- -Consequences of Global Warming (Awesome Library)
"Our greatest challenge today is to move the fresh, melting water in our polar caps and Greenland to safe land basins and water tables." 09-08
- -001 Accuracy of Obama's Statements in Health Care Reform Speech (MSNBC News)
Provides an independent check on the accuracy of some of President Obama's statements about the currently pending bills to reform health care. 09-09
- -001 Barack Obama's Inauguration Speech (MSNBC News)
Provides President Barack Obama's inaugural speech. 01-09
- -001 President Obama's Speech on Health Care Reform (ABC News)
Provides President Obama's statements about the currently pending bills to reform health care. 09-09
- -01-17-09 Videos of Plane Crash-Landing on Water (CNN News)
Provides various videos on the crash-landing of US Airways Flight 1549 that crashed into the Hudson River. 01-09
- -01-19-09 Editorial: President Obama's Speech on Health Care Reform (WhiteHouse.gov)
"The President looks back to the bipartisan Patient's Bill of Rights, a bill that was defeated in Congress at the hands of special interests and their supporters, and notes that health insurance reform covers the same ground and much more in terms of giving the consumers the upper hand over their insurance companies. He calls on the Senate to allow an up-or-down vote, and for those opposing reform to stop using parliamentary maneuvers to drag it out." 12-09
- -04-02-09 British Historian: Europe Crisis Worse than the USA's (MSNBC News)
"British historian Niall Ferguson explains why, compared with most Americans, Europeans will find it more difficult to face the current downturn." 04-09
- -12-03-09 President Obama Presents His Afghanistan Strategy (CBS News)
President Obama presents his strategy. 12-09
- -001 Antiviral Drugs for Influenza (Flu) (CDC.gov)
"Although yearly vaccination with the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, antiviral drugs can be effective for prevention and treatment of the flu." 04-09
- -001 Barack Obama Becomes the 44th President (CNN News)
"Barack Obama is delivering a sobering assessment of where America stands and a hopeful vision of what it can become as he gives his inaugural address as the nation's 44th president." 01-09
- -001 Budget for 2010 Proposed By the President (Office of Management and Budget)
"Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account—to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day—because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government." 02-09
- -001 Congress and Administration Make Stimulus Deal (Time.com)
"Negotiators for Congress and the White House have tentatively settled on a $790 billion price tag on President Barack Obama's economic stimulus bill and have restored some the Senate cut from school repair and state aid." 02-09
- -001 Debate Focuses on Public Insurance Option (CNN News)
"After weeks of battles over aspects of President Obama's proposed health care reforms, the debate focused Monday on one central issue: whether the U.S. government will offer a public insurance option."
"Former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, a doctor and one-time presidential candidate, told NBC's 'Today Show' on Monday that he believes a public option 'is the entirety of health care reform; it's not the entirety of insurance reform.' " 08-09
- -001 Debate Focuses on Public Insurance Option (Time.com)
"So what happens if Obama takes the next step and explicitly abandons the public option? The left will be disappointed and its enthusiasm for the whole exercise may wane, though Obama probably won't lose many votes among liberal Democrats on Capitol Hill. At the same time, he probably won't pick up many from Republicans, who are looking less and less like they are in the mood to find a compromise. But it could help keep some shakier centrists aboard. And it would lower the intensity of the heat around the entire debate, by removing an issue that the White House has increasingly come to view as a distraction from the larger goals of its health-care reform." 08-09
- -001 Editorial: "He Won What?!" (Time.com)
Regarding President Barack Obama winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize: "Why the Norwegian Nobel Committee made such a decision barely nine months into his presidency was a worthy question. So instead of popping off, I wanted to go deeper, and there is no better explanation than the committee’s rationale."
" 'Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population,' according to text of the Nobel Prize citation."
" 'For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that ‘Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.' " 10-09
- -001 Editorial: What Teddy Can Teach Us (Newsweek.com)
"For decades, the public has associated the Kennedys with drama, glamour, and celebrity. The Kennedy family has been our favorite public soap opera, lurching between triumph and tragedy. Yet the youngest son was not intellectual and debonair like his brother Jack, or intense and bold like his brother Bobby. For all the eulogies about his epic struggle with sin and redemption, Ted actually vindicated a more mundane truism: that half (or maybe as much as 90 percent) of success in life is just showing up."
"He possessed two qualities rarely found in our elected representatives: he did not hog the limelight, and he was never petty. For 47 years in the U.S. Senate, Kennedy patiently waited his turn, and by doing so accomplished more for the poor and dispossessed than any other senator, ever." 08-09
- -001 Flu Vaccinations (CDC.gov)
"The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year."
Editor's Note: As of April 27th, a vaccine for "swine flu" had not been made available. 04-09
- -001 Geithner: $2 Trillion More Needed to Save Economy (ABC News)
"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner outlined a massive $2 trillion plan today that he said is meant to stabilize the nation's banking sector and restore the public's faith in the government's ability to handle the crisis." 02-09
- -001 General Motors Files for Bankruptcy (CNN News)
"General Motors filed for bankruptcy protection early Monday, a move once viewed as unthinkable that became inevitable after years of losses and market share declines which were capped by a dramatic plunge in sales in recent months."
"Taxpayers will end up with a 60% stake in GM, with the union, its creditors and federal and provincial governments in Canada owning the remainder of the company." 05-09
- -001 Health Care Insurance Guide (Time.com)
Explains the key provisions under consideration in short, easy-to-read paragraphs. 11-09
- -001 Health-Care Reform After Kennedy (Time.com)
"For decades, the public has associated the Kennedys with drama, glamour, and celebrity. The Kennedy family has been our favorite public soap opera, lurching between triumph and tragedy. Yet the youngest son was not intellectual and debonair like his brother Jack, or intense and bold like his brother Bobby. For all the eulogies about his epic struggle with sin and redemption, Ted actually vindicated a more mundane truism: that half (or maybe as much as 90 percent) of success in life is just showing up."
"He possessed two qualities rarely found in our elected representatives: he did not hog the limelight, and he was never petty. For 47 years in the U.S. Senate, Kennedy patiently waited his turn, and by doing so accomplished more for the poor and dispossessed than any other senator, ever." 08-09
- -001 Leading Clerics Defy Ayatollah (New York Times)
"A statement by the group, the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum, represents a significant, if so far symbolic, setback for the government and especially the authority of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose word is supposed to be final. The government has tried to paint the opposition and its top presidential candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, as criminals and traitors, a strategy that now becomes more difficult."
" 'This crack in the clerical establishment, and the fact they are siding with the people and Moussavi, in my view is the most historic crack in the 30 years of the Islamic republic,' said Abbas Milani, director of the Iranian Studies Program at Stanford University. 'Remember, they are going against an election verified and sanctified by Khamenei.' " 07-09
- -001 Obama Declares Swine Flu a National Emergency (MSNBC News)
"President Barack Obama has signed a proclamation declaring swine flu a national emergency, the White House said Saturday." 10-09
- -001 Obama Makes Major Speech in Egypt (MSNBC News)
"Using quotes from the Quran, President Barack Obama called for a 'new beginning between the United States and Muslims' Thursday and said together, they could confront violent extremism across the globe and advance the timeless search for peace in the Middle East." 06-09
- -001 Obama Releases Mortgage Relief Plan (CBS News)
"Stocks are modestly higher as President Barack Obama releases details of his $75 billion mortgage relief plan, after a morning in which Wall Street extended its previous day's decline." 02-09
- -001 Obama Warns Nation Regarding Economy (ABC News)
"President Obama warned today that the nation has 'inherited an economic crisis as deep and as dire as any since the Great Depression' and that 'we can no longer afford to wait and see and hope for the best.' " 02-09
- -001 Obama's Recovery and Reinvestment Plan (U.S. News)
Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama as Prepared for Delivery Thursday, January 8, 2009
"We start 2009 in the midst of a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime—a crisis that has only deepened over the last few weeks. Nearly two million jobs have now been lost, and on Friday we are likely to learn that we lost more jobs last year than at any time since World War II. Just in the past year, another 2.8 million Americans who want and need full-time work have had to settle for part-time jobs. Manufacturing has hit a twenty-eight year low. Many businesses cannot borrow or make payroll. Many families cannot pay their bills or their mortgage. Many workers are watching their life savings disappear. And many, many Americans are both anxious and uncertain of what the future will hold."
"We arrived at this point due to an era of profound irresponsibility that stretched from corporate boardrooms to the halls of power in Washington, D.C. For years, too many Wall Street executives made imprudent and dangerous decisions, seeking profits with too little regard for risk, too little regulatory scrutiny, and too little accountability. Banks made loans without concern for whether borrowers could repay them, and some borrowers took advantage of cheap credit to take on debt they couldn't afford. Politicians spent taxpayer money without wisdom or discipline, and too often focused on scoring political points instead of the problems they were sent here to solve. The result has been a devastating loss of trust and confidence in our economy, our financial markets, and our government."
"Now, the very fact that this crisis is largely of our own making means that it is not beyond our ability to solve." 01-09
- -001 One-Stop Access to Pandemic Flu Information (PandemicFlu.gov)
"The CDC is actively investigating isolated human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) in several states (CA, TX, OH, KS, NY) and is working closely with Canada and Mexico and with the WHO. The CDC is continuously updating investigation information." 04-09
- -001 President Barack Obama's Inaugural Speech (U.S. News)
"I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors." 01-09
- -001 President Obama's Speech, Full Text (Time.com)
"I've come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women in this great chamber, but to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here." 02-09
- -001 President Promises More Consumer Lending (MSNBC News)
"Bluntly declaring that the 'day of reckoning has arrived' after years of financial irresponsibility, President Barack Obama told Americans on Tuesday night that 'we will rebuild, we will recover and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.' " 02-09
- -001 Senate Gains 60 Votes to Pass Health Care Bill (PBS.org)
"Senate Democrats announced Saturday morning that they had struck a deal with the last Democratic holdout on health care reform, paving the way for a vote on the bill before Christmas. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., agreed to a compromise at 10:30 p.m. Friday night, after a marathon 13 hours of negotiations, it was widely reported."
Editor's Note: The Senate passed a cloture vote, which allows the health care bill to be voted on, after 1 am on Monday, December 21st. The bill is now expected to pass in the Senate by Christmas. 2-09
- -001 Senate Passes Its Version of Historical Health Care Reform Bill (MSNBC News)
"Senate Democrats passed a landmark health care bill in a climactic Christmas Eve vote that could define President Barack Obama's legacy and usher in near-universal medical coverage for the first time in U.S. history."
"Negotiations between the House and Senate to reconcile differences between the two bills are expected to begin as soon as next week." 12-09
- -001 Senate Passes Stimulus Bill (CBS News)
"The Senate has approved the $838 billion stimulus bill, which has solid Democratic support but is backed by only three Senate Republicans."
"The bill now faces what could be contentious negotiations with the House, which passed a different version of the legislation, one that includes fewer taxes and more spending than the Senate version." 02-09
- -001 Stimulus Bill Moving Through Congress (U.S. News)
"As those in the House geared up yesterday to begin debate on the $825 billion stimulus bill, their compatriots on the Senate side passed the bill through two key committees—and added another $70 billion in tax relief, swelling the package to more than $887 billion." 01-09
- -001 Ted Kennedy (Awesome Library)
Provides news and biographical information on Senator Edward Kennedy. 08-09
- -001 Ted Kennedy Dies (CNN News)
"Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, the patriarch of the first family of Democratic politics, died late Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. He was 77." 08-09
- -001 Worldwide Hopes Soar for Obama's Presidency (MSNBC News)
"A world made weary by war, recession, joblessness and fear shed its collective burden Tuesday to celebrate the arrival of a new American president. Bulls and goats were slaughtered for feasts in Kenya and caterers prepared for black-tie balls in the capitals of Europe."
"From Kenya and Indonesia, where Barack Obama has family ties, to areas around the world, Obama represented a volcanic explosion of hope for better days ahead."
"The ascendance of the first African-American to the presidency of the United States was heralded as marking a new era of tolerance and possibility." 01-09
- -01-04-09 Top 10 Stories of 2009 (U.S. News)
"The presidential election may have dominated headlines for much of the year, but here at USNews.com, a variety of stories tickled your fancy." 01-09
- -01-05-09 Auto Sales Plunge (MSNBC News)
"General Motors, Ford and Toyota said Monday their U.S. sales plunged in December, as car and truck buyers continued to steer clear of showrooms due to the dismal economy." 01-09
- -01-05-09 Questions Remain on Bush Scandals (ABC News)
"The Bush administration has long said it never tortured anyone and that the abuses of Abu Ghraib and elsewhere were the result of bad apples, not systematic policy."
