Morning Briefing: October 21, 2011

For the second time, Senate Republicans unanimously voted to block a jobs measure “designed to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers and firefighters in cash-strapped states.” Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson (NE) and Jon Tester (MT) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) sided with the GOP in a vote President Obama called “unacceptable,” adding that “Americans deserve an explanation as to why they don’t deserve those jobs.”

While Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) often speaks about how his parents were refugees from Castro’s Cuba, a Washington Post investigation found that Rubio “embellishes the facts,” as his parents moved more than two years before the Cuban revolution.

President Obama yesterday nominated a prominent critic of large banks for the number two spot at the FDIC. Former Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig has said “we must break up the largest banks” and called the current banking system “fundamentally inconsistent with capitalism.”

Virtually every state saw an increase in its poverty rate in 2010, according to U.S. Census data released Thursday, despite the end of the Great Recession the year before. Mississippi and New Mexico had the highest poverty rates, at 22.4 and 20.4 percent respectively, and New Hampshire’s was the lowest at 8.3 percent — the only state below 10 percent.


Alabama’s draconian new immigration law has already had its intended effect of of driving undocumented immigrants out of the state, but American citizens are so far not eager to fill the jobs left open and the ones who do are not nearly as good at the jobs, which are mostly in agriculture, the AP reports.

After the federal government failed to do so, California is now adopting its own cap-and-trade system. The state’s Air Resources Board voted unanimously to adopt new limits on greenhouse gases and to create “market incentives to encourage oil refineries, electricity generators and other polluters to clean up their plants.”

President Obama is threatening to veto any 2012 spending bills that “contain provisions blocking top administration priorities like health care and financial reforms.” “The swift passage of appropriations legislation should not be jeopardized by ideological provisions that have no place in funding legislation,” wrote White House budget director Jack Lew in a letter to Congress.

The Senate confirmed former Edison International head John Bryson as the Commerce Secretary to replace now-Ambassador Gary Locke. Republicans blocked Bryson’s confirmation until Obama sent over the free-trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea, bills that Obama will sign into law today.

And finally: An obscure Matthew Perry sitcom called “Second Chance” correctly predicted in 1987 the year former Libyan dictator Muammar Qadaffi would die, when it showed a character entering the Pearly Gates in 2011 shortly after Qadaffi was sentenced to hell.

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