Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers struck an upbeat tone in recent weeks as they enjoyed their most positive budget outlook since the economic downturn. Whether that mood survives the winter depends on Washington. State budget experts say the biggest immediate threat to California finances is a recession triggered by automatic federal cuts and tax hikes, absent a political deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." The state´s biggest federal program, Medi-Cal, is spared from automatic cuts. But a new recession could threaten the state tax revenue that serves as the lifeblood for California government. "A lot of it relies
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -Jean Harris, the patrician girls´ school headmistress who spent 12 years in prison for the 1980 killing of her longtime lover, "Scarsdale Diet" doctor Herman Tarnower, in a case that rallied feminists and inspired television movies, has died. She was 89. Harris died Sunday at an assisted-living facility in New Haven, her son, James Harris, said Friday. She had claimed the shooting of Tarnower, 69, was an accident. Convicted of murder in 1981, Harris suffered two heart attacks while serving her sentence in the Bedford Hills women´s prison north of New York City.
With Washington so far unable to avert the looming fiscal crisis, much of the attention has been on the more than $500 billion in tax hikes set to take effect Jan. 1. But failure to strike a deal also means the first wave of roughly $1.2 trillion in spending cuts will hit starting next month. Of that, about $492 billion will be carved out of the Pentagon over the next decade -- that´s about $55 billion a year starting in 2013. It was a scenario so dire that for months Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had claimed his department
Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, praised on Friday the inclusion of special provisions in the proposed 113th Congress rules package that will keep in place legal obligations on Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and others at the Justice Department as a result of “Fast and Furious” subpoenas issued in the 112th Congress. The inclusion in the House rules will allow a civil lawsuit, authorized by a bipartisan vote of the House in July 2012, to continue. Without the provisions, the Justice Department could have argued
The top Democrat and Republican in the Senate emerged from a meeting at the White House Friday evening to say they are hopeful they can strike a last-minute deal to avert the tax increases and spending cuts looming in less than four days. “What we come up with is going to be imperfect,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, told his colleagues on the chamber floor. He, Sen. Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John A. Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi met with President Obama for a little more than an hour, and the two Senate leaders said
Gun sales have surged in the region and across the nation in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre as enthusiasts rush to buy firearms they fear will be outlawed by a fresh push for gun control. Gun dealers requested nearly 5,150 background checks on purchasers in Virginia eight days after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn. — the largest number ever in a single day, Virginia State Police said. And in the days since, the daily number of background checks has regularly doubled corresponding totals from the previous year. In Maryland, State Police project
President Obama and Senate leaders were on the verge of an agreement Friday that would let taxes rise on the wealthiest households while protecting the vast majority of Americans from historic tax hikes set to hit in January. The development marked a breakthrough after weeks of paralysis. After meeting with Obama at the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said they would work through the weekend in hopes of drafting a “fiscal cliff” package they could present to their colleagues on Sunday afternoon.
The head of Argentina’s organized labour, Hugo Moyano filed a complaint before a federal criminal court against cabinet chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina and Security Secretary Sergio Berni who openly and repeatedly accused the teamsters leader of being behind the extended rioting and looting of last week when four people were killed, hundreds injured and arrested and left millions of dollars in damages. The complaint accuses the defendants of “violence instigation” and “false claims” when they stated that the teamsters union of Moyano and the gastronomic workers union of
Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolás Maduro read over on Friday a greeting message to the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB). The message was sent by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez from Havana, Cuba, where he is recovering from a cancer surgery. Joined by the high military command and top leaders of ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Maduro claimed to be fully subordinate to the Venezuelan leader and proceeded to read out the message. In there, Chávez appreciates the army loyalty "at this very complex and difficult time."
I know there are questions on my beat larger and more pressing than who’s worse as a TV journalist, Chelsea Clinton or Jenna Bush Hager, the presidentially-connected, pretend correspondents at NBC News. But I continue to be fascinated by a network news division putting someone as outrageously unqualified as Clinton on a prime-time newsmagazine. I watched her again last week in a softer-than-soft piece on a weight loss program started by Pastor Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church, and I can say with absolute certainty that she has not improved one lick in the last year.
STERLING, Va. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it has seized more than 200 pounds of an illegal stimulant from the Middle East that was shipped as air freight to Dulles International Airport. The agency says it found 214 pounds of khat (COT) while inspecting freight that was listed as wood coffee tables. The drug had been shipped from Doha, Qatar, and has an estimated street value of $30,000. Khat is a leafy plant that´s chewed for its stimulant effect. It´s classified as a dangerous narcotic in the United States.
