4:13 AM PDT, May 14, 2012
New 'super' PAC hopes to woo younger voters, tapping into unease about jobs, student loan debt
WASHINGTON (AP)— President Barack Obama counted on the support of younger voters four years ago. Now, a new Republican-leaning "super" political committee wants to bring them to the GOP's side.
Crossroads Generation, a new super PAC formed with the help of a handful of established GOP groups, is tapping into the economic frustrations of under-30 voters facing dim job prospects, crippling student loans or the prospect of having to move back home with their parents.
Starting Monday, the PAC is launching a $50,000 social media ad campaign targeting younger voters in eight swing states, including Ohio and Virginia. Their ultimate goal: woo younger Americans to the Republican side, including some who supported Obama in 2008.
"Younger voters aren't looking for a party label," said Kristen Soltis, who advises the new super PAC's communications. "They're looking for someone to present a solution for how things are going to get better."
Crossroads Generation is drawing upon $750,000 in seed money from GOP organizations like the College Republicans, the Young Republicans, the Republican State Leadership Committee and American Crossroads — itself a super PAC that has raised $100 million so far this election cycle to defeat Obama and will support the Republican nominee, very likely to be Mitt Romney.
Jettisoning CEO with misleading biography won't resolve all of Yahoo's credibility issues
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo still has credibility issues, even after casting aside CEO Scott Thompson because his official biography included a college degree that he never received.
The troubled Internet company's next challenge will be convincing its restless shareholders and demoralized employees that the turnaround work started during Thompson's tumultuous four-month stint as CEO won't be wasted.
It won't be an easy task, given that Yahoo Inc.has now gone through four full-time CEOs in a five-year stretch marked by broken promises of better times ahead. Instead, Yahoo's revenue and stock price have sagged during a time when rivals such as Google Inc.and Facebook Inc. as advertisers spend more money online.
"Yahoo has been floundering for years and it looks like there is going to at least several more months of indirection now that another CEO is coming in," said Adam Hanft, who runs a consulting firm that specializes in brand reputation and crisis management.
Yahoo's hopes are now resting on Ross Levinsohn as its interim CEO. Levinsohn had a successful stint running Internet services within Rupert Murdoch's media empire at News Corp. before one of Yahoo's former CEOs, Carol Bartz, hired him in November 2010 to help her in her mostly fruitless attempt to fix the company.
1 in 3 young adults with autism lack jobs, education; they fare worse than other disabled kids
CHICAGO (AP) — One in 3 young adults with autism have no paid job experience, college or technical schooling nearly seven years after high school graduation, a study finds. That's a poorer showing than those with other disabilities including those who are mentally disabled, the researchers said.
With roughly half a million autistic kids reaching adulthood in the next decade, experts say it's an issue policymakers urgently need to address.
The study was done well before unemployment peaked from the recession. The situation today is tough even for young adults who don't have such limitations.
Ian Wells of Allentown, N.J., is 21, autistic and won't graduate from high school until next year. He is unlikely to attend college because of his autism. He wants a job but has only found unpaid internships and is currently working part-time and unpaid as a worker at a fastener factory.
He's a hard worker, with good mechanical skills, but has trouble reading and speaking, said his mother, Barbara Wells. She said his difficulties understanding social cues and body language can make other people uncomfortable.
Obama campaign airing first ad critical of Romney's role in private equity firm
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is casting Mitt Romney as a greedy, job-killing corporate titan with little concern for the working class in a new, multi-pronged effort that seeks to undermine the central rationale for his Republican rival's candidacy: his business credentials.
At the center of the push — the president's most forceful attempt yet to sully Romney before the November election — is a biting new TV ad airing Monday that recounts through interviews with former workers the restructuring, and ultimate demise, of a Kansas City, Mo., steel mill under the Republican's private equity firm.
"They made as much money off of it as they could. And they closed it down," says Joe Soptic, a steelworker for 30 years. Jack Cobb, who also worked in the industry for three decades, adds: "It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us."
The ad, at the unusual length of 2 minutes, will run in five battleground states: Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado. The campaign declined to describe the size of the ad buy though it's in the middle of running a $25 million, month-long ad campaign in nine states. A longer version of the ad was being posted online Monday.
The commercial will be coupled with a series of events Obama's campaign is holding this week in Florida, Missouri, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina to highlight Romney's role at Bain Capital, a company he co-founded.
Moderate Taliban leader says most insurgents want negotiated settlement to war
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — One of the most powerful men on the Taliban council, Agha Jan Motasim, nearly lost his life in a hail of bullets for advocating a negotiated settlement that would bring a broad-based government to his beleaguered homeland of Afghanistan.
In an exclusive and rare interview by a member of the so-called Quetta Shura, Motasim told The Associated Press Sunday that a majority of Taliban wants a peace settlement and that there are only "a few" hard-liners in the movement.
