WASHINGTON -The Senate Ethics Committee has an eye on the allegations surrounding New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the panel’s top Republican indicated, as news reports show that Menendez used a public hearing to advocate for a business tied to Salomon Melgen, a South Florida eye doctor now under federal investigation. "We are aware of the news reports regarding the FBI raid on Dr. Melgen’s office. The Ethics Committee will follow its established procedures in this matter," Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, said in a statement. The Washington Post first reported Isakson’s comments and wrote that a review
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan- Militants attacked an isolated army checkpoint in Pakistan´s restive northwest on Saturday, with at least 31 people killed in the initial assault, subsequent crossfire and a rocket attack on a house, officials said. The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility, saying the attack was in response to a U.S. drone strike in neighboring North Waziristan last month in which two commanders were killed. The Pakistani military and pro-government militias have since 2009 regained territory from the Pakistan Taliban, who once controlled land a few hours´ drive from the capital of Islamabad.
SACRAMENTO — A former deputy Los Angeles city attorney, convicted of soliciting sexual favors from an 18-year-old defendant in exchange for promising to help her avoid jail time, was among 128 people pardoned by Gov. Jerry Brown last year. In 1990, George Schwartz received a one-year sentence in Los Angeles County Jail for the crime. Weeks ago, his name was added to the growing list of those who have received official forgiveness from Brown. The full list was released Friday. In April, the governor commuted the potential life sentence of Shirley Ree Smith, who was convicted
TURLOCK, Calif. — A gas station in this Central Valley town used to sell souvenir hats that read: "Turlock — Known for Absolutely Nothing." That was before hometown boy Colin Kaepernick went from being a third-string quarterback to leading the San Francisco 49ers into Sunday´s Super Bowl. Now Turlock is swarming with tourists. They are dropping into Christina´s Coffeehouse for a Kaep of Joe, eating Kaepernick Dogs (chili, coleslaw, jalapenos and special sauce) at Footers on Main Street and ordering a No. 7 Kaepernick Special at the Dust Bowl — a jalapeno burger served with a red-gold ale.
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign quietly donated nearly $90,000 to the Red Cross in late November, according to a report filed Thursday night with the Federal Election Commission. The donation came on Nov. 30 – about one month after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast, stretching thin the organization’s resources, and weeks after the GOP candidate lost to President Barack Obama. Neither Romney nor his campaign publicized the donation, despite liberal allegations in the days before the election that he had used the Red Cross as a political prop.
CHICAGO — Authorities searched Friday for a convicted murderer from Indiana who was mistakenly released after a Chicago court appearance, as officials in Illinois admitted they lost paperwork directing them to return him to Indiana. It turned out Steven L. Robbins didn´t even need to be brought to Chicago in the first place, and Cook County officials on Friday also pointed fingers over who was responsible for that mistake. Robbins, 44, was serving a 60-year sentence for murder in Indiana and was escorted by Cook County sheriff´s deputies to Chicago this week for a court appearance
The White House Friday blasted Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who was President Obama’s opponent in 2008, for his tough questioning Thursday of Defense Secretary-nominee Chuck Hagel over the U.S. troop surge in the Iraq war. White House press secretary Jay Carney reminded reporters that Mr. Obama defeated Mr. McCain for the presidency in 2008, and said history has shown that Mr. Obama exhibited better judgment than the Arizona Republican about the Iraq war. “In 2008, as I recall, Senator McCain suggested
The investigation into New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and his ties to political donor Salomon Melgen ratcheted Friday, as media reports dissected financial transactions between the two that could be seen as crossing congressional ethics lines. Roll Call cites a New York Times report for raising details of a 10-year financial relationship between the congressman and the Florida eye doctor that raises brows: Mr. Melgen reportedly bought a controlling stake in a port security company in the Caribbean two years ago. During that time frame, Roll Call cites
Hollywood might be a liberal town, but there are plenty of celebrities who own guns — and they’re not afraid to use them. An E! Online report quotes gun owner Angelina Jolie talking about her willingness to protect her family: “If anybody comes into my home and tries to hurt my kids, I’ve no problem shooting them.” She isn’t alone. Whoopi Goldberg of “The View” and James Earl Jones are both NRA members. Even Donald Trump — who spoke exclusively to The Times in November on the issue — and “The Avengers” star Jeremy Renner admit to owning firearms.
