US News Summary 5/12/14

Obamacare’s Aim of Enrolling Previously Uninsured a ‘Failure’Barack Obama, Kathleen Sebelius, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Joe Biden

Just 12 percent of Americans say that the Affordable Care Act has been a success, according to a new CNN poll. At the same time, the percentage of newly enrolled Americans who had previously been uninsured did not increase, according to a McKinsey & Co. report.

“Enrollment rates remained much lower among those previously uninsured than among those previously insured (13 percent vs. 90 percent in our April survey, for example),” the report said.

Kerry Told Syrian Rebels ‘We Wasted a Year’ in Fight Against Assad

The international community’s failure to coordinate on aid and weapons for the rebels dramatically set back efforts to fight the regime, the secretary of state told opposition leaders.
In a private meeting with Syrian opposition leaders, Secretary of State John Kerry said he believed the international community “wasted a year” by not working together to help topple strongman Bashar al-Assad.

The various countries trying to help the Free Syrian Army had failed to coordinate their efforts effectively for a long time, Kerry said inside the private meeting last Thursday with Syrian Opposition Coalition president Ahmad Jarba, according to three participants in the meeting. And that lack of coordination had dramatically set back the drive to stop Assad’s rampage and counter the growing terrorism threat.

Turbulence for members of Congress flying first class

A bipartisan group of Congressmen introduced a bill Monday that would stop costly first-class flights by lawmakers at taxpayer expense and force representatives and senators to fly coach.

“As representatives of the American people, we in Congress have a responsibility to wisely use the people’s money,” said Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, in a statement. “Members of the House and Senate should never secure their own luxury travel at taxpayer expense, but they especially should not do so when our nation is buried $17 trillion deep in debt.”

Speaker Boehner: ‘As long as I’m here, no earmarks’

House Speaker John A. Boehner has flatly ruled out a return to earmarks on Capitol Hill, putting himself squarely in the way of a growing number of his colleagues who say they want to reopen the debate over pork-barrel spending.

“As long I’m here, no earmarks,” the Ohio Republican told the Fox Business “Opening Bell” program in an interview that aired Monday.

Mr. Boehner has long been an opponent of earmarking and said he has never requested one during his more than two decades in Congress.

NFL Player Fined After Posting Negative Tweets About Michael Sam?

Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones was fined an undisclosed amount Sunday and will undergo educational training after sending negative tweets about Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft.
After Posting Negative Tweets about Michael Sam, Miami Dolphins Safety Don Jones Fined, Excused from Team Until He Completes Educational Training

Shortly after the St. Louis Rams took Sam in the seventh round Saturday, Jones tweeted “OMG” and “Horrible.” The tweets were taken down a short time later.

Jones apologized for his comments Sunday and described them as inappropriate. The Dolphins said Jones has been excused from all team activities until he completes training related to his comments.

Disputed Signatures May End Conyers’ 50-Year Congressional Career

Democratic Rep. John Conyers is expected to be ruled ineligible this week for the Aug. 5 primary ballot in Michigan’s 13th District, likely ending the lawmaker’s congressional career after 50 years in office.

Barring a reversal of the expected decision by the Wayne County Clerk or the slim chance that Conyers, 84, can win the nomination as a write-in candidate, this is the last hurrah for the final U.S. representative to come into office as President Lyndon Johnson was winning a full term in 1964.

Benghazi Probe Due to Lack of WH, State Dept, Transparency

House Speaker John Boehner would never have moved to form a special committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks if the White House and State Department had been as transparent as the Pentagon, the Washington Examiner reported, citing Republican sources it didn’t identify.

In a story titled, “The Benghazi probe didn’t have to come to this,” Byron York wrote that the controversy surrounding the siege on the Libyan mission has resulted in an “all-out political war” between the GOP and the Democrats.

The Democrats have claimed that the select committee is purely a case of partisan politics and an attempt to discredit potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time of the attacks by extremists linked to al-Qaida.

Defense secretary admits Obama Administration dropped ball on VA care

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel admitted Sunday that the Obama administration and its predecessors “missed” the warning signs around troubling delays for care and other problems at veterans’ hospitals across the country.

Mr. Hagel stressed that problems with Veterans’ Affairs facilities should have been addressed many years ago.

But the Pentagon chief also said he stands by Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, who has been in charge of the department for the last five years and is under increasing pressure to resign following reports that as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for care at a Phoenix VA hospital.

New Range War Looms in the West Over Sage Grouse Protection

The battle over Cliven Bundy’s cattle may pale in comparison to the war that could erupt in Western states over plans to list the sage grouse as an endangered species.

The confrontation over lands under the control of the federal Bureau of Land Management is pitting environmentalists and animal activists determined to preserve the spiny-tailed pheasants against energy companies, cattle ranchers, and gold miners, The Washington Post reported.

In Bundy’s case, his cattle were “trespassing” on territory that the government had designated a protected territory to preserve the endangered desert tortoise.

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