For the past week, Sen. David Vitter has antagonized Democrats by insisting on a vote that would strip lawmakers of a valuable health care subsidy they have enjoyed for years. But now, Senate Democrats are showing Vitter two can play at this game, hitting the Louisiana Republican, who was once embroiled in a prostitution scandal, where it hurts. Here’s how it all started: In August, the federal government announced that it would continue to contribute to the health care coverage of members of Congress and their staff. Had the government not stepped in, the health care premiums of lawmakers and their aides would
BEIRUT -- He is rarely photographed or even quoted in Syria´s media. Wrapped in that blanket of secrecy, President Bashar Assad´s younger brother has been vital to the family´s survival in power. Maher Assad commands the elite troops that protect the Syrian capital from rebels on its outskirts and is widely believed to have helped orchestrate the regime´s fierce campaign to put down the uprising, now well into its third year. He has also gained a reputation for brutality among opposition activists. His role underlines the family core of the Assad regime, though he is a stark contrast to his brothers. His
WASHINGTON -- After 2 1/2 years of civil war in Syria, President Barack Obama´s larger policy is in disarray even as his administration, with help from Russia, averted a military showdown for the time being. In an address to the American people, Obama said he was working with U.S. allies to "provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition and to shape a political settlement" for ending a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people and made refugees of millions more. That simple message belies a hodgepodge of often contradicting goals and strategies unlikely to be resolved by the
WASHINGTON – Elizabeth O’Bagy, a pro-Syrian opposition analyst whose credibility has come under fire, might have even more explaining to do – as court documents show she once vouched for a rebel group whose website displayed extremist and anti-American images. Among the pictures was one showing a burning U.S. Capitol. (Snip)O’Bagy discussed the rebel group in question in a June 19, 2013 signed affidavit filed in the case of American Eric Harroun, who was indicted for fighting alongside the terror group al-Nusra in Syria. O’Bagy’s signed declaration, which included a breakdown of rebel groups and their varying degrees of affiliation to Al Qaeda-linked terrorists Link repaired by Staff.
You can’t spot Voyager 1 as it leaves the solar system’s heliosphere, but the National Radio Astronomy Observatory can, and did it just for kicks. Well maybe not for kicks, but scientists were interested in how well their array of 10 radio telescopes, stretching from Hawaii to St. Croix, Virgin Islands, could plot the spacecraft, which is more than 11 billion miles from Earth. Usually, those instruments home in on the faint radio signals from quasars, black holes and the like. They also routinely track NASA´s Cassini spacecraft, out around Saturn. But in February and again in June, scientists trained the instruments
Floodwaters cascaded downstream from the Colorado Rockies on Friday, spilling normally scenic mountain rivers and creeks over their banks and forcing thousands more evacuations in water-logged communities beset by days of steady rain. The relentless rush of water from higher ground turned whole towns into muddy swamps and threatened to strand hikers and some rural residents into the weekend. In at least one community, pressure from the descending water caused sewer grates to erupt into huge black geysers. All the while, rain continued to fall, causing flooding across a wide rugged area stretching from Denver to Fort Collins.
The Voyager-1 spacecraft has become the first manmade object to leave the Solar System. Scientists say the probe´s instruments indicate it has moved beyond the bubble of hot gas from our Sun and is now moving in the space between the stars. Launched in 1977, Voyager was sent initially to study the outer planets, but then just kept on going. Today, the veteran Nasa mission is almost 19 billion km (12 billion miles) from home. This distance is so vast that it takes 17 hours now for a radio signal sent from Voyager to reach receivers here on Earth.
A plant-hopping insect has joints that work like interlocking gears, a new study reports, the first known instance of coglike wheels in nature. “We always think of gears in our cars or bikes,” said an author of the study, Malcolm Burrows, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge. “We don’t see them to be present in animals.” (Snip)Its coglike joints were first described in the 1950s, but it was only with advanced high-speed video that the scientists were able to prove how the joints worked.
