Content Section
  1. ARCHAIC Bipartisan Deal ‘Preserves Filibuster’ Alex Wong / Getty Images

    1. Bipartisan Deal Limits Filibustering

    Senate Democrats and Republicans have made a deal setting some new limits for filibustering.The new deal is said to remove certain obstacles that prevent bills from getting to the floor in a timely matter. But don't get too excited. “The rules change doesn’t really do a lot,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson from Georgia. “It certainly preserves the 60-vote threshold, preserves the blue clip procedure. It preserves the filibuster.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has reportedly agreed to allow Republicans to add two amendments. The obstructionist filibustering tactic has caused the last Congress to be largely ineffective, and Republicans say their spiked usage of the filibuster is because Reid wouldn't previously allow amendments.

    January 24, 2013 7:30 PM

  2. remote leadership Chávez Holds Meeting From Cuba Rodrigo Abd / AP Photo

    2. Chávez Holds Meeting From Cuba

    Hugo Chávez may be hospitalized, but that isn’t stopping him from asserting his presidential powers. Venezuela’s foreign minister, Elias Jaua, said on Thursday that he met with President Chávez in Cuba, where the president “made decisions about the international agenda [and] the domestic agenda.” Chávez has been recovering from complications after a surgery for his unspecified cancer since early December and hasn’t appeared or spoken publicly since then—even after winning reelection in January. “The president is in [a] full process of recuperation. However, he is coming from the most complex and deepest battle against the illness,” Jaua said of his condition.

    January 24, 2013 10:43 PM

  3. IN WITH THE NEW Kerry Aces Confirmation Hearing Saul Loeb, AFP / Getty Images

    3. Kerry Aces Confirmation Hearing

    If Hillary Clinton is the more popular than her soon-to-be sucessor, you wouldn’t have known it at John Kerry’s Senate confirmation hearing Thursday. President Obama’s nominee for secretary of state spoke in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he has chaired for the past four years, to praise by both Republicans and Democrats. He urged Congress to focus on the country’s fiscal state. “Foreign policy is economic policy,” he said. Kerry is expected to be voted in by the committee as soon as Monday or Tuesday. “I look at you, in being nominated for this, as someone who has almost led their entire life, if you will, for this moment, being able to serve in this capacity,” said the panel's top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

    January 24, 2013 6:15 PM

  4. connected Cuba Tests Fiber-Optic Internet Cable Ariana Cubillos/AP

    4. Cuba Tests Fiber-Optic Internet Cable

    The country with the world's second-worst Internet service is about to join the modern connected world. On Thursday, the ETECSA, Cuba's telecom monopoly, acknowledged that the country's first hard-wired fiber-optic Internet cable has been activated. Up until now, Internet in Cuba has been sourced through satellite links, which don't reach most citizens, for whom access to the Internet is limited. The project began in 2011 and ETECSA is quick to warn that though the ALBA-1 fiber-optic cable is activitated, it's still in the testing stage and won't mean an instant access increase. 

    January 24, 2013 7:55 PM

  5. IT'S OFFICIAL Pentagon Lifts Ban on Women in Combat Jacquelyn Martin/AP

    5. Pentagon Lifts Ban on Women in Combat

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta officially lifted the ban on women in combat Thursday, a move which opens up roughly 230,000 battlefront posts. At a Pentagon press briefing, Panetta elaborated on the landmark decision. “They serve, they’re wounded, and they die right next to each other,” he said. “The time has come to recognize that reality.” General Martin Dempsey confirmed the military's readiness to make the change, saying it received "unanimous" support from military leadership. "We all wear the same uniform. We all take the same oath," he said. The decision is likely to present a challenge to top military authority, who have until 2016 to deem some specific jobs still unfit for women.

