From the mid-17th century to the late 20th century, the American economy grew roughly 3.5% a year. That growth rate has since declined significantly. When the final figures are in for 2012, the annual rate of real output growth for the first dozen years of this century is likely to be about 1.81%. What accounts for the slowdown? An important part of the answer is simple: Americans aren´t working as much today. And this trend reflects more than the recession and sluggish economy of the past few years.
At his press conference this week, President Obama made it seem as though the job of getting the government´s deficits under control is nearly done. "The consensus is we need about $4 trillion to stabilize our debt and our deficit," he told reporters, "which means we need about $1.5 trillion more." Obama claimed to have already cut spending $1.4 trillion, and this, combined with $600 billion in tax hikes he got as part of his fiscal cliff deal plus interest savings, "adds up to a total of $2.5 trillion."
Redistribution: Americans have now elected twice a man who said he wanted to spread the wealth around. So how ugly is it going to get? The Senate Budget Committee says welfare spending will nearly double in 10 years. Using data from the Congressional Research Service and Congressional Budget Office, the Budget Committee´s Republican staff has added up what´s spent on cash aid, health assistance, housing assistance, and social and family services. All told, welfare spending will rocket from roughly $800 billion in the current fiscal year to about $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2022 — a nearly 80% jump.
Another Obama is running for office. Malik Obama, President Obama´s oldest half-brother, is aiming to become governor of the western Kenyan county of Siaya, Bloomberg News reported. The 54-year-old Malik will run as an independent candidate, he announced over the weekend during a speech in the Siaya town of Kogela. The national elections will be held March 4. Siaya has a population of more than 800,000 people. “Siaya County is facing a lot of problems from poor infrastructure to poverty due to bad leadership,” Malik Obama said. “I will change this if elected.”
Not since "Garbo Talks!" has a public figure´s decision to speak attracted such attention. I´m referring, of course, to the media sensation created this week when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke an almost seven-year-long silent streak to crack a joke during oral arguments in a case involving the adequacy of counsel in a Louisiana murder case. As The Times´ David Savage reported, most of what Thomas said was drowned out by cross-talk, but apparently he had some fun with the idea that one of the lawyers in the case should be considered qualified because she attended Yale Law School,
The 2012 twelve-month inflation in Argentina climbed to 25.6%, two times the figures registered by the official data from stats office Indec, according to the index presented by opposition lawmakers based in the analysis of nine private agencies. The latest release for the month of December shows inflation reached 2.1% in December, triggered by the New Year´s eve consumption and the beginning of the southern hemisphere summer holidays. According to Argentina’s Indec national statistics bureau, the inflation had accumulated 9.7% between January and November, which could add up to 11%
Newt Gingrich turned the tables on Norah O´Donnell on Tuesday´s CBS This Morning during a discussion about gun control. O´Donnell hounded Gingrich regarding a target practice app allegedly from the National Rifle Association: "There´s some controversy over the fact that the NRA has released a new iTunes app that offers shooting practice, and can be for children ages 4 years old-plus. What do you think about that?" The former House Speaker answered by slamming the Obama administration´s plans for new firearms regulations in the wake of the Newtown school massacre [audio available here; video below the jump]:
President Obama has agreed to a request from the D.C. Council to add the city´s "taxation without representation" slogan to the license plates on his limousine. "President Obama has lived in the District now for four years and has seen firsthand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes without having a vote in Congress," the White House said in a statement. "Attaching these plates to the presidential vehicles demonstrates the president´s commitment to the principle of full representation for the people of the District of Columbia
Cuba´s Public Health Ministry on Tuesday acknowledged 51 new cases of cholera in the capital Havana amid growing concerns about the illness´ spread and disappointment in the diplomatic community over the government´s lack of transparency. The ministry said nobody had died from the latest outbreak, which began January 6, and stressed that preventive measures already taken had put the disease “on the way to extinction.” It said cholera was first detected in the capital´s Cerro neighborhood, and then spread elsewhere. No other areas of the capital were mentioned, but there have been reports of
Put too much faith in technology and you may wind up in Croatia. A 67-year-old woman from Belgium learned that the hard way after she followed (faulty) directions from her GPS device. The woman only wanted to go about 90 miles from her hometown of Hainault Erquelinnes, Belgium, to pick up a friend at the Brussels train station. Her GPS device sent her about 900 miles to the south before (during the second day of driving) she realized that something was amiss. It´s unclear if she entered the address incorrectly or if the GPS was faulty.
They came from all over, police say, and at least one carried condoms in his pocket.A middle school teacher, a tourist visiting from Turkey, college students, a businessman from North Carolina. All of them were arrested in a week-long law enforcement operation, which ended Monday, that targeted men seeking sex with children. About 16 Florida law enforcement agencies came together to create the ruse that the suspects were chatting online with children or parents offering up their kids for sex.
New Haven, Conn. – Male members of a jury are more likely to find a defendant guilty if the accused person is an overweight female. According to a recent study by Yale University psychologists, male – and not female – jurors are also more inclined to believe that a fat woman is a repeat offender who had malicious intent. The researchers gathered a group of 471 pretend peers of varying body sizes and described to them a case of check fraud. They also presented them with one of four images—either a large man, a lean man, a large woman
RUSH: You know what amuses me today? All these media types. Let me take you back. Leading into the debate on the debt ceiling, remember even going into last year, the fiscal cliff first and then the debt ceiling, remember all these people saying to the Republicans, "Look, you guys just go ahead and agree to a tax increase on the rich and all that stuff and then Obama will have to negotiate. He will." I was incredulous. I said, "Who are these people?" It was a lot of people
The video above shows a Philadelphia union keeps non-union engineering contractors off the premises. He tries to sneak past them to do his job and they crush him against the fence until he passes out. Then they laugh at him. When not similarly engaged they also use tire-busters and direct threats. Maybe that’s not news. What is news is that the video was collected by the Pestronk brothers, a pair of developers, who used it and similar surveillance videos to fight back. No they didn’t go to the police. They took the videos to the public.
