Archives for News

Ensign’s resignation raises questions

The resignation this week by U.S. Sen. John Ensign raised questions about what an ongoing Senate ethics probe has uncovered, while also muddling the field of candidates for congressional seats now held by the GOP headed into a key election year. The decision to step down marked an unexpected change of heart for the Nevada Republican who as recently as last month said he would remain in office until his planned retirement from politics because he had not violated ethics rules. “If I was concerned about that, I would have resigned, because that would make the most sense, because then
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Popular Alaska cop is illegal immigrant

For years, the man known as Rafael Espinoza was widely respected as an exemplary police officer who was popular among his peers in Alaska’s largest city. All that ended this week when authorities discovered he was really Mexican national Rafael Mora-Lopez, who was in the U.S. illegally and stole another man’s identity, officials charged. “His reputation here is one of a hard-working officer, one who was very professional,” Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said Friday at a news conference announcing Mora-Lopez’s arrest. “The problem, obviously, is he is not Rafael Espinoza.” Soon after the announcement, Mora-Lopez appeared in U.S. District
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Birthers: The lunatic issue that just won’t go away

In a political environment where nutcase theories take root and won’t go away, the “birther” movement has become an albatross for the Republican Party. Based on the debunked belief that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States, the birther movement now forces GOP candidates and leaders to take sides and walk a tightrope because the sudden — and some think inexplicable — popularity of flamboyant real estate mogul Donald Trump and his embrace of the birthers has forced them into taking a position. Like a boil that needs lancing, the birther issue won’t go away.  It has forced
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Reform? New Congress members learn to use pork

Didn’t take long for the new wave of so-called reformers swept into Congress in the 2010 elections to learn how to play the Washington game of piling on the pork. West Virginia Republican freshman Rep. David McKinley, one of those who campaigned on tea party themes of cutting spending and ending waste, needed only three weeks to drop a bill to help a big campaign contributor, Arch Coal. McKinley’s bill, Politco reports, would help the coal company by overturning an Environmental Protection Agency ruling.  Then McKinley would introduce another bill, doing after an EPA regulation that places restrictions on architectural
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The teapot boils over: Americans pissed about Medicare cuts

In a poll that tea party extremists should read, a clear majority of Americans clearly oppose the drastic deficit reductions proposal of Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan and his fellow right-wingers in Congress. The new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds most Americans want Medicare left alone and oppose cuts in Medicaid and defense. The only thing they do support is President Obama‘s plan to raise taxes on the rich. The poll shows eroding support for Ryan’s budget plan, which calls for major restructuring of Medicare and Medicaid, with even a majority of those that align themselves with the tea party say
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Philandering John Ensign resigns from Senate

Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign becomes the latest ethics-challenged member of Congress to throw in the towel.   Ensign, dogged by admissions of nailing a female member of his staff and other ethics questions, will submit his letter of resignation Friday and leave office on May 3. The Senate Ethics Committee named a special counsel earlier this year to look into questions over Ensign’s ethics after the Justice Department and Federal Election Commission dropped their investigations into the Nevada Senator. Ensign continues to claim he did nothing wrong — except cheat on his wife — but said he was quitting
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Comedians raise $750,000 to end malaria in Africa

Conan O’Brien compared his career to Charlie Sheen‘s and Sarah Silverman, not surprisingly, sang a song with a foul refrain. But it was all for a good cause. Malaria No More said Thursday that the performances at last week’s “Hollywood Bites Back” comedy show helped raise $750,000 toward ending malaria in Africa. Its Comedy Fights Malaria campaign is raising awareness that the preventable, curable disease eradicated in the United States six decades ago still kills nearly 800,000 people a year in Africa. Celebrities such as John Mayer, Orlando Bloom, Ted Danson and Elizabeth Banks recorded public service announcements about the
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Samsung files counter lawsuit against Apple

  South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. said it is suing Apple Inc. for patent rights violations, only days after Apple sued Samsung for the same reason. Samsung is accusing Apple of violating its rights to 10 smartphone and computer patents. The company filed lawsuits Thursday in Seoul, Tokyo and Mannheim, Germany. The lawsuits come only days after Apple sued Samsung in a California court. Apple alleges Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones and tablet computers copy Apple’s popular iPad and iPhone. The lawsuits are the latest in a long string of patent disputes among phone makers. In recent years Apple, Microsoft
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Time for new combat uniforms for female soldiers

  Imagine U.S. combat troops and aviators wearing body armor that fits so poorly that it’s tough to position a weapon to shoot, combat uniforms with knee pads that hit around mid-shin and flight suits that make it nearly impossible to urinate while in flight. For many female troops, it’s just another day on the battlefield as they wear clothing and protective gear designed primarily for men. Each of these issues is now getting some attention from the military. Seven hundred female Army troops are testing a new combat uniform for women with shorter sleeves and knee pads in the
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Toyota production disrupted until Nov. or Dec.

Toyota’s global car production, disrupted by parts shortages from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, won’t return to normal until November or December — imperiling its spot as the world’s top-selling automaker. President Akio Toyoda apologized to customers for the delays due to the March 11 disasters that damaged suppliers in northeastern Japan, affecting automakers around the world. “To all the customers who made the decision to buy a vehicle made by us, I sincerely apologize for the enormous delay in delivery,” Toyoda said at a news conference in Tokyo. Toyota Motor Corp. earlier said it has suffered a production loss of
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