While Congress tries to get to the bottom of what went wrong with the Affordable Care Act website, it's got other problems on its mind. Leading the list is the inability of lawmakers to carry out their most fundamental constitutional responsibility: appropriating the money needed to run the government in a timely fashion.
This month's shutdown was only the most recent fallout of the breakdown in appropriations. Some lawmakers say the Republican ban on earmarks nearly three years ago has only made things worse.
When it comes to book publishing, all we ever seem to hear about is online sales, the growth of e-books and the latest version of a digital book reader. But the fact is, only 20 percent of the book market is e-books; it's still dominated by print. And a recent standoff in the book business shows how good old-fashioned, brick-and-mortar bookstores are still trying to wield their influence in the industry. You might even call it brick-and-mortar booksellers' revenge.
Anybody who bets on the Philadelphia 76ers to win the NBA title has a chance at a serious payoff. Pro basketball started yesterday. Miami is favored to win the championship. Philadelphia, coming off a disastrous last season, is not favored. In Las Vegas, odds against them are 9,999-to-1. Asked how they came up with that figure, odds-makers say it's just the highest number their computers can take.
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As the NASCAR season climaxes, America's prime motor sport continues to see its popularity in decline. For several years now, revenues and sponsorship have plummeted, leaving an audience that increasingly resembles the stereotype NASCAR so desperately thought it could grow beyond: older white Dixie working class.
Both ESPN and the Turner Broadcasting Co., longtime NASCAR networks, took a look at the down graphs and the down-scale demographics and didn't even bother to bid on the new TV contract.
A spokesman for the World Health Organization said Thursday that it was mistaken about the polio outbreak in Somalia spreading to South Sudan. The virus has been detected in Kenya and Ethiopia this year. But South Sudan has not recorded a polio case since 2009.
Four French hostages captured in Niger three years ago by members of an al-Qaida affiliate have been released.
France's President Francois Hollande says the men, seized in a raid on a uranium mining operation on Sept. 16, 2010, near Arlit in northern Niger, will be returning home soon.
The four men are identified as Thierry Dol, Daniel Larribe, Pierre Legrand and Marc Feret. A source close to Hollande was quoted by AFP as saying: "We can't say that they're in great health but their health is fine."
The hostages are thought to have been held in neighboring Mali.
Opponents of Alabama's strict immigration law are declaring victory Tuesday, as the state agreed not to pursue key provisions of a measure critics had called an endorsement of racial profiling. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal of a federal court's ruling that gutted the law.