    January 24, 2013 2:18 PM

  6. ONE STEP CLOSER RI House Passes Gay-Marriage Bill PEDRO ARMESTRE / AFP

    6. RI House Passes Gay-Marriage Bill

    New England’s last same-sex marriage holdout is one step closer to allowing gay couples to marry. The Rhode Island House overwhelmingly passed a gay-marriage bill Thursday, 51-19, following an emotional debate. The bill now moves on to the state Senate, where pundits say it is too hard to predict whether it will pass. Still, Thursday’s vote was called “history in the making” by 70-year-old Ken Fish, who showed up early to watch the proceedings, as he and his partner of 25 years have waited a long time for the state to allow gay marriage.

    January 24, 2013 6:11 PM

  7. JUSTICE American Sentenced in Mumbai Attack AFP

    7. American Sentenced in Mumbai Attack

    An American man was sentenced on Thursday to 35 years in prison for playing a key role in plotting the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai.  David Coleman Headley, 52, pled guilty to 12 counts, including conspiracy to aid militants from the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group linked to al Qaeda. He pled guilty in U.S. courts to avoid extradition to India, where he would likely face the death penalty. More than 160 people died in the three-day siege of India’s most populous city.

    January 24, 2013 1:44 PM

  8. ACTION Dems Propose Assault Weapons Ban Win McNamee / Getty Images News

    8. Dems Propose Assault Weapons Ban

    Get ready for some fireworks on Capitol Hill. On Thursday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips, which she said will expand on the law that was in effect until 2004 but has been vehemently opposed by Republicans. Sen. Feinstein said the bill aims to “dry up the supply of these weapons over time.” The new measure will ban the sale of about 150 different types of firearms, including rifles and some handguns, but will exempt firearms used for hunting and fishing. It will also require that grandfathered weapons be included on the national registry.

    January 24, 2013 4:30 PM

  9. I CHOOSE YOU Obama Picks White as SEC Head White in Jan. 2002. (Suzanne Plunkett/AP)

    9. Obama Picks White as SEC Head

    It’s the Oscar and Obama nomination season! Ex–federal prosecutor Mary Jo White is President Obama’s nomination to head the Securities and Exchange Commision. White spent nine years in the Southern District of New York. The SEC serves as a watchdog over Wall Street and corporate finances. The current SEC chief is Elisse Walter, who is finishing the term of Mary Schapiro, who resigned in December.

    January 24, 2013 9:20 AM

  10. Falsetto Voicemails From Te’o’s Girlfriend Released Lorenzo Bevilaqua/Disney-ABC

    10. Voicemails From Te’o’s GF Released

    You’ve got to hear it to believe it. Manti Te’o has released three eerie voicemails from his girlfriend to Katie Couric, who posted them in a Web exclusive. In the voicemails, we hear the mastermind behind the fake girlfriend hoax reassure Te’o as she goes into her first chemotherapy session that she “just wanted to call you and keep you posted. I miss you, I love you, bye.” In another disturbing message, a tearful “Lennay” accuses Te'o of being with another girl. The third was from the night she claimed to have left the hospital post-chemo: “I know you’re probably doing homework or with the boys, but I do want to say I love you and goodnight … I’ll do my best. I love you so much hon.”

    Click to hear the voicemails.

    January 24, 2013 1:32 PM

  11. THE FORCE J.J. Abrams to Direct New ‘Star Wars’ Kevin Winter / Getty Images

    11. J.J. Abrams to Direct New ‘Star Wars’

    It’s going to take expert use of “the force” to quell fans’ fears and meet their expectations for the planned Star Wars sequel, but J.J. Abrams is up for the challenge. Abrams is set to direct the polarizing new Star Wars film, The Wrap reported Thursday, and added that he beat out Ben Affleck for the gig. Abrams has a history rebooting sci-fi franchises, having helmed the recent Star Trek smash. Disney already announced that it’s shooting for a 2015 release for the new film. Abrams will also be directing an upcoming biopic of Lance Armstrong.

