Archives for News

Barack Obama and Chris Christie: Together again

President Barack Obama is looking to get his groove back — at the beach. A post-Hurricane Sandy tour of the New Jersey coast line on Tuesday, gives the president a chance for a three-point play that can move him ahead of the recent controversies that have dogged the White House. With New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie at Obama’s side, effective government, bipartisanship and economic opportunity will be the unmistakable message in the face of the coastal recovery. For Obama, the tour helps him continue redirecting the political conversation after two weeks of dealing with the fallout over the administration’s
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Senators will look at new rules on investigating media leaks

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday a group of eight senators will look at setting rules on how leaks about government secrets are investigated. “We’ll be announcing that we have four Democrats and four Republicans … another Gang of Eight,” Schumer said Sunday on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” Schumer said in mid-May that he and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., will reintroduce the so-called media shield bill pursued unsuccessfully four years ago. The New York Democrat said Sunday that before the government asks a news organization to divulge sources it first must go to a judge. He says that judge would “impose
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Judge finds Arizona sheriff guilty of racist Latino profiling

A federal judge has ruled that the office of America’s self-proclaimed toughest sheriff systematically singled out Latinos in its trademark immigration patrols, marking the first finding by a court that the agency racially profiles people. The decision by U.S. District Judge Murray Snow in Phoenix backs up years of allegations from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio‘s critics who say his officers violate the constitutional rights of Latinos in relying on race in their immigration enforcement. Snow, whose ruling Friday came more than eight months after a seven-day, non-jury trial, also ruled Arpaio’s deputies unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people who
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Rabid right threatens revenge on Boy Scouts for allowing gays

The Boy Scouts of America will get no reprieve from controversy after a contentious vote to accept openly gay boys as Scouts. Dismayed conservatives are already looking at alternative youth groups as they predict a mass exodus from the BSA. Gay-rights supporters vowed Friday to maintain pressure on the Scouts to end the still-in-place ban on gay adults serving as leaders. “They’re not on our good list yet,” said Paul Guequierre of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay-rights group. He said the HRC, in its annual rankings of corporate policies on workplace fairness, would deduct points from companies that
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Many unanswered questions on Obama’s vague drone rules

President Barack Obama left plenty of ambiguity in new policy guidelines that he says will restrict how and when the U.S. can launch targeted drone strikes, leaving himself significant power over how and when the weapons can be deployed. National security experts say it’s imperative to leave some room in the guidelines, given the evolving fight against terrorism. But civil rights advocates argue too little has been revealed about the program to ensure its legality, even as the president takes steps to remove some of the secrecy. “Obama said that there would be more limits on targeted killings, a step
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Furlough Fridays: Sorry, nobody’s home at U.S. government

No one answered the tax-help hotline at the IRS on Friday. And you could forget about getting advice on avoiding foreclosures at the 80 Housing and Urban Development field offices nationwide. It was “furlough Friday.” Roughly 5 percent of the federal workforce — 115,000 people at six major agencies — were told not to show up as the government dealt with the continuing effects of the sequester spending cuts. The good news for many federal workers: a four-day Memorial Day weekend. The bad news: no pay for the day. The across-the-board budget reductions, the result of Washington’s failure to work
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Is Obama striking a balance between threats and rights?

Forecasting the changing nature of threats against the U.S. for years to come, President Barack Obama says “America is at a crossroads.” And so, too, is his presidency’s counterterrorism policy, which has long struggled to balance protecting the nation from terror attacks while upholding Americans’ rights. The Obama administration this week acknowledged that four Americans have been killed — three of whom were not specifically targeted — in secretive overseas drone strikes against al-Qaida extremists since 2009. And in a wide-ranging speech Thursday, Obama warned that Americans must be vigilant against increasing homegrown threats from within, including from fellow citizens
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Obama lifts ban on transfer of prisoners from Gitmo to Yemen

President Barack Obama is lifting his self-imposed ban on transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to Yemen, where a leadership upheaval has improved the country’s security but not eliminated a terrorist organization trying to recruit jihadists. Lifting the ban is a step toward Obama’s goal of closing the Navy-run prison in Cuba since nearly 100 of the 166 terrorist suspects held there are from Yemen and have had nowhere to go even if they had been cleared for transfer. Obama wouldn’t send them home and no other country was welcoming them, and their hopelessness after a decade or more of imprisonment had
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IRS official who took the fifth before Congress replaced

The Internal Revenue Service official who led the unit that targeted tea party groups and publicly disclosed the activity has been replaced, making her the third top IRS official moved aside since the episode was revealed two weeks ago. Lois Lerner was put on administrative leave on Thursday, said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and two congressional aides. Without naming Lerner, new Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel emailed employees that 27-year IRS veteran Ken Corbin would become acting head of the exempt organizations division — a move the Obama administration was hoping would help ease the controversy. Grassley said Lerner rejected
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Unions not lining up behind Obamacare

When President Barack Obama pushed his health care overhaul plan through Congress, he counted labor unions among his strongest supporters. But some unions leaders have grown frustrated and angry about what they say are unexpected consequences of the new law — problems that they say could jeopardize the health benefits offered to millions of their members. The issue could create a political headache next year for Democrats facing re-election if disgruntled union members believe the Obama administration and Congress aren’t working to fix the problem. “It makes an untruth out of what the president said, that if you like your
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