With the fate of his pick to head the CIA in danger, President Obama reversed course Wednesday night and released to Congress the classified legal advice that the Justice Department has given the White House on using drones to execute American citizens in the war on terrorism. The about-face came less than a day before John O. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s homeland security adviser and his pick to be CIA director, was to face a Senate confirmation hearing, and hours after Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, threatened to hold up the appointment unless more information was forthcoming.
Deadline legislating is once again the talk of Washington, with all sides now demanding an end to the automatic spending sequesters — even though just a few weeks ago many of them seemed to be bracing, or in some cases even welcoming, the $85 billion in cuts divided between defense and domestic needs. President Obama’s senior advisers huddled Wednesday with leaders in the defense industry to try to enlist them in his push to raise taxes to replace some of the cuts, while a group of defense-hawk Republicans filed bills in the House and Senate to cancel the defense cuts
President Obama yielded Wednesday to congressional demands that he provide access to a secret legal memo on the targeted killing of American terrorism suspects overseas, avoiding a confrontation that threatened the confirmation of John O. Brennan as his new CIA director. Obama directed the Justice Department to hand over the document to the two intelligence committees “as part of the president’s ongoing commitment to consult with Congress on national security matters,” an administration official said.
Sen. Robert Menendez raised concerns with top federal health-care officials twice in recent years about their finding that a Florida eye doctor — a close friend and major campaign donor — had overbilled the government by $8.9 million for care at his clinic, Menendez aides said Wednesday. Menendez (D-N.J.) initially contacted federal officials in 2009 about the government’s audit of Salomon Melgen, complaining to the director overseeing Medicare payments that it was unfair to penalize the doctor because the billing rules were ambiguous, the aides said.
A Miami-Dade circuit judge has approved a private adoption allowing three people — a gay man and a married lesbian couple — to be listed on the birth certificate of their 23-month-old daughter. “We’re creating entirely new concepts of families. If you have two women seeking to be listed as Parent One and Parent Two, that does not exclude listing a man as father,” said Miami family lawyer Karyn J. Begin, who represented dad Massimiliano “Massimo” Gerina in a two-year paternity case involving lesbian friends who had his baby. Maria Italiano and Cher Filippazzo, who married in Connecticut,
Will Floyd Corkins become the poster boy for gun control? He certainly deserves the honor. Corkins pled guilty today to firearms, terrorism and assault charges in Washington, D.C. Corkins shot and wounded one man in a terrorist attack last August, but he admitted in court that he had intended to kill as many as possible. He was carrying a loaded 9 mm handgun and had in his possession two additional loaded magazines and 50 loose rounds of ammunition. So the Democrats and their media outlets should be talking up Floyd Corkins, right? Wrong. Because he carried out
Marco Rubio has been tapped to give the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post takes the occasion to declare Rubio “first-among-equals when it comes to the future leaders of the party.” Thanks, Chris, but I think the Republican rank-and-file will make that determination, not liberal political reporters. To appreciate the weakness of Cillizza’s claim, let’s recall the Republicans who have delivered the previous responses to Obama’s State of the Union address. They are: Mitch Daniels (2012), Paul Ryan
Pete Wehner makes a fair point in dinging President Obama for hypocrisy because Obama once expressed outrage over the Bush administration’s use of torture (euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation techniques”) while now defending the legality of his own policy of ordering the targeted killing of al-Qaeda members even if they’re U.S. citizens. There is no judicial review in either policy–and the latter results in death rather than discomfort. But I’d much rather that the president be hypocritical than wrong on the issue of targeted killings. In this case I think he deserves applause
