Archives for News

Obama pushes wi-fi

President Barack Obama wants nearly all Americans to have access to speedy wireless services. He’s promoting that plan in a small city in Michigan that’s becoming a model for how the Internet can bring prosperity to far-flung places. Obama on Thursday heads to Marquette, Mich., a university and tourism town of 20,000 overlooking Lake Superior that cherishes both its geographical remoteness and technological savvy. There he’ll see high-tech wireless initiatives in action at Northern Michigan University, where students telecommute, and talk about the plan he unveiled in his State of the Union address to expand access to high-speed wireless to
Read More

Mississippii considering license places honoring Ku Klux Klan

A fight is brewing in Mississippi over a proposal to issue specialty license plates honoring Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan. The Mississippi Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans wants to sponsor a series of state-issued license plates to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which it calls the “War Between the States.” The group proposes a different design each year between now and 2015, with Forrest slated for 2014. “Seriously?” state NAACP president Derrick Johnson said when he was told about the Forrest plate. “Wow.” Forrest, a Tennessee
Read More

Patriot Act vote defeat catches GOP leaders off guard

The clout of tea party advocates and other hard-line conservatives in Congress has caught top Republicans by surprise, raising questions about whether GOP leaders can impose enough discipline in their House majority to pass tough measures, such as raising the debt ceiling. Within 24 hours this week, House Speaker John Boehner’s team had to pull a trade bill from the chamber floor, suffered an embarrassing setback on a USA Patriot Act vote, and failed to recoup money paid to the United Nations. And in electoral politics, the tea party’s threat to Republican incumbents came more into focus. Three GOP senators
Read More

So, why are the jobless numbers so high?

The job numbers are bleak. Some 13.9 million workers remain unemployed 21 months after the end of the recession, according to the latest estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.   Of those, 6.2 million people have been out-of-work for 6 months or more, and 8.4 million toil at part-time jobs. And few economic forecasters believe the nation’s unemployment rate — currently at 9 percent — will drop much below that level in 2011. Just how broken is the great American jobs machine? American companies have returned to record profitability, and, as President Obama pointed out in a speech to the
Read More

The ‘widows tax:’ Another broken promise

Tens of thousands of the nation’s war widows find it perplexing and downright disrespectful to their late military husbands: In order to fully collect on insurance their husbands bought for them when alive, they must marry another man. And to qualify, the widows must remarry when they are 57 or older. Those who remarry earlier miss out, as do widows who never remarry. At the heart of the issue is a government policy known as the “widows’ tax.” It says a military spouse whose loved one dies from a service-related cause can’t collect both survivor’s benefits and the full annuity
Read More

At CIA, mistakes mean promotions

In December 2003, security forces boarded a bus in Macedonia and snatched a German citizen named Khaled el-Masri. For the next five months, el-Masri was a ghost. Only a select group of CIA officers knew he had been whisked to a secret prison for interrogation in Afghanistan. But he was the wrong guy. A hard-charging CIA analyst had pushed the agency into one of the biggest diplomatic embarrassments of the U.S. war on terrorism. Yet despite recommendations by an internal review, the analyst was never punished. In fact, she has risen to one of the premier jobs in the CIA’s
Read More

Obama to CEOs: What can you do for America?

Echoing John F. Kennedy, President Barack Obama prodded business leaders Monday to “ask yourselves what you can do for America,” not just for company bottom lines, even as he sought to smooth his uneasy relations with the nation’s corporate executives. Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the president urged the business community to help accelerate the slow economic recovery by increasing hiring and unleashing some of the $2 trillion piling up on their balance sheets. “I want to encourage you to get in the game,” Obama said. He enumerated new efforts by his administration to improve the nation’s business
Read More

Muburak announces reform committees

In its latest effort to defuse public anger amid mass protests, embattled President Hosni Mubarak’s regime set up a committee Tuesday to recommend constitutional changes that would relax presidential eligibility rules and impose term limits. Mubarak’s decrees were announced on state television by Vice President Omar Suleiman, who also said that Mubarak had decreed the creation of a separate committee to monitor the implementation of all proposed reforms. The two committees would start working immediately, but Suleiman did not give details about who would sit on the panels or how they would be chosen. The government has promised several concessions
Read More

Rise and fall of the foreclosure king

During the housing crash, it was good to be a foreclosure king. David Stern was Florida’s top foreclosure lawyer, and he lived like an oil sheik. He piled up a collection of trophy properties, glided through town in a fleet of six-figure sports cars and, with his bombshell wife, partied on an ocean cruiser the size of a small hotel. When homeowners fell behind on their mortgages, the banks flocked to “foreclosure mills” like Stern’s to push foreclosures through the courts on their behalf. To his megabank clients — Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, GMAC, Citibank and Wells Fargo —
Read More

Winter gives some the blues, makes others frisky

Does winter weather give you the blues? Or are you the type who gets a little frisky when there’s a chill in the air? Either way, you’re not alone. Four in 10 Americans say the weather affects their mood, and winter by far is the season most likely to leave them feeling down. Still, there are pleasures to be had amid the snow and ice. Given the choice between grabbing an extra blanket or cozying up with someone special when it’s cold, most people choose snuggling over a Snuggie. And some folks take things a whole lot further: 15 percent
Read More