Monday, December 06, 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:

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 30: House Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-OH), participates in a media briefing after GOP leaders met at the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama on November 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. In their first face-to-face meeting the leaders hoped to make progress in a compromise over the expiring Bush tax cuts. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Will John Boehner Control the Tea Party Congress? "Boehner seemed an unlikely clarion for an anti-establishment revolt. He had been in Congress since 1991, during the Bush-Quayle Administration—long enough to have twice climbed from the back bench to a leadership position. He was a friend of Ted Kennedy’s, and a champion of George W. Bush’s expansive No Child Left Behind legislation. After the economic collapse of 2008, he had reluctantly advocated for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“a crap sandwich,” he called it), the Tea Partiers’ litmus test of political villainy. But Boehner was among the first Beltway Republicans to recognize that the rise of the Tea Party represented, for Republicans, a near-miracle of good luck." (Peter Boyer @ New Yorker)

Tax Deal Within Reach: "White House officials and congressional Republicans are closing in on a deal that would extend current income-tax rates for all Americans as well as a benefits program for the long-term unemployed." (LA Times)

After Cablegate, US Forced to  Shake Diplomacy: "The Obama administration was yesterday facing a crisis in its diplomatic service, amid growing evidence that the ongoing publication of a tranche of supposedly-confidential communiqués will make normal work difficult, if not dangerous, for important State Department employees across the world." (The Independent)

New Ethics Charges Against Rangel? "The Federal Election Commission is investigating a complaint that Rep. Charles Rangel improperly used his National Leadership PAC to fund his legal defense on ethics charges for which he was censured Thursday, The Post has learned. The FEC is acting on a complaint by the National Legal and Policy Center filed after The Post reported last month that Rangel paid nearly $400,000 from his PAC. Lawmakers are only allowed to use money in their individual campaign funds for legal fees, or they can set up legal defense funds for such costs." (NY Post)

Priebus Quits: "Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee's top legal counsel, resigned his position early Sunday morning, The Hotline has learned, a move that will be widely interpreted as a major step toward running for chairman of the organization and a big blow to current chairman Michael Steele." (Hotline On Call)

Gay Marriage Ruling to Appeals Court: "Attorneys on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate will face off in a California appeals court Monday, as a panel of judges hears arguments in a case over Proposition 8. In August, a federal judge ruled that the voter-approved measure, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, violated the U.S. Constitution. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consider an appeal of that judge's ruling Monday." (CNN)

ICE Breaks Deportation Record Thanks to Unusual Methods: "In culminating a record number of deportations, the agency included more than 19,000 immigrants who exited the previous fiscal year." (WaPo)

Al Gore's Climate Group Shrinking: "One of Al Gore's campaigns to save the planet has scaled back its field operations since climate legislation failed earlier this year in Congress. The Alliance for Climate Protection was operating in about 25 states at its peak, including Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania. But the group now has field offices in just seven states." (Politico)


More Fed Bond Buys Possible: "The Federal Reserve could end up buying more than the $600 billion in U.S. government bonds it has committed to purchase if the economy fails to respond or unemployment stays too high, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said. The Fed will regularly review the policy and could adjust the amount of buying up or down depending on the economy's path, he added." (Reuters)
NEW YORK - MARCH 20:  Shoes belonging to a man filling out a registration form on March 20, 2009 at the City University of New York (CUNY) Job Fair in New York City. The fair, which was open to CUNY students and graduates, featured dozens of employers in career fields that ranged from security to finance. As the global economy continues to struggle, the national unemployment rate stands at 8.1 percent.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Unemployment Rate Rises Among Educated: "The jobless rate for Americans with at least a bachelor's degree is at its highest level since 1970." (USA Today)

A Good Time to Make Money Off EU's Misfortune: " One of the best, but rarely followed, rules of investing is to buy when things look bleak. Blue chip stocks in the euro zone are down 5.5 percent since it became clear in mid-April that Greece needed help to prevent it from defaulting on its debt. Some economists speculate that the bailouts of Greece and Ireland mean that the euro won't last much longer. Investors are waiting to see whether the European Central Bank takes additional steps this week to prevent Europe's financial crisis from spreading to Spain and Italy. That uncertainty has created stock bargains." (AP)

IMF to EU -- Increase Rescue Fund Already: " The International Monetary Fund has called on the EU authorities to boost their rescue fund and step up bond purchases to insure against a fresh financial crisis in the eurozone periphery." (Daily Telegraph)

Common Eurozone Bond Considered: "Eurozone finance ministers may consider creating a common government bond to help reduce borrowing costs. The idea may be on the agenda at Monday evening's meeting of the ministers, called discuss Europe's debt crisis. Supporters of 'E-bonds' argue they would help protect eurozone countries from speculation and attract new capital flows into the region. But Germany is thought to be sceptical of idea, which it believes could only work with closer European integration." (BBC)


Continental Guilty on Concorde Crash: "A French court has found Continental Airlines, Inc. and one of its mechanics guilty of criminal wrongdoing in the crash of a supersonic Concorde jet outside Paris a decade ago that killed 113 people."