A sophisticated cyberattack targeted The Washington Post in an operation that resembled intrusions against other major American news organizations and that company officials suspect was the work of Chinese hackers, people familiar with the incident said. Post company officials confirmed the broad outlines of the infiltration, which was discovered in 2011 and first reported by an independent cybersecurity blog on Friday. But they did not elaborate on the circumstances, the duration of the intrusion or its apparent origin.
Politics becomes amusing when liberalism becomes theatrical with high-minded gestures. Chicago’s government, which is not normally known for elevated thinking, is feeling so morally upright and financially flush that it proposes to rise above the banal business of maximizing the value of its employees’ and retirees’ pension fund assets. Although seven funds have cumulative unfunded liabilities of $25 billion, Chicago will sacrifice the growth of those assets to the striking of a political pose so pure it is untainted by practicality. Emulating New York and California, two deep-blue states
Guns: While DHS seeks 7,000 semiautomatic guns with 30-round clips for self-defense, it makes a video saying you should use scissors to overpower armed predators. Luckily, a school guard in Atlanta thought differently. Vice President Joe Biden criticized, on Jan. 23 during a Google+ Hangout, the suggestion by NRA chief Wayne LaPierre to put armed guards in every school in the nation.(Snip)On Thursday afternoon, a student opened fire at Price Middle School in Atlanta, wounding a 14-year-old in the neck before an armed officer working at the school was able to get the gun away possibly averting yet another mass shooting.
Medicare recipients who need more time to recuperate after leaving the hospital could be hit with unexpected expenses if they don´t qualify for the standard 20-day stay in a nursing home because their four-day hospitalization was billed as an outpatient "observation" instead of an inpatient admission. While a room can still be theirs, they will likely face an upfront payment of hundreds of dollars to claim it. The problem has become more common in the past year as patients end up squeezed between a federal health care agency trying to control spending and hospitals and nursing homes
At the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Conference in 2008, then-Senator Obama stood before thousands of pro-Israel Americans and declared what appeared to be support for Israel. He explained that “the bond between Israel and the United States is rooted in more than our shared national interest; it’s rooted in the shared values and shared stories of our people.” As the only beacon of democracy in the Middle East and the one unique example of a country in the region that allows freedom of speech and religion—as well as women’s
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who oversaw expanded federal support for low-carbon energy and defended it against GOP attacks, announced Friday that he is stepping down. Chu, in a letter to Energy Department employees, said he would remain with the department at least until the end of February, and perhaps beyond "so that I can leave the Department in the hands of the new Secretary." "Serving the country as Secretary of Energy, and working alongside such an extraordinary team of people at the Department, has been the greatest privilege of my life. While the job has had many challenges,
The Obama administration proposed regulations Friday that would prohibit U.S. schools from selling unhealthy snacks. The 160-page regulation from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) would enact nutrition standards for "competitive" foods not included in the official school meal. In practice, the proposed rules would replace traditional potato chips with baked versions and candy with granola. Regular soda is out, though high-schoolers may have access to diet versions. "Although nutrition standards for foods sold at school alone may not be a determining factor in children´s overall diets, they are critical to providing children
SAN DIEGO ? Say what you want about Nancy Pelosi, she got one thing right about Obama’s Affordable Care Act: We had to pass the law to find out what’s it in it. Now that some have actually bitten into this Tootsie Roll Pop, they are discovering that its crunchy outside was more palatable than the chewy center. Even labor unions, still euphoric from their love affair with Obama, are starting to see some very disturbing writing on the wall. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Labor unions enthusiastically backed the Obama administration´s
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) might abandon a century of commitment to the moral development of youth. More than 100 million boys have taken the oath and learned self-reliance, patriotism, service and, most importantly, values through Scouting. After fending off attacks on these values from left-wing activists for decades, the organization on Monday raised a white flag in favor of political correctness — and corporate donations. Deron Smith, a national Scout spokesman, signaled the retreat: “Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation.” The statement came as a shock to
Environment: The global warming models, as we have said repeatedly, are hopelessly flawed. Earth is not going to heat up as they have projected. Scientific research out of Norway confirms this. The United Nations´ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, maybe the most hysterical organization ever established, has predicted temperatures to rise by 3 degrees Celsius by 2050 if by then, carbon dioxide levels double from their preindustrialized levels of 1750. Such a projection has prompted much hair-pulling and routine public hand-wringing. But never mind. The Research Council of Norway plugged in real temperature data
President Obama is on the verge of completing his socialist revolution. Remarkably, he is about to be aided and abetted by some Republicans — including leaders of the Tea Party. Who says politics doesn’t make for strange bedfellows? At a recent major policy speech in Las Vegas, Mr. Obama pushed for comprehensive immigration reform. In particular, this reform contains one seminal proposal: a pathway to legalized status for 11 million to 20 million illegal aliens. In short, the president is calling for amnesty. Former President George W. Bush sought to pass similar legislation in 2007.
