Tuesday

10 things you need to know today: December 18, 2013

Right wing activists in New Delhi protest the U.S.’s treatment of an Indian diplomat.
(AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

The Week

The budget deal clears a Senate hurdle, India protests the arrest of a diplomat in New York, and more

1. Budget deal beats filibuster threat
A two-year bipartisan budget deal cleared a final major hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday, when a majority of 67 senators beat the threat of a GOP filibuster and approved a final vote on the measure. It could be approved as soon as Wednesday. The budget plan would restore $63 billion in automatic cuts to defense and domestic programs, while trimming the deficit by reducing military and federal employee pensions. [New York Times]
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2. India protests arrest of diplomat in New York
Indian officials reacted angrily on Tuesday to the arrest and alleged strip search of India’s deputy consul general, Devyani Khobragade, in New York City. Khobragade was accused of submitting false documents that overstated her housekeeper’s pay to secure the woman a work visa. Indian officials said Khobragade was mistreated before posting $250,000 bail. India reportedly retaliated by stripping some U.S. officials in New Delhi of diplomatic privileges. [New York Daily News]
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3. Russia gives Ukraine a bailout, sparking new protests
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Ukraine a $15 billion bailout on Tuesday, and slashed gas prices to strengthen its ties with the financially struggling country. The move will help Ukraine avoid bankruptcy, but it prompted fresh protests in Kiev by crowds angry at Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich for dropping a proposed trade deal with the European Union and renewing the former Soviet republic’s close relations with Moscow. [Reuters]
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4. Harvard student charged with bomb hoax
Massachusetts prosecutors on Tuesday charged a Harvard undergraduate, Eldo Kim, with making a bomb threat that forced authorities to evacuate four buildings during final exams. Police said Kim, 20, sent emails to university police and administrators on Monday warning there were “shrapnel bombs” in the buildings, three of which were in historic Harvard Yard. The bomb-hoax charge is punishable with up to five years in prison. [Boston Globe]
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5. Hundreds die in clashes after South Sudan coup attempt
Fighting in South Sudan has killed up to 500 people as violence spread after an alleged coup attempt, United Nations diplomats said Tuesday. The oil-rich East African country’s government said it had arrested 10 high-ranking politicians accused of being involved in the plot, and was searching for their leader, a former vice president. The turmoil comes just two and a half years after South Sudan, Africa’s newest state, seceded from Sudan. [Associated PressReuters]
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6. Two dead in Reno hospital shooting
Two people were killed and another two injured Tuesday in a shooting spree at a Reno medical facility. Police said one of the dead was the alleged shooter, who appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Investigators did not immediately say what firearm had been used, or what they believed to be the motive for the crime. [USA Today]
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7. Zimmerman painting fetches bids exceeding $100,000
A painting made by George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin but was acquitted on murder charges, had received a high bid of $110,100 on eBay as of early Wednesday. The 18-by-24-inch image features a blue American flag and part of the Pledge of Allegiance. “Everyone has been asking what I have been doing with myself,” eBay user therealgeorgez posted. “I found a creative, way to express myself” that “allows me to remain indoors.” [Los Angeles Times]
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8. U.K. police say Princess Diana was not murdered
British police said Tuesday that an investigation turned up “no credible evidence” to support suspicions that the British military had something to do with the deaths of Princess Diana, her boyfriend, and their driver 16 years ago. “Every reasonable line of enquiry was objectively pursued in order to fully evaluate any potential evidence,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement concluding the inquiry. [CNN]
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9. Two winners share the second biggest U.S. lottery prize ever
Two winning tickets were drawn Tuesday night for a $636 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot. Alex Traverso, a spokesperson for the California Lottery, said the kitty might grow to $648 million once the numbers are tallied from last-minute sales, which Traverso said reached 25,000 tickets per minute. Either way, the prize will be the second largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, falling just short of the $656 million record. [CBS/AP]
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10. Obama appoints gay athletes to Olympic delegation
President Obama sent a message of protest to Russia over its anti-gay law, passed earlier this year, by announcing Tuesday that the White House delegation to the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics would include a gay athlete, former tennis champion Billie Jean King. The delegation will not include the president, first lady, or the vice president for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Summer Games. [USA Today]

 

10 things you need to know today: December 11, 2013

Murray and Ryan say their budget deal will prevent a shutdown in January.

