Archives for FUBAR

Feds will drop some charges in Blackwater shooting

Blackwater USAThe Justice Department intends to drop manslaughter and weapons charges against one of the Blackwater Worldwide security guards involved in a deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting, prosecutors said in court documents Friday.

The shooting in busy Nisoor Square left 17 Iraqis dead and inflamed anti-American sentiment abroad. It touched off a string of investigations that ultimately led the State Department to cancel the company's lucrative contract to guard diplomats in Iraq.

Read More

Citibank to customers: More debt means less interest

For Citibank credit card holders, there is one way to escape the bank's rate hikes currently under way: Meet a monthly spending requirement. Those who meet the spending minimum — in some cases $750 a month — will be able to get a rebate on their total interest charges for that month. The rebate could cover some or all of the interest rate hike. Customers also need to make payments on time to qualify for the rebate. Without giving specifics, Citi said the monthly spending requirements and interest rate hikes will vary depending on the cardholder's credit history.
Read More

Military looking for ways to predict PTSD

Two days before shipping off to war, Marine Pfc. Jesse Sheets sat inside a trailer in the Mojave Desert, his gaze fixed on a computer that flashed a rhythmic pulse of contrasting images. Smiling kids embracing a soldier. A dog sniffing blood oozing from a corpse. Movie star Cameron Diaz posing sideways in a midriff top. Troops cowering for safety during an ambush. A doctor tracked his stress levels and counted the number of times he blinked. Electrode wires dangled from his left eye and right pinky finger. Sheets is part of a military experiment to try to predict who's most at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder. Understanding underlying triggers might help reduce the burden of those who return psychologically wounded — if they can get early help.
Read More

Gates selects official to head shooting probe

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has tapped a former senior defense official to lead a broad Pentagon review of the circumstances surrounding the Fort Hood shootings, The Associated Press has learned. Gates will announce Thursday that it will be a single, coordinated review, and will call for a quick, short-term report, followed by a longer, more extensive study, according to an administration official. Components of the wide-ranging probe could include self-examinations by the Army and the military's medical community, and likely look at personnel policies and the availability of mental health services for troubled troops.
Read More

So, what happened to stimulus funds?

Did the Obama administration really pump billions of dollars into phantom congressional districts? Republicans, bloggers and conservative think tanks have been circulating reports suggesting that money intended to create jobs and shore up the economy was unaccounted for, misused or lost in some sort of bookkeeping black hole. The problem is real. Its significance is overstated, and in some instances, fabricated.
Read More

Palin draws a crowd for book signing

College students ditched class, employees skipped work and some huddled in the cold overnight just to make sure they get an orange wristband Wednesday that would let them meet Sarah Palin. A line of more than a thousand people — some sporting Palin Power stickers and Palin T-shirts — moved slowly into a Barnes & Noble store Wednesday to see the former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor on the first stop of her "Going Rogue" book tour. During the hours they waited, some broke out in chants of "Palin! Palin! Palin!" Scores more who couldn't get wristbands awaited Palin's arrival outside, braving the cold and yelling. "USA!" and "Sarah, Sarah!" at an event that took on the feel of a political pep rally.
Read More

Sarah’s pissed over Newsweek cover? You betcha!

Newsweek magazine dug up an old Runner's World photo of Sarah Palin in running shorts and used it on the cover for a story entitled How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah? So Sarah's pissed. She called the cover "sexist" and conservative pundits are weighing in with bombastic self-righteous indignation. Odd. These same pundits gleefully promoted Palin as the new sex symbol for the GOP when the John McCain campaign plucked her from obscurity in a desperation effort to salvage the 2008 Presidential election. But Sarah, wearing a bright-red, form-fitting top in the photo, is seeing red over the cover photo.
Read More

Americans divided on government health care

Tell Americans that letting the government sell insurance in competition with private industry would be cheaper for them, and a majority is in favor. Tell them the government would be making decisions about what medical care they could get, and support sinks. The findings from an Associated Press poll come as lawmakers struggle to advance President Barack Obama's signature health care overhaul, with the final shape of any government insurance plan very much in doubt. The issue has been the biggest flash point in the health care debate, and the poll results underscore that how it is defined can make a big difference in the public's response.
Read More

Government lost $98 billion from waste, fraud, abuse

More than $98 billion in taxpayer dollars spent by government agencies was wasted, much of it on questionable claims for tax credits and Medicare benefits, representing an increase of $26 billion from the previous year. In all, about 5 percent of spending in federal programs in fiscal year 2009 was improper, according to new details of a government financial report that were released Tuesday. Saying the overall error rate was similar in 2008, officials attributed the $26 billion jump to some changes in how to define improper spending as well as an increase in overall spending due to the recession.
Read More