Archives for FUBAR

Few Americans plan to buy a house next year

Just one in 20 Americans say they plan to buy a home within the next year, and they're most likely to be 34 years old or younger and living in the South or West, according to a survey released Wednesday. Roughly a quarter of potential buyers said the No. 1 reason they would buy now is because prices appear to have bottomed out. That reason topped bargain-priced foreclosures, worries about rising interest rates and a wide selection of homes. The survey, conducted for Move.com, a real estate listings site, reveals how Americans are responding to a nascent and fragile housing recovery after three years of staggering price declines. The percentage of buyers thinking of jumping into the market was down slightly from a March survey, but up about 1 point from a poll in June.
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FBI ‘assessed’ Hasan, decided he wasn’t a threat

Nearly a year before Maj. Nidal Hasan allegedly went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, terrorism investigators conducted an "assessment" of him before deciding he did not pose a threat. After the shooting, the FBI is doing a new assessment — of its own conduct. The Army psychiatrist is believed to have acted alone despite repeated communications — intercepted by authorities — with a radical imam overseas, U.S. officials said Monday. The FBI will conduct an internal review to see whether it mishandled early information about the man accused in the bloody rampage that killed 13 people and wounded 29.
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DC sniper set for execution Tuesday night

Washington sniper John Allen Muhammad, who killed 10 people in a 2002 shooting spree around the US capital, was due to be put to death Tuesday after the nation's top court denied a stay of execution. Muhammad's lawyers had appealed for the US Supreme Court to delay the execution while it examines a plea on whether his sentence was constitutional. "The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to the chief justice and by him referred to the court is denied," Monday's Supreme Court ruling obtained by AFP said. Muhammad is now due to be put to death by lethal injection at 9:00 pm (0200 GMT) Tuesday in Virginia.
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10 percent unemployment: A real headache for Obama

For months he had warned it was coming but that didn't ease the political shockwaves for President Barack Obama when unemployment topped 10 percent. A year after his election Obama finds it increasingly difficult to blame the sour economy on George W. Bush or offer reassurances that jobless Americans will soon find work. Never mind that the economy itself grew in the last quarter, that the recession, as measured by the precise formulas used by economists, is over and that the number of jobs lost in October was less than one-third the number of job losses at the start of his presidency. Those claims about the recession's end do not convince people who remain painfully aware of the unemployment rate.
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Many questions about Fort Hood shooting suspect

His name appears on radical Internet postings. A fellow officer says he fought his deployment to Iraq and argued with soldiers who supported U.S. wars. He required counseling as a medical student because of problems with patients. There are many unknowns about Nidal Malik Hasan, the man authorities say is responsible for the worst mass killing on a U.S. military base. Most of all, his motive. But details of his life and mindset, emerging from official sources and personal acquaintances, are troubling.
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Some profit from woes of others in poor economy

Emergency help for out-of-work Americans will be a huge windfall to Realtors, homebuilders, mortgage bankers and others, and that's no accident. Those industries have spent months and millions of dollars making the case for $20 billion in tax cuts for homebuyers and businesses to help create jobs and revive a sluggish housing market. Their lobbying campaign paid off Thursday when Congress voted to pass the tax breaks as part of a broader extension of unemployment benefits. The legislation, which provides up to 20 weeks in additional pay to more than 1 million people who have lost or are in danger of losing jobless aid, is headed for President Barack Obama's desk, after passage by overwhelming bipartisan margins.
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Buyers used clunkers program to buy gas guzzlers

Billed as a way for the government to put more fuel-efficient vehicles on highways, the popular $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program mostly involved swaps of old Ford or Chevrolet pickups for new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage, according to an analysis of new federal data by The Associated Press. The single most common swap — which occurred more than 8,200 times — involved Ford F150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade their old trucks for new Ford F150s. They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F150 than, say, a Toyota Prius. The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, an improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers.
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Health care: High cost does not bring high quality

Despite spending more than twice as much as other developed countries, the United States still lags behind in terms of access and quality, an international survey said Wednesday. Insurance restrictions and health care costs make US patients more likely than people in 10 other countries to struggle to receive treatment, according to the annual survey of over 10,000 primary care physicians. "We spend far more than any of the other countries in the survey, yet a majority of US primary care doctors say their patients often can't afford care," said lead author Cathy Schoen, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Fund.
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Maine voters reject gay marriage

Maine voters repealed a state law Tuesday that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed, dealing the gay rights movement a heartbreaking defeat in New England, the corner of the country most supportive of gay marriage. Gay marriage has now lost in every single state — 31 in all — in which it has been put to a popular vote. Gay-rights activists had hoped to buck that trend in Maine — known for its moderate, independent-minded electorate — and mounted an energetic, well-financed campaign. With 87 percent of the precincts reporting, gay-marriage foes had 53 percent of the votes. "The institution of marriage has been preserved in Maine and across the nation," declared Frank Schubert, chief organizer for the winning side.
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GOP right-wing determined to split, marginalize party

The rabid right-wing of the Republican Party senses a chance to seize even more power and may challenge more than a dozen current GOP candidates in key House and Senate races next year. Conservatives see no room in the GOP for moderates or those who don't fall lockstep into line for hard-core right-wing issues, a stance that scares the hell out of Republican party officials who see expanding the base as the only hope for Republicans in 2010. "What you’re going to see," former GOP House majoirty leader Dick Armey tells Politico, is moderates and conservatives across the country in primaries." In other words, a party ripped apart from within.
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