Negotiations over the "fiscal cliff" began on a friendly note Friday at the White House, with President Obama congratulating Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on his 63rd birthday. "Tomorrow is Speaker Boehner´s birthday," the president said to the congressional leaders gathered in the Roosevelt Room. "We´re not going to embarrass him with a cake, because we didn´t know how many candles we´d need." The friendly gesture drew a laugh and a firm handshake from the Speaker as leaders began the first negotiating session over the "fiscal cliff," which has become short-hand for the slew of automatic tax increases and
It should come as no great surprise that Lifetime’s Liz & Dick movie starring Lindsay Lohan is spectacularly bad. After all, it’s Lohan, more memorable in the tabloids than she ever was as an actress. No, the mystery here is whether Lifetime actually believed it had a major “television event,” as it says, because this was Lohan’s “highly anticipated comeback movie role,” as the channel’s website notes. Was Lifetime made giddy by the potential, or made blind by it? Most intriguing, did it know that casting Lohan of all people as Elizabeth Taylor
As I wrote last night, yesterday’s testimony to Congress by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell left plenty of work for General Petraeus, who is testifying today. For example, neither Clapper nor Morell could shed any real light on why the official line of the intelligence community apparently moved away from the initial (and correct) view that the Benghazi attack was terrorism. Now, CNN reports (via the Weekly Standard) that Petraeus may not be able to shed much light on this question either. But by not shedding it, he may well deepen the scandal.
Staring at Jill Kelley’s $1.3m mansion from the street, it would be hard not to think that this was a person who had made it in life. The vast 1923 brick house is in one of the most fashionable districts of Tampa, Florida, and is over the bay from one of New York Yankee Derek Jeter´s homes. The lawns are perfectly manicured, it has six bedrooms and four bathrooms for the hundreds of military guests who used to attend parties there. A closer look, however, and you notice that the paint is peeling on the outside and
WASHINGTON -- A dozen female members of the House staunchly defended U.N. ambassador Susan Rice against Republican criticism over her remarks on the deadly Sept. 11 Libya attack, suggesting the GOP lawmakers´ comments were racist and sexist. "It is a shame that anytime something goes wrong, they pick on women and minorities," Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, the next chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told reporters Friday at a Capitol Hill news conference. Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham earlier this week called Rice untrustworthy and unqualified to be the nation´s top diplomat if
Sgt Joshua Michael, a Purple Heart recipient, was killed along with three other people when a train slammed into a parade float they were riding to a veterans´ banquet in Midland, Texas, but not before committing one final act of heroism by pushing his wife off the doomed vehicle. The victim, identified by authorities as Sgt Joshua Michael, 34, was among the 26 people riding on a flatbed truck en route to a ´Show of Support´ dinner in their honor when a Union Pacific freight train suddenly appeared on the tracks and ploughed through the float.
Washington, A conservative group in the US has launched a movement to impeach President Barack Obama, just days after he won a second term in the White House. The Conservative Majority Fund, the group known primarily for its birther conspiracy spreading, has launched a robocall campaign to gain support for Obama´s impeachment."Our only recourse now is to move forward with the full impeachment of President Obama. We suspect that Obama is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and that there may be grounds for impeachment as is laid out in the constitution,"
The Department of Defense has launched more green energy initiatives than any other federal agency and many are duplicative and wasteful, according to a report released Thursday by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.). The Coburn report details nearly $68 billion in defense spending that appears to have little to do with national defense and instead focuses on issues ranging from beef jerky to studies of flying dinosaurs. Included in the report is $700 million in green energy initiatives. “The Department of Defense launched more than 100 renewable energy-related initiatives in 2010, more than any other federal agency including the
HOUSTON -- The U.S. Coast Guard in New Orleans confirms an oil rig caught fire off the coast of Louisiana early Friday. An early report indicated two people were killed, two are missing, and four were sent to the hospital, said a company spokesman. There was no report on if any oil spilled into the Gulf. Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts says the platform in question is a shallow water platform located in West Delta Block 32 in the Gulf of Mexico. A spokesman says the Coast Guard just activated a "command center" to investigate the incident.
