House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, who told ABC News today that “our national security interests do lie in Syria right now,” is nevertheless disappointed by a perceived lack of engagement between the White House and Congress. He implored President Obama today to undertake a heavy dose of congressional consultation before launching a potential strike on Syria. Rogers is scheduled to participate in a White House briefing this evening. “The president should get buy-in from members of Congress. He needs buy-in from the American people and the best way to do that is consult, the way the law requires for the president,
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama still calls shoring up the middle class his "No. 1 priority," but recent events overseas and at home are overshadowing the U.S. economy as a political issue. The civil war in Syria and alleged use by Damascus of chemical weapons, political turmoil in Egypt and revelations about the extent of the National Security Agency´s surveillance programs are complicating Obama´s efforts to keep the focus on the economy. And while the slow and uneven recovery is now 4 years old, its advance could be threatened by U.S.-led airstrikes against targets in Syria that might send already
Foreign leaders gave lavish gifts to a number of U.S. officials last year, including the Saudi Arabian king, who gave Hillary Clinton diamond-and-ruby-encrusted jewels worth half a million dollars. Clinton´s gifts from King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz - which included a necklace, bracelet, earrings and a ring - were by far the most expensive items among the hundreds of gifts given to U.S. officials in 2012. A complete list of the gifts received last year, as well as a couple dozen from previous years, were disclosed by the State Department on Thursday.
New Orleans - A painting by a 37-year-old Louisiana primate who applies color with his tongue instead of a brush has been deemed the finest chimpanzee art in the land. Brent, a retired laboratory animal, was the top vote-getter in an online chimp art contest organized by the Humane Society of the United States, which announced the results Thursday. He won $10,000 for the Chimp Haven sanctuary in northwest Louisiana. A Chimp Haven spokeswoman said Brent was unavailable for comment Thursday. "I think he´s asleep," Ashley Gordon said. But as the society said on its website, "The votes are
Las Vegas - It turns out that even in Sin City, some sins are hard to overlook. The Palazzo hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip is trying to evict a 10-month-old nightclub for shows it says are so raunchy that they violate obscenity laws. It says actors — some nearly naked — toss condoms into the crowd and simulate sex acts and bestiality on stage. The club is seeking a restraining order to halt the closure, arguing that simulated sex acts don´t constitute obscenity. Casino officials "were well aware of our brand," said Sean Dunn, events director at The Act, in an email statement,
Washington - The nation´s top intelligence official said Thursday that he´ll now release figures every year on how many new top secret court orders and national security letters are issued and how many people are targeted because of them. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said in a statement that the number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders and national security letters authorizing spying will be published on a website established to show the American people how U.S. spy agencies work. The court orders and letters are tools authorized by the USA Patriot Act to pursue
Islamabad, Pakistan — A Pakistani judicial official on Thursday overturned the conviction of a Pakistani doctor who helped the C.I.A. while it was searching for Osama bin Laden, and ordered a retrial. The official, Sahibzada Muhammad Anis, who presided over an appellate court hearing the case, ruled that the tribal judge who convicted the doctor, Shakil Afridi, exceeded his authority when he sentenced him to 33 years in prison in May 2012. (Snip) Officials said that Dr. Afridi would not be released before the retrial concluded. Although he was convicted on charges of aiding a banned Islamist
Egyptian authorities have banned Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr from working in the country. The ministers of investment, telecommunication and information issued a statement on Thursday stating the Qatari channel was banned from Egypt because it does not have legal permits or permission to work in the country. The channel had been using unlicensed broadcasting devices, the statement added. The statement accused the channel of spreading lies and rumours damaging to Egyptian national security and unity. On 15 August, the cabinet asked the ministries of information, telecommunication and
Two plays in the Permian Basin could see a surge in production and together pump 38 percent of the West Texas region’s oil by 2018, according to report released this week by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie. Exploration and production giants such as Apache Corp., ConocoPhillips, and Chevron are positioned to lead an investment boost in the oil fields, and in five years, capital expenditures could jump 57 percent to $22 billion in the two Permian Basin plays. Together, the Bone Spring and the Wolfcamp plays could pump 1 million barrels of oil per day by 2018, Wood Mackenzie reports.
