By all our traditional Christmas standards, Barack Obama must have been a wonderful child this year. Even before the year started, St. Nicholas brought him such armfuls of presents, they overflowed even the most capacious of stockings, and barely fit under the tree. Christmas 2012 started in 2009-2010, when Republicans were given a boxload of candidates who wouldn´t be ready until 2016, leaving them with a handful of used toys from last time, too scruffed-up and dingy for use. Gift No. 1 came in October 2011, when Chris Christie, dragged to the gate by a cohort of activists,
The recent rash of insider trading cases may be a shock to some on Wall Street, but not to one long-time market player: Bernie Madoff. In a Christmas Eve letter from the medium security federal prison in North Carolina where he is serving a 150-year sentence for running a massive Ponzi scheme, Madoff tells CNBC that insider trading has been around "forever." He also rails against what he calls a lack of transparency in the financial markets, and says the growth of hedge funds is forcing market players to take outsized risks in order to earn decent returns.
While the media focuses almost exclusively on tax increases and blaming Republicans, the prospect of achieving real solutions to our economic problems and doing anything about government overspending has completely fallen off the radar. Equally underreported but vital to any analysis of what is possible is the apparent state of mind of the president in this current crisis, and his overall approach to his second term. The president said three revealing things in his last two press conferences that say much about his state of mind. His own ego and arrogance are on vivid display,
Honestly assessing the Benghazi disaster would not have been pleasant for the pre-election Obama team. Anyone could sense that there might be no firewalls — as the media could jump to a resurgent al-Qaeda that had been declared moribund after the hit on Bin Laden; or the shattered dreams of the Arab Spring; or the politicization of our embassy security that led to deliberate neglect of proper defenses; or a Libyan intervention gone bad. Almost all those narratives have subsequently emerged in post-election inquiries or from the State Department’s official internal investigation. Yet the Obama administration offered an exegesis —
A nasty Christmastime storm system spawned blizzard conditions in some states and at least 15 reported tornadoes in the South, damaging homes, taking out power lines and dangerously snarling holiday travel. Severe weather swept across the United States during the Christmas holiday, bringing tornadoes and intense thunderstorms to the Gulf Coast, while dumping heavy snow and freezing rain on the Southern Plains. At least 15 tornadoes were reported today from Texas to Alabama, putting this storm system potentially on track to be one of the largest Christmas day tornado outbreaks on record.
T he internet has unquestionably made it easier for readers to interact with big media organizations — and that includes calling them out on mistakes. Still, you´ve really got to hand it to The New York Times. Internet or no, the paper of record has long exhibited unrivaled diligence when it comes to issuing corrections. And because the paper addresses every minute inaccuracy with the same strident gravitas, it´s often quite "funny to hear pop-culture quibbles addressed in the Gray Lady´s formal language," says Josh Dzieza at The Daily Beast. Without further ado, some of the year´s most endearing Times corrections:
Prospects for the revival of cap-and-trade legislation in the upcoming Congress as a tonic for global climate change appear to be going up in smoke. Democrats anticipate that some package addressing greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s coal-fueled power plants will likely emerge next session. But getting any proposal through the Republican-controlled House is dubious and it’s extremely unlikely that lawmakers will specifically reconsider cap-and-trade. “Cap-and-trade may reappear in the House of Representatives but it has no chance of passing,” said Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power.
By Zuzu’s petals, this turned out to be a close-run poll — at least in the movie category. Thanks to a larger-than-expected turnout from the Bedford Falls region, the Frank Capra classic It’s a Wonderful Life edged Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun in A Christmas Story to win the Hot Air poll for best Christmas movie of all time. George Bailey ended up winning by just 45 angels’ wings over Ralphie. As promised, here’s a Christmas Day clip from one of Hollywood’s best:(Snip for video clip)Honestly, though, the vote was so close
School Safety: Critics of the National Rifle Association´s call for armed security guards at our schools respond that one famous school did have a sheriff´s deputy on scene. But without him, the toll would have been much worse. After remaining silent on the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, the NRA´s Wayne LaPierre held a press conference Friday to condemn another tragedy in a gun-free zone and to advocate the placement of armed security guards at our schools as is done at airports, banks and other public venues.
Idaho constituents have learned a few things about Sen. Mike Crapo over the past couple of days. He has shown three things: That he is human, that he can make a mistake and that lemonade is not the strongest drink in his glass. At the moment, he also has something more on his mind than the fiscal cliff. What happened to Mike Crapo in the early morning of Dec. 23 can happen to a lot of people, especially during the holiday season. He attended a social gathering in Alexandria, Va., had a few drinks and drove home.
“In any war between the civilized man and the savage,” says the ad, “support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.” On September 6, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) signed a contract to buy space for this message from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which had concluded that the First Amendment required it to accept the controversial ad. Less than two weeks later, WMATA declared that AFDI’s advocacy was not constitutionally protected after all, pointing to violent Middle Eastern protests blamed on Innocence of Muslims, an online video mocking the prophet Muhammad.
If public education is allowed to survive, all efforts to resuscitate the inert husk of modern civilization will fail. It is time to unravel the most wasteful and destructive entitlement program of all. Cancer cells do not divide into healthy cells. A corrupted, power-intoxicated political class will not willingly raise a freedom-loving, self-reliant populace. Governments must no longer be allowed to pre-determine their nations´ fates, by mass producing the populace that serves their interests.
