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CIA opens New York probe

The CIA has opened an internal investigation into whether the agency broke a ban against domestic spying in its work with New York City police, top officials said Tuesday. Newly appointed CIA director David Petraeus, who took over the spy agency this month, said the probe by the agency’s inspector general would look at the work of a CIA “adviser” at the New York police department helping with counter-terrorism efforts. The adviser “tries to ensure that there is sharing of information as that is essential,” Petraeus told lawmakers. “We are very sensitive to the law and privacy and indeed there
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Obama’s tax cuts worry social security advocates

Some Social Security advocates fear that President Barack Obama‘s desire to cut taxes supporting the program will undermine its vaunted stature as a self-financing pension system that provides checks to retirees based on contributions they made while working. For now, though, the administration insists — and many experts agree — that the proposal would have no impact on the program’s financial soundness or ability to pay benefits averaging $1,077 a month to 55 million recipients.. Cutting Social Security taxes is the keystone of Obama’s $447 billion plan to create jobs and leave more cash in people’s pockets, an effort by
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GOP foes attack Perry’s record

Rick Perry‘s bid for the Republican presidential nomination will rise or fall on his 10-year record as Texas governor. In Monday’s crackling GOP debate, his rivals attacked that record as never before, led by a newly energized Mitt Romney and hard-charging Michele Bachmann. Perry, holding his own but looking besieged at times, defended himself vigorously on most fronts. He acknowledged mishandling a schoolgirl vaccination program, however, and asked for understanding about Texas’ need to work with illegal immigrants who seek citizenship and college educations. As President Barack Obama might say: Welcome to the role of an incumbent with a complex
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Another debate, more lies

Rick Perry 1.0 thought Social Security was a “disease” inflicted on the population by the federal government. Rick Perry 2.0 thinks Social Security deserves to be saved “for generations to come.” That metamorphosis by the Republican presidential hopeful over recent months contributed to some factual stretches Monday night in a GOP debate, both by the Texas governor and his opponents for the nomination. A look at some of the claims in the debate and how they compare with the facts: ___ PERRY: On Social Security for younger workers, “No one’s had the courage to stand up and say, here is
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Obama’s record-setting drive to diversify courts

President Barack Obama is moving at a historic pace to try to diversify the nation’s federal judiciary: Nearly three of every four people he has gotten confirmed to the federal bench are women or minorities. He is the first president who hasn’t selected a majority of white males for lifetime judgeships. More than 70 percent of Obama’s confirmed judicial nominees during his first two years were “non-traditional,” or nominees who were not white males. That far exceeds the percentages in the two-term administrations of Bill Clinton (48.1 percent) and George W. Bush (32.9 percent), according to Sheldon Goldman, author of
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Obama: Americans reject tea party ideas

President Barack Obama said the “vast majority” of Americans reject the ideas of archconservative Tea Party movement, in an interview broadcast Monday. “We’ve always had a anti-federal government bent in a chunk of our population. That’s nothing new,” Obama told NBC News, referring to the anti-federal nature of the Tea Party, whose fervor swept in dozens of new Republican house members in the 2010 mid-term elections. Many of Obama’s probable opponents in the next White House election, in 2012, also subscribe to that outlook, with frontrunner Texas Governor Rick Perry repeatedly vowing to get the national government out of people’s
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Is it government’s job to fix economy?

The economy needs to be fixed. On this, Democrats and Republicans agree. They part ways over how to do it and, specifically, what role the federal government should play. “Ultimately,” President Barack Obama tells Congress, “our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. But we can help.” His argument that government has a responsibility to do so probably doesn’t sit well with an America that’s down on Washington. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and other Republicans competing for his job take a different tack as they court a tea
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Obama’s jobs bill headed for Hill

A White House official says President Barack Obama will send Congress his new $447 billion jobs bill Monday and speak in the Rose Garden to call for swift passage. Obama is also preparing to travel the country to build public support for the package he unveiled last week. He’ll visit Ohio Tuesday and North Carolina Wednesday to ask voters to pressure lawmakers to pass the bill. The centerpiece of the plan is lower Social Security payroll taxes for individuals and businesses. There’s also new spending to hire teachers and rebuild schools, among other things. Teachers, police officers, firefighters and others
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No more mail? Ben Franklin is rolling over in his grave

Imagine a nation without the Postal Service. No more birthday cards and bills or magazines and catalogs filling the mailbox. It’s a worst-case scenario being painted for an organization that lost $8.5 billion in 2010 and seems headed deeper into the red this year. “A lot of people would miss it,” says Tony Conway, a 34-year post office veteran who now heads the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers. Businesses, too. The letter carrier or clerk is the face of the mail. But hanging in the balance is a $1.1 trillion mailing industry that employs more than 8 million people in direct
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Dismal fundraising month for Democrats

The Democratic National Committee raised only about $5.5 million in August, its worst fundraising month of the year, down from $6.7 million in July, according to figures provided by Democratic officials on Saturday and Federal Election Commission filings. The low fundraising figure for August was confirmed by a senior Democratic official, who said it would not be officially disclosed until September 20. Both the DNC and President Barack Obama‘s re-election campaign were forced to curtail fundraising during the summer because of the protracted and acrimonious negotiations with Congressional Republicans over the national debt, which led Obama to cancel fundraisers around
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