National

Work a dim memory for big chunk of unemployed

Washington ? For more Americans, being out of work has become a semi-permanent condition.Nearly one-third of the unemployed — nearly 4.5 million people — have had no job for a year or more. That’s a record high. Many are older workers who have found it especially hard to find jobs.And ...

Constitutionality of health care reform mandate debated at Dole Institute event

A one-sentence question was posed by Dole Institute of Politics Associate Director Barbara Ballard: Is the federal government’s 2014 insurance mandate under the new health care law constitutional?One attorney on each side tried to make it simple. But it’s complicated.“What doesn’t seem ...

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, inspiration to MLK, dead at 89

Birmingham, Ala. ? At one end of the fire hose were officers deployed by Bull Connor, the notoriously racist police commissioner fond of telling his men to use sticks, dogs and whatever else was necessary to scatter peaceful black protesters.At the business end was the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, ...

NYPD spied on city’s Muslim partners

The New York Police Department’s intelligence squad secretly assigned an undercover officer to monitor a prominent Muslim leader even as he decried terrorism, cooperated with the police, dined with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and was the subject of a Pulitzer Prize-winning series by The New York ...

Steve Jobs, Apple mastermind, dies at age 56

Cupertino, Calif. ? Suddenly, the next version of the iPhone doesn’t seem so important. It’s time to mourn Steve Jobs, the Silicon Valley maestro who always seemed to hit the right note as he transformed Apple Inc. into technology’s greatest hits factory.It didn’t take long for the ...

Appeals court strikes down funeral protest ban aimed at Westboro Baptist Church

St. Louis ? A Missouri town cannot enforce an ordinance banning peaceful picketing outside of funerals, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court ruling in favor of members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., saying peaceful ...

Dole Institute to host health care reform debate

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to ultimately decide whether the federal health care reform law is constitutional, but two panelists will debate the issue Thursday at the Dole Institute of Politics.Catherine Stetson, director of the appellate practice at Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C., ...

Bernanke warns economic recovery ‘close to faltering’

Washington ? Europe has a debt crisis. America has a jobs crisis. Corporate profits could be in trouble. World financial markets are in turmoil. And no one seems prepared to ride to the rescue.Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke bluntly warned Congress on Tuesday of what most of America has ...

Airports try low-hassle security checks

Atlanta ? The first members of a small group of frequent fliers were being ushered through lower-hassle security lines Tuesday in exchange for sharing more personal information with the government in a trial program at four U.S. airports.The “PreCheck” program represents a big attempt by ...

Officials say Reid wants tax surcharge on millionaires

Washington ? Senate Democrats intend to jettison provisions that President Barack Obama recommended to pay for his jobs bill and substitute a tax surcharge on millionaires, officials said Tuesday, hoping to unify the party for a protracted political struggle with Republicans.Senate Majority ...

Public art project in Kansas City takes on national deficit issue

Kansas City, Mo. ? Across the street from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, a foreboding tower of shipping containers glowers at the building spelling out an in-your-face message: “IOU.”On the other side: “USA.”The 65-foot-high structure by artist John Salvest is made up of 117 ...

Wall Street protesters: We’re in for the long haul

The protesters who have been camping out in Manhattan’s Financial District for more than two weeks eat donated food and keep their laptops running with a portable gas-powered generator. They have a newspaper — the Occupied Wall Street Journal — and a makeshift hospital.They lack a clear ...

Congress’ ‘unprecedented’ dysfunction long in the making

Washington ? How did it get this bad on Capitol Hill?Why does Congress barely function today?The legislative branch of the world’s most powerful nation is now widely scorned as it lurches from one near-catastrophe to the next, even on supposedly routine matters such as setting an annual ...

Many government retirees also get public paychecks

Dallas ? At a state agency in Texas, the executive director is receiving a $123,000-a-year salary even as he is drawing a government pension, as he has for the past eight years. In a struggling Michigan school district, 10 administrators retired, started drawing pension checks and returned ...

Anti-terrorism success may not help Obama in 2012

Washington ? The killing of an American-born cleric in Yemen underscores a re-election reality for President Barack Obama: He may have a string of counterterrorism successes and high marks from the public on foreign policy, but neither is likely to help him hold the White House.For the Obama ...

Health care looms over Supreme Court term

Washington ? The nine justices of the Supreme Court, who serve without seeking election, soon will have to decide whether to insert themselves into the center of the presidential campaign next year.The high court begins its new term Monday, and President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, ...

From Texas to Mississippi, it’s the attack of the hairy crazy ants

New Orleans ? It sounds like a horror movie: Biting ants invade by the millions. A camper’s metal walls bulge from the pressure of ants nesting behind them. A circle of poison stops them for only a day, and then a fresh horde shows up, bringing babies. Stand in the yard, and in seconds ants ...

For Listeria victims, sudden turns for the worse

Denver ? Charles Palmer is a hardy 71-year-old former Marine and Vietnam veteran who trains cockatiels to say “Semper Fi” and “Whatcha doin’, man?”He also loves fruit — and especially melon for lunch.“He’s never one to get sick,” said his wife, Tammie.The Colorado Springs man ...

Colo. town at heart of listeria outbreak in fear

Holly, Colo. ? Eric Jensen surveys his dusty cantaloupe field and seems equally stunned and puzzled at the fate that has befallen his crop: row upon row of melons rotting on the vine.Jensen is the co-owner of the Colorado farm where health officials say a national listeria outbreak originated, ...