Archives for FUBAR

The old State of the Union just ain’t what it used to be

The State of the Union just isn’t what it used to be. Sure, the pageantry and theatrics of the annual presidential address will all be there. The stem-winder of a speech from President Barack Obama. The standing ovations from his supporters, and strategic smirks and scowls from his opponents. The wall-to-wall media coverage and cable news countdown clocks. But viewership is falling, with 20 million fewer people watching last year’s State of the Union compared to Bill Clinton’s address at the same point in his presidency. Congress rarely follows through on the policy proposals the president unveils. And this year,
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Kerry tries to make U.S. amends in Paris

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry paid his respects Friday to the victims of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris in a show of American solidarity with the French people. On a day tinged with sorrow and a city still on edge in the aftermath of the violence, Kerry met with French President Francois Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius before visiting the sites of the attacks, offering silent prayers and laying wreaths to honor the dead under heavy security. Underscoring heightened fears, police evacuated a major train station in the city after a bomb threat as Kerry’s motorcade sped
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A trip from video game to terrorism

Christopher Lee Cornell showed little direction in his life, spending hours playing video games in his bedroom in his parents’ apartment, rarely going out or working, and voicing distrust of the government and the media. But in recent weeks, his parents say, they noticed a change in him. They thought it was a change for the better: The 20-year-old suburban Cincinnati man was helping his mother around the house, cooking meals, sitting with his parents to watch movies, and talking about having become a Muslim. “He said, ‘I’m at peace with myself,'” his father, John Cornell, recalled Thursday — a
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Washington finds itself going to pot

Washington’s legal marijuana market opened last summer to a dearth of weed. Some stores periodically closed because they didn’t have pot to sell. Prices were through the roof. Six months later, the equation has flipped, bringing serious growing pains to the new industry. A big harvest of sun-grown marijuana from eastern Washington last fall flooded the market. Prices are starting to come down in the state’s licensed pot shops, but due to the glut, growers are — surprisingly — struggling to sell their marijuana. Some are already worried about going belly-up, finding it tougher than expected to make a living
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Baby on booze bottle is a stout problem

Babies and bottles normally get along just fine, unless a picture of that baby happens to be plastered to the front of a bottle of beer being sold in New Hampshire. Currently, that bottle of Breakfast Stout crafted by Founders Brewery Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is illegal in the Granite State but legislation proposed this year would permit brewers to peddle their ales, stouts, porters and lagers even if the label shows images of minors. State Rep. Keith Murphy of Bedford, who also is the proprietor of Murphy’s Taproom in Manchester, is sponsoring the measure that would allow images
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Are homegrown attacks now more of a threat?

U.S. and French intelligence officials are leaning toward an assessment that the Paris terror attacks were inspired by al-Qaida but not directly supervised by the group, a view that would put the violence in a category of homegrown incidents that are extremely difficult to detect and thwart. Although one of the two brothers who carried out the attack at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper is believed to have traveled briefly to Yemen in 2011, where he met an al-Qaida leader, U.S. intelligence officials are not convinced that the Paris attacks were directed from abroad, despite a claim of responsibility by al-Qaida’s
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New York City hires crooks, gang members as jail guards

One applicant to be a New York City correction officer had been fired from his last job as a security guard for stealing. Another admitted he had regularly socialized with gang members. Another had debts of more than $400,000. Yet all those candidates and dozens like them were hired last year to be part of the force overseeing nearly 11,000 inmates on Rikers Island, according to a yearlong city probe of jail hiring practices released Thursday. The probe found systemic problems with the Department of Correction hiring system, including no recruiting strategy for the past six years, that allowed an
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Is Ohio’s taxation of athletes, entertainers legal?

An Ohio law that singles out professional athletes and entertainers for taxation even when they’re in the state just a few days a year is unconstitutional, say several sport leagues including the NBA, NFL and NHL who want the state Supreme Court to strike the law down. At issue is an Ohio law that excludes entertainers or athletes from a ban on municipalities taxing people who perform services 12 or fewer days per year. The leagues say the law singles out professional athletes for less fair tax treatment and overlooks the fact that despite high salaries the athletes’ careers are
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Any future out there for Democrats?

Congressional Democrats are in retreat in more ways than one this week. As Democratic senators gather in Baltimore to talk strategy and lick election wounds, their party faces diminished powers in Congress, GOP dominance in many states and a shrinking pool of potential candidates for future elections. In the November elections, Democrats lost their eight-year Senate majority, and saw their House numbers fall to the lowest level in seven decades. In the states, Republicans will hold 31 governorships, and more state legislative seats than they’ve had since 1928. It especially vexes Democrats to see Republicans dominate the U.S. House delegations
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Hackers hit Twitter, YouTube military accounts

  Hackers supporting Islamic militants took over the Twitter and YouTube accounts of a major U.S. military command Monday, in what the Pentagon called an annoying prank that did not breach military networks or access classified data. The hacker group, calling itself CyberCaliphate, was already under FBI investigation for incursions into the Twitter feeds or websites of media outlets in New Mexico and Maryland, prompting officials to question whether the group has any real affiliation with the Islamic State militants. The U.S. and other partner nations have been launching airstrikes against Islamic State insurgents and locations across Iraq and Syria
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