Dec 23, 2011

Give Us an Explanation, Ron Paul!


Today: Boehner Demanded House Pass Extension, Twin Suicide Bombings Hit Syria, Chinese Writer Jailed
The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet: Morning

December 23, 2011
JUDGMENT DAY

The 2012 contender—who recently surged ahead in the polls—has disavowed racist statements made in his newsletter two decades ago, but the issue won't die—and it's only gotten worse since Paul walked out of a CNN interview. He can lay the matter to rest by saying who wrote the comments and giving a speech outlining his actual racial views, writes The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky.

BEHIND THE SCENES

There was no Braveheart rallying speech for House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday night when he told fellow Republicans that the game was up and they'd have to pass the two-month payroll-tax cut extension. In a conference call, he demanded his members pass the extension and permitted no comments. "Speaker's decision," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling when introducing Boehner on the call. But Boehner may not have secured the bill's passage yet: he has to pass it by unanimous consent, meaning that any Republican could potentially block it—if they can get back to Washington in time for the Friday-morning vote.

ATTACK

An ominous development in Syria: the capital was rocked by twin suicide bombings Friday—one day after a team of Arab League observers entered the country. An estimated 30 people were killed in the blasts, which occurred in security and intelligence buildings. State-run media quickly blamed the double car bombings on al Qaeda, but activists say they were a government plot to influence the observers. The bombs went off within minutes of each other in an upscale district in Damascus and targeted a state intelligence building and security building, according to state TV.

HARSH

Chinese activist Chen Wei was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison for "inciting subversion" through essays he posted online. Inspired by the Arab Spring, Chen posted several pro-democracy essays online before getting arrested along with hundreds of other dissidents. He will also have his political rights revoked for a further two years. At the conclusion of his two-hour trial, Chen told the court, "Dictatorship will fail; democracy will prevail."

INTRIGUE

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani accused the military on Friday of plotting the overthrow of his government in incendiary comments on the floor of the National Assembly. He said that "conspiracies are being hatched to pack up the elected government" and that the military "cannot be a state within a state." Pakistan's Army said that it will continue supporting democracy and says it is not planning to take over power. Rumors of a coup have been swirling for months, ever since claims surfaced that the government had sought American support against the military following the killing of Osama bin Laden.


PREDATORY
Capital One Ignores Customer Bankruptcy
Continues to pursue debts—illegally.
PANIC
New Zealand Rattled by Quake
Christchurch hit again, after February tremor.
SCARY
Brain-Eating Amoebas Deaths Rise?
After two die in net pot incidents.
PSA
France: Remove Dangerous Implants
State will foot the bill.
REALITY VICTORY
Melanie Amaro Wins "X Factor"
Takes home $5 million recording contract.
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