Posted Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, at 4:35 PM
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A Union Loss at Home: Associated Press: "The Michigan Legislature gave final approval Tuesday to a bitterly contested right-to-work plan limiting the power of unions, a devastating and once unthinkable defeat for organized labor in a state considered a cradle of the movement. Unswayed by Democrats’ pleas and thousands of protesters inside and outside the state Capitol, the House approved two final bills, sending them on to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. One dealt with private sector workers, the other with government employees. Both measures cleared the Senate last week. Snyder is expected to sign the measures into law as early as Wednesday that would make Michigan the 24th state with right-to-work laws, which ban requirements that nonunion employees pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services."
A Victory Lap: Politico: "Appearing on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, the GOP governor said Michigan’s unions started the fight that ended with the legislature passing a right-to-work bill by trying to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state’s constitution. 'I asked them not to go forward,' Snyder said. 'And the reason I said is, ‘You’re going to start a very divisive discussion. It’ll be about collective bargaining first, but it’ll create a big stir about right-to-work in addition to collective bargaining’.'"
Your Daily Cliff Update: Wall Street Journal: "Speaker John Boehner took to the House floor Tuesday to complain about the status of tax and spending talks with President Barack Obama, accusing the White House of 'slow walking' the negotiations and calling again for the administration to say more about how it would cut spending. ... 'Where are the president's spending cuts?' Mr. Boehner asked. 'The longer the White House slow walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff.'"
White House Response: TPM: "Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday it is 'simply incontestable' that the Obama administration has put forth a plan to avert the fiscal cliff that includes spending cuts. ... On the details of negotiations between the White House and Boehner, Carney said, 'I'm not going to get into the sausage-making.'"
In Other Words: Fiscal Cliff Talks Going Nowhere Fast
Where Have All the Jedi Knights Gone?: The Guardian has today's chart of the day, showing what religions English and Welsh census-takers penciled in under "other religion" on their 2011 forms. The no. 1 other? Jedi Knight, with 176,632. That number's actually down from roughly 390,000 a decade ago. Check out the full chart here.
While We're on the Topic of Religion: The Seven Countries Where You Can Be Put To Death for Being an Atheist
You'll Now Be Able to Carry a Gun in Every State: Chicago Sun-Times: "In a huge win for gun-rights groups, a federal appeals court in Chicago Tuesday tossed the state's ban on carrying concealed weapons and gave Illinois' Legislature 180 days to craft a law legalizing concealed carry. 'The debate is over. We won. And there will be a statewide carry law in 2013,' said Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. In a split opinion, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling in two cases downstate that upheld the state's longstanding prohibition against carrying concealed weapons. Illinois is the only state with an outright prohibition on concealed carry."
Not Everyone's Waiting Around for Cory Booker To Make Up His Mind: National Journal: "Democratic New Jersey state Sen. Barbara Buono announced filing papers for a 2013 gubernatorial run, hitting GOP Gov. Chris Christie on 'trickle-down economics,' scapegoating teachers, and pushing tax cuts for millionaires in a web video released by her campaign. Buono opens the video by talking about Hurricane Sandy, expressing pride about 'the bipartisan way our state has faced this crisis,' before moving on to her criticisms of the governor in other areas."
The Slatest: Scalia Defends Comparing Sodomy to Murder
Mandela Hospitalized: Los Angeles Times: "After three days of silence on the illness of national icon Nelson Mandela, President Jacob Zuma's office issued a three-line statement Tuesday announcing that the anti-apartheid hero and Nobel Peace Prize winner is suffering from a lung infection. Mandela's hospitalization Saturday for medical tests caused national alarm. Zuma's office said Monday that the former president was 'in good hands' without commenting on his condition. On Tuesday, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said new tests indicated that the 94-year-old Mandela was suffering from a recurrence of a previous lung infection."
Quaaludes Anyone? New York: "Sonia Sotomayor's seven-year marriage to her college sweetheart, Kevin Noonan, got off to an inauspicious start in August of 1976, according to the Supreme Court justice's upcoming memoir. The AP, which got its hands on the book more than a month early, reports that on their wedding night, Noonan 'produced a bag of Quaaludes that was a gift from his friends,' even though Bag of Quaaludes is traditionally more of a fifth-anniversary gift. Sotomayor 'insisted he flush the pills down the toilet,' and then we imagine things got awkward."
Shhh, It's a Secret: Reuters: "An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket carrying a small robotic space shuttle lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Tuesday for the third flight in a classified military test program. ... The unmanned, reusable space shuttle, one of two operated by the U.S. Air Force, spent 224 days circling Earth during its debut mission in 2010. A sister ship blasted off in 2011 and landed itself after 469 days in space, completing the second orbital test flight. The military is not saying how long the third X-37B mission will last, nor what the vehicle will be doing in orbit."
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