Don’t Hold Your Breath for a Detroit Bailout

Jul 29, 2013, 11:08 am EDT

If any Detroit residents — or creditors — thought that the federal government might throw the struggling city a financial lifeline, the U.S. Treasury Secretary has dashed those hopes.

In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Jack Lew signaled that Washington had no plans give the Motor City a bailout. Lew acknowledged that the city has “serious financial problems,” but said Detroit is “going to have to work out” any issues it has with its creditors on its own.

Noting that Detroit’s financial difficulties “have been a long time in the making,” Lew said the federal government would supply advice and “the kinds of normal programs” it offers to cities in distress. But nothing more. Read 

House GOP Members Planning Blitz of IRS-Related Bills

Jul 28, 2013, 8:15 pm EDT
House GOP Members Planning Blitz of IRS-Related Bills

The GOP in the House is fighting back against what it calls government abuse, announcing plans to vote this week on 10 bills inspired by the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of Tea Party-linked political groups for additional scrutiny.

These bills span a wide range of concerns, from a so-called “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” suggested by Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., to a bill requiring government-wide standards of customer service and target response times on phone calls and e-mails, to a moratorium on IRS conferences.

While some of these bills seem like bipartisan no-brainers, others are bound to stir up more controversy. These include a bill that would limit bonuses to federal employees, another that would make it easier to fire employees, and one that would allow citizens to record conversations with federal workers. Read 

FDA Proposes New Food Safety Rules for Imports

Jul 26, 2013, 2:14 pm EDT

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in a press release, announced two proposed rules on Friday that are set to protect Americans from unhealthy food imports.

The two proposals, in conjunction with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) signed by President Obama, are set to bring the food safety system into the 21st century. The two rules would make it so that importers would have to confirm that suppliers are implementing modern, prevention-oriented food safety practices, and achieving the same level of food safety as domestic growers and processors.

“We must work toward global solutions to food safety so that whether you serve your family food grown locally or imported you can be confident that it is safe,” Margaret A. Hamburg, FDA Commissioner, said in the press release. “Today’s announcement of these two new proposed rules will help to meet the challenges of our complex global food supply system. Our success will depend in large part on partnerships across nations, industries, and business sectors.” Read 

Lincoln Memorial Vandalized Overnight

Jul 26, 2013, 12:28 pm EDT

The Lincoln Memorial was shut down on Friday after a group vandalized the statue with green paint the night before.

The vandals splashed green paint onto the statue of the United States 16th president. No symbols or words were created with the paint. Workers are have used powers washers to remove most of the paint, and are scrubbing higher up parts of the statue by hand. The steps leading up to the memorial were opened up at 10:13 a.m., and park officials say the rest of the memorial will be opened up once all of the paint is removed, reports The Washington Post.

Park Police used bright yellow tape to close off the memorial after discovering it had been vandalized. Authorities believe that the statue was vandalized around 1:30 a.m., Friday, reports The Washington Post. Read 

Fast-Food Chain May Only Hire Part-Time Workers Due to Obamacare

Jul 26, 2013, 11:36 am EDT

Managers at a Washington, DC California Tortilla told NPR that they are considering cutting employees’ hours or hiring more part-time staffers in order to avoid insuring workers as required by the Affordable Care Act.

The law, commonly referred to as Obamacare, stipulates that businesses with at least 50 employees must provide health insurance to all staff working 30 hours or more per week. Though the president announced this year that his administration would delay that provision of the law until 2015, employers – particularly, in the restaurant business – are scrambling to formulate their strategy for when the rule comes into effect.

If California Tortilla does decide to cut workers’ hours, it will join Denny’s (DENN), Wendy’s (WEN), and Yum! Brand’s (YUM) Taco Bell in doing so. Meanwhile, Dunkin Brands (DNKN) CEO Nigel Travis has launched a lobbying offensive to raise the threshold for full time employment from 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week. Read 

George H.W. Bush Shaves His Head for Sweetest Reason

Jul 25, 2013, 12:19 pm EDT

George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the united States, shaved his head on Tuesday.

The former president shaved his head to show support for one of his Secret Service member’s two-year-old son. The boy (Patrick) has leukemia, and when members of his Secret Service detail began shaving their heads to show their support, Bush decided to join in as well. The cause is one close to Bush, whose daughter died of leukemia in 1953.

Former President Bill Clinton tweeted about Bush’s shaved head on Wednesday. Read 

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