Before his closed-door meeting with gun-control advocates on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden chatted briefly with reporters. What he told them incensed right-wing news sources. (Snip) He made no mention of bans, or confiscation, which the White House—besides—could not accomplish through executive order, even if it wanted to. Operating without Congressional approval, President Obama could appoint a new ATF director or require federal agencies to report mental health records, but he could not enact an assault weapons ban, let alone an outright ban.
Senate Democratic leaders urged President Barack Obama to take any steps he can to pay U.S. financial obligations if congressional Republicans don’t support a debt-limit increase that Democrats deem acceptable. In a letter to Obama yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and three other top Democrats said Obama “must be willing to take any lawful steps (Snip) Boehner has said cuts must match or exceed the amount the ceiling is raised. McConnell said yesterday that Democrats “are falling all over themselves in an effort to do anything they can to get around the law -- and to avoid
President Barack Obama has signaled to his senior advisers that Denis McDonough, currently a deputy national security adviser, is his leading candidate to succeed Jack Lew as White House chief of staff, according to two people familiar with the matter. Selecting McDonough would elevate a former congressional staffer whose loyalty to Obama is unquestioned, according to the people. The chief of staff serves as the president’s gatekeeper, making the position one of the most powerful in the White House. (Snip) McDonough, 43, would be Obama’s fifth chief of staff.
New York - New Jersey Transit incorrectly used federal government software that otherwise could have warned officials against a disastrous decision to leave hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment in a low-lying rail yard before Superstorm Sandy struck, a Reuters examination has found. The agency based its decision, at least in part, on software provided by the National Weather Service that allows users to simulate an approaching hurricane and show areas vulnerable to flooding from storm surge, according to Sandy-related forecast documents obtained by Reuters from New Jersey
When police in Minority Report predicted who would commit crimes and stopped them before they did it, it was considered so futuristic, the film was set in 2054. Now, however, law enforcers in two American states are using crime-prediction software to predict which freed prisoners are most likely to commit murder, and supervising them accordingly. Instead of relying on parole officers to decide how much supervision inmates will need on the outside by looking at their records, the new system uses a computer algorithm to decide for them.
DALLAS — A representative for former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison says the Texas Republican would not consider a position in President Barack Obama´s Cabinet. Hutchison served two decades in the Senate before deciding not to seek re-election last year. She was mentioned in one report as a possible successor to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, also a Republican. Hutchison´s executive assistant, Melinda Poucher, said in an emailed statement Friday that Hutchison "would not consider a cabinet position of any kind."
AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas judge refused to allow Planned Parenthood to temporarily rejoin a health program for low-income women on Friday, saying the organization would unlikely win its court fight to get around a new law that disqualifies health clinics with any affiliation to abortion providers. Planned Parenthood was one of the largest chains of health clinics in the Texas Women´s Health Program, which provides cancer screenings, contraceptives and other basic health services to more than 110,000 eligible low-income women statewide. Planned Parenthood offers abortion
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is calling for state-funded, specialized firearms training for teachers and administrators to guard against school shootings. Dewhurst suggested Friday that school districts would nominate who they want to carry weapons on campus under his plan. The training would be more extensive than what´s required for a Texas concealed handgun license and include how to react technically and emotionally in an active shooter situation. Dewhurst says the state funding needed would depend on the number of participating districts and how many people want training.
Democratic leaders in the Senate on Friday urged President Obama to consider bypassing Congress to prevent the nation from defaulting on its spending obligations if lawmakers cannot agree to raise the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling next month. In a joint letter that served as a warning to congressional Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and his leadership team encouraged Obama to “take any lawful steps” to avoid default — “without Congressional approval, if necessary.” The letter appeared to be an effort to push the White House to play hardball
Few will be surprised by the news that David Gregory won’t be prosecuted for possessing a high-capacity magazine during his appearance on “Meet the Press.” The decision was made by District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin Nathan, who turns out to be a social acquaintance of Gregory and his wife. The decision not to prosecute Gregory is explained in a statement you can read here. The statement makes it clear that the decision not to prosecute is an act of prosecutorial discretion. In other words, the AG had no doubt that Gregory violated the law; he simply decided
President Obama said on Friday that the United States is moving toward a “responsible end” to the war in Afghanistan that has lasted for 12 years. (Snip) He also applauded an agreement to turn over control of prisons that house terrorism suspects from the United States to Afghanistan. Mr. Karzai said that these steps, which the Afghans consider important to regaining full sovereignty over their country, would enable him to support a demand by the Obama administration that all American troops remaining in the country after 2014 be granted immunity from prosecution under Afghan law.
