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The Nation



May 08-10, 2009


Economy Sheds 539,000 Jobs in April

U.S. employers cut a smaller-than-expected 539,000 jobs in April, the smallest amount since October, according to government data on Friday that hinted at some improvement in the labor market and the recession-hit economy.

Fannie Mae to Tap $19 Billion in Treasury Capital

Fannie Mae, operating under a federal conservatorship since September, asked the U.S. Treasury for a $19 billion capital investment as a seventh straight quarterly loss drove the mortgage-finance company’s net worth below zero.

Banks Rush to Raise Capital

Wells Fargo & Co. and Morgan Stanley sold a total of $11 billion in stock Friday morning, each boosting the size of offerings meant to plug capital holes identified by the government's stress tests.

U.S. Says Ailing Banks Need $75 Billion

After conducting stress tests, regulators told the 19 largest U.S. banks that they must raise $75 billion in extra capital, a more upbeat assessment than the industry initially feared.

Ten U.S. Banks Fail 'Stress Tests'

Ten of America's largest 19 banks need a combined $74.6bn (£50bn) of extra funds to boost their cash reserves.

Ready or Not, Katrina Victims Lose Temporary Housing

A deadline ending temporary housing for hurricane victims is an example of programs that seem to be in conflict.

Souter's Exit Opens Door for a More Influential Justice

President Obama may want his replacement for Justice David H. Souter to be more willing to set the agenda.

Elite Unit's Problems Pose Test for Attorney General

After botching the case against Senator Ted Stevens, the public integrity unit, once the pride of the Justice Department, is badly in need of rehabilitation, current and former officials said.

Obama Unveils New Budget Cuts

The nearly $17 billion in additional budget cuts for the coming fiscal year to underscore what President Obama called an "ongoing" effort to find savings.

Pace of U.S. Job Losses is Slowing

The U.S. economy lost 539,000 jobs in April, fewer than in previous months, in a sign that the U.S. jobs market might be beginning to improve.

Dem Centrists Press Pelosi to Shelve Climate Bill

Democratic centrists are pressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to set aside a flagging climate change bill to focus on what they think is a more achievable goal: overhauling the nation’s healthcare system.

California Could Be Broke by July, State Official Warns

Despite the budget fix enacted in February, the state is on track to come up $23 billion short of what it needs to get through the year, the Legislature's chief budget analyst says.,0,5218896.story?track=ntothtml

Obama Budget Allocates $130 Billion for 2 Wars

President Barack Obama's proposed defense budget includes $130 billion for the nation's two wars, a figure that may not be enough. And his Democratic allies in Congress are threatening to set conditions that must be met before that money is handed out.

Justice Dept. Not Expected to Charge Bush Lawyers Over Torture

An internal Justice Department inquiry has concluded that Bush administration lawyers committed serious lapses of judgment in writing secret memorandums authorizing brutal interrogations but that they should not be prosecuted, according to government officials briefed on its findings. The report by the Office of Professional Responsibility, an internal ethics unit within the Justice Department, is also likely to ask state bar associations to consider possible disciplinary action, which could include reprimands or even disbarment, for some of the lawyers involved in writing the legal opinions, the officials said.

Rising Number of Renters Could Spell Trouble for Consumer Price Index

Rising rental costs and falling home prices are not what the economists want these days.{1C5ACE3A-CD16-41DD-92E8-F353094C22C5}&dist=TNMostMailed


May 07, 2009


Report: FBI Mishandles Terror Watch List

The FBI can’t figure out the right way to add or remove suspected terrorists from the country’s unified terrorist watch list, subjecting citizens to unjustified scrutiny from government officials and possibly putting the country at risk, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog said Wednesday in a new report.

Justice Department Drops Case Against Conscientious Objector Watada

The Department of Justice has dropped its case against 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, a war resister who refused Iraq deployment in June 2006 and denounced President George W. Bush’s decision to invade as illegal and immoral.

Dems Nix Money to Close Gitmo, Say Plan Needed First

House Democrats told the president Monday he won't be getting money to close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until he has a "concrete program" for shutting it down and moving its prisoners.

As Stress Tests Are Revealed, Markets Sense a Turning Point

The results of the bank stress tests have been trickling out for days, from Washington and from Wall Street, and the leaks seem to confirm what many bankers feel in their bones: despite all those bailouts, some of the nation’s largest banks still need more money.

Health Insurers Try to Scuttle Obama Plan

In an effort to scuttle a major part of President Obama's plan to reform the nation's health-care system, private health insurers are taking the unusual step of asking Congress to increase regulation of their industry.

Obama Budget Would Cut or End 121 Government Programs

President Barack Obama plans to unveil Thursday a fiscal 2010 budget full of details on his plans to save as much as $17 billion by cutting — and in some cases ending — 121 government programs.

Stress Test Sneak Peek: Big Banks Still Threaten Economy

The banking sector remains a threat to the broader economy, judging by leaks of results from stress tests on the nation's 19 largest banks ahead of Thursday's official release by federal regulators.

Deal Reached to Keep Boston Globe in Print

If approved by workers, a package of wage, benefit and job security concessions will head off the threatened closing of the largest newspaper in Boston.

More States Start Pension Inquiries

Andrew M. Cuomo's investigation into the state comptroller's office has expanded into a broad look at more than 100 firms by attorneys general in dozens of other states.


May 06, 2009


U.S. Says Bank of America Needs $33.9 Billion Cushion

The government has told Bank of America it will need to raise $33.9 billion in capital to withstand any worsening of the economic downturn, according to an executive at the bank.

U.S. May Set a Debt Test for Banks

The Treasury is expected to announce as early as Wednesday that banks must show that they can issue debt without government subsidies before they are allowed to exit TARP.

Tent ‘Cities’ Continue to Sprout

The unemployed Detroit autoworker moved to Florida last year hoping he'd have better luck finding a job. He didn't, and he spent three months sleeping on sidewalks before landing in a tent city in Pinellas County, north of St. Petersburg, on Feb. 26.

Bernanke Sees Hopeful Signs but No Quick Recovery

The Fed chairman said that the economy appeared to be stabilizing on many fronts but cautioned that a recovery was months away and that "sizable job losses" would continue.

As Investors Circle Ailing Banks, Fed Sets Limits

Seeing opportunity in the nation's struggling banking system, private equity firms are lobbying to change federal rules that limit their control.

Plan to Sell Chrysler to Fiat Clears Bar

The judge overseeing the bankruptcy of Chrysler approved the bidding procedures advocated by the company and backed by the White House.

Obama Boosting Taxes on Multinational Corporations

In a move sure to send shivers down the spines of executives of multinational corporations, President Obama announced plans Monday to close tax havens and eliminate some tax incentives for the companies that will essentially amount to billions of dollars in new taxes.

Disney Reports 46% Drop in Profit

Walt Disney Co. reported a 46% drop in net income for its second quarter, blaming disappointing results from its movie studio and a weak global economy, which took a toll on the entertainment giant's tourism-dependent theme park and advertising-reliant broadcast television businesses.,0,1131343.story

N.Y. Times to File Notice It Will Close Boston Globe

The New York Times Co. said last night that it is notifying federal authorities of its plans to shut down the Boston Globe, raising the possibility that New England's most storied newspaper could cease to exist within weeks.

Bush Officials Try to Alter Ethics Report

Former Bush administration officials have launched a behind-the-scenes campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften an ethics report criticizing lawyers who blessed harsh detainee interrogation tactics, according to two sources familiar with the efforts.

Small, Seasoned Group Helps Obama Manage Supreme Court Selection

President Obama's first selection of a Supreme Court justice is being managed by a small group of senior advisers, and the process will last at least into next week before producing a candidate who the administration hopes will inject real-world experience into the nation's highest court.

Sacramento Sees Huge Rise in Vacant Houses, Apartments

Nearly four years into California's housing downturn, close to 24,000 Sacramento-area homes and apartments are vacant, a number that climbed 40 percent in the past year, according to a Bee analysis of federal data.

22% of U.S. Homeowners Face Negative Equity

A growing number of U.S. homeowners owe more than their properties are worth after prices extended their two-year decline in the first quarter, said.


May 05, 2009


S.&P. 500 Erases 2009 Losses as Stocks Jump

As stocks climbed on Monday, a leading stock index crossed a milestone that seemed unthinkable during the worst declines of the bear market: It turned positive for the year.

U.S. Needs 'Digital Warfare Force'

The head of America's National Security Agency says that America needs to build a digital warfare force for the future, according to reports.

Interrogation Debate Sharply Divided Bush White House

Interviews with more than a dozen former Bush administration officials shed new light on a battle over C.I.A. methods.

