After years of U.S. ?inaction and denial, Secretary of State John Kerry is now leading the Obama administration’s charge against Syria but faces a ?political minefield, including opposition from voters and potential GOP presidential contenders. Kerry’s ominous words could mean a military strike soon against Syria, a risky gamble because most Americans appear opposed to another U.S. intervention, while many Republicans are likely to seize on the issue to portray Kerry and Obama as weak and slow-footed in dealing with President Bashar Assad. Whatever the president decides to do, he will be pilloried by his opponents and even some liberal
The Republican National Committee commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March of Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech with a luncheon Monday. The most rousing speech of the luncheon came from Bob Woodson, the head of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprises. Woodson criticized black leaders over Trayvon Martin, the black Florida teen who was shot to death by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted in Martin’s death. Woodson, who is black, said groups including gays and immigrants have been prioritized over poor black people in American society. “Everybody has come in front of them on the bus
A new survey of customer satisfaction in the United States shows the gap between the ´Big Three´ automakers and imported car brands has stretched to its widest point in five years. The 2013 American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) finds GM, Ford and Chrysler have an average score of 82 (on a scale between 0 and 100) which is below the industry average of 83. Asian brands have an average score of just over 84, slightly behind European brands which lead the ACSI with an average just under 85. Overall, satisfaction with 20 different auto brands fell 1.2 percent. The ACSI
Washington - Eight Democratic senators and congressmen have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to answer questions about a Reuters report that the National Security Agency supplies the Drug Enforcement Administration with intelligence information used to make non-terrorism cases against American citizens. The August report revealed that a secretive DEA unit passes the NSA information to agents in the field, including those from the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and Homeland Security, with instructions to never disclose the original source, even in court.
Months before the Ft. Hood shooting in November 2009, the Army psychiatrist convicted Friday of killing 13 and wounding more than 30 was completing a fellowship at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where military supervisors praised his unique interest in Islam´s impact on soldiers, according to documents provided to The Times. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan´s supervisors had also repeatedly recommended him for promotion, according to documents. (Snip) Among Hasan´s "unique skills," the report listed "Islamic studies" and "traumatic stress spectrum psychiatric disorders,"
BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. —On Monday, Judge Alan Malott ruled it unconstitutional to ban same-sex couples from getting married in Bernalillo County. Malott ruled that the Bernalillo and Santa Fe county clerks must grant marriage licenses to gay couples who apply for them. "Gay and lesbian citizens of New Mexico have endured a long history of discrimination. Denial of the right to marry continues this unfortunate and intolerable pattern," Malott said during his ruling. In his ruling, Malott also outlined why he was ordering the clerks to take immediate action. "There is no benefit to the parties or the public interest in having this matter
George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer found not guilty in the February 2012 shooting death of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, will ask the state of Florida to cover some of his legal fees, a lawyer´s spokesman says. Mark O´Mara, Zimmerman´s lawyer, plans to file a motion to recoup between $200,000 and $300,000 in legal fees from the state of Florida, (Snip) A Florida statute allows defendants who win their cases to file such motions, Vincent said. More than a month after Zimmerman was acquitted, his attorneys have now had the time to begin preparing their motion.
