Archives for FUBAR

Gitmo mess leaves Obama in political box

President Barack Obama finds himself in a political box — at home and abroad — on closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, and he has prepared a major address on national security in hopes of working out of the tight spot.

Obama was taking on the explosive topic Thursday, a day after the Senate, at the behest of majority Democrats, denied his request for $80 million to close the prison. The 90-6 vote followed a similar move last week in the House and underscored widespread apprehension among Obama's Democratic allies in Congress over the issue.

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Trial date set for Gitmo detainee

The Obama administration is pressing ahead with its plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, deciding to put a "high value" detainee on trial in New York City despite resistance from some in Congress.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced early Thursday that Ahmed Ghailani will be sent to New York City for trial, which would make him the first Guantanamo detainee brought to the U.S. and the first to face trial in a civilian criminal court.

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Poll finds college students stressed, depressed

Got stress? Oh, yeah, college students say, what with roommates, GPAs, student loans and all the rest.

But where's the line between feeling simply stressed and being truly depressed?

Eighty-five percent of college students surveyed in an Associated Press-mtvU poll reported feeling stressed in their daily lives in recent months: Worries about grades, school work, money and relationships were the big culprits.

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Army paid millions in bonuses to corrupt contractor

The U.S. Army paid "tens of millions of dollars in bonuses" to KBR Inc, its biggest contractor in Iraq, even after it concluded the firm's electrical work had put U.S. soldiers at risk, according to a source close to a U.S. congressional investigation.

The Senate Democratic Policy Committee plans to hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine KBR's operations in Iraq, and question why the Army rewarded the Houston-based company.

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Federal pension agency has record deficits

In an ominous setback, the government agency that insures the pensions of 44 million Americans has amassed a record $33.5 billion deficit — triple what it was just six months ago.

The bleak financial snapshot, in a report obtained by The Associated Press, raises new fears that a federal bailout eventually will be needed for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. The beleaguered agency is being saddled with the underfunded pension plans of companies going bankrupt in the worst economic slump since the Great Depression.

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Activists want probe of insurers

Activists backing President Barack Obama's health care overhaul are asking the Justice Department to open a wide-ranging investigation of what they say is monopoly-like power in the hands of major insurers.

The move by Health Care for America Now has consequences for the debate on Capitol Hill, since health insurers have been working closely with lawmakers to find a compromise that would expand coverage and curb costs.

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Time to be honest about torture

Readers who e-mail me about torture sometimes submit these two seemingly contradictory propositions: (1) Water boarding isn't torture; and (2) without water boarding, the United States would have suffered a second visitation of 9/11.

I wonder if there's a way of eradicating the first proposition altogether. I'm guessing that most people who argue that waterboarding isn't torture have never experienced it. Rather than undertaking the experiment myself, I'd prefer to rely on my imagination, which tells me that waterboarding is a horrifying ordeal.

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Morality, torture and the law

Barbarism and the law collide in war. Armed conflict is inherently terribly destructive. The law is a vital tool for mitigating the most brutal aspects of war. Both dimensions are present in the intensely politicized debate in Washington about torture.

Anti-war Democrats have pressed for release of classified information. Republican counterattacks include accusations that Democrats were fully briefed on use of waterboarding on prisoners during the Bush administration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denies this.

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