Shorter Question Everything
A round up of ‘what are they doing now?’
• Failed Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum landed his own column at the birther conspiracy theory website World Net Daily, and in his inaugural column expanded on his opposition to ratifying a United Nations treaty that would protect people with disabilities, because it “crushes U.S. sovereignty.” World Net Daily announced Monday that Sanotrum will join the team as an “exclusive columnist.”
• Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is headed back to work at Marriott International, rejoining the board of directors for a third time, the company announced on Monday.
• Paul Ryan is getting his groove back. A month after the GOP’s presidential ticket lost an election, the party’s vice presidential nominee finds himself comfortably back in his political wheelhouse on Capitol Hill and in the thick of a debate over how to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts that many economists fear could cripple the economy if Congress doesn’t head them off by Jan. 1.
• Ouch: Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) engaged in some good-natured ribbing on Monday morning, knocking each other for past and potentially future aspirations. “Thank you, Mr. Secretary,” McCain said, following an introduction from Kerry at a press conference. McCain has been on the forefront of criticism over rumblings about President Barack Obama potentially favoring United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. He’s repeatedly argued that Kerry would be a better choice. After McCain’s comments, Kerry reportedly recovered from turning “beet red” and came back with his own retort. “Thank you, Mr. President,” the Democrat said. McCain lost a presidential election to Obama in 2008. Kerry, who also experienced defeat in the 2004 presidential race against then-President George W. Bush, was quick to turn the joke on himself. “This is what happens when two losers get together,” he said, according to Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy.
• Magic Beans And Fairy Dust – the confidence fairies again: “[Speaker Boehner] put a couple of sentences on the table—that’s not a plan, to say that we’re going to magically increase revenues through loophole closures and deduction caps, with not a single element of specificity. So we don’t know who pays; we don’t know what we’re talking about in terms of actual legislation to increase revenues. It’s magic beans and fairy dust.”
In other news
• PROPAGANDA ALERT?: U.S. and allied intelligence have detected Syrian movement of chemical weapons components in recent days, a senior U.S. defense official said Monday, as the Obama administration again warned the Assad regime against using them. A senior defense official said intelligence officials have detected activity around more than one of Syria’s chemical weapons sites in the last week. The defense official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about intelligence matters. The senior defense official said the U.S. does not believe that any Syrian action beyond the movement of components is imminent.
• The White House says it has “no evidence” to support Iran’s claim it has captured a US drone that was flying in the country’s airspace and gathering intelligence over Gulf waters. The Iranian Fars news agency reported that the ScanEagle drone was captured “in the last few days” by the naval unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Ali Fadavi, the Revolutionary Guards’ naval commander, was quoted by state TV as saying the unmanned aircraft was now in Iran’s possession but declined to say how or where it was seized. He said the drone “was conducting a reconnaissance flight and gathering data over the Persian Gulf” and “was captured by the Guard’s navy air defence unit as soon as it entered Iranian airspace”.
• The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), announced today that they will conduct an air defense exercise in the National Capital Region (NCR), between midnight and 2 a.m., beginning on Dec. 4 and concluding early Thursday. The exercise is comprised of a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Coordination Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center (JADOC), the Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR’s Eastern and Western Air Defense Sectors. Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as to operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System and to certify newly assigned Command and Control personnel at JADOC. Participating in the exercise will be Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16 fighters and a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.
• Riot police officers fired brief rounds of tear gas on Tuesday night at tens of thousands of demonstrators outside the presidential palace protesting the Islamist-backed draft constitution. It was the clearest evidence yet that the new charter has only widened the divisions that have plagued Egypt since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago.
• Israel dismissed a U.N. General Assembly resolution requesting the Jewish state open its nuclear program for inspection, a foreign ministry spokesman said.
• B.C. Conservatives bleed support to Liberals. While Premier Christy Clark’s B.C. Liberal Party is gaining noticeable ground, the New Democrats remain well ahead.
• The Maple Leaf is staying put in one of the main rooms at Quebec’s national assembly. An attempt by the Parti Quebecois to remove the Canadian flag failed on Tuesday, with the two main opposition parties voting to defeat the minority government. That means the flag will continue to adorn what is known as the Red Room of the legislature. The room once housed Quebec’s now-defunct upper chamber and is still used for legislative committees and ceremonies like a cabinet swearing-in.