Archives for News

White House needs to do more to prevent future oil spills

A presidential panel investigating the Gulf oil spill says that the oil industry, Congress and the Obama administration need to do more to reduce the chances of another large-scale disaster. That’s the primary conclusion of the independent panel assembled by President Barack Obama, which released its final report Tuesday. The commission recommends increasing budgets and training for the federal agency that regulates offshore drilling; increasing the liability cap for damages when companies drill offshore; dedicating 80 percent of fines and penalties from the BP spill to restoration of the Gulf; and lending more weight to scientific opinions by other federal
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Poll: Americans like Obama, but. . .

Thumbs up for President Barack Obama‘s personality. Thumbs down for his progress. An overwhelming majority of Americans like Obama, but most say he hasn’t accomplished much on two top goals — fixing the sluggish economy and changing how Washington works, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll midway through the first term of his presidency. Half of those surveyed say he deserves a second term, and independents, whose support will be critical in 2012, are evenly divided on that question. Obama is getting the benefit of the doubt despite concerns about his policies, a reflection based in large part on
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Giffords moving to rehab today

Fresh from a sunny outing that brought a smile, Gabrielle Giffords is moving to a Houston rehab center where her husband hopes the “fighter” continues on the path to a full recovery. University Medical Center staffers took the wounded congresswoman to a deck at the hospital Thursday, where she breathed in the fresh air and felt the sun, trauma surgeon Peter Rhee said. “I saw the biggest smile she could gather,” Rhee said. “We are very happy to have her enjoying the sunshine of Arizona.” Giffords has been making progress nearly everyday in her recovery from a bullet wound to
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Jobless claims drop top expectations

U.S. initial jobless claims fell more than expected last week and showed their biggest decline since February, in a hopeful sign for the U.S. labor market. The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits dropped sharply to 404,000 from a downwardly revised reading of 441,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The 37,000 drop in claims was the biggest since the week that ended Feb 6, when claims fell by 51,000. Analysts had expected weekly jobless claims to fall to 420,000. A Labor Department official said the larger-than-expected decline was partly explained by jobless claims
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God, sure wish I hadn’t said that

Two days after being sworn in as Alabama governor, Robert Bentley apologized Wednesday for proclaiming to a Baptist church audience that only Christians were his brothers and sisters and vowed to work for people of all faiths and colors. His comments Monday shocked and offended some believers of other faiths, but the backlash didn’t seem to be a serious political wound for the retired dermatologist and Southern Baptist deacon. In a conservative state with some of the highest levels of church attendance in the country, some Christian leaders defended the remarks and the Republican will likely get a fair chance
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OK, we relaxed this tax act thingy. Now what?

House Republicans redeemed a campaign promise to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, but now must march against the headwinds of a Democratic-controlled Senate and the specter of a White House veto. The GOP owes its newfound control of the House in part to its appeal last fall to voters outraged about the new health care law. And when the roll call was taken, they prevailed by a lopsided 245-189 margin. But given the solid wall of opposition among Senate Democrats and the certainty that the president would veto any repeal legislation that reached the White House, Wednesday’s House
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Another giant step for Gabrielle Giffords

In the latest milestone in Gabrielle Giffords‘ recovery from a bullet wound to the brain, the congresswoman stood up and looked out a window even as preparations got under way for a move to Houston, where she’ll undergo extensive mental and physical rehabilitation. Her swift transition from an intensive care unit to a rehab center is based on the latest research, which shows the sooner rehab starts, the better patients recover. Giffords’ family hopes to move the Arizona congresswoman on Friday to TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, where her husband lives and works as an astronaut. “I am extremely
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Health care claims long on hype, short on facts

Republicans pushing to repeal President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul warn that 650,000 jobs will be lost if the law is allowed to stand. But the widely cited estimate by House GOP leaders is shaky. It’s the latest creative use of statistics in the health care debate, which has seen plenty of examples from both sides. Republicans are calling their thumbs-down legislation the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” Postponed after the mass shootings in Tucson, a House vote on the divisive issue is now expected Wednesday, although Democrats promise they’ll block repeal in the Senate. A recent report
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Giffords’ husband: ‘She recognized me’

Congressman Gabrielle Giffords’ husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, says he is certain his wife recognizes him and is making her awareness of his bedside presence known more than a week after she was shot through the head. While doctors at University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, said over the weekend that Giffords remained mostly incommunicative, Kelly said his spouse is connecting with him through small, but distinct gestures. “If I hold her hand, she’ll play with my wedding ring,” Kelly, a NASA space shuttle commander, told ABC News in his first television interview since his wife was gravely wounded in a
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Sargeant Shriver dead at 95

who spent four decades in public service as a member of the Kennedy family, the first director of the Peace Corps and a key warrior in Lyndon Johnson‘s War on Poverty, died on Tuesday. He was 95. Shriver, who had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his final years, was surrounded by his five children and 19 grandchildren when he died in Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., his family said in a statement. Shriver, the Democratic substitute nominee for vice president in 1972 and briefly a presidential candidate in 1976, was an advocate for the poor and powerless who helped launch
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