Archive for December, 2012
WASHINGTON — Senate leaders and their aides spent Saturday searching for a formula to extend tax cuts for most Americans that could win bipartisan support in the Senate and final approval in the fractious House by the new year, hoping to prevent large tax increases and budget cuts that could threaten the fragile economy.
As part of the last-minute negotiations, the lawmakers were haggling over unemployment benefits, cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, taxes on large inheritances and how to limit the impact of the alternative minimum tax, a parallel income tax system that is intended to ensure the rich pay a fair share but that is increasingly encroaching on the middle class.
President Obama said that if talks between the Senate leaders broke down, he wanted the Senate to schedule an up-or-down vote on a narrower measure that would extend only the middle-class tax breaks and unemployment benefits. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said he would schedule such a vote on Monday absent a deal.
Lynn Sweet | Sun Times | December 29, 2012
WASHINGTON–President Barack Obama is urging the Illinois General Assembly to legalize gay marriage in his home state as lawmakers are poised to take up the measure as early as this week in Springfield.
“While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday.
“As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,” Inouye said.
President Barack Obama gave a New Year‘s gift to returning members of Congress, federal workers and Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, signing an executive order calling for an end to a years-long pay freeze.
As of March 27, 2013, federal employees will see a half-percent to one percent pay increase, marking the end of a pay freeze that has been in place since late 2010. Congress hasn’t seen a pay raise since 2009.
According to the order, Biden’s pay will increase from $225,521 to $231,900 a year, before taxes. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will see his salary increased to $224,500 and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will take home an annual pay of $194,400 after his raise.
While Obama’s order made no mention of merit for such a raise, HuffPost‘s Amanda Terkel reported on Friday that the 112th Congress is set to end the session as the most unproductive since the 1940s, with only 219 bills passed by the body becoming law. The raise won’t take place until the 113th Congress, meaning that outgoing members will see no effect from the order.
Obama ordered the raise as he continues to negotiate unsuccessfully with congressional leaders to find a deal in order to avoid the fiscal cliff at the end of the year. If no agreement is met, over $500 billion in planned tax increases and spending cuts will be implemented.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has some “very good leads” about who carried out the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador in September, President Barack Obama said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
Obama told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the United States would carry out all of the recommendations put forward in an independent review of the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed.
“We’re not going to pretend that this was not a problem. This was a huge problem. And we’re going to implement every single recommendation that’s been put forward,” Obama said in the interview, referring to security issues identified in the review.
“With respect to who carried it out, that’s an ongoing investigation. The FBI has sent individuals to Libya repeatedly. We have some very good leads, but this is not something that I’m going to be at liberty to talk about right now,” he said.
The interview was conducted on Saturday.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Will Dunham)
Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeoblogda | December 30, 2012. Nathan@privatecourts.com
I would like to think that O-Blog-Dee-O-Blog-Da has made a difference in the lives of some and hope that it has helped those stories which may have gone unreported and untold. What many people may not realize is that the blogging here is a platform for the advocacy work behind the BLOG. My personal work extends to LGBT persecution around the world, so called “corrective rape,” asylum for LGBTI people, the quest for FULL equality in the U.S.A, as well immediate relief for same-sex binational couples seeking green cards for foreign born spouses.
The stats speak for themselves and if I may say myself, what has been a one person unfunded show has done really well for its first fully operative year, 2012. I started the BLOG back in 2009, and built my visibility on other sites first, for a few years, before devoting regular time to O-Blog-Dee back in December 2011. It must also be remembered that I gave some of the bigger or select stories to more visible third party publications such as The Advocate, LGBTQ Nation, GAY Star News, SDGLN and others.
This 2013 year will be the year that I invite other writers to join the O-BLOG-DEE quest to showcase Global LGBTI human rights advocacy work, using O-Blog-Dee as a platform.
As I have said, this is a BLOG drenched in real life day to day advocacy! Thank you for your readership and encouragement.
O-Blog-Dee has been read in 195 countries in all! Most visitors came from The United States. South Africa & The United Kingdom were not far behind.
Civil rights campaigners voiced dismay on Friday over the US Senate‘s re-authorization of the government’s warrantless surveillance program, and the defeat of two amendments that would have provided for basic oversight of the eavesdropping.
The Senate voted 73-23 to extend the law, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act, for five years. The House of Representatives has already passed the measure, which President Obama has said he will sign.
But while the program was extended as expected, campaigners saw a silver lining in that the vote was closer than when the legislation was first introduced in 2008.
“We’re incredibly disappointed, not just that it passed, but that they rejected some very moderate amendments that wouldn’t have interfered with the collection of intelligence,” said Michelle Richardson, an ACLU expert on surveillance issues.