Yesterday, the Secretary of the Senate rejected Roland Burris’s appointment to the legislative body “because his certificate of appointment was missing the signature of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.” White has refused to sign the certificate, siding with Senate leadership in believing that Burris should not be seated. Burris, nevertheless, is heading to Washington and insisting that his appointment is legal.
Despite increased calls for a cease-fire from Europe and warnings from aid organizations of a growing humanitarian crisis, Israel moved its forces deeper into Gaza, toward the southern Khan Younis on Tuesday. Since the fighting began 12 days ago, 590 Palestinians have been killed and 2,500 have been wounded, while 9 Israelis have been killed.
Former Republican congressman Bob Barr states, “In 1996, as a freshman member of the House of Representatives, I wrote the Defense of Marriage Act, better known by its shorthand acronym, DOMA, than its legal title.” But now, he says, “I have come to agree with [Obama] that the law should be repealed.”
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) may decide against running for Senate, the St. Petersburg Times reports this morning. Bush “may conclude after completing his methodical review process that there are other ways he can help rebuild the GOP.”
Speaking for the first time at length about his imprisonment, former Guantanamo Bay detainee Muhammad Saad Iqbal tells the New York Times that he left U.S. custody with a severely infected ear, lower back problems and a dependency “on a cocktail of antibiotics and antidepressants.” Iqbal says the maladies were “the result of a gauntlet of torture, imprisonment and interrogation” that he was put through.
In the coming months, Congress plans to move aggressively against the tobacco industry “by regulating cigarettes, raising per-pack sales taxes and ratifying an international antitobacco treaty.” The measures “are ones that the Bush administration opposed, vetoed or declined to act upon,” but that President-elect Obama supported while in the Senate.
Toyota will be “suspending production at all 12 of its Japan plants for 11 days over February and March,” an “unprecedented” suspension for the top automaker. Data released yesterday also showed that the auto industry “capped off 2008 with its worst sales in 16 years as Americans continued to steer clear of dealerships in December.”
Five Blackwater Worldwide security guards are expected to appear in federal court today “to answer to manslaughter charges in the 2007 shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.” Prosecutors contend the guards fired on unarmed Iraqis trying to escape while the defendants claim they were under attack “when a car in a State Department convoy they were escorting broke down.”
And finally: Prominent Twitter users — including Britney Spears and President-elect Obama — had their accounts hacked yesterday. Users first noticed the suspicious message “Breaking: Bill O Riley is gay” on the Fox News account. CNN’s Rick Sanchez, another victim of the scheme, later Twittered that he had been at the gym when a fake message from his account went up. Twitter said that it had solved the breach, explaining that “accounts were compromised after a hacker accessed tools the support team uses when a Twitter user can’t remember or wants to reset their login info.”