A return to parliament for a fresh vote on possible military action in Syria has been ruled out by the prime minister´s spokesman as Downing Street officials played down the prospect of a diplomatic initiative on the two-year civil war being launched at the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg at the end of the week. Numerous voices have been insisting that last week´s Commons vote need not be the last word in the event of a further chemical weapons attack by President Bashar al-Assad´s troops. But the prime minister´s spokesman said: "Parliament has spoken. The government has absolutely no plans
The federal agent who blew the whistle on the Fast and Furious scandal is suddenly unwelcome at the very Border Patrol agency he sought to protect. For months, John Dodson, a special agent at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, has been his agency’s liaison to U.S. Customs and Border Protection in a local office in Arizona. He also had been widely saluted by border agents and their families for first revealing that weapons that ATF knowingly allowed to cross into Mexico were showing up at murder scenes on both sides of the border. One of those scenes was the December
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R., Mich.) sent a letter to the National Park Service (NPS) on Wednesday demanding answers to the agency’s “dubious” handling of the government shutdown.Ninety-three additional members of Congress have signed onto the letter sent to NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis questioning if politics is involved in the closings of the World War II Memorial, privately owned parks, and other sites across the nation.“The National Park Service continues to act in an arbitrary and punitive manner to exclude veterans from memorials built in their honor and the American people from many of our country’s national treasures,” said Huizenga
After several months making frequent appearances on Fox News, pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson has officially joined the network as a contributor. He will provide analysis and commentary across Fox’s daytime and primetime programming.Carson rose to cable news prominence earlier this year when he spoke out against Obamacare, political correctness, and the accumulation of federal debt while standing several feet away from President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast. That moment and his controversial comments regarding gay marriage garnered him a slew of cable news appearances, from CNN to MSNBC to (most frequently) Fox.In making the announcement, Fox chief Roger
Call it poker, call it brinkmanship, call it a game of chicken, choose whatever analogy you like to describe the US government "shutdown showdown", but it all comes down to the same thing – right now Washington is engaged in a huge game of high-stakes brag. Underlying that game – and the relative sanguinity of the stock markets – is the assumption that there are limits to this particular arms race (sorry, that´s another over-used analogy) and that neither side will, to quote Warren Buffett last week, go "nuclear". The consequences of default, everyone agrees, are simply too awful to
Over the first four days the new online health insurance exchanges were open last week, more than 8 million people visited them, according to the Obama administration. At the very least, this casts doubt on the Republican claim that Americans hate Obamacare and want it repealed. It seems millions of people desperately want the coverage the law will allow them to get, regardless of their medical histories. Alas, the administration managed to turn the experience for most of those visitors into a nightmare. Websites crashed, refused to load, or offered bizarre and incomprehensible choices. Even though the system was shut down
WASHINGTON — A nervous China warned Washington Monday to stop messing around.As stocks slumped on Wall Street and around the world, China called for quick action by Washington to avoid what would be a calamitous default on U.S. government debt.It was China’s first public comment on the looming Oct. 17 deadline for President Obama and Congress to increase the nation’s borrowing capacity.
Days after the launch of the federal government´s Obamacare website, millions of Americans looking for information on new health insurance plans were still locked out of the system even though its designers scrambled to add capacity.Government officials blame the persistent glitches on an overwhelming crush of users - 8.6 million unique visitors by Friday - trying to visit the HealthCare.gov website this week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversaw development of the site, declined to make any of its IT experts available for interviews. CGI Group Inc, the Canadian contractor that built HealthCare.gov, is "declining to comment
NEW YORK — The longtime secretary of imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff and four other back-office subordinates of the Ponzi king go to trial Tuesday as the government for the first time shows a jury what it has collected in its five-year probe of one of history´s biggest frauds.The trial in federal court in Manhattan is expected to last up to five months and feature the unveiling of the government´s prize witness — Frank DiPascali, Madoff´s former finance chief.The government is counting on him to explain to jurors the roles each defendant played in a fraud that prosecutors say stretched back
On Sunday, The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd wrote perhaps the most absurd column ever to appear in the pages of that illustrious newspaper. The piece, titled, “Welcome to Ted Cruz’s Thunderdome,” links together bizarre dystopian movie references, pathetically unfunny names for politicians, and likely a solid amount of alcohol consumption on the part of the author: The year is 2084, in the capital of the land formerly called North America.The peeling columns of the Lincoln Memorial, and Abe’s majestic head, elegant hands and big feet are partially submerged in sludge. Animals that escaped from the National Zoo after zookeepers
NEW YORK -- New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson says she worries about the trivialization of politics by publications like POLITICO, but offered no defense when asked about the Times´ own coverage of the political horse race. Speaking with The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta at The New Yorker Festival on Saturday, Abramson said the incessant coverage of politics as sport threatened a larger understanding of how politics actually affects people. “I worry that politics is covered almost like sports at a relentless who´s winning and who’s losing kind of way, who’s up, who’s down and the political maneuvering becomes the dominant
The Obama administration quietly changed its furlough guidance Friday to allow government employees who are also union representatives to return to work and receive a regular paycheck during the government shutdown.On the fifth day of the government shutdown the House unanimously passed a a bill approving back pay for 800,000 furloughed federal workers, a rare moment of bipartisan unity, even as House Republicans and Democrats continued their bitter budget standoff. The vast majority of those workers do not serve as union representatives and will not receive a pay check as long as the government remains shuttered. But the Office of Personnel
