CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for November 21st, 2013

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Hello everyone, hope you are doing well as we approach Friday.

International Developments


– “France Asks Palestinians to Give Up Right of Return

– Afghanistan wants to delay U.S. deal until after next year’s election and trust issues

– U.S. to Afghanistan: You have to sign it before this year ends

– What’s inside this deal you ask? You can see the key provisions inside of it here.

– “Foreign ministers from six major powers are poised to fly to Geneva by the end of the week if nuclear talks with Iran lead to an agreement, western officials said on Wednesday night.

– EU President Herman Van Rompuy: The Syrian conflict can’t be solved through military means, yet we will work out a “political solution

“Two senior members of a feared Afghan insurgent group were killed early on Thursday in the first strike by a US drone outside Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas.

Middle East

– “The global chemical weapons watchdog is urgently seeking commercial firms to destroy toxins from Syria’s poison gas arsenal, and trying to find a Mediterranean port where the deadliest chemicals can first be processed off-shore.

25 people have been killed and more than 30 wounded as a car bomb exploded in northern Iraq

– “Washington’s UN representative Samantha Power said Thursday Afghanistan is owed no apology for US actions in the country since the overthrow of the Taliban 12 years ago.

Asia & Oceania

– “Bangladesh will begin inspections of its export-oriented garment factories on Friday to assess the buildings and how safe they are from fire and electrical accidents, an official said.

– “Three executives in Japan’s automotive parts industry have agreed to plead guilty to a price-fixing conspiracy and two more have been indicted in the U.S. investigation, the government said Thursday.


– “Militias from a string of Libyan cities left the capital, Tripoli, on Thursday, nearly a week after militiamen killed more than 40 people protesting their presence in the city.

– “Egyptian army chief Sisi does not rule out presidential bid

– ” Central African Republic’s government said Thursday that Joseph Kony, an accused war criminal hunted by African troops and U.S. advisers, is believed to be in the country’s remote southeast and has been talking with the president. U.S. officials and others expressed doubt the reported talks represent a breakthrough in efforts to bring him to justice.


– “Ukraine said Thursday it was suspending preparations to sign a landmark agreement with the European Union and would focus instead on restoring ties with Russia, appearing to yield to pressure from its powerful neighbor and dealing a harsh blow to plans for the ex-Soviet nation to integrate further with the West.

– “OECD report finds evidence that more people in Greece are foregoing medical care due to financial constraints, reflecting reduced household incomes, but also perhaps rising out-of-pocket costs

– A survey has shown the European recovery is slowing down

– “The Vatican continued its effort to get its finances in order on Monday when it announced it had hired an international accounting firm to audit its finances

– Greece has a rapid increase in emigration levels

– “A Spanish court has sentenced a town mayor and four others to seven months in prison for occupying unused military land they wanted to be loaned to farmers hard hit by the economic crisis.

– “Germany is set to introduce a national minimum wage, conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, giving in to a key demand by her likely centre-left governing partners.

– “French detectives are waiting to question the gunman suspected of causing panic across Paris and sparking a three-day manhunt after attacking two media organisations.”

– Because of growing gang violence in Israel, calls for anti-terror policies increase

– “The Norwegian military announced on Tuesday that it’s putting its soldiers on a new diet. In an effort aimed not at cutting waistlines, but combating climate change, the army is imposing a vegetarian diet once a week for its troops.

Latin America, Carribean & Canada

– Honduras faces a tight election with emphasis on drug violence

The policies of the two Honduran Presidential candidates

– “Media groups are criticizing the firing of the editor of the Venezuela’s main business daily after President Nicolas Maduro lambasted its coverage of the country’s economic crisis.

– Maduro’s expanded powers in Venezuela has criticism

– “Camila Vallejo, the public face of Chile’s student movement, backs Michelle Bachelet and trusts that the presidential favorite’s proposed reform of the education system will soon become a reality.

Financial Matters

– “White House reporters and photographers on Thursday accused top officials of deliberately blocking access to President Barack Obama and of substituting its own “visual press releases” for independent news coverage.

– “The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell sharply last week and a gauge of factory activity hit an eight-month high in early November, hinting at some strength in the economy.

– How would the Federal Reserve help out Main Street?

– “Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen moved closer on Thursday to becoming the first woman to lead the U.S. central bank after a Senate committee backed her nomination and sent it to the full Senate, which seems certain to grant its approval.

The five signs the rich in America have a lot of money

– “The U.S. Treasury Department said it expected to sell its remaining shares of General Motors Co by the end of the year, a plan that may leave taxpayers with a shortfall of about $10 billion on the automaker’s 2009 bailout.

The 12 ways JPMorgan admitted to the public it robbed them of billions

– “Political organizations can’t accept contributions in the form of bitcoins, at least for now, The Federal Election Commission said Thursday.

– Study: Bad behavior “paid forward” than good behavior

– “Health care spending is growing at the slowest rate on record, and health-care price inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years, according to a report released Wednesday by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.

– “Republican Marco Rubio, a potential 2016 White House contender, urges the projection of US global power in the name of liberty — an interventionist strategy at odds with isolationists in his party.

– Samsung pays Apple $290 million more on patent infringement

Cyprus University to offer a degree on Bitcoin that you can pay with Bitcoin

– “UPS says it is increasing its rates by an average of 4.9 percent next year.

Surveillance Planet

– “A draft U.N. resolution that some diplomats said suggested spying in foreign countries could be a human rights violation has been weakened to appease the United States, Britain and others ahead of a vote by a U.N committee next week.

– Yet, “Human rights groups urged the U.N. General Assembly Thursday to approve a resolution to protect the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance in the digital age and criticized the U.S. and its key allies for trying to weaken it.