The surface of the sun erupted in a solar flare early Friday, unleashing a blast of super-heated plasma into space. A huge sunspot known as AR1654 produced the M1-class flare at 4:11 a.m. EST, officials with NASA´s Solar Dynamics Observatory said in a description of the event. The SDO spacecraft is one of several sun-watching space telescopes keeping tabs on solar flares and other sun weather events. According to Spaceweather.com, sunspot AR1654 is growing more active and is now "crackling with M-class solar flares" like the one that erupted today. "AR1654 is getting bigger as it turns toward Earth,"
In the news business, no one is safe - not even senior editors at The New York Times. The media business was shaken on Friday when it was reported, first in New York Magazine and confirmed by POLITICO, that managing editor John Geddes, assistant managing editors Jim Roberts and Susan Edgerly, former Washington editor Rick Berke, and former Times Magazine editor Jerry Mazorati could all be casualties of the Times’ effort to cut costs. “It is hard to imagine there are too many sacred cows left in any newsroom, given the general state of our industry,”
During a tight re-election campaign in 2010, when the vote of gun owners was crucial, Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader of the Senate, not only showed his prowess with a 12-gauge shotgun — hitting two clay pigeons from the air — but also invited Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, as his guest for the opening of a new shooting range in Searchlight, Nev. (Snip) It turned out his solidarity with the N.R.A. extended to quietly inserting an amendment that year into President Obama’s health care reform law that restricted the ability of physicians
Hours after it started on Friday night, Pakistani television began to report on a protest in the city of Quetta, where relatives of scores of people killed in bomb attacks one day earlier sat beside coffins in the street, refusing to bury their loved ones until they received assurance that the state would protect them. As my colleague Salman Masood reports, most of those killed in Thursday’s twin bomb attacks were Shiite Muslims from the Hazara ethnic group. Hazaras in Pakistan have been the target of a murderous campaign by Sunni Muslim extremists from the Taliban and a related militant group,
MARK LEVIN: You know folks, I´ll be honest with you. I just told a friend of mine -- even though I sit behind this microphone and I try to be civil and so forth -- I can barely contain my fury about what´s going on in this country. I´m just being honest with you. I can barely contain it. I´m so frustrated by this tyranny, you have no idea. Now we can analyze it, we can intellectualize it, we can parse it and so forth and try to unravel it. But I´m just telling
In the weeks since the Newtown shooting, the conventional wisdom has been that the country was so outraged about gun violence that the basic rules of Washington politics had been forever altered. The assumption was that a re-elected President Obama would get any sort of gun control legislation passed that he wanted and that the National Rifle Association would be powerless to stop him. But even before next Tuesday’s announcement of the recommendations made to the president by Vice President Biden, it appears as if everyone in the capital knows that it is highly unlikely
The hyperventilating over gun restrictions by the liberal media is getting absurd. On Friday, MSNBC´s David Corn appearing on Hardball actually said that conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh is "calling for John Wilkes Booth" by discussing on his program the possibility that the government in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, might take away people´s firearms (video follows with transcript and commentary):CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh said the president cannot be stopped when it comes to getting what he wants. You don´t think
The United States is no longer a beacon of freedom to the world. Countries once looked to America for inspiration on how to escape poverty and embrace prosperity, but now they can find better examples to follow. The Heritage Foundation on Thursday noted our fifth consecutive decline in its annual Index of Economic Freedom. It’s a sad day when countries such as Chile and Mauritius can outdo the red-white-and-blue when it comes to opportunity. U.S. economic policy has broken faith with the Founding Fathers, who preached the value of property rights, sound money and the rule of law.
When I appeared on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight to debate gun control on Thursday night, I came armed with a copy of the Constitution of the United States. I did so for a very simple reason: for too long, the left has been getting away with the lie that they are pro-Second Amendment. Then they proceed to violate the most basic concept of the Second Amendment: that we have a right to keep and bear arms. It is fine to have a rational conversation about how to balance rights with the risk and rewards of particular firearm ownership.
A new Justice Department study looking at violent crimes committed against “youth”—defined as Americans from 12 to 17 years of age—discovered that the rate of "serious violent crime" committed against youth by a perpetrator using a firearm dropped 95 percent from 1994 to 2010. The study—“Violent Crime Against Youth, 1994-2010”--also discovered that American youth who were victims of a serious violent crime in 2010 were six times more likely to have been attacked by a perpetrator wielding a knife than one wielding a gun. Serious violent crimes against youth perpetrated at schools dropped 62 percent from
While on vacation in Hawaii this month, President Obama played golf with Allison Davis, a former business partner of Tony Rezko who also helped give Obama his start in the legal profession. Rezko is the former Obama associate and fundraiser who was convicted of corruption and fraud and currently sits in prison. Davis, who is male, partnered with Rezko on a series of government-funded low and mixed income housing development projects in Chicago. While Davis himself has never been charged with wrongdoing, a number of the projects were high-priced failures that resulted in poor living conditions for residents.
Someone tell Dianne Feinstein: For all the Democrats’ talk about passing another assault-weapons ban, that now appears unlikely to happen. According to the New York Times, the administration’s prospects of pushing an assault-weapons ban through Congress are slim and, as a result, the White House “is focusing on other measures it deems more politically achievable.” The story suggests that the White House doesn’t want to spend political capital on “a losing cause at the expense of other measures with more chances of success.” Though the administration will recommend the passage of such a ban, it’ll be a hollow