Weary lawmakers and congressional staffers are making backup vacation plans, preparing to work over the holidays. Congress has a habit of finishing up late in December, such as when the Senate passed healthcare reform on Christmas Eve in 2009. But this year is different, as many on Capitol Hill believe that Congress will still be working on a debt deal between Christmas and New Year’s. A Republican leadership aide said, “Some version of: ‘Have you bought your plane ticket yet?’ or ‘Think you’ll spend the holidays here?’ is the new guaranteed way to
North Korea’s launch today—using ballistic missile technology despite express prohibitions by United Nations Security Council resolutions—is a highly provocative act that threatens regional security, directly violates United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874, contravenes North Korea’s international obligations, and undermines the global non-proliferation regime. This action is yet another example of North Korea’s pattern of irresponsible behavior.
Of all the Presidents in my lifetime, I don´t recall a Commander in Chief that seems to purposely mislead. Yet this President often orates with well crafted phrases that can only be explained as contrived to this purpose. The circumstances are virtually always similar. He speaks to a large crowd in which there is no chance for rebuttal or honest questioning. The audience can be as large as a national television audience, as in the State of the Union. The larger the audience, the better. Even if retraction or clarification ensued, which never seems to occur,
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said Tuesday the U.S. has made it increasingly difficult for Hezbollah terrorists and their supporters to cross the U.S.-Mexico border--but there is still more work to do to make the border secure. However, Lieberman also warned that we don´t want to lose American freedom by trying to keep terrorist from crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. “The security’s better on the U.S.-Mexican border than it has been before in terms of terrorists’ capacity to break through our borders in the south,
President Barack Obama travelled to Michigan this week and made his case for class war in defense of the welfare state. We need to take more money from the rich, he said, or schools will not be able to afford books, students will not be able to afford college, and disabled children will not get health care. "Our economic success has never come from the top down," said Obama. "It comes from the middle out. It comes from the bottom up." Obama spoke these words a few miles from Detroit — the reductio ad absurdum of his argument.
A man caught having sex with a miniature female donkey (at least it was female!), is arguing that he has a constitutional right to, er, drive the herd any way he wants. He is in effect arguing that if the law says he can’t roger a donkey, then the law is an ass — which is ironic, since if the law were an ass, he might want to have sex with it too. From the article: “By making sexual conduct with an animal a crime, the statute demeans individuals like Defendant (Romero) by making his private
To best understand this spending aspect of the current budget negotiations in Washington, we must answer one crucial question: how much taxation on the top income-earners would be required to fully fund the present level of government spending? (snip) The IRS says 236,883 Americans filed returns with more than $1 million in income. They reported a total income of $726.91B. While that is a lot of money, it´s less than just Medicare and Medicaid, which cost $1 trillion together.
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns understands the horrors faced by five New York City teens unfairly charged with rape back in 1989. "The Central Park Five," the new documentary co-directed by Burns on the subject, lets the five victims recall that tumultuous time in their lives and documents just how much the false charges crushed their youth. Yet Burns seems indifferent to another case in which three young men were unfairly accused of rape and waited 15 months to have their names cleared. Burns brought up the 2006 Duke Lacrosse case, in which three students
Lansing — With Michigan the latest state to pass a right-to-work law, the national movement has its eyes on the next prize. And that could be one of several other states. "We´ve been active for a long time in a bunch of states where we´d like to see things move forward," said Greg Mourad, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee. "Those include Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky." Michigan became the 24th state on Tuesday to pass laws that prohibit requiring employees to join a union or to pay fees comparable to union dues to be employed.
Remember TARP? It was -- still is, for many -- a four-letter word for huge inappropriate government involvement in the private sector economy back in 2008. The Troubled Asset Relief Program was one of the last major acts of George W. Bush´s administration. And to say it was controversial is like saying Barack Obama seems fond of giving speeches. It involved, among other things, the feds saving the failing financial ass-ets of AIG, the insurance giant that had taken way too many bad risks in the housing bubble.
The U.S. military launched its highly secretive unmanned $1 billion X-37B space plane into orbit today from Cape Canaveral on top of an Atlas V rocket. The U.S. Air Force which operates the small, top-secret version of the space shuttle still will not say how long the third X-37B mission will last, nor what the vehicle will be doing in orbit. Cloud coverage in the area had threatened to scupper today´s launch, but the skies cleared sufficiently for the classified mission to take-off on time at 1.03 p.m from the Florida space center. Scroll Down for Video
In the war over the “fiscal cliff” of looming automatic spending cuts and increased tax rates, the GOP is reeling. Republicans are playing right into the Democrats’ hands, time and time again. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made the generous but misguided gesture last week of offering tax increases via eliminating or capping deductions, without demanding any sort of tax reform in return. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) then exceeded the Speaker’s generosity on Sunday by acquiescing to higher tax rates, in the abstract hope that the White House would return the favor when it comes to entitlement reform.