Each of them takes an oath to defend the Constitution, but many House lawmakers either don’t understand the founding document or don’t take its precepts seriously, according to an analysis by The Washington Times that studied the constitutional backing that representatives submitted for each of the more than 3,000 bills they introduced in 2011. Under rules that the new Republican majority put into place, each House member introducing a bill must cite specific parts of the Constitution that they think grant Congress the authority to take the action they are proposing.
CINCINNATI — A former high school teacher is accusing school district administrators of discriminating against her because of a rare phobia she says she has: a fear of young children. Maria Waltherr-Willard, 61, had been teaching Spanish and French at Mariemont High School in Cincinnati since 1976. (Snip) In her lawsuit against the district, filed in federal court in Cincinnati, Waltherr-Willard said that her fear of young children falls under the federal American with Disabilities Act and that the district violated it by transferring her in the first place
RUSH: Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States. Now, we were told last week that Biden was heading up a commission made up of administration officials and cabinet officials on what to do about guns and the increasing proliferation of guns. One of the things that Biden suggested was they´re looking at legislation, executive orders, so forth and so on. The Politico, a joyous Politico, I should say, has a story today: "The White House has identified 19 executive actions for President Barack Obama to move unilaterally on gun control."
Winds up to 50 mph added to California´s big chill misery on Monday as farmers struggle to save their citrus crops from sub-freezing temperatures and residents bundle up in record cold. Downtown Los Angeles dipped to 35 degrees just before 4 a.m. Monday, breaking the previous daily record of 36 degrees set on Jan. 14, 2007. Elsewhere Monday, it was 13 degrees in high desert Lancaster at 6 a.m., 25 degrees in Fresno, 27 in Temecula, 33 in Redondo Beach and Sacramento, 36 in Van Nuys and Palm Springs and 40 in San Francisco. In Angeles National Forest
Is this satire, or can an English major at the University of Florida really be this clueless? I’m … torn. Dallin Kelson says the lesson of the woman who barricaded herself and her children in the attic and then shot an intruder five times when he approached them isn’t that a handgun provides effective self-defense, or that higher-capacity magazines actually have a purpose. It’s that the problem started when the woman didn’t welcome the burglar in the first place: There’s an important aspect of this story
CHICAGO - Investigators probing a shipment of 18 human heads intercepted at Chicago´s O´Hare International. Airport have determined they came from bodies donated for scientific research and were being transported for disposal, officials said on Tuesday. U.S. Customs agents discovered the grisly package, which was shipped to Chicago from Italy shortly before Christmas, on Monday. Because the shipment´s paperwork was not in order, agents confiscated the heads and sent them to the Cook County Medical Examiner for safekeeping, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner said. The heads, which had been used by a medical research facility in Rome, were properly embalmed
In a private meeting Monday—not just any old private meeting, but a 90 minutes long private meeting!—New York senator Chuck Schumer was reassured by secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel that he didn´t mean the many things he´s said over the years and didn´t stand by the many votes he´s cast over the years. And while Schumer graciously allowed that "the Senate confirmation process must be allowed to run its course," he hopes "that Senator Hagel’s thorough explanations will remove any lingering controversy regarding his nomination." He´s got to be kidding. If you read the text of the Schumer statement,
RUSH: The media are just salivating today. Politico, the Washington Post, the New York Times. Folks, they can barely keep their pants up, they are so excited. (interruption) Yeah. (sigh) They might not laugh at that, either. Yeah, some of them are wearing pants. They´re all excited over Biden´s proposals. Nineteen proposals to try to limit the availability of guns. Nineteen proposals to get around the Second Amendment. Many of these 19 proposals will come via executive order -- and if they do, they will be illegal. Executive orders are not intended to be used this way.
Senior Likud officials accused US President Barack Obama on Tuesday of leaking sharp criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu´s leadership to columnist Jeffrey Goldberg in order to sway voters in next Tuesday´s Israeli election. Goldberg quoted Obama in Bloomberg as having said privately that "Israel doesn´t know what its own best interests are.” A sharp critic himself of Netanyahu and the country´s settlement policies, Goldberg wrote that "with each new settlement announcement, in Obama´s view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near isolation."
Just before Oakland city officials held a news conference Monday in East Oakland to assure everyone that they´ve got a handle on crime, I took a little walk around the neighborhood to ask local residents if they felt safe. Vincent Peters, 32, who was waiting for a bus with his wife and their 2-month old daughter, definitely does not. He said he´s preparing to move his family from the area because he values their safety. "You can hardly walk down the street without someone pushing a gun at you," Peters said. "These kids are scared, and that´s why they´re
The feds ordered the arrest of an "llegal immigrant and registered sex offender" working for Senator Bob Menendez to be delayed until after the November election. "Internal government documents show that federal immigration agents were prepared to arrest an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender days before the November elections but were ordered by Washington to hold off. Officials warned of "significant interest" from Congress and news organizations because the suspect was a volunteer intern for Sen. Robert Menendez," reports the Associated Press.
A San Francisco supervisor wants to rename the city´s airport in honor of civil rights leader Harvey Milk, a change supporters said would send a global message about the importance and struggles of gays and lesbians for equality. Supervisor David Campos will introduce legislation Tuesday that would place the proposal to rename San Francisco International Airport as Harvey Milk San Francisco International Airport before voters in November.(Snip) Campos said about 80 other U.S. airports are already named for individuals, none of whom are gay, and that SFO - which moves 40 million passengers annually, including 9 million international travelers