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December 30, 2013 | By David Horsey
When the calendar flips from an old year to a new one, we have a sense of being given a new start and new possibilities. Of course, the reality is that days and months and years are human constructs that merely mark the progress of the Earth around the sun. The world we live in on Jan. 1 is pretty much the same as the world we experienced on Dec. 31. This is especially true when it comes to Congress. Our senators and representatives left town for their Christmas break wi th plenty of unfinished business, and that business will be waiting for them when they return to work in a few days.
April 8, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
No one should have expected that putting more vegetables in front of elementary school students would instantly turn them into an army of broccoli fans. Plenty of food has been thrown out since new federal rules took effect in 2011 requiring students in the subsidized school lunch program to choose a fruit or vegetable each day. Nevertheless, studies find that continued exposure to produce is resulting in more children eating at least some of it. That's worth a certain amount of wasted food.
February 17, 2013 | By David Horsey
The 10-ton meteor that streaked into Earth's atmosphere at 40,000 mph and exploded above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk was a reminder that the universe is not such a hospitable place. Still, though hundreds of people were injured and thousands of windows were shattered, no one died and repairs can be made. By comparison, the terrestrial havoc wrought by Hurricane Sandy in the northeastern United States was far more devastating.  In the movies, when humanity is faced with imminent doom, whether from a massive asteroid or an invasion of space monsters, the people of the world forget their differences, band together and save themselves.
April 7, 2014 | By Evan Halper
WASHINGTON - Adam Crain assumed that tapping into the computer networks used by power companies to keep electricity zipping through transmission lines would be nearly impossible in these days of heightened vigilance over cybersecurity. When he discovered how wrong he was, his work sent Homeland Security Department officials into a scramble. Crain, the owner of a small tech firm in Raleigh, N.C., along with a research partner, found penetrating transmission systems used by dozens of utilities to be startlingly easy.
December 11, 2013 | By Morgan Little
WASHINGTON -- The 113 th Congress looks to be a sure bet to go down as the most ineffective in history. Just 56 bills were signed into law so far in 2013, as the first session prepared to wrap up. For the first time in recent memory, the number of new laws didn't even come close to breaking triple digits. Even counting Tuesday's bipartisan budget compromise -- which conservative critics already are threatening to derail -- this Congress is so far behind its predecessors it will need to pass a flurry of laws next year to catch up. Last year's 112 th Congress currently holds the title as the most inactive, with 231 bills passed into law. Prior to that, 1995's 104 th Congress had the worst track record with 333 laws.
November 2, 1998
This last Congress was not a "do-nothing Congress" at all. It was a "very-busybody Congress." MARY M. MORABITO Temple City
March 30, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Last year, after it was revealed that the National Security Agency was indiscriminately scooping up records of Americans' telephone calls under an expansive interpretation of the Patriot Act, President Obama urged the public to relax. "Nobody is listening to your telephone calls," he said. As for the so-called metadata that was being vacuumed up and stored by the government - the source, destination and duration of calls - the president assured the nation that the program was free of abuses and subject to aggressive oversight.
March 29, 2014
Re "The president and the pope," Opinion, March 26 Doyle McManus wrote a balanced article about President Obama and Pope Francis "trading notes on practical politics" at a Vatican visit. As McManus points out, Francis has the advantage by not having "to worry about midterm elections or a balky Congress. " That being said, perhaps it's time for America to revisit the relevancy of the constitutional amendment that limits the number of times a person can be elected president. This could curtail the balkiness of Congress, by getting things done with prodding from a non-lame-duck president.
March 27, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Maybe it was too good to be true. A rare bipartisan healthcare reform proposal backed by leaders of three major House and Senate committees is foundering because Republicans and Democrats can't agree on how to pay for it. The irony is that the measure, which would change the way Medicare reimburses doctors, would slow the growth of healthcare spending and taxpayers' costs. Lawmakers should stop the partisan bickering and start working in good faith to find a way to enact the long-overdue and much-needed reform.
March 23, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Here's some good news for homeowners worried that Congress will fail again to renew popular tax benefits for use in 2014 - especially those allowing for mortgage debt forgiveness, write-offs for energy-saving improvements and mortgage insurance premiums. Though there has been no formal announcement, the Senate Finance Committee under its new chairman, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), expects to take up a so-called "extenders" package sometime this spring. "This is high on [Wyden's]
March 17, 2014 | By Mark Z. Barabak
He has served in prison, starred in a short-lived reality TV show and delivered enough quotable quips to fill a bookshelf in the public library. Now, in his latest exhibition of life as political performance art, Edwin Edwards - former Louisiana governor, convicted racketeer, celebrated womanizer and, at age 86, new father - announced Monday he would be a candidate for Congress. "I've given a great deal of thought to this ... and I acknowledge that there are good reasons why I should not run ... but there are better reasons why I should," Edwards told reporters in Baton Rouge, La. "I am positive I can run, and I am confident I can win. " When last seen on the national stage, Edwards was co-starring in " The Governor's Wife ," an A&E series focused on his pen-pal-turned-bride No. 3, Trina Scott.
March 13, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - Even areas of agreement in Congress get snarled in political gamesmanship. That's what's happening to a $1-billion Ukraine loan package that has widespread support, but is stalled by a partisan fight over other issues, including the Internal Revenue Service's regulation of political activity. As a result, Congress is now expected to recess for a week without approving the loan guarantees to the new government in Ukraine. Trouble hit when both Democrats and Republicans used the popular aid package as a vehicle to push through more divisive items that otherwise would not have had much of a chance.
March 13, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro and Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON -- Speaker John A. Boehner has invited Pope Francis to deliver a joint address to Congress, in what would be the first such session by the head of the Catholic Church. The invitation was made on the first anniversary of popular pope's election, and meshes with efforts by Republicans to portray the party as more engaged on the issues of poverty and inequality that have been priorities for Pope Francis. "Pope Francis has inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manners and servant leadership," wrote Boehner, a Roman Catholic, in the invitation letter, noting "his tireless call for the protection of the most vulnerable among us. " Boehner noted that "these principles are among the fundamentals of the American idea.
March 11, 2014 | By Julie Cart
President Obama expanded the California Coastal National Monument on Tuesday by adding the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands on the Mendocino County coast, a region of dramatic and wind-swept bluffs and dunes. Obama acted unilaterally after legislation expanding the monument stalled in Congress. The presidential order will add 1,665 acres of federal land north of the town of Point Arena to the monument, which was established in 2000 to protect marine habitat and the thousands of islands and reefs that hug 1,110 miles of California coastline.
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