LAKE FOREST, ILL. — While the golf world was buzzing over Jim Furyk´s 59 in Friday´s second round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club, Tiger Woods was fuming. The world No. 1´s up-and-down day ended on a sour note in the scoring trailer when he learned he would be penalized two strokes for moving his ball before hitting his third shot on the first hole. Woods, who made double-bogey 6 on the first after hitting two poor chip shots, pulled out his eraser and changed it to a quadruple-bogey 8 before signing his card. His score was changed
WASHINGTON—Lawrence Summers´s prospects of becoming chairman of the Federal Reserve next year dimmed Friday, as an important Senate Democrat signaled that he would vote against the Harvard economist, should President Barack Obama nominate him to lead the central bank. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, considered a political centrist, joins at least three other Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee who are expected to vote against Mr. Summers if he is nominated. The mounting opposition to Mr. Summers suggests his potential path to Senate confirmation is narrowing quickly. His nomination would need Republican support to advance from the banking committee to
A brewing financial crisis is forcing NPR to make one of the largest staff reductions in its history — at a time when the radio and digital news organization had seemed to be on the upswing. Washington-based NPR disclosed a buyout plan Friday that it hopes will reduce its 840-member payroll by about 10 percent over the next year. NPR said the buyout is necessary to close a persistent deficit, projected at $6 million in its upcoming fiscal year. Until Friday’s news, NPR had escaped many of the worst effects of the Great Recession and the digital revolution that has
One of the most persistent claims in the climate debate is that global warming leads to more extreme weather. Green groups and even such respectable outlets as Scientific American declare that “extreme weather is a product of climate change.” And the meme seems irresistible as a political shortcut to action. President Obama has explicitly linked a warming climate to “more extreme droughts, floods, wildfires and hurricanes.” The White House warned this summer of “increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events that come with climate change.” Yet this is not supported by science. “General statements about extremes are almost nowhere to
GENEVA — The Obama administration will not press for U.N. authorization to use force against Syria if it reneges on any agreement to give up its chemical weapons, senior administration officials said Friday. The Russians have made clear in talks here between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John F. Kerry that the negotiations cannot proceed under the threat of a U.N. resolution authorizing a military strike. Russia also wants assurances that a resolution will not refer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the International Criminal Court for possible war-crimes prosecution. President Obama has said that the unilateral U.S.
A Taliban attack on a U.S. consulate in the early morning hours Friday initially highlighted longstanding fears in Congress of an accelerated withdrawal while President Obama insists that the war in the Afghanistan be ended by his hand. Local reports of damage in Herat and the response, though, raise questions about just how much diplomatic security has been improved in the wake of the four deaths at Benghazi a year ago. The feared repeat of a 9/11 Benghazi attack came two days after the anniversary when attackers deployed car bombs in an SUV and minivan at the gates to the
A gang of squatters have been accused of making their neighbours lives ´a living hell´ for four years - but can´t be evicted because of a legal loophole. The squatters, believed to be eastern European, keep locals up all night by playing bongo drums and dump piles of rubbish in their street in Streatham, south London. But police have been left powerless to boot them out because the building is classed as commercial property. New laws introduced last year which allow squatters to be jailed for six months only cover residential properties. Angry locals have branded powers to evict squatters
City funding for the anti-violence group CeaseFire Illinois has run out, putting employees out of work in two gang-infested communities on the South and West sides. The one-year, $1 million contract was the first of its kind when it was forged last summer as Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy looked for unorthodox solutions as the number of homicides last year exceeded 500 for the first time in four years. The group operates in several other communities across the city primarily through state funding and will continue that work. CeaseFire, which tries to mediate gang conflicts to
Monster shrimp, some up to the length of a man´s forearm, are invading U.S. waters. Asian tiger shrimp have spread from North Carolina to Texas along the U.S. coast, but no one seems to know how they ended up in the U.S. in the first place. They are originally natives to Indo-Pacific, Asian, and Australian waters. The shrimp may have escaped aquaculture facilities in the U.S. or Caribbean, or maybe even drifted in on ocean currents from the Caribbean or even as far away as west Africa. The shrimp first showed up in 1988, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
