– The U.N. withdrew its staff in northeastern Afghanistan because of safety concerns after protesters there, sparked by a Koran-burning incident laid siege to the offices.
– Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) plans to introduce a bill that would bar private security contractors and Afghans from guarding U.S. military installations as the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan winds down.
– Under pressure from the Israeli government, the U.S. is considering clarifying its “red line” with Iran, referring to the threshold of Iranian actions that would cause the U.S. to take military action.
– Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that neither the U.S., nor Israel, can stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon if it decides to do so. “The intellectual capital still exists. We could certainly bomb the place, but we don’t know where everything is with any kind of certainty,” he said.
– An American intelligence official said that the Israelis would not warn the U.S. if it decided to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
– Ninety percent of Syrians reportedly approved a new Constitution. Western leaders and opposition figures called the referendum a farce.
– A Syrian opposition group reported finding a mass grave with 64 bodies on the outskirts of the embattled city of Homs as the top U.N. rights official reiterated calls for a ceasefire and eventual international tribunals ahead of a vote at the Human Rights Council.
– Qatar?s prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani said yesterday that he supports arming the Syrian opposition movement. “We should do whatever necessary to help them, including giving them weapons to defend themselves,” he said.
Republican voters head to the polls in Michigan and Arizona today for one of the most important primary battles yet between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Santorum’s campaign is looking for all the help it can get, including urging Democrats in robocalls to vote for the former senator in the open primary — a call many progressives are happy to oblige, hoping to thwart Romney.
Romney’s campaign called the robocalls “pathetic” and a “new low,” but Romney himself has said he did essentially the same thing, voting for a Democrat in a 1992 Senate primary so the weaker candidate would be nominated to face off against the Republican in the general.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) will not challenge signatures initiating his recall, moving the state one step closer to removing Walker. Aides said there was not enough time to thoroughly review the 152,000 pages of signatures for duplications and fraudulent names, but critics said it shows Walker’s supporters do not have a viable challenge to make against the petitions.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R) worried yesterday that Republicans are getting distracted by discussing divisive social issues. ?I don?t think we?re going to have a sidetrack into social issues,? Ryan said on CBS’ This Morning.
Just after midnight, police began forcefully evicting demonstrators from the Occupy London encampment outside of St. Paul Cathedral. Protesters erected a barricade in an attempt to slow down the process but within hours the park had been cleared and tents removed. UK newspaper The Telegraph live-blogged the eviction.
Germany’s parliament approved its portion of the Greek bailout yesterday, guaranteeing $174 billion for the effort to prevent a Greek default. German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged parliament to approve the measure before the vote, saying, “If the euro fails, Europe fails.”
Federal authorities have expanded an insider trading investigation into 120 individuals on and off Wall Street and have begun building cases against them. Since 2009, prosecutors have won 57 cases against 66 individuals on insider trading charges. The government is currently investigating about 240 people in the probe.
Newt Gingrich’s campaign effectively told the FEC to drop dead, Bloomberg reports. Despite warnings that the campaign has failed to follow disclosure laws, Gingrich’s campaign treasurer responded to the FEC — a month late — by saying that the campaign thinks “no further itemization is required.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) gave $9.4 million to nonprofits that spent big on 2010 election, including $4.5 million that went to the conservative American Action Network, iWatchNews reports.
And finally: Mitt Romney may have confused DVDs and CDs last night at a campaign rally with Kid Rock. Romney uses a Kid Rock song as introduction music at campaign events, but said last night that the musician frequently “introduces me by DVD everywhere I go.? To our knowledge, a film of Kid Rock has never been used to introduce Romney.
Amid the current upheaval in Afghanistan following U.S. military personnel burning copies of the Quran, GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich suggested yesterday that the U.S. can no longer achieve its goals there. “We are not going to fix Afghanistan. It is not possible,” he said, adding, “[t]here are some problems where you have to say, ‘You know, you are going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life because you clearly don’t want to learn from me how to be unmiserable.’”
Well, the newest trailer for the second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which premieres on April 1, looks dandy, doesn’t it?
The nerd in me is rather pleased to see that the characters’ debates about who is best suited to rule Westeros and how that rule should be accomplished are intact, and are something the show is embracing, rather than running away from. But the trailer did remind me of something I find interesting. Given the extent to which A Song of Ice and Fire is based on the War of the Roses, I’m surprised that most people don’t point out the central difference between that conflict and the War of the Five Kings very often. In Martin’s universe, there’s no Parliament, nor any representative assembly, that the contestants for the Iron Throne can appeal to for recognition of their claim.
