The Top 10 Stories of September 21, 2012

By Duane Shank 9-21-2012

Quote of the day.
“This is the most dysfunctional Congress I can remember. I’ve never seen Capitol Hill work so poorly.”  Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, as Congress plans to leave Washington this week until after the November election, without agreements on virtually every big issue it deals with: taxes, defense, spending, farms, even post office policy.
(McClatchy Newspapers)

1. GOP may retreat on taxes post-election.
Senior Republicans say they will be forced to retreat on taxes if President Obama wins a second term in November, clearing the biggest obstacle to a deal with Democrats to defuse a year-end budget bomb that threatens to rock the U.S. economy.
(Washington Post)

2. Bill to keep graduates in U.S. fails in the House.
A Republican bill to provide permanent resident visas for foreigners who graduate from American universities with advanced degrees in science and technology failed to pass the House on Thursday, a setback for technology companies that had strongly supported it.
(New York Times)

3. Dateline: Drought, USA.
At first glance, it looks like a typical fall across the Midwest. It's not. Beneath green pastures and lawns brought to life by August rains, the earth is still desiccated. 

4. Senate hate crimes hearing centers on Sikh temple massacre.
Forty-five days after a deadly shooting at Wisconsin Sikh temple, hundreds of Sikhs and their supporters lined the halls of Congress on Wednesday for a Capitol Hill hearing on hate crimes and the growing threat of domestic terrorism.

5. Spike in religious restrictions in U.S. and world.
Restrictions on religion spiked throughout the world between mid-2009 and 2010, including in the United States, says a new study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.

6. Final ‘surge’ troops leave Afghanistan. 
The last of the 33,000 “surge” troops President Obama ordered to Afghanistan in December 2009 have left the country, the Pentagon announced Friday, just ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline.
(Washington Post)

7. After attack in Libya, an ambush struck rescuers.
Interviews with Libyan witnesses and American officials provide new details on the assault on American diplomatic facilities and the initial moblike attack, set off by a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad, that transformed into what the Obama administration now, after initial hesitation, describes as a terrorist attack.
(New York Times)

8. Islamic countries brace for anti-west protests.
Security forces in Islamic countries are bracing for a day of anti-western fury, with international protests planned against a YouTube video ridiculing Muslims and French cartoons mocking the prophet Muhammad.

9. Dozens reported dead in Syria air attack.
At least 54 people have been killed when a jet fighter blew up a fuel station amid heavy fighting between government and rebel forces in northern Syria, a British-based monitoring group has said.
(AL Jazeera)

10. Rightward shift for Japan.
The shift applies strictly to Japan’s foreign policy and military strategy, not social issues, and has been driven both by China’s rapid maritime expansion — particularly its emphatic claims on contested territory — and by a growing sense here that Japan should recover the clout squandered amid two lost decades of economic stagnation.
(Washington Post)

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