Archives for FUBAR

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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Senate report blames Rumsfeld for bin Laden escape

Osama bin Laden was "within the grasp" of US forces in late 2001 but escaped because then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld rejected calls for reinforcements, a US Senate report says.

Dated for release Monday, the hard-hitting study comes as President Barack Obama prepares to announce a major escalation of the Afghan conflict, now in its ninth year, with the expected deployment of some 34,000 more US troops.

It points the finger directly at Rumsfeld for turning down requests for reinforcements as Bin Laden was trapped in December 2001 in caves and tunnels in a mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan known as Tora Bora.

"The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the marine corps and the army, was kept on the sidelines," the report says.

"Instead, the US command chose to rely on airstrikes and untrained Afghan militias to attack Bin Laden and on Pakistan's loosely organized Frontier Corps to seal his escape routes."
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American troops had bin Laden ‘within our grasp’

Osama bin Laden was unquestionably within reach of U.S. troops in the mountains of Tora Bora when American military leaders made the crucial and costly decision not to pursue the terrorist leader with massive force, a Senate report says.

The report asserts that the failure to kill or capture bin Laden at his most vulnerable in December 2001 has had lasting consequences beyond the fate of one man. Bin Laden's escape laid the foundation for today's reinvigorated Afghan insurgency and inflamed the internal strife now endangering Pakistan, it says.

Staff members for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Democratic majority prepared the report at the request of the chairman, Sen. John Kerry, as President Barack Obama prepares to boost U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

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Obama’s Afghan plan: Send the Marines

The US military will deploy up to 9,000 Marines to Afghanistan's Helmand province -- doubling US presence there -- in the days after President Barack Obama's war strategy announcement this week, the Washington Post said Saturday.

Citing senior US officials, the daily said the extra Marines won't move to the restive southern province until after Obama's address to the nation Tuesday from the prestigious West Point military academy in New York state.

The aim is to regain a footing in the region that has been a base for a fierce Taliban insurgency in recent months.

Some 1,000 army trainers will follow the Marine's deployment, perhaps by February next year, the Post said.

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For once, at least, Saddam told the truth

Saddam Hussein was telling the truth, this time. The United States just didn't believe him.

So it took the most powerful military in the world 18 years to find the remains of the only U.S. Navy pilot shot down in an aerial battle in the 1991 Gulf War.

Michael "Scott" Speicher's bones lay 18 inches deep in Iraqi sand, more or less right where a group of Iraqis had led an American search team in 1995.

The search for Speicher was frustrated by two wars, mysteriously switched remains, Iraqi duplicity and a final tip from a young nomad in Anbar province.

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The stress of war: Military divorces increasing

Afghan warThe divorce rate in the armed forces continues to edge higher, despite efforts by the military to help struggling couples.

There were an estimated 27,312 divorces among roughly 765,000 married members of the active-duty Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps in the 12 months that ended Sept. 30, the Pentagon reported Friday.

That's a divorce rate of about 3.6 percent, compared with 3.4 percent a year earlier, according to figures from the Defense Manpower Data Center. Marriages among reservists failed at a rate of 2.8 percent compared to 2.7 the previous year.

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State Dinner party crashers met Obama

Party crashersThis time, the picture is the story.

After the Secret Service insisted that President Barack Obama was never endangered by a security breach that allowed a couple to crash his first state dinner, the White House has released a photo showing that not only did the pair get close to Obama, they actually shook hands and talked to him.

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White House party crashers may face criminal charges

White House party crashersThe Secret Service may pursue a criminal investigation of the Virginia couple who crashed a White House dinner, but events at the security checkpoint may determine whether the security breach is a crime or just an embarrassment.

Jim Mackin, an agency spokesman, said the possible turn toward criminal charges is one reason the Secret Service has kept mum about what happened when Michaele and Tareq Salahi arrived at the checkpoint Tuesday. They were not on the guest list for the dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Federal law makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully falsify statements on matters within the federal government's jurisdiction.

Nobody disputes that the couple, candidates for a reality TV show, were allowed through security. The Secret Service acknowledges that its procedures weren't followed.
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Health care reform: Damn the debt, full speed ahead

A U.S. debt that is topping $12 trillion is raising fresh questions about the cost of President Barack Obama's proposed healthcare overhaul, but those concerns are unlikely to sink the legislation.

The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan scorekeeper of federal spending, put the first 10-year cost of the Senate healthcare bill at $849 billion and said it would reduce budget deficits by $130 billion over that period.

Republican critics of the overhaul, a top domestic priority for Obama, say those numbers reflect timing gimmicks that skew the bill's costs and that the price tag will be closer to $2.5 trillion in the first decade the bill is fully implemented.

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Black Friday: Will retailers see black or red?

Black FridayThe nation's retailers are ushering in the traditional start of the holiday shopping season with expanded hours and deep discounts on everything from toys to TVs to lure crowds of shoppers.

A number of stores, including Walmart and many Old Navy locations, opened on Thanksgiving, hoping to make the most of the extra hours. Toys R Us opened most of its stores at midnight Friday.

Online sellers also pushed to grab a piece of the action, pushing deals on Thursday and even earlier in the week.

After suffering the worst sales decline in several decades last holiday season, the good news is that the retail industry is heading into the Christmas selling period armed with lean inventories and more practical goods on their shelves that reflect shoppers' new psyche.
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