Washington - Sales of new single-family homes in the United States fell sharply in July to their lowest level in nine months, casting a shadow over the country´s housing recovery. Sales dropped 13.4 percent to an annual rate of 394,000 units, the Commerce Department said on Friday. (Snip) The report could weaken the case for the U.S. Federal Reserve to reduce its support for the economy by trimming monthly bond purchases later this year. "The higher mortgage rates are having an impact on the housing market," said Scott Brown, chief economist with Raymond James in St. Petersburg,
Casting an eye toward upcoming fiscal fights, President Barack Obama warned Republicans Friday against trying to defund his signature health care law as he vowed to protect spending on education, scientific research and America´s infrastructure. Taking questions from college students in central New York, Obama decried the Republican approach as "penny-wise and pound-foolish," predicting the U.S. will fall further and further behind other nations in decades to come unless it prioritizes creating opportunities for young people. "When Congress gets back to Washington, this is going to be a major debate," Obama said during a town hall at Binghamton University. He said it´s the
On Thursday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius offered what is perhaps the most vehement reaction so far to opposition allegations that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical-warfare agents against civilians in the eastern suburbs around Damascus. If the use of such weapons is confirmed, Fabius told French broadcaster BFM, “France’s position is that there must be a reaction, a reaction that could take the form of a reaction with force.” Fabius didn’t elaborate what, exactly, he meant by “force,” though he did rule out ground troops. “I believe [such an attack] cannot go without a reaction from
Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan was found guilty on all 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder Friday, making him eligible for the death penalty. The sentencing phase of his trial was set to begin Monday. A military jury deliberated for roughly one day before announcing the verdict. Hasan sat emotionless, stroking his beard when the judge announced a verdict had been reached. He stood and looked at the juror panel president when the verdict was read, then turned and looked back down. A few family members of the victims cried and hugged each other at the announcement, but
The Army won´t pay for Private Bradley Manning to become Chelsea Manning, but a spokeswoman could not completely rule out a sex change for the convicted leaker of classified documents while he serves his 35-year term at Fort Leavenworth. “The Army doesn’t provide sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy,” Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Alayne Conway told FoxNews.com But Conway could not say if Manning would be barred from such procedures if they were paid for with private funds, saying, “I don’t think we’ve explored that.” A handful of recent court cases, including a recent one
In his column yesterday, Daniel Henninger–in writing about President Obama’s summer trips and series of speeches on the economy–asks, “Is anyone listening to these speeches? Do they matter?” The answer to both questions is, I think, no. And it raises a deeper issue: Has any previous president devalued his words quite so much, in quite so many ways? Perhaps, but I rather doubt it. In order to support my claim, it’s worth taking a stroll down memory lane, to compare what Mr. Obama has said with what he has done. The sheer bandwidth of his broken promises and empty claims is quite extraordinary.
The teen accused of shooting a toddler between the eyes during a robbery attempt counted down from five before firing, his alleged accomplice testified today after pointing him out as the shooter. Dominique Lang testified that he ran into De´Marquise Elkins on the morning of the March 21 slaying. A short while later as the two walked together, they saw Sherry West with a stroller. Lang says Elkins walked to West and demanded her purse before pulling out a gun. When West refused to hand the purse over, he hit her in the face with it and threatened her baby. ´The baby was
RUSH: So I got in here at the usual time after working very early this morning, late into last night on show prep and stuff, and at about ten o´clock I get an e-mail from Greta Van Susteren, and I thought, "No, no, no, no, I just did her show. She can´t be asking me back." And it wasn´t that. Her e-mail was, "Man, oh, man, do you live rent free in Obama´s head." And I said, "What´s this?" So I read further, and she just assumed that I knew what she was talking about, and I didn´t, but I
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. - A military jury on Friday sentenced a U.S. soldier who massacred 16 Afghan civilians last year to life in prison without a chance of parole. The decision came in the case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 40, who pleaded guilty in June in a deal to avoid the death penalty. Bales did not recount specifics of the horrors in court when he testified Thursday or offer an explanation for the violence, but he described the killings as an “act of cowardice, behind a mask of fear, bulls--- and bravado.” “I’m truly, truly sorry to those people whose families got taken away,” he said
President Barack Obama says the possible chemical weapons attack in Syria this week is a ´big event of grave concern´ that has hastened the timeframe for determining a U.S. response. ´This is something that is going to require America´s attention,´ Obama said during an interview broadcast Friday. Obama´s comments on Syria were his first since Wednesday´s alleged chemical weapons attack on the eastern suburbs of Damascus that killed at least 100 people. While he appeared to signal some greater urgency for a U.S. response, his comments were largely in line with his previous statements throughout the two-year conflict. The president said
The first legal abortion in an Irish hospital has been carried out in Dublin, it was confirmed on Friday. The termination was carried out on a woman who had an unviable 18-week pregnancy and whose life was risk at the National Maternity hospital. It is the first legal abortion to be carried out since the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act was passed by both houses of the Irish parliament last month. The National Maternity hospital is one of 25 hospitals in Ireland authorised to carry out terminations under the provisions of the act. It was performed under section 7, which deals with the
If you thought that it was frightening enough that the federal government was spying on you and had access to your personal information, get ready: Planned Parenthood is about to obtain access to your Social Security number, tax form, bank account, and medical records. (snip) Any “navigator” will have access to the federal data hub, which holds information from the Department of Health and Human Services, the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Defense Department, the Office of Personnel Management, the Veterans Health Administration, and the Peace Corps.
