Stocks are closed lower on Wall Street after a surprisingly weak manufacturing report heightened concern that fiscal deadlock in Washington is already hurting the economy. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 60 points to close at 12,965 Monday. The Standard and Poor´s 500 index fell seven points to 1,409. The Nasdaq fell eight points to 3,002. The market opened higher but turned down at midmorning after the Institute for Supply Management reported that U.S. manufacturing shrank last month. Businesses expressed concerns about a series of sharp government spending cuts and tax increases
On a day of turmoil in which a high-ranking Assad spokesman defected, and the United Nations announced it was withdrawing all non-essential personnel in Syria, American defence officials confirmed that activity had been reported at the regime’s known chemical sites, including movements of weapons components. Although previous activity has been reported, it was seen then as the regime seeking to secure stocks against possible rebel attack. This time, the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, went further. “We are concerned that an increasingly beleaguered regime may be considering the use
At 8:24 Friday morning -- that´s right, four days ago -- in the small town of Casa Grande, Arizona, the local Social Security Administration office was rocked by an explosion that charred the back wall and door. A nearby parked car was damaged and debris was strewn throughout the parking lot. No one was injured, but at the time of the explosion ten people were at work in the office. As someone who watches the media about as closely as anyone, why am I just learning about this now? My guess is that the name of the suspected bomber might answer that question: Abdullatif Aldosary, an Iraqi refugee.
Sydney - The phantom island has been blamed on an error by the crew of a whaling ship from 1876, the Velocity, which originally recorded the land mass, known as Sandy Island, midway between Australia and the French-governed New Caledonia. Though the island has existed on maps for hundreds of years, a group of Australian scientists went searching for it in the Coral Sea last month and could not find it. Shaun Higgins, a pictorial librarian at Auckland Museum who was intrigued by the mystery, now believes he has solved the case. He says the ship’s master aboard the Velocity reported a series of
A photo posted online Monday shows George Zimmerman with blood on his nose and lips. His attorneys say it was taken the night unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense. Martin´s attorneys say he was shot and killed "in cold blood." Prosecutors have charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder for the February 26 killing. The picture, posted Monday on Zimmerman´s defense website, was taken by a police officer, Zimmerman´s attorneys wrote. The state had previously provided a black-and-white copy of the image,
Colleagues and congressional analysts expressed surprise and dismay Monday after learning U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri had decided to quit. Within minutes, though, the state’s politicians began pondering the race to replace her. Emerson, a 62-year-old Republican from Cape Girardeau, announced her retirement less than a month after southeast Missouri voters overwhelmingly elected her for the 9th time. She’ll become president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in March. “Our district has earned its reputation for commonsense above all else,
A 58-year-old man died Monday after he was pushed off a subway platform in Midtown Manhattan and hit by a train pulling into the station, according to news reports. Some witnesses reported the victim had argued with the suspect, estimated to be in his 20s, before being pushed, while others said the suspect had been talking to himself and the victim asked what was wrong. The New York Daily News described the suspect, who fled, as being "emotionally disturbed." Witnesses said the victim tried to climb back onto the platform about 12:30 p.m. ET as the southbound train on the N, Q, R line
David Oliver Relin, Gregory Mortenson´s co-author on the bestseller "Three Cups of Tea," has died. The 49-year-old committed suicide last month in Oregon, the Multnomah County medical examiner announced late Sunday, saying blunt force trauma to the head was the cause of death. Relin´s suicide adds to the shadow cast on "Three Cups of Tea," which tells of Mortenson´s travels in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan and his work creating schools for the children, particularly girls, in those remote regions. The book was plunged into controversy in April 2011, when Jon Krakauer published an
The New York Times on Monday announced that it would offer buyout packages to 30 newsroom employees, and that layoffs would ensue if the 30 spots were not voluntarily filled. Citing a difficult "economic environment" that has led in recent years to a 60 percent staff reduction on the paper´s business side, Executive Editor Jill Abramson said, "There is no getting around the hard news that the size of the newsroom staff must be reduced." While the loss of 30 jobs pales in comparison to the ousting of roughly 100 newsroom staffers in 2008, it is the latest evidence that the Times continues to struggle
House Republican leaders endorsed a far-reaching plan Monday to rein in the national debt that would raise $800 billion in new tax revenue, slice $600 billion from federal health programs and apply a stingier measure of inflation to Social Security benefits. In a letter to President Obama, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other senior Republicans suggested that the framework, first laid out by Democrat Erskine Bowles during last year’s budget battles, should serve as a starting point for budget talks aimed at averting the year-end “fiscal cliff.” “With the fiscal cliff nearing,
White House sources are telling Democratic reporters that the president is willing to go over the so-called “fiscal cliff” if GOP leaders don’t agree to his demand for higher tax rates on the wealthy without substantive spending cuts. A political deadlock would mean an automatic tax increase for middle-class and wealthy Americans on January 1, and the opportunity for Obama and the Democrats to push a tax-cutting bill for middle-class voters in 2013, say the White House officials, who leaked the claim to two liberal columnists.Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner, say they are opposed
House Republican leaders have made a counteroffer to President Obama in the fiscal cliff negotiations, proposing to cut $2.2 trillion with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue. The leaders delivered the offer to the White House on Monday with a three-page letter signed by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and four other senior Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the party’s just-defeated vice presidential nominee. Republican officials said the offer was based on a proposal outlined by Erskine Bowles,
Kansas City sportswriter Jason Whitlock loves to stoke controversy. So after he blamed Jovan Belcher´s murder-suicide on the "gun culture" -- inspiring NBC Sports lecturer Bob Costas -- in an interview with Roland Martin, he added fuel to the fire by claiming "the NRA is the new KKK." Apparently, black youths are "armed" by the NRA, and they´re also responsible for loading up black neighborhoods with drugs: WHITLOCK: Sports gets so much attention, and people tune out the real world, that I try to take advantage of the opportunity
Incoming National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Jerry Moran said he’s begun speaking with GOP senators about whether the party’s campaign arm should intervene in future primaries, even consulting with anti-establishment kingmaker Jim DeMint. “We’re going to on a race-by-race, state-by-state basis, try to figure out what is the best role the NRSC can play in getting Republicans elected,” the first-term Kansas senator told POLITICO in an interview. “I don’t think we have any choice but to work to do things better than what we did, based upon the lack of success that we had.”
