Archives for News

Obama signs four-year extension of Patriot Act

Congress on Thursday passed a four-year extension of post-Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists. Votes taken in rapid succession in the Senate and House came after lawmakers rejected attempts to temper the law enforcement powers to ensure that individual liberties are not abused. Following the 250-153 evening vote in the House, the legislation to renew three terrorism-fighting authorities headed for the president’s signature with only hours to go before the provisions expire at midnight. With Obama currently in France, the White House said the president would use an autopen machine that holds
Read More

Judge voids Wisconsin union-busting law

A Wisconsin judge on Thursday voided a controversial Republican-backed law restricting the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions in the state. Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi, who was appointed by a Republican governor, said Republican state lawmakers who passed the law in March had violated the state’s open meetings law in rushing the legislation through amid massive public protests at the state Capitol. But the ruling will not end the bitter battle over the measure, which also sent 14 state Senators into hiding in neighboring Illinois to prevent a caucus and later sparked the largest wave of legislator recall
Read More

GOP presidential wannabes flip-flop on global warming

For Republican presidential contenders who once supported combatting global warming, the race is heating up. Faced with an activist right wing that questions the science linking pollution to changes in the Earth’s climate and also disdains big government, most of the GOP contenders have stepped back from their previous positions on global warming. Some have apologized outright for past support of proposals to reduce heat-trapping pollution. And those who haven’t fully recanted are under pressure to do so. The latest sign of that pressure came Thursday when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he was pulling his state out of
Read More

Google, PayPal go after each other

Google Inc. hopes to nudge consumers and merchants into a world where the smartphone has replaced the wallet as the container for credit cards, coupons and receipts. While it tackles that challenge, Google also will have to spar with the biggest online payment service, eBay Inc.’s PayPal, in a legal battle that could be filled with corporate intrigue. After Google unveiled its tap-to-pay technology in New York on a smartphone equipped with its Android software, PayPal struck back in a California court with a lawsuit alleging the service is the byproduct of intellectual theft and betrayal. The central figure in
Read More

Romney will announce Presidential run next week

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will formally announce his campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination next week in New Hampshire, a Romney aide said on Thursday. Romney, who unsuccessfully sought the party’s nomination in 2008, is regarded as the early Republican front-runner to challenge President Barack Obama in the November 2012 election. The 64-year-old Romney tops many opinion polls against his possible Republican rivals, but he lags behind Obama. Romney planned to launch his campaign at a mid-day barbecue in Stratham, New Hampshire on June 2, according to the aide. The state holds an important early contest on the
Read More

Bachmann plans presidential announcement in June

Republican Michele Bachmann is making plans for a presidential campaign announcement next month in Waterloo, Iowa, the city where the Minnesota congresswoman was born. Bachmann trickled out the details in a conference call with reporters Thursday night but said she could still reverse course and sit out the 2012 White House campaign. Bachmann was supposed to speak in person at a GOP dinner in downtown Des Moines, but a vote in Washington turned the appearance into a video message. Hundreds of Republicans watched her via a blurry, choppy Internet feed, where she profusely apologized for her absence and offered a
Read More

Congress faces midnight deadline on Patriot Act

Congress is rushing to extend the life of three anti-terror tools, including the use of roving wiretaps, before they expire at midnight Thursday. The Senate was set to start voting on the legislation, including possible amendments, Thursday morning. Final passage during the day would send it to the House for quick approval and then onward to President Barack Obama in Europe for his signature. The rapid-fire action on key elements of the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act comes after several days of impasse in the Senate and results in part from the prodding of senior intelligence officials, who warned of the
Read More

GOP excesses may redefine 2012 races

Jubilant Democrats demanded Republicans abandon their sweeping plans to remake Medicare on Wednesday after casting a House race in upstate New York as a referendum on the popular program and emerging victorious. “The top three reasons for the election of a Democrat in one of the most conservative Republican districts in America are Medicare, Medicare and Medicare,” declared New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the party’s congressional campaign committee. House Republicans made little if any attempt to demonstrate widespread support for their controversial proposal during the day. And the National Republican Congressional Committee offered no explanation for having let
Read More

Palin’s presidential plans: Will she or won’t she?

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has authorized a feature-length film about her rise, added staff and recently said she has “that fire in the belly” for a presidential bid — all steps that fuel speculation she’s inching toward a White House run. Her supporters are putting together a campaign-in-waiting in Iowa, the lead-off nominating caucus, in the hopes the Republicans’ 2008 vice presidential nominee decides to join the race. There are even reports she bought a home in Arizona, not far from her daughter’s, which aides have suggested could be a campaign headquarters if she goes forward. Clearly Palin will
Read More

John Edwards under criminal investigation

Multiple reports say former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards will soon be indicted by the Justice Department on criminal charges for allegedly violating campaign finance laws in an effort to cover up his extramarital affair. Overnight reports cite sources close to the investigation who say that the government is preparing to indict Edwards, though a plea deal could still be reached, perhaps in the next two weeks. The plans were first reported by ABC News. Months after bowing out of the 2008 presidential race, Edwards admitted to having an affair with Rielle Hunter, who was at one time hired
Read More