Content Section
  1. GLITCH GOP Divided Over Payroll Tax Olivier Douliery-Pool / Getty Images

    1. GOP Divided Over Payroll Tax

    Apparently not everyone was on the same page in the House meeting this morning, when Speaker John Boehner said he would pass President Obama’s payroll-tax cut but push harder for other GOP policies. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told The New York Times that “most people standing up to speak were troubled” by Boehner’s announcement. “There was a divide between the rank and file and the leadership,” he added. One of the concerns raised by Republicans in the room was that the tax cut would undermine the Social Security Trust Fund. Another was that it would be terribly costly, and that Congress could easily be in the same boat about all of this at the end of next year.

    December 2, 2011 7:08 PM

  2. Economy Unemployment Drops to 8.6 Percent Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

    2. Unemployment Drops to 8.6 Percent

    Better than forecast news for Christmas. The unemployment rate fell from an expected 9 percent to 8.6 percent, the lowest in two and a half years. Some 20,000 jobs were shed in government but 120,000 added in retail, leisure, hospitality, professional and business services, and health. That’s not enough to keep pace with population growth (150,000 a month), and we’re way below recovery levels of 500,000 new jobs a month. Millions have spent more than six months looking for work (5,691,000—a slight improvement on October). Meanwhile, the president’s American Jobs Act is stalled in Congress.

    December 2, 2011 8:46 AM

  3. DISPUTE Pakistan Claims U.S. Gave Bad Intel Rizwan Tabassum, AFP / Getty Images

    3. Pakistan Claims U.S. Gave Bad Intel

    The debate over who’s responsible for an American airstrike that inadvertently killed 24 Pakistani troops on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan continues. Friday, Pakistani officials say it was the U.S. who gave the wrong information about where the strike would be directed, which is why Pakistan gave the U.S. the go-ahead. U.S. officials insist Pakistanis had the correct coordinates of the planned attack when they gave permission to strike. Pakistan has declined to participate in the U.S.’s investigation of the friendly-fire incident and has stopped all transport of NATO supplies across its border with Afghanistan.

    December 2, 2011 10:01 PM

  4. IN TROUBLE Cain Meets Wife Before Announcement Brian Snyder, Reuters / Landov

    4. Cain Meets Wife Before Announcement

    Ahead of announcement Saturday expected to address the future of his campaign, Herman Cain flew to Atlanta to meet with his wife, Gloria. One supporter said he believes Cain will be announcing that he will be dropping out, while another said no decision has been made and the candidate just wants to thank supporters. Cain is expected to announce his decision publicly after the meeting. Earlier Friday, he announced the creation of "Women for Cain," an initiative where his female supporters attack the "vindictive" accusers—but it does not include a message from Cain's wife.

    December 2, 2011 11:59 PM

  5. ROCK THE VOTE Egypt Turnout Hits 62 Percent Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

    5. Egypt Turnout Hits 62 Percent

    Hope it lasts the month. Turnout in the first round of parliamentary elections in Egypt reached 62 percent, though there’ll be two more rounds, lasting until the beginning of January. “This is the highest turnout in Egypt’s history since the time of the pharaohs,” said Abdel Moez Ibrahim, the head of the Elections High Commission. More than 13 million people voted Monday and Tuesday. Officials need more time to count the ballots, delaying formal results. But the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is expected to haul in 40 percent of the vote, according to preliminary numbers, though it has turned down forming a majority with the ultraconservative Salafis, who took a surprising 25 percent.

    December 2, 2011 2:34 PM

  6. DAMAGE CONTROL Israel Pulls Controversial Ad Campaign Baz Ratner / AP Photo

    6. Israel Pulls Controversial Ad Campaign

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pulling a controversial ad campaign that recently blew up in the U.S. media. The campaign was an overt attempt to lure Israeli expats home and discouraged them from marrying American Jews. Though the ads have been running for two months, major organizations like the Jewish Federations of North America rallied against them this week, prompting Netanyahu to take action. In an apologetic statement, Israeli’s ambassador to the U.S. said the ads were never approved by the prime minister’s office and added that Netanyahu “deeply values the American Jewish community.”

    December 2, 2011 5:02 PM

  7. 'FAST AND FURIOUS' Justice: We Didn’t Mislead Congress Alexandre Meneghini / AP Photo

    7. Justice: We Didn’t Mislead Congress

    The Justice Department denies that it intentionally misled Congress with regard to Operation Fast and Furious, the controversial drug-trafficking investigation that, it was revealed, actually allowed the transfer of some guns in and out of the U.S. and even lost track of weapons. A February letter acknowledges that Justice’s initial claim that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico” may have been misleading, but the department insists it was not written that way intentionally.

