After America postponed its jump off the fiscal cliff in the small hours of Tuesday night, world stock markets soared. Anyone listening to the BBC yesterday with its headlines praising Barack Obama would think something quite profound had changed in the world’s greatest--if battered--economy. However, it has not.[Snip] The tackling of those issues has merely been postponed until the end of next month, when America’s legally enforceable ‘debt ceiling’ will probably be reached. That will be the moment that U.S. debt passes a pre-determined point--north of $16 trillion--and a raft of dramatic public spending cuts will be triggered.
For Republicans, the question presented by the fiscal-cliff deal was fairly straightforward: Is the bill better or worse than the plausible alternatives? The answer was not self-evident, and it depended in part on one’s trust in the Republican congressional leadership. The peculiar structure of this particular showdown, with tax rates expiring and higher ones automatically taking effect, meant that taking no action at this point would have sent taxes far higher for far more people than this deal would. And what we know about congressional Republicans suggests to me that the ensuing public, press, and voter pressure
The deal to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff was a lousy one: tax rate increases during a weak economy, no spending reductions, nothing on entitlement reform. And yet if House Republicans had succeeded in derailing this deal, negotiated between Senator Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden, it would have been disastrous. It would have led to much higher tax increases on all Americans, even beyond the increase in payroll taxes that will now go into effect, and triggered decimating cuts in the defense department. And it would have done a great deal to advance the storyline
Current TV, the small cable news channel that was co-founded by former vice president Al Gore, has been sold to Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based media company. The acquisition gives Al Jazeera, which is funded by the Qatar government, the opportunity to establish a footprint in the United States, where it already has an English-language version of its Qatar service -- called Al Jazeera English -- but only limited reach. Just buying Current does not guarantee instant distribution, however. Time Warner Cable, which offered Current in roughly 10 million of its homes, is dropping the channel.
Anxiety about Hillary Clinton’s health has had something of a reprieve with the news that her doctors expect a full recovery from a sinister-sounding blood clot near her brain. Even so, the brief dread that it could be something worse sent panicky messages ricocheting throughout her enormous network of friends and admirers. Haunting memories returned of how her ambassador, Richard Holbrooke, fatally exhausted by grueling Af-Pak missions that his friends begged him to curtail, collapsed in her office two years ago and died days later from a ruptured aorta.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was discharged from a New York hospital on Wednesday after being treated for a blood clot near her brain and her doctors expect her to make a full recovery, the State Department said. (Snip)"Secretary Clinton was discharged from the hospital this evening. Her medical team advised her that she is making good progress on all fronts, and they are confident she will make a full recovery," Philippe Reines, a deputy assistant secretary of state, said in a statement.
The Virginia Supreme Court has overturned a preliminary injunction against a Fairfax woman who is facing a $750,000 defamation lawsuit for her negative reviews on Yelp and Angie’s List. A Fairfax County Circuit Court had previously ordered Jane Perez to remove some claims she made in her negatice reviews of a D.C. contractor who performed work on her home and barred her from repeating those accusations in future posts. But on Friday, the Virginia Supreme Court found the preliminary injunction was not limited to a prescribed period, was not justified
COIMBATORE - The investigation wing of the Income Tax (I-T) department in Coimbatore has seized US treasury bonds worth about Rs 27,500 crore from a 45-year- old man claiming to be a financial broker-cum-business consultant in Dharapuram in Tirupur district. I-T sleuths here said the bonds were seized in a raid on December 31 at the residence of T M Ramalingam on Dharapuram-Palani Road near Upputhurai, about 80 kms from Coimbatore, in Tirupur district. The bonds are worth $5 billion. Staff split headline.
Guns: The mayor of what is at once America´s most gun-controlled city and its murder capital wants an assault weapons ban like the one he pushed in 1994. Except it didn´t work then, and it won´t work now Nathaniel T. Jackson, 40, an alleged gang member with a long arrest record, was gunned down last week outside a store in Chicago´s Austin neighborhood, becoming the Windy City´s 500th murder victim in 2012. Up to 80% of Chicago´s murders and shootings are gang-related, according to police. By one estimate, the city has almost 70,000 gang members.
When you get your W-2 wage and tax statement this month, look at Box 12. For the first time ever, as a result of the Obama health law, the IRS is requiring employers to report the cost of health insurance you get at work. The Obama administration claims that it´s informational, so you´ll appreciate the value of your health plan. Believe that and I´ll sell you a bridge in Brooklyn. "Taxpayers should be uncomfortable with the implications of the W-2 reporting requirement," warns Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. He calls Box 12 a "clear set-up"
President Barack Obama will go for immigration reform and gun control this month, the White House tells the left-leaning Huffington Post. Obama´s actions will reportedly be done "quickly." "An Obama administration official said the president plans to push for immigration reform this January. The official, who spoke about legislative plans only on condition of anonymity, said that coming standoffs over deficit reduction are unlikely to drain momentum from other priorities. The White House plans to push forward quickly, not just on immigration reform but gun control laws as well," reports the Huffington Post.
Taxes: Anyone who thinks the fiscal cliff deal will end President Obama´s soak-the-rich campaign isn´t paying attention. Even before the ink had dried on his $620 billion tax hike, Obama was talking up his desire for more. Obama hinted at this on Sunday on "Meet the Press," when he told David Gregory that "you are not only going to cut your way to prosperity" and that "one of the fallacies" was that "deficit reduction is only a matter of cutting programs." But as the fiscal cliff agreement looked increasingly likely, Obama started talking more specifically about additional tax hikes.
