Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
January 2nd, 2011
07:19 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

New year, new party in charge of the U.S. House. Battles over spending and GOP efforts to repeal health care reform will begin in earnest Wednesday as the 112th session of Congress begins with Democrats yielding control of the House to Republicans. Here's a look at this and some of the other stories we plan to follow this week:

Spending, filibusters could be addressed this week

With temporary funding for the U.S. government not expiring until March and with President Obama's next budget proposal not expected to be submitted to Congress until mid-February, congressional squabbles over spending could take weeks. But the House already is expected to start debate Thursday on cutting funding for legislative activities by 5%, which incoming  House Speaker John Boehner says could save $25 million to $30 million a year.

The Senate, meanwhile, could start considering changes this week to its rules on filibusters, those  maneuvers that the minority party often uses to delay or kill legislation. Democrats are returning to the chamber with a diminished majority and want to weaken the filibuster and other moves that senators can use to block bills. One option is to eliminate a rule that requires 60 votes to bring a bill to a final vote. Another is to prevent the ability of a single, anonymous senator to prevent a bill from coming to the floor. Yet another is to force senators who want to filibuster to speak at length.

Steele fights for his future at the RNC

While Republicans prepare to take the House, Republican National Committee chief Michael Steele is fighting to keep his job. On Monday, the Susan B. Anthony List and Americans for Tax Reform will stage a debate between Steele and five candidates who are challenging him. Steele is up for re-election later this month.

Will Ivory Coast's presidential standoff lead to military conflict?

Leaders of three West African countries are expected to meet with Ivory Coast's self-declared President Laurent Gbagbo on Monday to ask him to relinquish his post or face a military ouster. Gbagbo has claimed he won a November 28 election, but a growing international bloc - including the United States and the United Nations - has recognized his challenger, Alassane Ouattara, as the winner. Each has ignored the other's deadline to stand down. Ouattara, holed up in a hotel in the capital since the election, has formed a government and made new diplomatic assignments.

Sudan braces for vote that could split it in two

On the other side of Africa, Southern Sudan is preparing for a January 9 referendum that could see the region split from Northern Sudan. The referendum is part of a 2005 peace agreement that ended two decades of violence between the North and oil-rich South - a conflict that led to the deaths of 2 million people, many from starvation. The impending vote has sparked fears of renewed violence, but Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, has said he will accept the results.

Evacuations continue following massive flooding in Australia

About 1,000 people are expected to be evacuated from their homes in the coming days in Queensland, Australia, because of flooding that has covered an area larger than France and Germany combined, Queensland officials say. An emergency management spokesman in Queensland said floodwater is receding in certain areas but is also flooding some towns as it recedes. At least one person has died as a result of the flooding, electricity has been intentionally cut in severely flooded areas and a regional airport is expected to be closed for weeks.

What caused thousands of blackbirds to die in Arkansas?

Arkansas game officials hope testing scheduled to begin Monday will solve the mystery of why up to 5,000 blackbirds fell from the sky just before midnight New Year's Eve. The birds, most of which were dead, were found within a one-mile area of Beebe, about 40 miles northeast of Little Rock, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said. An ornithologist for the commission said such an incident could be caused by a lightning strike or high-altitude hail, and another commission member said biologists believe the deaths were stress-related from either fireworks or weather. Meanwhile, Arkansas officials also are investigating the deaths of an estimated 100,000 fish about 125 miles to the west.

Freedom for Lindsay Lohan;  Queen Latifah hosting "People's Choice Awards"

After several months of court-ordered rehab, actress Lindsay Lohan reportedly is set to check out of the Betty Ford clinic on Tuesday. Fans and critics alike are anxious to learn what the embattled starlet's next career move will be now that she is no longer attached to the Linda Lovelace biopic, "Inferno."

