Senate Democrats Vote to End Filibuster

Sen. Majority Leader Reid

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats eased the way for swift approval of President Barack Obama’s current and future nominees on Thursday, voting unilaterally to overturn decades of Senate precedent and undermine Republicans’ ability to block final votes. The 52-48 vote to undercut venerable filibuster rules on presidential appointees capped more than a decade of struggle in […]

AP Sources: Obama to allow sale of Canceled Plans

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WASHINGTON – Bowing to pressure, President Barack Obama intends to permit continued sale of individual insurance plans that have been canceled because they failed to meet coverage standards under the health care law, officials said Thursday. The decision was designed to ease the impact on millions of consumers who have received cancellation notices in recent […]

First Lady Undertakes New Education Initiative

WASHINGTON – Edging into a broader policy role, Michelle Obama is joining President Barack Obama’s efforts to get the United States on track to have the highest percentage of college graduates by 2020. Mrs. Obama spoke to students Tuesday at Bell Multicultural High School just a few miles from the White House. Officials say the […]

Not Good Enough: Math, Reading Scores Up Slightly

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WASHINGTON  – Sometimes the best isn’t good enough: Most American fourth and eighth graders still lack basic skills in math and science despite record high scores on a national exam. Yes, today’s students are doing better than those who came before them. But the improvements have come at a snail’s pace. The 2013 Nation’s Report […]

In Banner Year For Black Films, Hopes For Momentum

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures

NEW YORK – Oprah Winfrey has heard this story before. A wave of high-profile films about black people receives accolades. A heart-warming trend of greater on-screen equality is declared. Hollywood basks in its multiculturalism – and then returns to business as usual. From the slavery odyssey “12 Years a Slave” to the day-in-a-life drama “Fruitvale […]

High Court Weighs Michigan Affirmative Action Ban

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WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court is taking up a case about Michigan’s voter-approved ban on taking account of race in college admissions. The justices are hearing argument Tuesday over whether the change to the state constitution that voters backed in 2006 discriminates against minorities. The outcome also could affect similar measures in California and Washington […]

Consumers Warned of Misleading Insurance Websites

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NATIONWIDE – Insurance regulators and an industry trade group warn that this month’s rollout of the health insurance marketplaces created by federal law opened the door for bad actors at the same time that it gives brokers and agents a business opportunity. New Hampshire’s insurance commissioner sent a cease-and-desist letter last week to an Arizona […]

For Obama, Budget Fight Has High Stakes for Agenda

President Obama & BP crop

WASHINGTON – For President Barack Obama, the outcome of the fiscal fights with Republicans this week could have broad consequences for his stalled second-term agenda. A favorable deal for the White House that ends the partial government shutdown and lifts the debt ceiling could give Obama an opening to try to marginalize tea party lawmakers […]

High Court Won’t Stop California Inmate Reduction

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SACRAMENTO – The U.S. Supreme Court said Tuesday it will not consider Gov. Jerry Brown’s appeal of an order to trim the state prison population by another 9,600 inmates, leaving him with just one more chance to persuade a lower court to stop or delay a reduction that he says threatens public safety. The justices […]

Poll: Many Calif. Voters in Dark on ‘Obamacare’

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LOS ANGELES — A new Field Poll says many Californians are only vaguely familiar with details of President Barack Obama’s health care reforms, even though enrollment starts in October. The survey released Tuesday finds that about one in four state voters knows little or nothing about the Affordable Care Act. Another 60 percent say they […]