FUBAR

Mark Felt, Watergate’s ‘Deep Throat’ dead at 95

W. Mark Felt, the former FBI second-in-command who revealed himself as "Deep Throat" 30 years after he tipped off reporters to the Watergate scandal that toppled a president, has died. He was 95.

Felt died Thursday in Santa Rosa after suffering from congestive heart failure for several months, said family friend John D. O’Connor, who wrote the 2005 Vanity Fair article uncovering Felt’s secret.

Blackwater may be thrown out of Iraq

Blackwater Worldwide, the company of mercenaries that ran amok in the Iraq war and gunned down civilians in an incident that brough worldwide condemnation and indictments against several of its operatives, could lose its license to operate in that war-torn country.

A report from the State Department’s Inspector General’s office says the company’s behavior is in conflict with the stated goals and values of the United States, which means it could further damage American credibility on the world stage.

Impeachment panel awaits Blago’s shyster

An impeachment inquiry against Gov. Rod Blagojevich hit a speed bump shortly after getting under way, with state lawmakers seeking guidance from federal prosecutors and postponing any real action until the governor’s attorney arrives.

The attorney, Ed Genson, planned to attend Wednesday’s meeting of a special Illinois House committee reviewing potential impeachment and may provide the first hint of the embattled Democratic governor’s strategy.

When in doubt, slash interest rates

As unemployment rises painfully higher and nest eggs are shattered, the Federal Reserve is prepared slash a key interest rate — perhaps to an all-time low — in a desperate bid to stem the country’s economic slide.

With the Fed’s key rate dropping ever closer to zero, the central bank is moving into uncharted territory.

Rich turn to pawn shops to raise cash

Whether it’s a Tiffany diamond or a three-year-old lawnmower, more and more Americans from all social classes are pawning their possessions to make ends meet.

Pawn shop owners see strong business across the country, even in unexpected locales like Beverly Hills, the mecca of luxury living and shopping.

"Banks aren’t lending so people are coming here for short-term loans against collateral like diamonds, watches and other jewelry," said Jordan Tabach-Bank, CEO of Beverly Loan Co, self-described "pawnbroker to the stars."

Auto makers await news on fate

Detroit automakers are awaiting a financial lifeline from the White House to provide short-term stability to two companies on the brink of collapse which the Bush administration is currently working on.

"An abrupt bankruptcy for autos could be devastating for the economy," President George W. Bush told reporters Monday aboard Air Force One during an unannounced trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. "We’re now in the process of working with the stakeholders on a way forward. We’re not quite ready to announce that yet."

Illinois lawmakers look for ways to oust Blago

Republicans and Democrats alike are calling for Illinois lawmakers to begin impeachment proceedings against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, saying the step is necessary to restore public confidence in state government.

"The General Assembly must move to impeach Rod Blagojevich immediately," said DuPage County State’s Attorney Joe Birkett, a potential Republican candidate for governor in 2010.

"We should have started yesterday," agreed Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat.

A government bailout for the media?

Does the news media need a government bailout?

Consider the news of recent weeks: Tribune — owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune — filed for bankruptcy. Scripps announced it would sell or close the Rocky Mountain News. The New York Times said it would borrow $225 million to keep its operations running. The Miami Herald is for sale. And everywhere else, it seemed, layoffs were cutting news staffs to the bone.

Obama’s health care plan: Say what?

When Barack Obama talks about America’s deplorable health insurance problems, he speaks with undeniable passion. So what is he proposing?

For starters, he wants a national dialogue. Shades of Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration plans to encourage Americans to have house parties focused on health care, the most expensive in the world but far from adequate. Then Obama wants a national conclave in Washington. At least the meetings will be open and public, unlike Clinton’s task force.

Recession deepens; Deflation possible

The "nasty" U.S. recession will tighten its grip next year as unemployment rises and weak home and stock prices imperil consumers, finance firms and debt-laden businesses, a UCLA Anderson Forecast report released on Thursday said.

Additionally, a sustained retreat in prices for goods and services is a very real possibility that would further drag on the economy, according to the forecasting unit’s report.