Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WHILE AMERICA WAS SLEEPING, I fixed a 'news breakfast' for you -- ready each weekday morning at 6am Eastern to satisfy your media craving [feature permalink here]. These must-reads will help you kick start the day:

Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle (L) shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after a televised Nevada Senate debate at the Las Vegas Public Broadcasting System studios in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 14, 2010. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

Reid Slams Angle: "As I look out over this crowd, I really don't know what my opponent was talking about. Because you all look like Nevadans to me. . . . Have you noticed that every time my opponent screws up, which is quite often, she goes into her bunker? She's now cancelling public events again. I guess it was her appearance at Rancho High School that put her back in her bunker." (Political Ticker)

GOP in Lead in Final Leap: "A vigorous post-Labor Day Democratic offensive has failed to diminish the resurgent Republicans' lead among likely voters, leaving the GOP poised for major gains in congressional elections two weeks away, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Among likely voters, Republicans hold a 50% to 43% edge, up from a three-percentage-point lead a month ago. In the broader category of registered voters, 46% favor a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 44% who want Republican control. But in the 92 House districts considered most competitive, the GOP's lead among registered voters is 14 points, underscoring the Democrats' challenge in maintaining their hold on the House." (WSJ)

Obama's Lost Magic: "Two years on from his historic election victory, US President Barack Obama is trying to recover his lost magic as defeat for the Democrats looms in the midterm elections. But he is no longer the man he used to be, and his window of opportunity has passed." (Der Spiegel)

Karl Rove: Tea Partiers are 'unsophisticated' in the ways of Washington — and are proud of that. (Daily Caller)

Democrats Bank on Early Voting to Bridge Enthusiasm Gap: "The Democratic National Committee has committed $30 million to turning out Obama supporters who might otherwise take a pass on a midterm election. That's on top of spending by state parties and individual Democratic candidates." (WaPo)

GOP Sees Chance Even in Liberal Bastions: "At least 75 House seats -- the vast majority held by Democrats -- are at serious risk of changing hands, and roughly 25 more where Democrats were assumed to have the upper hand have tightened in recent weeks, raising the possibility that some could flip to the Republicans as well." (Fox News)

Colorado Senate Race Tightening: "Republican Ken Buck has a dwindling lead over Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet, who has gained ground in Colorado's U.S. Senate race since August, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday. Buck, a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, leads Bennet among likely voters by 48 percent to 45 percent. Buck led by 9 percentage points in August shortly after winning the Republican Senate nomination in a bitter primary fight." (Reuters)

Dem Bloodbath in Ohio? "Perhaps no state has swung more dramatically away from the Democratic Party over the past two years. " (ABC)

Obama Goes West: "With Republicans headed to big election gains on November 2, Democrats are counting on the liberal-leaning West Coast to counter the national trend and help them preserve their fragile Senate majority. President Barack Obama heads to California and Washington state this week to drum up support for endangered incumbents Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray in the last days of a campaign that finds his Democrats playing defense around the country." (Reuters)

Tea Party Favorites Challenge Status Quo: "They defined the election. Now, they hope to redefine the Senate." (USA Today)

Pelosi's 'Majority Makers' Going the Way of the Dodo? "Two-term Democrats, whose victories helped secure the Speaker’s job for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), are facing the possibility of a near-wipeout in the Nov. 2 election. Of 10 reelection races involving sophomore Democrats, Republican challengers are ahead in six and tied in two more,  according to The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll.
" (The Hill)

CA Gubernatorial Candidates Strategizing: "Whitman targets specific groups with mailers, diner visits and phone calls, in hopes of attracting independent voters. Brown limits public appearances to prevent gaffes and works to maximize Democratic turnout." (LA Times)

Early Vote a Bad Omen for Reid: "In Reno’s Washoe County and Las Vegas’s Clark County, Republican turnout was disproportionately high over the first three voting days, according to local election officials. The two counties together make up 86 percent of the state’s voter population. The sparsely populated counties outside Clark and Washoe, which have yet to report complete early-voting results, are strongly Republican." (Politico)

No Biden-Clinton Swap in the Works: "President Obama signaled today that he will seek reelection and dismissed as "completely unfounded" reports that he might replace Vice President Joe Biden on his 2012 ticket with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton." (National Journal)

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and the Supreme Court Justices of the United States sit for a formal group photo in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court in Washington on October 8, 2010.  UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg Photo via Newscom

Anita Hill Won't Kiss and Make Up: Justice Clarice Thomas' wife left her a voicemail message: "Good morning, Anita Hill, it's Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology some time and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day." Hill's response: "I certainly thought the call was inappropriate. I have no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony." Charles Radin, the Brandeis director of news and communications, said Hill received the voicemail message and turned it over to the campus Department of Public Safety, which then turned it over to the FBI. (CNN)