     

    January 24, 2013 5:11 PM

  12. Sign up For the daily beast's cheat sheet email
  13. YIKES North Korea Threatens Nuke Test U.S. envoy warned N. Korea against test on Thursday. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty)

    12. North Korea Threatens Nuke Test

    Tell us how you really feel, North Korea. The country threatened Thursday to launch a new nuclear test and long-range rocket tests as part of “all out” action against its “sworn enemy,” the U.S. Calling the U.S. the “main player” behind harsh new economic sanctions against North Korea, Pyongyang said it would retaliate with “force, not words, as it requires jungle law as the rule for survival.” Thursday’s statement, while with harsher rhetoric, is only the latest in North Korea’s threats against the U.S.—and comes just one month after North Korea successfully launched into orbit a rocket that was capable of reaching the U.S.

    January 24, 2013 6:32 AM

  14. POLITICAL POKE Zuckerberg to Host Christie Fundraiser Richard Drew/AP

    13. Zuckerberg to Host Christie Fundraiser

    Maybe Mark Zuckerberg is hoping that Chris Christie’s newfound popularity will rub off. The Facebook founder will host a fundraiser for the New Jersey governor at Zuckerberg’s Palo Alto mansion next month, both sides confirmed on Thursday. Christie adviser Michael DuHaime said that Zuckerberg approached Christie prior to his decision to run for reelection this year. The pair worked together—with Newark Mayor Cory Booker—in 2010 after Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark public schools and have worked together since on education issues. Could it be the real reason that Cory Booker didn’t want to run again: he didn’t want to break up the group?

    January 24, 2013 11:57 AM

  15. TERROR

    14. U.K. Warns of Benghazi Threat

    The British Foreign Press office warned of a “specific, imminent” threat to Westerners in Libya Thursday, urging any British citizens to flee the city of Benghazi. Officials believe the latest threat might be linked to Western intervention in Mali, which may also have led to last week’s deadly hostage fiasco in Algeria. Britain didn’t give any details about the reported threat in Benghazi, where four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens were killed in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. embassy. Earlier this week, a senior Algerian official said several people in the militant squad that blew up the Algerian gas complex were involved in the Benghazi attack.

    January 24, 2013 11:42 AM

  16. LOVEFEST Smooth Confirmation Hearing for Kerry Mark Wilson / Getty Images News

    15. Smooth Confirmation Hearing for Kerry

    Wonder what Susan Rice is doing right now? John Kerry was met with widespread praise by his soon-to-be former fellow senators at his confirmation hearing on Thursday—although he did get some criticism from a lone shouting protester. A woman interrupted the hearing to call for peace in the Middle East, causing Kerry to reminisce about his first hearing on Capitol Hill—when he famously asked “how many more men can you ask to die for a mistake?” while protesting the Vietnam War. Luckily for Kerry, most of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—a committee that Kerry chairs—were drinking his Kool-Aid, with Tennessee Republican Bob Corker saying Kerry is “someone who has led almost their entire life, if you will, for this moment, being able to serve in this capacity.”

    January 24, 2013 1:10 PM

  17. ‘SO EXCITED’ HBO Renews Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’ Kevin Winter/Getty

    16. HBO Renews Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’

    When do they move to the Upper West Side? Lena Dunham announced that Girls is coming back for a third season on HBO. Dunham told Alec Baldwin the news on a podcast, saying that she was excited to start Season 3 at the end of March. Fresh off Golden Globe wins for Best TV Comedy and Best Actress, Girls will shoot some of the new season on the same production stage that 30 Rock used. Looks like there’s no way to muffle this voice of a generation.

    January 24, 2013 11:32 AM

  18. DEPRIMENTE High Unemployment for Spain’s Youth Young job seeker in Barcelona in Nov. 2012. (David Ramos/Getty)

    17. High Unemployment for Spain’s Youth

    And millennials thought post-college employment was bleak in America. Sixty percent of those under 25 in Spain have no job, and the nation faces its the highest unemployment levels since the 1970s, according data released by the government Thursday. The nationwide jobless rate rose to 26 percent, or 5.97 million people, according to the National Statistics Institute—up from 25 percent the previous quarter. It’s not over yet, either: with the recession likely to last until the end of 2013, net job creation looks increasingly unlikely.

