LONDON — The hostage crisis in Algeria has upended the Obama administration’s strategy for coordinating an international military campaign against al-Qaeda fighters in North Africa, leaving U.S., European and African leaders even more at odds over how to tackle the problem. For months, U.S. officials have intensively lobbied Algeria — whose military is by far the strongest in North Africa — to help intervene in next-door Mali, where jihadists and other rebels have established a well-defended base of operations. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other high-ranking U.S. officials made repeated visits to Algiers in the fall
Survivors of one of the largest hostage crises in recent memory recounted harrowing tales of their ordeal, as Algerian security forces attempted late Friday to negotiate an end to the standoff at a natural gas facility in the Sahara desert. Some workers described being forced to strap on explosives-filled belts when Islamist militants stormed the site Wednesday. Others were shot on the spot. An unknown number of captives, including Americans, remain trapped at the complex. Some militants and hostages were killed, including at least one American, with the unverified toll potentially in the dozens.
When Barack Obama first took the oath of office in 2009, he enjoyed around 70% approval ratings in the polls. His historic election had triggered a groundswell of hope and good feelings about his first term. By overwhelming majorities, Americans were hopeful about the future. Just days before his second inauguration, however, a new poll from The Hill finds that the public is much more pessimistic about the next four years. Just 18% of voters believe that Obama´s first term exceeded their expectations. 80% feel the first term fell below or simply met
Nearly twice as many voters say there would be less violent crime if more law-abiding Americans owned guns, than if guns were banned. In addition, while American voters generally favor strengthening gun laws, 71 percent do not think tougher laws can stop shootings like the one last month in Newtown, Connecticut. Some 22 percent say new laws can prevent the next Sandy Hook. These are just some of the findings from a Fox News poll released Friday. Majorities of gun owners (81 percent), non-gun owners (58 percent), Democrats (58 percent), independents (72 percent) and Republicans
The White House was quick to call the NRA “repugnant and cowardly” for allegedly dragging the president’s children into the battle over gun control. (In an ad released earlier this week, the NRA pointed to the fact that the president’s children are protected by armed guards, and asked provocatively, “Are the president’s children more important than yours?”) President Obama, however, did not hesitate to bring other people’s children into the grudge match. In Wednesday’s press conference, he was accompanied on stage by children who had written to him pleading
This week started with President Obama Monday demanding lawmakers raise the U.S.’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling, warning Republicans not to insist on spending cuts in return. The same day, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke advocated getting rid of the debt limit altogether. The Washington Post reports in a conversation at the University of Michigan Bernanke said the debt ceiling has only “symbolic value.” (Snip) Two former U.S. government officials put the federal government’s actual liabilities in excess of $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP, in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed. Casey argues we’re
Republicans proposed a three-month increase to the US debt ceiling Friday as they lean toward breaking a protracted fiscal impasse, but warned any long-term deal would require Congress to pass a budget that cuts spending. The Republican-led House of Representatives will hold a vote next week on the temporary measure, Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced at the end of a two-day Republican work retreat outside Washington. The move could help defuse a fiscal time bomb that Congress and the White House face in late February with the nation hitting its debt ceiling,
Al-Qaeda terrorists were threatening to blow up the BP gas plant where the hostages are being held, forcing the Prime Minister to increase the pressure on Algeria to accept foreign help. Up to 16 British hostages are safe after the Algerian army launched an attack on the In Amenas gas plant on Thursday. It has emerged that three of them hid from the terrorists for two days before they were rescued. Another Briton ran for his life--with Semtex high explosive strapped to his neck--after a convoy in which he was being driven was attacked by the Algerian army.
Lance Armstrong has told Oprah Winfrey that he deserves another change to take parts in sports. Armstrong denied that he wanted to get involved in cycling again but would like the opportunity to to run in things like the Austin 10K and Chicago Marathon. ´I deserve to be punished, I don´t think I deserve the death penalty,´ he said. During the second part of Lance Armstrong’s in-depth interview with Oprah Winfrey, the talk show queen also quizzed him about the infamous photo he tweeted last November in which he was surrounded by his seven tainted
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) has introduced a bill that would give individuals a federal tax credit for surrendering their semiautomatic weapons. The “Support Assault Firearms Elimination and Reduction for our Streets Act” would amend the Internal Revenue Code to “allow a credit against tax for surrendering to authorities certain assault weapons.” Section 25E of the bill reads: In the case of an individual who surrenders a specified assault weapon to the United States or a State or local government (or political subdivision thereof) as part of a Federal,
Algeria has begun a second military operation to rescue some 30 foreign hostages still captive by al-Qaeda-affiliated group at a gas facility in the country´s southeast. The second round of rescue efforts on Friday come as Algerian state media reported that more than 650 hostages had been freed as part of the army operation. The state-run APS news agency said 573 of those freed were Algerians. Another 100 were among the 132 foreign workers captured at the In Amenas facility. The Masked Brigade, an armed group who took hundreds hostage at the In Amenas facility,
Demagoguery: Children and grieving parents are far from the only tools President Obama has shamelessly exploited to expand government and curtail freedom. Emotionalism has often been a weapon against liberty. As jarring as it was to see the president stoop to staging children in the room where he signed executive orders expanding gun control — and bullied Congress to pass gun laws that will do nothing to save children from violent madmen — no one should be shocked at his emotional appeal to the masses even as he takes away their freedoms.
