5:14pm

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Alabama's Attorney General Says Immigration Law Needs To Change

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 5:18 pm

Alabama's attorney general is calling for changes in the state's tough immigration law. The letter from Luther Strange comes weeks after a Mercedes-Benz executive was jailed, after he left his passport and license at his hotel. The incident embarrassed lawmakers and put the immigration law back in the national spotlight.

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5:11pm

Tue December 6, 2011

5:08pm

Tue December 6, 2011
Election 2012

Gingerly, GOP Contenders Address Payroll Tax Cut

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

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

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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4:30pm

Tue December 6, 2011
It's All Politics

Judicial Wars Flare As Senate Blocks Obama Nominee

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

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

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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4:17pm

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

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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3:55pm

Tue December 6, 2011
Opinion

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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3:53pm

Tue December 6, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Feds Say HCG Diet Remedies Are 'Illegal'

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

3:43pm

Tue December 6, 2011
Afghanistan

Afghan Attacks Kill 60; Signs Of A Sectarian Shift?

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

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

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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3:36pm

Tue December 6, 2011
Music

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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3:27pm

Tue December 6, 2011
Monkey See

DVD Picks: 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'

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

Acorn Media

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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