    January 24, 2013 6:38 AM

  19. Drama at Sea Presidential Yacht in Legal Battle YURI GRIPAS / AFP

    18. Presidential Yacht in Legal Battle

    For decades it was the extravagant floating haven for U.S. presidents, but now the USS Sequoia is embroiled in a legal tug-of-war. Once called the “floating White House,” the Sequoia, which was used by every president from Herbert Hoover to Gerald R. Ford, was auctioned off in 1977. Now, it's owner is suing a company called FE Partners, which lent the Sequoia money last year but is now allegedly seizing on a technicality to buy the ship for half its worth and possibly sell it overseas. The company claims that the ship's owner mishandled the loan and the vessel has been mismanaged. Thar she blows. 

    January 24, 2013 3:00 PM

  20. FINALLY Minaj-Carey Fight Airs on ‘Idol’ Judges Carey and Minaj on Jan. 9. (Getty)

    19. Minaj-Carey Fight Airs on ‘Idol’

    So that’s it? After months of hype from Fox, the American Idol episode featuring the fight between judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj aired Wednesday night—and it was definitely a letdown. After a video leaked in October of Minaj cursing out Carey and saying “I told them, I’m not fucking putting with her fucking highness over there,” Fox had majorly hyped Wednesday’s episode. But in front of the cameras, Minaj simply sighed dramatically and questioned the judges’ contention that one of the contestants, 20-year-old Summer Cunningham, really sounded better singing country music. Carey took slight issue with Minaj—and that was it. Wow, things have gotten really dull on Idol without Simon Cowell.

    January 24, 2013 7:09 AM

  21. HOAX

    20. UVA Wise Cleared After Lockdown

    The University of Virginia’s satellite campus in Wise was cleared Wednesday night after a report of a gunman—which state police later confirmed was a hoax. Shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday, a UVA Wise student called 911, saying there was a man on campus armed with a gun, state police said. Campus, local, and state police all responded by enacting a building-by-building lockdown. At the same time, the student who called 911 eventually confessed to state police that the whole thing was a hoax.

    January 24, 2013 7:08 AM

  22. ALLEGATIONS

    21. Ex-L.A. Teacher Arrested for Sex Abuse

    A former Los Angeles elementary-school teacher was arrested Wednesday for molesting 20 children, police said. Prosecutors filed 15 charges, including sexual abuse and lewd acts on a child, against Robert Pimental, 57, who was a teacher at George de la Torre Jr. Elementary School in Wilmington. The charges stem from an investigation that begin in March and involve a dozen children, although detectives say Pimental preyed on an additional eight girls. This is only the latest allegation to hit L.A. schools—an audit released in November found that the nation’s second-largest school district had failed to promptly report 150 cases of teacher misconduct.

    January 24, 2013 7:07 AM

  23. Doprah Armstrong Sued Over Books Brandon Malone/Reuters, via Landov

    22. Armstrong Sued Over Books

    So...it is about the bike? Two readers of Lance Armstrong's book It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life and Every Second Counts have filed a federal suit against him and his publishers, saying the books are based on lies. Rob Stutzman, a public affairs consultant, and Jonathan Wheeler, a professional chef, is asking the U.S. District court in California to grant them class-action status on behalf of readers who fell for the false advertising, and they're asking for refunds. They cite Armstrong's confession on Oprah that he doped to win his record seven victories in the Tour de France. A librarian in Australia has already gained attention by promising to file Armstrong's books under "fiction."

    January 23, 2013 7:17 PM

  24. BREAKTHROUGH Panetta Lifts Ban on Women in Military Senior Airman Brett Clashman/USAF

    23. Panetta Lifts Ban on Women in Military

    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the military ban on women in combat Wednesday, a move that opens up thousands of frontline positions and potential elite commando jobs. The decision gives the U.S. military until 2016 to seek “special exceptions” for jobs they believe should remain closed to women. The highly controversial 1994 ban was brought under scrutiny this past November when four female service members challenged the Pentagon's ban on women in combat.

