Morning Briefing: October 12, 2011

The Obama administration is hoping to “unite the world” against Iran after it foiled a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States. “It’s critically important that we unite the world in the isolation of and dealing with the Iranians,” Vice President Biden said on CBS today, saying the U.S. would press for increased sanctions against the country.

The Senate blocked President Obama’s jobs plan Tuesday night, with 40 senators voting against ending cloture. Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson (NE) and Jon Tester (MT), who are up for reelection, voted with Republicans against the bill because, Nelson stated, “it represents billions of dollars in new spending and more taxes.” Five health and environmental groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its rejection of a proposed stricter standard for ozone pollution, a proposal President Obama rejected last month. The rejection was “illegal and irresponsible,” said the groups, adding, “Instead of protecting people’s lungs as the law requires, this administration based its decision on politics, leaving tens of thousands of Americans at risk of sickness and suffering.”

Presidential candidate Herman Cain claimed liberals in the black community are “racist” for questioning his political ambitions as a conservative. “A lot of these liberal, leftist folk in this country, that are black, they’re more racist than the white people that they’re claiming to be racist,” he said in a radio interview yesterday with Neal Boortz.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) backed off earlier comments decrying the Occupy Wall Street protesters as a mob. “What I said then was I am most concerned about elected leaders that condone the divisiveness of pitting Americans against Americans,” Cantor told reporters when asked about his earlier comments.


“Austerity continues to be a major failure” in the United Kingdom, where unemployment reached a 15-year high after more than a year of fierce spending cuts, according to new employment data released this week. Unemployment rose half a percent, and one of every five Britons ages 16 to 24 is out of work, the most since records began in 1992.

Efforts to prevent a debt crisis from engulfing Europe faced a setback yesterday when Slovakia’s Parliament voted to reject a European bailout. The divided vote brought down the governing coalition, who failed to muster the necessary support to approve an expansion of the euro rescue fund.

The Wall Street Journal reports that economists are close to approving a professional code of ethics after being stung by criticism of ethical lapses that contributed to the financial crisis in 2008. Economists eager to sell their expertise have become susceptible to overlooking risk for the sake of lucrative consulting fees, but their bias generally isn’t known. Motivated by the scathing documentary “Inside Job” about the economic meltdown, The American Economic Association decided last January to consider creating ethical guidelines for its membership.

And finally: First Lady Michelle Obama is hoping to break a a wold record on jumping jacks, leading 400 kids from schools in the DC area in breaking the Guinness Book of World Records record for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period. More than 20,425 jumpers are needed to break the record. The effort is part of her “Let’s move” fitness campaign for American school children.

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