A check that Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez wrote to his longtime campaign donor Dr. Salomon Melgen on Jan. 4 to cover private jet travel to the Dominican Republic represented more than one-third of his cash-on-hand — and perhaps as much as 90 percent — according to an analysis of his most recent U.S. Senate financial disclosure report. Dan O’Brien, Menendez’s chief of staff, told WNBC-TV4 in New York on Tuesday that the senator reimbursed Melgen $58,500
As some might reckon it, the beginning of the end for NASA´s space shuttle program came 10 years ago Friday, at 8:48:39 a.m. EST on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2003. That´s when strain gauge V12G9921A, a sensor in the shuttle Columbia´s left wing, began registering a small but unusual increase in stress as the spaceplane descended from orbit to close out its 28th mission. Twenty seconds later, a temperature sensor followed suit. Over the next few minutes, a shuttle data recorder captured a cascade of alarming sensor readings and failures on the left side of the spacecraft that clearly indicated
GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Hours before a convoy of trucks was slated to arrive at the Turkish army base here, U.S. Army Maj. Ryan Schrock faced a logistical challenge. Nearly 100 trucks carrying everything from water and MREs to multimillion-dollar Patriot missiles needed a place to unload, but there were few good options. “This is bad,” Schrock said Thursday as he surveyed a muddy, makeshift road. “I’m in a single lane here. We’re going to bottleneck.” Schrock and his Turkish counterpart scouted out an alternate route, improvising on a military post not accustomed to the heavy equipment
Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel was, at turns, halting, befuddled and, often, just plain bad during his confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of Defense. And it almost certainly won’t keep him from becoming the next man to lead the Pentagon.Let’s start with what Hagel did wrong. He appeared to be taken completely aback by the aggressiveness of the questioning from many of his former Republican colleagues on long-hashed over topics like his posture toward Iran and Israel as well as his past statements regarding the surge in Iraq. This exchange with his one-time friend John McCain
Glen Johnson, formerly the politics editor for Boston.com, the website of the Boston Globe, has become the latest journalist to join the Obama Administration working as a senior adviser for new secretary of state John Kerry. In a hilariously self-unaware press release, Kerry is quoted touting Johnson´s supposed neutrality. Even though his new senior aide has accepted a political appointment in the administration, everyone needs to understand that Johnson is "not a partisan."
A former policeman in deep South Texas faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to helping smuggle a cache of AR-15s and other semiautomatic weapons to Mexico, authorities announced Thursday. The admission by Armando Duenez, 31, comes after a saga that began in 2008, when, as a Rio Hondo policeman, he jumped bail and fled across the Rio Grande. He tried to run from charges that he used his position - assisted by another policeman who has since been sent to prison - to buy highly sought-after guns that were sent to Mexico.
Two security guards have reportedly been killed after a suicide bomb attack at an entrance to the US embassy in the Turkish capital. The bomber tried to enter the building and then blew himself up, Sky sources suggested. Several other people were reportedly hurt in the attack in the city of Ankara. An Associated Press journalist reported seeing a body in the street in front of a side entrance of the embassy. The bomb appeared to have exploded inside the security checkpoint at the entrance of the visa section of the building.
Americans have a very special message for the federal government: Don’t tread on me.That’s the takeaway from a new poll from the Pew Research Center in which, for the first time in at least the last two decades, a majority of Americans say Washington actually poses a threat to their “personal rights and freedoms.”And it’s not just tea party supporters, Republicans and gun owners. Nearly two-fifths of Democrats (38 percent) say the government is a threat to them personally, as do 45 percent of non-gun owners.
Former CEO of Playboy magazine Christie Hefner appeared on MSNBC this morning to discuss gun control. When discussing gun violence in Chicago, Hefner went into a diatribe, explaining how climate change has increased temperatures, therefore leading to heightened levels of violence. Hefner works closely with the Center for American Progress. [video]
The latest Markit/CHIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers´ Index (PMI) dipped to 50.8 last month from 51.2 in December. A figure above 50 indicates expansion. Strong output figures augured well, especially since heavy snowfalls are normally seen as an "excuse for a poor output number", said Brian Hilliard of Societe Generale. Rob Dobson, senior economist at survey compilers Markit, said improving business conditions in the manufacturing sector were an "an encouraging start to 2013". He said companies reported that output growth gathered further momentum to hit a sixteen-month high, suggesting the sector could help lift the economy from the
Ed Koch, the brash, colorful often confrontational mayor who helped to lead New York City out of its brush with bankruptcy in the 1970s, launching an astonishing municipal turnaround that continues to this day, has died. He was 88. Koch was recently readmitted to the hospital after being treated for water in his lungs, The Associated Press reported. A spokesman confirmed the news of Koch's death early this morning. Koch battled pneumonia in December and was being treated with antibiotics, and he was hospitalized and treated for anemia in September. Text added by Staff.
