Archives for FUBAR

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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Is the book about to close on Borders?

Borders Group Inc filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would close about one-third of its bookstores, after years of shriveling sales that made it impossible to manage its crushing debt load. The long-expected Chapter 11 filing will give the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain a chance to try to fix its finances and overhaul its business in an attempt to survive the growing popularity of online bookbuying and digital formats. But the chain still faces questions about its longer-term survival in the face of competition from larger rival Barnes & Noble Inc and discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and
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State workers: ‘Hey, don’t blame us’

When a New Jersey family with an autistic child walks into the state office seeking help, Norlande Perpignan is often the first person they see. A clerk making $41,082 a year at the Division of Developmental Disabilities, Perpignan, 40, is also on the front lines of a national debate about public spending, taxes and a fiscal crisis facing local governments. With the sluggish economy constricting tax revenue, many states, counties and local governments are fiscally distressed, adding unprecedented volatility to the traditionally safe, $2.8 trillion municipal bond market. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has called the state’s long-term pension obligations
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The military’s dirty little secret: Rape case coverups

A group of U.S. veterans who say they were raped and abused by their comrades want to force the Pentagon to change how it handles such cases. More than a dozen female and two male current or former service members say servicemen get away with rape and other sexual abuse and victims are too often ordered to continue to serve alongside those they say attacked them. In a federal class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday that names Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, they want an objective third party to handle such complaints because individual commanders have too much
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