Senators Accuse Pentagon of Delay in Recovering Millions

The Pentagon has done little to collect at least $100 million in overcharges from the defense contractor KBR, two senators said.

Worries Rise on the Size of U.S. Debt

The government is digging itself deeper into debt, but the market for Treasuries is not infinite and interest payments are expected to balloon.

After Lifetimes Spent Selling Pontiacs, Feeling Sold Out

For the family dealerships that have tied their names to Pontiac for generations, the closing of the brand hits like a kinsman's betrayal.

'Obama Discrediting Himself and the U.S.'

Many had hoped that U.S. President Barack Obama would undo all the damage done by his predecessor. Now, it looks like he might continue the Bush-era practice of trying terror suspects in military tribunals. German commentators are disappointed.,1518,622682,00.html

More Middle-Class New Yorkers Face Eviction

More of the city's middle-class tenants, their jobs gone, are falling behind on rent, straining legal and financial services once used mostly by lower-income New Yorkers.


May 04, 2009


Swine Flu Cases Spread Across U.S.

Some 226 swine flu cases have been confirmed in 30 states and more cases are expected, U.S. health officials say.

U.S. Allies Losing Asylum Bids Over Definition of 'Terrorist'

Forced to flee his homeland because he supported America's ideals, Tsegu Bahta thought he'd be embraced by the country he emulated and respected. Instead, the U.S. has branded him a terrorist.

Once Middle Class, They're Now the New Homeless

They are among a growing number of newly homeless who don't fit old stereotypes. Many of them work regular jobs, or did until recently, nursing the sick, caring for other people's children, vacuuming offices, driving cabs.

U.S. Has a 45-Year History of Torture

The difference between American involvement in South American atrocities in 1964 and 'enhanced interrogation' now is that some modern-day officials appear proud of themselves.,0,4295574.story

Government Seeks Dismissal of AIPAC Case

Prosecutors today filed a motion for dismissal of the controversial case against two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, who were charged under the Espionage Act with unlawful receipt and transmission of classified


Chrysler's Fall May Help Administration Reshape G.M.

If the Chrysler legal process unfolds as the White House hopes it will in coming weeks, the bankruptcy option may look increasingly attractive for General Motors as well.

Voices Reflect Rising Sense of Racial Optimism

More Americans indicated that they were feeling optimistic about race relations, yet no one claimed that racial prejudice has disappeared.

Social Security Benefits Not Expected to Rise in '10

The absence of a cost-of-living adjustment will be a shock to older Americans already hit by the economic slowdown.

Another Liberal Supreme Court Justice About to Exit

During the Bush years, as Justice Souter’s place on the liberal side of the bench became ever more firmly anchored, the cry of “no more Souters” was often heard from Republican activists, dismayed at how the president’s father’s choice had turned out. They can now, perhaps, take comfort. David Souter is an original. There will be no more Souters.

Microsoft’s Encarta Encyclopedia to Cease

Much planning went into Microsoft's Encarta, but ultimately it couldn't compete with Google's algorithms.

Obama Has Chance to Select Justice With Varied Résumé

As Justice David H. Souter departs, the president could move the court back toward what it has been for most of its history: a collection of prominent individuals with broad experience.

U.S. May Revive Guantanamo Military Courts

The Obama administration is moving toward reviving a policy that the president himself had criticized.

Washington Prepares for Fight Over Any Nominee

Conservatives said they saw the opening created by Justice David H. Souter's retirement as a chance to regroup, posing a test for President Obama.

At the Indian Point Nuclear Plant, a Pipe Leak Raises Concerns

Some experts worry that a threat to the safe operation of aging reactors across the country may lurk in underground pipes.

Chrysler Files to Seek Bankruptcy Protection

President Obama forced Chrysler into federal bankruptcy protection on Thursday so it could pursue a lifesaving alliance with the Italian automaker Fiat.

Ex-Congressman Says Campaign Manager Embezzled Funds

After losing the House seat he held for 22 years, Christopher Shays of Connecticut has struggled to repay debt he said is the result of a looted campaign treasury.

Kindergarten Waiting Lists Put Manhattan Parents on Edge

Though the extent of the problem is not yet clear, anger is growing, particularly in Greenwich Village and on the Upper East Side.

Pension Adviser Charged as Cuomo Inquiry Grows

The inquiry into corruption at the New York State pension fund widened on Thursday when a top consultant was charged with a fraud-related felony by State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo.

Buffett Dispenses Gloom at Berkshire

Warren Buffett told a record crowd at a somber annual meeting of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc that first-quarter operating profit fell and the company's book value declined 6 percent, as the recession hurt many of the company's businesses and investments.

FEMA Aid Ends in Mississippi

FEMA said, the agency will start moving out the mobile homes and trailers that have been vacated. “For those who remain in their units on May 1,” the agency said in response to a Sun Herald e-mail, “FEMA will hand-deliver Notices to Vacate informing those who remain that they must surrender the housing unit or FEMA will ask the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue legal action to gain possession of the housing unit.”

Swine Flu Ancestor Born on U.S. Factory Farms

Scientists have traced the genetic lineage of the new H1N1 swine flu to a strain that emerged in 1998 in U.S. factory farms, where it spread and mutated at an alarming rate. Experts warned then that a pocket of the virus would someday evolve to infect humans, perhaps setting off a global pandemic.

Microsoft Offers Secure Windows … But Only to the Government

It’s the most secure distribution version of Windows XP ever produced by Microsoft: More than 600 settings are locked down tight, and critical security patches can be installed in an average of 72 hours instead of 57 days.  The only problem is, you have to join the Air Force to get it.

Citizens Community Bank Fails, 31st Closure of '09

Citizens Community Bank of Ridgewood, N.J. was closed by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance on Friday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said, making it the 31st bank failure of 2009 and the 56th since the beginning of financial crisis.{A93126C9-4ADF-48B9-B3D9-3A0E4CA92333}

Bloomberg Proposes Sales Tax Increase

The mayor plans to cut the city's work force by 13,541 employees, mostly through attrition.

Former U.S. Congressman Kemp Dies

Former U.S. Congressman and football star Jack Kemp has died at the age of 73, after suffering from cancer, his spokeswoman has announced.


May 01-03, 2009


Democrats Urge Torture Probe by Special Counsel

Congressional Democrats turned up the pressure on the Obama administration Tuesday to start a criminal investigation by a special counsel into harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects.

Federal Court Permits Landmark ACLU Rendition Case To Go Forward

A federal appeals court today ruled that a landmark American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. for its role in the Bush administration's unlawful extraordinary rendition program can go forward.

Truth Commission to Proceed Despite Obama’s Wishes

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) plans to proceed with a special commission to investigate alleged Bush administration abuses of power, despite lacking President Barack Obama’s support, according to a report Tuesday.

U.S. Stress Test Results Delayed as Early Conclusions Debated

The Federal Reserve will postpone the release of stress tests on the biggest U.S. banks while executives debate preliminary findings with examiners, according to government and industry officials.

Bank of America Chairman is Voted Out

Bank of America shareholders have voted to oust Kenneth Lewis as the firm's chairman, following months of criticism over his running of the company.

Next Economic Crisis Looms: Commercial Real Estate Defaults

Two years after fissures in the residential housing market gave way to a national collapse of home prices and sales, experts warn the next shoe to drop is the commercial real-estate market, bringing more woes to the battered economy.

Economic Decline in Quarter Exceeds Forecast

The government reported gross domestic product shrank at a 6.1 percent yearly rate, but the numbers suggested that the worst of the recession may be easing.

Chrysler Bankruptcy Looms as Deal on Debt Falters

Barring an agreement that looked increasingly difficult, Chrysler was expected to seek Chapter 11 protection on Thursday, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

U.S. Commerce Department: U.S. Economy Worst in 50 Years

It's official. The United States is mired in its worst economic downturn in half a century, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Data released by the department show that the U.S. economy shrank by 6.1 percent during the first three months of the year - a full percentage point worse than what analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had been predicting.

U.S. March Consumer Spending Fell More Than Forecast

Purchases decreased 0.2 percent after a 0.4 percent gain in February that was larger than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Incomes fell for the fifth time in the last six months.

Containing Flu Is Not Feasible, Specialists Say

Closing borders or restricting travel to thwart a flu virus would provide a marginal benefit at a very heavy economic cost, analysts say.

Local Health Agencies, Hurt by Cuts, Brace for Flu

The recession has drained resources from the state and local health departments that now are the front line.

