The United States has emerged from a long and crippling recession, posting its strongest growth in two years in the third quarter as government stimulus spurred consumer spending, official data showed.
After four negative quarters, the world's largest economy grew at a seasonally adjusted 3.5-percent annual rate in the July-September period from the second quarter, the Commerce Department said.
The Obama administration's new proposal for tackling financial risk in the U.S. economy, unveiled just two days ago, came under attack on Thursday from Congress and regulators, with questions raised about its funding and scope.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner scrambled in a congressional hearing to defend the plan against critics who said it would give too much power to regulators and enshrine government bailouts for troubled financial firms in law.
President Barack Obama is considering a scaled-down version of the war plan advanced by his top Afghanistan commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. officials say.
Such a narrowed military mission would increase American forces to accomplish the commander's broadest goals of protecting Afghan cities and key infrastructure. But with fewer troops, the strategy likely would cut back on McChrystal's ambitious objectives, amounting to what one official described as "McChrystal Light."
Does the AMA matter in the health care debate? Congress is beginning to have its doubts, despite the medical association's deep pockets and platoons of lobbyists.
It's lost its principles, some lawmakers and physicians say. Perhaps more damaging: It can't produce votes.
After a humiliating defeat in the Senate, the venerable American Medical Association faces a revolt from both its member doctors and one-time political allies as it struggles to influence an overhaul of the nation's health system.
A poster boy for the Obama administration's plans for the increasingly-controversial war in Afghanistan resigned in protest last month and the departure has sent shock waves through the White House, which faces increasing criticism over its handling of the conflict.
"I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," Matthew Hoh wrote in his four-page resignation letter from the Foreign Service. "I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based no upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end."
It's about to become official: The recession is over — but not the pain.
The government will release figures this week expected to show that the economy has awakened from its deepest slump since the 1930s and is in the early stages of a recovery. But the following week, the government will issue another set of figures expected to show unemployment continuing to rise toward and possibly above a clearly recessionary 10 percent.
How can both be possible?
In the health care debate, Democrats and their allies have gone after insurance companies as rapacious profiteers making "immoral" and "obscene" returns while "the bodies pile up."
But in pillorying insurers over profits, the critics are on shaky ground. Ledgers tell a different reality.
Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That's anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.
If the mere existence of Fox News scares some liberals, the idea of Roger Ailes, founder and CEO of the right-wing network, running for office against President Barack Obama in 2012 should send them screaming into the streets.
Last week, Politico's Mike Allen reported friends of Ailes are urging him to jump into the fray and run for President.
"Ailes knows how to frame an issue better than anybody, and that's what we need now," Allen quotes one Ailes friend as saying.
It's a big number that only tells part of the story. The number of banks that have failed so far this year topped 100 on Friday — hitting 106 by the end of the day — the most in nearly two decades. But the trouble in the banking system from bad loans and the recession goes even deeper.
Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other banks remain open even though they are as weak as many that have been shuttered. Regulators are seizing banks slowly and selectively — partly to avoid inciting panic and partly because buyers for bad banks are hard to find.
Many top Republicans are growing worried that the party’s chances for reversing its electoral routs of 2006 and 2008 are being wounded by the flamboyant rhetoric and angry tone of conservative activists and media personalities, according to interviews with GOP officials and operatives.
Congressional leaders talk in private of being boxed in by commentators such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh — figures who are wildly popular with the conservative base but wildly controversial among other parts of the electorate, and who have proven records of making life miserable for senators and House members critical of their views or influence.