A federal judge in Washington, Ricardo Urbina, has provided another compelling argument against the outsourcing of war to gunslingers from the private sector. In throwing out charges against Blackwater agents who killed 17 Iraqis in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in September 2007, Judge Urbina highlighted the government’s inability to hold mercenaries accountable for crimes they commit.
Judge Urbina correctly ruled that the government violated the Blackwater agents’ protection against self-incrimination. He sketched an inept prosecution that relied on compelled statements made by the agents to officials of the State Department, who employed the North Carolina security firm to protect convoys and staff in Iraq. That, he said, amounted to a “reckless violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights.”
Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he's "blacker than Barack Obama" and tells Esquire magazine that he was a real person in a political arena dominated by phonies.
Blagojevich, referring to the president as "this guy," says Obama was elected based simply on hope.
"What the (expletive)? Everything he's saying's on the teleprompter," Blagojevich told the magazine for a story in its February issue, which hits newsstands Jan. 19.
"I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived," Blagojevich said. "I saw it all growing up."
The White House refused to comment.
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.