The government shutdown has been a disaster for federally funded science, especially at NASA, which saw 97 percent of its workforce furloughed. But luckily for fans of the robot apocalypse, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is still running. The agency, according to its website, is funded through "multi-year research and development" funds, which means DARPA "remains open today and until further notice." And if this terrifying humanoid machine is any indication, we may one day wish Congress had done more than shutter Yellowstone. Its name is Atlas, and it´s one of the most advanced robots being produced by DARPA-funded Boston Dynamics.
Washington — A retired Social Security judge in West Virginia collaborated with a lawyer to improperly award disability benefits to hundreds of applicants, according to a report released Monday by congressional investigators. The report accuses retired administrative law Judge David B. Daugherty of scheming with lawyer Eric C. Conn to approve more than 1,800 cases from 2006 to 2010. “By 2011, Mr. Conn and Judge Daugherty had collaborated on a scheme that enabled the judge to approve, in assembly-line fashion, hundreds of clients for disability benefits using manufactured medical evidence,” said the report by the staff of the Senate Homeland
The Defense Department’s Friday night operation to go after an Al-Shabaab commander in Somalia peeled the veil a bit off the Obama administration’s ongoing secret war in Somalia, but left many questions about the story behind the failed raid. Pentagon press secretary George Little confirmed today that U.S. military personnel conducted a “targeted operation” against Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, a.k.a. “Ikrima,” a Kenyan of Somali origin and a top commander in the al-Qaeda affiliate. Ikrima is “closely associated” with late al-Qaeda operatives Harun Fazul and Saleh Nabhan, who played roles in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport finds itself in the news twice today, although this story’s a little more indirect than the one about a 9-year-old outfoxing MSP security for a trip to Sin City. The Federal Elections Commission wants former Senator Larry Craig to reimburse his campaign for $217,000 used to pay lawyers not for campaign-related issues but to defend himself against charges arising from allegedly importuning an undercover officer in an MSP bathroom. They also want an additional $140,000 in fines: Federal election regulators want former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig to pay $140,000 in fines and return nearly $217,000 to his
Washington - Instead of sending suspected terrorists to Guantanamo Bay or secret CIA "black" sites for interrogation, the Obama administration is questioning terrorists for as long as it takes aboard U.S. naval vessels. And it´s doing it in a way that preserves the government´s ability to ultimately prosecute the suspects in civilian courts. (Snip) Questioning suspected terrorists aboard U.S. warships in international waters is President Barack Obama´s answer to the Bush administration detention policies that candidate Obama promised to end. The strategy also makes good on Obama´s pledge to prosecute
It’s nice to check in on these stories every once in a while since I doubt they’re making it onto your radar thanks to copious national news coverage. As our friend Emily Zanotti puts it, Terry’s “earning himself extra credit” in the Clintonista training school with this one: “[N]ot just a foreign national, but an African gun-runner who may have aided Liberia’s despotic ruler in defiance of UN sanctions.” More from Talking Points Memo: A company linked to questionable arms deals in West Africa has given $120,000 in campaign contributions to Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. The Liberian International Ship And Corporate Registry
An unarmed 34-year-old woman suffering from postpartum depression is surrounded by the authorities while sitting in her car, and gunned down in cold blood. She is blocked in. She cannot move. And yet she is killed by heavily armed security officers. Her one-year old child witnesses this from the back seat. Why is this not a national tragedy? Miriam Carey was a young African-American woman who wanted to better herself. She went to college and graduated with a BA degree in health and nutrition science. She became a dental hygienist. One of her neighbors noted that it was obvious she was
Cleveland - A former fugitive accused of operating a $100 million cross-country scam collecting donations for Navy veterans shifted money among various accounts and stole millions through ATM cash withdrawals and checks made out to himself, prosecutors said. Assistant Ohio Attorney General Brad Tammaro told a jury at the opening of a trial Monday that the defendant, who calls himself Bobby Thompson but has been identified by authorities as Harvard-trained lawyer John Donald Cody was the mastermind of the alleged scam. The 67-year-old defendant has been charged with defrauding donors to a reputed charity, the United States Navy Veterans Association based in
Pierre, SD - A record-breaking storm that dumped 4 feet of snow in parts of western South Dakota left ranchers dealing with heavy losses, in some cases perhaps up to half their herds, as they assess how many of their cattle died during the unseasonably early blizzard. Meanwhile, utility companies were working to restore power to tens of thousands of people still without electricity Monday after the weekend storm that was part of a powerful weather system that also buried parts of Wyoming and Colorado with snow and produced destructive tornadoes in Nebraska and Iowa. At least four deaths were attributed
Bluffdale, Utah - A huge new data-storage facility for U.S. spying is plagued by chronic electrical surges that have prevented the center´s opening, documents and officials say. (Snip) But it hasn´t been able to because of 10 explosive meltdowns in the past 14 months that have destroyed close to $1 million in machinery, project documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal indicate. The meltdowns were described by a project official as "a flash of lightning inside a 2-foot box," the Journal said. Their causes are disputed, if not a mystery, some officials say and project documents indicate.
