Fresh reports in German media based on leaked US intelligence documents are prompting damaging new questions about the extent of US surveillance. Der Spiegel suggests the US has been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel´s mobile phone since 2002. Another report says Mr Obama was told in 2010 about the surveillance and failed to stop it. The spy row has led to the worst diplomatic crisis betweeen the two countries in living memory. Leaked documents say a US listening unit was based in its Berlin embassy - and similar operations were replicated in 80 locations around the world. The German interior minister has been quoted
The best came first again this weekend on "Saturday Night Live." Kathleen Sebelius (Kate McKinnon), secretary of health and human services, provided tips about dealing with the glitch-ridden website for Obamacare. "Millions of Americans are visiting HealthCare.gov, which is great news. Unfortunately, the site was only designed to handle six users at a time," she said. Actor Edward Norton, the first-time host, was ingratiating and playful. (Snip) Second-hand correspondent Anthony Crispino (Bobby Moynihan) mixed up Ted Cruz and Tom Cruise in discussing the risky business of Obamacare.
The heinous intrusions into our lives as a result of ObamaCare swell each day. Now, in true Marxist form, the ludicrously named "Affordable Care Act" mounts an all-out attack on marriage. In 2010, in a Web Memo, the Heritage Foundation pointed out that Under the bill, couples would face massive financial penalties if they marry or remain married. Conversely, couples who cohabit without marriage are given highly preferential financial treatment. If the Senate bill becomes law, saying 'I do' would cost some couples over $10,000 per year.
Whether as the brave youth striding forward to face the giant Goliath, the wise older king composing the immortal Psalms, or the ancestor and model for the messiah, the legend of David has been recited and burnished for nearly three thousand years. Politically, ethnically, religiously—David is central to the story Jews and Christians tell about themselves. This is, after all, the king against which all other kings were measured, the ancestor of Jesus, the person described by God as “a man after my own heart.” Even in his failings—the affair with Bathsheba, most famously—David has become the prototype of repentance and
It’s an express train — to the bad old days. Cops are giving homeless people and panhandlers in the subways the kid-glove treatment, arresting subterranean scofflaws far less frequently than just two years ago, data show. The ranks of the homeless, meanwhile, have swelled to 1,841 this year — a 13 percent increase over last year’s tally, the city’s Department of Homeless Services says. For straphangers, it has created an atmosphere of fear. “I feel threatened, especially taking the train at night,” explained Brooklynite Lortashia Smith, who said she has been followed off trains several times. “The police can definitely
During a game that turned into a 19th nervous breakdown for Cardinals’ fans, the home team drove everyone half-mad on an utterly bizarre Saturday night at Busch Stadium. Fitting, then, that this long, strange trip ended on a basepath trip that gave the Cardinals a mind-bending 5-4 victory over Boston’s angry, Red-Faced Sox in World Series Game 3. After an evening that spun out of control, the Cardinals took control of the 109th Fall Classic _ on a classic fall by Allen Craig. The Cards grabbed a 2-1 series lead in the craziest, zaniest and most improbable way. A limp-off
When the owner of the local diner kicked out his friends for not ordering food, he organized a boycott of the diner. When his baseball team´s season ended in a loss, he wrote a letter to the local paper to publicly thank his coaches. And after a group of high school seniors painted their graduation year on the school roof, he promised the principal that it wouldn´t happen again. Then he led the mission back up on the roof the following weekend to repaint "80." Chris Christie, Livingston High School Class of 1980, was popular and a pretty good varsity catcher.
PINEVILLE, W.Va. — Those old enough to remember still tell visitors how this mountain town helped make history on April 26, 1960. That was the day 600 people showed up in front of the Wyoming County courthouse to hear a patrician senator with a Boston accent make his case to be their next president. The electricity that afternoon in Pineville foreshadowed bigger things to come for the struggling candidate. Two weeks later, John F. Kennedy won more than 60 percent of the vote in West Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary, a victory that helped move the country past the presumption that
MONTPELIER, Vt. -- As states open insurance marketplaces amid uncertainty about whether they´re a solution for health care, Vermont is eyeing a bigger goal, one that more fully embraces a government-funded model. The state has a planned 2017 launch of the nation´s first universal health care system, a sort of modified Medicare-for-all that has long been a dream for many liberals. The plan is especially ambitious in the current atmosphere surrounding health care in the United States. Republicans in Congress balk at the federal health overhaul years after it was signed into law. States are still negotiating their terms for implementing it.
