Dec 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens’ Brilliant Life

Today: Gingrich Under Fire in Iowa Debate, Fukushima Plant Declared Stable, Nikki Haley Endorses Romney
The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet: Morning

December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens, who took on Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton and even God, has lost his battle with esophageal cancer at age 62. The Daily Beast looks back at his most famous feuds, his lasting one-liners, and photographs from his life.


It's not always fun being the frontrunner: Newt Gingrich came under serious attack from Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann in Thursday night's Republican debate. They attacked him, in particular, for the $1.6 million he received from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. "I did no lobbying of any kind for any organization," insisted Gingrich, who also responded to questions about his inconsistency by saying "I do change things when conditions change." Mitt Romney mostly avoided Gingrich, and took a few tough questions of his own. Moderator Chris Wallace read off a list of issues on which Romney has changed positions: guns, gay rights, and abortion. Romney replied that Wallace's list was wrong and that he's only changed his mind on abortion. "I've learned over time," he said. "Like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and others ... sometimes I'm wrong."


Let the decontamination begin: Japanese officials have brought the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into "cold shutdown condition" nine months after the earthquake and tsunami that caused a meltdown. That means the water that cools the nuclear rods remains below the boiling point and radioactive emissions are under control. Japan's work, however, isn't done, as now the country must clean up the plant and decontaminate the surrounding area. Officials say it will take decades to dismantle the plant completely.


Could this put a dent in Newt Gingrich's big lead in South Carolina? Gov. Nikki Haley endorsed Mitt Romney on Fox and Friends Friday. She'll then join him in the state over the weekend as he attends a series of town-hall meetings. Haley also endorsed Romney in 2008, when she was a state representative. Haley was elected with the help of the Tea Party movement, and her endorsement has the potential to give Romney a boost in a conservative states where he is trailing Gingrich. "What I wanted was someone who knew what it was like to turn broken companies around," Haley said.


Muammar Gaddafi's gruesome death may have been illegal. Luis Moreno, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, said Thursday that Gaddafi's death may have been a war crime. "I think the way in which Mr. Gaddafi was killed creates suspicions of ... war crimes," he remarked. Moreno's comment came after Gaddafi's daughter, Aisha, demanded the ICC to investigate her father's death. Moreno has sent a letter to Libya's new government, the National Transitional Council, asking about its plans to investigate possible war crimes by both Gaddafi loyalists and rebels.

Sheriff Joe Decries 'Witch Hunt'
After feds say he discriminated against Latinos.
Rick Perry Hopes to Be Tim Tebow
And stage late Iowa comeback.
Tea Party Leader Busted With Gun
Mark Meckler tried to bring weapon on a plane.
Watch the GOP Debate's Best Moments
See all the best feuds and flubs.
Christian Bale Roughed Up in China
As he tries to visit government critic.
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