Sunday, July 31, 2011

California moves presidential primary back to June

California’s next presidential primary will be one of the last in the nation.

Governor Jerry Brown announced on Friday, July 29, that he had signed legislation to push the primary back from February to June. The bill passed through the Legislature with near unanimous support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Middle class sees biggest drop in employment

Early on in the financial crisis there was talk of this finally being the Wall Street recession. Investment bankers, CEOs and other high paid types would be thrown out of their jobs or see they paychecks cut. Manufacturing and other sectors that employ middle class workers would see a comeback. But, according to a new study from National Employment Law Project, that's not how things worked out. Recessions often narrow the income gap. This recession has done the opposite.

Police: Dad sleeps, lets son, 8, drive on I-12

A Missississippi man let his 8-year-old son drive on Interstate 12 while he slept, Louisiana State Police reported Saturday.

State police said they received a call shortly after 6:30 a.m. Saturday about a green Chevrolet pickup truck driving erratically on the interstate in Livingston Parish. The caller told police that a child appeared to be the driver of the pickup.

Troopers stopped the vehicle, and they said a boy was driving the truck while his father, Billy Joe Madden, 28, of Hattiesburg, Miss., slept in the passenger seat.

Free crack pipes to be handed out in Vancouver

Health officials in Vancouver say they will launch a pilot project later this year to distribute clean, unused crack pipes to drug users.

It's part of the city's harm-reduction strategy that seeks to reduce the transmission of disease while ensuring health-care and social workers are able to interact with hard-to-reach drug addicts.

Senate Democrat Dick Durbin: bankers "own" the U.S. Congress

Sen. Dick Durbin, on a local Chicago radio station this week, blurted out an obvious truth about Congress that, despite being blindingly obvious, is rarely spoken: "And the banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place." The blunt acknowledgment that the same banks that caused the financial crisis "own" the U.S. Congress -- according to one of that institution's most powerful members -- demonstrates just how extreme this institutional corruption is.

New study documents media's servitude to government

A newly released study from students at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government provides the latest evidence of how thoroughly devoted the American establishment media is to amplifying and serving (rather than checking) government officials. This new study examines how waterboarding has been discussed by America's four largest newspapers over the past 100 years, and finds that the technique, almost invariably, was unequivocally referred to as "torture" -- until the U.S. Government began openly using it and insisting that it was not torture, at which time these newspapers obediently ceased describing it that way.

David Cameron supports Australian carbon tax

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has written to Australian leader Julia Gillard in support of her planned tax on carbon to combat climate change.

“Climate change is one of the most pressing threats we face and we need to take urgent action to reduce emissions and put economics on a more sustainable low carbon footing,” he wrote.

Michelle Obama rules out career in politics

The first lady also admitted that she has struggled to cope with her public role and "sharing my husband with the world."

When asked whether she would consider entering front line politics herself, Mrs Obama said: "The answer is N-O. Period. Dot."

"What I've learned as a woman growing up, getting older, is you've got to know who you are. And a politician - it's never been who I was or wanted to be."

US Secret Service pays Biden $2,200 a month for cottage next to vice president's Delaware home

The U.S. Secret Service is charged with protecting Joe Biden and his family, but the agency is also charged $2,200 a month to rent a cottage next to the vice president’s Delaware home.

Records show Biden has collected more than $13,000 since April on the cottage in Greenville, a wealthy Wilmington suburb, and is eligible for up to $66,000 before the contract expires in 2013.

It's a deal: Obama, Congress will avert default, debt ceiling raised

Ending a perilous stalemate, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced a historic agreement Sunday night on emergency legislation to avert the nation's first-ever financial default.

The agreement would slice at least $2.2 trillion from federal spending over a decade, a steep price for many Democrats, too little for many Republicans. The Treasury's authority to borrow would be extended beyond the 2012 elections, a key objective for Obama, though the president had to give up his insistence on raising taxes on wealthy Americans to reduce deficits.

Van Jones founds American Dream Movement, the Not Taxed Enough grassroot movement

Some people call Jones' group a liberal version of the Tea Party. His inspiration, he tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, is the silent majority of Americans who he believes oppose Tea Party platforms.

"Sixty to 70 percent of Americans agree that jobs are more important than this debt-ceiling debacle," Jones says. "Sixty-seven percent of Americans agree that we should raise taxes on the wealthiest in a crisis like this. We aren't being represented."

Mississippi NAACP leader sent to prison for 10 counts of voter fraud

While NAACP President Benjamin Jealous lashed out at new state laws requiring photo ID for voting, an NAACP executive sits in prison, sentenced for carrying out a massive voter fraud scheme.