"There are two kinds of Taliban. The one type of Taliban who believes that the foreigners want to solve the problem but there is another group and they don't believe, and they are thinking that the foreigners only want to fight," he said by telephone. "I can tell you, though, that the majority of the Taliban and the Taliban leadership want a broad-based government for all Afghan people and an Islamic system like other Islamic countries."
But Motasim chastised the West, singling out the United States and Britain, for failing to bolster the moderates within the fundamentalist Islamic movement by refusing to recognize the Taliban as a political identity and backtracking on promises __ all of which he said strengthens the hard-liners and weakens moderates like himself.
He lamented Sunday's assassination in Kabul of Arsala Rahmani, a member of the Afghan government-appointed peace council who was active in trying to set up formal talks with insurgents. Rahmani served as deputy minister of higher education in the former Taliban regime but later reconciled with the current Afghan government.
AP Exclusive: Accused of militant links, detained Pakistani officer denounces army ties to US
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — From his prison cell, a senior Pakistani officer accused of plotting with a shadowy Islamist organization to take over the military released his political manifesto: His call was for the army to sever its anti-terror alliance with the United States, which he contends is forcing Pakistan to fight its own people.
"This may help us redeem some of our lost dignity and we badly need that," Brig. Ali Khan writes in the six-page document obtained by The Associated Press. The U.S., he says, might retaliate by cutting military and economic aid, but "do they not always do this at will? ... Our fears that the heavens will fall must be laid to rest."
The manifesto reveals the ideological underpinnings of the most senior Pakistani military officer detained for alleged ties to Islamist extremists.
The accusations against Khan go to the heart of a major Western fear about Pakistan: that its army could tilt toward Islamic extremism or that a cabal of hardline officers could seize the country's most powerful institution, possibly with the help ofal-Qaidaor associated groups like the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistani leaders dismiss such worries as ungrounded.
Details of the case, made public for the first time by The AP, point to efforts by some Islamist groups to recruit within Pakistan's military, though their success appears mixed. They also give a rare look into the discontent among some in the military over the rocky relationship with the United States, currently on hold after American airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani border troops in November.
Facebook to start publically trading
NEW YORK (AP) — He famously wears a hoodie, jeans and sneakers, and he was born the year Apple introduced the Macintosh. But Mark Zuckerberg is no boy-CEO.
Facebook's chief executive turned 28 on Monday, setting in motion the social network's biggest week ever. The company is expected to start selling stock to the public for the first time and begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Friday. The IPO could value Facebook at nearly $100 billion, making it worth more than such iconic companies as Disney, Ford and Kraft Foods.
At 28, Zuckerberg is exactly half the age of the average S&P 500 CEO, according to executive search firm Spencer Stuart. With eight years on the job, he's logged more time as leader than the average CEO, whose tenure is a little more than seven years, according to Spencer Stuart. Even so, the pressures of running a public company will undoubtedly take some getting used to. Once Facebook begins selling stock, Zuckerberg will be expected to please a host of new stakeholders, including Wall Street investment firms, hedge funds and pension funds who will pressure him to keep the company growing.
Young as he may seem —especially in that hooded sweatshirt— Zuckerberg will be about the same age as Michael Dell and older than Steve Jobs when those two took their companies, Dell Inc. and Apple Inc., public. In his years as Facebook's CEO he's met world leaders, rode a bull in Vietnam while on vacation, started learning Mandarin Chinese and as a personal challenge, wore a tie for the better part of a year.
Facebook, of course, got its start in Zuckerberg's messy Harvard dorm room in early 2004. Known as Thefacebook.com back in those days, the site was created to help Harvard students — and later other college students — connect with one another online. The scrappy website later grew to include high-schoolers, then anyone else with an Internet connection. Today more than 900 million people log in at least once a month, making Facebook the world'sdefinitive social network.
Desperate Housewives' looks back and gazes forward in a graceful, fond farewell
NEW YORK (AP) — There was nothing desperate about this finale.ABC's"Desperate Housewives" concluded its rocky, racy and macabre eight-season run with a tidy, affectionate send-off.
For those who haven't yet made their farewell visit to Wisteria Place, be advised: Plot spoilers from Sunday's finale await.
Suffice it to say, everyone seems destined to live happily ever after. At least, with the exception of Karen McCluskey (Kathryn Joosten), the cranky but lovable senior who was battling cancer. But she dies peacefully at home, the way she wanted, with a favorite Johnny Mathis record serenading her.
By this point, she has saved the day for Bree Van de Kamp (Marcia Cross), who was on trial for murder — an accidental homicide that was actually committed by Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira), the husband of Bree's fellow housewife, Gabrielle (Eva Longoria).
Bree was prepared to loyally take the fall for her friends, but, at the last moment, Karen steps in and confesses to the crime.