Archives for FUBAR

Scandal-ridden Baltimore mayor cops plea, quits

Mayor Sheila Dixon fought back tears as she announced her resignation and thanked her staff for its loyalty and hard work. She acknowledged that she made poor choices and that she "disappointed" herself and her constituents.

What she didn't do was apologize or explain the actions that led to her downfall — her guilty plea on a perjury charge and her earlier conviction on a misdemeanor embezzlement charge.

Dixon's resignation Wednesday ended a three-year tenure that began with promise but unraveled amid embarrassing allegations that she stole from the poor.

Her attorney characterized the plea deal as favorable — she will receive probation before judgment at her sentencing Feb. 4, the same day her resignation takes effect.

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Double agent/bomber provided key intel

A former senior intelligence official says the double agent who killed seven CIA employees last week had provided information that led the CIA to kill a number of al-Qaida leaders.

The former official says Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi had provided high-quality intelligence that established his credibility with Jordanian and U.S. intelligence.

The former official says that information led to drone-launched missiles strikes. CBS News first reported al-Balawi's connection to the missile strikes.

The attack at a CIA post in Afghanistan came after al-Balawi claimed he had information on Osama bin Laden's top deputy.

The former official was not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.


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Threats up against federal judges, prosecutors

Threats to federal judges and prosecutors have jumped dramatically, according to a new government report issued Monday that found such threats more than doubled in the past six years.

By coincidence, the report was issued shortly before a gunman walked into a federal building in Las Vegas and opened fire, killing a court security officer and seriously wounding a deputy U.S. marshal. The suspect was shot dead by other officers, and the motive for the attack wasn't immediately clear.

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Like your job? Most Americans don’t

We can't get no job satisfaction.

Even Americans who are lucky enough to have work in this economy are becoming more unhappy with their jobs, according to a new survey that found only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work.

That was the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board research group in more than 22 years of studying the issue. In 2008, 49 percent of those surveyed reported satisfaction with their jobs.

The drop in workers' happiness can be partly blamed on the worst recession since the 1930s, which made it difficult for some people to find challenging and suitable jobs. But worker dissatisfaction has been on the rise for more than two decades.

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More names added to terror watch list

Counterterrorism officials have moved the names of dozens of people onto the terror watch list and the no-fly list after reviewing a massive government database of suspected terrorists.

An intelligence official says the government scrubbed thousands of names in its database after an attempted bombing aboard a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day. Officials focused on people from countries with ties to terrorism. The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

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Health spending slowed in 2008

The U.S. spent an average of $7,681 per person on health care in 2008, for an eye-popping total of $2.3 trillion — even though spending actually slowed dramatically that year because of the recession, a new federal study says.

Health spending didn't slow down as much as the nation's overall economic output, the study said, in keeping with a decades-old trend that has now pushed health care costs to account for over 16 percent of the nation's economy.
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CIA bomber was double agent

The suicide bomber who killed eight people inside a CIA base in Afghanistan claimed to have information about Osama bin Laden's second-in-command, and was being recruited as a double agent to infiltrate al-Qaida, a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a foreign government official confirmed Monday.

The bombing killed seven CIA employees — four officers and three contracted security guards — and a Jordanian intelligence officer, Ali bin Zaid, according to a second former U.S. intelligence official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.

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Financial forecast: Doom, gloom and little growth

Economists from all sides of the political system are sounding a unified theme for the new year: The outlook for economic growth in America isn't good for now or in the future.

In fact, the economist say slow growth will be with us for most of the next decade.

And a depressed housing market will keep the screws on the economy.

Median home values have fallen more than 30 percent since 2005

"It will be difficult to have a robust recovery while housing and commercial real estate are depressed," Harvard Professor and former director of the National Bureau of Economic Research said in a speech to the American Economic Association's annual gathering of top economists from around the country.

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Jobs act: Another costly government debacle?

Can the government create jubs by sinking the nation billions of dollars further into debt? That is a question the Senate faces as it tackles a jobs bill in the first month of the new year.

Republicans say the "Jobs for Main Street Act" is nothing more than another expensive government program that will spend money, raise the deficit and create few, if any jobs. The House passed the act 217-212 in the closing days of the December term. No Republicans voted for the bill.

The bill for the jobs act is $174 billion.  Critics say it is nothing more than another ill-fated "stimulus plan," comparing it to the $787 billion economic plan that spent more and produced few jobs and little stimulus.

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Ye gads! Fox is top cable news channel

Fox News Channel may drive blood pressures to record highs among liberals but the right-wing cable channel just finished its best ratings year ever and easily tops CNN and MSNBC with viewers.

The only cable channels that do better than Fox News are entertainment ones. MSNBC and CNN aren't even in the top 10.

In fact, ratings are falling for more liberal-oriented MSNBC and CNN. Even the darlings of the "progressive" community -- Keith Olbermann and Rachael Maddow -- face erosion of viewers while their favorite targets -- Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck -- watch their numbers rise.

Most viewers, it appears, prefer their "news" with a conservative slant.
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