"But a recent report by the Senate Armed Services Committee went a long way documenting the role of top Defense Department and military officials in signing off on the use of the coercive interrogation techniques. 'Senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees,' the report found." 01-09
- -01-06-09 Airlines Cut Prices (MSNBC News)
"A wave of fare sales has spread across the airline industry in the early days of the new year as the weak economy continues to put pressure on carriers to fill seats even after they drastically reduced capacity and some expressed willingness to cut more." 01-09
- -01-06-09 Debate Over Stimulus Package (New York Times)
"A bipartisan group of senators worked furiously in backroom negotiations on Thursday to cut the cost of the more than $920 billion economic stimulus plan. Senate Democratic leaders said they would await the outcome of those talks before calling for a final vote on the measure, perhaps on Friday." 02-09
- -01-06-09 Editorial: Obama Really Could Turn the Economy Around (U.S. News)
"About 70% of Americans say they are optimistic that the Obama administration will be able to spur growth. Economists say confidence is a key element, especially as it relates to consumers. That's a big plus if Obama can deliver quickly enough to keep the momentum." 01-09
- -01-06-09 Massive New Embassy in Iraq: Symbol of Domination? (Time.com)
"With red-carpet flourish and speeches by top U.S. and Iraqi officials, the United States celebrated the next step in the U.S.-Iraq diplomatic relationship with the dedication of its sprawling new embassy in Baghdad on Monday. The 104-acre complex is the largest U.S. embassy in the world."
"Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was absent from the ceremony. On Monday he was scheduled to return from a two-day visit to the U.S.'s adversary, Iran, where he met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatullah Khamenei. According to Iranian state news agency IRNA, Khamenei told al-Maliki on Sunday that the U.S. presence in Iraq was the root cause of terrorism, and that the U.S. seeks to establish a permanent base there to dominate the region. He urged further political and economic cooperation with Iran." 01-09
- -01-07-09 CBO: Grim Predictions for the Economy (MSNBC News)
"The U.S. federal budget deficit will hit an unparalleled $1.2 trillion for the 2009 budget year, according to grim new Congressional Budget Office figures."
"The CBO estimate released Wednesday also sees the U.S. economy shrinking by 2.2 percent this year and recovering only slightly in 2010, and the unemployment rate eclipsing 9 percent early next year unless the Obama administration steps in." 01-09
- -01-11-09 Stimulus Debate on "Clean Coal" (U.S. News)
"Steven Chu, President-elect Barack Obama's pick for energy secretary, met this week with several Illinois lawmakers to hear their pitch for a stimulus-related project: the revival of a $1.9 billion advanced coal plant in Mattoon, Ill. The project had its funding revoked last year by the Bush administration, which at the time cited "restructuring" as the cause. Chu, according to one congressional aide, listened intently during the meeting but made no promises about restoring the project, which is arguably the world's most ambitious 'clean coal' effort, at least in conception." 01-09
- -01-15-09 Burris Sworn in as Senator (MSNBC News)
"Roland Burris took his place as Barack Obama's successor in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, ending a standoff that embarrassed the president-elect and fellow Democrats who initially resisted the appointment by scandal-scarred Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich." 01-09
- -01-16-09 Congress Approves Release of Bailout Funds (CBS News)
"Congress laid the foundation for President-elect Barack Obama's economic recovery plan on Thursday with remarkable speed, clearing the way for a new infusion of bailout cash for the financial industry while majority Democrats proposed spending increases and tax cuts totaling a whopping $825 billion." 01-09
- -01-21-09 A View of the Inaugural from 107 Years (CNN News)
"At 107 years old, Cooper said she always believed she might live to see a black man sworn in as president of the United States." 01-09
- -01-21-09 First Day of President Obama (CNN News)
"President Obama's faith 'is a central part of his life and he will begin the first full day of his administration with a service of interfaith prayer and reflection,' said Presidential Inaugural Committee Communications Director Josh Earnest." 01-09
- -01-21-09 My Country 'tis of Thee (DailyKos.com)
"In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution prohibited Marian Anderson, one of the great singers of her era, from performing in Constitution Hall before an integrated audience. In response, Eleanor Roosevelt persuaded Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes—father of the Harold Ickes who's worked with Bill and Hillary Clinton—to allow Anderson to perform a concert on the steps of the memorial to the Great Emancipator, our original president from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Anderson opened the concert by singing My Country, 'tis of Thee.' " 01-09
- -01-21-09 Obama's Green Team (U.S. News)
"Mentions of 'Boxer' and 'Waxman' floated from one huddle to the next—references to Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Henry Waxman, the California Democrats who now chair major committees on energy or the environment and are expected to play a central role in drafting climate change legislation this year."
"And the fate of bills, dealing with everything from conservation of public lands to tax incentives for the wind and solar industries, were a prime topic as people stood in line to fill their dinner plates with organic hamburgers and salads." 01-09
- -01-22-09 Obama to Close Guantanamo Bay Facility (CNN News)
"President Barack Obama issued four executive orders Thursday to demonstrate a clean break from the Bush administration on the war on terror, including one requiring that the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay be closed within a year."
"A second executive order formally bans torture by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terror interrogations. The order essentially ends the Bush administration's CIA program of enhanced interrogation methods." 01-09
- -01-23-09 Aide: Kirsten Gillibrand Is N.Y. Senate Pick (Time.com)
"Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, a second-term congresswoman from upstate New York, was Gov. David Paterson's pick to fill Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate seat a day after Caroline Kennedy abruptly withdrew from contention." 01-09
- -01-23-09 Kirsten Gillibrand, the New Senator from New York (Wikipedia.org)
"On January 23, 2009, Gillibrand was appointed by Governor David Paterson to fill the seat in the United States Senate vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, who assumed the office of United States Secretary of State in the Obama administration. At 42, Gillibrand will be the youngest member of the U.S. Senate." 01-09
- -01-23-09 Obama's Mother (Time.com)
"It turns out that Obama's nascent career peddling hope is a family business. He inherited it. And while it is true that he has not been profoundly tested, he was raised by someone who was."
"In most elections, the deceased mother of a candidate in the primaries is not the subject of a magazine profile. But Ann Soetoro was not like most mothers." 01-09
- -01-23-09 The Obama Cabinet (CBS News)
"The latest names and status of posts within President Obama's new administration. The leading contenders are those who CBS News has confirmed that are Mr. Obama's top picks for positions. Nominees are those who have been publicly announced by Mr. Obama. The names for possible candidates come from CBS News, the Associates Press and other published sources." 01-09
- -01-24-09 Obama Reverses Abortion-Funding Policy (CNN News)
"President Obama struck down a rule Friday that prohibits U.S. money from funding international family-planning clinics that promote abortion or provide counseling or referrals about abortion services." 01-09
- -01-26-09 Obama to Let States Set Higher MPG and Auto Emission Standards (CNN News)
"President Obama signed a memorandum Monday requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider an application by California to set more stringent auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards than required by federal law."
"If the EPA grants a waiver allowing California to set its own emissions standards, the nation's largest state will be allowed to require automakers to produce trucks and cars that get better mileage than what is required under the current national standard."
"Thirteen other states could take similar action." 01-09
- -01-26-09 Raising the Bar on Fighting Climate Change (Time.com)
"The Bush White House was so profoundly hostile to action on global warming that during its eight-year tenure, one could have qualified as a 'green progressive' simply by asserting that climate change was real. In 2007, under these circumstances — perhaps because of them — was born an unlikely alliance between Duke Energy, a North Carolina-based utility that depends heavily on coal, and the Environmental Defense Fund, which together with 30 other green groups and major corporations, formed the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP)." 01-09
- -01-27-09 Home Prices Fall at Record Pace (CNN News)
"As carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, the world will experience more and more long-term environmental disruption. The damage will persist even when, and if, emissions are brought under control, says study author Susan Solomon, who is among the world's top climate scientists." 01-09
- -01-28-09 Obama, Man About Town (ABC News)
"President Obama started his presidency at a full sprint, but in the weeks leading up to Inauguration Day he took some time to have a little fun outside of the office." 01-09
- -01-28-09 Supreme Court Affirms Shield from Employer Retaliation (Christian Science Monitor)
"In an eight-page decision written by Justice David Souter, the high court cast a broad blanket of protection over American workers struggling in a hostile work environment. Those employees who help identify and root out allegedly discriminatory actions by senior managers and supervisors – even though they may not have filed a formal complaint – are nonetheless protected from retaliation, the court said."
"The decision puts managers and supervisors on notice that they face legal consequences if they use their power in the organization to try to cover up their own discriminatory actions by retaliating against complaining employees. In addition, the decision puts employees on notice that, when they come forward to help expose discrimination in the workplace, they clearly enjoy the protections of the law." 01-09
- -01-30-09 Economy Shrinking Fast (New York Times)
"The economy shrank at an accelerating pace late last year, the government reported on Friday, adding to the urgency of a stimulus package capable of bringing the country back from a recession that appears to be deepening."
"The actual decline in the gross domestic product — at a 3.8 percent annual rate — fell short of the 5 to 6 percent that most economists had expected for the fourth quarter. But that was because consumption collapsed so quickly that goods piled up in inventory, unsold but counted as part of the nation’s output."
"'The drop in spending was so fast, so rapid, that production could not be cut fast enough,' said Nigel Gault, chief domestic economist at IHS Global Insight. 'That is happening now, and the contraction in the current quarter, as a result, will probably exceed 5 percent.' " 01-09
- -01-30-09 Editorial: Is a 'Bad Bank' the Answer? (Christian Science Monitor)
"With the financial crisis now midway through its second year, a central problem for the US economy remains: how to convincingly clear away a garbage-pile of bad debts at banks and move forward with a solvent industry."
"A leading idea under review by the Obama administration is to set up a so-called "bad bank" as a holding pen for the risky assets that spawned the crisis. Administration officials have talked about this concept, and have said they want to avoid temporarily nationalizing some very large banks." 01-09
- -01-30-09 Education to Gain Big Increase in Funds (U.S. News)
"The nation's students, schools, and universities stand to receive about one sixth of the $800 billion economic stimulus package passed by the House of Representatives Wednesday evening, a proportion that amounts to the largest increase in federal money for education in nearly half a century." 01-09
- -01-30-09 Governor Bounced from Office (U.S. News)
"Gov. Rod Blagojevich was unanimously convicted at his impeachment trial and thrown out of office Thursday, ending a nearly two-month crisis that erupted with his arrest on charges he tried to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat." 01-09
- -01-30-09 Obama Signs Equal-Pay Bill (USA Today)
"President Obama signed his first bill Thursday, a gender pay equity law that had been a hallmark of his campaign for the White House."
"The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act makes it easier for workers to sue companies for pay discrimination and effectively reverses a 2007 Supreme Court decision that had given workers 180 days to file a lawsuit after the pay inequity allegedly first took place." 01-09
- -01-31-09 The Story Behind Wall Street Bonuses (New York Times)
"If you’ve never worked on Wall Street, it is hard to wrap your head around the idea that a company that lost nearly $19 billion in a single year, as Citigroup did in 2008, could still pay its employees billions in bonuses. It is probably even harder to believe that some of those employees grumble about it." 01-09
- -011-03-09 Media Moguls (Time.com)
"In The Curse of the Mogul, Jonathan Knee, Bruce Greenwald and Ava Seave say the biggest problem with media companies is the moguls, who have been seduced into believing that content is king, bigger is always better and talent — especially their own — is irreplaceable. So blinded are they, they have mismanaged their companies and shareholders have suffered." 11-09
- -011-04-09 Italy Convicts 23 Americans for C.I.A. Renditions (New York Times)
"In a landmark ruling on Wednesday, an Italian judge convicted a C.I.A. station chief and 22 other Americans accused of being C.I.A. agents of kidnapping in the 2003 abduction of a Muslim cleric from the streets of Milan."
"An enormous symbolic victory for Italian prosecutors, the case was the first ever to contest the United States practice of rendition, in which terrorism suspects are captured in one country and taken for questioning in another, presumably one more open to coercive interrogation techniques. The case was widely seen as an implicit indictment of the measures the Bush administration relied on to fight terrorism." 11-09
- -011-04-09 Supreme Court Split on Rogue Prosecutors (Christian Science Monitor)
"The Supreme Court Wednesday heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by two Iowa men who spent 25 in prison after prosecutors allegedly fabricated evidence against them. Justices seemed divided on the issue of how much immunity prosecutors should enjoy." 11-09
- -02-02-09 Editorial: Obama Sends Positive Message to Muslims (CNN News)
"President Obama has given the Muslim community around the world the message we have been waiting for."
"He reassured Muslims in America that 'We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers.' For those like me who were critical of his standoffish attitude toward Islam during his campaign, this signaled a welcome change."
"Obama has done all Americans a favor by extending a hand of friendship to the Muslim world. For me personally, it has alleviated the pain of witnessing the country I love engage in a foreign policy that I could not approve of as a Muslim and as an American -- a foreign policy that created mutual distrust between Americans and Muslims. And Obama has followed up on his statements with actions." 02-09
- -02-03-09 Editorial: What in the Stimulus Bill Is Stimulus? (Time.com)
"As I wrote last month, there are three questions we should ask about every provision in the package: Will it stimulate the economy quickly? Will it create long-term fiscal obligations? But also: Is it something we ought to do anyway? We need to zap the economy with a big jolt of federal dollars, and it's important that those dollars be spent in timely and temporary ways. But it's just as important that they're spent in ways that promote, and don't undermine, national priorities. Fast is good, but this downturn is likely to last awhile no matter what the feds do. So smart is better."