Murray and Ryan say their budget deal will prevent a shutdown in January. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Week

Congress reaches a two-year budget deal, Mary Barra becomes the first woman to run GM, and more

1. Congressional negotiators reach a budget deal
House and Senate budget negotiators agreed Tuesday to raise military and domestic spending over two years and shift the burden of across-the-board cuts to other programs. The two-year deal eliminates $65 billion in spending cuts under the sequester, while saving $25 billion by extending two-percent cuts in Medicare by an extra two years. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said the pact would prevent a government shutdown in January. [New York Times]
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2. Mary Barra becomes first woman to run GM
General Motors on Tuesday named Mary Barra as its new chief executive. She’s the first woman in history to head a major U.S. automaker. Barra, a longtime GM executive who most recently served as an executive vice president, will replace CEO Dan Akerson on Jan. 15. Barra is the latest in a series of women named to lead companies, including Yahoo, Lockheed Martin, and Hewlett-Packard, in industries long dominated by men. [Washington Post]
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3. South Africans line up to pay their last respects to Mandela
Thousands of South Africans lined up Wednesday for a chance to file past the body of Nelson Mandela lying in state, a day after a massive memorial service for the late anti-apartheid icon. The body is on display below the facade of the Union Buildings in Pretoria — where Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first black president 19 years ago. Mandela’s body will remain there until his funeral on Sunday. [New York Times]
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4. Obama gets grief for being cordial to Raul Castro
President Obama faced criticism from GOP lawmakers after shaking hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela’s memorial in South Africa Tuesday. Cuba-born Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-Fla.) called the image “nauseating.” The White House said Obama’s focus was honoring Mandela, and the gesture didn’t signal a change in Washington’s arms-length policy toward the former Cold War rival. [Los Angeles Times]
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5. Ukrainian officials try to break up protest camp
Hundreds of Ukrainian riot police stormed a camp of protesters in the central square of the capital, Kiev, early Wednesday, knocking down barricades and tents. Demonstrators resisted, shouting “Shame!” and singing the former Soviet republic’s national anthem. The clashes marked an escalation in the response to protests that began in late November after President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from plans to strengthen ties with the European Union. [Associated Press]
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6. Missing family found alive in freezing Nevada mountains
Rescuers found two adults and four children missing in Nevada for two days in subzero temperatures. Authorities said the two adults — James Glanton, 34, his girlfriend, Christina McIntee, 25 — did everything right after their Jeep rolled off a dirt road and down an embankment in remote mountains. They lit a fire and heated rocks to keep their two children and two young relatives, all between three and 10, warm and prevent frostbite. [CNN]
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7. California charges “revenge porn” website creator with extortion
A 27-year-old California man, Kevin Bollaert, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly running a“revenge porn” website that posted sexually explicit photos of women without their permission, then allegedly extorted money from them to take them down. Ex-boyfriends and former husbands allegedly posted the images, along with the women’s names and links their Facebook profiles. Bollaert allegedly created another site offering to remove the posts for $350. [CNN]
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8. Uruguay approves over-the-counter sales of pot
Legislators in Uruguay on Tuesday legalized growing, selling, and smoking marijuana. The new law will make the South American nation the first ever to create a sanctioned market for the long-banned drug. The law will take effect in four months, allowing Uruguayans to grow six marijuana plants at home per year, and buy pot over the counter from licensed pharmacies. Some called the move a risky experiment; others said it would curb drug trafficking. [Reuters]
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9. Woman pleads guilty of sending ricin-laced letter to Obama
A Texas actress pleaded guilty Tuesday to making toxic ricin agent that was sent in letters addressed to President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in May. Under a plea deal, the woman — Shannon Guess Richardson, 36 — would spend 18 years in prison followed by five years on supervised release. Richardson, whose career included a small part in The Walking Dead, tried to blame her husband for the crime. [Reuters]
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10. Satellite records coldest temperature ever
Scientists announced this week that a NASA satellite had measured a temperature -135.8 degrees on a desolate ice plateau in East Antarctica — the lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth. “It’s more like you’d see on Mars on a nice summer day in the poles,” said ice scientist Ted Scambos, who announced the data at an American Geophysical Union meeting. The official record low — taken with a thermometer — is -128.6 degrees. [USA Today]
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10 things you need to know today: December 10, 2013

The face of Nelson Mandela adorns a billboard at his memorial service.

