Archives for FUBAR

Gas pains from high prices at the pump

High fuel prices are putting the squeeze on drivers’ wallets just as they are starting to feel better about the economy. They’re also forcing tough choices on small-business owners who are loathe to charge more for fear of losing cost-conscious customers. Gasoline prices rose 4 percent last week to a national average of $3.29 per gallon. That’s the highest level ever for this time of year, when prices are typically low. And with unrest in the Middle East and North Africa lifting the price of oil to the $100-a-barrel range, analysts say pump prices are likely headed higher. Bryon Gongaware,
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New law doesn’t control Christian health plans

The brain tumor came back. An ugly mass growing in plain view threatened Karen Niles’ remaining eye. She needed more surgery. This time, however, her medical plan wouldn’t pay. It sounds like one of those insurance “horror stories” that President Barack Obama hammered home during the fierce debate to pass his health care overhaul. Except Niles’ plan ended up as the beneficiary of a rare exemption to the new law — a waiver highlighted in the plan’s promotional materials. The plan didn’t come from an insurer, but from a religious “health care sharing ministry.” Consumer advocates call them a gamble.
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Feds to big tobacco: ‘Admit you lied’

The Justice Department wants the largest cigarette manufacturers to admit that they lied to the public about the dangers of smoking, forcing the industry to set up and pay for an advertising campaign of self-criticism for past behavior. As part of a 12-year-old lawsuit against the tobacco industry, the government on Wednesday released 14 “corrective statements” that it says the companies should be required to make. One “corrective” statement says: “A federal court is requiring tobacco companies to tell the truth about cigarette smoking. Here’s the truth: … Smoking kills 1,200 Americans. Every day.” Another of the government’s proposed statements
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Health care bureaucracy: Another ‘reform’ mystery

How many federal bureaucrats does it take to carry out President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul? Don’t expect to find an easy answer in his new budget. It has no line item for health care implementation, a task delegated to agencies in several government departments, each with its own procedures — and quirks — to account for spending and hiring. Republicans suspect a dodge to make it harder for them to track the money as they strategize over how to block the law by shutting off the spigot of federal funds. “They are absolutely hiding the ball with this budget,”
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Breastfeeding: Sarah Palin’s big campaign issue?

If Sarah Palin decides to run for President — and she keeps dropping more and more hints that she will, she may decide to turn brestfeeding of babies into a campaign issue. And it is already raising eyebrows. At an appearance in Long Island last week, one where she surprisingly actually allowed the press in the front door, first said debates over silly issues like her husband’s citizenship is “distracting.. It gets annoying. Let’s stick to what really matters.” But then she went after Michele Obama over the First Lady’s campaign to make it easier for women to breastfeed. “It’s
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Congressman’s staff felt he needed psychiatric help

Senior staffers of U.S. Rep. David Wu were so alarmed over the Oregon Democrat‘s erratic behavior just days before the November election that they demanded he enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment, a newspaper reported Friday evening. The Oregonian, citing interviews with a number of anonymous staff members, reported on its website that Wu was increasingly unpredictable on the campaign trial and in private last fall, and had several angry and loud outbursts and sometimes said “kooky” things to staff and potential voters and donors. A similar report was carried on the Willamette Week newspaper’s website on Friday. The fact
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Memories of last government shutdown haunt GOP

Few memories haunt Republicans more deeply than the 1995-96 partial shutdown of the federal government, which helped President Bill Clinton reverse his falling fortunes and recast House Republicans as stubborn partisans, not savvy insurgents. Now, as Congress careens toward a budget impasse, government insiders wonder if another shutdown is imminent — and whether Republicans again would suffer the most blame. Leaders of both parties say they are determined to avoid a shutdown. But they have not yielded on the amount of spending cuts they will demand or accept. Meanwhile, shutdown talk is rippling through Washington and beyond. “It’s good for
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Winds topple National Christmas tree

Even Mother Nature has had it with politics in Washington. On Saturday, high winds brought down America’s Christmas tree, snapping the 47-year-old, 42-foot high Colorado blue spruce near its base and sending it toppling to the ground on the Ellipse near the White House. “We’re glad that there were no injuries,” National Park spokesman Bill Line told Washington TV station WRC. Line said don’t worry.  A new tree will be in place by next Christmas.
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Contentious freshmen create a House out of control

Asked how long the House would need to finish legislation cutting $61 billion in government spending, the most powerful Republican in the land responded wryly. “I don’t know, I’m only the speaker.” It was a candid acknowledgement from Ohio Rep. John Boehner that the 87 Republican first-term lawmakers who swept the party into power in the House are moving on a path — and at a pace — of their own choosing. When the leadership brought a bill to the floor to renew parts of the anti-terrorist Patriot Act, it fell short. The leadership regrouped, and the rebels, their questions
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