Law: For many, the Constitution is the barrier that blocks government from trampling a free people. Yet many on the political left see it as a hurdle to their ambitions. Consider the constitutional law professor who wants to kill it. The headline of Louis Michael Seidman´s op-ed in the Sunday New York Times was "Let´s Give Up on the Constitution." The message from the Georgetown professor of constitutional law is that the Constitution is "archaic" and "idiosyncratic," and even has within it "downright evil provisions." Naturally, Seidman dredges up slavery and the "white propertied men" who
A blind dog can enjoy walkies again--thanks to a guide cat. Eight-year-old Terfel kept bumping into things and spent most of his time stuck in his basket after being diagnosed with cataracts. Then owner Judy Godfrey-Brown let a stray cat into her home--and was amazed by what happened next. The puss, named Pwditat, walked up to Terfel and led him out of his basket and into the garden. She has been helping him find his way around ever since. Retired civil servant Judy, 57, of Holyhead, North Wales, said: “I’ve never seen anything like it--most cats and dogs
Patti Page, the apple-cheeked, honey-voiced alto whose sentimental, soothing, sometimes silly hits like “Tennessee Waltz,” “Old Cape Cod” and “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” made her one of the most successful pop singers of the 1950s, died on Tuesday in Encinitas, Calif. She was 85. Her death was confirmed by Seacrest Village Retirement Communities, where she lived. Ms. Page had briefly been a singer with Benny Goodman when she emerged at the end of the big band era, just after World War II, into a cultural atmosphere in which pop music was not expected to be
When Paula Papen caught her eight-year-old son playing around on eBay on her iPad, she concocted one way of making sure he took care of grown ups´ toys. With her camera rolling, the mother from Hot Springs, South Dakota convinced her son Kenyon that he had accidentally spent $50,000 on a Ford Mustang that could not be returned. But while she may have wanted to teach him a lesson, she cannot have predicted the youngster´s emotional response. Scroll down for video
New research from the Alaska Climate Research Center shows that since the beginning of the 21st century, temperatures in the snow covered land of Alaska are actually getting colder--bucking the overall global warming trend. In the Last Frontier, where temperatures can get as cold as 50 degrees below zero, local residents have experienced the increasing chill and scientists now confirm that the Northwest state is indeed seeing a temperature drop. A new report from the research center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks reveals that the 49th state of the union has cooled by 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been photographed leaving New York-Presbyterian Hospital with her daughter Chelsea and husband Bill by her side on Wednesday, after spending three days undergoing treatment for a blood clot in her head. Her well-coordinated exit came just hours after her husband emerged from the hospital, flashing a reassuring smile to signal that his wife was on the mend. Secretary Clinton, 65, has been hospitalized since Sunday when her doctors discovered a blood clot in her head, in a vein behind her right ear that helps carry blood away from the brain.
The United States has not gone over the “fiscal cliff”, but it has taken another major step towards EU-style decline.[Snip]Incredibly, for every $1 in spending cuts there are $41 in tax increases. While sold by the Obama administration as a deal to protect the middle class, 77 percent of Americans will now be subject to higher federal taxes, as Tim Stanley notes in his excellent piece, with the expiration of the two percent Social Security payroll tax cut. The fiscal cliff agreement will also significantly hit small businesses and investors, the wealth creators who need to kickstart the US economy
Jasper, Ala. — A teen pilot killed along with two friends in an Alabama plane crash had his own key to the aircraft and had flown it many times, his mother said Wednesday, denying authorities´ assertion that the plane had been taken without permission. Sherrie Smith said her 17-year-old son Jordan Smith was the one flying the plane that went down in the Alabama woods Tuesday night, killing the him and two other male teens. (Snip) Smith says the owner of the plane had let her son fly it many other times and had given her son his own key. "He had used the plane many times before," she said.
New York–More information is being learned about a couple who were arrested over the weekend after police said they found weapons and bomb-making materials inside their Greenwich Village apartment. When Morgan Gliedman and her boyfriend Aaron Greene were arrested on Saturday, police found a container of the powerful explosive HMTD in their living room, CBS 2 reported. Three buildings in Greenwich Village were evacuated as a result. HMTD was believed to have been used during the 2005 London bombings.(Snip) Gliedman, 27, is the daughter of a prominent real estate agent and a top-rated New York oncologist,
New York - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton briefly left the hospital where she is being treated for a blood clot in her head for testing on Wednesday, officials said. Mrs. Clinton was photographed leaving the hospital shortly after 3:00 p.m., but officials said she was only having tests done at another location. She was back in the hospital about an hour later. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Clinton had been "quite active" on the phone Wednesday with State Department aides. She says doctors will continue to monitor her progress. Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital Sunday
The pundits making a mockery of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton´s head injuries ought to be ashamed of themselves. These commentators contend Clinton is offering excuses to avoid tough questions over the deadly September attack on a U.S. consulate office in Libya. (Snip) On Dec. 17, Fox News contributor John Bolton accused Clinton of feigning "diplomatic illness." One day later, the New York Post published a headline calling her condition a "head fake."On the air, Charles Krauthammer and Sean Hannity have joked about Clinton´s "acute Benghazi allergy." Outgoing Congressman Allen West, R-Florida,
The manager of a business in West Nyack, N.Y., Caryn McBride, was receiving vaguely menacing "negative correspondence" and phone calls. (Snip) So she decided to protect herself with guns. As the Rockland County Times reports, McBride is the Rockland editor of the Gannett-owned Journal News, a rival newspaper based across the Hudson in White Plains. "Due to apparent safety concerns," the Times reports, the Journal News "decided to hire RGA Investigations to provide armed personnel to man the location." The Times "has not investigated" whether the paper´s headquarters is also protected by