(CNN)–It's early, and State of the Union is bringing you the best of the morning headlines to go with your cup of coffee.
On our radar this morning: The continuing civil unrest in Libya and across the region, the possibility of a government shutdown, and governors fighting to keep their budgets in the black.
Check out what we're reading, and make sure to watch the show today at 9am/12pm ET, where guests include Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut)
Army leaders in eastern Libya who have turned against Col. Moammar Gaddafi's regime are preparing to dispatch a rebel force to Tripoli to support the beleaguered uprising there, a top military official said Saturday in Benghazi.
Brig. Gen. Ahmed Gatrani said a small force comprising army defectors and rebels has already reached the outskirts of the capital, where an attempt to oust Gaddafi on Friday was crushed by pro-regime paramilitaries and soldiers firing indiscriminately at protesters on the streets.
In another sign of the deepening division, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the former justice minister who recently defected, announced the formation of an "interim government" to lead the eastern regions under rebel control.
Unlike neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, Libya lacks the steadying hand of a military to buttress a collapsing government. It has no Parliament, no trade unions, no political parties, no civil society, no nongovernmental agencies. Its only strong ministry is the state oil company. The fact that some experts think the next government might be built atop the oil ministry underscores the paucity of options.
The worst-case scenario should the rebellion topple him, and one that concerns American counterterrorism officials, is that of Afghanistan or Somalia-a failed state where Al Qaeda or other radical groups could exploit the chaos and operate with impunity.
The approved resolution includes an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel bans for Gadhafi and several of his key associates. It also refers the violent crackdown to the International Criminal Court.
"The text send a strong message that gross violations of basic human rights will not be tolerated and that those responsible for grave crimes will be held accountable. I hope the message is heard, and heeded, by the regime in Libya," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies told CNN that Gadhafi had survived sanctions once before, in the aftermath of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
"The sanctions never worked," he said. "Anyone with money can break these sanctions."
But early Sunday, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi - one of Moammar Gadhafi's sons and a prominent member of his government - told CNN's Nic Robertson that he was confident the regime could survive the unrest and ultimately reunite Libya. Saif Gadhafi added that he wanted this reunification to be accomplished without violence.
Senior administration officials say the financial sanctions Obama announced Friday evening – after a plane carrying a last batch of Americans left Libya for safety – marked only the first in a range of steps that could include military options should Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi step up his violent campaign. On Saturday, in a telephone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama echoed European leaders' demands that Gaddafi must step down
The spending bill for the rest of this year that the Republican-led House passed last week cuts foreign economic aid by about 17% worldwide; it would cut the National Endowment for Democracy, the organization that funds those nimble democracy institutes, by 6%. And House Republicans have made it clear that they plan further cuts next year; some firebrands have even proposed eliminating foreign aid entirely, or eliminating it for every country except Israel.
A constitutional reform panel on Saturday recommended opening Egypt's presidential elections to competition and imposing a two-term limit on future presidents – a dramatic shift from a system that allowed the ousted Hosni Mubarak to rule for three decades.
The changes are among 10 proposed constitutional amendments that are to be put to a popular referendum later this year.
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN/THE BUDGET
“That attitude is now becoming more evident,” California Rep. Xavier Becerra, first elected in 1992 and now the vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told POLITICO. “The statement by a pretty sizeable number of Republicans in the House that they are willing to shut down government services is more an extension of their campaign rhetoric of 2010 rather than the realities of governance and lessons that history taught us from the government shutdown in 1995.”
Investors have started to buy up houses and condos, in some instances paying entirely in cash. That's a far cry from the heady bubble days when borrowed money seemed the key to riches. The bubble-era speculators who got burned tended to buy at the peak and borrowed heavily to do so. When the crash came, they quickly saw their wealth erased.
Since August 2008, state and local governments have trimmed some 426,000 jobs, about 253,000 in the past year alone.
I am disappointed and, quite frankly, think it pitiful that Scott would turn down $2.4 billion in allocated funding for high-speed rail in the nation’s fourth-largest state. Such a decision will cost Florida 24,000 new jobs and will obstruct economic growth along the I-4 corridor, and eventually all the way from Orlando to Miami.
The resolution adopted Saturday states that "the Democratic Party supports prioritizing job creation and a swift withdrawal of U.S. armed forces and military contractors in Afghanistan which must include a significant and sizable reduction no later than July 2011."
About 2,000 supporters gathered this weekend in Phoenix for what was billed as their first national policy conference. Having helped elect half of the 100 new members of Congress, tea party activists said they didn't plan to sit back and take it easy.
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