On July 24, 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama addressed tens of thousands of Germans on the avenue that leads from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. In a pointed reference to the outgoing administration of President George W. Bush, he promised a new era of "allies who will listen to each other, who will learn from each other, who will, above all, trust each other." One German present among the hugely enthusiastic crowd said the occasion reminded him of Berlin´s famous "Love Parade." No U.S. politician since John F. Kennedy had so captured Europeans´ imagination. Five years on, in the words of the
The Justice Department is attempting to block parents from defending the Louisiana school voucher program in court, according to a brief filed Tuesday. Four families filed last month to intervene in the DOJ’s lawsuit against the Louisiana Scholarship Program, which grants vouchers to students so they can flee failing schools rated C, D, or F. The DOJ is seeking a permanent injunction against the school choice program, which would block access to vouchers beginning in 2014 unless a federal judge approves them. The lawsuit claims the vouchers are “impeding desegregation” because some recipients were in the racial minority at their
The world has lost a gentle giant. Giant George, verified as the world’s tallest dog by Guinness World Records, died last Thursday, one month before his eighth birthday. “It is with a heavy heart that we announce Giant George died on Thursday, October 17, 2013,” his owners, David and Christine Nasser, posted on GiantGeorge.com. “George passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones … We appreciate the love and support you have given Giant George over the last several years.” Giant George, 3 feet, 7 inches from paw to his shoulder and almost seven feet long, was known for his appearance on shows
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf got into a testy exchange with AP reporter Matt Lee and Fox News producer Lucas Tomlinson over the exclusion of the Benghazi suspects from the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program Thursday in the State Department press conference. Tomlinson pressed Harf on specifically why the Benghazi suspects are not included on the Rewards for Justice list. The State Department spokeswoman declined to give a reason, citing the classified deliberations that go into the decision whether to place an individual on the list. Lee interjected he did not doubt the government’s resolve to pursue those responsible for
Beijing - A court in eastern China has rejected an appeal by the ousted Chinese leader Bo Xilai and upheld his life sentence for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. Bo, the 64-year-old former Communist party head of the south-western metropolis of Chongqing, was once known for his charisma, elaborate anti-crime campaigns, and neo-Maoist politics. (Snip) Last month, the Jinan intermediate people´s court in thecoastal Shandong province sentenced Bo to life in prison for accepting £2.1m in bribes, embezzling more than £500,000, and abusing his position by blocking an investigation
The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its "customer" departments, such the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their "Rolodexes" so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over
BOSTON • The World Series shifts to St. Louis on Saturday. Actually, the Cardinals hope it tilts that way. Busch Stadium III has been a warm and cozy place for Mike Matheny’s Cards. They won 54 games there this summer, the most in a single season at the stadium since the club moved in eight years ago. Moreover, the Cardinals have won 385 games through those same eight seasons, most among National League teams. In St. Louis, home isn’t just where the heart is, it’s where wins have collected. “There’s just times you play better at certain times, and I
Since its August 20 launch, Al Jazeera America has been an unmitigated failure, unable to attract even a small percentage of the three million Muslims living in America. According to the New York Times, although the news channel is now carried in 44 million American homes, total viewership sits at a statistical zero: 25,000 total viewers. Therefore, it is doubtful that a new deal with Time Warner to add another 10 million households will make any kind of difference. The distribution deal is the first Al Jazeera America has made since its debut two months ago, replacing Current TV. Ehab
For all his musical genius, Jay Z is tone deaf on his big-bucks deal with Barneys. The “99 Problems” rapper, who stands to make millions in a deal selling exclusive wares at the upscale store over the holidays, has been silent about allegations revealed by the Daily News that two black shoppers were racially profiled after legally purchasing items at Barneys. He’s failed to respond to numerous requests for comment and ignored a hornet’s nest of controversy on social media. More than 1,300 people have signed a petition calling for him to dissolve his deal with Barneys. Even residents of the
A robber was spotted breaking into a car belonging to one of John Kerry´s bodyguards, which was parked at the Secretary of State´s Georgetown home last night. In a major security breach for Mr Kerry, a white male was said to have broken into a detached garage on the property at about 10pm before gaining access to the car. Mr Kerry was on official business in Rome at the time, but the break in is sure to be an embarrassment for the team of bodyguards tasked with keeping outsiders at a safe distance. A source told Fox 5 that the
European leaders united in anger today as they attended a European Union summit overshadowed by reports of widespread US spying on its allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the allegations had shattered trust in President Barack Obama’s administration and undermined the crucial trans-Atlantic relationship. Claims that the US National Security Agency swept up more than 70million phone records in France and may have tapped Mrs Merkel´s own mobile brought criticism from the French and Germans. Mrs Merkel´s stern remarks at the EU gathering indicated she was not placated by talks yesterday with President Obama, or his personal assurances that the
In a sign of just how bleak retirement prospects have gotten, more than a third of Americans say they will have to work until they literally can’t anymore. A new Wells Fargo study found that 37% of people don’t ever expect to retire, but instead will have to “work until I’m too sick or die.” Survey respondents say paying the monthly bills is their highest priority, and saving for retirement is a distant second. “There were a couple of points I found shocking or troubling,” says Laurie Nordquist, head of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust. “One is the increase in
Coming soon maybe to a grocery store near you — chicken from China. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ruled recently that poultry processed in China can be sold in the United States. But first the birds must be born and raised in the U.S., Canada or Chile. Then they’re exported to China before being shipped back to the Americas. Food-safety experts worry about the quality of chicken processed in a country notorious for avian influenza and food-borne illnesses. And they predict China will eventually seek to broaden the export rules to allow chickens born and raised there.
