Obama pitches jobs bill at Denver school
DENVER, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- President Obama visited a high school in a poor Denver neighborhood Tuesday to push for passage of the $447 billion American Jobs Act.
The president used Abraham Lincoln High as an example of the kind of school that can be helped by construction aid in the bill, which includes $75.5 million for the Denver County School District. The aid, he said, would serve two purposes, providing jobs for Denver-area construction workers while giving students better facilities.
"Now, this is a fast-growing school in one of the fastest-growing school districts in Colorado. And you guys have been adding new AP courses, and language courses, and doing your best to make sure your kids have the upgraded computers and learning software necessary to prepare them for the jobs and economy of the future," Obama said. "But things like science labs, for example, take money to upgrade, and the ones here at Lincoln High were built decades ago, back in the 1960s."
Obama urged Congress to pass the bill quickly. It includes tax increases for the richest in the United States with some middle-class tax breaks and credits for businesses that add jobs along with $25 billion to repair and modernize public schools and $5 billion for community colleges with other federal aid allocated to road and bridge repair.
Everything in the American Jobs Act is the kind of proposal that's been supported by Democrats and Republicans before," Obama said. "Everything in it will be paid for. It's been two weeks since I sent it to Congress, and now I want it back."
Obama also pushed the bill in an interview Monday night on the BET network, saying the bill would make an immediate difference in the economy.
"It's estimated that that would grow the economy by an extra 2 percent, put 1.9 million people back to work," he said. "Those aren't our estimates. Those are independent estimates. So that could make a difference."
But he bristled when asked about criticism he failed to address black poverty and unemployment.
Newscaster Emmett Miller spoke of a hypothetical young African-American in Chicago's South Side, whose father was gone and whose mother worked 10 hours a day for "peanuts."
There are no jobs and, "You won't even say, 'Look, I am going to help you,'" Miller said.
"Emmett, that is not -- first of all, that is not what people are saying," Obama said. "What people are saying all across the country is we are hurting and we've been hurting for a long time. And the question is how can we make sure the economy is working for every single person."
Axelrod: 2012 'titanic struggle' for Obama
Speaking at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, Axelrod said he believes Obama will win a second term, the Boston Globe reported. But he said the president is in for a tough fight.
"We have the wind in our face because the American people have the wind in their faces," Axelrod said. "This is going to be a titanic struggle."
Axelrod has been working on campaign strategy for Obama since he ran for the U.S. Senate in Illinois in 2004. He said Obama plans to take responsibility for his actions as president and said Republican candidates cannot win simply by blaming Obama but will have to offer their own solutions.
He also said the Republican candidates are "cleaving very closely to the most strident voices in their party." He cited the reaction during the Florida debate last week to a gay soldier who called from Iraq with a question about the end of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and was booed by the audience.
"Not one person on that platform, not one candidate was willing to say, 'Don't do that. It's inappropriate to boo someone who's risking his life for our country, who's serving our country honorably,'" Axelrod said.
Israel approves new Jerusalem housing
JERUSALEM, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Israel approved construction of 1,100 new housing units in Jerusalem Tuesday, sparking outrage among Palestinians and disapproval from foreign leaders.
The units are to be built in the Gilo neighborhood, which is on land seized during the 1967 Six Day War, and will include a boardwalk, public buildings, a school and an industrial zone, Ynetnews.com reported.
"Jerusalem in expanding to the south, creating affordable housing. We must clarify to the world that Jerusalem is not up for sale," said Yair Gabay, a member of the Jerusalem committee.
A statement from the Palestinian prime minister's office condemned the move, accusing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of sabotaging any effort to restart the peace process by making unilateral moves.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United States "is deeply disappointed by that announcement. We have maintained all along that each side in the dispute, the Palestinians and the Israelis should take steps that bring them closer to direct negotiations to resolve the issues that stand in the way of Palestinian statehood and a secure Jewish state of Israel."
"This is a time when all parties should be striving to return to talks," Hague was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post.
