Voluntary refund. President Barack Obama pledged yesterday to return 5 percent of his salary—about $20,000—to the United States Treasury to show solidarity with federal workers experiencing furloughs under the sequester. The president is following the lead of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who first pledged a refund. Other administration officials and a few legislators have said they will join the giveback, or at least are considering it. I sure hope that doesn’t mean they have to give up their nice vacations in August.
Gun control. Today at noon, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed into law some of the strictest gun control measures in the country. The legislation bans more than 100 weapons and the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines. It also requires background checks for all gun purchases. Gun control advocates, including President Obama, lauded the new regulations as a way to prevent mass shootings. The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., prompted state legislators to give the measures a wide margin of approval. Legislators in Colorado also recently adopted similar regulations.
Words lead to actions. After weeks of saying North Korea’s violent rhetoric was nothing more than idle threats, it seems everyone’s getting a little more worried. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said yesterday North Korea poses “a real and clear danger and threat.” And today, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he is “very concerned“ about the communist country’s ability to launch a nuclear attack on both the United States and Great Britain.
No shocking revelations. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will release her memoir next year, but it will not mention anything about her plans for the 2016 presidential election. Political watchers might be disappointed, but surely they can’t be surprised. She’ll plan a splashy public event to announce her candidacy, which has to be the worst-kept secret in Washington. I mean, come on. Does anyone really think she would pass up the opportunity to run again? No chance.
Still jobless. Claims for unemployment benefits spiked unexpectedly last week, suggesting the economy is still on shaky ground, analysts say. The 385,000 claims were the most filed since November, according to a Labor Department report released this morning. Economists had expected the number to keep dropping.