10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:
AP Wire
Jan 30, 2014


The central bank is pushing ahead despite fears that the move will further rattle global markets.


The defense must be allowed to view the U.S. government's secret request to spy on a terror suspect in Chicago, a federal judge rules.


The director of National Intelligence tells Congress a Syrian militant group tied to al-Qaida is training fighters around the world for an attack.


Georgia's governor and Atlanta's mayor find themselves on the defensive, acknowledging storm preparations could have been better.


A child's "weight fate" is mostly set by the time he or she reaches age 5, a study finds.


Passengers of a cruise ship recount buffets served by crew members wearing gloves and masks after 700 passengers fell ill.


Possible reasons range from a lack of milkweed to genetically modified crops, urban sprawl and extreme weather.


The singer's latest brush with the law involves the alleged assault of a limo driver in December, an official says.


A worker at a Pittsburgh McDonald's is charged with selling the drug to drive-thru customers who used the coded request "I'd like to order a toy."


Players reveal their tricks when it comes to plummeting temperatures, including heated benches and Vaseline — which they say when rubbed on bare skin can ward off the cold.



11. New Wash. Post/ABC Poll

Just 37 percent say they have either a good amount or a great deal of confidence in the president to make the right decisions for the country’s future, while 63 percent say they do not.

Confidence in Democrats and Republicans in Congress, however, is even lower than for President Obama. Twenty-seven percent say they have confidence in Democrats to make the right decisions for the country, while 72 percent do not, and just 19 percent have confidence in Republicans, while 80 percent do not. Almost half lack confidence in all three.


Can you post the link I would like to see how many people were polled.



You'll notice they oversampled Democrats - no surprise since it's the Washington Post and ABC.


Could it be that there are actually more Democrats than Republicans?


Not by a factor of 7.


12. Gallup poll: Americans' confidence in Congress as an institution is down to 10%, ranking the legislative body last on a list of 16 societal institutions for the fourth straight year. This is the lowest level of confidence Gallup has found, not only for Congress, but for any institution on record.

Former Grandhavenite

I got a kick out of this story:


Turns out that zombies, dog poop, hemorrhoids, and toenail fungus were rated more favorably than Congress.


Although, to be fair, it should be mentioned that Americans did rate Congress higher than the Ebola virus.


#13 (EDIT - anything for you, Barry). A new Harvard study shows that single parent children have the least chance of attaining upward mobility, and that single parenting is a significant factor in income inequality. http://www.newscientist.com/arti...

"The study also acknowledges that many of these key factors are correlated with one another, such as income inequality and the share of single mothers in a community. This means that economic inequality may degrade the two-parent family or that increases in single parenthood may increase economic inequality".

While this study does have a certain "DUH.." factor, it is important for some compelling reasons.

1. Obamacare will help single parent families immeasurably, and although it alone can't ensure social mobility, it allows, for the first time, single parents and their children access to good quality basic preventative medical care; regular checkups and access to prescription drugs; and treatment options for many childhood (and adult) health concerns, such as asthma, serious allergies, infections, etc.

2. Obamacare, with it's universal contraception coverage, allows women options for family planning. Poor women now have more control over when and how many children they have, and will now be better positioned to advance themselves in their jobs, education, and within society.

3. Obama's (and Gov Snyder's) goal of universal pre-school, geared toward the age of the young child that is most important developmentally, is one way government can make a powerful difference in the chances of social mobility of poor children.

Of course, government can not force people to marry, or stay in bad marriages, but it can create an environment whereby a person trying to raise children as a poor single parent, a situation that very often is not of their choosing, at least has the burden of no health care coverage removed; they don't fear bankruptcies because of sudden medical costs (the leading cause of all bankruptcies prior to Obamacare); they will not have the worry of a job with no health insurance benefit; and they will know that their children will have the benefit of basic preventative health care.

Now if only the Republicans quit with their War on Women, Obamacare, and other programs that help shrink the yawning gap of income inequality, maybe single parents and their children will have a shot at upward social mobility.


