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Purveyor

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 21,098

Journal Archives

McCain Says Netanyahu Has Serious Concerns on Kerry Plan

Source: Bloomberg

By Terry Atlas - Jan 3, 2014

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has grave doubts about elements of an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan being pressed by Secretary of State John Kerry, said U.S. Senator John McCain.

McCain, an Arizona Republican, spoke to reporters in Jerusalem following a meeting with Netanyahu. His remarks signal the hurdles facing Kerry both in Israel and among pro-Israel lawmakers at home as he seeks agreement on a framework accord to guide negotiations to a two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Netanyahu has serious, serious concerns about the plan as it has been presented to him,” McCain said. The concerns, which the prime minister has also stated publicly, include defensible borders, the viability and actions of a Palestinian state, and the overall security provisions for Israel, McCain said.

Kerry, on his 10th visit to Israel since becoming Secretary of State last year, met today with Netanyahu for three hours following five hours of talks yesterday. Kerry goes to Ramallah, in the West Bank, for talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas later today.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-03/mccain-says-netanyahu-has-serious-concerns-on-kerry-plan.html

Obama Seeks Tighter Mental Health Restrictions on Guns

By Margaret Talev - Jan 3, 2014

The Obama administration announced steps today aimed at keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, while President Barack Obama again urged Congress to pass broader gun control legislation.

The Department of Justice is proposing to change rules for the federal background check system to clarify who under U.S. law is prohibited from possessing a firearm because of mental health problems.

The Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a regulation aimed at making it easier for states to submit information about the mentally ill to the federal system, without blocking all people who seek mental health treatment from owning guns.

“The administration is committed to making sure that anyone who may pose a danger to themselves or others does not have access to a gun,” according to the White House statement. “The federal background check system is the most effective way to assure that such individuals are not able to purchase a firearm from a licensed gun dealer.”

Unable to win passage of gun-control legislation following the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school in December 2012, Obama announced last year that he would begin using executive authority to tighten firearms regulation.

more...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-03/obama-seeks-tighter-mental-health-restrictions-on-guns.html

U.S. Crude Imports Fall to Lowest Level Since 1998

Source: Bloomberg

By Moming Zhou - Jan 3, 2014

U.S. crude-oil imports fell to the lowest level in almost 16 years as domestic output rose, the Energy Information Administration reported.

Overseas shipments, based on the four-week average through Dec. 27, fell 1.1 percent to 7.41 milion barrels a day, the fewest since January 1998, the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said in a report today. Net imports were 7.35 million barrels a day, the least in data through November 2001.

“Imports are falling because we can produce more oil now,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. “That can save us tons of money and is good for the economy.”

Fracking and horizontal drilling have boosted output from shale formations, including the Bakken in North Dakota and Eagle Ford in Texas. Domestic production increased to 8.12 million barrels a day last week, the most since September 1988. Output surpassed imports in October for the first time since 1995, according to the EIA.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-03/u-s-crude-imports-fall-to-lowest-level-since-1998.html

Green Bay Cold Threatens to Outfreeze NFL Ice Bowl Record

By Mason Levinson - Jan 3, 2014

The Green Bay Packers may be about to host the coldest game in National Football League history, eclipsing their own record set during the 1967 game known as the Ice Bowl.

The coldest air in 18 years might arrive in Wisconsin the night before the Jan. 5 first-round playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field, according to Cameron Moreland, chief meteorologist at TV channel NBC 26 in Green Bay. The forecast was a factor in slow ticket sales, according to resellers.

If an Arctic blast reaches the city before the 3:40 p.m. local time kickoff, the temperature will rival that of the Dec. 31, 1967, NFL Championship game between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, which started at the same stadium with the temperature at -13 degrees Fahrenheit (-25 Celsius), Moreland said. It felt like -48 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind chill for that game, which Green Bay won 21-17.

“The big question is which one of those computer forecast models are correct,” Moreland said in a telephone interview. “It’s a difference between a cold game and a historically cold game.”

more...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-03/green-bay-cold-threatens-to-outfreeze-1967-nfl-ice-bowl-record.html

Obamacare Medicaid Expansion to Worsen Hospital ER Burden

By Alex Wayne and Jeanna Smialek - Jan 3, 2014

Emergency rooms may be a preferred choice for care among 3.9 million people newly enrolled in the U.S. Medicaid program for the poor, according to a study that suggests Obamacare’s costs may be higher than expected.

The concern is being raised by economists who said a state Medicaid expansion in Oregon five years ago led newly insured patients to visit ERs 40 percent more often than the uninsured. That finding, published in the journal Science, runs counter to government assumptions that the newly insured would choose lower-cost options for care, such as doctors’ offices.

More than 19 million people nationwide are projected by the government to join Medicaid this year, a 35 percent jump from last year as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act broadens eligibility. The rising participation is projected by the Obama administration to boost spending on the program by 18 percent this year and almost double it to $957 billion by 2021.

“That leaves policymakers with the difficult evaluation of comparing the substantial real costs of the program, with the substantial benefits to enrollees of having the coverage,” Katherine Baicker, an economist at the Harvard School of Public Health who helped write the study, said in a phone interview.

Baicker and her fellow researchers found that people who gained Medicaid coverage used ERs more often for “a broad range of types of visits, conditions and subgroups,” including problems that could be treated in less costly settings.

