Archives for News

Bombs kill three, injure more than 100 at Boston Marathon

Two bombs exploded in the packed streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people and injuring more than 100 in a terrifying scene of shattered glass, bloodstained pavement and severed limbs, authorities said. A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other bombs were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course. President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will “feel the full weight of justice.” A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still unfolding said the attack was being treated as an act of terrorism. Authorities shed no
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Bipartisan immigration deal almost ready

A bipartisan group of senators is almost ready to share an immigration overhaul crafted over several months. The Gang of Eight is finishing up the final details and is planning to unveil the proposed legislation on Tuesday. Even before the measure gets its first public airing, its authors are defending the program for the 11 million individuals in this country who came illegally or overstayed their visit. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida says the proposal will be a starting point and wants to include colleagues’ ideas. Already the effort has its critics. For instance, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of
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More Republicans backing increased background checks on gun buyers

With the Senate set to begin debate on gun control legislation this week, a proposal to expand background checks for gun buyers picked up some key Republican support over the weekend. But it may not be enough to ensure the measure is adopted. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine issued a statement Sunday saying that she would vote for the compromise crafted by Sens. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. The proposal requires background checks for people buying guns at gun shows and online, but exempts private gun sales. The plan would “strengthen the background check system without in
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Alaska slashes oil prices; hopes to spur production

Alaska lawmakers on Sunday gave final approval to a bill slashing state oil-production taxes in a change supporters said was needed to boost flagging output from aging fields but which critics say will severely damage the state’s finances. The new system approved by the Republican-dominated legislature does away with a methodology that increases tax rates as oil prices rise, a centerpiece of the aggressive tax legislation championed by former governor Sarah Palin. Alaska will impose a base rate of 35 percent on oil companies’ net profits in the state, replacing a 25 percent base rate that increased by 0.4 percentage
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Focus on gay rights shifts back to Obama

President Barack Obama may have made a slow start on gay rights issues, but by the end of his first term his record was such that a news magazine dubbed him the nation’s “first gay president.” Now activists want more. Fresh from historic Supreme Court arguments over same-sex unions, advocates want Obama to use his executive powers to fight discrimination at businesses, schools, and military bases and stop waiting for action from a reluctant Congress. The Supreme Court is expected to rule in June on big issues: the constitutional right to gay marriage and the right of gay married couples
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A New Orleans political brawl over cops and jail

A political brawl has broken out between the mayor and a sheriff who runs the city jail, which has come under scrutiny for a video showing inmates using drugs, drinking beer and handling a gun. Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked a judge last Tuesday to take the extraordinary step of placing the jail under federal oversight, effectively wresting control of it away from Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman. Landrieu is upset over an agreement Gusman reached with the U.S. Justice Department to reform the jail, saying the city, which funds the jail, can’t afford the potential expense. “Stated simply, the person
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Republicans reaffirm homophobic stand on gay marriage, honor perennial loser Ron Paul

Homophobia ruled at the spring gathering of the Republican National Committee this week in Los Angeles as the group approved — with no debate — yet another resolution affirming the party’s steadfast opposition to gay marriage. A simple resolution approved in a voice vote by the 157 members of the RNC said: “The Republican National Committee affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America.” The resolution flies in the face of a trend of an increasing number of
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Hypocrisy rules in Washington

Hypocrisy is nothing new in Washington. The long-running debate over taxes and spending, however, is producing especially blatant examples of politicians contradicting themselves or attacking opponents for taking the very stances they’ve taken themselves. Lawmakers, for instance, denounce the deficit but refuse to let the Postal Service close money-losing offices or end Saturday delivery. They force the Defense Department to maintain weapons systems and military bases — located in their home districts, of course — that the Pentagon wants to end. Cries of hypocrisy grew so loud Thursday that House Speaker John Boehner got into a public spat with his
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Medicare hike may hurt the middle class

Retired as a city worker, Sheila Pugach lives in a modest home on a quiet street in Albuquerque, N.M., and drives an 18-year-old Subaru. Pugach doesn’t see herself as upper-income by any stretch, but President Barack Obama’s budget would raise her Medicare premiums and those of other comfortably retired seniors, adding to a surcharge that already costs some 2 million beneficiaries hundreds of dollars a year each. More importantly, due to the creeping effects of inflation, 20 million Medicare beneficiaries would end up paying higher “income related” premiums for their outpatient and prescription coverage over time. Administration officials say Obama’s
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A mother’s plea for real gun control

The mother of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Connecticut school shooting used the opportunity to fill in for President Barack Obama during the weekly radio and Internet address to make a personal plea from the White House for action to combat gun violence. “Thousands of other families across the United States are also drowning in our grief,” said Francine Wheeler, choking back tears in the address broadcast Saturday. “Please help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy.” Ben Wheeler was among the 20 first-graders and six adults killed in the Dec. 14 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary
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