CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for November 19th, 2013

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Hello everyone, hope you are well today.

International Developments


– “Differences between Iran and the west that have so far prevented a historic nuclear deal appear to have narrowed considerably as negotiators gather for a new round of talks in Geneva on Wednesday

– Both the U.S. and Afghanistan are close to reaching a deal to keep U.S. troops there in the latter after 2014

– “The U.N. political chief warned Tuesday that chances of peacefully ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be “irreparably damaged” unless steps are taken to prevent new Israeli settlement building and other “negative developments.”

– The new American homeland: The World

– “The General Assembly’s human rights committee demanded Tuesday that Syria’s government immediately allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to areas throughout the country that need it most and stop hampering distribution with “bureaucratic impediments and other obstacles.”

Middle East

– Suicide bombings near Iran embassy in Beirut, Lebanon kills 23 and injures 146 

– Pew: Beirut bombings in Lebanon fuels fears of more fallout from Syrian civil war

– “The bloody disaster of Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan is laid bare

– Syrian chemical weapons may end up being destroyed at sea

– “New Google ad highlights complicated India-Pakistan relationship

Asia & Oceania

– “The lawyer of jailed Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo has said the dissident intends to ask for a retrial.


– “Egyptian police fired teargas to drive protesters out of Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday, breaking up a demonstration commemorating 42 protesters killed two years ago while opposing the government that took power after Hosni Mubarak’s downfall.

– Juan Cole: The youth remembers martyrs and reject both Muslim Brotherhood and the Army

– “At least one person was killed and dozens were feared trapped under rubble on Tuesday after a soccer pitch-sized section of a shopping mall under construction collapsed near the South African city of Durban, emergency services and police said.

– “Egypt’s revolutionary activists, overshadowed since leading the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, showed a new vigor Tuesday, scuffling with supporters of the military-backed government in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and wrecking a state memorial dedicated to slain protesters only hours after it was inaugurated.


– “All Eyes on France In Next Round of Iran Nuclear Talks

– Good-bye! “A former Pasok minister has urged a mass airborne exodus from the country in the event that Alexis Tsipras is elected to power, arguing that a Syriza government would be disastrous for Greece and would involve the country ‘killing itself again.’

– More on the Greek MPs who decided not to take a salary cut

– “Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday 22 November in Berlin, according to a statement issued by the chancellor’s office.

– “Swedish Police, Racism and Resistance

– On Europe’s growing neo-fascism

Latin America, Carribean & Canada

– “Mexico’s human rights commission says violent incidents have increased and inmates rule in many of Mexico’s prisons, a sign of corruption and the lack of resources facing the corrections system.

– “Venezuelan lawmakers granted President Nicolas Maduro yearlong decree powers on Tuesday that he says are essential to regulate the economy and stamp out corruption but adversaries view as a thinly veiled power grab.

– ” U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden says Panama has made a contribution to international security by seizing a ship carrying weapons from Cuba to North Korea.

Financial Matters

– “Global growth for 2013 and 2014 has been downgraded “significantly” after weak prospects in emerging markets, says the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

– Gallup: Confidence in US economy up 

– “A unit of Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay an estimated $2.5 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits from individuals allegedly injured by the company’s artificial hip implants, the company announced Tuesday.

– How austerity is “killing innovation

– “Business magazine Forbes named Madonna the highest-paid musician in the world on Tuesday, estimating her earnings at $125 million in the year to June.

– “Right-wing pension-cutters get humiliated by their own survey data

– “Janet Yellen says a “strong majority” of Federal Reserve officials think the Fed’s low-interest-rate policies have supported a still-recovering U.S. economy.

– “Short-seller Jim Chanos said on Tuesday that shares of international oil majors like Exxon Mobil Corp increasingly look like a value trap for investors as cash flows decline and return on capital slides.

– “Dmitry Grishin, CEO of Russia’s Group and creator of robot venture fund Grishin Robotics, is getting into the U.S. app market with the launch of

– Ben Bernanke: “Fed committed to easy policy for as long as needed

– “U.S. auto safety regulators have launched an investigation into electric sports car maker Tesla Motors Inc’s (TSLA.O) luxury Model S sedan after three car fires in six weeks, and Tesla announced it is raising the vehicle’s ground clearance.

