The force of the dawn attack on a Syrian military site outside Damascus on Wednesday shook the ground, waking nearby residents from their slumber with up to a dozen blasts, two sources in the area said. (Snip) Syria said Israeli warplanes, flying low to avoid detection by radar, crossed into its airspace from Lebanon and struck the Jamraya military research center. But diplomats, Syrian rebels and regional security sources said the planes hit a weapons convoy heading from Syria to Lebanon, apparently destined for President Bashar Assad´s ally Hezbollah, and the rebels said they - not Israel -
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has vindicated his critics thus far today in his confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Service Committee for the post of Secretary of Defense. He has stumbled in attempting to explain his positions on Iran, nuclear disarmament, Israel, the Iraq "surge," and the "Jewish lobby." He has failed to explain contradictions between his voting record and his past statements on the one hand, and the positions he professes today on the other. Even liberals and supporters of Hagel are openly lamenting his poor performance. Democrats on the committee are
My first arrival and final anchoring in the United States was through Pittsburgh. Downtown Pittsburgh has changed considerably, but at the time, in the late ’70s, the brick building and tall chimney of Heinz & Co, was always a guiding post. For most of us who lived outside the United States, Heinz was synonymous with ketchup. After mayonnaise, ketchup had been the leading condiment in the United States for decades, but during the early ’90s—due to the increase in the Latino population in the United States—sales of tomato salsa surpassed those of ketchup. Link repaired by staff.
Watching a television news show the other night, I was surprised to see the news crawl report on the bottom of the screen that Justice Scalia had declared in Dallas that the Constitution is “dead, dead, dead.” That riposte to the “living Constitution” nonsense contains a troubling ambiguity that will confuse many listeners (is Justice Scalia saying that the Constitution is no longer in effect?), and I had thought that Scalia had therefore stopped using that shorthand. Fortunately, I have learned from an e-mail from Bryan Garner, the co-author with Scalia of Reading Law:
Consider it an opportunity overlooked. It´s surprising that Jose Pedro Simoes Ferreira´s name didn´t surface during John Kerry´s confirmation hearings for Secretary of State. Mr. Ferreira, 78, is the older brother of Mr. Kerry´s wife, Fox Chapel ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz. Ferreira also is a former Portuguese naval officer linked to leftist Portuguese politics and reportedly backed a 1974 coup against Portuguese Prime Minister Marcello Caetano. According to Allegheny County voter registration records, Ferreira lives in a four-bedroom, 3½ bathroom $628,000 home on Squaw Run Road in Fox Chapel on property adjacent to the sprawling 87-acre Heinz estate. Content added by staff.
Former senator Chuck Hagel defended his vote against designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group, claiming it would have been unprecedented and potentially harmful to give that designation to a representative of a “legitimate” government. The Islamist regime in Iran, Hagel said, was “an elected, legitimate government, whether we agree or not.” The Iranian government is currently gearing up for elections by arresting “anti-revolutionary” journalists, and deciding whether or not to allow pro-reform candidates to participate, many of whom have been living under house arrest for years.
Bucharest, Romania - The scaremongering is all over British tabloids: Romanians and Bulgarians (Pickpockets! Scam artists! Scroungers!) flooding into the UK by the thousands once work restrictions are lifted next year. Tired of the stereotypes, some are striking back.(Snip)In the UK, statistics show that almost 1 million Eastern Europeans have come to Britain over the past decade, and data from the 2011 census showed that Polish is now the second-most common tongue in the country. Romania and Bulgaria are the EU´s poorest nations. Britain´s jingoistic tabloid press has been stoking fears of a second wave of migrants next year.