The Affordable Care Act was signed by President Obama in 2010 and since then he has repeated one reassuring phrase: "If you like your insurance plan you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn´t happened yet. It won´t happen in the future." (Snip) "Before I had a plan that I had a $1,500 deductible," she said. "I paid $199 dollars a month. The most similar plan that I would have available to me would be $278 a month. My deductible would be $6,500 dollars, and all of my care after that
HARTFORD, Conn. — The family of a Connecticut woman shot to death by police after a car chase outside the U.S. Capitol says recently released documents about her don´t justify such a use of force. Police records show Miriam Carey´s boyfriend had expressed concern about her emotional stability and the safety of their infant daughter. A report from the Stamford police department says Carey told officers who responded Dec. 10 that President Barack Obama had her under surveillance. Carey was killed Oct. 3 after trying to ram her car through a White House barrier. Carey had been diagnosed with postpartum
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the plagued Obamacare rollout has been “absolute chaos” and a sign of what’s to come from the controversial law, which he called an “expensive joke.” Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said that once people are able to log in to the Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov, they are going to find out that they have fewer health care choices and higher insurance premiums than they could have had on the private market. “This can’t possibly ever work,” he told WKYX-FM. “The difficulty with the website is just the first experience people are having with it.
The Obama administration waited until the last minute to test the main Obamacare website and refused to ask for a delay when hiccups arose, government contractors testified to Congress on Thursday as they tried to explain why the rollout of the insurance exchanges has been so rocky. Executives from lead contractor CGI Federal and three other vendors who worked on HealthCare.gov told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the federal agency in charge seemed to have assembled a flawed puzzle from the intact pieces they provided, and didn’t go through the months of testing that should have accompanied such
Private contractors in charge of building the federal online health insurance marketplace testified Thursday that the administration went ahead with the Oct. 1 launch of HealthCare.gov despite insufficient testing. In their first public remarks since the debut of the problem-ridden insurance exchange, executives of the main IT companies told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that full tests of the Web site that should have been carried out months in advance, but began just two weeks before its rollout. “It was not our decision to go live,” said Cheryl Campbell, senior vice president of CGI Federal, which handled
U.S. officials are alerting some foreign intelligence services that documents detailing their secret cooperation with the United States have been obtained by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, according to government officials. Snowden, U.S. officials said, took tens of thousands of documents, some of which contain sensitive material about collection programs against adversaries such as Iran, Russia and China. Some refer to operations that in some cases involve countries not publicly allied with the United States. The process of informing officials in capital after capital about the risk of disclosure is delicate. In some cases, one part of the
American foreign policy in the Middle East has now entered Bizarro World–a place made humorously famous by comedian Jerry Seinfeld, describing a parallel universe where “up is down, down is up,” and where the opposite of what one expects occurs. Seinfeld was riffing off the comic book character Bizarro, the parallel character to Superman, who lived on a strange planet called Htrae (Earth spelled backwards). Well, welcome to the Elddim Tsae. It’s a place where long-standing state sponsors of terrorism Iran, Syria, and Sudan are basking in the warmth of America’s evolving Middle East policies, while long-standing American allies Israel,
Josef Martin, 92, woke up with a gun barrel in his mouth. The robbers told him to "shut up" and stay quiet as they ransacked his east-central Fresno home early Wednesday morning. The World War II veteran, who served in four major battles in Europe and is blind in one eye and nearly deaf, lay motionless with the gun in his mouth, sure that if he moved, they would kill him. After a few minutes, a robber got him out of bed and struck him in the face with the butt of a handgun, then threw him into his bedroom
Passenger overhears Bush-era director Michael Hayden criticizing Obama officials over spying on foreign leaders. The former National Security Agency chief who oversaw warrantless surveillance learned Thursday that you never know which stranger on a train might be listening -- and live tweeting your "off the record" bashing of the current administration. Amtrak passenger Tom Matzzie, a political strategist and former MoveOn activist, captivated Twitter with his series of informative and entertaining tweets revealing what Michael Hayden was telling reporters during several phone interviews
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is rebuffing calls from Republicans for her to resign over the troubled launch of the ObamaCare sign-up website, saying those asking her to resign are “people I don’t work for.” Sebelius gave the comments on a tour Thursday of an ObamaCare call center in Phoenix, which kicks off a multi-city tour by administration officials to promote the health care law amid the website´s troubles. Sebelius said “no one is getting fired” over the litches and that her main focus is to get the website up and running.
So the Obama administration claims it’s found someone to come in and clean up the disaster that is the ObamaCare website aka HealthCare.gov. He’s Jeffrey Zients, Obama’s new Director of the National Economic Council whom Obama has employed as “fixer” for other dysfunctional Obama websites like the one for Cash For Clunkers. That raises a bigger question: where do we get a “fixer” to repair the other, much bigger glitches this administration has caused? Because the whole furor over the HealthCare.gov website, including why everyone involved, including the president,
Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius responded moments ago to questions about whether she will resign in the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s problematic rollout. Her response is raising some eyebrows. “My goal is to actually get the website up and running,” she told reporters. “The majority of people calling for me to resign I would say are people who I don’t work for and who do not want this program to work in the first place. I have had frequent conversations with the president and I have committed to him that my role is to get the
Two soldiers have been shot and one suspect following a rampage at a Navy base in Millington, Tenn., according to multiple reports. The U.S. Navy tweeted the following: #BREAKING: #USNavy can confirm shooting on Navy property; Naval Support Activity Midsouth in #Millington on lock-down. Moments later, the Navy again tweeted: #USNavy confirms #Millington suspect in custody. 2 Soldiers injured - not life threatening. The base remains on lockdown as a precaution, Navy officials said. The Associated Press reported that a Navy recruiter who had been relieved of duty was quickly taken into custody following the shooting.