Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s efforts to rescue the economy could result in more than a half trillion dollars of paper losses on the central bank’s books if interest rates rise abruptly from recent levels. That sum is the difference between the value of securities in the Fed’s portfolio on Dec. 31 and what they may fetch in three years, according to data compiled by MSCI Inc. of New York for Bloomberg News. MSCI applied scenarios devised by the Fed itself for stress-testing the nation’s 19 largest banks. MSCI sees the market value of Fed holdings shrinking
On Saturday, the New York Times reported that Organizing for Action--the Obama for America presidential campaign structure recently re-organized as a 501 c 4 tax-exempt "issues advocacy" non-profit--is offering access to President Obama to any donors (individuals or corporations) who contribute $500,000 to the group. According to the Times, such contributions place "donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and [gives them] the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House."
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie will expand the state´s Medicaid program to cover 300,000 uninsured New Jersey residents, The Star-Ledger learned today. The governor´s new budget, which he plans to unveil at joint session of the Legislature this afternoon, also relies on state revenue growth of 4.9 percent and delays some property tax rebates for local taxpayers, according to three sources with knowledge of the budget plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The governor´s revenue forecast this year is a much smaller jump than the optimistic 8 percent growth of last year, a goal
Voters are headed to the polls today to pick the likely successor to disgraced former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in a congressional district covering the South Side and south suburbs. There are primaries for both political parties, but the 2nd District is so heavily Democratic that whoever emerges from the crowded Democratic field is expected to easily win the April 9 special general election. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Today´s voting follows weeks of candidate forums, an accelerated campaign schedule and a flurry of TV ads from the mayor of New York.
HOUSTON- Ted Cruz glanced at his black cowboy boots, beneath a silver Texas belt buckle, waiting for the admirers to stop clapping. His arrival had turned a drop-by at a Houston lumber yard into a virtual campaign rally. At an earlier stop near Austin _at a gun manufacturer that churns out AR-15 rifles _ cheering fans crowded next to employees, and one held a sign reading "Ted Cruz rocks!" The new troublemaker of the U.S. Senate was home again, and savoring nothing short of a victory lap. In just seven weeks on the job, the insurgent Republican
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recalled for young Germans Tuesday when he snuck out of the American embassy in divided postwar Berlin at age 12 for a clandestine bicycle ride into the Soviet-controlled eastern part of the city. Kerry told the story to a group of young people in a packed Internet cafe in Berlin as he defended U.S. freedom of speech laws, saying that ´In America, you have a right to be stupid.´ ´I saw the difference between east and west,´ said Kerry, who had lived in Berlin in 1950s with his family and American diplomat father.
The parents of a 9/11 victim have hit out at the makers of Zero dark Thirty for using their son´s ´sacred´ last words to them in the movie without their permission. The beginning of the movie - which has made more than $90million--features actual voices of some of the 3,000 innocent civilians who perished on that fateful day as they made their last calls to loved ones or emergency services. For Mary and Frank Fetchet, the movie brings back painful memories, as one of the voices belongs to their son Brad--his last words to them
Obamacare will increase the long-term federal deficit by $6.2 trillion, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today. Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), who requested the report, revealed the findings this morning at a Senate Budget Committee hearing. The report, he said, “confirms everything critics and Republicans were saying about the faults of this bill,” and “dramatically proves that the promises made assuring the nation that the largest new entitlement program in history would not add one dime to the deficit were false.” President Obama and other Democrats attempted to win support
A 20-year-old diagnosed with HIV or AIDS today can expect to live 50 years, due to groundbreaking advances in treatment since the discovery of the virus 30 years ago. Despite the progress, troubling trends remain: 47,500 new cases of HIV infection are diagnosed each year in the U.S. And in the African-American community, the statistics are even more grim: The virus continues to strike a disproportionate number of blacks, and their death rates are higher than other ethnic groups. In New Jersey, African-Americans make up 14 percent of the population but constitute 53 percent of the people
Hip hop artist Chuck D., famous for his work with the group Public Enemy, appeared on CNN with Carol Costello to discuss the impact that the slaying of Trayvon Martin had on the nation one year later. Chuck D. told Costello, that when he was growing up, there were no guns in the black community. However, after 1980 and the rise of the Ronald Reagan/George Bush-era, he says that “there’s been nothing but guns and drugs in the black community.” Costello asked Chuck D. for his thoughts on the killing of Martin.
New York´s state comptroller says Wall Street cash bonuses for 2012 are expected to rise 8 percent to $20 billion, partly driven by deferred payments from prior years. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says his analysis shows the securities industry is still restructuring since the 2008 financial crisis, with almost 20,000 — or 10 percent — fewer jobs in New York City. He says to expect continued downsizing. DiNapoli says profits for broker/dealer operations of some 200 New York Stock Exchange members — the traditional measure of profitability for the securities industry — totaled nearly $24 billion last year, triple their 2011 earnings.
