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Election 2012
5:08 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Gingerly, GOP Contenders Address Payroll Tax Cut

White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks Monday during his daily press briefing, as a clock counting down the expiration of the payroll tax cut benefit looms in the background.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 7:36 pm

At the end of this month, a payroll tax cut is set to expire that the White House says would result in a tax increase of about $1,000 per year on most middle-class families. The benefit is popular with the American people, which may be one reason President Obama has been relentlessly promoting it.

The president argues that extending the payroll tax "holiday" through 2012 is vital to the economy. Republicans in Congress are divided over that, but they strongly disagree with the president's plan to pay for it with a surtax on millionaires.

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It's All Politics
4:30 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Judicial Wars Flare As Senate Blocks Obama Nominee

Caitlin J. Halligan, then a lawyer for New York State, and attorney David Boies spoke in the Court of Appeals in Albany in 2005. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked Halligan's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Jim McKnight AP

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 6:23 pm

Senate Republicans have blocked the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. A Senate majority of 54 voted to break the filibuster, but that number falls short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules.

Although Halligan won bipartisan praise from legal and law enforcement groups, Republicans portrayed her as a left-wing activist for positions she took while representing the state of New York as its chief appellate lawyer.

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The Two-Way
4:17 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

U.S. Says It Will Use Foreign Aid To Promote Gay Rights

How a country treats its gay and lesbian citizens may now play a role in the foreign aid it receives from the United States.

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration issued a memo telling agencies to find ways to deter countries from criminalizing homosexuality.

The Times adds:

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Opinion
3:55 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

The Magic Of Music And A Little Room To Groove

istockphoto.com

Alan Heathcock is the author of the collection Volt.

Last week, my wife suggested we have a dance floor installed in our family room. She was smiling ear-to-ear, wiping sweat from her eyes. Behind her, our three kids took turns showing off their moves as Michael Jackson's P.Y.T. blared over the speakers.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:53 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Feds Say HCG Diet Remedies Are 'Illegal'

Lay off the HCG diet, says the FDA.
iStockphoto.com

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Afghanistan
3:43 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Afghan Attacks Kill 60; Signs Of A Sectarian Shift?

Relatives comfort an Afghan man outside a Kabul hospital where victims of Tuesday's suicide bombing were taken. A suicide bomber struck a crowd of Shiite worshippers marking a holy day in the Afghan capital.
Ahmad Jamshid AP

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 5:02 pm

Deadly suicide attacks in Afghanistan aimed at minority Shiite Muslims have experts wondering whether the war there could be taking a dangerous new sectarian turn.

Tuesday's twin attacks, in the capital of Kabul and the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, killed at least 60 Shiite worshippers as they celebrated Ashura, one of their sect's holiest days. It was the first such large-scale attack against Shiites in Afghanistan in more than a decade.

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Music
3:36 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

The Roots: A Song Cycle For A Life Cycle

The Roots' 10th studio album, undun, is a concept record chronicling the downfall of its narrator.
Courtesy of the artist

The hip-hop band The Roots might currently be the hardest-working band in show business. Five nights a week, it's the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and is constantly collaborating with other artists. And this week, the band issued its 10th studio album.

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Monkey See
3:27 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

DVD Picks: 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'

Acorn Media

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 7:36 pm

Time now for a home-viewing recommendation from our film critic, Bob Mondello. With a new movie version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy opening this week, Bob's suggesting the TV original.

At some point in my youth, I must have known the nursery rhyme "Tinker, tailor/ soldier, sailor/ rich man, poor man/beggar man, thief," but since 1979, the instant someone says "Tinker Tailor," the next two words that occur to me are "Alec Guinness."

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It's All Politics
3:07 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Maryland Robocall Conviction Puts Political Dirty Tricksters On Notice

Election-day dirty tricksters be forewarned: getting caught trying in a voter-suppression scheme can draw you a prison term, at least in Maryland.

That's one take away message from Tuesday's conviction of the man who served as campaign manager for the effort of Maryland's former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.'s to regain the governorship.

A Baltimore jury found Paul Schurick guilty of election fraud on state charges related to 2010 voter-suppression robocalls meant to keep some African American voters, predominantly Democrats, away from the polls on election day.

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