Archives for News

Paranoia, panic among gun owners leads to shortages in firearms, ammo

Panicky gun owners, paranoid that the government is going to take away their firearms and ammo, are going on spending sprees for both guns and bullets, creating shortages and driving up prices. “It’s nuts,” Jonathan Simmons, a gun owner from Roanoke, Virginia, told Capitol Hill Blue.  “I can’t find any .22 long rifle.  The last time I checked, no proposed new gun laws outlawed 22 cartridges and while there are proposals to limit the size of magazines, I haven’t seen any plans to restrict ammo sales.” Gun shops ranging from independent operators to national chains like Gander Mountain have placed
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FBI’s privacy-invading ‘National Security Letters’ gag orders ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge in California Thursday ruled that the FBI usages of secretcy in so-called “National Security Letters” is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment of the United States. The decision comes as good news to the publisher of Capitol Hill Blue because the agency attempted to use such a letter to obtain records of the news site through its web host in 2006. That attempt by the agency failed because it failed to realize that the publisher, Doug Thompson, owned the data facility that hosted Capitol Hill Blue and was aware of the letter when it was served. Under
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Obama’s ‘charm offensive’ on budget is turning sour

Over dinner at a swank hotel a few blocks from the White House, Republican senators wanted to know if President Barack Obama would support a gradual increase in the age of eligibility for Medicare, set at 65 since the program’s inception more than four decades ago. The president hedged, according to several at the event, recalling the discussion on a cost-saving change to Medicare that most if not all leading Democrats in Congress adamantly oppose. One later recalled that Obama “drew no bright line” in opposition, but the lawmaker came away believing that the president “would be very resistant” even
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Grand jury investigating Sen. Robert Menendez

Sen. Robert Menendez is being investigated by a Miami federal grand jury for his role in advocating for the business interests of a wealthy donor and friend, The Washington Post reported Thursday. A story on the newspaper’s website said that as part of the probe federal agents have questioned witnesses about the interactions between Menendez, D-N.J., and Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. The newspaper said the grand jury also issued subpoenas for Melgen’s business and financial records. The newspaper cited unidentified people it said were familiar with the probe. Federal agents have not contacted Menendez, one person told the newspaper. The
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Pay raises for political employees raises ire in Louisiana

Lawmakers bristled Wednesday over pay raises handed out by Louisiana‘s statewide elected officials while the state struggled with continuing budget shortfalls and repeated cuts. Members of the House Appropriations Committee said they were frustrated as they learned that Treasurer John Kennedy, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell have given salary bumps to various employees in their offices in the current budget year. Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, said taxpayers wouldn’t be happy to know that raises were given when the state had to make midyear cuts to services. “It’s hard to sit here and
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CPAC bringing Romney, Ryan back onto center stage

The Republican Party’s 2012 presidential ticket is returning to the national stage as thousands of conservative activists gather outside Washington to examine the GOP’s future. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will appear at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday afternoon, the second day of a three-day conservative summit. It’s the first time he’ll deliver public remarks since his concession speech last November. But at a conference focused on the next generation of conservative leaders, Romney’s 2012 running mate, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan, is scheduled to speak first. He’s expected to discuss his recently released budget blueprint. Friday’s program also features
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A third of American counties are dying

A record number of U.S. counties — more than 1 in 3 — are now dying off, hit by an aging population and weakened local economies that are spurring young adults to seek jobs and build families elsewhere. New 2012 census estimates released Thursday highlight the population shifts as the U.S. encounters its most sluggish growth levels since the Great Depression. The findings also reflect the increasing economic importance of foreign-born residents as the U.S. ponders an overhaul of a major 1965 federal immigration law. Without new immigrants, many metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and St.
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Republicans showcase budget differences with Obama

House Republicans are staking out stark differences with Democrats as they prepare to meet with President Barack Obama for talks over the budget impasse, while Obama is conceding that a political accommodation may be impossible. On the one hand, many Republicans who long have chided Obama for failing to engage their party on the nation’s biggest problems are applauding his newfound outreach — part of a concerted effort by the president to mend ties with Congress in hopes of reaching a grand compromise on fiscal issues. On the other hand, neither side is backing down from entrenched positions that have
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Disturbing questions about veterans charity in Florida

The next phase of an investigation into a veterans charity accused of being a front for a $300 million gambling operation will focus on lobbying and campaign donations, authorities said. While authorities wouldn’t talk specifics Wednesday, records showed the Florida-based charity Allied Veterans of the World and another company involved in the alleged fraud have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying and political campaigns in Florida. Nearly 60 people were charged in the probe so far and Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll stepped down after being questioned by investigators. Allied Veterans ran nearly 50 Internet parlors with computerized slot
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Changing attitudes found among working mothers

Working mothers increasingly want full-time jobs, and tough economic times might be a big reason, according to a national survey. In the Pew Research Center study being released Thursday, researchers saw a big spike in the share of working mothers who said they’d prefer to work full time; 37 percent said that was their ideal, up from 21 percent in 2007. The poll comes amid a national debate on women in the workplace ignited by top Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, who writes in a new book about the need for women to be more professionally aggressive. In “Lean In: Women,
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