Congress' Budget Shorts Obama Plans to Shift Wealth

Lawmakers OK a $3.5-trillion outline that leaves out many of the president's proposals to benefit the less affluent. The debate points to the political difficulty of curbing subsidies to the rich.,0,5614049.story?track=ntothtml

Obama Gives Nuanced Defense of His Stance on Torture

He says harsh interrogation methods may have yielded useful information but that they should still be ruled out. His stance suggests complications in ending Bush-era counter-terrorism tactics.,0,752097.story


April 30, 2009


Centers for Disease Control: 'Fully Expect We Will See Deaths'

A U.S. health official said at least five people are hospitalized with swine flu in the United States and deaths are likely. "I fully expect we will see deaths from this infection," as swine flu cases are investigated, said Richard Besser, acting director of the federal Centers for Disease Control. He said he did not know about a newspaper report of two deaths in two southern California hospitals in which the victims seemed to be suffering from swine flu symptoms.

VIDEO: First U.S. Fatality Linked to Swine Flu

Flu spreads to more states.

California Declares State of Emergency Over Swine Flu

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today proclaimed a state of emergency over the spread of swine flu, expediting state agency responses to the outbreak.

Flu May Have Spread Within New York City

The outbreak may have spread beyond one school in Queens to pockets across the city, including at least two other schools, officials said on Tuesday.

Pork Industry Fights Concerns Over Swine Flu

Even as medical professionals tell the public that pork is safe to eat, Wall Street analysts predicted a sharp decline in sales at grocery stores.

Asking for More Funding, U.S. Steps Up Flu Response

State and federal officials intensified their response to the swine flu outbreak on Tuesday, with President Obama asking Congress for $1.5 billion in supplemental funding.

FAA Memo: Feds Knew NYC Flyover Would Cause Panic

Federal officials knew that sending two fighter jets and Air Force One to buzz ground zero and Lady Liberty might set off nightmarish fears of a 9/11 replay, but they still ordered the photo-op kept secret from the public. Threatened Federal sanctions against NYPD, Secret Service, FBI & Mayor's Office if secret ever got out.

Slump in Exports Hits U.S. Economy

The U.S. economy continued to contract in the first quarter of 2009, led by the biggest fall in exports for 40 years.

U.S. Cyber-Security 'Embarrassing'

America's cyber-security has been described as "broken" by one industry expert and as "childlike" by another.

U.S. Economy in 2nd Straight Quarter of Steep Decline

The American economy shrank rapidly in the first three months of the year, the government reported on Wednesday, a signal that the economy is likely to remain a dominant issue as the Obama administration looks beyond its first 100 days.

Obama Expands Housing Help to Include Second Mortgages

The Obama administration expanded its efforts to prevent Americans from losing their homes, unveiling a program Tuesday that's designed to give financial incentives for companies to modify the terms of troubled second mortgages.

Specter Joins Democrats; Senate Count May Reach 60

The decision by Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania to switch parties potentially presents Democrats with a 60th vote and the power to break Senate filibusters.

Official Defends Signing Interrogation Memos

Judge Jay S. Bybee said that he continued to believe that the memorandums represented "a good-faith analysis of the law" that properly defined the thin line between harsh treatment and torture.

Feeling More Secure, Some Banks Want to Be Left Alone

Emboldened by newfound profits and eager to shake off federal control, a growing number of banks are resisting the Obama administration's proposals for fixing the system.

Obama Plans to Enforce Mining Limits

The Obama administration is moving to tighten a coal mining rule loosened by his predecessor, but it might not be enough to satisfy environmentalists.


April 29, 2009


Swine-Flu Cases in U.S. Jump, Led by New York, U.S. CDC Says

The number of confirmed cases of swine flu in the U.S. jumped to 64, with most in New York City, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today.

Firms Look to Prevent Swine Flu Pandemic, Turn a Profit

Stocks slipped worldwide Tuesday on fears that a swine flu pandemic could go global, but some companies with the tools to tackle a wide outbreak have already seen a bump in their share prices and could be poised to profit if the disease continues its deadly spread around the world.

Swine Flu Outbreaks in 5 States Rattle U.S.

State health departments nationwide intensified their search for sneezing, feverish people who may have contracted swine flu as officials tried to contain the spread of the unusual illness.

Hospitals Cutting Services, Staff Amid Recession

Ailing from the recession, many U.S. hospitals have had to begin making painful cuts to patient services and laying off staff, as previous cost-cutting hasn't been enough, an industry survey found.

Teenagers From Queens in Swine Flu Spotlight

Health officials are scrambling to figure out whether a group of high school seniors who went to Cancun, Mexico, for spring break were the unwitting vector that brought swine flu to New York City.

U.S. Toxic-Asset Plan Stirs Fears

The government will take on a mountain of risk while trying to create an artificial market for the loans and debt securities. Critics worry about possible fraud and further banking system damage.,0,7994438.story

Bank of America May Need $70 Billion After Stress Test, FBR Says

Bank of America Corp. needs $60 billion to $70 billion of capital, according to Freidman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc. analyst Paul Miller, who cited stress tests performed by his firm.

U.S. Stock Futures Decline on Concern Banks Need More Capital

U.S. stock futures fell, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will drop for a second day, on concern Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. may be required to raise more capital.

Clinton Says U.S. Is Ready to Lead on Climate

After eight years largely on the sidelines, the United States is prepared to lead negotiations toward a new global warming treaty, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday.

Recriminations After NYC Jet Flyover Photo Op

It was supposed to be a photo op that captured images of an Air Force One plane with a majestic Statue of Liberty in the background. Instead, it turned into a public relations nightmare that led to recriminations from the president and mayor and prompted thousands of others to ask, "What were they thinking?"

Democrats Announce Agreement on Budget Pact

The deal would prevent Senate Republicans from delaying or blocking the president's plan to expand government-subsidized health care when it advances this fall.

How '07 ABC Interview Tilted a Torture Debate

An official's claim that waterboarding yielded quick results was widely repeated, but has now been discredited.


U.S. Plans Attack and Defense in Cyberspace Warfare

A new international race has begun to develop cyberweapons and systems to protect against them.

U.S. Close to Decision on Future of Detainees

The Obama administration is close to deciding how many detainees currently held in Guantánamo Bay will be freed and resettled in the United States and other countries, according to attorney general Eric Holder.

On Voting Rights, Test of History v. Progress

The Supreme Court must consider if a law rooted in the age of Jim Crow is still needed - and still constitutional - in the Obama era.


April 28, 2009


U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu

U.S. health officials said that they had confirmed 20 cases of swine flu in the country and expected to see more as investigators track the path of the outbreak.

Obama's Host Dies from 'Flu-Like Symptoms'

According to alarming reports from Mexico City, Felipe Solis, a distinguished archaeologist who showed Mr Obama around the city's anthropology museum during his visit to Mexico earlier this month, died the next day from "flu-like symptoms".

Military Officials Monitor Swine Flu

Defense Department officials are monitoring the swine flu situation closely, with their primary focus on protecting the military population, a senior Pentagon official said April 27.

Napolitano Says U.S. Should Prepare for New Flu Outbreak Soon Even if This One Fizzles Out

Jay Leno Out of Hospital After Illness

Talk show host Jay Leno left a Los Angeles hospital Friday, one day after a sudden illness forced cancellation of his appearance on US television's "The Tonight Show," his spokesman said.

GM to Cut a Further 21,000 Jobs

General Motors (GM) is to cut a further 21,000 US jobs this year and phase out its Pontiac brand, as it aims to meet a 1 June deadline to revamp its business.

NY Attorney General Letter to Congress on Questionable TARP Transactions

After an Off Year, Wall Street Pay Is Bouncing Back

If the pace set in the first quarter continues all year, the average pay for bankers -- much of it in bonuses – will rebound from the lows of last year.

Top 25 Newspapers Lose 1 Million Readers Since Last March

The top 25 newspapers in the United States lost nearly one million readers year-over-year for the six months ending March 30, a record pace for the ailing dead-tree industry, according to Editor and Publisher.

Survey: Half of U.S. Adults Have Switched Religions

More than half of all Americans have switched religions at least once, according to an in-depth survey released today.

Bank of America Lets Go of Countrywide Name

The investment giant drops the 40-year-old brand and instead calls its lending offices Bank of America Home Loans.

Stocks Slip on Flu, Bank Concerns

Investors worry about the potential economic impact of swine flu, bank 'stress tests' and quarterly results.

To Save Money, States Turn to Furloughs

At least 15 states are in various stages of considering or implementing furloughs.

Microsoft Profit Falls for First Time in 23 Years

The company's revenue dropped 6 percent and its profits by 32 percent compared with the same quarter last year.

