Dec 28, 2011

Inside Newt’s Crash-and-Burn Speakership

Today: Congress's Wealth Grew During Crisis , Yemen Leader Calls For Truce , Arab Monitors Begin Syria Mission
The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet: Morning

December 27, 2011

Gingrich led a conservative revolution in the House—until his own congressional troops turned on him. The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz and Lois Romano have the inside story on why he failed—including an interview with his former spokesman, Tony Blankley, who says it was "tricky" trying to defend the unpredictable speaker. "It was leadership by chaos," former Rep. Susan Molinari says. "It got to the point where people stopped listening."


Need another reason to be angry at Washington? The average net worth of members of Congress has grown 15 percent since 2004, even as the average American's net worth has dropped 8 percent. Nearly half of all members of Congress are millionaires. The median net worth for a member of Congress, according to The New York Times, is $913,000; in the House it's $725,000 excluding home equity, says The Washington Post. One reason that both the Times and Post cite for the growing wealth of politicians is the enormous cost of running a campaign: since 1976, the average amount that winning House candidates spend has quadrupled to $1.4 million.


What happens when you protest in Yemen, calling for President Saleh to be tried for the death of demonstrators? Saleh's forces opened fire, killing 9 on Saturday. Sunday, the nation's acting leader Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi called for a truce, saying that both sides must commit to an agreement that avoids escalation of violence and a derailment of the transition deal. The tens of thousands that flooded the streets of Yemen's capital, however, won't be so quick to accept the conditions—which includes a list of 412 people who will be given immunity.


Fifty monitors from the Arab League have entered Syria to evaluate whether the country is complying with a regional plan to end violence. They entered the country Monday—the same day activists say the government killed at least 30 people. Their first stop was the city of Homs, which has been the seat of much of the violence. Activists say government tanks began pulling out early Tuesday. The Syrian government has promised the monitors freedom of movement but is also responsible for their security and transport.


The gunman in Texas who murdered six people Christmas morning before killing himself was wearing a Santa suit during the rampage. Police still haven't released any identities except to say the victims, who appear to be part of the same family, were aged 15 to 59 and that the shooter was one of the older men among the dead. The group had just opened presents when the shooting took place in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, which the state Senate had recently named the "Christmas Capital of Texas."

Paul 'Uncomfortable' Around Gays
Says former aide.
Year's Biggest Science Breakthroughs
From cancer vaccines to the God particle.
Iranian Woman Could Be Hanged
Was originally set to be stoned for adultery.
FDA Warned About French Implants
Ten years before European regulators caught on.
Prince Philip Out of Hospital
After undergoing heart surgery.
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