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Purveyor

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

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Harkin Calls For More Rule Changes

After the Senate voted to change filibuster rules Thursday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) called for more reforms.

“This has been escalating for a long period of time and it was time to stop it and that’s what we did this morning,” Harkin said. “Now we need to take it a step farther and change the filibuster rules on legislation.”

--CLIP
Harkin said it was a “good day” for the Senate and called for more reforms.

“I predict the sky will not fall ... but I do predict that our government will work better,” Harkin said.

Harkin said he’d support further rule changes that would prevent a single senator from blocking legislation and protect minority rights by allowing for germane amendment votes.
Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) have also proposed that senators only be allowed to filibuster if they’re willing to hold the floor — a talking filibuster.

MORE...

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/191086-harkin-calls-for-more-rule-changes

Afghanistan Rebuffs U.S. Demand To Sign Security Pact

Source: By Agence France-Presse

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, November 22, 2013 10:55 EST

Afghanistan on Friday rebuffed a US demand to sign a highly anticipated security pact as soon as possible, insisting the document must wait until after next year’s presidential election.

Washington warned Kabul on Thursday to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) as soon as possible, with senior officials hinting that delaying beyond the end of this year could mean no post-2014 US troop presence.

The latest US run-in with President Hamid Karzai was set off by the Afghan leader saying the painstakingly negotiated deal would not be signed until after the election in April.

US officials bristled, saying the pact, which governs the conditions of any post-war American counter-terrorism and training mission in Afghanistan, must be signed by the end of the year.


Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/22/afghanistan-rebuffs-u-s-demand-to-sign-security-pact/



Good! Bring our troops home...

Payrolls Rose in 34 U.S. States in October, Led by Florida

Source: Bloomberg

By Jeanna Smialek - Nov 22, 2013

Payrolls increased in 34 U.S. states in October and the unemployment rate fell in 28, a sign labor market progress is picking up across much of the country.

Florida led the nation with a 44,600 gain in employment last month, followed by California with 39,800 more jobs, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington.

The gains came even as federal government agencies partially shut down in the first half of the month, leading to the furloughing of about 800,000 workers at one point and biting into consumer and business confidence. Bigger gains in employment could help boost sentiment and household spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, ahead of the holiday shopping season.

“The job market held up better than many people anticipated in October,” Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said before the report. “It seems like the underlying trend in the job market is turning.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-22/payrolls-rose-in-34-u-s-states-in-october-led-by-florida-1-.html

Q&A: Is There A 'Right' To Enrich Uranium? Iran Says Yes, U.S. No

By Fredrik Dahl

GENEVA (Reuters)

--CLIP
The United States says no country has that explicit right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the 1970 global pact designed to prevent the spread of atomic bombs.

"Matters of legal theory aside, the right to enrichment has become a shorthand for the real central issue in the negotiations - whether Iran will be allowed to maintain a nuclear weapons option as part of a nuclear program under international safeguards," Gary Samore, until recently the top nuclear proliferation expert on U.S. President Barack Obama's national security staff, wrote in a Foreign Affairs article.

WHAT DOES THE NPT SAY?

Both Iran and the United States refer to Article Four of the NPT in backing up their arguments.

While recognizing every country's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy, it does not directly mention enrichment.

The NPT's opening paragraphs ban non-nuclear weapon states from developing such arms, but adds in Article Four:

"Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination."

MORE...

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/131122/qa-there-right-enrich-uranium-iran-says-yes-us-no

Iran Wants Right To Enrich Uranium Recognized As Part Of Agreement; Western Powers Wary

By Joby Warrick, Updated: Friday, November 22, 10:33 AM

GENEVA — Prospects for a historic nuclear deal with Iran appeared uncertain Friday as Iranian diplomats insisted that Western governments formally recognize the country’s right to enrich uranium.

Negotiators who emerged from a third day of marathon talks spoke of “difficult” discussions on the details of a proposal that would restrict or scale back key parts of Iran’s nuclear program. But both sides said they were determined to continue bargaining.

“Little progress,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi posted on Twitter after a fourth meeting with Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief. He called the discussions “serious.”

Another member of the Iranian team, Majid Takht Ravanchi, said the talks were “moving on a positive track,” according to Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency, and suggested that negotiations could extend to an unscheduled fourth day. Ravanchi confirmed that the dispute over Iran’s “right” to enrich had emerged as a major obstacle.

“We have declared that enrichment is our red line,” he said.

MORE...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/iran-wants-right-to-enrich-uranium-recognized-as-part-of-agreement-western-powers-wary/2013/11/22/ee7e46a8-5370-11e3-9e2c-e1d01116fd98_story.html

More Drivers Positive For Pot In Washington State

SEATTLE (AP) -- More drivers have been testing positive for marijuana since Washington legalized the drug last year, according to new figures from the State Patrol.

