Middle class in the U.S. can mean something very different depending on where you call your home state. Census bureau numbers show a shocking disparity in the definition of ´middle income´ - with Maryland boasting an average of $67,469 and Mississippi posting an appallingly low $39,078, a difference of $28,391. Debate over the definition of middle class comes after President Obama´s State of the Union address this week. He detailed his plan to get the middle class back on track, mentioning the term a total of 8 times in his speech on Tuesday. ´It is our generation´s task, then, to
Twenty-six states have chosen to let the federal government run the online insurance markets required next year by President Obama’s health care law instead of taking on the job themselves or partnering with the feds. The Department of Health and Human Services had encouraged states to run their own markets, or “exchanges,” that help the uninsured find coverage, but only 17 states and the District of Columbia took on the task and seven states decided to split the duty with the Obama administration, according to a breakdown by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
For the first time since the New Deal, a majority of Americans are headed toward a retirement in which they will be financially worse off than their parents, jeopardizing a long era of improved living standards for the nation’s elderly, according to a growing consensus of new research. The Great Recession and the weak recovery darkened the retirement picture for significant numbers of Americans. And the full extent of the damage is only now being grasped by experts and policymakers. There was already mounting concern for the long-term security of the country’s rapidly graying population. Then the downturn destroyed
Vatican City — Guests at the going-away party for Carlo Maria Viganò couldn’t understand why the archbishop looked so forlorn. Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Viganò ambassador to the United States, a plum post where he would settle into a stately mansion on Massachusetts Avenue, across the street from the vice president’s residence. “He went through the ordeal making it very clear he was unhappy with it,” said one former ambassador to the Vatican, who attended the Vatican Gardens ceremony in the late summer of 2011. “And we just couldn’t figure out, us outsiders and non-Italians,
Liberals, the mainstream media, and establishment Republicans often reveal which conservatives they fear by their level of disdain and vitriol. This week, they put their crosshairs on freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a Tea Party conservative of Hispanic descent who undermines the mainstream media´s ability to advance their false notion that being a minority and Tea Partier are mutually exclusive. He is a conservative who showed no desire to defer to the Senate´s "courtly" ways, the preferences of the institution´s old bulls. The sinking ship that is the New York Times,
The world’s largest yacht is in town, and its owner would like some privacy. The $1.5 billion floating palace of Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich is nestled amid the West Side docks — but no one is saying why it’s here. The 533-foot yacht, which might look more at home on the French Riviera, sailed slowly up the Hudson Wednesday past stunned sightseers. The publicity-shy and security-conscious Abramovich isn’t disclosing why the ship chose to berth in New York, but it’s believed it will be here until mid-April.
Apparently, the "Washington Post" and "New York Times" don´t like the idea of a non-white U.S. Senator acting all uppity. It´s fine for the lily-white Elizabeth Warren to immediately come out guns blazing, but over the past couple of days both news outlets ripped into in Texas Senator Ted Cruz for not knowing his place. As we all know, the base of the Democratic Party is made up of union workers, who see Hispanics as a threat to their jobs, and rich, white, coastal liberals whose only contact with the Latino community is on grass-mowing day. And so
Two brothers who were celebrating a $75,000 winning lottery ticket by purchasing marijuana and meth accidentally blew up their house on Friday, said Sgt. Bruce Watts of the Wichita Police Department. The explosion sent one of the brothers – a 27-year-old – to the hospital, where he remains in serious but stable condition with second-degree burns on his hands, arms and chest. The other brother was sent to jail, Watts said. The brothers were in a house in the 100 block of North Nevada Court, near Douglas and West Street, about 7 p.m. Friday, Watts said. One of the brothers went to the kitchen
WASHINGTON — Ramzi Yousef, inmate No. 03911 at a federal "supermax" penitentiary, is serving life with no parole plus 240 years in a 7-by-11-foot cell with no bars and one small high window, far from other inmates, prison staff and the world beyond the fortress deep in the Colorado Rockies. He has been there for 15 years, in nearly 24-hour solitary confinement at the prison they call the "Fortress in the Rockies." Even his meals provide little relief, with the food trays shoved by unseen guards through a sally port between two steel doors.
