Archives for FUBAR

Yes, cell phones & driving don’t mix

None of this will come as news to anyone who has been nearly run down in a pedestrian crosswalk by a driver happily prattling away on a cell phone. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, apparently bullied by Congress, felt that the actual proof of the dangers of distracted driving was too sensitive to share with the public.

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Saddam Hussein’s mother of all bluffs

It looks as though Saddam Hussein, as has been increasingly suspected, pulled off the mother of all bluffs --one that not only changed the course of history but set off a chain reaction so violent it is anyone's guess where and when it will end.

The late dictator told his FBI interrogators before he was turned over to Iraqi justice that he fooled the United States and half the world into thinking he was in possession of weapons of mass destruction as a deterrent to what he believed was a threat from Iran. He said his fear of Iranian fanatics was so strong he even contemplated seeking a security agreement with America, whom he did not see as a major enemy.

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Get ready for Uncle Barack’s Plantation

What is now being billed as health care reform is but the latest chapter in a process I described in an earlier column as "Back on Uncle Sam's Plantation."

Rather than moving dysfunctional America off the welfare state, as we did with welfare reform in 1996, we are now moving the free, functioning, and once prosperous part of our nation onto the welfare state.

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Public support for Obama health care plan fading

Public support for President Barack Obama's handling of healthcare reform, the pillar of his legislative agenda, has fallen below 50 percent for the first time, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Monday said.

Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress have run into stiff opposition this month as they try to pass legislation to restructure the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry through the creation of a government-run health insurance program.

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So many health plans, so little consensus

President Barack Obama's advisers are urging critics of their health care overhaul to wait for Congress to finish writing legislation before issuing verdicts. They also signaled they are willing to wait longer than their White House-imposed August deadline for action if it means they can sway wary lawmakers.

The White House spent Sunday defending Obama's health care proposals and stressing that Congress has not yet written the final draft of legislation that would dramatically reshape how Americans receive health care. Instead, they said, Republicans — and even some Democrats — should wait until a final bill takes form.
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Sotomayor ain’t owing nuttin’ to no one

Once Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed to the Supreme Court, all those hours of predictable questions and cautious replies at her Senate confirmation hearings will be filed and forgotten as she judges the way she sees fit. Nobody can hold her to what she's said.

That's the usually unspoken reality of confirmation proceedings. Once the votes are cast, they don't count.

It was spoken this time in a brief, little-noted exchange during four days of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

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Pentagon no-bid contracts waste millions

The Defense Department frequently awards no-bid work to small contractors for repairs at military bases under the new economic stimulus law, costing taxpayers millions of dollars more than when businesses compete for the work, according to an Associated Press analysis of 570 such contracts.

The Pentagon saves more than three times as much money when companies compete, the AP analysis showed. Yet more than $242 million in federal contracts — representing more than one-fourth of the military's stimulus contract spending so far — has been awarded under the recovery program through no-bid contracts for repairs and maintenance.
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Conservative group sought $2 million bribe

The powerful American Conservative Union (ACU), one of the major backers of the Republican Party and right-wing causes, attempted to extort $2 million from Federal Express (FedEx) in exchange for support in a legislative dispute.

When FedEx refused the pay, the ACU switched sides in the fight and backed FedEx rival United Parcel Service (UPS).

Incredibly, the ACU put the bribe offer in writing in a letter to FedEx.

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Sadly, we remain a society of secrets

Just when you think you know what's going on in Washington under President Obama's new open-government policy, you find out the place is still riddled with secrets.

There's great excitement over the new health care package. Actually, there's a House version and a Senate version. Actually, it turns out there are several Senate versions, all of which keep secret what they will cost and who will pay for them. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the go-to guy on health care, is still keeping his ideas a secret.

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Will Sonia Sotomayor be an activist judge?

Will Sonia Sotomayor be an activist judge? The question of judicial activism -- what it is and who might be guilty of committing it from the bench -- is at the heart of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Republicans on the committee charged that her "empathy" might cause her to depart from the law -- or dispense with it entirely -- to engineer liberal outcomes.

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