Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
November 20th, 2011
04:27 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to follow this week:

What is next if deficit ‘super committee’ blows deadline?

The U.S. congressional "super committee" charged with coming up with at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts for the next 10 years might announce Monday that it will miss Wednesday’s deadline to recommend a plan, aides say.  Regardless of whether some type of plan is offered before the deadline, the consequences of the panel’s actions will be the subject of much discussion in Washington this week.

The panel was created over the summer as part of an agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. If the committee doesn’t approve by Wednesday a plan to cut at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, and if Congress doesn’t pass that plan by December 23, then $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts are supposed to start in 2013. Those automatic cuts would be evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending and are said to be painful enough that neither Republicans nor Democrats would like to see them.

But since Congress made the law governing the automatic cuts, it can also amend or repeal it, among other options. And it would have until 2013 to do so.

What failure, success of ‘super committee’ would mean

Explain it to me: ‘Super committee’

Republican presidential candidates set for national security debate

National security will be the focus of a GOP presidential debate Tuesday in Washington, hosted by CNN  in partnership with The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

Eight Republican presidential contenders are scheduled to participate in the debate, which will be carried on CNN, CNN en Español,  CNN International, CNN Radio and CNN.com. The public can help shape the debate by submitting questions through through this form.

Last week, businessman Herman Cain led fellow GOP contenders in a Bloomberg News poll in Iowa, the site of the first caucuses in 2012. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was was on top in a Bloomberg survey in New Hampshire, site of the first 2012 primary. A CNN/ORC International Poll had Romney leading the GOP nomination race nationally, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich close behind.

The scheduled participants are U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Romney and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

Syria says observer plan needs clarification; Arab League to meet Thursday

Syria's foreign minister has said that an Arab League plan to send observers into his country - to verify whether Syria has taken measures to protect civilians after what activists say has been an eight-month crackdown on demonstrators – needed clarification before Syria would sign on.

Last Wednesday, Arab League foreign ministers gave Damascus three days to implement a protocol to allow observers to enter the nation. League representatives will meet again Thursday in Cairo to discuss the situation, officials from the foreign ministries of Egypt and Jordan said.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused the Arab League, which recently suspended Syria's membership, of helping pave the way for possible Western intervention. In an interview with the Sunday Times in the United Kingdom, he warned that any military intervention against his country would lead to "very dire" repercussions and said that Syria "will not bow down" despite international threats of economic sanctions.

The Syrian president faces increasing international pressure to step aside. Activists say the government has cracked down on people who have protested against the government since mid-March. The United Nations has said more than 3,500 people have been killed in the violence. Syria's government has said that "armed groups" - not government security forces - were responsible for violence.

U.S. to impose new sanctions on Iran, sources say

The Obama administration plans to impose fresh sanctions against Iran's petrochemical industry, diplomatic sources familiar with the plans said, according to CNN's Elise Labott.

The measures, which the sources said are expected to be announced early Monday, build on existing sanctions on Iran's oil and gas industry. The goal of the new measures is to bar foreign companies from doing business with Iran's petrochemical industry by threatening them with being banned from U.S. markets, the sources said.

European nations are expected to announce similar measures when the European Union leaders meet next week, the sources said.

Plans for the additional sanctions come on the heels of a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA detailing evidence that the Iranian regime was developing the technology needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and has called the U.N. watchdog's report "unbalanced" and "politically motivated."

U.S. postmaster general to discuss plans to fix Postal Service

A week after the U.S. Postal Service reported a $5.1 billion annual loss, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is expected to discuss his plans to improve the service's financial situation at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington on Monday.

The Postal Service wants to close nearly 3,700 facilities in the United States and replace existing government health care and retirement plans. It also wants to void union contracts in order to lay off 120,000 postal workers, a move strongly opposed by the Obama administration.

The full House and Senate have yet to consider a plan, cleared by a Senate panel, that would buy out some employees, cut worker compensation benefits for some retirees and maintain Saturday mail service for two more years.

The $5.1 billion loss comes on top of a $8.5 billion loss the year before. Donahoe has said that the Postal Service must reduce its annual costs by $20 billion by the end of 2015 to return to profitability.

On college gridiron, a dream - and a lesson

He’s 61 and the oldest player to ever score in a college football game. But don’t assume Alan Moore’s return to kicking was ever about making history or seeking fame. Not a chance. It was about believing.

For CNN.com’s Monday profile, Eliott C. McLaughlin takes a look at Faulkner University’s junior kicker. The story will hit the homepage on Monday, but you can get a sneak peek at the profile here.