The face of Nelson Mandela adorns a billboard at his memorial service. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

The Week

Obama praises Mandela at a massive memorial service, an ice storm hammers the East, and more

1. Obama eulogizes Mandela at memorial service
President Obama joined 100 other world leaders at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in a Johannesburg soccer stadium on Tuesday. Obama said the late South African leader was an inspiration to him, personally, and an example of the power of reconciliation. Former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter also attended in a high-profile show of American respect for Mandela, South Africa’s first black president. [ReutersCBS News]
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2. Icy storm continues to batter the East
A winter storm is continuing to ravage the East Coast on Tuesday. Snow and icy conditions forced airlines to cancel 775 flights on Tuesday, down from 1,900 on Monday and 2,800 on Sunday. “I don’t think it’s going to warm up anytime soon,” National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Sullivan told Reuters. Authorities in Nevada are searching for two adults and four children who went out to play in the snow Sunday and didn’t return. [Christian Science MonitorCNN]
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3. Riot erupts in Singapore
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ordered an investigation on Monday into Singapore’s first riot in four decades, which broke out in the Little India district after a foreign worker was struck and killed by a bus. Tensions had already been rising over the city-state’s large population of foreign workers. Police commissioner Ng Joo Hee called the violence intolerable. “It is not the Singapore way,” he said. [BloombergBBC News]
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4. U.S. sells its last GM stock, ending the bailout
The federal government sold its last shares of General Motors stock on Monday, officially ending the bailout of the troubled automaker. Taxpayers wound up losing $10.5 billion of the $49.5 billion invested five years ago. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said the money helped save a million jobs and keep the recession from becoming a depression. GM executives say losing the “Government Motors” label will be good for the company. [New York Times]
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5. Prosecutors charge Los Angeles deputies with abuse
Eighteen current and former Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies were indicted Monday on charges of abusing inmates and jail visitors. All of the defendants worked in jails in downtown L.A., part of the largest jail system in the country. Federal authorities have been looking into the county’s jails for more than two years following several lawsuits accusing deputies of misconduct and abuse. [New York Times]
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6. Zimmerman’s girlfriend says he didn’t point gun at her
George Zimmerman’s girlfriend is now saying she wants to drop all charges in a domestic violence incident that led to his arrest. The woman, Samantha Scheibe, said in her 911 call last month that Zimmerman had pointed a gun “at [her] freaking face,” but now she says he didn’t, according to an affidavit signed Friday and filed in a Florida court. Zimmerman, acquitted last summer in Trayvon Martin’s killing, faces assault and other charges. [Los Angeles Times]
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7. Former official from L.A. suburb convicted of corruption
Angela Spaccia, a former assistant city manager from a Los Angeles suburb, was convicted Monday on corruption charges including misappropriating public funds and falsifying government records. Prosecutors said Spaccia was involved in approving huge salaries for government officials — she made more than $340,000 — in a city afflicted with “corruption on steroids.” The case nearly drove the city, Bell, to bankruptcy. [Associated Press]
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8. Founder of French company is jailed over faulty breast implants
A Marseille court sentenced Jean-Claude Mas, founder of a French breast-implant company, to four years in prison on Tuesday four fraud. He was also fined $137,000. Mas’ company, Poly Implant Prothese, sold implants made with substandard silicone and prone to rupture to 300,000 women in 65 countries. The French government urged women to have the implants removed. Several other former PIP executives have also been jailed and fined. [France24]
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9. Men allegedly stole part of the car Paul Walker died in
California police have accused two men with stealing a roof panel of the mangled Porsche sports car in which actor Paul Walker of the Fast & Furious movie franchise died. Los Angeles County prosecutors on Monday filed grand theft charges against Jameson Witty, 18, and Anthony Janow, 25, for allegedly taking the part from a tow truck that was taking the wreckage of the Porsche Carrera GT away from the crash site. [Los Angeles Times]
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10. Curiosity rover finds traces of an ancient lake on Mars
NASA’s Curiosity rover has found evidence of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars, according to findings published in the journal Science on Monday. Scientists believe the lake was there about 3.5 billion years ago — around the time life was springing up on Earth — and lasted hundreds of thousands of years. The water might have been drinkable, and could have sustained life. [Washington Post]

10 things you need to know today: December 4, 2013

Lift off!