In reading The Book of Matt, the stunningly honest new book by Stephen Jiminez on the life and death of Matthew Shepard, I felt as if I were reading the book I had just written on the life and death of Trayvon Martin, If I Had A Son. The parallels are uncanny and the implications profound. In October 1998 Shepard was beaten to death by Aaron McKinney in Laramie, Wyoming. Within days, the media, Democrat strategists, gay activists, and the White House managed to turn Shepard into a martyr to the cause of gay rights.
Washington - In the four months since former defense contractor Edward Snowden revealed the National Security Agency’s electronic data collection programs, the question of intelligence restructuring has been persistent in Congress. (Snip) Twenty-two standalone bills have surfaced on Capitol Hill since Snowden’s leaks in June, ranging from minor changes to massive policy overhauls for the NSA and its metadata collection programs. The sheer number signals a collective agreement from lawmakers that some kind of legislative response is needed to curb growing public concern over the nation’s
Sacramento, Calif. - Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have made California the first state in the nation to allow non-citizens who are in the country legally to serve on jury duty. (Snip) The bill had passed the Legislature on a largely party-line vote, with Democrats supporting the idea to expand the pool of prospective jurors. Republicans said the lack of available jurors in California courts is due to a shortage of funding, not due to an insufficient pool of jurors. The bill´s sponsor, Democratic Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski of Fremont, said in a statement that lawful immigrants
Law enforcement authorities on Monday night were looking for additional suspects or witnesses after a 35-year-old man was charged with attempting to kidnap two Compton teenagers. Ashley Price is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday at the Compton courthouse, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff´s Department. He is accused of trying to kidnap a 14-year-old girl on Oct. 1 as she walked to school near Compton Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue, authorities said. He allegedly tried to drag the girl into his car but a woman described by sheriff´s officials as a "good Samaritan" pulled the
There was a time when being a federal employee meant a steady paycheck, great benefits and pride in serving the country. But these days, many federal workers are frustrated, anxious and growing tired of being pawns in a never-ending political struggle over government funding.‘‘The pay has fallen behind, the uncertainty of having a job from day to day, the stability which was a drawing factor for a large portion of the people is gone now,’’ said Tommy Jackson, an Air Force acquisitions manager in Warner Robins, Ga., who has spent 30 years in government. Jackson, 54, is going through his
President Hamid Karzai has criticised Nato for failing to bring stability to Afghanistan in over a decade there. "On the security front the entire Nato exercise was one that caused Afghanistan a lot of suffering, a lot of loss of life, and no gains because the country is not secure," he said. He said Nato had incorrectly focused the fight on Afghan villages rather than Taliban safe havens in Pakistan. Mr Karzai has just six months remaining in office until a successor is elected. "I am not happy to say that there is partial security. That´s not what we are seeking.
A senior Chinese official has warned that the "clock is ticking" to avoid a US default that could hurt China´s interests and the global economy. China, the US´s largest creditor, is "naturally concerned about developments in the US fiscal cliff", vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao said. [Snip] He asked that "the US earnestly take steps to resolve" the issue. US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has said that unless Congress agrees an increase in the debt ceiling by 17 October, Washington will be left with about $30bn (£18.6bn) in cash to meet its obligations - about half the $60bn-a-day needed.
