7 months ago

President Obama Is Handing a Strong Economy to His Successor - New York Times

For others, the prospects do not look good. There used to be part of the work force that had well-paying jobs that were low or unskilled, Mr. Prising said. Those kinds of jobs are very difficult to find today.

The deal that Mr. Trump made with the heating and cooling company Carrier this week to keep 1,000 manufacturing jobs from moving to Mexico from Indiana is emblematic of the kind of actions he said he would take as president to help blue-collar workers.

Continue reading the main storyBut there are limits to the power of persuasion.

Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Michigan and a former economic adviser to Mr. Obama, said that manufacturing, while still a driving force in the economy, employed fewer and fewer people. More than 80 percent of jobs are now in the service industry, Ms. Stevenson said, and Mr. Trump should be thinking more about how to match workers with those jobs.

The economy is in a great place, and his biggest challenge is continuing that, she said.

Some economists worry that the Federal Reserve is too focused on fears of future inflation and that it should hold off on any increase in rates until conditions have improved further. Theres no reason to pre-emptively slow the economy down, given that were starting from less than full employment, said Elise Gould, an economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute in Washington. Right now, the priority should be keeping the economy on track and moving it forward.

Such pleas are unlikely to win the day. At last months meeting of the Federal Reserve, members concluded that the case for an increase in the benchmark rate had been strengthened, and that they would be ready to move so long as incoming data provided some further evidence of continued progress.

Multimedia Feature Why the Fed Is About to Raise Interest Rates Federal Reserve officials have delayed raising rates this year as they wrestle with three critical questions. But they may soon be about to act.

OPEN Multimedia Feature

Many employers are having a harder time finding and retaining workers.

Recruiting is a tough issue right now in skilled and semiskilled industries, said Robert A. Funk, chairman and chief executive of Express Employment Professionals, a staffing agency based in Oklahoma City. He mentioned a particular need for workers in accounting, information technology, call centers, warehousing and office and professional services.

Mr. Funk said employers often complained about being unable to find employees with a strong work ethic who met the minimum requirements. Drug screening is a real challenge in many parts of the country, he said. Only 30 percent can pass a drug screen in the state of Washington, where marijuana is legal.

At the same time, employers have been reluctant to raise wages to a level that might lure back sidelined workers. The result has been that the country has 5.5 million job openings, a near-record level, but still relatively anemic labor force participation rates.

The challenge out there now is finding workers and keeping the workers you have, said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group. Those shortages, whatever the cause, are likely to push wages higher next year, he said.

People are feeling good not only about their current income but their future income, Mr. Rick said.

Whatever the economys current failings, Mark J. Rozell, a political scientist at George Mason University in Virginia, said it was nonetheless better than the ones most incoming presidents have faced in the last half-century.

Continue reading the main storyTrump can be thankful that his predecessor is handing him a fairly strong situation, Mr. Rozell said, especially when compared to many past party transfers of power.

Continue reading the main story

9 months ago

Donald Trump signed improper charity check supporting Florida attorney general

WASHINGTON-- Donald Trumps signature, an unmistakable if nearly illegible series of bold vertical flourishes, was scrawled on the improper $25,000 check sent from his personal foundation to a political committee supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Charities are barred from engaging in political activities, and the Republican presidential nominees campaign has contended for weeks that the 2013 check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation was mistakenly issued following a series of clerical errors. Trump had intended to use personal funds to support Bondis re-election, his campaign said.

So, why didnt Trump catch the purported goof himself when he signed the foundation ch

1 year ago

Rolls-Royce Rolls Out Autonomous Ship Technology That Reduces The Need For Human-Machine Interaction - International Business Times

Rolls-Royce this week unveiled a white paper on autonomous ships at an Amsterdam symposium, predicting the commercialization of the technology by the end of the decade.

This is happening. Its not if; its when, Oskar Levander, Rolls-Royce'svice president for marine innovation, told the Autonomous Ship Technology Symposium 2016 Tuesday as the company issued its white paper, Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative.

The technologies needed to make remote and autonomous ships a reality exist. The AAWA project is testing sensor arrays in a range of operating and climatic conditions in Finland and has created a simulated autonomous ship control system which allows the behavior of the complete communication system to be explored. We will see a remote-controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade, Levander said.

The whitepaper discusses current research and applications for the technology, including the safety and security implications of operating ships remotely. It also discusses the legal and regulatory aspects, and the existence of a supplier network.

The technology, whichRolls-Royce saidhas the support of shipowners and operators, was tested onFinferries 213-foot double-ended ferry, the Stella, which operates between Korpo and Houtskr. Also working on the project is ESL Shipping Ltd., which is testing implications for cargo vessels.

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Our solutions in ship intelligence will deliver multifaceted enhancements in vessel performance and operation for our customers. In the shorter term, we are supporting our customers to automate operations and navigation, allowing crew to concentrate on more-valuable tasks, Rolls-Royce said in an introduction to the white paper.

Our future solutions will reduce need for human-machine interaction by automating selected tasks and processes, whilst keeping the human at the centerof critical decision-making and onboard expertise. In the longer term, our efforts in remote and autonomous operations will pave the way to autonomous ships.

