Obama’s soft power has really done wonders for the diplomatic standing of the United States. Maybe Kerry should practice his diplomacy on someone easier. Like the Viet Cong. Secretary of State John Kerry’s Tuesday call to his Russian counterpart has gone unanswered for nearly a week after North Korea tested a nuclear device. It is not the first time Moscow has not returned calls from the State Department: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had difficulty getting through to her counterpart when she was in the post. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday that “the Foreign Minister
Dr. Ben Carson is my hero. But not because of his controversial speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in front of President Obama. Conservative, mostly white Republican critics of the president are praising Dr. Carson because they are ecstatic to see a black man express conservative ideas to the face of a liberal, Democrat and black president’s face. But that is not why I consider Dr. Carson a hero. He is a winner to me for living by the conservative principles I want young America, especially poor black and Latino kids, to see as the prescription for success.
WASHINGTON — Citing financial concerns, the Obama administration has begun quietly winding down one of the earliest programs created by the president´s health care overhaul, a plan that helps people with medical problems who can´t get private insurance. In an afternoon teleconference with state counterparts, administration officials said Friday the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will stop taking new applications. People already in the plan will not lose coverage. Designed as a stopgap solution until the law´s full consumer protections are in effect next year, PCIP has served more than 135,000 people, a lifeline for patients with serious medical problems
As one who has delivered some harsh -- one might say blistering -- condemnations against New York Times columnist Charles Blow, I feel compelled to proffer unqualified commendation of his recent column on the California cop killer. In the interest of consistent truthfulness, sometimes it´s necessary to admit that someone normally considered an adversary -- even an enemy -- has gotten it right... even while my jaw is dropping. Contra the denizens of lefty-loon bloggers, commenters, tweeters, letter-to-the-editor writers, Blow´s response is unambiguous
It´s the million-dollar reward that´s raising a million-dollar question: Who, if anyone, is entitled to the money offered in the hunt for Christopher Dorner? The catch is that Dorner, the rogue former Los Angeles police officer who sparked a massive manhunt, was never captured. He died after a shootout and fire at a California mountain cabin this week after, authorities say, he killed four people and wounded three others. The city of Los Angeles put up the $1 million reward Sunday, together with other jurisdictions, groups, and private donors. It had been a few days since Dorner was last seen,
The Facebook craze that gave us Farmville and notes from "friends" about their breakfast and just about everything else may finally be ending. A new Pew Research Center poll finds that a huge group of users, 61 percent, are taking breaks from Facebook up to "several weeks" long, and that virtually all age groups are decreasing their time on the social media site that recently flopped in its initial public offering of publicly traded stock. Most devastating: 38 percent of users aged 18-29, the focus of advertisers on the site, plan to slash their time on Facebook this year.
Jesse Jackson Jr.´s final act as a public official was to send a Thanksgiving eve resignation letter to the speaker of the House in which he declared that "for 17 years I have given 100 percent of my time, energy and life to public service." But federal prosecutors unveiled an image of Jackson as less a public servant and more a politician interested in surrounding himself with treasures. A gold-plated Rolex. Furs and cashmere capes. Memorabilia from the likes of Michael Jackson, Bruce Lee and Martin Luther King Jr. Luxuries out of the reach of the many people
He’s only nine weeks old, but has already entered recruit training. That would be “Chesty,” the pedigreed English bulldog and future Marine Corps mascot, who arrived at Marine Barracks in the nation’s capital on Valentine’s Day. The handsome and distinguished young Chesty will enter obedience school and canine “recruit training,” earn the title of Marine and be named the next Marine Corps mascot on March 29. His official duties include marching in myriad events, including the Friday twilight parades at the facility, looking tough but buff in his own custom dress blues. Mascots and Marines have a long history,
It was an incredible day for near-Earth objects, with two rare cosmic events occurring on the same day. First, a tiny asteroid actually hit Earth, creating a significant explosion over eastern Russia around 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 15 in that part of the world. Less than 24 hours later, a larger asteroid, 2012 DA14, passed safely above Earth at a distance of around 17,200 miles, the closest an object of that size has come to our planet since scientists began monitoring the skies. Astronomers had been tracking that asteroid for about a year and knew
President Obama´s deep embrace of drones as a tool against terror was thrust into the spotlight last week by the release of an official “white paper” detailing when, and why, the federal government could intentionally kill American citizens. Many have found the whole idea of targeting Americans for death abhorrent; the analysis has been called “chilling” and full of “twisted definitions.” The government’s white paper declares that the Constitution doesn´t protect citizens who act as senior leaders of al Qaeda from death from above. That, and the idea that judges have no real role to play in the targeting process,
