Monday, October 25, 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:

President Barack Obama walks alone across the South Lawn of the White House as he returns to Washington, D.C. aboard Marine 1 after a short visit to Williamsburg, Virginia to make remarks at the House Democrats Issues Conference on February 5, 2009. (UPI Photo/Ron Sachs /Pool) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

Independents to Side with G.O.P.: "Republicans are on the verge of broad wins next week for one big reason: independent voters are ready to boot Democrats from office, according to a new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll." (Politico)

Early Voter ‘Enthusiasm Gap’ Appears Consistent With Polls: "So, the various estimates of early voting data each show an edge for Republicans: their voters have been slightly more inclined that Democrats in most states thus far. Under the most favorable set of assumptions for them, their advantage is around 9 points; by the least favorable set of assumptions, it is more like a 4-point edge." (Nate Silver @ NY Times)

Ehrlich Losing GOP Traction: "Heading into the final week of his reelection bid, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley holds a commanding lead over former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., whose comeback campaign has failed to capitalize on continuing anxiety over the economy and anger at Washington." (WaPo)

Gay Voters Angry at Democrats Could Sway Election: "Across the country, activists say gay voters are angry — at the lack of progress on issues from eliminating employment discrimination to uncertainty over serving in the military to the economy — and some are choosing to sit out this election or look for other candidates." (AP)

Cuomo Vows to Rein In the Unions: "Andrew M. Cuomo will mount a presidential-style permanent political campaign to counter the well-financed labor unions he believes have bullied previous governors and lawmakers into making bad decisions. He will seek to transform the state’s weak business lobby into a more formidable ally, believing that corporate leaders in New York have virtually surrendered the field to big labor." (NY Times)

America’s Worst Politician? "There are hundreds of plausible nominees for the title of America’s Second-Smarmiest Politician, but surely the top spot is un-contested. Americans of all political persuasions can come together in affirming one proposition: Public life would be improved by scrubbing Rep. Alan Grayson from it. This act of civic hygiene probably will be performed Nov. 2 by voters of Florida’s Eighth Congressional District. Polls indicate that a majority of them plan to deny Grayson, 52, a second term by electing his resonantly named opponent, Daniel Webster." (George Will @ Newsweek)

Would a G.O.P. Victory Help Obama in 2012? " The national angst that's driving this campaign isn't directed at Democrats so much as it is at Washington. If Republicans control one of the major levers of power over the next two years, the president will have a more influential foil to position against, and Democrats from the White House on down will be able to blame members of the opposite party for the gridlock." (Rick Klein @ ABC)

Tea Party Already Impacting '12: "The tea-party phenomenon is forcing possible Republican presidential candidates in 2012 to make early and potentially high-risk strategic gambles over how to harness the movement." (WSJ)

Pro-Republican Groups Prepare Big Push for Last Week of Campaign: " Officials involved in the effort over the midterm elections’ final week say it is being spearheaded by a core subset of the largest outside conservative groups, which have millions of dollars left to spend on television advertisements, mailings and phone calls for five potentially decisive Senate races, as well as the scores of House races. " (NY Times)

Dems Holding Edge in Two Key Mass. House Races -- Frank vs Bielat, Keating vs Perry: "In both races, however, supporters of the Republican nominees say they are more excited about the election, which often correlates to higher turnout on Election Day." (Boston Globe)

Election Day Could Bring Historic Split -- Democrats Lose House, Keep Senate: "That would represent a historic anomaly: Not since the election of 1930 has the House changed hands without the Senate following suit." (WaPo)

Jack Conway's College Days: "When Democratic Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway started attacking his opponent for the Kentucky Senate seat, Republican Rand Paul, for college-aged hijinks that involved smoking pot and “praying” to a god named Aqua Buddha, Conway’s old classmates took notice." (Daily Caller)

It's So Not '08: "On college campuses where Barack Obama made politics cool again, most students have moved on. They’ve quit bugging their friends about change, they’re no longer trying to sign up new voters and the knock-on-door day trips now draw only the most hard-core." (Politico)

No Kiddin', Sherlock: "With just nine days to go until the midterm election, the leaders of both parties claim they will have control of the House of Representatives when all the votes are counted. Someone is wrong." (ABC)

