ST. PETERSBURG — Big Al, locals said, wasn´t particularly fond of humans. He knew how to act and when to stay away. "He was a lover," said Judy Ellis, a Lakewood Estates resident. "He´d just sit around all day and smile at you." The 13-foot alligator was trapped and killed Sept. 26 in a small lake north of the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. He was the eighth-largest alligator ever killed in the state and the biggest trapped in Pinellas for Jovan Johannessen, the 34-year-old Clearwater hunter who pulled him from the
The billionaire who created Beanie Babies pleaded guilty Wednesday to tax evasion charges. "I apologize for my conduct," H. Ty Warner told a federal judge. "This is a terrible way to meet your honor." Warner´s lawyer said the 69-year-old planned to enter a guilty plea during the arraignment in Chicago as part of an agreement with prosecutors. He faces up to five years when he is sentenced Jan. 15. Beanie Babies first appeared in the mid-´90s, triggering a craze that generated hundreds of millions of dollars for Westmont-based TY Inc. Forbes recently estimated Warner´s net worth at $2.6 billion.
President Obama will meet Wednesday evening at the White House with congressional leaders to discuss an end to the government shutdown. On the shutdown’s second day, Obama invited congressional leaders to the White House to discuss reopening the government and also raising the debt limit. (Snip) Republicans have hammered Obama for refusing to negotiate, and Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Boehner, said Wednesday the speaker was “pleased the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible.” “It’s unclear why we’d be having this meeting if it’s not meant to be a start to serious talks between the two
New York & Seattle - Three of the top 20 investors in Microsoft Corp are lobbying the board to press for Bill Gates to step down as chairman of the software company he co-founded 38 years ago, according to people familiar with matter. While Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has been under pressure for years to improve the company´s performance and share price, this appears to be the first time that major shareholders are taking aim at Gates, who remains one of the most respected and influential figures in technology. A representative for Microsoft declined to comment on Tuesday.
Washington – President Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House Wednesday evening to discuss the government shutdown, according to an administration official. The meeting will be the first face-to-face conversations between the president and the top four leaders since a budget standoff closed many federal agencies Tuesday. Obama will meet with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). (Snip) Boehner’s spokesman said the speaker is "pleased the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible."
Senior US intelligence officials have warned the shutdown of the US government "seriously damages" the intelligence apparatus´ ability to protect the US. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate panel that an estimated 70% of intelligence employees had been furloughed. Mr Clapper said staff morale across the spy agencies had been devastated. "This is extremely damaging and it will increase," he said.
"It is going to be difficult for us to do anything. We won´t be doing training like we normally would, we won´t be travelling, we won´t be doing the coordination necessary, only mission-essential tasks," General Ray Odierno said of the first government shutdown in 17 years. He said it "impacts significantly day-to-day operations". "The longer it goes on, the worse it gets. Every day that goes by, we are losing manpower, we are losing capability, so in my mind it is important we get this resolved," he told Reuters in a telephone interview from Germany, where he was attending a
The National Park Service is sending so many officials out to shut down federal parks from visiting Americans that at this rate it might have to suspend furloughs if the government closure continues. Two examples: -- At the World War II Memorial on The Mall in Washington, where veterans have been staging protests to keep it open, Washington Examiner´s Charlie Spiering reports that at least seven officials were dispatched Wednesday morning to set up a ring of barricades to block tourists from the memorial. That is two more security officials than the State Department had in Benghazi a year ago on the
BILLINGS, Mont.— Indian tribes across the U.S. prepared to suspend some federal programs and pay for others out of pocket amid a government shutdown expected to have magnified effects on the many reservations that depend heavily on outside assistance. Some activities considered essential will continue, including law enforcement, firefighting, schools and some social services, Bureau of Indian Affairs spokeswoman Nedra Darling said. But other programs are sure to take a hit, such as financial assistance for the needy, payments for foster care and oversight of environmental, wildlife and cultural programs. The full scope of the shutdown´s effects on tribes remains uncertain;
Speaker John Boehner has said he will not bring up any bill that does not have majority support from at least 118 Republicans. Republicans will insist on securing the border and maintaining respect for the law, and most will refuse liberals’ calls for pathways to citizenship. But, with over 100 open to legalization, and still others who have not explicitly opposed it, a path to legalization might not be far away. A full list of the representatives is below. Some may have since changed their minds, but all spoke positively of legalizing immigrants within the last year.
