FUBAR

The health care crisis: Is it solvable?

As the nation seems to be marching inexorably toward universal health care, did you ever wonder why medical costs have grown beyond all other goods and services? Why is it that this nation ranks only 20th in the quality of its care despite those 12 percent annual increases that have been routine since the advent of Medicare?

Recession set to be longest of postwar period

Factory jobs disappeared. Inflation soared. Unemployment climbed to alarming levels. The hungry lined up at soup kitchens.

It wasn’t the Great Depression. It was the 1981-82 recession, widely considered America’s worst since the depression.

That painful time during Ronald Reagan’s presidency is a grim marker of how bad things can get. Yet the current recession could slice deeper into the U.S. economy.

Afghanistan: The new Vietnam?

The new Obama administration has been forthright in redirecting primary attention in the war on terrorist groups to Afghanistan, where the Taliban — a vital al Qaeda ally — is becoming stronger.

Following initial policy review, a decision has been made to increase United States forces in the mountainous sparsely populated country by 17,000, to a total of 55,000. Pressures on our already thinly stretched military will be eased by reductions in forces in occupied Iraq.

Let’s face it…Pork is with us to stay

Those expensive non-crucial items — also known as "earmarks" — lawmakers stick into nearly every spending bill to help assure their reelection would be better labeled "nose marks" for all those snouts in the public trough. Even the fact deficit spending is expected to reach unprecedented levels hasn’t deterred the collective gluttony.

Is a Disunited States in our future?

Top Russian diplomat Igor Panarin has been predicting for more than 10 years now that the United States will break up into six separate pieces that will become client states of China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union. Alaska will revert to Russia, although Sarah Palin will surely have something to say about that.

Now he’s come up with more specifics. There will be economic and moral collapse this year, followed by martial law and civil war, with the breakup coming next year.

Good etiquette for a bad economy

As you know, the best minds in Washington, D.C., are working to fix the economy. That strongly suggests to me that the recession is going to be around for a while yet.

So how are we to behave in our reduced state of prosperity? What etiquette should we observe? To answer these questions, I am writing an important and timely book, "Good Manners That Poor You Can Afford."

One in five homeowners in trouble with mortgages

One in five U.S. homeowners with mortgages owe more to their lenders than their properties are worth, and the rate will increase as housing values drop in states that have so far avoided the worst of the crisis, a new study shows.

Bush’s lust to become a dictator

The Obama Justice Department has released nine legal memos drafted in the aftermath of 9/11 that bypassed the Constitution to justify near-dictatorial powers for then-President Bush.

A memo for the file written five days before the Bush administration left office formally repudiated the still-secret memos "because of the doubtful nature of these propositions." Doubtful, indeed.

Our problems go deeper than just the economy

It’s difficult to find a noun or adjective related to the circumstance of disaster that hasn’t been used to describe our current economic dilemma.

It’s been called a "crisis" many times. Sometimes the crisis "deepens." Other times it "cascades." President Obama warns that inaction could turn "crisis into a catastrophe."