On Wednesday, the public will deliver its verdicts on movies, music and television during the 2011 "People's Choice Awards," hosted by Queen Latifah. More than 35 million votes were cast for the awards ceremony, which aims to reveal the public's favorites in numerous entertainment categories. The show will air live on CBS starting at 9 p.m. EST from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

The "Super Bowl of tech" kicks off

The year's biggest technology trade show kicks off Wednesday in Las Vegas, Nevada, with tech titans including Microsoft, Samsung and Sony set to unveil their latest gadgets. Sometimes called the "Super Bowl of tech," the Consumer Electronics Show is expected to attract more than 100,000 industry players. Tablet computers, smartphones and 3D televisions are expected to be among the big items this year, and our Tech section will be watching.

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. banasy

    Beuhler? Anyone? Anyone?

    January 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |

    OK what killed the black birds? my vote = redneck bomb.

    January 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mala

      U say sorry.

      January 2, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mala

    That not nice ruffnutt.

    January 2, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |

    oh lindsay, come live me in my trailer in south kansas city.

    January 2, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Your Panties Inna Wad

    Look, people. Nobody cares about those stupid blackbirds. They are useless. Now, there will be more grass for the cows in Beebe, Arkansas.

    January 2, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • jdog

      sorry the birds ain't for the birds, they're all part of the web of life....it matters, anything dying off in mass matters to find a source, it could be us next, get a clue

      January 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |

      funny thing.. they use to eat worms.. now there worm food..

      boy life sure is ironic.

      January 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott

      I love the name. It was definately funnier than the comments.

      January 2, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Your Panties Inna Wad

      Scott: Which name are you referring to:


      January 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vezalo

      Crazy the birds die, then 135 miles west 100,000 fish die. Coincidence?

      January 2, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. b

    back to the bs

    January 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy

    Actually they're red-winged blackbirds, so what kind of bomb would have been used?

    He's joking, Mala. I think. 🙂

    January 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • jefffbo

      It is an Omen about the "rightwing" in 2011.

      January 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Your Mama Is A Wad

    Shut up, Panties! Just more beef to stuff in your face?

    January 2, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Your Panties Inna Wad

      Well, yes, that is the main point. I love my beef, especially steaks of all kinds. Take care of YO MAMA, while you are at it.


      January 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy

    I going for the freak weather as to the cause of death. I don't think it was anything mysterious...boooooooooooooooo.....

    January 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |

      i didn't want to say what i really felt it might be... cause it scares me.. ( aliens )~~~~~~~ZAP!~~~~> ( birds ).

      January 2, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jdog

    Ahead of the curve? CNN, you don't even know what time it is....sure these events may happen, but that's all....now if some REAL reporting happened, if your corporate masters allowed you to look at real and meaningful reporting that needs to be the focus of society, then you might be ahead of the curve, otherwise yer just throwing a curve ball to the public for what's supposed to matter

    January 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jdog

      the bird story however....that's one to look into....soon it may be many of us dropping from mysterious 'environmental' hazards

      January 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyrus

      Not any worse than Fox News. Getting there I suppose.

      January 2, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |

    @mala.. it says clearly in the article that it might have been fireworks. it was on newyears eve. around here farmers and small towners like in belton,mo and some people i know from springfield,mo make their own bombs/mortars. now it's been known that some people launch fireworks off on newyears eve. so my vote still stands. redneck bomb/mortar.

    January 2, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Really morons...so why didn't 5000 blackbirds filled the bucket last new years eve's blast? Duh-uh!

      January 2, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. patricia

    Get real! Why would aliens kill birds?

    January 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |

      duh! evil ones. or maybe muslim aleins?

      January 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Angie Daddy

    Choke on THIS steak!

    Yo Mama Angie Daddy

    January 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AhCrap

    this is a sign which was encoded in ‘chi, xi, sigma, last verse of the book of Bert.

    January 2, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Linda

    You'd better care about 'those' black birds....it's a sign. Read your Bible!

    January 2, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobnmeknob

      Linda, I am willing to bet my house that "you" have NEVER read your bible from Genesis to revelation. Religious ignorance!

      January 2, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyrus

      I can't I use mine for toilet paper.

      January 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      @Cyrus you're reason the horses sweat and the cow's milk turns sour and babies ate born dead! Stop picking on and trashing holy things!

      January 2, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
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