Archives for FUBAR

Sotomayor ain’t owing nuttin’ to no one

Once Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed to the Supreme Court, all those hours of predictable questions and cautious replies at her Senate confirmation hearings will be filed and forgotten as she judges the way she sees fit. Nobody can hold her to what she's said.

That's the usually unspoken reality of confirmation proceedings. Once the votes are cast, they don't count.

It was spoken this time in a brief, little-noted exchange during four days of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.


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Pentagon no-bid contracts waste millions

The Defense Department frequently awards no-bid work to small contractors for repairs at military bases under the new economic stimulus law, costing taxpayers millions of dollars more than when businesses compete for the work, according to an Associated Press analysis of 570 such contracts.

The Pentagon saves more than three times as much money when companies compete, the AP analysis showed. Yet more than $242 million in federal contracts — representing more than one-fourth of the military's stimulus contract spending so far — has been awarded under the recovery program through no-bid contracts for repairs and maintenance.
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Conservative group sought $2 million bribe

The powerful American Conservative Union (ACU), one of the major backers of the Republican Party and right-wing causes, attempted to extort $2 million from Federal Express (FedEx) in exchange for support in a legislative dispute.

When FedEx refused the pay, the ACU switched sides in the fight and backed FedEx rival United Parcel Service (UPS).

Incredibly, the ACU put the bribe offer in writing in a letter to FedEx.


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Sadly, we remain a society of secrets

Just when you think you know what's going on in Washington under President Obama's new open-government policy, you find out the place is still riddled with secrets.

There's great excitement over the new health care package. Actually, there's a House version and a Senate version. Actually, it turns out there are several Senate versions, all of which keep secret what they will cost and who will pay for them. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the go-to guy on health care, is still keeping his ideas a secret.


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Will Sonia Sotomayor be an activist judge?

Will Sonia Sotomayor be an activist judge? The question of judicial activism -- what it is and who might be guilty of committing it from the bench -- is at the heart of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Republicans on the committee charged that her "empathy" might cause her to depart from the law -- or dispense with it entirely -- to engineer liberal outcomes.


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Overreaching on health care reform

America does not face a healthcare crisis. America faces a manageable challenge: how to help a relatively small share of the population purchase health insurance. ObamaCare is too big a solution chasing too small a problem -- like hunting quail with a howitzer.

Rather than endorse such big-government overkill, pro-freedom members of Congress should promote a simple concept: Let every American own and control an individual health insurance policy that can be transported among jobs, self-employment, graduate school, and life's other twists and turns.


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Health care benefits drive job searches

The Chicago Sun-Times headline read, "Job Seekers Putting Health Benefits First" The story last Sunday chronicled a divorced woman in her mid-40s, college educated, presumably healthy, who lost her job last year. Right now she is a contract employee without health insurance.

As unemployment rises and the health care debate rages in Washington, stories like Cindy Wellwood-Burke's are becoming increasingly sensationalized.


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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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