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

    Bad da boom!

    January 2, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy

    And the fishies...musn't forget the fishies...I'm with you. Electrocution. From aliens. With shoeboxes. With a rat-tailed 'do and a smokin hot black Camaro!

    January 2, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |

    well it is an easy way to go fishin.. you take a sparkplug wire off and run a wire from it to the water, start your engine and the fish come up.

    if they had a supped up camaro like mine with a mallory iginition i could see that many fish getting zapped.

    January 2, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. David Scott

    Why not GIVE AWAY $130 BILLION TO THE RICHEST mothers in the whole United States??????? Whoever voted for the lying, bigoted, racist rip-publicans should lay down and just DIE. They have screwed America and will do so again... Screw all you morons who put them back in power, you stupid jerks.

    January 2, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |

      sarah palin is so hot..

      January 2, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |



    January 2, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Your Panties Inna Wad

      BS! Nothing but more of your BS.

      January 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. emmmbarrrasssed

    I'm embarrassed to be a part of this species.

    January 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2f'inFunny


      January 2, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2f'inFunny

      another buzz kill joined the post.....

      January 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Your Panties Inna Wad

      Which species? The blackbird species?

      January 2, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Auntie Emmm I see you married
      Mr. Barr-a(SSS)Ed

      January 2, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |

    i thought we were going to descuss the fish now and what happen to them.. anyone else have any ideas?

    January 2, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Your Panties Inna Wad

      Are they catfish? I only eat catfish.

      January 2, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. massiveboobs

    I wants me a greasy guy wit a black camero.

    January 2, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |

      you like jamming to def leppord? and hanging out in the quiktrip parking lot or at the car wash?

      January 2, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |

    spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam

    January 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |

    i like green eggs and spam..

    January 2, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      ...me like the incredible, edible egg...

      January 2, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bridget

    Sounds like the beginning of a Stephen King novel!

    January 2, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Already beat (cautious whisper) by the Shalaman, eeek! (looking left and right)

      January 2, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nathan Steele

    Once again, CNN's web author(s) appear to be on crack. They put a link (at the top of this page) that leads to this page which we're already on. It's like being on I-10 West and having an off ramp that takes you to I-10 West. It accomplishes nothing.

    January 2, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe Carter

    Text size way too small...all of CNN has this problem...cannot be adjusted on Android smartphone like other sites...

    .why not?

    January 2, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |


    January 2, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy

    Ruffie, let's go fishing! I'll bring the suds and the Def Leopard, you bring the Camaro!

    January 2, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
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