SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Gasoline prices almost always rise early in the year. Just not this fast. Or this high. The national average for a gallon of regular jumped 17 cents in the last week, reaching $3.52. In Houston Monday, the average price was $3.357 a gallon, up from $3.175 a week ago. Californians suffered even more of a shock, with the statewide average climbing 23 cents in one week, to hit $3.91 on Monday, according to a daily price survey from the AAA auto club. Gas in California now costs more than it ever
Of course, over the past few decades, gov´t done interfered with the oil markets, oil supplies, dictated 92 [yes, 92] different gasoline blends, prohibited new-refinery construction, and who knows how many other things to jack the base price of fuels up, and make supply less sure or secure.
Fox News’s Sean Hannity, that paragon of journalistic integrity, hosted six “average Americans” on his show this month who were “feeling the pain” of Obamacare. One was Paul Cox, who runs a North Carolina construction business and complained that the new law prevented him from hiring full-time employees because he would have to provide health insurance to anybody working more than 30 hours a week. “We’ve had to keep them below 30 hours or we wouldn’t be able to .?.?. stay in business and pay it,” Cox said. “It’s happening all the time,” Hannity contributed. If by “it” Hannity meant
When the new health-care law was being cobbled together, Congress decided to establish a network of nonprofit insurance companies aimed at bringing competition to the marketplace, long dominated by major insurers. But these co-ops, started as a great hope for lowering insurance costs, are already in danger. While the debut of the Affordable Care Act this month has been marred by widespread computer problems, the difficulties facing the co-ops have been less obvious to consumers. One co-op, however, has closed, another is struggling and at least nine more have been projected to have financial problems, according to internal government reviews
The House’s top investigators want to know if the Obama administration made a political decision to get rid of an online tool that would have allowed uninsured Americans to comparison-shop among private health plans on the federal Obamacare website before registering for an account. Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote to the administration’s top information technology officers on Tuesday to demand answers about the purported maneuver. They cited committee briefings with CGI Federal — the lead contractor on HealthCare.gov, which channels Obamacare traffic from three dozen states — as the
About President Obama’s remarks on Monday in the Rose Garden on the matter of the problems plaguing the Affordable Care Act and, specifically, healthcare.gov, it seemed to me that they served a valuable purpose, at least to this extent: They distilled the Obama presidency to some of its core qualities: (a) detachment from reality; (b) misleading in its claims; (c) deeply polarizing and partisan; and (d) filled with lame excuses. But there was another noteworthy element to what the president said. I have in mind the pitiable quality of his remarks. Speaking about the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Obama kept
In 2009, at the height of debate about President Barack Obama´s stimulus plan, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh proposed a compromise in the pages of the Wall Street Journal that would have devoted half the stimulus to tax cuts. Now, a new working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) concludes that Limbaugh was right, at least in terms of that portion of the stimulus that was directed to state governments. The paper, by Gerald Carlino and Robert P. Inman, finds that "ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] assistance would have been 30 percent more effective in stimulating
President George W. Bush´s presidency began to unravel in the autumn of 2005, after the Hurricane Katrina disaster seemed to affirm much of what critics had said about the administration´s cronyism and inattention to domestic affairs. Likewise, President Barack Obama´s fifth-year fall, with Obamacare suddenly falling apart, is vindicating critics of his big-government policies and his hands-off approach to the presidency. The difference is that Obamacare was a "man-caused disaster" (to adapt administration parlance). Faced with the option of delaying the launch of the Obamacare website, the administration decided to push ahead, despite warnings from its own technical advisors and
Because the media are as desperate as Obama to see ObamaCare succeed, the faulty federal website is getting all kinds of attention. One thing that isn´t, though, is that millions among the working and middle class are losing insurance they are happy with and seeing their monthly premiums spike, sometimes by as much as 150%. You would think this brutal reality sucker-punching so many among The 99% would be a major media story. But to protect ObamaCare and its namesake, it is not. And over at the journalist site Poynter, The Washington Post´s Sarah Kliff published a rather chilling Style
