Archives for FUBAR

Lies, damn lies and health care reform

When Republican Sen. Tom Coburn warned seniors, "you're going to die sooner" if Democrats pass health care legislation, it stood out as an memorable, unprovable moment in an opening-week debate over President Barack Obama's top domestic initiative.

But not the only one.

Across hours of rhetoric, poll-tested charges and countercharges proliferated. Partial truths vied with inflated claims.

Senatorial speech leaned to the earthy.

"It is 2,074 pages long. It is enough to make you barf," Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said of the bill that rested — unsullied — on his desk.

And the discourse approached the level of a schoolyard standoff.


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Obama, Congress look for ways to boost jobs

President Barack Obama's options for spurring job growth may be limited by out-of-control budget deficits, but he is warming to moves by his congressional allies for a jobs-boosting bill.

Taking his defense of the economy on the road, the president scheduled appearances Friday in Pennsylvania to showcase innovative businesses following Thursday's White House jobs forum. That event combined cheerleading and brainstorming as Obama exhorted more than 100 CEOs, academics, small business and union leaders and local officials to focus on new ways to get businesses hiring again.

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Jobs rebound will be painfully slow

The economy is getting closer to generating jobs for the first time in two years, but it probably won't be enough to stop the unemployment rate from rising.

Analysts expect the Labor Department will report Friday that employers cut a net total of 130,000 jobs in November, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. That's an improvement from 190,000 the previous month.

The department is also expected to say the unemployment rate will remain 10.2 percent, the same as in October, a 26-year high.

Two economic reports Thursday gave some economists hope that employers will gear up hiring early next year and that the economy will start adding jobs in the first quarter. But the unemployment rate may still rise well into 2010.

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Secret Service puts three agents on leave

Three Secret Service officers have been put on administrative leave after the security breach at last week's White House dinner, an episode President Barack Obama said hasn't shaken his confidence in his protectors.

The president nevertheless acknowledged Thursday that the "the system didn't work the way it was supposed to."

Despite the screw-up, the president was never at risk, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan told Congress on Thursday.

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Emails reveal Pentagon mistrust of Canada

How much does the U.S. government really trust Canada? Maybe less than you think.

Espionage warnings from the Defense Department caused an international sensation a few years ago over reports of mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters, until they were debunked. The culprit turned out to be a commemorative quarter in Canada.

But at the height of the mystery, senior Pentagon officials speculated whether Canadians were involved in the spy caper.

"I don't think it is an issue of the Canadians being the bad guys," the Pentagon's counterintelligence chief wrote in an exchange of e-mails obtained this week by The Associated Press, "but then again, who knows."

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Most Americans want public option, but. . .

Most Americans would like to see a "public option" in health insurance reform but doubt anything Congress does will lower costs or improve care in the short term, according to a poll released on Thursday.

The survey of 2,999 households by Thomson Reuters Corp shows a public skeptical about the cost, quality and accessibility of medical care.

Just under 60 percent of those surveyed said they would like a public option as part of any final healthcare reform legislation, which Republicans and a few Democrats oppose.

Here are some of the results of the telephone survey of 2,999 households called from November 9-17 as part of the Thomson Reuters PULSE Healthcare Survey:

* Believe in public option: 59.9 percent yes, 40.1 percent no.

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Military, families brace for more hard times

Battle-weary troops and their families braced for a wrenching round of new deployments to Afghanistan, but many said they support the surge announced Tuesday as long as it helps to end the 8-year-old conflict.

As President Barack Obama outlined his plan to send 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan — while pledging to start bringing them home in 2011 — soldiers, Marines and their families interviewed by The Associated Press felt a tangle of fresh concerns and renewed hopes. Some took in the televised announcement as they played darts in a barroom near their base, while others watched from their living rooms.

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Gate crashers lied about having invitations

Copies of e-mails between the White House party crashers and a Pentagon official undermine their claims that they were invited to President Barack Obama's first state dinner.

Tareq and Michaele Salahi pressed the friendly Pentagon aide for four days to score tickets to the big event. By their own admission in the e-mails, they showed up at the White House gates at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 24 without an invitation — "to just check in, in case it got approved since we didn't know, and our name was indeed on the list!"

But the Secret Service has said they weren't on that list and that it erred by letting them in anyway.

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Salahis: ‘We’re not party crashers’

A man who made his way uninvited into a White House state dinner is denying that he and his wife are gate-crashers.

In his first nationally broadcast interview since the incident, Tareq Salahi (TAH'-rehk sah-LAH'-hee) told NBC's "Today" show that the whole experience has been "the most devastating thing that has ever happened" to him and his wife, Michaele.

Salahi said flatly that the couple "did not party-crash the White House." He said the pair is cooperating with the Secret Service and they have "great respect" for President Barack Obama. Salahi told interviewer Matt Lauer he's confident "the truth will come out." about the circumstances surrounding his and his wife's attendance at the state dinner for the visiting prime minister of India.


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Reducing unemployment will take time

President Barack Obama's top economic adviser said on Monday that tackling high U.S. unemployment was vital but the problem would take time to fix.

"I think recessions like the one we're suffering now have very substantial costs," said Lawrence Summers, director of Obama's National Economic Council.

"Addressing 10.2 percent unemployment is a matter of very great urgency. It is not something that is going to be fixed in a week, or a month, or a year," Summers said in after-dinner remarks for a conference on innovation and the economy sponsored by Intel Corp and the Aspen Institute.
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