We all know by now fiscal cliff talks are at a stand still, but before President Obama asks those making more than $250,000 per year to pay more in taxes, he should first ask his own aides in the White House to pay their back taxes. A few dozen people who work for President Obama are having some trouble paying their taxes. The IRS has released its Federal Employee and Retiree Delinquency Inventory, and it shows that 36 of Obama’s aides owe a total of $833,970 in back taxes. And what about employees of government
It´s not just business — it’s personal. The cabinet secretary chosen by President Obama to oversee the federal response to Hurricane Sandy was raised in New York — and vows he won’t let the city down. “I have deep roots in the region. This is home,” Shaun Donovan told the Daily News in his first extensive interview since being appointed as the recovery czar. Donovan — the secretary of housing and urban development — is charged with helping New York and New Jersey pry the billions they need from a gridlocked Congress and then helping them spend the money
President Obama has congratulated Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Katherine over the news that they are having a baby. White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president and first lady Michelle Obama were extending their congratulations to the future King of England and his wife “on the welcome news out of London.” The couple announced the pregnancy on their website on Monday.
All he’s missing is a tin can to kick down the street. Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was photographed looking dressed down as he shuffled his feet on the sidewalks of East Hampton, L.I., on Sunday. The 65-year-old millionaire had his hands in his jeans pockets and wore a Colorado Rockies baseball cap during his visit to the tony town. He’s kept a rather low profile since his $40 billion brokerage firm, MF Global, went bust in October 2011. Corzine took the job as CEO after losing a re-election bid for governor in 2009.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that she has stood up for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and and Transgender rights all around the world. “Memories are short, and we can’t afford to rest on the laurels of the past,” Clinton said Thursday at an event co-hosted by the State Department and Foreign Policy Magazine. “So it’s our job to reintroduce a post-Iraq generation of young people around the world to principled American leadership.” “That is part of why I’ve logged so many miles over the last four years going to something
Chicago, a city plagued by gangs, murder and a failing public education system, is the most American of cities, says Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Chicago is the most American of American cities," Emanuel said in talk last week to political science students at Northwestern University. "It´s not just any city. If you want to come and see America, you come to its heartland. And what is the capital of that heartland? Chicago." "There are about one hundred cities in the world that drive the intellectual, economic and cultural capital and energy of the world economy. Chicago is one of them,"
In a colorful demonstration of the Washington press corps’ disdain for Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge, on Sunday’s This Week, a flustered ABC News/NPR veteran Cokie Roberts blurted out: “It’s...politically smart to cut the knees out from under Grover Norquist. I mean this guy is, you know, who is he? He’s an unelected lobbyist.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are having a baby, it was announced today. Catherine, 30, was this afternoon taken to King Edward VII Hospital in central London with acute morning sickness and is expected to be kept in for several days. She was admitted only as a precautionary measure. In a statement on their website, the couple said they are ´delighted with the news´. Royal sources said the couple are happy but nervous because the pregnancy is in its very early stages and added it would not have been announced at this time had it not been for the
A professor of Indo-Tibetan studies at Columbia University in New York City, Robert A. Thurman, is hopping mad that Republicans are refusing to raise taxes. Last Tuesday, he decided to make a video about it. In the conspiracy-minded video, Thurman equates Grover Norquist’s no-tax pledge with the oath of office. He then charges that members of Congress who have promised not to support tax increases have a conflict of interest that prevents them from serving as elected officials. The oath of office that all members of Congress take, Thurman notes, states that officeholders will do their jobs
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D.-Texas) said last week that Republicans are being "frivolous" when they talking about reforming Social Security as a means toward fixing the federal government´s fiscal problems because Social Security is "solvent." According to Social Security´s trustees, the program has operated in the red each of the last two years. “Who wants to make a fuss about Social Security when it´s solvent?” she asked on Friday. “And then who wants to make a fuss about Medicare when it´s solvent until 2024?” In remarks on the House floor, the Texas Democrat said Republicans have a “frivolous perspective”
Another black teenager was killed in Florida last week by an older, non-black assailant, and the media - just as they did in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case - are predictably taking sides before all the facts are in. MSNBC´s Melissa Harris-Perry did her part Saturday saying in a piece about the incident, "This is no country for young black men" (video follows with transcript and commentary): MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: The police acted the very next day. A man was arrested, charged and is in custody, being held without bond. So this, the alleged shooting of Jordan Russell Davis by