Should I resign from the Academy? I won’t, of course, but asking Michelle Obama to help present the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards this year was pretty Bush League. And it was equally Bush League for the First Lady to accept. (Snip)Shame, shame on all sides. Hollywood has enough of a reputation for being in the pocket of the Democratic Party, but now they not only are in the pocket, they’re in the wallet, the purse, the laptop, the vestibule, the fax machine, the refrigerator, the oven, the slow cooker, shoes, socks,
WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, the court-martial of accused Fort Hood gunman Major Nidal Hasan will creep forward at its glacial pace with a motions hearing to hear defense requests on a change of venue and the makeup of the panel that will potentially hear the case. Facing 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder — and potentially the death penalty — Hasan’s trial has been delayed several months by his growth of a beard(Snip) Still, the movement in Hasan’s case is swifter than the move toward any resolution of the grievances of victims
Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell became one of the rare members of the Republican Party to join President Barack Obama on Air Force One on Tuesday. According to FEC records, Rigell donated $1,000 to President Obama during his first run for the White House, and has been vocally supportive of Obama’s calls for increased tax revenue as a part of a sequester deal. Before departing on Air Force One for Newport News, Va. Tuesday, Rigell told reporters that he favored raising tax revenues through reform as well as some cuts to spending as a part of the deal.
President Obama is facing increased pressure to eliminate the government-backed mortgage titans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after months of very limited progress by the White House to loosen the failed mortgage giants´ grip on the rebounding real estate market. Five years after the housing market crashed, Obama has focused primarily on helping homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages get refinancing. But that effort has required even greater government reliance on Fannie and Freddie without making any substantial push to create a new home-financing system that´s influenced more by the private sector.
Washington-Vice President Joe Biden will address the upcoming AIPAC policy conference. Biden will speak to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference on the morning of Monday, March 4, officials in the White House and with AIPAC told JTA.(Snip) Legislation to be advanced by AIPAC during the conference includes bills planned for introduction in the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives that would designate Israel a "major strategic ally," a new designation not previously conferred on any country and one that would recognize Israel´s role in keeping the Middle East stable and in combating terrorism around the globe.
Something new is happening in Syria. (Snip)They both say the same thing: that the Free Syrian Army, which was formed fairly early in the revolt against Assad’s regime, is now getting some very good weapons. This accounts for its recent military successes, bringing it inside the Damascus gates. Both base their analyses on the research of Elliot Higgins, a British expert who tracks the movement of weaponry in the region. Higgins says the new weapons, and ammunition for them, are coming from the old Yugoslavia. Both make the point that whereas Western countries, including the United States, are very concerned
In an interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts aired this morning, First Lady Michelle Obama recalled the tragic death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton who was shot and killed in Chicago after performing during the President’s Inauguration celebration in Washington D.C. “She was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn’t need,” the First Lady explained. “I just don’t want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first.” Chicago police reported, however, that Pendleton
Father-to-be Kanye West showed he has a little work to do regarding his anger control issues. The rapper, currently dating pregnant reality superstar Kim Kardashian, kept up his feud with President Barack Obama during a London concert appearance. West´s Obama slam, and use of the race card, employed the kind of grammar that would make elementary school teachers the world over wince. “I don´t give a f--- about what none of the president’s got to say,” West said at a concert in London on Saturday, apparently referring to Obama. The comment came during a rant
LONDON– Rapper Kanye West launched into a mid-concert rant against a range of people that included corporate executives, Justin Timberlake and one of his most famous public critics – President Barack Obama. In a performance at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on Saturday, the Chicago-born rapper at one point said: “I don’t give a f–k what the president’s got to say,” to an ecstatic London audience.
Two weeks ago, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the National Archives And Records Administration (NARA) to unearth “assassination records” and other Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice documents housed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum that are currently under Kennedy family control. “The JFK records are clearly government records and they should be disclosed in accordance with FOIA law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This lawsuit is about much more than the Kennedy assassination.
Byron Dorgan was a “praire populist,” his Senate colleague Tom Harkin told us open Dorgan’s retirement. Liberal writer David Sirota gave Dorgan the same label. Dorgan’s wife Kimberly is a longtime lobbyist, currently running the lobby operation for the American Council of Life Insurers — which lobbies to protect the populist death tax that pads the profits of life insurance companies. And, of course, as soon as Sen. Dorgan retired, he joined a lobbying firm, too. The Dorgans are staying in the house where they raised their kids — a 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath 3,800-square-foot
William Ayers, the co-founder of the violent 1960s-era Weather Underground and who later befriended Barack Obama at the University of Chicago, has been named a "visiting scholar" at Minnesota State University, continuing his transformation from radical activist to establishment leader. Once the head of a group linked to bombings of buildings tied to the Vietnam war, including the Pentagon and Capitol, he has been invited to play a role in the school´s efforts to include social justice in class courses. During the 2008 presidential campaign, the Ayers-Obama tie was
When Hostess filed for bankruptcy last year, several problems were to blame, but the bakers union refusing to accept a new contract and striking was the straw that broke the Twinkie manufacturer’s back. They refused to return to work even after the company warned them it would have to shut down. The Teamsters even begged them to take the deal (though the bakers union has noted that the Teamsters were getting a better deal than they were). Now that Hostess has shut down, those self-same union strikers are now benefitting from government program
In light of the coming sequestration that will slow the rate of growth of federal spending, the Navy has announced that it cannot afford to send an aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman, on a previously-scheduled mission to the Persian Gulf, nor can it afford to refuel another carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln. To further dramatize the cuts, the White House has invited Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to brief the press corps on what the administration says will be the devastating consequences of sequestration.
House Democrats led by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) have introduced legislation that would create a federal Department of Peacebuilding, which would be tasked with everything from finding ways to scale back U.S. military actions to ending bullying at schools. Under her bill, H.R. 808, the new department would be led by a cabinet-level Secretary of Peacebuilding, who would have a seat on the National Security Council. The department would be "dedicated to peacebuilding, peacemaking, and the study and promotion of conditions conducive to both domestic and international peace and a culture of peace."