Silver Chips Online

National News for Jan. 18 - 30

By Kevin Teng, Online News Editor
February 2, 2009
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report and CNN. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Washington, D.C.

Jan. 20 - President Barack Obama's inauguration officially made him the first black president and the 44th overall President of the United States. Over a million people attended the inauguration in D.C., and millions more watched the event on television or on the Internet around the world. The inauguration marked the official "peaceful transition" of power between Republican and Democratic control in the executive branch.

Jan. 28 - A $819 billion bailout bill supported by President Obama passed in the House of Representatives with a vote tally of 244-188. It was written to stimulate the economy by cutting taxes and creating jobs in various fields, such as technology and infrastructure. No Republican voted in favor of the bill, showing that there are still large disagreements between the Democrats and Republicans. A different bailout bill proposed by Republicans in the House, which was focused mainly on tax cuts amounting to about $800 billion, was not passed. President Obama hosted a cocktail party later that day to talk with representatives about the bill. The bill is still in its early stages, and must be merged with a similar bailout bill that will be debated in the Senate this week.

Jan. 28 - United States Postmaster General John Porter requested that the requirement for a six-day mail delivery schedule be removed amidst financial pressure at a congressional hearing. The United States Postal Service has been suffering from a reduced volume of mail due to the economic recession. Porter suggested that a five-day mail delivery schedule be put in effect.

Jan. 29 - As his first law, Obama signed an equal pay rights law into effect. The law gives workers more flexibility to seek redress when suing their employers on the basis of pay discrimination, allowing six months from any discriminatory paycheck instead of six months from the first discriminatory paycheck. The law had previously been blocked under former President George W. Bush, preventing its enactment. President Obama supported equal pay throughout his campaign.

Springfield, Ill.

Jan. 29 - The Illinois Senate unanimously convicted Democrat Rod Blagojevich of abuse of power as governor, ousting him from his position. In a separate vote, the Senate unanimously banned Blagojevich from holding office in Illinois in the future. The Senate voted on Jan. 9 to hold impeachment trials after the Federal Bureau of Investigation presented wiretapping evidence against Blagojevich. The recordings of Blagojevich’s conversations implied that he was attempting to sell the United States Senate seat vacated by President Obama. Blagojevich has repeatedly argued that he is innocent of the charges against him, even boycotting the first three days of the hearings. On the last day, during the closing arguments, Blagojevich addressed the Illinois Senate once again to assert his innocence. Lieutenant Governor Patrick Quinn was sworn in immediately after Blagojevich was removed from office.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/8879