Democrats Have Qualms Over War in Afghanistan

Congressional Democrats' concerns about a potentially endless conflict have complicated the White House's push for $83.4 billion in war spending and other aid.

More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops

Organized atheist groups liken their strategy to the gay-rights movement, which lifted off when members of a scorned minority went public.


April 24-27, 2009


Crisis Plunges U.S. Middle Class Into Poverty

The financial crisis in the US has triggered a social crisis of historic dimensions. Soup kitchens are suddenly in great demand and tent cities are popping up in the shadow of glistening office towers. Even drug dealers are feeling the pinch.,1518,620754,00.html

Pressure Grows on Obama to Call for Interrogation Panel

If growing political pressure doesn't subside soon, President Barack Obama may have to do something he's resisted doing since he took office: support a new investigation into how the Bush-era C.I.A. interrogated suspected terrorists using techniques that are widely considered torture.

Congress Debates Fresh Investigation Of Interrogations

The legacy of George W. Bush continued to dog President Obama and his administration yesterday, as Congress divided over creating a panel to investigate the harsh interrogation techniques employed under Bush's authorization and the White House tried to contain the controversy over the president's decision to release Justice Department memos justifying and outlining those procedures.

Rice Gave Early 'Waterboarding Green Light'

The C.I.A. first sought in May 2002 to use harsh interrogation techniques including waterboarding on terror suspects, and was given key early approval by then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, a US Senate intelligence document said.

Obama Attacks Credit Card 'Abuse'

President Barack Obama has told the U.S. credit card industry to scrap unfair interest rate hikes and to be more transparent and accountable.

G.M. to Shut Most U.S. Plants Up to 9 Weeks

General Motors Corp. is planning to temporarily close most of its U.S. factories for up to nine weeks this summer because of slumping sales and growing inventories of unsold vehicles, two people briefed on the plan said Wednesday.

Foreclosures Take Health Along With Homes, Report Says

The foreclosure crisis is causing more problems than lost homes, it also is deteriorating the health of individuals and communities, according to housing advocates and East Bay officials. "We know where people live has a lot to do with how people live and how long they live," said Sandra Witt, deputy director of planning, policy and health equity for Alameda County's Public Health Department.

As Housing Market Dips, More in U.S. Are Staying Put

Fewer Americans moved in 2008 than in any year since 1962, the Census Bureau said, a lack of mobility that prompted concerns on the economy.

Fort Detrick Disease Samples May Be Missing

Army criminal investigators are looking into the possibility that disease samples are missing from biolabs at Fort Detrick.

A Pentagon Cyber-Command Is in the Works

The Obama administration is finalizing plans for a new Pentagon command to coordinate the security of military computer networks and to develop new offensive cyber-weapons, sources said last night.

Pelosi Tells of a Briefing by Officials on Harman

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged for the first time that she had been briefed "maybe three years ago" that Representative Jane Harman had been picked up on a wiretapped phone conversation.


April 23, 2009


Obama Open to Prosecution, Probe of Interrogations

President Barack Obama left the door open Tuesday to prosecuting Bush administration officials who devised the legal authority for gruesome terror-suspect interrogations, saying the United States lost "our moral bearings" with use of the tactics. The question of whether to bring charges against those who devised justification for the methods "is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general within the parameters of various laws and I don't want to prejudge that," Obama said. The president discussed the continuing issue of terrorism-era interrogation tactics with reporters as he finished an Oval Office meeting with visiting King Abdullah II of Jordan.

In Adopting Harsh Tactics, No Inquiry Into Their Past Use

Top U.S. officials involved in the adoption of brutal interrogation methods did not investigate the origins of the techniques they approved with little debate.

Report Gives New Detail on Approval of Brutal Techniques

A Senate report offered evidence that the military's harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects were authorized at high levels of the Bush administration.

Debtholders vs. U.S. Over Chrysler Deal

The company's largest lenders pushed back on demands from the Obama administration to restructure the company's debt.

Obama Signs Bill Vastly Expanding National Service Corps

President Barack Obama, who got his political start as a community organizer, signed legislation Tuesday to more than triple the number of government-backed volunteers across the country at a cost of billions of dollars.

Stock Market Bulls Have Got it Wrong, Warns Nouriel Roubini

Nouriel Roubini, the so-called "arch bear" economist who predicted the current financial crisis in 2006, added further gloom yesterday after he wrote off recent rises in global stock markets as no more than a dead cat bounce.

Geithner Says Big Banks are Healthy as Skepticism Grows

Days before his agency releases key details of unusual tests to measure the health of the nation's 19 largest banks, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told a watchdog panel Tuesday that the "vast majority" have sufficient capital, implying there's little need for more injections of taxpayer money.

Fujimori's Conviction Should Give Bush Nightmares

Alberto Fujimori was found to be responsible for the killing of a number of innocent civilians by government death squads. The conviction of Fujimori, who had been president from 1990 to 2000, was a rare triumph of justice over the impunity of power and was the first time in Latin America that an ex-president had been called to account in such a manner.

Soaring U.S. Budget Deficit Will Mean Billions in Bond Sales

Millions of lost jobs mean billions in lost tax revenue for the U.S. government, and billions in additional Treasury debt to fund a federal budget deficit that may soar to more than four times last year’s record $454.7 billion.

Shortages of Ammo and Gun Accessories Cropping Up Nationwide

"People are panicking and buying," said Furtardo, assistant manager. "The crime rate is high, and they are flat scared of what is going to happen in the next few years with the economy and the country. Manufacturers weren't prepared for this."

Military Helped With CIA Interrogation Tactics, Report Says

A senator says the report 'connects the dots' to show how techniques familiar to military experts found their way into controversial memos by the Justice Department.,0,7807030.story

Freddie Mac CFO Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

The government-controlled company that owns or guarantees about 13 million home loans has been criticized for reckless business practices. David Kellerman got his post in September. David Kellermann, the acting chief financial officer of mortgage giant Freddie Mac, was found dead at his home Wednesday in what broadcast reports said was an apparent suicide.,0,3367624.story

An Effort to Save a City by Shrinking It

Leaders in Flint, Mich., advocate demolishing entire blocks to concentrate on healthier ones.

Pirate Suspect Charged as Adult in New York

A Somali teenager arrived to face what are believed to be the first piracy charges in the U.S. in decades.


April 22, 2009


Pelosi Wall Street Probe Modeled on Pecora After Market Crash

Wall Street may be heading for the deepest investigation of its practices since a congressional panel’s probe of abuses following the 1929 stock market crash.

Psychologists Helped Guide Interrogations

When the CIA began what it called an "increased pressure phase" with captured terrorism suspect Abu Zubaida in the summer of 2002, its first step was to limit the detainee's human contact to just two people. One was the CIA interrogator, the other a psychologist.

Cheney Enters 'Torture' Memos Row

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney has urged the CIA to release memos, which he says, show harsh interrogation techniques such as water-boarding work.

Pressure Grows to Investigate Interrogations

Despite his assurances to the C.I.A., President Obama may not be able to avoid an inquiry into interrogation tactics used under the Bush administration.

Nonprofit Groups to Push for Exceptions to Lobby Rule

Critics of the president's anti-lobbyist policy say it assumes that all lobbying is suspect, even legitimate advocacy at the heart of a democratic process.

Bail-Out 'Risk' for U.S. Taxpayers

A watchdog for the U.S.'s $700bn (£481bn) bail-out plan for banks, said some aspects could be "unfair" to taxpayers.

Obama to Lean on Credit Card CEOs

Congress is pushing ahead on legislation to protect consumers, and the president is signaling he's ready to take action.

Bank Aid Programs Are Seen as Open to Fraud

The special inspector general assigned to monitor the bailout program criticized the government's failure to demand information on what banks are doing with the money.

Obama Tells His Cabinet to Look for Efficiency

President Obama's call for department and agency heads to come up with ways to save $100 million over the next 90 days was met with derision from conservatives.

Bank Bailout Plan's 'Stress Tests' Already Causing Stress

Bankers and regulators worry about how much of the results to release. Too much or too little information could undermine the financial institutions or the bailout.,0,1206074.story?track=ntothtml

Government Looks to Hackers to Protect Computer Networks

Buffeted by millions of digital scans and attacks each day, federal authorities are looking for hackers — not to prosecute them, but to pay them to secure the nation's networks.

Some Influential Muslim Groups Question FBI's Actions

Revelations that the agency has been surveilling popular leaders and infiltrating mosques and schools has many organizations turning away from their post-9/11 cooperation.,0,7708003.story

In MTV Style, Mayor Urges New Yorkers to Get Out and Volunteer

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, with the aid of MTV News, announced a new plan to encourage volunteerism among city residents.