The Labor Department reported Tuesday that the economy added just 148k new jobs in September, down from a revised 193k jobs added in August. The report, which had been delayed by the government shutdown, was a disappointment. Economists had expected the economy to add over 180k jobs last month. The unemployment dipped a notch to 7.2%, as more Americans left the labor force. 136,000 Americans left the labor force in September. Compared to last year, the number of Americans not in the labor force increased by more than 2 million. The September jobs report shows that the economy is still
THE FIRST step in dealing with a problem is to admit that you have one. By that standard, President Obama began Monday to resolve the embarrassing computer malfunctions that marred the opening phase of the Affordable Care Act. The administration has been tardy in dealing with a brewing crisis that could undermine confidence in the program. Mr. Obama declared that “nobody’s madder than me” about the glitches, slow loading and stalls with the Web site HealthCare.gov that angered people wanting to explore their options or sign up for the new health insurance plans. While properly extolling the virtues of extending
Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously. Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead. When the Web site went live Oct. 1, it locked up shortly after midnight as about 2,000 users attempted to complete the first step, according to two people familiar with the project. As new details emerged
Attorney General Eric Holder said today, in a speech to a convention of police chiefs, that mass shooting incidents have tripled in the last few years: Between 2000 and 2008, the U.S. experienced an average of five mass shootings every year. Since then the annual average has tripled, Holder said. So far in 2013, there have been at least 12, he said. According to Justice Department figures on mass shootings, 404 people were shot and 207 people were killed from 2009 to 2012. From 2000 to 2008, 324 people were shot and 145 were killed. So Holder is telling us
Sebelius told Congress this afternoon that she will indeed agree to testify about the O-Care rollout — just not this week, as she has a scheduling conflict. Here’s a question for her when she does via Byron York: How are they paying for this all-hands-on-deck salvage operation of Healthcare.gov, which even The One himself described as a “tech surge” in the Rose Garden today? I’m not asking that rhetorically, either. Appropriations can be very confusing; plenty of people watching the “defund” pageant play out assumed, I think, that a shutdown would mean choking off funding for ObamaCare until it was
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that he is considering running for another term in 2016, when he would be 80 years old. "I´m seriously thinking about maybe giving another opportunity for you to vote for or against me in a few years from now," McCain said on KFYI-AM in Phoenix. "I´m seriously giving that a lot of thought." [1-minute sound bite] Asked by host Barry Young to clarify if he was saying he might run again, McCain said: "That would not be wrong." The New York Times´s Mark Leibovich, who is in Arizona following McCain, first tweeted the news.
It’s past time for the media to begin asking President Obama tough questions about the IRS conservative targeting scandal. After all he was involved, publicly, from the beginning. Last Friday, the American Center for Law and Justice (where I serve as Chief Counsel) filed its Second Amended Complaint against the United States, the IRS, and a legion of IRS officials. This Complaint, in which we represent 41 organizations in 22 states, presents perhaps the most complete story yet of the IRS conservative targeting scandal. And it is an ugly story indeed. What was sold to the American public as a low-level scandal perpetrated
WASHINGTON- President Barack Obama is expected to acknowledge that widespread problems with his health care law´s rollout are unacceptable, as the administration scrambles to fix the glitches. Obama was scheduled to speak Monday from the Rose Garden, his first health care-focused event since the cascade of computer problems became apparent. The troublesome rollout of the health care exchanges has been a glaring embarrassment for Obama´s signature legislative achievement. White House officials say the president will discuss steps the administration is taking to address the glitches, including ramping up staffing at call centers where people can apply for insurance by phone.
While the president of the United States pitched his crumbling healthcare program like a late-night infomercial barker, the Army´s chief of staff made a shocking admission about national defense. Gen. Ray Odierno told a Washington conference Monday that the U.S. Army had not conducted any training in the last six months of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. And, he said, there currently are only two Army brigades rated combat-ready. That´s less than one-third what ‘s regarded as necessary for national security. [Snip] All this to comply with Obama administration orders to drastically shrink the Army and military spending.
