FUBAR

Right-wing extremist groups on the rise

Right-wing extremists in the United States are gaining new recruits by exploiting fears about the economy and the election of the first black U.S. president, the Department of Homeland Security warned in a report to law enforcement officials.

The April 7 report, which Reuters and other news media obtained on Tuesday, said such fears were driving a resurgence in "recruitment and radicalization activity" by white supremacist groups, antigovernment extremists and militia movements. It did not identify any by name.

Yet another czar is born

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is naming a "border czar" to oversee issues related to drug-cartel violence along the U.S.-Mexico border and the hundreds of thousands of people who try to enter the U.S. illegally through the Southwest.

An Obama administration official says Napolitano on Wednesday will name Alan Bersin, a former federal prosecutor, to fill the new post at the Homeland Security Department. The official would speak only on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement expected in El Paso, Texas.

Time to return to states’ rights

President Barack Obama is expanding federal powers left and right, eyeing yet other enlargements and still more billions in spending, and it shouldn’t strike anyone as utterly senseless that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas should say enough, stop, quit it.

He did so by means of giving his support to a resolution affirming states rights and similar in spirit to resolutions that were written more than 200 years ago by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and adopted by Kentucky and Virginia.

The doctor is out

Medicine’s frontline of defense — the primary care physicians, the family doctors, if you will — is crumbling. And no national health-care reform plan is likely to succeed unless that critical problem is solved.

Stimulus projects come in under budget

President Barack Obama said on Monday that thousands of major infrastructure projects being undertaken as part of his economic stimulus plan were ahead of schedule and under budget.

Obama, who plans to deliver what the White House called a "major" speech on the economy on Tuesday, said 2,000 new projects to rebuild U.S. highways and bridges already had been approved under the $787 billion stimulus plan that became law in February.

Taxpayers more frugal with refunds

Most people say they plan to use this year’s tax refund to pay bills, deciding in this sour economy to be more frugal with their annual windfall.

Fifty-four percent of those receiving refunds said they intend to pay off credit card, utility, housing and other bills, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Monday. That compares with 35 percent who said the same thing a year ago.

Only 5 percent, about the same as a year ago, said they planned to go on a shopping spree.

March budget defict sets record

The Treasury Department said Friday that the budget deficit increased by $192.3 billion in March, and is near $1 trillion just halfway through the budget year, as costs of the financial bailout and recession mount.

Last month’s deficit, a record for March, was significantly higher than the $150 billion that economists expected.

The deficit already totals $956.8 billion for the first six months of the budget year, also a record for that period. The Obama administration projects the deficit for the entire year will hit $1.75 trillion.

Panetta: No more secret CIA prisons

The CIA is "no longer" operating secret prisons used by the intelligence agency to interrogate terror suspects, and plans to shut all remaining "black sites," the spy agency’s director said Thursday.

The statement by the Central Intelligence Agency provided confirmation the spy service was carrying out an order from President Barack Obama to shut down the secret prisons that have been condemned at home and abroad as a flagrant violation of human rights.

Lawyers, judges fed up with Obama’s Gitmo delays

Lawyers and judges working on Guantanamo Bay legal cases are showing signs of exasperation at President Barack Obama’s administration, which they accuse of slowing federal judicial procedures for detainees.

Two federal judges tasked with examining cases by five Guantanamo prisoners contesting their detention — a right to habeas corpus granted by the Supreme Court in June 2008 — have made a rare public row of their impatience with government prosecutors.