– The founder of Silk Road has been denied bail

– Emptywheel: “8 Years Later, NSA Still Using Same PR Strategy to Hide Illegal Wiretap Program

– “A Washington newspaper has asked a federal judge to force the Coast Guard to return any documents and copies of records it seized from a reporter while searching her home last summer as part of a gun investigation involving her husband.

Labor’s a-Brewing

– Labor group promises more than 1,500 protests next week on Black Friday

– “The European Union parliament urged Qatar on Thursday to immediately stop any contractors from abusing the rights of migrant workers involved in building facilities for the 2022 World Cup.”

– Wal-Mart still hasn’t paid for failure to protect employee killed five years ago on Black Friday

– “A federal appeals court in New York has agreed that Starbucks baristas must share their tips with shift supervisors.

– “The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit board approved a tentative labor contract Thursday after stripping out a disputed family medical leave provision that officials with its two largest unions have said they want included.

Politics USA

Washington USA

– Obama: We must help enroll people by mail, on the phone and in person

– Obama: You have to meet a real socialist [to know what socialism is] as he talks to CEOs at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Summit

– Next year, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) will campaign for GOP governors 

– “The US Senate voted on Thursday to change the rules that have enabled Republicans to block Barack Obama’s nominees for top administration posts.

– Unsure on what specific has changed and what hasn’t changed? Here’s a FAQ

– Pew: Torch bearers for JFK now vote more Republican

– “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday he was committed to moving ahead with a tougher Iran sanctions bill when the Senate returns from a holiday recess early next month, adding to pressure on Tehran as negotiators meet in Geneva on a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

– John Boehner: If there the budget deal fails, we will keep cuts

– Noam Chomsky: “America is a terrified country

– Sen. Mark Kirk: (R-IL) unloads on John Kerry and Barack Obama over Iran sanctions in phone call

– “Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) suggested on Wednesday that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) might be willing to meet him for a “fried Twinkie” to work out their differences at the Iowa State Fair instead of a so-called ‘beer summit.’

– Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): We’re in this mess right now because government has ignored middle class for a generation

– Also: “Make No Mistake, There Is a [Retirement] Crisis

– “Secret conversations are taking place in Florida between healthcare stakeholders and the legislature that will most likely lead to the Republican-controlled state accepting Medicaid expansion money, according to senior figures in the health industry.

– Dawood Ahmed: America’s “army of lawyers” are just as deadly as drones

Everything Else USA 

– Joshua Holland: “How a Shadowy Network of Corporate Front Groups Distorts the Marketplace of Ideas

– Gallup: Nearly 1/4 of Americans believe cost is the top problem associated with health care

Part 1 of discussion over Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel versus Chicago’s 99%

– “I Watched My Patients Die of Treatable Diseases Because They Were Poor

– “Houston crackdown: City defies Texas corporate crime wave

– New Jersey is the 3rd state to offer online gambling

– “On the Front Lines of Hawaii’s GMO War

6,000+ cases of child abuse in Arizona are not investigated

– Noam Chomsky: Media control and indoctrination in the United States

– “Sequestration: Getting Our Priorities Straight

– “Rules against making cellphone calls during airline flights are “outdated,” and it’s time to change them, federal regulators said Thursday, drawing immediate howls of protest from flight attendants, airline officials and others.

– Attacks around the U.S. relate to a new game called “Knockout

We Don’t Need No Education

The six questions for Teach for America

– Absurd myths on abstinence and their damaging effects

– “The Texas Board of Education gave preliminary approve Thursday to dropping algebra II as a requirement for high school students to graduate, over the objections of critics who say the state is watering down its academic standards.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Pew: “Growing Minority of Americans Say Doctors Should Do Everything Possible to Keep Patients Alive

– “About three years ago, the nation’s top public health agency [CDC] picked its battles. Now, it’s issuing its own report card on reaching those goals: Pretty good but needs improvement.”

– Obama has lifted a ban on research to see if it is possible to transplant organs from one HIV-positive person to another person.

– Good news. “The number of homeless people in the U.S. declined for a third straight year, helped by sharp dropoffs in veteran and chronic homelessness, according to a government survey released Thursday.

The Second Sex

– “First female marines graduate from corps’ grueling infantry course

Brace Miss World and a rape survivor’s journey

– “I sold my sister for $300

– “Greyhound Security Guard Rapes Woman then—Feeling Guilty Perhaps—Returns $20 He Stole from Her

– An app can save lives of those affected by domestic violence

Sexists can’t believe women can use profanity in comedy routines like Sarah Silverman

– “After defeat in Albuquerque, antiabortion activists learn that trying to scare voters is a losing strategy

– Study: Wage gap and poverty for women of color increased

Planet Earth

– Green groups walk out of climate talks after little to no progress is made

– NOAA doesn’t believe we’ll have a “wild winter” this year

– “How to slow down forest fires

– A right-wing climate denying group compares U.N. climate talks to the Holocaust

– “Plastic pollution may be transporting toxic chemicals into our seafood

A new island appears near Japan due to volcano

– To counter ozone-damaging nitrous oxide, U.N. needs “all hands on deck

– “An official with Mexico’s state-run oil company says a proposed energy reform could make it easier for Petroleos Mexicanos to create subsidiaries to exploit the country’s vast shale oil and gas reserves.”

11 of 30 Greenpeace protesters have been freed on bail, but charges still stand

Mixed Bag

– New Monty Python reunion show next year to have modern update of acts

– Vancouver bans doorknobs

– Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA raps about the Big Bang

– What will happen if you play 100 Vinyl copies of the Beatles’ The White Album at the same time?

Break Time

Orange Crush

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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.