Though President Obama renewed his pledge to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay last week, many recognize this as his latest attempt to pretend to have a different foreign policy from his predecessor. Despite the president’s strong claims against Guantanamo Bay, there appears to be no indication that the Guantanamo Bay prisoners — a majority of whom are engaged in a hunger strike in opposition to their indefinite detention — are any closer to freedom, even the ones already formally cleared for release. Any discussions of closing the facility seem to be nothing more than attempts to assuage voters who are starting to ask questions about campaign promises that have yet to be fulfilled.
On Tuesday, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would allow the Plan B One-Step contraceptive to be sold without prescription to females as young as 15. The announcement amends a December 2011 decision that prohibited the sale of emergency contraceptives to all females of reproductive age without restriction, which had been overturned by a U.S. District judge on April 5. According to the FDA, its latest announcement was not prompted by the judge’s ruling, but is based on a study released by the company that makes the Plan B drug.
According to Fox News, four officials at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency who are preparing to provide sensitive information to Congress about the attacks last September on two U.S. diplomatic compounds in Benghazi, Libya, have now retained lawyers as they are being threatened by members of the Obama administration.
After assertions from the Syrian rebels' key supporters that they will increase and expand their support to overthrow President Assad, the United States announced it will double its non-lethal assistance to the rebel Syrian National Coalition.
Legislation that would permit states to impose state and local taxes on Internet purchases is currently making its way through Congress. On Monday, the Senate's procedural vote to move the bill forward was 74 to 20 after it received a hearty endorsement from President Obama. The Senate will now begin debate on amendments before the final vote on the bill scheduled later this week.
Second Amendment advocates celebrated a victory on Wednesday when the Senate defeated an amendment to expand background checks for gun sales. The amendment's defeat was seen as a significant setback for the congressional gun-control agenda. After the vote, President Obama delivered a statement from the Rose Garden berating opponents while flanked by family members of Newtown, Connecticut, shooting victims.
Though the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) managed to be defeated in Congress last year, it has been reintroduced and scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives this week. The authors of the bill, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), introduced a revised version of the bill in February despite opposition from privacy advocates.
A federal judge blocked the closure of the only abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi on Monday. U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III extended an injunction that he had issued several months ago that blocks the state from closing the clinic while a 2012 state law that requires all OB-GYNs who perform abortions at Jackson Women’s Health Organization to have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital is being challenged.
A mass stabbing that took place earlier this week at Lone Star College Cy-Fair in Harris County near Houston, Texas, does not help advance the gun control agenda that has pervaded media reports. Fifteen students were wounded in the stabbing, with four believed to be in critical condition. Police have the suspect, 20-year old Dylan Quick, in custody. Quick is reportedly a student at Lone Star College who told authorities that he had fantasized about stabbing people since he was eight years old.
Despite his humiliating resignation in 2011 as a U.S. congressman from New York following the revelation of several online affairs, Anthony Weiner has indicated that he is considering a run for mayor of New York City. During an lengthy, sympathetic interview with the New York Times Magazine, he stated that he would like to ask voters for a “second chance.”