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The Roundup for January 29th, 2014

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Hello folks, hope you are well. It’s been a month after I inquired for people to suggest to what the Roundup needed. How are you liking the changes I implement? Did I do something wrong? Any suggestions?

State of the Union Aftermath

– Want to read the full text of the SOTU? Here’s the link to it.

– Missed the responses to Obama’s SOTU? Here’s the GOP response by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) (also there’s Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)) and here’s the socialist response.

– Two aspects that Obama failed to address in his speech, based on The Real News interviews, was the severity of poverty and roots of income inequality

– The plans Obama proposed yesterday were “underwhelming” and could have gone farther if he actually had thought most of it through.

– Natasha Lennard expands on Obama’s trek into furthering executive power into the economy as with the wars he’s been committed to.

– Even if small, Snowden’s presence during Obama’s speech has uncovered a President who has refused to do right and stick by the elites

– Bob Herbert, Jeremy Scahill and Lorella Praeli all discuss on Democracy Now! the problems within Obama’s speech and what his place is

– Over at The Nation, they agree with the call for raised wages, but feel the rest of the speech had problems meriting criticism.

– In Afghanistan, people were relieved to hear that Obama will continue to support them.

International Developments


– A must-read for those interested in Gitmo as Spencer Ackerman of The Guardian reports on the first-view of the review board there 

Middle East

– Here’s a fascinating study. It seems that in the past 20 years, the United Arab Emirates, drug use has risen over 500 percent.

– In Iraq, the Oil Ministry will be creating two more state-run companies to handle oil in the southern province.

– Iraq announced its forces “took back control” of western Baghdad from militant forces.

Asia and Oceania

– What’s happening in Thailand? What’s it’s history and what is this moment going on? This article should clear up any understanding people have.

– A New York Times journalist has been told to leave China after a piece NYT penned on corruption in China 

– One top U.S. intelligence official has said that North Korea restarted its nuclear program 


– Three people involved in the film on the 2011 Egyptian revolution, The Square, give their input and insights on what happened and their thoughts today in this interview.

– Ridiculous. Egypt will be charging 20 al-Jazeera journalists for, get this, tarnishing the image of Egypt.

– The military junta in Egypt is reporting that eight senior members of a Sinai terrorist group have been killed in a bombings


– Mark Weisbrot of CEPR: “Problems of Eurozone, European Integration Stem From Deeply Unpopular Elite Economic, Social Policy

– In the Ukraine, there is a significant worry of disgusting, good-for-nothing fascists taking over and leading the movement as the government has passed an amnesty bill for protesters

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– In Cuba, Latin American leaders have declared the region to be a “zone of peace” and will resolve disputes without arms.

– Human Rights Watch has criticized Ecuador for removing judges, whom called for reform, in its judicial system

Surveillance Planet

– Edward Snowden has again been nominated to win the Nobel Peace Prize due to the request by two Norwegian politicians

– A private-public idea to track students from Pre-Kindergarten to when they enter the workforce by sharing their data has been suggested to be implemented.

– James Clapper has said that Snowden documents should all be returned because people’s lives are at risk.

– In her first speech for the third term, Angela Merkel has warned the U.S. that surveillance, in which “the ends justify the means,” ends up violating trust

– A terror suspect has challenged the NSA programs as going against the Fourth Amendment and his constitutional protection

Financial Matters

– Pew: A new study has found that one reason for income inequality is people marrying within their income bracket

– Dean Baker: “Fear of the Old” Refuting arguments on young v old in today’s world

Labor’s a-Brewing

– Pete Seeger has had such an effect by playing at shows supporting labor unions throughout his career

– Samantha Bee of The Daily Show talks with an insane hardcore libertarian who believes any increase of wages will lead to unemployment and abolishing minimum wage will be great

– With the “dictatorship” of the NCAA, college athletes have decided to start forming a union

Politics US

Washington USA

– That wage hike Obama said in his speech for federal workers? Current contracts won’t include that at all.

– Obama has signed in the myRA account people can open with as little as $25

– After his speech, Obama will go on tour to different states to talk with small businesses and speak more on minimum wage increase

– Gallup: As Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke leaves this week, 40 percent of Americans approve of the job he did, while 35 percent disagree and 25 percent have no opinion.

– Pew: Voters feel that Democrats are more likely to work with leaders from another party than Republicans do

– Hillary Clinton: What’s my biggest regret? Benghazi

– Gallup: The Democrats have a three state advantage with 17 states polling Democrat to 13 states polling Republicans based on last year statistics.

– Federal prosecutors have been criticized for searching former Reuters journalist Matthew Keys’ computer after he was charged for working with Anonymous for changing a headline on LA Times site

Anytown USA

– Pew: Republicans voters are more likely to feel hesitant to support poverty and inequality measures than do Democratic voters

The disastrous action in Atlanta on not solving the snowstorm there left some stuck in a 20-hour commute as rescue efforts continue in the city

– A father in West Virginia pens a letter to Obama calling for action over toxic water and federal action

– Pennsylvania finally decided to fix its bridges. It’s decision, however, was to just privatize the bridges and let the market update them. Not good.

– New York State Senate passed a bill that refuses to fund any academic institution launching boycotts (It’s for the pro-Israel lobby)

We Don’t Need No Education

– A new report from the U.N. has found that 250 million “primary-school age children” do not know how to write, read or do mathematics.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Human Rights Watch had its report, with a ton of good information in it, stating that drug criminalizing is “inherently incompatible with human rights.

– The House has passed the Food Bill, which includes over $8 billion in food stamps cuts over the next few years

– It seems like the GMO battle in Hawaii will be moving to federal courts to see if it’s regulating them is the right thing to do (it is)

– A new, alarming study has found that childhood obesity starts even before school begins, maybe as young as five

The Second Sex

– The House passed a bill Tuesday to bar federal funds from supporting abortion and imposed a tax penalty on small businesses and individuals with insurance covering any abortion service.

– After 41 years after Roe v Wade, the rights of women (still difficult to grasp to this day to me on why efforts are being made) are still under attack 

Planet Earth

– In Wisconsin, Milwaukee decided that to fix two problems (excess after cheese production and ton of ice) they will use cheese brine on its roads. It might work.

– For New York, the shale gas potential that some have pinned on it has been debunked by five specialists who have found that it isn’t a bright future on that tactic and would hurt NY.

– Retailers in the U.K. will soon announce how much food they waste per year

– The snowstorm down in the deep south has left thousands (THOUSANDS?!) stranded and/or injured. Don’t forget Europe where four people died in Bulgaria.

Mixed Bag

– Remembering the activist and folk hero, Pete Seeger. More on him here and here.

Break Time

No Rain

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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.