The CIA is urging the White House to approve a significant expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones, a move that would extend the spy service’s decade-long transformation into a paramilitary force, U.S. officials said. The proposal by CIA Director David H. Petraeus would bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots, officials said. If approved, the CIA could add as many as 10 drones
I consider the use of drones to blow up the homes of alleged terrorists in Pakistan in the dead of night to be amoral. There are many innocent people in those homes that have nothing to do with terrorism; old folks, wives, kids simply having dinner or sleeping.
#1: Amoral, or immoral? There's big difference. Next, where do we draw the line? OK to kill one innocent to get one terrorist? Two innocents? But 5 is too many? 10 innocents OK if we kill 20 terrorists? Do 10 terrorists justify one dead innocent? What? The real problem, though, is that we're in a war, but only our enemies are fighting like it.
LOS ANGELES — Marcia Wallace, the voice of scoffing schoolteacher Edna Krabappel on "The Simpsons," whose wise-cracking characters on "The Bob Newhart Show" and other prime-time hits endeared her to generations of TV viewers, has died. "Simpsons" executive producer Al Jean called said in a statement Saturday that her "irreplaceable character," the fourth-grade teacher who contended with Bart Simpson´s constant antics, would be retired from the show. Wallace was 70. "I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace. She was beloved by all at The Simpsons," Jean said. It´s "a
By the time President Obama acknowledged on Monday that his signature health-care program had serious problems, it was clear that the political stakes had escalated for the White House. And so that evening, Obama gathered some of the top political advisers from his first term for a strategy session on a range of topics. The president himself spent little time on how to handle the political fallout, arguing that fixing the problems of HealthCare.gov, the Web site at the heart of the troubles, would take care of that challenge. Not everyone agreed that it was so simple. In a separate
For 14 years, the American Legacy Foundation has managed hundreds of millions of dollars drawn from a government settlement with big tobacco companies, priding itself on funding vital health research and telling the unadorned truth about the deadly effects of smoking. Yet the foundation, located just blocks from the White House, was restrained when asked on a federal disclosure form whether it had experienced an embezzlement or other “diversion” of its assets. Legacy officials typed “yes” on Page 6 of their 2011 form and provided a six-line explanation 32 pages later, disclosing that they “became aware” of a diversion “in
The chairman of the House oversight committee and ranking Republican member of the Senate health committee threatened to subpoena documents tied to the rocky rollout of Obamacare. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, demanded that she turn over information that could shed more light on what exactly went wrong with the healthcare.gov website, which has been plagued with problems. “It is clear that you and other high-ranking HHS officials either provided false testimony to Congress or did not know how badly the development of
ON THURSDAY, representatives of the federal contractors who built HealthCare.gov stated the obvious in front of a House panel: The government did not leave enough time to test the Web site before its error-filled Oct. 1 launch. The next question, a growing number of lawmakers now insist, is whether the government will leave people enough time to sign up for coverage before they are fined for lacking health insurance. “Given the existing problems with the website,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) wrote to President Obama on Tuesday , “I urge you to consider extending open enrollment beyond the current end date
The severe technical problems that continue to plague the federal Obamacare exchanges (and some state-run ones) have got people contemplating some pretty extraordinary scenarios. Some of these have to do expressly with the fact that people cannot readily obtain coverage. The idea of delaying the individual mandate, which not two weeks ago was dismissed by the Democrats as a right-wing fantasy, is now being advanced by some Democratic senators, since you can’t very well fine people for not being able to use a site that doesn’t work. We may (and should) soon be talking about “grandfathering” all 2013 insurance plans,
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Texas today. She visited something called CommUnityCare in Austin. One should not be surprised that CommUnityCare leans heavily on government programs including Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP and presumably Obamacare for its business. Why was she in Texas? That’s an interesting question. Her Obamacare implementation is burning down around her ears, its five-alarm conflagration threatening to burn up the entire health insurance industry along with it, but evidently the “tech surge” needed to fix it does not need the head of the agency that’s in charge of the surging. The mismanager doesn’t need to stick around in
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
Sen. John McCain’s daughter says that her father is “depressed” and “frustrated” with the impact the “hyper-conservative wing of the party” is having on national politics, including on the recent government shutdown. “We’re both frustrated with the idea that only the hyper-conservative wing of the party is going to represent the masses,” Meghan McCain said in a joint interview with ABC and Yahoo News. Ms. McCain, who has her own reality show “Raising McCain,” said the last time she can remember her father was so depressed about the state of politics was after his failed 2008 presidential bid. “He is
First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the no-bid contract to build the failed Obamacare website. Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company. Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.