For all the acrimony in Washington over Obamacare, there´s an intriguing consensus around one issue: the ratchet effect. Neither side uses the term, but both the right and left treat it as an article of faith. The term was coined by the libertarian economist Robert Higgs. In his book "Crisis and Leviathan," Higgs described how the state takes on massive new powers during a crisis, usually wars. When the crisis subsides, the state relinquishes some of those powers, but it never gives them all back. This is how the state grows over time. But the concept has broadened in recent
Tractor-trailer drivers will intentionally clog the inner loop of the Washington, D.C., beltway beginning on the morning of Oct. 11, according to a coordinator of the upcoming "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" rally. Organizers of the three-day ride want to call attention to a litany of trucker frustrations and express their disapproval of national political leaders. Earl Conlon, a Georgia trucker who is handling logistics for the protest, told U.S. News tractor-trailer drivers will circle the beltway "three lanes deep" as he rides with other participants to Congress to seek the arrest of congressmen
In other news, Pravda will no longer print any letters that say Putin sucks. The Warmist myth is collapsing. The latest data have thoroughly undermined it. But that just means the Party has to circle its wagons even tighter. Regular readers of The Times’ Opinion pages will know that, among the few letters published over the last week that have blamed the Democrats for the government shutdown (a preponderance faulted House Republicans), none made the argument about Congress exempting itself from Obamacare. Why? Simply put, this objection to the president’s healthcare law is based
MOSCOW–Russia’s government is temporarily seizing $7.6 billion in savings from non-state pension funds while it carries out inspections, a move critics say looks like a “confiscation” aimed at plugging a hole in next year’s state budget. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told ministers Thursday that the government needs to check that the money Russians channel to private pension funds is safe. To do this, it will seize 244 billion rubles ($7.6 billion) from non-state pension funds and put them into the state pension fund. Pension funds hold more than $100 billion in assets. Nearly half of that is
It´s a turkey. It´s a menorah. It´s Thanksgivukkah! An extremely rare convergence this year of Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah has created a frenzy of Talmudic proportions. There´s the number crunching: The last time it happened was 1888, or at least the last time since Thanksgiving was declared a federal holiday by President Lincoln, and the next time may have Jews lighting their candles from spaceships 79,043 years from now, by one calculation. There´s the commerce: A 9-year-old New York boy invented the ´Menurkey´ and raised more than $48,000 on Kickstarter for his already trademarked, Turkey-shaped menorah.
WASHINGTON- The NFL is prepared to meet with an Indian tribe pushing for the Washington Redskins to drop the team´s nickname. Just not this week. As league owners gathered Monday in the nation´s capital for their fall meetings, the Oneida Indian Nation held a symposium across town to promote their "Change the Mascot" campaign. Oneida representative Ray Halbritter said the NFL was invited to attend. Instead, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, a meeting has been scheduled for next month - and could happen sooner. "We respect that people have differing views," McCarthy said.
President Obama ordered the weekend raids that captured a top al Qaeda operative in Libya and failed to capture a senior leader of the al-Shabab terrorist network in Somalia, the White House said Monday. Presidential press secretary Jay Carney said the Libya raid, in which U.S. agents seized Abu Anas al-Libi, were carried out under authorization granted by Congress in 2001. It was a “rendition” of the kind that Mr. Obama railed against when he was a candidate for president. “This operation was made possible by the superb work and coordination across our national security agencies and the intelligence
After a long weekend of repairs, the Obamacare healthcare exchange website was ready for action…or not. On Monday night, Healthcare.gov was taken offline again to fix glitches. From 1 a.m. EDT, the Health and Human Services Department stated, the site would be offline for purposes of improving capacity. HHS did state that the site was better than it was before the weekend improvements, and said that it would be taken offline only during nonpeak hours. HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said, “The work done to increase access to HealthCare.gov in light of the overwhelming demand is
An Ohio school district has agreed to keep a portrait of Jesus Christ off school property and pay a $95,000 fine in the face of legal pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union. The Jackson City School District, located in Jackson, reached a deal on Friday after the ACLU, along with the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation, sued the district in February, citing “unconstitutional” actions and charging that students and visitors to the school “will continue to suffer permanent, severe and irreparable harm and injury,” according to the lawsuit. The picture had been hanging in Jackson’s