Archives for FUBAR

Health care plan renewals may backfire

If you have health insurance on your job, you probably don’t give much thought to each year’s renewal. But make the same assumption in one of the new health law plans, and it could lead to costly surprises. Insurance exchange customers who opt for convenience by automatically renewing their coverage for 2015 are likely to receive dated and inaccurate financial aid amounts from the government, say industry officials, advocates and other experts. If those amounts are too low, consumers could get sticker shock over their new premiums. Too high, and they’ll owe the tax man later. Automatic renewal was supposed
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Too many unanswered questions, too little intel

A series of unanswered questions about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shows the limits of U.S. intelligence gathering even when it is intensely focused, as it has been in Ukraine since Russia seized Crimea in March. Citing satellite imagery, intercepted conversations and social media postings, U.S. intelligence officials have been able to present what they call a solid circumstantial case that the plane was brought down by a Russian-made SA-11 surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. But they have not offered proof of what they say is their strong belief that the separatists obtained the
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CIA operatives involved in torture denied report viewing

About a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were notified in recent days that they would be able to review parts of the document in a secure room in suburban Washington after signing a secrecy agreement. Then, on Friday, many were told they would not be able to see it, after all. Some of them were furious, while Democratic Senate aides were angry that they were given the chance in the first place. It’s the latest chapter in the drama and recriminations that have been playing out behind the scenes in
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Mixed reactions from vets on Walsh’s plagiarism

The talk in American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War halls and barrooms across Montana has been about Sen. John Walsh since the Democrat linked a cribbed research project he wrote in 2007 to post-traumatic stress disorder. How those veteran voters respond means a lot to Walsh, who has built his election campaign for the Senate around his 33-year career in the National Guard and his proposals to help veterans and their families. The reaction so far has been a mixed bag of condemnation, sympathy and shrugs. “I think veterans feel for him,” said Dave Mihalic, a Missoula resident, former
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Putin pushing dangerous path says American general

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine is fanning nationalist sentiments that could spread across the region with dangerous, unpredictable consequences, the US military’s top officer said. General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Putin was pursuing an “aggressive” agenda that flouts sovereignty and seeks to address alleged grievances harbored by Moscow since the demise of the Soviet Union. “If I have a fear about this, it’s that Putin may actually light a fire that he loses control of,” Dempsey said at a security conference in Aspen, Colorado. Speaking hours after US officials
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SSA’s $300 million disability computer system doesn’t work

After spending nearly $300 million on a new computer system to handle disability claims, the Social Security Administration still can’t get it to work. And officials can’t say when it will. Six years ago, Social Security embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims. But the project has been racked by delays and mismanagement, according to an internal report commissioned by the agency. Today, the project is still in the testing phase, and the agency can’t say when it will be operational or how much it will cost. In the
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Federal judges follow party lines in different courts

In rapid succession, six federal judges on two appeals courts weighed in on a key component of President Barack Obama’s health care law. Their votes lined up precisely with the party of the president who appointed them. It was the latest illustration that presidents help shape their legacies by stocking the federal bench with judges whose views are more likely to align with their own. The legal drama played out Tuesday in Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia, on two appeals courts that Obama has transformed through 10 appointments in 5½ years. In the first ruling, a divided three-judge panel of
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Undercover investigators obtain Obamacare subsidies

Undercover investigators using fake identities were able to secure taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law. The weak link in the system seemed to be call centers that handled applications for thousands of consumers unable to get through online. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office was to tell a House committee on Wednesday that its investigators were able to get subsidized health care under fake names in 11 out of 18 attempts. The GAO is still paying premiums for the policies, even as the Obama administration attempts to verify phony documentation. Those additional checks appeared to need tightening;
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Police ties to Klan stun residents of Florida town

Ann Hunnewell and her central Florida police officer husband knelt in the living room of a fellow officer’s home, with pillow cases as makeshift hoods over their heads. A few words were spoken and they, along with a half-dozen others, were initiated into the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, she says. Last week, that five-year-old initiation ceremony stunned residents of the small town of Fruitland Park, who found out an investigative report linked two city officers with the secret hate society that once was violently active in the area. Ann Hunnewell’s ex-husband, George Hunnewell, was fired, and deputy
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Kerry heads back in Mideast to push for cease-fire

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is making a renewed push for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas with another trip to the Middle East after the civilian death toll in the conflict sharply escalated over the weekend. Kerry left Washington early Monday for Cairo, where he will join diplomatic efforts to resume a truce that had been agreed to in November 2012. He will urge the militant Palestinian group to accept a cease-fire agreement offered by Egypt that would halt nearly two weeks of fighting. More than 500 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have been killed in that time. The
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