President Barack Obama maintained that he was hopeful Congress could "get a deal done" and stop America going over the fiscal cliff at the stroke of midnight. Latest, 20:40 Surprised there hasn´t been a Twitter campaign to parachute Robert Griffin III into Congress to knock some heads together. For non-American readers and those Americans uninterested in NFL, Griffin III is the young quarterback for the Washington Redskins who has taken the team to the playoffs for the first time in, err, a long time. If you need a break from the cliff, here´s a match report on the victory the
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Did anyone think there really wouldn´t be the sound of a big can being kicked viciously down the road just before the deadline? They kicked the little milk can down there, time now for the big one full of cow manure.
His behavior at the presser was bizarre...I know we´re talking about the King of Bizarre, but, still. Like it was open mic night at the White House which irritated a bunch of Republicans because he treated this like a big joke. He was giddy and laughing and speaking in a stream of consciousness ramble. Drunk ? Coked up ?
Dot Scott knew exactly what she was doing. This week, the president of the NAACP’s Charleston branch accused local law enforcement of gunning down black men like dogs. Yes, dogs. This came after Charleston County deputies shot Derryl Drayton on James Island last Saturday. Drayton is the fourth black man killed by local police agencies in the past two years. That is a wildly incendiary statement on its own, but Scott took it about 100 steps further. “That’s the mind set of some of these officers,” Scott said. “It’s a badge of honor to kill a n-----.” [Snip] He resisted arrest, threw
A startup venture recruiting people for a one-way, 43 million mile trip to live on Mars has generated more signatures than all the Obamacare health insurance plans combined. Just 712 people in Vermont have enrolled in the state´s new health insurance exchange, despite $9 million in outreach, advertising and other PR expenses paid for by the federal government. The entire state of Alaska has yet to register a single person, according to Sen. Lisa Murkowski. (´Juneau how many people have signed up?´ asks one cheeky blogger. ´Hint: It´s a round number!´) A CNN medical correspondent has found that the online Obamacare system, which was
Police in India say they have arrested the crew of a US-owned ship accused of illegally entering Indian waters with a huge cache of weapons on board. Officials say MV Seaman Guard Ohio was detained on 12 October by the Indian Coast Guard and is currently anchored at a port in southern Tamil Nadu state. Its 35-member crew include Indians, Britons, Ukrainians and Estonians. The ship´s owner, AdvanFort, said the vessel was involved in supporting anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean. But there have been differing accounts of the chain of events from the Indian authorities and the US-based security
Those old enough to remember the 1929 crash on Wall Street and the US exit from the Gold Standard under Franklin Roosevelt--thin in numbers these days--will recall the pervading sense that America had already peaked, its capitalist model overtaken by history. The Russian trade agency Amtorg in New York famously advertised for 6,000 skilled plumbers, chemists, electricians, and dentists, and suchlike, to work in the Soviet Union, then deemed the El Dorado of mankind, or the "moral top of the world where the light never really goes out", in the words of Edmund Wilson. It is said that 100,000 showed
Now that the U.S. government is back in business, it means the feast is over for White House squirrels who have overrun the first lady´s garden. When the government shutdown more than two weeks ago, most White House gardeners were furloughed and those that were allowed to stay on were only allowed to water the plants. Triming, fetrilizing, transplanting, mowing and harvesting were all off limits. Without any human intervention, the White House squirrels went to town on the Obama´s prized organic garden, muching on tomatoes and the rest of the produce just coming into harvest. ´The bushy-tailed residents are feasting on
So what does the balance sheet look like now that the US Congress has reached its 11th hour, 59th minute agreement to end the debt ceiling crisis? President Obama won this stand-off. The main achievement of the Republican Party was to shoot itself in feet and brain. [Snip] This ensured two things: that it would get the blame for the government shut-down; and that knowing this, Obama didn’t blink, thus forcing the Republicans into a humiliating surrender. Brilliant. Even now, many Republicans don’t know what hit them. One of them, however, shows he at least has got it:
One of the few remaining British survivors of a German prisoner of war camp immortalised in The Great Escape film has died aged 91. Royal Air Force gunner Frank Stone, of Hathersage, Derbyshire, was taken to Stalag Luft III in Zagan as a teenager during the Second World War after his bomber crashed in Mannheim in 1940. He was in hut 104, home to 76 airmen who tried to escape via a 348ft tunnel in 1944. But the alarm was raised before Mr Stone, who had helped dispose of soil from the tunnel, could join them. Of the 76 men
