WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama´s campaign operation appeared to be getting off to a shakey start Friday, sending out an ill-timed email calling on millions of supporters to flood the Capitol Hill switchboard with calls supporting gun control. Call in campaigns can be a powerful tool in lobbying Congress: when done right, lawmakers´ offices are inundated with thousands of constituents demanding to speak with the senator or congresswoman about a particular issue. Well-orchestrated campaigns can even result in the congressional switchboard going down for hours at a time, disrupting everyday life in the Capitol
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a $11.5 million grant to fund a program that connects storm victims with resources to help them recover, officials said Friday. The federally funded Disaster Care Management Program, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, matches storm victims with case workers who assess their needs and help provide them with resources beyond those provided by federal and state disaster recovery programs. “As New Jerseyans rebuild in the wake of the most devastating storm in recent history, we must ensure they have
Washington - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new eyeglasses aren’t just a new look — they have a special lens that’s used to treat double vision, eye doctors told The Post. Clinton, recently treated for a blood clot near her brain after a fall, wore the Fresnel lens to aid her left eye during the Benghazi hearing. “This kind of prism helps for people who are experiencing double vision,” said Dr. Vike Vicente, a pediatric ophthalmologist in Bethesda, Md. “Anybody who’s had a head injury, as the Secretary of State did, it could affect the way your eyes move,” he said.
The most curious thing about outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s decision this week to allow women to assume combat roles in the military was the timing. It was announced just as departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was testifying on Capitol Hill about the Benghazi attack--and came without any advance notification to Congress, much to the annoyance of Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee. It is not clear whether the administration wanted to bury the news--or highlight it, in the event that Clinton’s testimony had gone poorly.
Real estate tax bills will be on the way tomorrow for Cook County residents, many of them containing the cold, hard truth about where we stand. And it isn’t pretty. Chief correspondent Jay Levine has been crunching the numbers all day, after CBS 2 broke the story last night, to find out how bad things are. Taxing bodies most people probably never heard of, let alone realized they were responsible for a big part of your property taxes. They build and run libraries and schools and parks. Some of which you didn’t need or couldn’t afford, but you’re paying for
If news of a joint Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton interview to air Sunday came as a surprise, the man the White House chose to conduct the interview did not. Every politician has his or her preferred interviewer: for President Obama, that’s Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes.” Kroft has conducted more one-on-one interviews with Obama, both as a candidate and as president, than any other television personality. It was Kroft who interviewed Obama days before he announced his candidacy for president in 2007, Kroft who landed the first post-election interview with Obama and his wife in 2008,
One of the least-remarked-upon aspects of President Obama´s inaugural speech was his attempt to co-opt the Founding Fathers´ Declaration of Independence to bolster his liberal-left agenda. Sure, the president quoted one of the most important sentences in history: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,(Snip) So far, so good. But he later connected the Declaration with his own liberal agenda: " ... that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedom ultimately requires collective action." (My italics, not his.)
Sergei Gaschak’s photography offers an unparalleled glimpse at animal life inside “the zone”, the area of Ukraine and Belarus that has been officially closed off to human habitation since the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe of 1986. Using camera traps to take photographs mechanically, as well as taking photographs personally, Gaschak has captured what few have been able to see with their own eyes – the remarkable diversity of wildlife within the zone.
Washington -- Reviving an issue that has languished for years, President Barack Obama will launch a campaign next week aimed at overhauling the nation´s flawed immigration system and creating legal status for millions, as a bipartisan Senate group nears agreement on achieving the same goals. The proposals from Obama and lawmakers will mark the start of what is expected to be a contentious and emotional process with deep political implications. Latino voters overwhelmingly backed Obama in the 2012 election, leaving Republicans grappling for a way to regain their standing with an increasingly powerful pool of voters.