Americans now owe an average of $27,253 in student loans as the delinquency rate has increased by more than 47 percent since 2005, according to a new report. Some 27 million borrowers, or slightly more than 13 percent of the country, have two or more outstanding student loans, according the report from FICO Labs, the research arm of the credit-score agency. That number has more than doubled in the past eight years. In the 2005 report, the average student loan debt was $17,233. In the latest study, the average credit score for new loans was going down
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals emphatically smacked down the crazy idea that the president has the power to make recess appointments while the Senate is not in recess. "An interpretation of ´the Recess´ that permits the President to decide when the Senate is in recess would demolish the checks and balances inherent in the advice-and-consent requirement, giving the President free rein to appoint his desired nominees at any time he pleases, whether that time be a weekend, lunch, or even when the Senate is in session and he is merely displeased with its inaction,"
Some major American cities are dying, and the worst part is that these grievously ill patients often are refusing to take even the mildest medicine that would make things better. Take Detroit, a city that has become a synonym for urban failure. The murder rate of one per 1,719 people last year was more than eleven times the rate in New York City. One contributing factor may be that two-thirds of Detroit’s streetlights are broken. Once the fourth-largest city in the country, Detroit’s population has dropped by almost 30 percent since 2000 to below 700,000.
The first hours of Chuck Hagel’s Senate confirmation hearing did little to gladden the hearts of his supporters. While the strict partisan divide over the nomination should ensure that he would get the support of a majority of senators, his bumbling performance undermined any notion that the president’s choice to lead the Pentagon was winning over any of his critics. More to the point, his effort to portray his recent recantations of his long-held skepticism about attempts to stop Iran from going nuclear, his criticisms of Israel, and his belief in engagement with Hamas and Hezbollah
Update: A Cedar Falls man will spend 50 years in federal prison for his part in a massive financial fraud scheme, a federal judge ordered at a sentencing hearing Thursday. Russell Wasendorf Sr. 64, stole more than $215 million in customer funds from his commodity futures business, Peregrine Financial Group. (Snip) Thursday’s sentence worked out to approximately 10 years for each count. The judge did not impose any fines against Wasendorf, due to the massive amount of restitution required. The restitution amount exceeds $215 million. In court Thursday, the judge noted more than 13,000 people were
Facing a rocky confirmation process, Chuck Hagel today defended his record before his former Senate colleagues, including an openly impatient Sen. John McCain. "I´m on the record on many issues, but no one individual vote, no one individual quote, no one individual statement defines me," Hagel said in his opening statement at his first confirmation hearing for secretary of defense. "My overall worldview has never changed: that America has and must maintain the strongest military in the world, that we must lead in the international community to confront threats and challenges together," Hagel said. Headline resplit by staff.
Normally when a newspaper gets a friendly cite during a public event, they’re pretty happy about it. When the Washington Post gets praise from a conservative like Senator Jim Inhofe, they should be delighted about it. Rosie Gray reports at Buzzfeed that instead of popping the bubbly, the Post is breaking out into open civil war: Senator Jim Inhofe cited a blog post by conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin during the confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel on Thursday, setting in motion a public argument on Twitter.
The president of the National Rifle Association Thursday warned that gun control advocates have their eye on a national registry of all firearms that would be used to force legal owners to sell them to the government. David Keene told reporters, "we have been, continue to be, and will continue to be very opposed to any kind of a national gun registry system for several reasons. The historic reason, of course, is that that is a precursor in many cases of confiscation." While he noted that Washington´s biggest gun control advocate, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Headline corrected by staff.
Richard Nixon, not known for his sense of humor, used to joke that he was an “expert” on Vietnam because he had visited it nineteen times. He would then admit most of these sojourns were refueling stops on the way to somewhere else. Staff would laugh and agree the boss was truly expert on the region. Hillary Clinton has developed the same sort of foreign policy credentials, but without the humor. Yes, it’s true that she has been to many conferences and had many meetings with foreign dignitaries, but as far as actually having worked
The National Labor Relations Board sided with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and against Wal-Mart today in a case in which the retailer claimed the union was illegally picketing them. The board simply accepted at face value the union’s claim that it was not trying to organize the retail giant’s workforce and its promise not to do it again … for 60 days at least. Federal law says a union cannot picket a worksite for more than 30 days without officially filing to try to organize its workforce.