Russian scientists believe they have identified a new and more virulent strain of HIV. The subtype, known as 02_AG/A, is spreading rapidly and is now thought to account for more than 50 percent of new HIV infections in Siberia. The virus was first seen in the city of Novosibirsk in 2006 and is thought to be the most virulent subtype of the virus in Russia. [Snip] The number of HIV positive people in Novosibirsk has jumped from 2,000 in 2007 to 15,000 in 2012, according to Russia’s Federal AIDS Centre and 50 percent of the new cases have been caused
Local councils across the country have been told they will have to follow EU rules from 2015 which mean paper, metal, glass and plastic will have to be collected separately. Some authorities had previously allowed homeowners to mix their recycling waste but under the new plans all recyclables will have to be split alongside garden, general waste and food compostables--leading to many households having up to seven different boxes, bins and bags. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) minister, Lord de Mauley has told local authorities in an open letter that homeowners will have to separate their recycling
President Barack Obama told reporters on Wednesday night that the United States must ´get out of the habit of governing by crisis´, after the Senate passed a debt-limit bailout bill following a crushing defeat for Republicans. An hour after the Senate move, the House followed suit with its own vote that beat a midnight debt-ceiling deadline. Obama spoke just before 8:30 p.m., moments after the Democrat-led bill passed in the Senate by an 81-18 vote. By 10:20 p.m. the House had heard and approved the measure 285-144. In each tally, Republicans were the only dissenters.
Republicans´ new worst fear isn´t defaulting on America´s debts. If an immigration policy favored by the White House and Senate Democrats should become law, 17.3 million newly legalized immigrant voters would emerge by 2036, eager to reward the party that gave them a path to citizenship. The White House has shifted gears and put its policy team in immigration overdrive, zooming past the debt crisis that threatened to sink the republic and on to the task of normalizing the estimated 11 million U.S. residents who have no legal basis for being there. The Democrat-dominated U.S. Senate passed a bill in June
Last month, I had the chance to walk along the beautiful National Mall in Washington, DC. The serene stretch of parkland from the Lincoln Memorial to the National World War II Memorial is my favourite part, and the weather´s autumnal perfection was enough to make me forget politics, despite my location. The week after I returned to New York, the Washington I had just left descended into a rank citadel of "shutdown" politics, with monuments closed off from public viewing and partisan posturing bringing all constructive debate to a halt. Since that so-called shutdown began, the mood in the United States has
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday admitted defeat in the fiscal debate that resulted in the government shutdown and pushed the nation toward a default, saying it was a "good fight." (Snip) But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us," he added. "In addition to the risk of default, doing so would open the door for the Democratic majority in Washington to raise taxes again on the American people and undo the spending caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act without replacing them with better spending cuts."
In a bookend of sorts to his 21-hour “filibuster” against the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke for just under 10 minutes Wednesday evening in opposition to an imminent Senate vote that would reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling to avoid default. Cruz denounced the Senate deal as “terrible,” saying it will do nothing to help the “millions of Americans who are hurting because of Obamacare.” Speaking for the “American people,” Cruz said the Senate deal “embodies everything that frustrates” them about the “Washington establishment.” The majority of the speech centered around Cruz’s opposition to the health
On CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday, Robert Redford said congressional criticism of President Barack Obama is racially motivated. “Don’t get me started on that,” the left-leaning actor said when asked about political gridlock in Washington, D.C. “What I wanted to see [in Obama´s second term] is turning out to be a bit of a dream that never came true. I don’t envy [Obama´s] position. I think he is a good man. I think he is an intelligent man, a compassionate man who can’t function in that environment. That environment — it is so decrepit. It is so paralyzed. And the worst
Rep. Peter King thinks Republicans in the House could have bargained for much more than they´re getting in a pending Senate deal, if only the House had kept the government open in September and focused on negotiations over the federal debt limit. "Instead we look like the crazies," King, a Republican from Long Island, told me this afternoon from Washington. "Shutting down the government, throwing barricades against the White House, and having Ted Cruz reading Dr. Seuss, this is like the theater of the absurd. Except that it´s serious."
