- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 2, 2010

WHITE HOUSE

Desserts to blame for cholesterol level

Poll results, congressional head counts and federal deficits aren’t the only numbers President Obama has to worry about. Now, he’s trying to walk off a marginally high cholesterol count.

Although Mr. Obama took the presidential motorcade to a speech Monday morning, he decided to walk back through Lafayette Park. A day earlier, his doctor recommended that he lower his cholesterol.

The president told reporters he needed to “make sure that I’m walking off some of that cholesterol.”



“That’s a year of campaigning right there,” he said.

Mr. Obama had a physical exam Sunday morning and learned that his total cholesterol and so-called “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, had both spiked into the borderline high range since his last reported exam in 2007.

The culprit, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, is too many cheeseburgers and desserts, a surprising revelation given Mr. Obama’s reputation as a health nut.

“You guys thought he carried arugula in his pocket to snack on,” Mr. Gibbs joked with reporters Monday.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Bill would get rid of ‘subversives’ law

COLUMBIA | In South Carolina, any group that plans to overthrow the government must register its activities.

It’s the law.

Now some state legislators are looking to repeal it.

Sen. Larry Martin said Monday the 1951 McCarthy-era statute that’s meant to deter “Reds” is one more thing making South Carolina look bad.

The “subversive activities registration act” says any group that advocates controlling or overthrowing the federal government - or any other government in the U.S. - must pay $5 to file with the state, or face up to a $25,000 fine and 10 years in prison.

A state official said no one had registered until February. Now about 10 have filed, apparently in jest.

The repeal bill comes up for debate this week in a Senate panel.

FLORIDA

Biden touts jobs created by stimulus

CLERMONT | Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. told construction workers he knows people are frustrated with the pace of economic recovery, but said federal stimulus spending is working.

Mr. Biden stopped at a $20 million central Florida road construction project to tout jobs being created by the $787 billion stimulus package.

Workers are widening a 3.8-mile stretch of U.S. Route 27, and the project will create between 20 to 50 jobs at different stages.

Mr. Biden said during Monday’s appearance that more transportation projects will begin this spring and summer than at any time last year. He said in Florida it “means 15,000 guys wearing hard hats and engineers and surveyors, people who are able to make a decent wage and raise a family on, are going to be put to work.”

WHITE HOUSE

Obama puts focus on school dropouts

President Obama took aim Monday at the nation’s school dropout epidemic, proposing $900 million to states and education districts that agree to drastically change or even shutter their worst performing schools.

Mr. Obama’s move comes as many schools continue to struggle to get children to graduation, a profound problem in a rich, powerful nation. Only about 70 percent of entering high school freshmen graduate. More than 1 million students don’t graduate each year. The problem affects blacks and Hispanics at particularly high rates.

Mr. Obama described the crisis as one that hurts individual kids and the nation as a whole, shattering dreams and undermining an already hurting economy.

“There’s got to be a sense of accountability,” Mr. Obama said in announcing his latest get-tough school proposal at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The president’s plan would seek to help 5,000 of the nation’s lowest-performing schools over the next five years.

COMMERCE

January spending up; income growth slows

Personal spending jumped by a larger amount than expected in January, but Americans’ incomes barely budged. The weak income growth could depress spending in the months ahead, acting as a further drag on the fragile economic recovery.

The Commerce Department said that personal spending rose by 0.5 percent in January, slightly better than expected. But incomes edged up only 0.1 percent, significantly lower than the 0.4 percent gain that economists had expected.

The income gain was the weakest showing in four months and raised more concerns about whether consumers will be able to keep spending at a sufficiently strong pace to support an economic rebound.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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