The 63-foot Sierra White Fir lighted at the U.S. Capitol Grounds on Dec. 6 as the official 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree includes a prominently displayed ornament paying homage to President Barack Obama, but includes no ornament readily visible to a person standing near the tree's base that uses the word “Christmas,” or includes an image of the Nativity, or bears the name or image of Jesus Christ.
On the north side of the tree--at a height of about 4 feet and easily visible to people standing near it---there is an ornament that says: “I ♥ President Obama.”
U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, a Clinton appointee, has ruled that the Justice Department does not need to release emails Solicitor General Elena Kagan sent from her DOJ email account to people in the White House—in which she discussed her recusal decisions as solicitor general—because the emails were “used for a purely personal objective.”
CNSNews.com and Judicial Watch were seeking public release of the emails through lawsuits filed under the Freedom of Information Act. The “purely personal objective” cited by the judge was Kagan’s goal of being confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. At issue is whether Kagan must recuse herself as a Supreme Court Justice when the cases challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare reach the court.
President Barack Obama told an audience of high school students in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday that he was “not always the very best student” and that ethics “would not have made it on the list” of his favorite subjects.
“I was not always the very best student that I could be when I was in high school, and certainly not when I was in middle school,” Obama said, speaking at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School.
The U.S. Department of Interior announced this week that it is giving $2,426,055 to the state of Maryland to help protect the habitat of the Puritan tiger beetle, a threatened insect that inhabits beaches and bluffs along Chesapeake Bay in Maryland as well as along the Connecticut River in New England.
The $2.4 million grant, which will be paid to the State of Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is one of 48 grants totaling $53.3 million that the Interior Department said on Wednesday will go to 17 states to purchase or conserve land determined to be habitat for species that have been listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
All six Democrats that have been assigned to the special joint congressional committee that will recommend means for cutting the nation’s anticipated spending by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years compiled voting records last year that earned them grades of “F” from the National Taxpayers Union (NTU).
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) announced today that she has assigned Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (S.C.), Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) and Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (Md.) to serve on the panel. Previously, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had named Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (Mont.) to serve on the committee.
While the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted this year to approve House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's (R.-Wis.) proposal--that would put the government on a gradual path to a surplus by 2040--and plans to vote on a balanced budget amendment next week that would cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP, the only budget proposal President Obama's has publicly revealed in 2011 would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, increase the deficit by $26 billion this year, $83 billion next year, and $2.7 trillion over the next decade.
Additionally, although annual budget deficits would decline somewhat between 2013 and 2015 under Obama's proposal, according to the CBO, after that they would start increasing again, going up every year from 2016 to 2021, the last year estimated by the CBO.
Actress Jane Fonda said in a statement posted on her website today that the QVC television channel cancelled an appearance they had scheduled with her today to promote her new book "Prime Time," blaming the cancellation on what she called "well funded and organized political extremist groups."
In the same statement Fonda said, "I have never done anything to hurt my country or the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for us."
President Barack Obama told CBS News today that there may not be enough money in the U.S. Treasury to cover Social Security checks after Aug. 3 if Congress does not agree to lift the legal limit on the federal debt and allow his administration to borrow more money.
"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Obama told CBS News anchor Scott Pelley in an interview.
President Barack Obama and congressional leaders seeking to negotiate a deal to increase the legal limit on the federal government's debt, would need to agree to increase that debt by $615.865 billion between now and Sept. 30, just to keep the government going at current spending levels, according to the CBO's latest estimate of the fiscal 2011 deficit and the Treasury Department's latest accounting of the federal debt.
The House Judiciary Committee is launching an investigation to probe the involvement that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan had in “health care legislation or litigation” when she was serving as President Barack Obama’s solicitor general and was responsible for defending the administration’s position in federal court cases.
The investigation will look at whether Kagan is required by law to recuse herself from judging cases challenging President Obama’s health-care law and whether her answers to questions posed by the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation process were accurate.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R.) announced today that she will be taking a bus tour that tellingly will begin with a visit to the U.S. Constitution at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and then head north through historical sites associated with the nation’s founding, heading in the general direction of … New Hampshire.
“Our nation is at a critical turning point,” Palin said in a posting on the website of her political action committee. “As we look to the future, we are propelled by America's past. It's imperative that we connect with our founders, our patriots, our challenges and victories to clearly see our way forward.”
The tour will begin Sunday in Washington, D.C. during the 24th “Rolling Thunder” gathering, an annual Memorial Day weekend event that brings thousands of motorcyclists, veterans and other patriots to the National Mall to draw attention to prisoners of war and those missing in action from U.S. military engagements.
Sixty-one percent of American adults—including some who describe themselves as “pro-choice”—told Gallup in a survey conducted May 5-8 that abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances.
The Gallup survey, published today, asked 1,018 American adults whether they considered themselves “pro-choice” or “pro-life” on abortion. It also asked: “Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?”
The Polar Bear Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the organization of scientists that has attempted to monitor the global polar bear population since the 1960s, has issued a report indicating that there was no change in the overall global polar bear population in the most recent four-year period studied.
The national debt jumped by $72 billion on Tuesday even as the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution to fund the government for just three weeks that will cut $6 billion from government spending.
If Congress were to cut $6 billion every three weeks for the next 36 weeks, it would manage to save between now and late November as much money as the Treasury added to the nation’s net debt during just the business hours of Tuesday, March 15.
Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Ariz., is issuing an invitation to President Barack Obama: If the president will come and spend a half hour with Babeu in Arizona, the sheriff says, he will convince the president he can succeed in securing the border and thus make himself into a hero who transcends partisan politics.
Babeu's southern Arizona county, while not contiguous with the border, has been designated by the Justice Department as part of a High Intensity Drug Trafficking region that is a major route for drug and alien smugglers bringing narcotics and illegal aliens into the United States from Mexico. Babeu has joined with Sheriff Larry Dever of neighboring Cochise County, Ariz.-which does sit on the border-as well as with Arizona's two senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, in endorsing a ten-point plan for securing the border.
In every week of his presidency until now, Barack Obama has enjoyed a majority approval rating in the Gallup Poll from people earning less than $2,000 per month. But that changed in the Gallup survey conducted from Aug. 2-8, when only 49 percent of Americans in that income bracket said they approve of the job Obama is doing.
This marks the first time since Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, when Americans in all four of the income brackets reported in Gallup's weekly survey of presidential approval gave Obama less than 50 percent approval.
For the week of Aug. 2-Aug. 8, only 42 percent of Americans earning $7,500 per month or more said they approve of the job Obama is doing. Forty-four percent of those earning between $5,000 and $7,499 said they approve of the job he is doing. And forty-six percent of those earning between $2,000 and $4,999 said they approve of the job he is doing.
U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who ruled last week that a voter-approved amendment to California's constitution that limited marriage to the union of one man and one woman violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, based that ruling in part on his finding that a child does not need and has no right to a mother.
Nor, he found, does a child have a need or a right to a father.
"Children do not need to be raised by a male parent and a female parent to be well-adjusted, and having both a male and a female parent does not increase the likelihood that a child will be well-adjusted," the judge wrote in finding of fact No. 71 in his opinion.