Monday, November 15, 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:

U.S. President Barack Obama salutes as he arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

Obama More Reflective: "'In that obsessive focus on policy, I neglected some things that matter a lot to people and rightly so. Like, maintaining a bi-partisan tone in Washington,' the president told reporters aboard Air Force One." (ABC)

Returns Home to New Reality: "The trip began with policy successes and a glowing reception, welcome respite for a president fresh off of a stinging political defeat. But the terrain got thornier as Barack Obama made his way across Asia. Dancing with schoolchildren in Mumbai and reconnecting with a piece of his childhood in Jakarta gave way to a setback on a free trade deal in Seoul and tense confrontations from his counterparts about American leadership on the global economy. By the time he headed to his last stop – a gathering of world leaders in Japan – Obama was on the defensive and frustrated with how he was being portrayed." (Politico)

Taxes, Nuke Treaty Top Lame Duck Congress Agenda: "Americans were watching closely for signs about how much tax they will pay in coming years as the lame duck Congress convenes this week for a last session before the new Republican majority takes control of the House of Representatives. What is more important for the larger world is Senate ratification of a new START arms pact with Russia." (AP)

Junior Dems Don't Want Business As Usual: "A new class of lawmakers in the Senate is exerting its influence by challenging the chamber's sacred traditions and the partisan, top-down governing style that has marked the past two years." (WaPo)

Rahm Gets Company: " Two prominent African-American elected officials launched their candidacies for Chicago mayor within hours of each other Sunday despite weeks of behind-the-scenes wrangling by some black leaders to unite behind a single candidate. Veteran West Side U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and state Sen. James T. Meeks, who is pastor of a massive South Side church, each declared at rallies they would represent all areas of the city if elected. But the close timing of the announcements served to emphasize the rivalry between political factions representing those sections of the city." (Chicago Tribune)

Napolitano Defends TSA: "The nation's Homeland Security chief asked for air travelers' "cooperation" and "patience" with full-body scanning and pat downs this holiday season amid a growing public backlash that the airport tactics are intrusive." (USA Today)

Rangel's Hearing Set to Begin Today: "Congress holds public ethics hearings so rarely — the last was in 2002 for Representative James A. Traficant, an Ohio Democrat who had been convicted of criminal charges — that the proceedings will open amid an air of novelty and uncertainty. Neither committee investigators nor Mr. Rangel will discuss who or how many people are on their witness lists, so it is unclear whether the case will end quickly or drag on for days. One of the biggest unknowns is whether Mr. Rangel, who has parted ways with his legal team, will have a lawyer make his case or will represent himself." (NY Times)

U.S. Planning 2014 Afghanistan Exit: "The phased four-year plan to wind down American and allied fighting in Afghanistan will be presented at a NATO summit meeting in Lisbon later this week, the officials said. It will reflect the most concrete vision for transition in Afghanistan assembled by civilian and military officials since President Obama took office last year. In many respects, the concept follows the precedent set in Iraq, where a similar troop surge and strategy shift under President George W. Bush in 2007 enabled American-led coalition forces to eventually hand over security duties to the Iraqis region by region. By last summer, Mr. Obama was able to pull out two-thirds of United States forces from Iraq and declare America’s combat mission there over. " (NY Times)

DADT Dilemma: "The need to shepherd the defense authorization bill through the Senate in the lame-duck session has left the Democratic leadership with a precarious dilemma." (The Hill)

One-Cycle Michael? "Key Republicans hoping to prevent Michael Steele from another term as chairman of the Republican National Committee, who just a week ago were anxious they might not be able to stop Steele, are now confident he will be defeated." (Daily Caller)

Some NATO Allies Let U.S. Down -- Bush: "Former President George W. Bush defended his administration's handling of the war in Afghanistan on Sunday, telling CNN that some NATO allies who contributed troops to the conflict 'turned out not to be willing to fight.'" (CNN)

WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 26:  Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin listens to questions during a forum hosted by the Congressional Health Care Caucus on Capitol Hill October 26, 2009 in Washington, DC. The caucus, a group that serves Republican members of Congress, hosted the forum to talk about how best to insure individuals with 'pre-existing conditions.'  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Fresh Attack on Fed Move: "The Federal Reserve's latest attempt to boost the U.S. economy is coming under fire from Republican economists and politicians, threatening to yank the central bank deeper into partisan politics." (WSJ)

Chinese Automaker to Take 1 pct of GM: "The potential investment from SAIC is part of a surge in investor interest in GM that is expected to push the pricing of its shares to $29 or above in the U.S. automaker's initial public offering, one of the sources said." (Reuters)

Dividends Spur New Interest: "The spotlight is again on dividends after Intel raised its payout last week and the Federal Reserve said it might soon allow banks to up their payments. While U.S. investors have long been reluctant to embrace dividend stocks, there are some signs they are paying more attention." (WSJ)

Ireland Says 'No': "European ministers worked over the weekend on a financial rescue plan for Ireland, as pressure mounted on Dublin to seek a bailout to prevent the markets from spreading turbulence to other European countries, officials said on Sunday.  The Irish government continued to insist that it did not need a bailout, arguing that it could present a credible austerity budget next month that would satisfy investors, and that it had enough money to finance its operations through early next year." (NY Times)

Or Does It? "Ireland is considering asking for money for its banks from the European Union's emergency fund in a bid to fend off a threatened bailout for the state, the Irish Independent reported on Monday, quoting an unnamed source." (Reuters)

Japan GDP Picks Up Speed: "Japan's economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter, but economists say the momentum is fading and there is risk of recession ahead as incentives that propped up consumption in recent months have petered out. Further efforts to support spending may not be enough to counter a slowdown with exports, factory output and business investment slowing as deflation and a strong yen persist." (WSJ)


Meet France's New, Same Old Prime Minister: "French President Nicolas Sarkozy Sunday reappointed Francois Fillon as prime minister, a day after accepting his resignation and that of his government." (UPI)

'It's Time to Talk' -- Suu Kyi: "The Nobel Peace Prize winner said she wanted to 'remove the sources of disagreement' with the generals and sit down with them across the table, adding: 'There are so many things that we have to talk about.'" (Sky News)

Somali Pirates Release British Couple Held for More Than a Year: "Their 388-day ordeal makes the retirees the longest-held former captives of Somali pirates. And amid questions over why the couple was released now – including how much may have been paid as a ransom, and by whom – the Chandlers are just happy to be freed and homeward bound." (Christian Science Monitor)

Lebanon Arrests Omar Bakri: "Authorities arrested a radical Lebanese cleric Sunday after a car chase punctuated by gunfire. Days earlier, Omar Bakri had been convicted on charges of inciting a bloody months-long confrontation between the government and an Al Qaeda-linked militant group." (LA Times)

Hamas Rockets Can Reach Tel Aviv: "A senior intelligence official warned Sunday that Hamas in the Gaza Strip have rockets that can travel 80 kilometers (50 miles) — a longer range than previously reported, which would put Tel Aviv within range of its launchers." (AP)

Tech, Science

'Fat Gene' Identified: " Obesity and overeating are directly linked to an overactive gene, scientists have confirmed.  The discovery could lead to a revolutionary anti-obesity pill." (Daily Telegraph)

Media, Entertainment, Culture

It's No Christmas Tale: "This could be the holiday season that American shoppers and e-readers are properly introduced." (NY Times)

Civil War at NBC? "MSNBC’s president vowed to fire Keith Olbermann after he threatened to take his case to other networks." (Howard Kurtz @ Daily Beast)