1. Chávez returns to Venzuela, following surgery: According to reports, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez returned to his country at 2:30 a.m. Chávez has been absent for 10 weeks since his December 11 cancer surgery in Cuba.
2. White House immigration proposal leaked: The bill would create a path for illegal immigrants to become permanent residents within eight years. Illegal immigrants would be able to apply for a “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” visa while awaiting naturalization.
Prominent GOP members have responded negatively to the leaked proposal. Speaking on “This Week,” Paul Ryan declared, “I think this particular move [is] very counterproductive.” Marco Rubio stated that the bill would be “dead on arrival” if it reached the floor of the House of Representatives.
The White House responded by claiming that the proposal is simply a back-up plan, in the event that Congress cannot draft a bill of its own.
3. In other White House news, the Obama administration is developing a decade-long project to map the human brain. Look for the plan to be unveiled in March.
4. 40,000 protestors rally against the Keystone Pipeline. Yesterday, the Sierra Club organized a rally in D.C. to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline, among other climate change issues. 40,000 protestors joined the rally.
5. "I'm not a-gonna give in! Because I think I've done nothing wrong!" Vernon Bowman – a 75 year-old farmer from Indiana – is taking on the giant agribusiness, Monsanto. SCOTUS will hear his case this week.
6. BBC Strike! A 24-hour strike by journalists at the BBC caused the outlet to cancel some of its signature programs. The journalists are protesting job cuts and decisions by BBC leadership that the journalists blame for decreasing content quality.
7. Bloody bat and steroids discovered at the home of Oscar Pistorius. Authorities speculate that the runner may have lashed out at his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in a fit of ‘roid rage.
8. Obama and Tiger hit the links: The formidable duo played a round of golf at the Floridian, in Palm City, FL.
9. It’s awards season: Ahead of this weekend’s Oscars, Zero Dark Thirty won for Best Original Screenplay at the Writers Guild Awards. Argo took home the prize for Best Adapted Screenplay.
10. The people have spoken, and Marker’s Mark will not water down its bourbon. After receiving thousands of complaints in the past week, the company has decided to maintain alcohol levels in its bourbon at 45%.
What we can learn from the Maker’s Mark debacle: Corporate decisions are frequently out of touch with the demands of the customer.