Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina has appointed Rep. Tim Scott to fill the Senate seat held by Jim DeMint, who has resigned to become head of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank. Scott will serve for two years and then have to run in November 2014 for the remaining two years of DeMint’s term. This just abounds in delicious political and historical irony. In 2010 Scott defeated Paul Thurmond, the son of the late Senator Strom Thurmond, to win the Republican nomination to the 1st congressional district seat in the House.
In the movie "The Terminal," actor Tom Hanks plays a man who suddenly finds himself stateless when his country ceases to exist. New York’s JFK Airport becomes his only home. That movie was loosely based on a true story, but for Mikhail Sebastian being stateless is a dilemma that is all too real. Sebastian is stateless. He is an ethnic Armenian born in Azerbaijan in what was the Soviet Union. He was forced to flee when the Soviet bloc began to crumble in the 1990s. He tried to take refuge in Armenia but eventually wound up
So M. Stanley Dukakis says he’s not a “candidate” to temporarily replace his former lieutenant governor, Liveshot Kerry, in the U.S. Senate. Maybe. But this wouldn’t be the first “lead-pipe cinch” guarantee he’s issued that didn’t turn out to be true. Personally, I think the governor once known as Pee Wee Dukakis would be a fine pick, especially for Gov. Deval Patrick. If Deval appoints him, it’ll be the first time in his six years as governor that he gets to stand beside someone shorter than himself. One thing we know for sure:
As if Zero Dark Thirty needed more controversy, ABC News is now reporting that Under Secretary of Defense Michael Vickers is under investigation for leaking sensitive information to the filmmakers. "Specifically, Vickers is said to have disclosed to the filmmakers the identity of a member of SEAL Team Six -- though not a member of the team that conducted the raid on Osama bin Laden´s compound," says ABC´s Jake Tapper. This is potentially a big deal for said SEAL Team Six member, who could be targeted by terrorists, but it´s also a bit of a boondoggle for the Pentagon,
The panel investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, delivered its findings Monday to State Department officials, who said the report could be released publicly as early as Wednesday. But Republican lawmakers already have expressed skepticism about the probe’s thoroughness and frustration that their key concerns will not be addressed in the report by the Accountability Review Board — the mandated State Department panel investigating the Benghazi incident. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the investigative panel would not probe “interagency discussions” about what occurred
The Tragic View Of course we can acquire a sense of man’s predictable fragilities from religion, the Judeo-Christian view in particular, or from the school of hard knocks. Losing a grape crop to rain a day before harvest, or seeing a warehouse full of goods go up in smoke the week before their sale, or being diagnosed with leukemia on the day of a long-awaited promotion convinces even the most naïve optimist that the world sort of works in tragic ways that we must accept, but do not fully understand.
An Australian court has ruled that a bureaucrat who was injured while having sex on a business trip is eligible for worker´s compensation benefits. The Full Bench of the Federal Court ruled Dec. 13 in favor of the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, and rejecting the appeal of the federal government´s insurer, ending a five-year legal battle. The woman was hospitalized after being injured in 2007 during sex with a male friend while staying in a motel in the town of Nowra, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of her hometown of Sydney.
The conservative failure in 2012 was not an inability to appeal to hyphenated groups on the basis of ethnic, gender, and age identification. Instead, there was a general cluelessness about how to reach the middle and working classes of all races and ethnicities by explaining how conservative principles are not just for the rich. Consider what messages candidates send by the issues they choose to address. Rather than write off the 47 percent of Americans who receive entitlements and do not pay income taxes, conservative candidates needed to wade into those groups
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was set to face a grilling from Congress this week over the terrorist attacks in Benghazi when she started channeling the late poet Shel Silverstein. “I have the measles and the mumps / A gash, a rash and purple bumps,” said Clinton, in effect, informing the House and Senate (with regrets!) that she was suffering too many maladies to testify as expected about the Sept. 11 attack in Libya. America’s top diplomat was to provide her first public answers regarding the murder of US Ambassador Chris Stevens. Now that won’t happen.
Senator Mark Begich, a Democrat from Alaska, is "pleased" to include more than $200 million in pork spending in the Sandy legislation, a bill meant to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The senator´s office explains the request in a press release: Alaskans hard hit by fisheries disasters in recent years would be eligible for federal assistance, if a comprehensive federal disaster funding bill released today gains final Congressional passage. U.S. Senator Mark Begich joined the other members of Alaska´s congressional delegation in requesting the funding for Alaskans be included in the legislation,
P resident Obama faces a large second-term turnover of cabinet members, and prominent names are being floated for all of the major positions — most notably Sen. John Kerry for secretary of state. Some Democrats have warned against the Kerry selection, as it could potentially result in the party losing his seat to a Republican like departing Sen. Scott Brown in a subsequent election. Indeed, such scenarios are among the reasons why sitting senators are so rarely chosen for cabinet positions. The only recent president who appointed any sitting senators to his cabinet was Bill Clinton, who chose Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is being approached by local conservatives to run for Republican Rep. Tim Scott’s soon-to-be-vacant House seat — and is considering it — according to two sources in the state. Sanford previously occupied the same Charleston-based seat in the 1990s. The Republican ex-governor is “studying” a run for the 1st District and making a political comeback, according to one well-placed South Carolina source. Scott will vacate the staunchly Republican district in January to move to the Senate. Republican Gov. Nikki R. Haley announced Monday that she has selected Scott to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint,
President Obama´s proposed $60.4 billion federal aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy has been revealed stuffed with millions in spending for museums and NASA with portions sent as far from the Northeast’s destruction as Alaska.[Snip] Instead $150 million is slated to benefit Alaskan fisheries, $8 million to homeland security and the justice departments for new cars, office equipment, furniture and ´mobile X-Ray machines,´ and $41 million for eight military bases including Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the New York Post reports. A whopping $13 billion will go to preventing future storm damage, including soil erosion and tree planting
There will not be a third season of Discovery‘s docu reality series American Guns. The show, about a family of gun makers, has been drawing attention following Friday’s elementary school shooting in a Connecticut in which 26 people — including 20 first-grade children — were gunned down by a 20-year-old whose mom was a gun collector. There have been angry messages posted by viewers on the show’s Facebook page. American Guns has now been cancelled. Discovery sources say the decision was quietly made awhile ago, however it didn’t come to light until today.