New York voters, in all their wisdom, are on the verge of electing a Left-wing extremist named Bill de Blasio. Recent polls by the firm Penn Schoen Berland show that de Blasio maintains a commanding lead, which he’s enjoyed for quite some time. What a shame. New York City is one of the most important economies in the United States, and it will certainly suffer under this man’s vague and childish populism.[Snip] Earlier this year, we learned that in his youth (described by the New York Times, of course, as “idealist”) de Blasio was an ardent supporter of the Sandinistas
WASHINGTON — Whether miffed over spying revelations or feeling sold out by U.S. moves in the Middle East, some of the United States’ closest allies are so upset that the Obama administration has gone into damage-control mode to ensure the rifts don’t widen and threaten critical partnerships. The quarrels differ in their causes and degrees of seriousness. As a whole, however, they pose a new foreign policy headache for an administration whose overseas track record is seen in many quarters at home and abroad as reactive and lacking direction. In Europe and the Middle East, rifts that once would’ve been quietly smoothed
President Obama blasted GOP opponents of his healthcare law as hypocrites after Republicans expressed concerns about the rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov. In his weekly address, Obama suggested that the GOP´s focus on the issue was in bad faith because Republicans have pushed for years to repeal, defund or dismantle ObamaCare. Republicans "spent the last few years so obsessed with denying … people access to health insurance that they just shut down the government and threatened default over it," Obama said. "It´s well past the time for folks to stop rooting for [the law´s] failure." Obama´s comments come after a tough
HOUSTON, — President Obama’s legacy may include a stake in the heart of a cherished dream of the progressive left: complete government control of healthcare in America. Obama has always wanted a single-payer, government-run healthcare system, and he set out a complicated but achievable path to get to that goal through Obamacare. The eventual failure of Obamacare would set the stage for single-payer healthcare. Unfortunately for him, he designed Obamacare to fail in the wrong ways at the wrong times, making it harder, not easier to achieve his goal of completely socialized healthcare. If Obamacare dies an early and spectacular failure, it will
Just how bad was the shutdown for America´s image on the world stage? So bad, says Secretary of State John Kerry, that foreign officials joked about buying him meals. "I have seen how our allies, our partners and those who wish to challenge us or to do us harm are all sizing us up every day," Kerry said at an event hosted by Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. "What we do in Washington matters deeply…that´s why a self-inflicted wound like the shutdown can never happen again." Kerry added that the shutdown delayed security aid to Israel. "The dysfunction and
Shepard Smith, the endlessly endearing (and easily angered) Fox News anchor, has likened the right-wing channel to a “family,” with president Roger Ailes as its domineering father. Which makes it only slightly awkward that in early 2012, the 49-year-old anchor started courting an attractive young production assistant who worked under him on Fox Report With Shepard Smith. Now they are a couple. Gawker has learned that Smith is dating a 26-year-old Penn State grad and Fox Business producer named Giovanni “Gio” Graziano. According to multiple sources with knowledge of their relationship, the couple met sometime after Graziano started working at Fox
Sarah Palin found a novel way to turn down an interview request from Piers Morgan on Friday, posting a picture on Facebook of a bear she had shot dead and a note saying she was busy. The former Alaska governor thanked chat show host Morgan for inviting her on his ´shambolic show´ but added she was ´kind of busy right now´. The Facebook message, which had been liked by nearly 3,000 of Palin´s supporters within two hours of it being posted, is part of an online spat between the pair after Morgan poked fun at her intellect. Earlier in the
McDonalds will end its 40-year, ketchup-based relationship with Heinz, the company announced on Friday, because Heinz´s new CEO, Bernardo Hees, is the former CEO of Burger King. He´s also still on Burger King´s board of directors. Now McDonalds is currently looking for a new ketchup maker to partner with once it phases Heinz out of its stores. Heinz supplies ketchup to both McDonalds (for now!) and Burger King, and to Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A. For McDonalds, at least, it seems that the new Burger King connection at Heinz was one step too far. McDonalds has taken a stand on ketchup. Except most
President Barack Obama--who oversees both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security--said in a speech at the White House on Thursday that it does not make sense to have 11 million people in the United States “illegally.” The president said that the people "illegally" in the United States need to be given an “incentive” to stay here and become what he called “legalized citizens.” “It doesn’t make sense to have 11 million people who are in this country illegally without any incentive or any way for them to come out of the shadows, get right with the law,
You know what´s relatively easy? Fixing a website. You know what´s really hard? Ensuring access to affordable, quality health insurance for every single American and improving our broken health care system in the process. In the back-and-forth about the Obamacare exchange websites, let´s not lose sight of the ultimate goal of health care reform -- a goal that, even with the exchanges problems, we are steadily achieving. Less than 17 days into the signup period, the State of Oregon had already enrolled 56,000 people under the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare -- and reduced the state´s percentage of uninsured by 10%. In