PHILADELPHIA – The NFL has agreed to spend close to $800 million to diagnose and compensate potentially hundreds of retired players who may be suffering from dementia and other brain disorders they blame on the violent, bone-jarring collisions that pro football has long celebrated in its highlight reels. The settlement, which is subject to approval by a federal judge, was announced Thursday after months of court-ordered mediation. It came just days before the first game of the 2013 season, removing a major legal and financial threat hanging over the NFL. More than 4,500 former athletes -- some suffering from dementia,
Iowa Democrat gubernatorial candidates joined abortion activists in a prayer for increased access to abortion at a rally held Wednesday. Creative Minority Report notes the following video: [snip video] Similarly, Life News reports the “prayer:” We give thanks, oh Lord, for the doctors, both current and future, who provide quality abortion care. We pray for increased financial support for low-income women to access contraception, abortion and childcare. Today, we pray for women in developing nations, that they may know the power of self-determination. May they have access to employment, education, birth control and abortion. Today we pray for the families
The Obama administration and a group of Republican senators abandoned efforts Thursday to hammer out a budget deal and avoid a showdown over the national debt, saying they had failed to resolve their long-standing dispute over taxes. “It’s very evident that there just isn’t common ground at present and we’ve all agreed there’s no reason for these talks to continue,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said after attending the group’s final session at the White House. Asked what happens next, Corker said, “I have no idea.” The end of the talks comes just over a week before Congress is to return
The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was obviously a momentous occasion. What a shame, then, to see it marred by speeches that made it sound more like a campaign event. Some of the things said were patently absurd, like Bill Clinton’s claiming it was tougher to vote than to buy an assault rifle. But watching President Obama’s speech was almost painful. He took what could have been a great moment and turned it into a dirge on class warfare and the terrible civil-rights violation caused by “corporate profits soar[ing].” Obama seems unable to ever distance himself from politics,
Radio´s Rush Limbaugh remains an astute observer of the country´s political forces. He also understands how much power popular culture, which more than leans left, has over voters. Limbaugh listed the ways in which conservatism commands the public´s loyalty, specifically citing talk radio, non-fiction book sales and Fox News. Yet the right continues to lose at the ballot box. How do elections happen the way they do? We own books; we own talk radio; we own cable news. Well, the answer is, "We´re nowhere in the pop culture. We are nowhere in movies. We´re nowhere in television shows. We are
A cat token has been introduced to Monopoly, the board that´s been around since the 1930s, replacing the iron as one of the game pieces. (Don´t worry, the thimble is hanging in). Say hello, kitty. Purists of the board game might not like the move, but game-maker Hasbro let the cat -- in huge form -- roam around London in late July. The celebri-cat was photographed posing on Millennium Bridge, approaching a Tube station and visiting the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, where at least one dog jumped on its back. And maybe the Scottie dog token will have some
The inventor of the giant foam finger, the preferred accessory of ice hockey fans, is not very happy with Miley Cyrus. Cyrus, who took advantage of a foam finger onstage during her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards by making it into a *******, is being condemned by Steve Chmelar, the man who created the first giant foam finger in 1971. “She took an honorable icon that is seen in sporting venues everywhere and degraded it,” Chmelar told FoxSports. “Fortunately, the foam finger has been around long enough that it will survive this incident.”
You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad. I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.
MOSCOW — Russia has made its opposition to military intervention in Syria vehemently clear. The foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, warns daily about the risk of an escalating conflagration. A deputy prime minister said the West dealt with the Islamic world like “a monkey with a grenade.” A few commentators on the fringe have warned of World War III. The one voice that has remained silent, though, is the one that matters most. President Vladimir V. Putin has conspicuously avoided public comment on reports of a chemical weapons attack on civilians outside of Damascus
VICTORIA, British Columbia -- Canadian astronomers report they´ve discovered the first Trojan asteroid -- a class of asteroids that share orbits with planets -- in the orbit of Uranus. Researchers at the University of British Columbia said they believe the asteroid 2011 QF99 is part of a larger-than-expected population of transient objects temporarily trapped by the gravitational pull of the Solar System´s giant planets. Astronomers had considered Trojans at Uranus unlikely because the gravitational pull of larger neighboring planets would eventually destabilize and expel any Uranian Trojans. QF99 is a temporary Trojan, the Canadian astronomers said, only recently (within the last
WASHINGTON – The top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is demanding an investigation into a former top aide to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy who faces federal charges of embezzling almost $900,000. In a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr. dated Aug. 27, Sen. David Vitter, of Louisiana, said “serious questions remain unanswered regarding EPA’s internal processes that enabled such fraud to occur” and asked Elkins to “make recommendations to ensure that this does not happen again.” The Department of Justice on Aug. 23 filed a criminal information with the U.S. District
World leaders lavished President Obama and top administration officials with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewels, artwork and other extravagant gifts last year, the State Department disclosed Thursday. Most of the gifts are turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration or the General Services Administration (GSA), though recipients are allowed to retain many for official use or buy them for their personal collections. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to have received the most expensive gift, described as “white gold jewelry with teardrop rubies and diamonds containing a necklace, a bracelet, earrings, and a ring.”
Despite the pumped-up threats and quickening military preparations, President Obama has yet to make a convincing legal or strategic case for military action against Syria. While there should be some kind of international response to the chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of civilians last week, Mr. Obama has yet to spell out how that response would effectively deter further use of chemical weapons. For starters, where is the proof that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria carried out the attack? American, British, French and Turkish officials have been unequivocal in blaming
Washington - President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria, administration officials said Thursday, despite a stinging rejection of such action on Thursday by America’s stalwart ally Britain and mounting questions from Congress. (Snip) The vote was also a setback for Mr. Obama, who, having given up hope of getting United Nations Security Council authorization for the strike, is struggling to assemble a coalition of allies against Syria. But administration officials made clear that the eroding support would not deter Mr. Obama in deciding to go ahead with a strike.
Former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix today criticised the US, Britain and France for acting like “self-appointed global policemen”. He claimed it would be “very unwise” to attack Syria and hit out at Barack Obama, suggesting he was considering military action only to avoid looking like a “paper tiger”. Dr Blix said Mr Obama felt a need not to appear “hesitant and passive” and had been pushed to act by Syrian rebels. Writing in the Guardian, he said: “Such action could not be ‘in self-defence’ or ‘retaliation’, as the US, the UK and France have not been attacked.
The Obama administration’s plan to launch a military strike against Syria is being received with serious reservations by many in the U.S. military, which is coping with the scars of two lengthy wars and a rapidly contracting budget, according to current and former officers. Having assumed for months that the United States was unlikely to intervene militarily in Syria, the Defense Department has been thrust onto a war footing that has made many in the armed services uneasy, according to interviews with more than a dozen military officers ranging from captains to a four-star general.
The most detailed public disclosure of American intelligence spending in history shows a surprisingly dominant role for the Central Intelligence Agency, a growing emphasis on both defensive and offensive cyberoperations, and significant gaps in knowledge about targeted countries despite the sharp increase in spending after the 2001 terrorist attacks. (Snip) The budget request lists five major missions for the intelligence agencies: warning American leaders about threats and instability; battling terrorism; countering weapons proliferation; cyberoperations; and counterespionage.