National Public Radio's Juan Williams shown in this April 2001 file photo has been fired for comments he made regaring Muslims, it has been reported on October 21, 2010. Williams, who appeared on the television show The O'Reilly Factor on October 18, 2010, made the following comment to Bill O'Reilly, Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous, Williams said. Before working for NPR, Williams spent 21 years at The Washington Post as an editorial writer and White House reporter. UPI/Bill Greenblatt/FILES Photo via Newscom

Juan Williams Fires Back: "To get fired obviously is no pleasure . . . But then to be called a bigot and the innuendo that I'm somehow unstable was, I thought, despicable." (CNN)
NPR’s C.E.O. Apologizes for Handling of Episode: "In the latest dispatch from the war between Juan Williams and NPR, Vivian Schiller, its chief executive, apologized to her colleagues for how she handled Mr. Williams’s firing for remarks he made about Muslims. But she did not apologize for the firing itself." (NY Times)

The 'Great Game' Bubbles Under Obama's India Trip: "Touted as a visit with an emerging economic power, U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to India in November will also be about how New Delhi deals with that elephant in the room - the Pakistan-Afghanistan conundrum." (Reuters)

That's Certainly Going to Bring a Big Hiccup in Her Career: "A teenager once known as "Hiccup Girl" is one of three people arrested for killing a 22-year-old St. Petersburg man Saturday night. . . . Mee made news across the world several years ago as the teenager who could not stop hiccupping. Her plight made national news because she kept hiccupping for weeks and weeks and nothing she tried would make them stop." (ABC)


Better Late Than Never: "Preparing for political life after a bruising election, President Barack Obama will put greater emphasis on fiscal discipline, a nod to a nation sick of spending and to a Congress poised to become more Republican, conservative and determined to stop him." (AP)

Singapore Exchange Buys Australia's Main Stock Market ASX: "Singapore Exchange will buy Australia’s main stock exchange operator, ASX, for about 8.4 billion Australian dollars ($8.3 billion), the companies said Monday. The deal is the first major consolidation of Asia-Pacific exchanges and will result in $30 million in cost savings." (Reuters)


Karzai Confirms Getting Money from Iran: "Afghan President Hamid Karzai says that once or twice a year Iran gives his office $700,000 to $975,000 for official presidential expenses. He says the U.S. has known about the Iranian assistance for years and that Washington also gives the palace 'bags of money.'" (AP)

Civil War at Wikileaks: "At least a dozen key supporters of the website are known to have left in recent months. They say Wikileaks has ignored reams of new exposés because so much attention has been paid to the Iraq and Afghan conflicts." (UK's Independent)

Iraq's Supreme Court to Parliament -- Get Off Your Asses! " Iraq's highest court on Sunday ordered the country's idled parliament back to work, in a ruling that could help break the seven-month deadlock in the negotiations to form a new government." (LA Times)

Haiti Cholera Outbreak Inches Toward Refugees: "A cholera outbreak that already has left 250 people dead and more than 3,000 sickened is at the doorstep of an enormous potential breeding ground: the squalid camps in Port-au-Prince where 1.3 million earthquake survivors live. Health authorities and aid workers are scrambling to keep the tragedies from merging and the deaths from multiplying." (CBS)

Seoul Sends 5,000 Tons of Rice to North Korea: "Seoul's stance on aid to North Korea remains that overall inter-Korean relations must first be considered before large-scale food and fertilizer aid is resumed. However the South Korean government has been allowing smaller-scale shipments including rice and other necessities by aid groups." (Arirang)

Five Killed In Blast At Pakistan Shrine: "A bomb blast at a Sufi shrine in east Pakistan has killed at least five people during morning prayers. Police said an explosive device was planted on a motorbike in the city of Pak Pattan in the Punjab province." (Sky News)

Tech, Science

Online Tracking Company RapLeaf Profiles Users by Name: "Rival tracking companies also gather minute detail on individual Americans: They know a tremendous amount about what you do. But most trackers either can't or won't keep the ultimate piece of personal information—your name—in their databases. The industry often cites this layer of anonymity as a reason online tracking shouldn't be considered intrusive." (WSJ)