Archives for FUBAR

A land shark called health care

Someone's knocking at the door, the young woman inside the apartment asks who's there, and a pleasant voice replies, "flowers." The woman is suspicious, and is then told "plumber," and later "candy-gram."

It's really a shark -- a land shark that hangs out in urban areas, or at least in the old "Saturday Night Live" skits -- and it finally tricks the woman into thinking it's a dolphin. She opens the door and is devoured.


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CIA hit teams terminated, then resurrected

As CIA director in 2004, George Tenet terminated a secret program to develop hit teams to kill al-Qaida leaders, but his successors resurrected the plan, according to former intelligence officials.

Tenet ended the program because the agency could not work out its practical details, the officials told The Associated Press. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.


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Where’s Joe Biden when we really need him?

While certainly interesting, the Senate confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has been lacking one key element for lovers of the genre.

That would be Joe Biden.

When then-Sen. Biden was a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, you could always count on him to talk the leg off a piano.


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Feds say end is near…to recession

The Federal Reserve has signaled it sees an end this year to the brutal recession and hinted that it was preparing an "exit strategy" for its unprecedented stimulus efforts.

The central bank raised its outlook for 2009 and 2010 economic output, projecting a rebound in the second half of 2009 that would leave the contraction for the year at between 1.0 and 1.5 percent.


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Home foreclosures up 15 percent

The number of U.S. households on the verge of losing their homes soared by nearly 15 percent in the first half of the year as more people lost their jobs and were unable to pay their monthly mortgage bills.

The mushrooming foreclosure crisis affected more than 1.5 million homes in the first six months of the year, according to a report released Thursday by foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc.


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A White House smoke screen?

Quick. What's the national threat level? Time's up. It's yellow for "elevated," meaning a significant risk of terrorist attacks. It has sat there almost continuously since right after 9/11. For the airlines, which can't seem to catch a break, the threat level is "orange" for a high risk of terrorist attacks.


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So, what’s the hurry on health care?

Health care reform, as it was for the Clinton administration, is obviously on its way to becoming the crucible on which Barak Obama's presidency will be judged. The failure of their first and most important initiative left the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, historically in the lower reaches of White House achievers and a similar fate could easily befall Obama should he fail in overhauling a system that's makes up one-fifth of the nation's economy.


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What did we learn from Vietnam?

The death of Robert McNamara creates an apt occasion to consider the Vietnam War. For many Americans, it's already ancient history. In fact, most of my students know more about the Civil War than about the decades-long Southeast Asian conflict that consumed millions of lives.


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Another month, another record deficit

The U.S. government rang up a $94.32 billion budget deficit in June, a record for the month, as the price tag for efforts to prop up the economy, banks and automakers mounted while revenues weakened.

The Treasury Department said on Monday that June marked the ninth straight month in which the government had run a deficit. In June 2008, the budget enjoyed a $33.55 billion surplus.


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