Fitz File: Tuesday, February 18 - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Fitz File: Tuesday, February 18

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Today is Tuesday, Feb. 18, the 49th day of 2014. There are 316 days left in the year.

NEW FUEL STANDARDS - Clean up in aisle...well, every aisle it turns out. Cleaner air takes center stage for the White House today.  President Obama visits a DC area Safeway warehouse in Upper Marlboro Maryland to announce new steps he plans to take on his own to bolster the economy without Congress.  One part is having EPA and Transportation Department to issue a new fuel-efficiency standard for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by March 2016. It's part of the climate change plan announced last July. The White House says car owners and operators stand to save $50 billion in fuel and 530 million barrels of oil

STIMULUS BIRTHDAY - They grow up so fast. Seems hard to believe the stimulus is turning 5 years old.  President Obama signed the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" which was $800 billion in combined tax cuts and new spending measures Democrats believed would slow the country's economic slide after the financial crisis. Nearly all Republicans voted against the measure.  But did it work? Five years later, Republicans are pointing out sluggish job numbers, and an economy not nearly where the President promised the stimulus would create.

LICENSE PLATE DATA - Who's tracking you? Homeland Security is planning a national database getting data from license-plate readers that scan every car in their paths, according to a request from the agency . A report in The Washington Post found
U.S. Immigration official would use the technology to help locate and arrest “criminal aliens,” Some local governments use scanners to check for parking violations, but they haven't been used for large scale federal law enforcement. The ACLU issued a report last year criticizing the increased use of such devices, saying they gather too much data on individuals and could be used for abusive tracking and targeting.

1ST AMENDMENT UNDER FIRE - Is America's First Amendment under attack? A new report out says yes.  An ramped up effort by governments to crack down on whistle blowers has sunk the US's press freedom ranking in the world, a new report says.  Reporters Without Borders’ annual Freedom Index report ranked the US 46th in the world for freedom of information, a drop of 13 spots from 2012. The report cited the trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning, the pursuit of NSA leaker Edward Snowden and the Justice Department’s seizure of AP phone records to track a CIA leak

Today's Weather:
@fox5weather: Snow is out of here and milder temps are moving in this afternoon. Highs with sunshine in the mid 40's. http://t.co/8I7WndrBWM

Today in History:

In 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Ala.

In 1885, Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was published in the U.S. for the first time.

In 2001, auto racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a crash at the Daytona 500; he was 49.

Today's Quote:
"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning" - Albert Einstein

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