Aside from the election, the two most important political events of 2012 have been actions by the two officials in Washington whose offices and roles are supposed to insulate them from conventional political pressures. First was Chief Justice John Roberts, who changed his vote against ObamaCare in June because (according to the peerless Supreme Court journalist Jan Crawford) he was concerned about the public perception of the court’s legitimacy. Or, to put it in plain English, he was worried that liberals would say the court’s ruling proved it was stacked to the Right —
For the Big E, it was the beginning of the end. On March 11, 2012, USS Enterprise (CVN-65)—the world’s first nuclear aircraft carrier and the oldest active combat ship in the U.S. Navy—left Norfolk on her final deployment. She was embarking upon the end of a 51-year career, a seagoing record unmatched by any warship in American history and seldom approached elsewhere. The Big E’s skipper is Captain William C. “Boomer” Hamilton Jr., a tall, well-spoken Alabaman who acquired his call sign after a “sonic event” when he flew F/A-18 Hornets. Hamilton assumed command in August 2011,
Fox News´ Neil Cavuto cut to commercial during a heated interview with Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson where the congresswoman told him to “shut up for just a second” and he later called their discussion “a total waste of time.” The Texas Democrat and Cavuto on Thursday argued over the fiscal cliff battle for several minutes before the interview came to an abrupt end. Cavuto repeatedly asked Johnson what things she would cut and the congresswoman countered that what should be discussed is "revenue generation." “No, you told me things you’d do to raise taxes. That’s what you told me.
Ravi Shankar always displayed a slightly ambivalent attitude to the extraordinary enthusiasm with which his music – sober-minded, serious, not a little taxing – was greeted by younger Western audiences in the Sixties. At Madison Square Garden in 1971, in the celebrated Concert for Bangladesh which had been organised by his friend George Harrison, the first plangent chords of Shankar’s sitar-playing were received with rapturous applause, obliging him to lecture the audience: “If you like our tuning so much, I hope you will enjoy the playing even more.” The confusion was understandable.
Forget the fiscal cliff. Sooner or later — probably later — Speaker Boehner and the president are going to come to an agreement that will raise taxes on the wealthy with a solemn, cross-our-hearts-and-hope-to-die promise from the Democrats to cut an unspecified amount from the budget at an unspecified later date. Just when the Democrats are going to screw over the GOP and refuse to make any significant budget cuts or engage in negotiations that would reform entitlements will also be unspecified. But there is another looming crisis for the taxpayer and businesses large and small.
U.S. Border Patrol agents will no longer serve as interpreters when local law enforcement agencies request language help, according to a new decree issued by the Department of Homeland Security. The new guidance said agents should refer such requests to private services often used by government agencies. Seeking language help is a common practice among local law enforcement agencies in Washington state. If a person is pulled over and can only speak Spanish, the U.S. Border Patrol is often called.
The argument from those stuffing this thing like a Christmas goose is that we should pay no attention to the fact that they’re up to their elbows because the suffering of those in the wake of Superstorm Sandy is far too great to expend time or energy on passing a clean bill—WHY DO YOU HATE STORM VICTIMS?! It’s hard to think of another situation in which spending far more than one should on things that have nothing to do with helping people in the course of allegedly helping people is considered compassionate while questioning such spending is considered stone-hearted.
Not to be overly alarmist, but Earth has had two near-misses with large asteroids so far this month. On Wednesday, a hunk of space rock three miles in diameter and going by the designation 4179 Toutatis passed by the planet, missing by 4.3 million miles, or about 18 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. The day before, an approximately 100 foot-wide asteroid passed much closer -- within 140,000 miles, slipping between the Earth and the moon. Neither of these are the Planet X that some New Age doomsayers claim will bring the end of the world
Breaking news from the US--h/t Watts Up With That?--where a leaked draft of the IPCC´s latest report AR5 admits what some of us have suspected for a very long time: that the case for man-made global warming is looking weaker by the day and that the sun plays a much more significant role in "climate change" than the scientific "consensus" has previously been prepared to concede. Here´s the killer admission: Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system (e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Dengel et al.
