Morning Briefing: June 10, 2011

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"Morning Briefing: June 10, 2011"

Five months after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords survived a gunshot wound to the head, Pia Carusone, Giffords’ chief of staff, says she may never be able to communicate normally or return to Congress. In a candid interview, Carusone deflated some of the overly optimistic assessments about Giffords’ recovery.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) signed a new immigration law that surpasses Arizona’s as “the toughest in the nation.” Not only does the bill allow police to detain suspected undocumented immigrants, the law requires public schools to determine students’ citizenship status and will take effect Sept. 1.

Goldman Sachs and several other financial firms are being investigated by the SEC to determine whether they “violated foreign bribery laws when dealing with the Libyan sovereign-wealth fund.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is standing by his vow to block any candidate — specifically Elizabeth Warren — for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, his aide said yesterday. Addressing charges of sexism, McConnell’s spokesman said “It’s not sexist. It’s not Elizabeth Warren-specific. It’s any nominee.”

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY) announced yesterday that a second hearing on the supposed radicalization within the American-Muslim community has been scheduled for next Wednesday. Next week’s hearing will focus on the “dangerous problem of radicalization in U.S. prisons.” Critics have compared King’s hearings to a modern day witch hunt.

A new study ties the accelerated thinning of snows in the Rocky Mountains to global warming, NPR reports. Over 70 million people depend on the water that comes from the snowpack, which also feeds several major rivers. One climate scientist warns that global warming’s effect on the snowpack, “is already affecting and will profoundly affect the frequency of droughts in the West.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been in talks with the White House “about leaving her job next year to become head of the World Bank.” “Hillary Clinton wants the job,” said one source who knows the secretary well. Current Bank head Robert Zoellick will leave at the end of his term in mid-2012.

“A group of House Democrats is calling for any deal to raise the debt ceiling to bring about the end of the Bush tax rates for the wealthy,” noting that the cuts are one of the largest contributors to the debt. The lawmakers, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), say ending the tax cuts would be less harmful to the economy than cutting an equivalent amount of government spending.

And finally: While most pundits have roundly condemned Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) for sending lewd pictures to fans on Twitter, The View’s Barbara Walters seemed to enjoy seeing Weiner’s namesake. When conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck sarcastically said, “It must be a flattering photo,” Walters quickly shot back by saying, “Let me tell you something: it is!” “The crowd went wild and Hasselbeck almost fell out of her chair.

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