Archives for FUBAR

Social Security judges face threats to safety

Judges who hear Social Security disability cases are facing a growing number of violent threats from claimants angry over being denied benefits or frustrated at lengthy delays in processing claims. There were at least 80 threats to kill or harm administrative law judges or staff over the past year — an 18 percent increase over the previous reporting period, according to data collected by the Social Security Administration. The data was released to the Association of Administrative Law Judges and made available to The Associated Press. One claimant in Albuquerque, N.M., called his congressman’s office to say he was going
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Election showcases Obama’s eroding base

Near the midpoint of his presidency, Barack Obama‘s diverse voter coalition reveals giant cracks and he faces major work repairing his standing among independents in states crucial to his re-election chances. Catholics. Older people. Women. Young adults. They shifted toward Republicans in this month’s elections and failed to support Obama’s Democratic Party as they did in 2008. Two years before voters render judgment on his tenure, Obama’s most critical task may be winning back those who aren’t affiliated with a party but who hold enormous sway in close contests. National exit polls from the midterm elections show these voters broke
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Voters don’t expect much from a GOP Congress

The voters who turned control of the House of Representatives to Republicans say they don’t expect much from a GOP Congress. Two polls say voters show little excitement about a Republican-led Congress. In a Pew Research Center poll, only 48 percent express any happiness or excitement about Republican leadership — a sharp contrast to the 60 percent who said they were happy about Democrats taking over just four years ago. A CBS poll shows even more doom and gloom. Only 40 percent of those questioned said they expected anything from Republican leadership. Both polls confirm what others have suggested: Voters
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Supreme Court rejects request to lift military gay ban

The Supreme Court on Friday denied a request to lift the Pentagon’s ban that prevents openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. military, a decision that turns the focus on the issue to Congress when lawmakers return to work next week. President Barack Obama has pledged to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which requires homosexual soldiers to keep their orientation secret, but has run into hurdles getting lawmakers to pass the legislation to end it. At the same time, he has been battling a court fight in which the Log Cabin Republicans, a national gay
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Gates on gay ban report leak: Who asked? Who told?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday condemned the leak of a Pentagon study looking at ending a ban on gays in the US military, launching a probe into the disclosure. The Pentagon had planned to announce the results of the internal review in December but the Washington Post published details of the study’s findings on Thursday, citing two unnamed sources. “The secretary strongly condemns the unauthorized release of information related to this report and has directed an investigation to establish who communicated with the Washington Post or any other news organization without authorization and in violation of Department policy and
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Amnesty group wants Bush prosecuted for war crimes

The United States must prosecute former President George W. Bush for torture if his admission in a memoir that he authorized waterboarding holds true, rights group Amnesty International said on Wednesday. In “Decision Points,” published this week, Bush defended his decision to authorize waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning condemned by some as torture. Bush said the practice was limited to three detainees and led to intelligence breakthroughs that thwarted attacks and saved lives. He told NBC in an interview to publicize the book that his legal adviser had told him it did “not fall within the anti-torture act.” Amnesty
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Public split over GOP’s agenda

People back Republican tax cut plans but not the GOP campaign to repeal President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul, according to a poll suggesting that the Republicans’ big Election Day win was not a mandate for the party’s legislative wish list. Fifty-three percent say income tax cuts that soon will expire should be renewed for all — including the highest earners, as Republicans want — according to an Associated Press-GfK Poll conducted just after last week’s elections. But 44 percent would continue the cuts only for those earning under $250,000 a year — which Obama favors — or let them
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Unapologetic Bush tries to rewrite history

An emotional but unapologetic George W. Bush opened up about his tumultuous presidency Tuesday as he released memoirs in which he defiantly defends the Iraq invasion and the use of waterboarding. “I felt so strongly about the decisions I was making and I felt that history would understand,” Bush, who left office deeply unpopular at home and abroad, said during an hour-long interview with US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey. The former president, who dubbed himself “the decider” during his eight years in the White House, takes readers of his 500-page “Decision Points” on a backstage tour of his administration
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Bush’s memoir: Does anybody really give a damn?

President George W. Bush may hope his memoir will help shape his legacy, but after the glow of being on Oprah and the media blitz wears off, few Americans who buy “Decision Points” are likely to read it, experts say. “Most people do not read presidential memoirs because they get bored,” said Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. “People just like to have the presidential memoir sitting on the coffee table.” Readers are wary of such memoirs, Gelb said, noting the most honest accounts typically come from journalists or aides, not from the official account. He
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More and more Americans lack health insurance

Nearly 59 million Americans went without health insurance coverage for at least part of 2010, many of them with conditions or diseases that needed treatment, federal health officials said on Tuesday. They said 4 million more Americans went without insurance in the first part of 2010 than during the same time in 2008. “Both adults and kids lost private coverage over the past decade,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news briefing. The findings have implications for U.S. healthcare reform efforts. A bill passed in March promises to get health insurance
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