In a story ignored by the national media, in April a Tunica County, Miss., jury convicted NAACP official Lessadolla Sowers on 10 counts of fraudulently casting absentee ballots. Sowers is identified on an NAACP website as a member of the Tunica County NAACP Executive Committee.

Ron Paul's Nevada camp in a more collaborative mood

Four years ago, the Ron Paul revolution swept through Nevada, drawing a wave of politically disaffected, mostly young, avidly libertarian voters into the stream of Republican politics.

A deftly organized cadre of Paul supporters who had become experts in the arcane rules governing the Republican Party and who had armed themselves with laptops and cellphones to communicate infiltrated the 2008 state convention.

Ultimately, the party leaders, fearing Nevada delegates would go to the national convention to support Paul — who came in second in the caucuses — instead of the party’s nominee John McCain, aborted the convention before delegates could be elected.

Obama's approval numbers hit all-time low

President Barack Obama’s approval rating sank to a new low Friday, according to Gallup’s daily presidential tracking poll.

Just 40 percent of Americans say they approve of Obama’s performance as president. That is down three percentage points from Thursday. 50 percent say they do not approve of the job he is doing.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Iraq 'less safe' than a year ago, US inspector says

The security situation in Iraq is more dangerous than it was a year ago, according to a government watchdog report issued yesterday that cites more attacks on US troops, a continuing wave of assassinations targeting Iraqi officials, and a growing number of indirect rocket strikes on Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Caught on tape: Vegas cop beats videographer

A Las Vegas police officer is in hot water after being caught on tape beating a videographer outside of his home in March.

A police department review found that Officer Derek Colling violated police policies when he used "excessive force" on Mitchell Crooks, reports the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Nancy Pelosi: John Boehner "chose to go to the dark side"

Pelosi just unloaded in a speech Saturday on the House floor, her irritation palpable. She drew some hoots -- and cheers -- when she said Republican Speaker John Boehner "chose to go to the dark side" when he didn't have the votes to support his debt ceiling bill.

Disgraced Rep. was accused of attempted rape in 1976, disciplined by university

In 1976, Wu was accused of attempted rape by a former girlfriend. No charges were filed in that case, but Wu, who was then attending Stanford University, was required to see a counselor and was disciplined by the university.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Obama 'unfollow' @barackobama on Twitter grows by thousands

NYDN - President Obama brought his debt battle to Twitter and he lost - more than 40,000 Twitter followers.

WASHINGTON POST - The account stood at 9.366 million followers by 6 p.m., a loss of more than 30,000 followers.

Ron Paul campaign announces 'Catholics for Ron Paul' coalition

The Ron Paul 2012 presidential campaign today announced the national “Catholics for Ron Paul” coalition intended to energize Catholic voters.

The coalition aims to recruit national political, community and opinion leaders who identify both as Catholics and Ron Paul supporters.

Rep. Ron Paul slams debt ceiling plan: This won't restrain spending

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), an official candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination, slammed Rep. John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) Budget Control Act in a statement he released yesterday. Paul said that it is a ” fallacy that laws passed today somehow will restrain congressional spending in the future.” Paul argued that the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings bill in 1985 and the 1997 Balanced Budget Act were examples of legislation that failed to hold back federal spending.

Ron Paul's statement

Senate Democrats reject debt-ceiling increase, no compromise

The Senate voted Friday evening to reject Speaker John A. Boehner's debt-ceiling plan - which would allow for a short-term increase in the country’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit - just hours after it moved through the House, setting up a dramatic weekend of negotiations as Congress works to stave off a potential federal default.

The likely compromise would be similar to major elements of Boehner's plan, but would drop his requirement that Congress go through another potentially protracted debate over the debt ceiling late this year.

Thousands 'unfollow' @barackobama on Twitter

President Obama put out a call to his Twitterati on Friday. Many responded.

Many others “unfollowed.”

It started Friday morning when Obama, during a live address from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room about the debt ceiling deadlock, urged the public to call, e-mail and “tweet” their Congressional representatives to urge a compromise plan. It marked what is likely the first-ever Twitter call-out by a sitting president.

Flashback 2006: Senator Barack Obama votes NO on raising debt ceiling

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion.That is “trillion” with a “T.” That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.

Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined. It is more money in one year than we are likely to spend to rebuild the devastated gulf coast in a way that honors the best of America.

And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on.

Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities.

