Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday that whether they are male or female "everyone is entitled to a chance" to become a combat soldier in a military that will now adopt "gender netural" standards. “If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job--and let me be clear, we’re not talking about reducing the qualifications for a job--if they can meet the qualifications for the job then they should have the right to serve,” Panetta said at a Pentagon press conference. The Defense Department announced today that it would rescind its 1994 policy restricting women
A leading health academic has called for fat people to be ´shamed and beat upon socially´ in order to halt the obesity crisis. In a controversial article, Daniel Callahan, the 82-year-old president emeritus of The Hastings Center a New York think-tank specializing in health policy ethics, calls for increased stigmatization of obese people to try spur weight-loss across America. The senior research scholar says fat people should be treated like smokers who have become increasingly demonized in recent years and thus ´nudged´ by negative attitudes of those around them into giving up the unhealthy
Defense: As sequestration looms and an advocate of military budget cuts prepares to be confirmed as Secretary of Defense, the Army reports that it will have to cut base operations by almost a third, jeopardizing its missions. ´The readiness of our Armed Forces is at a tipping point," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey wrote to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a Jan. 14 letter also signed by the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
The buzzing insect stole the show as the President announced his two new members of his second administration, cutting wild loops around the leader of the free world before landing squarely on his forehead. The official White House transcript simply reads: "This guy is bothering me here - (swatting at a fly.)" Meanwhile, the pool report which describes the President´s movements throughout the day, noted that "the president spoke for about five minutes while being menaced by a house fly". It wasn´t the first time Mr Obama has shared camera time with a fly.
Gun Control: We really don´t want to say it, but we have to because it´s true: The Democrats aren´t letting a tragedy go to waste — they are pushing a firearms ban on top of the victims of the Newtown shooting. Led by the once pistol-packing Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the Democrats have put forth legislation that would outlaw more than 150 types of weapons, from rifles to pistols to shotguns. They are calling it the "Assault Weapons Ban of 2013." But it´s more like the "Second Amendment Violation of the Century."
The media herd is stunned to discover that Barack Obama is a man of the left. After 699 teleprompted presidential speeches, the commentariat was apparently still oblivious. Until Monday´s inaugural address, that is. Where has everyone been these four years? The only surprise is that Obama chose his second inaugural, generally an occasion for "malice toward none" ecumenism, to unveil so uncompromising a left-liberal manifesto. But the substance was no surprise. After all, Obama had unveiled his transformational agenda in his very first address to Congress, four years ago. It was, I wrote at the time,
Andre Barbosa can safely say that he has one of the nicest homes on the block in Boca Raton, Florida. But the 23-year-old Brazilian national does not own or even rent the palatial $2.5million estate legally - he is a squatter. Barbosa, originally from the neighboring Pompano Beach, moved into 580 Golden Harbour Drive in July Now he is threatening to use an obscure real estate law that allows people to claim a property as their own if they stay there for seven years. No one witnessed Barbosa breaking into the 7,522-squae foot, five-bedroom, six-bathroom waterfront home,
During his final thought on Thursday, MSNBC host Chris Matthews denounced Republican state legislators who are attempting to implement plans to break up their state’s Electoral College votes by congressional district — a system that the states of Maine and Nebraska already have on the books. Matthews referenced Mickey Mouse or the Mouseketeers no less than five times in the space of one minute and 15 seconds during to describe Republicans during this monologue. “Let me finish tonight with this – this Mickey Mouse club that’s back; the Republican Party’s plan
WASHINGTON — California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein staged a dramatic press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill with 10 weapons at her side and unveiled legislation instituting a government ban on more than 150 types of firearms, including rifles, pistols and shotguns. Flanked by other anti-gun liberal lawmakers, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, Feinstein announced the introduction of the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.” The legislation being pushed by Feinstein — who has long history of calling for gun bans — would prohibit the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of certain firearms.