Let's Get Real

"Before reviewing these and other strategies for reducing poverty, I want to emphasize the importance of individual initiative in reducing poverty and promoting economic success. My Brookings colleague Isabel Sawhill and I have spent years emphasizing the importance of individual responsibility in reducing poverty and increasing opportunity. One of our arguments, based in part on a Brookings analysis of Census Bureau data, is that young people can virtually assure that they and their families will avoid poverty if they follow three elementary rules for success – complete at least a high school education, work full time, and wait until age 21 and get married before having a baby. Based on an analysis of Census data, people who followed all three of these rules had only a 2 percent chance of being in poverty and a 72 percent chance of joining the middle class (defined as above $55,000 in 2010). These numbers were almost precisely reversed for people who violated all three rules, elevating their chance of being poor to 77 percent and reducing their chance of making the middle class to 4 percent. [25] Individual effort and good decisions about the big events in life are more important than government programs. Call it blaming the victim if you like, but decisions made by individuals are paramount in the fight to reduce poverty and increase opportunity in America. The nation’s struggle to expand opportunity will continue to be an uphill battle if young people do not learn to make better decisions about their future." http://www.brookings.edu/researc...

On top of that commonsense analysis, income inequality has increased on Obama's watch and his policy initiatives have been tried and failed before. http://news.investors.com/012414...


I see no conflict of interest between the Brookings or Harvard studies. They are both pieces of the poverty/income inequality continuum - perhaps equal pieces.

In a very real way, the Brookings research is another "DUH" study. Of course, making common sense decisions early in life will play a big part in a successful future - but of course, good decisions alone do not mean one will never face poverty or will never experience a dead end to social mobility. This is part of good parenting (Wingmaster - where are you?), a Catch-22. Kids raised in a home by parent(s) who were raised without proper nurturing or common sense guidance likely will not make common sense decisions about their own lives, and the dysfunction perpetuates.

Based on the premise you right-wingers give a fig, what are your (non-government) solutions? I ask this with the acknowledgement that the role of government is to provide a peaceful, safe, and economically healthy environment.

Your news.investors.com link is nothing more than slanted and biased anti-Obama propaganda. Besides all the tax reform, tax subsidies, and other incentives geared to increase corporate wealth, power, and control, including Citizens United, that has allowed income inequality to explode over decades, the Republican pathological ideology of putting Party before Country, manifested by the lowest level of governance in about a century, has created an environment of: NO jobs bills passed even during a time of severe economic upheaval.

Instead: War on Women, a re-visiting of settled-law issues from the 1960's. Oh - I get it! If women essentially reverted to having one choice in life, and were still at home, having babies and following the rhythm method, and basking in the glow of their husband's successes, we wouldn't have all this poverty, societal dysfunction, and governmental intrusion!!

Former Grandhavenite

It's pretty ridiculous to hear people reminiscing about "the good old days" as if there were a time in history when we just didn't have all these challenges facing society. The good old days weren't actually that good if you were black, or gay, or poor, or a socialist, or physically or mentally disabled, or a woman, etc etc etc.


Exactly. Another way of looking at it: We are just more honest now.


Who reminisced about the good old days unless you argue that the three rules for success from Brookings: (1) get a high school education, (2) work full time, and (3) wait until age 21 and get married before having a baby are somehow old fashioned and impossible for blacks, gays, poor people, a socialist (?), a woman, etc. If that is your argument, I want all my education, welfare, tax money back.

Former Grandhavenite

My point about the "good old days" was really intended more as a general comment about how people tend to always see themselves or their country as being in particularly dire straits at the time, and they don't remember things being this bad because "back then, kids treated adults with respect, people helped their neighbors, you didn't have all the sex and violence etc etc." You always hear about how the moral fiber of society is getting worse over time. People in the Roman empire thought that the new generation of kids were living immoral lifestyles and not respectful enough of adults. EVERY generation in human history has looked down on the subsequent generation. Every day for the past 2000+ years some people have gotten out of bed convinced that the second coming is imminent, "because the stuff in Revelations is exactly like what's going on today in the news!", and they'll still be saying that 2000 years from now. Some percentage of the population has always been utterly convinced that jazz music, rock music, the Reformation, Elvis Presley, comic books, contact sports, video games, Obamacare, Miley Cyrus, mountain bikes, social media, or whatever the kids are into nowadays will lead to the downfall of civilization and corruption of our youth.

People have been killing each other for quite a while, and presumably were interested in sex as well back in the day considering that we're all here. Life has always been fairly challenging for most people, the grass has never actually been any greener, inequality of income or wealth has always been an issue, nobody's ever had 'enough' money, there have always been ethnic and religious tensions, people have always thought their political opponents are destroying the country, etc.

Anyway I've done exhaustive research on the subject, and it turns out that MY pet issue is the most important one for determining the future of humanity, and only my political views are the ones that can save America. I've also compared the different cultures, religions, and nationalities throughout history, and surprisingly enough- it turns out that WE are the greatest nation ever and are actually God's chosen people. Man, of all the people and cultures out there- what are the odds that it would turn out that we're the best? On a related note, new music nowadays is all garbage, and according to my research music reached its peak just at the time I was in high school and forming my musical taste. Again, what are the odds?