President Barack Obama will declare the glitches in a new healthcare website ´unacceptable´ on Monday as his team scrambles to fix problems that have tainted the roll-out of his signature healthcare law. Fresh from two weeks of budget battles that have consumed Washington, Obama will hold an event at 11:25am in the White House Rose Garden with consumers, small business owners, and pharmacists who have been affected by the new law. The move is the highest-profile step in a broad damage control effort that the administration has launched since technical problems with the website, healthcare.gov, have prevented Americans nationwide from signing up
In addition to the damage done to the GOP by his penchant for right-wing antics, of which the shutdown fiasco was only the latest, Jim DeMint, the president of Heritage Foundation, has ushered in a new era in the once-proud conservative think tank’s history. Under DeMint, Heritage Foundation has been subsumed to the interests of its sister organization, Heritage Action. As a result, Heritage Foundation is suffering a grievous slide in intellectual integrity and influence. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is the latest of many conservatives openly to express concern about the think tank. He told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd this week, “Right
President Obama is "frustrated" by the disastrous launch of an online computer marketplace for Obamacare, the White House says. Here are five reasons why frustration isn´t enough. He should be frightened.1. It´s worse than his team has let on. The White House has tried to position the failed first days of Obamacare as mere "glitches" caused by the site´s popularity. An administration spokesman told the Washington Post on Sunday that the "main driver of the problem is volume." That is intentionally misleading. The White House has heard complaints from insurance companies, consumers, and health policy experts about issues embedded deeply
President Obama´s long-winded speech in defense of his health care reform nearly put one audience member to sleep, with a guest standing directly behind the President almost fainting as he continued to drone on for nearly 30 minutes. A young woman, who appeared to be pregnant, dressed in a bright red frock stood at attention behind the President during his Rose Garden remarks, smiling brightly during much of the address. But Obama´s verbosity got the best of her — and she nearly toppled over, seemingly a result of the bright D.C. sun. She began to appear lightheaded, blinking several times
On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, hosted by Martha Raddatz, reporter Jonathan Karl interviewed Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), and proceeded to body-slam him for his involvement in the government shutdown debate. “People hated this shutdown, they hated this impasse and this was seen as the Ted Cruz shutdown. You more than any single individual were seen as the one that triggered this crisis to begin with,” Karl ranted. When Cruz tried to get a word in edgewise, Karl stated, “there never would have been a shutdown if you hadn´t gone with the strategy of saying we´re not even going
The Mark Twain Prize, handed out each year in the Nation´s Capital, is generally a nonpartisan affair meant to toast the funniest people in pop culture, period. This year, both the honoree and a key presenter couldn´t resist the chance to get political during the ceremony. The night belonged to beloved sketch comedy star Carol Burnett, who used the debate over the recently ended government shutdown in her acceptance speech: This is very encouraging. I mean it was a long time in coming, but I understand because there are so many people funnier than I am, especially here in Washington. With any luck,
Paris- France and Mexico have angrily demanded prompt explanations from the United States following "shocking" new spying allegations leaked by former US security contractor Edward Snowden. The reports published in French daily Le Monde and German weekly Der Spiegel reveal that the US National Security Agency secretly monitored tens of millions of phone calls in France and hacked into former Mexican President Felipe Calderon´s email account. They come on top of revelations also leaked by Snowden and published in June that the US had a vast, secret programme called PRISM to monitor Internet users. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, on a
President Barack Obama caught a pregnant woman who began to faint during his speech about healthcare reforms today, joking ´That´s what happens when I talk too long.´ Mr Obama reached out to help prospective Affordable Care Act beneficiary Karmel Allison who was standing directly behind him as he discussed the glitches of the new healthcare website in the Rose Garden of the White House. Around 25 minutes into the speech, Ms Allison became unsteady and started to lose consciousness and the President turned around and grabbed her by the arm before she fainted. Scroll down for video