Morning Briefing: October 20, 2011

According to reports, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadaffi has been captured and/or killed after rebels found him “hiding in a hole” in his hometown of Sirte, which the fighters captured today. The National Transitional Council told Reuters that Gadhafi died of wounds suffered in battle; the White House is currently seeking to confirm reports.

In a fiery speech, Vice President Biden attacked Republicans for putting millionaires’ interests ahead of jobs for teachers and first responders. Suggesting that Republicans in Congress had fallen out of touch with the rest of the nation, Biden said, “I don’t know where these guys live.”

New wage data from the Social Security Administration are “awful,” showing the median paycheck fell again in 2010, down 1.2 percent to $26,364. “That works out to $507 a week, the lowest level, after adjusting for inflation, since 1999.”

Citibank will pay $285 million “to settle charges that it defrauded investors who bought toxic housing-related debt that the bank bet would fail.” The Securities and Exchange Commission says the bank “misled investors.

In Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “bluntly warned” Pakistan that it would face “serious consequences” if it continued to tolerate safe havens for extremists. “No one should be in any way mistaken about allowing this to continue without paying a very big price,” she said.

After all the GOP candidates participated in immigrant-bashing at this week’s debate, Republican leaders worry they are alienating Hispanic voters. Republican strategists say the party has little chance of reclaiming key battleground states with large Hispanic populations if candidates continue to throw “red meat around in an attempt to mollify a particular aspect of the Republican base.”

Many states are collecting far less in taxes than they expected when they drew up their budgets this year, forcing them to consider another round of deep cuts. Revenue has failed to rebound in the wake of the Great Recession, and states are still grappling with the effects of high unemployment and a weak housing market.

The effort to overhaul No Child Left Behind hit a speed bump Wednesday when Sen. Rand Paul (R) blocked a markup of the bill, complaining that there had not been sufficent time to consider the bill. The new bill, a product of a deal reached by Sens. Tom Harkin (D) and Mike Enzi (R), would streamline the mandates created by NCLB.

Adbusters, the magazine that first made the call for an occupation of Wall Street, is now calling a for 1 percent “Robin Hood” tax on financial transactions. The magazine has written an open letter calling for protests on Oct. 29, when the G20 meets, to impose a 1 percent tax on financial transactions and currency trades.

And finally: Pop band Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is not pleased with Fox News using his music, Tweeting yesterday, “Dear Fox News, don’t play our music on your evil f****** channel ever again. Thank you.” Indeed, Fox and Friends had used one of the band’s songs Monday.

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