As America´s road planners struggle to find the cash to mend a crumbling highway system, many are beginning to see a solution in a little black box that fits neatly by the dashboard of your car. The devices, which track every mile a motorist drives and transmit that information to bureaucrats, are at the center of a controversial attempt in Washington and state planning offices to overhaul the outdated system for funding America´s major roads.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have already lost their health insurance due to Obamacare, and soon millions will have lost it. Conservative commentators have noted that, from all that appears, more people have lost their health insurance than have signed up for plans in health insurance exchanges. The comparison is specious, however, because those who lose their insurance become new candidates for the exchanges. Indeed, having previously been insured, and in many cases having purchased insurance, they are more likely than the uninsured to want to buy insurance now. They will be counted on to make up the numbers necessary for
I was lingering over my breakfast coffee thinking how the latest revelation about ObamaCare would be treated by a press that saw every Halliburton contract as a direct Ka-Ching into Vice-President Cheney´s pocket though he was long gone from that company. The failures of the Obamacare website came just days after its launch and after ´"top White House officials were excitedly briefing lawmakers, reporters, Capitol Hill staff members and Washington pundits" about the "shiny new Web site that was elegantly designed, simple to use and ready." It turns out the $678 million dollars spent on this mess was spent on a
NOT long ago, I received, in a single week, three (3) invitations to write an original piece for publication or give a prepared speech in exchange for no ($0.00) money. As with stinkbugs, it’s not any one instance of this request but their sheer number and relentlessness that make them so tiresome. It also makes composing a polite response a heroic exercise in restraint. People who would consider it a bizarre breach of conduct to expect anyone to give them a haircut or a can of soda at no cost will ask you, with a straight face and a clear
Say what you will about the long wait times, rampant errors, and frozen screens, the human face of Healthcare.gov is committed to serving its constituency. I’m not talking about Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius or CGI Federal executive Cheryl Campbell. No, I’m talking about Liliana, Summer, Patricia, and Erain — some of the customer service reps who handle Healthcare.gov inquiries. I spent four hours chatting with these lovely ladies and other faceless navigators on Wednesday to address common concerns about the decidedly user-un-friendly website. I don’t have any concerns, so I made them up. Here’s what I found.
As coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan, U.S.-funded reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars in far-flung regions of the country will soon be impossible for American officials to safely visit and directly inspect. The planned removal of more than 40,000 troops and the closure of dozens of bases over the next year will shrink the protective umbrella for U.S. officials to keep tabs on construction work, training programs and other initiatives in the corruption-plagued nation. Only about 20 percent of the country will be accessible to U.S. civilian oversight personnel in 2014, according to an analysis conducted by the special inspector general
Mosul, Iraq – How can we live our faith in a time of great difficulty? What can we do for those who are persecuted because of their faith? To ask these questions means above all questioning ourselves about the meaning of our faith. In order to be able to speak about the time of persecution, Christians must really know their own faith. In 2010, when I was appointed Chaldean bishop of Mosul, I knew that I would be coming to a city facing an extremely critical situation with regard to security. Many Christians had already been killed, and many had been
Where is Joe Biden? For 16 days, the federal government was shut down, and yet the White House’s ambassador to the Senate was invisible. ObamaCare rolled out (or rather fell out of bed and somehow got its head stuck in the toilet), and the guy who dubbed it a BFD had not a word to say. Hillary Clinton gave a speech in which she (according to one Republican present) reiterated that she but not Biden had supported the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. Biden said nothing. Oh, sorry, my mistake. Here he is, on Wednesday: Giving a speech. On mental health. At the
President Obama is facing the abyss. It’s that moment when a president’s plans are overwhelmed by his problems, and he’s relegated to playing defense for the rest of his White House term. Obama’s agenda already lingers near death. His poll numbers have slipped to new lows. His speeches are full of alibis and accusations. Obama hasn’t reached the point of no return, but he’s close. His biggest problem is the collapse of Obamacare on its launching pad as the entire country watched. And there’s worse trouble ahead. More likely than not, Obamacare will be the dominant issue in the final
