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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 28,355

Journal Archives

Differing Perspectives Fuel Debate Over Knox Case

SEATTLE (AP) -- To some Americans, especially those in her hometown of Seattle, Amanda Knox seems a victim, unfairly hounded by a capricious legal system in Italy that convicted her this week in the death of a 21-year-old British woman.

But in Europe, some see her as a privileged American who is getting away with murder, embroiled in a case that continues to make global headlines and reinforces a negative image of U.S. citizens behaving badly - even criminally - abroad without any punishment.

As she remains free in the U.S., the perceptions will likely fuel not only the debate about who killed Meredith Kercher in 2007 and what role, if any, Knox played in her death, but complicate how the U.S. and Italian governments resolve whether she should be sent to Italy to face prison.

"It's been a polarizing case, and that polarization will remain," said Anne Bremner, a Seattle attorney and Knox supporter.

The divergent views on who killed Kercher are rooted not just in the typical dynamics of a legal case in which the two sides hold opposing narratives, but also in the differences between the justice systems in the U.S. and Italy, and examples of Americans avoiding Italian justice.



Christie 2016 Fate Hinges on Who’s Telling Truth in Probe

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie could get knocked out of the 2016 presidential campaign before it even starts if allegations that he lied about his knowledge of politically-motivated traffic jams are true, bipartisan strategists said.

The attorney for a former political ally charged today that the governor, a Republican, gave an incorrect account of what he knew about lane closings that paralyzed a town at the end of the George Washington Bridge after the mayor there failed to join other leading Democrats in endorsing his 2013 re-election bid.

“If it is true and he doesn’t have a credible explanation, it would go directly to the ’trust’ issue, a critical vote-determinative attribute,” said Mary Matalin, a former adviser to President George W. Bush’s campaigns and administration. “Having said that, he is a superior politician and 2016 is a long way off.”

John Podesta, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama and former White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend: “I think it’s a killer.”

The Christie administration, in an e-mail today, repeated the governor’s assertion that he first learned of the closures when they were reported by the media and denied other claims by the lawyer for the former ally, David Wildstein, who was involved in the lane closures.



Nearly Half of America Lives Paycheck-to-Paycheck

The economic picture is looking brighter these days. The federal government announced Thursday that economic growth had picked up to its fastest pace in two years, while employment growth over the past five months has averaged a healthy 185,000 new jobs.

But as evidenced by a report out Thursday from the Corporation for Enterprise Development, nearly half of Americans are living in a state of “persistent economic insecurity,” that makes it “difficult to look beyond immediate needs and plan for a more secure future.”

In other words, too many of us are living paycheck to paycheck. The CFED calls these folks “liquid asset poor,” and its report finds that 44% of Americans are living with less than $5,887 in savings for a family of four. The plight of these folks is compounded by the fact that the recession ravaged many Americans’ credit scores to the point that now 56% percent of us have subprime credit. That means that if emergencies arise, many Americans are forced to resort to high-interest debt from credit cards or payday loans.

Read more: http://business.time.com/2014/01/30/nearly-half-of-america-lives-paycheck-to-paycheck/#ixzz2s1eqemuW

Weather Service Debunks Rumors Of Giant Midwest Snowstorm

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Meteorologists in the Midwest took to social media on Friday to quell rumors that a winter storm expected to move into the region next week could dump up to 30 inches of snow in some areas.

The National Weather Service's Indianapolis bureau said in Facebook and Twitter messages that predictions that 20 to 30 inches of snow could fall on Indiana and other Midwestern states next Tuesday and Wednesday "are EXTREMELY premature & improbable."

Meteorologist Mike Ryan said none of the forecast models he and his colleagues in Indianapolis have reviewed point to anything like a 2-foot or greater snowfall. He said the Indianapolis office sent the Twitter and Facebook messages because it and other Midwestern weather bureaus have been getting calls from people worried about dire storm predictions that are "rampant" online.

"We wanted to try to alleviate these rumors because the social media network is just kind of running out of control," Ryan said Friday. "Like we said, any snowfall amounts like those people are talking about would really be improbable."

Next week's storm has the potential to bring snow, sleet, freezing rain to Indiana and other states in the Ohio River Valley, but he said it's too early to predict how much will fall and where.



