PARIS—The Obama administration worked to sell its Syrian disarmament deal to skeptical allies overseas and domestic critics at home, stressing force remains an option against President Bashar al-Assad, but that there is still time for diplomacy to work. Secretary of State John Kerry set off on a globe-hopping mission in search of support, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday ahead of meetings with European and Middle Eastern allies in Paris on Monday. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, explained in a pre-taped television interview why the joint diplomatic initiative with Russia offered a potentially more lasting route to
Detroit is broke, but it didn’t have to be. An in-depth Free Press analysis of the city’s financial history back to the 1950s shows that its elected officials and others charged with managing its finances repeatedly failed — or refused — to make the tough economic and political decisions that might have saved the city from financial ruin. Instead, amid a huge exodus of residents, plummeting tax revenues and skyrocketing home abandonment, Detroit’s leaders engaged in a billion-dollar borrowing binge, created new taxes and failed to cut expenses when they needed to. Simultaneously, they gifted workers and retirees with generous bonuses.
Those were just some of the incendiary words thrown around the U.S. Senate last week, and that doesn’t count what people said in private. The Senate may still have a reputation as a genteel club, but lawmakers seemed to abandon rules of decorum completely last week in arguments about whether Congress should be treated like the rest of the country when it comes to Obamacare. Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has demanded a floor vote on his bill to end an exemption that members of Congress and their staffs are slated to get that will make them the only participants in
Journalistic, if not medical, malpractice: NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman goes to bat for the health care cost-curve-benders, taking sides against a new study suggesting that mammograms for women under 50 have a significant payoff: Brian Williams: …Our chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman is with us tonight on assignment at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota with guidance on all of this, and Nancy, good evening. Nancy Snyderman: Today’s report increases the confusion about women as to how early and how often to get screened. It would be great to think that the more often women get screened the more we’re
Less than half of Americans’ per-capita wealth that was lost in the government-boosted property bubble has been recovered by mid-2013, says a new White House report that is intended to help President Barack Obama trumpet his economic accomplishments. “Adjusted for inflation and population growth, only 45 percent of wealth lost during the recession has been recovered, and many of the hardest hit households did not benefit as much from the rebound in [Wall Street] financial assets prices,” the report admits. The 49-page report cherry-picks favorable economic data to justify its claim that “America has fought our way back … thanks to the
Last Tuesday morning, at 9 a.m. in a room deep within the bowels of the Capitol, Representative John Campbell was trying to determine whether the GOP leadership’s plan to fund the government would sink or swim. “Some meetings like that, they present an idea, and it just gets blasted,” he says. “And you can just tell, walking out of the meeting, ‘Okay, this is not gonna fly.’” Campbell, an affable and wealthy Californian who is leaving Congress at the end of this session and is eager to get ownership of his calendar back, has always had a knack for anticipating whether a
Two victims of the Boston marathon bombing, J.P. and Paul Norden, were each awarded $1.2 million dollars from the One Fund, but they are wary to spend it. This information comes from a new profile in The Washington Post, where the recovery efforts of the brothers—each of whom suffered amputations of one of their legs—and what they do or don´t do with their charitable contribution are brought to light. Technically becoming a millionaire overnight has brought its own of complications for their recovery. For instance: The payments are tax-free, but they will force the Norden brothers off the state health insurance program
There was good news for Republicans this week in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll: The Republican Party is gaining a public-opinion edge on several key issues ahead of the 2014 elections, as Americans question President Barack Obama’s leadership on Syria and worry about the country’s overall direction, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows. Republicans are now rated higher than Democrats on handling the economy and foreign policy, and the GOP’s lead has strengthened on several other issues, including dealing with the federal deficit and ensuring a strong national defense. The danger here is not only hubris (e.g. the suicidal government-shutdown
Ted Cruz may be an omnipresent rising conservative star. But the Texas Republican and his allies, including Senators Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), along with outside groups such as Heritage Action and the Club for Growth, aren’t so popular in the House these days. Their aggressive defunding campaign, which has (via Heritage Action) pledged to spend more than half-a-million dollars in online ads targeting House Republicans, has aggravated the leadership as well as rank-and-file members. Aides complain, often heatedly, about what they view as an effort to micromanage House Republicans that risks not only dividing the
The revolutions against dictators in the Middle East dubbed the Arab Spring have degenerated into a complex, bloody mélange of coups and counter-coups, as have happened in Egypt; vicious civil wars, like the current conflict in Syria; a resurgence of jihadists gaining footholds in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Sinai; and a shifting and fracturing of alliances and enmities of the sort throwing Lebanon and Jordan into turmoil. Meanwhile, American foreign policy has been confused, incompetent, and feckless in insuring that the security and interests of the United States and its allies are protected.