ARLINGTON, Va.— One of the D.C. area’s iconic burger joints is no more. Ray’s Hell-Burger, where the likes of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the Russian president have gone for a juicy burger, has been shut down after failing to pay its rent. Arlington County General District Court on Feb. 8 served an eviction notice to the restaurant, located in the Colonial Village Shopping Center along Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, for unpaid rent and ordered owner Michael Landrum to pay more than $39,000 in overdue rent and damages.
Once upon a time, a State of the Union speech occasionally produced something memorable. James Monroe, in his seventh try, came up with the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, which would be the cornerstone of American foreign policy for decades. Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed the Four Freedoms in 1941, arguing that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Four years later, he proposed a second bill of rights, arguing that the first attempt neglected a government guarantee of equality in “the pursuit of
Rome - The Guinness World Book of Records added a 2012 Fiat Panda to its pages this week after it clocked the fastest overland trip from Cape Town to London ever recorded. Driven by British endurance racers Philip Young and Paul Brace, the Italian minicar covered the 10,000-mile transcontinental haul in 10 days, 13 hours and 30 minutes, a full day ahead of the previous record set in 2010 by a team driving a Land Rover. Drivers said the Panda´s light weight and fuel-efficient engine gave it an edge over the trucks and SUVs favored by most trans-African racers.
Washington - A draft of a White House immigration proposal obtained by USA Today would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years. The plan also would provide for more security funding and require business owners to check the immigration status of new hires within four years. In addition, the nation´s 11 million illegal immigrants could apply for a newly created "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa, under the bill being written by the White House. The draft was obtained from an Obama administration official who said it was being distributed to various
Boston - The extraterrestrial double whammy that Earth only partially avoided on Friday has triggered an immediate response from astronomers. Several have announced plans to create state-of-the-art detection systems to give warning of incoming asteroids and meteoroids. These include projects backed by Nasa as well as proposals put forward by private space contractors. (Snip) Deep Space Industries – which is based in McLean, Virginia – proposes building 10 spacecraft at a cost of $100m (£65m) over the next four years, though it has not indicated who will fund missions.
PALM CITY, FL — So how much would it cost to pop into Palm City from Washington DC for a weekend of golf at the posh Floridian, such as the three-day getaway President Barack Obama has on tap this weekend? Try around $8,000, including costs for airfare, a chartered helicopter, Floridian guest quarters, golf fees, meals and caddie tips. And that´s if you´re a guest of the ritzy waterfront golf community, founded in 1996 by H. Wayne Huizenga and purchased in 2010 by Houston Astros owner Jim Crane, who is hosting Obama´s visit. If you´re a Floridian member,
Is there anybody in charge on either side of the Atlantic who has the remotest understanding of what is happening with the economy? Or even a glimmering of what would be required to bring about its recovery? If there is, then it is the best kept secret in public life. Judging by the pronouncements and policy decisions of a Left-of-centre administration in Washington and a Right-of-centre government here, this total absence of comprehension seems to be common to those of all political persuasions in positions of power: it is the universal blind spot of the governing class. The ability
Earlier this week in his State of the Union address President Obama made some observations on climate change so brimming with falsehoods I´m surprised his nose didn´t fall off.[Snip]The point is that the President of the USA has access to any number of fact checkers and advisers and if he stands up and addresses the nation with a farrago of complete untruths then the buck stops with him. This dissembling and mendacity becomes all the more culpable when it forms the basis of major public policy decisions which will have a serious impact on people´s lives in the US and
In a rare turnabout, Rodney and Leah Gunning Francis fled the suburbs for the city. And they did it for a school. They left Webster Groves in 2011 so their two young boys could get into City Garden Montessori, a charter school in the Botanical Heights neighborhood — an area once known for drug sales and murders, not stellar education. “We got a lot of, ‘Why would you want to do that? Why are you going? What about the boys?’” said Rodney Francis, who leads a social service agency near downtown. Others are making the move with them. And their migration is seen by city leaders as promising evidence