Lift off! (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Week

A judge clears Detroit to slash pensions, SpaceX marks a new milestone, and more

1. Judge rules Detroit deserves bankruptcy protection
A judge ruled Tuesday that the city of Detroit can remain under bankruptcy court protection. The decision means the city can impose pension cuts on its employees to salvage its finances. Unions and pension managers had argued that giving the city such power violated retiree contract protections. The ruling could change the course of bankruptcies in other cities, where leaders had assumed pensions were untouchable. [BloombergNew York Times]
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2. SpaceX marks a new milestone with rocket launch
SpaceX launched a 224-foot rocket carrying a massive satellite from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday night. The SES-8 telecommunications satellite will be released in geostationary transfer orbit nearly 50,000 miles from Earth — about a quarter of the way to the moon — marking a record distance into space for the private company, which also has a contract to resupply the International Space Station. The launch had been delayed twice. [Los Angeles Times]
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3. Train engineer nodded off before deadly crash
The engineer of a New York commuter train that derailed early Sunday, killing four people, told investigators he was “in a daze” before the crash, CNN reported Tuesday. A union official said the engineer, William Rockefeller, apparently nodded off briefly just before the crash. The Metro-North Hudson Line train in the Bronx was traveling more than 50 miles per hour faster than the speed limit when it jumped off the tracks in a sharp turn. [CNNNew York Times]
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4. French investigators say Arafat wasn’t poisoned, after all
Yasser Arafat’s widow says French scientists have ruled out poisoning by radioactive polonium as the cause of the Palestinian leader’s 2004 death. Palestinians suspect Israel of poisoning Arafat, but Israel denies it. A recent Swiss lab report said Arafat’s remains had high levels of polonium, boosting suspicions of murder. Arafat’s widow, Suha, says she is “upset by these contradictions by the best European experts.” [Associated Press]
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5. Kim Jong Un fires his uncle, a rival
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly dismissed his powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who played a key role in his rise to power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. South Korean lawmakers said Tuesday that Kim appears to have forced out his uncle, who still had loyal followers in the old guard, to consolidate his power base and boost the influence of his younger supporters. [Reuters]
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6. Newtown 911 recordings are being released
Newtown, Conn., officials warned parents and other residents to prepare themselves emotionally for the release of nearly half an hour of 911 recordings from last year’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Town leaders had tried to keep the tapes private, but the state Freedom of Information Commission ordered them to be released. The town only recently dropped its challenge of the decision. [Reuters]
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7. Americans see the U.S. losing power abroad
For the first time in 40 years, a majority of Americans said the U.S. was less important around the world than it was a decade ago, according to a Pew survey released on Tuesday. Seventy percent of the poll’s respondents said America is not as well respected as it used to be. More than half said the U.S. should “mind its own business” instead of having an active foreign policy. [BBC News]
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8. Hezbollah accuses Israel of assassinating a top commander
A senior Hezbollah commander, Hassan al-Laqis, was gunned down outside his home just south of Beirut on Wednesday. The Lebanese Islamist militant group immediately announced the killing and blamed Israel, threatening swift repercussions for “this ugly crime.” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel had nothing to do with the killing. “They don’t need facts,” he said of Hezbollah, “they just blame anything on Israel.” [Associated Press]
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9. Space agency plans to plant a garden on the moon
NASA plans to send seedlings where no plant has gone before — the moon. The Lunar Plant Growth Habitat project aims to catch a ride with one of the private companies competing for Google’s Lunar X Prize, and plant basil, flowers, and turnips on the moon in late 2015. “They can test the lunar environment for us acting as a ‘canary in a coal mine,'” NASA said. “If we send plants and they thrive, then we probably can.” [SlateNASA]
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10. Coroner completes autopsies after crash that killed Paul Walker
Universal Pictures said Tuesday that it was suspending production of the next Fast & Furiousmovie while authorities investigate the fiery crash that killed one of the franchise’s stars, Paul Walker. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office said it had completed autopsies on two bodies found in the mangled limited-edition Porsche sports car. The results, expected Wednesday, should formally identify the bodies and determine who was driving. [Washington Post]

