Columns

Work still needed on health care sign-ups

WASHINGTON (AP) - The second sign-up season under President Barack Obama's health care law is off to a good start but there is a way to go to make it a success, administration officials said Tuesday.Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said 1.9 million new customers have picked ...

NYC congressman to plead guilty

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm was expected to plead guilty to a federal tax evasion charge Tuesday, people familiar with the plea negotiations said, but it was unclear what would become of his congressional career.Grimm was due in a Brooklyn federal court Tuesday on the tax fraud ...

Ex-US Marine held in Iran suspends hunger strike

DETROIT - The family of an ex-U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran says he's temporarily suspending a hunger strike after authorities agreed to re-examine his case.Amir Hekmati, 31, told his Michigan family by phone Dec. 16 that he was beginning the hunger strike, and dictated a letter asking ...

Dismemberment suspect found guilty

MONTREAL (AP) - A jury found a Canadian man guilty on Tuesday of killing and dismembering his Chinese lover and mailing the body parts to schools and political parties around the country.Luka Magnotta was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2012 slaying of Jun Lin after eight days of jury ...

As recession looms, Russia acts to support ruble

MOSCOW (AP) - With its economy spiraling toward recession following Western sanctions and a dramatic fall in the price of oil, Russia took another step Tuesday to shore up the value of the ruble, which has been one of the world's worst-performing currencies this year.Russia's energy-dependent ...

No superheroes in ‘The Interview’

The first issue of Captain America came out on December 20, 1940. It shows Cap slugging Adolph Hitler in the mouth.Good stuff, but note the date. America wouldn't enter World War II for about another year. At the time, many Americans wanted to stay out of another European war. And here was an ...

Cold War replay: This time we lose

Has there ever been a president more eager to make concessions to vicious regimes than Barack Obama? The opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba is the latest and, one fears, not the last in a string of preemptive concessions.Obama, with his blend of hard-left prejudices and vaulting ...

Ho-ho-hold on — I’m not Santa

The other day something happened to me that I believe has never happened before. I was profiled. That's right, blanket assumptions were made about me based solely on my appearance. Now before you call Rev. Sharpton and start organizing marches, relax. I was not shot, tasered, arrested or ...

Experience, the richest teacher

Sadly, attempts to introduce local teens who express willingness to volunteer to visit the elderly in a nursing home usually end abruptly after a first visit. Comments like "That's disgusting" are arguments for never returning. Obviously, these youngsters have never been exposed to life after ...

How inside traders are rigging America

A few years ago, hedge fund Level Global Investors made $54 million selling Dell Computer stock based on insider information from a Dell employee. When charged with illegal insider trading, Global Investors' co-founder Anthony Chiasson claimed he didn't know where the tip came from.Chiasson ...

Don’t look for culture war arguments in 2016

In an earlier column, I looked at the role the abortion issue would play in the 2016 election - not very much, I concluded - and promised another column on other cultural issues. Here goes.On anyone's list of cultural issues that have been debated over the last decade, same-sex marriage ranks ...

A wildfire of corruption

First there's the spark, then the conflagration, followed by the litigation and then, surely, the movie.Call it "Moonlight Fire," and prepare to suspend disbelief.The story is a doozy - a tale of corruption, prosecutorial abuse, alleged fraud upon the court and possible government cover-ups in ...

Should profiling be banned?

Last week, the Obama administration announced new curbs on racial profiling by federal law enforcement. Before deciding whether this is good or bad policy, we might try to develop a description/definition of racial profiling or any other kind of profiling.A good definition of profiling in ...

Alleged bomber appears in court

BOSTON - Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to court Thursday for the first time since he was arraigned in July 2013, and he received a shout of encouragement from the mother-in-law of a man who was shot and killed while being questioned by law enforcement after the ...

Mich. voters to decide road tax

LANSING (AP) - Michigan voters will be asked to pass a sales tax increase as part of a $1.3 billion transportation funding deal approved early today by lawmakers, who settled on an all-or-nothing statewide vote to fix deteriorating roads.At 5:30 a.m., the Republican-controlled Senate voted ...

Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in northeast Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria - Islamic extremists killed 35 people and kidnapped at least 185, fleeing residents said Thursday of an attack near the town where nearly 300 schoolgirls were taken hostage in April.Most of those kidnapped Sunday were young women, children and members of a civilian defense ...

‘Exodus’ a failure of biblical proportions

"Exodus: Gods and Kings" is yet another attempt by Ridley Scott to cast a big name actor in the leading role of a big-budget historical action epic. Like past attempts, the history is sketchy, and the lead bland, but unlike others, "Exodus" is a failure on nearly every conceivable ...

Commit to quit tobacco in 2015

One of the best holiday gifts you can give yourself and your family is the New Year's resolution to quit smoking. By joining the millions who have successfully kicked the habit, you can live a longer, healthier life and save money twice over in tobacco purchases and health care costs.You ...

Tortured reasoning

Critics and defenders of the harsh interrogation methods applied to captured terrorists can argue forever over whether those methods were "torture." But any serious discussion of a serious issue - and surely terrorism qualifies as serious - has to move beyond semantics and confront the ultimate ...

A movement instead of a moment

"There's something happening here."- Buffalo Springfield"Can you feel it?"- The JacksonsThey have not stopped.That's one of the most heartening things about the demonstrations against police brutality that began with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August and renewed with ...