Mars Curiosity rover due to launch Friday

NASA on Friday is expected to launch a rover that will investigate whether Mars is, or ever was, able to support microbial life.

The 2,000-pound Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity is due to land on Mars in August. It will use 10 instruments, including a 6-foot arm that will collect samples, and a laser that vaporizes material from rocks to determine what elements they're made of, CNN's Jenny Harrison reports.

CNNMoney's Jeanne Sahadi, James O'Toole and Jennifer Liberto contributed to this report.

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soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Frank

    I don't think that old man should play football. He could fall down and break his bone. When a man that old breaks his bone, it never heals right. It heals bent and crooked and it never works right again. Old people lack the ability to make that stuff that makes their bones hard.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Petey

    End the stupid wars, and bob's your uncle, that debt would be gone...

    November 20, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Roadsniper

    Republicans are the 1%ers does that make sense? So why should they settle on a budget that they cant make any money on? That would put them on the same level as some of us. They would get pretty dam nervous.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Roadsniper

    Discuss it with me at 530 945 7621

    November 20, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Portland tony

    I believe CNN along with following closely the events in Syria should also get ahead of the curve on Egypt which just may explode into an Arab "Winter". There is the potential for another bloody uprising and possibly a failed state.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Madeleine Raymond

    My name is Madeleine Raymond. I am a nurse and I am turning to you for help on the following: Jackson Memorial is going trough difficult financial problems. We went to the governor of Florida, we have spent 2 days lobbying to save the hospital and office . Yet, no answer. We are about to have all 12,000 staff, including doctors and nurses, take 2 weeks off without pay before December 31 to save the hospital. We have given 5 % from our pay check for about 2 yrs now. I will not have Thanksgiving and Christmas for my kids and that goes for most off us at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida. Please help me save Jackson Memorial Hospital. We need our job and the patients need our care.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I understand and admire you're desire to save the hospitol but to cut thanksgiving and christmas from you're kids is a horrible decision. you're children need you more than that hospitol or those patients. be a real mother and step up.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • robmel9880

      madeline,

      While I appreciate what you are trying to do, but a lot of non profit hospitals are in the same boat. I work at a General Hospital that takes everyone and everybody, with out regards to ability to pay. We too are having finanical difficutlies and we have taken LOA with out pay. You are not alone in that regards. Federal funding has been cut to medicaid, which is usually what funds non profits that are runned by state and county goverments. If your kids are going with out thanksgiving and christmas, that is not the fault of the hospital, that is your inability to control your own finances, So don't use that as a heart string so that people can tug at it. I know that sounds harsh, but you are in control of that, not the hospital. You knew that this was coming so you should have prepared for it. It is not like they are shutting the hospital down, they are just reducing expenses so that the hospital can stay open, until next years budget and they will be fully funded. May I suggest that you get your finanical house in order 1st before pleading on a public board about how they are making you take a LOA without pay and that your kids are going without thanksgiving and christmas. I highly doubt that alot of your coworkers are in the same boat.

      November 21, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Thelma Octavio

      I am also a nurse and state is planning to close some state fascilities . i undestand how you feel. But i believe only if that time comes But the difference is i worked in state foremsic hospital which is safer compare to others.No way they can . placed this kind of patient in the community. plus i am also in my retirable age. .

      November 21, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jesu

    Good luck with that, Madeline. I'm sorry, but your governor stinks. He's all in with the wealthy and screw people like you, only trying to make a living. I'll pray for you.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ron Grimes

    Yes, you can have Thanksgiving and Christmas for the kids. It may not include a 25 lb butterball with all the trimmings
    and more gifts than they will ever need and appreciate but you will survive. Quit feeling sorry for yourself.
    Millions more in this world will have much less than you. (:

    November 20, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sideshow Bob

    If we got rid of all the old people we wouldn't have to worry as much about Medicare and Social Security. We need to do this soon though

    November 21, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • jo

      let's get rid of you....dead weight and mental midget!

      November 21, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Such is to be expected from such a jerk like this cursed Sideshow Bob with his obvious limitations! Or is he trying to be funny like any other Mindless Tea Partier here? Many of us are either old ourselves or have parents and grandparents who are so his senseless comment here isn't quite as funny as he thinks!!!

      November 21, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Susie Q

    Madeline IS being a REAL mother 'by saving her job' she will be able to do all the things we all do to help our children grow, hence putting a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, clothes on their back. Get real folks Government is taking away her job as well as ours. Your next!

    November 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Susie Q

    correction "hence: "

    November 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
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