(photo: Rosa Say)

The coffee’s freshly ground, there’s a wide variety of teas and the sticky buns are homemade.

Well, the fascist clusterfuck is over in Iowa. Next stop New Hampshire, then South Carolina, then Flori-duh (I can say that, I live here), where come August one of these fenderheads hopes to be crowned heir to McShitForBrains (McSFB), 2008′s winner of the goat rodeo. What a thrill.

  • “US manufacturing activity hit a six-month high in December, according to a survey from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The ISM’s index, which looks at orders, production and jobs, rose to a higher-than-expected level of 53.9 in December, up from 52.7 in November.”
  • Interesting. The Business Blog from The Guardian. “Eurozone crisis: German unemployment hits record low as Greece warns over euro exit.”
  • “France’s nuclear watchdog has called on the country’s 58 power plants to make safety improvements quickly, almost 10 months after the Fukushima disaster. But it says none of the reactors needs to be shut down, following stress tests carried out in the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The watchdog estimates the changes would cost tens of billions of euros.”
  • “The US has agreed in principle to release high-ranking Taliban officials from Guantánamo Bay in return for the Afghan insurgents’ agreement to open a political office for peace negotiations in Qatar, the Guardian has learned. According to sources familiar with the talks in the US and in Afghanistan, the handful of Taliban figures will include Mullah Khair Khowa, a former interior minister, and Noorullah Noori, a former governor in northern Afghanistan.”
  • “Iraq Body Count compiles the world’s most comprehensive set of casualty figures for deaths in Iraq since the invasion in 2003. And while the war has slipped from the political debate since US forces began their final withdrawal, the latest annual report from IBC provides a fascinating insight into a conflict in which over 114,000 people have died.”
  • “Fallujah still bears the scars of war; skeletons continue to be pulled from the rubble of bombed buildings, and, worse, rates of birth defects and childhood malformations have skyrocketed. There is evidence of reconstruction, but shortages of electricity and clean water remain prevalent. The overall mood in the city is one of anger, hopelessness, and fear. In April and November of 2004, the United States military launched two massive military sieges against the city of Fallujah, located 60km west of Baghdad, due to on-going resistance there against the occupation.”
  • “Chilean students have taken over schools and city streets in the largest protests the country has seen in decades. The students are demanding free education, and an end to the privatisation of their schools and universities. The free-market based approach to education was implemented by the military dictator Augusto Pinochet in his last days in power.”
  • From Real News: “Obama’s War on Whistle Blowers. Attorney Jesslyn Radack: More whistle blowers have been charged during Obama admin. then all other presidents together.(speech at Sam Adams Awards)”
  • “Jordan’s foreign minister has said the first meetings between Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators in more than a year ended without any significant breakthroughs. Nasser Judeh, who hosted Tuesday’s meeting in Amman, said the talks were held in a positive atmosphere. Although he said there were no breakthroughs on matters of ‘substance’, he said ‘the important thing is the two sides have met face to face’.
  • More from Real News: “Women Fight Religious Segregation in Israel. Secular vs religious tensions rise as women fight segregation in Jewish Halacha law.”
  • “Countless names exist for a group of settlers in the occupied West Bank that exact retribution against Palestinians and the Israeli army in response to policies targeting the settlement movement. The group has burned and desecrated mosques, destroyed olive groves on private Palestinian land, harassed people and property, and most recently confronted an Israeli army base. The last assault on December 13 forced Israel’s government and the Israeli public to take note of this rogue element in their society.”

Editorial cartoon

The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.