WASHINGTON -- Massachusetts will lose more than 60,000 jobs, much of it in the defense industry, and $127 million in federal research funding, harming a critical sector of the state economy, if Congress allows across-the-board spending cuts to go into effect in March, according to a report released Friday by Representative Edward Markey of Malden. The automatic cuts, known in Beltway parlance as “sequestration,” were scheduled to take place in January under a 2011 budget deal to raise the nation’s debt limit, but the crisis was temporarily averted when Congress struck a last-minute
If the zombies ever do rise up in the U.S., Canada will be prepared. On Thursday in the House of Commons, Canadian politicians debated the prospect of a zombie invasion and demanded to know what the government was prepared to do in case a (typically) American epidemic began to spread northwards. Winnipeg representative Pat Martin asked Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird if he was coordinating with the United States to prepare for an eventual zombie apocalypse. It wasn’t an entirely serious discussion, of course; as the Washington Post put it, the back-and-forth was a “playful jab”
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Danica Patrick has a fast car at Daytona International Speedway -- and she just may have the fastest. Patrick notched a lap of 196.220 mph in the first official Sprint Cup Series practice of the season on Saturday. She posted the speed in the day´s second session, focused on Sunday´s qualifying for the Daytona 500. (Snip)Teammate and team owner Tony Stewart was second quickest, posting a lap of 195.363 mph. Kyle Busch was third, Dale Earnhardt Jr. fourth and Jamie McMurray fifth.
Streams of bullets whiz through the air as LAPD officers surround a mountain cabin to apprehend the onetime cop turned suspected cop killer inside. The cabin catches fire after police start pumping in tear gas. The accused murderer, likely aware of his impending demise does not want to draw out the process any longer and, apparently, points a gun to his head. One final shot rings out…Crackling flames puncture the otherwise deadening silence of the once noisy scene. Then leftover ammunition starts to burst like destructive popcorn, as officers lower their weapons. Christopher Dorner, fugitive
Caracas - When Venezuelan authorities announced a long-overdue devaluation of their currency last week, ministers insisted that the command had come directly from President Hugo Chávez. (Snip) It seems difficult to believe Chávez continues to govern, having not been seen nor heard from since early December when he went through a six-hour operation in Havana. It was the fourth such treatment in a year and a half. Since the operation, no photos, audio or video recordings have been made public of the usually garrulous leader. But, despite his absence, Chávez has still cast a long shadow.
Myrtice White and Cynthia Delaney took MARTA from their jobs at Peachtree Center to Underground Atlanta to do what has become a tradition for many Southerners – breakfast at Waffle House. The excitement ended when the bills came. “Normally, this is about $10,” White said. “I just spent $16.” Delaney shows off a cup of grits and a sandwich. $8. “This is a $5 meal,” Delaney said. “I think the prices are high. But I would rather pay more if it means I am going to be safe.” The Underground Waffle House opened with great fanfare in 2009, bringing one of the city’s favorite restaurants to the
CHICAGO— For all the talk of Jesse Jackson Jr. aspiring to be a U.S. senator or mayor of the nation´s third-largest city, his career wasn´t ended by attempts to amass political power. Instead, it was the former congressman´s desire for flashy items — a gold-plated Rolex watch, furs and collectibles, such as Eddie Van Halen´s guitar. In a state where stop-at-nothing political ambition has been well documented — and often rewarded — the seemingly frivolous cause of Jackson´s undoing is seen by political observers and at least one former colleague as both nonsensical and sad.
Officials say two F-16 military jets have escorted a small plane away from a no-fly zone above where President Barack Obama is vacationing along Florida’s Treasure Coast. U.S. ArmyLt. Col. Mike Humphreys said the planes forced the Cessna 152 to land in Witham Field in Stuart around noon Saturday. Local authorities met the plane when it landed. No other details were released. Federal Aviation Administration officials said they are investigating whether the Cessna entered the temporarily restricted flight area. Obama is spending the weekend with some friends at the Floridian,