Given the alternatives that are being bandied about in Washington, there can be no doubt that, from a policy perspective, going over the fiscal cliff is the far superior option. Temporary extensions of tax cuts don’t do much for the economy; temporary extension of unemployment benefits retards job-seeking; and the whole grab-bag of accounting gimmicks allows Congress to avoid owning up to the true scale of the budget deficit, a budget deficit that will get cut in half if we go over the cliff. The most common conservative rejoinder to these arguments is political: that Republicans will be blamed
“We must obey God rather than men!”—Acts 5:29. Now that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has denied Hobby Lobby’s application for an emergency injunction protecting them from Obamacare’s HHS Mandate on abortion and birth control, Hobby Lobby has decided to defy the federal government to remain true to their religious beliefs, at enormous risk and financial cost. Hobby Lobby is wholly owned and controlled by the Green family, who are evangelical Christians. The Greens are committed to running their business in accordance with their Christian faith
John Kass, columnist for The Chicago Tribune, appeared on CNN on Friday where he discussed the tragic increase of violence and murder that has struck his city in recent years. He said that lawmakers and members of the press have been guilty of “papering over” how bad the situation in Chicago was getting, and of “ghettoizing” the minority children who become the victims of gun violence in the inner city. Kass concluded by challenging President Barack Obama to come to Chicago for the funeral of one of the “hundreds and hundreds” of African-American and Latino children killed every year
A 6-year-old girl -- shot and left for dead by the Taliban in Afghanistan earlier this year -- received free reconstructive surgery at a hospital in the U.S. Friday. (Snip) The nonprofit children´s organization, based on Staten Island, helped bring Marizeh to the U.S. after the attack that cost the girl her right eye. Taliban fighters ambushed Marizeh´s family as they drove home in a remote, unidentified region of Afghanistan last spring, said Montanti. Her father tried to hide the girl under his feet inside the family car but she was shot in the face, after watching both her father and brother murdered.
Senate leaders will try to cobble together a legislative package over the weekend to avert nearly $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts slated to go into effect at midnight on Monday. Following a meeting with House and Senate leaders on Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama said that he is hopeful that Congress can resolve the so-called fiscal cliff over the next 72 hours. [snip] It also would set a framework for deficit reduction in 2013 while suspending $1.2-trillion in domestic spending cuts over the next 10 years.
Talk radio fans should prepare themselves to say goodbye to News Talk 96.9 FM because word from insiders is that WTKK is switching to a music format next week. Our spies inside parent company Greater Media tell us that WTKK will begin broadcasting music — most likely a rhythmic format — a day or so into the New Year. The switch would kill the city’s only FM talk station, leaving WRKO-AM the only major talker left in the market. WTKK, on the air since 1999, featured on-air yakkers including Don Imus, Michael Graham, Jay Severin, Herald columnist Margery Eagan and
Guns: The left keeps asking why anyone needs an "assault" rifle. Here´s one reason — in 2010, a Texas teen used a rifle similar to the one used in Newtown to defend his younger sister and himself from home invaders. The left quite often exposes its raging elitism through its odious habit of asking why anyone would need the things that it doesn´t like, from guns to big homes to monster trucks. The implication is that if the elitists don´t want whatever it is, then no one should be allowed to have it — except, of course,
The fiscal-cliff melodrama has become one of those bad cable reality shows, a sort of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" without the sincerity though not without the plastic surgery. In the latest episode on Friday, the actors met at the White House in a last-ditch attempt to avert the cliff they had created, and that they all claim would be a catastrophe to jump off, but that they hope they can blame on each other if they do. On second thought, this script would be laughed right off cable.
Leadership: The hero of Desert Storm gave America a taste of victory after the wasted sacrifice of Vietnam and demonstrated that only the sometimes-unwise decisions of politicians can keep us from victory over our enemies. Schwarzkopf, called "Stormin´ Norman" because of his reportedly explosive temper, led America to two sorely needed military victories: a small one in Grenada in 1983 and a big one as de facto commander of allied forces in the Gulf War in 1991. Grenada was the first step in a recovery from the legacy of Vietnam, where defeat was snatched from the
Contrary to media reports, the Newtown killer was not wearing body armor when he gunned down more than two dozen innocent people, including his own mother. Adam Lanza went into the Sandy Hook Elementary School wearing a utility vest, not a bullet proof vest, state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said Thursday. “It was a fishing type vest, a jacket with a lot of pockets; it was not a bullet-proof vest,” Vance said. It was the kind of vest you can go to Wal-Mart or Cabela’s to buy any day of the week, for fishing.
To the Hon. Max Baucus, United States Senate: I am a 17-year-old junior at Whitefish High School. I am aware that your job is to represent me, and seeing that you were unaware of my existence up to this point, I would like to inform you of one of the places I would expect you to stand politically. I have some real concerns that came upon me while viewing the Government Accountability Office’s Long Term Fiscal Outlook, January 2011. [SNIP] To be blunt, I have learned to spend my money more carefully and wisely than our government.
Barring a last-minute breakthrough, taxes will go up for every American taxpayer on Jan. 1 — and that’s a development conservatives should welcome. Don’t get me wrong, it would be better not to raise taxes on anyone, pursue pro-growth tax reform and cut the size of government instead. But that’s not what the American people voted to do last month. Americans cast their ballots for big government. Now it’s time to pay for it. Until now, the growth of government under President Obama has not hit the pocketbooks of most Americans. During Obama’s first term, federal spending
Imagine you are working for a company that is going bankrupt, but everyone you work with and your bosses are getting pay raises. Seem absurd? Not if you work for the failing federal government, because President Obama has decreed that Vice President Biden, members of Congress, and most federal workers are getting raises for 2013. As the U.S. government is losing its luster on the bond market and as the fiscal cliff looms, President Obama issued an executive order to give everyone raises. Obama has generously bestowed a $6,379 per year raise on Grampa Joe;
Hours after Chicago police listed the shooting death of a West Side man as the city’s 500th homicide of the year, the department backtracked and said the city has yet to reach the grim milestone. Superintendent Garry McCarthy had told the Tribune Thursday afternoon that the homicide count stood at 499. Hours later, Nathaniel T. Jackson, 40, was gunned down outside a store in the Austin neighborhood and the department confirmed Friday morning that his death was the 500th homicide. Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement noting that "Chicago has reached an unfortunate and tragic milestone."