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) says he hopes the House “will get some adult supervision from the Senate” to achieve a debt ceiling deal. (Snip)King said he would vote for that deal, and blames Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for this fiscal mess. “Ted Cruz has been a total fraud from the start,” King said. “It never could have succeeded. I can’t imagine going into battle knowing you can’t win and continue telling your people you are winning. It’s Never Never Land, parallel universes, whatever you want to call it.” Congress, King added, will be back in the same boat in three to four
The White House set low expectations for the Affordable Care Act´s October 1 debut, so anything remotely competent should have seemed like a success. But three weeks on, the catastrophe that is Healthcare.gov and the 36 insurance exchanges run by the federal government is an insult to the "glitches" President Obama said were inevitable. This isn´t some coding error, or even the Health and Human Service Department´s usual incompetence. The failures that have all but disabled ObamaCare are the result of deliberate political choices, which HHS and the White House are compounding with secrecy and stonewalling. *** The health industry and low-level Administration
The Obama administration’s hostility toward media and efforts to crack down on whistleblowers and leakers has created “a tremendous chilling effect” on substantive reporting, the Committee to Protect Journalists and veteran reporters said Thursday.The CPJ issued last week a scathing report, written by former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, Jr., on the effects of the Obama administration’s efforts to control press coverage, burnish its image, and thwart unauthorized leaks. Downie joined a panel at the New America Foundation that included Joel Simon, executive director of the CPJ, and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, senior correspondent and associate editor at the Washington Post, to
The deal reached by Congress on Wednesday to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling averts a financial catastrophe but leaves the weakened U.S. economy facing new threats. The agreement will send about 450,000 federal employees back to work and restart paychecks for the 1.3 million employees who stayed on the job during the shutdown. Getting those salaries back in circulation will help economic growth, particularly in the Washington area. More important, the threat of a default on the national debt has been avoided, along with the recession and financial crisis that may have accompanied a failure to
Grover Norquist isn’t happy with the Defunders. The Americans for Tax Reform president told reporters today that they have a lot of apologies to make and bridges to re-build. “It’d be a good idea if they stopped referring to other Republicans as Hitler appeasers because they opposed the strategy they put forward which failed,” Norquist says. “I think if you make a mistake as big as what they did, you owe your fellow senators and congressmen a big apology — and your constituents, as well, because nothing they did advanced the cause of repealing or dismantling Obamacare.” Norquist refrained from naming the
The bipartisan deal to reopen the government and temporarily lift the debt ceiling includes one small Obamacare element -- a provision that says people´s incomes must be verified before they can get Obamacare subsidies to help pay their insurance premiums. But this was not a concession to Republicans, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told CNN´s Jake Tapper on Wednesday. "It´s, you know, it is, frankly, a bit of a fig leaf, which we were happy to give, but that was not a negotiation. That was not what Ted Cruz and the others started to demand that we give them." [Video] Schumer noted
Healthcare.gov, the web site for Obamacare, is the crown jewel of the American welfare state and President Obama´s signature domestic policy achievement. Hundreds of millions of Americans will use Healthcare.gov every day for decades to come if the site ever functions properly and Obamacare becomes as permanent a feature of American life as Social Security. Yes, we can! So, if you were picking the IT firm to design Healthcare.gov, you would spare no effort to make sure every potential bidder knew about the opportunity, that the integrity of the bid selection process was beyond question, and that the company most likely to create
Call it the “Animal House” shutdown. At the end of that seminal American comedy about a rowdy fraternity, the charismatic Otter makes an impassioned speech to his fellows about their enemies on campus: “We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!” To which his friend Bluto replies, “We’re just the guys to do it.” Congratulations, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, the two