FUBAR

Stress tests give economy some good news

Government exams of the nation’s biggest banks have helped lift a cloud of uncertainty that has hung over the economy.

The so-called stress tests — a key Obama administration effort to boost confidence in the financial system — showed nine of the 19 biggest banks have enough capital to withstand a deeper recession. Ten must raise a total of $75 billion in new capital to withstand possible future losses.

Uncle Sam has a real deal for you

Has Uncle Sam got a deal for you! He’ll give you up to $4,500 toward a new car simply for trading in that hoopdie you’ve been driving for too long. Yes, the dealers at the House Energy Committee have reached agreement on — about the only thing they’ve reached agreement on — a "Cash for Clunkers" program.

And you’ll be able to hightail it down to the showroom just as soon as they’ve ironed out a few pesky details in a massive energy and global-warming bill and if they can get the full House and the Senate to go along.

Is a woman a must for the Supreme Court?

The retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter means that President Barack Obama will get to leave his mark on the high court. What criteria should Obama use to select Souter’s replacement?

Obama has suggested that he wants a nominee with "empathy," drawing scorn from conservatives who believe the president is seeking an "activist" judge. There have also been suggestions that Obama might aim for diversity with his selection, adding a second woman — or a first Hispanic — to the nation’s highest court.

Ohmigod! A thinker for the Supreme Court?

When Associate Justice David Souter announced he would be retiring from the Supreme Court, President Obama lost no time in throwing a cat among the pigeons.

"I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook," he said. "It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives. . . . I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes."

Air traffic control vulnerable to cyber attacks

The nation’s air traffic control systems are vulnerable to cyber attacks, and support systems have been breached in recent months allowing hackers access to personnel records and network servers, according to a government audit.

The Transportation Department’s inspector general concluded that although most of the attacks disrupted only support systems, they could spread to the operational systems that control communications, surveillance and flight information used to separate aircraft.

Can a porn star become a U.S. Senator?

Stormy Daniels strode onstage at a downtown Baton Rouge restaurant in a tight black blouse with a plunging neckline and a knee-length skirt in the popular purple of Louisiana State University. She introduced herself with a warning.

"For those of you who don’t know who I am," she told the lunch crowd at The Roux House, "I’d suggest that you don’t Google that until you get home from work."

Need a job? The Pentagon may be hiring

President Barack Obama’s Defense Department plans to create 20,000 new government jobs to help revise how it buys more than $100 billion of weapons each year, the Pentagon’s No. 2 official told Congress.

The Pentagon also plans to tie contract fees more closely to performance and make deals spanning two years, or more, only when "real, substantial" savings result to taxpayers, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

More cell phone users drop land lines

In a high-tech shift accelerated by the recession, the number of U.S. households opting for only cell phones has for the first time surpassed those that just have traditional landlines.

It is the freshest evidence of the growing appeal of wireless phones.

No charges over interrogation memos

The Obama Justice Department will not charge the Bush Administration lawyers responsible for memos authorizing torture of prisoners but suggest instead the memo writers should face sanctions from their respective legal organizations.

The decision continues the White House’s reluctance to punish the previous administration for abuses of human rights and civil liberties.

Bailed-out banks backed subprime lenders

Giant banks that received billions of dollars of taxpayer bailout funds financially backed the subprime lenders that brought down the economy and triggered the economic crisis that now grips America and the world.

Instead of being victims of a financial collapse, the banks actually created their own problems by promoting the risky mortgage market that plunged the nation into recession.