"We plan in Jerusalem. We build in Jerusalem. Period. The same way Israeli governments have been doing for 44 years, since the end of the 1967 war," Netanyahu said in an interview with the Post.
Michigan man arrested for explosives
MARQUETTE, Mich., Sept. 27 (UPI) -- A Michigan man who allegedly made anti-government statements is accused of possessing 4,000 pounds of explosives.
John Francis Lechner, 64, of Sault Ste. Marie in the state's Upper Peninsula was ordered to remain in custody after a preliminary hearing Monday, The Mining Journal in Marquette, Mich., reported.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent Timothy DeClare said an informant led him to Cechner's alleged stash of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, a mixture often used as a blasting agent in mining.
DeClare said Lechner had previously applied for a permit for the material but was denied. DeClare said Lechner allegedly told the informant, "When the government gets taken over, we will be mercenaries."
Lechner also allegedly possessed enough blasting caps, detonator cord and boosters to ignite the explosives, the newspaper reported.
"The court has been given no reason for him to have that and he was making efforts to hide that from the ATF, as the testimony indicates, and made anti-government statements," U.S. Magistrate Timothy Greeley said Monday.
Census Bureau recounts gay households
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Census Bureau Tuesday greatly lowered its estimate of the number of married homosexual couples in the United States.
The bureau said its revised figures from the 2010 Census put the number of married same-sex households at 131,729, down from the original count of 349,377. The number of same-sex unmarried partner households dropped by a smaller percentage, from 552,620 to 514,735.
The updated numbers are closer to the results of the 2010 American Community Survey, the bureau said in a release. That survey estimated gay and lesbian married couples at 152,335 and same-sex unmarried partners at 440,989.
Census Bureau said it made the changes after its staff discovered an inconsistency in responses in the 2010 Census summary file statistics that artificially inflated the number of same-sex couples.
The bureau said statistics on same-sex couple households are based on answers to two questions on the Census and ACS questionnaire: relationship to householder and the sex of each person. When data were captured for these two questions on the 2010 Census door-to-door form, the wrong box may have been checked for the sex of a small percentage of opposite-sex spouses and unmarried partners. Because the population of opposite-sex married couples is large and the population of same-sex married couples is small, an error of this type artificially inflates the number of same-sex married partners, the bureau said.
The bureau said its staff created a new set of estimates to provide a more accurate way to measure same-sex couple households.
"We understand how important it is for all groups to have accurate statistics that reflect who we are as a nation," Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. "As scientists, we noticed the inconsistency and developed the revised estimates to provide a more accurate portrait of the number of same-sex couples. We're providing all three -- the revised, original and ACS estimates -- together to provide users with the full, transparent picture of our current measurement of same-sex couples."
China: Subway crash injures more than 270
SHANGHAI, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- More than 270 passengers suffered injuries Tuesday when a subway train rear-ended another train in Shanghai, Chinese authorities said.
China's official Xinhua news agency reported doctors said 20 of the victims were in critical condition.
Xu Jianguang, director of Shanghai's health bureau, said at a press briefing as of 7 p.m., 271 people had been treated at hospitals and 180 had been discharged.
Most of the injuries were bruises and bone fractures but some passengers suffered head injuries, doctors said.
Firefighters evacuated more than 500 passengers from the trains.
The crash occurred about 2:51 p.m., local time, after a signal system failure at a station on the Line 10 subway, Shanghai Shentong Metro Group Co. said in a statement.
At the time of the collision, trains on the Line 10 subway were being directed by phone because of the signal system failure.
Officials said all trains had been ordered to run at slower speeds.
Xinhua said the signal system is a product of Casco Signal Ltd., a joint venture of China Railway Signal and Communication Corp. and Alstom, which reportedly supplies signal systems to subways in Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Shenzhen.
Casco was blamed for a subway train crash in Shanghai in 2009 and provided the centralized traffic-control system for a railway in east China's Zhejiang province, where two bullet trains crashed July 23, killing 40 people and injuring 177, Xinhua said.
Jiang Jianhua, Casco's chief engineer, could not be reached for comment.
Authorities are investigating the crash.