April 21, 2009


U.S. Stocks Tumble as Financials, Commodity Shares Retreat

U.S. stocks tumbled, led by the biggest drop in financial shares in three months, as concern grew that credit losses are worsening and lower commodity prices dragged down energy and material producers.

U.S. Officials Signal No Need for More TARP Funds From Congress

Obama administration officials signaled there may be no need to request more financial-rescue funds from Congress as several banks plan to return taxpayer money and others are pushed to tap private markets first.

Obama's Revenue Plans Hit Resistance in Congress

Resistance to President Obama's tax and revenue proposals could threaten a major health care overhaul and other policy initiatives.

Bank Lending Keeps Dropping

Lending at the biggest U.S. banks has fallen more sharply than realized, despite government efforts to pump billions of dollars into the financial sector.

Sources: Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC

Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

An Atlanta Editorial Voice May Move to the Right

Most of The Journal-Constitution's editorial board will be replaced in May, a move that could produce a less liberal voice for one of the country's leading regional papers.

3 Trustees of A.I.G. Are Quiet, Perhaps to a Fault

For all their responsibility, the government's overseers at American International Group have studiously remained invisible to the public.

U.S. May Convert Banks' Bailouts to Equity Share

Obama administration officials say the approach will allow them to shore up the nation's banking system without seeking more money from Congress.

Ill From Food? Ability to Investigate Outbreaks Varies by State

Tracking food scares in the U.S. is left to more than 3,000 departments, and in several cases Minnesota officials have safeguarded the rest of the country.

Not-So-Secret Holiday Hints at Change for Marijuana Advocates

Advocates of legalizing marijuana are sensing increasing momentum toward acceptance of the drug, either as medicine or entertainment.

Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2 Suspects

C.I.A. interrogators used the near-drowning technique, which Obama administration officials have described as torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda.

Police Battle Rising Crime

Police officers in many cities are confronting a surge in property crime, paired with reduced resources for enforcement.

In New Jersey, Bills Offering In-State Tuition to Illegal Immigrants Face a Fight

In an election year, the political climate is hard to predict for legislation that critics say would take coveted spots in publicly supported schools from citizens.


April 20, 2009


Volcker Says Fed’s Authority Probably to Be Reviewed

“I don’t think the political system will tolerate the degree of activity that the Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Treasury, has taken,” Volcker, head of President Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, said today at a conference at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Despite Major Plans, Obama Taking Softer Stands

After pledges to change Washington, the president's early willingness to deal or fold has left commentators and allies wondering: where's the fight?

E.P.A. Clears Way for Greenhouse Gas Rules

The agency on Friday formally declared carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that threaten public health and welfare.

C.I.A. Memos Could Bring More Disclosures

After revealing details about interrogation methods, President Obama now faces a challenge to make good on his promise to protect operatives from legal jeopardy.

Some Stem Cell Research Limits Lifted

The proposed guideline announced by the Obama administration will please many but not all scientists.

CIA Fears Torture Prosecutions

The CIA fears some of its operatives could face prosecution for torturing high-level terrorist suspects, despite President Barack Obama’s promise of legal immunity.

In State Pension Inquiry, a Scandal Snowballs

The inquiry into corruption at the New York State pension fund has ballooned into a sprawling investigation involving prominent players in New York's political and financial worlds.

Obama to Take Aim at Credit Card Abuses

White House top economic advisor Summers says administration will crack down on deceptive practices that have saddled consumers with debt.

Janet Reno Receives Award from Justice Group

Janet Reno, the former attorney general in the Clinton administration, received a lifetime achievement award Friday from the American Judicature Society, a non-partisan justice advocacy network.


April 17-19, 2009


VIDEO: Justice Dept. Whistleblower Defends Decision to Leak Bush Domestic Surveillance Program

We speak with Thomas Tamm, the man who blew the whistle on the Bush administration's secret domestic surveillance program. Tamm worked as an attorney at the Justice Department when he leaked the story to the New York Times in 2004. In 2007, the FBI raided his home and seized three computers and personal files. He still faces possible arrest for disclosing classified secrets.

Thomas Tamm, 2009 Recipient of the Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize

Thomas Tamm worked at a Justice Department that, in the name of national security, had abandoned the core principles that form the basis of our democracy and our individual liberties. The fact that he still faces a threat of criminal prosecution at the hands of an institution which itself was operating outside of the law, is in and of itself a national disgrace. What makes Tamm’s case even more poignant is that there remains not a single authorized avenue for a national security whistleblower to use and receive protection when they challenge the Executive Branch for breaking the law. Today, we honor a person who has imperiled his own future liberty to preserve the liberties of all of us who live in this nation.

Obama Releases Torture Memos, Vows Not to Prosecute [Defends Bush Era Crimes]

The Obama administration on Thursday released top secret memos outlining the legal rationale used to justify the CIA's torture of terror suspects, but vowed not to prosecute the torturers.

NSA Broke New Eavesdropping Law

Even after Congress drafted legislation last year that gave the National Security Agency broad powers to eavesdrop, the agency exceeded that authority and intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months, according to The New York Times.

Justice Department Releases Bush Administration Torture Memos

In response to litigation filed by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act (F.O.I.A.), the Justice Department today released four secret memos used by the Bush administration to justify torture. The memos, produced by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (O.L.C.), provided the legal framework for the C.I.A.'s use of waterboarding and other illegal interrogation methods that violate domestic and international law.

Abuse of Power: The Bush Administration's Secret Legal Memos

Obama Tilts to CIA on Memos

The Obama administration is leaning toward keeping secret some graphic details of tactics allowed in Central Intelligence Agency interrogations, despite a push by some top officials to make the information public, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Pentagon Closes Office Accused of Issuing Propaganda Under Bush

A Pentagon office responsible for coordinating Defense Department information campaigns overseas has been abolished in an effort by the Obama administration to distance itself from past practices that some military officers called propaganda, senior officials said Wednesday.

Head of Senate Panel Seeks Hearing on Wiretaps

Senator Dianne Feinstein called for the hearing after new reports that the National Security Agency went beyond its authorization.

Lawsuit Proceeds Against Cheney Security Team

A federal judge in Denver has declined to toss out a lawsuit against four U.S. Secret Service agents who arrested a man in Beaver Creek in 2006 after he approached then-Vice President Dick Cheney to criticize the Iraq war.

Bank Test Results May Strain Limits Of Bailout Funding

As the Obama administration works to complete its stress tests for gauging the health of major banks, it could confront another problem: how to pay for shoring up any weaknesses the tests reveal.

Pelosi Promises a New Pecora Commission

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today she'd like to form a Pecora-style commission to investigate what happened on Wall Street that perpetrated the financial crisis. Ferdinand Pecora was appointed chief counsel to the Senate Banking and Currency Committee by Herbert Hoover in 1929 but it was his work under FDR ferreting out bankers whose insider trading helped caused the Depression and those who profited from the collapse through short selling that earned him fame. His investigations led to the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Ex-Chairman of New York Liberal Party Indicted

Prosecutors say that Raymond B. Harding did 30 years' worth of political favors for the former comptroller Alan G. Hevesi.

A.I.G. Chief Owns Significant Stake in Goldman

Although paid just $1 a year to lead A.I.G., Edward Liddy owns a large stake in Goldman Sachs, which was aided by the U.S. bailout of the struggling insurer.

Goldman Sachs Tries to Shut Down Blogger

Mike Morgan is a registered investment adviser and a scrappy shoot-from-the-hip guy who doesn’t mince his words. Recently Morgan has come under fire from investment giant Goldman Sachs for his hard-hitting web site “Facts about Goldman Sachs.” According to the U.K. Telegraph, “Goldman Sachs is attempting to shut down a dissident blogger who is extremely critical of the investment bank, its board members and its practices.

Stiglitz Says White House Ties to Wall Street Doom Bank Rescue

The Obama administration’s bank- rescue efforts will probably fail because the programs have been designed to help Wall Street rather than create a viable financial system, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.

Obama Adviser Said to Be Tied to Pension Deal

Regulators' documents described Steven Rattner, tapped to restructure the auto industry, as having directed his investment firm to pay more than $1 million to obtain New York State pension business.


April 16, 2009


U.S. Planning to Reveal Data on Health of Top Banks

As it tries to restore confidence in the financial system, the Obama administration is preparing to disclose the conditions of the 19 biggest banks in the country.

Obama Stands Firm on a Sweeping Agenda

On Tuesday, President Obama explained why he wants not only to revive the economy but to virtually reinvent it to ensure its long-term health.

