Let´s not have any false equivalence. This shutdown is Republican-led or, more accurately, led by a faction of Republicans. The Peter Kings and John McCains didn´t want to link Obamacare to a continuing resolution to fund the government. House conservatives did. That doesn´t mean, however, that Democrats are entirely blameless. Part of the foundation for today´s paralyzed Congress came during the George W. Bush years, and it involved Harry Reid, now the Senate majority leader. In today´s Washington, Reid and Senate Democrats are apoplectic not only about the shutdown but about the unprecedented use of the filibuster being deployed by the
House Republicans are unlikely to blink in the standoff over Obamacare that precipitated a government shutdown, fearing that acceding now to Democratic demands for a “clean” spending bill would weaken their hand in upcoming negotiations over the the debt ceiling. Those Republicans said Wednesday that the spending impasse that shut down the government early Tuesday is less about conservatives´ desire to derail Obamacare than it is about strengthening their hand in the debt-ceiling talks. That borrowing limit must be raised by Oct. 17 to prevent the government from defaulting on its financial obligations and Republicans say any future agreement to
In a shocking case of “grotesque” misconduct by federal prosecutors, a federal judge in Louisiana has ordered a new trial for five New Orleans police officers convicted for a shooting on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005 — in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — and for a subsequent cover-up. This is another black eye for the Holder Justice Department that the media have barely covered. Participating in the misconduct that the judge said had created an “online 21st-century carnival atmosphere” was Karla Dobinski, a lawyer in the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and
Rereading some early history books concerning the centuries-long jihad on Europe, it recently occurred to me how ignorant the modern West is of its own past. The historical narrative being disseminated today bears very little resemblance to reality. Consider some facts for a moment: A mere decade after the birth of Islam in the 7th century, the jihad burst out of Arabia. Leaving aside all the thousands of miles of ancient lands and civilizations that were permanently conquered, today casually called the "Islamic world" -- including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and parts of India and China -- much
World stock markets began to shake today in response to a U.S. government shutdown that shows no signs of ending soon - and could pave the way for a much more devastating default. Investors have generally taken the view that the first such shutdown in 17 years would prove temporary, but there are growing worries about its implications for talks on raising the U.S. public debt ceiling later this month. While the shutdown would have to drag on to have a substantial effect on the United States economy, a failure to raise the debt ceiling carries the threat of a
Benjamin Netanyahu never mentioned the thaw in US-Iran relations that came when President Obama spoke by phone with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani. But anyone listening to the Israeli prime minister’s speech to the United Nations Tuesday got the message he was sending to Obama: Don’t be fooled into thinking anything has changed in Tehran. Rouhani, declared Netanyahu, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. That may make him sound like an improvement over his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “a wolf in wolf’s clothing.” But the personality of a president is less important than the reality of the regime. And the reality of
In the late summer of 2011, a 29-year-old woman named Crystal Kelley of Vernon, Connecticut, agreed to become a surrogate mother for a Connecticut couple who already had three children, all of whom had been born prematurely and two of whom had subsequent medical problems. The couple hoped for a fourth child who might be healthier if carried to term. The contract that the three adults signed was brokered through a surrogacy agency, one of hundreds such businesses that have sprung up across America since the early 1980s, when it first became possible to transfer a fertilized human egg into
Kent Sorenson, the Iowa state senator embattled over accusations that he inappropriately received pay from at least one presidential campaign in the lead up to the 2012 Iowa caucuses, has resigned from office, according to a Senate leader. The Milo Republican stepped down just hours after an independent investigator delivered a damning report to the Senate Ethics Committee, which has been investigating his conduct for several months. The report found “probable cause” that Sorenson broke ethics rules by accepting payments from a political action committee associated with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, and that his denials of taking such payment may represent a
In covering the effects of the partial government shutdown, the mainstream media are behaving as expected. Those who watched events leading up to the government closure understand that a major responsibility for the 17th government shutdown in American history rests on Senate Democrats led by Harry Reid, and especially Barack Obama, but of course the mainstream media are blaming the Republicans. Democrats´ intransigence over funding the central government, especially Obamacare, and soon over raising the nation´s debt limit, should have made "headlines" in print and electronic media.
