Archives for FUBAR

Fine print on health care worries many Americans

What's it going to cost me? Americans are worried about the fine print in the health care overhaul, an Associated Press poll says, and those concerns are creating new challenges for President Barack Obama as he tries to overcome doubts in Congress. Despite a widely shared conviction that major health care changes are needed, Democratic bills that aim to extend coverage to the uninsured and hold down medical costs get no better than a lukewarm reception in the latest results. The poll found that 43 percent of Americans oppose the health care plans being discussed in Congress, while 41 percent are in support. An additional 15 percent remain neutral or undecided.
Read More

In bad economy, small cities lose their appeal

America's small cities are losing some of their traditional appeal to upwardly mobile families seeking wholesome neighborhoods, a stable economy and affordable living. A review of newly released census data shows, for example, that cities of between 20,000 and 50,000 residents have lagged behind their larger counterparts in attracting higher-educated residents in this decade. In 2000, small cities, which include remote towns and the distant suburbs known as "exurbs," ranked at the top in the share of people with college diplomas. They slipped to No. 2 last year with 30 percent holding degrees — in between medium-sized cities, which had 31 percent, and big cities, at 29.8 percent.
Read More

Is GM ready to start repaying its debt?

General Motors Co. will begin paying back $6.7 billion in U.S. government loans by the end of 2009 and could pay off that full amount by 2011, four years ahead of schedule, according to a person familiar with the matter. The government debt represents about 13 percent of the $52 billion that U.S. taxpayers have invested in General Motors, the majority of which was exchanged for a 61 percent ownership stake in the company. GM will announce the repayment plan Monday when it releases its preliminary third-quarter earnings results, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the plan ahead of the announcement.
Read More

Hillary on Sarah: Let’s talk over coffee

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she would be happy to talk to Sarah Palin over coffee. In an interview for broadcast Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Clinton says she's never met the one-time GOP vice presidential hopeful and former Alaska governor and thinks it would be very interesting to sit down and talk with her. Clinton was responding to a question about a passage in Palin's new book. Palin writes that if she and Clinton ever meet for coffee, "I know that we would fundamentally disagree on many issues." But Palin says, "my hat is off to her hard work on the 2008 campaign trail." Clinton, in Singapore for a meeting of world leaders, says she's ready to have a cup of coffee and maybe she could make a case on some of the issues on which the two women disagree.
Read More

Terror trials in New York: A risky move by Obama

In a move both politically and legally risky, the Obama administration plans to put on trial the professed mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and four alleged accomplices in a lower Manhattan courthouse. The venue for the biggest trial in the age of terrorism means prosecutors must balance difficult issues such as rough treatment of detainees and sensitive intelligence-gathering with the Justice Department's desire to prove that the federal courts are able to handle terrorism cases. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the decision Friday to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to trial in a courtroom barely a thousand yards from the site of the World Trade Center's twin towers they are accused of destroying. Trying the men in civilian court will bar evidence obtained under duress and complicate a case where anything short of slam-dunk convictions will empower President Barack Obama's critics. U.S. civilian courts prohibit evidence obtained through coercion, and a number of detainees were questioned using harsh methods some call torture.
Read More

Facts? Sarah Palin don’t need no stinkin’ facts

Sarah Palin's new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven't become any truer over time. Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer's dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition. Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush — a package she seemed to support at the time.
Read More

RNC chairman scraps abortion coverage for staff

A chagrined GOP Chairman Michael Steele has told Republican National Committee staff to immediately stop providing RNC employees with insurance for elective abortions — an option that Republicans strongly oppose as Democrats try to pass a health care overhaul bill. "Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose," Steele said in a statement late Thursday after learning of the abortion coverage from a news report. "I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled." Steele instructed staff to inform the insurance carrier that the RNC wanted to opt out of elective abortion coverage, RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said. She said the policy has been in effect since 1991.
Read More

Obama orders review of screwups on Fort Hood shooter

President Barack Obama has ordered a review to determine if warning signs were mishandled of contact between the Fort Hood shooting rampage suspect and a radical Islamic cleric who encouraged Muslims to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. The order came as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was charged Thursday with 13 counts of premeditated murder in the attack at the sprawling Texas post that also left 29 people injured. The Army psychiatrist was shot several times and remains hospitalized. He could face the death penalty if convicted. Obama said he wanted all intelligence related to Hasan preserved and reviewed to determine whether it was properly shared and acted upon within the government. The first results are due Nov. 30. John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, will oversee the review.
Read More

Hanged census worker may have killed himself

Investigators trying to solve the mystery of a census taker found hanging from a tree with the word "fed" scrawled on his chest are examining whether he manipulated the scene in order to conceal a suicide and make a life insurance claim possible for his son, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. The dead man's son, Josh Sparkman, said in an interview with the AP that he found paperwork for the private life insurance policy among the personal files of his father, Bill Sparkman, but wasn't sure of the amount or when it was taken out. He said authorities have told him nothing about the case or produced a death certificate, which is usually needed to make an insurance claim.
Read More

Lack of insurance kills more vets than Afghan war

The number of US veterans who died in 2008 because they lacked health insurance was 14 times higher than the US military death toll in Afghanistan that year, according to a new study. The analysis produced by two Harvard medical researchers estimates that 2,266 US military veterans under the age of 65 died in 2008 because they lacked health coverage and had reduced access to medical care. That figure is more than 14 times higher than the 155 US troop deaths in Afghanistan in 2008, the study says. Released as the United States commemorates fallen soldiers on Veterans Day, the study warns that even health care provided by the Veterans Health Administration (VA) leaves many veterans without coverage.
Read More