President Obama accused Republicans on Tuesday of launching an "ideological crusade" to hold the "economy hostage" over "ideological" and "reckless" demands to dismantle his health care law. "In other words," he said, "they demanded ransom just for doing their jobs." Several readers who support Obama said they were disappointed by the tone of his remarks. One from Ohio wrote, "He needs to chill. He looks defensive and has no reason to be." An independent voter in Michigan wrote, "He seems like an angry kid." A Maryland Democrat complained, "I love the man, but why is he yelling at me?" I had a
As I write, I have no idea what the status of the “government shutdown” is. Last time I checked, the National Security Agency was still reading my emails and National Public Radio was still broadcasting pro-Obama propaganda, so it doesn’t appear much has changed. But what I do know is what happened Monday around 10 p.m., because it’s not in dispute: Every Massachusetts Democrat in Congress voted to keep special cash payments for themselves and for their staffers. They voted to shut down the government rather than give up their special perks. That’s not “we’re ending the world” spin
The federal government is shutdown. That means only federal government employees that are deemed "essential" are going in to work.We´re led to believe it´s a bare bones operation (Michelle Obama won´t be tweeting, the National Park Service website is down, etc.). But in reality it appears the number of folks working is higher than half the federal employees. Or, in raw numbers, about 1,350,000 "essential" federal government employees are still working. And that does not include the 589,000 postal employees, who are working, too. That´s 63 percent of the federal work force. Here´s how one gets to those numbers. According
An increasing number of House Republicans say they would join with Democrats and vote to support the budget bill, or continuing resolution, sent over by the Senate on Monday night. This "clean" bill does not include House amendments to strip funding from or delay the implementation of President Obama’s signature health-care law.
The stalemate over a short-term spending bill that has shut down the federal government and furloughed 800,000 employees and contractors offers the latest example of an evolving Republican Party, an evolution that is shifting the party’s traditional power base. In are conservative activists, who insist that any continuing resolution or debt-ceiling increase be paired with drastic spending cuts and a roll-back of the Affordable Care Act. Out are business and financial interests, which have traditionally held great sway over Republican policymakers. The conservative activists, led by groups such as Heritage Action and the Club for Growth and elected officials such as Sen.
Newark — The state’s campaign finance watchdog agency today issued a 13-count complaint against Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, charging he violated state law by using campaign funds for vacations, to attend sporting events and cover other personal expenses. The 32-page document released by state Election Law Enforcement Commission charges that DiVincenzo failed to disclose 614 campaign expenditures over a two-year period from 2010 to 2012, worth a total of $71,810. The agency charged that of the expenses the powerful Democrat did disclose, he misspent $15,548 in 51 instances, ranging from paying for gym memberships to a trip to
In the Darwinian world of media and politics, hardly any primal force compares to Clinton Clout. This week’s serial cancellations of two television productions focusing on Hillary Clinton—a CNN documentary and an NBC miniseries, both of which were announced months ago to great fanfare, controversy, and bitter complaints from her partisans and detractors—prove once again that she and her presidential husband have not only triangulated the power map, they’ve pretty much drawn it. “Lights, camera, no reaction,” crowed Nick Merrill, Hillary’s spokesman since she left public office as secretary of state; he’s one of many operatives and supporters who are
ATLANTA — After three years of bashing President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul, Republican governors were surprisingly mute on the first day consumers could shop for insurance policies through online marketplaces. But in the 36 mostly Republican states that left the operation of their exchanges to the federal government, consumer interest Tuesday was high, while Democrats and advocacy groups took the lead in promoting the latest provision of the law. “I’m thrilled that the United States is finally catching up with some of the other countries in the world that provide health care,” said Houston resident Priscilla McAfee, who planned
