Archives for FUBAR

Gay marriage arrives in parts, but not all, of Alabama

Gay marriage arrived to parts of Alabama on Monday — but not to others — after the state’s chief justice sought to put the weddings on hold, echoing familiar southern refrains of resistance to the intrusion of federal courts. Jubilant couples emerged with marriage licenses in hand from courthouses in Montgomery and Birmingham and other cities on the day a judge’s order went into effect overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage and making Alabama the 37th state where gays can legally wed. Other counties refused to issue licenses to gay couples, or closed marriage license operations entirely, following the
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Jury selection starting for trial on murder of Chris Kyle

Jury selection is to begin Monday in the trial of the man accused of fatally shooting a former Navy SEAL who was depicted in the Oscar-nominated film “American Sniper.” More than 260 potential jurors are set to report to district court in the Texas town of Stephenville, southwest of Fort Worth. Former Marine Eddie Ray Routh is charged with capital murder in the deaths of 38-year-old Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend, 35-year-old Chad Littlefield, two years ago at a luxury resort’s shooting range in a rural area about 25 miles southeast of Stephenville. The trial is expected to start Wednesday.
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Obstructionist Alabama justice tries to stop gay marriage

Tori Sisson and Shante Wolfe camped in a blue and white tent outside the Montgomery County Courthouse during the early hours Monday, hugging and talking excitedly of getting married soon. They hoped to be the first couple to get a marriage license Monday morning as a federal judge’s order overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage goes into effect, making Alabama the 37th state to allow gays and lesbians to wed. “It’s about time,” Wolfe, 21, said of gay marriage being allowed in the Deep South state. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, in an 11th hour move to keep the
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Amid controversy, Brian Williams takes self off air for ‘several days’

Brian Williams said he is temporarily stepping away from the “NBC Nightly News” amid questions about his memories of war coverage in Iraq, calling it “painfully apparent” that he has become a distracting news story. In a memo Saturday to NBC News staff that was released by the network, the anchorman said that as managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” he is taking himself off the broadcast for several days. Weekend anchor Lester Holt will fill in, Williams said. NBC News refused to comment Saturday on when or whether Williams would return and who would decide his future. Williams, however,
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Health insurance hacks raise data security concerns

Insurers aren’t required to encrypt consumers’ data under a 1990s federal law that remains the foundation for health care privacy in the Internet age — an omission that seems striking in light of the major cyberattack against Anthem. Encryption uses mathematical formulas to scramble data, converting sensitive details coveted by intruders into gibberish. Anthem, the second-largest U.S. health insurer, has said the data stolen from a company database that stored information on 80 million people was not encrypted. The main federal health privacy law — the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA — encourages encryption, but doesn’t require
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Less drinking, more drug use among drivers

The number of drivers on the road with alcohol in their systems has declined by nearly one-third since 2007, but there has been a large increase in drivers using marijuana and other illegal drugs, a government report released Friday found. The report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the share of drivers who test positive for alcohol has declined by more than three-quarters since the agency first began conducting roadside surveys in 1973. But the latest survey, conducted in 2013 and 2014, also found that 22 percent of drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could
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In South Carolina, racism lives on a war memorial

Along Main Street in a small South Carolina city, there is war memorial honoring fallen World War I and II soldiers, dividing them into two categories: “white” and “colored.” Welborn Adams, Greenwood’s white Democratic-leaning mayor, believes the bronze plaques are relics of the South’s scarred past and should be changed in the spirit of equality, replaced like the “colored” water fountains or back entrances to the movie theater that blacks were once forced to use. Yet the mayor’s attempt to put up new plaques was blocked by a state law that brought the Confederate flag down from the Statehouse dome
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Public support for gay marriage has caveats

While finding that Americans narrowly favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, a new Associated Press-GfK poll also shows most believe wedding-related businesses should be allowed to deny service to same-sex couples for religious reasons. Roughly half the country also thinks local officials and judges with religious objections ought to be exempt from any requirement that they issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, according to the poll. That view of the same-sex marriage issue echoes that of the Mormon church. Last week, the church called on state legislatures to pass new laws that protect gay, lesbian,
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Chokehold details sought

Two months after a grand jury declined to press criminal charges in the police killing of an unarmed New York City man, a state judge must decide whether to disclose details of the secret proceedings. The New York Civil Liberties Union and other petitioners have gone to court on Staten Island to demand that Judge William Garnett open the record in the Eric Garner case — a position opposed by Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan. Garnett is set to hear arguments at a hearing on Thursday morning. In court papers, the NYCLU cited the outcry over the grand jury’s
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Deficit cuts? What deficit cuts?

President Barack Obama’s budget is relying on a series of familiar accounting tricks to show $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over a decade, an amount that would shrink by almost half if they were excluded. But so-called “pay-go” rules officially require tax cuts and new spending on the mandatory side of the ledger to be balanced by new revenues or spending cuts elsewhere. Mandatory spending, like fees that Medicare pays to doctors, runs on autopilot. The accounting steps essentially inflate the White House’s “baseline” predictions of future deficits. Then the White House claims greater deficit savings than it otherwise could
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