Senator Barack Obama
Senate Floor Speech on Public Debt
March 16, 2006

Former Democrat gov, 83, marries 32-year-old prison pen pal

Colorful former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who turns 84 next month, on Friday married a 32-year-old woman who befriended him during his federal prison sentence for bribery and extortion.

"L.A. is a corrupt cesspool of Democrat politicians and there is no way you are going to do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Passionate input from across California amounted to an extended conversation about what makes a community and what unites and divides the state's residents. The commission votes Friday.

Only a domestic terror attack can rescue brand Obama

Despite being hailed as a Christ-like savior when he was elected, a record number of Americans have lost faith in Barack Obama, with just 17 per cent believing the his administration is leading the nation in the right direction, figures that illustrate how Obama’s handling of the debt crisis has virtually assured his 2012 election defeat, unless the President can exploit a terror attack on U.S. soil to regain popular support.

Czechs consider banning Communist Party

They're the Czech Republic's fourth-largest political party, but the hardline Communists could soon be outlawed if the center-right government has its way.

It's more than two decades since communism collapsed here, but the survivors and ideological heirs to the party that ruled from 1948 until the "Velvet Revolution" of 1989 are under increasing political pressure.

Chicago's Godfather issues 8:30 p.m. curfew for youngsters

Short-fused Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has formally decreed that all children below the age of 12 must be off the streets by 8:30 p.m. on school nights, and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, saying, "It brings a level of responsibility and accountability to our streets and in our homes."

DOJ takes elderly pro-life activist to court for intimidation

The Department of Justice is bringing an elderly pro-life activist to court for allegedly intimidating women attempting to get abortions at a Planned Parenthood facility in Washington, D.C.

DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is seeking monetary damages, penalties and an order to prevent pro-lifer Richard Retta from coming within 20 feet of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington’s gate or obstructing patient or staff access to the clinic.

Van Jones: GOP putting a 'gun to the head of 310 million people'

On July 28, 2011, former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones attended the Rebuild the Dream rally held outside the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. and said Americans don’t bow down to “hostage taking tactics” and the GOP is putting “a gun to the head of 310 million people”, in regards to the current debate on the debt limit.

New Polls confirm Obama's Democratic base crumbles

With all of the spotlights on the high-stakes debt maneuverings by President Obama and Speaker John Boehner the last few days, few people noticed what Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders said:

"I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition."

Pelosi to Bachmann: Address the teen suicides in your district

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann’s failure to address a disturbing trend of teen suicides within her own congressional district does not reflect well on her White House ambitions, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told The Advocate Thursday.

Attorney General vows to fight domestic violence against Native women

Standing before nine tribal flags in Rapid City, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urged Congress on Wednesday to pass legislation designed to combat domestic violence against Native American women.

The nation’s chief law enforcement officer vowed his personal commitment, as the father of two girls, to end the “shocking and unacceptable” scourge of domestic violence.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Neighbors make trash deposit at wrong bank in protest of blighted foreclosure

About a dozen concerned members of a neighborhood group came to the Wells Fargo Branch at Story Rd. and King Rd. in San Jose Wednesday carrying trash bags instead of money sacks.

Wells Fargo claimed that it was not responsible for the upkeep of the home on Sinbad Ave. CBS 5′s Len Ramirez confirmed that the property is currently being handled by Bank of America.

US forces to stop joint operations in Iraq's north

In one week US troops will cease joint operations with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, begun in early 2010 to dampen tensions between Kurds and Sunni Arabs in disputed northern zones, a US official is reported to have said.

Colonel Michael Bowers said that from August 1, American forces will no longer be part of the trilateral operation. "By August 1, they (operations) will be bilateral" between Iraqi Kurd and Arab forces, Bowers told a foreign news agency at the US Contingency Operation Base Speicher outside the city of Tikrit north of Baghdad. He indicated that US troops would no longer be on the streets in the northern zones.

US accuses Iran of 'secret deal' with al-Qaeda

The Obama administration is accusing the Iranian government of entering into a "secret deal" with al-Qaeda to funnel money and insurgents from the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Treasury said Iran has allowed al-Qaeda operatives to build a "core pipeline" to funnel cash and extremists to the front lines.

Iran to UN: Israel behind scientist's murder

Iran has submitted a letter to the UN's Human Rights Council demanding an investigation into the assassination of Daryoush Rezayeenejad last week.

Javad Larijani, the secretary general of Iran's High Council of Human Rights, accused Israel and the West of assassinating an electrical engineering graduate student.

