Archives for News

Shadow of Newt Gingrich looms over shutdown

In this Nov. 20, 1995, file photo, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, of Ga., holds the original budget compromise given to him by White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta during an address before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. Gingrich was the face of the last federal government shutdown, the fiery House speaker who led his Republican revolution headlong into a confrontation with a Democratic president. (AP Photo/J.Scott Applewhite, File) Newt Gingrich was the face of the last federal government shutdown, the fiery House speaker who led his Republican revolution headlong into a confrontation with a Democratic president. Now,
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Social Security ending mailed earning statements

Those yearly statements that Social Security mails out — here’s what you’d get if you retired at 62, at 66, at 70 — will soon stop arriving in workers’ mailboxes. It’s an effort to save money and steer more people to the agency’s website. The government is working to provide the statements online by the end of the year, if it can resolve security issues, Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said. If that fails, the agency will resume the paper statements, which cost $70 million a year to mail, he said. “We’ll provide it, we expect, one way or another,
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New York tourism officials smell a rat

Absolutely no one likes a rat, a city official said on Tuesday, demanding $1.5 million be restored to the budget to be help control what he called Manhattan’s horrific rat problem. Seeing vermin running amok on city streets and in subway tunnels is a turn-off for tourists, said Manhattan Borough president Scott Stringer. “They don’t want to come here and share their vacation with a New York City rat,” Stringer told Reuters. Demanding rat control money be restored to the city Health Department budget, Stringer said the cuts forced the layoff of 57 Pest Control workers. The result has been
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EMail marketer apologizes

The company at the center of a data heist involving Best Buy, Citigroup, and other major brands said Wednesday that the theft of potentially millions of names and email addresses won’t significantly slow its email marketing juggernaut. Epsilon, a subsidiary of Alliance Data Systems Corp., was the victim of a hacking attack that triggered scores of public warnings this week from major retailers, banks and others. Epsilon sends more than 40 billion emails a year on behalf of more than 2,500 companies, for things like loyalty rewards programs. In a statement Wednesday, it reiterated that Social Security and credit card
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Soul Surfer: An inspiring story

For Bethany Hamilton, it’s all about God and surfing. That’s how it was when a shark ripped off her arm as she lolled on a surfboard off the shores of Kauai in 2003, and that’s how it is now as the cinematic version of her story, “Soul Surfer,” opens in theaters nationwide. “He continues to just guide me and lead my every step, because even though the shark attack was scary and crazy, but I think all of this is just as hard to deal with, you know?” says the 21-year-old, who became an instant celebrity after the attack. “Having
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Retail sales not as bleak as expected

March was not as bad as expected for U.S. retailers, at least as far as initial sales reports show, suggesting that shoppers largely ignored higher gasoline prices and other concerns to treat themselves. U.S. retailers overall are likely to show a drop in March same-store sales, hurt by Easter falling three weeks later than last year, which delays some spring clothing purchases. Chilly weather and rising inflation were also expected to hurt discretionary purchases. However, early reports from a variety of retailers such as Costco Wholesale Corp and Limited Brands Inc showed much stronger-than-expected results. Others, including drugstore operator Walgreen
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End of the road for Glenn Beck’s show

Glenn Beck later this year will end his Fox News Channel talk show, which has sunk in the ratings and has suffered from an advertiser boycott. Fox and Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts, said Wednesday they will stay in business creating other projects for Fox television and digital, starting with some documentaries Beck is preparing. Beck was a quick burn on Fox News Channel. Almost immediately after joining the network in January 2009, he doubled the ratings at his afternoon time slot. Fans found his conservative populism entertaining, while Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert described Beck’s “crank up the crazy and
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Obama says shutdown will delay pay to troops

The Obama administration warned Wednesday that a federal shutdown would undermine the economic recovery, delay pay to U.S. troops fighting in three wars, slow the processing of tax returns and limit small business loans and government-backed mortgages during peak home buying season. The dire message, delivered two days before the federal government’s spending authority expires, appeared aimed at jolting congressional Republicans into a budget compromise. Billions of dollars apart, congressional negotiators were working to strike a deal by Friday to avert a shutdown by setting spending limits through the end of September. The last such shutdown took place 15 years
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Are there any adults in Washington?

Suddenly everyone in Washington wants to be an adult. President Barack Obama says he wants to have an adult dialogue on the budget. Republican lawmakers contend they’re the ones trying to have a grown-up talk. Both sides are pointing fingers yet both have agreed to repeated delays in completing a budget to keep the government open for the last six months of the fiscal year. The bickering might seem, well, childish, but the stakes are high as each side tries to win public opinion and display the leadership qualities to attract voters at the ballot box through 2012 and beyond.
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GOP looking at one-week budget extension

Republicans battling with President Barack Obama over budget cuts are moving one-week legislation Thursday to avoid a government shutdown, despite opposition from the White House and Senate Democrats pressing for a longer-term solution. The move by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to advance the interim budget measure angered his Democratic negotiating counterparts and came after slower-than-hoped White House talks Wednesday night. The president said Republicans need to display more urgency, while Boehner said honest differences remain. Thursday’s GOP measure would combine a full-year Pentagon budget with a big slice of cuts to domestic programs as the price to keep the
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