Tuesday, November 16, 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 - OCTOBER 8: A Transportation Security Administration Agent waits for travelers during 'Operation Railsafe' at Union Station October 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. Amtrak, the United States' intercity passenger rail operator, increased its patrols of Amtrak Police, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other law enforcement agencies during its 'Operation Railsafe' anti-terrorism exercise. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Don't Bother Complaining, Your Junk Will Be Touched Anyway: "In response to a video of a California man's dispute with airport security officials, the Transportation Security Administration said Monday it tries to be sensitive to individuals, but everyone getting on a flight must be screened." (CNN)

Wiping Away: "Dejected Democrats wiped away tears on the House floor Monday night while Republicans congratulated themselves on winning back control of the lower chamber." (The Hill)

Congressional Black Caucus Withholds Support For Pelosi: "After a nearly two hour long meeting on Monday night, chairwoman Barbara Lee of California said the group only will endorse caucus member James Clyburn of South Carolina for a leadership position. The causus first wants to know what his role will be in the Democratic leadership before backing the full slate." (CNN)

Rebellion! "Nancy Pelosi is getting the first test of her might under the new Democratic reality as she scrambles to extinguish a rebellion against her power to appoint lieutenants to top party posts." (Politico)

... And a Challenge: "Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) tells CBS News producer Jill Jackson that he will run for Democratic leader against Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Shuler is one of the few so-called Blue Dog Democrats who was reelected to the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. (Blue Dogs are more conservative than most Democrats.) He's a member of the House Committee on Small Business and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure." (AP/CBS)

Murkowski On the Lead: "Murkowski, the Republican incumbent who waged a write-in campaign after losing the party nomination to Miller in August, has 92,164 votes. But that total includes 7,601 write-in votes that have been challenged by the Miller campaign. Miller has 90,458 votes." (AP/ABC)

Tea Party's First Congressional Win: "In a swift victory for tea-party activists, the Senate's top Republican agreed Monday to a plan to ban GOP members from proposing earmarks for spending bills, suggesting that what was once a core part of legislating has now become politically unacceptable."

Engines Not Yet Started For 2012 GOP Nomination Race: " The first Republican debate has been announced. The early media handicapping has begun. Anticipation in the political community is running high. By those signs, the curtain is set to rise on the 2012 GOP presidential campaign. But what about the candidates? At this point four years ago, the race for the White House was already in high gear." (WaPo)

Asia Last -- Europe Next? "If President Barack Obama is not yet convinced that his international star power has faded, his next round of transatlantic summitry should clear up any lingering doubts." (Reuters)

Tax Deal in Sight? "The partisan stalemate over tax cuts softened Monday, pointing to the outlines of a potential compromise that could involve extending the cuts for up to two years." (LA Times)

Kerry Pushing Lame-Duck Congress to Pass Arms Deal With Russia: "Senator John Kerry, the Obama administration’s point man in Congress on foreign policy, is racing to line up the votes for ratification of a key arms treaty with Russia before the newly elected Congress can try to block it next year." (Boston Globe)

Reid Promises DREAM Act in 2010: "They came through for him during a tight reelection campaign in Nevada. Now Hispanic voters are looking to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to return the favor." (ABC)

Rangel Walks Out: "The House panel looking into ethics accusations against a key Democratic representative stopped deliberations for the day late Monday afternoon and will return to its executive session deliberations Tuesday morning. Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York, walked out of the House ethics subcommittee trial on Monday, complaining he has not had sufficient time to hire a new legal team to respond to corruption allegations. The subcommittee rejected Rangel's request to delay the hearing until a new defense team is assembled."

A foreclosed home is shown in Chicago June 29, 2010. It may not make the blood boil like murder or rape, but mortgage fraud is a crime that cost an estimated $14 billion in 2009 and could be hampering an already fragile recovery in the housing market. The FBI has been fighting back, assembling its largest ever team to fight it. They have their work cut out for them, though, as a tsunami of foreclosures is making classic scams easier and spawning new ones to boot. Photo taken June 29, 2010. To match Special Report HOUSING-USA-FRAUD/ REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW BUSINESS)

Watchdog Warns of 'Potential Crisis' From Foreclosure Fraud:  "'Even as the government's response to the financial crisis is drawing to a close, severe threats remain that have the potential to damage financial stability,' the Congressional Oversight Panel concluded in the first federal report on the foreclosure fraud problems. 'If documentation problems prove to be pervasive and, more importantly, throw into doubt the ownership of not only foreclosed properties but also pooled mortgages, the consequences could be severe. Clear and uncontested property rights are the foundation of the housing market. If these rights fall into question, that foundation could collapse.'"  (ABC)

Fed Officials Defend Buying of Bonds: "One worry of Fed watchers as well as its defenders is that some of the domestic criticism may have the subtext of challenging the Fed’s traditional independence in deciding monetary policy without political interference. In a rare on-the-record interview, William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said that the Fed’s move was not intended to affect the value of the dollar, but rather to encourage a faster, stronger recovery that will also assist international growth." (NY Times)

Europe Fear of Contagion Increases: "Despite the insistence of Irish officials that only its banks need additional help, investors continue to bet on an Irish rescue, driving down the bond yields on that country’s debt against a benchmark again on Monday. Portugal’s yields increased to 6.7 percent, underscoring the emerging concern in Brussels, the administrative center of the European Union, that it would be irresponsible to adopt a plan to prop up Ireland without addressing the possibility that turmoil could ultimately engulf Portugal, or even Spain. Like Ireland, Portugal has struggled to grow under the fixed currency regime of the euro. Though Portugal has raised enough funds of late from bond markets, its budget deficit is 9 percent of its gross domestic product, much higher than the 3 percent limit for countries in the euro zone. With its weak government and slow growth, investors have grown fearful that Portugal, too, will eventually run out of funds." (NY Times)

