December 1, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Two months after its disastrous debut, the federal website for enrolling Americans in health insurance under President Obama's healthcare law has improved markedly, and many consumers are now likely to be able to use it to select insurance plans. Enrollment in health plans - the most important measure - has been accelerating. But the performance of the troubled HealthCare.gov website, which consumers in 36 states are supposed to be able to use to sign up for health coverage, still falls well short of basic standards for Internet-based commerce.
November 29, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - On the website for Jim Fulner's U.S. Senate campaign, 34 letters and numbers appear in a string above the "Donate Now!" button. They are the code for his campaign's bitcoin wallet, where holders of the so-called digital currency can send it to the Libertarian from Michigan - without a bank acting as an intermediary. "It's an exciting new technology," said Jeff Wood, the campaign treasurer and a self-described early adopter of bitcoin. But as with any budding technology, federal agencies must examine how its use fits in with the law, including rules for campaign donations.
November 28, 2013 |
Question: I own a second house where my son lives while he attends college during the school year. During summer breaks, he usually goes to live someplace else for an internship or he travels, so I like to rent out rooms in the house to teachers who are in town for continuing education classes. Generally the teachers stay anywhere from a week to the whole summer. I don't know much about being a landlord. Would any fair housing laws apply to these summer rental arrangements? Answer: Fair housing protections exist under both federal and state law. The scope of protection differs between the two. Both statutes cover "dwellings," but under the federal statute, a dwelling is exempted from the fair housing laws if a homeowner-landlord is renting a single-family house and owns three or fewer single-family houses, or if a homeowner is renting out a dwelling room or unit that contains living quarters, and he/she lives at the site and shares these living quarters with the tenant.
November 22, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY - No one ever said it was easy being a mayor in Mexico, where corruption is as common as cacti, politics is a Machiavellian game of three-dimensional chess and drug cartels are often more powerful than local governments. But in recent days, Mexicans have seen the depth of the challenge facing the men and women charged with running the 2,438 municipios , roughly the equivalent of U.S. counties, that are supposed to be a building block of governance here. The mayor of Santa Ana Maya, a rural municipality in Michoacan state, was killed this month after complaining that cartel members were regularly demanding a chunk of the federal money meant for public works projects in his area, a practice he said was widespread.
November 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve policymakers, expecting to pull back on their bond-buying stimulus "in coming months," are considering keeping short-term interest rates quite low for quite a while, among other options to try to support what they see as a moderately improving economy. Financial markets have been intensely anticipating signs for when the Fed might start reducing its $85-billion-a-month purchase of Treasury and mortgage securities, a program aimed at holding down long-term interest rates.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 17, 2013 |
A federal allegation that state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon tried to hide a $25,000 bribe in a charity run by his brother has shed light on the use of nonprofits by California legislators to collect cash out of public view. Some nonprofits, set up with the stated purpose of aiding a charitable or social cause, are also being used to benefit an elected official's career, public image or personal finances, say advocates for open government. Several current and former California politicians or their relatives have established nonprofits in recent years.