In the four years since the Great Recession officially ended, the productivity of American workers — those lucky enough to have jobs — has risen smartly. But the United States still has two million fewer jobs than before the downturn, the unemployment rate is stuck at levels not seen since the early 1990s and the proportion of adults who are working is four percentage points off its peak in 2000. This job drought has spurred pundits to wonder whether a profound employment sickness has overtaken us. And from there, it’s only a short leap to ask whether that illness isn’t
“There was such a total lack of awareness from the firms that paid big bonuses during this extraordinary time.” That is what Henry M. Paulson Jr., the former Treasury secretary, said last week. (Snip) Five years on, Mr. Paulson, assessing the success of a bailout program that clearly helped stabilize the economy, said that the bonuses that the banks paid after the bailouts — a record $140 billion in 2009 — were a primary reason for the public outrage over the program he worked so hard to persuade Congress to pass and the country to support. “To say I was disappointed is an understatement,” he said.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry declared Monday that a chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria was undeniable and an act of “moral obscenity.” But tough talk aside, President Obama’s aides were working to prepare the American public and allies for a limited U.S. military retaliation while avoiding a larger-scale response that would try to alter the outcome of that country’s civil war. In some of the administration’s harshest words yet for the Syrian regime, Mr. Kerry accused President Bashar Assad of killing more than 300 civilians with chemical weapons Wednesday in one of the deadliest attacks in the 2-year-old
With the White House closer to launching a surgical military strike on Syria, questions swirled Monday over the extent to which such an attack could trigger a wave of terrorism directed at the U.S. and Israel. Some analysts said Monday that Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia fighting in support of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, likely would be inspired to ramp up operations in Iran’s “shadow war” with the U.S. and its allies. Tensions between the West and Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program have fueled the protracted and secretive war — a
A California bill that could strip tax-exempt status from the Boy Scouts of America and other “discriminatory” nonprofit youth-serving groups could come up for a final vote this week. The first-of-its-kind bill, SB 323, passed the California Senate and sailed through Assembly committees to a floor vote, possibly this week. But opponents are taking heart that there might not be enough votes in the state Assembly to pass the bill. The chamber did not consider the bill in its Monday session, but may take it up when it convenes Friday. The bill, introduced by State Sen. Ricardo Lara, names the
President Obama is weighing a military strike against Syria that would be of limited scope and duration, designed to serve as punishment for Syria’s use of chemical weapons and as a deterrent, while keeping the United States out of deeper involvement in that country’s civil war, according to senior administration officials. The timing of such an attack, which would probably last no more than two days and involve sea-launched cruise missiles — or, possibly, long-range bombers — striking military targets not directly related to Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, is dependent on three factors: completion of an intelligence report assessing Syrian
The black St. Peter’s Prep student who purportedly received racist text messages warning him to drop out of the Jersey City high school´s student government election sent the texts to himself, a school official confirmed last week. “The entire Saint Peter´s Prep community is relieved that this extremely distressing incident has found closure, and we commend the various law enforcement officials for their diligent work on this case over the past months,” said school spokesman James Horan, who confirmed the result of the probe after its disclosure by a police source. The 16-year-old was running for president
Atlantic City — What if, after seven years of plunging casino revenues and fleeing customers, Atlantic City’s real problem was this: People are wearing too much clothing? Scores, the famous New York strip club, will open a satellite establishment inside the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort next month — the first strip club inside an Atlantic City casino in the 35 years of legal gambling here. (snip) "We feel this is the third leg of the Atlantic City triangle: gambling, alcohol and adult entertainment," said Bob Gans, the club’s managing partner. "It’s a natural." Since 2006, when the first casino opened in
Authorities released new details Monday about two teenage boys who are charged with the murder of Delbert Belton, an 88-year-old World War II veteran, in Spokane, Wash., saying the motive of the attack was robbery, and that family members helped lead police to their second suspect. Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub, at a news conference Monday that was streamed live online, said suspects Demetrius Glenn and Kenan Adams-Kinard, both 16, have been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. Glenn turned himself in last week and Adams-Kinard was arrested early Monday morning.
