Tuesday, October 26, 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:
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz lights a cigar as he attends the final session of the International Baghdad Conference September 18, 2002 in Baghdad, Iraq. The conference was attended by such dignitaries as former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, British labour MP George Galloway and others.  (Photo by Taha Al-Rubayyh/Getty Images)

BREAKING -- Tariq Aziz to Hang: "Iraqi state TV says former Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz has been sentenced to death for persecuting Shiite political parties during Saddam Hussein's regime. State TV reported the High Criminal Court issued the death sentence Tuesday." (CBS)


Aide Fired Over Florida Debate Foul: "Alex Sink’s campaign violated rules Monday evening at the CNN/St. Petersburg Times Florida gubernatorial debate when her make-up artist delivered a message during a television break. Sink, the Democratic nominee, was shown a two-sentence message on a cell phone that offered her advice during the debate." (CNN)

Reid Aide Resigns: "A press secretary to Hispanic media in Nevada for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is no longer with his office following a news report accusing her of marrying a Lebanese man in 2003 to help him evade immigration laws, a Reid spokesman said Monday night.
Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that Diana Tejada's alleged conduct was "clearly wrong." (MSNBC)

Obama Gets Caustic Welcome: "Welcome to Rhode Island, where Democratic politics are so quirky that the party’s nominee for governor welcomed President Obama on Monday by declaring, on live radio, that the president could 'take his endorsement and really shove it.'  Later, as if to drive home his point, the Democrat, Frank T. Caprio – miffed that Mr. Obama is refusing to endorse him in the governor’s race – was a no-show when the president toured a local factory here, although he had an invitation from the White House to attend." (NY Times)

Then Gets Caustic on Republicans: "He said Republicans had driven the economy into a ditch and then stood by and criticized while Democrats pulled it out. Now that progress has been made, he said, 'we can't have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.'" (AP)

Shattering of Fundraising Records by Both Parties: " House and Senate candidates have already shattered fundraising records for a midterm election and are on their way to surpassing $2 billion in spending for the first time, according to new campaign finance data. To put it another way: That's the equivalent of about $4 million for every congressional seat up for grabs this year." (WaPo)

Republicans Remain Ahead in Race for House: "Republicans remain in position to win control of the House of Representatives in next week's midterm elections, although Democrats are doing slightly better now than they were early in October. Gallup's latest two-week average on its generic ballot for Congress shows Republicans retaining a 48% to 44% margin among all registered voters, a 52% to 43% margin among likely voters in a high-turnout scenario, and a 55% to 41% margin in a low-turnout scenario. These likely voter advantages for the Republicans are slightly smaller than in previous weeks, reflecting in particular increased Democratic strength over the most recent days of interviewing." (Gallup)

Soros for  Prop. 19: "We should invest in effective education rather than ineffective arrest and incarceration." (WSJ)

Meg Whitman -- 'We're Going to Win This': " Whitman has spent some $141 million of her own money for a fighting chance at the governor's mansion, but the former eBay CEO is still 13 points behind Brown in the latest Los Angeles Times poll." (ABC)
RICHMOND, VA - NOVEMBER 04:  Virginia Gov. and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine holds a press conference at the State Capitol complex November 4, 2009 in Richmond, Virginia. Kaine discussed the results of yesterday's election results during the press conference.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Nice Guy In a Nasty Moment: "Dems worry about Tim Kaine's dislike of negativity and reluctance to attack Republicans." (Politico)

Colorado Tea Party Groups Splinter: "The divisions may have turned some voters off. In early April, a Rasmussen Reports poll found Colorado had one of the highest rates of tea-party participation in the U.S.: 33% of voters considered themselves members of the movement. That has now dropped to 23%, according to a Rasmussen poll released Oct. 1. The national rate fell to 17% from 24% during that time, the poll found." (WSJ)

Obama's agenda in jeopardy if GOP captures House: "In 2008, Ron Fraatz supported Barack Obama for president. This year, the 61-year-old retired school worker represents everything the president's party now fears. That's because Fraatz, who says he still backs Obama, plans to vote Republican for the House of Representatives in this competitive district west of Philadelphia. It's independent voters such as Fraatz, in dozens of battleground spots across the nation, who are making the Nov. 2 midterm elections so tough for Democrats." (USA Today)

Dems, GOP Join to Challenge Alaska's List of Write-Ins: "Both political parties say the lists, which have been distributed to polling places statewide, are a considerable change in the state's previous write-in practices. In her write-in bid, Murkowski is taking on Republican Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams." (McClatchy)