    December 3, 2011 12:20 AM

  8. HUMAN RIGHTS U.N. Urges Aid to Syria Jacques Demarthon / AFP / FILE / Getty Images

    8. U.N. Urges Aid to Syria

    United Nations human-rights head Navi Pillay issued yet another appeal to protect Syria’s people from the government’s ongoing brutal crackdown. Holding an emergency meeting in Geneva on Friday, she demanded that President Bashar al-Assad be held accountable for crimes against humanity. Pillay added that the death toll since the start of the uprising eight months ago is now “much more” than 4,000, and warned of a civil war in the region. Meanwhile, activists reported that at least five people were killed following fresh demonstrations on Friday, while four on the Syrian-Lebanese border were wounded in gunfire coming from Syria.

    December 2, 2011 1:18 PM

  9. MONOPOLY Verizon Strikes Cable Deal Seth Wenig / AP Photo

    9. Verizon Strikes Cable Deal

    Verizon Wireless, Comcast, Time Warner. and Brightline Cable have come together over a deal to alter how people use TV, cellphones, and the Internet. Verizon Wireless has agreed to pay the three cable companies $3.6 billion for cellphone airwaves that they own but are unused. Not only would this deal make Verizon’s service the most dominant, it would allow Verizon to sell the cable companies’ products and vice versa. Regulators immediately signaled concerns about the antitrust implications of the deal.

    December 2, 2011 9:51 PM

  10. INVESTIGATION Corzine Subpoenaed for Testimony Andrew Harrer, Bloomberg / Getty Images

    10. Corzine Subpoenaed for Testimony

    It's unusual for a former member of Congress to testify on an issue under federal investigation, but a congressional panel is making an exception with former senator Jon Corzine. Corzine has been asked to speak about his role as chairman and CEO of MF Global, the brokerage firm that folded this fall and subsequently went bankrupt. The House Agriculture Committee called for Corzine's subpoena, saying it's "essential to fulfill our objectives," since Corzine didn't respond to an informal request for testimony. Federal regulators are investigating whether MF Global attempted to use customers' money to support its own trades.

    December 2, 2011 11:46 AM

  11. DANGEROUS Black Friday Sets Gun Sales Record Ethan Miller / Getty Images

    11. Black Friday Sets Gun Sales Record

    Black Friday shoppers flocked to stores in hordes for the best deals on TVs, stereos, clothes, and, apparently, guns. Firearm sales in the U.S. reached a record high—129,166—the day after Thanksgiving. That’s 32 percent more guns than were sold last Black Friday. The FBI confirmed the figures but could not explain the jump. A National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesman suggested that “there also is a burgeoning awakening of the American public that they do have a constitutional right to own guns,” but the president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence doubts there’s any significance to the increase. “It’s possible that gun companies are just catching on to creating a Black Friday frenzy for themselves,” he said.

    December 2, 2011 6:36 PM

  12. AMBITIOUS Zynga Aims for $9B Valuation Paul Sakuma

    12. Zynga Aims for $9B Valuation

    Facebook game maker Zynga is going big in its initial public offering, selling 100 million new shares at between $8.50 and $10 each, which would value the company at $9 billion. At the midpoint price, the IPO could raise $925 million, making it the largest offering from an Internet company since Google raised $1.7 billion in 2004. The sale would make Zynga, which makes FarmVille and other Facebook games, one of the largest game developers. Activision Blizzard Inc. currently has the highest market value, with $14.2 billion, followed by Electronic Arts with $7.7 billion.

    December 2, 2011 9:32 AM


    13. Trump to Moderate GOP Debate

    Donald Trump may not be running for president, but that isn’t stopping him from getting involved in the race. The businessman and reality-TV star announced Friday that he will team up with Newsmax to moderate a Republican debate on Dec. 27. Newsmax sent an invitation to the Republican candidates Friday afternoon announcing the new debate, but how many candidates will attend is still unclear. While Trump’s own flirtation with the Republican nomination ended in May, he has remained influential in many GOP circles and is sure to provide even more viral sensations. His visit with Sarah Palin during her flirtation for the nomination caused somewhat of a media frenzy, and he has met with GOP candidates Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and even Mitt Romney—who avoided having his photo taken with Trump.

