Archives for FUBAR

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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Judge seals Loughner’s arrest records

A federal judge on Friday rejected a request by news organizations to release search warrant records and federal booking photos of Arizona shooting rampage suspect Jared Lee Loughner, saying the investigation was still under way. But U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said he would consider releasing the materials once a superseding indictment was handed down in the case, which prosecutors said could be by March 9. More than a dozen media outlets have asked that the photos and documents be released by the federal government under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Loughner, a 22-year-old college dropout, is accused of
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Docs order too many tests because of lawsuit fears

CT scans, MRIs and other pricey imaging tests are often more for the doctor’s benefit than the patient’s, new research confirms. Roughly one-fifth of tests that bone and joint specialists order are because a doctor fears being sued, not because the patient needs them, a first-of-its-kind study in Pennsylvania suggests. The study comes a day after President Barack Obama began a push to overhaul state medical malpractice laws as a way to reduce unnecessary tests that drive up health care costs. “This study is a glimpse behind the curtain of what’s happening in a doctor’s mind,” said its leader, Dr.
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Feds charge more than 100 medical pros with Medicare fraud

Federal authorities charged more than 100 doctors, nurses and physical therapists in nine cities with Medicare fraud Thursday, part of a massive nationwide bust that snared more suspects than any other in history. More than 700 law enforcement agents fanned out to arrest dozens of people accused of illegally billing Medicare more than $225 million. The arrests are the latest in a string of major busts in the past two years as authorities have struggled to pare the fraud that’s believed to cost the government between $60 billion and $90 billion each year. Stopping Medicare’s budget from hemorrhaging that money
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Need a free rubber? Go to your smartphone

Need a condom? There’s an app for that. The New York City Health Department on Monday unveiled a smartphone application that will help users locate the nearest place in the area giving out free condoms. “We want New York City to be the safest city in the world to have sex,” said Dr. Monica Sweeney, the city’s assistant health commissioner. “A lot of people come here for that, so we want them to practice safer sex.” The application, available for download on the iPhone and Android phones, taps into the city’s database of over 1,000 different locations which offer free
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