August 4, 2013 |
In his fresh effort to put the economy back at center stage in Washington, President Obama has issued a new challenge to congressional Republicans on the crucial issue of why the American middle class is hurting and which side can best lift average Americans out of the rut. And the president has history on his side of the argument. Both sides agree that the middle class is financially squeezed. But they disagree on the causes and the cures, which means they are headed for a nasty showdown in the fall over government programs and the budget.
July 25, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama urged Republican lawmakers Thursday to approve billions of dollars in new federal spending on roads, bridges and ports as he continued for a second day to try to build momentum for his stalled economic proposals. Speaking at the port in Jacksonville, Fla., Obama laid out a broad case for spending on infrastructure, arguing that it would ripple through the economy, boost the still-struggling middle class and make U.S. businesses more competitive. "If we don't make the necessary investments to ensure that America's a magnet for good jobs - investments in education, manufacturing, research, and transportation and information networks - we're just waving the white flag of surrender to other countries as they forge ahead in this global economy," Obama said.
July 9, 2013 |
The countdown for the royal baby is on! Kim Kardashian's baby arrived early! Jessica Simpson named her baby boy Ace! Take a cursory look at the celebrity magazines at the newsstand and it would appear we're obsessed with pregnancies and babies. The U.S. fertility rate tells another story. It says we're living vicariously through rich, famous people who can afford to have babies while the rest of us wait for the economy to recover to start families. “The U.S. fertility rate has fallen sharply since the nation went into recession in 2007, hitting the lowest rate ever reported in 2011 and staying there in 2012,” reports Allison Linn in a piece for NBC's “Today” show about how women are putting off having kids due to the unstable economy . She continues: “There were 63.2 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control, down from 69.3 births per 1,000 women in that age range in 2007.” They say you're never really ready to have a baby, that you have to do just do it. But in today's economic climate, where everyone seems to have an uncertain future, having a baby might seem like too much of a risk.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 15, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - California lawmakers wrapped up their work on the state budget on Saturday, approving bills detailing plans for university tuition assistance, energy efficiency projects and the expansion of healthcare programs. The Legislature also renewed a $500-million tax on managed care plans, which was allowed to lapse last year, and approved a framework for boosting welfare grants in the coming years. Lawmakers had already passed the bulk of the $96.3-billion spending plan on Friday, but a collection of bills involving implementation were left until Saturday.
June 2, 2013 |
BEIJING - As the world's top collectors, gallerists and dealers converged in Hong Kong a week ago for Art Basel, the city's inaugural edition of one of the world's premier art shows, a very different kind of art venture was launching in the mainland: an online platform for buying affordable art. At the Hong Kong fair, works by Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Ai Weiwei and other international masters were sold for millions to wealthy individuals who...
May 29, 2013 |
China is hungry. The world's most populous country has for years been on an agricultural buying binge, scooping up supplies of soybeans, palm oil, cotton and just about anything else that can be culled from the soil. Now, with 1.3 billion mouths to feed, the Asian giant is turning its eyes to meat. On Wednesday, a Chinese meat processor agreed to purchase the world's largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods Inc., for $4.7 billion. The deal, the largest-ever purchase of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm, underscores the rapidly evolving taste of China's growing middle class, which is demanding more high-quality protein in a nation that has been beset by food safety scares.
May 24, 2013 |
Spectral girls and shadow fathers haunt the center and fringes of Veronica Gonzalez Peña's second novel, "The Sad Passions," but this isn't magical realism. These aren't spirits who visit in the middle of the night. These phantom girls and men are living, flesh-and-blood characters shaped by absence and loss, sickness and dead dreams. "The Sad Passions" knows that half-erased people are more devastating than any ghost. Peña's gorgeously dark chronicle revolves around a middle-class Mexican family that seems pretty ordinary, except for Claudia, a young woman who rages with unchecked manic depression.
May 23, 2013 |
A book can't rescue the American middle class. But a lot of politicians who say they want to rescue the American middle class are writing books about their travails and their vision - all timed to come out as the 2016 presidential election machinery kicks into gear. The latest book comes from the newest, biggest hero of American progressives - Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Henry Holt announced this week it will release a new book by Warren in spring 2014. “The book will tell the story of Senator Warren 's improbable rise from a working-class family in Oklahoma to the United States Senate , and of the opportunities and access to education that enabled her, as a young wife and mother, to become first a teacher, then a lawyer,” the publisher said in a news release.
May 22, 2013 |
Well, Los Angeles has a new mayor. It's nice-guy Eric Garcetti, who defeated nice-woman Wendy Greuel. If you're not from here, you've probably never heard of either of them. If you are from here, you probably didn't even vote -- turnout in Tuesday's election was put at 19% (which, shamefully, was a bit higher than expected). So how come we can't have a mayoral race like New York's? That's right -- I'm suffering from a bad case of East Coast envy. We get Garcetti vs. Greuel; the Big Apple gets Anthony Weiner vs., well, a bunch of other no-names (at least to us on the Left Coast)
May 5, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Speaking to the graduating class of Ohio State University in Columbus on Sunday, President Obama called on the students to embrace the school's motto, “education for citizenship,” and to press the government to act. He encouraged students to work to narrow the income gap between the middle class and the wealthy, to improve education for children and protect them from gun violence, and to better the environment, among other things....