Sunday, August 21, 2011
Presidential vacation stats from Day 1 of Obama's Presidency until today as compared to others in the same time period:
Obama: 61 days
Reagan: 112 days
Bush Jr: 181 days
President Barack Obama says his low approval rating is a reflection of public unhappiness with Congress. Obama tells CBS in an interview broadcast Sunday that he's "impacted," just like Congress, when people aren't happy with Washington.The President says he understands that his arguments that the country would
have been worse off if he hadn't taken certain actions don't resonate with the millions of unemployed people. The president, who's vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., says he expects to be judged in November 2012 on whether things have improved. Recent public opinion polls have shown Obama's job approval
rating at near 40 percent, the lowest of his presidency. Obama taped the CBS' 'Sunday Morning" interview last Wednesday in Illinois at the end of a Midwest bus tour focused on the economy.
GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman says the U.S. is a "center-right" country politically and the public
is "crying out for a sensible middle ground" - just what he says he offers. The former Utah governor says his Republican rivals as well as President Barack Obama are on the political "fringes." Huntsman says Obama is too liberal and there are Republican candidates who are too far to the right and have "zero substance." Huntsman, who's lagging in national polls, saves his harshest criticism for two of the candidates atop the 2012 pack - Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.Huntsman also tells ABC's "This Week" that he's optimistic about his chances in 2012 and says voters aren't yet paying close attention to the race.
The Social Security disability program has been in the red for years but things could be getting even tighter. A flood of claims from laid-off workers and aging baby boomers is pushing the program to the brink of insolvency. New estimates say the disability program will run dry in 2017 unless Congress acts.
Officials say an Air Force investigative unit joined the FBI and police in a raid on a Las Vegas gun store. Nellis Air Force Base spokesman Master Sgt. Andrew Lynch declined to provide details of Friday's raid on Citadel Gun & Safe, saying the operation is part of an ongoing investigation.
The Coast Guard is nearly a decade into a 25-year, $24 billion overhaul intended to add more than 250
vessels to its aging fleet. So what does it have to show so far after spending $7 billion-plus? Two new ships. Now the Coast Guard is facing an uphill battle on Capitol Hill. It must persuade a budget-conscious Congress to keep pouring money into a project plagued by management problems and cost overruns. By now the Coast Guard was supposed to have at least eight new ships either in the water or about to be delivered. Instead it has only two of the largest ships already in use, with two ships more on the way.
The first bear hunting season in Nevada history began yesterday with a protest and few hunters in the
field. A Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman says only six hunters turned out and no bears were killed. About 40 opponents of the hunt gathered yesterday at Tahoe Meadows in the Carson Range for what organizers called a Blessing of the Bears.
State wildlife officials are looking for someone who killed more than 100 birds in a Reno gated community by
leaving out birdseed soaked or dusted with a toxic, illegal insecticide. Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy says someone probably took ridding of pigeons or other roosting birds into their own hands. There are no suspects.
The lawyer for two American men arrested more than two years ago in Iran and convicted on charges that
include espionage says he will appeal his clients' eight-year prison sentences. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were sentenced yesterday. They claim they strayed into Iran while hiking along a poorly marked border.
U.S. analysts say they don't quite know yet what to make of reports that Libyan rebels are on the offensive in the capital, Tripoli. Aides say President Barack Obama is keeping tabs on the situation while vacationing in Martha's Vineyard, Mass.
Norwegians are paying tribute to 77 people killed in last month's bombing and shooting massacre by a
right-wing extremist. A memorial service, to be broadcast live on national television, will be attended by the families of victims and survivors of the July 22 car bombing and shooting spree. Norway's King Harald and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will also talk at the ceremony that includes performances by Norwegian singers and musicians. The Norwegian government and leading politicians from neighboring Nordic countries are also to attend. Today's service marks an end to a month of mourning in the Scandinavian country that was shocked by the attacks in a generally tolerant and tranquil society.
Thousands of striking Verizon workers will return to work starting tomorrow night, but their contract dispute
isn't over yet. The company and the union have agreed to narrow the issues in dispute and have set up a process to negotiate a new contract. About 45,000 employees went on strike on Aug. 7.
