Economy – Some good news for Obama: the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent while 243,000 new jobs were created in January. But then Obama had the audacity to warn Congress not to “muck up” the recovery.
Planned Parenthood – The Susan G Komen foundation has ended its funding to the controversial organization. The foundation then caved to Democrats who were furious over this, but Planned Parenthood itself doesn't even do breast screenings by its own admission, it only "connects" women to entities that do provide cancer screenings and mammograms. In other news, a day after NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg made a $250,000 gift to Planned Parenthood, the city’s teachers’ union is answering the mayor’s call for matching donations with a $125,000 gift of its own.
Housing Market - Obama called on Congress to approve a $5 billion to $10 billion effort to help U.S. homeowners refinance as part of a wider package of proposals to shore up the depressed housing market. Obama had sketched out the proposals in his State of the Union address last week, including a tax on banks to pay for the plan that Republicans quickly rejected.
Afghanistan - A growing number of attacks by Afghan troops on U.S. and NATO forces is raising questions as Afghanistan prepares to take more responsibility for security. In other news, the Pentagon’s monthly spending in Afghanistan dipped (due to troop reduction) to $5.3 billion in October and November, down from an average of $7.8 billion a month in the fiscal year that ended in September, according to data compiled by the Defense Department comptroller’s office.
California – The state will officially run out of cash next month. They are reporting a 21 billion dollar deficit on a 90 billion dollar budget.
Class Act - By a vote of 267-159, the House of Representatives voted to overturn the Class Act, a long-term care provision of Obamacare that would have become a budgetary nightmare.
National Prayer Breakfast – Obama cites scripture to defend his policies, saying God is on his side of isle.
NY Times - The New York Times Company suffered a net loss of almost $40 million in 2011, with its fourth quarter profits falling by 12.2 per cent compared to the same period in 2010.
Stimulus 2 – Speaking to Virginia firemen Obama proposed a new conservation program that would put veterans to work rebuilding trails, roads and levees on public lands. He's also expected to announce the administration will seek additional grant money for programs that allow local communities to hire more police officers and firefighters.
Heath Shuler – The North Carolina Democrat will retire after completing his term this year. This is a very winnable seat for the GOP.
Federal Budget - Senate Democratic leaders on Friday said they do not intend to bring a fiscal 2013 budget up for a floor vote. "We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year — it's done, we don't need to do it," said Harry Reid. It has already been over 1000 days since the Senate officially passed a budget.
Iran - The U.S. and Israel are publicly disagreeing over timing for a potential attack on Iran’s disputed nuclear facilities, as that nation’s leader said it won’t back down. The U.S. and Israel have a “significant analytic difference” over estimates of how close Iran is to shielding its nuclear program from attack, Aaron David Miller, a former Mideast peace negotiator in the Clinton administration said.
Occupy DC - The police used barricades to cordon off sections of McPherson Square, a park under federal jurisdiction near the White House, and checked tents for mattresses and sleeping bags and sifted through piles of garbage and other belongings. Some wore yellow and white biohazard suits to guard against diseases identified at the site in recent weeks. Officials also have raised concerns about a rat infestation.
Syria - Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution backing calls for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, despite international outrage this past week over a devastating bombardment of the city of Homs by his regime's forces.
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