The news last week that federal authorities had to release 2,837 convicted sex offenders back onto the streets has renewed focus on a Supreme Court case that requires the government to release immigrants whose home countries won’t take them back. A report released last week by the Government Accountability Office said the nearly 3,000 sex offenders are part of the 59,347 immigrants who the courts have ruled cannot be held, whom the U.S. has been unable to send home, and who instead were released under some sort of supervision as of September 2012. The GAO took a sample of the sex offender
Scores of fifth-graders once feared lost to Colorado´s deadly flood waters were reunited with their parents Saturday after a field trip to the mountains turned into a harrowing three-day rescue involving the National Guard. The parents of 85 students from Fireside Elementary School in Louisville couldn´t get their arms around their children fast enough after heavy rains trapped the group Wednesday in the mountains of Jamestown. "Every time you watch the news it´s really hard not to burst into tears," one overjoyed mother told NBC outside the line of school buses. The children and 14 adult chaperones got stranded when pouring rain washed
Even as the United States and Russia were nearing an agreement over Syria’s chemical weapons, a federal prosecutor was filing papers that effectively accuse the Putin regime of tolerating, if not abetting, an organized gang of government officials and criminals who looted $250 million from the Russian treasury. The immediate intent of the official complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on September 10 was to seize several high-end Manhattan properties. The two multimillion dollar commercial spaces as well as four luxury apartments—these across from where George Washington was inaugurated as our first president—were allegedly purchased to launder proceeds from the
It´s too early to say for sure why Larry Summers decided to take himself off President Obama´s list of possible contenders for Fed chair. He seems to have cut some sort of implicit deal with Obama years ago: He´d take a position that was beneath him, and when Ben Bernanke´s term was up, Summers would easily be nominated. And not without warrant: Summers has all the right credentials. It turns out that history has saddled with him several of the wrong credentials, too. Over time, and not too fairly, he´s blamed by a lot of powerful people for tilting Obama
Sometimes it is worth stepping back from the fray to gain a little perspective. A shipped tossed about in a mighty gale looks one way to the passengers aboard, quite another way (as Lucretius pointed out in his great poem) to the lucky person watching from the comfortable safety of the hilltop overlooking the bay. I suspect that, for many observers, a material change has lately stolen over the metabolism of political life in America. A shift in the existential light illuminating events makes what is happening and, retrospectively, what has happened appear differently. The shadows are longer now, a
Americans awoke to the possibility this morning that the US has found a ‘solution’ to the Syria situation. The Times is reporting that the US and Russia have reached an agreement to remove or destroy Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014 (the official state department framework document on this agreement is here). If this deal goes through, two things are clear. First, for now at least, using chemical weapons worked for Assad. The Russia-US deal that the WH wants to spin as a win contains no mention of Assad leaving power, much less facing international justice for a massacre involving chemical weapons.
