Archives for News

Maggie Thatcher remembered for her strong bond with Reagan

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, two self-assured and firm-speaking conservatives, joined forces in the early 1980s and drastically changed the economic and political landscapes in both of their countries. Their calls for more-austere government and lower taxes still resonate with conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic. And their side-by-side standing up to Soviet communism is credited by those of all political stripes as hastening the end of the Cold War. Thatcher died Monday in London of a stroke at 87. The British prime minister and the American president had the kind of personal bond that is extremely rare at
Read More

Maryland passes medical marijuana bill

The Maryland General Assembly on Monday approved a measure allowing medical marijuana programs at research centers that choose to participate. The state Senate approved the measure, 42-4. Ten of the Senate’s 12 Republicans joined 32 Democrats, while two Democrats and two Republicans voted against it. The action sends the bill to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who indicated he is likely to sign the bill. “I’d like to read it first, but I probably would,” O’Malley told reporters. The Democratic governor noted his decision would hinge on whether the bill includes provisions enabling the governor to suspend the program if the federal
Read More

High tech visas become hot button topic in immigration debate

Senators finalizing a massive immigration bill are arguing over plans to boost visas for high-tech workers, Senate aides and industry officials say, with disputes flaring over how best to punish companies that train workers here only to ship them overseas. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who’s taken the lead in pushing to crack down on outsourcing firms, also is seeking higher wages for workers brought in on the H-1B visas that go to specially skilled foreigners, aides and officials say. High-tech industry officials say his efforts risk punishing companies not involved in the abuses he’s trying to target, and lawmakers including
Read More

Look for a loud, raucous debate on immigration reform

Senators writing a comprehensive immigration bill hope to finish their work this week, opening what’s sure to be a raucous public debate over measures to secure the border, allow tens of thousands of foreign workers into the country and grant eventual citizenship to the estimated 11 million people living here illegally. Already negotiators are cautioning of struggles ahead for an issue that’s defied resolution for years. An immigration deal came close on the Senate floor in 2007 but collapsed amid interest-group bickering and an angry public backlash. “There will be a great deal of unhappiness about this proposal because everybody
Read More

High cost of health care attacks Pentagon

The loud, insistent calls in Washington to rein in the rising costs of Social Security and Medicare ignore a major and expensive entitlement program — the military’s health care system. Despite dire warnings from three defense secretaries about the uncontrollable cost, Congress has repeatedly rebuffed Pentagon efforts to establish higher out-of-pocket fees and enrollment costs for military family and retiree health care as an initial step in addressing a harsh fiscal reality. The cost of military health care has almost tripled since 2001, from $19 billion to $53 billion in 2012, and stands at 10 percent of the entire defense
Read More

Senators work on plan to expand background checks on gun sales

Talks between two influential senators have emerged as the most promising route for a bipartisan breakthrough on expanding federal background checks for gun buyers, a pivotal part of President Barack Obama’s plan for combating gun violence. One possibility being discussed by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., would involve expanding background checks to gun show sales and firearms transactions online, Senate aides said. Sales between close relatives and temporary transfers between hunters may be excluded, but an agreement along those lines could give Obama’s guns agenda a significant boost and would be a major expansion of the
Read More

White House to GOP: Work with us on budget or face defeat

The White House on Sunday warned Republicans that a “my way or the highway” approach would spell the GOP’s defeat in upcoming budget negotiations and told its Democratic allies that they, too, will have to bend on President Barack Obama’s delayed spending plan set to be released this week. White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said the White House was willing to work with rank-and-file Republicans to come up with an outline that both jump-starts the economy and reduces the nation’s red ink. Yet Pfeiffer also told the GOP that stubbornness among their party’s leadership would only yield public embarrassment
Read More

Did the University of Colorado ignore warnings on theater shooter?

New questions confronted the University of Colorado, Denver on Friday amid disclosures that a psychiatrist who treated theater shooting suspect James Holmes had warned campus police a month before the deadly assault that Holmes was dangerous and had homicidal thoughts. Court documents made public Thursday revealed Dr. Lynne Fenton also told a campus police officer in June that the shooting suspect had threatened and intimidated her. Fenton’s blunt warning came more than a month before the July 20 attack at a movie theater that killed 12 and injured 70. Holmes had been a student in the university’s Ph.D. neuroscience program
Read More

Strong anti-abortion bill heads to Kansas governor to become law

Kansas legislators gave final passage to a sweeping anti-abortion measure Friday night, sending Gov. Sam Brownback a bill that declares life begins “at fertilization” while blocking tax breaks for abortion providers and banning abortions performed solely because of the baby’s sex. The House voted 90-30 for a compromise version of the bill reconciling differences between the two chambers, only hours after the Senate approved it, 28-10. The Republican governor is a strong abortion opponent, and supporters of the measure expect him to sign it into law so that the new restrictions take effect July 1. In addition to the bans
Read More

Obama faces choices in morning-after pill debate

President Barack Obama supports requiring girls younger than 17 to see a doctor before buying the morning-after pill. But fighting that battle in court comes with its own set of risks. A federal judge in New York on Friday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to lift age restrictions on the sale of emergency contraception — ending today’s requirement that buyers show proof they’re 17 or older if they want to buy it without a prescription. The ruling accused the Obama administration in no uncertain terms of letting the president’s pending re-election cloud its judgment when it set the age
Read More