FUBAR

North Korea raises stakes in nuclear threats

North Korea’s nuclear test makes it no likelier that the regime will actually launch a nuclear attack, but it adds a scary dimension to another threat: the defiant North as a facilitator of the atomic ambitions of others, potentially even terrorists.

It also presents another major security crisis for President Barack Obama, already saddled with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a nuclear problem with Iran.

Loose lips still sink ships

The British government waited until 1974 to reveal that the Enigma machines it acquired in 1939 allowed Winston Churchill to decipher most Nazi military transmissions. That British authorities kept this secret for 29 years after WWII is a model of official self-control.

Today, Washington’s approach is exactly opposite: Don’t await the end of the War on Terror (oops…the Overseas Contingency Operation). Spill secrets now! Consider these recent items, some details of which I have blurred — to tell enemy readers less, not more;;

Credit card reform or just smoke & mirrors?

Finally, the government has done something for real consumers by smiting the odious practices of credit card companies. Or, has it?

President Obama persuaded Congress to pass legislation that deems it evil when credit card companies suddenly raise the already exorbitant double-digit interest rate on your credit card debt to even more astronomical levels. (Whereas we consumers get a paltry two percent, if we’re lucky, on money we put in the bank.)

Barack Obama, hubris & fuel standards

President Obama says his new fuel-efficiency standards will help end our dependence on oil, which is another way of saying that once these rules go into effect, we will instead be dependent on hubris.

After all, to believe this plan can work, you have to believe Obama can sit in the White House and mandate new technology so awesomely powerful that, in just seven more years, the average passenger car sold in this country will get 39 miles to the gallon.

Why Republicans are winning the terror debate

In political debate, the side that keeps its arguments simple and repeats them again and again is likely to gain the advantage. It is an easier sale, especially when the topic is as scary as terrorism.

That’s how Republicans got the edge in the dispute over President Barack Obama’s planned closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison. And it put former Vice President Dick Cheney on a separate but almost equal platform with the president of the United States, which is a plus any time the party out of power can manage it.

Credit card reform: End of era for students

It’s an end of an era for the thousands of college students who rely on MasterCard or Visa to get them through tight times.

Under a new law awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature, credit card companies will be prohibited from giving cards to people under 21 unless they can prove they have the means to repay the debt or a parent or guardian co-signs for the loan.

Congress passed the bill this week, and Obama was expected to sign it into law Friday. The changes will go into effect in nine months.

Gitmo mess leaves Obama in political box

President Barack Obama finds himself in a political box — at home and abroad — on closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, and he has prepared a major address on national security in hopes of working out of the tight spot.

Obama was taking on the explosive topic Thursday, a day after the Senate, at the behest of majority Democrats, denied his request for $80 million to close the prison. The 90-6 vote followed a similar move last week in the House and underscored widespread apprehension among Obama’s Democratic allies in Congress over the issue.

Trial date set for Gitmo detainee

The Obama administration is pressing ahead with its plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, deciding to put a "high value" detainee on trial in New York City despite resistance from some in Congress.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced early Thursday that Ahmed Ghailani will be sent to New York City for trial, which would make him the first Guantanamo detainee brought to the U.S. and the first to face trial in a civilian criminal court.

Poll finds college students stressed, depressed

Got stress? Oh, yeah, college students say, what with roommates, GPAs, student loans and all the rest.

But where’s the line between feeling simply stressed and being truly depressed?

Eighty-five percent of college students surveyed in an Associated Press-mtvU poll reported feeling stressed in their daily lives in recent months: Worries about grades, school work, money and relationships were the big culprits.

Army paid millions in bonuses to corrupt contractor

The U.S. Army paid "tens of millions of dollars in bonuses" to KBR Inc, its biggest contractor in Iraq, even after it concluded the firm’s electrical work had put U.S. soldiers at risk, according to a source close to a U.S. congressional investigation.

The Senate Democratic Policy Committee plans to hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine KBR’s operations in Iraq, and question why the Army rewarded the Houston-based company.