This column is prompted by the eye-catching headline that appeared two weeks ago: “Share of the Work Force in a Union Falls to a 97-Year Low, 11.3%.” As the article explained, many factors – global, domestic, economic, political – have contributed to the steep decline in the unionized work force, in both the private and public sectors. The trend, while accelerating, isn’t new. And on the surface, certainly, it has little to do with the Supreme Court. But the story led me to think back to a decision the court issued last June 21. In the breathless run-up to the health-care decision, which came a week later,
Chinese warships have aimed missile radars at Japanese military targets in what Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called ´´a dangerous action that could lead to unforeseen consequences´´. The news marks a worrying escalation of a four-month diplomatic and military standoff between Australia´s two largest trading partners over disputed islets in the East China Sea. (Snip) Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters on Tuesday night a Chinese frigate pointed a missile control radar at the Japanese destroyer Yuudachi on January 30. He said a Chinese vessel had similarly targeted a Japanese
The Republican-led House passed legislation Wednesday that would force President Obama to estimate when the federal budget will balance again — and outline the steps he proposes to eliminate the budget deficit. The Require a PLAN Act is part of a new Republican attempt to force Obama and the Democratic Senate to engage in efforts to cut the deficit. Republicans have roundly criticized Obama for submitting late budgets that don´t balance, and the Senate for failing to produce any budget plan at all in nearly four years. As expected, the
If the Food and Drug Administration gets its way, your trip to the grocery store could get a tad pricier. Supermarket owners argue a pending federal food-labeling rule that stems from the new health care law would overburden thousands of grocers and convenience store owners -- to the tune of $1 billion in the first year alone. (Snip) The rule stems from an ObamaCare mandate that restaurants provide nutrition information on menus. Most in the restaurant industry were supportive of the idea, but when the FDA decided to extend the provision to also affect thousands of supermarkets
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday rejected suggestions by city politicians and Jewish groups that a panel discussion on boycotts and sanctions against Israel at Brooklyn College scheduled for Thursday be canceled. “If you want to go to a university where the government decides what kind of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea,” The New York Times quoted Bloomberg as saying at a press conference at City Hall. The New York mayor stated that, while he personally "couldn´t disagree more violently" with the BDS movement, a university should
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has directed the Justice Department to give Congress´ intelligence committees access to classified legal advice providing the government´s rationale for drone strikes against American citizens working with al-Qaida abroad, a senior administration official and Democratic lawmakers said Wednesday. A drumbeat of demands to see the document has swelled on Capitol Hill in recent days as the Senate Intelligence Committee prepares to hold a confirmation hearing for John Brennan, who helped manage the drone program, to be CIA director. Those demands were only intensified by the leak this week
Nicholas DiMarzio, the Catholic bishop of the diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y., says that in his zealous support for abortion, President Barack Obama has used his position not to help mothers and children in difficult circumstances but instead has been an advocate for that which “is shameful and criminal in the eyes of Almighty God.” In his column for the diocesan newspaper The Tablet, entitled “Deeper Into the Culture of Death,” Bishop DiMarzio praises Abraham Lincoln, the abolition of slavery, , and notes how far the nation has come in electing Obama as president.