The lawyer for the woman who accused former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault says he finds Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance's motivations "incomprehensible." Douglas Wigdor has told Sunday's French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche he suspects Vance will dismiss Sofitel hotel maid
Nafissatou Diallo's charges against Strauss-Kahn at a meeting next week. "I wonder about (Vance's) motivations," Wigdor is quoted as saying. Yesterday, another Diallo attorney said the assistant district
attorney offered to meet with his client tomorrow, the day before Strauss-Kahn's next scheduled court appearance. Media reports quoted him as saying he thought prosecutors wouldn't have asked for the meeting unless they planned to drop the charges.
The new Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC opens to the public tomorrow. The summer opening was set to maximize the number of potential visitors. A major ceremony is planned next Martin Luther King Day.
Russia faces a science brain drain. Since this historic fall of the Berlin Wall, and some say as far back as the mid 1960's, Russia has had its own form of legal and illegal capitalism. The capitalistic drive led to scientist working in countries that paid more money, for the underworld of organized crime, or moving into different fields entirely as their grants and bread and butter dried up, unable to return for lack of being current in their fields. What this means for all of the nations of the former Soviet union is that they are behind the west, China and many Asian nations in economic development driven by science and the scientific community.
As Asia's most forested nation and the world's third largest carbon emitter, Indonesia is seen as a key battleground in the fight against global warming. Some conservationists argue that the best way to protect Indonesia's forests is to guarantee the legal rights of indigenous people who, for centuries, have lived in them and used them in a sustainable way. But it's not clear that such "indigenous knowledge" can turn the tide of deforestation, which may already be so extensive as to make grand conservation schemes seem too little too late. The third world dilemma, including developing nations in Africa and South America, is whether to protect the environment, natural resources and forest or provide for literally billions of people around the world who have problems finding water they can drink, food to eat and reliable shelter, much less medical care, automobiles and computers.Transient populations often are blamed for a wide range of problems, rather than protected and cared for. They are transient for jobs, but also for basic survival.
There may be a pill to kill all viruses...from HIV/Aids to the common cold. It works in rodents, and seems to work in primates. The drug, developed in the US, has yet to be tested in humans and does have potential side effects, including rushing the mutation of viruses into super-bugs. Despite the potential effects, the drug will go a long way toward potentially avoiding millions upon millions of deaths each year.
On a lighter note: researchers have found a way for LCD screens to charge using solar power, indoor light and the devices' own backlight. That means in a few years, you may be able to recharge your phone by pointing it toward the sun instead of plugging it into the wall.
Residents of Tripoli are fleeing as Libyan rebels move slowly toward the capital city. The battlefront is now about 18 kilometers out of town; there's also heavy, bitter fighting and multiple NATO air strikes in Zawiyah , about 30 kilometers from Tripoli. The battle is moving so quickly, and due to the urban and untrained nature of the combatants. NATO now says that airtrikes are difficult due to it becoming increasingly difficult to tell one side from the other and to minimize civilian loss. Meanwhile, rumors about the fate and location of Moammar Ghadafi and his son are rampant.
The shaky economy in Europe is having a far greater impact on the US economy than Republicans in Congress admit. The reality that the instability in Europe may bring many US companies down, or at least cripple them, and will impact US Bond values as bonds are called in just to bail out European economies.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has been named chairman of the Republican Governors Association. The role could play an important part in national politics in the coming elections, as Republican presidential candidates count on states with Republican Governors to bring their states in line behind the party, regardless of how registration numbers may fall.
The Obama Administration last week said it would review the deportation cases of 300,000 illegal immigrants so it can prioritize removing people with criminal records. Critics call the move a step toward offering amnesty to people in the country illegally. But the action is being cheered by undocumented immigrants, including students.
The prosecutor at the head of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexual assault case is facing a crucial test. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., is expected to decide on Tuesday to drop the case against the former head of the International Monetary Fund, or to pursue it despite the concerns about the accuser's credibility. Vance is the pattern used to create the fictitious rumpled prosecutor in "Law and Order."