Thursday, November 11, 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:


First Unofficial Alaska Write-In Count Looks Good for Murkowski: "Of the 7,638 figure, 6,804 - or 89 percent - were sorted as clear, unambiguous votes for Murkowski. Six hundred and seventy eight write-in ballots were sorted as votes for Murkowski, but are being challenged, likely by the Miller campaign. Eighty-nine ballots were sorted as not counting for Murkowski, but that determination is being challenged as well. Just one write-in ballot has been sorted as a vote for Joe Miller." (CNN)
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) announces the formation of the Tea Party Caucus at a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 21, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Bachmann Drops Out: "Rep. Michele Bachmann, a favorite of the Tea Party movement, has dropped out of the race for House Republican Conference chair, the party's No. 4 leadership post.
Bachmann, a Minnesota lawmaker and founder of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, endorsed rival Rep. Jeb Hensarling for the job. In a statement, Bachmann said her Texas colleague "has my enthusiastic support." (USA Today)

Alaska May Offer a View to Future Elections: "[I]t’s ... possible that Alaska’s defiant electorate, like the California voters who just approved a radical change to their voting system, is actually telling us something important about where American politics is headed, at a time when our system for selecting candidates feels increasingly anachronistic." (NY Times)

Little Risk in Ending 'Don't Ask': "A Pentagon study group has concluded that the military can lift the ban on gays serving openly in uniform with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts, according to two people familiar with a draft of the report, which is due to President Obama on Dec. 1. " (WaPo)

Low Hope For Compromise: "This is one pessimistic country. Most Americans harbor doubts that President Barack Obama and resurgent Republicans can work together to solve the nation's problems, according to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll. In fact, many lack confidence that last week's elections will change much of anything in Washington." (AP)

Nancy Pelosi Faces New Resistance From Democrats: " Pelosi announced Friday that she’s running for minority leader in the new Congress, and her election still seems on track. But a movement by conservative Blue Dogs to block her ascent has picked up support from some liberals and even a handful of longtime Pelosi allies, who question whether she is the best person to lead the battered party in the House." (Politico)

Rand Paul Planning Senate Tea Party Caucus: "My idea is that we would do a bicameral caucus. I don’t think there’s been a caucus that has had both Senate and House jointly meeting and I’d also like it to involve the grassroots, in some way, the Tea Party groups so we get some kind of input from folks all around the country, some kind of electronic town hall or something like that." (Daily Caller)

Rahmayor: "Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel plans to make official this weekend what everyone already knows: He's running for mayor of Chicago. An Emanuel campaign aide confirmed the plans to The Associated Press on Wednesday evening. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he didn't want to pre-empt Emanuel's announcement planned for Saturday." (AP)

Tena-mayor? "Rahm Emanuel's tenant mulling racing against him for mayor" (Chicago Tribune)

Holder -- 'Close to a Decision' on 9/11 Trials: "The development comes nearly a year Holder's proposal to try Mohammed and four other 9/11 conspirators in federal court in New York City sparked intense public and political outrage." (ABC)

Boehner The Un-Pelosi: "Over the last 20 years, I have flown back and forth to my district on commercial aircraft. And I'm going to continue to do that." (LA Times)

Bush Book Sells Well: "Former President George W. Bush's new book, "Decision Points," got off to a strong start on Tuesday, selling at least 170,000 hardcover copies plus an estimated 50,000 e-books. The results represent the largest first-day sale of any nonfiction title published by Random House Inc. in the past six years." (WSJ)

Calif. Deficit $25.4b: "As Jerry Brown prepares to take over as governor, California faces a $25.4-billion deficit — far larger than state officials were projecting only days ago — the state's chief budget analyst said Wednesday." (LA Times)

Amazon Pulls Pedophile Guide: "An e-book for sale on entitled "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure," was apparently pulled by the online retailer late Wednesday after shocked consumers across the nation called for a boycott." (Fox News)


'QE2' in the Dock: "The Fed's latest "quantitative easing" program is designed to bring down interest rates, but some are moving up instead." (WSJ)

