The White House is being forced to acknowledge the wide gap between its once-upbeat predictions about the economy and today’s bleak landscape. The administration’s annual midsummer budget update is sure to show higher deficits and unemployment and slower growth than projected in President Barack Obama’s budget in February and update in May, and that could complicate his efforts to get his signature health care and global-warming proposals through Congress.
Another gubernatorial sex scandal may be looming. Even as South Carolina’s Mark Sanford waits to see whether his wife, Jenny, forgives his romp in the pampas, a New York call girl could plunge one of America’s most prominent governors into a fresh hell. In March, we told you about a high-end escort who claimed that former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer had gotten overly aggressive during some kinky role-play (a charge Spitzer’s lawyer called “outrageous and defamatory”). Now the elegant blond courtesan, whom we’ll continue to call “Annie,” is talking about three “dates” she allegedly had with another state’s chief executive, who we’ll call Gov. X.
An energy-efficiency measure is turning into a ticking green time bomb. The federal government plans to require consumers over the next several years to replace incandescent light bulbs with more expensive but more energy-efficient and longer-lasting compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). But improper disposal of the mercury-powered bulbs poses an environmental hazard, and the federal government has given little guidance to consumers.
It’s not just indoor public places in Eau Claire where lighting up is prohibited. Now residents of a south side, owner-occupied housing complex will have to snuff out smoking in their homes, the most recent sign of public anti-smoking sentiment. Members of the Fairfax Parkside Homeowners Association on Wednesday voted to outlaw smoking inside residences that are part of the 34-unit development.
A group of Democrats elected in recent years from some of the country’s richest congressional districts have emerged as a stumbling block to raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for President Barack Obama’s ambitious health-care overhaul just as the plan has begun to meet increasing resistance over its cost. Friday, two freshmen representatives — Dina Titus, from suburban Las Vegas, and Colorado’s Jared Polis, representing Boulder, Vail and some of the tonier suburbs of Denver — joined Republicans to vote against Mr. Obama’s top-priority health-care overhaul when it faced a vote in their House Education and Labor Committee. One reason was a one-percentage point-surtax on couples earning between $350,000 and $500,000 — gradually increasing to 5.4 percentage points on earnings more than $1 million — to pay for it.
An alleged burglar is in critical condition after Dayton police said he was “shot in the act.” Police said a man shot an alleged burglary he caught breaking into a neighbor’s van. Officers found the shooting victim in a driveway in the 1700 block of Rosemont Avenue about 2:30 Monday morning.
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Police have released the name of a woman shot and killed Saturday by a security guard in an Oklahoma City bank robbery attempt as well as the name of a man who was also shot by the guard. Barbara Lewis, 56, and Samuel Lewis, 56, were both shot about 10 a.m. at MidFirst Bank, 2225 N May Ave. Police did not say how they are related. Officers arrived and found both in the parking lot suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said this morning in a news release.
Teenage pregnancies and syphilis have risen sharply among a generation of American school girls who were urged to avoid sex before marriage under George Bush’s evangelically-driven education policy, according to a new report by the US’s major public health body. In a report that will surprise few of Bush’s critics on the issue, the Centres for Disease Control says years of falling rates of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease infections under previous administrations were reversed or stalled in the Bush years.
Warning: Smog lowers kids’ IQs, even before they’re born. The five-year-old children of city mothers who regularly breathed in car- and truck-polluted air when they were pregnant scored significantly lower on IQ tests than kids with less exposure, a study released Monday found.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s health care legislation will give the Health and Human Services secretary the authority to develop “standards of measuring gender” — as opposed to using the traditional “male” and “female” categories — in a database of all who apply or participate in government-run or government-supported health care plans.
The parents of U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan said Monday they have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support during what they called an extremely difficult situation. Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling read a statement from the family of Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl but declined to answer questions. “We’d like to remind all of you our sole focus is seeing our beloved son Bowe safely home,” the statement said.
For all the attention generated by last year’s presidential race, census figures show the share of eligible voters who actually went to the polls in November declined from 2004. Census figures released Monday show about 63.6 percent of eligible voters, or 131.1 million people, cast ballots last November. Although that represented an increase of 5 million voters, the turnout was a decrease when taking into account population growth. In 2004, the voting rate was 63.8 percent. According to the data, more older whites opted to stay home compared with 2004, citing little interest in supporting either Barack Obama or John McCain.
The call came in at 7:06 p.m. Juveniles, seven of them, on a quiet residential street, selling an uncontrolled substance: lemonade. A neighbor had dimed them out, and a Haverford Township police officer responded in a hurry. When he arrived at the two-story brick house on Maryland Avenue, he dutifully informed Dana Kleinschmidt, mother of four of the reputed offenders, who included 5-year-old triplets, that they were violating the law.
Four Americans were killed Monday when a roadside bomb exploded in eastern Afghanistan, NATO said, making July the deadliest month for U.S. troops in this war. A NATO statement did not give nationalities, but U.S. spokesman Lt. Robert Carr confirmed that all four were Americans. The deaths bring to 55 the number of international service members killed in July, also the deadliest month for NATO forces. At least 30 U.S. troops have died this month—two more than the toll for June 2008, which had been the deadliest month for the American force in Afghanistan.
Quote of the day.
Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.
-Sir Walter Scott [Perhaps this would be one of the reasons for Obama’s poll numbers falling through the floor…ed]