Archives for FUBAR

Feds urged to spend more on national parks

Spending on national parks should be increased by at least $700 million over the next seven years, an independent panel urged Congress on Thursday . The additional spending should bring increased tourism, promote enjoyment of the outdoors and help preserve national treasures for future generations, the panel said. The bipartisan National Parks Second Century Commission also urged President Barack Obama to appoint a panel charged with promoting the parks and raising private money in time for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. It also called for an expansion of the National Park Service's mission, making education an explicit part of the agency for the first time.
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Afghan war: Vietnamization is not an option

As America's latest wartime president reviews the grim but realistic assessment of his top war zone general--- and reshapes the military strategy that will become his legacy -- this much is certain: The Vietnamization of the war in Afghanistan cannot, and will not, be an option. And this much is far from certain: Whether the Iraqization of Afghanistan (which is a semi-accurate shorthand for what the general is proposing) really can be an option that can succeed in this latest war that is close to Iraq only in proximity -- but in no other way.
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This is your computer-addicted brain

A recent article on salon.com attempted to sweep away legitimate criticisms of the downside of high-tech on human intelligence: "By now the arguments are familiar: Facebook is ruining our social relationships; Google is making us dumber; texting is destroying the English language as we know it. We're facing a crisis, one that could very well corrode the way humans have communicated since we first evolved from apes. What we need, so say these proud Luddites, is to turn our backs on technology and embrace not the keyboard, but the pencil."
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Why CIA torture techniques backfired

Prolonged stress from the CIA's harsh interrogations could have impaired the memories of terrorist suspects, diminishing their ability to recall and provide the detailed information the spy agency sought, according to a scientific paper published Monday. The methods could even have caused the suspects to create — and believe — false memories, contends the paper, which scrutinizes the techniques used by the CIA under the Bush administration through the lens of neurobiology. It suggests the methods are actually counterproductive, no matter how much suspects might eventually say.
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Feds issue terror warnings to stadiums, hotels

Counterterrorism officials have issued security bulletins to police around the nation about terrorists' desire to attack stadiums, entertainment complexes and hotels — the latest in a flurry of such internal warnings as investigators chase a possible bomb plot in Denver and New York. In the two bulletins — sent to police departments Monday and obtained by The Associated Press — officials said they know of no specific plots against such sites, but urged law enforcement and private companies to be vigilant. These two bulletins followed on the heels of a similar warning about the vulnerabilities of mass transit systems. The bulletin on stadiums notes that an al-Qaida training manual specifically lists "blasting and destroying the places of amusement, immorality, and sin... and attacking vital economic centers" as desired targets of the global terror network.
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Rhode Island Republican quits over Joe Wilson

The chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Hispanic Assembly and member of the Republican Central Committee says he has quit the GOP because he was embarrassed by South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during President Obama's address to Congress on Sept. 9. Wilson shouted "You lie," when President Obama said illegal immigrants would not receive benefits under his health care plan. Ivan Marte tells The Providence Journal that Wilson's behavior was "shameful" and "uncivilized." Marte says he has been disenchanted by the GOP since Gov. Don Carcieri ignored his advice concerning the 2008 executive order cracking down on illegal immigration. State party chairman Giovanni Cicione says Marte's contributions to the party were valued and he's disappointed by the resignation.
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Obama urged to end CIA probe

Seven former CIA directors who served both Republican and Democratic presidents have asked President Barack Obama to end the Justice Department's criminal probe into the harsh interrogations of terror suspects during the Bush administration. Three of the men who made the request in a letter Friday to the White House worked under President George W. Bush. Attorney General Eric Holder said last month he was appointing an independent counsel to investigate possible incidents of abuse by CIA personnel during interrogations that went beyond guidelines imposed by the Bush administration. The incidents were referred by the CIA inspector general to the Justice Department during the Bush administration, but Justice officials at the time prosecuted only one case.
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Media arrogance breeds mistrust

You don't trust us. You really don't. That's the message to the media from a new poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press. It's a devastating look at how little respect Americans have for mainstream newspapers and television news. Interviewing 1,506 adults, 18 and older, in July and August by landline and cell phone, Pew's researchers found that only 29 percent say news organizations "generally get the facts straight." A whopping 63 percent insist news stories are "often inaccurate." In 1985, in the first survey, only 34 percent said news stories were often inaccurate. Two years ago, 53 percent expressed concern. Why is this?
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Race was the wrong card to play

One would hope that Jimmy Carter, as he has been frequently in the past, is dead wrong in his allegation that Rep. Joe Wilson's unfortunate accusation that President Barack Obama was lying to Congress is rooted in racism. His playing of the race card not only seems ill advised, it has been disavowed by a White House dedicated to avoiding such polarization. If the South Carolina Republican congressman had any other motivation than just disagreement with a presidential policy, it would help return the national political discourse to a hateful level not seen for decades.
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So many lobbyists, so little disclosure

Few members of Congress are disclosing that lobbyists are helping them raise campaign cash despite a new law that was supposed to shed light on the ties between lawmakers and the capital's influence brokers, an Associated Press review found. Though lobbyist-hosted fundraisers are workaday events in Washington — typically advertised to political insiders by fax and word of mouth — only about two dozen lawmakers have reported lobbyists raising money for them.
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