In today’s news, a government shutdown looms as Congress debates a payroll tax; the U.S. marriage rate is at an all-time low; the protester is Time Magazine‘s Person of the Year; Ron Paul nabs a huge Iowa youth endorsement; the Tea Party’s O’Donnell backs Mitt Romney; and Facebook launches an anti-suicide tool. In entertainment news, Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry sells at record levels, and “The Help” leads in SAG nominations.
Coral + Caitlin
Congress debates payroll tax cut, government funding omnibus, http://wapo.st/vTFSho
A government shutdown is a possibility once again as debate over a payroll tax extension threatens to derail a separate, government-funding compromise. Even though Republicans and Democrats have pretty much come to a deal on funding the government until September, Democrats are not signing legislation until they come to an agreement over the payroll tax. A few issues also remain to be settled in the government-funding bill, including a ban on Washington D.C.’s use of taxpayer money to provide abortion services, the Obama administration’s decision to make it easier for Americans to visit family in Cuba, and blocking new standards for incandescent light bulbs.
Alleged sex abuse victims suing Syracuse, Boeheim, http://bit.ly/syTOY9
Former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine may be saved from charges of sexual abuse due to the statute of limitations. However, the two men that have accused Fine have filed a defamation lawsuit against Syracuse University and Jim Boeheim, the school’s head basketball coach. Boeheim originally stood by Fine, saying the accusations were “patently false in every respect,” before he later said, “I believe I misspoke very badly in my response to the allegations that have been made.”
Married couples at a record low, http://wapo.st/v66H0o
The portion of adult Americans who are married has hit a record low as more people are choosing to live together and get married later. Just 51 percent of Americans over the age of 18 are married, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s a six percent drop from 2000. Nearly two out of three college graduates have tied the knot, while less than half of people with only a high-school education can say the same. The decline is a reflection of a higher median age of marriage, which is older than 26 for women and nearly 29 for men. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to get married someday,” said Kate Shorr, 30, a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington D.C. “All of us want to meet that special person and marry, but there’s no real rush to do that. Especially in the career-driven society we have here. You don’t move to Washington, D.C., to get married, you move here for your career.”
Time’s Person of the Year: Protester, http://ti.me/swSEZi
The Time MagazinePerson of the Year for 2011 is the protester, the magazine announced on Wednesday. The issue notes that protesters are the ones that write history. “No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit stand vendor set himself on fire in a public square, it would incite protests that would topple dictators and start a global wave of dissent.” The magazine mentions uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Britain, Spain, Greece, and United State’s own Occupy movement. The magazine goes on to profile ten different protesters from movements around the world.
2.5M young adults gain coverage, http://apne.ws/rOP2Eg
According to a new analysis the Obama administration is set to release on Wednesday, 2.5 million young American adults will now have medical coverage due to the new health care overhaul law that took effect. That number is 2.5 times the amount of young people that were originally thought to have gained coverage. Under the new health care laws, people are able to remain under their parents’ coverage until they are 26. “The increase in coverage among 19- to 25-year-olds can be directly attributed to the Affordable Care Act’s new dependent coverage provision,” said a draft report from the Health and Human Services Department. “Initial gains from this policy have continued to grow as … students graduate from high school and college.”
Ron Paul Just Nabbed Iowa’s Biggest Youth Endorsement, http://read.bi/swYpa7
On Monday The Daily Iowan, the student newspaper at the University of Iowa, gave its endorsement to GOP candidate Ron Paul. This gives the oldest Republican candidate one of the largest youth endorsements in Iowa. The newspaper writes, “Paul is a candidate who appeals to voters across the political spectrum. He has also been exceptionally consistent in his time in Congress. He doesn’t play political games, even with his opponents, and remains truthful to his word. This alone is a redeeming quality in a candidate in today’s political sphere. Despite the mainstream media writing him off as being unable to win Iowa, he is now polling in second place and may even be the most popular candidate in Iowa, given the margin of error.”
Wisconsin faces lawsuit as civil rights groups cry foul over new voting rules, http://bit.ly/vz7y3m
A federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU is challenging a tough new law in the state of Wisconsin that requires voters to have a state issued photo ID to cast their ballots. The lawsuit claims that thousands of poor, black, and elderly people could be disenfranchised. Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech yesterday promising to defend the rights of previously marginalized voters.