A couple of days into the so-called government shutdown and already some Republicans are scratching their heads and wondering why they’re losing the messaging war. After all, they have the facts — it’s Obama and his stooge, Harry Reid, who really want the shutdown and are determined to keep it going as long as possible — and the emotions (cancer kids being turned away from the NIH) on their side. Why, just today I heard the real face of the Democratic Party, Chuck Schumer, pointedly blaming House Speaker John Boehner, and loving every minute of it. Conservatives are kidding themselves if
The revisions downward begin. Yesterday, Obamacare exchanges were melting down because of the intense interest in signing up. All the citizens were flooding the gates for all the insurance! Why, in California there were 5 million visitors. No technologist could prepare for such an onslaught. Here’s what really happened: California’s health insurance exchange vastly overstated the number of online hits it received Tuesday during the rollout of Obamacare. State officials said the Covered California website got 645,000 hits during the first day of enrollment, far fewer than the 5 million it reported Tuesday. The state exchange had cited the 5 million figure as a
Why do people vote the way to do? For swing voters, the answer is usually the state of the economy. For most, however, voting patterns are surprisingly fixed. People tend to vote for one party consistently over time. For Jewish American voters, the party of choice has been the Democratic party. Conservatives have been trying to crack the code for a number of years on how to get Jewish voters over to their side. Based on the findings of the new "Portrait of Jewish Americans" survey from the Pew Research Center, Republicans will need to find a different key. Jews are
Over the last four decades, only two people were able to make wide swaths of the American public really care about the importance of guarding against our nation’s enemies. One was Ronald Reagan. The other was Tom Clancy. The Gipper died in 2004, aged 93. Clancy died Tuesday in Baltimore, just 66 years old. Despite their age difference, Reagan and Clancy had a lot in common. They loved this country more than anything. They most admired those who put service to nation above service to self. And both were gifted story tellers. Best of all, the stories each man told revealed
New Orleans - A federal appeals court on Wednesday revived BP´s claims that a judge´s interpretation of a settlement over its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could force the company to pay billions of dollars for bogus or inflated claims by businesses. A ruling by a divided three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier´s rulings on the dispute between BP and attorneys who brokered the multibillion-dollar settlement in 2012. The panel sent the case back to Barbier with an order that he craft a "narrowly-tailored injunction that allows
LOS ANGELES -- With a jury´s refusal to hold a concert promoter responsible for Michael Jackson´s death, the late singer´s mother lost perhaps her last best chance to collect millions in damages and place blame for her son´s untimely demise. "I´m OK," was all that the Jackson family matriarch said as she moved slowly out of a courtroom after hearing Wednesday´s stunning verdict denying her claim for as much as $1.5 billion and giving her nothing. Some called it the Jackson family´s last stand in court, a longshot effort that may have been doomed by the singer´s own history of
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have asked a judge to lift the ´overly harsh´ restrictions placed on him in prison, His lawyers submitted a plea on Wednesday arguing that the conditions have left him nearly totally isolated and are impairing their ability to defend him. Tsarnaev´s lawyers said he has been confined to his cell except for visits from them and ´very limited access´ to a small outdoor enclosure. Tsarnaev, 20, is accused of building and planting bombs near the finish line of the April 15 marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260.
A new law in Iran that allows men to marry their adopted daughters at the age of 13 has caused major concern that the country´s new president is not as progressive as originally thought. President Hassan Rouhani has been hailed as a new moderate voice in the controversial Middle Eastern government but the approval of the new law shows that the extreme beliefs in the intolerant country have not evaporated. The law was approved by the Iranian members of parliament and maintains that girls can marry with the permission of their father at the age of 13 and young boys
Japan´s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has a new leak of radioactive water which may have entered the Pacific Ocean, its operator says. Workers discovered water overflowing from one of the storage tanks late on Wednesday, plant operator Tepco said. [Snip] "[The contaminated water] went into the drain and we cannot deny the possibility of it having reached the ocean," Tepco official Masayuki Ono told reporters on Thursday. Mr Ono added that the overflow was the result of a worker misjudging how much water could be held in the tank, which was tilting because of an uneven location, reports said.
A year ago, the post–Labor Day period was marked with rising prices at the pump thanks to a brutal hurricane season, among other factors. This year things are different, with prices remaining subdued even when concerns about strife in the Middle East dominate the news. (Snip) In fact, something unusual is happening that could cause gas prices to drop at a faster pace than normal for October and beyond. Among the many expected effects of the federal-government shutdown that began on Tuesday are a general slowdown in the economy and diminished demand for oil and gas. The price of oil
Q. I want to see if you can clear up a little confusion about your position on something. You’ve said you’re not going to negotiate the destruction of your healthcare plan, you’re not going to negotiate on the debt limit. Exactly what are you prepared to negotiate on,and when? A. I’m prepared to negotiate on anything. (snip) During the course of my presidency, I have bent over backwards to work with the Republican party. And have purposely kept my rhetoric down. I think I’m pretty well known for being a calm guy. Sometimes people think I’m too calm. And am I
Overloaded websites and jammed phone lines frustrated consumers for a second day as they tried to sign up for health insurance under the nation´s historic health care overhaul. That was putting pressure on the federal government and the states that are running their own insurance exchanges to fix the problems amid strong demand for the private insurance plans. "I think I´m through with Hawaii Health Connector," said Richard Gamberg, 61, of Honolulu, after tweeting messages to officials and complaining to state lawmakers on Wednesday. "They´ve got ads in the newspaper
River water in western Pennsylvania has elevated levels of radioactivity, some of it from fluids discharged after natural gas extraction, says a Duke University study today that´s likely to stir more controversy over the booming business of "fracking." Radium levels were about 200 times greater in sediment from a creek where wastewater was discharged from a treatment plant than in sediment upstream, according to the peer-reviewed study in the Environmental Science & Technology journal. The amount exceeded thresholds for safe disposal of radioactive waste.
Conservative talker Mark Levin has a stern warning for President Barack Obama and his administration: Don’t mess with the World War II veterans. Levin, author of “The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic,” told his audience on his Wednesday radio show should there be any action taken against those veterans for visiting the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, even with the government shutdown, he would bring 500,000 people to march on the Washington, D.C. in response. “I want to tell you folks something — I want to say this loud and clear to the people
The Obama administration preached patience Wednesday as it tried to rebound from the wobbly debut of online insurance markets tied to the health care reform law, saying technical flubs on the websites designed to help uninsured Americans find coverage were caused by heavy traffic and not design flaws. Slow Web service continued to plague the exchanges that form the foundation of the Affordable Care Act more than 24 hours after their Tuesday morning launch. It was a problem Republican critics pounced on as a sign that their fears had been well-founded. “The rollout of this thing made a trip to
Confusion persisted Wednesday around the long-awaited opportunity for Americans to sign up for coverage through new health-insurance marketplaces, with the federal Web site for more than half the states remaining balky and health plans uncertain whether they had any new customers. The federal site, Healthcare.gov, was sluggish and flashed error messages much of the day. The Obama administration said the delays were simply the result of an initial rush of people flocking to the site — 4.7 million unique visitors in the first 24 hours — while some in the health-care industry suggested that the problem was more serious. Officials