Archives for News

Sluggish employment hampers economic growth

U.S. employment growth likely picked up in April, but probably not by enough to counter other signs that suggest the economy has lost a step in recent weeks. Nonfarm payrolls are expected to have increased by 145,000 jobs, according to a Reuters survey of economists, after braking to a nine-month low of 88,000 in March. Taken together, the job creation pace over the past two months would still be far below the average of 200,000 for the first two months of this year. “That would be consistent with an economy that’s losing growth momentum but hasn’t fallen out of bed,”
Read More

Poll: Americans should stay the hell out of Syria

Most Americans do not want the United States to intervene in Syria’s civil war even if the government there uses chemical weapons, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Wednesday, in a clear message to the White House as it considers how to respond to the worsening crisis. Only 10 percent of those surveyed in the online poll said the United States should become involved in the fighting. Sixty-one percent opposed getting involved. The figure favoring intervention rose to 27 percent when respondents were asked what the United States should do if President Bashar al-Assad‘s forces used chemical weapons. Forty-four percent would
Read More

Some think it is time to revamp counterrrorism law

A few dozen words rushed into law days after the September 11, 2001, attacks have been used to justify U.S. counterterrorism efforts from the war in Afghanistan to warrantless wiretapping and drone strikes, all on orders of the White House – and with little congressional oversight. Now, as criticism grows that the law has been stretched well beyond its original intent to go after militant groups that did not even exist on 9/11, some Democrats and Republicans have begun writing legislation to update the nearly 12-year-old resolution. That could restoke tensions between Congress and the White House over executive power,
Read More

Women’s groups cry ‘foul’ over Obama appeal of morning after pill ruling

The Obama administration’s decision to appeal a court order lifting age limits on purchasers of the morning-after pill set off a storm of criticism from reproductive rights groups, who denounced it as politically motivated and a step backward for women’s health. “We are profoundly disappointed. This appeal takes away the promise of all women having timely access to emergency contraception,” Susannah Baruch, Interim President & CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, said in a statement late Wednesday. “It is especially troubling in light of the Food and Drug Administration’s move yesterday to continue age restrictions and ID requirements, despite
Read More

Three young friends of Boston bomber now in federal custody

Just hours before one of the Boston Marathon suspects and his brother allegedly gunned down a campus police officer, authorities say he exchanged a series of text messages with a friend who’d become suspicious after seeing what looked like a familiar face being flashed on television. Dias Kadyrbayev, a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, texted his college buddy Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, saying he looked like one of the bombing suspects. “Tsarnaev’s return texts contained ‘lol’ and other things Kadyrbayev interpreted as jokes such as ‘you better not text me’ and ‘come to my room and take whatever you want,'”
Read More

Obama’s role in immigration bill under review

President Barack Obama’s prospects for a sweeping legislative victory this year now rest almost solely on the immigration overhaul working its way through Congress. But immigration’s tricky politics have created a dilemma for a president fighting for an issue he considers central to his legacy. If Obama is too closely aligned with the legislation, it could scare away Republicans wary of appearing to hand the president a win. But if he stays on the sidelines and the overhaul runs into trouble on Capitol Hill, Obama likely will be criticized for not using his presidential powers to fight for votes, as
Read More

Democrats appear headed for victory in Massachusetts special election

National Republicans cheered former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez’s Massachusetts primary victory, but Democratic Congressman Ed Markey enjoys tremendous advantages in the special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry. Tuesday’s primary elections set up an eight-week sprint to the June 25 election. In Markey, the race pits a longtime liberal politician known for environmental advocacy against Gomez, a fresh-faced social moderate with a distinguished biography and untested political skills. On paper, it looks like a competitive contest, but Republicans quietly concede that Markey is the strong favorite in a state where only around 11 percent of voters are registered
Read More

Senator confronted over vote against gun background checks

A woman whose mother was killed in last year’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn., confronted Sen. Kelly Ayotte Tuesday during the senator’s first public appearance in New Hampshire since voting against gun control legislation. About 150 people attended the town hall meeting, where Ayotte defended her vote against a bill that would have required criminal and mental health background checks for people buying guns online or at gun shows. After the vote two weeks ago, the New Hampshire Republican, a former prosecutor, expressed concern that expanded background checks could harm the rights of gun owners. “I’m just wondering why the
Read More

Angered lawmakers demand change in flawed military justice system

Outrage over an Air Force officer‘s decision to overturn a jury’s guilty verdict in a sexual assault case has Republicans and Democrats joining forces on ambitious legislation to change the military justice system. On both sides of the Capitol, lawmakers have interpreted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel‘s recent proposal to essentially strip commanding officers of their ability to reverse criminal convictions of service members as an opening to revise the decades-old Uniform Code of Military Justice. Congress repeatedly has challenged the military’s lack of resolve in fighting sexual assault in its ranks, an offense considered far more prevalent than the reported
Read More

Arizona now forcing municipalities to sell guns from buy-back programs

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Monday signed legislation forcing municipalities to resell firearms from gun buy-back programs rather than destroy them, closing a loophole in the conservative state’s laws. Brewer, a Republican and staunch gun rights advocate, signed the bill preventing local governments from melting down the weapons obtained from these popular civic events. Before the new law, the state had allowed such firearms to be destroyed. A spokesman for Brewer could not immediately be reached for comment late on Monday. The bill had the support of the National Rifle Association and Arizona’s Republican-controlled legislature. It cleared the state Senate
Read More