Top Stories for Friday, December 12, 2014

House Passes $1.1 Trillion Funding Bill With Obama’s Support

From AP, “HOUSE APPROVES $1.1T BILL FINANCING GOVERNMENT”: “Republicans have muscled a $1.1 trillion bill financing government agencies through the House after President Barack Obama phoned Democratic lawmakers and urged them to back the measure.

The House approved the measure late Thursday by 219-206.

The compromise bill keeps agencies funded through next September.”

From CNSNews, “Boehner’s Spending Deals Have Increased Debt $3.8T in 3.8 Years”: “Ever since March 4, 2011, all federal spending has been authorized by laws passed by the Republican-controlled House that Boehner leads.

At the close of business on March 4, 2011, the federal debt was $14,182,627,184,881.03, according to the Treasury. At the close of business on Dec. 9, 2014, it was $17,997,912,502,715.74.

From March 11, 2011 through Dec. 9, 2014, the debt increased $3,815,285,317,834.71.

1,376 days—or 3.8 years—transpired between March 4, 2011 and Dec. 11, 2014.

The $3.8 trillion in new debt that the federal government has accumulated under the spending deals approved by a Republican-controlled House of Representatives over the past 3.8 years equals $2,772,736,422.84 in new debt per day.”

From National Review, GOP Rep: House Leaders Made False Promise to Get My Crucial Vote“: “Representative Marlin Stutzman (R., Ind.) accused House Republican leadership of reneging on a deal made with him to get his support on a crucial procedural vote that almost killed the $1.1 trillion cromnibus funding bill.

“I was very surprised and even more disappointed to see the cromnibus back on the floor,” Stutzman said in a Thursday evening statement. “The American people deserve better.”

Stutzman was one of the last Republicans to cast his ballot in favor of a rule allowing the House to vote on the cromnibus. National Review Online reported that Stutzman backed the rule at the last minute after leadership told him that they would pull the bill, once the rule was passed, and replace it with a short-term continuing resolution favored by rank-and-file conservatives. With the last-minute help of Stutzman and outgoing representative Kerry Bentivolio (R., Mich.), leadership won the vote 214–212.”

Sony Suspends Filming in Wake of Hack Attack

From The UK Telegraph“Sony suspends film shoots after hackers hit payments”: “The Hollywood studio that made the James Bond and Spider-Man films has abandoned film shoots after hackers paralysed its computer network, and leaked four films and thousands of documents.

Agencies filming for Sony Pictures have cancelled shoots because the problems have left it unable to process payments, according to The Times.

The attack by Guardians of Peace, a hacking collective suspected of having links with North Korea, has taken most of Sony Pictures’ computers offline. North Korea has been linked to the hack because Sony’s forthcoming film The Interview involves a CIA plot to kill Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader.

Joseph Demarest, the assistant director of the FBI’s cyber-division, told a US Senate hearing that methods used by the hackers would have breached the defences of nine out of ten companies.”

From Variety, “‘Selma’ Director Calls Sony Emails ‘Sickening and Sad’”: “On the same day that she became the first black woman to receive a Golden Globe nomination for best director, “Selma” filmmaker Ava DuVernay took a moment to remark on the controversial email exchange that, for some, has highlighted a dispiriting lack of progress in some of the higher echelons of Hollywood.

“I have two words: sickening and sad,” DuVernay told Variety at Thursday night’s Washington, D.C., premiere of “Selma.” “That’s really all I have to say.”…

Pascal and Rudin both issued apologies for their remarks on Thursday, with Pascal personally reaching out to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who had criticized the emails in question. He wasn’t alone. Earlier that day, Shonda Rhimes wrote on Twitter: “Calling Sony comments ‘racially insensitive remarks’ instead of ‘racist’? U can put a cherry on a pile of sh*t but it don’t make it a sundae.””