John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, has been granted more time outside the mental hospital where he's been confined for almost three decades.
U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman ordered that Hinckley be allowed to visit his mother's home in Williamsburg, Va., for up to 17 days at a time, tacking a week on to the 10-day visits that were already permitted away from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity after he shot Reagan and three others on March 30, 1981.
NASA astronauts will be heading out to conduct critical repairs on the International Space Station early Saturday morning. The 6 1/2-hour spacewalk, the first in a series, will replace a faulty piece of cooling equipment.
Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 7:52 pm
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill on Friday that will give some students who are in the U.S. illegally a break on their tuition.
Christie inked New Jersey's version of the DREAM Act, which the Republican governor supported in his last re-election bid.
The state's Legislature passed the bill after a compromise that dropped a provision that would also have allowed students in the country illegally to be eligible for state financial aid if they qualified under income guidelines, according to The Associated Press.
President Obama has ordered a one-year review of the military's response to sexual assault within the ranks, saying his administration has "an urgent obligation" to respond to the problem.
"If I do not see the kind of progress I expect, then we will consider additional reforms that may be required to eliminate this crime from our military ranks," the president said in a statement on Friday.
On this week's round-table podcast, featuring special guest Chris Klimek, we start with a conversation about The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. We talk about the dragon, the dragon-izer, the walking, the absence of lengthy dishwashing sequences, and many, many other things. Can Glen continue to hold the line for hairy-foot fans? You'll have to find out for yourself. (You can also check out the Village Voice review Chris references.)
By a vote of 59-34 the Senate on Friday moved the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve past a key procedural hurdle.
The vote invoked "cloture" — effectively preventing Republicans from filibustering President Obama's nominee.
Next up for Yellen's nomination: A confirmation vote, set for Jan. 6. With the Democratic caucus controlling 55 of the Senate's 100 seats, she's expected to get a majority and then become the first woman to head the central bank.
Only hours before the deadline to sign up for health insurance that will begin Jan. 1, the Obama administration has offered people whose plans have been canceled a new option. They can sign up for catastrophic coverage instead.
These little-noticed plans cover only three primary care visits, specified preventive services and medical costs that exceed a catastrophic amounts. In 2014, that's $6,300 for an individual.
"Although individual employees have engaged in misconduct or inappropriate behavior, we did not find evidence that misconduct is widespread," concludes a report from the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general. The IG's investigation was launched after the 2012 scandal over some agents' behavior while they were on a mission in Colombia.
Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 12:44 pm
The history of the Chesapeake Bay oyster hasn't always been a pure one. So you could forgive a chef for being skeptical about the big bivalve comeback being staged in D.C. and the surrounding area this winter as oyster season gets underway.
But many mid-Atlantic chefs are actually cheering. That's because a major public-private effort to re-establish the oyster as a quality local food product — as well as a weapon against water pollution — seems to be working.
Confirming one of the week's less-secret secrets, the White House announced Friday morning that President Obama intends to nominate Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to be the next ambassador to the People's Republic of China.
The 72-year-old Baucus has been in the Senate since 1978. He is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 1:04 pm
Among the memorials to Nelson Mandela put up across India is a billboard in Tamil Nadu that features a photo of actor Morgan Freeman, not the iconic anti-apartheid hero from South Africa who died earlier this month.