Posts by Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News

  • What if Bill Gates was your Secret Santa?

    Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News at Yahoo News 3 yrs ago



    (click to see a slideshow of Bill Gates' career)

    A Reddit user named Rachel got a huge surprise this week when she learned that the "Bill" who was her Secret Santa in the site's annual gift exchange is actually Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

    Rachel didn’t realize right away that the package of presents appeared to have come from the billionaire philanthropist, whose office confirmed his participation in the gift exchange to Yahoo News.

    "I thought Bill sounded like a friendly fellow,”Rachel wrote in a Reddit post. “In fact, I had this whole image of this poor guy named Bill trying to navigate my wishlist full of makeup, nailpolish, glittery things to buy me. Quite frankly I felt bad for this ‘Bill.'"

    But then she dug in a little deeper.

    So what did Rachel get? A stuffed cow.

  • Bill Clinton: I never denied smoking marijuana

    Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News at Yahoo News 3 yrs ago

    “I didn’t say I was holier than thou, I said I tried. I never denied that I used marijuana," Clinton told Fusion TV's Jorge Ramos in an interview aired Tuesday night.

    Back in 1992, in the midst of his first presidential campaign, Clinton famously equivocated when asked about his drug use, saying that during his days as a Rhodes Scholar in England, "I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn’t like it, and didn’t inhale, and never tried it again."

    The quote has been lampooned for decades and widely seen as an attempt by Clinton to avoid political damage by denying that he had actually smoked pot, since it supposedly never entered his lungs.

    Ramos asked Clinton if he would answer the question differently today, given changing attitudes about marijuana that have allowed Barack Obama, for example, to talk openly about his teen drug use without suffering politically.

    "Like many things in the press, that whole thing has been totally twisted," Clinton said, insisting that he never meant to give the impression that he hadn’t tried pot.

  • Obama turns blogger to make pitch for gay rights bill

    Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News at Yahoo News 3 yrs ago

    President Obama turned blogger on Sunday night, making an impassioned plea in the Huffington Post for Congress to pass a long-delayed measure to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    The bill, called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, is set for a Senate vote on Monday, and proponents are upbeat about its prospects for passage

    Obama writes that while Americans can't lose their jobs because of race, religion, gender, or disability, "in many states a person can be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender."

    The president continues: "It's offensive. It's wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense."

    Citing "strong bipartisan support and the support of a vast majority of Americans," Obama says ENDA "ought to be the law of the land."

  • House employee escorted off floor after rant

    Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News at Yahoo News 3 yrs ago

    If you thought the drama in Congress over the government shutdown couldn’t get any more bizarre, think again.

    On Wednesday night, as the House of Representatives was voting on a last-minute deal to end the 16-day budget stalemate, a long-time House stenographer calmly stepped up to the rostrum and started shouting into a microphone.

    The microphone she was yelling into was turned off, but lawmakers and staffers report she was ranting about Free Masons, the devil and the House being divided.

    A House GOP aide told CNN the woman said, "Do not be deceived. God shall not be mocked. A House divided cannot stand."  

    The woman, identified by ABC News and other sources as Dianne Reidy, was quickly pulled off the rostrum by House security officers. 

    As she was being led away, she was heard to shout, "This is not one nation under God. It never was."

  • Michelle Obama clashes with heckler at fundraiser

    Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News at The Ticket 3 yrs ago

    First lady Michelle Obama threatened to leave a fundraiser Tuesday night unless a heckler stopped interrupting her speech.

    Obama was speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a private home in Washington, ABC News reports, when a woman in the audience started shouting in support of an executive order on gay and lesbian rights.

    According to pool reports, Obama responded, "One of the things I don’t do well is this," a remark which drew loud applause. She then left the lectern and approached the heckler, telling the woman she could "listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving. You all decide. You have one choice."

    The crowd begged for Obama to stay and one woman shouted at the heckler, "You need to go." The protester was then reportedly escorted out of the event.

    She was later identified as Ellen Sturtz, 56, an activist for the pro-LGBT rights group GetEQUAL.

    Sturtz said she was disappointed in the first lady's response.

  • Michele Bachmann won’t seek re-election

    Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News at The Ticket 3 yrs ago

    Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann said early Wednesday that she will not run for re-election in 2014.

    The Minnesota conservative made the announcement in a video posted on her website.

    "After a great deal of thought and deliberation, I have decided next year I will not seek a fifth congressional term," Bachmann said in the eight-and-a-half-minute video. "After serious consideration, I am confident that this is the right decision."

    The 57-year-old said her decision was not influenced by concerns she would lose a re-election bid to Democrat Jim Graves (whom she narrowly defeated in 2012) nor by a recent probe into the ethics of her 2012 presidential campaign.

    “My decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected to Congress," Bachmann said. "I have every confidence that if I ran, I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year, who recently announced he is once again running."

    Bachmann also used the platform to take a swipe at her detractors.

    — Andy Johnson(@ndyjohnson) May 29, 2013

  • Weekend in politics: Obama wraps up Middle East trip, and more

    Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News at The Ticket 3 yrs ago

    President Barack Obama wraps up his three-day trip to Israel on Friday with visits to symbolic sites, including the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the graves of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995.

    Obama plans to have lunch with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then tour the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

    Later, he is traveling to Jordan for a meeting with King Abdullah II. He will visit the ruins of the ancient city of Petra on Saturday before returning home to Washington.

    Also Friday, Congress looks to wrap up work before departing for a two-week Easter recess. Senate Democrats appear poised to pass their first budget in four years, promising a second round of tax hikes on the wealthy.

  • Thursday in politics: Obama continues Middle East trip, and more

    Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News at The Ticket 3 yrs ago

    On the second day of his Middle East trip, President Barack Obama heads to the West Bank for meetings with Palestinian leaders. Obama will hold a working lunch with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, followed by a news conference. Obama has said he is not bringing any new initiatives to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and expectations for a breakthrough are low.

    Earlier Thursday, in a stark reminder of the region's volatility,militants fired two rockets into southern Israel from Gaza. Obama was miles away in Jerusalem at the time. He is not planning to visit Gaza during his trip.

    And then there is this: Today is the third anniversary of the House passing President Obama's landmark health care reform bill, by 219 votes to 212, with no Republican backing.

  • GOP senator reverses gay-marriage stance after son comes out

    Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News at The Ticket 3 yrs ago

    A prominent conservative senator said on Thursday that he now supports gay marriage.

    Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told reporters from the Columbus Dispatch and other Ohio newspapers that his change of heart on the hot-button issue came two years after his son, Will, told him and his wife that he is gay.

    "It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that's of a Dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have—to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years," Portman said.

    In an interview with CNN, Portman said his son, then a freshman at Yale University, told him "that he was gay, and that it was not a choice, and that it's just part of who he is, and that he'd been that way for as long as he could remember."

    He also told CNN that he sought guidance from former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary is gay.

  • Tuesday in politics: Obama talks immigration in Vegas, and more

    Joel Roberts, Yahoo! News at The Ticket 3 yrs ago

    Immigration remains at the top of the Washington agenda Tuesday, as President Obama travels to Las Vegas to rally public support for his proposals for reforming the nation's immigration system.

    The president will deliver remarks in a campaign-style event this afternoon at Del Sol High School.

    White House officials said Obama would largely endorse an immigration blueprint announced Monday by a bipartisan group of senators, though the president's plan was expected to be more progressive and include a faster pathway to citizenship for millions of people already in the U.S. illegally.

    Also Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets to consider Obama's nomination of John Kerry to be secretary of state. Kerry is expected to win overwhelming approval from the panel, which he currently chairs.