The Common Good

The Top 10 Stories of February 19, 2013

Quote of the day.
“It’s incredibly important for people to understand that women’s wages are key definers of a family’s economic life. For the health of families, communities, and the state, it is imperative that women are paid fairly for their labor.”  Victoria Budson, executive director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, on a new study showing working wives now account for 47 percent of household earnings, up from 38 percent in 1988, while husband’s contributions have dropped to 53 percent.
(Boston Globe)

1. Obama to press GOP on averting sequester.
Facing yet another fiscal deadline, President Barack Obama is urging congressional Republicans to accept more tax revenue in order to avert looming, across-the-board budget cuts due to take effect in less than two weeks.
(Associated Press)

2. Pro-gun lawmakers are open to limits on size of magazines.
A growing number of lawmakers say they see a distinct difference between limits on magazine sizes, which they would support, and an assault weapons ban, which they would not.
(New York Times)

3. As immigration vote looms, some southern Democrats get queasy.
Immigration isn’t a touchy subject just for many Republicans. Southern and moderate Democrats also may be a bit skittish about the idea of granting a path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants.
(McClatchy News)

4. House approves storm aid for religious institutions.
The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved legislation that would allow the use of federal money to rebuild churches and synagogues damaged by Hurricane Sandy, despite concern that such aid could violate the doctrine of separation of church and state.
(New York Times)

5. Younger vets still struggle as jobs scene improves.
The unemployment rate for veterans between 18 and 24 exceeded 20 percent last year. It was also in double digits for those 25-34. The unemployment rate for both age groups was higher than for their nonveteran peers and much higher than the national average.
(Associated Press)

6. Taliban targeting Afghan women and government workers.
Civilian casualties decreased in Afghanistan for the first time in six years in 2012, the United Nations has announced. But targeted killings by insurgents — particularly of women, girls, and government employees — climbed compared with the previous year.
(Guardian)

7. Obama could revisit arming Syria rebels as Assad holds firm.
With conditions continuing to deteriorate, officials could reopen the debate over providing weapons to select members of the resistance in an effort to break the impasse in Syria. The question is whether a wary Mr. Obama, surrounded by a new national security team, would come to a different conclusion.
(New York Times)

8. Iranian-backed militant group in Iraq is recasting itself as a political player. 
The Iranian-backed Shiite group responsible for most of the attacks against U.S. forces in the final years of the Iraq war is busily reinventing itself as a political organization in ways that could enhance Iran’s influence in post-American Iraq — and perhaps beyond.
(Washington Post)

9. South African activist forms party to take on ANC.
Mamphela Ramphele, an anti-apartheid activist and co-founder of South Africa's Black Conscious Movement, has announced the formation of a new political party to take on the 101-year-old African National Congress (ANC) of Nelson Mandela.
(Al Jazeera)

10. How U.S. military plans to carry out Obama's 'pivot to Asia.'
A U.S. policy shift toward Asia means a greater role for the Navy. Even pre-''pivot to Asia,'' it already stationed half its ships in the region, and it is developing a new ''afloat forward staging base'' in the Pacific.
(Christian Science Monitor)

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