February 2014

Feb 19, 2014

Obama to sign executive order streamlining imports, exports

By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

President Obama plans to sign an order Wednesday that officials say will cut the waiting time on permits to import and export goods "from days to minutes."

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Wage Hike Job-Loss Estimates Irk White House

By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

In economic circles, the difference between zero lost jobs and 1 million lost jobs -- in an economy with 137 million of them -- might amount to a polite difference of opinion among academics.

But when a whiff of lower employment Tuesday attached a foul odor to a possible hike in the federal minimum wage, a new political skirmish in Washington was born.

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CBO report: Minimum wage hike could cost 500,000 jobs

By Susan Davis, USA Today

President Obama's call to raise the federal minimum wage could help lift 900,000 workers out of poverty, but at a cost of as many as 500,000 jobs, according to an analysis released today by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

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Politics to Shadow Obama’s Trade Talks in Mexico

By Peter Baker and Elisabeth Malkin, The New York Times

President Obama travels to Mexico on Wednesday for a brief but politically fraught visit aimed at forging closer trade ties with America’s two closest neighbors even as his party’s leaders back home have vowed to undercut his efforts.

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Feb 18, 2014

The Monica Moratorium

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

We're all very busy, so here's a time-saver: Let's all agree to not talk about Monica Lewinsky for at least two years. In fact, let’s not discuss any of the “events” in the Clinton marriage. You should embrace this view whether you think Hillary Clinton should be president or not.

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Who's the real conservative? GOP Rep. Broun says not Boehner or Kingston

By Susan Davis, USA Today

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., is taking issue with the National Journal‘s ranking of Senate GOP primary rival Rep. Jack Kingston as the 17th most conservative member of Congress because he says the rankings use House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, as a barometer. The magazine ranked Broun the 196th most conservative lawmaker.

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The Establishment Holds Fire in the GOP Civil War

By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

Remember when the Republican establishment declared war on the tea party?

One year ago, the Crossroads super PAC founded by Karl Rove launched a new group to defend incumbents from volatile, too-conservative challengers who might scuttle the party's takeover of the Senate in 2014. The empire-strikes-back counteroffensive gained allies like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and gridlock-weary Republicans in Congress after tea-party members shut down the government in October.

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In California, Obama wraps up three days of seclusion at Sunnylands

By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

President Obama squeezed in one last round of golf on Monday before wrapping up his secluded Presidents Day weekend and heading back to Washington.

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U.S. Scolds Russia as It Weighs Options on Syrian War

By Michael R. Gordon, David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times

Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday sharpened the Obama administration’s mounting criticism of Russia’s role in the escalating violence in Syria, asserting that the Kremlin was undermining the prospects of a negotiated solution by “contributing so many more weapons” and political support to President Bashar al-Assad.

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Feb 14, 2014

Study Finds Methane Leaks Negate Benefits of Natural Gas as a Fuel for Vehicles

By Coral Davenport, The New York Times

The sign is ubiquitous on city buses around the country: “This bus runs on clean burning natural gas.”

But a surprising new report, to be published Friday in the journal Science, concludes that switching buses and trucks from traditional diesel fuel to natural gas could actually harm the planet’s climate.

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In Security Cases, Feds No Longer Get Benefit Of The Doubt

With Carrie Johnson, NPR

Disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have shaken the intelligence community and spurred Congress to try to impose new limits on electronic surveillance. In recent weeks, aftershocks from those leaks have been rippling through the courts too. Some judges have signaled they're no longer willing to take the government's word when it comes to national security.

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Increase In Outside Group Attack Ads Mean Candidates Can Stay Positive

By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

As the media landscape has become littered with millions of dollars of outside group attack ads, serious questions have been raised about their effectiveness. Instead of standing out, these ads are simply partisan background noise; a blur of cookie-cutter attacks that voters are starting to ignore.

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