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Pentagon’s 46,000 Temporary Workers May Lose Their Jobs

Source: Bloomberg

The Pentagon has given managers authority to start firing some of its 46,000 temporary workers now in anticipation of across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect in March according to Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

By mid-February, the Defense Department is also likely to begin notifying its 800,000 civilian employees that they face mandatory unpaid leave one day a week starting in April unless Congress and President Barack Obama agree on a way to avert the spending cuts aimed at reducing the federal deficit, Carter told reporters in a briefing at the Pentagon today.

“There will be 800,000 people subject to furlough all over the country who will not be getting a fifth of their paycheck” if the cuts take effect, he said.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-25/pentagon-s-46-000-temporary-workers-may-face-immediate-job-cuts.html

Dr. Cornel West: "MLK Today Could Be Taken to Jail Without Due Process Under the NDAA"

Just saw this on my local PBS...ponder!

FDA Panel Votes To Place Tighter Controls On Narcotics Like Vicodin

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel voted Friday to place stricter controls on popular narcotic painkillers such as a Vicodin.

The 19 to 10 vote, which is advisory, will help the FDA decide whether to recommend moving drugs such as Vicodin, which contain the opioid painkiller, hydrocodone, from Schedule III to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act.

Stricter Schedule II status means that fewer prescriptions can be written at one time. For each visit to the doctor, a patient can get up to six months of prescriptions of Schedule III opioids such as Vicodin, compared with up to three months for Schedule II drugs.

Schedule II drugs also have stricter handling and storage requirements.

It was not known when the FDA would make a final decision on the issue.



MORE from NYT:

The change would have sweeping consequences for doctors, pharmacists and patients. Under the new rules, refills without a new prescription would be forbidden, as would faxed prescriptions and those called in by phone. Only written prescriptions from a doctor would be allowed and pharmacists and distributors would be required to store the drugs in special vaults. The vote comes after similar legislation in Congress failed last year, after intense lobbying by pharmacists and drugstores.


Guest Lineups For The Sunday News Shows

ABC's "This Week" - Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and John McCain, R-Ariz.


NBC's "Meet the Press" - Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; Jim DeMint, president-elect of the Heritage Foundation; Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.


CBS' "Face the Nation" - Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.


CNN's "State of the Union" - Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal; former CIA Director Michael Hayden; Govs. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., and Scott Walker, R-Wis.; Mia Love, mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah.


"Fox News Sunday" - Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally; retired Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council.

Report: Stephen Lynch Will Launch Bid For Kerry's Senate Seat

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) is planning to challenge Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) for the Democratic nomination in the special Senate election slated to fill Sen. John Kerry's seat (D-Mass.).

According to the Boston Globe, "people with direct knowledge of his decision" say he will announce his run soon after Kerry is confirmed as secretary of State, a timeline he has previously said he had hoped to follow. Kerry is expected to be easily confirmed in the coming days.

The Globe reports that a poll conducted by the National Association of Government Employees helped convince Lynch he should run, as it showed the likely Republican contender, former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), posting a 9-percentage-point lead on Lynch, a slightly better showing than Markey, who lagged Brown by 10 percent in the same poll.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/279339-report-lynch-to-launch-bid-for-mass-senate#ixzz2J1QWc0Bj

Rachel Maddow Rips Harry Reid For Filibuster Reform

Rachel Maddow railed against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on her MSNBC show for the filibuster reform he passed with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday.

Liberal senators were let down by Reid and McConnell's reform as it fell short from the reform they called for. According to The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim, Sam Stein and Sabrina Siddiqui:

The deal will address the filibuster on the motion to proceed by changing the amount of debate time that would follow a cloture vote from 30 hours to four, speeding up Senate business and allowing more legislation to reach the floor. But the deal still requires Democrats to muster 60 votes to invoke cloture on that motion, despite Reid's earlier suggestion that he would bar a filibuster on that motion entirely.

Maddow was unenthused with Reid. She replayed comments he made about the specific changes needed for filibuster reform, contrasted with Thursday's deal.

More with segment video:


Sales Of New Homes Fell In December, But Were Up Sharply In 2012

Source: NPR

Though there was a 7.3 percent drop in sales of new homes in December from November, sales were up a healthy 8.8 percent from December 2011, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

Homes sold at a annual rate of 369,000 last month.

Over the whole year, the agencies estimate, there were 367,000 new homes sold — up 19.9 percent from the 306,000 sold in 2011.

Reuters says that despite the dip in December from November, housing "still appears set to be a bright spot in the country's economic recovery." And, it notes that:

Read more: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/01/25/170249488/sales-of-new-homes-fell-in-december-but-were-up-sharply-in-2012

Senate Democrats Back Away From Rules Changes To End Minority Delay Tactics

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate on Thursday backed away from rules changes that would have scrapped or vastly limited the filibuster, a long-standing technique that allows just one of the chamber's 100 members to block legislation.

Under Senate rules, which were changed only slightly in the agreement reached between leaders of the Republican minority and the Democrat majority, filibustered legislation can be brought to a vote only if it has the backing of a super majority — 60 of the chamber's 100 members.

The rules deal accepted in the Senate on Thursday, leaves the minority party with far more power than it has in the House, where procedures allow a united majority party to muscle through its priorities.

Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid had been under heavy pressure from liberals in the Senate to outlaw the filibuster under the rules of the coming session. Such a change would only have required 51 votes. Democrats currently control 55 votes. Reid had initially said he wanted to ban the filibuster.



U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren "Disappointed" In Filibuster Changes

BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she's disappointed Senate leaders weren't able to come up with tougher changes to the filibuster rule that allows minority parties to bottle up legislation.

The Massachusetts Democrat had vowed to join with other Democrats to limit use of the filibuster _ a move she said would help break gridlock in Washington by curbing the ability of Republicans to block votes.

Warren had said Senators who want to filibuster should be required to stand on the Senate floor and speak continuously instead of merely threatening to do so.



Liberals Irate As Senate Passes Watered-Down Filibuster Reform

The Senate enacted modest reforms to its filibuster rules with votes that kept bipartisan relations intact but left disappointed liberal groups fuming.

The reforms are the biggest changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules in decades but fell well short of drastic reforms demanded by labor unions and liberal-leaning advocacy groups.

The deal negotiated between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) provoked an outcry from liberal groups.

Passage of the deal sets to rest Reid’s threat, which he had wielded for months, to use the so-called "nuclear option" to change the Senate’s filibuster rules through a simple majority vote.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/279237-liberals-irate-as-senate-passes-watered-down-filibuster-reform#ixzz2Iwu6LLu6
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