Senior Israeli, US intelligence figures warn of Israeli attack against Iran

In 2010, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a meeting of the seven senior ministers in his government responsible for major policy decisions of war and peace. He and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak sought approval for an Israeli attack on Iran.

Democrat Rep. Wu resigns amid sex scandal

Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) announced his resignation on Tuesday, July 26, after facing nearly a week of accusations involving an aggressive sexual encounter with a teenager.

New Jersey town tries to force resident to remove his Ron Paul yard sign

The Borough of Woodland Park, New Jersey, is fining resident Matthew LaCorte for refusing to remove a Ron Paul 2012 sign from his front yard. According to a friend of LaCorte’s, the recent high school alumnus received notice in the mail about a month ago that he was violating Woodland Park law by “display[ing] election signs prior to election date.”

MRC study: ABC, CBS and NBC cast GOP as debt ceiling villains

On Election Day 2010, then-CBS Early Show anchor Harry Smith posed a hypothetical question about newly-elected Republicans to Ann Coulter: “There’ll be a routine vote, for instance, to increase the debt ceiling and the Tea Party guys are going to say, ‘Over my dead body,’ and the government comes to a screeching halt. Then what happens?” The conservative author confidently predicted: “Well, the media will blame the Republicans.”

Krugman: Conservative views about debt ceiling should be censored from news reports

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman on Tuesday said it was a "moral issue" for the press to censor conservative views about the debt ceiling.

"Watching our system deal with the debt ceiling crisis — a wholly self-inflicted crisis, which may nonetheless have disastrous consequences — it’s increasingly obvious that what we’re looking at is the destructive influence of a cult that has really poisoned our political system."

CBS promotes taxing 'fattening, non-nutritious' food

CBS's Michelle Miller leaned towards supporters of taxing junk food on Tuesday's Early Show, playing three sound bites from them and none from opponents. Miller only made one vague reference to the opposing side, and she immediately followed it by playing up the supposedly positive result of a tax: "While some say a new tax is the last thing we need, it could mean a healthier America."

Facebook's Randi Zuckerberg: anonymity online 'has to go away'

Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook’s marketing director, has a fix for cyberbullying: stop people from doing anything online without their names attached.

Facebook requires all members to use their real names and email addresses when joining the social network -- a policy that has been difficult at times to enforce, as the prevalence of spam accounts or profiles assigned to people’s pets suggest.

New NASA data blow gaping hole in global warming alarmism

NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

Government climate change scientist under investigation for scientific misconduct

It is seen as one of the most distressing effects of climate change ever recorded: a polar bear dying of exhaustion after being stranded between melting patches of Arctic sea ice.

But now the government scientist who first warned of the threat to polar bears in a warming Arctic has been suspended and his work put under official investigation for possible scientific misconduct.

Lockerbie bomber doing great, stumping for Gaddafi

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent convicted of carrying out the airplane bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, was released from prison on humanitarian grounds in 2009. He was supposedly dying of terminal prostate cancer.

He returned to Libya as a national hero, celebrated and coddled by the Qaddafi regime. Over two years later, Megrahi is now 58 years old, and doing fine. In fact, he just turned up at a big rally in support of Qaddafi, and appeared on Libyan state television. It would seem that none of the ordnance NATO has been dropping on Tripoli found its way into his bedroom.

After Britain, US considers Libya rebel embassy

The United States said Wednesday it was reviewing a request by Libya's rebels to open an embassy in Washington, following Britain which expelled diplomats from Moamer Kadhafi's regime.

Debbie Wasserman Schults says GOP seeks 'dictatorship'

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chair of the Democratic National Committee, said Wednesday that House Republicans are trying to impose “dictatorship” through their tactics in the debt-ceiling negotiations. She said the GOP rhetoric could “spark panic and chaos,” which she called “potentially devastating” to the economy.

Video: Al Franken's theatre of the absurd hits the Senate Floor

Video: White House's hatred for Fox spills into debt presser

Detroit to start rationing services by neighborhood condition

Detroit neighborhoods with more people and a better chance of survival will receive different levels of city services than more blighted areas under a plan unveiled Wednesday that some residents fear may pit them against each other for scarce resources.

Cataracts, hips, knees and tonsils: NHS begins rationing operations

Hip replacements, cataract surgery and tonsil removal are among operations now being rationed in a bid to save the NHS money.

Two-thirds of health trusts in England are rationing treatments for "non-urgent" conditions as part of the drive to reduce costs in the NHS by £20bn over the next four years. One in three primary-care trusts (PCTs) has expanded the list of procedures it will restrict funding to in the past 12 months.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Guns from U.S. sting found at Mexican crime scenes

At least 122 firearms from a botched U.S. undercover operation have been found at crime scenes in Mexico or intercepted en route to drug cartels there, a Republican congressional report issued on Tuesday said.