A call for a congressional investigation of Al Gore´s recent business dealings with Al Jazeera looms. Coming to the National Press Club on Tuesday to announce their demand for close attention: Cliff Kincaid, president of America´s Survival; Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative; plus Jerry Kenney, who has previously filed complaints with the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission over what he calls Al Jazeera´s "illegal broadcasts into the U.S." Mr. Gore recently sold Current TV, the news channel he founded in 2006,
During an appearance on Martin Bashir’s MSNBC program, The Cycle co-host Touré tore into the notion that Fox News Channel host Geraldo Rivera could be taken seriously as a Republican candidate for Senate in New Jersey. Touré called Rivera a “joke” and a “punch line,” and added that Rivera’s moderate social values are not compatible with the present Republican Party. (Snip) “Geraldo Rivera is a joke,” Touré said bluntly when asked about his electoral prospects. “Especially going to a serious political context – a total joke.” “Pro-immigration, pro-marriage equality, pro-choice – that doesn’t sound like a Republican to
While meeting the woman who has labored over the past few years to keep the European Union from falling into the economic abyss, Vice President Joe Biden quipped that America’s own “so-called” fiscal crisis isn’t that bad. Biden met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the first day of a five-day swing through her country, France, and the United Kingdom. In remarks at the chancellery in Berlin, Biden praised Germany as an “absolutely essential, critical partner.” “Without a strong Europe, close ties to Europe, it is not conceivable how American interests can be met around the world,” he said.
Defense: Chuck Hagel´s record in the Senate is a problem, but just as troubling is his failure to explain how he´ll keep America strong within an administration that´s bent on shrinking the military. We have been hearing a lot about the "independence" of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, especially from his cheerleaders. It´s "among his more attractive qualities," says the New York Times in praising Hagel´s rocky performance at his Thursday confirmation hearing. The sad irony is that Hagel, nominated by President Obama to succeed Leon Panetta as secretary of defense, may turn out to be among the least
During an appearance with CBS anchor and host Charlie Rose at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on January 29, former Vice President Al Gore lambasted Fox News Channel and “right-wing talk radio” for broadcasting what he called “propaganda.” He said that conservative media has made it difficult for progressive ideals to catch on with the general public. (Snip) When asked why he thought President Barack Obama has been too conservative in his first term in pursuing progressive ideas, Gore said he thought the president was simply being “cautious.” “And why is that?” Rose asked.
Economy: So the economy created 157,000 new payroll jobs in January. Wow. At this rate, we might actually get back down to Bush-era unemployment rates sometime, oh, within the next 100 years. The January jobs report is supposed to be good news. After all, the economy has now added a total of 6.1 million jobs over the past three years, and the BLS revised last year´s jobs numbers sharply upward. But it doesn´t take much effort to notice that, when it comes to job creation, we are barely treading water. Case in point: Despite these "big" gains,