Updated 1001 PST
Some Reid staffers exempt from Obamacare exchanges
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of Obamacare's
architects and staunchest supporters, is also the only top congressional
leader to exempt some of his staff from having to buy insurance through
the law's new exchanges.
Reid is the exception among the other top congressional leaders. GOP
House Speaker John Boehner, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have all directed their staffs
to join the exchange, their aides said.
In the charged atmosphere surrounding Obamacare, Reid's decision only
gives Republicans more ammo to attack Democrats already suffering
politically from the law's botched rollout.
Europe Fines Banks $2.3 Billion for Fixing Rates
LIBOR benchmark rate at issue
The European Union has fined eight banks, including behemoths like
Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, a total of 1.7 billion euros
($2.3 billion) for their part in an interest rate rigging scandal that
rocked the financial world last year.
The LIBOR, which stands for the London Interbank Offered Rate, refers to
a set of interest rates banks that pay each other to borrow money for
very short periods of time. It is a so-called “benchmark” rate from
which trillions of dollars in common financial instruments like high
yield debt or students loans are priced, and banker are accused of
manipulating the rate for years. The penalty announced Wednesday in
Europe is just the latest in a series of regulatory actions which have
now cost big banks more than $5 trillion in penalties.
'Extremely dangerous' radioactive theft in Mexico: UN atomic agency
Thieves in Mexico have stolen a truck carrying "extremely dangerous"
radioactive material used in medical treatment, the UN atomic watchdog
The vehicle was transporting a "teletherapy source" containing
cobalt-60 from a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana to a
radioactive waste storage centre when it was stolen in Tepojaco near
Mexico City on Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.
"At the time the truck was stolen, the source was properly shielded.
However, the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed
from the shielding, or if it was damaged," an IAEA statement said.
Harvard Poll: US Youth Unhappy with Obama's Job Performance
Young Americans are unhappy with virtually every major thing President
Barack Obama has done since he was re-elected, but they would still
vote for him today, according to the results of a Harvard University
survey released on Wednesday.
The national poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics of more than 2,000
people aged 18 through 29 is intended to provide insight into the
political views of the youngest U.S. voters, an increasingly
influential demographic known as the "millennial generation."
Poof: Public says America's world leadership has tumbled to 40-year low
For the first time in nearly 40 years, a majority of Americans believe
the United States is less important around the world and that it should
mind its own business, a stunning rejection of President Obama’s
foreign policy just four years after he received the Nobel Prize.
A new Pew Research Center poll found that 53 percent of people believe
that the U.S. is playing a less important role as a world leader than a
decade ago, the highest figure since 1974.
Worse: 70 percent said that the U.S. is respected less than in the
past, almost matching the high reached under former President George W.
Bush, whose foreign policy Obama pledged to reverse.
Obamacare Lawsuits Mount as Nortre Dame Joins Scrum of Opponents
Hours after the University of Notre Dame filed a religious challenge to
the U.S. health-care overhaul in Indiana federal court, a judge in
Washington heard arguments in a lawsuit assailing tax provisions of the
The cases underscore the persistent and diverse nature of legal attacks
on the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act even as the Obama
administration struggles to fix bugs in healthcare.gov, the online
marketplace for health insurance created by the measure.
Obamacare litigation continues partly because questions about its
legitimacy as a piece partisan legislation are unresolved, said Ilya
Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian
Cato Institute in Washington and an opponent of the act. The statute
passed Congress without Republican support in either the House or
Rep. Goodlatte: Obama Needs Refresher Course on Separation of Powers
President Barack Obama needs a refresher course on the government's
separation of powers because he's altered and changed laws enacted by
Congress, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte said
"Our constitutional law professor president needs a refresher course on
the separation of powers provisions in our United States Constitution,"
the Virginia Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom."
Goodlatte maintained the president overstepped his legal authority when
he made changes to Obamacare. Tuesday the Judiciary Committee held a
hearing to examine the constitutionality of President Obama's executive
use of powers.
Obama Not Yet Enrolled in Namesake Health Law
Despite promising to enroll in his controversial and problem-plagued
signature healthcare legislation, President Obama is still not a
“I don’t have an update for you on that," White House press secretary
Jay Carney said Monday at his daily briefing, USA Today reports. "I
know that he will and has said that he will."
In March 2010 the White House announced that Obama 'will participate in
the exchange,' the vernacular for the insurance marketplaces.
Ambassador Javits: US Must Take Hard Line with Iran
If the United States wants to be successful with Iran, then it must
take a hard line coupled with respect or it could end up on the "losing
end" of the temporary agreement aimed at ending Tehran's nuclear
development program, says a former U.S. ambassador who has dealt with
Iran on nuclear issues.
"If you took a very hard line, but then spent a lot of time with a lot
of respect and tolerance and patience, explaining why that hard line
was necessary and what other things you might be able to do for them if
they accept the hard line, [it] generally worked out favorably," Eric
Javits explained in an interview Tuesday with Newsmax TV.
Obama war chiefs widen drone kill box
Lethality of collateral damage ‘must not be excessive’
The Pentagon has loosened its guidelines on avoiding civilian
casualties during drone strikes, modifying instructions from requiring
military personnel to “ensure” civilians are not targeted to
encouraging service members to “avoid targeting” civilians.
