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Obama Lays Out Immigration Plan: Washington Post: "Declaring that America’s immigration system is broken, President Obama on Tuesday called for a process to allow millions of illegal immigrants in the country to 'earn their way to citizenship,' and he warned that he would send his own bill to Congress if lawmakers deadlock on a new Senate proposal. In his first trip outside Washington since his inauguration last week, Obama added to momentum on Capitol Hill in favor of an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, setting forth the principles for a top second-term priority — and perhaps the one most likely to be accomplished."
The Biggest Differences With the Senate Deal: New York Times: "There were hints in Mr. Obama’s speech of potential fault lines in the debate. He declared, for example, that there must be a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants 'from the outset.' That would seem at odds with the assertion by some senators that citizenship must be tied to tighter border security. Although Mr. Obama did not say it in his speech, the White House is also proposing that the United States treat same-sex couples the same as other families, meaning that people would be able to use their relationship as a basis to obtain a visa."
Obama's Full Remarks: Here, which included these: "You know, unless you’re one of the first Americans, a Native American, you came from someplace else. Somebody brought you. ... The Irish, who left behind a land of famine; the Germans, who fled persecution; the Scandinavians, who arrived eager to pioneer out west; the Polish; the Russians; the Italians; the Chinese; the Japanese; the West Indians; the huddled masses who came through Ellis Island on one coast and Angel Island on the other -- (cheers, applause) -- you know, all those folks, before they were us, they were them." White House fact sheet here.
Must-Read Story of the Day: For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II, from the Smithsonian magazine. A snippet: "The Lykov children knew there were places called cities where humans lived crammed together in tall buildings. They had heard there were countries other than Russia. But such concepts were no more than abstractions to them." Full thing here; it's a little long but worth it.
Cabinet Updates: WaPo: Ray LaHood stepping down as US transportation secretary; Boston Globe: Senate panel approves John Kerry's confirmation [Update 4:44 p.m.: Full Senate just confirmed Kerry.]
The Pentagon’s Unholy Alliance: Sam Kleiner explains how Chuck Hagel could single-handedly do more to advance gun control than almost anyone else.
Counting the Dead: Associated Press: "As of Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, at least 2,045 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is two less than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Tuesday at 10 a.m. EST. At least 1,706 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers."
In Case the Situation In Syria Wasn't Already Worrisome Enough: New York Times: "Muddied and waterlogged bodies of scores of people, most of them men in their 20s and 30s, have been found in a suburb of Syria’s contested northern city of Aleppo, activists and insurgent fighters reported Tuesday. Videos posted by opponents of President Bashar al-Assad seemed to show that many had been shot in the back of the head while their hands were bound. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist organization based in Britain with a network of contacts in Syria, said at least 50 bodies had been located, some scattered along the banks of a small river in the Bustan al-Kaser neighborhood, which is mostly under rebel control. Later reports put the tally much higher."
Things Aren't Look So Calm In Egypt Either: Reuters: "Egypt's army chief said political unrest was pushing the state to the brink of collapse—a stark warning from the institution that ran the country until last year as Cairo's first freely elected leader struggles to curb bloody street violence. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a U.S.-trained general appointed by President Mohamed Mursi last year to head the armed forces, added in a statement on Tuesday that one of the primary goals of deploying troops in cities on the Suez Canal was to protect the waterway that is vital for Egypt's economy and world trade."
Google Releases Map of North Korea, Gulags and All: Washington Post: "Until Tuesday, North Korea appeared on Google Maps as a near-total white space — no roads, no train lines, no parks and no restaurants. The only thing labeled was the capital city, Pyongyang. This all changed when Google, on Tuesday, rolled out a detailed map of one of the world’s most secretive states. The new map labels everything from Pyongyang’s subway stops to the country’s several city-sized gulags, as well as its monuments, hotels, hospitals and department stores."
Our Long National Twinkie Nightmare Is Almost Over: Wall Street Journal: "Hostess Brands Inc. is nearing a deal to sell its Twinkie brand and other cakes to private-equity firms Apollo Global Management LLC and C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. for more than $400 million, said people familiar with the discussions. ... The so-called stalking horse bid could be topped by other suitors at the auction, in which case Apollo and Metropoulos would likely be entitled to what's known as a breakup fee. One person cautioned a deal might not be disclosed until later this week, but the parties were putting finishing touches on the agreement Tuesday."
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