– Mark Weisbrot: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty Is the Complete Opposite of ‘Free Trade’

– “Opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal that’s been dubbed “NAFTA on steroids,” made major progress in the House this week, as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle signaled their unwillingness to grant the president authority to “fast-track” the TPP to a Congressional vote. Without fast-track, it’s unlikely that the trade agreement could pass Congress in its current form. 

Surveillance Planet

– “Chris Hedges and Jeremy Hammond’s Mother Decry Hacker’s 10-Year Prison Sentence

“Iceland’s attempts to become a free-speech haven risk floundering in the wake of revelations regarding the extent of internet monitoring by the US and UK intelligence agencies.

– Court documents from Fisa have shown how much NSA disregards restrictions of privacy

– “A secret court order that authorised a massive trawl by the National Security Agency of Americans’ email and internet data was published for the first time on Monday night, among a trove of documents that also revealed a judge’s concern that the NSA “continuously” and “systematically” violated the limits placed on the program.

– Despite denying a collaboration with NSA, Norway admits to snooping on phone calls

– “A German court Tuesday sentenced a former NATO employee to seven years in jail for spying after the IT expert copied secret data in order to sell it to a foreign intelligence service.

– Everyone’s getting in on the action. “Several EU nations including France and Germany agreed Tuesday to join forces to develop new-generation drones, in a bid to close a gaping deficiency in the bloc’s defence industry.

– “A German lawmaker has asked British spy agencies to disclose any files they hold on him following allegations by NSA leaker Edward Snowden that Britain’s embassy in Berlin was used as a secret listening post.

Labor’s a-Brewing

– “Striking LA Truckers Target Walmart Supply Chain

– Proves Marxist idea of alienation. “McDonald’s Advice To Underpaid Employees: Break Food Into Pieces To Keep You Full

– McDonald’s fun tips for workers: “stress hormone levels increase 15 percent after 10 minutes of complaining,” “go to church,” “chew away cares” and “sing away stress.”

– D.C. to vote on increasing minimum wage to $11.50 

– “Wal-Mart could afford to hike every U.S. employee’s hourly wage to at least $14.89 an hour just by not repurchasing its own stock, according to a new report from the progressive think tank Demos.

Talking about child labor and regulations

– “US History Repeats Itself With Guest Worker Programs

An amazing moment for solidarity between workers and students

Politics USA

Washington USA

– “The US Senate debated a defense bill Tuesday that would ease restrictions on detainee transfers from Guantanamo, a major first step toward closing the controversial war-on-terror prison.

– “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that he’s considering changing his chamber’s rules to make it harder for minority Republicans to block President Barack Obama’s nominations, a warning shot that suggested Democrats might soon use their power in the chamber to end a long-simmering partisan dispute.

– Obama: GOP “invested in failure

– “President Barack Obama, who has portrayed himself as surprised by technical problems with the government’s new health care website, was briefed last spring on a detailed consultant’s report that warned of system failure, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Tuesday.

– Obama: I don’t see a repeat of the debt ceiling ordeal

– “The top Democratic tax writer [Sen. Max Baucus of Montana] in the Congress is trying to jumpstart stalled efforts to rewrite the nation’s tax laws. But he is running into the same kind of partisan roadblocks that plague most major initiatives in Washington.

– Pew: In Cheney sisters’ feud, more Republicans side with Liz Cheney’s “traditional view” of marriage

– “President Barack Obama’s site is riddled with security flaws that put user data of millions of people at risk and it should be shut down until fixed, several technology experts warned lawmakers on Tuesday.

– Pew: 56 percent of Americans agree Gettysburg Address still relevant

– “Bitcoin supporters told a US Senate hearing the virtual currency unit should not be viewed negatively by authorities despite its links to crime.

– Essential question: “Why Hillary?

– Senator Creigh Deeds of Virginia stabbed by son, Gus, who committed suicide. More here and here

– “A House panel plans to investigate allegations in a published report that workers in the Census Bureau fabricated data used to prepare monthly unemployment reports.”