Mexican authorities found AK-47 assault rifles, powerful .50 caliber rifles and other weapons as early as November 2009 that were later linked to the U.S. sting operation to trace weapons crossing the border to Mexico, the report said.

Guns from the program, dubbed "Operation Fast and Furious," were also found at the scene of the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in the border state of Arizona last December. It is unclear if they were the weapons responsible for his death.

Perry County mother charged with unlawfully entering school bus to help a son she thought was ill

If Tara Keener had known that her 5-year-old son was only sleeping, she might not have acted this way.

But Keener, an emergency room nurse, didn’t know. All she knew was what she could see through the windows of a big yellow school bus as she walked down her Perry County driveway. Other kids were standing over the kindergartner’s assigned seat, yelling that Xander was slumped over.

TSA agent flashed badge at slow driver

An off-duty T.S.A. agent accused of flashing his badge to get another driver to speed up in South Windsor is accused of harassing and intimidating another driver.

A woman called 911 around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday and reported that a man was following her car very closely and flashing a badge at her, police said.

Senior Israeli diplomat: UN often sympathetic to Israel, but only behind the scenes

Amir Weissbrod, top adviser to the Israeli delegation in the UN, says that most Security Council members privately understand Israel's positions vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority.

Poll: Sharp drop in Iran's popularity in Arab world

Iran's popularity in the Arab world has sharply dropped in the past decade, according to a new poll by the Arab American Institute presented in Washington, D.C on Wednesday.

Democrats say Obama should invoke 14th Amendment

House Democrats said Wednesday that President Barack Obama should invoke a little-known constitutional provision to prevent the nation from going into default if Congress fails to come up with a plan to raise the debt ceiling.

Harris Poll: If Ron Paul won GOP nomination, he would split vote with Obama

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), an official candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has performed well in several polls throughout his campaign. In may, Paul took second place in a CNN/WMUR poll of likely Republican voters. In June, Paul won a Republican Leadership Conference straw poll. At the beginning of July, Paul came in first in a Texas GOP poll, conducted by the Azimuth Research Group.

Analysis: QE3 may do more harm than good

A fresh round of U.S. monetary easing may even do more harm than good for long-term investors as another flood of easy money into fast-growing emerging economies risks refueling oil and commodity price inflation, sapping consumption and growth.

Eric Holder argues against evidence disclosure in terrorism case

Attorney General Eric Holder has asked a federal judge in Boston not to release some evidence against a Massachusetts man accused of conspiring to kill American troops in Iraq, arguing that releasing the material would disclose top secret data that could harm national security.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nancy Pelosi led delegation that spent $35K visiting auto show

In the case of the January 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and more than a dozen GOP and Democratic members of Congress and staff spent about $35,000 to conduct their checkup, according to documents and receipts released Monday.

The Pelosi-led congressional delegation spent $24,336 on commercial flights to get to and from the Motor City, plus $10,046 on expenses, including $275-a-night hotel rooms, taxis and meals, the documents show.

Soros to end hedge fund career, return money

George Soros, the billionaire best known for breaking the Bank of England, is returning money to outside investors in his $25.5 billion firm, ending a career as hedge-fund manager that spanned more than four decades.

Brown signs California Dream Act, giving financial aid to illegal immigrants

Following through on a campaign promise, Gov. Jerry Brownsigned a law Monday easing access to privately funded financial aid for undocumented college students. He also signaled that he was likely to back a more controversial measure allowing those students to seek state-funded tuition aid in the future.

US cyber security chief quits after hacker attacks

The head of the US body responsible for combating cyber-attacks has resigned unexpectedly following a string of online assaults on the CIA and other government agencies.

Randy Vickers, the director of the US computer emergency readiness team (CERT), stepped down on Friday, according to a Department of Homeland Security email obtained by the Reuters news agency.

Report: Former president Khatami barred from leaving Iran

Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has been barred from leaving the country, an Iranian website reported Tuesday.

The website Jahan-News quoted unnamed official sources as saying that Khatami had planned to visit his children in Europe and attend a political seminar in Ireland.

Hamas executes two Palestinians as spies for Israel in Gaza

According to Hamas officials, the father and son confessed to providing Israeli forces with intelligence that helped them track down Palestinians including the group's chief Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, who was killed in a 2004 air strike on his car.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Iran seeks Poland's cooperation in collection of WWII documents

Director of the Iran National Library and Archives (INLA) Es’haq Salahi has requested that Poland’s ambassador to Tehran Juliusz J. Gojlo collaborate in collecting and restoring documents on World War II. 

