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Morning Briefing: November 7, 2011

By ThinkProgress  

"Morning Briefing: November 7, 2011"

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States with strict voter ID laws more than tripled in 2011, with Kansas, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas set to enact new laws. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Israel (NY) said Friday that the DCCC is planning “a major voter protection initiative” in response to “make sure that every American that has the right to vote is able to vote.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency will release a report this week that “will make the most detailed charges to date that Iran’s nuclear program is geared towards weapons development and military use.” Though Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes, the report charges that Iran’s attempt to develop nuclear technologies has “no other explanation” except that “Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear weapon.”

Despite growing talk of repealing the $500 billion in defense cuts that will kick in starting in 2013 if the debt reduction super committee fails to reach an agreement, the cuts appear likely to hold. Republicans doubt the House can pass another budget bill this year, and it is unlikely that President Obama would sign a repeal of the cuts.

Two decades after Congress set up a system to clean up toxic air pollution, some communities are still exposed to risky concentrations of hazardous chemicals, according to an NPR investigation. Roughly 300 of the 1,600 plants across the country have been considered “high priority violators” for at least 10 years, leaving communities vulnerable.

Congress is expected to pass a year-long extension of unemployment benefits before the end of the year, but potential hurdles in the process still remain. The extension will likely get attached to larger legislation, but if it doesn’t, it could reignite past battles between Democrats and Republicans that could push the fight to the brink of expiration.

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators will take part in an 11-mile march through Manhattan today, in an effort to reach out to different parts of the borough. Local “community leaders, elected officials and grassroots organizers” will join in the demonstration.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) presidential campaign owes an additional $230,000 in travel costs, “much of which appears to be owed to private jet owners who leased their planes to the campaign at rates lower than the law allows.” Reports have shown that the governor has been renting planes from supporters at sometimes half of commercial rates.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras have reached a agreement to form a transitional unity government to oversee Greece’s debt-relief deal with other European Union countries. Papandreou, who survived a no-confidence vote last week, will resign once the details are in place.

Far-right political parties are on the rise in Europe, thanks to surprisingly robust support from people under the age of 30, according to a new report from the British think tank Demos. “These activists are largely out of sight of mainstream politicians, but they are motivated, active, and growing in size. Politicians across the continent need to sit up, listen and respond,” said Demos’s Jamie Bartlett.

And finally: Toilets are no longer officially deemed a weapon by the United States government, thanks to the removal of “chemical toilets” from the United States Munitions List, which includes things like nuclear weapons, tanks, and aircraft carriers.

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