Monday, December 27, 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 kick start your day!

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 26: Pedestrians walk past a deli during a blizzard on December 26, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. A winter storm is pounding the East Coast of the United States and is expected to deliver a foot of snow for New York City and New England while snarling post-Christmas travel. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

Blizzard Wreaks Havok in the Northeast: "Incoming and departing flights were suspended at New York's John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, as well as Newark Liberty International Airport in neighboring north New Jersey, Port Authority spokeswoman Sara Joren said. . . . air traffic won't resume until Monday. . . . The steady and, at times, heavy snow falling from Virginia up the East Coast on Sunday evening also affected travel on the roads and the rails." (CNN)

Governors Declare States of Emergency: "Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency. New Jersey's Acting Governor and State Senate President Steve Sweeney, declared a state of emergency Sunday night as the state was expected to get a foot of snow by midday on Monday." (ABC)

Miller Won't Try to Block Murkowski Win: "Joe Miller says he won't stand in the way of GOP rival Lisa Murkowski being certified the winner of Alaska's U.S. Senate race, but will continue his court challenge to the state's handling of the vote count." (AP)

The Next Congress: Action or Just Argument? "When the 112th Congress convenes on Jan. 5, it will have a decidedly new look, a feisty new attitude and a penchant for partisanship. Republicans will have their biggest House of Representatives majority since the Truman administration, but Democrats will still control the White House and the Senate." (McClatchy)

Obama in 2011 -- Same Cabinet, More Travel: "Don't expect major shake ups in the Cabinet next year as President Barack Obama gears up for his reelection campaign, senior White House advisers said Sunday. . . .  But top adviser Valerie Jarrett said Obama will take a different approach to governing in the new year, spending more time mixing and mingling with the public." (Politico)

Whistleblower Pilot Wants to 'Come Out of Shadows': "The airline pilot who spoke out anonymously after he was reprimanded by the TSA for posting videos showing security flaws at a major airport said today he may reveal his identity this week." (ABC)

High-Altitude Cargo and Passengers, a Security Risk? "As the Obama administration works to harden domestic defenses against terrorism, some experts point to a potential vulnerability from thousands of flights that pass over the United States each week. Although the United States regulates overflights, the cargo aboard them is not screened to federal standards and passenger lists are not matched to names on the terrorist watch list maintained by the Transportation Security Administration. . . .  Security experts are divided about the severity of the risk." (WaPo)

Focus on Rail, Hotel Security: "The U.S. has made air travel safer over the past year for Americans and is sharpening its focus on potential terrorists attacks on trains, subways and "soft targets" such as hotels, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday." (Washington Times)

L.A. Homicides Decline to 1967 Levels: "The change, experts say, is not easily explained and is probably the result of several factors working together, including effective crime-fighting strategies, strict sentencing laws that have greatly increased the number of people in prison, demographic shifts and sociological influences. A significant factor, said Columbia University Law School Professor Jeffrey Fagan, is the absence of a drug epidemic in recent years." (LA Times)


Investors Looking on the Bright Side: "In the face of several hazards, the stock market is hitting two-year highs and investors are feeling more bullish than they have in years. Even the market's 'fear gauge' is trading near its lowest levels since April." (WSJ)

Job Creation at Faster Rate than Other Recessions: "A Joint Economic Committee state-by-state analysis released Wednesday finds that jobs are returning faster compared with previous recessions despite greater overall job losses across all 50 states."

Throwing TARP Money After Bad: "Nearly 100 U.S. banks that got bailout funds from the federal government show signs they are in jeopardy of failing." (WSJ)

Oil Up to Two-Year High: "The price of oil hit a fresh 26-month high on Monday as ministers from producer nations signalled there were no plans to boost output." (BBC)

China Pledges to Rein On Inflation: "Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday that China's government will be able to keep prices at a reasonable level, a day after the central bank raised interest rates for a second time in just over two months to counter stubbornly high inflation." (Reuters)


Fresh Round of Bomb Alarm at Embassies in Rome: "Police said a suspect package found at the Venezuelan embassy was found to be a false alarm, while checks were being conducted at the embassies of Greece, Denmark and Monaco. Last week, an Italian anarchist group claimed responsibility for parcel bombs that wounded two people at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome." (Reuters)

South Korea's Blunt Warning: "South Korea's president vowed a relentless retaliation against North Korea if provoked again, saying Monday he is not afraid of a war with the communist North." (AP)

North Korea Still Stunted by Its Isolation: "A carefully monitored visit to North Korea offered hints of why its leaders might be eager to resume international aid and trade." (NY Times)

Khodorkovsky, Lebedev Found Guilty in Second Trial: "The Khamovniki court said Khodorkovsky and Lebedev had headed an organized group committing financial crimes in Russia's oil business via their oil company Yukos." (RIA Novosti)

Media, Entertainment

Ivory Queen of Soul Dies: "Teena Marie was found dead by her daughter after apparently dying in her sleep, manager Mike Gardner said. . . . While no cause of death has been released, the singer's publicist Lynn Jeter said that Marie suffered a grand mal seizure -- a neurological event, marked by loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions, according to the Mayo Clinic -- a month ago." (CNN)