Republican Congressman Peter King just exited the closed-door hearing with David Petraeus to update the media, and his description of the ex-CIA Chief´s testimony contained more than one bombshell. For starters, King said Petraeus told them that the CIA talking points meant for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice´s Sept. 16 round robin of five Sunday network news shows, originally contained the information that there was evidence al-Qaeda elements were involved in the attack. These talking points were then altered through "an inter-agency process."
Today, as Hamas continued to fire rockets on Israeli civilians while ensconced among Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi ordered Prime Minister Hesham Kandil to travel to Gaza in a show of solidarity with Hamas. Kandil will be accompanied by Egyptian security officials, including Maj. Gen. Mohammed Raafat Shehata, Egypt’s head of intelligence, and the health minister. The State Department has already stated that the Obama administration is trying to prevent Egypt from getting involved. So far, it isn’t helping.
Richard “Buzzy” Dressel — a prominent and influential North Jersey labor leader who served on the boards of the Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation and Bergen Community College — was arrested Thursday on charges of conspiring to steer more than $350,000 in union funds to his wife. Dressel, 63, of Montvale, the business manager and principal officer of Local 164 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, was arrested along with John M. DeBouter, 55, of Oakland, the local’s president, after a two-year investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor. An eight-count indictment charged the two officials with conspiring to embezzle
In its November 15 print version, The Washington Post published a story about the criminal financial malfeasance of former Democrat Governor and MF Global Chief John Corzine. The Post seemed reluctant to identify Corzine as a Democrat, and buried the story deep in the paper. Corzine was the subject of a report this week issued by the House Financial Services´s oversight subcommittee that raised deep concerns about the magical disappearance of $1.6 billion in investor´s money. The report stopped short of calling Corzine´s actions outright felonies (the committee is leaving
Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip say they have launched a rocket on Jerusalem - the first time the holy city has been targeted from Gaza. Israel Army radio said the missile landed just outside the city - and there are no reported casualties. An earlier missile targeted Tel Aviv. It comes amid mounting violence, following Israel´s killing of Hamas´s military chief on Wednesday. Egypt´s leader has vowed to back Gaza in the face of "blatant aggression".
She has become known as a shrewd socialite, throwing lavish garden parties for the military´s top brass and referring to the most influential as ´close friends´. And now, Jill Kelley, the Florida housewife whose complaint over threatening emails revealed David Petraeus´ affair, has attempted to exploit her connections once again. In her first words since her part in the scandal was revealed over the weekend, Kelley has sent a string of pleading emails to the Tampa Mayor, complaining she has been receiving threats and claiming: ´The truth will one day prevail.´ The anguished messages, seen by
Obama´s first post-election press conference, if you could call it that, tells us a great deal about his attitude and the approach he intends to pursue in his second term, which is the same failed policy mix on steroids. Obama´s re-election, of course, gives him the right to pursue these policies, but it doesn´t deny elected Republicans the right or relieve them of the duty to oppose them. If Obama can glean any intelligible mandate from his victory, it is that relentless negative campaigning, demagoguery, divisive identity politics, deceit and superior political
The Golden State has fallen on hard times, with a poverty rate that is now twice as bad as West Virginia’s and substantially worse than the rates of poverty in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, according to a new measure of poverty developed by the federal Census Bureau. Democrat-run California earned its last-place rank under the federal government’s new measure of poverty, which incorporates more detailed analyses of welfare payments and the local costs of food, gasoline and housing. (View the new census data report) The state’s costs are boosted by its environmental and workplace regulations,
Whether it was to steal a first kiss or listen to Led Zeppelin, climbing onto the roof of the White House was apparently a common sneak-out practice among presidents´ children. Steve Ford garnered laughs during a panel discussion Thursday with fellow children of former presidents as he recalled dragging a stereo onto the roof with a friend his first night there in 1974. A teenager at the time his father took office, he said, ´I think we were playing like Led Zeppelin´s "Stairway to Heaven." Literally, it was like "Dumb and Dumber."´ Jenna Bush Hager later told Ford,