Jon Stewart: Obama ‘Somewhat Dishonest’ About Healthcare But Republicans Are ‘Lying Like Motherf*ckers’

Huffington Post – Comedy

On Tuesday, Jon Stewart tore into the latest issues with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, most notably the fact that President Obama’s promise that if you liked your insurance before, you could keep it wasn’t entirely true. But, as is often the case, there were even bigger liars to fry.

After rolling clips of Obama contradicting himself on the policy, Stewart pointed out, “So, yes, the president was somewhat dishonest about the promise of his healthcare program, but here’s the weird part, his opponents have been lying like motherf*ckers about its effects.”

The rest of the segment focused on politicians and pundits from the right pulling out all the stops to characterize a legitimate problem as one of the worst tragedies the U.S. has ever seen.

Watch the clip above and let us know if you agree with Jon Stewart’s take.

Political Wire – 11-05-13

Taegan Goodard’s Political Wire

Election Day 2013: Six Races to Watch [The Trail] 11/5/2013 7:03:55 AM
Here’s a rundown of some major races Tuesday across the country, including closely watched governor and mayoral races, plus a …

The Fix: How to watch the exit polls in the Virginia governor’s race [CBS News]11/5/2013 6:32:24 AM
Tuesday’s elections bring an early Christmas gift for election watchers: exit polling! The data gathered from people leaving …

She The People: Ratiu Democracy Award winner fights ‘anti-gypsy’ prejudice [CBS News] 11/5/2013 6:32:12 AM
“If it’s not careful, the media can sustain centuries-old stereotypes about Roma,” says Roma activist Dr. Angela Kocze, …

Tea Party figure, Democratic fundraiser face off in Virginia vote [Reuters] 11/5/2013 6:20:28 AM
(Reuters) – Virginia voters went to the polls on Tuesday in a closely watched election for governor that has put the …

As New York votes for mayor, de Blasio poised for landslide [Reuters] 11/5/2013 6:17:25 AM
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Democrat Bill de Blasio faces the challenge of high expectations as he goes into Tuesday’s New York City …

GovBeat: Getting Connecticut’s books in order requires half a billion in state bonds [CBS News] 11/5/2013 6:01:32 AM
Imagine recording expenses as money is actually spent, and recording revenue as money actually comes in. Hardly sounds …

Federal Eye: Federal judge grants search warrant in LAX shooting investigation[CBS News] 11/5/2013 6:01:22 AM
Federal authorities are searching for cell phone evidence that Paul A. Ciancia planned Friday’s shooting at Los Angeles …

In New York mayor’s race, de Blasio’s children front and center [NBC News] 11/5/2013 6:00:00 AM
New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is poised to become the city’s next mayor, and he may have his kids to thank for …

Can Chris Christie win New Jersey – in 2016? [NBC News] 11/5/2013 6:00:00 AM
The question about tonight’s N.J. governor’s election isn’t whether Christie will win, it’s how large his margin of victory …

Voters head to the polls to elect governors in Va., N.J. [NBC News] 11/5/2013 6:00:00 AM
Democrat Terry McAuliffe holds a slight lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie …

10 things you need to know today: October 16, 2013

This is getting scary...