The first photo of Marine Veteran Jon Hammar, held captive in one of Mexico’s most infamous prisons for four months, has been released to the public. The photo shows Hammar, 27, in a solitary cell inside Matamoros state prison in Tamaulipas, shirtless, barefoot and chained by handcuffs around his right ankle. He was photographed sitting on an thin mattress with a red blanket in a room with chipped walls and a squalid floor. He does not appear to have any visible injuries. Scroll down for video -The email containing the photo was sent anonymously to Hammar´s mother
NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, one of the most prominent and accomplished international correspondents in the world, is reportedly missing in Syria. Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reports that Engel, together with Turkish journalist Aziz Akyavas, were last known to be in Syria and haven´t been in contact with NBC News since Thursday morning. While the Turkish media have been circulating the report for several days, American outlets had been operating under a news blackout requested by NBC until today. Scroll down for video -NBC colleague David Schuster is amongst those to have tweeted their concern
A simple procedure that blasts the kidneys with radio waves can cure high blood pressure.[Snip] It is being trialled in the UK and could be available on the NHS by early next year. One expert has gone as far as to insist that the technique effectively cures hypertension in up to half of those treated and dramatically improves the condition for the rest. About 16 million people in Britain have high blood pressure--a major cause of cardiovascular disease and death in the UK, causing 60 percent of strokes and 40 per cent of heart attacks.
NEWTOWN, Conn. — Gene Rosen had just finished feeding his cats and was heading from his home near Sandy Hook Elementary school to a diner Friday morning when he saw six small children sitting in a neat semicircle at the end of his driveway. A school bus driver was standing over them, telling them things would be all right. It was about 9:30 a.m., and the children, he discovered, had just run from the school to escape a gunman. "We can´t go back to school," one little boy told Rosen. "Our teacher is dead.
Budget Policy: In this season of giving, no one´s been more generous than John Boehner. Three times in fiscal cliff talks, he has offered Democrats more — only to get nothing in return. He really gives till it hurts. Once again, the Republicans play Santa Claus to the Democrats´ Grinch — although, frankly, the GOP´s generosity is fueled by panic over being blamed for the U.S. going over the Democrat-created fiscal cliff. In the latest round of concessions to President Obama, House Speaker Boehner is offering to put off the fight over the current $16.4 trillion federal debt limit
WASHINGTON- President Barack Obama backed off from demanding tax rates rise on incomes above $250,000 a year, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Obama´s new offer in intensifying "fiscal cliff" talks with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is to change the figure to $400,000, so the George W. Bush" class-era tax rates would expire for households making more than that amount a year rather than $250,000, people familiar with the meeting told both newspapers. Obama´s offer, in a 45-minute White House meeting Monday, would also raise tax revenues $1.2 trillion over the next decade,
Nativity plays are more entertaining than any other live performance. According to a recent survey by the Bible Society, 37 percent of Britons polled believe Father Christmas visited the baby Jesus. Some are also convinced that Mary placed her baby not in a manger but in a Moses basket. None of this surprises me, because, at so many schools, the simple nativity play has now been renamed Christingle or Winter Festival, and in their desperate attempt not to allow any pupil to feel “left out”, teachers welcome anyone in a costume onstage. You might easily see Santa or Superman
Hollywood continued to rejigger its publicity plans for holiday releases Monday in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.Paramount has decided to make several tweaks to the marketing materials for Jack Reacher, the gritty crime-action pic starring Tom Cruise as a hard-boiled former military cop trying to prove that an alleged sniper was framed. The film opens Friday. The studio wouldn´t officially say what the changes are, but a source confirmed that a scene of Cruise´s character firing off a semi-automatic weapon is being cut from promotional spots.
A French car manufacturer that is partially owned by the taxpayer-funded General Motors Company (GM) claims to have ceased its longtime business dealings with Iran, though experts have cast doubts on this claim. GM owns a seven percent stake in PSA Peugeot Citroën, which has faced intense scrutiny for its business relationship with Iran. Peugeot has long been one of Iran’s central auto partners, providing parts and technology to Iran’s leading car manufacturer, Khodro Company. Khodro is believed to have economic ties to the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
WASHINGTON- While much of Washington is consumed by the debate over tax increases scheduled to take effect next year, big tax hikes have already gone into effect for millions of families and businesses this year. More than 70 tax breaks enjoyed by individuals and businesses expired at the end of 2011. If Congress doesn´t extend them retroactively back to the beginning of this year, a typical middle-class family could face a $4,000 tax increase when it files its 2012 return in the spring, according to an analysis by H&R Block, the tax preparing giant. At the same time, businesses
Patients with certain conditions face a 40 percent greater chance of dying if they are unfortunate enough to be admitted to hospital at the weekend.[Snip] Part of the reason for this unhappy state of affairs is that NHS hospitals are no more than ticking over for virtually a third of the week. Between Friday afternoons and Monday mornings, many hospitals resemble the Mary Celeste. And it is not just hospital consultants who enjoy such genteel work schedules--so, too, do most family doctors. It raises once again the question of whether the NHS is there for the benefit of its patients