The author asserts that "the biggest measure — a $145 billion payroll tax cut — is both good stimulus, because it targets low- and moderate-income earners who are more likely to spend it, and good policy, because it aims to start rebuilding the middle class and help ordinary families shafted by eight years of trickle-down tax policy." 02-09
- -02-03-09 Tom Daschle Withdraws as Health Nominee (New York Times)
"Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination on Tuesday as President Obama’s nominee to lead the Health and Human Services Department, a decision that came one day after Mr. Obama declared that he would stand behind Mr. Daschle as problems over unpaid taxes were scrutinized on Capitol Hill." 02-09
- -02-03-09 When Is a Lobbyist Not a Lobbyist? (Time.com)
"According to the White House, the important thing is that Tom Daschle is not technically a lobbyist. 'If you're not registered to lobby, you can't be a lobbyist,' explains White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. And Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader who is up for the top health post in the Obama Cabinet, never filled out the paperwork to register."
"Though he never registered, Daschle, in fact, made millions of dollars since he left government doing stuff that looks, smells and tastes a lot like lobbying — work that led to the taxes flap that forced him to apologize to his former colleagues on Monday for what he called a 'completely inadvertent' mistake." 02-09
- -02-04-09 Auto Sales Go from Bad to Worse (Time.com)
"Auto sales plummeted again in January, falling to their lowest level in decades, as showroom traffic dropped by almost half and loans dried up even for interested consumers. The slowdown leaves the U.S. car industry at another historic crossroads. America has long served as the world's largest market for new cars. But Mike DiGiovanni, General Motors' director of global analysis, says more new vehicles were sold in China last month than in the U.S." 02-09
- -02-04-09 Obama vs. Pelosi (Time.com)
"On nearly every major issue — from the auto bailout and the stimulus bill to tax cuts and the delicate question of whether to investigate the Bush Administration officials for crimes related to torture — Pelosi has voiced and even pushed through the House differing positions from the President, at times to the embarrassment of Democrats." 02-09
- -02-06-09 Employers Cut 598,000 Jobs in January (MSNBC News)
"Recession-battered employers eliminated 598,000 jobs in January, the most since the end of 1974, and catapulted the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent."
"The grim figures were further proof that the nation's job climate is deteriorating at an alarming clip with no end in sight." 02-09
- -02-06-09 Panel: Treasury Overpaid $78 Billion in Bailouts (CBS News)
"A congressional oversight panel recently took a look at the first $254 billion the government spent buying shares of the big banks to keep them afloat. After six weeks of number-crunching, what did they find? The Treasury Department substantially overpaid for those assets, by a whopping $78 billion."
"Warrens said that if subsidization of financial firms is meant to be the government's policy about the use of public funds, then a public debate is required, one which didn’t happen." 02-09
- -02-06-09 Summary of the Stimulus Bill Under Debate (U.S. News)
"The Democratic chairmen of the Senate Appropriations and Finance committees released a summary of the current version of the $888 billion stimulus bill, which is being called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009." 02-09
- -02-11-09 House to Bankers: Make Sacrifices (CBS News)
"Facing an angry American public and Congress, major bank chief executives agreed Wednesday with lawmakers' demands for better government cooperation and public relations in their first testimony on the $700 billion bailout." 02-09
- -02-11-09 Peanut Company Owner Refuses to Testify (MSNBC News)
"The owner of a peanut company refused to testify to Congress on Wednesday amid the disclosure that he urged his workers to ship bacteria-tainted products, pleading with federal health officials that he should be able 'turn the raw peanuts on the floor into money.' " 02-09
- -02-14-09 Obama Outlines His Faith-Based Initiative (U.S. News)
"President Obama has signed an executive order establishing a new White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships"
"The Office's top priority will be making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete." 10-07
- -02-16-09 Islamic Law to Be Imposed in Parts of Pakistan (MSNBC News)
"The government agreed to implement Islamic law across a large swath of northwest Pakistan on Monday in a concession aimed at pacifying a spreading Taliban insurgency." 02-09
- -02-17-09 Editorial: Having Czars Take the Lead (Time.com)
"The Administration has no solution — no popular one anyway. So the President names a czar. After a day or two of stern talk about crashing through bureaucratic walls and knocking pointy heads together, the czar gradually settles into lonely isolation in the Executive Office building, venturing out to give speeches at interest-group luncheons and perhaps shake hands with the President at a White House Christmas party."
"It's one thing to be a czar in America; it's quite another to be the boss."
"Czar or no czar, Obama has a genuine crisis boiling up in Detroit. Without major changes in the structure of the industry, the auto business is going to sink under mountainous waves of red ink." 02-09
- -02-17-09 Sen. Leahy Plans Investigation of Bush-Era Wrongdoings (Time.com)
Sen. Leahy plans investigation of Bush-Era wrongdoings. 02-09
- -02-19-09 Catholic Crusade Against a Mythical Abortion Bill (Time.com)
"The U.S. Catholic Church's crusade against the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) has all the hallmarks of a well-oiled lobbying campaign. A national postcard campaign is flooding the White House and congressional offices with messages opposing FOCA, and the Catholic bishops have made defeating the abortion rights legislation a top priority."
"There is only one hitch. Congress isn't about to pass the Freedom of Choice Act because no such bill has been introduced." 02-09
- -02-19-09 Gov. Palin Owes Back Taxes (MSNBC News)
"Gov. Sarah Palin must pay back taxes on nearly $18,000 in expenses she charged the state for living in her home outside Anchorage instead of at the state capital, officials said Wednesday."
"Palin also previously charged the state for having her children travel with her — amounting to $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office through last fall. She also charged for hotel rooms for the girls in some cases."
"Her office has claimed the girls were acting on state business, and Kreitzer said the state did not review the matter." 02-09
- -02-19-09 Obama Lifts Global Gag Rule on Abortion (Time.com)
"On the day after the 36th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, President Barack Obama repealed a Reagan-era policy that prohibited foreign nongovernmental family-planning groups from receiving U.S. funds if they provided abortions or even lobbied for abortion rights in their country."
Former President Bush had re-instated the ban in 2001 and gave this explanation: " 'It is my conviction,' Bush said, 'that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions or advocate or actively promote abortion, either here or abroad.' "
"But in fact, since 1973, federal law has banned the use of U.S. taxpayer funds for abortions in other countries. What the Mexico City policy did was take that prohibition several steps further. Under the policy, NGOs that applied for family-planning funds from the U.S. Agency on International Development (USAID) had to refrain from using any of their own funds to provide abortion (with exceptions for cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother). The organizations also were not eligible if they lobbied to make or keep abortion legal in their own country or if they provided abortion referrals — a requirement that led many opponents of the policy to dub it a 'global gag rule.' " 02-09
- -02-22-09 Probe: Army Charity Hoarding Millions (MSNBC News)
"As soldiers stream home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the biggest charity inside the U.S. military has been stockpiling tens of millions of dollars meant to help put returning fighters back on their feet, an Associated Press investigation shows."
"Between 2003 and 2007 — as many military families dealt with long war deployments and increased numbers of home foreclosures — Army Emergency Relief grew into a $345 million behemoth. During those years, the charity packed away $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid, according to an AP analysis of its tax records." 02-09
- -02-23-09 Pennyslvania's "Jailing Kids for Cash" Scandal (CNN News)
"As scandals from Wall Street to Washington roil the public trust, the justice system in Luzerne County, in the heart of Pennsylvania's struggling coal country, has also fallen prey to corruption. The county has been rocked by a kickback scandal involving two elected judges who essentially jailed kids for cash. Many of the children had appeared before judges without a lawyer."
"The kickback scandal highlights a major problem in the juvenile justice system in Luzerne County and across the country, attorneys say. They say hundreds of children who appeared before Ciavarella didn't have lawyers."
"Dahlberg's recent study in Ohio revealed that some of the counties had as many as 90 percent of children going through the court system without a lawyer." 02-09
- -02-23-09 Stock Market Indexes Hit 12-Year Low (CBS News)
"Investors unable to extinguish their worries about a recession that has no end in sight dumped stocks again Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 251 points to its lowest close since Oct. 28, 1997, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index logged its lowest finish since April 11, 1997." 02-09
- -02-24-09 Clooney Brings Dafur to the White House (CBS News)
"Actor George Clooney apparently had a good reason for skipping out on Oscar night: He had a meeting with President Obama." 02-09
- -02-25-09 Banker Recognized for "Responsibility" (CNN News)
"One person on the first lady's guest list was Leonard Abess Jr., a Miami banker who received a $60 million bonus from the proceeds from the sale of shares of City National Bank in Florida and gave it out to his 399 workers and 72 former workers."
"During his speech, President Obama said Abess didn't tell anyone about his generosity, but when the local newspaper found out, Abess simply said, 'I knew some of these people since I was 7 years old. I didn't feel right getting the money myself.' " 02-09
- -02-26-09 Editorial: Jindal Response to President Draws Criticism (MSNBC News)
"Jindal, 37, a Rhodes scholar and son of Indian immigrants, is considered a rising star in Republican ranks and a likely 2012 presidential candidate."
"GOP leaders, looking for a fresh face for the party's image, tapped Jindal earlier this month for the high-profile task of rebutting Obama's first address to a joint session of Congress."
"But in both style and substance, Jindal's speech has drawn flak from Republicans and Democrats alike." 02-09
- -02-26-09 FEMA's "Toxic Bureaucracy" (CBS News)
"FEMA's been under fire from critics who claim the Gulf Coast recovery is moving too slowly. Now FEMA officials said they're investigating allegations of serious misconduct at the New Orleans office. CBS News has learned workers there accuse their bosses of intentionally holding up Katrina aid." 02-09
- -02-26-09 Health Care on the Front Burner (Time.com)
"As part of the $3.5 trillion budget he proposed on Thursday, President Barack Obama is pushing for a down payment on universal health care, a reserve fund of $634 billion over 10 years paid for by higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans and savings from government programs like Medicare and Medicaid." 02-09
- -02-26-09 Obama Plans Big Shift in Spending (New York Times)
"President Obama’s new budget blueprint estimates a stunning deficit of $1.75 trillion for the current fiscal year, which began five months ago, then lays out a wrenching change of course as he seeks to finance his own priorities while stanching the flow of red ink."
"By redirecting enormous streams of deficit spending toward programs like health care, education and energy, and paying for some of it through taxes on the rich, pollution surcharges, and cuts in such inviolable programs as farm subsidies, the $3.55 trillion spending plan Mr. Obama is undertaking signals a radical change of course that Congress has yet to endorse." 02-09
- -02-27-09 Government to Boost Its Stake in Citigroup (USA Today)
"Citigroup has struck a deal that allows it to shore up a key financial measure while giving the government up to a 36% stake in the beleaguered bank, vs. 8% now."
"The deal is the government's third major effort to turn around Citigroup (C), the nation's third-largest bank by assets. Already, the government holds $45 billion of preferred shares in Citigroup and has agreed to share losses on $301 billion of troubled bank assets."
"In the latest action, the government will exchange some of its preferred shares in Citigroup for common shares, matching the actions of private investors, including The Government of Singapore Investment Corp., Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, Capital Research Global Investors and Capital World Investors." 02-09
- -02-27-09 Laura Bush: After the White House (ABC News)
"Commercial airline travel, trips to the hardware store for nightlights and walks around the neighborhood are all part of everyday life these days for former President George W. Bush and his wife, former first lady Laura Bush." 02-09
- -02-27-09 Obama Announces End of Combat Mission in Iraq in 2010 (ABC News)
"President Obama made it official today, that U.S. combat operations in Iraq are scheduled to end on Aug. 31, 2010." 02-09
- -03-02-09 Citigroup Bailout Plan May Be Repeated (MSNBC News)
"The government made another run at saving Citigroup Inc. on Friday, giving taxpayers a bigger stake in its fortunes with a plan that could become a model for saving the nation's most troubled big banks."
"The plan does not address the central problem confronting Citi, toxic assets on its books, and leaves taxpayers more exposed to the ups and downs of the financial giant's stock."
"Baker, of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, said the government's efforts to avoid a takeover amount to 'a further handout to Citigroup.' "
" 'We really should own it outright,' he said, given that taxpayers have provided the company $45 billion in assistance, several times its market value."
"Citi, one of the banks hardest hit by the ongoing credit crisis, has also received guarantees from the government that protect it from the bulk of losses on $300 billion of risky investments." 03-09
- -03-02-09 Stocks Tumble (CNN News)
"U.S. stocks tumble at the open as investors react to massive quarterly loss from AIG and bailout restructuring." 03-09
- -03-04-09 Obama Overturns Bush Policy on Stem Cells (CNN News)
"President Obama signed an executive order Monday repealing a Bush-era policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research." 03-09
- -03-04-09 Obama Pledges More Fiscal Responsibility (CNN News)
"President Obama signed a memorandum Wednesday designed to save the federal government $40 billion a year by overhauling what Obama calls the 'broken system of government contracting.' " 03-09
- -03-11-09 Coleman and Franken Still Battle for Senate Seat (Time.com)
"On Friday, Minnesota's highest court refused Franken's request that Governor Tim Pawlenty and secretary of state Mark Ritchie be forced to award him the coveted election certificate, which, according to Senate rules, is necessary to seat a candidate. The ruling virtually ensures that the legal wrangling will continue for several more weeks and — if Coleman chooses to appeal the case, possibly to federal courts — perhaps even months." 03-09
- -03-11-09 Obama Reluctantly Signs Spending Bill (Time.com)
"Acknowledging it's an 'imperfect' bill, President Barack Obama said he will accept a $410 billion spending package but insisted it must signal an 'end to the old way of doing business.' "
"The massive measure funding federal agencies through the fall contains nearly 8,000 pet projects, known as 'earmarks' and denounced by critics as pork." 03-09
- -03-11-09 Report Card for Airlines: Delta Gets an "F" (CNN News)
"FlyersRights.org, in issuing what it calls an air travel consumer report card, said there were more than 1,200 tarmac strandings -- in which passengers are locked in planes on the runways -- in 2008."
