Archives for FUBAR

A drop in active duty military suicides, but…

Suicides across the military dropped by more than 15 percent last year, but new detailed data reveals an increase in the number of Army National Guard and Reserve soldiers who took their own lives. The overall totals provided by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps give some hope that prevention programs and increased efforts to identify troops at risk may be taking hold after several years of escalating suicides. But the increase among Army National Guard and Reserve members raises questions about whether those programs are getting to the citizen soldiers who may not have the same access
Read More

Calorie warnings will soon get in your face

Diners could soon see calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants. But will they be able to get that same clear information at grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters or airplanes? The food industry is closely watching the Food and Drug Administration to see which establishments are included in the final menu labeling rules, which are expected this year. The idea is that people may pass on that bacon double cheeseburger if they know that it has 1,000 calories. But non-restaurant establishments have lobbied hard for exemption, and the rules have been delayed. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told Congress
Read More

In Georgia, most can carry guns almost anywhere

Criticized by one group as the “guns everywhere” bill, Georgia took a big step Wednesday toward expanding where licensed carriers can take their weapons, with the governor signing a law that allows them in bars without restriction and in some churches, schools and government buildings under certain circumstances. Following mass shootings in recent years, some states have pursued stronger limits on guns while others like Georgia have taken the opposite path, with advocates arguing that people should be allowed to carry weapons as an issue of public safety. Republicans control large majorities in the Georgia General Assembly, and the bill
Read More

Supremes nix big bucks award for child porn victim

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Two dissenting justices said Congress should change the law to benefit victims. The justices said in a 5-4 ruling that a 1994 federal law gives victims the right to seek restitution from offenders, but only to the extent that the victim’s losses are tied to the offenders’ actions. In this case,
Read More

IRS rewards 1,000 employees who owe back taxes

The Internal Revenue Service has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes, a government investigator said Tuesday. More than 2,800 workers got bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes, said a report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. The bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012. George’s report said the bonus program doesn’t violate federal regulations, but it’s inconsistent with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws. “These awards
Read More

Report on CIA torture overshadows Gitmo trials

The Senate’s forthcoming report on the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques could add to the legal complications facing the long-delayed U.S. military tribunals of terrorist suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The Obama administration is removing or censoring national security secrets in the Senate report, a declassification process that will involve the Pentagon as well as spy agency officials. Two U.S. officials familiar with planning for the report’s declassification said the Defense Department already has received copies of the still-secret summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report and expects to provide its own assessment of the material to
Read More

Supremes OK Michigan’s affirmative action ban

A state’s voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America. The 6-2 decision upheld a voter-approved change to the Michigan Constitution that forbids the state’s public colleges to take race into account. That change was indeed up to the voters, the ruling said, over one justice’s impassioned dissent that accused the court of simply wanting to wish away inequality. The ruling bolsters
Read More

Justices appear skeptical in Internet streaming case

Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet. The high court heard arguments in a dispute between television broadcasters and Aereo Inc., which takes free television signals from the airwaves and charges subscribers to watch the programs on laptop computers, smartphones and even their large-screen televisions. The case has the potential to bring big changes to the television industry. There was a good measure of skepticism about Aereo’s approach, sometimes leavened with humor. Chief Justice
Read More

Another blow against Arizona’s immigration law

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal of a blocked provision of Arizona’s 2010 immigration enforcement law, dealing another blow to Gov. Jan Brewer in her effort to defend the law. The court declined to review the ruling that barred police from arresting people who harbor those living in the United States illegally. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked police from enforcing the prohibition, concluding last year that it was vague and trumped by federal law, which already forbids harboring people in the country unlawfully. The harboring ban is among a handful of provisions
Read More

Justice broadens criteria for clemency

The Justice Department is broadening the criteria it will use in evaluating clemency petitions from certain federal prisoners and expects the changes to result in thousands of new applications, Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday. The new criteria, which will be detailed later this week and are aimed at inmates serving time for nonviolent drug offenses, are intended to lead to a reduction in the nation’s federal prison population and also to “ensure that those who have paid their debts have a chance to become productive citizens,” Holder said in a video message. The announcement is part of an ongoing
Read More