Wisconsin Voter ID Law Ensnares Teacher In Rural Part Of State, http://huff.to/rLMZYc
Rita Platt, a teacher in Wisconsin who moved to the small town of Osceola last year, has gone through FBI background checks in the four states where she has been certified to teach, has her Social Security card, held a Wisconsin driver’s license from 1984-1998 and currently has a driver’s license from Iowa. Despite all of these qualifications, she is currently ineligible to vote in the 2012 elections in Wisconsin. In order to carry out one of her constitutional rights, Platt must pay more than $100, endure bureaucratic headaches and take time off from work in order to obtain an ID so she can vote. Platt is one of many who are facing difficulties caused by the state’s new voter ID law, which requires residents to show a valid photo ID when they go to the polls to vote.
Holder Signals Tough Review of New State Laws on Voting, http://nyti.ms/rJfUon
On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. vowed to be a warrior in the war on voting when he spoke at the presidential library of Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965. He signaled that the Justice Department would be aggressive in reviewing new voting laws that civil rights advocates say will dampen minority participation in next year’s elections. Holder said that ensuring that every eligible American has the ability to vote is not only a legal obligation but a moral imperative that laws should protect.
Romney blasts Gingrich as ‘extremely unreliable’ conservative leader, http://wapo.st/rPhRvs
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has blasted his opponent Newt Gingrich saying, “He has been an extraordinarily unreliable leader in the conservative world—not 16 or 17 years ago but in the last two to three years. And even during the campaign, the number of times he has moved from one spot to another has been remarkable.” Newt Gingrich has been surging in the polls recently and is currently the Presidential Primary’s frontrunner. Romney also bashed President Obama and his campaign, saying he would not let them portray him as a tool of Wall Street.
Tea Party’s O’Donnell backs Romney, slams Gingrich, http://usat.ly/vF6Yuo
Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell has endorsed Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the 2012 election. She has also slammed Newt Gingrich calling him “inconsistent and unreliable.” O’Donnell said that she does not understand how people who are in favor of small government could back the former House Speaker for president. She cited Romney’s executive experience as the reason for her bid, saying, “I trust him to do the right thing.” On the issue of Romney’s flip-flopping tendencies she said, “He’s been consistent since he changed his mind.”
Swing States Poll: Young people say they’re better off, http://usat.ly/t7hIAJ
Americans under 30 say that they are better off than they were 3 years ago, whereas the older population are less optimistic according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of key swing states. More than two-thirds of people 18 to 29 years old say they and their families are better off, compared with 36% of people 50 to 64 years old. The results from the young Americans are surprising considering people under 24 have a 16.7% unemployment rate. Fifty-four percent of registered voters in the swing states say they are not better off than they were three years ago.
Facebook launches tool to report suicidal behavior, http://reut.rs/ujRTbd
On Tuesday, Facebook launched its new suicide prevention tool. Friends are able to report suicidal behavior by clicking a report option next to any piece of content that could be a suicide warning. Facebook will then send the person in distress a link to a live and private chat room with a counselor from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and a phone number for the organization’s hotline. The person who reports the suicidal behavior will also receive an email saying that Facebook has reached out to the distressed person, but the reporter will have his or her identity kept secret.
Keesha Gaskins says “Voter Deception Conviction Illuminates the Need for Real, Not False Solutions,” http://huff.to/vUfezG
Daniel Carpenter wants to “Free the F.D.A.,” http://nyti.ms/rR7Sy4
Elizabeth Taylor jewelry auction fetches $116m, http://bbc.in/ssByb9
‘The Help’ Leads Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations, http://bit.ly/vfjlGh
‘Glee’-Cap: Christmastime At Klaine’s Bachelor Chalet, http://on.mtv.com/uHLuaX
Happy Belated Bon Iver Day (Again), http://p4k.in/w3OQ63
Khloe Kardashian Says It’s ‘Perfect Time’ For Kourtney’s Baby, http://on.mtv.com/tpRITF