Mumbai - India´s radical Hindu nationalist party governing Mumbai has handed out kitchen knives and chili powder to women following a gang rape in the capital New Delhi that ignited a national debate on the best way to tackle sex crimes. The Shiv Sena party, an ally of the main opposition BJP, said it had handed out 21,000 knives with three-inch blades to women in the city and surrounding areas and plans to distribute 100,000. Mumbai police said they were examining the knives and considering legal action.
Russia´s parliament backed a draft law on Friday banning "homosexual propaganda" in what critics see as an attempt to shore up support for President Vladimir Putin in the country´s largely conservative society. Only one deputy in the State Duma lower house voted against the bill, but passions spilled over outside the chamber, where 20 people were detained after scuffles between Russian Orthodox Christians and gay activists who staged a "kiss-in" protest. "We live in Russia, not Sodom and Gomorrah," United Russia deputy Dmitry Sablin said before the 388-1 vote in the 450-seat chamber.
Vice President Biden says a mental health check on gun sales may have averted the 2007 mass shooting on Virginia Tech‘s campus. Biden’s comments came after a roundtable discussion in Richmond today that included experts involved with the gun control commission convened after the university tragedy. The vice president reported the panel had reached “pretty broad consensus” over what criteria they proposed should deny a sale, including “mental capacity.” “One of the problems that was pointed out here was that there was an adjudication of the young man that committed the crime at Virginia Tech,
Author, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Tony nominee, Oscar nominee, film director, and reformed liberal, David Mamet, penned a lengthy warning today about Obama´s gun control push for the Daily Beast: The Left loves a phantom statistic that a firearm in the hands of a citizen is X times more likely to cause accidental damage than to be used in the prevention of crime, but what is there about criminals that ensures that their gun use is accident-free? If, indeed, a firearm were more dangerous to its possessors than to potential aggressors,
Shippensburg, Pa. -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration won´t take any regulatory action over a vending machine at a Pennsylvania college that dispenses the morning-after pill. FDA spokeswoman Erica Jefferson said Friday that officials looked at publicly available information about the Shippensburg University vending program, spoke with university and campus health officials, and decided no action was necessary. The pill is available for $25 at a health center vending machine that´s accessible to students and university employees.
US pop legend Tina Turner, who has been living in Switzerland since 1995, will soon receive Swiss citizenship and will give up her US passport, Swiss media reported Friday. "I´m very happy in Switzerland and I feel at home here. ... I cannot imagine a better place to live," Turner told German language daily Blick. Turner, 73, who was born Anna Mae Bullock, lives in picturesque town of Kuesnacht, on the shores of Lake Zurich in northern Switzerland, and has passed a local civics test and interview, according to an official announcement published in the Zuerichsee-Zeitung daily.
They might not realize it yet, but President Obama’s liberal supporters have had a rough week. On Monday, they watched and cheered as their triumphant leader outlined a boldly progressive vision for the country, hitting all the high points: climate change, gay rights, equal pay, immigration reform, entitlement denialism, and “peace in our time.” But whatever hopes they may have had for realizing that vision suffered a serious blow yesterday. It happened the moment Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) scrapped his plans to “nuke” the filibuster. Eliminating the filibuster would have
Brominated vegetable oil, a synthetic chemical that has been patented in Europe as a flame retardant, will no longer double as an ingredient in Gatorade sports drinks. Molly Carter, a spokeswoman for Gatorade owner PepsiCo Inc., said the company has been considering the move for more than a year, working on a way to take out the ingredient without affecting the flavor of the drink. A recent petition on Change.org to drop the chemical – which has more than 200,000 supporters – did not inspire the decision, Carter said, though she acknowledged that consumer feedback was the main impetus.