Obama Administration Expected to Appeal Judge's Order Repealing DADT: "The Obama administration is expected to appeal a federal judge's order barring the military from enforcing its ban on gays and lesbians serving openly. Any government challenge would go before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, California." (CNN)

Would-Be Texas Skyscraper Bomber Sentenced: "A 20-year-old man who intended to blow up a downtown Dallas skyscraper was sentenced Tuesday to 24 years in federal prison. Hosam Maher Husein Smadi had pleaded guilty in May to one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction for leaving a truck he believed carried a large bomb in the underground parking garage of the 60-story office building Fountain Place in September 2009." (UPI)

Obama to Skip India Temple Visit to Avoid Muslim Headgear: "On an upcoming trip to India, President Obama will skip visiting one of the country’s most sacred shrines out of fear that wearing the requisite headgear might make him appear Muslim, according to reports from the United States and India." (Jake Tapper @ ABC)

Felon Voting Rights Expanded in 23 States: "A study of felony disenfranchisement laws has found that 800,000 former felons have been returned to the voter rolls in the past decade." (WaPo)


Surprise Rate Hike From China; Asian Stocks Fall: "Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was down 1.7%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was off 0.9%, South Korea's Kospi Composite was up 0.6%, China's Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.7%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.7%, India's Sensex was 0.2% higher and New Zealand's NZX-50 was down 0.5%." (WSJ)

And So Do European Markets: "London's FTSE 100 slid 0.3pc to 5688 as investors also waited for Bank of England minutes that are expected to show a three-way split among rate setters, public borrowing figures and the Coalition's Comprehensive Spending Review.mGermany's DAX edged 0.2pc lower and France's CAC fell 0.2pc." (Daily Telegraph)

WH to Probe Foreclosuregate: "The White House's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which includes the Justice Department, is at the early stages of investigating the way mortgage companies handled their documents." (WSJ)


Taliban's Elite Joins Peace Talks: "Talks to end the war in Afghanistan involve extensive, face-to-face discussions with Taliban commanders from the highest levels of the group’s leadership, who are secretly leaving their sanctuaries in Pakistan with the help of NATO troops, officials here say." (NY Times)

Sistemic Failures Led to Double-Agent Suicide Attack -- CIA: "The CIA was cautioned last year that a self-proclaimed al-Qaeda turncoat might be luring the agency into an ambush, a warning that came weeks before the man killed seven agency operatives in a suicide attack in Afghanistan, an internal investigation has found." (WaPo)

Seoul Arrests Alleged N. Korean Spy: "A spokesman for the National Intelligence Service said the alleged spy was arrested by the Seoul city prosecutor late on Tuesday for conspiring to kill Hwang Jang-yop, a leading Communist ideologue who had once been a mentor to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il." (NY Times)

UK to Cut $130bn in Spending: "The Spending Review will represent the most savage round of cuts to the public sector in generations. It will result in many lost jobs, and a reduction of public services." (Sky News)

French Strikes Continue: Violent turn could backlash on protesters. (Christian Science Monitor)
Guilty: "A Saudi prince was found guilty Tuesday of murdering an aide at a London hotel in February, in a case prosecutors said had a sexual element." (CNN)

Egypt Shuts Down More TV Stations: "Egypt has shut down more private television channels and arrested dozens of opposition members in the latest crackdown on media and the Muslim Brotherhood ahead of next month's parliamentary elections." (Al Jazeera)

Tech, Science

Internet the New Weapon in Cable Fight: "In its continuing contract showdown with Cablevision, the News Corporation tried to extend its blackout of the Fox Broadcasting network to and to Hulu, the popular Web site for free TV viewing, on Saturday. Angry Cablevision customers reported being unable to watch episodes of “Glee” and “House” on Hulu. The blackout caused shock waves because it had not been done before by a programmer. Though the shutdown was brief, the message was unmistakable: do not expect to be able to watch Fox online unless you are paying for Fox on TV." (NY Times)

Probiotics = Placebo: "The European Food Safety Authority's independent panel of scientists found that the claims that these products could strengthen the body's defences, improve immune function and reduce gut problems were either so general as to be inadmissible, or could not be shown to have the claimed effect." (Daily Telegraph)

Media, Entertainment

Tom Bosley Dies: "Bosley's 50 years as a television actor included roles on dozens of shows, but he was best known as Howard Cunningham, the patriarch of a 1950s 'Happy Days' family, a show that aired for 11 seasons starting in 1974." (CNN)

Jean Claude Van Damme Suffers Minor Heart Attack: "The actor was taken to hospital in New Orleans after the attack, which happened the day after his 50th birthday, reported. He was cleared by doctors and joined by his wife, Gladys Portugues, before heading home to Belgium to recover. The star is expected to make a full recovery." (Sky News)