Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke have put the kibosh on the whimsical/embarrassing idea of having the Treasury Department mint a trillion-dollar platinum coin to get around the debt ceiling. And even if Treasury did, it looks like the Federal Reserve wouldn’t accept it. This from opinion columnist Ezra Klein at The Washington Post: That’s the bottom line of the statement that Anthony Coley, a spokesman for the Treasury Department, gave me today. ”Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins
US troops in Afghanistan will end "most" combat operations this spring, US President Barack Obama and Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai have agreed. American forces are expected to switch to a support role, slightly earlier than originally scheduled, as Afghan troops take the security lead. The two leaders also backed the holding of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban leaders in Doha, Qatar. [Snip] "Starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission - training, advising, assisting Afghan forces," Mr Obama said in remarks at the White House on Friday, as Mr Karzai stood alongside.
The Obama administration has few tools available to take action against violence in video games and entertainment content, attorneys say. This week, Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials held meetings with entertainment trade association chiefs and video game industry representatives, among other industry groups and stakeholders, to discuss curbing gun violence in the United States after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December. Following the meetings, Biden is poised to deliver policy recommendations on gun violence to President Obama on
The biggest freeze in 20 years is set to bring a foot of snow by the start of next week. [Snip] Forecasters said parts of the North-east and Scotland could be knee-deep in snow by Monday. Breakdown services last night warned of “widespread chaos” in the most severe whiteout since the winter of 1993. Britain faces a two-pronged attack from swathes of snow-laden air due to pour in from the Atlantic and the North Sea. Worst hit will be the East, South-east, Central and Northern regions, though nowhere will escape the winter blast. Gritters and snowploughs are on standby
Bad news for geeks: the White House will not be building a Death Star. When the White House received a petition with more than 25,000 signatures they had to respond, and they did so in good humor citing the costs of the station, and the administration´s strict stance on not blowing up planets. ´The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn´t on the horizon,´ wrote Paul Shawcross in the response, titled, ´Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.
Embattled St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson says new Utah Attorney General John Swallow helped broker a deal in 2010 in which Johnson believed he was to pay Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid $600,000 to make a federal investigation into Johnson’s company go away. But when the federal government filed a lawsuit Johnson thought he had paid to quash, he demanded Swallow return some of the $250,000 initial payment. Then, just days before the Nov. 6 election, Johnson engaged in a frenetic but unsuccessful effort to get Swallow to drop out of the race,
The White House says President Barack Obama is getting a fitness test at a Pentagon health clinic as part of a periodic medical exam coordinated by his doctor. The "Fit to Win Clinic" says on its website that it´s intended "to enhance military readiness and civilian wellness through fitness, nutrition, health education and positive lifestyle behavior changes." The White House says that the results of the president´s medical exam at the clinic will be released before February. Obama had his last physical exam in October 2011
The White House has responded to a handful of petitions calling for various states to be given the right to secede from the United States, calling for unity and participatory government instead. "In a nation of 300 million people — each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs — democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that´s a good thing. Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted," writes Director of the Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson.
FLINT - A federal judge has sentenced a Flint store owner to four years, three months in prison for participating in a $612,000 food stamp fraud scheme. (Snip) McQuade says Fofana, the owner of Mandingo African Market, redeemed more than $750,000 in food stamp benefits from February 2009 to July 2011, approximately $612,000 of which was obtained utilizing fraudulent “food stamps-for-cash” exchanges. State officials calculated that during that same time period, Mandingo’s average food stamp redemption amount was $26,798 per month — compared to an average of $5,479 monthly redemption for
Aaron Swartz, a wizardly programmer who as a teenager helped develop code that delivered ever-changing Web content to users and later became a steadfast crusader to make that information freely available, was found dead on Friday in his New York apartment. He was 26. An uncle, Michael Wolf, said that Mr. Swartz had apparently hanged himself, and that Mr. Swartz’s girlfriend had discovered the body. At 14, Mr. Swartz helped create RSS, the nearly ubiquitous tool that allows users to subscribe to online information. He later became an Internet folk hero, pushing to make many Web
COLLEGE STATION- Gov. Rick Perry and his former Texas A&M classmate and now System Chancellor John Sharp welcomed the reactivation Friday of their old Corps of Cadets squadron. Squadron 6 -- known as the Savage Six Flying Tigers -- was one of two Aggie Corps squadrons brought back to life on the College Station campus, the result of growing student interest. The corps squadrons are part of the once all-male school´s military foundations. Squadron 6 was disbanded in 1992 as corps membership slipped, but A&M officials say membership in the recent fall semester was 2,303 students --
Oh, dear. Jon Stewart took on the platinum coin, and made a hash of it — he faceplanted, as Ryan Cooper says. What went wrong? Jon Chait says that he flunked econ, but that’s just part of it. He also flunked law, politics, and just plain professional. So, yeah, as Chait says, Stewart seems weirdly unaware that there’s more to fiscal policy than balancing the budget. But in this case he also seems unaware that the president can’t just decide unilaterally to spend 40 percent less; he’s constitutionally obliged to spend what the law tells him to spend. True, he’s also constitutionally prohibited from
Chemical weapons engulf soldiers carrying 60-pound rucksacks, their mud-filled boots trenching through a river dividing simulated enemy lines. Troops run in the desert to acclimate to harsh conditions with winter temperatures as low as 8 degrees, summer as high as 120. The training becomes increasingly realistic in the weeks before deployment, mirroring the topography they may endure, but not necessarily the human terrain -- the cultures they´ll be dealing with. And in a foreign land, something as seemingly innocuous as a thumbs-up sign or shaking a woman´s hand can land a soldier in trouble.