This is getting scary… (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Week

Senators resume debt talks after a House plan unravels, Fitch warns it could downgrade America’s credit rating, and more

1. Senators renew debt talks after House scraps vote
Senate leaders resumed their negotiations on ending the government shutdown and extending the debt limit, after House GOP leaders late Tuesday scrapped a vote on their proposal because they couldn’t muster enough conservative votes to pass it. Senate leaders are optimistic they can pass a bipartisan deal, but it will be hard to do before the government hits the debt ceiling on Thursday, raising the threat of a potentially disastrous default. [The New York Times]
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2. Fitch warns it could downgrade the government’s credit rating
Fitch Ratings warned Tuesday that it might strip the federal government of its sterling AAA credit rating because of the partisan bickering over the debt limit. Fitch said it believed that Republicans and Democrats would raise the borrowing limit in time to prevent the government from defaulting on any of its debts, but that the political brinkmanship over paying America’s bills was damaging the government’s credit worthiness. [Reuters]
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3. Talks on Iran’s nuclear program begin in Geneva
Iran presented its plan for resolving the dispute over its nuclear ambitions as two days of talks with the U.S. and other world powers got underway in Geneva on Tuesday. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a PowerPoint presentation that Iran would accept constraints to its nuclear program in exchange for the right to enrich uranium for energy purposes and the lifting of economic sanctions. In a fresh sign of progress, U.S. and Iranian officials later held a rare one-on-one meeting. [The New York Times]
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4. Two Florida girls charged in bullying case
Two girls, ages 12 and 14, were charged with felony stalking linked to the suicide of Rebecca Sedwick, 12, in September, a Florida sheriff said Tuesday. The arrests came after the elder girl posted on Facebook “Yes IK I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don’t give a (expletive)].” Rebecca jumped to her death from a cement factory tower after enduring a year of bullying over a boy she and her tormentor both dated. [CNN]
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5. Ex–San Diego mayor Filner pleads guilty
Former San Diego mayor Bob Filner pleaded guilty Tuesday to false imprisonment — a felony — and two misdemeanor charges of battery against three women. Under a plea deal, he will serve three months of home confinement but no jail time. The Democrat, who served nearly two decades in Congress, stepped down as mayor in August under a sexual harassment lawsuit settlement after 18 women accused him of unwanted advances and touching. [The Washington Post]
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6. Former Army captain receives the Medal of Honor
President Obama awarded ex–Army captain William Swenson the Medal of Honor on Tuesday for saving comrades during a battle with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan in 2009. Swenson, 34, was the second survivor of the fight to win the military’s highest honor, just the second time that has happened in 50 years. Swenson, the most decorated Army officer since Vietnam, has been unemployed since leaving the Army in 2011, and wants to re-enlist. [Time]
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7. Baggage handler charged with LAX dry ice explosions
Police arrested a baggage handler, Dicarlo Bennett, on Tuesday for allegedly planting two dry ice bombs that exploded in secure areas at Los Angeles International Airport this week. Bennett, a 28-year-old employee of ground handling company Servisair, was charged with possession of a destructive device near an aircraft, and is being held on $1 million bail. Police have said they don’t believe the minor explosions were an act of terrorism. [Associated Press]
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8. Hillary Clinton sets off fresh 2016 speculation
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set off fresh 2016 presidential speculation on Tuesday when she reportedly said at an off-the-record gathering in Georgia that she backed the raid that killed Osama bin Laden — but her potential rival in 2016, Vice President Joe Biden, didn’t. “I know she’s running for president now,” Georgia state Rep. Tom Taylor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Without turning the knife too deeply, she put it to Biden.” [Politico]
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9. Rare 18-foot oarfish carcass found in California
An instructor at the Catalina Island Marine Institute in California found a dead, 18-foot-long oarfish while snorkeling in 20 feet of water, the institute said in a news release reported by news outlets on Tuesday. The institute hailed it as a “discovery of a lifetime,” because the slender, deep-sea fish are seldom seen, dead or alive. Some think they are the real-life inspiration for sea serpent myths. It took more than 15 people to haul the beast to shore. [ABC News]
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10. Kutcher is TV’s highest-paid actor
Ashton Kutcher topped Forbes’s annual list of the best paid actors on television. The magazine estimated that Kutcher made $24 million from June 2012 to June 2013. His co-star on the popular CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Jon Cryer, came in second with $21 million. Both stand to make even more, as the show is entering syndication with no signs it will be canceled any time soon. [TodayForbes]

10 things you need to know today: October 9, 2013

Yellen will be the first woman to lead the Fed (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

The Week

Obama picks Janet Yellen to lead the Fed, the shutdown cuts off military death benefits, and more

