Archives for FUBAR

Oops! White House Christmas card was hack attack

A malware-laden e-mail masquerading as a White House Christmas card was a sinister move by hackers to steal sensitive documents from U.S. law enforcement and military officials, according to cybersecurity analysts. The bright red and green holiday greeting, with the decorated Christmas tree, was sent out in late December and claimed to be from the “Executive Office of the President.” Cyber threat analysts said it was targeted at government officials, particularly those who are involved in computer crime investigations. While it is not clear yet how many people got the malicious e-mail or how many documents were siphoned from their
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IRS agent admits cheating on taxes

A California-based Internal Revenue Service agent could spend up to nine years in prison after acknowledging that he cheated on his own taxes. Federal prosecutors say 51-year-old Albert Bront pleaded guilty Wednesday in Los Angeles to filing false tax returns for himself and two innocent relatives. The false tax form claims included bogus alimony and mortgage deductions. The former Santa Clarita resident told a federal judge that he filed fraudulent tax returns for himself from 2003 to 2007 by claiming excessive deductions and failing to report income. He also acknowledged filing fraudulent returns on behalf of two unknowing relatives. Bront
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Feds warn states: Don’t come to us, the well is dry

Cut spending, raise taxes and fees, and accept billions of dollars from Congress. That’s been the formula for states trying to survive the worst economy since the 1930s. As Republicans prepare to take control of the House and exert more influence in the Senate, it’s clear that option No. 3 will soon wither. States will continue to face substantial deficits over the next few years, but they will have to get by with the end of stimulus spending and less financial help from the federal government. In recent interviews, top GOP lawmakers made clear it will be much less. “We’ve
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Expedia pulls the plug on American Airline tickets

Expedia Inc. has stopped selling tickets on American Airlines flights, the latest twist in a simmering pricing dispute between American and travel websites. “Expedia has chosen to no longer offer American Airlines fares on its website,” American said in an statement posted on its website. “Customers looking to compare flights or fares online should visit other travel sites such as Kayak.com or Priceline.com for the most accurate and up-to-date information.” The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline has said that it would like to sell more tickets through its own website, as paying to have its flights listed on sites such as
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Into the verbal trashbins of history

This story might be epic, and could even go viral, but not if Lake Superior State University has anything to do with it. Just sayin.’ The small college in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, released on Friday its annual list of “banished words” — terms so overused, misused and hackneyed they deserve to be sent to a permanent linguistic trash can in the year ahead. “Viral,” often used to describe the rapid spreading of videos or other content over the Internet, leads the list for 2011. “This linguistic disease of a term must be quarantined,” Kuahmel Allah of Los Angeles said
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2011 arrives with so little hope, so much skepticism

Nearly a million revelers crowded New York’s Times Square to witness the traditional dazzling ball drop, fireworks lit up Australia’s Sydney Harbor and communist Vietnam held a rare Western-style countdown to the new year as the world ushered in 2011. In Europe, Greeks, Irish and Spaniards partied through the night to help put a year of economic woe behind them, and Japanese revelers released balloons carrying notes with people’s hopes and dreams. In New York, a crystal ball with 32,000 lights descended at midnight, setting off a wild and noisy confetti-filled New Year’s celebration — the country’s largest — at
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No pardon for Billythe Kid

The rehabilitation of Billy the Kid lies dead in the dust. In one of his last official acts — or non-acts — before leaving office, New Mexico‘s governor refused to pardon the Old West outlaw Friday for one of the many murders he committed before he was gunned down in 1881. Gov. Bill Richardson cited ambiguity surrounding the pledge of a pardon 130 years ago as the reason. “I felt I could not rewrite history,” Richardson told The Associated Press, hours after announcing his decision on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on his last day in office. The prospect of a
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The O’Donnell excuse: It’s always somebody else’s fault

Former Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell went on the offensive Thursday following reports that federal prosecutors are looking into whether she illegally used campaign money for personal use, saying the accusations are politically motivated and stoked by disgruntled former campaign workers. The Delaware Republican appeared on several network television morning shows to defend herself a day after The Associated Press revealed authorities have opened a criminal investigation to determine whether she broke the law by spending campaign money on personal expenses such as rent. “There’s been no impermissible use of campaign funds whatsoever,” O’Donnell told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” O’Donnell ticked
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What you paid for Medicare won’t cover costs

You paid your Medicare taxes all those years and want your money’s worth: full benefits after you retire. Nearly three out of five people say in a recent Associated Press–GfK poll that they paid into the system so they deserve their full benefits — no cuts. But a newly updated financial analysis shows that what people paid into the system doesn’t come close to covering the full value of the medical care they can expect to receive as retirees. Consider an average-wage, two-earner couple together earning $89,000 a year. Upon retiring in 2011, they would have paid $114,000 in Medicare
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Baby boomers worry about medicare

Anxious to receive their Medicare benefits after years of paying taxes into the system, baby boomers say they’re willing to sacrifice to preserve the scope and level of coverage. The first boomers will be old enough to qualify for Medicare Jan. 1, and a new Associated Press–GfK poll finds them worried about the future of the giant health care program that has helped their parents and grandparents live longer, healthier lives in retirement. By a ratio of 2-to-1, baby boomers say they fear they won’t be able to rely on Medicare throughout their own retirement. Yet the poll found that
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