The full list: Here are the publicly traded companies that have done the most direct lobbying since 2009, plus a bonus:
1. General Electric (GE): $134 million
2. AT&T: (T, Tech30) $91.2 million
3. Boeing Co (BA): $90.3 million
4. Northrop Grumman (NOC): $87.9 million
5. Comcast Corp (CMCSA): $86.4 million
6. Verizon Communications: (VZ, Tech30) $86.4 million
7. FedExCorp (FDX): $85.7 million
8. Exxon Mobil (XOM): $85 million
9. Lockheed Martin (LMT): $78.8 million
10. Pfizer (PFE): $77.8 million
via Top 10 companies lobbying Washington – Oct. 1, 2014.
The lead paragraph of a New York Times article by Peter Baker:
President Obama must be touched by all the concern Republicans are showing him these days. As Congress examines security breaches at the White House, even opposition lawmakers who have spent the last six years fighting his every initiative have expressed deep worry for his security.
I kid you not.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Prospective Republican presidential candidates are promoting religious liberty at home and abroad at a gathering of evangelical conservatives, rebuking an unpopular President Barack Obama while skirting divisive social issues that have tripped up the GOP.
The annual Values Voter Summit opened Friday in Washington with speeches from several potential presidential candidates, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The program features ambitious Republicans with positions on social issues across the spectrum — from the libertarian-leaning Paul, who favors less emphasis on abortion and gay marriage, to Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist pastor whose conservative social values define his brand.
via Republicans rallying behind religious liberty – US News.
You won’t see this on your local news. It goes against the narrative being told by the political elite.
Physical movement improves mental focus, memory, and cognitive flexibility; new research shows just how critical it is to academic performance.
Mental exercises to build (or rebuild) attention span have shown promise recently as adjuncts or alternatives to amphetamines in addressing symptoms common to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Building cognitive control, to be better able to focus on just one thing, or single-task, might involve regular practice with a specialized video game thatreinforces “top-down” cognitive modulation, as was the case in a popular paper in Nature last year. Cool but still notional. More insipid but also more clearly critical to addressing what’s being called the ADHD epidemic is plain old physical activity.
This morning the medical journal Pediatrics published research that found kids who took part in a regular physical activity program showed important enhancement of cognitive performance and brain function. The findings, according to University of Illinois professor Charles Hillman and colleagues, “demonstrate a causal effect of a physical program on executive control, and provide support for physical activity for improving childhood cognition and brain health.” If it seems odd that this is something that still needs support, that’s because it is odd, yes. Physical activity is clearly a high, high-yield investment for all kids, but especially those attentive or hyperactive. This brand of research is still published and written about as though it were a novel finding, in part because exercise programs for kids remain underfunded and underprioritized in many school curricula, even though exercise is clearly integral to maximizing the utility of time spent in class.
Top Obama adviser Valarie Jarrett made her debut on a television drama this weekend, and it was pretty ugly.
The Democratic strategist Donna Brazile has played herself on the show three times. Sunday marked the debut of the Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, playing herself in a plot line that saw her going along with an Eli Gold ploy to encourage Alicia to run for state’s attorney. These cameos would make sense if Michelle and Robert King, the show’s creators, were lobbying for some kind of federal production tax credit. And they probably succeed as fan service for a liberal audience of a certain age. But they don’t work as television drama. The political functionaries can’t act — they’re a distraction, and they flatten every scene they’re in. The shock of recognition isn’t worth it.
American consumer spending rose 0.5 percent last month. The housing sector remained an exception, and not in a good way.
U.S. consumer spending accelerated in August, the government said on Monday, a positive sign for an economy that appears to be firing on nearly all cylinders.
The housing sector remains an exception, however, with a separate report showing Americans signed fewer contracts in August to purchase previously owned homes.
Elizabeth Warren wants a congressional investigation of the New York Federal Reserve after recently secret recordings suggest some foul play by the financial authority.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are both calling for Congress to investigate the New York Federal Reserve Bank after recently released secret recordings show the central bank allegedly going light on firms it was supposed to regulate.
Warren and Brown, both members of the Senate Banking Committee, called for an investigation of the New York Fed after Carmen Segarra, a former examiner at the bank, released secretly recorded tapes that she claims show her superiors telling her to go easy on private banks. Segarra says that she was fired from her job in 2012 for refusing to overlook Goldman’s lack of a conflict of interest policy and other questionable practices that should have brought tougher regulatory scrutiny.
The bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s woes said that shutting off water to non-paying customers can continue, because he has no jurisdiction to act otherwise.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled on Monday that Detroit can continue shutting off water service to non-paying customers, saying his court does not have jurisdiction over the issue and that suspending disconnections for six months could hurt the city’s finances.
“Detroit cannot afford any revenue slippages,” the judge said, before resuming his ongoing hearing on Detroit’s plan to exit the biggest-ever municipal bankruptcy.
The White House gave a thumbs up to the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which are still growing in spite of tear gas and officials’ demands.
The White House is watching democracy protests in Hong Kong closely and supports the “aspirations of the Hong Kong people,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday.
“The United States supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law and we support the aspirations of the Hong Kong people,” said Earnest, who also urged restraint on both sides.
The U.S. will likely keep its secret prisoners when the war “ends.”
The fate of a group of prisoners held in near-total secrecy by U.S. forces at a prison in Afghanistan is hanging in limbo, the facility’s commander said, as Washington gropes for options after its legal right to hold them there expires in December.