This week´s press conference was more of the same President Obama whom we saw on the campaign trail this year. He was resolute and even defiant. And though there was more conciliation at times than we are normally used to hearing from the president, he was ultimately espousing the same attitude towards resolving our fiscal challenges that we have heard all along. The president’s tone and focus on cutting taxes for middle class Americans indicated that he was more interested in preserving his agenda than resolving our mounting fiscal challenges. Indeed, the president is well aware of the Republican
The entire House GOP leadership team has registered its opposition to climate legislation that raises revenue, underscoring the long odds that taxing carbon emissions has in negotiations on the fiscal cliff. The Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity greeted Wednesday’s election of the House GOP leadership team by pointing out that the lawmakers are among the signers of the group’s “no climate tax” pledge. Signers agree to “oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” They include Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio),
Democrat Ami Bera has defeated Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) in one of the closest House races of the cycle. Bera and Lungren finished within a few hundred votes of one another on election night, but Bera´s lead has grown in recent days as mail-in and provisional ballots were counted. He leads Lungren by slightly fewer than 4,000 votes with some ballots still left to be counted. The Associated Press called the race for Bera late Thursday evening. The contest was a rematch between the two: Bera narrowly lost to Lungren in 2010, surprising observers with a better-than-expected performance
Continuing the post-election Republican streak of using buttocks-related phrases to describe the party’s electoral defeat, GOP strategist and Fox News analyst Karl Rove said Wednesday night that Mitt Romney lost thanks in part to a “butt-ugly” GOP primary campaign that helped paint him in an “unfavorable light” for the actual presidential campaign season. Rove made the case that Romney’s campaign took severe damage at multiple points throughout the 2012 presidential campaign. The brutally long Republican primary campaign had “way too many debates,” Rove said, adding that they tended to focus on social
What started as a celebration honoring American heroes and their wives ended in tragedy. “It’s obviously a real sad day for Midland, Texas. This may be one of the most tragic events we’ve had in our town,” said Mayor Wes Perry during a press conference at the Midland Police Department on Thursday night. “This was a horrific event that started with an evening to honor those heroes, just as we should,” said Midland Police Department Chief Price Robinson. Perry had visited with the 24 wounded veterans and their spouses during Thursday’s Show of Support luncheon at the Commemorative Air Force
Two months after the terror attack in Benghazi, there´s been "no retribution, no retaliation, no visible action by the United States against those who murdered four American citizens," and that sends a dangerous signal, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton told Fox News on Thursday: "Now, maybe there´s something the administration has in the works, one of the rare national security secrets they´ve been able to keep. But the signal in the Middle East and beyond is, you can kill Americans with impunity. And that is a lesson, once learned, it´s going to cause
Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified in a closed-door hearing Friday morning that his agency determined immediately after the Sept. 11 Libya attack that "Al Qaeda involvement" was suspected -- but the line was taken out in the final version circulated to administration officials, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who spoke to reporters after Petraeus testified before the House Intelligence Committee, indicated he and other lawmakers still have plenty of questions about the aftermath of the attack. "No one knows yet exactly who came up with the final version of the
Disgraced former CIA director David Petraeus slipped into a closed door hearing before the House Intelligence Committee this morning to testify about what he learned first-hand about the Sept. 11 attack in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Petraeus, who traveled to Libya and carried out his own investigation after the Benghazi attack, spoke and was questioned by the committee for about 90 minutes, committee chairman Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said after the hearing. Following the hearing, Petraeus moved onto a Senate Intelligence Committee in an underground meeting room within the Capitol Visitors Center.