“1,350”-- The number of days since the Senate last passed a budget, April 29, 2009. Simple ideas are usually the best ones, and the latest idea for dealing with the looming battle over the federal debt limit is beautifully simple. No, Power Play is not talking about the $1 trillion platinum coin nor the idea that the president could simply declare the limit lifted under the ambiguous powers of the 14th Amendment (good luck borrowing money from anyone but Ben Bernanke after either ploy). The simple solution that might avoid the pending panic is to actually pass a federal budget,
Cyclist Lance Armstrong once offered a large "donation" to the same agency that recently concluded he and his team had used illegal substances, causing him to be stripped of his seven Tour de Frances wins. The brazenly inappropriate gesture made to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is recounted by the agency´s CEO Travis Tygart, (SNIP) Armstrong once gave the International Cycling Union, a regulatory body for his sport, a gift of $100,000. Tygart called that "totally inappropriate." Then someone representing Armstrong tried to give USADA a large sum of money sometime in 2004.
CENTENNIAL, Colo. - An elaborate booby trap system allegedly set up to pull police away from the Colorado theater shooting included improvised napalm and thermite, which burns so hot that water can´t put out the blaze. FBI bomb technician Garret Gumbinner described the system Tuesday at a hearing in which prosecutors laid out their case against suspected gunman James Holmes. He said three different ignition systems were found in Holmes´ apartment. There was a thermos full of glycerin leaning over a skillet full of another chemical. Flames and sparks are created when they mix, and a trip
French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac is under investigation for tax fraud after a media report that he had an undeclared UBS account in Geneva which he then moved to Asia, prosecutors said Tuesday. Cahuzac, who is in charge of battling tax evasion, has denied the report by the respected Mediapart investigative website that he had an undeclared Swiss account which he then transferred to Singapore.
Qatar said on Tuesday it will increase its financial aid to Egypt by $2.5 billion to a total of $5 billion, comprising an outright grant of $1 billion and $4 billion in bank deposits. The financial lifeline comes as Egypt battles a currency crisis and seeks an IMF cash injection into its teetering economy of an almost equivalent amount. Qatar´s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim told a Cairo press conference that the gas-rich emirate had doubled its previously announced aid, which comprised $500 million as a grant and $2 billion in bank deposits. "The sum is there," Sheikh Hamad said.
If Barack Obama wants a fight over his appointment of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, the Republicans have a constitutional responsibility to give him one. The Senate’s role, to “advise and consent” to the appointment, is a description of duty, not a command to “echo and obey,” which is the president’s idea of how Congress should respond to all of his appointments, legislation, whims, wishes and dreams. Mr. Obama, like all other presidents, is entitled to choose his aides, helpers, assistants, deputies and seconds, subject to the advice of the Senate,
Hugo Chávez and the Castro brothers knew in the summer of 2011 that the Venezuelan’s chances of survival were almost nil and began to prepare for a post-Chávez era. They would try to cure the loquatious lieutenant colonel, of course, but ever since the doctors realized the type of cancer he had (an aggressive and rare rhabdomyosarcoma), the gravity and extent of the metastasis and the delay in taking him to the operating room, nobody had any illusions. But for a miracle, Chávez was sentenced to an early death.
