WASHINGTON- The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan incorrectly reported a decline in Taliban attacks last year, and officials said Tuesday that there was actually no change in the number of attacks on international troops from 2011 to 2012. The corrected numbers - from the original reports of a 7 percent decline to one of no change - could undercut the narrative promoted by the international coalition and the Obama administration of an insurgency in steep decline. A coalition spokesman, Jamie Graybeal, attributed the miscounting to clerical errors and said the problem does not change
Mexicali, Mexico — Police in the border city of Mexicali say they have recovered a powerful improvised cannon used to hurl packets of marijuana across a border fence into California. Police told the Televisa network that the device was made up of a plastic pipe and a crude metal tank that used compressed air from the engine of an old car. The apparatus fired cylinders packed with drugs that weighed as much as 30 pounds, police. It was confiscated last week after U.S. officers told Mexican police that they had been confiscating a large number of drug packages that appeared to
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security no longer uses control of the actual border as a measure of how well the Border Patrol is doing its job, according to written testimony released today by the Government Accountability Office. The GAO said that by the end of fiscal 2010, the Border Patrol had been able secure “operational control” of only 44 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border. Then, with 56 percent of the border not under “operation control,” DHS simply stopped using “operational control” as a measure of the Border Patrol’s performance.
Being President, you´re bound to be the butt of a few jokes whenever there´s the slightest opportunity - good-natured or otherwise. And if Barack Obama took a moment to tap his name into the internet he would, of course, find thousands of funny photos, memes and parodies floating around. Some poke fun at him, some at his Vice President Jo Biden and some at his rivals, like Mitt Romney, the Tea Party and the Republicans.While others reference moments in last year´s presidential campaign, when Mr Obama won his second term in the White House.
The Senate voted Tuesday to end debate and move to a final vote on former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as Defense secretary. The 71-27 vote paves the way for a final up-or-down vote on Hagel later Tuesday, and comes after the first-ever filibuster of a Defense Department nominee earlier this month. Eighteen Republicans voted with Democrats to break the filibuster and end debate, and at least a few of them are expected to support Hagel in a final vote. Sixty votes were needed to end debate. All but four Republicans blocked Hagel’s nomination two weeks ago.
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.