Archives for FUBAR

Former Blackwater execs charged in arms deal

The former president of Blackwater Worldwide was charged Friday with using straw purchases to stockpile automatic weapons at the security firm and filing false documents to cover up gifts given to the king of Jordan. Gary Jackson, 52, who left the company last year in a management shake-up, was charged along with four of his former colleagues, according to the federal indictment. The prosecution opens a new front of the government’s oversight of the sullied security company. Several of the company’s contractors have previously been charged with federal crimes for their actions in war zones, but the company’s executives have
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Clinton: Anger can breed domestic terrorism

Former President Bill Clinton warned of a slippery slope from angry anti-government rhetoric to violence like the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, saying “the words we use really do matter.” The two-term Democratic president insisted he wasn’t trying to restrict free speech, but in remarks Friday he said incendiary language can be taken the wrong way by some Americans. He drew parallels to words demonizing the government before Oklahoma City. On April 19, 1995, an anti-government conspiracy led by Army veteran Timothy McVeigh exploded a truck bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people. “What we learned from
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E-mails document destruction of CIA torture tapes

Internal CIA e-mails show the former agency head, Porter Goss, agreed with a top aide’s 2005 decision to destroy videotapes of the harsh interrogation of a terror suspect, a controversial action that remains the focus of an FBI investigation. The documents show that, despite Goss’ apparent agreement, CIA officials almost immediately began worrying they’d done something wrong. The e-mails also indicate that President George W. Bush‘s White House counsel, Harriet Miers, hadn’t been informed of the tapes’ destruction and was “livid” to find out later. The videos showed CIA interrogators using waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique that’s widely considered torture,
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Foreclosure surge sets another record

A record number of U.S. homes were lost to foreclosure in the first three months of this year, a sign banks are starting to wade through the backlog of troubled home loans at a faster pace, according to a new report. RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday that the number of U.S. homes taken over by banks jumped 35 percent in the first quarter from a year ago. In addition, households facing foreclosure grew 16 percent in the same period and 7 percent from the last three months of 2009. More homes were taken over by banks and scheduled for a foreclosure
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Mike Huckabee’s homophobia

Mike Huckabee, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012, says the effort to allow gays and lesbians to marry is comparable to legalizing incest, polygamy and drug use. Huckabee also told college journalists last week that gay couples should not be permitted to adopt. “Children are not puppies,” he said. Huckabee visited The College of New Jersey in Ewing, N.J., last Wednesday to speak to the Student Government Association. He also was interviewed by a campus news magazine, The Perspective, which published an article on Friday. Huckabee told the interviewer that not every group’s interests deserve to be accommodated, if
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LaHood’s bike policy hits GOP potholes

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a weekend bicyclist, might consider keeping his head down and his helmet on. A backlash is brewing over his new bicycling policy. LaHood says the government is going to give bicycling — and walking, too — the same importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the selection of projects for federal money. The former Republican congressman quietly announced the “sea change” in transportation policy last month. “This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized,” he wrote in his government blog. The blog was accompanied by a DOT policy statement urging states
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Tea partyers use wrong video to refute racism charges

Three Democratic congressmen — all black — say they heard racial slurs as they walked through thousands of angry protesters outside the U.S. Capitol. A white lawmaker says he heard the epithets too. Conservative activists say the lawmakers are lying. What does the video show? Not much. Indeed, new interviews show that a much-viewed YouTube recording cited as evidence by conservatives was actually shot well after the time in question. It was March 20, near the end of the bitter health care debate, when Reps. John Lewis, Andre Carson and Emanuel Cleaver say that some demonstrators, many of them tea
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Recognizing attempts to gag free speech

Banning the sale of wine because of a nude, bike-riding nymph on the label of the bottle. Confining campus protests to a “free-speech patio.” Keeping street performers off the Las Vegas Strip. Those were some of the actions that the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression cited Tuesday in awarding its dubious “Muzzle” awards. The Charlottesville center awards the Muzzles annually to mark the April 13 birthday of Jefferson — its namesake, the third president and free-speech advocate. Center director Bob O’Neil said that while the 10 winners of the 2010 awards were geographically diverse, they didn’t
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Health care law will add to doctor shortage

Better beat the crowd and find a doctor. Primary care physicians already are in short supply in parts of the country, and the landmark health overhaul that will bring them millions more newly insured patients in the next few years promises extra strain. The new law goes beyond offering coverage to the uninsured, with steps to improve the quality of care for the average person and help keep us well instead of today’s seek-care-after-you’re-sick culture. To benefit, you’ll need a regular health provider. Yet recently published reports predict a shortfall of roughly 40,000 primary care doctors over the next decade,
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Mistakes will force health care bill back to the House

Senate Republicans learned early Thursday that they will be able to kill language in a measure altering President Barack Obama‘s newly enacted health care overhaul, meaning the bill will have to return to the House for final congressional approval. It appeared initially that deleting the provisions, dealing with Pell grants for low-income students, should not cause major problems for Democrats hoping to rush the bill to Obama and avoid prolonging what has been a politically painful ordeal for the party. Democrats described the situation as a minor glitch, but did not rule out that Republicans might be able to remove
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