Obama disapproval at 53%, the highest in 29 polls from McClatchy-Marist
58% disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy
WASHINGTON (McClatchy) — The American public is unusually pessimistic about the direction of the country and increasingly fed up with Washington gridlock, a sour mood reflected in the worst disapproval ratings for President Barack Obama since he took office nearly five years ago.
People give elected officials unusually low grades – 31 percent rated them “D” and 38 percent gave them an “F,” according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.
“The lack of confidence in Washington to right itself is showing up,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in New York.
Obama’s disapproval rating climbed to 53 percent – the worst in 29 polls since he took office in January 2009 – while 43 percent approved of his job performance. The disapproval number was up sharply from the 47 percent reading in September and tops the previous high of 52 percent in September 2011.
After 5 years of this, I don't think anybody is surprised at this point.
President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro Tuesday at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, a simple gesture that stoked talk of a possible rapprochement between the leaders of two Cold War foes.
The brief encounter between the U.S. and Cuban president came during a ceremony that celebrated the former South African president's legacy of reconciliation. Obama was greeting a line of world leaders attending the memorial in Johannesburg before delivering his own eulogy in which he urged a new generation to embrace Mandela's life work as their own.
More than half a century after the U.S. cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba, such exchanges between American and Cuban leaders are exceedingly rare. U.S. officials often have gone to great lengths to avoid having presidents meet Cuban leaders, even in passing.
Watch: Raul is sitting right next to Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff
University of Oregon students could face criminal charges over a snowball fight that got out of control last week.
Part of the fight was captured on video and posted to the Web. There, it quickly went viral, racking up millions of views.
In the video, a large number of students toss snowballs at each other, clearly having a good time. Things take a turn for the unruly when a driver attempts to maneuver a car down the street where the students are gathered.
Rather than let the vehicle, reportedly driven by former professor Sherwin Simmons, pass by, the students pelted it repeatedly.
Now the video could be used as evidence against the students if they were to be prosecuted.
“The police department is investigating,” said Joe Mosley, a university spokesman. “They are trying to identify as many of the students that are involved as possible.
Take a look. These 2 cars get slammed by a mob of student with snowballs, but should they be prosecuted over this?
Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida lost $18 million in a scheme that cheated him and about 120 other investors out of more than $35 million, according to court papers.
The Virginia man who ran the scheme, William Dean Chapman, was sentenced Friday in federal court to 12 years in prison. Prosecutors say Chapman used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle including a Lamborghini, a Ferrari and a $3 million home.
In most of the court papers, Grayson's identity is protected — prosecutors say only that an elected official with the initials A.G. was the primary victim — but documents twice mention Grayson by name. The Democratic congressman from Orlando confirmed on Monday that he is the A.G. mentioned in the documents.
Nothing in the court papers suggests Grayson was anything but a victim of the scheme. Grayson, a former trial attorney, said he has had a long record for picking winning stocks, which formed the basis for his personal fortune
According to roll call, Grayson is one of the richest members of Congress with an estimated net worth of $31 million (prior to this)
Health insurance enrollment in at least one state appears to be picking up.
Colorado’s state-based insurance exchange Connect for Colorado announced on Monday that more than 5K new customers have purchased private insurance since November 30, increasing the state’s total enrollment numbers in private plans by more than 50%.
As of November 30, just 9,980 Coloradans had purchased private insurance. But that number has increased to over 15,000 since, according to Monday’s announcement.
Another 64K had enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program as of November 30, putting the state’s total enrollment at 74K for the first two months of the exchange.
But if current trends continue, the exchange may have an age problem.
Demographic information released at the end of November shows the makeup of the exchange so far skews much older than federal officials have targeted.
The White House has set a goal of ensuring that roughly 40% of all enrollees on the federal exchange are young and healthy.
As of November 30, just 11% of total enrollees in Colorado’s exchange fall into the targeted 18 to 34 age bracket. The majority of new enrollees – more than 60% – are between 45 and 65.
But federal officials have predicted that younger consumers will wait until the last minute to enroll. (politicalticker)
Rep. Jim McDermott (D- Wash.) says that when it comes to ObamaCare, “the problems aren’t over today. I can see lots of things down the road.”
McDermott made the comments on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program while discussing the goal of signing up 7 million people for insurance under Obamacare by the end of March.
“Does it function though - the law itself -if you don’t reach that 7 million mark?” the host asked.
“If it doesn’t reach the 7 million mark, we’re going to have to have some talking with ourselves about how we finance it,” McDermott replied.
“Because the insurance companies are counting on that also – and since the president made the decision to bring the insurance companies in and they wrote these policies with an eye to the fact that a certain number of people were going to come in - some healthy, some sick – and that’s how they set the premiums. There are going to be in problems if we don’t get the 7 million. That’s why I say the problems aren’t over today. I can see lots of things down the road..."
LONDON — A man accused of killing an off-duty British soldier in a frenzied knife attack on a London street defended his actions in court Monday, saying he carried out the attack because he is a soldier fighting in the service of God.
Michael Adebolajo, 28, said that he attacked soldier Lee Rigby because he wanted to protest Britain’s invasion of Muslim lands. He claimed to be one of many fighters engaged in a war between Islam and Western countries.
“I’m a soldier ... I couldn’t do anything else,” he said when asked whether he had any regrets.
Adebolajo spoke calmly and clearly as he was cross-examined at London’s Central Criminal Court on Monday, telling jurors that while he had never met anyone from Al Qaeda, he was full of admiration for the terrorist group.
“I love them. I consider them brothers in Islam,” he said.
Reporter talks about 'chilling testimony' today in court
NEWTOWN, Conn. — Local government officials are urging the news media to stay away Saturday, the first anniversary of the Dec. 14 shootings that killed 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"The community is choosing to remember and honor those who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook tragedy in ways that are quiet, personal and respectful — centered on themes of kindness, love and service to others," Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra said in a written statement Monday.
Llodra said the town will not be hosting any memorial events and requested that the public and the press allow Newtown residents "the time to be alone and quiet with time for personal and communal reflection."
USA TODAY Editor-in-Chief David Callaway said the news organization will not report on the anniversary from Newtown on Saturday. "We'll respect the wishes of the people of Newtown," he said.
Sarah Palin is making a reality TV comeback in 2014 with a show focused on the outdoors.
The former Republican vice presidential nominee will host “Amazing America with Sarah Palin” on The Sportsman Channel starting in April 2014. The weekly series will “explore some of the most original, interesting – and sometimes inspiring – people, places and pastimes connected to America’s outdoors lifestyle,” according to a press release announcing the unscripted program featuring Palin, also a Fox News contributor.
“I’m excited to help shine a light on all the great American sportsmen and women in the country who live the outdoors lifestyle,” Palin said in a statement. “Sportsman Channel is the leader in their industry and I am thrilled to be partnering with them on this show.”
This isn’t Palin’s first foray into reality TV. “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” aired for eight episodes starting in 2010 on TLC and was not renewed for a second season.
Sportsman Channel president Gavin Harvey said in a statement that the network is “ecstatic and very proud” Palin picked Sportsman Channel to return to unscripted TV.