"Delta Air Lines had the greatest number of tarmac delays longer than three hours. Southwest Airlines was rated the best for handling delays by letting customers get off delayed planes, as well as providing food, water and other items." 03-09
- -03-12-09 Can States Circumvent Governors on Stimulus Funds? (ABC News)
"South Carolina Democratic Congressman Jim Clyburn is urging his state's legislature to stop Republican Gov. Mark Sanford's plan to reject $700 million in stimulus funds. The House majority whip is uncertain, however, as to whether the course he is recommending is constitutional." 03-09
- -03-12-09 Chairman of House Energy Committee Pushes for Action (U.S. News)
"If America doesn't act, Waxman warns, the country will pay a hefty price in terms of health, the environment, national security, and global instability. 'We're more and more suffering the consequences of global warming and climate change, which scientists tell us could be irreversible if we don't take very serious action now,' he says." 03-09
- -03-13-09 Administration Abandons Use of "Enemy Combatant" Term (Time.com)
"The Obama administration is abandoning one of President George W. Bush's key phrases in the war on terrorism: enemy combatant In court filings Friday, the Justice Department said it will no longer use the term to justify holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. "
"Obama still asserts the military's authority to hold detainees at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. But his Justice Department says that authority comes from Congress and the international laws of war, not from the president's own wartime power as Bush had argued." 03-09
- -03-13-09 China "Worried" About U.S. Treasury Holdings (MSNBC News)
"China’s premier expressed concern Friday about its holdings of Treasuries and other U.S. debt, appealing to Washington to safeguard their value, and said Beijing is ready to expand its stimulus if economic conditions worsen." 03-09
- -03-13-09 Congresswoman Tied to Bank Seeking Funds (New York Times)
"Top federal regulators say they were taken aback when they learned that a California congresswoman who helped set up a meeting with bankers last year had family financial ties to a bank whose chief executive asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds." 03-09
- -03-13-09 Summers: $50 Trillion in Global Wealth Erased (CBS News)
"Lawrence Summers, Director of the White House National Economic Council, at left, gave a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington this morning detailing why the economic crisis started and defending the Obama administration's strategy for combating it."
" 'On a global basis, $50 trillion dollars in global wealth has been erased over the last 18 months. This includes $7 trillion dollars in US stock market wealth which has vanished, and $6 trillion dollars in housing wealth that has been destroyed,' he said. 'Inevitably, this has led to declining demand, with GDP and employment now shrinking at among the most rapid rates since the second World War.' "
"Summers, the former Treasury Secretary under President Clinton and former president of Harvard University, was professorial in describing the crisis and relating it to prior downturns. But to boil things down, he said it comes down to an 'abundance of greed and an absence of fear on Wall Street' that led to the bubble. The recession and crisis were in turn caused by the reverse of that." 03-09
- -03-13-09 U.S. and Europe Disagree on Financial Fix (MSNBC News)
"There's widespread agreement among the world's biggest countries that the current global financial and economic crises require global solutions. But as leaders from twenty of those countries gather this weekend in London, that may be about all they can agree on." 03-09
- -03-15-09 AIG Rushes to Pay $165 Million in Bonuses (CBS News)
"American International Group is paying out millions of dollars in executive bonuses to meet a Sunday deadline. But the troubled insurance giant has agreed to administration demands to restrain future payments."
"The Treasury Department determined that the government did not have the legal authority to block the current payments by the company that has already received more than $170 billion in U.S. support."
"The large bulk of the payments at issue cover the AIG Finance Products Unit. This was the unit that sold credit default swaps, the risky contracts that caused massive losses for the insurer." 03-09
- -03-15-09 Friedman: "Fairness Has Left the Building" (CBS News)
"On CBS' Face The Nation this morning, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman weighed in on the financial crisis and the administration's plans to fight it, and said people should expect that whatever comes from the bailout of financial institutions, fairness will not be part of it." 03-09
- -03-15-09 Policeman Arrests Priest for Filming Him (CBS News)
"A Roman Catholic priest who monitors law enforcement treatment of minorities with a video camera released footage that appears to contradict the police account of his own arrest." 03-09
- -03-16-09 Congress and Clinton Played Roles in Creating Financial Mess (MSNBC News)
"In fact, it was a law approved by Congress in 2000 that allowed companies to place tens of trillions of dollars of these risky credit default swap bets."
"After the 1998 collapse of Long Term Capital Management, a giant hedge fund that pioneered the use of derivatives, the Fed engineered a rescue to prevent the unwinding of risky bets from spreading to the larger financial system. That brought calls for tighter regulation of derivatives, including a push for greater derivatives regulation at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, led by a former Wall Street attorney named Brooksley Born."
"But strong opposition to the proposal from then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and senior Clinton administration officials sank the idea. On Dec. 21, 2000, President Clinton signed into law the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which further eased restrictions on derivatives like credit default swaps."
" 'AIG entered a lot of speculative derivatives gambles with banks that were operating in the role of a bookie who made bad bets,' said Stout. 'And our taxpayer funds went to pay off the bookies.' ” 03-09
- -03-16-09 End Government Role in Marriage? (Time.com)
"In a paper published March 2 in the San Francisco Chronicle, two law professors from Pepperdine University issued a call to re-examine the role the government plays in marriage. The authors — one of whom voted for and one against Proposition 8, which ended gay marriage in California — say the best way out of the intractable legal wars over gay marriage is to take marriage out of the hands of the government altogether." 03-09
- -03-16-09 Poll: Frustration Grows Over Bailouts (CBS News)
"A growing number of Americans are opposed to providing government assistance to ailing financial institutions, according to a new CBS News poll."
"The poll also shows that the public clearly blames the management of the banks for the crisis and that many Americans are feel resentful that irresponsible banking executives could benefit from the hundreds of billions that has been doled out to banks and other financial institutions in the last six months." 03-09
- -03-16-09 Quomo to Subpoena AIG Over Bonuses (ABC News)
"The hot seat is getting even hotter for AIG Chairman and CEO Edward Liddy. Not only has President Barack Obama called on his Treasury Secretary to do everything possible to block the bailed-out insurance company from doling out $165 million in bonuses, but now the New York Attorney General has announced that he will issue subpoenas immediately for the release of the names and job descriptions of those receiving bonuses." 03-09
- -03-16-09 Red Cross: Torture Committed at CIA Sites (CBS News)
" 'This is clear evidence of torture, torture ordered by the most senior officials of government,' Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, told CBS News."
,br>"Roth said that a thorough investigation into what happened - both at these sites and in the highest offices of government - is required. 'Some future presidents faced with a future security threat may resort to this kind of torture again, unless some kind of respected commission definitively repudiates it, and ideally the authors of this torture are brought to justice.' "
"The report follows an earlier ICRC report dated February 2004 about the treatment of prisoners by U.S. coalition forces in Iraq. It alleged 'serious violations of International Humanitarian Law,' including brutality, physical or psychological coercion during interrogation, prolonged solitary confinement, and excessive and disproportionate use of force 'resulting in death or injury.' " 03-09
- -03-18-09 73 AIG Execs Got $1 Million in Bonuses (Time.com)
"Troubled insurance giant American International Group paid bonuses of $1 million or more to 73 employees, including 11 who no longer work for the company, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday."
"Cuomo said that despite their contracts, Financial Products employees agreed to take 2009 salaries of $1 in exchange for receiving their retention bonus packages. He said the fact AIG could negotiate the terms of the payments 'flies in the face of AIG's assertion' that it had no choice but to make the contractual bonus payments." 03-09
- -03-18-09 Is Obama's Environmental Agenda Losing Out? (Time.com)
"Already, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman has told environmental groups that while he aims to have the greenhouse gas legislation they have pushed hard for ready by Memorial Day, he'll be competing with House and Senate working groups aiming to have a health care reform bill done at about the same time." 03-09
- -03-18-09 The Case for Letting AIG Fail (Time.com)
"AIG may have even written multiple swaps over the same mortgages and bonds. It would be as if an insurance company had sold earthquake insurance on one house to multiple investors. When the house falls, so does AIG."
"But there's a true insight into this mess if you just step back and consider the bigger picture, not just AIG. Regardless of the details of the various swap contracts, they all represent potential transfers of wealth between financial institutions. If we consolidated the entire financial sector, all these debts would effectively vanish." 03-09
- -03-19-09 Federal Reserve to Buy $1 Trillion in Mortgages and Treasuries (Time.com)
"In its latest effort to resolve the ongoing economic crisis, the Federal Reserve announced yesterday it would buy $1 trillion in mortgages and Treasuries. As the Times report explains, buying securities in this manner is 'a tactic that amounts to creating vast new sums of money out of thin air.' In addition, the size of the plan announced yesterday represents a near “doubling all of the Fed’s measures in the last year.' " 03-09
- -03-19-09 Kentucky Election Officials Charged With Changing Votes (BradBlog.com)
"The Kentucky officials arrested and indicted today, "including the circuit court judge, the county clerk, and election officers" of Clay County, have been charged with "chang[ing] votes at the voting machine" and showing others how to do it!" 03-09
- -03-20-09 Experts: Sanitation Is a Life-Saver Worldwide (MSNBC News)
"The world is neglecting a crisis over poor sanitation even as it makes progress in providing clean water, which means that diarrhea and related illnesses such as malnutrition will continue to kill at an alarming rate, experts said Friday."
"About 1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation, according to the United Nations. But the World Water Council, organizer of a forum in Turkey this week, said investment in sanitation rarely amounts to more than 0.3 percent of global GDP, even though latrines and sewers are relatively cheap and play a key role in preventing disease." 03-09
- -03-20-09 Huffington's Web Success (Time.com)
"In February the Huffington Post, the website she started in 2005 with Ken Lerer and viral-marketing guru Jonah Peretti, became the 15th most popular news site, just below the Washington Post's and above the BBC's. It garnered 8.9 million unique users that month, according to Nielsen — more than double what it attracted a year ago. It gets a million-plus comments from readers a month. A business newswire recently valued the site at more than $90 million. Only one independently held online-content company (Nick Denton's Gawker properties) is worth more." 03-09
- -03-20-09 Is the Bonus Tax Constitutional? (MSNBC News)
"While not calling it 'unconstitutional,' Gregg's words seem to align with the sentiments in the Constitution. Addressing Congress directly it says, "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.' (Article 1, Sec 9.)"
"In the simplest terms, that article prohibits legislation punishing or penalizing a specific person or group without trial. In the Federalist Papers #44, James Madison wrote in 1788, 'Bills of attainder, ex-post-facto laws, and laws impairing the obligation of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation.' " 03-09
- -03-20-09 Karzai: U.S. Is 7 Years Too Late in Afghanistan (PBS.org)
"In an interview with Margaret Warner, Afghan President Hamid Karzai welcomed additional U.S. troops, but said they were "seven years too late." He also endorsed reaching out to members of the Taliban who embraced the Afghan constitution." 03-09
- -03-21-09 "Smart Grid" May be Vulnerable (CNN News)
"Is it really so smart to forge ahead with the high technology, digitally based electricity distribution and transmission system known as the 'Smart Grid'? Tests have shown that a hacker can break into the system, and cybersecurity experts said a massive blackout could result."
"Garry Brown, chairman of New York's Public Service Commission, said he believes the benefits of Smart Grid outweigh the risks, but his state is taking a hard look at cybersecurity before making large investments in the technologies." 03-09
- -03-21-09 Citigroup Plans Big Bonuses for Executives (Time.com)
"AIG isn't the only bailed-out financial firm paying big bucks to managers who helped steer their company to near collapse. Citigroup has pledged millions of dollars in bonuses to senior executives for the next few years, despite lawmakers efforts to eliminate such payments." 03-09
- -03-21-09 How Much of Citigroup Could the FDIC Take Over? (Time.com)
"FDIC chairman Sheila Bair doesn't think a full government takeover of Citigroup and other multinational financial institutions is practical or even possible. Here are her reasons, as summarized by Pete Davis:"
"1. The legal authority to take over large banks does not currently extend to multinational financial conglomerates;
2. The FDIC lacks the funding to conduct such a massive bailout;
3. Other countries have regulatory oversight of these financial conglomerates too, and they may object to a U.S. takeover." 03-09
- -03-21-09 Request to Allow AIG Bonuses Came from Treasury Dept. (CNN News)
"Twenty state attorneys general announced investigations Friday into the $165 million bonuses paid by insurance giant AIG last week, with Connecticut's top lawyer issuing subpoenas to CEO Edward Liddy and 11 other executives."