MINNEAPOLIS- Jeff Wagner wants to be the next mayor of Minneapolis, and he´s already made one campaign promise: He won´t go to the strip clubs anymore. Wagner published a campaign video on YouTube that´s already getting national attention. The ad open with a woman on the lakeshore asking, ""You know what I want? A Minneapolis mayor that really represents the people." Wagner conveniently emerges from the lake, wearing only a swimsuit and holding a coffee mug. His campaign pitch: "Over $1 million is going to be spent to become the mayor of Minneapolis – a $100,000 a year job. You´re not
Miami When the anniversary of 9/11 came around this year, Robert Seldon Lady was moving between low-end hotels around Miami. An international arrest warrant keeps him from returning to his home in Panama. He says he´s flirting with personal bankruptcy, fears for his life, and is "getting pretty desperate." His marriage is broken. He blames this hard luck on his former employer, the Central Intelligence Agency. A decade ago, Mr. Lady served on the front lines of America´s antiterror efforts after 9/11, heading up the agency´s base in Milan. In the 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush credited him and
NEW YORK — A New Jersey-based newspaper publisher is suing Sarah Palin and her political action committee for copyright infringement over the use of an iconic Sept. 11 photograph. A lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan federal court by North Jersey Media Group Inc. says Palin´s SarahPAC posted a copy of the photo on its website and Facebook page without permission. The photo depicts three New York City firefighters hoisting an American flag among the rubble at the World Trade Center after the attacks. Arlington, Virginia-based SarahPAC did not respond to a message for comment. The lawsuit asks the court to
STEAD, Nev. — Bob Hoover is an aviation legend who was once friends with Orville Wright, Charles Lindbergh and Chuck Yeager and spent 16 months in a German prison camp after his plane was shot down during World War II. The 91-year-old also witnessed the tragic crash that killed a pilot and 10 spectators two years ago during the Reno National Championship Races, and he described it as one of the worst things he has seen outside of his war years. He thought at the time that the crash would spell the end of the event. "I did not believe
Dan Pfeiffer, a top strategist for President Obama, visited a hospital twice last week with what officials describe as stroke-like symptoms, the White House confirmed to Post Politics. Pfeiffer, 37, has since returned to work and is being monitored. "We are happy and relieved to have Dan back at work full time," White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said. "He´s feeling better, listening to his doctors, and focused on helping implement the president’s very full domestic and foreign policy agenda." Pfeiffer began feeling ill Sept. 4 and stayed at a hospital overnight. After returning to work, he became ill again and
President Obama will travel to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines from Oct. 6 through Oct. 12, the White House said Friday. The White House billed Obama’s trip as “part of his ongoing commitment to increase U.S. political, economic and security engagement with the Asia Pacific." The trip resumes the administration’s “pivot” to Asia, which has been on the back-burner in recent months amid crises in the Middle East. The president will attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders summit while in Indonesia and meet with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other regional leaders. Obama will then travel to
A photo of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel signing for South Florida autograph broker Drew Tieman in early January has been obtained by ESPN. It is the first visual representation of Manziel signing for Tieman. In the photo, which two sources have confirmed as legitimate, Manziel, in a long-sleeve maroon shirt, is standing over a covered pool table signing photos of his image while Tieman oversees the process. The photo, according to sources, was taken in the Fort Lauderdale apartment in which Tieman was living at the time.
Sacramento - California Governor Jerry Brown said on Friday he would sign a bill authorizing the state to provide driver´s licenses to illegal immigrants, a last-minute reversal of his position. Brown said he approved of the measure, which its author had withdrawn on Thursday under the threat of a veto, capping a full day of lobbying by California politicians for immigration reform at the federal level. "This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally," Brown, a Democrat, said in an email sent to reporters shortly after midnight. "Hopefully it will send a message to
A bill that would allow non-physicians to perform abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy is awaiting signature by Gov. Jerry Brown of California by Sep. 30. The bill, AB 154, passed both houses of the state legislature with strong support from Planned Parenthood and pro-choice groups. Planned Parenthood stands to benefit most directly from the bill, as non-physician staff at its clinics would be able to obtain abortion licenses. One doctor--who identified himself as pro-choice--told Breitbart News that "the bill is a disaster since it sends us back 100 years to the problems of the complications from