Sometimes, that makes the process more democratic: Stannis Baratheon, the late King Robert’s brother, can pull a Richard III and tell the world, instead of Parliament, that Cersei’s children are the product of incest rather than legitimate heirs to the throne, and then proceed to demonstrate that he’s best-prepared to lead Westeros by heading up the defense of the Wall when it comes under assault. And sometimes, it’s less direct: Stannis and his brother Renly, who wants to jump over him in the line of succession, argue about what the citizens of Westeros want in a neutral meeting that doesn’t actually involve consulting any of those citizens on what would be best for the country. Cersei Lannister, ruling as queen regent even as rumors about her children’s parentage fly, views her subject with utter contempt. Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen finds that presenting yourself as the mother of your people isn’t an automatic solution to their needs. The only truly radical alternative to
But having all of these debates about governance without the presence of a parliament obscures the extent to which they’re an anachronism. In the real world, Parliament may have been manipulatable during the War of the Roses, but its power and discretion grew as that of England’s kings waned. Part of the triumph of history is that we evolved forms of government that would prevent these bloody and unproductive dynastic struggle. I’m not sure what it means that we don’t see this germ of the future in A Song of Ice and Fire, but it is striking.
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Welcome to Clean Start, ThinkProgress Green?s morning round-up of the latest in climate and clean energy. Here is what we?re reading. What are you?
BP investors said progress toward a settlement with the victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster signals a share-price rebound, closing the $44 billion gap with the company?s value before the worst U.S. oil spill. [Bloomberg]
SoCore Energy, a commercial-scale solar installer in Chicago, has raised $4 million in its third round of funding. [Forbes.com]
The Chinese government has set new targets for domestic growth in the solar power sector under its latest five-year plan. [UPI]
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees of Energy and Power, and Environment and the Economy, hold a hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency budget request for Fiscal Year 2013 today, where EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will testify. [C-SPAN]
Newt Gingrich is wrong on energy policy, says Kate Brandt. [PolicyMic.com]
Gas prices continued to climb on Tuesday, inching closer to $4 a gallon as they rose for the 21st day in a row. [CNN]
Transocean Ltd took a $1 billion charge related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the clearest indication yet that the contract driller is preparing to settle the case. [Reuters]
Diseases including the Schmallenberg virus will become more prevalent in UK livestock unless something is done to reduce the effects of climate change, experts have warned. [Farmers Guardian]
TransCanada Corp. said Monday it would seek to start building the southern segment of its Keystone XL pipeline while it prepares to file a new application for U.S. approval of a cross-border pipeline to import Canadian crude oil. [My San Antonio]
The newly formed Climate Change and Shoreline Preservation task force is planning how it can best investigate the ways Connecticut can adapt to rising sea levels and guard against future storms. [The Republic]
Higher energy consumption and warmer weather drove up total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 3.3 percent to 6.866 billion tons between 2009 and 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in its latest emissions inventory report released Monday. [Reuters]
Brad Plumer writes about the court challenges to the EPA?s climate rules. [Ezra Klein]
The stock market has been flirting with 13,000 for days, a level at which it has not closed since 2008. As ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes reported, Republicans have been at pains to explain why President Obama deserves no credit for the Dow’s rebound (even though the GOP was quite willing to blame Obama when the Dow tanked in 2008 and 2009).
But as it turns out, Obama is not the only Democratic President under whom the stock market has done well for investors. A Bloomberg Government report shows that since the 1960′s, stocks have done significantly better under Democratic administrations than under Republican ones:
The BGOV Barometer shows that, over the five decades since John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, $1,000 invested in a hypothetical fund that tracks the Standard & Poor?s 500 Index (SPX) only when Democrats are in the White House would have been worth $10,920 at the close of trading yesterday.
That?s more than nine times the dollar return an investor would have realized from following a similar strategy during Republican administrations. A $1,000 stake invested in a fund that followed the S&P 500 under Republican presidents, starting with Richard Nixon, would have grown to $2,087 on the day George W. Bush left office.
Even eliminating the best stock performance under a Democrat, which occurred under President Clinton, and the worst under a Republican, which was under President George W. Bush, the Democrats still come out ahead. ?I dare say that most people on Wall Street are Republicans,? said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at S&P Equity Research. ?But it appears the bread is buttered on the Democratic side.?
Of course, the stock market is a terrible proxy for actual economic health, giving little to no indication of how the economy is working for the average American, but these numbers should put the lie to the constant GOP claim that Democrats and the policies they pursue are anti-business and anti-investor.
"I'm on the prowl."
Those four words were tucked in to Warren Buffett's just-released 2011 annual letter to shareholders.
And the mad dash begins to figure out what company may be in his sights.
Such an exercise might preoccupy the financial media simply for the sake of covering Buffett (which always attracts an audience), but if done right, it can actually lead to uncovering compelling stocks that might be worth buying — even if Buffett doesn't buy himself. First, it's worth noting that in recent years, he's picked up the pace of major investments: Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) completed a $34 billion acquisition of railroad Burlington Northern in early 2010, and then picked . . . → Read More: Could One of These Stocks be Warren Buffett’s Next Big Purchase?
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Not qualified to judge the veracity of this, simply drawing it to your attention.Colonialism in Africa helped launch the HIV epidemic a century agoBy Craig Timberg and Daniel Halperin, Washington PostPublished: February 27Scientists had long known that a[...]
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AFTER THE CUT: A transcript of Mr. Romney's remarks.