G-20 Nears Pact, But Tensions Remain: "G-20 leaders neared an agreement that appears to paper over many differences, but one that's unlikely to end tension over currency and trade policies." (WSJ)

Temporary Extension of Bush-Era Tax Cuts Gaining Momentum? "[T]he path to getting that fix approved is going to be bumpy, and there's fear that if the debate gets unusually ugly, the extension won't be approved at all this year. Failing to act means tax rates will jump next year and will return to pre-2001 and 2003 rates. Nonetheless, there's reason for optimism that the Dec. 31 deadline will be met: The key players are sending strong signals they're willing to accept a temporary fix. And the Internal Revenue Service is warning lawmakers that the later they wait to change 2011 tax law, the more likely it is that consumers and businesses could face confusion and delays in getting refunds." (McClatchy)

Bipartisan Panel Proposes Social Security Benefit Cuts, Tax Overhaul: "Raising the Social Security retirement age, simplifying the tax code so more Americans pay a lower tax rate, ending tax deductions for mortgages, and cuts to discretionary spending are the cornerstone recommendations being mulled by a special commission set up by President Obama to chart a path for dealing with the national debt which is nearly $13.8 trillion and growing. Taken together, the cuts in spending and Social Security and requiring more low-income Americans to pay taxes would fix the debt problem, according to the commission. " (ABC) -- Full report here.

Obama Reacts: "I need Congress to work with me. We’re going to have to make some tough choices. The only way to make those tough choices historically has been if both parties are willing to move forward together." (ABC)

Political Left Angry: " Labor unions and liberal Democrats lit into the preliminary proposal, which the two chairmen touted as the first serious plan to tackle the country’s growing debt. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it was 'simply unacceptable.'" (The Hill)

U.S., S. Korea Free-Trade Pact Stalls: "In a sharp setback, the United States and South Korea failed to reach agreement on an elusive free-trade deal but will continue pressing for an accord in the weeks ahead, President Barack Obama said Thursday. Obama had hoped to announce a deal on the long-stalled pact while in South Korea for meetings of the Group of 20 economic powers, but instead he will return home empty-handed." (MSNBC)

Euro Hampered by Fragile Periphery: "The euro dipped on Thursday after skidding to a five-week low the previous day, with tensions in the euro zone periphery expected to trigger further selling and a potential retest of key technical support." (Reuters)


Bin Laden Appoints New Commander to Wage War on West: "Known to western intelligence services by the alias Saif al-Adel, or 'Sword of the Just', al-Qaeda's new chief of international operations is believed to have conceived of the wave of strikes that set off terror alerts across Europe recently, as well as last week's mid-air parcel-bomb plot. 'His strategy', said Syed Saleem Shahzad, a Pakistani expert on al-Qaeda, 'is to stage multiple small terror operations, using the resources of affiliates and allies wherever possible.'  A US counter-terrorism official said the idea was for 'small-but-often attacks' that would hurt the West more than a "one-off terror spectacular'". (Daily Telegraph)

Obama Warns North Korea: "'North Korea's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons will only lead to more isolation and less security. But there is another path available to North Korea,' the US president told American troops in South Korea in a veterans' day ceremony to commemorate the Korean war. Speaking at a US base about 60 miles south of the demilitarised zone dividing North and South Korea, Obama said Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme, and the sinking of a South Korean naval, mark a 'path of confrontation and provocation'. 'In the wake of this aggression, Pyongyang should not be mistaken: the United States will never waver in our commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea,' he said." (The Guardian)

Iraq Breaks Deadlock: "Iraqi politicians appear to have broken an eight-month political impasse by agreeing to take part in a new government headed by Nouri al-Maliki, the incumbent prime minister. Officials said on Wednesday that the Sunni-backed Iraqiya coalition that had been opposing the prime minister decided to join his government." (Al Jazeera)

Police Probe Into Attack On Tory HQ: "The peaceful march turned ugly when the Tory party's headquarters in Westminster was stormed by hardcore protesters and vandalised." (Sky News)