EU In Survival Crisis: "The European Union will not survive if it fails to overcome a debt crisis plaguing the single currency area, the bloc's president Herman Van Rompuy warned today." (RTÉ)

'State Capitalism' in China Sparks Backlash: "Since the end of the Cold War, the world's powers have generally agreed on the wisdom of letting market competition—more than government planning—shape economic outcomes. China's national economic strategy is disrupting that consensus, and a look at the ascent of solar-energy magnate Zhu Gongshan explains why." (WSJ)

GM Selling Stock, But Most of the Public Can't Buy: "Even though taxpayers helped rescue the automaker, the majority are excluded from one of the year's hottest IPOs. Mutual funds and foreign entities are likely to get a piece of the action." (LA Times)

Hunger Hits U.S. Homes: "The number of U.S. households that reported getting emergency food from a food pantry almost doubled between 2007 and 2009, at the height of the recession, a government report said on Monday." (AlertNet)


Suu Kyi No Mandela: "Ms Suu Kyi's iconic status has drawn comparisons with Nelson Mandela - who was jailed for 27 years before becoming South Africa's president - but there is no evidence to suggest allowing her to walk free will lead to a similar sea change here - yet." (Sky News)

U.S. Strike Kills 20 Militants in Pakistan: "The attack happened in the Bangi Dar village of North Waziristan, a tribal region that is a base for insurgents responsible for many of the attacks on U.S. and NATO forces just across the border in Afghanistan." (MSNBC)

Taliban Chief Omar Says No Peace Talks: "The leader of the Afghan Taliban has said the group remains opposed to peace talks despite slow progress toward reconciliation. In a statement issued on Monday,  Mullah Mohammad Omar reiterated that negotiations would not be possible until all foreign troops - now at about 150,000 - leave Afghanistan, labeling talk of negotiations 'mere propaganda.'" (Al Jazeera)

U.S., Karzai Splitting Over Night Raids: "For the United States, a recent tripling in the number of night raids by Special Operations forces to capture or kill Afghan insurgents has begun to put heavy pressure on the Taliban and change the momentum in the war in Afghanistan. For President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, the raids cause civilian casualties and are a rising political liability, so much so that he is now loudly insisting that the Americans stop the practice." (NY Times)

Ex-Guantanamo UK Prisoners Hit the Jackpot: "The government will announce today that it will pay millions of pounds in compensation to former Guantánamo Bay detainees following weeks of negotiations between lawyers for the government and the former prisoners. Ministers appear to have decided on the advice of the security services that they could not afford to risk the exposure of thousands of documents in open court on how Britain co-operated with the US on the so-called extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects." (Guardian)

'Merchant of Death' Heading to U.S. Justice: "Suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout is on his way from Thailand to the United States Tuesday to face terrorism related charges after Thai officials agreed to the extradition request by U.S. authorities, ending a two year tug of war between Washington and Moscow." (CBS)

India Building Collapse Kills At Least 64: "The 15-year-old building housing about 200 people - mostly migrant workers and their families - collapsed Monday evening in New Delhi's congested Lalita Park area, where emergency efforts were hampered because vehicles had difficulty navigating its narrow alleyways."

Tech, Science

They Could Work It Out: "Apple Inc. is preparing to disclose that its iTunes Store will soon start carrying music by the Beatles, according to people familiar with the situation, a move that would fill a glaring gap in the collection of the world's largest music retailer." (WSJ)

Beam Me Up, Niles! "A Star Trek-style device that allows people to disappear and then – in a blink of an eye – reappear in a different location is a step closer to reality, claim British scientists."

Dude, That's Baaaad: "Chronic pot smokers beware. A new study found that regularly smoking marijuana may lower cognitive function, especially if the person starts smoking before 16 years of age." (ABC)

Media, Entertainment

Keith Olbermann Shoots Down The 'False God Of Objectivity': "Keith Olbermann may have just inadvertently won himself the praise of the American right. In a twelve-minute Special Comment refuting Ted Koppel’s obituary to 'real news' this week, Olbermann attempted to unmask the true nature of so-called objective journalism legends like Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow. They weren’t objective, he argues– they were liberals, just like him." (Mediaite)

Dem Consultants Accuse Arianna of Stealing Idea for HuffPo: "Two Democratic consultants are accusing Arianna Huffington and her business partner of stealing their idea for the powerhouse liberal website Huffington Post. Peter Daou and James Boyce charge that Huffington and partner Ken Lerer designed the website from a plan they had presented them, and in doing so, violated a handshake agreement to work together, according to a lawsuit to be filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan." (Politico)


Feeling Lonely This Christmas Season? "For all those lonely hearts seeking a special someone during the holidays, coupledom is just a snapshot away. Hong Kong’s New Town Plaza shopping mall has installed a photo booth in which singles can be photographed next to virtual partners. Enter the booth, select a virtual mate to smile alongside you in a holidaygram, and voila – season’s greetings from two!" (WSJ)

Dogs Death Panels in Action: "A dog rescued from Afghanistan after she alerted soldiers to a suicide bomber was accidentally euthanized at an Arizona shelter on Monday. . . .The dog, Target,  was recently brought over from Afghanistan by a soldier who had returned from his tour of duty.  Target was featured by CNN for heroism after saving dozens of soldiers from a suicide bomber on February 11." (CNN)

Who You Gonna Call? Bedbug-Busters! "For struggling New York actors reduced to waiting tables for a living, there's finally an alternative career path: bedbug hunter." (WSJ)