November 2, 2013
Re "Senate GOP blocks Obama picks," Nov. 1 As the result of GOP filibuster abuse, five years after President Obama first assumed office, Bush administration holdover Edward J. DeMarco still heads the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The Wall Street-friendly DeMarco is one of the nation's greatest obstacles to meaningful economic recovery. DeMarco blocked efforts to provide debt relief to the victims of Wall Street scammers. He did so even after the U.S. Treasury offered to pay the FHFA 63 cents for every dollar forgiven.
October 31, 2013 |
Workers faced with forfeiting unused money in their flexible spending accounts for healthcare expenses may be getting some relief under a new federal rule. The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service changed the use-it-or-lose-it rule for flexible spending arrangements, or FSAs, to allow account holders to carry over as much as $500 from one year to the next without penalty. Many workers have been reluctant to put money into the plans for fear of losing whatever they don't use, resulting in long-standing complaints about how the pretax FSAs work.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 30, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Rep. David Valadao on Wednesday became the second California Republican to join Democrats on a broad immigration bill, increasing pressure on GOP leadership to schedule a vote on a measure that would provide a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are in the country illegally. "Immigration reform in the House cannot wait," the freshman lawmaker said in a statement. Valadao, of Hanford, follows Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock, another Central Valley Republican with a heavily Latino district that relies on immigrants to pick crops, in signing on to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. The measure is similar to a Senate bill passed in June.
October 27, 2013
Re "GOP: Grand old potshots," Opinion, Oct. 22 Jonah Goldberg makes two of the most wrongheaded statements in the history of column writing: He writes: "We've seen the influence of big business decline in the GOP as new populist PACs have declared war on … K Street. " The billionaire Koch brothers, the Heritage Foundation and the Scaife Foundations are populist? Goldberg writes: "The public has grown more conservative during the Obama presidency. " Did he forget who won the last election?
October 27, 2013 |
You'd be surprised at how traveling at a slower pace can transform a road trip. Name: Bikeovernights.org What it does: It's a tip and inspiration blog for bicyclists looking for quick or affordable do-it-yourself cycling getaways in the U.S. and Britain. What's hot: Real people sharing real cycling stories - with photos, favorite local bike shops, tips and more. It can be used as a primer for cyclists training for a cross-country adventure or as a resource for veteran cyclists looking for scenic rides they haven't tried.
October 25, 2013
Re "Gay and playing the field," Column One, Oct. 21 I was somewhat amused by this article's take on the "new" phenomenon of sports in the gay community. In 1961, I frequented a gay bar in Silver Lake, where the patrons were both gay men and women who became not just bar buddies but friends who socialized outside the bar scene. One night I suggested we go bowling at Hollywood Star Lanes on Santa Monica Boulevard, and from that one outing, we started going regularly and soon formed the Sunset Mixers league.
October 22, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A top Federal Reserve policymaker said the central bank was unlikely to start reducing a key stimulus program for "a few months" because the partial government shutdown has muddied the economic picture. Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, said Monday that he would need to see strong jobs reports and signs that the nation's economic output, or gross domestic product, was on the upswing before he would support tapering the monthly $85-billion bond-buying program.
October 20, 2013
Bike to the top Rent your bike at either South Maui Bicycles, 1993 S. Kihei Road, No. 5, Kihei, (808) 874-0068, or Crater Cycles, 358 Papa Place, Suite F1, Kahului, (808) 893-2020. And be sure to rent a convertible so you can easily transport it. Train a lot! Biking up Haleakala is not a ride you can just do, unless you're a triathlete or experienced cyclist. Try Dawson Saddle (near Azusa), which will get you up to 7,900 feet, and Mt. Baldy, a steep 4,600-foot climb. Bring more food and water than you think you'll need, plus cold-weather and rain gear.
October 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Yosemite National Park's visitor centers were open. The barricades at the World War II memorial were down. And the Giant Panda Cam was back on. Thousands of federal workers returned to their jobs Thursday after Congress passed and President Obama signed a measure to end the 16-day government shutdown. The public was more than ready. "Within 10 minutes of turning the panda cam back on this morning, we reached capacity," said Pamela Baker-Masson of the National Zoo. But it will take more than unlocking doors and turning on lights before it's business as usual again in the federal bureaucracy.
October 16, 2013
Re "Budget deal emerging in the Senate," Oct. 15 Democrats must take the high road, move past revenge (a new thought, perhaps?) and work with the Republicans to get our government working again now and into the future. I say this in all sincerity even though the Republicans have brought this calamity on themselves. It's now up to our leaders to set a new tone in Congress and above all not allow a small group of extremists from either party to set the tone that serves no end but their own agenda.