Wednesday, December 01, 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:

Cablegate Fallout
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holds a press conference at Park Plaza Hotel on October 23, 2010 in London, England. A series of new leaks of American military documents, nearly 400,000 in total, have been released by the whistleblowing website, Wikileaks. The files detail how the torture and the abuse of detainees by Iraqi police, was ignored by US forces. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Assange on Interpol's Most-Wanted List: "The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, is tonight facing growing legal problems around the world, with the US announcing that it was investigating whether he had violated its espionage laws. Assange's details were also added to Interpol's worldwide wanted list. Dated 30 November, the entry reads: "sex crimes" and says the warrant has been issued by the international public prosecution office in Gothenburg, Sweden." (The Guardian)

'Clinton Should Resign': "Assange said Hillary Clinton 'should resign, if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering U.S. diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations, in violation of the international covenants to which the U.S. has signed up. Yes, she should resign over that.'" (Time)

'Pentagon to Blame': "New York Republican Rep. Peter King is blasting the Pentagon for the release of confidential State Department documents by the controversial whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.  King asserted that the Pentagon should have had more precautions and a 'failsafe' procedure to prevent the release of sensitive information, and stated that he was not convinced enough was done." (CNN)

U.S. Cutting Access to Files: "In Washington, the State Department severed its computer files from the government's classified network, officials said, as U.S. and world leaders tried to clean up from the leak that sent America's sensitive documents onto computer screens around the globe. By temporarily pulling the plug, the U.S. significantly reduced the number of government employees who can read important diplomatic messages. It was an extraordinary hunkering down, prompted by the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of those messages this week by WikiLeaks, the self-styled whistleblower organization."


The One Thing They All Can Agree On: "President Barack Obama achieved bipartisan consensus on at least one issue Tuesday: Democrats and Republicans were united in their skepticism of his latest effort to bridge the partisan divide." (Politico)

GOP Planning to Block Most Democratic Bills in Senate? "Senate Republicans intend to block action on virtually all Democratic-backed legislation unrelated to tax cuts and government spending in the current postelection session of Congress, officials said Tuesday, adding that the leadership has quietly collected signatures on a letter pledging to carry out the strategy. If carried out, it would doom Democratic-backed attempts to end the Pentagon's practice of discharging openly gay members of the military service and give legal status to young illegal immigrants who join the military or attend college." (AP)

Judge Upholds Obamacare: "A federal judge in Virginia on Tuesday rejected a legal challenge to the healthcare reform law, the second time the law's mandate that people buy insurance has been ruled constitutional. The lawsuit was brought by Liberty University, which also argued that the law violates the First Amendment by requiring people to buy insurance that could cover abortions." (The Hill)

Some Hope for Russia Treaty? "President Obama’s hopes of winning Senate approval for a new arms control treaty with Russia by the end of the year were encouraged on Tuesday by two Republican senators, including John McCain." (NY Times)

Senate Defeats Earmark Ban: "Despite post-election tough talk about cutting government spending, the Senate refused Tuesday to surrender its power to set aside millions of dollars for special projects back home." (McClatchy)

Woman Cutting up Credit Card

Deficit Commission to Present Revised Proposal: " The leaders of President Obama's deficit commission say that the final proposal they will introduce Wednesday may not have enough votes to advance, but will offer an honest blueprint to follow in order to address the nation's fiscal challenges." (LA Times)

The Congressional Grinch Might Steal Xmas: "Extended unemployment benefits for nearly 2 million Americans begin to run out Wednesday, cutting off a steady stream of income and guaranteeing a dismal holiday season for people already struggling with bills they cannot pay. Unless Congress changes its mind, benefits that had been extended up to 99 weeks will end this month." (AP)

Dwindling Option on Tax Cuts: "Democrats have left themselves in a tough spot on the Bush tax cuts. After delaying the issue until after the election and then being trounced in that election, they find themselves with little leverage. If they cannot come up with a plan that can win 60 votes in the Senate, which means at least two Republican votes, Republicans can filibuster any bill. All of the tax cuts would then expire on Dec. 31. When the new Republican House majority arrives in January, it will be able to make its first order of business a retroactive tax cut — forcing President Obama and Senate Democrats to choose between a purely Republican plan and an across-the-board tax increase." (NY Times)