This week, the Knight Foundation, a nonprofit promoting “quality journalism,” forked out a $20,000 speaking fee for disgraced science writer and author Jonah Lehrer to discuss his plagiarism and other journalistic indiscretions. While many questioned the sincerity of his mea culpa, Lehrer’s towering fee drew the most scrutiny. On Thursday, the Knight Foundation issued an apology of its own, explaining that it had put “itself into a position tantamount to rewarding people who have violated the basic tenets of journalism. … It was simply not something Knight Foundation, given our values, should have paid.” Whether or not that’s true,
In his State of the Union address, President Obama doubled down on his gun-control proposals, again demanding that Congress ban so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines.” This is not a surprise. What has been a surprise are the increasingly open calls for defiance from gun owners, state legislatures, and local law enforcement. If the president’s proposals become law, he may move the country into turbulent waters we haven’t seen in many years. Gun control has long been a controversial issue in American politics. However, there are three aspects to this issue that make this more volatile
The New York Times on Saturday published a story with a headline claiming “Inquiry of Democratic Senator Started With a Partisan Push,” referring to the multiple ongoing investigations of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. Times reporter Eric Lipton named National Legal and Policy Center chairman Ken Boehm as the person behind the story. “Sandwiched between two doctors’ offices at a roadside plaza here is the headquarters of a small team of veteran Republican investigators, operating almost as a private detective squad, who since late last year have had a determined goal: bringing down Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat
Oh, the sweet, sweet irony of environmentalist infighting. The Obama administration (while somehow finding every excuse in the world to dawdle and delay on major economy-impacting items like federal drilling permits, hydraulic fracturing rules, and the Keystone XL pipeline) decided to make an especial project out using public lands for utility-scale solar plants. The Interior Department identified ‘solar zones’ across Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, and prioritized designing a program to fast-track solar permits for their designated areas. The entire purpose of this ostentatious bureaucratic exercise, of course, is to help the Obama administration beef up
An American pope? No chance. That was the consensus a mere eight years ago — a blip in church time — upon the death of Pope John Paul II. Both Europe, the institutional epicenter of the Catholic Church, and the developing world, its demographic stronghold, were too resentful of America’s global footprint: its ostentatious wealth, its ubiquitous military presence and its saber-rattling, diplomacy-scorning president bent on prosecuting two unpopular wars. Big Brother hardly needed a partner in the Vatican. Nor did U.S. social trends inspire confidence among the men who would elect the next pope.
WASHINGTON -- Congress´ latest crack at a new assault weapons ban would protect more than 2,200 specific firearms, including a semi-automatic rifle that is nearly identical to one of the guns One model of that firearm, the Ruger .223 caliber Mini-14, is on the proposed list to be banned, while a different model of the same gun is on a list of exempted firearms in legislation the Senate is considering. The gun that would be protected from the ban has fixed physical features and can´t be folded to be more compact. Yet the two firearms are equally deadly.
WASHINGTON- The White House is circulating a draft immigration bill that would create a new visa for illegal immigrants living in the United States and allow them to become legal permanent residents within eight years, according to a report published online Saturday by USA Today. President Barack Obama´s bill would create a "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. The bill includes more security funding and requires business owners to adopt a system for verifying the immigration status of new hires within four years, the newspaper said.
Hours after Janay Mcfarlane’s little sister sat just feet away as President Barack Obama spoke in Chicago Friday about the violence plaguing the nation, Mcfarlane was shot to death in North Chicago, her family and authorities said Saturday. “I really feel like somebody cut a part of my heart out,” said Mcfarlane’s mother, Angela Blakely. Mcfarlane, 18, was in North Chicago visiting friends and family. She was with a friend late Friday night when a bullet meant for a friend struck Mcfarlane, Blakely said. Mcfarlane was shot once in the head around 11:30 p.m. in an alley in
It could have been a career-ending moment. Given the task of delivering the official Republican response to Barack Obama´s state of the union speech last week, rising star Senator Marco Rubio made a catastrophic gaffe. Sweating under the lights in a television studio, the darling of the party right suddenly bent down and reached over awkwardly to grab a bottle of water and take a desperate swig. (Snip) But Rubio has now shown a canny political instinct in handling the crisis, which many observers believe might just have rescued his career and put his hopes of eventually mounting a
Republicans have a problem with young people 18-29. Democrats have a problem with seniors over 65. The story taken from this dichotomy is popular and simple enough: Republicans are the party of crusty old folks who are going to die, and Democrats are the party of the youth, who will lead a continued resurgence into office. I´m not so sure about this story; (snip) Indeed, if you came of age during the Franklin D Roosevelt administration, you are more Democratic than the nation as a whole. If you could first vote during the administrations of Ronald Reagan or George HW Bush,
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,