"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CNN's Ali Velshi Thursday that his department had asked [Senator Chris] Dodd to make the changes [in federal legislation allowing bonuses to AIG executives]." 03-09
- -03-21-09 Supreme Court to Decide on "Hillary, The Movie (CBS News)
"The justices' review of the slashing documentary financed by longtime critics of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton could bring more than just a thumbs up or thumbs down. It may settle the question of whether the government can regulate a politically charged film as a campaign ad." 03-09
- -03-22-09 Treasury Plans to Buy $1 Trillion in Bad Bank Assets (CNN News)
"Stocks surged Monday, recharging the rally, after Treasury's plan to buy up billions in bad bank assets and a better-than-expected existing home sales report raised hopes that the economy is stabilizing."
"The government plans to run auctions between the banks looking to unload the bad assets - such as subprime mortgages - and the investors looking to buy them. The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will be involved."
"Economists have said that stabilizing the banking system is key to stabilizing the economy." 03-09
- -03-23-09 Some AIG Bonuses Will Be Returned (CNN News)
"The attorney general [of New York] noted that about 47 percent of $165 million in retention bonuses was awarded to Americans, accounting for nearly $80 million, and he said he expected to get that money back."
"Mr. Cuomo acknowledged that some bonus recipients declined to give back bonuses, especially those overseas who are outside the jurisdiction of New York State." 03-09
- -03-24-09 Treasury Requests Authority to Take Over Failing Institutions (ABC News)
"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is asking Congress to grant the Obama administration unprecedented authority to take over and stabilize ailing nonbank institutions such as bailed-out insurance giant American International Group."
"Geithner said that the Obama administration is proposing 'resolution authority' that would allow the government to address financial distress at non-bank firms much like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. does with banks." 03-09
- -03-25-09 Study: Fish Found With Pharmaceuticals in Them (CBS News)
"Fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major U.S. cities had residues of pharmaceuticals in them, including medicines used to treat high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression, researchers reported Wednesday."
"Findings from this first nationwide study of human drugs in fish tissue have prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to significantly expand similar ongoing research to more than 150 different locations." 03-09
- -03-25-09 Study: Racial Inequalities Sobering News (CNN News)
"Social and economic gaps between whites and blacks persist in the United States despite an atmosphere that led to the election of President Obama, an Urban League report said."
"Blacks remain twice as likely to be unemployed, three times more likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be imprisoned compared with whites, according to the group's annual State of Black America report issued Wednesday." 03-09
- -03-26-09 Treasury Calls for Overhaul of Regulations (New York Times)
"The Obama administration on Thursday detailed its wide-ranging plan to overhaul financial regulation by subjecting hedge funds and traders of exotic financial instruments, now among the biggest and most freewheeling players on Wall Street, to potentially strict new government supervision." 03-09
- -03-27-09 Miscarriage of Justice for Kids (ABC News)
"It's not supposed to be like this in juvenile court, where incarceration is considered the last resort, legal experts said. But Marsha Levick, deputy director of the Juvenile Law Center, a public-interest law firm in Philadelphia, said she noticed a frightening pattern in Ciaravella's courtroom."
" 'I think what we have here in Luzerne County is probably the most egregious abuse of power in the history of the American legal system,' Levick said." 03-09
- -03-28-09 Earth Participated in Earth Hour (MSNBC News)
"From an Antarctic research base to the Great Pyramids of Egypt and beyond, the world switched off the lights on Saturday for Earth Hour, dimming skyscrapers, city streets and some of the world's most recognizable monuments for 60 minutes to highlight the threat of climate change." Editor's Note: Building lights were turned off at 8:30 pm (local time) on March 28th, 2009, to show solidarity with efforts to reduce human contributions to climate change. 03-09
- -03-28-09 Texas Board of Education Votes on Evolution (CNN News)
"A final 13-2 vote approved language that will be printed in textbooks beginning in 2011 and remain there for 10 years, CNN affiliate KPRC-TV in Houston reported:"
" 'In all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental observation and testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the students.' "
"The scientific community has overwhelmingly scorned creationism and its latest incarnation, intelligent design, as a pretext for biblical explanations of how the world came to be, and asserts that there is no weakness or doubt in the scientific community about evolution."
"Last year, the National Academy of Sciences called for the public to be better informed about the importance of understanding and teaching evolution. The academy released a booklet titled 'Science, Evolution, and Creationism' -- the third explanation of evolution put out since 1984 by one of the nation's leading scientific organizations." 03-09
- -03-29-09 Head of GM Steps Down at White House Request (MSNBC News)
"General Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner will step down immediately at the request of the White House, administration officials said Sunday. The news comes as President Obama prepares to unveil additional restructuring efforts designed to save the domestic auto industry." 03-09
- -03-29-09 Separating Toxic Assets from Legacy Assets (Time.com)
"When treasury secretary Tim Geithner rolled out his long-awaited plan for buying up toxic mortgage loans and securities on March 23, reaction was split."
"One simple explanation for this divide is that the Geithner plan — which calls for Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to finance the bulk of up to $1 trillion in toxic-asset purchases by private investors — is a great deal for the investors and a big risk for the taxpayers. The math calls for the government to take on most of the downside risk while evenly sharing the rewards with hedge funds, money managers and other buyers. In the loan-buying program, private investors would put up 7% of the capital for a shot at close to 50% of the gains." 03-09
- -03-30-09 White House: GM and Chrysler Not Viable (CBS News)
"The White House says neither General Motors nor Chrysler submitted acceptable plans to receive more bailout money, setting the stage for a crisis in Detroit and putting in motion what could be the final two months of two American auto giants."
"President Barack Obama and his top advisers have determined that neither company is viable and that taxpayers will not spend untold billions more to keep the pair of automakers open forever." 03-09
- -03-31-09 Generation Diva (Newsweek.com)
"How our obsession with beauty is changing our kids." 03-09
- -04-01-09 Editorial: Why the Democrats Can't Govern (The New Republic)
"The last Democrat who held the White House, Bill Clinton, saw the core of his domestic agenda come to ruin, his political support collapse, and his failure spawn a massive Republican resurgence that made progressive reform impossible for a decade to come. The Democrat who last held the White House before that, Jimmy Carter, saw the exact same thing happen to him." 04-09
- -04-01-09 Federal Tax Hike Hits Smokers (CNN News)
"Thanks in part to the largest-ever federal cigarette tax increase -- a nearly 62-cents-a-pack hike that starts Wednesday but was reflected in many prices earlier -- Jukes on Tuesday paid more than $58 for a 10-pack carton at the Cigarette Store in Denver, Colorado." 04-09
- -04-02-09 China Plans to Be World Leader in Electric Cars (New York Times)
"Chinese leaders have adopted a plan aimed at turning the country into one of the leading producers of hybrid and all-electric vehicles within three years, and making it the world leader in electric cars and buses after that." 04-09
- -04-02-09 Congress Approves Budget (MSNBC News)
"Acting in quick succession, the House and Senate approved budgets Thursday night drawn to President Barack Obama's specifications and pointing the way toward major legislation later this year on health care, energy and education." 04-09
- -04-02-09 G-20 To Give $1 Trillion to Fight Global Crisis (MSNBC News)
"World leaders pledged $1.1 trillion in loans and guarantees to impoverished countries and agreed Thursday to crack down on tax havens and hedge funds but failed to reach sweeping accord on stimulus spending that would directly attack the global economic decline." 04-09
- -04-02-09 New Stresses on Libraries (New York Times)
"These days, however, community need reaches far beyond reference help — and in many libraries, it is turning a normally tranquil place into an emotional and stressful hotbed." 04-09
- -04-02-09 Obama: G-20 a "Turning Point" (CBS News)
"In remarks before a press conference at the G20 conference in London today, President Obama said he and other world leaders had crafted an 'unprecedented set of comprehensive and coordinated actions' to address a 'devastating downturn' that has touched all nations."
"He called the summit a 'turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery.' " 04-09
- -04-03-09 Casualties Caused by Roadside Bombs in Afghanistan (USA Today)
"Roadside bombs cause 75% of casualties to coalition forces in Afghanistan, up from 50% two years ago, prompting urgent pleas from commanders there for more armored vehicles to protect troops, according to data and interviews."
"The rate of casualties from IEDs — those wounded or killed — in Afghanistan for the first two months of 2009 is higher than the rate in Iraq when fighting there was at its worst. It was 60% there in 2006 and 2007, according the Joint IED Defeat Organization. So far this year, IEDs have caused 40% of casualties in Iraq. Casualties from IEDs have dropped as more MRAPs have been sent to Iraq." 04-09
- -04-03-09 Iowa Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional (Christian Science Monitor)
"Iowa's top court legalized same-sex marriage Friday, giving advocates a victory beyond the liberal coastal states into the more conservative American interior."
"The supreme court justices drew explicit parallels to civil rights struggles by blacks and women, holding that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was a violation of the equality promised in the Iowa constitution."
"This past week, legislators in both Vermont and New Hampshire have passed bills legalizing gay marriage, as did Sweden's parliament, making it the fifth European country to allow it." 04-09
- -04-03-09 Jobless Rate Hits 8.5 Percent (New York Times)
"The American economy shed another 663,000 jobs in March, the government reported Friday, bringing the toll of job losses during the recession to 5.1 million." 04-09
- -04-03-09 Obama Urges New Tone With Europe (New York Times)
"He [Obama] urged a shift in attitudes. In America, he said, there had been 'a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world,' and there had been 'times when America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive,' Mr. Obama said."
"But in Europe, he went on, there had also been anti-American attitudes. 'On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common,' President Obama said. 'They are not wise.' " 04-09
- -04-03-09 Recession Impact: Closing the Life-Saving Clinics (CBS Today)
"The economic crisis is hurting society's most vulnerable. For some people these days - especially cancer patients - losing a job and health insurance could mean losing life-saving care as cash-strapped public hospitals are forced to cut critical charity care." 04-09
- -04-05-09 How Obama is Using the Science of Change (Time.com)
"President Obama is still relying on behavioral science. But now his Administration is using it to try to transform the country. Because when you know what makes people tick, it's a lot easier to help them change." 04-09
- -04-05-09 North Koreans Launch Rocket (New York Times)
"North Korea defied the United States, China and a series of United Nations resolutions by launching a rocket on Sunday that the country said was designed to propel a satellite into space, but that much of the world viewed as an effort to prove it is edging toward the capability to shoot a nuclear warhead on a longer-range missile." 04-09
- -04-05-09 Obama Outlines Goal of Nuclear-Free World (Time.com)
"Declaring the future of mankind at stake, President Barack Obama said Sunday all nations must strive to rid the world of nuclear arms and that the U.S. had a "moral responsibility" to lead as the only country ever to use one."
"Even as a North Korean rocket launch upstaged his ambitious, if not realistic, call to action in the heart of Eastern Europe, Obama dismissed those who say the spread of nuclear weapons cannot be checked." 04-09
- -04-06-09 Hersh: Assassination Wing Operated Under Cheney's Authority (DemocracyNow.org)
"AMY GOODMAN: Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh created a stir last month when he said the Bush administration ran an executive assassination ring that reported directly to Vice President Dick Cheney. Hersh made the comment during a speech at the University of Minnesota on March 10th."
"SEYMOUR HERSH: Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination wing, essentially. And it’s been going on and on and on. And just today in the Times there was a story saying that its leader, a three-star admiral named McRaven, ordered a stop to certain activities because there were so many collateral deaths. It’s been going in—under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving." 04-09
- -04-06-09 Obama Addresses the Muslim World from Turkey (Time.com)
"Addressing Turkey's parliament on his first visit to a Muslim nation as President, Barack Obama reached out to followers of Islam everywhere. 'Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not and will never be at war with Islam,' he said to applause. 'In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject.' Obama said the U.S. has been enriched by Muslim Americans, including members of his own family."
"The President spoke strongly in favor of Turkey's effort to join the European Union — an issue that has divided the bloc, with heavyweight members like France and Germany firmly opposed to the prospect of a large, mainly Muslim member state." 04-09
- -04-06-09 Obama Visits Iraq (CNN News)
"President Obama made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Tuesday." 04-09
- -04-06-09 Think Twice About Buying Bank Stocks Now (Time.com)
"These arrangements each had different functions, but they were generally known as special purpose entities and they had the effect of keeping certain loans off bank ledgers."
"A recent change in accounting rules means that banks are going to have to bring those loans back on their books by the end of this year. The biggest fear is that banks will start recording losses from these loans that investors weren't expecting. There's a second problem related to shadow assets: Regulators say that banks must hold capital equal to at least 5% of their assets to be considered healthy. Citigroup, to take one example, has about $850 billion in special purpose entities. That means to reincorporate those assets by the end of this year, Citigroup will have to come up with $42 billion in new capital — money that will have to come from Uncle Sam, which could further dilute the value of Citi's shares." 04-09
- -04-07-09 Communities Print Their Own Currency (USA Today)
"A small but growing number of cash-strapped communities are printing their own money.Borrowing from a Depression-era idea, they are aiming to help consumers make ends meet and support struggling local businesses." 04-09
- -04-07-09 GM, Segway Introduce Urban Vehicle (CBS News)
"The Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility, or PUMA, project also would involve a vast communications network that would allow vehicles to interact with each other, regulate the flow of traffic and prevent crashes from happening."