A good guest has to know when to leave the party. Susan Rice wasn’t a good guest. She waited until well after midnight, when everyone was tapping their watches and thinking of bed. Her insistent lingering turned sympathy into contempt--and when she finally decided to go, she did so loudly and rudely. The only person to regret her departure will be the man who invited her, Barack Obama. And not necessarily because he’ll miss her, but because her melodramatic exit has put an ugly word back in to common usage. Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi. Susan Rice has withdrawn her name
A dissident abducted and handed to Colonel Gaddafi’s torturers with the alleged help of Tony Blair’s government was given £2.2million last night to buy his silence. Sami al Saadi, 45, was dispatched with his wife and four young children back to his native Libya where he was imprisoned and maltreated. The ‘rendition’ operation--conducted with apparent MI6 support--took place only three days after Mr Blair visited Libya for the now infamous 2004 ‘deal in the desert’. Evidence of Britain’s role emerged in documents found after the fall of the Gaddafi regime. For years, Labour ministers denied involvement in rendition.
In celebration of the sixth night of the festival of lights, President Barack Obama invited Jewish Americans to the White House on Thursday for a Hanukkah party. The president and the first lady kicked off the festivities in the Grand Foyer of the Executive Mansion and Mr Obama noted the symbolism in lighting a historic menorah, brought from a Long Island synagogue that sustained damaged during Hurricane Sandy. The Commander-in-Chief also affirmed Jewish leaders and policymakers in attendance at the reception of America´s ´unshakable´ support for the nation of Israel. Mr Obama welcomed guests to the Hanukkah celebration, a holiday
American voters are sharply divided over how things went this year, and they continue to give President Obama mixed reviews. Meanwhile, voters are almost twice as likely to say Obama will be one of the country’s “worst” presidents as to say he will be one of the “greatest,” according to a year-end Fox News poll released Thursday. Some 42 percent of voters feel 2012 was a good year, while 41 percent say it was bad. Another 15 percent have mixed feelings. Some 57 percent of Democrats say 2012 was a good year,
Khaled El-Masri, the Lebanese-born German national who claims the CIA abducted him in Macedonia in 2003 before subjecting him to unlawful imprisonment and torture, has become accustomed to his case being thrown out of court. But on Thursday, he was finally able to claim a victory. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in El-Masri´s favor and ordered that the government of Macedonia to pay him €60,000 in damages.
Nancy Pelosi was widely mocked when she said of Obamacare, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." At the time, March 2010, Pelosi´s words accurately described the Democrats´ just-get-it-done approach to passing a national health care bill. But now it turns out Pelosi was wrong. In fact, we have to implement Obamacare so that you can find out what is in it. Amid the other momentous events coming in 2013 -- bitter fights over federal spending, debt, entitlements and immigration -- the biggest story of the year, and of 2014 as well, will be the arrival of Obamacare
Politics: The union mob that tore down that tent outside the Michigan state capitol was aiming at a free-market advocacy group on the president´s enemies list promoting right-to-work and other pro-growth measures. In an editorial headlined "Drinking the Kochs´ Kool-Aid," the Detroit Free Press, a newspaper in a decaying city with 18.9% unemployment, opined it was pressure from the Koch brothers, David H. and Charles G., who head a Kansas-based conglomerate with 50,000 U.S.-based employees, that moved Michigan Republicans to make the state adopt right-to-work legislation.
Embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice withdrew her name Thursday from consideration to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton after months of criticism over her comments about the terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, in September. Although the decision had been building for weeks, Mrs. Rice’s request was a stunning setback for President Obama, who angrily defended her in a November news conference and challenged the Republican critics that “they should go after me” over the handling of the Benghazi attack. Mrs. Rice has been
LANSING, Mich. — Conservative activists and supporters of Michigan’s new right-to-work law gathered on the Statehouse lawn Thursday to demand justice for what they said were threats, intimidation and entrapment under a tent that was destroyed by union supporters during protests two days earlier by thousands of labor union activists. Scott Hagerstrom, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Michigan, said he had filed a police report for assault and destruction of property with the Michigan State Police’s Capitol post after aggressive pro-union forces used knives
For all the fury and fistfights outside the Lansing Capitol, what happened in Michigan this week was a simple accommodation to reality. The most famously unionized state, birthplace of the United Auto Workers, royalty of the American working class, became right-to-work. It’s shocking, except that it was inevitable. Indiana went that way earlier this year. The entire Rust Belt will eventually follow because the heyday of the sovereign private-sector union is gone. Globalization has made splendid isolation impossible. The nostalgics look back to the immediate postwar years when the UAW
Let me offer my thoughts about Susan Rice’s withdrawal from consideration as Secretary of State. First, this decision probably came from the White House. Susan Rice, from everything I’ve heard, isn’t the kind of person who simply walks away from a job like Secretary of State in order to spare the country a contentious confirmation hearing. Second, pushing Rice out, assuming that’s what happened, is a wise decision on Obama’s part. Her confirmation hearing would have focused substantial media attention on Benghazi. That’s the last thing Obama wants or needs. Now that Rice has bowed out,
Only 15 states have fully cooperated with Obamacare by establishing state exchanges. From the CNBC story: Only 15 states have told the federal government they plan to operate health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama’s reform law, leaving Washington with the daunting task of creating online marketplaces for two-thirds of the country. Not all of this is protest, of course. Indeed, other states are setting up hybrid exchanges, and the number of states who go it on their own could rise to 18. plus the DC. But that makes for a difficult slog for the Feds:
WASHINGTON -- Face to face with time running short, President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner negotiated at the White House Thursday night in what aides called "frank" talks aimed at breaking a stubborn deadlock and steering the nation away from an economy-threatening "fiscal cliff." Boehner returned to the Capitol an hour later, briskly walking past reporters without comment. There was no indication whether any progress had been made, though the use of the word "frank" by both sides to describe the talks suggested the president and the speaker stuck hard to their opposing
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice announced Thursday that she was taking herself out of the running to be considered the next Secretary of State. NBC´s Chuck Todd blamed "conservative advocacy media" for forcing Rice´s decision. To Todd, it was nothing but a right-wing witch-hunt. Todd appeared on MSNBC on Thursday and proclaimed that Rice was a victim because she didn´t have a "consulting team or a full PR team" at her disposal. I guess the White House wasn´t enough of a megaphone for her. “It was all driven, in many cases, by some conservative outlets
LONDON — New testimony that emerged Thursday deepened the intrigue surrounding the death of the former K.G.B. officer Alexander V. Litvinenko, offering prima facie evidence of Russian state involvement and indicating that he had been a paid agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, lawyers at a preliminary inquest hearing said. (Snip) Mr. Litvinenko died after ingesting a rare and highly toxic radioactive isotope, polonium 210, which British investigators later traced to a pot of tea served to him at an upscale hotel in Grosvenor Square, opposite the American Embassy in central London. British prosecutors have charged
In popular wisdom, one-time presidential runner-up Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is likely to be nominated by President Barack Obama for Secretary of Defense or Secretary of State. But if Kerry does get the nod, a group credited with helping to thwart his presidential bid could re-organize to take him down once again. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group formed of military veterans who served alongside Kerry, worked to bring attention to the senator’s anti-war activities following his military service and to raise doubts about the truth of Kerry’s own accounts of his conduct
Robert Griffin III is arguably the most popular man in Washington right now. The Redskins’ spectacular rookie quarterback has been winning games, fans, and headlines due to his play this season. Today, he was on the front page of the Washington Post for the third time in a week and a half. Under increasing media scrutiny, Griffin has been clear he does not want to be defined by his race. In a news conference yesterday cited in USA Today, Griffin, an African-American, said, “For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin. You want