An era is ending at Microsoft Corp. The software giant said Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, a central figure at the company for more than three decades, has decided to retire within the next 12 months. The surprise announcement Friday follows a broad reorganization that had appeared to solidify his power at Microsoft as head of a new team of leaders. Mr. Ballmer, who is 57 years old, will depart after a successor has been chosen, the company said. Its board has appointed a special committee—including Chairman Bill Gates—that will consider both external and internal candidates. Microsoft shares jumped after the announcement, recently trading
These days and weeks of bloody struggle in Egypt have implications that go far beyond the country and the region. The conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and its opponents will determine whether an Islamic terrorist group will run Egypt. Forgotten in all the Arab Spring cheerleading is the simple fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist group. And not only is it a terrorist group but it is the single most influential Sunni Islamic terrorist group in the world, spawning entire networks of terrorist organizations; including Al Qaeda.
Notre Dame University announced Thursday it will begin admitting illegal immigrants to the school and will provide them with financial aid, saying the move will “strengthen” the student body. The university had never had an official ban on illegal immigrants but Inside Higher Ed reported the school treated them as international students and required them to have student visas — which effectively served as a bar. “We will strengthen our incoming class and give deserving young people the chance for a Notre Dame education,” Don Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment, said in a statement announcing the policy. The university also said
In exchange for his long awaited exit as Mayor, the city of San Diego will pay Bob Filner´s legal fees and his share of damages in a lawsuit according to anonymous sources. An estimate puts that amount around several hundred thousand dollars. The body count is up to 18, possibly more, women who have alleged Filner groped, licked, squeezed and harassed them. Filner refused to leave office, even as women continued to come forward. Obviously, his resignation was the only bargaining chip he had in his pocket. A lawsuit was filed by Gloria Allred on behalf of her client who was
The US Army psychiatrist who shot dead 13 comrades at a Texas Army base in 2009 has been convicted of all charges. Maj Nidal Hasan faces the death penalty after being found guilty of 13 counts of pre-meditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. Maj Hasan, 42, has admitted the shooting at Fort Hood and declined to present a defence at his court martial. The jury, which reached a unanimous verdict in seven hours, begins the penalty phase of the trial on Monday. The 13-member panel must come to a unanimous agreement in order to recommend the judge sentence Maj Hasan to death.
The Sacramento Bee reported weeks ago that the California Legislature has passed a bill that would let non-citizens who are “lawful permanent residents who meet all the other requirements for being eligible to vote except for citizenship” work at the polls. The bill, apparently aimed at recruiting more Spanish-speaking poll workers, awaits signature from Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. Democratic State Sen. Rob Bonta said there are “nearly 3 million citizens who are fully eligible to vote and not English proficient.” "We have a shortage of multilingual poll workers in the state of California," Bonta said. "There has to be language access at
Some National Security Agency analysts deliberately ignored restrictions on their authority to spy on Americans multiple times in the past decade, contradicting Obama administration officials’ and lawmakers’ statements that no willful violations occurred. “Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found,” the NSA said in a statement to Bloomberg News. “NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations -- responding as appropriate. NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities.” The incidents, chronicled in a new report by the NSA’s inspector general, provide more evidence that
FORT HOOD, Texas — Army Maj. Nidal Hasan was convicted Friday in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, a shocking assault against American troops at home by one of their own who said he opened fire on fello w soldiers to protect Muslim insurgents abroad. The Army psychiatrist acknowledged carrying out the attack in a crowded waiting room where unarmed troops were making final preparations to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 wounded. Because Hasan never denied his actions, the court-martial was always less about a conviction than it was about ensuring
The rites of late summer in Los Angeles include getting the kids ready to go back to school, counting down to college football season, and awaiting word from the most popular figure in Dodgers history. We cannot help on the first two fronts, but we bring good news on the third. Vin Scully is coming back. The Dodgers announced Friday that Scully, the finest broadcaster in baseball history, will return for a record 65th season in 2014. Scully is 85. The Dodgers never would kick him out of the broadcast booth, but he respects his audience too much to mumble around a microphone
The father of a young boy fatally shot in the Newtown massacre last year stopped in Richmond on Thursday as part of a “No More Names” national bus tour to drum up support for universal background checks for gun purchases. “It’s something that shouldn’t have happened,” said Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was one of 20 students and six adults fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. “It’s something that can’t happen again. It’s something that’s got to be changed, and we can help prevent that.” Speaking to a sparse crowd — perhaps 15 local supporters —
Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), offered a modest proposal in response to Barack Obama’s suggestions on education policy Thursday. Speaking on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir show to substitute host Joy-Ann Reid, Rangel opined that no young people should have to pay for their college education. Rangel said of Obama’s proposal: I think it´s exciting, and certainly it’s going to bring in accountability. You know, we have universities scattered all over the world. Sometimes you think that tuition means nothing to a large group of people who pay these enormous salaries to college presidents. But if you´re talking about production, if you´re talking
SOUTH PASADENA — A former LAPD homicide detective unveiled new evidence Thursday that he says reveals who killed the Black Dahlia. Steve Hodel believes the killer was his own father. Hodel’s father George was booked in 1949 for incest and child molestation. He was also a prime suspect for the 1947 never-solved Black Dahlia murder. Hodel spoke to a rapt audience at the Pasadena Library Thursday evening. After his talk, he spoke to CBS2´s Serene Branson. Authorities long believed someone with medical knowledge committed the gruesome torture and slaying. Elizabeth Short, an aspiring actress, was cut in half with medical precision in January 1947. Steve Hodel’s
As reported on The Lead, Al Gore is at it again, going after the sinners among us: In a wide-ranging interview, Gore told the Washington Post that Republicans are growing weary of those who reject the notion of climate change, likening them to “an alcoholic father who flies into a rage every time a subject is mentioned so everyone avoids the elephant in the room to keep the peace.” Reverend Gore, of course, doesn´t deny climate change. Climate change has been very good to him, though he hasn´t made any notable personal sacrifices to curtail it or, even, set an example of