The state insurance exchanges have been the highlight of a so far dismal rollout process for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. When Obamacare´s supporters are challenged on the law´s merits, that’s where they point to show that the new insurance markets can work -- if governors are committed to making them work. But a CBS News report discusses a growing source of disquiet: In almost half the states with exchanges, the overwhelming majority of enrollments are coming from Medicaid, not the new insurance markets -- 87 percent in Washington, 82 percent in Kentucky and, last time I looked,
Berlin - The United States may have bugged Angela Merkel´s phone for more than 10 years, according to a news report on Saturday that also said President Barack Obama told the German leader he would have stopped it happening had he known about it. Germany´s outrage over reports of bugging of Merkel´s phone by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) prompted it to summon the U.S. ambassador this week for the first time in living memory, an unprecedented post-war diplomatic rift. Der Spiegel said Merkel´s mobile telephone had been listed by the NSA´s Special Collection Service (SCS) since 2002 - marked as
For someone supposedly focused on “climate reality,” it is ironic that little of Al Gore’s advocacy bears any meaningful relationship with the world we actually live in. This point was brought home forcefully in his 24 Hours of Reality — The Cost of Carbon, which was broadcast across the world on October 22-23. Whether it was the science of climate change, climate policy, or the best energy sources to promote in the event of climatic disruption, Gore’s approaches were entirely backwards. On the science, his project is riddled with mistakes. For example, he says that a rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) causes
What did the President know about ObamaCare, and when did he know it? The New York Times raised that question yesterday, offering a video montage of pre-rollout claims about the Healthcare.gov exchange from White House officials, including Barack Obama himself at the Clinton Global Initiative one week before the launch. However, behind those rosy predictions were big red flags being raised — and now the question is whether the White House didn’t see them, didn’t want to see them, or purposely ignored them:(Snip for video)That kind of enthusiasm wasn’t just for public consumption, reports Michael Shear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg.
Forget everything you have read or seen about the Republicans doomed fight against the president’s signature health care reform law. According to an internal memo from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s office that leaked to the media, the defund Obamacare strategy was a smashing success. The gambit “intensified the nation’s focus on Obamacare.” It “energized Americans by showing there are people in Washington willing to take real action to stop Obamacare.” It “exposed, for all to see, the Democrats’ refusal to compromise out of blind devotion to their extreme liberal agenda,” while Republicans stood firm in their “resolve to defeat Obamacare.” Outside Cruz’s
Authorities say that the operator of a ride that injured five people at the North Carolina State Fair has been charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, 46, of Quitman, Ga., was arrested Saturday, the fair confirmed in a statement. Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said that investigators believe that the "Vortex" ride was tampered with and critical safety devices were compromised. Harrison added that more arrests could be made. Officials say that Tutterrow is employed by an independent ride contractor, Family Attractions. The "Vortex" was the only ride the company had at the State Fair,
ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. -- A growing number of military parents want to end the age-old tradition of switching schools for their kids. They´ve embraced homeschooling, and are finding support on bases, which are providing resources for families and opening their doors for home schooling cooperatives and other events. "If there´s a military installation, there´s very likely home-schoolers there if you look," said Nicole McGhee, 31, of Cameron, N.C., a mother of three with a husband stationed at North Carolina´s Fort Bragg who runs a Facebook site on military home schooling. At Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, the library sported special
NEW YORK -- A year after Superstorm Sandy catastrophically flooded hundreds of miles of eastern U.S. coastline, thousands of people still trying to fix their soaked and surf-battered homes are being stymied by bureaucracy, insurance disputes and uncertainty over whether they can even afford to rebuild. Billions of dollars in federal aid appropriated months ago by Congress have yet to reach homeowners who need that money to move on. Many have found flood insurance checks weren´t nearly enough to cover the damage. And worse, new federal rules mean many in high-risk flood zones may have to either jack their houses up on