FUBAR

Failing the Veterans

On Nov. 3, the New York Times published a front-page photograph of soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division returning to Fort Drum, N.Y., after a 15-month tour in Iraq. Several soldiers, glad to be back on U.S. soil, were shown kissing the ground.

For some of these soldiers, their return to the United States and their family reunions were bittersweet, and Sunday’s Veterans Day celebration was virtually meaningless.

Blackwater may get a new contract

Blackwater Worldwide, the North Carolina mercenary company whose hired killers murdered Iraqi civilians without remorse or punishment, is in the running for another big contract from the Bush Administration.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Blackwater is one of five military contractors who have made the final cut for a $15 billion contract to wage war on the narcotics trade that the Bush Administration claims finances terrorism.

Critics of Blackwater’s killings at random in Iraq wonder how the firm made the cut for yet another lucrative contract and are pushing Congress for an investigation into the matter.

Some feel that Blackwater will continue to get business because CEO and owner Erik Prince is a major contributor to Bush and other Republicans and his wife has long ties to the GOP establishment.

Another murder by U.S. mercenaries

Mercenaries working for another American “security contractor” in Iraq murdered a Baghdad taxi driver Saturday, adding to the death toll compiled by hired killers working for the U.S. government in that occupied country.

Witnesses said a mercenary working for DynCorp killed the taxi driver as an American diplomatic convoy rolled past traffic on an exit ramp.

“They just killed a man and drove away,” Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told The New York Times Sunday. “We have opened an investigation, and we have contacted the company and told them about a accusations, and we are still waiting for their response.”

The blatant murder is just the latest atrocity by the out-of-control mercenaries hired by the American government to supplement U.S. troops in Iraq. The country still wants mercs working for Blackwater Worldwide, a mercenary firm with strong ties to President George W. Bush, punished and expelled from the county for the Step. 16 massacre that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead at at least 24 wounded.

Sex abuse by teachers increasing

Back in August, the rumor around Lexington, Nebraska, Middle School was that 25-year-old math teacher Kelsey Peterson had a boyfriend — a 13-year-old former student. People had complained to administrators three months earlier that Peterson spent too much time hanging out with the kids. When new complaints reached administrators linking her to the student in August, her principal gave her a verbal warning, but that was it.

Farm bill riddled with fat, pork

A bloated, pork-filled farm bill is moving through the Senate, leaving a trail of manure that — like the bill that it dropped from — stinks to high heaven.

The excesses of this bill prove that when it comes to pork, the Democrats can lard on the fat the same as Republicans: Different party, same results.

Included in the $286 billion debacle are government programs to promote spending on handmade cheese, expensive repairs to historic barns and treatment programs for a form of farm stress disorder.

Taxpayer advocate groups call the bill too expensive. Conservatives call it too fat. Most just call it more pork from a Democratic leadership that promised to end such practices when they took over control of Congress.

Micromanagement of the poor

The Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007 has passed out of Chairman Barney Frank’s House Financial Services Committee. It’s now headed to the full House for a vote. In the name of protecting the poor from market predators it will in actuality protect the poor from wealth.

Cocaine now the drug of choice

Cocaine has edged out methamphetamine as the principal drug threat to the United States. That’s the conclusion of the latest National Drug Threat Survey, which polled state and local law enforcement agencies for their assessment of the drug problem in their areas.

Authorities thought they were putting a big dent in the cocaine trade earlier this year, when 38 big drug “markets” in the United States reported cocaine shortages on the street. But as of last month, many now see a rebound in supplies, the National Drug Intelligence Center reports.

Some little-known Veteran’s Day tidbits

With Veterans Day approaching Sunday, it’s an opportunity to look back at a part of U.S. history that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

During World War II, German U-boats attacked U.S. and Allied commercial ships along our Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico with alarming regularity. The sacrifices made and the lessons learned should be a significant part of history classes in all of our schools.

Consumer confidence plunges

Consumer confidence plunged in early November to the lowest level since Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast and sent oil prices soaring in 2005.

The RBC Cash Index showed consumer confidence fell to a reading of 64 this month, down sharply from an early October reading of 80.6, when consumer sentiment was on the upswing as the stock market stabilized temporarily following a turbulent August.

It’s OK to be fat

Doctors across the land probably sighed in despair when the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study came out, resigned to their patients saying, “So, the government says it’s OK to be fat.”

Well, sort of, maybe, yes.