One of the least-wise provisions of the Affordable Care Act is a plan to fine firms with over 50 employees that don´t provide health insurance to their workers to the tune of $2,000 per full-time worker. The natural response for many firms is to do exactly what Ned Resnikoff reports some Wendy´s and Taco Bell franchisees are doing and cut workers´ hours to below the 30 hours per week threshold, thus avoiding the fine. (Snip) But we should worry about the longer-term impact here. The origin of this policy, as I understand it, is in concerns expressed
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appellate court is being asked Tuesday to decide whether Casey Anthony was in police custody when she made statements that led to her being convicted of four counts of lying to law enforcement officers. Anthony´s attorneys are appealing the misdemeanor convictions on the grounds that her statements were inadmissible at her murder trial since she hadn´t been read her Miranda rights, which warn suspects that they can remain silent and that their statements can be used against them in court. The three judges on the Fifth District Court
Opponent of Chuck Hagel´s nomination to be secretary of defense have been lining up for battle, citing concerns about the former senator’s position on Israel. Notably absent from the cast of critics: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, Washington’s largest and most well funded pro-Israel lobby. The powerful lobby, which doesn’t typically shy away from a fight, has decided to sit this one out, say several House and Senate staff members, as well as some pro-Israel activists in Washington. “Staffers and members are trying to find out what AIPAC thinks of Hagel, and we are not getting
Taipei - The United States will sell Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles to Taiwan in 2015 and this is Washington´s firm promise, visiting U.S. Senator James Inhofe said Tuesday. Prior to that sale, the U.S. will sell Taiwan 30 Apache attack helicopters this year and 60 Black Hawk transport helicopters in 2014, Inhofe said during a visit to President Ma Ying-jeou at the Presidential Office. The co-chairman of the Senate Taiwan Caucus, a body consisting of senators friendly toward Taiwan, said the arms sales promises, as well as the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, are part of Washington´s
While we all wait with bated breath for President Obama to figure out if he wants to be more or less of a stickler on domestic energy production, i.e. as he dithers at the fork in the road of letting the economy do what it does best and take fuller advantage of our abundant energy resources, or pandering more heavily to his greenie base and bringing the pain on non-’renewable’ energy sources, there is ample available evidence of the type of economic gains we could be letting loose if we could commit to the former choice on a national level. Thank goodness for federalism: egislators in Texas, the biggest energy producer among U.S. states, will begin deliberating its next two-year budget with a surplus forecast today to match an $8.8 billion record set in 2007. Content added by staff.
Manila - The United States confirmed Tuesday that it owned a drone found in Philippine waters, but said the craft only drifted into Filipino territory after crashing at sea four months ago. The unarmed target drone was deployed from the guided missile destroyer USS Chafee in war games off the coast of Guam in September last year, the US embassy in Manila said in a statement. "It appears the ocean currents brought the drone to where it washed ashore last week off Masbate island," it said. Fishermen found the drone drifting just off the coast of the island in central Philippines, about 2,500 kilometres
Surprised? Don’t be. It’s an open secret that McChrystal’s a liberal, to the point where he allegedly banned Fox News from TVs in his headquarters in Afghanistan. He’s kept a low profile since he retired but between this and his criticism of O’s dependency on drone strikes, I guarantee that some liberals will start murmuring about him as a Plan B in 2016 in case Hillary decides not to run. Their bench is thin and there’s a real chance that the GOP nominee, be it Rubio or Jeb Bush, will have formidable star power.
Seven Chicago-area hospitals have had to send ambulances elsewhere this morning as they deal with an influx of patients with flu-like symptoms. As of 9:45 a.m., the hospitals remained on bypass status, which means their emergency rooms are at capacity and non-critical patients are being re-routed to other hospitals, said Melaney Arnold, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Chicago-area hospitals included Northwestern Memorial Hospital, University of Chicago Medical Center and Swedish Covenant Hospital. Rockford Memorial Hospital was the only hospital outside of Chicago on bypass.
Not everyone is cool towards the nomination of former Republican senator Chuck Hagel to become Secretary of Defense. The mullahs of Iran are pretty jazzed about it, as Reuters reports: Iran’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday it hoped the appointment of Chuck Hagelas the next U.S. defense secretary would lead to “practical changes” in Washington’s foreign policy. Iran and the United States, adversaries for more than three decades, are at odds over many issues, including the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme, which Western countries say is aimed at forging a nuclear arms capability. Tehran denies this
Forget Anastasia Steele, the hottest guessing game from the Beltway to Hollywood is who will play a young Hillary Clinton and hubby Bill in a new flick about the ’70s-era romance between the young, ambitious Washington lawyer and a down home Arkansas boy with big political ambitions. But here at the Track, we’re all about who will play ex-Gov. Bill Weld. Because, according to the screenwriter, there is a scene in which Hillary — the youngest lawyer on the House Judiciary Committee — engages in an “office flirtation” with co-counsel Weld.