Offices Go Vacant at Fannie and Freddie

While the government has invested billions of dollars into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the companies are suffering from an exodus of senior and midlevel managers.

Yahoo Is Said to Plan More Layoffs

The staff cuts could affect several hundred employees and may be announced when the company reports its earnings.

EBay Plans Public Offering for Skype

EBay announced plans to spin off its Internet calling division, in an initial public offering targeted for the first half of 2010.

Intel Says PC Sales Have Reached a Bottom and Forecasts Moderate Growth

The chipmaker said that first-quarter net income fell 55 percent to $647 million, or 11 cents a share, on revenue of $7.1 billion.

Treasurys Mixed Ahead of Inflation Data

Treasurys were mixed Wednesday, with longer-dated bonds advancing, ahead of a government report on inflation.

U.S. Industrial Production Drops More Than Forecast

Industrial production in the U.S. fell for the 14th time in the last 15 months as factories trimmed unwanted stockpiles.

Decade of Losses Forces Investors in Their 30s to Start All Over

Investors in their 30s were too young to build their retirement accounts in the rising stock market of the 1980s and 1990s. Over those two decades, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed an average of 18 percent a year, including reinvested dividends, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the 2000s through March 31, the benchmark fell 4.7 percent annually.

Consumer Prices in 1st Annual Drop Since '55

A key index of prices paid by consumers fell in March and registered its first annual decline since 1955, the government said Wednesday, as prices for energy and food slumped in the weak economy.

Mortgage Applications Dip

Mortgage applications to finance the purchase of homes and to refinance existing loans fell last week even as U.S. home loan rates treaded water just above record lows, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.

Report: Congress Spent $20 Billion on Earmarks for Fiscal 2009

Alaska led the nation in pork with $322 per capita.

Peace Activists Arrested After Protesting U.S. Drones in Nevada

U.S. drone bombings have reportedly killed 687 Pakistani civilians since 2006. During that time, U.S. Predator drones carried out sixty strikes inside Pakistan, but hit just ten of their actual targets. Last week, a group of peace activists last week staged the first major act of civil disobedience against the drone attacks in the United States. Fourteen people were arrested outside the Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, where Air Force personnel pilot the unmanned drones used in Pakistan. We speak with longtime California peace activist Father Louis Vitale, who was among

those arrested, and with Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist.

DHS Sees Resurgence in Rightwing Extremism

"The consequences of a prolonged economic downturn--including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit--could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities," according to a new assessment from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

Architects Chosen for Black History Museum

A team led by David Adjaye, the celebrated Tanzanian-born architect, will design the National Museum of African American History and Culture.


April 15, 2009


U.S. Economy: Retail Sales, Producer Prices Declined in March

Retail sales in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped in March for the first time in three months, raising concern the biggest part of the economy may falter once again heading into the second quarter.

U.S. Stocks Fall on Retail, Prices Data, Goldman Share Sale

U.S. stocks retreated, halting a three-day advance, as unexpected declines in retail sales and producer prices offset optimism from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke that the economy’s slump may be slowing.

Carlyle’s Pension Investment Said to Spark Probe

Carlyle Group is being probed by New York prosecutors and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over whether the world’s second-largest private- equity firm made illegal payments to intermediaries to secure $1.3 billion in investments from the state’s pension fund, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Grapes of Wrath, a Classic for Today?

The Grapes of Wrath, published exactly 70 years ago, can be seen as a prophetic novel - rooted in the tragedies of the Great Depression, but speaking directly to the harsh realities of 2009, writes Steinbeck scholar Robert DeMott.

Judges Rule Franken Winner; Coleman to Appeal

Three judges soundly rejected Norm Coleman's attempt to reverse Al Franken's lead in the U.S. Senate election late Monday, sweeping away the Republican's claims in a blunt ruling Coleman promised to appeal.

Congress to Consider Racial Wealth Gap

As Washington policymakers screamed bloody murder last month over bonus payments for a few hundred AIG employees, another much larger scandal flew virtually unnoticed on Capitol Hill: The divide between the wealth of blacks and whites — already gaping — grew again.

Investigators Take Closer Look at Rep. Jackson in Blagojevich Case

Prosecutors want to know if Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr. initiated any deals with the former Illinois governor in exchange for a Senate appointment.

In Georgetown Speech, Obama Offers Cautious Optimism

President Obama today offered an optimistic assessment of efforts to revive the economy but warned that tough times are still ahead as the nation rebuilds its financial system.

Bernanke Sees Signs U.S. Contraction May Be Slowing

“I am fundamentally optimistic about our economy,” Bernanke said in prepared remarks for a speech today in Atlanta. “Today’s economic conditions are difficult, but the foundations of our economy are strong, and we face no problems that cannot be overcome with insight, patience, and persistence.”

Unions Go on Attack Over Paterson's Layoff Threat

Gov. David A. Paterson's warning that he may lay off thousands of state workers if he cannot get unions to agree to a pay cut has aroused a fierce advertising campaign.


April 14, 2009


Cash Beats Stocks for First Time in U.S. Survey: Chart of Day

U.S. individual investors held more assets in cash than in stocks last month for the first time in more than two decades, meaning they have plenty of money to fuel the current surge in share prices.

Longer Unemployment for Those 45 and Older

Unemployed baby boomers, many of whom believed they were still in the prime of their careers, face some of the steepest odds of any job seekers in this hard market.

Plan to Change Student Lending Sets Up a Fight

Private student lenders are moving against President Obama's plan to end a subsidized loan program and redirect billions in bank profits to needy students.

Poll: Three-Quarters Favor Relations With Cuba

A new poll shows that two-thirds of Americans surveyed think the U.S. should lift its travel ban on Cuba, and three-quarters think the U.S. should end its five-decade estrangement with the country.

Students Send the CIA Packing

Students and activists forced the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) into a last-minute cancellation of its recruitment session at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For a third year, members of the Campus Antiwar Network (CAN), Iraq Veterans Against the War and the International Socialist Organization joined forces to protest the CIA, but this is the first year that the agency canceled, after activists exposed the agency's dark history of assassinations, political sabotage and torture.


April 13, 2009


U.S. Budget Deficit Nears $U.S. 1 Trillion

The US budget deficit accelerated in March to hit a record nearly $US1 trillion ($A1.41 trillion) in the first half of the current fiscal year as the government moved to bail out troubled institutions.

Fed Pumps Foreign Currency Into U.S. Banks

The Fed is already printing trillions of U.S. dollars and pumping them into the global economy in an effort to stave off a financial collapse. Now it plans to start injecting foreign currency, too, according to minutes recently released from its March meeting. How the hell can the U.S. Fed do that? Glad you asked.

As Stocks Surge, Fears Linger About the Economy

The sudden turnaround has investors wondering if the markets have bottomed out or if larger problems are being ignored.

Exports Fall, and It's Felt on the Farm

American farmers are feeling the effects of the global economic slump as demand for U.S. food exports falls.

Wall Street Digs In

The old system refuses to change. Is Obama getting the message? Wall Street players are digging in against fundamental changes. And while it clearly wants to install serious supervision, the Obama administration - along with other key authorities like the New York Fed - appears willing to stand back while Wall Street resurrects much of the ultracomplex global trading system that helped lead to the worst financial collapse since the Depression.

Spy Satellite Agency Boss Resigns

The head of the U.S. spy satellite agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, has announced his resignation, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Crisis Altering Wall Street as Big Banks Lose Top Talent

With financial institutions facing federal limits brought on after the bailouts, veteran bankers are leaving to join start-ups and foreign companies.

States Slashing Social Programs for Vulnerable

A large majority of states are slicing into their social safety nets, often crippling preventive efforts that officials say would save money over time.

Ginsburg Shares Views on Influence of Foreign Law on Her Court, and Vice Versa

Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested that torture should not be used even when it might yield important information and reflected on her role as the Supreme Court's only female justice.

Reporter Working on Story Critical of V.A. Has His Equipment Confiscated

A public radio reporter visiting a V.A. hospital earlier this week to work on a story about veterans' healthcare was stopped by government officials mid-interview, ordered to leave the hospital and had some of his recording equipment confiscated.

What's Dropping as Much as GM Stock? GOP Approval Rating

Republicans have spent the first hundred days of the 111th Congress mostly down and shut out.

More Squatters Are Calling Foreclosures Home

Advocacy groups are moving people into vacant homes, some in secret, others openly, as civil disobedience.

Obama (as TV Salesman) Pushes Home Refinancing

Seldom has the president sounded so much like the host of a late-night infomercial, promoting a government Web site that tells people if they are eligible to refinance their mortgages.