In the first six months of 2013, the patrol's crime lab says, 745 people tested positive for marijuana. Typically, there are about 1,000 positive pot tests on drivers in a full year.

It doesn't necessarily mean there has been a rash of people driving high, said patrol spokesman Bob Calkins. Troopers are looking harder for drivers operating under the influence of pot, and they might be ordering more marijuana blood tests - "We're testing blood we didn't test before," he said.

In addition, the overall number of impaired driving cases handled by the patrol doesn't appear to have risen this year, and should be on track to hit the rough annual average of 20,000 - which could mean that some people are using marijuana instead of alcohol before getting behind the wheel, Calkins said.

"They're still making a very bad decision," he said.

more...

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_LEGALIZING_MARIJUANA_DRIVING?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-11-21-17-38-56

Senate Republicans Block $625B Defense Bill Over Democratic Tactic Limiting Amendments

Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans have blocked a vote on a $625 billion defense bill after Democrats tried to limit amendments.

The vote was 51-44, nine short of the necessary votes to move ahead. The vote leaves the measure setting military pay and policy in limbo with a few legislative days remaining for the Senate to act and reconcile its version with the House.

Republicans had pressed for votes on amendments dealing with Iran, Egypt and other issues, arguing that a measure authorizing more than $600 billion for personnel, weapons, ships and aircraft deserved extensive deliberations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had pushed to wrap up the bill before the Senate's two-week Thanksgiving break.



Read more: http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/232898011.html

Attacks Around US Probed For Link To Knockout Game

NEW YORK (AP) -- In New York, a 78-year-old woman strolling in her neighborhood was punched in the head by a stranger and tumbled to the ground. In Washington, a 32-year-old woman was swarmed by teenagers on bikes, and one clocked her in the face. In Jersey City, a 46-year-old man died after someone sucker-punched him and he struck his head on an iron fence.

In each case, police are investigating whether the attacks are part of a violent game called "knockout," where the object is to target unsuspecting pedestrians with the intention of knocking them out cold with one punch. Authorities and psychologists say the concept has been around for decades - or longer - and it's played mostly by impulsive teenage boys looking to impress their friends.

"It's hard to excuse this behavior, there's no purpose to this," said Jeffrey Butts, a psychologist specializing in juvenile delinquency at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "When someone runs into a store and demands money, you can sort of understand why they're doing it, desperation, whatever. But just hitting someone for the sheer thrill of seeing if you can knock someone out is just childish."

At least two deaths have been linked to the game this year and police have seen a recent spike in similar attacks.

New York City police have deployed additional officers to city neighborhoods where at least seven attacks occurred in the past few weeks, including the assault on the 78-year-old woman. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said some are smacked, some are more seriously assaulted, and some harassed. The department's hate crimes task force is investigating, because some attacks have been against Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn.

more...

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_KNOCKOUT_GAME?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-11-21-17-48-21

Yellen Clears Key Senate Hurdle To Become Next Fed Chair

Source: REUTERS

(Reuters) - The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday approved Janet Yellen's nomination to become the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve, sending it to the full Senate for a final vote.

If confirmed, as is widely expected, the current number two at the central bank will replace its chairman, Ben Bernanke, when his term expires on January 31, making her the most powerful woman in world finance.

The vote was 14 in favor and 8 against.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/21/us-usa-fed-yellen-vote-idUSBRE9AK0UD20131121

Tribune Company to Cut 700 Newspaper Employees

The Tribune Company, owner of The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times, will lay off 700 employees at those newspapers and the six others it owns, it said in memos to the staff on Wednesday.

The cuts, which represent about 6 percent of the company’s 11,000 employees, will affect mostly its business side, Peter Liguori, chief executive of the Tribune Company, said in the memos. The aim, Mr. Liguori said, is to “unify the noneditorial functions of our publishing businesses.”

Tribune is preparing to spin off its newspaper unit into a separate company and shift its focus to its television holdings. In July, the company paid $2.7 billion for 19 local television stations, signaling that it was accelerating its transformation to a broadcasting company.

In addition to The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, the Tribune Company owns The Baltimore Sun; The Hartford Courant; The Orlando Sentinel and The Sun-Sentinel in Florida; The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa.; and The Daily Press of Newport News, Va. It also owns a national cable station, WGN America.

The cuts will not affect “front-line reporters,” according to a person with knowledge of the plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity, but there will be some newsroom losses. A spokesman for the company, Gary Weitman, declined to comment on how the layoffs might break down across the publications, and how many journalists’ jobs might be trimmed.

MORE...

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/21/business/media/tribune-co-to-cut-700-newspaper-employees.html?_r=0
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