*The Associated Press saw something a bit familiar in George Zimmerman’s latest painting.
Unveiled earlier this week, the work depicts Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, who charged Zimmerman with the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin. It’s nearly a carbon copy of an AP photo of Corey taken at a press conference in April 2012 — something the news organization is taking action against.
*(Via AJC.com) – The House will miss the midnight Monday deadline lawmakers set for voting to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”
House Republicans notified lawmakers that the chamber will vote Monday evening on other bills. They say that will be their only votes of the day.
President Barack Obama and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Monday they are near a deal to avoid wide-ranging tax increases and spending cuts — the fiscal cliff — that take effect with the new year.
Both men said they were still bargaining over whether — and how — to avoid $109 billion in cuts to defense and domestic programs that take effect on Wednesday.
It remained unclear whether the Senate would vote Monday.
Congress could pass later legislation retroactively blocking the tax hikes and spending cuts.
Earlier we reported …
Working with Congress against a midnight deadline, President Barack Obama said Monday that a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” was in sight but not yet finalized.
The emerging deal would raise tax rates on family income over $450,000 and individual income over $400,000 a year, increase the estate tax rate and extend unemployment benefits for one year.
“There are still issues left to resolve but we’re hopeful Congress can get it done,” Obama said at a campaign-style event at the White House. “But it’s not done.”
In the building New Year’s Eve drama, the parties still were at an impasse over whether to put off the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect at the beginning of the year and if so, how to pay for that.
One official said talks were focused on a two-month delay in the across-the-board cuts but negotiators had yet to agree on about $24 billion in savings from elsewhere in the budget. Democrats had asked for the cuts to be put off for one year and be offset by unspecified revenue.
*According to the AP, Fox’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” starring James Franco is neither a sequel nor a prequel, but it does have built-in brand recognition and a fresh interpretation of the original series. So expect no monkeying around with these apes as they rise to the top of the weekend box office chart with an opening gross approaching $35 million.
Sony’s “The Smurfs” scared the boots off some high-profile Western dudes this past weekend when it ended up a very close second behind the favored “Cowboys & Aliens” from Universal/Dreamworks. This time around, look for “The Smurfs” to leave “Cowboys” in the dust for a second-place finish around $20 million, compared to the high teens for the third-place “Cowboys.”
Actually, “The Smurfs” has already pulled ahead of “Cowboys” in the midweek box office race and now has a higher North American gross than its competitor. By Sunday night, that total could be nearing $75 million.
*A first-person essay written by Rosa Parks presents a detailed and harrowing account of a young black housekeeper who is nearly raped by a white neighbor.
Looking like a remembrance from Parks’ own life, an expert called it an exciting find that might help explain her lifelong advocacy. But on Friday an institute created by Parks disputed that, saying it was hers but a work of fiction.
The six-page document is among thousands of the civil rights activists’ personal items currently residing in the Manhattan warehouse and cramped offices of Guernsey’s Auctioneers, which has been selected by a Michigan court to find an institution to buy and preserve the complete archive.
The Associated Press was provided with some samples of the documents in the archive, including portions of the essay. Archivists who reviewed the documents for Guernsey’s provided descriptions of their contents and characterized the encounter as a “near-rape.”