    December 2, 2011 3:33 PM

  14. BUGS

    14. Starship Troopers Getting Remade

    The '90s are indeed back. Producer Neal Mortiz is rebooting Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi hit Starship Troopers, and has already tapped screenwriters Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz, whose past work includes Thor and X-Men: First Class. Starship Troopers is the latest of several of Verhoeven's movies to get remade. Total Recall and RoboCop are also in the works.

    December 2, 2011 1:02 PM

  15. PENGUIN POLITICS Conservatives Slam Children’s Films

    15. Conservatives Slam Children’s Films

    Happy Feet Two is having a hard time living up to the original and the resurgence of political conservatism in the U.S. may be to blame. The second installment of the arctic-themed franchise, like the first, emphasizes the effect of global warming through the experiences of penguins. This type of left-wing agenda pushing may have been able to fly in 2006, but this is 2011. Forty percent of American adults consider themselves conservative these days, and they won’t stand for a bunch of penguins dancing around spouting liberal environmentalism to their children. Happy Feet Two isn’t the only movie sequel this year to alienate conservatives. Pixar’s Cars 2 made the oil industry its bad guy, and it paid for it. The movie garnered 22 percent less than the original at the box office.

    December 2, 2011 12:14 AM

  16. CONTENDER Chrome Becomes No. 2 Browser Paul Sakuma / AP Photo

    16. Chrome Becomes No. 2 Browser

    Google came late to the Web-browser fight, but it's already taking on the frontrunner. Its free Chrome software has overtaken Mozilla's Firefox as the second-most-used browser in the world, behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which comes with its Windows operating system. Google started developing Chrome in 2006, partly out of concern that Microsoft could use Explorer to funnel users away from Google's search engine, and made the browser publicly available in 2008. Firefox, also free, launched in 2004.

    December 2, 2011 7:39 AM

  17. PRESSURE West Tightens Sanctions in Iran FarsNews / Getty Images

    17. West Tightens Sanctions in Iran

    In defiance of the Obama administration, the Senate unanimously passed economic sanctions against Iran on Thursday night—while several other Western nations followed suit. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other officials had warned that sanctions could raise oil prices without discouraging Iran's nuclear program. The amendment, which still needs House approval, would prevent organizations that do business with Iran's central bank from holding accounts in the U.S. The European Union, meanwhile, banned an additional 180 individuals and companies from travel to member states. Britain and France called for an embargo on Iranian purchases. The sanctions are in response to the ransacking of the British Embassy by an Iranian mob, apparently aligned with a government-controlled militia.

    December 2, 2011 6:28 AM

  18. FRIENDLY FIRE Pakistan Gave Go-Ahead on U.S. Raid MK CHAUDHRY / Landov

    18. Pakistan Gave Go-Ahead on Raid

    Following the worst friendly-fire incident in 10 years of war with Afghanistan, U.S. officials have revealed that their counterparts in Pakistan had actually permitted the American airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani troops on the Afghan-Pakistani border. Pakistani officials at the border-control center had given the U.S. permission to fire back when attacked by who they thought were Taliban militants. It turned out, according to U.S. officials, that it was Pakistani military personnel who’d fired at the American commandos. Pakistani representatives, however, deny that any of the country’s military forces were in the area when officials gave the U.S. the go-ahead for attack.

    December 1, 2011 10:16 PM

  19. BILLS, BILLS, BILLS Senate Rejects Tax-Cut Bills Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

    19. Senate Rejects Tax-Cut

    Thursday the Senate voted to kill two plans, highlighting a divide among Senate Republicans. The minority party killed President Obama's plan to push payroll tax cuts--and make them more generous for workers--through the end of next year as well as GOP leader Mitch McConnell's effort to renew a 2 percent payroll tax cut. The dual defeats suggest potential for compromise within the Senate on the Social Security payroll tax cut which is a key part of the president's jobs program. The Senate has also approved a $662 billion defense spending bill that would require suspected terrorists, including those captured in the U.S., to be held by the military. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, FBI Head Robert Mueller as well as the White House all oppose the costly bill, which would significantly increase the military’s role in dealing with terror suspects. Though the measure passed with flying colors in the Senate (93-7), the President has threatened to exercise his right to veto.