Spirit_of_America_-_Staten_Island_Ferry One day the Staten Island Ferry may operate without a captain on board. Photo: wikipedia.org


1 year ago

Independent report says Grayson may have broken House rules, federal law - Washington Post

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.)(Jay Mallin/BloombergNews)

2 years ago

Cop takes donkey for a ride-along - New York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV

Youll find a lot of jackasses in the back of a squad car, but you dont expect to see a real donkey.

(Photo: City of Norman, OK Police Department Facebook)(Photo: City of Norman, OK Police Department Facebook)

But thats exactly what a Norman, Oklahoma, police officer was hauling Tuesday morning.

A woman on her way to work first saw the donkey, nicknamed Squishy, meandering along a busy roadway.

If I hadnt gotten him off the road, yeah, he could have definitely been killed, Robin Strader told CNN affiliate KFOR.

The police were called, and Officer Kyle Canaan showed up. Strader told Canaan that Squishy could stay on her property, but she couldnt take him in her car because he was too big.

So Canaan put the donkey in the back of his ride, a space usually reserved for drunks, thieves and other riffraffs.

But Squishy was no trouble at all. Well, almost.

It used the bathroom in the back of my police car, Canaan told KFOR. I mean, I must have got it right after breakfast, because there was a lot.

Well, Canaan did use some animal feed to coax Squishy into the car.

The ride to Straders property was short, just four miles, and she plans to adopt Squishy if no one claims him.

2 years ago

New York's Thanksgiving parade expected to draw huge crowd despite security ... - Reuters

NEW YORK Record crowds were expected to swarm Manhattan sidewalks and rooftops on Thursday to glimpse the marching bands, floats and massive balloons of Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, held under tight security two weeks after the attacks in Paris.

New York officials said about 3.5 million spectators would turn out for the city's signature parade, in its 89th year, and they urged residents and visitors to carry on with holiday plans, saying there were no credible threats to the city.

"I encourage people to come out. This is a way to push back on events around the world that are meant to intimidate," Police Commissioner William Bratton said at a press conference on Wednesday in Manhattan near where giant balloons of Snoopy and Hello Kitty were being readied for the event.

The Department of Homeland Security said last week there was no credible threat of an attack on the United States of the type that occurred in Paris. The New York Police Department is ramping up parade security, adding members of a new counter-terrorism unit, officials said.

About 50 million people worldwide were expected to watch the televised parade, in which dozens of giant helium balloons depicting popular cartoon characters, accompanied by floats, volunteers and entertainers, snake through 2.5 miles(4 km) of Manhattan, ushering in the holiday season and the busiest travel time in the United States.

President Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans on Wednesday they are safe to take to roads, trains and planes over the holiday.

"Right now, we know of no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland," Obama told reporters at the White House.

A Reuters-Ipsos poll shows Americans have become more concerned about threats since the Paris attacks and now identify terrorism as the most important problem facing the nation.

Jitters have focused on large and heavily-attended events, like New York's Thanksgiving Day parade. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city's police force has been fine-tuning its response to another possible strike since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in which the Twin Towers were toppled by two hijacked airliners.

"People should recognize the efforts being made," de Blasio said at a news conference on Wednesday. "I have absolute faith in the NYPD," he said.

(Additional reporting and writing by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

2 years ago

Attorneys: Robin Williams' Widow, Kids Settle Estate Fight

Robin Williams' widow and his three children from previous marriages reached a settlement in their legal fight over the late actor's estate, ending a public dispute following the beloved comedian's suicide last year.

Terms of the out-of-court settlement were not disclosed but James Wagstaffe, who is representing Susan Williams, said his client will remain in the San Francisco Bay Area home she shared with Williams and receive living expenses to maintain the home for the rest of her life.

Wagstaffe said she also will receive a watch Robin Williams often wore, a bike bought on their honeymoon, and their wedding gifts.

Both sides expressed satisfaction over the settlement, which remains subject to court approval. Wagstaffe and Meredith Bushnell, who represents three adult children from previous marriages Zachary, Zelda and Cody said they expect the judge's approval.

"Susan gets to enforce Robin's wishes. She gets to stay in the house as Robin wanted, with the trust being created to pay the expenses," Wagstaffe said.

Meredith Bushnell, who represents the three children said, "I think they're just very happy to have this behind them."

Susan Williams filed a court petition in December, saying the contents of the Tiburon home she shared with Robin Williams should be excluded from the items the actor left to his children.

She also claimed some of her husband's personal items were taken without her permission.

Williams' three children countered that Susan Williams was "adding insult to a terrible injury" by trying to change the trust agreement and deprive them of items that their father clearly intended to leave to them.

Among the items in dispute were watches, memorabilia, the tuxedo he was married in and photographs taken on his 60th birthday, according to court documents and previous statements by attorney Wagstaffe.

The dispute resulted in several court appearances before a San Francisco judge and mediation.

Trustees for Williams' estate filed a petition Friday with San Francisco County Superior Court stating the parties had reached a settlement on Sept. 25 and asking to dismiss Susan Williams' petition to have the court provide guidance in the dispute. The judge had encouraged both sides to settle out of court.