Non-Emergency

more...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-02/obamacare-s-medicaid-expansion-may-create-oregon-like-er-strain.html

Manhattan Home Sales Rise to Year-End Record in Deal Rush

By Oshrat Carmiel - Jan 3, 2014

Manhattan apartment sales surged in the fourth quarter, setting a record for year-end transactions, as the prospect of rising interest rates and prices pushed buyers to make deals before purchases became costlier.

Sales of condominiums and co-ops jumped 27 percent from a year earlier to 3,297, the highest fourth-quarter total in 25 years of record-keeping, according to a report today from appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The previous record was set in 2012, when sellers sought to finish deals before an expected jump in capital-gains taxes.

Buyers are rushing into Manhattan’s market after a jump in mortgage rates since May, heightening competition for properties at a time when supply is dwindling. The inventory of homes for sale at the end of December fell 12 percent from a year earlier to 4,164, the lowest since Miller Samuel began tracking that data 14 years ago. Demand is pushing values higher, with the median price for a condo reaching a record.

“There’s a concern that homeownership will be more expensive and therefore the time to act apparently is now,” Jonathan Miller, president of New York-based Miller Samuel, said in an interview. “It’s a combination of rising mortgage rates and concern that prices are going to rise.”

more...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-03/manhattan-home-sales-rise-to-year-end-record-in-deal-rush.html

December Auto Sales Miss Estimates as Cold Slows Shoppers

Source: Bloomberg

By Mark Clothier and Craig Trudell - Jan 3, 2014

The biggest automakers in the U.S. market reported December U.S. sales that fell short of analysts’ estimates, as cold weather may have kept buyers from dealer lots at the end of the industry’s best year since 2007.

General Motors Co. (GM) sales fell 6.3 percent last month, compared with an average estimate for a 1.5 percent gain, and Toyota Motor Corp. sales slid 1.7 percent, compared with a projected increase of 3.1 percent. Ford Motor Co. light-vehicle sales rose 1.7 percent, missing projections for a 4.3 percent increase. Chrysler Group LLC (CGC) sales rose 5.7 percent, extending a streak of monthly gains to 45, while falling short of analysts’ estimates of an 8.4 percent increase.

“The sales pace at the beginning of the month was slower than expected as a lot of places were hit by bad weather,” Michelle Krebs, an auto analyst with researcher Edmunds.com, said in an interview. “Dealers thought sales would come in bigger than usual in that last week of the month and it turned out the weather wasn’t so great then, either.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-03/chrysler-december-sales-rise-5-7-to-extend-streak-to-45-months.html

Kristol’s 2014 Prediction: Israel Will Take ‘Real Action’ And Attack Iran

BY BEN ARMBRUSTER ON JANUARY 2, 2014 AT 2:24 PM

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol this week predicted that 2014 will be an exciting year for Iran and Israel watchers as the neocon leader says Israel is going to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Last November, the United States, its international partners — the P5+1 — and Iran reached an interim agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program with the aim of reaching a final deal within the next 6 to 12 months, leading many experts to conclude that an Israeli strike during this time is highly unlikely.

Yet Kristol — who has made a habit of calling for war with Iran — thinks otherwise. “I think we will see, because of the failure of Obama to do anything, Israel taking action to delay Iran’s nuclear program,” he said this week on the Weekly Standard’s podcast.

“I don’t mean sending John Kerry somewhere to have a discussion,” he added. “No, I mean real action, the kind that we should take as a great power.”

Analysts and pundits have been saying for years that Israel should or will take “real action,” as Kristol says, and attack Iran in 6 months or in one year; but of course those predictions never turned out.

more...

http://thinkprogress.org/security/2014/01/02/3112031/kristol-2014-israel-real-action-iran/

Benjamin Netanyahu Downbeat on Peace as John Kerry Jets in for Talks

By Reuters
Published January 02, 2014.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered a gloomy assessment of peace prospects with the Palestinians on Thursday as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began his 10th visit to the region in pursuit of a deal.

“There is growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace,” said Netanyahu, speaking with Kerry at his side and accusing Palestinian officials of orchestrating a campaign of “unabated incitement” against Israel.

In the days before Kerry’s latest trip to Jerusalem, Palestinian leaders have likewise accused Israel of trying to sabotage the talks aimed at ending their decades-old conflict.

Kerry focused his remarks on a continued U.S. push toward a final peace agreement, which Washington hopes to achieve by April, and his shorter-term pursuit of a framework deal that would pave the way for a permanent accord.

He said Israeli and Palestinian leaders were nearing the point, or were already at it, where they would have to make tough decisions, and he pledged to work with both sides more intensely to try to narrow differences on a framework agreement.


Read more: http://forward.com/articles/190206/benjamin-netanyahu-downbeat-on-peace-as-john-kerry/#ixzz2pHtUdR6I

Audit Questions Use Of Hurricane Katrina Recovery Money In Mississippi

Source: Associated Press

JACKSON, Mississippi -- A new federal report says Mississippi officials accepted unsupported population growth estimates in developing a plan to use $653 million in federal Hurricane Katrina recovery money for water and wastewater facilities, including some that may not be needed.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Inspector General also questioned appraisals used to buy private land.

In June 2012, The Associated Press reported on concerns raised by residents and officials concerning the population estimates and the use of eminent domain to acquire private land for projects that may not be needed for years, if ever.

Read more: http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-news/2014/01/audit_questions_use_of_hurrica.html



Anyone seen Haley Barbour around lately, hmmmmm?
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