"The 300-pound prototype runs on a lithium-ion battery and uses Segway's characteristic two-wheel balancing technology, along with dual electric motors. It's designed to reach speeds of up to 35 miles-per-hour and can run 35 miles on a single charge." 04-09
- -04-07-09 Gates Emphasizes "Irregular" Warfare (Christian Science Monitor)
"In a dramatic departure from tradition, Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled a Pentagon budget Monday that aims to help the US fight a hybrid form of warfare – one in which an insurgent with an AK-47 rifle is backed by a sophisticated ballistic missile." 04-09
- -04-07-09 Stevens Walks, Judge Orders Probe (Time.com)
"A federal judge has dismissed corruption charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens and opened a criminal investigation into prosecutors who mishandled the case." 04-09
- -04-07-09 Vermont Legalizes Same-Sex Marriages (Time.com)
"Vermont on Tuesday became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage — and the first to do so with a legislature's vote." 04-09
- -04-07-09 Why Are Army Recruiters Killing Themselves? (Time.com)
"Lawrence Kagawa retired last July after more than 20 years in uniform; he spent the latter half as a highly decorated recruiter, and his tenure included a stint in the Houston battalion from 2002 to 2005. 'There's one set of values for the Army, and when you go to Recruiting Command, you're basically forced to do things outside of what would normally be considered to be moral or ethical,' he says."
"Because station commanders and their bosses are rated on how well their subordinates recruit, there is a strong incentive to cut corners to bring in enlistees. If recruiters can't make mission legitimately, their superiors will tell them to push the envelope." 04-09
- -04-14-09 Bo Obama, the First Dog (CBS News)
" 'Here he is, the newest addition to the family," the president said in an introduction adding that 'we all have to take turns walking the dog' – famous last words for parents of puppies." 04-09
- -04-14-09 Editorial: The Banking Crisis Is Over (Time.com)
"What banks are earning from the difference between the cost of capital and the income from lending is now great enough for the banking system to be self-sustaining again."
"What will happen at this point is that bank stocks will not go up much more, but they will not dive sharply down either. There is enough evidence in comments from the CEOs of Citi and B of A and in the Wells Fargo earnings to show that the idea that banks are insolvent and probably in need of nationalization is no longer part of the consideration of how the problems with the system will be settled." 04-09
- -04-14-09 Rescued Captain to Return to USA (New York Times)
"Captain Richard Phillips, the American cargo ship captain rescued by the American Navy from Somali pirates, will return to the United States on Wednesday with his crew after reuniting with them in the Kenyan port of Mombasa, his company said." 04-09
- -04-15-09 Goldman Sachs to Return Bailout Money (USA Today)
"Goldman would be the largest, if it follows six smaller banks, including Signature Bank (SBNY) and IberiaBank, (IBKC) who have already repaid the government with interest."
"But analysts are cautioning that the repayments should not be viewed as an indication that the economy is rebounding; rather as a sign of how worried bankers are about legislation that imposes limits on banks that take TARP money." 04-09
- -04-15-09 Study: Spammers Sourge to Environment (USA Today)
"A report being released Wednesday by security company McAfee Inc. finds that spammers are a scourge to your inbox and the environment, generating an astounding 62 trillion junk e-mails in 2008 that wasted enough electricity to power 2.4 million U.S. homes for a year." 04-09
- -04-16-09 Banks Balk at Selling Toxic Assets (Time.com)
"Obama and Geithner may not be completely out of the woods even if they do force banks to sell their toxic assets. Some banks may be so deeply in debt that even the proceeds from the sales won't be enough to fill their capital needs. In that case, the stress tests may prove useful in another way. Geithner has only about $35 billion of TARP money left to plug the remaining holes for the 19 largest banks. After that, he has to go back to Congress for more money — at which point he'll need the stress tests to convince bailout-weary Representatives to shell out even more for the banks." 04-09
- -04-16-09 How People Are Coping With the Recession (Time.com)
Provides 17 stories, such as the "unemployed couple:"
"The cell phones were canceled; so were all subscriptions and outside entertainment. We didn't go skiing this winter, and we won't be golfing over the summer. No more wine. We used our severance and some savings to pay off Kevin's 2008 Saturn and pay down the house. We debated whether to cancel the local newspaper, but in the end kept it for the Sunday coupons. We now eat every single item in the house until it's gone. If that means we have curly pasta and penne and spaghetti all mixed up, so be it." 04-09
- -04-16-09 How Vulnerable Is the Power Grid? (Time.com)
"The electricity-distribution system is highly decentralized, and there's no central control system; at worst, cyberattackers may be able to damage sections of the grid." 04-09
- -04-16-09 Obama Won't Prosecute Past Waterboarding (CBS News)
"Attorney General Eric Holder says the government won't prosecute CIA officials for using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics on terror suspects." 04-09
- -04-16-09 Spending Billions While Avoiding Waste (U.S. News)
With the $787 billion from the stimulus package beginning to roll out of Washington's coffers, the money is arriving in places like Columbus, Ohio, where it's covering the salaries of 25 police cadets, and Kansas, where it's funding the widening of U.S. 69 outside of Kansas City. But even as economists debate whether the cash injection will kick-start the economy, there's plenty of concern about how much will actually get to its intended destination."
"Watchdog groups say that while it's still early, the White House's commitment to openness and minimizing waste, including launching the Recovery.gov website, is heartening. They applaud the appointment of Earl Devaney to head a new stimulus oversight board. While inspector general of the Interior Department, Devaney directed the investigation that led to lobbyist Jack Abramoff's imprisonment." 04-09
- -04-17-09 AIG Denies and Delays Claims of Contractors Injured in Iraq (ABC News)
"Insurance giant AIG, the same company that rewarded its executives with millions in bonuses and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a spa retreat at an exclusive California resort and private jets, has been nickel and diming employees of private contractors injured in Iraq, with a pattern of denying and delaying their claims, a joint investigation between 20/20, the Los Angeles Times and the non-profit group ProPublica has found." 04-09
- -04-17-09 U.S. Declares Warming Gases Are a Health Threat (MSNBC News)
"Having received White House backing, the Environmental Protection Agency declared Friday that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are a significant threat to human health and thus will be listed as pollutants under the Clean Air Act — a policy the Bush administration rejected." 04-09
- -04-18-09 EPA: Greenhouse Gases Pose a Threat to Health (Time.com)
"So the possibility that in the face of Congressional inaction the EPA might take matters into its own hands and directly regulate greenhouse gases can be seen as a not so subtle threat. Either act on your own, or let an EPA bureaucrat do it for you. Said Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch: 'If business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continue to oppose Congressional action, they ought to ask themselves, in the immortal words of Clint Eastwood: Do you feel lucky?' "
"The EPA's move on Friday was characterized by the top global warming analyst for the National Wildlife Federation as the 'single largest step the federal government had taken to fight climate change.' " 04-09
- -04-18-09 Study: Torture Is Widespread in Iraq (MSNBC News)
"The White House release of Bush administration torture memos marked another step towards closure in what President Obama called a 'dark and painful chapter in our history.' But in Iraq, torture is not a thing of the past, according to the findings of a new study on civilian causalities."
"Executions with firearms, not bomb blasts, have killed most civilians in Iraq. Researchers say 33% of the victims examined in the study died by execution after abduction or capture. And 29% of those victims had signs of torture on their bodies such as bruises, drill holes or burns. Suicide bombers in cars or on foot were responsible for 14% of the victims in the study, while U.S. airstrikes killed 4%."
"The Iraqi government has consistently faced accusations of torture and maltreatment of prisoners through the years — and still does. The most recent human rights report from the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq cites 'continuing reports of the widespread and routine torture or ill-treatment of detainees, particularly those being held in pre-trial detention facilities, including police stations.' " 04-09
- -04-18-09 U.N. Official: No Pass for Torturers (CBS News)
"President Barack Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA operatives who used questionable interrogation practices violates international law, the U.N.'s top torture investigator said Saturday."
"In a brief telephone interview with The Associated Press, Manfred Nowak, an Austrian who serves as a U.N. special rapporteur in Geneva, said the United States had committed itself under the U.N. Convention against Torture to make torture a crime and to prosecute those suspected of engaging in it." 04-09
- -04-18-09 U.S. Journalist Convicted of Spying in Iraq (MSNBC News)
"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized Iran on Saturday for sentencing an American journalist to eight years in prison for spying." 04-09
- -04-18-09 U.S. No Longer the Clear Leader in Latin America (Christian Science Monitor)
"The multibillion-dollar purchase of Toromocho mountain by China's Chinalco corporation was yet another example of China's voracious appetite for resources. Yet the Chinese claim on Toro mocho also symbolizes how, across Latin America, the US is no longer the only game in town."
"As President Obama turns his attention to America's own hemisphere – he visited Mexico on his way to the Summit of the Americas this weekend in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago – he finds a region that within a decade has diversified its interests and adjusted interdependencies, moving away from a US dominance that dates back to the Spanish-American War." 04-09
- -04-20-09 Auction Not Enough for the Last Titanic Survivor (CNN News)
"The last living survivor of the Titanic earned only a small fraction of what auctioneers hoped to raise when she sold her final remaining mementos of the doomed ship to pay nursing home bills." 04-09
- -04-20-09 Memo: C.I.A. Used Near-Drowning Technique 266 Times (MSNBC News)
"C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported."
"The Times article, based on information from former intelligence officers who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Abu Zubaydah had revealed a great deal of information before harsh methods were used and after his captors stripped him of clothes, kept him in a cold cell and kept him awake at night. The article said interrogators at the secret prison in Thailand believed he had given up all the information he had, but officials at headquarters ordered them to use waterboarding."
"He revealed no new information after being waterboarded, the article said, a conclusion that appears to be supported by a footnote to a 2005 Justice Department memo saying the use of the harshest methods appeared to have been 'unnecessary' in his case." 04-09
- -04-21-09 Obama Open to Prosecution of Bush-Era Administrators (CNN News)
"President Obama on Tuesday left open the possibility of criminal prosecution for Bush administration officials who drew up the legal basis for interrogation techniques that many view as torture." 04-09
- -04-21-09 Scientists: C.I.A. Misused Information on Sleep Deprivation (Time.com)
"German and French researchers whose work has been cited by the CIA and the Justice Department to help justify the legality of harsh interrogation techniques, including prolonged sleep deprivation, condemned the Bush Administration on Tuesday for misusing their scientific findings." 04-09
- -04-22-09 Attorney General: "No One Is Above the Law" (CNN News)
"Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that he would "follow the law" as he weighed potential prosecutions of Bush administration officials who authorized controversial harsh interrogation techniques." 04-09
- -04-22-09 Editorial: The CIA's Willful Ignorance on Harsh Interrogation Techniques (Time.com)
"What is now clear is that the CIA was drawn haphazardly into abusive interrogation, haphazardly fell back on vague ideas of torture, and ended up with with the vaguest results. It all reflects a White House under extreme pressure after 9/11, giving orders to a compliant CIA to do something, anything, to try to prevent another such attack." 04-09
- -04-22-09 Freddie Mac Financial Officer Found Dead (Time.com)
"The sudden death — an apparent suicide — of Freddie Mac's acting chief financial officer David Kellermann is the latest shock to ripple through the federally backed housing agency. Since essentially being taken over by the government in September, it has been one hit after another for Freddie Mac — a private company that, with sister-agency Fannie Mae, holds or guarantees more than half of all U.S. residential mortgages and finances some 70% of new-home loans, and which the Obama Administration counts on as a cornerstone in its plans to revive the housing market." 04-09
- -04-22-09 Rice Approved Harsh Interrogation Techniques (Time.com)
"Top Bush administration officials gave the CIA approval to use waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique, as early as 2002, a Senate intelligence report shows."
"President Obama has called waterboarding -- which simulates drowning -- torture and last week released a series of Bush-era memos on interrogation tactics."
Editor's Note: Torture is illegal according to U.S. and international law. 04-09
- -04-24-09 Swine Flu in U.S. and Mexico Match (CNN News)
"U.S. health officials expressed concern Friday that a swine flu virus that has infected eight people in the United States matches samples of a virus that has killed at least 68 people in Mexico."
"Sixty-eight people have died in Mexico City, Cordova said at a news conference. More than 1,000 other people have gotten sick...." 04-09
- -04-24-09 Top Interrogator: Against Torture (Time.com)
"Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent and perhaps the most successful U.S. interrogator of al-Qaeda operatives, says the use of those techniques was unnecessary and often counterproductive. Detainees, he says, provided vital intelligence under non-violent questioning, before they were put through 'walling' and waterboarding."