1. Obama to nominate Janet Yellen for Fed chair
President Obama plans to nominate Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve, the White House said Tuesday. If Yellen is confirmed, the former University of California economist — currently the Fed’s vice-chair — will be the first woman to lead the central bank. Yellen would be a more popular pick than Obama’s reported first choice, former Treasury secretary Larry Summers, who withdrew in September due to stiff opposition to his candidacy. [Los Angeles Times]
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2. Shutdown cuts off military death benefits
The Pentagon said Tuesday that the government shutdown had left it unable to pay death benefits to the families of soldiers killed in action. After funding ran out for many federal agencies, Congress quickly passed the Pay Our Military Act, ensuring that active duty soldiers will continue to receive their paychecks, but the law didn’t cover the $100,000 typically sent to families of those killed, burial expenses, and other benefits. [New York Times]
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3. Off-duty cop accused of participating in road-rage attack
An off-duty New York City police officer was arrested Tuesday in connection with the beating of an SUV driver, Alexian Lien, who was chased down by a gang of motorcyclists after a fender bender. Detective Wojciech Braszczok was the fifth biker charged. The chase began after Lien — with his wife and 2-year-old daughter in the car — was threatened and took off, seriously injuring a biker. The whole thing was caught on a video uploaded to YouTube. [Reuters]
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4. Obama tells GOP to stop making “threats” 
President Obama on Tuesday stepped up his pressure on Republicans to pass a stopgap spending bill to end the government shutdown without forcing a delay of ObamaCare. In a White House news conference, Obama called on GOP lawmakers to “lift these threats from our families and our businesses” and avoid forcing the U.S. to default on its debts. Republicans say Obama is the onerefusing to negotiate. [New York Times]
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5. DNA match provides a break in 1991 murder 
New York police announced Tuesday that they had identified the mother of “Baby Hope,” a 4- to 5-year-old girl whose battered body was found stuffed in a cooler in 1991, through a DNA match. Investigators are now searching for the child’s father for questioning in the high-profile murder case. The mother never saw the girl and her younger sister again after their father left with them following the couple’s acrimonious break-up. [New York Daily News]
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6. The U.S. prepares to cut aid to Egypt
U.S. officials say the Obama administration plans to announce within days that it is reducing aid to Egypt’s military, which has been cracking down on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, in his first interview since the July coup, said Morsi could have prevented the crisis by resigning in the face of protests. Sisi left open the question of whether he would run to replace Morsi. [CNNWashington Post]
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7. Trouble in the house of the Kardashians
Kris Jenner, mother of the Kardashian sisters of tabloid fame, and her husband, former Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner, announced in a joint statement that they have separated after 22 years of marriage. The couple, who put their personal lives on display in the reality TV showKeeping Up with the Kardashians, said in a joint statement: “We are living separately and we are much happier this way.” [BBC News]
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8. Passengers absorbed in smartphones didn’t notice gunman
The San Francisco Police Department said Tuesday that security footage showed that a man who killed college student Justin Valdez on a light-rail train had his gun in plain sight, but other passengers didn’t notice because they were staring at their smartphones. “They’re just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot,” said District Attorney George Gascon. Investigators believe suspect Nikhom Thephakaysone was hunting for a stranger to kill. [San Francisco Chronicle]
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9. Three share Nobel in chemistry
Three researchers have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work in the 1970s developing computer models used to study complex reactions like photosynthesis and combustion, and how drugs interact. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobels, said the trio opened up new possibilities for chemists by making “Newton’s classical physics work side-by-side with the fundamentally different quantum physics.” [New York Times]
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10. Argentine president is recovering after surgery
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner underwent successful surgery to remove a blood clot outside her brain on Tuesday. The injury was the result of a fall in August. Doctors did not immediately say how long the 60-year-old president’s recovery would take, raising concerns three weeks ahead of legislative elections in which Fernandez’s governing party appears likely to lose strength over the country’s weakening economy. [Associated Press]

GOP Aims To Corner Dems By Partially Funding Government

Congress-republicans

Boehner and McConnell look like the cats who ate the canaries and proud of it…

It seems the GOP assumes every American is stupid except them.  Conversely everyone who is not a conservative thinks that the GOP are the inmates running the asylum.