Is it discriminatory and degrading for toy catalogs to show girls playing with tea sets and boys with Nerf guns? A Swedish regulatory group says yes. The Reklamombudsmannen (RO) has reprimanded Top-Toy, a licensee of Toys"R"Us and one of the largest toy companies in Northern Europe, for its "outdated" advertisements and has pressured it to mend its "narrow-minded" ways. After receiving "training and guidance" from RO equity experts, Top-Toy introduced gender neutrality in its 2012 Christmas catalogue. Headline split by staff
Yesterday a landmark event happened in Michigan. The Wolverine State–which is not simply home of the United Auto Workers but in many respects is the birthplace of the modern labor movement–has become the 24th state to ban compulsory union fees. Workers will no longer be required to pay union fees as a condition of employment. And if history–and other states, like Indiana–is any guide, this action will not only grant workers freedom but also attract new businesses to Michigan. (Michigan desperately needs this, since it has the sixth-highest state jobless rate
A star of A&E´s popular reality series Storage Wars is accusing the show of rigging key elements in a lawsuit that followed his ouster from the program. Dave Hester, a key bidder for unclaimed goods in Southern California storage lockers, who´s known as "the mogul," says he complained to network executives and producers about items he says were "planted" to heighten the show´s drama. In response, he was fired from the show, he claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in California Superior Court. Hester charges A&E and Original Productions with wrongful termination and is seeking $750,000 in damages. Among items
Wednesday is the last time most people living today will see a repeating day, month and year — 12/12/12. A mark of luck? Lottery officials seem to think so. Do engaged couples find it appealing? Of course, say wedding planners. Even the universe found a way to mark the occasion with an early-morning meteor shower. But a sobering sign of mortality? No way, say mathematicians. “The thing to celebrate on a day like 12/12/12 is the fact that the human mind is capable of discerning patterns,” said Edward Burger, a professor of mathematics at Williams College in Massachusetts.
Ravi Shankar, the sitar virtuoso who became a hippie musical icon of the 1960s after hobnobbing with the Beatles and who introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over an eight-decade career, has died. He was 92. A statement on the musician´s website said he died in San Diego, near his Southern California home. The musician´s foundation issued a statement saying that he had suffered upper respiratory and heart problems and had undergone heart-valve replacement surgery last week. The prime minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh´s office confirmed his death and called him a ´national treasure.´
VATICAN CITY-The Vatican´s top astronomer has some assurances to offer: The world won´t be ending in about two weeks, despite predictions to the contrary. The Rev. Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, wrote in Wednesday´s Vatican newspaper L´Osservatore Romano that "it´s not even worth discussing" doomsday scenarios based on the Mayan calendar that are flooding the Internet ahead of the purported Dec. 21 apocalypse. Yes, Funes wrote, the universe is expanding and if some models are correct, will at one point "break away" — but not for billions of years.
Steven Crowder immediately made headlines yesterday after video surfaced of him being repeatedly punched when he ventured to interview pro-union protesters in Michigan. On Wednesday morning, Crowder paid a visit to Fox & Friends to discuss (and condemn) what happened.“Didn’t that remind you of all those violent Tea Party protests?” Steve Doocy asked him sarcastically. Crowder replied that it was more reminiscent of the The Dark Knight Rises — even offering up his best Bane impression. “I did provoke these people,” Crowder added. Provoked in the sense that he was trying to encourage “rational thought and civil debate.”
President Barack Obama owes conservative Steven Crowder--and the nation--an apology after union thugs, angered by right-to-work laws passed by the Michigan legislature today, assaulted Crowder several times in the capital city of Lansing, causing mild injuries. One also threatened to shoot Crowder (see video below). The man in the image above, who punched Crowder several times, should be identified and reported to police immediately, as should the man in the image below, who grabbed Crowder
On Tuesday, Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) confirmed with Breitbart News that she has “concerns about the defense put up by [Benghazi] Diplomatic Security. That is correct.” Breitbart News reported on Monday that Sen. Feinstein was troubled to learn, during a closed door meeting about the Benghazi attack, that shots were not returned by U.S. diplomatic security agents who were assigned to protect U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Joe Lieberman (D-CT) told reporters on Tuesday that he and ranking committee member Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI hit the 1 million Twitter follower mark on Wednesday as he sent his first tweet from his new account.In perhaps the most drawn out Twitter launch ever, the 85-year-old Benedict pushed the button on a tablet brought to him at the end of his general audience Wednesday. "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart," his inaugural tweet read.
In a huge win for gun-rights groups, a divided federal appeals court in Chicago Tuesday tossed the state’s ban on carrying concealed weapons and gave Illinois’ Legislature 180 days to craft a law legalizing concealed carry.
Ambling through a museum exhibition is a favorite pastime of CultureMappers. We appreciate art, the quiet introspection of looking at works crafted hundreds of years ago and imagining the back stories of the characters, subjects and locations of yesteryear. Though some paintings may look a tad formal, there´s always a juicy tale behind each priceless artifact. As Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado prepares to open on Dec. 16 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, we wandered with Edgar Peters Bowron, the Audrey Jones Beck Curator of European Art,
What´s up with John Boehner? Has he lost his mind or something? There are a lot of conservatives who think he´s gone around the bend. He´s done precious little to convince anyone otherwise. He sounds more like a Democrat than a Republican these days, and he´s giving credence to those who believe,"There´s not a dime´s worth of difference between the Republicans and Democrats." Boehner on Taxes Here are some of the more egregious quotes: right after the election, from an interview with Dianne Sawyer of ABC news.
If you spend any time on the Internet, celebrity news is basically unavoidable, so you might as well hop in and join the mess, right? In recognition of that grim fact, every morning we bring you The Smart Set, our take on the big gossip of the day — done in a refined and always tasteful manner, of course. In doing so day in and day out, we eventually came to love certain paparazzi-flecked stories this year.