Dozens Killed by Suicide Bomber in NW Pakistan: "A suicide bomb attack in north-west Pakistan has left at least 28 people dead, local officials have said. The attack took place at a government compound in the Mohmand Agency as officials met anti-Taliban allies." (BBC)

Al Jazeera Rejects Cablegate Claims of Being a Tool: "Al Jazeera has dismissed claims based on leaked US diplomatic cables that Qatar, the network's home, uses the news channel as a bargaining chip in foreign policy negotiations." (Al Jazeera)

He's a Human Being, Y'Know: "Australia would give consular help to WikiLeaks' founder if he is arrested abroad, the government said Monday. However, the administration again condemned WikiLeaks' publication of secret U.S. diplomatic documents, saying doing so threatens the security of the United States and its allies. Attorney General Robert McClelland said WikiLeaks was grossly irresponsible for publishing the documents because they could identify informants." (AP)

Petraeus Denies Resignation Threat, Backs Karzai: "In his first interview since the latest WikiLeaks document dump, General David Petraeus brushed aside reports that Afghanistan's former Vice President left the country with $52 million in cash. And he denied rumors that he threatened to resign after Afghan President Karzai criticized his battle tactics in a Washington Post interview." (George Stephanopoulos @ ABC)

Damned If You Stay, Damned If You Leave: "While the political and security consequences of the American withdrawal have yet to be fully resolved, its economic effects have already taken a sharp toll on the tens of thousands of Iraqis who earned their livelihoods, sometimes at great risk, working for the military and the legions of American civilian and defense contractors. They are now stranded between worlds, struggling to find new jobs in a country where about one in four people is unemployed, and scorned by those who view working for Westerners as treachery. Dozens have been killed, and few have been able to take advantage of American programs to relocate endangered Iraqi allies, discouraged by long waiting lists and tangled rules for applying." (NY Times)

Strong Rhetoric, Low Expectations: "Iran and six world powers headed into negotiations about the country's nuclear program Monday with low expectations, at odds on what to talk about and with tensions high over the assassination of one of Teheran's most prominent scientists. The talks in Geneva — the first in over a year — are meant to ease concerns over Iran's nuclear agenda. Teheran said it does not want atomic arms, but as it builds on its capacity to make such weapons, neither Israel nor the US have ruled out military action if Teheran fails to heed UN Security Council demands to freeze key nuclear programs." (AP)

More Afghan Election Employees Arrested: "Four Afghan election commission employees have been arrested, an official said Monday in a sign that the political intrigue over September's fraud-tainted parliamentary election is not over.  (WaPo)

Obama Calls China's Hu to Discuss North Korea: "Obama called Chinese President Hu Jintao on Sunday night to discuss North Korea, the White House says. The leaders talked about their common interest in peace and stability in Asia and the importance of keeping the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons. The White House says Obama and Hu agreed to work together toward those goals." (AP)

South Korea Reportedly Begins Naval Firing Drills: "Brushing aside North Korean warnings of war, South Korea reportedly began live fire artillery drills on Monday, less than two weeks after the North’s shelling of a South Korean island sharply escalated tensions between them." (NY Times)

Israel Wildfire Under Control: "The "major sources" of a deadly Israeli wildfire have been extinguished, police said Sunday, as the Israeli cabinet approved a plan to speed aid to those affected. . . . The fire, which broke out Thursday, has killed at least 41 people and injured at least 17 others." (CNN)

Tech, Science

AOL to Break Up, Then Merge With Yahoo? "The plans are still in the exploratory stage and Yahoo has not been contacted, the sources said. The plans are also fraught with complications involving myriad moving pieces. In many respects, the latest discussions are derivative of plans contemplated in 2008 and 2009 before Time Warner spun off AOL to Time Warner shareholders." (Reuters)

Another Facebook Facelift, Another User Revolt: "This new layout is just confusing and makes us more like a set of numbers and links than an actual human with that 'profile' feel. Can you please stop 'updating' the aesthetics of Facebook as we once knew it to make it into a social media nightmare?" (SF Chronicle)