TPM DC

Republicans have come up with a plan designed to trap Democrats into making policy concessions in order to re-open the parts of the government that shut down Monday at midnight: a conference committee for the House and Senate to hash out their differences.

“The conference committee is not going anywhere,” admitted a House GOP aide.

Then, in a Tuesday afternoon closed-door meeting, House Republicans formulated a strategy to turn up the pressure by passing piecemeal continuing resolutions at status quo levels to fund popular parts of the government, such as national parks and museums. The idea was first proposed by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT), who spearheaded the push to shut down the government over Obamacare.

The purported aim of the conference committee is to work out a compromise to the budget impasse. The actual aim is to force unilateral concessions from Democrats that they cannot achieve through regular channels. That’s why the Democratic-led Senate voted on Tuesday morning to reject going to conference on a short-term CR.

The new piecemeal budget plan comes after House Republican leadership portrayed Democrats as unwilling to negotiate and hash out their differences.

“We’re here to say to Senate Democrats, come and talk to us. This is how we resolve our differences and can work our way out of this,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told reporters Tuesday at noon, even tweeting a photograph of Republican leadership on one side of a table. “Senate Democrat refuse to even discuss these proposals.”

“They won’t even talk,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “They literally just voted against working out an agreement.”

What has ensued is essentially a staring contest: House Republicans demand that Democrats come to the table, but Senate Democrats aren’t budging and insist they won’t negotiate with a gun to their heads.

“It is embarrassing that these people who are elected to represent the country are representing the tea party, the anarchists of the country, and the majority of the Republicans in the House are following them every step of the way,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) early Tuesday morning, after the House had raised the idea of conference.

“This is not serious,” he said later of the GOP’s partial funding strategy. “If they think they can come and nitpick us on this, it’s not going to work.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the piecemeal strategy reflects an “utter lack of seriousness” on the part of Republicans. “If they want to open the government, they should open the government,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “Then we can negotiate about how we fund our budget priorities in the future.”

“Senator Ted Cruz is now going to pick his favorite federal agencies to reopen? Come on,” saidIllinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democratic in the chamber.

Some House Republicans are deeply frustrated with what they see as a self-defeating strategy, but even they are holding the line. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) told reporters that a “clean” CR, or a bill that would fund government at current levels, never came up in the GOP meeting Tuesday. “We’ve come this far,” said the congressman, who famously called his conservative colleagues “lemmings” on Monday. “Now we have to stick with the Ted Cruz-lemmings strategy.”

The House was set to vote on piecemeal bills later Tuesday afternoon, according to a Republican leadership aide, to protect military veterans, re-open national parks and museums and provide local funding for the District of Columbia.

The reason Democrats won’t negotiate on the CR is that they believe if they reward Republicans for brinkmanship, it’ll continue into debt ceiling debate and the next round of budget negotiations — and the one after that. They want to teach them that hostage-taking won’t work, so they’re demanding the House pass a clean CR and then initiate House-Senate talks to resolve broader budget differences.

Republicans have formally rejected bicameral budget negotiations 18 times since April. And House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) dismissed that offer Tuesday, effectively validating Democrats’ concerns by arguing that his party’s strategy is to use the debt ceiling as a cudgel to achieve more budgetary reforms.

“We’ve wanted to go to a budget conference when we thought we had more likelihood of getting an agreement,” Ryan told reporters. “If we went prematurely, that would decrease the likelihood we would have gotten a budget agreement.”

“We have a debt limit coming. That limit is coming up in two weeks,” he said. “That’s what we think will be the forcing action that will bring the two parties together. Our goal and motivation here is to get a budget agreement, and we think this is the way to do that.”

 

‘House of Turds’: New York Daily News Cover Skewers Boehner

I’m from New York City and the Daily News has not always been my paper of choice.  However this time and in 1995 with Cry Baby Newt on the cover, they got it right!

Mediaite

New York Daily News blamed House Speaker John Boehner and the “tea party faction he can’t seem to control” for Tuesday’s government shutdown, in the graphic-heavy way we’ve all come to know and love:

Hey, at least Kevin Spacey’s character got stuff done.

This is, of course, not the first time the Daily News has skewered a House Speaker for a government shutdown:

[Images via NYDNNewseum]