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Morning Briefing: November 9, 2011

By ThinkProgress  

"Morning Briefing: November 9, 2011"

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A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that a majority of Americans want the government to “pursue policies that try to reduce” income inequality. Sixty-one percent recognized that the gap between rich and poor is “larger than it’s been historically” and felt that the federal government is “necessary” in addressing it.

The Labor Department announced that the U.S. had 3.4 million job openings in September, up from 3.1 million in August, which marks “the latest sign of improvement” in the economic recovery. U.S. employers say they are looking to fill those jobs and “remain confident that demand will grow slowly but steadily in the coming months.”

It could take “more than eight years” to clear the 2.1 million homes in foreclosure or with seriously delinquent mortgages, according to a new study. “The backlogs suggest that the fallout from the nation’s worst housing-market collapse is likely to weigh on real estate prices in many markets for years to come.”

A small group of Occupy Wall Street protesters are planning a 300-mile march to the Occupy D.C. encampment. The demonstrators plan to arrive in the nation’s capital as the congressional super committee decides the fate of the nation’s tax policies, such as the Bush tax cuts.

A “growing number of GOP lawmakers have disavowed Norquist’s pledge against supporting tax increases in recent days, telling the Hill they no longer feel bound to uphold” the anti-tax “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” “I haven’t signed it since 1994,” said Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH), who wants his name taken off a list of lawmakers who oppose all tax increases.

An 18-month Air Force investigation found “gross mismanagement” at Dover Air Force Base, the largest military mortuary. Three senior officials admitted to losing body parts of two service members killed in Afghanistan but did nothing to correct sloppy practices at the base mortuary, according to the investigation.

Led by Gov. Steve Beshear (D), Kentucky Democrats won five of the state’s six statewide elections Tuesday. Beshear handily defeated state Senate President David Williams (R), while Attorney General Jack Conway (D) cruised to re-election over an anti-health reform opponent. Democrats also won races for treasurer, secretary of state, and state auditor.

Yesterday, GOP contender Herman Cain flatly denied the growing number of sexual harassment charges against him, calling them “baseless, bogus, and false.” Cain claimed he couldn’t remember meeting his latest accuser, Sharon Bialeck, yet smeared her as “troubled.” His denial came as another second former employee, Karen Kraushaar, went public with her accusations.

On Thursday, News Corporation executive and heir apparent James Murdoch will face more questioning by Parliament after documents revealed he may have lied during his testimony in July. The parliamentary committee is investigating the phone hacking scandal and other questionable practices of conservative mogul Rupert Murdoch’s company.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has pledged to resign once Parliament passes austerity measures demanded by the European Union, a move that could take weeks. Despite Berlusconi’s resignation, Italy’s fiscal crisis has worsened, pushing Italian bond costs to levels near those of other countries that have sought bailouts.

And finally: If this whole running for president thing doesn’t work out for Newt Gingrich, it’s cool because he’s go a backup plan: “zoo director.” Gingrich is famous for going out of his way at campaign stop to visit zoos, and he told CNN’s Piers Morgan last night that if he hadn’t gotten into politics, “I would have spent my life as either a vertebrate paleontologist or a zoo director.” “Would you really?” asked Morgan incredulously. Gingrich assured him he was serious.

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