- Democrat thwarts Nevada activist’s try to name peak after Reagan
- Congress ready to extend ban on plastic firearms
- Rogue reindeer runs from Santa, eludes police for hours
- Iran touts new laser that bolsters missile accuracy
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Deadly N.Y. train derailment leads to Senate call for cameras at tracks
- WWII vet, 90, en route to Pearl Harbor event booted from flight
- SWAT team at Phoenix hospital as armed man clears emergency room
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle dragged from political meeting, booted from party
- Big storm dumps snow on East Coast, travel dicey
Inside the Beltway: Silver-screen Clinton
Many wonder if Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will make good on her offer to testify about the Benghazi killings. But many also wonder if she is a buzz-worthy Hollywood property. Currently in development is "Rodham," a new dramatic movie chronicling Mrs. Clinton's adventures as a young, single Justice Department attorney who was working to impeach President Nixon while dallying with a certain ambitious politician from Arkansas named Bill.
Ironically, the legal issues that then-Miss Rodham was working on would one day be turned upon her own husband when he too faced impeachment. "Rodham" has turned up No. 4 on an insider poll of 300 film executives that gauged their interest in unproduced projects.
Already, there is talk about what actors would portray the young pair.
"While I could see someone like Seth Rogen with his hair grown out, or Jason Segel (also with his hair grown out) taking a more dramatic turn to portray hippie-era Bill Clinton, the actress best suited to take on young professional Hillary is a bit tougher to guess," says Maressa Brown, an entertainment writer with the Stir, a gossip site, who compared photos of a youthful Mrs. Clinton and a few contemporary actresses.
"A photo of her from back in the day looks so much like Scarlett Johansson, it's a bit freaky. And I could totally see 'ScarJo' doing 'Hill justice,'" Ms. Brown muses.
"Who else There's something about Mary-Kate and Ashley's kid sis, Elizabeth Olsen, that looks vaguely young Hillary. She may be able to pull it off. Lena Dunham is always thrown around these days as a possibility for any major female role, but with lighter hair and obviously her tattoos covered up, I could see it," she adds.
THE TAXING AFTERMATH
"The best lesson learned from the fiscal cliff debate is that our current tax code is much too complicated. Instead of trying to 'fine tune and fix' things, let's scrap the entire code and simplify our taxes," observes John W. Skorburg, a budget and tax analyst for the Heartland Institute and an economics lecturer at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"Let the discussion on a flat tax continue in earnest, including such items as revenue neutrality, minimal deductions, the decreased role of the IRS, among others. Our future economic growth will depend on getting back to such true simplicity," he adds.
'FISCAL CLIFF' SPINOFFS
The political posturing that became a signature trait of "fiscal cliff" negotiations already has spawned a little cottage industry among opportunity-minded politicians who fancy themselves as role models.
"No Labels, a national movement of hundreds of thousands of Republicans, Democrats and independents promoting a new politics of problem solving, has announced former Gov. Jon Huntsman and Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, as its new national leaders. The duo will make their first public appearance together on Jan. 14, at the Marriott Marquis in New York City at the Meeting to Make America Work," organizers say.
It is no modest affair. They expect 1,300 activists at the glitzy hotel, plus "a new group of congressional problem solvers featuring House and Senate members committed to meeting regularly to build trust across the aisle."
The group is busy branding such virtuous thinking.
"At this moment in our history, working to bridge the partisan divide is both the principled and the patriotic thing to do. Governor Huntsman and Senator Manchin can play a critical role in building support across the country for our parties coming together," proclaims No Labels co-founder Bill Galston.
"A Government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have."
- (Bumper sticker spotted in Roanoke, Va.)
Expect to hear a few choice words from former four-star Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who has avoided the media since July 2010, "when President Obama forced him to resign as commander of all U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan." That is according to the Penguin Group, which will publish "My Share of the Task," the officer's memoir, on Monday.
"He never commented on the controversial Rolling Stone article that labeled him 'The Runaway General.'" Penguin says. "General McChrystal is now ready to discuss his 38-year career and more, from West Point in the '70s, to the rebirth of Special Operations in the '80s and '90s, to the controversies of the war on terrorism."
On his list of talking points: the future of Afghanistan and Libya, "his longtime friend and colleague David Petraeus" and the death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
POLL DU JOUR
• 69 percent of Americans say they are "optimistic" about how they will fare in 2013.
• 53 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents agree.
• 51 percent of conservatives, 89 percent of liberals and 78 percent of moderates also agree.
• 66 percent of men and 71 percent women say they're optimistic about the upcoming year.
• 54 percent of those over 65 and 66 percent of those ages 50-64 agree.
• 73 percent of those 30-49 and 80 percent of those 18-29 also agree.
Source: A USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,025 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 14-17 and released Wednesday.
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