Tonight, with unemployment rising, and jobless benefits expiring, what are your elected representatives doing about it? One's saying that working with republicans is almost like negotiating with terrorists. Another is calling a democratic bill poultry poop. We're Keeping Them Honest. Plus, tonight's other headlines.
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CNN Senior Producer
Washington (CNN) – A U.S. Senator is calling for permanent U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
Senator Lindsey Graham, (R) South Carolina, said in an interview airing on CNN's Parker Spitzer on Friday night that an enduring military relationship and permanent U.S. installations in Afghanistan would benefit both countries.
"Under the right circumstances I think it would really secure the gains we made to have a U.S. presence in Afghanistan, two airbases that would be beneficial to the Afghan security forces," Graham said in the interview.
"Only if the Afghans want it as a way to make sure this country never goes back into the hands of the Taliban. I think that would be a good way to end the Afghan conflict," Graham said.
(CNN) - A Disney-developed community in central Florida saw its second instance of deadly violence this week when a resident turned a gun on himself during a standoff with a SWAT team, authorities said Friday.
The death followed an unrelated case Monday in which the community of Celebration recorded its first homicide in its 14-year history, authorities said. The discovery of 58-year-old Matteo Giovanditto in his home was deemed a homicide. His car was found 10 miles away in Kissimmee, Florida.
Celebration's picture-perfect layout of manicured lawns and classic movie theaters - likened to the film "Pleasantville" about two teens trapped in a 1950s TV show - is five miles south of Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
Vice President Joseph Biden, right, speaks to the media as he meets with Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner in the Roosevelt Room of the White House December 3, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Biden met with Geithner for an update on the current tax policy negotiations on the Hill. (Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Update: Beat 360° Winners:
“I can’t believe he still thinks I’m Piers Morgan.”
Don, Oswego, Ill
"Don't stare at me like that Tim. All I said was that if a little green gecko can save people 15% on car insurance why can't you come up with a way to save the tax payers something?"
CNN Wire Staff
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) - President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Friday, personally delivering holiday greetings to U.S. troops stationed there and promising continued full support in the war against Taliban and other extremists.
The president, who is expected to remain on the ground for roughly three hours, addressed nearly 3,900 troops at Bagram Airfield. Most of the troops were with the Army's 101st Airborne Division, though components of all the service branches were represented.
"I wanted to make sure that I could spend a little time this holiday with the finest fighting force the world has ever known," he told the enthusiastic audience. "On behalf of more than 300 million Americans, we are here to say thank you."
The president praised the troops for what he characterized as recent military gains in the nine-year conflict.
Our coalition "is strong and is growing," he said. "You're going on the offense. (We're) tired of playing defense."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The government's monthly labor report threw a curve ball Friday morning as November's job growth came in far lower than expected and the unemployment rate rose to 9.8%.
U.S. employers added 39,000 jobs to their payrolls in November, the Labor Department reported. That marks a major slowdown from October, when the economy added an upwardly revised 172,000 jobs.
November's numbers also fell short of the 150,000 gain that economists surveyed by CNNMoney.com were expecting.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: I believe the left, right, and middle can find common ground. I think smart Republicans and smart Democrats can work together. Obviously, I’m an idiot. Here is today’s letter.
Dear Mr. President,
I worked with a cameraman once who, in all fairness, had little talent. His shots were acceptable, but never inspired. The framing was pedestrian; his composition was weak to non-existent, and he never used a tripod unless you absolutely insisted or bribed him with a promise of an early dinner and lots of margaritas. And yet time and again he would come in from a shoot blustering about the “outstanding” moment he’d captured, the bit of brilliance that would make the story.
And every time I fell for it. I would cue up the tape breathlessly, convinced he could not possibly be so enthused unless he had at least something worth looking at. Never once did he come through.
That’s how I feel about bipartisanship now. Like a sucker. Every time you, or your fellow Dems, or the Republicans talk up the idea of working together, I believe it. Despite all the failures, despite all the disingenuousness, despite everything that makes Americans shake their heads about Washington, doggonit, I still believe that there are enough smart, good people in elected office to understand the nature and importance of compromise.
I would be better off searching for Sasquatch.
CNN Wire Staff
Washington (CNN) - Leaders of the different branches of the U.S. armed forces gave sharply divergent answers to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday when asked whether the military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy should be repealed, and what the consequences of a repeal might be.
They appeared united, however, in their belief that a repeal would be better handled if ordered by congressional legislation rather than a ruling from the courts.
The strongest resistance to allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly came from Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos, who warned of potentially strong repercussions in terms of unit cohesion.
"If the law is changed, successfully implementing repeal and assimilating openly homosexual Marines into the tightly woven fabric of our combat units has strong potential for disruption at the small unit level, as it will no doubt divert leadership attention away from an almost singular focus of preparing units for combat," Amos told the committee members.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said a repeal of the policy could be implemented with a "moderate risk to our military effectiveness and the long-term health of the force."
"I believe the law should be repealed eventually," he said, but the question "is one of timing." Casey said he "would not recommend going forward at this time, given everything the Army has on its plate."
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said he believes the law should be repealed "at some point ... perhaps 2012" but it would not be prudent to pursue "full implementation (of a repeal) in the near-term."
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead recommended a repeal of the policy, noting that 76% of sailors are either neutral or feel positively about a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp noted that a majority of members in his branch of the service appeared not have a problem with a repeal, but that "prudence dictates" proceeding with caution.
Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he believes implementation of a repeal would involve a "manageable risk with regard to military effectiveness." even in light of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In fact, Cartwright argued, the ongoing conflicts may make a repeal of the policy easier. During a conflict, members of the military "rely on the warrior ethos" of their fellow soldiers, and lifestyle concerns are diminished.
Washington (CNN) – Republicans were out of the gate immediately following the release of the November unemployment figures Friday as the two top Republican leaders in the House jabbed Democrats and called for tax cut extensions.
Current House minority leader Rep. John Boehner, who will likely serve as House Speaker in the next Congress, said Democratic leaders are "wasting time with meaningless votes," and said not extending the Bush-era tax cuts will result in more jobs lost.
"Families and small businesses have had enough of politicians in Washington talking abut creating jobs while doing everything in their power to kill more jobs," Boehner said in a statement.
Rep. Eric Cantor, the current Republican whip who is set to hold the House majority leader position in the next Congress, echoed Boehner's sentiments and encouraged a vote to "stop all tax hikes."
"The lame-duck Congress should do the right thing and vote immediately to cut spending and stop all the tax hikes," Cantor said in a statement.
The House passed a bill Thursday extending the Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000 or less, but top Senate Democrats said a deal with the GOP over tax-related votes fell through Thursday night. Republicans have continued to lobby for an extension of all of the tax cuts, including for those making more than $250,000 a year.
A bill to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed recently failed in the House and Senate.