Talks to Start This Morning: "Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and budget director Jack Lew will open talks with a representative from each congressional caucus - Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Rep. David Camp (R-Mich.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). The group will convene "their first working meeting to begin to find common ground on taxes and ensure that middle-class families do not see their taxes increase at the end of the year," the official said in a statement." (Politico)

Europe Trying to Figure Out How to Fix the Damn Dam: "Fears over the European financial crisis began to spread Tuesday from the weaker countries to healthier ones, including Italy and Belgium, and even much stronger Germany, spurring a stepped up search for a solution to the economic problems putting a strain on Europe’s decade-old monetary union." (NY Times)

... While Crisis Widens: "Investors dismissed European leaders' latest attempt to restore market calm, raising doubts about whether governments can rebuild confidence in the region's common currency amid signs that the debt crisis is creeping deeper into the Continent. The euro fell to a 10-week low, and was below $1.30 in late New York trading. Bond markets across Europe's vulnerable fringe sank, as the "risk premium" investors demand for lending to Spain and Italy hit record highs. Standard & Poor's said after European markets closed it is considering a downgrade on Portugal's credit rating, citing economic pressures and increased risks to the government's creditworthiness." (WSJ)


Eight Arrested in Spain Over Links to Terror Attacks: " The men belonged to a group that made fake identification documents which were sent to Pakistan to be used in attacks, the media reported. They were also accused of sending money and fake documents to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was blamed for the attacks in India in November 2008 in which 166 people were killed." (Reuters)

S.Korea Intelligence Chief Says More Attacks Likely: "South Korea's intelligence chief said on Wednesday that North Korea was highly likely to attack again, a week after Pyongyang fired a barrage of artillery shells at a South Korean island, Yonhap news agency reported. 'There is a high possiblity that the North will make another attack,' Won Sei-hoon, director of the National Intelligence Service, told a parliamentary committee meeting." (Reuters)

Belarus to Relinquish Uranium Stockpile: "Belarus has agreed to give up its stock of highly enriched uranium, a critical fuel for nuclear weapons, the United States and Belarus announced Wednesday. The deal with Belarus was revealed after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov on the sidelines of a security summit here. The agreement would help eliminate one of the last legacies of the Cold War, when stocks of nuclear material were abandoned on territories of former Soviet states. " (WaPo)

Islamists 'Voted' Out of Egypt's Parliament: "As the results of Egypt’s parliamentary elections trickled in Tuesday, no one was surprised that the governing party of President Hosni Mubarak won a huge victory. Nor were they surprised that the candidates of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s only sizable opposition, took a beating. What did surprise some was the Brotherhood’s share of seats in the new Parliament: zero." (NY Times)

Clinton Seeks More European Help in Afghanistan: "US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on a European security organization Wednesday to play a bigger role in helping stabilize Afghanistan and to do more to strengthen the voice of human rights groups worldwide." (AP)

Tech, Science

F.C.C. Chairman Sets Net Neutrality Framework: " In a speech he plans to give Wednesday in Washington, Julius Genachowski, the F.C.C. chairman, will outline a framework for broadband Internet service that forbids both wired and wireless Internet service providers from blocking lawful content. But the proposal would allow broadband providers to charge consumers different rates for different levels of service, according to a text of the speech provided to The New York Times." (NY Times)

Media, Entertainment

Google Seeks To Rewrite Books Model: "Google is in the final stages of launching its long-awaited e-book retailing venture, Google Editions, a move that could shake up the way digital books are sold." (WSJ)

Some Relief for Couch Potatoes, At Last: "Congress may be just days away from turning down the volume on ear-splitting TV. The Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation, or CALM, Act follows rules set last year by a United Nations body in Switzerland on how to measure and clip broadcast volumes. The U.S. bill, inspired by decades of consumer complaints, should finally ban TV ads that blare louder than the programs they interrupt." (WSJ)

NYT Still Selling the Red Sox: "New York Times Co (NYT.N) is talking with a variety of potential buyers for its stake in the Boston Red Sox and expects to turn a profit on the baseball team's sale, the media company's chief executive said on Tuesday." (Reuters)