Ten months into President Barack Obama's first economic stimulus plan, a surge in spending on roads and bridges has had no effect on local unemployment and only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, an Associated Press analysis has found.
Spend a lot or spend nothing at all, it didn't matter, the AP analysis showed: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless of how much stimulus money Washington poured out for transportation, raising questions about Obama's argument that more road money would address an "urgent need to accelerate job growth."
Obama wants a second stimulus bill from Congress that relies in part on more road and bridge spending, projects the president said are "at the heart of our effort to accelerate job growth."
A New Jersey company says it has developed "the world's first sex robot," a life-size rubber doll that's designed to engage the owner with conversation rather than lifelike movement.
At a demonstration at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas on Saturday, the dark-haired, negligee-clad robot said "I love holding hands with you" when it sensed that its creator touched its hand.
Stockton hardly looks like the most miserable city in the country.
But the statistics and stories over the last two years make a case that it is: Since the housing crisis began, this inland port city 80 miles east of San Francisco has had one of the worst foreclosure rates in the country — for most of the time, the worst.
At the height of it, about 1 in 10 houses fell to foreclosure. Houses that sold for more than $500,000 before the crash now go for $200,000. In some neighborhoods, fixer-uppers cost less than a new Honda Fit — under $20,000.
Unemployed for nearly a year, David Becker was relieved to land a new job in information technology last summer.
The offer carried a price, though: It was a lower-rung job than the one Becker had lost. He had to uproot his family from Wisconsin to Nevada. And, like many formerly jobless people who find work these days, Becker is now paid far less than before — $25,000 less.
It's one of the bleak realities of the economic recovery: Even as more employers are starting to hire, the new jobs typically pay less than the ones that were lost.
In the government's data, a job is a job. More jobs point to a growing economy. But to people who used to earn $60,000, a new $40,000 job means they'll spend less — and contribute less to the recovery.
A man believed to have breached security to bid his girlfriend goodbye, triggering the shutdown of a busy Newark Airport terminal that led to snarled flights worldwide, was arrested in New Jersey and faces a trespassing charge and a fine of up to $500, punishment a senator says should be much harsher.
Haisong Jiang, 28, of Piscataway was taken into custody at 7:30 p.m. Friday at his home, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said. He was questioned at the airport by Port Authority police, who arrested him, and released shortly after midnight.
The Port Authority said in a statement that Jiang will being charged with defiant trespass, and that the charge was determined in coordination with the Essex County prosecutor and federal officials, though it's not a federal charge. A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration referred all questions to the Port Authority.
The home of superheroes including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men sued one of its most successful artists Friday to retain the rights to the lucrative characters.
The federal lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan by Marvel Worldwide Inc. asks a judge to invalidate 45 notices sent by the heirs of artist Jack Kirby to try to terminate Marvel's copyrights, effective on dates ranging from 2014 through 2019.
The heirs notified several companies last year that the rights to the characters would revert from Marvel to Kirby's estate.
The economy lost more jobs than expected in December while the unemployment rate held steady at 10 percent, as a sluggish economic recovery has yet to revive hiring among the nation's employers.
The Labor Department said Friday that employers cut 85,000 jobs last month, worse than the 8,000 drop analysts expected.
A sharp drop in the labor force, a sign more of the jobless are giving up on their search for work, kept the unemployment rate at the same rate as in November. Once people stop looking for jobs, they are no longer counted among the unemployed.
Before 9/11, U.S. intelligence officials had little information about terrorism, and they hoarded it.
Now, they share it. All of it. Everywhere. Information about threats — actual, perceived and bogus — is spread across multiple agencies, stored in multiple databases. It arrives in untold snippets from all over the world and is hurriedly passed around. Nobody wants to be blamed for sitting on the missing puzzle piece.
In explaining its failure to stop alleged al-Qaida operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding a plane while carrying a bomb, the government said Thursday that it had plenty of dots to connect. Information was passed around. No puzzle pieces went missing, but nobody put it together.
And there was nobody to blame.
In case the prospect of nearly $4,000 in prescription assistance isn't enough to perk up low-income seniors, the government is using '60s singer Chubby Checker to publicize "the twist" in the Medicare drug program.
As of Jan. 1, more than 1 million low-income seniors are newly eligible for more generous prescription drug benefits under the "extra help" program. Benefiting from a new law are those with life insurance policies and those who regularly get money from relatives to help pay household expenses but were previously disqualified because of too many assets or too much income.
"The safety net is frayed and this is a way to start stitching it back together again," said Hilary Dalin, associate director for benefits at the National Council on Aging.
Gays are vowing to fight back through the courts after the state Senate voted down a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
Minutes after the bill was defeated 20-14 on Thursday, gay rights advocates announced they would file a lawsuit seeking to get the state's top court to order New Jersey to recognize same-sex matrimony.
The state Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the state must provide all the benefits of marriage to committed gay couples. In response, the Legislature legalized civil unions for gay couples.