In a Downturn, More Act as their Own Lawyers

The economic downturn is leading more people to forgo lawyers when facing a judge, raising questions of how fair the outcomes can really be.

Showdown Seen Between Banks and Regulators

Industry executives are bracing for fights with the government over repayment of bailout money and forced sales of bad mortgages.

Demonstrators Want Answers Why Cops Shot and Killed Black Senior Citizen

About 150 demonstrators marched near the neighborhood where Monroe, a 73-year-old retired power company lineman, was gunned down by police last February outside his home during a family cookout. The half-mile march ended without incident at a park where the longtime civil rights activist told an even larger crowd of almost 400 people that "to shoot an unarmed, innocent man ... is a disgrace."

Protesting Students Occupy Building at New School

More than 20 people occupied a building on the New School campus in Greenwich Village on Friday, demanding that the school’s embattled president, Bob Kerrey, be ousted. But unlike a similar protest in December that was peacefully negotiated to an end after 30 hours, Friday’s ordeal was concluded in a few hours after the school asked the police to remove the protesters.

Videos of New School Arrests


April 10-12, 2009


Traces of Explosives in 9/11 Dust, Scientists Say

Tiny red and gray chips found in the dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center contain highly explosive materials — proof, according to a former BYU professor, that 9/11 is still a sinister mystery. The next step, Jones said in a phone interview on Monday, is for someone to investigate "who made the stuff and why it was there.",5143,705295677,00.html

Dutch TV Show Exonerates Osama

A Dutch TV jury has found Osama bin Laden not guilty of the Sept. 11 attacks. In the conclusion Wednesday night to the show "Devil's Advocate" on Dutch public broadcaster Nederland 2, the jury of two men and three women, along with the studio audience, ruled there was no proof bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.

Pentagon Preps for Economic Warfare

The Pentagon sponsored a first-of-its-kind war game last month focused not on bullets and bombs — but on how hostile nations might seek to cripple the U.S. economy, a scenario made all the more real by the global financial crisis.

Obama Begins Cybersecurity Review

A review of how well the U.S. thwarts spies and malicious hackers has been started by President Barack Obama.

Homeland Security:  Spies 'Infiltrate U.S. Power Grid'

The U.S government has admitted the nation's power grid is vulnerable to cyber attack, following reports it has been infiltrated by foreign spies.

Cable Sabotage Cripples Internet for Parts of Silicon Valley

Deliberate sabotage is being blamed for a sizable internet and telephone service outage Thursday in Silicon Valley.

Security-Clearance Checks For OPM Allegedly Falsified

Half a dozen investigators conducting security-clearance checks for the federal government have been accused of lying in the reports they submitted to the Office of Personnel Management, which handles about 90 percent of the background inquiries for more than 100 agencies.

Obama Seeks Extra Funds for Wars

U.S. President Barack Obama has asked Congress for an extra $83.4bn (£56.7bn) to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan this year.

Banks Drive U.S. Stocks Up Sharply

Big gains in banking stocks have pushed Wall Street sharply higher after one of the biggest banks in the US said it would make record profits this quarter.

Dollar Rises on Optimism Worst of U.S. Economic Crisis Is Over

The dollar rose against the euro, heading for the biggest weekly gain in three months, on optimism the worst of the crisis is over in the world’s largest economy.

Imports Plunge

The U.S. trade deficit tumbled in February to the lowest level in nine years as collapsing demand from consumers and companies reverberated around the globe.

Obama Orders U.S. to Buy 17,600 New Cars by June 1

President Barack Obama said the government is speeding up its purchase of 17,600 new American- made cars for the government fleet by June 1.

Fed Says Plan Now to Avert Inflation

The United States economy will skid more deeply into recession in coming months, Federal Reserve policy-makers warned on Thursday, but it is time to start planning how to wind down spending to avert an inflationary surge.

Treasury Asks Banks to Be Mum on "Stress Tests"

Officials have asked banks not to talk about "stress tests" when they release their first-quarter results.

Can U.S. Courts Free Guantanamo Prisoners?

In what's being called the first major challenge of the Obama administration's detention policy, lawyers on Monday filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of Kiyemba v. Obama, in which a Court of Appeals ruled that federal courts do not have the power to order innocent Guantanamo detainees released into the United States.

On Defense Cuts, Obama Holds Cards

Congress has little chance of stopping President Obama’s sweeping changes to the military budget, which would scrap several high-profile weapons programs.

Ballot Review Gives Franken Solid Advantage

Democrat Al Franken’s lead in Minnesota’s long-disputed Senate race increased to 312 votes Tuesday, making it mathematically impossible for Norm Coleman to win his state trial challenging the election outcome.

Obama to Push Immigration Bill Despite the Risks

The new effort would include looking for a path for illegal immigrants to become legal, a senior administration official said.

U.S. Imagines the Bailout as an Investment Tool

The White House is considering encouraging taxpayers to invest in the bank bailouts that they are already financing.


April 09, 2009


Banks Brace for Derivatives 'Big Bang'

Credit default swap dealers are cleaning up a dark corner of the derivatives market, but the risk of a blowup remains.

Former Sen. Ted Stevens' Prosecutors Face Criminal Investigation

A federal judge says Justice Department lawyers' missteps in the case against the longtime Alaska lawmaker were 'too serious and too numerous' to be left to an internal investigation.,0,3466389.story?track=ntothtml

New Gov Rules Retiring Small Business 401K Plans

“As long as we make small companies contribute in the worst of times, a lot won’t have” retirement savings plans, said David Wray, president of the Profit-Sharing/401k Council of America in Chicago. “They’re so close to the margin that a 3 percent contribution can make or break these guys. They can’t put their company at risk just because they want this benefit.”

FBI Defends Disruptive Raids on Texas Data Centers

The FBI on Tuesday defended its raids on at least two data centers in Texas, in which agents carted out equipment and disrupted service to hundreds of businesses. The raids were part of an investigation prompted by complaints from AT&T and Verizon about unpaid bills allegedly owed by some data center customers, according to court records. One data center owner charges that the telecoms are using the FBI to collect debts that should be resolved in civil court. But on Tuesday, an FBI spokesman disputed that charge.

U.S. Stock Futures Fluctuate as Life Insurers, Builders Rally

U.S. stock futures swung between gains and losses as a takeover in the homebuilding industry and speculation life insurers will be bailed out by the government offset a drop in commodity producers.

‘I Want You,’ Uncle Sam Says to Unemployed Wall Street Analysts

Uncle Sam to Wall Street: I want you. Underscoring Washington’s appeal as the financial industry shrinks, about 400 finance professionals have signed up for a New York job fair this month featuring nine federal agencies ranging from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission. That’s double the tally at similar events last year, organizers say.

Pentagon Spends $100 Million to Fix Cyber Attacks

The Pentagon spent more than $100 million in the last six months responding to and repairing damage from cyber attacks and other computer network problems, military leaders said Tuesday.

Feb. 2002: Pentagon Ponders Disinformation Campaign

The burden of proof will almost surely shift against the Pentagon if it goes through with plans for a new propaganda campaign that, according to Tuesday's New York Times, might include "disinformation" to persuade public opinion overseas to back Washington's war against terrorism.

Poll: 74 Percent Support Higher Taxes On The Rich

Almost three-quarters of Americans think it is a good idea to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 per year, according to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll.

Exoskeleton Gives Soldiers Super Strength

Stronger, faster and harder is the promise of a new exoskeleton developed by Lockheed Martin for U.S. soldiers. Dubbed the Human Universal Load Carrier, or HULC, the device helps a soldier carry up to 200 pounds at a top speed of 10 mph.


April 08, 2009


Report Outlines Medical Workers’ Role in Torture

Medical personnel were deeply involved in the abusive interrogation of terrorist suspects held overseas by the Central Intelligence Agency, including torture, and their participation was a “gross breach of medical ethics,” a long-secret report by the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded.

Economy Falling Years Behind Full Speed

The slack economy's loss of output is running at $1 trillion a year, and it will take years for employers, investors and consumers to bring it back to full speed.

Cities Collapsing Throughout the USA

“With enough abandoned lots to fill the city of San Francisco, Motown is 138 square miles divided between expanses of decay and emptiness and tracts of still-functioning communities and commercial areas. Close to six barren acres of an estimated 17,000 have already been turned into 500 “mini- farms,” demonstrating the lengths to which planners will go to make land productive.

U.S. Consumer Credit Decreased by $7.48 Billion

The pace of borrowing by U.S. consumers fell in February as fewer Americans sought credit to make purchases amid what may become the worst recession in seven decades.

