Archives for FUBAR

Financial forecast: Doom, gloom and little growth

Economists from all sides of the political system are sounding a unified theme for the new year: The outlook for economic growth in America isn't good for now or in the future.

In fact, the economist say slow growth will be with us for most of the next decade.

And a depressed housing market will keep the screws on the economy.

Median home values have fallen more than 30 percent since 2005

"It will be difficult to have a robust recovery while housing and commercial real estate are depressed," Harvard Professor and former director of the National Bureau of Economic Research said in a speech to the American Economic Association's annual gathering of top economists from around the country.

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Jobs act: Another costly government debacle?

Can the government create jubs by sinking the nation billions of dollars further into debt? That is a question the Senate faces as it tackles a jobs bill in the first month of the new year.

Republicans say the "Jobs for Main Street Act" is nothing more than another expensive government program that will spend money, raise the deficit and create few, if any jobs. The House passed the act 217-212 in the closing days of the December term. No Republicans voted for the bill.

The bill for the jobs act is $174 billion.  Critics say it is nothing more than another ill-fated "stimulus plan," comparing it to the $787 billion economic plan that spent more and produced few jobs and little stimulus.

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Ye gads! Fox is top cable news channel

Fox News Channel may drive blood pressures to record highs among liberals but the right-wing cable channel just finished its best ratings year ever and easily tops CNN and MSNBC with viewers.

The only cable channels that do better than Fox News are entertainment ones. MSNBC and CNN aren't even in the top 10.

In fact, ratings are falling for more liberal-oriented MSNBC and CNN. Even the darlings of the "progressive" community -- Keith Olbermann and Rachael Maddow -- face erosion of viewers while their favorite targets -- Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck -- watch their numbers rise.

Most viewers, it appears, prefer their "news" with a conservative slant.
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Why can’t the CIA even protect its own agents?

The brazen attack that killed seven CIA employees at a remote outpost in Afghanistan is likely to raise questions about whether the agency could do more to protect its operatives on dangerous assignments.

Lawmakers on Thursday issued their condolences and withheld any judgment. But officials said they expected an eventual inquiry as to whether the CIA should re-examine how it deploys individuals in hostile regions and the lengths operatives are allowed to go to get information.

"We owe these brave men and women, and their families who are forever impacted, our deepest appreciation and thanks," said Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, the House Intelligence Committee chairman who had met with the CIA team on a recent trip to Afghanistan.

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Government screws up big time in Blackwater case

A federal judge cited repeated government missteps in dismissing all charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians in a case that inflamed anti-American sentiment abroad.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina dismissed the case against the guards accused of the shooting in a crowded Baghdad intersection in 2007.

The shooting in busy Nisoor Square left 17 Iraqis dead. The Iraqi government wanted the guards to face trial in Iraq and officials there said they would closely watch how the U.S. judicial system handled the case.

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Obama reviews airport security failures

President Barack Obama is reviewing reports from homeland security officials as his administration tries to determine what U.S. policy and personnel failures preceded the attempted Detroit jetliner bombing.

Intelligence officials, meanwhile, prepared for what was shaping up to be uncomfortable hearings before Congress about miscommunication among anti-terror agencies and sweeping changes expected under Obama's watch.

Democrats joined a chorus led by Obama in declaring the government's intelligence procedures in need of repair. Among them, Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., said that when the government gets tipped to trouble as it did before a 23-year-old Nigerian man boarded the Northwest Airlines jet with explosives, "someone's hair should be on fire."

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States threaten lawsuit over Nebraska health care deal

Republican attorneys general in 13 states say congressional leaders must remove Nebraska's political deal from the federal health care reform bill or face legal action, according to a letter provided to The Associated Press Wednesday.

"We believe this provision is constitutionally flawed," South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and the 12 other attorneys general wrote in the letter to be sent Wednesday night to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision," they wrote.

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CIA officials believed killed in bombing

CIA employees are believed to be among the dead in Wednesday's suicide bombing inside a base in eastern Afghanistan, a congressional official said.

A former senior CIA officer who was stationed at the base said a combination of agency officers and contractors operated out of the remote outpost with the military and other agencies.

The CIA has not yet commented on or confirmed the deaths.

The congressional official said it was not clear how many of the victims were assigned to the CIA.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

U.S. officials said the attack occurred at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost province, killing eight American civilians and wounding others.

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Rush Limbaugh hospitalized with chest pains

Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh is resting comfortably in a Hawaii hospital after suffering chest pains while on vacation, his radio program says.

"Rush appreciates your prayers and well wishes and will keep you updated via and on his radio program," the program said in a statement late Wednesday night.

Limbaugh was rushed for medical treatment earlier in the day. The statement said "Rush was admitted to and is resting comfortably in a Honolulu hospital today after suffering chest pains."

Kit Carson, Limbaugh's chief of staff, told The Associated Press that he had no further information on Limbaugh's condition.

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Obama to get preliminary report on security screwup

President Barack Obama is to receive a preliminary report Thursday on how a 23-year-old Nigerian with suspected terrorist ties managed to board a plane he is accused of attempting to bomb on Christmas Day, along with recommendations on how to prevent a sequel.

The report is just the first step in what is shaping up to be an Obama-led effort to change the nation's intelligence practices after an attack that failed not because of U.S. anti-terrorism policies, but despite them. Administration officials said the system to protect the nation's skies from terrorists was deeply flawed and, even then, the government failed to follow its own directives.

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