President Obama takes his second oath of office this weekend at his highest point in the polls in two years. He is clearly feeling and showing his political dominance, while his opposition is divided and unpopular. The question—to turn Rahm Emanuel on his head—is whether he will let this lack of a crisis go to waste. Four years ago, Mr. Obama inherited a sinking economy and he used that crisis and his Democratic supermajority to ram through the most liberal program in 40 years. The price was a polarized electorate,
To understand why President Obama surrounded himself with a human shield of children last week as he ordered a tightening of our nation´s gun controls, you have to remember this is an administration that never lets a "crisis" go to waste. Nor does it resist the use of a superficial prop to divert attention from serious deliberation. It also has a history of claiming urgency to pass solutions based on misinformation without careful reflection. That anyone would use children in such an overtly political manner or hijack a tragedy like Sandy Hook to
While President Barack Obama is moving ahead with executive orders and legislation to further tighten gun control in response to the mass murder committed by Adam Lanza at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., neither the toxicology report on Lanza´s corpse nor the police report on his crime have been completed. Lanza attacked the school on Dec. 14, killing 26 people, including 20 children. Before going to the school, he killed his mother at the home where he lived with her. When police arrived at the school during his murder spree, Lanza shot and killed himself.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says President Obama’s nomination of B. Todd Jones to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) raises “serious questions” because of Jones’s ties to the Fast and Furious scandal. “The new nominee, B. Todd Jones, is a familiar face to the committee, but his ties to the Fast and Furious scandal raise serious questions,” Grassley said in a statement. Jones has been acting director of the ATF since August 2011, replacing Kenneth Melson, who resigned amid the guns-to-Mexico investigation.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s claim that he heard the gunshots of a 2006 school massacre while playing golf is raising questions about his veracity or his memory. Mr. Biden told a meeting of mayors in Washington Thursday that he was about a quarter-mile away from an Amish schoolhouse on Oct. 2, 2006, when a gunman shot and killed five students and wounded five others. “I happened to be literally — probably, it turned out, to be a quarter of a mile [away] at an outing when I heard gunshots in the woods,” Mr. Biden recounted.
On the night President Obama won re-election, he employed the same soaring rhetoric about a unified America that first won him national attention and that he´s sure to trot out in his second inaugural speech on Monday. He talked that night about how "despite our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America´s future," and how he was "looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together." He promised that "we are not as divided as our politics suggests," and "not as cynical as the pundits believe."
He´s already gotten the Oprah treatment. Now Lance Armstrong is headed for the silver screen. Paramount Pictures and J.J. Abrams´ production company, Bad Robot, are planning a biopic about the disgraced cyclist, a studio spokeswoman said Friday. They´ve secured the rights to New York Times reporter Juliet Macur´s upcoming book "Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong," due out in June. Macur covered the seven-time Tour de France winner for over a decade. No director, writer, star or start date have been set. Armstrong is in the midst of a two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey
White House staffers have now reportedly come around to the fact that their petition website is just one big, dumb waste of time. The “We The People” website, which allows everyday Americans to pester the Obama administration with nonsensical petitions calling for secession or the construction of a Star Wars-inspired orbital death cannon, now requires petitions to carry at least 100,000 signatures before they receive an official White House response. Previously, petitions only required 25,000 signatures — a threshold met by aforementioned Death Star idea, which the White House batted away with a tongue-in-cheek response.
Just a week before the New Year, Obama enjoyed his highest approval ratings of 2012. According to Gallup, 58% of Americans approved of the job Obama was doing. Survey results released today by Gallup, though, show Obama´s approval rating has plummeted to just 49%. It is a dramatic drop, especially coming over a holiday period when people traditionally pay little attention to politics. Four years ago, at his first inauguration, a full 69% of Americans approved of Obama. The drop in Obama´s approval from 4 years ago is understandable, given the sluggish economy and the hope American´s had
The Obama administration is attempting to bypass Congress and force publicly-traded companies to reveal their political donations through regulation. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporate Finance has begun the steps necessary to create a regulation that would in many ways mirror the DISCLOSE Act — a bill Senate Democrats have failed to pass through Congress. Created in reaction to the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that said corporations and unions could not have limits placed on their political expenditures, the Senate bill would require political
More than a third of Americans — and 64 percent of Republicans — believe that President Barack Obama might be hiding something, according to a new poll Thursday. Thirty-six percent of the surveyed voters think the president is possibly “hiding important information about his background and early life,” the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey found. (Snip) Sixty-four percent of Republicans think the president isn’t coming clean, 33 percent of independents agree, and 14 percent of Democrats say so, too. “This conspiracy theory is much more widely believed mostly