The insurance "exchanges" set up under the Affordable Care Act, where people can shop online for health insurance, went live on Oct. 1, and an estimated 48 million uninsured Americans can use them to try to find an affordable plan. The 2010 Obamacare law requires that people have health insurance, or that they pay a fee starting next year if they choose to opt out. Here are the ins and outs of forgoing health insurance. If you don´t have health insurance, and aren´t sure if you want to purchase a plan, how long do you have to decide? You can sign up
HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. -- In a campaign appearance Tuesday on behalf of New Jersey Republican Senate nominee Steve Lonegan, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the government´s implementation of the national health care reform law constituted "a criminal act." "If this health care law is forced upon this country, the young men and women in this audience are the ones who are really going to pay the price," Perry said to a small crowd outside the Bendix Diner in this New York City suburb. “And that, I will suggest to you, reaches to the point of being a felony toward them and
According to the Publishers Weekly Twitter account, American author Tom Clancy died Wednesday in a Baltimore hospital at age 66. — Publishers Weekly (@PublishersWkly) October 2, 2013 The New York Times is also confirming: Tom Clancy´s publisher confirms to the NYT that he died last night in a hospital in Baltimore. — Julie Bosman (@juliebosman) October 2, 2013 "He was a thrill to work with," said Ivan Held, the president of Putnam. — Julie Bosman (@juliebosman) October 2, 2013 Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Tom Clancy went on write technically detailed espionage and
A day after CNN and NBC canceled plans for a Hillary Clinton documentary and miniseries, respectively, another group, Citizens United, said it will press ahead with plans for a movie about the former first lady, senator and secretary of state. The yet-to-be titled movie will be distributed theatrically, shown on television and released on DVD, though partnerships are under wraps so far. Citizens United is a conservative organization frequently attacked by liberals, primarily because it successfully sued the U.S. government over a 2008 movie that was also about Clinton. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled
Here is the food world´s greatest mystery: New York City is the food capital of the country—if you spend enough time on the subway you can find any cuisine you want. So why is it so freaking impossible to find a great taco in this city? Especially since the city is reaching peak taco. And further: why do so many New Yorkers recommend such crappy tacos here? It just doesn´t make sense. The New York Times´s Pete Wells attempts to figure out that mystery and has, perhaps, given us the most complete and satisfying answer to date: the basic idea of
It is hardly surprising that the president has truncated his trip to Asia in the midst of a crisis. [Snip] He´s still going away on Saturday but has cancelled two stops. It suggests he thinks the shutdown won´t be over any time soon--he only needs to be back in town in the later part of next week. All the signs are that neither side is preparing to blink, quite yet. But while the president is staring hard and straight ahead, the Republicans´ eyes are beginning to water, and they are glancing at the ground. Obama has a strategy. The Republicans
It’s worth considering the risks and rewards in the budget standoff, which is first and foremost a battle for control of the Republican Party and the shape of the 2014 and 2016 primaries. The Republican Party of John McCain and Mitt Romney lost two presidential elections, the second to a weak candidate in a weak economy. Left to its own devices, it will lose the next presidential election and all the following ones. By picking a fight on Obama’s least popular position, namely health care, the conservative wing of the party galvanized the party base and forced the House leadership
A CORONER has criticised poor communication between hospital staff and patients during an inquest into the death of a Barrow woman. Doreen Jesson, 67, of Sutherland Street, was referred to Furness General Hospital in August last year suffering from nausea and weight loss. After being diagnosed with an infection and cirrhosis of the liver, her health deteriorated and she was transferred to Abbey View to receive end of life care. She died of pneumonia on September 19, 2012. But South and East Cumbria coroner, Mr Ian Smith, said doctors should have listened more closely to the patient and her family