The inmates – all foreign nationals captured on battlefields around the world – could be transferred to the U.S. court system or, as a last resort, to the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Brigadier General Patrick J. Reinert told Reuters.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says that when President Barack Obama said his administration “underestimated” the threat of ISIS he didn’t really mean it. We’ve “long been tracking this,” she insists. So, we knew what was happening and just dropped the ball?
The Obama administration didn’t overlook the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki insisted Monday.
“Absolutely not,” Psaki told MSNBC, saying the administration had “long been tracking this.”
Psaki spoke amid a brewing controversy over President Obama’s assertion during an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday that the U.S. intelligence community underestimated the terror network’s rise.
Nearly 10,000 American troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014, promises the country’s newly elected president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
Newly inaugurated Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is expected to sign a vital security deal Tuesday to allow American soldiers to remain in the country past the end of the year, officials say.
A senior Defense Department official confirmed to Fox News that the new president will sign the Bilateral Security Agreement allowing for 9,800 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014. The president also is expected to sign a NATO Status of Forces Agreement, which will allow a small NATO force to stay on as well.
Fifteen California community colleges will be allowed to offer bachelor’s degrees in vocational fields. That makes California the 22nd state to let students earn four-year vocational degrees at two-year colleges.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Sunday to create the pilot program, which will launch on Jan. 1, 2015.
California joins 21 other states that authorize two-year colleges to offer four-year degrees.
In recent years, advocates have argued that growing industry demand for more educated workers in fields such as dental hygiene and automotive technology could be met by expanding existing programs at community colleges.
“This is landmark legislation that is a game changer for California’s higher education system and our workforce preparedness,” state Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, who authored the bill, said in a statement. “SB 850 boosts the focus of our community colleges on job training and increasing the accessibility and affordability of our state’s higher education system.”
Anti-Beijing, pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong grew after police used tear gas to disperse protesters.
Pro-democracy protests expanded in Hong Kong on Monday, a day after demonstrators upset over Beijing’s decision to limit political reforms defied onslaughts of tear gas and appeals from Hong Kong’s top leader to go home.
“I hope the public will keep calm. Don’t be misled by the rumors. Police will strive to maintain social order, including ensuring smooth traffic and ensuring the public safety,” said the Beijing-backed Leung, who is deeply unpopular. He added, “When they carry out their duties, they will use their maximum discretion.”
A doctor who may have contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone returned to the United States and checked himself in with the National Institute of Health.
An American doctor who was exposed to the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone checked in to the National Institutes of Health hospital Sunday for experimental testing and possible isolation and treatment, the NIH said.
The doctor, who hasn’t been identified, was working in Sierra Leone. If he or she has been infected, it would be the fourth U.S. doctor sickened by Ebola and treated for it. Two — Dr. Kent Brantly and Dr. Rick Sacra — have been treated and released and another unidentified doctor was being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Another American, Nancy Writebol, was also treated and released from Emory.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Ca.) vetoed a bill that would have limited police use of drones in the state.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday vetoed a bill that would have required law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants to use drones for surveillance.
Brown, in his veto message, said that although there may be some circumstances when a warrant is appropriate, the bill went too far.
The measure appeared to impose restrictions on law enforcement that go beyond federal and state constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizures and the right to privacy, the governor stated.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he wants an investigation into how a contract employee was able to start a fire at a regional flight control center that caused the cancellation of thousands of flights in and out of Chicago and disrupted air traffic nationwide.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday that he will seek an investigation into how a contract employee was able to sabotage a regional control center and bring Chicago’s two international airports to a halt.
The Illinois Democrat told The Associated Press that he will ask inspectors general at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate whether there was a security breach when the employee entered the building early Friday with a suitcase without causing suspicion. He then started a fire in the basement telecommunications room before attempting to commit suicide by slashing his throat.
The leader of the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria warned of terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe as retribution for air strikes against their group and ISIS in the country.
The head of Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate has warned that failure to stop US-led air strikes on jihadist positions in Syria would “transfer the battle” to Western countries.
In an audio message posted on the internet on Sunday, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, who heads Al-Nusra Front in Syria, addressed citizens “in America and Europe” and called on them to stand against their governments.
“Your leaders will not pay the price for the war alone; you will pay the higher price,” Mr Jolani warned, in his first speech since the coalition launched strikes on Syria last week.
More than 70 percent of U.S. troops surveyed opposed putting “boots on the ground” in Iraq in order to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
Pessimism about success of Iraqi mission growing, with almost 60% saying the war was not very or not at all successful, up from 31% in 2013
A large majority of the U.S. military’s rank and file are opposed to sending troops back to Iraq in combat roles, according to a new Military Times poll, even as the Pentagon commits to a broadening program of air strikes against Islamist extremists in the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has signaled that it may be inevitable that American troops will be fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq. From an ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos yesterday:
“If I were the president, [said Boehner,] “I probably wouldn’t have talked about what I wouldn’t do — and maybe we can get enough of those forces trained to get them on the battlefield, but somebody’s boots have to be there.”
“If no one else will step up, would you recommend putting American boots on the ground?” Stephanopoulos pressed.
“We have no choice,” Boehner warned. “These are barbarians. They intend to kill us, and if we don’t destroy them first, we’re going to pay the price.”