HONOLULU - Passing legislation to avoid the "fiscal cliff" -- and undo income tax increases for most Americans -- was hardly automatic. But signing the bill was. President Obama on Wednesday authorized the use of the "autopen" to enact H.R. 8, the compromise bill approved by lawmakers in the 11th hour after a long stalemate to avert the set of tax increases and budget cuts known as the fiscal cliff. House aides said the American Taxpayer Relief Act was delivered to the White House on Wednesday afternoon, well after the president had left to resume his holiday vacation
Americans take great umbrage whenever they, as a society, are portrayed by the residents of other nations as self-centered, avaricious and overbearing. While an egregious exaggeration in the past, is it an accurate description now? Who are the American people today and what sort of country is the United States in 2013? How does one describe a society wherein a majority of the people, and their elected leaders, have embraced the following mindset? •a) The United States can commit to unlimited government spending as the long-term future of the nation is immaterial and will
WASHINGTON- Housing is rebounding. Families are shrinking debts. Europe has avoided a financial crackup. And the fiscal cliff deal has removed the most urgent threat to the U.S. economy. So why don´t economists foresee stronger growth and hiring in 2013? Part of the answer is what Congress´ agreement did (raise Social Security taxes for most of us). And part is what it didn´t do (prevent the likelihood of more growth-killing political standoffs). By delaying painful decisions on spending cuts, the deal assures more confrontation and uncertainty, especially because Congress must reach agreement later this winter to raise
A stunning photograph that captures the moment when a newly born baby emerges from her mother’s womb has become one of the first viral hits of 2013 after the proud parents posted it on Facebook for friends and family to share. Alicia Atkins of Glendale, Arizona gave birth to daughter, Nevaeh, via Caesarean section on October 9. Her husband Randy snapped this touching image of a baby entering the world for the first time and grabbing hold of the doctor’s fingers. ´The doctor called me over and said, "Hey, she´s grabbing my finger,"´ Randy told 3TV News.
Under pressure, Speaker John Boehner allegedly lost his temper and screamed at another politician for the second time in just a few days. Boehner snapped at Frank LoBiondo, the Republican representative from New Jersey whose district includes a significant amount of beachfront that was wrecked in the October storm. This comes just days after he told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to ´go f*** himself´ while standing just feet away from the Oval Office. ‘I was chasing the Speaker all over the House floor last night, trying to talk to him and his staff,’ Republican Congressman Peter King said.
It is still Ol´ Man River, but it´s hardly ”rollin´ along” any more--and the US and the world may be about to suffer as a result. [Snip] Like Huckleberry Finn, coal and crude oil, steel and cement all get carried along this liquid super highway--as does about half of the US corn, wheat and soybean exports that help feed 100 countries--and this is its peak time of year. But one boat has already gone aground as water levels fall, giant barges have been bumping against the bottom, and traffic is forecast to grind to an effective halt this month.
Demographics buffs get a special Christmas present every year courtesy of the Census Bureau: its annual estimates of the populations of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. This gives demographers a chance to see where the nation is growing and where it is not, and to get an idea of the destination of immigrants and of the flow of people into one set of states and out of another. Nationally, the Census Bureau estimates that the United States has grown from 308 million people when the Census was conducted in April 2010
WASHINGTON — I wonder, as we begin 2013 and look forward to four more years of this insufferable poseur in the White House, where Sandra Fluke might be. Miss Fluke is the lady who made birth control a matter of national security, in particular her own personal supply of pills and God knows what else. Prior to her appearance on the national scene I always thought it was a male’s responsibility to supply condoms, as the occasion warranted. Yet Miss Fluke enlightened me. Actually she never told us what she used these items for.
Come back, Mr. President. With the fiscal cliff behind him, the president left Washington for the shimmering rainbows and golden beaches of Hawaii as the people left homeless by the Hurricane Sandy-ruined beaches of Rockaway, Midland Beach, Breezy Point, the Jersey Shore sit waiting for a moribund Congress to approve their $60 billion aid package. As the president hopped Air Force One, thousands of people of the storm he promised to help were still trapped on the edge of a fiscal cliff. Not much has apparently changed since four years ago, when I wrote here
Federal prosecutors in New Jersey have charged a disbarred Miami-area lawyer and three other people with hatching a scheme to sell a cache of stolen guns that once belonged to the family of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Prosecutors say David Ryan, 48, a one-time personal injury lawyer from Pinecrest, obtained at least seven guns that had been smuggled out of Iraq and then tried to sell them, with the help of others, through a New Jersey sporting goods store. Officials with Iraq’s embassy in Washington confirmed that the guns had been taken from Iraq,
HADLEY, Mass.—The Green Library at Stanford University houses William Saroyan´s mustache clippings. Timothy Leary´s Nintendo Power Glove has been acquired by the New York Public Library. At the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin, Norman Mailer´s bar mitzvah speech is preserved in perpetuity. Authors, take notice: Remember those crates of scratch pads and tax returns in the garage? The trunkful of hotel bills and childhood doodles in the garden shed? Don´t junk any of it—not before you call up somebody in Ken Lopez´s line of work.
President George W. Bush made bipartisan deals with Democrats on education, energy and, shortly before leaving office, the bank bailout known as TARP. President Reagan got together with Democrats on tax reform and Social Security. President Clinton reached agreement with Republicans on welfare reform, balancing the budget and Nafta´s free trade. Mr. Clinton also negotiated reform of Social Security, a landmark compromise that died (before being announced) when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. "Each president defined these deals as success, as principled compromises,"Keith Hennessey, Mr. Bush´s chief domestic policy adviser, noted recently, "and both parties shared the credit."