U.S. Stocks, Oil Retreat as Dollar, Treasury Bonds Advance

U.S. stocks slid for a second day after investors from George Soros to Marc Faber predicted the rebound in equities will falter as the market braces for a seventh straight quarter of declining earnings. The dollar rose against most currencies, oil fell and Treasuries gained.

Poll Finds New Optimism on Economy Since Inauguration

President Obama is enjoying some success in rebuilding confidence in a troubled nation, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Military Budget Reflects a Shift in U.S. Strategy

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced a budget that cuts traditional weapons programs while adding resources to fight insurgencies.

Report Calls CIA Detainee Treatment 'Inhuman'

Medical officers who oversaw interrogations of terrorism suspects in CIA secret prisons committed gross violations of medical ethics and in some cases essentially participated in torture, the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a confidential report that labeled the CIA program "inhuman."

Former FBI Chief Defends Flow of Money to Saudi Ambassador

Former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh says $2 billion that flowed from a British arms manufacturer to U.S. bank accounts controlled by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the U.S., was not a bribe, but was instead part of a complex barter involving the exchange of Saudi oil for British fighter jets.,0,5187842.story

Report Envisions Shortage of Teachers as Retirements Escalate

Over the next four years, more than a third of the nation's 3.2 million teachers could retire, depriving classrooms of experienced instructors.

Why Didn't Fed Force Big Banks to Take Less of AIG Bailout?

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in November chose not to pursue tough negotiations with large foreign and domestic banks and instead allowed them to receive 100 cents on the dollar in government funds to settle tens of billions of dollars of exotic financial bets guaranteed by American International Group.

Obama Administration Warns of Mortgage Relief Scams

Scams targeting struggling homeowners seeking to stave off foreclosure have skyrocketed, federal officials said Monday, disclosing that they are investigating more than 2,100 companies and have filed legal actions against an Irvine firm and three others.,0,4424356.story

NSA Spying on Americans to Continue Under Obama

Under the Obama Administration, the NSA hopes to soften its image and improve public opinion concerning its warrantless dragnet spying program--with a little help from Ann Landers. The NSA has contracted with Landers and dozens of other personal advice columnists, many of whom have been laid off from their newspaper jobs as that media sector

continues to lag, to help provide advice to the millions of ordinary Americans whose communications are continually being intercepted by the secretive agency.

Google Offers Free, Ad-Supported Kitchen Appliances

Google today announced a new line of high performance kitchen appliances, available to US customers for free. The catch? The announced range, refrigerator, and dishwasher all include built in web-enabled cameras that monitor the contents of each device and touch-screen LCD displays that provide a stream of "relevant" advertisements.

Californians Slam Brakes on Gas Use

An economic meltdown may not be the preferred way to scale back California's dependence on foreign oil, but it seems to be doing the trick.


April 07, 2009


Economist: U.S. Collapse Driven by 'Fraud'

In an explosive interview on PBS' Bill Moyers Journal, William K. Black, a professor of economics and law with the University of Missouri, alleged that American banks and credit agencies conspired to create a system in which so-called "liars loans" could receive AAA ratings and zero oversight, amounting to a massive "fraud" at the epicenter of U.S. finance.

Banks Starting to Walk Away on Foreclosures

Banks are quietly declining to take possession of properties at the end of the foreclosure process because the cost of the ordeal exceed the value of the real estate.

American Airlines Union Goes Viral Against Execs

Unions at American Airlines have picketed, worn buttons and rented billboards to protest what they consider unseemly management bonuses. Now they're using an interactive Web site game to skewer their CEO.

Recession Alters College Admission Process

 "Students who need financial aid are applying to a greater variety of schools and are applying to some schools they feel they can definitely afford to go to if nothing comes through for them in terms of financial aid," Siegel said.

Consumers Fall Behind on Loans at Record Rate

A record number of consumers are falling delinquent or into default on their loans, a problem that some economists say will only get worse this year.

Poll Finds Nation Most Polarized in Decades Under Obama

As President Obama travels across Europe, a new poll out at home shows he's failed so far to forge any kind of bipartisanship and has polarized the country.

Judge: U.S. Used Mentally Ill Witness in Guantanamo Cases

The Justice Department improperly withheld important psychiatric records of a government witness who was used in a "significant" number of Guantanamo cases, a federal judge has concluded.

Survivalists 2.0: Regular People Getting Ready for the Worst

Spirko, an Army veteran and self-described "stark-raving-mad Libertarian," is part of a growing movement of people who are preparing for a disaster natural, economic or man-made. Referred to as "modern survivalists" or "preppers," they are taking steps to protect and provide for their families should something bad happen.

No Health Insurance for Many Employed Californians

At some point during the past two years, newly released studies show that more than one in every three Californians under 65 went without health insurance for at least a month, and researchers say there may be no recovery in sight, even when the recession lifts.

Boats Too Costly to Keep Are Littering Coastlines

Boat owners are sandpapering over the names and filing off the registry numbers, doing their best to render the boats, and themselves, untraceable.


April 06, 2009


No End in Sight to Job Losses; 663,000 More Cut in March

The U.S. unemployment rate reached 8.5 percent, its highest level in a quarter-century, in a sign of the severity of the downturn.

Optimism About U.S. Banks Might Be Misplaced

The U.S. banking system showed some signs of thawing this week, but it may prove to be a false spring.

Did Goldman Sachs Rig Oil Price to Bankrupt Pipeline Firm?

How Goldman Sachs was at the center of the oil trading fiasco that bankrupted pipeline giant Semgroup.

White House Debate Led to Plan to Widen Afghan Effort

The administration's plan for Afghanistan followed a fierce internal debate in which the vice president urged caution against a quagmire, while military advisers argued for more troops.

Inquiry Asks Why A.I.G. Paid Banks

Lawmakers and the New York attorney general began inquiries into how tens of billions of taxpayer dollars moved from A.I.G. to several dozen big banks.

Rising Fear of a Future Oil Shock

Sharp reductions in investments and low oil prices could curb future supplies, leaving the world to face a new energy shock when the economy picks up, according to a new study.

Judge Rules Some Prisoners at Bagram Have Right of Habeas Corpus

A federal judge ruled that some prisoners held by the United States military in Afghanistan have a right to challenge their imprisonment.

FAA Says Public Accountability Is Dangerous

The Federal Aviation Administration thinks you can't handle the truth. The agency has quietly moved to ban public disclosure of bird-strike records — information that chronicles where and when commercial aircraft were hit by birds.

FBI-Muslim Relations Strained as Government Looks for Terrorists

FBI informant sought to radicalize and recruit ‘terrorists’ from Muslim community in California.

Texas Universities Voice Opposition to Bill That Would Allow Guns on Campuses

Texas universities are firing back against a bill that would permit students to carry handguns on campus.

Cities Deal With a Surge in Shanty Towns

Reminiscent of the Great Depression, encampments of homeless people are growing in such cities as Fresno, Calif.

U.S. Plan Seeking Expanded Power in Seizing Firms

The Obama administration and the Federal Reserve began a full-court press to expand federal power to seize control of troubled financial institutions.

Cattle Rustling Plagues Ranchers

Farms in southwestern Missouri are suffering through a surge of cow thefts, with a total of 93 Brahman cows stolen in the last six months.

U.S. Cities Reel from Store Closings

Survey: As more merchants shutter stores amid eroding sales, major cities struggle to replace these vacant storefronts with new businesses.

Paid Handsomely to Stay

Despite the furor over the bonuses paid by A.I.G., executives at more than a dozen other firms that received government money stand to collect similar bonuses.

Taxing Times for the FDIC

The toxic-asset plan hands new duties to an agency that, thanks to soaring bank failures, already has its hands full.

Roubini Says Geithner Plan Won’t Prevent Bank Nationalizations

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s new plan to remove toxic assets from the books of the nation’s banks won’t stop some financial companies from having to be nationalized, said Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted the financial crisis.

Jobless Rate Exceeds 10% in Three More U.S. States

The number of U.S. states with a jobless rate exceeding 10 percent almost doubled in February as the worst employment slump in the postwar era spread.

New Bank Failures: Week of March 30

For the second straight week, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was unable to simply sell a failed institution's deposits to another institution. Instead, SunTrust Bank of Atlanta, held by SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI Quote - Cramer on STI - Stock Picks), agreed to act as paying agent on the behalf of the FDIC receivership.

Deal Is Reached to Raise Taxes on Top Earners in New York

The new plan would raise $4 billion a year by creating two new tax brackets, the highest one affecting those who earn $500,000 or more.


Last Updated May 11, 2009

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