Archives for FUBAR

Recession report: More job losses

Job losses during the Great Recession have been huge and they're about to get bigger.

When the Labor Department releases the January unemployment report Friday, it will also update its estimate of jobs lost in the year that ended in March 2009. The number is expected to rise by roughly 800,000, raising the number of jobs shed during the recession to around 8 million.

The new data will help illustrate the scope of the jobs crisis. Analysts think the economy might generate 1 million to 2 million jobs this year. And they say it will take at least three to four years for the job market to return to anything like normal.

"It's going to take a long time to dig out of this hole," said Julia Coronado, senior U.S. economist at BNP Paribas.

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Colin Powell urges end to ban on gays in military

Colin PowellFormer Secretary of State and retired Army general Colin Powell joined the chorus of officials urging an end to the military's ban on gays serving openly.

Powell previously opposed allowing gays to serve in the military, opposing former President Bill Clinton's efforts to end the ban in 1993.

"In the past 17 years since the 'Don't ask, don't tell' legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed," Powell said Wednesday.

"I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week," Powell said.
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Can health care reform save the American economy?

Columnist David Broder argues that -- in effect -- what is good for health care is good for America.

Writing in The Washington Post, Broder argues that we need health care reform to save the American economy.

"A chart in the budget shows that the three big entitlements, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, now consume 41 percent of the federal spending, aside from interest payments," Broder says. "On current trends, this will rise to 60 percent by 2030, when all surviving baby boomers will be 65 or older -- crowding out almost everything else the country needs from government."

So what's the answer?


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NSA teams with Google to fight cybercrime

cybercrimeThe world's largest Internet search company and the world's most powerful electronic surveillance organization are teaming up in the name of cybersecurity.

Under an agreement that is still being finalized, the National Security Agency would help Google analyze a major corporate espionage attack that the firm said originated in China and targeted its computer networks, according to cybersecurity experts familiar with the matter. The objective is to better defend Google -- and its users -- from future attack.

Google and the NSA declined to comment on the partnership. But sources with knowledge of the arrangement, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the alliance is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information without violating Google's policies or laws that protect the privacy of Americans' online communications. The sources said the deal does not mean the NSA will be viewing users' searches or e-mail accounts or that Google will be sharing proprietary data.
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State Farm bails on Florida homeowners

The largest homeowners insurer in Florida is canceling the policies of 125,000 of its most vulnerable customers beginning Aug. 1, halfway through the 2010 hurricane season.

The company, State Farm Florida, began sending out cancellation notices this week to nearly a fifth of its 714,000 customers, most of them in the state’s hurricane-prone coastal regions.

A spokesman for State Farm said the decision was the direct result of its failure to win a 47.1 percent rate increase from state regulators.

State Farm stopped writing new policies and sought the increase a year ago, saying severe losses from a series of devastating hurricanes in recent years had rendered its business model unworkable. It said that without the large increase, it would be insolvent by the end of 2011.
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Big banks launder dirty money

Among Bank of America’s 50 million customers, Pierre Falcone was far from ordinary. An infamous global arms dealer who unlawfully sold weapons to Angola for its civil war and an international fugitive, Falcone was convicted of tax fraud and illegal arms dealing in 2007 and 2009 and is currently serving six years behind bars. Yet for nearly two decades, Falcone and his relatives freely used 29 different bank accounts to funnel at least $60 million into the US from secretive havens like the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, and Singapore, and from shell corporations and secret clients. Despite his criminal record and worldwide notoriety, Bank of America essentially treated him like any other depositor.

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Both right and left want Rahm Emanuel’s head

Rahm Emanuel: The wolves are circling (Reuters)President Barack Obama's sharp-tongued, often profane, chief of staff is under fire -- not only from Republicans but by increasingly uneasy Democrats.

Rahm Emanuel has long had a reputation for diarhearra of the mouth and published reports that he called the efforts by fellow Democrats who questioned compromises on the health care plan "fucking retarded" has brought rebukes and questions over whether or not the former political consultant and Illinois Congressman is an asset or liability to the President.

After Emanuel's outburst, an angry Obama ordered his Chief of Staff to immediately call the executive director of the Special Olympics and apologize for using the word "retarded."
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Obama’s new bank plan still won’t help public

Money to banksPresident Barack Obama's new plan to give money to banks with the promise that banks will lend the money to small business looks good on paper.

But the odds are that the banks will keep the money and it won't find it's way to the public.

Like the original program that was supposed to increase lending, the plan doesn't really force the banks to funnel the money to its customers.
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Homes: American dream becomes American nightmare

Home ownersship on the brinkNot that long ago, owning a home topped the list for the American Dream.

Now home ownership is the American Nightmare as more and more find they owe far more than their home is worth and the only way to recapture that dream is to walk away.

Some 4.9 million homeowners now live in homes with values below 75 percent of their mortgage value and that fiture is expected to rise to 5.1 million by June of this year.
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Obama wants to expand DHS into an American Gestapo

American GestapoThe Obama administration is working to expand the controversial Department of Homeland Security (DHS) beyond its traditional role of fighting terrorism, giving the enforcement agency broad powers over cybercrime, disease control, immigration enforcement and other areas of American life.

The proposed changes could turn DHS into a powerful national police agency with broad control -- a move that some civil libertarians worry could become an "American Gestapo."

White House officials outlined the proposed changes in a document called the "Quadrennial Homeland Security Review," delivered to Congress recently but embargoed for public release.


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