BAGHDAD, IRAQ, FEBRUARY 21:  An interior view of cell doors at the newly opened Baghdad Central Prison in Abu Ghraib on February 21, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. The Iraqi Ministry of Justice has renovated and reopened the previously named 'Abu Ghraib' prison and renamed the site to Baghdad Central Prison. According to the Iraqi Ministry of Justice about 400 prisoners were transferred to the prison which can hold up to 3000 inmates. The prison was established in 1970 and it became synonymous with abuse under the U.S. occupation.  (Photo by Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images)

Do Wikileaks Documents Show Torture Also During on Obama's Watch? "Field reports from the Iraq war published by WikiLeaks show that, despite Obama's public commitment to eschew torture, U.S. forces turned detainees over to Iraqi forces even after signs of abuse." (AP)

N.Y.-Born Man Arrested in Hawaii in Terror Case: "A New York City-born man was ordered to return from Hawaii where he was arrested on charges he tried to join the U.S. military at a Times Square recruiting station so he could he could be deployed to Iraq, desert and fight with anti-American insurgency forces. Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, 21, was charged with making false statements in the midst of a New York-based terrorism investigation, authorities said." (AP)

Health Care Law's Medicare Trims Altering Seniors' Views: "Until this spring, life-long Democrat Carolyn Land never had a second thought about voting for Rep. Allen Boyd, a Democrat who has represented her area since 1997. But the day after Boyd cast his March 21 vote for the new health care law, Land, 65, got out of her La-Z-Boy, switched her registration to Republican and began stumping for Boyd's Republican challenger, Steve Southerland."

How Obama Lost the Narrative: "So he's not Superman after all—but how has he managed to lose to the legion of doom?" (David Corn @ Mother Jones)

The Real Reason Obama Has Let Us All Down: "On the night he won, I too shed a little tear; but the people weeping today are those having their homes repossessed." (Johann Hari @ UK's Independent)

NPR Affiliates' Discontent: "Executives at NPR affiliate stations across the United States have begun publicly voicing discontent in the aftermath of the network's dismissal of news analyst Juan Williams, with several station managers openly questioning the actions and judgment of NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller." (Fox News)


Treasury Draws Negative Yield for First Time: "The Treasury sold $10 billion of five-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities at a negative yield for the first time at a U.S. debt auction as investors bet the Federal Reserve will be successful in sparking inflation." (Bloomberg)

It's a Positive Sign: "A combination of low interest rates and growing fears of rising prices enabled the U.S. government to sell inflation-protected Treasury bonds with a negative yield for the first time ever on Monday. That means if inflation doesn't appear as investors expect, they could end up paying to lend money to the government." (WSJ)

Warren Buffett Flags a Successor: "Berkshire named Todd Combs, manager of a small hedge fund from Connecticut, to oversee a portion of Berkshire's roughly $100 billion investment portfolio. The surprise appointment will be a challenge for Mr. Combs, 39 years old, whose fund recently had only about $400 million in assets and primarily invested in the shares of financial-services companies. Mr. Combs didn't return calls for comment." (WSJ)

AIG CEO Benmosche in Treatment for Cancer: "American International Group said Chief Executive Robert Benmosche has cancer and an unclear prognosis, casting a shadow on the bailed-out insurer as it undergoes a restructuring." (Reuters)

Lawsuits Accuse Lenders of Sabotaging Mortgage Modifications: "More borrowers are taking banks and loan servicers to court, alleging they were misled when they tried to renegotiate the terms of their loans." (LA Times)

UK Growth Better Than Expected: "The UK economy grew by 0.8% in the three months to September - a higher rate than had been predicted by analysts. (Sky News)


Iran Fuels Core Of First Nuclear Reactor: "Iran has started to load fuel into its Bushehr nuclear power plant, according to state media." (Sky News)

Hizbullah operatives now manufacturing missiles in Syria: " A report in the French daily Le Figaro on Tuesday revealed new information on the military wing of Hizbullah's structural make-up, with details on the guerrilla group's 10,000 operatives and arsenal of some 40,000 rockets. The report also focused on Syria's role in Hizbullah operations, in both manufacture and transportation of rockets." (Jerusalem Post)

Top Terrorist Returns to Al-Qaeda Fold: "Former al-Qaida military chief Saif al-Adel spent the last nine years under house arrest in Iran. He has now returned to Waziristan in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan and appears to have got his old job back. With his help, the weakened terror network could reorganize itself." (Der Spiegel)

Scores Dead, Missing After Tsunami Hits Indonesia (Reuters)

Global Food Crisis Forecast: " Rising food prices and shortages could cause instability in many countries as the cost of staple foods and vegetables reached their highest levels in two years, with scientists predicting further widespread droughts and floods." (Mail & Guardian)