FUBAR

Freddie Mac investigates itself

Lawyers hired by mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac are quietly investigating the firm’s own $2 million lobbying campaign, The Associated Press has learned. The lobbying effort helped quash proposed new regulations on the company before the housing market collapsed.

It was not immediately clear how much Freddie Mac is spending to investigate its own conduct or whether it is spending any federal bailout money on the internal probe. The firm was placed under U.S. government control due to its massive investment losses.

Arrest expected in Chandra Levy murder

A Salvadoran immigrant convicted of attacking two women in the park where Chandra Levy’s remains were found was expected to be arrested in the next few days in the former intern’s slaying, a person close to the investigation said.

An arrest would cap a revived investigation into the 2001 killing that had gone cold for years after destroying the career of former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit of California.

Investigators in 2002 questioned Ingmar Guandique, now 27, in the slaying after he was convicted of attacking two women joggers in Washington’s Rock Creek Park. They didn’t charge him, but statements he made to people while in prison helped lead investigators back to him, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday.

Neocons? What neocons?

According to Richard Perle, neocons don’t exist and he is not the man who led the Bush administration and the Republican Party into the black hole of oblivion.

Those who have followed Perle’s serpentine trip through the bowels of Washington’s power structure know he is one of the most dangerous men in government. However, Perle, like so many who served Bush, seems to live in a world of his own.

It’s called denial and few have mastered the art of denial better than Perle.

Public fear grows over jobs, economy, future

As the economy continues to struggle, the public is growing increasingly concerned about losing jobs, not having enough money to pay the bills and seeing their retirement accounts shrink, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they worry about becoming unemployed — almost double the percentage at this time last year.

Obama, Democrats flunk ethics test

The Obama administration and the new Congress are quickly handing over to Republicans the same "culture of corruption" issue that Democrats used so effectively against the GOP before coming to power.

Freshman Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., is only the latest embarrassment.

Senate Democrats accepted Burris because they believed what he told them: He was clean. Burris now admits he tried to raise money for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who authorities say sought to sell President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.

"The story seems to be changing day by day," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday.

GM, Chrysler ask for more bailout money

General Motors and Chrysler have requested another 21.6 billion dollars in bailout funds, adding to the long list of pleas for help facing the administration of US President Barack Obama.

On Tuesday, the same day Obama signed into a law a 787-billion-dollar stimulus package, the carmakers said they needed the cash to stay afloat long enough to restructure the two companies and avoid bankruptcy.

A setback for Obama’s promise of open government

Despite President Obama’s promise of more open government, the Justice Department is resisting pressure to release documents the Bush administration kept secret about domestic wiretapping, data collection on travelers and U.S. citizens, and interrogation of suspected terrorists.

In half a dozen lawsuits, Justice lawyers are defending Bush administration decisions to withhold records from the public. They have opposed formal motions or spurned out-of-court offers to merely delay these cases until the new administration rewrites Freedom of Information Act guidelines and decides whether the new rules might allow the public to see more.

FBI focus shifts from terror to white collar crime

With the economic crisis unrelenting, the United States is stepping up its fight against white collar crime, which has been trumped by the fight on terror.

"Let’s give our law enforcement agencies the tools and resources they need, said Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, at a a hearing Wednesday.

A mercenary by any other name

Blackwater Worldwide is still protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq, but executives at the beleaguered security firm are taking their biggest step yet to put that work and the ugly reputation it earned the company behind them.

Blackwater said Friday it will no longer operate under the name that came to be known worldwide as a caustic moniker for private security, dropping the tarnished brand for a disarming and simple identity: Xe, which is pronounced like the letter "z."

Don’t forget the war in Iraq

The urgency of the economic meltdown has overshadowed the two wars the United States is still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. That will not last.