Oh, that one doesn’t work for you all of a sudden, lefties? How about that. Associated Press: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been admitted to a New York hospital after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month. (Snip)I asked to see the medical report. I didn’t accuse her of faking her injury. I didn’t call it a hoax. I merely showed skepticism about the claims of a career politician who was missing her second opportunity in a row to testify
Fortunately for film director Oliver Stone, there is no "truth in the title" requirement for television shows. Stone´s latest directorial effort is a series of one-hour documentaries called "The Untold History of the United States." The programs run on the Showtime network. I only needed to view the first two shows to determine what the title should actually be: "A Left-winger´s Biased, Tendentious and Highly Partisan History of the United States." In the very first show, Stone and its writers presumed to lecture Americans about the Soviet Union´s contribution to defeating Germany in World War II.
Taxes are going up on almost everyone. The government is trying to extract additional revenue from the economy in the most economically damaging way possible, with tax-rate increases that undermine incentives to work, save, and invest. This is happening at a time when economic growth has been weak, and when many credible observers are concerned that its trend level has permanently declined. The federal debt, meanwhile, is sure to keep rising, largely as a result of the out-of-control growth of entitlement programs. Elected officials are barely trying to restrain that growth, let alone succeeding.
Phew, that was close! Like cartoon characters, our elected officials brought the country at full speed toward the now-infamous “fiscal cliff” before jamming on the brakes. The Republicans and Democrats were like Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. Wasn’t that exciting!? At least we now have another two months before the next financial crisis — the country’s crash into the debt ceiling. Hopefully someone will come up with a colorful catch phrase before that historic event. But do we really have two months before the debt ceiling crisis?
Senator Scott Brown today took on a possible opponent in a special election to succeed his colleague John F. Kerry, questioning whether US Representative Edward J. Markey is actually a resident of Massachusetts. Markey later hit back, hinting at a reprise of the political nastiness that permeated Brown’s recent election battle against Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Brown has suggested he would compete in the special election that will be triggered if Kerry is confirmed as President Obama’s second-term secretary of state, but he has not made a formal commitment to a race. Markey has already said he will run.
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN — A pair of U.S. drone strikes in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border killed 13 people Thursday, including a senior militant commander who had a truce with the Pakistani military, intelligence officials and residents said. Five Pakistani security officials said the commander, Maulvi Nazir, was reportedly among nine people killed in a missile strike on a house in the village of Angoor Adda in the South Waziristan tribal region early Thursday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
On the day of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., we published a chart showing the Sisyphean nature of the national gun control discussion. In the immediate aftermath of a shooting, such as the one that took place in Aurora, Colo., mentions of the term "gun control" spike in the news media. In a matter of days, that discussion all but disappears. This time was supposed to be different. "It is hard to believe this will not be a watershed moment when we start to talk about, deal with and even perhaps legislate on guns,"
If you thought the Benghazi saga ended last month when a State Department review concluded that a handful of State Department middle managers failed to provide adequate security for the U.S. mission, think again: it may no longer be dominating headlines, but with multiple active congressional investigations and an ongoing attempt to hunt down the perpetrators, the story of Benghazi is far from over. The biggest recent development—which was overshadowed by the fiscal cliff negotiations—came on New Year’s Eve, when the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee released a report
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is signaling that at least one thing will change about his leadership during the 113th Congress: he’s telling Republicans he is done with private, one-on-one negotiations with President Obama. During both 2011 and 2012, the Speaker spent weeks shuttling between the Capitol and the White House for meetings with the president in the hopes of striking a grand bargain on the deficit. Those efforts ended in failure, leaving Boehner feeling burned by Obama and, at times, isolated within his conference.
Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab news giant, has long tried to convince Americans that it is a legitimate news organization, not a parrot of Middle Eastern propaganda or something more sinister. It just bought itself 40 million more chances to make its case. Al Jazeera on Wednesday announced a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore, a former vice president, and his business partners seven years ago. Al Jazeera plans to shut Current and start an English-language channel, which will be available in more than 40 million homes, with newscasts
The child, who attends school in Silver Spring, Maryland, was given a one-day suspension after the incident, which took place a week after the US massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Robin Ficker, the boy´s lawyer, said that the child was suspended after he made a gun with his hands, pointed it at another student and said "pow". "What they´re doing is looking at the worst possible interpretation of a young, naive six-year-old," Mr Ficker said. "This is a little child who can´t form the intent to do anything like that."
Jay, your lamentation on “we get the government we deserve” is spot on, and I firmly believe it has everything to do with the larger culture (not pop culture, but the totality of our sense of values, priorities, level of civic education, etc.). But I think what is happening now is more than a deep, bitter ideological split. It is an “unlearning” of government. The fiscal-cliff “deal” is a perfect example of unlearning how to govern. First, one cannot govern through Hail Marys. It simply cannot be expected that serious, thoughtful legislation or policy can be created
On Fox News Radio’s “Kilmeade & Friends” on Wednesday, National Review columnist Mark Steyn expressed strong dissatisfaction with the process that led to Tuesday’s fiscal cliff agreement. “I think it ought to be deeply embarrassing to any developed society that 300 million people are sitting there on Monday, and they don’t know what their tax rates are going to be on Tuesday,” Steyn said. “That’s the mark of shame.” Steyn, the author of “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon,” told host Brian Kilmeade that the fiscal cliff negotiations resembled a scene from the Soviet Union.
Honolulu - President Obama has signed a bill that boosts taxes on the wealthiest Americans, while preserving tax cuts for most American households. The bill, which averts a looming fiscal cliff that had threatened to plunge the nation back into recession, also extends expiring jobless benefits, prevents cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors and delays for two months billions of dollars in across-the-board spending cuts in defense and domestic programs. The GOP-run House approved the measure by a 257-167 vote late Tuesday, nearly 24 hours after the Democratic-led Senate passed it 89-8.