A few thoughts on filibuster reform: 1. The reason there wasn’t root-and-branch reform of the filibuster is that most Senate Democrats didn’t want root-and-branch reform of the filibuster. (Snip) The reason it doesn’t is that time is precious. The talking filibuster had many virtues, but at its core, it got the causality of the problem backwards. The reason the minority doesn’t burn time on the Senate floor talking isn’t because they don’t want to. It’s because the majority doesn’t want them to. 3. The reform idea that held the most promise was the “41-vote rule.” Right now, breaking a filibuster requires the majority
New York has yet to receive an estimated $30 billion from Washington for Hurricane Sandy relief, but Governor Andrew Cuomo already knows one way he plans to spend it. (Snip) “There are some parcels that Mother Nature owns,“ he said earlier this month in his official State of the State speech. “She may only visit once every few years, but she owns the parcel and when she comes to visit, she visits.” To deal with such intrusions, the governor wants to give homeowners in these areas a choice. New York will help them rebuild a better house — on stilts, for example, higher than future floodwaters.
First there were near-tears, and then a protester had to be forced out, but Sen. John Kerry took it all in stride. Kerry choked up at his secretary of state confirmation hearings this morning when discussing his father’s history in the U.S. Foreign Service, and how he was “equally proud” of both that history and his own as part of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “If you confirm me, I would take office as secretary proud that the Senate is in my blood, but equally proud that so, too, is the Foreign Service,” the Massachusetts Democrat
2013 has just started, but a slew of new education studies and reports have already emerged. It´s intimidating to sort through all the numbers and percentages and wonder what it really means — and more importantly, what it means for kids in Michigan. But a new study from the Center for Michigan focuses on what citizens would like to see in schools. It´s a refreshing perspective. (Snip) Residents gave the K-12 system an average score, which meshes with the state´s lackluster test results when compared with others states. Looking ahead, most residents want to ensure teachers
The State Department has only ´advised´ Americans against traveling to the Libyan city of Benghazi even after Britain, Germany and the Netherlands today urged their citizens to immediately leave the in response to what was described as an imminent threat against Westerners. The US pointed to a travel advisory issued earlier this month and did not strengthen its warning even after the European countries issued statements variously describing the threat as specific and imminent but none gave details as to its exact nature. The warnings come a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified to Congress about
Washington - The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into possible contract rigging by the general counsel at the government agency that distributes foreign aid, documents obtained by The Associated Press show. Memos from the inspector general of the U.S. Agency for International Development also reveal that the IG is investigating whether Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg tried to interfere with the internal investigation. (Snip) The original investigation focused on whether Lisa Gomer, USAID general counsel, may have "wired" a contract last May so the winner of the solicitation would be the agency´s retiring chief financial officer, David Ostermeyer.
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla are hosting a fundraiser for New Jersey´s governor Chris Christie, adding their name to the long list of friends that the Republican is collecting in his bid for re-election. The Facebook billionaire has become close with the governor since he donated $100million in 2011 to help improve public schools in one of the state´s toughest cities. A fan with that kind of money could undoubtedly be helpful for Mr Christie as he evaluates his presidential prospects for 2016. ´They admire his leadership on education reform and other issues and look forward to
A plant grown inside a sealed glass bottle is still thriving despite not having water or fresh air for more than 40 years. Gardener David Latimer, 80, from Cranleigh in Surrey, first planted his bottle garden in 1960 and finally sealed it tightly shut 12 years later - yet it´s still going strong. He recently took a picture of the 53-year-old bottle garden along to Radio 4 Gardener´s Question Time, where it was hailed as an amazing example of plants recycling their own waste by members of the programme´s expert panel. Scroll down for video
Even for Nevadans, who have in recent years seen a governor accused of assaulting a cocktail waitress and a senator acknowledge a career-ending affair with his best friend’s wife, the latest spectacle is still riveting.The slow, public hara-kiri of one Steven Brooks has unprecedented elements—and that’s saying something for Nevada. The story of the Democratic assemblyman, arrested and accused of threats to a Democratic speaker after being found with a .357 revolver and 41 rounds in a shoebox in his trunk, has transfixed a state where politics inhabit a spectrum from weird to outrageous.