WASHINGTON — U.S. holiday retail sales this year grew at the weakest pace since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession. In 2012, the shopping season was disrupted by bad weather and consumers´ rising uncertainty about the economy. A report that tracks spending on popular holiday goods, the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, said Tuesday that sales in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent, compared with last year. Many analysts had expected holiday sales to grow 3 to 4 percent. In 2008, sales declined by between 2 percent and 4 percent as the financial
While Washington wrestles with the nation’s burgeoning budget deficits, some good news has emerged on the other deficit front: The nation’s bloated trade deficit appears to be turning the corner, with at least one prominent economist predicting it will disappear altogether within a decade. A recent wave of “re-shoring” of overseas manufacturing plants by U.S. chemical, auto and other companies signals the revival of U.S. competitiveness in many industries vis-a-vis Europe, Japan, China and other major trade partners. The trend got a big push recently from a dramatic drop in American natural gas
That yawn you heard was Congress reacting to another veto threat from President Obama. Mr. Obama threatened to veto the $633 billion defense authorization bill, which Congress approved last week, over issues including the handling of detainees at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The president raised similar objections over the same bill last year, but went ahead and signed it into law after adding a statement that the administration would not detain Americans without trial. Conferees did remove some contentious provisions, including a ban on same-sex marriage ceremonies on military
Nicole Hawkins‘ three daughters have matching glittery boots, but none has the same father. Each has uniquely colored ties in her hair, but none has a dad present in her life. As another single mother on Sumner Road decked her row-house stoop with Christmas lights and a plastic Santa, Ms. Hawkins recalled that her middle child’s father has never spent a holiday or birthday with her. In her neighborhood in Southeast Washington, 1 in 10 children live with both parents, and 84 percent live with only their mother.
As the health-care industry rushed onto the Internet in search of efficiencies and improved care in recent years, it has exposed a wide array of vulnerable hospital computers and medical devices to hacking, according to documents and interviews. Security researchers warn that intruders could exploit known gaps to steal patients’ records for use in identity theft schemes and even launch disruptive attacks that could shut down critical hospital systems. A year-long examination of cybersecurity by The Washington Post has found that health care is among the most vulnerable industries
The day after Labor Day, just as campaign season was entering its final frenzy, FreedomWorks, the Washington-based tea party organization, went into free fall. Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’s top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the
Democrats seeking a deal to avert the year-end “fiscal cliff” are trying to etch into stone the signature economic achievement of Republican President George W. Bush by permanently extending tax cuts enacted during his tenure. President Obama has put the extension of the tax cuts for most Americans at the top of his domestic agenda, a remarkable turnaround for Democrats, who had staunchly opposed the tax breaks when they were written into law about a decade ago. With Obama planning to return from vacation as soon as Wednesday and lawmakers returning Thursday, the main dividing
Christmas provides the briefest of respites for lawmakers, who are trying to negotiate a debt compromise by New Year’s Eve in order to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. The deadline is a mere six days away, and at this point it is unclear when the talks will start over again. However, new information provided by Fox News’ Ed Henry says that President Obama is “likely” to return to D.C. tomorrow night to continue negotiations. Greta Van Susteren updated her blog earlier tonight with the information provided to Henry by an administration official.
NEW ORLEANS –A Christmas Day twister outbreak left behind damage from Louisiana to Alabama while holiday travelers in the nation´s much colder midsection battled sometimes treacherous driving conditions from freezing rain and blizzard conditions. In Mobile, Ala., a tornado or high winds damaged homes and knocked down power lines and large tree limbs in an area just west of downtown around nightfall, said Nancy Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Mobile County Commission. WALA-TV´s tower camera captured a large funnel cloud headed toward downtown. "We haven´t verified
Cairo - The official approval of Egypt´s disputed, Islamist-backed constitution Tuesday held out little hope of stabilizing the country after two years of turmoil and Islamist President Mohammed Morsi may now face a more immediate crisis with the economy falling deeper into distress. (Snip) The battle over the constitution left Egypt deeply polarized at a time when the government is increasingly cash-strapped. Supporters of the charter campaigned for it on the grounds that it will lead to stability, improve the grip of Morsi and his allies on state institutions, restore investor confidence and bring back
In the 1970´s, he testified against his fellow Vietnam War veterans before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He charged that they were violating the Geneva Conventions every day in Vietnam. Some POWs were outraged at Kerry´s disloyal statements. They said they had been tortured by their Communist captors trying to force them to make such untrue statements. Worse, Kerry went to Paris in 1971. There, he met with North Vietnamese Communists. (Snip) Any negotiation between a private U.S. citizen and a foreign power is illegal. It violates the Logan Act of 1798.
Dante Chinni calls himself "a card-carrying member of the East Coast Media Establishment Complex," and he proved in on Sunday with an article in Sunday Outlook section of The Washington Post: "Instead of leaving cookies, let´s give Santa the boot." Secular liberals always first want to save the country for science and rationality, and Santa Claus is "reality´s exception" for little kids. "America doesn’t need any more people who deny reality — at any age." Santa also quite obviously favors the super-rich: Second, Santa raises all sorts of questions about justice.
The nation’s retailers, manufacturers and farmers are bracing for a possible strike that could idle U.S. ports all along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast. That walkout could begin as early as Sunday after the midnight Saturday expiration of a 90-day extension of a contract between the International Longshoremen’s Association and several shipping lines, terminal operators and port associations. It would be the first strike by the ILA in 35 years.[Snip]In an email sent to shipping lines last week, the SPA detailed steps to lessen the impact of cargo flow, including two extra operations hours in the weekdays
After a six-month hiatus, the United States and other major powers are trying to resume negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. Iran has been enriching uranium in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions for six years, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has threatened military strikes if these activities are not halted by next spring or early summer. It is imperative that all sides make every effort to reach a diplomatic solution. War, of course, would be disastrous. But so would an Iran with a nuclear weapon. American officials still have doubts about whether Iran’s