The soundtrack to the 2013 Inauguration will be about three parts pop and two parts jazz with a splash of country in the mix. The Presidential Inauguration Committee announced today the guest list for the Inaugural kids’ concert and balls would include artists from across the musical spectrum. Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Far East Movement, fun., members of the cast of Glee, John Legend, Katy Perry, Marc Anthony, Mindless Behavior, Nick Cannon, Smokey Robinson, Soul Children of Chicago, Stevie Wonder and Usher plan to take part in the festivities. Many of those on the list supported Obama
Washington - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is advising people to temporarily disable the Java software on their computers to avoid potential hacking attacks. The recommendation came in an advisory issued late Thursday, following up on concerns raised by computer security experts. Experts believe hackers have found a flaw in Java´s coding that creates an opening for criminal activity and other high-tech mischief. Java is a widely used technical language that allows computer programmers to write a wide variety of Internet applications and other software programs that can run on
INDIANAPOLIS- John Walker Lindh, known as the "American Taliban," and other Muslims housed in an Indiana prison have the right to congregate for daily group prayer sessions, a federal judge ruled on Friday. The decision by officials at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, to ban daily group prayers for Muslim inmates violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said. The ruling came in a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Lindh, who was captured in Afghanistan and imprisoned in the
A Michigan civil servant is in hot water after being exposed as holding down two six-figure public posts at the same time - earning him more than the Vice President. Barnett Jones, has been paid $273,750 since May as Flint´s administrator of public safety and head of security for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, despite the fact the posts are both full-time and based 70 miles apart, according to the Free Press. The lawman resigned his Flint role today after the newspaper began investigating his job-juggling. Flint City Administrator, Michael Brown, told the Press he wasn´t aware
The French president says the country will raise its domestic terror threat level after military action in Mali and Somalia, promising to increase protection at public buildings and transportation networks. President Francois Hollande said Saturday he had ordered increased security after the French military operations in the two African countries against Islamist forces. France has some of the world´s most recognizable monuments and a wide-ranging national transportation network; like the U.S., it also has an organized government response if there are specific fears of a terrorist attack.
I understand why everyone is saying the Patriots are going to roll all over the Texans tomorrow. We all saw how the Texans brought varsity jackets and swagger into Gillette Stadium for their Dec. 10 regular-season showdown against the Patriots. We remember thinking it was kind of cute when veteran receiver Andre Johnson said it was going to be “the biggest game in the history of this franchise.” And we all oohed and ahhed, and then laughed, as the Patriots rolled to an over-before-it-began 42-14 victory over those not-ready-for-prime-time posers from Houston.
Washington - Conservatives and watchdog groups are mounting a "not-so-fast" campaign against a $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package that Northeastern governors and lawmakers hope to push through the House this coming week. Their complaint is that lots of that money actually will go toward recovery efforts for past disasters and other projects unrelated to the late-October storm. (Snip) House Speaker John Boehner intends to let the House vote on both measures. He´s responding both to conservatives who are opposed to more deficit spending,
Iowa farmers on Friday got the tally for the damage done to their 2012 corn crop by the heat wave and drought: a 20 percent drop in yield and production. Iowa’s average yield of 137 bushels per acre for 2012, down from 172 bushels in 2011, was the lowest since 1996. Total production of 1.87 billion bushels was down from 2.36 billion bushels a year earlier and the lowest since the 1.86 billion production of 2003. The damage to Iowa’s signature crop will be offset by higher prices and insurance. Corn closed up 10 cents per bushel at $7.08 Friday
The sweepstakes to become the site of the future Barack Obama presidential library is underway with universities in Chicago and Hawaii the apparent frontrunners. The University of Hawaii, where Obama’s parents attended college, has made the most public effort – purportedly talking to officials at existing presidential libraries and at the National Archives, which plays an A-to-Z role from supplying artifacts to running the facilities. However, the University of Chicago, where Obama was a law professor for 12 years, is widely expected to be chosen, despite making no public comments about its reported interest.
Phoenix –U.S. federal immigration officials on Friday released the mother of an immigration activist along the southwest border, less than 24 hours after the woman and another relative were arrested at the family´s Phoenix-area home. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents "did not target" the relatives of activist Erika Andiola because of her role with the Dream Act Coalition, the agency said in a statement provided to The Associated Press. ICE officials also said Maria Arreola was released with an order of supervision, meaning she must check in periodically with the agency.
In Jan. 11 comments made with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, President Obama said the U.S. has "[fallen] short of ideal" in Afghanistan. Moreover, although he took the time to recognize "our extraordinary military, intelligence, and diplomatic teams," Obama made it clear that in his opinion we have not "achieved everything that some might have imagined us achieving in the best of scenarios." Fortunately, at least he thinks "we are in the process of achieving [our] goal" in Afghanistan--we´re just not there yet.