Archives for FUBAR

GOP supports Democratic Medicare cuts

In a postelection reversal, House Republicans are supporting nearly $450 billion in Medicare cuts that they criticized vigorously last fall when Democrats and President Barack Obama passed them as part of their controversial health care law. The cuts are included in the 2012 budget that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled last week and account for a significant share of the $5.8 trillion in claimed savings over the next decade. The House is expected to vote on the blueprint this week. Ryan’s spokesman, Conor Sweeney, said the cuts are virtually the only part of “Obamacare” — the term that Republicans use
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Budget cuts: Will anyone really notice?

It’s touted as the biggest one-time rollback of domestic spending ever, but most folks will be hard-pressed to notice. After all, it’s just 1 percent of what the government will lay out this year. The number of security officers at airports won’t be reduced. National park campgrounds won’t close. There will still be enough meat inspectors to prevent temporary plant closures. Disadvantaged schools won’t see cuts in federal aid. And stiff cuts to grants for community action agencies serving the poor were averted. Basically, the things most people expect from the government won’t change very much if Congress approves the
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A year later, BP spill damage lingers

The worst maritime oil spill in history began nearly a year ago with a drop in pressure in a poorly drilled well deep in the Gulf of Mexico. It hasn’t really ended even though BP’s runaway well was eventually capped 87 days later. As crews in Japan struggle to contain a nuclear meltdown at a poorly maintained plant in Fukushima, the April 20 anniversary of the BP spill is a stark reminder of the high costs of our energy needs and the far-reaching consequences of cutting corners on safety. The massive explosion killed 11 workers and sank the Deepwater Horizon
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Who fired first shots of the Civil War?

A raid 150 years ago by Confederate sympathizers on a Union fort at what is now Pensacola Naval Air Station was likely little more than an ill-planned and drunken misadventure, perhaps ended by one soldier’s warning shot — and a blank one, at that. But don’t tell Pensacola residents that the Jan. 8, 1861, skirmish meant nothing — the event is the stuff of legend in this military town. Some even claim the clash was the Civil War’s first, three months before the battle on April 12, 1861, at South Carolina‘s Fort Sumter, which is widely recognized as the start
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Obama saved favorite programs from budget cuts

A close look at the government shutdown-dodging agreement to cut federal spending by $38 billion reveals that lawmakers significantly eased the fiscal pain by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway. Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs — Pell grants for poor college students, health research and “Race to the Top” aid for public schools, among others — from Republican knives. And big holes in foreign aid and Environmental Protection Agency accounts were patched in large part. Republicans also gave up politically treacherous
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Obama claims ‘everything’ is on the table for cuts

President Barack Obama, plunging into the rancorous struggle over America’s mountainous debt, will draw sharp differences with Republicans Wednesday over how to conquer trillions of dollars in spending while somehow working out a compromise to raise some taxes and trim a cherished program like Medicare. Obama’s speech will set a new long-term deficit-reduction goal and establish a dramatically different vision from a major Republican proposal that aims to cut more than $5 trillion over the next decade, officials said Monday. Details of Obama’s plan are being closely held so far, but the deficit-cutting target probably will fall between the $1.1
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Republicans find themselves on Medicare hot seat

Now it’s their turn to try to fix the health care mess. Republicans, just like President Barack Obama, may discover that’s easier said than done. The GOP budget expected to go to the full House this week would remake health care programs for the elderly and the poor that have been in place for nearly half a century. Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., says his approach would “save” Medicare by keeping the financially troubled program affordable for federal taxpayers. But it turns out that people now 54 and younger would pay the price. By one authoritative estimate, they’d be
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Barbour’s lobbyist past could complicate campaign

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is embracing his background as one of Washington’s top lobbyists, saying his powers of persuasion would be an asset if he wins the White House. But an Associated Press review of lobbying by the powerhouse firm Barbour helped found before his first campaign for governor shows that he represented clients on issues and interests that could provide his Republican primary opponents ample ammunition and raise eyebrows among some Republican voters. How Barbour addresses his lobbying past could determine his fate if he decides to seek the Republican nomination. Barbour Griffith & Rogers Inc., which Barbour helped
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Pentagon backing away from Iraq withdrawal deadline

Eight months shy of its deadline for pulling the last American soldier from Iraq and closing the door on an 8-year war, the Pentagon is having second thoughts. Reluctant to say it publicly, officials fear a final pullout in December could create a security vacuum, offering an opportunity for power grabs by antagonists in an unresolved and simmering Arab-Kurd dispute, a weakened but still active al-Qaida or even an adventurous neighbor such as Iran. The U.S. wants to keep perhaps several thousand troops in Iraq, not to engage in combat but to guard against an unraveling of a still-fragile peace.
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Feds stopped 360 terrorists from flying into U.S.

The U.S. government has prevented more than 350 people suspected of ties to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups from boarding U.S.-bound commercial flights since the end of 2009, The Associated Press has learned. The tighter security rules — imposed after the attempted bombing of an airliner on Christmas 2009 — reveal a security threat that persisted for more than seven years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Until then, even as commercial passengers were forced to remove their shoes, limit the amount of shampoo in their carry-on luggage and endure pat downs, hundreds of foreigners with known or suspected
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