When Rory McIlroy finally announces on Monday that he’s signed with Tiger Woods’ Team Nike, the golf world will expel a collective, “So what else is new?” But for those who harbor any residual doubt about the former Titleist and Oakley pitchman moving to Beaverton, the ending of his long-term contract with Jumeirah Group provides one more hint about what No. 1 will be wearing when he and Woods kick off their 2013 seasons next week at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. The Dubai-based hotel chain’s insignia has burnished the front of McIlroy’s cap for five years,
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), considered to be President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of State – Hillary Clinton is expected to resign from the position this spring – has often been critical of U.S. foreign policy, likening some American soldiers in Vietnam to Ghenghis Kahn and to war criminals, and being “Messianic” and fueling international animosity, among other criticisms. If nominated for Secretary of State, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will have to vote to confirm him. Some of Kerry’s tough commentary on U.S. foreign policy are published below.
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft headed back to Terminal E at Logan International Airport after a fuel leak today — the second major problem in as many days on the troubled Tokyo route. The venting of the fuel has stopped from the Japan Airlines flight headed to Tokyo, said Massport spokesman Matthew Brelis, adding the plane, carrying 178 passengers, had taxied out to depart when the leak occurred. Crews are still trying to determine what caused the leak, which is believed to have come from one of the plane’s wings, Brelis said. Nobody on board was injured.
Now that Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi has settled the constitutional issues facing his country, he can turn his attention to the truly pressing problems of the Arab Spring state. Would that be religious tolerance, economic growth, and the pursuit of peace in the region? Er … not exactly. In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last night, Morsi urged Barack Obama to free Omar Abdel-Rahman, better known as the Blind Sheikh, currently serving a life sentence in a maximum-security federal prison in North Carolina for his involvement
"What about home schooling? You know, it´s not just for scary religious people any more." That´s a line from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and it should strike fear into the hearts, not of vampires, but of public-school administrators everywhere. The fact is, Americans across the country -- but especially in large, urban school systems -- are voting with their feet and abandoning traditional public schools, to the point that teachers are facing layoffs. Some are going to charter schools, which are still public but are run more flexibly. Some are leaving for private schools. But many others are going
Abuja—Senate President, David Mark, has told proponents of same sex marriage to bury their dreams as such acts would not be allowed to infiltrate the Nigerian culture. He said the bill prohibiting the act was already in place, declaring that people found to have violated the law risked 14 years imprisonment. In a statement from Mr. Paul Mumeh, his Chief Press Secretary, weekend, Senator Mark told Catholic faithful and guests at the civic reception in honour of Cardinal John Onaiyean in Abuja, that it was a criminal offence for any one to indulge in such an act.
Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron may have been putting on a championship-winning performance on the field, but all eyes were on the stands - and his girlfriend - on Monday night. Katherine Webb sent broadcasters drooling and viewers tweeting their admiration after she cheered for McCarron as his team swiftly defeated Notre Dame to win the BCS National Championship. In the first quarter of the game, the ESPN cameras panned to 23-year-old reigning Miss Alabama, who was sitting with McCarron´s mother, and the sportscasters immediately perked up. ´I´m telling you, you quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women,´ 73-year-old
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has adopted a new term for gun control, “gun violence prevention,” in hopes that the euphemism will make it easier to marshal public opinion in favor of new gun laws as well as other policies designed to prevent shootings. “If we come out of the Newtown experience and all we do is talk about it and not have a result,” Pelosi told The New York Times, “that would be a dereliction of duty on the part of us in public office. We must find a place where we
Sweden´s foreign ministry has labeled as a "failure" its inability to successfully bring two Swedish citizens home from Djibouti before they were extradited to the United States to face terror charges. The two Swedes were detained in Djibouti in August after having left a terrorist training camp in Somalia run by al-Shabaab, a United States-designated terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda. (Snip) But before negotiations were concluded, the two men were taken to the United States to face charges of participating in weapons and explosives training with al-Shabaab during a four-year period beginning in 2008.