The White House on Thursday warned Syria not to transfer weapons to Hizbullah, as tensions mounted following reported Israeli raids on a military research center and a weapons convoy. "Syria should not further destabilize the region by transferring weaponry to Hizbullah," said Ben Rhodes, a US deputy national security advisor. Syria on Thursday warned that it reserves the right to retaliate to what it says was an Israeli air strike on a military research center near Damascus, as it lodged a complaint with the United Nations. (Snip) Although Israel and Syria are technically still at war, the
Al Qaeda has issued a new threat to carry out ´earth-shattering, shocking and terrifying´ attacks on the U.S. and Europe, it emerged today. In a posting on a jihadist website, the terror group said the ´coming strikes´ would target the ´heart of the land of non-belief´ as well as countries aiding France in its crackdown on rebels in Mali. The unidentified writer claimed the attacks would be ´group and lone-wolf operations, in addition to the use of booby-trapped vehicles´. U.S. officials say they are taking the threat seriously.
WASHINGTON — Is your workplace getting shot up by a crazed gunman? No problem — just grab a pair of scissors and fight back! That’s some of the helpful advice in a new instructional video from the Department of Homeland Security that was posted on the agency’s Web site just a month after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. “If you are caught out in the open and cannot conceal yourself or take cover, you might consider trying to overpower the shooter with whatever means are available,” says the
LOS ANGELES — Barack Obama is officially the Affirmative Action President. Unfortunately he is not the "Affirmative Action Retired President," since the original AARP and other liberal groups refused to retire him. Under the Obama watch the economy has contracted, the debt has skyrocketed, environmental "investments" have gone bankrupt, anti-business policies have stifled growth; Americans are being murdered and kidnapped globally. Numerous scandals, alleged superior ingelligence beset by sub-par performance, are coupled with the failed policies of the administration to become the open secrets many dare not utter.
WORCESTER - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester has rescinded an invitation to a speaker at a men´s conference after Muslims objected to what they call the speaker´s anti-Islamic views. The diocese on Wednesday withdrew an invitation for Robert Spencer to speak at the March conference. Spencer, a Catholic, runs blogs and has written books that some consider anti-Muslim. A spokesman for the diocese says Spencer´s appearance at the conference "is being seen as harmful to Catholic-Islamic relations." A spokesman for the Islamic Council of New England called Spencer a "hatemonger" and lauded the diocese´s decision.
Coyness is not part of Chris Christie’s repertoire, which does not stress subtlety, delicacy and intimation. New Jersey’s governor is more Mickey Spillane than Jane Austen and his persona, which sometimes is that of a bulldog who got up on the wrong side of the bed, is so popular he seems to be cruising toward re-election this November and does not deny that he might look beyond that. His budget for 2013 calls for spending less than did the state’s 2008 budget. He has vetoed a tax on millionaires three times. He has scrapped, exuberantly, with public-employee unions.
The U.S. Justice Department is trying to keep Budweiser and Corona apart. Justice is challenging the proposed $20.1 billion buyout of Mexico´s Grupo Modelo, brewer of Corona beer, by Anheuser-Busch InBev, brewer of Budweiser. The government says the deal would put too many top beer brands in the hands of a single company, limiting competition. The concern is especially high in 26 U.S. cities. Investors reacted negatively to the news. Industry consolidation has been rampant in the beer and spirits industry and is viewed as a way for companies to boost profit by cutting costs.
The amount of money being sent by migrants to their families back home topped £335billion last year, making it a larger economy than Iran or Argentina, it was revealed today. The figure has tripled in the last ten years and is now three times bigger than the total aid budgets given by countries around the world as more people than ever choose to live abroad.(Snip)Globally, there are more than 214million migrants, which would make it the fifth most-populated country behind China, India, America and Indonesia. World Bank officials believe the amount they donate could be billions more