Last night something strange happened: I stopped loathing Question Time. It helped, I think, having such a delightful audience--thank you, lovely Lancaster--which, for once, didn´t seem at all like the ones in the Harry & Paul sketch. They were balanced, thoughtful, good-natured, asked intelligent questions. [Snip]As I´ve argued countless times before, it´s much easier to be left-wing than to be right-wing. To be on the left confers a spray-on niceness that alleviates you of all need to behave with any kind of decency or moral responsibility in your daily life because, hey, you vote Labour or Lib Dem or Green
Oil And Politics: Beijing plays the debt card as the Obama administration quietly lets China acquire major ownership interests in oil and natural gas resources across the U.S. at the same time it blocks the Keystone pipeline. Normally, foreign investment in the U.S. is to be welcomed. It creates jobs, boosts economic growth and promotes trade and exports. But when that investor is an ambitious and increasingly belligerent China to whom we owe over a trillion dollars, eyebrows and concerns need to be raised. Reversing a Bush administration policy, the Obama administration is encouraging Beijing
How did our very own William Hague snag the right to host a farewell dinner for Hillary Clinton, the globe-trotting US secretary of state this week?[Snip] Hillary might love Downton, but she´s not been a particularly great friend to Britain during her tenure. The so-called "Asia" pivot and the Obama administration´s transactional approach to relations (think Falklands) has only reinforced the paradox that the more we harp on about the historical “special relationship” (a phrase Hague used, of course, in DC this week) the less we seem to deserve one in 2013. Yes, yes, I know, Downton is all about
The central issue of the public debate over the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, which of course requires all manner of religious and secular entities to fund sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortifacients, has been its brazen disregard of basic liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment. (Snip)Contraception is big business, and the HHS mandate promises to turn it into a cash cow for companies like Barr Laboratories. How? Avik Roy explains: “Under the current system, drug companies have an incentive to compete on price.… Under the new mandate, this price incentive disappears.”
As the federal government moves forward to implement President Obama´s Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services is slated to spend millions of dollars promoting the unpopular legislation. In the face of this publicity blitz, it is worth remembering that the law was originally sold largely on four grounds—all of which have become increasingly implausible. • Lower health-care costs. One key talking point for ObamaCare was that it would reduce the cost of insurance, especially for non-group insurance. The president, citing the work of several health-policy experts, claimed that improved care coordination, investments in information technology,
Most pundits agree that the 23 gun-related executive orders issued by President Barack Obama two weeks ago are tame and unobjectionable. Not so fast. The measures the president is proposing would vastly and arbitrarily expand the number of people who can be denied their constitutional right to own a gun. Let’s look at the facts. Right now, the Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits legal handgun ownership by an individual who: Has been convicted of or charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
This is a great day for Massachusetts. This is the day John Forbes “Liveshot” Kerry stops being our senator. The governor, who was born in Illinois, is replacing the senator who was born in Colorado with an interim senator who was born in North Carolina who will serve on Capitol Hill with the “senior” senator who was born in Oklahoma. In honor of this magnificent day, which many of us feared we’d never live to see, let’s review some of Liveshot’s greatest hits. Listen for yourself at bostonherald.com. Everyone has their own favorite John Kerry moment,
Sophisticates, cynics, and moralists of all stripes long have held that there is not “a dime’s worth of difference” between the Republican Party and the Democratic one, and that elections might as well be settled by a toss of that very same dime. But the talk-show host or fringe activist who assumes such a flippant attitude toward partisan politics might check his beliefs against the events of the past week. Every day brings news that would be utterly different had Mitt Romney won the 2012 election. To answer the question Hillary Clinton recently posed
Vice President Joseph R. Biden will discuss arms control Saturday with Russia’s top envoy, a meeting that could shed light on President Obama’s unguarded comment last year that he would have more “flexibility” to negotiate with the Russians after his re-election. Mr. Biden will hold a one-on-one session with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Munich during a four-day European trip with his wife, Jill, that begins Friday. Administration officials confirmed Thursday that the vice president’s agenda with Mr. Lavrov includes an exploration of ways to reduce both nations’ nuclear weapons stockpiles.
Fourteen people are dead, up to 100 injured and another 30 remain trapped beneath the rubble, after an explosion tore through the Mexico City headquarters of the state-owned Pemex oil company. The blast originated in the basement of a 12-story administrative building next to the company´s iconic 52-story tower and managed to take out at least two floors. "There was a very loud roar," said a secretary who was on the second floor. "It was very ugly." And it´s not getting any prettier as emergency workers hustle to dig out the trapped victims. Police brought in four helicopters
The Republicans are doomed. Conservatism is over. President Obama is conducting a mop-up operation at this point. That’s the basic consensus in places like New York City; Washington, D.C.; and other citadels of blue America. And let’s be fair, liberals have every reason to gloat — a little. The GOP has its troubles. Long-term demographic trends; often-irrational animosity from Hollywood, the media, and academia; a thumbless grasp of the culture on the part of many Republicans: All of these things create a headwind for the party and the broader conservative movement.
As the government exits the business of using chimpanzees for scientific research, taxpayers just might go bananas over the animals´ retirement tab. The National Institutes of Health, the government´s medical research arm, is spending about $12 million annually to care for the chimps formerly used for research, some of it for a retirement sanctuary in Louisiana where the animals are housed. And the agency is soon in danger of reaching a $30 million cumulative spending cap that Congress set for the retirement home, dubbed Chimp Haven. That means NIH will need to go to Congress or another source
‘I’ve said many, many things over many, many years,” said Chuck Hagel, the president’s nominee for secretary of defense, in a Senate hearing yesterday. He was trying, for the umpteenth time during his testimony, to explain away another of the many, many impolitic statements that have come to light over the past couple of months. Well, as a result of this confirmation hearing — the most disastrous of its kind since another veteran senator, John Tower, blew himself up in his pursuit of the same post back in 1989 — Hagel has probably lost many, many votes
If you thought Al Gore was a media darling, you haven’t seen his latest book tour. Although Gore has been selective in which outlets he appears on to promote his new book, “The Future,” they haven’t treated the former vice president with kid gloves. From “Today” to “Morning Joe” to “Late Show with David Letterman” to “The Daily Show,” Gore has come under attack by his interviewers for his decision to sell Current TV to Al Jazeera. [video]
Ever since outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced a week ago that the U.S. military would lift its ban on women in combat roles, the debate, which has been simmering for decades, boiled up again. Much of the argument has centered on cultural, social, and morale-related effects that such a change would bring about, though other practical issues have been raised as well. However, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released just this week may bring some other considerations to the fore, among them, the financial impact. According to the introduction to the GAO report,