Archives for FUBAR

Teens drinking less; getting stoned more

America‘s teens are using more marijuana and less alcohol, according to an annual government study of eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders across the country. Some 6.1 percent of high-school seniors reported using marijuana this year, up from 5.2 percent in 2009, according to the Monitoring the Future survey released by the National Institutes of Health. Marijuana use by 10th-graders climbed from 2.8 percent to 3.3 percent, and for eighth-grade students it edged up from 1.0 percent to 1.2 percent. “These high rates of marijuana use during the teen and preteen years, when the brain continues to develop, place our young people
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New York Senator hit with half-million buck embezzlement charge

New York and federal authorities on Tuesday indicted a high-ranking state senator and his son on six charges that they embezzled more than $500,000 from their New York City health clinic for lavish spending, including Broadway shows, a down payment on a Bentley automobile, and a pony for a birthday party. Democrat Sen. Pedro Espada, the Senate majority leader who lost his fall re-election bid, and his son Pedro Gautier Espada are accused of taking money from Comprehensive Community Development Corp., a federally funded not-for-profit in the Bronx known as Soundview, which the senator founded 30 years ago. Espada vowed
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Tax cut pill a bitter one for Democrats to swallow

The struggle over tax cuts is seriously straining President Barack Obama’s relationship with House Democrats, who have backed him on key issues even when it cost them politically. Expressing hurt and bewilderment, Democratic lawmakers say Obama ignored them at crucial negotiating moments, misled them about his intentions and made needless concessions to Republicans. The president has responded that he acted honorably and drove the best bargain he could. But even his explanations offended some longtime allies. Aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed around news accounts of a Dec. 7 news conference in which Obama claimed that some liberals would
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Lobby this: Prosecutors urged hard time for lobbyist

Federal prosecutors recommended a prison term of nearly five years Monday for a former lobbyist who specialized in getting congressional appropriators to funnel money to his defense contractor clients. In papers filed in U.S. District Court here, prosecutors said Paul Magliocchetti should serve 57 months behind bars because his criminal activities driven by greed caused significant injury to the image and integrity of the nation’s electoral process. Magliocchetti, 64, pleaded guilty to illegally funneling more than $380,000 in campaign contributions to House members controlling the Pentagon‘s budget. In a separate court filing, Magliocchetti’s lawyer, Lindsey R. Vaala, recommended that her
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Judge rules key part of Obamacare unconstitutional

A federal judge in Washington ruled Monday that a key part of President Barack Obama‘s health care law is unconstitutional because the feds can’t force Americans to buy insurance. U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson said no court in the nation has expanded the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to allow regulation of an individual’s decision to buy or not to buy a product. The decision invalidates a key part of Obama’s landmark health care plan and sends the case to the courts where the who issue of mandatory health insurance could become moot. Several states have already said they
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Tax bill foes say ‘yes, damn it,’ it will pass

With the White House stepping up pressure and even bringing in former President Bill Clinton as the closer, even foes of the Obama tax cut deal see it passing and passing soon. Obama chief advisor David Axelrod acknowledged the tough battle will be in the House, which has rejected the legislation already but the aide predicted the administration will broker enough changes to pull off the deal. “We believe that when it comes back to the House, that we will get a vote, and that we’ll prevail there, because at the end of the day, no one wants to see
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Social Security advocates say tax cuts will hurt program

President Barack Obama’s plan to cut payroll taxes for a year would provide big savings for many workers, but makes Social Security advocates nervous that it could jeopardize the retirement program’s finances. The plan is part of a package of tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits that Obama negotiated with Senate Republican leaders. It would cut workers’ share of Social Security taxes by nearly one-third for 2011. Workers making $50,000 in wages would get a $1,000 tax cut; those making $100,000 would get a $2,000 tax cut. The government would borrow about $112 billion to make Social Security whole. Advocates
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The impossible dream is just that

‘They had so much hope, so much hype and so much promise for change, this new Congress of 2008 when they swept into power two years ago with Barack Obama at the helm and a trustful nation behind them. Now, with time running out, with so little accomplished and so little consensus, the bitter Congress that can do has become the petty, little legislative body that can’t — a mere shadow of itself running hither and yon as time runs out and the great mantle of hope is reduced to the ashes of political reality. In reality, we expected too
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Barking dog sends plane to emergency landing

A small dog jumped out of its cage and bit a passenger and a flight attendant on a Phoenix-bound US Airways plane on Monday, forcing the captain to make an emergency landing in Pittsburgh. The dog’s owner opened the cage despite being told not to, said Valerie Wunder, a spokeswoman for US Airways. The captain of Flight 522 from Newark to Phoenix, carrying 122 passengers, decided to divert the plane because he “wanted to make sure everybody was OK,” Wunder said, adding she did not know whether charges would be filed against the dog’s owner. Copyright © 2010 Reuters
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Don’t think ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ fight is over. It’s not

Advocates of a bill that would overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy say their fight for repeal this year is far from over despite failing to pass the Senate with only days left in the lame-duck session. Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the legislation, which would have lifted the military’s 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops. The measure was tucked into a broader defense policy bill and had passed the House last spring. It failed in a 57-40 test vote, falling three votes short of the 60 needed to advance. GOP senators mostly united in defeating the measure
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