Archives for News

Boehner evades leadership on immigration bill

Speaker of the House John Boehner, the House of Representatives “leader” who refuses to lead, avoided taking a stand again Sunday by refusing to stake out a position on the controversial immigration bill. While the Democratic-led Senate managed, somehow, to pass a comprehensive, and some say sweeping, bipartisan immigration bill that provides, among other things, a road to citizenship, Boehner refuses to say if he supports or opposes that path in the bill now before the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. “If I come out and say ‘I’m for this and I’m for that, all I’m doing is making my job
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Secret court reauthorizes spying on Americans

The authority used by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence monitor telephone conversations as part of a program to spy on Americans expired Friday. No problem.  Under orders from the Obama administration, the program simply instructed the secret court that allows such invasion of the rights of Americans to reauthorize the classified program that many Americans, as well as members of Congress, think is illegal. The secret court did what it was told and renewed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). One small problem.  The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
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Boehner: ‘We need to repeal old laws, not pass new ones’

John Boehner, the always questionable, often irrational Speaker of the House, says Congress should be in the job of repealing laws, not passing new ones. “We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal,” Boehner says in an interview scheduled to be aired on CBS “Face the Nation” on Sunday. Responding to a question about how little Congress is doing when it comes to passing laws to help the nation, Boehner said the House of Representatives that his party controls with an iron hand “should not be judged by how many laws we create.” Typical Boehner. He often
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Legendary, opinionated reporter Helen Thomas dead at 92

Covering 10 presidents over five decades, Helen Thomas aged into a legend. She was the only reporter with her name inscribed on a chair in the White House briefing room — her own front row seat to history. Starting as a copy girl in 1943, when women were considered unfit for serious reporting, Thomas rose to bureau chief. Working at a news service, where writers expect obscurity, she became one of journalism’s most recognized faces. Thomas embraced her role as a Washington institution, doing cameos in movies, giving lectures, writing books about her life until the spotlight landed on inflammatory
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Judge: Obama’s drone use rationale ‘disconcerting’

A federal judge said Friday that she finds “disconcerting” the Obama administration’s position that courts have no role in a lawsuit over the 2011 drone-strike killings of three U.S. citizens in Yemen, including an al-Qaida cleric. U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer made the comment at a hearing on a government motion to dismiss the case. The suit was filed by relatives of the three men killed in the drone strikes, charging that the attacks violated the Constitution. It names as defendants then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, then-CIA Director David Petraeus and two commanders in the military’s Special Operations forces,
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No child left behind program left behind by House Republicans

House Republicans voted Friday to dismantle the troubled No Child Left Behind law for evaluating America’s students and schools, saying states and local school districts rather than Washington should be setting rules for ensuring that kids are getting good educations. The legislation would eliminate federally required testing of students, which has been controversial from the start. But the measure passed with no Democratic support and drew a veto threat from the Obama administration, which said it would be a “step backward” in efforts to better prepare children for colleges and careers and to bring improvements to low-performing schools. Democrats in
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Obama gets personal about Trayvon Martin case

President Barack Obama kept his own counsel after the six women deciding whether George Zimmerman deserved prison time for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin delivered their verdict, releasing just a written statement appealing for calm the day after the ex-neighborhood watchman had been cleared of all charges. But the president was quietly keeping tabs on the country’s response to the outcome of the racially charged trial, particularly in the black community. He discussed it with his family. He was ready to address it during a series of interviews with Spanish-language TV stations earlier in the week, if asked. He
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NSA puts new anti-leak measures into place

The National Security Agency is implementing new security measures because of the disclosures by former NSA-systems-analyst-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden, top defense officials said Thursday. NSA chief Keith Alexander said his agency had implemented a “two-man rule,” under which any system administrator like Snowden could only access or move key information with another administrator present. With some 15,000 sites to fix, Alexander said, it would take time to spread across the whole agency. “Some of your sites are small … and you only have one system administrator, so you’ve got to address all of those, and we are working our way through
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Skepticism, concern from citizens in bankrupt Detroit

Some Detroit residents voiced skepticism on Thursday that the former U.S. manufacturing powerhouse would emerge in better shape from its historic bankruptcy filing designed to fix the city’s financial crisis. Hours after learning Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, residents spoke of the stark realities that come with living in a financially broken city. “It was like putting a thumb in a dam,” said Jodie Holmes, 55, as he leaned against an abandoned restaurant marked with graffiti, waiting for a bus to take him to his temporary job. “I don’t know if bankruptcy will help us or
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IRS watchdog taking a harder look at targeting of political groups

The Internal Revenue Service‘s inspector general said on Thursday he is expanding his probe of IRS treatment of political groups that applied for tax-exempt status to see if liberal groups were treated the same way as conservative ones. Under attack from Democrats over his earlier inquiries, IRS watchdog Russell George said there is new evidence to study in the nine-week-old controversy about the IRS’s handling of tax-exempt applications from “Tea Party” and other groups. Left out of a May 14 report that George authored on the matter, the new evidence suggests that the IRS used not only conservative-sounding key words
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