With government funding due to run out on March 4, President Obama and the Republicans continue to quarrel over programs to cut, whether or not to extend the debt ceiling, and whether the government will be shut down next month. Even if the shutdown is avoided, at some point this year, the national debt is set to hit its current $14.3 trillion limit. Republicans want big cuts and Democrats less so. However, House Speaker John Boehner says, “We’re broke. Let’s be honest with ourselves.” In effect, Republicans are also attempting to eliminate $100 billion from this year’s budget, notably excluding cutting military spending.
The Los Angeles Times – February 15, 2011
President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal marks his pursuit of shifting the political center, which targets the independent voter’s interest; the Republican-dominated Congress is not expected to approve it. The budget calls for cuts in low-income energy assistance, environmental protection, higher education grants, and aid to cities and towns. On the spending side, he is looking for programs like elementary and secondary education and medical research. The criticism poured out of the Republicans: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell criticized Obama for “a status quo budget at a time when serious action is needed.”
Borders, the nation wide media mogul has officially filed for bankruptcy as of Wednesday citing over one billion dollars of debt. The books, music, and more sanctuary has said that they will let go of over 6,000 workers and close 35 stores, specifically in California. Although they claim that they are closing only super stores that are under performing, this is yet another example of how the present state of the economy is affecting even the most seemingly stable of businesses.
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CNN – February 14, 2011
Ever since the fateful day when two planes flew into the World Trade Center, the spotlight on America’s torture tactics has been burning brightly. Now more than ever, Americans are aware of the strategy employed under former President Bush’s administration; a strategy that pushed the limits to the extreme without going beyond them. Although Bush critics for years have called for the investigation of his administration, they have stopped blowing hot air and have made some drastic moves. As of February 15, 2011, Switzerland is receiving increasing pressure from said critics to file war crimes charges against the former president. But if Switzerland did, some are worried the entire legal system in America would also be called into question. Is it worth it?
The Wall Street Journal – February 17, 2011
As the peaceful demonstrations in Egypt have captured the attention of the world, the current debate over the censorship on Internet in countries such as China and Iran are also garnering plenty of attention. Hilary Clinton and the Obama administration in general are rallying for increased Internet freedom in these countries, especially in China where social networking sites such as Twitter are illegal.
A panel of scientists commissioned by the National Research Council has found that there is not enough evidence to prove that Bruce Ivins was behind the anthrax attacks that killed 5 people in 2001. Ivins had been accused by the FBI of sending the deadly letters but committed suicide in 2008 before he was formally indicted. After reviewing the scientific evidence collected by the FBI, the panel believes it is not possible to rule out other possible sources of anthrax.
February 16, 2011 – CNN
The parents of Amanda Knox, an American convicted of murdering her British roommate in 2007 in Italy, were indicted for allegedly libeling the Italian police. In 2008, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas released statements to the press that their daughter had not been given a translator, had not been given food or water, and had been abused. The indictment says that these statements are contrary to the truth; however, Knox and Mellas claim that they were simply repeating what their daughter had told them. The trial is set for July 4.
February 16, 2011 – CNN
According to the World Bank, the number of hungry people world-wide will reach the one billion mark soon. The increased level of the hungry in the world is due to the hike global food prices. The last time the number of chronically hungry people reached one billion was in 2008.
The success of Egypt’s revolution has sparked new protests across the Middle East from Algeria to Iran. A history has shown in 1989 and 1848, “when revolutionary fever spreads, it can spread quickly.” One reason protests are spreading so quickly is that many of these countries share similar problems including: leaders who have held unquestioned power for decades, widespread poverty, and a sense that their country is falling behind. Political analysts are unable to predict the outcome of these new protests, but they do predict that success will depend on the level of organization of the opposition, the wealth of the citizenry, and the willingness of regimes to suppress the protests.
February 15, 2011 – CNN
With the current rethinking of U.S. immigration policy, some Republican lawmakers are seeking to reinterpret one of the amendments to the Constitution. The 14th Amendment says that all people born on U.S. soil are U.S. citizens, but Republican legislators want to change the meaning to limit citizenship to people born to one U.S. citizen, those who are “lawful residents,” or members of the military in order to “fix” the nation’s immigration issues.