U.S. Sen. John Kerry breezed through a relatively easy hearing as senators quizzed him about the growing Iranian nuclear threat and President Obama’s actions following a terrorist attack in Benghazi before they vote on his confirmation as Secretary of State. “My sense is your confirmation will go through very, very quickly,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn), the ranking Republican on the committee, later adding, “I know you’re going to be confirmed in the next very few days.” The most heated questions from members of the committee on foreign relations seemed to focus on other political players rather
A long time ago, “Bolivian marching powder” meant cocaine. Now it could mean quinoa. Quinoa is a massive crop that for millennia has honed its extraterrestrial nutritional powers in the dizzying altitudes of the Andes. In recent years, this curious substance—like coke before it—has also become a major export for Peru and Bolivia. But, as the Guardian recently reported, the foreign market for the good seed has driven the street price of quinoa up so high that most Bolivians and Peruvians can no longer afford their homegrown staple. For the people who used to live on it, protein-dense quinoa
United Continental Holdings Inc. will cut about 600 front-office jobs through voluntary and involuntary cuts, the company said Thursday as it announced disappointing financial losses for 2012. The world´s largest airline did not detail where cutbacks will take place, but Chicago is likely to be most affected considering the corporate headquarters and network operations center are in downtown Chicago and that Chicago O´Hare airport is one of the airline´s largest hubs. The job cuts were announced Thursday morning during a conference call about the airline´s profits. United officials said they were disappointed in the airline company´s 2012 performance
One of the first stories I came across this morning was the news that the New York Times is once again in financial turmoil. By 5PM today, thirty senior staffers must agree to voluntarily resign. If not, terminations will ensue. This is the fourth time this has happened to the Times in just five years. Yeah, that is a shame. It´s no coincidence, either, that this day of downsizing occurs just a few days after a NYT editor Andrew Rosenthal, not only slobbered all over Obama like teenage groupie, but publicly accused the GOP of racism for daring to
The long Election Day lines around Florida may have turned away more than 200,000 frustrated would-be voters who gave up and went home before they cast ballots — or else saw the lines and elected not to join them. Analyzing data compiled by the Orlando Sentinel, Ohio State University professor Theodore Allen estimated last week that at least 201,000 voters likely gave up in frustration on Nov. 6, based on research Allen has been doing on voter behavior. His preliminary conclusion was based on the Sentinel´s analysis of voter patterns and precinct-closing times in Florida´s 25 largest counties,
After President Obama’s second inaugural address, Van Jones, former Obama White House "green jobs" czar, praised the speech, calling it “Djobama Unchained” (after the controversial movie Django Unchained, about a freed slave taking revenge). On Wednesday night, during a lecture at Loyola University Chicago, I asked Jones what he meant. He explained that while President Obama is not a socialist, he is, in fact, a "communitarian." After a long recapping of the first four years of the Obama’s presidency, Jones elaborated: It’s very interesting to see him now, actually, free. Watching this man for four years,
Seoul - North Korea said on Thursday it would carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States, dramatically stepping up its threats against a country it called its "sworn enemy". (Snip) North Korea is not believed to have the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting the continental United States, although its December launch showed it had the capacity to deliver a rocket that could travel 10,000 km (6,200 miles), potentially putting San Francisco in range, according to an intelligence assessment by South Korea. "We are not disguising the fact
Tripoli & London - European countries urged their nationals to leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Thursday, with Britain citing a "specific and imminent" threat to Westerners days after a deadly attack by Islamist militants in neighboring Algeria. Officials declined to give details, but Britain has warned of a growing militant threat in North Africa, which Prime Minister David Cameron has called a "magnet for jihadists". (Snip) He just said there are threats of attacks on foreign institutions run by foreigners and that schools and hospitals are on the list."