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Threat Assessment: January 3rd – 6th

threat assessment fossil fuels

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AGAINST US

Fossil fuels receive over 250 different government subsidies


While renewable energy receives federal subsidies for research and development, fossil fuels' government assistance gets even more help. Research from GigaOm's Adam Lesser found that fossil fuels currently get subsidies from "at least 250 mechanisms," according to a 351-page report from the International Energy Agency. Some of the subsidies are direct, the IEA reported, while others take the form of tax loopholes and spending on related infrastructure. [Grist]

threat assessment santorum

Scott Olson/Getty Images

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AGAINST US

Santorum falsely singles out blacks for exploiting U.S. entitlement systemsE


At a Sunday campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa, Rick Santorum targeted blacks as taking advantage of the country's entitlement system, saying that he doesn't want to "make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money." He later defended the comments to CBS News, which pointed out that 84 percent of Iowa's food stamp recipients are white. [CBS News]

threat assessment recess appointments

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

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WITH US

Obama bucks GOP with recess appointments


President drew the ire of Republicans Wednesday for his recess appointment of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Obama also announced the appointment of three new members to the National Labor Relations Board. Republicans have been blocking these nominations as a way to neuter the agency, charged with safeguarding collective bargaining and organizing rights for workers. [ThinkProgress]

threat assessment gay marriage

Tom Williams/Roll Call via Getty Images

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WITH US

Washington governor to propose legalization of gay marriage


Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire of Washignton announced Wednesday that she intends to propose legislation to legalize gay marriage. If the measure is approved, Washington would become the seventh state to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. "It is time, it is the right thing to do, and I will introduce the bill to make it happen," said Gregoire. Democrats currently hold majorities in both the state's House and Senate. [Seattle Times]

threat assessment iran gulf

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AGAINST US

Iran army chief warns U.S. over Hormuz


After a U.S. aircraft carrier passed through the Strait of Hormuz – between Iran and Oman in the Persian Gulf – last week, the head of Iran's army warned America not to let it happen again. “We usually don’t repeat our warning, and we warn only once,” Ataollah Salehi told the country's Fars news agency. Iran last week vowed to block oil shipments through the strait – the conduit to 15.5 million barrels of oil a day – if the U.S. and its allies follow through on a threat to tighten sanctions. [Bloomberg]

threat assessment bikes

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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WITH US

NYC is all about bikes


New York City has become far more bike-friendly in recent years, and its residents have responded in kind, according to new data. The number of bicycles in NYC has increased 289 percent since 2001, and has doubled since 2007. [TreeHugger]

threat assessment super PAC

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Scott Olson/Getty Images

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AGAINST US

Super PACs flood early primary states with $$$


The new breed of political action committee called Super PACs, which can accept unlimited donations from companies and individuals to spend on ads and other campaign efforts on behalf of (but not in direct coordination with) have already made a huge mark on the 2012 presidential campaign. All told, they have already spent an amazing $12.9 in Iowa and other early Republican battleground states. Mitt Romney was the top beneficiary of super PAC spending, with $4.9 spent on ads to help his candidacy. [iWatch News]

threat assessment counterfeit

Martin Diebel/Getty Images/fStop

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WITH US

Man tries to shop at Walmart with $1 million bill


Michael Anthony Fuller of Lexington, North Carolina has been charged with a felony after attempting to pay for a host of big-ticket items at Walmart with a phony $1 million bill. The crook should have done his research: the largest bill in circulation is the $100 note. His arrest warrant says simply of the fake million-dollar bill: "There is no such thing." [Winston-Salem Journal via The Week]

threat assessment herring

AP Photo/Jan Petter J¯rgensen / Scanpix / Norway

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AGAINST US

Mass animal deaths, 2012 version


A new wave of animal deaths is calling to mind the unusual mass demise of birds, fish and cows in early 2011. A small town in Arkansas met the new year with over 100 blackbirds flying into objects and one another, then falling from the sky. In Europe, a Norway beach was covered in herring after an estimated 20 tons of the fish washed ashore on New Year's Eve. [Huffington Post]

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