"In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Soufan says Abu Zubaydah gave up the information between March and June 2002, when he was being interrogated by Soufan, another FBI agent and some CIA officers. But that was not the result of harsh techniques, including waterboarding, which were not introduced until August." 04-09
- -04-25-09 Military Agency Warned Against Use of Torture (MSNBC News)
"The military agency that provided advice on harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects referred to the application of extreme duress as 'torture' in a July 2002 document sent to the Pentagon's chief lawyer and warned that it would produce 'unreliable information.' "
"There was no consideration within the National Security Council that the planned techniques stemmed from Chinese communist practices and had been deemed torture when employed against American personnel, the former administration official said. The U.S. military prosecuted its own troops for using waterboarding in the Philippines and tried Japanese officers on war crimes charges for its use against Americans and other allied nationals during World War II." 04-09
- -04-26-09 Swine Flu Kills 81 in Mexico (CNN News)
"No kissing to say hello. No large crowds. No close contact."
"That's the advice of the Mexican government as more and more people die of swine flu, which has turned into a 'public health emergency of international concern,' according to the World Health Organization." 04-09
- -04-28-09 Senator Specter Becomes a Democrat (CNN News)
"Veteran Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party on Tuesday, saying he has found himself increasingly 'at odds with the Republican philosophy.' "
"The switch puts Senate Democrats one vote shy of a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats. They can reach the 60-seat mark if Al Franken holds his current lead in the disputed Minnesota Senate race." 04-09
- -04-28-09 Supreme Court Rules on "Indecent Speech" (CNN News)
"The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday federal regulators have the authority to clamp down on the broadcast TV networks that air isolated cases of profanity, known as 'fleeting expletives.' " 04-09
- -04-30-09 Chrysler Bankruptcy (CBS News)
"Chrysler will file for bankruptcy after talks with a small group of creditors crumbled just a day before a government deadline for the automaker to come up with a restructuring plan, President Barack Obama said Thursday."
"The Obama administration said it had long hoped to stave off bankruptcy for the nation's third largest automaker, but it became clear that a holdout group wouldn't budge on proposals to reduce Chrysler's $6.9 billion in secured debt. Clearing those debts was a needed step for Chrysler to restructure by the Thursday deadline."
"Chrysler will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York, giving Chrysler time to galvanize a partnership with the Italian car maker Fiat Group SpA. The government, which has already poured $4 billion in loans into Chrysler, would provide up to $8 billion more to carry the company through bankruptcy, said senior administration officials speaking on condition of anonymity. The government will also help appoint a new board of directors." 04-09
- -04-30-09 Experts: Too Late to Close Borders (Time.com)
"The data matches computer models run by biostatisticians like Longini, who found that even the strictest limits on air travel would only slow the start of a flu pandemic, not stop its spread."
"What works better are social-distancing actions on a local level — closing schools, having employees work at home and limiting public gatherings where the flu can spread easily. Such methods worked during the deadly 1918 Spanish flu — cities that acted quickly to close schools and theaters early in the pandemic had peak death rates 50% lower than cities that acted more slowly. Today doctors could also prophylactically administer antiviral drugs to the close contacts of any swine flu patients, a strategy that has been shown to help prevent the spread of the flu. 'Until you start to see really massive clusters, that can be a really effective method,' says Longini." 04-09
- -04-30-09 House Passes Bill to Aid Credit Card Users (CBS News)
"Riding a crest of populist anger, the House on Thursday approved a bill to restrict credit card practices and eliminate sudden increases in interest rates and late fees that have entangled millions of consumers."
"The legislation passed by a bipartisan vote of 357-70 following lobbying by President Barack Obama and members of his administration." 04-09
- -04-30-09 Mexico Closes Down (Time.com)
"Mexico is telling citizens to stay home, urging businesses to close for five days and suspending government services as the World Health Organization warns the swine flu outbreak is on the brink of becoming a global epidemic." 04-09
- -04-30-09 Specialists: Containing Flu Is Not Feasible (New York Times)
" 'Containment is no longer a feasible option,' Dr. Keiji Fukuda, deputy director general of the World Health Organization, announced Monday night in Geneva after a meeting of the agency’s emergency committee on the spreading swine flu virus. 'The world should focus on mitigation. We recommend not closing borders or restricting travel.' " 04-09
- -04-30-09 Supreme Court Justice Souter to Retire (CBS News)
"Supreme Court Justice David Souter is planning retire at the end of the current court term. Souter, 69, has informed the White House of his decision and plans to return to his native New Hampshire according to NPR, which first reported the story." 04-09
- -04-30-09 WHO: Swine Flu Epidemic Imminent (Time.com)
"The World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert for swine flu to the second highest level, meaning that it believes a global outbreak of the disease is imminent." 04-09
- -05-03-09 Jack Kemp, former Congressman, Dies (New York Times)
"Jack Kemp, the former football star turned congressman who with an evangelist’s fervor moved the Republican Party to a commitment to tax cuts as the central focus of economic policy, died Saturday evening at his home in Bethesda, Md. He was 73." 04-09
- -05-04-09 Obama to End Tax Overseas Tax Loopholes (CNN News)
" The White House will unveil reforms to the nation's international tax code on Monday intended to close loopholes for overseas tax havens and end incentives for creating jobs overseas." 05-09
- -05-05-09 Bernanke: Signs Recession's Strength Is Waning (MSNBC News)
"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Tuesday that the economy should pull out of a recession and start growing again later this year." 05-09
- -05-05-09 Swine Flu No Worse than Regular Flu (CNN News)
"The swine flu virus that has sparked fear and precautions worldwide appears to be no more dangerous than the regular flu virus that makes its rounds each year, U.S. officials said Monday."
"There are still concerns that the virus could return in the fall, in the typical flu season, as a stronger strain." 05-09
- -05-05-09 Swine Flu Update Worldwide (World Health Organization)
"Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in the United States. Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection also have been identified internationally. The current U.S. case count is provided below." 04-09
- -05-06-09 Senator Specter Stripped of Seniority (CNN News)
"The Democratic leader in the Senate promised Sen. Arlen Specter he would retain his seniority when he jumped from the Republican to the Democratic Party, Specter told CNN on Wednesday, but faced 'pushback' from other Democratic senators." 05-09
- -05-06-09 Texas Lawsuit Claim: Police Shake Down Drivers (CNN News)
"Now Daniels and other motorists who have been stopped by Tenaha police are part of a lawsuit seeking to end what plaintiff's lawyer David Guillory calls a systematic fleecing of drivers passing through the town of about 1,000." 05-09
- -05-07-09 Results of Stress Tests of Banks Revealed (Time.com)
"Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Bank of America (BAC) are troubled, as the government sees it, and will have to improve their balance sheets by a combined total of almost $60 billion. JP Morgan (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) passed the tests and are free from any additional obligations." 05-09
- -05-07-09 Rice Comments on Torture Debate (Time.com)
"Asked about waterboarding during a dorm visit with students at Stanford University, where she is now a political science professor, she said that 'by definition if it was authorized by the President,' the controversial technique was legal. The sound bite, with its inadvertent (and unfortunate) Nixonian resonance, raised eyebrows on the right and hackles on the left." 05-09
- -05-08-09 Evidence Recovery May Be Nearby (ABC News)
"It may be a false dawn, but recent data are providing mounting evidence that the U.S. economy is edging toward the long road back to recovery." 05-09
- -05-10-09 Price of Stamps Changes (USA Today)
"It'll cost Americans an extra 2 cents to mail a letter starting Monday." 05-09
- -05-10-09 States Offer Patchwork Aid (New York Times)
"As millions of people seek government aid, many for the first time, they are finding it dispensed American style: through a jumble of disconnected programs that reach some and reject others, often for reasons of geography or chance rather than differences in need." 05-09
- -05-11-09 Pentagon Replaces Top General in Afghanistan (Time.com)
"The Pentagon will replace its top general in Afghanistan as President Barack Obama tries to turn around a stalemated war, defense officials said." 05-09
- -05-12-09 Car-Free Suburbs (New York Times)
"Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community." 05-09
- -05-13-09 RealtyTrac: April Foreclosures Rose 32 Percent (U.S. News)
"The number of U.S. households faced with losing their homes to foreclosure jumped 32 percent in April compared with the same month last year, with Nevada, Florida and California showing the highest rates, according to data released Wednesday." 05-09
- -05-13-09 Recession Drains Social Security and Medicare (New York Times)
"Even as Congress hunted for ways to finance a major expansion of health insurance coverage, the Obama administration reported Tuesday that the financial condition of the two largest federal benefit programs, Medicare and Social Security, had deteriorated, in part because of the recession."
"As a result, the administration said, the Medicare fund that pays hospital bills for older Americans is expected to run out of money in 2017, two years sooner than projected last year. The Social Security trust fund will be exhausted in 2037, four years earlier than predicted, it said." 05-09
- -05-14-09 Chrysler to Close 789 Dealerships (ABC News)
"Chrysler plans to eliminate a quarter of its showrooms, some 789 dealerships, in an effort to cut costs and keep existing dealers from competing with one another, the automaker revealed in bankruptcy documents filed today." 05-09
- -05-14-09 Pelosi: Bush Team Misled Her on Waterboarding (MSNBC News)
"Under strong attack from Republicans, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the CIA and Bush administration of misleading her about waterboarding detainees in the war on terror and sharply rebutted claims she was complicit in the method's use."
" 'To the contrary ... we were told explicitly that waterboarding was not being used,' she told reporters, referring to a formal CIA briefing she received in the fall of 2002." 05-09
- -05-17-09 Obama: Positions on Abortion "Irreconcilable" (MSNBC News)
"Obama acknowledged that 'no matter how much we want to fudge it ... the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable.' But he still implored the University of Notre Dame's graduating class and all in the U.S. to stop 'reducing those with differing views to caricature. Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that always has been the Notre Dame tradition.' " 05-09
- -05-18-09 California Voters Unlikely to Avert Budget Crisis (Time.com)
"When times are good, California's diverse economy generates ample tax dollars, especially from income taxes on high earners. But when times are bad, the state's overreliance on income taxes can push the state's finances quickly into the red. Whatever the outcome of Tuesday's vote, Californians are bracing for sharp cuts in programs and services from their state government — and they will have to figure out how to recover from this fiscal earthquake." 05-09
- -05-18-09 Issues that Divide Israel and the U.S. (Time.com)
"President Barack Obama welcomes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on Monday, at a moment when the White House and the Israeli leadership are undeniably at odds over the path to Middle East peace. While the Obama Administration remains steadfastly committed to Israel's security, its ideas on how to achieve that security differ markedly from those of the hawkish Netanyahu government." 05-09
- -05-19-09 Obama Announces Higher Fuel Efficiency Standards (ABC News)
"The average current fuel-efficiency standard for cars and light trucks is 25 miles per gallon. With the president's announcement today, that standard will go up to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016."
"This is four years earlier than what the current law requires, and is an average 5 percent per year increase in fuel efficiency from 2012 through 2016."
"The changes will likely mean higher price tags on new cars for consumers -- on average about $1,300 more per car by 2016 -- which the president acknowledged today. But he said the increase in mileage standards will negate that initial expense by lowering fuel costs. Americans will make that money back over three years in fewer trips to the pump, he said." 05-09
- -05-20-09 Californians Reject Budget Plan (Christian Science Monitor)
"Now, Schwarzenegger and state legislators must go back to the drawing board to erase a state budget deficit of $21.3 billion. Draconian cuts in services and the state workforce lie ahead, because Schwarzenegger has drawn a strong line against new taxes, most observers say." 05-09
- -05-20-09 Pelosi's Leadership Style (Time.com)
"Pelosi has taken pains to centralize the power of the Speaker's office. Members can't take trips abroad, get on a committee or even sign out a room for a meeting without her permission. But that kind of omnipotent power works only when members are confident it will be exercised under control. Despite her missteps, Pelosi has been able to run the most unified caucus in half a century. But if she wants to keep it unified — and keep running it — she might need to stick to her own playbook." 05-09
- -05-20-09 Senate Blocks Funds for Closing Gitmo (USA Today)
"The Senate on Wednesday handed President Obama a major setback by denying him money to shut down the Guantanamo prison and block the transfer of detainees to the United States." 05-09
- -05-21-09 Obama and Cheney Face Off on National Security, Ethics, and the Law (ABC News)
Obama: " 'We are cleaning up something that is -- quite simply -- a mess; a misguided experiment that has left in its wake a flood of legal challenges that my administration is forced to deal with on a constant basis, and that consumes the time of government officials whose time should be spent on better protecting our country,' he said."
Cheney: " 'I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program'.... 'The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified, successful, and the right thing to do.' " 05-09
- -05-26-09 Obama's Process for Selecting Sotomayor as Nominee for the Supreme Court (CBS News)
"Briefing reporters on the selection process, senior administration officials say President Obama could have comfortably nominated any one of the four finalists." 05-09
- -05-26-09 Sonia Sotomayor Nominated for Supreme Court (MSNBC News)
"In more than 16 years as a federal judge, Sonia Sotomayor has often sided with people claiming discrimination in education and employment. She's backed police and prosecutors over defendants. She's upheld assertions of free speech and religion."
