Archives for FUBAR

Fed ponders next steps for economic recovery

The Federal Reserve is increasingly confident in the economy and about to end a $600 billion program to support it. Now for the next step — figuring out how to keep inflation from taking off. Since late last year, the Fed has bought government bonds to keep interest rates low. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues are expected to signal this week that they will allow the program to expire as scheduled in June. The end of the bond-buying program would mean that, aside from tax cuts, almost all the extraordinary measures the government took to prop up the
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Leaked Gitmo files reveal info about detainees

A cache of classified U.S. military documents provides intelligence assessments on nearly all of the 779 people who been detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. The secret documents, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, reveal that most of the 172 remaining prisoners have been rated as a “high risk” of posing a threat to the United States and its allies if released without adequate rehabilitation and supervision, the newspaper said. The documents, provided by WikiLeaks, also show about a third of the 600 detainees already sent to other countries were also designated
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Democrats try, and fail, with GOP stalling tactic

A year ago, when Republicans were in the minority on Capitol Hill, they drove Democrats crazy by using an obscure parliamentary maneuver to change, delay and even kill Democratic priorities. Now that Republicans are running the House, Democrats have tried to stymie the GOP agenda by relying on the tactic, known as the motion to recommit. But they’ve failed on every one of their 23 attempts this year. That motion is almost always the last step just before the final vote on a bill. It gives the minority party, which has little voice and few rights in the House, a
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GOP Presidential wannabes chase the money

Mitt Romney is organizing a phone bank fundraiser in Las Vegas next month. Tim Pawlenty is holding regular “friendraising” meetings in big-money California and elsewhere. Haley Barbour hunkers down soon with finance operatives in cash-rich New York and other lucrative places. Republican presidential hopefuls are in the midst of a fundraising frenzy as they seek to raise mounds of campaign cash and assemble influential donor networks. With the 2012 campaign starting several months later than it did four years ago, the contenders are under intense pressure to demonstrate their ability to bring in the dough before the slower summer season
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Gas price up, Obama re-election prospects down

With gas prices climbing and little relief in sight, President Barack Obama is scrambling to get ahead of the latest potential obstacle to his re-election bid, even as Republicans are making plans to exploit the issue. No one seems more aware of the electoral peril than Obama himself. “My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis, and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people,” he told Democratic donors in Los Angeles this past week. In fact, Obama raised the issue unsolicited in a series of town meetings in Virginia, California and Nevada that were
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Iowa GOP activists not sold on Trump

Donald Trump says he would embrace the rigors of campaigning in Iowa if he decides to run for president, but Iowa Republican leaders say they doubt the celebrity businessman really knows what it takes to compete in the state’s presidential caucuses and wonder if he would commit the time and effort needed. Although some state Republican Party leaders have welcomed the attention Trump’s presidential ideas have brought to the 2012 race and look forward to a giant fundraising dinner he will keynote in June, they also express skepticism about him as a candidate that borders on contempt. “‘The Donald’ will
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Ensign’s resignation raises questions

The resignation this week by U.S. Sen. John Ensign raised questions about what an ongoing Senate ethics probe has uncovered, while also muddling the field of candidates for congressional seats now held by the GOP headed into a key election year. The decision to step down marked an unexpected change of heart for the Nevada Republican who as recently as last month said he would remain in office until his planned retirement from politics because he had not violated ethics rules. “If I was concerned about that, I would have resigned, because that would make the most sense, because then
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Popular Alaska cop is illegal immigrant

For years, the man known as Rafael Espinoza was widely respected as an exemplary police officer who was popular among his peers in Alaska’s largest city. All that ended this week when authorities discovered he was really Mexican national Rafael Mora-Lopez, who was in the U.S. illegally and stole another man’s identity, officials charged. “His reputation here is one of a hard-working officer, one who was very professional,” Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said Friday at a news conference announcing Mora-Lopez’s arrest. “The problem, obviously, is he is not Rafael Espinoza.” Soon after the announcement, Mora-Lopez appeared in U.S. District
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Birthers: The lunatic issue that just won’t go away

In a political environment where nutcase theories take root and won’t go away, the “birther” movement has become an albatross for the Republican Party. Based on the debunked belief that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States, the birther movement now forces GOP candidates and leaders to take sides and walk a tightrope because the sudden — and some think inexplicable — popularity of flamboyant real estate mogul Donald Trump and his embrace of the birthers has forced them into taking a position. Like a boil that needs lancing, the birther issue won’t go away.  It has forced
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Reform? New Congress members learn to use pork

Didn’t take long for the new wave of so-called reformers swept into Congress in the 2010 elections to learn how to play the Washington game of piling on the pork. West Virginia Republican freshman Rep. David McKinley, one of those who campaigned on tea party themes of cutting spending and ending waste, needed only three weeks to drop a bill to help a big campaign contributor, Arch Coal. McKinley’s bill, Politco reports, would help the coal company by overturning an Environmental Protection Agency ruling.  Then McKinley would introduce another bill, doing after an EPA regulation that places restrictions on architectural
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