LOS ANGELES -- Bob Newhart, among TV´s most enduring stars with shows stretching back more than five decades, wept as he finally captured his first Emmy Award. Newhart, 84, was honored at Sunday´s creative arts Emmy ceremony for his guest role last season on "The Big Bang Theory" as Professor Proton, a down-on-his-luck former host of a children´s science show. "This is my seventh shot at this. ... I just love this very much," he said, gazing tearfully at the trophy in his hand as the audience gave him a standing ovation. Newhart´s long TV history includes the 1970s "The Bob Newhart Show,"
GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy -- A complex system of pulleys and counterweights on Monday began pulling upright the Costa Concordia cruise ship from its side on a Tuscan reef where it capsized in 2012, an anxiously awaited operation of a kind that has never been attempted on such a huge liner. Engineer Sergio Girotto said the operation began at about 9 a.m. (0700GMT) Monday, three hours late. The delay was due to an early morning storm that pushed back a floating command room center from its position close to the wreckage. There, engineers using remote controls were guiding a synchronized leverage
Vice President Joe Biden will be in Charleston late Monday morning, likely snarling traffic in the wake of his motorcade. Biden is scheduled to visit the Columbus Street terminal at 11:30 a.m. to talk about the importance of infrastructure investment to exports, economic competitiveness and job creation, according to a spokesman. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and are scheduled to joint Biden at the port. Biden will head out afterward to the port of Savannah, according to the spokesman. Biden was at the port of Baltimore last Monday, highlighting a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating
Whichever analogy one chooses, the conventional wisdom is hardening: Vladimir Putin has judo-flipped, checkmated and floored Barack Obama this week with a plan to inspect and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. [Snip] Assad will cheat, inspectors won’t be able to operate in war zones, and the Americans will look unreasonable if they call foul. Just as Saddam toyed with UN inspectors throughout the Nineties, so will Assad hand over some chickenfeed while dispersing the crown jewels. The second criticism is that the plan might be too successful: Assad will trade off his chemical weapons for regime survival, by making himself indispensible
High-powered Terry McAuliffe supporters made a furious attempt over the weekend to reverse a Washington area business group’s endorsement of Republican Ken Cuccinelli II for governor, with state legislators warning that “doors will be closed” to the group if it sticks by its choice. The pressure exerted on the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s political arm, Tech PAC, by a U.S. senator, a Republican lieutenant governor at odds with Cuccinelli and several others suggests that McAuliffe’s campaign is worried that a Cuccinelli endorsement could undermine the central premise of the Democrat’s campaign — that he, an entrepreneur who started his first
NEW YORK – The Empire State Building will be lit up in the colors of the Mexican flag on Sunday night to mark the “Grito de Dolores,” the rallying cry that launched Mexico’s war of independence on Sept. 16, 1810. The iconic skyscraper will be dressed in red, white and green to celebrate Mexico’s independence day in a city that some 350,000 Mexicans and Mexican-Americans call home. New York also hosted the “Celebrate Mexico Now” cultural festival, which was graced by the presence of Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska.
Miss America returned to Atlantic City for the first time in nine years to crown a new 2014 winner. "Atlantic City has survived Hurricane Sandy!" said Good Morning America´s Lara Spencer, who co-hosted the ABC show with Chris Harrison. After a night of big numbers, endless crowd cheering, swimsuit strutting, dancing, singing and, yes, answering those tough judges´ questions (including ones about Miley Cyrus and Syria!), the 53 Miss America contestants (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) were narrowed down to one winner. Miss New York Nina Davuluri, 24, from Syracuse, sashayed off with
Amid problems in Syria, a stalled immigration reform bill and other challenges, President Obama is once again pivoting to the economy in an effort to convince Americans that, without his policies, the nation would not have emerged from the 2008 financial meltdown. “Let’s think about where we were five years ago. The economy was on the verge of a great depression … And we came in and stabilized the situation,” Mr. Obama said during an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” On Monday, the administration will continue making its case. The president is scheduled to speak from the Rose Garden,
Now we can say it without a doubt: Seattle has the loudest fans in the world. During the Seahawks-49ers game Sunday, the 12th Man broke the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd roar, the record attempt’s organizer said. We have yet to officially confirm the report from former Seahawks player Joe Tafoya, but he tweeted from the field that the record had been broken. Seahawks fans hit 131.9 decibels, according to The Seattle Times, after the Seahawks and 49ers returned to the field from a weather delay. The previous record was 131.76 decibels, set during a 2011 soccer match at
Facing opposition from women’s groups and key Democratic senators, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers withdrew Sunday from consideration as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. Mr. Summers, a key architect of the Obama administration’s economic stimulus plan in 2009, informed President Obama of his decision in a phone call Sunday morning. Mr. Obama said in a statement that he accepted the decision. Mr. Obama said said he “will always be grateful to Larry for his tireless work and service on behalf of his country, and I look forward to continuing to seek his guidance and counsel in the