Salahi met with Gojlo at the venue of INLA here on Monday where they both discussed collection and restoration of documents related to World War II. 

“Both countries suffered physical damages during the war and many were killed or lost families,” Salahi said, adding these documents would reveal the historical facts intentionally hidden over the past years.

Hezbollah arrests CIA spies within the movement

Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah has said the Lebanese Islamic resistance movement has captured three spies among its members, two of whom were recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

France to buy Israeli-made drones, 42 years after it banned weapons sales to Israel

The French Defense Ministry decided last week to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel, 42 years after French President Charles de Gaulle placed an embargo on weapons sales to Israel.The approved sale of Heron TP, or Eitan, will be the first time the drone is sold to a foreign country.

Chinese fighter jets 'repel' US aircraft

Two Chinese fighter jets crossed an unofficial dividing line in the Taiwan Strait late last month in pursuit of a US spy aircraft, according to defence sources in Taipei and Beijing. 

The incident marked the first time in more than a decade that Chinese military aircraft have entered Taiwan’s side of the 180km-wide strait. According to Taiwan’s defence ministry, two Chinese Su-27 fighter jets briefly crossed the so-called “middle line” on June 29.

Obama: 'The idea of doing things on my own is very tempting'

"The idea of doing things on my own is very tempting, I promise you, not just on immigration reform. But that's not how our system works. That's not how our democracy functions," Obama told the National Council of La Raza.

"I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books. That doesn't mean I don't know very well the real pain and heartbreak that deportations cause. I share your concerns and I understand them," he said Monday. "We work every day to make sure we are enforcing flawed laws in the most humane possible way."

"The U.S. Hispanic population grew 43% in 10 years between 2000 and 2010 -- four times faster than the total U.S. population -- according to figures from the 2010 census."

France suggests plan for Gaddafi to stay in Libya

France's foreign minister suggested on Wednesday that a possible way out of Libya's civil war would be to allow Col Muammar Gaddafi to stay in the country if he relinquishes power.

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen: NATO in a 'stalemate' in Libya

Libya on Monday accused NATO of killing at least seven people in an air raid on a medical clinic in Zliten east of Tripoli, as the top US officer spoke of "stalemate" in NATO's campaign.

"We are, generally, in a stalemate," US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen told a press briefing in Washington billed as his last before retirement.

Democrat Rep: Debt crisis has been'manufactured by House Republicans'

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) released a statement Monday saying the “debt crisis” has been “manufactured by House Republicans” who are “attempting to advance an extremist agenda.”

“The current, so-called ‘debt crisis’ has been completely manufactured by House Republicans attempting to advance an extremist agenda. This should be a simple vote to allow the US Treasury to fund all of the programs and obligations of the entire federal government that are already in the law,” said Rep. Lee in a statement handed out to reporters before a Democratic press conference on jobs at the Capitol.

Ron Paul gets big endorsement ahead of crucial Iowa contest

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has fresh bragging rights after picking up what is surely a coveted endorsement on Monday.

Cory Adams - the Republican chairman of Story County in Iowa - endorsed the Texas congressman's presidential bid at a campaign event in Ames, Iowa.

That's significant for a few reasons. Ames is the largest city in Story County, home to over 50,000 residents. And it is in this city that a widely-watched showdown between the GOP presidential candidates will play out on August 13. The Ames Straw Poll will test the candidates' popularity and could be a sign of their electability.

Union boss indicted for embezzlement, took half of all dues paid by 800 members

Diana Frey has been accused of embezzling more than $750,000 from Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees union, helping herself to about half of all the dues paid by the union's 800 members over the past six years.

Another Democrat in hot water following allegations of sexual misconduct

Top House Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, are again calling for the Ethics Committee to investigate one of their own, this time following allegations of sexual misconduct by Oregon Rep. David Wu.

Homeowners association sues family over patriotic sign

A south Bossier homeowners association that requested a family remove a front yard sign supporting their son's military service because it violated subdivision covenants has now sued the family to do so.

The Gardens of Southgate filed the suit this month against Timothy and Jodi Burr, a Bossier City couple who have lived within the subdivision since 2006. The Burrs placed a large multi-colored banner with a picture of their 20-year-old son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Corey Burr, and the phrase "Our son defends our freedom" in January after Corey Burr was deployed to Afghanistan.