Report: US Cattle Herd At Lowest Numbers Since 1951

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- The lingering effects of drought across the Great Plains in recent years have led to another decrease in the U.S. cattle herd.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that the U.S. inventory of cattle and calves totaled 87.7 million animals as of Jan. 1. That was down by about 1.6 million cattle, or 2 percent, compared with this time last year.

The agency says this is the lowest January inventory since 1951.

A bright spot was a 2 percent increase in young, female cattle retained for breeding. One expert says that factor could allow the herd's seven-year contraction to stabilize.



DNC Raises Almost $65M Last Year, Spends As Much

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Democratic National Committee raised close to $65 million last year and spent almost the entire haul.

The DNC's Federal Elections Commission report, filed Friday, also lists $15.6 million in debt. The committee says it has $21 million banked heading into this election year.

The Republican National Committee raised almost $81 million last year and has $9 million banked for this year's elections. The RNC says it's debt-free.

Friday was the deadline for the political committees to tell the FEC how much money each raised and spent in 2013

Short Article, Nothing more...


Guest Lineups For The Sunday News Shows

“Meet the Press” on NBC

• White House chief of staff Denis McDonough
• Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.)
• Julian Assange, founder, WikiLeaks
• Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs

“Face the Nation” on CBS

• McDonough
• House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
• Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani

“This Week” on ABC

• Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman, House Budget Committee

“Fox News Sunday” on Fox

• NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

“State of the Union” on CNN

• Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R)

“Political Capital” on Bloomberg TV

• White House counselor John Podesta
• Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R)

“Newsmakers” on C-SPAN

• Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chairwoman, Senate Agriculture Committee

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/01/sunday-talk-show-tip-sheet-102942.html#ixzz2s1aoP9Oo

Sen. Menendez Sets Up Defense Fund, Pays Law Firm $250,000 For Justice, Ethics Investigations

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON — New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez's political campaign paid a law firm $250,000 in December for legal costs related to Justice Department and Senate Ethics Committee investigations into his ties to a major donor, according to disclosure forms filed Friday. The Democrat has also set up a legal trust to raise money as the investigations continue.

The forms show the campaign also reimbursed Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen for an additional $11,250 for a 2011 flight on Melgen's private plane.

Menendez's relationship with Melgen prompted the Senate Ethics and Justice Department investigations. Menendez had previously reimbursed Melgen nearly $60,000 for other flights. The issue exploded in late January 2013, after the FBI conducted a search of Melgen's West Palm Beach offices.

Menendez was forced to repeatedly deny reports that he flew on Melgen's plane for trysts with prostitutes. None of the allegations were substantiated. But the issue consumed Menendez just months after he won re-election and was preparing to become the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Read more: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/526f19531b284ed5a4281d1924dddf65/US-Menendez-Ethics

Walmart Warns: Food Stamp Cuts Hurt Our Profits

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, January 31, 2014 12:24 EST

Walmart Friday said bad weather and cuts in food stamp support for the poor weighed on US sales and would hit earnings for its November-January fourth quarter.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer and the country’s largest single private sector employer, said it now expects sales at its namesake US stores and its Sam’s Club chain to be “slightly negative” for the quarter, which included the crucial holiday shopping period.

Previously the company forecast “relatively flat” sales at Walmarts and 0-2 percent growth at Sam’s Clubs.

Walmart reports fourth-quarter earnings on February 20. The company had previously forecast underlying earnings of $1.60-$1.70 per share.

“Despite a holiday season that delivered positive comps, two factors contributed to lower comp sales performance,” said Walmart chief financial officer Charles Holley — referring to sales at comparable stores.



Obama ‘Really Impressed’ With Pope Francis And His Regard For The Less Fortunate

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, January 31, 2014 12:28 EST

US President Barack Obama expressed strong admiration of Pope Francis for promoting “a true sense of brotherhood and sisterhood and regard for those who are less fortunate,” in an interview aired Friday.

“I have been really impressed so far with the way he’s communicated what I think is the essence of the Christian faith,” Obama told CNN of the pontiff who has refashioned the image of the Roman Catholic Church since his installation last year.

The US president, who will visit the Vatican in March, said he didn’t believe Francis was acting out of a desire to gain widespread approval.

Rather, “I think he is very much reflecting on his faith and what he needs to do to make sure that folks — not just of the Catholic faith but people all around the world — are living out a message that he thinks is consistent with the lessons of Jesus Christ,” Obama said.

“That’s a meeting I’m looking forward to,” he added of the planned March 27 sit-down.


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