Nearly a week after Hurricane Irene tore through the East Coast, many towns are still in the midst of the massive flooding that followed the storm. The city of Paterson, New Jersey is one of the places that the storm hit hardest. The low-lying city of about 150,000 sits along the banks of the Passaic River, which is dealing with the highest floods it has seen in more than a century. President Obama is scheduled to survey the damage there this weekend.
In the days after Hurricane Irene, many travelers find themselves stranded after cancelled flights or suspended train service kept them from going where they wanted to go. Even without extreme weather conditions complicating travel, most travelers have an an airline horror story or two, and many times the source of the problem is not the cancelled trip or lost bag, but inadequate customer service or lack of information from the airline. Several airlines are seeking to remedy this problem by using social networking for customer relations — a tactic many different types of companies are employing nowadays.
Former vice president Dick Cheney has never been shy when it comes to criticizing his political enemies. Yet the longtime public official is also a notoriously private man. In his new memoir, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," Cheney opens up about some of the inner workings of the often-secretive Bush Administration. In an interview with NBC's Dateline to promote the book, Cheney promised "heads will explode all over Washington."
Many eyes are on Jackson Hole, Wyoming today, as the markets wait on remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. It was at last year's Fed Symposium that Bernanke laid the groundwork for the Fed to buy $600 billion in treasury bonds to stimulate the deflating economy. Many are hoping that this year, the Fed will unveil another economy-boosting plan. Conferences like the Fed retreat at Jackson Hole or Davos weren't always considered backdrops for major policy announcements. When did this change? And why?
Over the course of his 42 years of power in Libya, Moammar Gadhafi spent a great deal of money acquiring both chemical and nuclear weapons. The deposed dictator halted his weapons of mass destruction program after the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, but large amounts of uranium, as well as mustard gas and other chemical agents remain in the country. With the possibility that Gadhafi's reign may soon end, many are concerned about what will come of his stockpile of deadly weapons. Who will have control over the weapons?
It's an understood rule of presidential politics: win over independent voters in November, and the election is yours. But who are the independent voters? Many people think of them as white, educated, socially liberal and fiscally conservative. That may be true of some independents, but the group as a whole is changing and diversifying, and now many Americans who are ethnic minorities are identifying as independents. In 2008, less than 60% of self-identified independent were white, according to American National Election Studies.
Last week, the Obama administration announced a dramatic shift in its deportation policy for undocumented immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security will narrow its focus when it comes to deportation efforts, deporting only those undocumented immigrants who have criminal records or pose a threat to national security. Those with clean records will be able to apply for work permits. The department is also suspending any previously assigned deportations for immigrants who have not committed crimes beyond immigration violations. It's a big step for the administration, which has already set a modern record for deportations.
Fighting continues today in Tripoli between rebel forces and Gadhafi government loyalists. Yesterday, the rebels stormed Gadhafi's compound, but the Libyan leader remains at large. The raid by the rebels effectively ended Gadhafi's 42-year reign. As Libya enters a period of transition, many are wondering NATO's future role in the country. NATO's involvement in the Libyan civil war began as a humanitarian intervention, but its efforts went on to play a vital role in crippling Gadhafi's army, allowing rebel forces to eventually advance into Tripoli.
Rebels and Gadhafi loyalists continue to clash today in Tripoli, but President Obama says the 42-year reign of Moammar Gadhafi is coming to an end. With the Transitional National Council poised to take control of Libya, we're taking a closer look at the leaders and tribes that make up the rebel government.
The FBI, police and citizens of the city of Jackson, Missippi are debating whether the white teenagers who robbed and murdered James Craig Anderson, a black man, were motivated by racism. The case has prompted many to consider race relations in the state, and it's troubled history with race. The suspects' lawyers say it was just an act of teenage stupidity, but prosecutors say the killing was a premeditated racial killing. The U.S. Justice Department has begun an investigation into the case. Kim Severson has been reporting on the case for our partner, The New York Times.
In June Alabama passed one of the toughest immigration laws in the country, and it's set to go into effect on September 1. Among other things, the law makes it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride in a vehicle, and to hire undocumented workers. It's already been met with opposition from farmers and contractors, and now church leaders are vocally expressing their opposition. A group of 150 of these leaders signed an open letter saying they intend to break the law, saying it interferes with their mission as Christians.
British Prime Minister David Cameron says his government will look into a possible crackdown on social media, after citizens used websites like Twitter as an organizing tool for the riots that shook cities across the U.K. earlier this week. Free speech advocates have criticized the idea, saying it's reminiscent of the social media shutdowns practiced by autocrats like former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Are Cameron and Mubarak suddenly brothers in censorship? Or is this a viable method for preventing violence?
The latest consumer confidence numbers are due out later today and — given the roller coaster week the stock market has endured, and the Congress's recent debt ceiling decision — they aren't expected to be great. In such tumultuous times, it’s difficult for anyone to maintain confidence in the economy. But confidence is just what some experts say is necessary to create jobs and keep the markets stable. So, how do we inspire it?
When ABC pulled the plug on George Lopez's eponymous sitcom in 2007, the Mexican-American comedian said, "TV just became really, really white again." Five years later, TBS has announced it will cancel Lopez's late night talk show due to slumping ratings. And in the five year interim, television doesn't appear to have gotten any more diverse.
A central feature of the deal Congress reached last week to raise the country's debt limit was the creation of a so-called "Super Committee." Made up of six Republicans and six Democrats, the super committee is charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings by November 23. But who's serving on the committee and how, exactly, do they propose reaching bipartisan agreement when Congress is seemingly more partisan than ever?
In 1967, police arrested an African-American cab driver in Newark, N.J. setting off six days of rioting. Last week, the police fatally shot black Briton Mark Duggan; an event that many are calling the spark that ignited four days (to date) of rioting in the U.K. But do the similarities end there? Many would argue that the underlying causes of the 1967 Newark riots — rampant joblessness, alienation and racial disparity — are the same as those that incited riots in the U.K. this week, as well as the riots that overtook America's cities in the late 1960's.
Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone suggested that the Tottenham riot was fueled by citizens unleashing pent-up resentment over the weak economy, high unemployment rate, and historically deep budget cuts that decrease funding for poor communities in the United Kingdom. "This is the first generation since the Great Depression that have doubts about their future," he told the BBC. Those same conditions that led to the unrest in the U.K. may apply to the U.S.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is preparing to jump into the race for the Republican nomination for president and his state's record on job creation will likely be a central focus of his campaign. A significant number of the jobs created in the U.S. over the past two years were created in Texas. This despite the widespread economic uncertainty and stubbornly high unemployment that's gripped the nation since the official end of the recession. However, in spite of its success at jobs creation, the state's unemployment number has remained stable.
Six seats in the Wisconsin State Senate are up for grabs today. The elections are being viewed as a referendum on the collective bargaining restrictions signed into law this year by Republican Governor Scott Walker and his GOP allies in the state legislature. After today's recall elections of Republican state senators will be the recall votes on two Democrats next week. Democrats need to win a net of 3 seats to gain a majority in the State Senate.
Record numbers of undocumented immigrants have been deported under the Obama administration, despite the president's acknowledgment that the country's immigration policy separates families and punishes children. What happens to the deported when they return to their native countries after years — sometimes decades — in the U.S.? And what about their children, who are American citizens?