Seoul - North Korea threatened to attack rival South Korea if Seoul joined a new round of tightened U.N. sanctions, as Washington unveiled more of its own economic restrictions following Pyongyang´s rocket launch last month. In a third straight day of fiery rhetoric, the North directed its verbal onslaught at its neighbor on Friday, saying: "´Sanctions´ mean a war and a declaration of war against us." The reclusive North this week declared a boycott of all dialogue aimed at ending its nuclear program and vowed to conduct more rocket and nuclear tests after the U.N. Security Council censured it
The UK economy shrank by 0.3pc in the final three months of last year, raising the prospect of a triple dip recession, as Britain’s manufacturers suffered their worst year since the financial crisis. The official figures were the fourth quarter of negative growth in the last five and mean that the UK flatlined for last year as a whole – posting zero growth. The economy is smaller than it was in September 2011 and still 3.3pc below its pre-crisis peak.
BOSTON — In what is being called a triumph for property rights, a federal judge in Boston has rejected the federal government’s attempt to seize a family-owned motel in Tewksbury under a controversial civil forfeiture law. The owners of Motel Caswell have never been charged with any crimes and have never come under police suspicion. But in a trial last November, the U.S. attorney’s office sought to take the property because it alleged the motel — the building — had “facilitated” drug crimes. “I’m in shock right now,” said 69-year-old Russell Caswell Thursday.
The US defence department is at loggerheads with the chief prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay over what the charges should be. The five men, whose pretrial hearings reconvene at the naval base next week, face eight different charges. However, Brig Gen Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor, said the charge of conspiracy should be dropped because it was no longer "legally viable" following a court ruling that conspiracy – a charge that seeks to punish suspects for association with al-Qaeda – was not a recognised war crime under international law. This meant it could not legitimately be brought before a
MIAMI- A U.S. appeals court on Friday overturned the Guantanamo war crimes conviction of an al Qaeda videographer, a ruling likely to lead to dismissal of conspiracy charges in the pending trial of five men accused of plotting the September 11 attacks. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia threw out the conviction of Yemeni prisoner Ali Hamza al Bahlul, ruling that the charges of which he was convicted-conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism and soliciting murder - were not internationally recognized as war crimes when the acts were committed.(SNIP)Prosecutors had stopped defending Bahlul´s conviction
As a follow-up to my previous post, I have now read the decision, and it is a very strong one indeed. All three judges agreed that the Senate is only in recess when it has adjourned sine die (Latin for “without a day,” i.e. without setting a date to meet again). This happens only at the end of the first session of a Congress when the second session will begin (as per Amendment XX, Sec. 2) on the next January 3rd, or at the end of the second session, when a newly elected Congress will assemble on that date.
Not-So-Superpower: The flare-up in North Korea is a reminder that the U.S. is no longer effectively diffusing hostile world trends. From Pyongyang to Tehran, America has become a hapless bystander. ´Settling accounts with the U.S. must be done with force, not with words, as it regards jungle law as the rule of its survival." Obama´s foreign policy is "jungle law"? Wasn´t President Bush the practitioner of cowboy diplomacy? This fresh declaration from North Korea bears little resemblance to the expected fruits of the engaged, effective diplomacy that was supposed to be personally conducted by a charismatic president whose
President Barack Obama just suffered a humiliating defeat in federal court. A top federal appeals court has removed three presidential appointees from power, and invalidated all actions they’ve taken over the past twelve months. One year ago, Obama filled three seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)--an essential power center for Obama’s labor-union allies--with recess appointments, claiming that the U.S. Senate was in recess even though the Senate was still in session. No president in history had ever done such a thing, and Republicans and conservatives immediately denounced it as an unconstitutional power grab.
Springfield — Citing inaction on pensions, a prominent Wall Street bond-rating agency downgraded Illinois’ bond rating Friday, making the state the nation’s worst credit risk. The move by Standard & Poor’s to rate Illinois’ bonds at A- with a negative outlook comes as the state is preparing to go out on the market Wednesday with a $500 million bond issue. With the new lowered rating, Illinois eclipsed California as the least creditworthy state in the country in Standard & Poor’s eyes and could face higher borrowing costs. “We assessed what the pension fund status is,