North Korean minister to visit us for nuclear talks

A senior North Korean official is to visit the US this week to discuss the possible resumption of international negotiations on ending Pyongyang's nuclear programmes, secretary of state Hillary Clinton said.

Report: Gambling cash flows to campaign coffers

Nearly three-quarters of Illinois politicians who voted on a major expansion of gambling received campaign contributions from gaming interests in the past 18 months, according to a published report.

The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that lawmakers who voted for the bill received about 60 percent more from the industry than those voting against it.

Soros making more cash with Congress

As the Administration’s push for alternative fuels grows stronger, Congress is set to consider H.R. 1380, which would create very generous tax credits to manufacturers who retrofit existing work vehicles to run on natural gas rather than on that terrifying global menace known as oil, and very generous subsidies to natural gas vehicle consumers: $7500 per car and a whopping $64,000 for heavy-duty trucks and 18-wheelers. It’s common knowledge in DC that Texas hedge-fund operator and natural gas-magnate T. Boone Pickens is the force behind this bi-partisan, pork-laden legislation, possibly because his natural gas empire would greatly profit from the sudden influx of billions of taxpayer dollars in the form of subsidies listed in the bill.

Friday, July 22, 2011

John Kerry: Founding Fathers would be against balanced budget amendment

"As I have said in the past, the most compelling argument against this amendment doesn't come from me or from anyone on the floor. It actually comes from the real experts, the people who framed the Constitution of the United States. If they were here on the Senate floor today, they would against this amendment because it violates the Constitution's basic tenet which is major rule," Sen. Kerry said on the floor of the Senate.

Bruce Springsteen gets poll backing to run for New Jersey governor

Bruce Springsteen was added for fun to poll's list of possible Democratic challengers to Republican incumbent Chris Christie.

'Ahmadinejad wants to go public with Iran nuclear program'

Iran's president wants to shed the nation's secrecy and forge ahead openly with developing nuclear weapons but is opposed by the clerical leadership, which is worried about international reaction to such a move, says an intelligence assessment shared with The Associated Press.

Rep. Barney Frank introduces bill to study 'health of fish species'

Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank has introduced a bill to direct fines already collected from fishermen who broke fishery laws toward studies into the health of fish species. 

Regulators rely on such "stock assessments" in setting fish catch limits, but fishermen argue the assessments are outdated. 

Frank’s bill, introduced Thursday, would direct future fines to state research. A dozen co-sponsors include lawmakers from Maine, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

CNN Poll: Drop in liberal support pushes Obama approval rating down

President Barack Obama's approval rating is down to 45 percent, driven in part by growing dissatisfaction on the left with the president's track record in office, according to a new national survey. 

According to the poll, the president's 45 percent approval rating is down three points from June. Fifty-four percent of people questioned disapprove of how Obama's handling his duties, up six points from last month. His 54 percent disapproval rating ties the all-time high in CNN polling that the president initially reached just before last year's midterm elections.

Reuters: Wall Street still gives big cash to Obama

Despite howls of protests from many on Wall Street over some of President Barack Obama's policies, financial sector employees are giving at a greater rate to his re-election bid than during his last campaign. 

One-third of the funds hauled in by Obama's big-money backers came from executives and others linked to the financial world, according to a report from the Center for Responsive Politics released on Friday.

Obama 41%, Ron Paul 37%

Congressman Ron Paul may be a long shot to win the Republican presidential nomination, but he runs competitively with President Obama right now.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Paul picking up 37% of the vote, while the president earns 41%.

Judicial Watch uncovers new documents detailing Pelosi's use of Air Force aircraft for her family in 2010

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained new documents from the United States Air Force (USAF) detailing then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's use of USAF aircraft in 2010.

Previous documents obtained by Judicial Watch show the former Speaker’s military travel cost the USAF $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.

Report: China building electromagnetic pulse weapons for use against U.S. carriers

China's military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday.

CVN 77 G.H.W. Bush enters Persian Gulf, CIA veteran predicts September Israel-Iran war

As the most recently updated naval map from Stratfor demonstrates, the CVN 77 G.H.W. Bush has just entered the Persian Gulf, the first time a US aircraft carrier has passed through the Straits of Hormuz in months. What is also notable is that the LHD 5 Bataan amphibious warfare ship has just weighed anchor right next to Libya.

