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January 14, 2014 | By Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON - Judges on the federal government's secret surveillance court have strongly rejected any proposed changes to their review process, putting unexpected pressure on the White House on Tuesday as President Obama prepares a speech aimed at bolstering public confidence in how the government collects intelligence. In a blunt letter to the House and Senate intelligence and judiciary committees, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates made it clear that the 11 judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court are united in opposition to key recommendations by a presidential task force last month aimed at increasing transparency and judicial oversight, including at least one that Obama has tentatively endorsed.
January 13, 2014 | By Christi Parsons and Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON - Many of President Obama's closest advisors have embraced a controversial assessment of one of the National Security Agency's major data collection programs - the belief that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks could have been prevented had government then possessed the sort of vast trove of Americans' telephone records it holds now. Critics of the NSA program, and some scholars of America's deadliest terrorist attack, strenuously dispute the view that the collection of phone data would necessarily have made a difference or that the possibility justifies the program now. The presidential task force that reviewed surveillance operations concluded last month that the program "was not essential" to preventing terrorist attacks.
January 13, 2014 | David Lazarus
I almost feel sorry for telemarketers. Almost. Last week, I solicited advice from readers about the best ways to get telemarketers to stop bugging you, especially robocallers like "Rachel from cardholder services," which the former head of the Federal Trade Commission branded "public enemy No. 1. " Judging from the avalanche of responses I received, I can say with confidence that many of you are not only fed up with these pests, you're more...
January 13, 2014 | By Christopher Reynolds
Palo Alto, site of much contemplation and many a brainstorm, gets its first Epiphany in coming weeks. The Epiphany Hotel, that is. To create the hotel , the San Francisco-based Joie de Vivre chain, known for converting older properties into stylish, casual lodgings, has taken over the Casa Olga, a former residence for seniors and disabled people. The result is an eight-story boutique hotel on Hamilton Avenue, a block from the college town's main drag, University Avenue. Stanford University is handy, as well.
January 10, 2014 | By Patrick Kevin Day
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the talk of the political press on Thursday after his news conference in which he told the nation that members of his staff had lied to him about an allegedly planned traffic snarl on the George Washington Bridge that's now being called "Bridgegate. " And David Letterman just happened to have CNN host Anderson Cooper as a guest, so he made sure to bring it up. "Is this a big deal? Is this not a big deal?" Letterman asked Cooper. Cooper explained that yes, the scandal, which involves alleged retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., for failing to endorse Christie in his reelection bid, is a big deal.
January 7, 2014 | Jonah Goldberg
"In America," Oscar Wilde quipped, "the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience. " And they often do it in the pages of Rolling Stone. Last week, the magazine posted a mini-manifesto titled " Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For . " After confirming it wasn't a parody, conservative critics launched a brutal assault on its author, Jesse A. Myerson. Myerson's essay captures nearly everything the unconverted despise about left-wing youth culture, starting with the assumption that being authentically young requires being theatrically left wing.
January 5, 2014 | By Hugo Martín
Looking to save money and time, the airline industry has for years tried to come up with the fastest way to seat passengers. Some airlines board from the back of the plane to the front. Others seat passengers in the window seats first, then the middle seats and finally the aisle seats. Now an academic study suggests airlines could cut boarding time by seating passengers based on how many carry-on bags they are hauling. The study from Clarkson University School of Business in New York recognizes that a lot of boarding time is wasted as passengers shuffle around the cabin looking for space to stow their carry-on bags in the overhead compartment.
December 31, 2013 | By Broderick Turner
Don't even try to sell Clippers Coach Doc Rivers that his team has become the "hunted. " "There's only one hunted team - Miami," Rivers said, laughing. "That's it. I mean, come on. " And if his players are trying to sell that notion to the media, Rivers quickly dispelled that thought Tuesday at practice. The Miami Heat is the two-time defending NBA champion, and is hunted every time it plays, Rivers said. He added that after his Boston Celtics won the championship in 2008, they became a hunted team the next season.
December 29, 2013 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: I have about $16,000 in student loans at 6.8% interest. At the current monthly payment it would take me about 7.5 years to pay them off. I contribute 10% of my income to my company's Roth 401(k) plan (my employer matches the first 6% contributed). I also contribute 3% to the stock purchasing plan. I am thinking of cutting back my 401(k) contribution to 6% and not contributing to the stock purchasing plan. Applying the extra money to my loans would reduce the payback period to about 2.5 years.
December 28, 2013 | By Lee Romney
YREKA, Calif. - Farmers, ranchers and onetime loggers were among those who packed a church community room here in August to listen to a former state lawmaker convey his vision of a cleaved - and more governable - California. The theme was familiar, the resonance deep for those convinced that relentless regulation is strangling the economy of this northern border county. But this time, a tall man sporting a baseball cap stood up with a challenge. "Are we just going to go have an ice cream and complain?"
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