– Lovely Colbert segment over Obamacare backlash I found humorous

– ” Lawyers for a former Blackwater Worldwide security contractor charged in a deadly shooting in Baghdad are asking a judge to dismiss the indictment against him.

– Our “permanent state of war

– Both Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein support a “nuclear option” for the filibuster

– “The House joined the Senate on Tuesday in approving an extension of a program established by George W. Bush to fight AIDS and other diseases across the world. The measure will now go to President Barack Obama.

Everything Else USA 

– Gallup: US satisfaction rate back up to 20 percent

– James Early interview, Part 2 

– John Edwards launches new law practice with his daughter

– “Missouri to execute inmate using drugs from secret supplier

– George Zimmermann is at least $2 million in debt

– “I’d hate to be a former Zimmerman juror today”

Police brutality occurs in San Francisco as officers use their illegitimate power to beat a civilian on his bicycle for breaking the law

– A 14 year old teenager is brutalized by police after being arrested for shoplifting

– “Why America needs Internet outrage

We Don’t Need No Education

– “NYC School Officials Agree That Kindergarten Through Second Grade Is Too Young for Standardized Tests

– “Listen up, Arne Duncan: Racist defense of Common Core won’t derail coalition to fight corporate school reform which hurts kids

– Brown v. Board of Education is losing its strength because of privatization

– “President Barack Obama has announced $100 million in grants to help better prepare high school students to compete in the global economy.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– “State Rep. Smashes Homeless Peoples’ Stuff With a Sledgehammer

– “Exposure to fast-food logos lessens our ability to slow down and savor life’s pleasures.

– “Psychologists are trying to find out what goes through shoppers’ heads when they pick up supermarket bargains.”

The Second Sex

– “A sharply divided Supreme Court is allowing Texas to continue enforcing abortion restrictions that opponents say have led more than a third of the state’s clinics to stop providing abortions.

– “Title IX Network Takes Colleges to Task for Mishandling Rape Reports

– Telethon raises $50,000+ for Texas women who need abortions

The con against women continues

– “In what could be a new strategy for anti-choice Christian groups, Albuquerque voters are heading to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

– Stephen Colbert had a great segment over Lululemon CEO Chip Wilson

– “The incidence of sexual violence is likely sharply underreported in a closely-watched barometer of US crime because of the way it’s designed, an expert panel said Tuesday.

Planet Earth

Typhoon Haiyan

– Pew: Only 32 percent of Americans following story “very closely

– Rebuilding after Haiyan would cost more than £3.6 billion 

– Haiyan may have released a lot of carbon into the atmosphere, making climate change worse

– Rebecca Solnit was right. “They found the hoop in the ruins of their obliterated neighborhood. They propped up the backboard with broken wood beams and rusty nails scavenged from vast mounds of storm-blasted homes.

The Rest

American media embarrassed by journalism by Kenya’s KTN over 2013 as one of the hottest years since 1850. It’s an outrage in a country told to be “rich,” the response to one of the most serious issues of our times is neglected. Can’t we at least abolish a few media empires? It’s a waste of money anyway.

– “Fukushima Fallout Damaged the Thyroids of California Babies

– “The climate change saboteurs are mucking in with their bits of devastating advice

– “UN climate talks in Warsaw: what you need to know

– It’s a crime there’s no effort to stop this. “At least 18 people, including a family of four trapped in their ground-floor flat, have died in Sardinia after torrential rains and a cyclone caused rivers to burst their banks.

How little we know about oil spills, which affect our health

– Every toxic site in New York City in a map

Tracking earthquakes in Oklahoma due to fracking

– Botswana bans fracking in Kalahari Game Reserve

– “United Nations leader Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday he was ‘deeply concerned’ that countries were not doing enough to limit global warming.

– ““Chernobyl Was Transparent Compared to Fukushima”: Harvey Wasserman on Ongoing Crisis

Mixed Bag

– On Thursday, remaining members of Monty Python to announce reunion plans Thursday

– “Amsterdam offers chronic alcoholics free beer if they clean up the streets

– “The most used words in the Gettysburg Address

Break Time

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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.