Archives for FUBAR

Most Americans still unimpressed with Obamacare

President Barack Obama celebrated when sign-ups for his health care law topped 8 million, far exceeding expectations after a slipshod launch. Most Americans, however, remain unimpressed. A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that public opinion continues to run deeply negative on the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature effort to cover the uninsured. Forty-three percent oppose the law, compared with just 28 percent in support. The pattern illustrates why the health care law remains a favored target for Republicans seeking a Senate majority in the midterm elections. The poll does have a bright spot for the administration: Those who signed up
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Kerry agrees to testify on Benghazi debacle

Secretary of State John Kerry will testify before Congress next month about the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, a one-and-done appearance that the State Department insists is enough to answer questions and means he could avoid the newly formed select committee. In a letter to the House Oversight chairman, the department said Friday that Kerry could appear on June 12 or June 20 to discuss the Obama administration’s cooperation with the panel in providing emails and other documents related to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The department said that appearance
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Another gay marriage ban overturned by judge

Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage was overturned by a federal judge Tuesday in a decision that legalized same-sex unions throughout the Northeast and sent couples racing to pick up licenses. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III called the plaintiffs — a widow, 11 couples and one couple’s teenage daughters — courageous for challenging the constitutionality of the ban passed by lawmakers in 1996. “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” the judge wrote. The judge declined to put his ruling on hold for
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More strain in US-China relations from cyber case

The indictment of five Chinese military officials on cyber espionage charges will intensify friction between Beijing and Washington that has been growing as China gets bolder in asserting its territorial claims in disputed seas in East Asia. That doesn’t mean there will be a fracture in the U.S.-China relationship, which remains vital for both of the world powers, but it raises major doubts about the ability of U.S. and China to manage their differences. “This adds to the mounting list of hugely problematic issues between the U.S. and China,” said Jonathan Pollack, a specialist on East Asian politics and security
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Schools work to help transgender students fit in

Isaac Barnett took a bold step last year: He told teachers and classmates at his Kansas high school that the student they had known as a girl now wanted to be accepted as a boy. His close childhood friend, who also identified as transgender, was ready to reveal his secret, too. With the administration’s blessing, a segment featuring the two friends talking about their transitions aired in the school’s classrooms, alongside a basketball team promotion and a feature on the importance of the arts. “I didn’t get any questions or hate or put-downs or anything like that,” said Barnett, now
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Opponents spend $445 million on ads against Obamacare

A new analysis finds the nation’s health care overhaul deserves a place in advertising history as the focus of extraordinarily high spending on negative political TV ads that have gone largely unanswered by the law’s supporters. The report, released Friday by nonpartisan analysts Kantar Media CMAG, estimates that $445 million was spent on political TV ads mentioning the law since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Spending on negative ads outpaced positive ones by more than 15 to 1. Outside of Social Security and Medicare, “no other law has come close to these amounts, much less within
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Veterans’ Administration screwups under fire

The Obama administration and Congress are moving quickly to respond to a growing political firestorm over allegations of treatment delays and falsified records at veterans hospitals nationwide. The top official for veterans’ health care resigned Friday, and House Republicans scheduled a vote for Wednesday on legislation that would give Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki greater authority to fire or demote senior executives and administrators at the agency and its 152 medical centers. The actions came as federal investigators visited a VA hospital in suburban Chicago to look into an allegation that secret lists were used to conceal long patient wait
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Military dishes out some punishment on sexual harassment

The U.S. military fired or disciplined nearly 500 workers for sexual harassment in a 12-month period, and nearly 13 percent of the complaints filed involved repeat offenders, according to new data. The Pentagon on Thursday released its first formal report on sexual harassment amid months of criticism from Congress over how the department handles sexual assaults and related crimes. According to the report, there were 1,366 reports of sexual harassment filed in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, involving 496 offenders across the services and National Guard. Officials acknowledged that much like sexual assault complaints, incidents of sexual harassment
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How health care cost controls could end up costing you

You just might want to pay attention to the latest health insurance jargon. It could mean thousands of dollars out of your pocket. The Obama administration has given the go-ahead for a new cost-control strategy called “reference pricing.” It lets insurers and employers put a dollar limit on what health plans pay for some expensive procedures, such as knee and hip replacements. Some experts worry that patients could be surprised with big medical bills they must pay themselves, undercutting financial protections in the new health care law. That would happen if patients picked a more expensive hospital — even if
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Segregation returning to American schools

Segregation is making a comeback in U.S. schools. Progress toward integrated classrooms has largely been rolled back since the Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision 60 years ago, according to a report released Thursday by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Blacks are now seeing more school segregation than they have in decades, and more than half of Latino students are now attending schools that are majority Latino. In New York, California and Texas, more than half of Latino students are enrolled in schools that are 90 percent minority or more, the report found.
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