I respect your opinion, but maybe you should make it free standing instead of part of a response to the comment I made. . . . Now I will venture further and guess if you think the moral fiber of our society hasn't deteriorated since the 60's, your exhaustive research leaves something less than desired.

Former Grandhavenite

Yeah, I didn't realize that comment had turned into such a wall of text. Of course, the answer to whether or not the moral fiber of the country has deteriorated since the 60's is a matter of opinion that can't be proven either way. Don't conservatives generally see the 1960's as a dark age anyway?

I'm sure people had essentially this same conversation in the 60's about how terrible everything has gotten, what with the long haired hippies and their flower power, not like back in the 20's when we were on the right track and people were morally upstanding! The truth is there were never any "good old days". There were only complex times that had their own challenges, and their own uniquely good and bad aspects. I also think that all things considered, right now is a pretty nice time to be alive, which is a sentiment that you hardly ever hear expressed.


Sorry, the role of the federal government is as defined in the Constitution, not to provide a "peaceful, safe, and economically healthy environment, whatever that means, unless you are referring to the constitutional oath taken by the President:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Part of the problem we have gotten ourselves into is liberals deciding that the government should do in their own mind, not the limited authorities ceded to it by the States and the people.

Once again, Citizens United is a First Amendment case and has nothing to do with income inequality. If you want to counter what Investors said, please do so, with facts and not progressive rhetoric.


Part of the problem we have gotten ourselves into is that conservatives read my comments and immediately label them as 'progressive rhetoric'.

"Once again, Citizens United is a First Amendment case and has nothing to do with income inequality. If you want to counter what Investors said, please do so, with facts and not progressive rhetoric". Consider it done.

Take a good look at the investors chart. Notice how income inequality starts to rise in 2010? The Citizens United ruling took place on January 21, 2010. I rest my case.


With all due respect, you should keep your day job :-D


I know you too well, Vlad. When you must revert to politely-executed insults, you are conceding the point....;-p


Fortunately or unfortunately, you don't and I don't.


Not so. I'm happy to concede the point when I'm obviously wrong, and I'm always cognizant of that possibility.

Former Grandhavenite

Regarding the oath of office, it's important to keep in mind that most federal employees, both military and civilian, take a similar oath to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. It isn't an oath of loyalty to their immediate supervisor or whatever administration is in power at the time, or an oath to advance any specific policies beyond the few that are mentioned. (If the King of England shows up and demands that I quarter some British troops in my home, I'll refer him to the third amendment in the course of telling him to pound sand)

I'd like to think that there are enough people out there who truly care about public service and are acting out of integrity and genuine goodwill toward ALL of the people, not just those they agree with politically. In my view, you really need to look toward the professional public servants rather than the politicians to find those people who are actually interested in solving a problem or overcoming a challenge. The bureaucrats (even that word has taken on a negative connotation) are the ones that actually have to figure out how to implement the policies of the grandstanding morons in Congress.

Barry Soetoro

12 was already used. C'mon Mr. L get it together!


Uhh - better direct your comment to Vlad....

Barry Soetoro

It's OK, L. I know you're all giddy with your new-found riches via the lower tax rates compliments of the Michigan Republicans.


I'm giddy at the prospect of a beer summit and wearing my new t-shirt! Even tho I rarely drink beer. And my schedule for February is filling up fast.


#13. Democrats: Cede the House to save the Senate

"With Democrats’ grasp on the Senate increasingly tenuous — and the House all but beyond reach — some top party donors and strategists are moving to do something in the midterm election as painful as it is coldblooded: Admit the House can’t be won and go all in to save the Senate."

"But with their party weighted down by an unpopular president and his even more unpopular health care law, many Democrats are worried about the election. And their anxiety is most pronounced about the Senate."


Former Grandhavenite

I'd be surprised if control of either chamber of Congress changes hands in this election, but the R's will likely make modest gains in both.

At some point the whole anti-Obamacare thing is probably going to run out of steam, but that depends on what happens over the course of this year (and unfortunately, it depends even more on the narrative that the media decides to run with.) Obamacare as a program basically has nowhere to go but up as the kinks are gradually worked out of the system and more of the benefits start kicking in. At this early stage it's meant a lot of sometimes painful adjustments by a lot of people and companies, but once the transitional period is over and people learn the ropes of how the program works, it'll just be the status quo. Stability and inertia will gradually start working in Obamacare's favor instead of against it.


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