Ernest Hemingway’s Cuba Home to Get $900,000 in U.S. Improvements

Ernest Hemingway's home near Havana, Cuba, is expected to soon receive an infusion of badly needed building supplies from the United States. An American foundation restoring the legendary writer's home in Cuba on Saturday, June 20, 2015, signed an agreement with the Cuban government to -- for the first time -- import construction materials directly from the United States to aid the preservation efforts. (CNN)

Ernest Hemingway’s home near Havana, Cuba, is expected to soon receive an infusion of badly needed building supplies from the United States. An American foundation restoring the legendary writer’s home in Cuba on Saturday, June 20, 2015, signed an agreement with the Cuban government to — for the first time — import construction materials directly from the United States to aid the preservation efforts. (CNN)

HAVANA (AP) — A U.S. foundation will ship nearly $900,000 in supplies to build a state-of-the-art facility to preserve Ernest Hemingway’s books, letters and photos – the first major export of construction materials to Cuba since President Barack Obama loosened the trade embargo on the island.

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The Boston-based Finca Vigia Foundation has been trying for years to help Cuba stop thousands of pages of documents from slowly disintegrating in the baking heat and dripping humidity of the sprawling homewhere the American writer lived and worked outside Havana from 1939 to 1960. Officials with Cuba’s National Cultural Heritage Council, which runs the Finca Vigia, have been enthusiastic about building a conservation laboratory but said they didn’t have the funds or supplies to do it.

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High-quality building materials are virtually impossible to find throughout much of Cuba, with homeowners forced to buy paint and water pumps stolen from government agencies and pay overseas travelers to bring items as large as sinks and kitchen cabinets in their checked luggage. In state-run hardware stores, a request for an item as mundane as a box of screws can provoke peals of laughter from salesclerks.

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The foundation’s proposal to send four shipping containers with as much as $862,000 of materials ranging from nuts and bolts to tools and roofing was approved by the U.S. government in May, after Obama created a series of exemptions to the embargo. The exceptions include permission for Americans to export supplies donated for the purpose of supporting the Cuban people in fields such as science, archaeology and historical preservation. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Obama’s distant cousin calls him ‘worst president in our time’

President Obama’s distant second cousin has taken family feuding to a new level in his bid for the Senate.

Dr. Milton Wolf, the radiologist challenging Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), told The Hill on Monday that while Obama’s a “nice guy,” he believes he’s “the worst president in our time, if not our history…”


Pressure Mounts for Sebelius to Resign

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Wynton Hall reports: Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is coming under fire to resign in the wake of a two-week Obamacare roll out that CBS News calls “nothing short of disastrous.”

In a surprising development, Sebelius’s longtime friend and fellow Kansan, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), has gone on record as the first Republican calling for Sebelius’s ouster.

“Americans are tired of the Sebelius spin,” said Roberts. “They can see Obamacare has failed them. We need a secretary who can admit when enough is enough.”

Criticism of Sebelius’s management of the Obamacare launch has intensified in the wake of a blistering interview last week with fellow progressive Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. Stewart asked Sebelius numerous times why President Barack Obama has given big businesses a one-year Obamacare waiver but not everyday Americans. Sebelius refused to answer.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Friday joined Roberts in calling for Sebelius’s resignation. Roberts is a member of two committees with jurisdiction on Obamacare.

Read the rest of this entry »


Chart: Food Stamp Spending More Than 5X Greater Than Job Training For Vets

By Daniel Halper

Two charts on food stamps spending, provided by the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee, just as the Senate is voting the food stamps program (which is part of the so-called farm bill):

“Among the roughly 80 means-tested federal welfare programs, the food stamp program is the second-largest and the fastest growing. Nearly 1 in 6 Americans now receives the benefit. Food stamp spending has more than doubled since the start of the Obama presidency, and has quadrupled since 2001. Total spending on food stamps is now projected to be more than $760 billion over the next 10 years. By contrast, between 2003 and 2012, the nation spent less than $480 billion on food stamps,” writes the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.

Following this historic increase, the Administration continues to use promotional campaigns to further increase enrollment. USDA, for example, advertises food stamps as a form of economic stimulus, asserting that “each $5 dollars in new SNAP benefits generates almost twice that amount in economic activity for the community… Everyone wins when eligible people take advantage of benefits to which they are entitled.” USDA has also acknowledged a formal partnership with the Mexican government to boost food stamp enrollment among non-citizens. In response to oversight inquiries from Ranking Member Sessions and then-Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts, USDA revealed that the current administration has met with Mexican officials approximately 30 times as part of the partnership.

“The Department also instructs food stamp administrators and volunteers on “how to overcome the word ‘no’”, and has given a “Gold” award to a local recruitment office for overcoming the “mountain pride” of individuals in North Carolina. USDA even provides bonuses—totaling about $50 million per year—to states that meet high enrollment targets.

“The Senate farm bill would reduce food stamp spending by $4 billion dollars over 10 years, or just 0.52 percent. That compares to reductions of nearly $14 billion to the other farm bill programs, approximately a 6 percent cut.”

via Chart: Food Stamp Spending