Leonard Downie, a former executive editor of The Washington Post, is the Weil family professor of journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. This article is based on his report “The Obama Administration and the Press,” forthcoming Thursday from the Committee to Protect Journalists. In the Watergate era, the Nixon administration’s telephone wiretaps were the biggest concern for journalists and sources worried about government surveillance. That was one of the reasons why Bob Woodward met with FBI official Mark Felt (a.k.a. “Deep Throat”) in an underground parking garage in Arlington, and why he and Carl
I was born at the beginning of the Second World War into a family of high school teachers who were members of the Communist Party, and therefore were actually part of a vast conspiracy dedicated to the destruction of this country, although they would never have looked at it that way, and so-called liberals would be the first to deny it. (Snip) It is also an unhappy but hugely important fact that the conspiracy to which my parents belonged has steadily migrated into the heart of the Democratic Party until it now occupies the Oval Office in the person of
The federal government has spent $634million on the Obamacare website--more than it cost to build Facebook or Twitter, it was revealed today. Despite the massive bill to taxpayers, the Healthcare.gov still doesn´t work properly ten days after it was launched - allowing only a handful of Americans to sign up for plans on the insurance exchange market. And experts warn that the site is likely to continue to experience significant glitches for months to come as engineers work out the bugs they failed to to spot before the site went live on October 1. The price tag for the broken
President Obama’s meeting with certain House Republicans, Carney said, would not be a negotiation: “he’s not going to pay ransom to the Tea Party so that the government opens or the government doesn’t default.” Carney blamed divisions among Republicans for the government shutdown, particularly blaming the Tea Party: “The President invited all members of Congress because he believes all of them shoulder the responsibilities…When it comes specifically to the House of Representatives and the House Republican conference, I think the president extended the invitation to all members because we have seen that it is a very diverse and fractious conference…a subsection
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer continued his criticism of Sen. Ted Cruz on Thursday, asking “where is he now?” “How exactly was he going to achieve abolition of Obamacare? Explain that to me. Has he ever explained it? And where is he now?” Krauthammer said on “The Laura Ingraham Show.” Krauthammer, who has previously hit Cruz (R-Texas) on the strategy of shutdown to defund Obamacare, included Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in his questioning and said the two went home to “have lunch.” “I mean his sidekick, Senator [Mike] Lee said, ‘Oh, we’re past Obamacare. We moved on.’ These are the generals
Throw the bums out. That’s the message 60 percent of Americans are sending to Washington in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, saying if they had the chance to vote to defeat and replace every single member of Congress, including their own representative, they would. Just 35 percent say they would not.(snip) The 60 percent figure is the highest-ever in that question recorded in the poll, registered in the wake of the government shutdown and threat of the U.S. defaulting on its debt for the first time in history.
WASHINGTON — Starting in about a decade, Kingston, Jamaica, will probably be off-the-charts hot — permanently. Other places will soon follow. Singapore in 2028. Mexico City in 2031. Cairo in 2036. Phoenix and Honolulu in 2043. And eventually the whole world in 2047. A new study on global warming pinpoints the probable dates for when cities and ecosystems around the world will regularly experience hotter environments the likes of which they have never seen before. And for dozens of cities, mostly in the tropics, those dates are a generation or less away. "This paper is both innovative and sobering," said
The National Park System has a budget of $2.6 billion, much of it raised by concession and attendance fees. Even if it were entirely taxpayer-funded it would represent only .00068 of every federal dollar in our $3.8 trillion budget. Nonetheless, hardball-playing White House strategists have made it the most conspicuous instrument of pain inflicted by the federal shutdown. The Republican House has tried to fund the park system during the struggle over Obamacare funding, but without success. Even park funding offers by states have been rejected by the feds. Almost every day brings fresh examples of unnecessary annoyances and hardships visited
One of the TV´s priciest daytime experiments soon could be coming to an end. Stations throughout the U.S. are contracted to carry Katie Couric´s syndicated talk show through summer 2014, but the decision on whether Katie will score a third season likely will be made this month -- and renewal seems a long shot. In fall 2012, Disney/ABC TV rolled out the red carpet for Couric, 56, giving her plum time slots on the best stations, fat license fees and loads of promotion. The initial annual budget was $50 million, according to a show source -- including $20 million for Couric
The State Department announced Wednesday that it was cutting hundreds of millions in military and other aid to Egypt, and make no mistake: this was not a government shutdown move. This was the President of the United States blackmailing a sovereign state to force it to restore the Muslim Brotherhood government he favors. With the Egyptian economy in crisis and Egypt strongly dependent on this aid, Obama has just effectively cast his vote for the Muslim Brotherhood’s return to power – and his vote outweighs that of millions of Egyptians.
The Obama administration insisted Tuesday it had no choice but to withhold death benefits to relatives of 1st Lt. Jennifer Moreno, a 25-year-old soldier born and raised in San Diego, and four other soldiers killed since the partial government shutdown began Oct. 1. This is ridiculous and perverse. President Barack Obama has used an expansive — and some legal scholars believe extreme — interpretation of his powers to unilaterally rewrite key provisions of the No Child Left Behind law, the sweeping 2002 measure that drastically reshaped federal education policies. In similar fashion, the president has unilaterally rewritten key provisions of
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has destroyed an entire press run of a stamp series over safety concerns about the images on three out of the 15 stamps in the series. The stamps, which were aimed at getting children to be more active, featured kids cannonballing into a pool, skateboarding without kneepads, and performing a headstand without a helmet. Postalnews, a blog run by Brian Sheehan, a retired postal employee from Massachusetts, reports that USPS Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Nagisa Manabe asked First Lady Michelle Obama to take part in a first day ceremony for the stamps. Upon
Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed AB 154 on Wednesday, legalizing non-physician abortions in the state. The legislation, which had been pushed vigorously by Planned Parenthood, had been strongly opposed by pro-life groups and some physicians, arguing that it amounted to legalizing back-alley abortions for profit. In a statement, Gov. Brown boasted that AB 154 was one of seven bills signed Tuesday "to support the health and well-being of women in California."