Tunis - Tunisia´s ruling Islamists dissolved the government and promised rapid elections in a bid to restore calm after the killing of an opposition leader sparked the biggest street protests since the revolution two years ago. The prime minister´s announcement late on Wednesday that an interim cabinet of technocrats would replace his Islamist-led coalition came at the end of a day which had begun with the gunning down of Chokri Belaid, a left-wing lawyer with a modest political following but who spoke for many who fear religious radicals are stifling freedoms won in the first of the Arab Spring uprisings
Marco Rubio’s selection to deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union cements the Florida senator’s role as a first-among-equals when it comes to the future leaders of the party, and sets up an intriguing dynamic over the next few years between Rubio and the man he almost certainly wants to replace. That Congressional Republicans chose Rubio to carry the party’s flag is, frankly, not at all surprising. It’s no secret that Rubio is the single most marketable product in the Republican party today; he’s young (41 years old), Hispanic and conservative without being frightening
President Obama is not backing down from his unlawful installation of officials at the National Labor Relations Board. Despite being told by a federal appellate court that it was unconstitutional to make a recess appointment when the Senate was still in session, the administration is standing by purported appointee Richard Griffin. Now Mr. Griffin finds himself in another legal jam. A racketeering lawsuit filed in October alleges that while Mr. Griffin served as general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) he helped cover up an embezzlement scheme at Local 501 in Los Angeles. The complaint
The shooter of an unarmed security guard at the Family Research Council headquarters last summer was on a mission to target organizations he viewed as anti-gay, and he obtained a gun days before he tried to carry out a plan to kill “as many people as possible,” according to newly disclosed court documents. New details about Floyd Lee Corkins II emerged in federal court Wednesday, where he admitted to the politically motivated shooting at the conservative think tank in downtown Washington. Corkins, 28, pleaded guilty to three felony charges: a federal charge of transporting a firearm and ammunition
Richmond - House Speaker William J. Howell, one of Richmond’s most reliable Republican votes, bucked his own party Wednesday to derail a Senate redistricting plan that could have handed the GOP control of that chamber for decades. Howell (Stafford) used a procedural ruling to kill the new Senate map, resisting pressure from his caucus and Senate Republicans, who assured him that state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) was prepared to back the plan. (Snip) The measure probably would have passed in the House had it gone to the floor for a vote. But as speaker, Howell had the power
The GOP´s "big tent" thinking is alive and well. On Wednesday, the Republican State Leadership Committee launched the Future Majority Caucus to support women, blacks or Americans of Hispanic and Asian descent running for office on the state level. The mission statement: The new caucus will expand the scope of recruitment and support for candidates "to more closely reflect the diversity of our nation." Running it all: that would be Ed Gillespie, who has returned to chair the committee itself after a year as senior advisor with Mitt Romney´s presidential campaign. He has a full plate.
Washington - President Obama nominated a former petroleum engineer and commercial banker who is also a conservationist and chief executive of an environmentally conscious retailer to lead the Interior Department on Wednesday, making an unorthodox selection for his first female nominee to his second-term Cabinet. Sally Jewell, president and chief executive of Recreational Equipment Inc., has no government credentials and little public policy experience. (Snip) In announcing his choice, Obama cast Jewell as someone who would seek a balance. "She knows the link between conservation and
Karl Rove — "The Architect," as President George W. Bush called him — crafted Bush´s two presidential campaigns and served as a key player in Bush´s White House. Now, with an assist from The New York Times, Rove is presenting himself as a conservative leader. On Sunday, the Times reported that American Crossroads, the super PAC Rove started, was beginning a new program called "The Conservative Victory Project." This project, as the Times put it, will "recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and tea party enthusiasts." But Rove is no conservative.
Floyd Lee Corkins II, who pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to the Aug. 15 shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC), identified his target on the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which includes a “Hate Map” that labels the FRC as “Anti-Gay.” As the court filing’s “Statement of Offense” for United States of America v. Floyd Lee Corkins II reads, “He was a political activist and considered the FRC a lobbying group. He committed the shooting for political reasons. He had identified the FRC as an anti-gay organization
The Boy Scouts of America, which confirmed last summer its policy barring openly gay people from participation, then said last week that it was reconsidering the ban, announced Wednesday that it would postpone a decision once more, until May, as talk of gay men and lesbians in the ranks has roiled a storied organization that carries deep emotional connection and nostalgia for millions of Americans. An end to the national ban, which the United States Supreme Court said in 2000 was legal free speech by a private organization, would create a new moment of risk, experimentation and change,
Two FBI sources have told The Daily Caller that the bureau’s inquiry into Democratic New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez is now based in New Jersey, not Miami. One added that pressure is mounting from the highest levels of the Justice Department to pursue the investigation. The change of focus away from the bureau’s Miami field office indicates that the government is focused primarily on Sen. Menendez — and not on his longtime donor Dr. Salomon Melgen, as political observers have speculated. Menendez is embroiled in a scandal sparked by allegations that he slept with