on Monday.” How is that possible?

Labor’s a-Brewing

– In Madrid, trash collectors took the streets in protest of layoffs

Workplace indoctrination caught on tape

Politics USA

Washington USA

– “The Senate prepared to push a major anti-bias gay rights bill past a first, big hurdle Monday, a clear sign of Americans’ greater acceptance of homosexuality nearly two decades after lawmakers narrowly rejected discrimination legislation.” Update: Passes 61-30 in the Senate, now to the House.

– The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (or ENDA) is already opposed by House majority leader John Boehner for potential economic consequences

– “Pentagon investigators have confirmed four instances of ethics and other rule violations by the chief of Pentagon security.

Republican alternatives to Obamacare

– Pew: As Congress considers action, 21 percent of LGBT folk state their faced workplace discrimination

“The foreign policy of America’s top diplomat is in disarray”

– “Immigration reform requires dismantling NAFTA and respecting migrant rights

– “The White House says President Barack Obama has met with two special envoys for closing the Guantanamo Bay prison and recommitted to closing it.

– “Little more than a week after millions of consumers received health care cancellation notices, lawmakers in both parties are pushing legislation to redeem President Barack Obama’s long-ago pledge that anyone liking their coverage will be allowed to keep it under the nation’s controversial new law.

– “For days now, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has sought to dismiss criticism over similarities between his speeches and material on Wikipedia, accusing “footnote police” and “hacks and haters” of unfairly criticizing him.”

– “John Kerry doesn’t know what he’s doing

Everything Else USA

– LAX shooter unable to answer FBI questions due to wounds. Calls himself a “pissed-off patriot

– Pew: Seven in 10 Americans state blacks are treated less fairly than whites with police

– Republican Governor Chris Christie yelled a teacher during a stop after she asked why he was not funding schools adequently

– “Six Things You Buy That Support Israeli Brutality

– “Is professional activism getting in the way of real change?

– “The Rev. Al Sharpton says he and other civil rights leaders had a “brutally honest” meeting with the CEO of Macy’s over racial profiling.

– Gallup: Americans looking to their future with less satisfaction than before

– “More than two dozen Marine Corps reservists stationed in Southern California have been charged in connection with a scheme of submitting fake travel vouchers that totaled more than $870,000, authorities said Monday.

– “Puerto Rico turns to New York for police chief

– Hollywood to help raise profile of ACA in shows

– “Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) had endured more than a dozen elections without anyone questioning his sexuality. Now everyone knows the Maine congressman is gay — including his mother.

– NYC mayoral hopefuls do last-minute campaigning

– “A candidate once thought to have little chance of getting past Detroit’s primary election is the front runner Tuesday in the race for mayor, a job that will have little immediate power as the debt-ridden metropolis is guided through the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history by a state-appointed emergency manager.

– Both the Virginia and NJ elections show civil war in Republican Party

– “Tea Party on the left

– Four “November Surprises” the Right desperately want to happen to de Blasio  for Lhota to win

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– “How America is killing the poor

– “Health Insurance latest’ scam to scare off customers from Obamacare

– DNA tests have found many herbal supplements are fake

We Don’t Need No Education

– “The right’s school-for-cash obsession

– “Michelle Rhee revolution faces massive threat — and new accusations

– Child care is more expensive than college in certain states

Top Gun! (Stories)

– “An armed man was spotted on the campus of Central Connecticut State University on Monday, prompting a university lockdown and warnings for students to stay away from windows.

The War on Women

– “Women’s healthcare providers in Texas took their battle over the legal right to abortion to the supreme court on Monday, filing an emergency request to strike down newly enacted restrictions they say will cause ” irreparable harm” to those seeking abortions in the state.

– Potential Senate candidate in Texas has tied abortion to climate change. Yes, he’s a religious fundamentist. No, I’m not kidding.

– Good news. “A bright spot in the recent spate of body blows to reproductive rights: The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that declared the state’s absolute ban on medication abortion unconstitutional, ending a long legal battle over women’s access to medication abortion and the non-surgical treatment of ectopic pregnancies in the state.

– “Writing as Women’s Work

– “College-age women often unaware of breast cancer risk

Planet Earth

– The “Arctic 30” to face seven years in prison

“Porsche releases environmentally responsible, expensive hybrid

A recent coal ash ruling allows environmentalists to sue the EPA for not doing their job

– “Almost nine out of ten Europeans believe that biodiversity loss – the decline and possible extinction of animal species, flora and fauna, natural habitats and ecosystems in Europe – is a problem, according to a new survey.

– “Waste production must peak this century

Mixed Bag

– The five surprising ways Oxytocin affects your life

– Study: Your baby (if you have one) knows when you’re stressed and that makes he or she stressed too

– Engineers have found a mystery around China’s Forbidden City

– The Simpsons pay tribute to Marcia Wallace

– Lay’s has a new product: Chocolate covered potato chips (it’s for millennial women)

– One in five Milky Way stars hosts potentially life-friendly Earth

Break Time

Love That’s Gone

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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.