Archives for FUBAR

Weaknesses found in federal security

Investigators were able to smuggle bomb-making materials past security at 10 federal buildings, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.

Once GAO investigators got the materials in the buildings, the report said, they constructed explosive devices and carried them around inside. For security reasons, the GAO report did not give the location of the buildings.

Security at these buildings and a total of about 9,000 federal buildings around the country is provided by the Federal Protective Service, a target of the probe.


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Racing against the clock on health care

President Barack Obama is struggling to show progress in a race against the clock to revamp the nation's health care system this year.

Problems in Congress threaten to overshadow a White House event Wednesday designed to boost Obama's health overhaul.

Leaders from hospital industry trade groups were expected to appear with Vice President Joe Biden to announce that hospitals are ready to give up about $155 billion over 10 years in government payments. The money could then be used to help pay for covering millions of uninsured.


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U.S. government web sites attacked

A widespread computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of the Treasury Department, the Secret Service and other U.S. government agencies, according to officials inside and outside the government.

Sites in South Korea were also affected, and South Korean intelligence officials believe the attack was carried out by North Korean or pro-Pyongyang forces.


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Techies crack Social Security code

For all the concern about identity theft, researchers say there's a surprisingly easy way for the technology-savvy to figure out the precious nine digits of Americans' Social Security numbers.

"It's good that we found it before the bad guys," Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh said of the method for predicting the numbers.


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Powell: Iraq surge too little too late

Colin Powell says the U.S. took too long to strengthen its forces in Iraq after Baghdad fell early in the war.

Powell, the nation's top military officer under President George H.W. Bush and secretary of state for President George W. Bush, said the decision to use a lighter force to defeat the Iraqi army was correct. But he said in a television interview broadcast Sunday that the younger Bush's administration should have realized the initial success in 2003 was only the start of a longer fight.


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Our mountain of debt: The real financial crisis

The Founding Fathers left one legacy not celebrated on Independence Day but which affects us all. It's the national debt.

The country first got into debt to help pay for the Revolutionary War. Growing ever since, the debt stands today at a staggering $11.4 trillion — equivalent to about $37,000 for each and every American. And it's expanding by over $1 trillion a year.

The mountain of debt easily could become the next full-fledged economic crisis without firm action from Washington, economists of all stripes warn.


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Cheney discussed CIA leak with officials

Vice President Dick Cheney talked with top White House officials about how to respond to reporters' inquiries into who leaked the identity of a CIA operative, according to a court filing.

Cheney told the FBI about his recollection of discussions with his former top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and other White House officials on the media's questions. But the Obama administration is fighting in court to keep the substance of what Cheney revealed to the FBI from the public.


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Is America still a free country? Good question

As the country celebrates another Independence Day weekend, it's worth stepping back from our hot political debates to ask a question: How free is America?

Since last July 4, the country has seen the changing of the guard in the White House -- with accompanying changes in policies on everything from war to the environment to health care to the economy. Those changes have sparked cries of tyranny from the right and angry rebuttals from the left.

So how free is America? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, consider the question.

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Barack Obama and the end of affirmative action

Toward the end of last year's election, I turned to a young African-American acquaintance and said, "If Barack Obama wins, you can kiss goodbye to affirmative action, or what's left of it after 20 years of Supreme Court cases whittling it away.

"Really?" she said, "You think so? I don't agree." I responded, "Would you think affirmative action for women should have been sustained if Sen. Clinton had won the Democratic nomination and the White House?" "I may not agree with you, but I get your point," she responded.


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A civics lesson named Sonia Sotomayor

Half of the states in the United States no longer require high school graduates to have a basic knowledge of civics. One of every three Americans is unable to name the three branches of government.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor think this is a crisis.

They are working to try to educate young Americans about the role of courts in our society. Otherwise, they argue, we risk politicizing the courts and losing the checks and balances the founding fathers valued above all else.


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