- - Thursday, February 10, 2011

MICHIGAN

Obama touts wireless for all

MARQUETTE | Saying tomorrow’s economy can’t thrive on yesterday’s infrastructure, President Obama on Thursday promoted his five-year plan to lure new industries and jobs to the U.S. by expanding high-speed wireless to 98 percent of the country.

“It’s just like that movie, ‘Field of Dreams’: If we build it, they will come,” Mr. Obama said in this snowy, Upper Michigan university town, where many small businesses owe their success to high-speed Internet access.

“For our families and businesses, high-speed wireless is the next train station, the next off-ramp, Mr. Obama said. “It’s how we’ll spark new innovation, new investments and new jobs,” he said at Northern Michigan University, a wired campus where the students telecommute.

Mr. Obama’s goal is lofty, considering that such technology is only now being built in major cities by AT&T, Verizon and other companies. It also will cost billions of dollars that Republicans are unlikely to want to spend.

HOUSE

TSA head says firings an option

The head of the Transportation Security Administration said Thursday he would be willing to fire any federal airport screeners who strike or otherwise violate the agency’s new collective-bargaining rules.

TSA chief John Pistole told House lawmakers he would consider doing what President Reagan did in 1981, when he fired 11,000 air-traffic controllers for an illegal strike.

Mr. Pistole’s remarks at a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing came in response to questions from Republicans, who remain skeptical of his decision last week to grant limited union rights to more than 40,000 screeners.

“I won’t allow anything to happen that will adversely affect security,” Mr. Pistole said.

Legislation creating the TSA in 2001 excluded its employees from regulations that give other federal workers the right to union protections. But the law gives the administrator the option of allowing collective bargaining.

CONGRESS

Ethics watchdog targets sleepovers

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