Archives for FUBAR

Sorry for your loss. Now, pay off your student loan

Some student loan borrowers who had a parent or grandparent co-sign the note are finding that they must immediately pay the loan in full if the relative dies. The Consumer Financial Protect Board says lenders have clauses in their contract that explain this could happen, but many borrowers are not aware of them. The agency’s ombudsman, Rohit Chopra, said complaints related to this issue are growing more common because the practice is catching so many consumers by surprise. Some borrowers told to pay back the loan in full have been making timely payments, Chopra said. While it’s unclear how prevalent
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Rick Perry under investigation for abuse of power

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has spent a record 14 years in office vanquishing nearly all who dared confront him: political rivals, moms against mandatory vaccines for sixth graders, a coyote in the wrong place at the wrong time. But with eight months left on the job and a decision to make about the 2016 presidential race, the long-serving governor known for his Texas swagger is now the focus of a grand jury investigation that could cause more difficulty than any adversary has. What should have been a political victory lap for Perry could now wind up in a final tussle
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TV networks fight startup that threatens their dominance

Thirty years after failing to convince the Supreme Court of the threat posed by home video recordings, big media companies are back and now trying to rein in another technological innovation they say threatens their financial well-being. The battle has moved out of viewers’ living rooms, where Americans once marveled at their ability to pop a cassette into a recorder and capture their favorite programs or the sporting event they wouldn’t be home to see. Now the entertainment conglomerates that own U.S. television networks are waging a legal fight, culminating in Tuesday’s Supreme Court argument against a startup business that
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Militias in America: Be afraid, be very afraid

Flat on his belly in a sniper position, wearing a baseball cap and a flak jacket, a protester aimed his semi-automatic rifle from the edge of an overpass and waited as a crowd below stood its ground against U.S. federal agents in the Nevada desert. He was part of a 1,000-strong coalition of armed militiamen, cowboys on horseback, gun rights activists and others who rallied to Cliven Bundy’s Bunkerville ranch, about 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Las Vegas, in a standoff with about a dozen agents from the federal Bureau of Land Management. The rangers had rounded up hundreds
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‘Heartbleed’ virus may affect Obamacare web site

People who have accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama’s signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government’s vulnerability to the confounding Heartbleed Internet security flaw. Senior administration officials said there is no indication that the HealthCare.gov site has been compromised and the action is being taken out of an abundance of caution. The government’s Heartbleed review is ongoing, the officials said, and users of other websites may also be told to change their passwords in the coming days, including those with accounts on the popular WhiteHouse.gov petitions
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Atheist sues to get license place that says ‘8THEIST’

A New Jersey woman who says she was denied a license plate referencing atheism filed suit this week, claiming her online application was rejected because it was deemed potentially offensive. Shannon Morgan, of Maurice Township, said in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that the Motor Vehicle Commission violated her First Amendment rights when its website rejected the plate reading “8THEIST.” She said she received a message stating that her vanity plate request was ineligible as it “may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.” Morgan then filled out the online application using the phrase “BAPTIST” as a test, which
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Keystone Pipeline review? Maybe after midterms

The Obama administration is extending indefinitely the amount of time federal agencies have to review the Keystone XL pipeline, the State Department said Friday, likely punting the decision over the controversial oil pipeline past the midterm elections. The State Department didn’t say how much longer it will grant agencies to weigh in but cited a recent decision by a Nebraska judge overturning a state law that allowed the pipeline’s path through the state, prompting uncertainty and an ongoing legal battle. Nebraska’s Supreme Court isn’t expected to rule for another several months, and there could be more legal maneuvering after that.
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Raising wages would cost business $15 billion

A Senate Democratic bill gradually increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 hourly would require private businesses to spend $15 billion more in salaries when it takes full effect in 2017, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Thursday. The nonpartisan budget office’s estimate could be used as ammunition by Republicans, who largely oppose the measure because they say it would drive up business costs. But it could also be beneficial to Democrats because the private sector spent $5.4 trillion on wages in 2012, according to the most recent data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means the increased pay
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Few audits of big business partnerships by the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service audits fewer than 1 percent of large business partnerships, according to a government report released Tuesday. That means some of Wall Street’s largest hedge funds and private equity firms are largely escaping close scrutiny by the IRS, said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. The Government Accountability Office says the number of large businesses organized as partnerships has more than tripled since 2002, yet hardly any get audited. In 2012, only 0.8 percent were subjected to field exams in which agents do a thorough review of books and records. The GAO defines large partnerships as those with more
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Homeland Security issues new asylum claim rules

The Homeland Security Department has reissued asylum rules to immigration officials amid concerns that they are misinterpreting how to decide which immigrants get to see a judge for asylum claims. The chief of the asylum division at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has told asylum officers that immigrants who make a “credible fear” claim, the first step in the asylum process, must have a “significant possibility” of winning an asylum case before a judge. In a Feb. 28 memo, the official, John Lafferty, said in order to meet that standard immigrants have to “demonstrate a substantial and realistic possibility of
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