- Today's comic by Ruben Bolling is Cartoon: Lucky Ducky makes a billionaire fear genocidal apocalypse:
- Initial claims for unemployment comp rise sharply: For the week ending Jan. 25, seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment compensation were 348,000, up 19,000 from the previous week's revision 329,000. The four-week running average that analysts generally prefer because it flattens volatility in the weekly was 333,000, up 750 from the previous week. For the comparable week in 2013, the running average was 360,000. The total number of people collecting checks in all compensation programs for the week ending Jan. 11 was 3,583,501. That's down 122,586 from the previous week. For the comparable week of 2013, there were 5,916,993 receiving compensation. But 1.5 million of the long-term unemployed have fallen off the rolls since the federal emergency compensation program expired Dec.28.
- GDP up 3.2% in 4th quarter, 1.9% for all of 2013: A few months ago, economists had predicted annualized growth in real—inflation-adjusted—GDP for the fourth quarter of 2013 would come in around 2.0 percent, but, largely driven by robust consumer spending, it rose 3.2 percent, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Growth in the second half of 2013 was up 3.7 percent, compared with 1.8 percent in the first half. That's the best second-half showing since 2003, when the economy expanded 5.8 percent. One problem is that consumer spending is powered in part by a reduced rate of saving, not income growth. Forecasters are calling for a 2.8 to 3.2 percent GDP rise for all of 2014, but most GDP predictions over the past five years have been well off the mark. If that higher but still slow level of growth were to continue, it wouldn't be enough to return us to full employment until 2019.
- These Daily Kos community posts were the most shared on Facebook Jan. 29:
BP Deepwater Supervisors Must Face Manslaughter Rap, by Pakalolo
GOP Congressman has Benghazi Meltdown on Maddow (Video), by Billionaires for Wealthcare
These 89 Democrats Voted to Cut $8.7 Billion from Food Stamps, by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees
- Corey Robin has written an excellent piece on Pete Seeger and the blacklist:
While Seeger’s [House Committee on Un-American Activities] appearance, and its legal aftermath, is making the rounds of his eulogists, it’s important to remember that HUAC was probably not the most difficult of his tribulations during the McCarthy era. Far more toxic for most leftists was the blacklist itself. From the early 1950s to the mid-1960s (the dates are fuzzy, and it depends on which particular medium we’re talking about), Seeger was prevented from performing on a great many stages and venues. First with The Weavers, and then on his own.
The blacklist did not work independently of the state. It was the transmission belt of the state, both a feeder to, and an enforcement mechanism of, the government. Men and women who didn’t cooperate with the government were subject to the blacklist, so it was a useful means of securing cooperation and providing information. The secret enforcers of the blacklist were often ex-FBI men or ex-HUAC staffers, and the FBI and HUAC supplied critical information to industry executives and their underlings. Who then used it for either political or narrower self-interested purposes.
- Industry is flaring a fourth of North Dakota's natural gas.
- Holder authorizes federal prosecutors to seek death penalty for Tsarnaev in Boston bombing: Dzhokar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan are alleged to have planted two homemade bombs near the finish line of the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 250. Tamerlan was killed during a shootout with police. The wounded Tsarnaev, now 20, was forced to surrender and has been charged with 30 federal counts related to the bombing and aftermath. He has pleaded not guilty to all of them.
Since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, 70 death penalty sentences have been imposed, but only three people have been executed, including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in 2001. Eight people have been taken off death row by a judicial or executive action, while 59 people remain on death row, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.The last federal execution was in 2003.
- Carpooling photos from Monterrey, Mexico.
- Alex Pareene on why billionaires keep whining about non-existent persecution:
What makes the wealthy persecution fantasy so risible is that our political class is responsive almost solely to the priorities and views of the rich, but the fantasy serves a purpose: It prevents Congress from actually acting to address economic inequity.
- On today's Kagro in the Morning show, it's the Great American Rich People's Freak-Out! The WSJ says Kristallnacht Perkins was right. Greg Dworkin brought us one of his trademark flu updates and told us Christie is still toast, Hillary's way out front, Avik Roy tipped the Gop hand on "repeal & replace," and relatively strong economic growth shows the US is a socialist hellholle. "Politics is predation, organized crime by a prettier name," says Scott Raab at Esquire. (Story illustrated by DonkeyHotey!) Outrage of the day: school lunches confiscated from students who owed money & dumped! And Politico explains "Why the rich are freaking out."
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