Israel-Iran war in September? U.S. positioning naval ships

As the most recently updated naval map from Stratfor demonstrates, the CVN 77 G.H.W. Bush has just entered the Persian Gulf, the first time a US aircraft carrier has passed through the Straits of Hormuz in months. What is also notable is that the LHD 5 Bataan amphibious warfare ship has just weighed anchor right next to Libya: this is odd since the coast of Tripoli had been left unattended for many weeks by US attack ships. And topping it all off is that a third aircraft carrier, the CVN 73, is sailing west from the South China seas, potentially with a target next to CVN 76 Ronald Reagan which is the second carrier in the Straits of Hormuz area. Three carriers in proximity to Iran would be extremely troubling.

Cut, Cap and Balance "worst piece of legislation" ever says Democrat Harry Reid

"If they [Republicans] want to debate it tomorrow for a period of time, they can do that, but I'm going to -- I think this piece of legislation is about as weak and senseless as anything that has ever come on this Senate floor, and I am not going to waste the Senate's time day after day on this piece of legislation which I think is an anathema to what our country is all about. So everyone understand, we're going to have a vote tomorrow. I'm not going to wait until Saturday. We're going to have a vote tomorrow. I feel confident that this legislation will be disposed of one way or the other. The American people should understand that this is a bad piece of legislation. Perhaps some of the worst legislation in the history of this country," Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said on the Senate floor.

Public schools not good enough for the oligarchy

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his wife have decided to forgo Chicago public schools and send their children to the University of Chicago Lab School in Hyde Park this fall, a source familiar with the decision has told the Tribune.
Leah, Ilana and Zach will be going to the same school once attended by Barack and Michelle Obama's daughters Sasha and Malia, the source said.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Arizona launches site to net cash for border fence

Arizona launched a website Wednesday to accept donations to pay for fencing along the Mexico border, and a supporter says the $3.8 million people donated to defend the state's 2010 immigration enforcement law could be just a taste of what to expect.

Obama DOJ sues "vocal and aggressive" pro lifer

While Obama’s Justice Department dismissed a critical voter intimidation case against a radical black revolutionary group, it’s going after a pro life advocate the agency calls one of “the most vocal and aggressive anti-abortion protestors.” 

Ironically, the administration claims that the pro life advocate, a Maryland man named Richard Retta, intimidated and interfered with women seeking abortions in Washington D.C.-area clinics much like members of the New Black Panther Party did to white voters during the 2008 presidential election. The difference is that the Black Panthers, clad in military attire, used weapons, racial insults and profanity to deter voters.

FDA proposes regulation of mobile healthcare apps

The Food and Drug Administration has introduced a proposal that would allow it to regulate smartphone and tablet apps that relate to health and medical needs.

Court overturns conviction for threatening Obama, protected by freedom of speech

A Southern California man who urged readers of an online message board to "shoot the n-" two weeks before the 2008 presidential election, and said Barack Obama "will have a 50 cal in the head soon," was protected by freedom of speech, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Live mannequins in Milan shop window anger union

Models appearing in shorts and bikinis in the window of a department store in central Milan caused a stir over the weekend, with Italy's trade unions denouncing the merchandisation of the human body.

Gov't advisers: Cover birth control for free

Millions of women may soon gain free access to a broad menu of birth control methods, thanks to a recommendation issued Tuesday by health experts advising the government.

An Institute of Medicine panel recommended that the government require health insurance companies to cover birth control for women as a preventive service, without copayments. Contraception — along with such care as diabetes tests during pregnancy and screening for the virus that causes cervical cancer — was one of eight recommended preventive services for women.

AP: DOJ moves to cut prison term for convicted terrorist

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to cut the 23-year prison term being served by an American Muslim activist who admitted participation in a Libyan plot to assassinate King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Party affiliation determined coverage of state-union battles

During the last several months, the governors of three states have gone toe-to-toe with powerful state unions in order to undo the harm done by their predecessors' capitulations to state workers on wages and benefits. In Wisconsin and New Jersey, Republican Scott Walker and Chris Christie were subjected to unprecedented abuse by the unions and their supporters. Yet in New York, Andrew Cuomo not only overcame union resistance, he managed to do so without much negative press, let alone the deluge of insults and demonization his colleagues suffered.

Swiss trial opens for 3 accused eco-terrorists

Three accused "eco-terrorists" are on trail in Switzerland's highest criminal court charged with trying to blow up an IBM nanotech research center in Zurich.

Obama fined by London mayor, US owes £5 million in fines

Barack Obama's presidential motorcade has been fined for not paying the congestion charge in London.

London Mayor Boris Johnson button-holed him at a State banquet in May to raise the issue of US diplomats in London not paying the congestion-busting levy. They have run up a bill of more than £5 million since 2003.