FUBAR

Stop cell phone use in cars

They’re out to get you, these people who talk on cell phones while driving, and it’s not just various studies that convince me every state in the union ought to pass tough laws prohibiting this selfish, reckless, life-endangering amusement. It’s the evidence of my own eyes.

Just in the past couple of weeks, I have witnessed three instances of erratic driving, taken a look at the driver and seen the person yakking away with a handheld cell phone pressed blissfully to the ear.

Hidden expenses double war’s cost

A new study by congressional Democrats says “hidden costs” have driven the price of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to about $1.5 trillion, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

That figure is nearly double the $804 billion the White House has spent or requested, according to the report by the Democratic staff of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee, which examines the hidden costs of the wars, the Post said.

Drug lobbyists stall generic research

Legislation aimed at speeding the availability of cheaper generic drugs has stalled in Congress in the face of major lobbying by the drug industry.

The Senate bill would ban most settlements known as “reverse payments,” in which a brand-name company pays a generic manufacturer to delay the introduction of the generic drug. The Federal Trade Commission, which has called on Congress to take action, says such settlements could cost American consumers billions of dollars.

Listen to this man

I’ve read quite a few books about Vietnam, but the only one that I’ve read twice is “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young,” by Lt. Gen. Harold Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway.

It’s the story of the first full-scale engagement between North Vietnamese regulars and American troops, a bloody, desperate battle in the central highlands of Vietnam that began on Nov. 14, 1965. The 1st Battalion, 7th Calvary, commanded by Lt. Col. Moore, launched a helicopter-borne air assault into the remote and rugged Ia Drang Valley, employing a tactic that would become iconic for the war.

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.