    January 23, 2013 3:19 PM

  25. HIGH PITCH Te’o Hoax Mastermind Used Falsetto Te'o training in Fla. on Wednesday. (J. Meric/Getty)

    24. Te’o Hoax Mastermind Used Falsetto

    That must’ve been some voice. The lawyer of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo—the guy who’s been called the “mastermind” of the fake-girlfriend hoax—said his client posed as Manti Te’o’s girlfriend Lennay Kekua on the phone. How did he do that? He used a falsetto voice to fool Notre Dame’s linebacker. Despite speaking on the phone every night, Manti did not figure out that it was really a man on the other line. “Come on, Hollywood does it all the time,” the lawyer said. Tuiasosopo was the president of his high school’s drama club. Apparently none of this was a prank, but instead it was an attempt to establish “a communication with someone.”

    January 24, 2013 9:38 AM

  26. Faked it? Beyoncé Lip-Syncing Reports Conflict Mark Gail/MCT, via Getty Images

    25. Beyoncé Lip-Syncing Reports Conflict

    Because we won't rest until we know the truth about the queen of pop's alleged Inaugural Ball lip-syncing scandal, the rumors continue. CNN quoted an anonymous "inaugural official" as saying that she did not sing, but lip-synced over a pre-recorded version. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal snagged an audio tape that sounds like Beyoncé is singing over her own voice. The Marine Band accompanying her originally said they pretended to play while she lip-synced, but later retracted the statement, saying they didn't know. When asked about the Beyoncé-gate, presidential spokesman Jay Carney told the White House press corps said he knew nothing and was "glad you guys are focused on the important issues of the day here."

    January 23, 2013 9:29 PM

  27. EXTREME MEASURES Kansas Gov. Wants to End Income Tax Gov. Brownback during his State of the State on Jan. 15. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

    26. Kansas Gov. Wants to End Income Tax

    Will Kansas become the new live-free-or-die state? Maybe in taxes, at least: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Republicans in the Statehouse are moving closer to eliminating the state income tax, a move that many in the GOP nationwide have hoped will serve as a model for other states. Kansas lawmakers received a bill Wednesday that reduces taxes, just one month after the largest tax cut in Kansas history took effect and after Medicaid was handed over to private insurers. “I think it’s the leading edge of the conservative economic movement,” said Kansas state Rep. Tom Sloan, although many critics—including in the Republican Party—have charged that these policies will leave many in the state without basic services or even proper education.

    January 24, 2013 7:03 AM

  28. NEXT UP Poll: Hillary Beats Biden in ’16 Biden on Monday, and Clinton yesterday. (Getty; AFP/Getty)

    27. Poll: Hillary Beats Biden in ’16

    Has no one been swayed by The Onion’s autobiography of Joe Biden? The vice president comes in second in favorability ratings to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to a new poll released Wednesday. Clinton has favorable rating of 67 percent, compared with a 26 percent unfavorable rating, while Biden has a 48 percent favorable rating and a 37 percent unfavorable rating, according to the joint Washington Post–ABC News poll. Meanwhile, Democrats said Wednesday that Biden has ambitions of a 2016 run, with one source close to the White House telling Politico that the vice president is “intoxicated” by the idea. But don’t get your hopes up too soon for a Biden-Clinton race: Democratic sources insist it’s unlikely the two would challenge each other.

    January 24, 2013 6:34 AM

  29. Progress U.S. Jobless Claims Decrease Mario Tama/Getty Images

    28. U.S. Jobless Claims Decrease

    Weekly jobless claims dropped to a five-year low last week, surprising analysts. During the week ending January 19, applications for unemployment insurance payments decreased by 5,000 to 330,000, the lowest number since the same week in 2008. But this change matches similar patterns in previous calendar years, due to the challenges of adjusting data during the holiday period and at the start of quarters. One expert indicated that the numbers would rise again at the end of the month, saying, "The swings are attributable to the calendar. We're going to pay for this."

    January 24, 2013 9:33 AM