In addition, instructions now tell commanders that collateral damage
“must not be excessive” in relation to mission goals, according to
Public Intelligence, a nonprofit research group that analyzed the
military’s directives on drone strikes.
Pentagon weighing 'second start' for overexposed youth in social media
The Pentagon is considering offering a “second start” to young people
who have exposed behavior online that would disqualify them for
military service, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said
“[I] worry a bit about … the young men and women that are now in their
early teens who probably underestimate the impact of their persona in
social media, and what impact that may have later in life on security
clearances and promotions and selections,” Army Gen. Martin Dempsey
said during a conference in Washington.
The Human Wealth of Nations
The latest Program for International Student Assessment global education scores are a warning to both parties.
Are the schools that serve the world's leading economy really only as
good as those in Hungary, Lithuania, Vietnam and Russia? That's the
conundrum posed by Tuesday's news of one more mediocre U.S. showing on
international educational progress. If the findings land amid
exaggerated angst about national decline, they still suggest that both
Washington and the 50 states ought to be less complacent about
prosperity and human capital.
Since 1998, the Program for International Student Assessment, or Pisa,
has ranked 15-year-old kids around the world on common reading, math
and science tests. The U.S. brings up the middle—again—among 65
education systems that make up fourth-fifths of the global economy. The
triennial Pisa report also shows—again—that East Asian countries like
Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea produce the best outcomes.
The Coming Global Wealth Tax
Indebted governments may soon consider a big one-time levy on capital assets.
Between ObamaCare, Iran and last quarter's uptick in U.S. economic
growth, taxpayers these days may be distracted from several dangers to
come. But households from the United States to Europe and Japan may
soon face fiscal shocks worse than any market crash. The White House
and New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio aren't the only ones calling
for higher taxes (especially on the wealthy), as voices from the
International Monetary Fund to billionaire investor Bill Gross
increasingly make the case too.
In his November investment commentary for bond giant Pimco, Mr. Gross
asks the "Scrooge McDucks of the world" to accept higher personal
income taxes and to stop expecting capital to be taxed at lower rates
than labor. As for the IMF, its latest Fiscal Monitor report argues
that taxing the wealthy offers "significant revenue potential at
relatively low efficiency costs." The context for this argument is the
IMF's expectation that in advanced economies the ratio of public debt
to gross domestic product will reach a historic peak of 110% next year,
35 percentage points above its 2007 level.
Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action
enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving
Armed Services of the United States.
to its recipient by the President of the
United States of America in the name of Congress.
first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to
JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made
September 15, 2011
to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.
then there have been: •
3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the
Medal of Honor.
CSM Jon R. Caviani
UNITED STATES ARMY
CAVAIANI, JON R.
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Vietnam
Advisory Group, Republic of Vietnam. Place and date: Republic of
Vietnam, 4 and 5 June 1971. Entered service at: Fresno, Calif.
August 1943, Royston, England. Citation: S/Sergeant.
Cavaiani distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and
at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action
Republic of Vietnam on 4 and 5 June 1971 while serving as a
leader to a security platoon providing security for an isolated
relay site located within enemy-held territory. On the morning
June 1971, the entire camp came under an intense barrage of
arms, automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade and mortar
a superior size enemy force. S/Sergeant. Cavaiani acted with
disregard for his personal safety as he repeatedly exposed
heavy enemy fire in order to move about the camp's perimeter
the platoon's fire and rallying the platoon in a desperate fight
survival. S/Sergeant. Cavaiani also returned heavy suppressive
upon the assaulting enemy force during this period with a
weapons. When the entire platoon was to be evacuated,
Cavaiani unhesitatingly volunteered to remain on the ground and
the helicopters into the landing zone. S/Sergeant. Cavaiani was
direct the first 3 helicopters in evacuating a major portion of
platoon. Due to intense increase in enemy fire, S/Sergeant.
was forced to remain at the camp overnight where he calmly
remaining platoon members in strengthening their defenses. On
morning of S June, a heavy ground fog restricted visibility. The
superior size enemy force launched a major ground attack in an
to completely annihilate the remaining small force. The enemy
advanced in 2 ranks, first firing a heavy volume of small arms
automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire while the
rank continuously threw a steady barrage of hand grenades at the
beleaguered force. S/Sergeant. Cavaiani returned a heavy barrage
small arms and hand grenade fire on the assaulting enemy force
unable to slow them down. He ordered the remaining platoon
attempt to escape while he provided them with cover fire. With 1
courageous exertion, S/Sergeant. Cavaiani recovered a machine
stood up, completely exposing himself to the heavy enemy fire
at him, and began firing the machine gun in a sweeping motion
2 ranks of advancing enemy soldiers. Through S/Sergeant.
valiant efforts with complete disregard for his safety, the
the remaining platoon members were able to escape. While
severe losses on the advancing enemy force, S/Sergeant. Cavaiani
wounded numerous times. S/Sergeant. Cavaiani's conspicuous
extraordinary heroism and intrepidity at the risk of his life,
and beyond the call of duty, were in keeping with the highest
traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon
himself and the U.S. Army.