FUBAR

Guest worker all-stars

There can’t be many baseball fans that are still surprised by lineups of big leaguers whose names end in “guez” or “rez” or “ina.” Count ‘em: Rodriguezes, Ramirezes, Hernandezes, Gonzalezes, Perezes, Vazquezes, not to mention the Zambranos, Cabreras, Encarnacions, Suzukis, Matsuis, and Kims. Is there still a major league catcher not named Molina?

Raining cash on the wrong people

As the Senate debates a five-year, $286 billion agriculture-subsidy extravaganza, consider the heartwarming rhetoric about saving family farms. Who ever imagined such families included the Rockefellers?

As the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG.org) priceless Farm Subsidy Database reveals, philanthropist Mark Rockefeller received $228,350 in conservation subsidies between 2001 and 2005 for his Idaho farm. His brother, banking legend David Rockefeller, scored $29,615, thanks to his Hudson Valley farm.

No match, no papers, no problem

It is said politics makes strange bedfellows. In this case, let’s call it bizarre bedfellows. There are few issues on which I normally agree with Colorado conservative Rep. Tom Tancredo. But when it comes to illegal immigration, we’re somewhat in sync.

U.S. ready to sack Blackwater

A State Department review of private security guards for diplomats in Iraq is unlikely to recommend firing Blackwater USA over the deaths of 17 Iraqis last month, but the company probably is on the way out of that job, U.S. officials said.

Blackwater’s work escorting U.S. diplomats outside the protected Green Zone in Baghdad expires in May, one official said Wednesday, and other officials told The Associated Press they expect the North Carolina company will not continue to work for the embassy after that.

More spy abuse by FBI, Pentagon

The Pentagon has misled Congress and the US public by conniving with the FBI to obtain hundreds of financial, telephone and Internet records without court approval, civil-rights campaigners said Sunday.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has successfully challenged key planks of US anti-terrorism legislation, said it had uncovered 455 “National Security Letters” (NSLs) issued at the behest of the Department of Defense.

A howl of protest

That screech you hear is the sound of brakes being applied to the Army’s plans to replace the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

Arguably the most sacred spot in America, the majestic white sarcophagus has developed cracks and the elements have eroded its marble surface, rendering its inscriptions less distinct.

Ex-Pentagon official: ‘Iraq a nightmare’

A former top US military commander in Iraq said the current White House strategy in Iraq will not achieve victory in the four-and-a-half-year war, which he described as “a nightmare with no end in sight” in a hard-hitting speech.

In the bluntest assessment of Iraq by a former senior Pentagon official yet, retired Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez also lambasted US political leaders as “incompetent,” “inept,” “derelict in the performance of their duty” and suggested they would have been court-martialed had they been members of the US military.

Getting arrested can be deadly

More than 2,000 people died in the United States during arrests between 2003 and 2005, according to data published by the Department of Justice for the first time Thursday.

As many as 54 percent were killed by police, 12 percent died because of a drug or alcohol overdose, 11 percent committed suicide, seven percent succumbed to accidents and five percent died due to illnesses or natural causes, according to statistics from 47 US states, and the US federal capital city, released in accordance with a 2000 law.

CIA goes after its watchdog

The work of the CIA’s in-house investigator who found fault with the agency’s handling of the Sept. 11 attacks is being subjected to an internal review, published reports say.

The move, which is highly unusual, has raised concerns that CIA Director Michael Hayden is trying to squelch the investigations of Inspector General John Helgerson, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times reported Friday, citing anonymous officials.

Democracy is not always the answer

With barely more than 4 million citizens, the tiny state of Singapore in Southeast Asia would hardly qualify as a template or role model for anything or anybody. Even clockwork-like Switzerland seems a relative superpower at 7.5 million in populace. Why would anyone care one way or the other what Singapore’s first prime minister thinks or says or criticizes?