    December 1, 2011 9:05 PM

  20. TRAGIC Military Dogs Suffer PTSD Ed Andrieski / AP Photo

    20. Military Dogs Suffer PTSD

    With several thousand dogs on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military is learning that combat takes a toll on canines as well as humans. Of the 650 dogs that have seen active combat, more than 5 percent suffer from canine PTSD. The symptoms vary from hypervigilance and increased aggression to extreme timidity. The military is experimenting with desensitization treatment and anti-anxiety medication, but about half the dogs will half to be retired from service. They also stop being able to work. Dogs have become essential to U.S. military forces in Afghanistan for their ability to detect improvised explosive devices that contain almost no metal. “If the dog is trained to find improvised explosives and it looks like it’s working, but isn’t, it’s not just the dog that’s at risk,” says a military veterinarian. “This is a human health issue as well.”

    December 2, 2011 7:14 AM

  21. AWFUL Afghan Pressured to Marry Rapist Musadeq Sadeq / AP Photo

    21. Afghan Pressured to Marry Rapist

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai's pardon of a rape victim—she had been imprisoned for adultery—came with a serious catch: pressure to marry her attacker. The woman, Gulnaz, was imprisoned on charges of adultery after she was raped by a family member. Her plight came to light when it was depicted in a recent documentary commissioned by the European Union, and then again when the EU blocked the film's release for fear of hurting relations with Afghanistan. Because of the attention brought be the controversy, President Karzai's government offered a rare pardon. But announcement made it clear that there was an expectation that Gulnaz would marry her attacker. Afghan officials deny it was a stipulation of her release saying it was Gulnaz's own decision.

    December 2, 2011 7:11 AM

  22. DEFENSE Cain Launches 'Women for Cain'

    22. Cain Launches 'Women for Cain'

    Herman Cain's talk with his wife, Gloria, must have gone well if she is in fact chairing the newly launched “Women for Cain” initiative, which made its debut this morning on the candidate's website. The section features female supporters talking about the Cain while attacking his accusers as “vindictive,” “jealous,” “unstable,” and “husbandless.” “Dear Mrs. Cain Don’t pay attention to these pathetic husbandless women who are jealous of women like you in happy long-term marriages,” says one supporter on the site. Cain says he will talk with his wife over the weekend about whether to continue his campaign and will make an announcement Monday.

    December 2, 2011 11:50 AM

  23. TWISTED Teen Among Craigslist Suspects Tony Dejak / AP Photo

    23. Teen Among Craigslist Suspects

    A 16-year-old from Ohio, charged with being an accomplice in killings of jobseekers who answered a bogus Craigslist ad, could face murder charges as an adult. A court has scheduled a Dec. 15 hearing for Brogan Rafferty to decide whether or not to try him as a juvenile. He and 52-year-old Richard Beasley are charged with shooting and killing at least three people in southeastern Ohio, luring them with promises of farm work. Beasley is also facing wire-fraud charges and suspected of using a halfway house as a front for prostitution and drug deals.

    December 2, 2011 12:08 PM

  24. CRISIS Merkel Warns Euro Salvage Could Take 'Years' Michael Sohn / AP Photo

    24. Merkel Warns Euro Salvage Could Take 'Years'

    In an attempt to save the euro, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called for a new European Union treaty that would create a “fiscal union” that would give the EU greater power to intervene in countries' budgets. "We have started a new phase in European integration," said Merkel, while acknowledging that the project could take years. French President Nicolas Sarkozy also called for a new treaty, but he appeared to rule out Merkel's approach when he said "The reform of Europe is not a march toward supra-nationality.” In the short term, the crisis continues, with Merkel reiterating her opposition to the European Central Bank issuing bonds.

    December 2, 2011 5:51 PM

  25. COMPROMISE Boehner: We’ll Pass Payroll Tax Cut Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

    25. Boehner to Push Payroll Tax Cut

    House Speaker John Boehner said he will pass President Obama’s payroll tax cut, but only if the Democrats give a little on other GOP policies. In a closed-door meeting Friday morning, Boehner referred to the package he’s putting forward as turning “chicken shit into chicken salad,” according to people in attendance. His proposal will include an easing of environmental regulations on boilers as a precedent to building the controversial Keystone pipeline. Boehner will have some persuading to do, since there’s a lot of internal division among the GOP on whether to greenlight major Democratic policies, but the Speaker will try to couple them with measures that the Republicans want passed. Yesterday, a minority of the Senate voted to kill Obama’s payroll tax holiday. Obama demanded that Congress pass the bill before the holiday break, or “we can all spend Christmas here together.”

    December 2, 2011 12:56 PM