The 88-year-old World War II veteran who was randomly beaten to death Wednesday likely died because he tried to fend off his attackers. Two teenage boys are charged in the bloody beating of Delbert Belton outside a Spokane, Washington ice skating rink and investigators are now suggesting the soldier—who took a bullet in the Battle of Okinawa—tried to stop the apparent robbery. Police say that enraged the teens and turned their petty theft into full-blown murder as they continued to beat him into submission with ‘big, heavy flashlights.’ ‘Our information is that the individual fought back and that may have made this, you
US President Barack Obama has the authority to launch air strikes against Syria. But he has to notify lawmakers in Congress -- a process which has begun, according to both sides. "The administration is actively consulting with members of Congress, and we will continue to have these conversations in the days ahead," Kerry said Monday in a strongly-worded statement on Syria. The Republican speaker of the House Of Representatives, John Boehner, has had "preliminary communication with the White House about the situation in Syria and any potential US response," his spokesman said. "The speaker made clear that before any action is taken there
Warplanes and military transporters have begun arriving at Britain´s Akrotiri airbase on Cyprus, less than 100 miles from the Syrian coast, in a sign of increasing preparations for a military strike against the Assad regime in Syria. Two commercial pilots who regularly fly from Larnaca on Monday told the Guardian that they had seen C-130 transport planes from their cockpit windows as well as small formations of fighter jets on their radar screens, which they believe had flown from Europe. Residents near the British airfield, a sovereign base since 1960, also say activity there has been much higher than normal over the
Fox News channel media analyst Howard Kurtz commented on President Obama´s recent interview with CNN´s Chris Cuomo about how some Republican congressman had told him they were “worried about what Rush Limbaugh is going to say about me on the radio" if they didn´t try to defund Obamacare. Kurtz pounced on the disingenuous Obama claim: "Really? A guy with a microphone is preventing the president of the United States from getting his way on Capitol Hill? Is Rush that powerful?" Let’s unpack this a bit. As the nation’s most powerful radio broadcaster, Limbaugh is an unquestioned force on the right. But when Republicans
As talk and rumors of an impending Western attack against Syria mount, a top Syrian official said Monday that if attacked, his country would react – against Israel. Speaking to an Arabic-language radio station operated by the United States, Syria´s Deputy Information Minister Halaf Al-Maftah said that Israel would face not only Syria in the event that the US, Britain and France attempted to unseat Bashar al-Assad. A coalition consisting of Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria would respond to any attack against Assad with a response against Israel. In addition, terrorist groups in Syria and Lebanon would attack Israel with full
"If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan." — President Obama, Aug. 11, 2009 So said President Obama again and again through 2009 and 2010 as he sold Obamacare to the country. He promised. He put his personal integrity on the line. His word. How many UPS employees voted for the president in 2008 and again in 2012? Because on Friday, UPS announced it was dumping 15,000 spouses of UPS employees from their UPS health plans despite the president´s many, many promises to the contrary.
Should President Obama decide to order a military strike against Syria, his main order of business must be to kill Bashar Assad. Also, Bashar´s brother and principal henchman, Maher. Also, everyone else in the Assad family with a claim on political power. Also, all of the political symbols of the Assad family´s power, including all of their official or unofficial residences. The use of chemical weapons against one´s own citizens plumbs depths of barbarity matched in recent history only by Saddam Hussein. A civilized world cannot tolerate it. It must demonstrate that the penalty for it will be acutely personal
Los Angeles’ new mayor has vowed to help stanch the flow of film and TV production jobs out of Hollywood, starting with the appointment of a film czar at City Hall. But to make a real difference, Eric Garcetti needs to convince skeptical state pols to combat the lure of rich tax incentives from outside California. Two days after this year’s Oscars, Hollywood’s councilman Eric Garcetti, then running for mayor of Los Angeles, staged a media event at Sunset Gower Studios. Only a smattering of reporters and photographers showed up, perhaps because the gathering was to address “runaway production,”
A British nuclear submarine has reportedly been spotted off the Gibraltar coast. Witnesses said they saw the vessel surface on Saturday as tensions between Spain and Britain continue to rise over fishing rights around the Mediterranean enclave. The sighting comes days after Royal Navy warship HMS Westminster arrived in Gibraltar. A spokeswoman said if it was in Gibraltar then it was for ´routine business´. The Sun quoted an ´insider´ as saying: ´There is only one reason a submarine breaks the surface - and that is to be spotted. ´These things do not show themselves unless they want to be seen.´
Evidence of the astonishing incompetence of the Obama administration continues to roll in. It started with the stimulus package. One-third of the money went to public employee union members — a political payoff not very stimulating to anyone else. Billions went to green energy loans, like the $500 million that the government lost in backing the obviously hapless Solyndra. Infrastructure projects, which the president continues to tout, never seem to get built. He´s been talking about dredging the port of Charleston, for example, to accommodate the big container ships coming in when the Panama Canal is widened. The canal widening is proceeding