"Not easily pigeonholed, Sotomayor has also been part of rulings that go the other way." 05-09
- -05-26-09 Sonia Sotomayor, Nominee for the Supreme Court (Wikipedia.org)
"Sonia María de Sotomayor y Ruiz de Orellana (born June 25, 1954) is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On May 26, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Judge Sotomayor for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice David Souter. Sotomayor is of Puerto Rican descent, and was born in the Bronx. Her father died when she was nine, and she was raised by her mother." 05-09
- -05-28-09 Can Reinvention Save GM? (Time.com)
Provides a short history of the deals made to save General Motors (and Chrysler). 05-09
- -05-28-09 Editorial to Republicans: Don't Go to War over Sotomayor (CNN News - Ed Rollins)
"Ed Rollins, a senior political contributor for CNN, is Senior Presidential Fellow at the Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra University. He was White House political director for President Reagan and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee."
"Let me state that I am sure Sotomayor and I don't agree on very much. And I am sure some of her liberal rulings will drive me nuts. But President Obama won, is a liberal and gets to put liberals on the court. That's the way it works. Ideology aside, is she qualified?"
"Sotomayor is not deserving to be on the Supreme Court because she is Puerto Rican or a woman. She has been appointed* by the president because she is extremely well-qualified. Judge those qualifications fairly and without malice. To do less will antagonize Hispanic and female voters, two voter groups Republicans must do better with to have any chance of electoral success."
*Editor's Note: Sotomayor has been nominated, not appointed. 05-09
- -05-29-09 GM Gets Ready for Bankruptcy (CBS News)
"GM's new road map, outlined in a regulatory filing Thursday, would briefly send the automaker into bankruptcy protection, erase most of its debt and eventually have it emerge leaner and stronger." 05-09
- -05-29-09 Language Gene Changes Mouse Squeaks (New York Times)
"People have a deep desire to communicate with animals, as is evident from the way they converse with their dogs, enjoy myths about talking animals or devote lifetimes to teaching chimpanzees how to speak. A delicate, if tiny, step has now been taken toward the real thing: the creation of a mouse with a human gene for language." 05-09
- -05-29-09 The Two Sides of Justice Nominee Sotomayor (MSNBC News)
"There are two sides to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor: a Latina from a blue-collar family and a wealthy member of America's power elite." 05-09
- -05-30-09 Senator: Cheney's Claims About Torture Memos Are Wrong (CNN News)
"Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says former Vice President Dick Cheney's claims -- that classified CIA memos show enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding worked -- are wrong." 05-09
- -05-31-09 General Motors Bankruptcy (New York Times)
"President Obama will push General Motors into bankruptcy protection on Monday, making a risky bet that by temporarily nationalizing the onetime icon of American capitalism, he can save at least a diminished automaker that is competitive."
"The bankruptcy, to be filed in New York, is a moment of reckoning for an industry that was once at the heart of the American economy. It culminates a remarkable four months of confrontation between Washington and Detroit that is expected to result in a drastic downsizing of the company." 05-09
- -06-01-09 Fire Detectors on Planes Still Inadequate (Time.com)
"But for Learmount, if a short circuit fire is to blame, one thing is for sure: 'We have to look here for the lessons we got from that [Swissair flight],' he says. 'Airplanes should have heat and smoke detectors all over them ... so that if a fire started anywhere you would know immediately', he adds. 'That has not been implemented by any of the world's leading aviation authorities, not by the [U.K.'s] Civil Aviation Authority, the French DGAC, or the American FAA.' " 06-09
- -06-01-09 Timeline on the Fall of General Motors (MSNBC News)
Provides a timeline from 1908 to June of 2009. 06-09
- -06-08-09 Pakistani Tribesmen Attack Taliban (Time.com)
"As many as 1,600 tribesmen have joined a citizens' militia in Upper Dir district — an indication of rising anti-Taliban sentiment in Pakistan as the military pursues its offensive against the militant group in the nearby Swat Valley."
"The militias, known as lashkars, were focusing on two villages known as Taliban strongholds, said Khaista Rehman, a local police chief. Officials said Sunday the tribesmen had managed to clear three other villages." 06-09
- -06-09-09 Allegation: Qualifications and Working Conditions for Many Pilots Are Poor (CNN News)
" 'In the past it's been a very attractive career for people to join, and the airlines, even the regional airlines, have been able to select from a very qualified applicant pool. That's not happening any more, and we're having to hire down to the FAA minimums, which most pilots have always considered to be very substandard.' "
"Skiles also confirmed the complaints of other pilots about working conditions. Many are forced to work grueling schedules with little sleep between shifts and low pay. Testimony at last month's NTSB hearing into the Buffalo crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 revealed that pilots can work as long as 16 hours straight, with as little as 4 or 5 hours of sleep, before getting back into the cockpit."
" 'That is true,' Skiles said. 'The current fatigue rest rules are less restrictive than truck drivers work under. Once you've been on duty for 13 hours, you are about 500 percent more likely to make an error, and once you've been on duty for 16 hours, you have the response rate of somebody who is legally drunk.' " 06-09
- -06-09-09 Chrysler Still Has Massive Challenges (MSNBC News)
"Now that Chrysler appears to have resolved its legal issues, the automaker still faces the serious challenge of integrating operations with its new owner and bridging the gap until a new line of small cars is available late next year or in 2011." 06-09
- -06-09-09 Dismay over Obama's Position on Gays in the Military (Time.com)
"When Barack Obama sought the presidency, he pledged to reverse the 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy preventing gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military. Yet on Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a gay Ohio soldier's challenge to the law — with the legal backing of none other than the Obama Administration." 06-09
- -06-09-09 North Korea's Grim Prisons (Time.com)
"Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the American journalists who were each handed 12 years in prison yesterday by a North Korean court for committing "hostile acts" by allegedly overstepping the border in March, have received a harsh sentence by Western standards of justice. The news is grim, to be sure. But former prisoners in Pyongyang's horrific penal system speculate that the pair may not have to endure the grimmest conditions, which very few have emerged to talk about."
"Kyohwaso life is extremely harsh: scholars estimate only 50% of prisoners survive their first year. One of the first accounts of the North Korean prison system, a 2000 memoir called The Aquariums of Pyongyang, tells of routine torture and deprivations on par with those of Nazi concentration camps." 06-09
- -06-09-09 Ten Banks to Pay Back $68 Billion in TARP Loans (CNN News)
"But another reason Homan cites is his optimism for the solar industry's U.S. future."
"Ten leading banks won approval to repay money from the government's controversial TARP program, regulators said Tuesday, which could represent approximately $68 billion in bailout funds returned to taxpayers." 06-09
- -06-09-09 What Should the U.S. Do About Korea Sentencing Two U.S. Journalists to Hard Labor? (PBS.org)
"North Korea's highest court convicted two U.S. television journalists today of entering the country illegally. The announcement added to rising tensions with the communist regime."
"And I think North Korea is very hierarchically inclined. I think they would react positively to a figure of real stature being sent to them."
"And my choice for that would be former Vice President Al Gore for three reasons. One, he is highly prominent, known to the North Koreans, a world figure on global warming. Secondly, he is the founder of the firm for which the two journalists work. And, third, as vice president, he hosted what was the absolute high moment of North Korean-U.S. relations, which was a dinner on the top floor of the State Department for North Korean field marshal Jo Myong-Rok, when he visited the United States in the autumn of 2000." 06-09
- -06-11-09 Illegal Israeli Settlers Furious at Obama (CBS News)
"While the [Israeli] settlers have always known that new outposts [on Palestinian land] have been forbidden under various peace plans, and some have been forcefully demolished, successive Israeli governments, they insist, have always had a nod-and-wink understanding with the United States that building on existing settlements was tolerated. Washington denies any such deal."
"Mr. Obama may not only have changed the rules of the game in these settlements, he may actually have changed the very nature of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Previous American presidents have called for a settlement freeze. The fear here is that this one may actually mean it." 06-09
- -06-22-09 Neda of Iran (Awesome Library)
Provides the picture of the young woman purported to be the person shot to death by Iranian military as she attended a protest. She has become the "face" of the protests of election irregularities in Iran. Note: This is an earlier portrait picture of Neda, not the video depicting her death. 06-09
- -06-22-09 Official Report: More Votes than Voters in 50 Iranian Cities (WorldPress.com)
"Shocking admission of election fraud from Iran’s Guardian Council: in at least 50 cities more votes were recorded in the reported tally than there where eligible voters." 06-09
- -06-24-09 Health Insurance Insider: They Dump the Very Sick (ABC News)
"[Wendell] Potter, who has more than 20 years of experience working in public relations for insurance companies Cigna and Humana, said companies routinely drop seriously ill policyholders so they can meet 'Wall Street's relentless profit expectations.' "
- -06-24-09 Neda: An Iconic Image to Inspire (CNN News)
" 'Every revolution needs icons and symbols -- an image that embodies a sense of universality of blight and at the same time innocence,' said Roya Hakakian of Connecticut, a writer, poet and journalist who was born and raised in Iran. 'The image of Neda does both.' "
- -06-25-09 Michael Jackson Dies (CNN News)
"Entertainer Michael Jackson has died after being taken to a hospital on Thursday after suffering cardiac arrest, according to multiple reports including the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press. CNN has not confirmed his death." 06-09
- -06-25-09 Michael Jackson Dies (Time.com)
"Michael Jackson, the moonwalking former child star who became known the world over as the 'King of Pop' before his life and career deteriorated in a freakish series of scandals, died Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. He was 50." 06-09
- -06-26-09 House to Vote on Comprehensive Climate Bill (MSNBC News)
"With a full House vote set for Friday afternoon, Democratic leaders narrowly won an important test vote on legislation to combat global warming, curb oil imports and usher in an era of cleaner, but more expensive, energy." 06-09
- -06-27-09 What the Climate Bill Means for CO2 Emissions (Time.com)
"To keep conservative Democrats on board — especially those in the coal-heavy Midwest and Southeast — Waxman and Markey allowed the bill to be watered down considerably, loosening the overall carbon cap and scaling back the renewable-energy standard. When the powerful farm lobby balked at the bill, it was changed to allow farmers to sell offsets from agriculture, such as no-till farming, which leaves carbon in the soil. Worse, oversight of the agricultural offsets was taken away from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and given to the Department of Agriculture, which isn't exactly a neutral party."
"As a result, the bill will achieve most of its stated carbon cuts through offsets and through improving energy efficiency, rather than encouraging the growth of low-carbon renewable electricity."
"Instead of investment flowing to new solar and wind companies, to electric cars and public transit, that money is likely to go to foreign offsets and farmers." 06-09
- -06-28-09 Picower May Have Been Chief Beneficiary of Madoff Scheme (MSNBC News)
"It now appears that the biggest winner in Madoff's scheme may not have been Madoff at all, but a secretive businessman named Jeffry Picower." 06-09
- -06-29-09 Madoff Gets 150 Years in Jail (ABC News)
"Notorious Ponzi scammer Bernie Madoff has been sentenced to the maximum 150 years in prison for the $65 billion fraud that swindled his many devastated victims."
"Judge Denny Chin said the sentence was a symbolic one for a crime that showed 'extraordinary evil' and 'took a staggering human toll.' " 06-09
- -06-30-09 Al Franken Wins Senate Fight (MSNBC News)
"The Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that Democrat Al Franken be certified as the winner of the state's long-running Senate race, paving the way for a resolution in the seven-month fight over the seat."
"Franken's victory gives Democrats control of 60 seats in the Senate — the critical number needed to overcome Republican filibusters. When Franken is seated, which could come as early as next week, his party will have a majority not reached on either side of the aisle in some three decades." 06-09
- -07-01-09 Editorial: What the Deaths of Jackson and Fawcett Tell Us (CNN News)
"Both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett caught our attention because of their particular gifts. But we care about them as people because they let us in, because they were human, real. It's their vulnerability in the context of their power that was so impossible to resist, so compelling, so moving."
"That's what Michael Jackson had and lost. And it's what Farrah Fawcett lost and found." 07-09
- -07-02-09 Editorial: Sanford's Wife Provides a New Political Paradigm (CNN News)
"After years of watching those wives stand (sadly) by their men, there was something refreshing -- and real -- about Jenny Sanford's decision to be far, far away from the governor's apology tour." 07-09
- -07-02-09 Jobless Rate Rises to a 26-Year High (MSNBC News)
"Employers cut a larger-than-expected 467,000 jobs in June, driving the unemployment rate up to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent, suggesting that the economy's road to recovery will be bumpy." 07-09
- -07-04-09 Why Palin Quit as Governor (Time.com)
"In a hastily called press conference on the eve of a three-day holiday, Palin presented herself as a point guard exhausted by the 'full court press from the national level.' " 07-09
- -07-05-09 America's New Dependency on China's Metals for New Energy (U.S. News)
"They are in iPods, Blackberrys, and plasma TVs. They are powerful and compact; they are exceedingly efficient. In many cases, there are no substitutes. On the periodic table, they have their own section, 17 metals in all, reflecting their unique atomic structure."
"Fifty years ago, the world's economy was built on steel, aluminum, and iron. Today, rare-earth metals are reshaping it. But they are not easy to acquire, not anymore. In the 1970s and 1980s, the United States was the world's leading producer. Today, China provides nearly 97 percent of the world's supply. It has a near monopoly, and it is cutting exports." 06-09
- -07-05-09 Court Approves Sale of G.M. Assets (New York Times)
"A federal judge approved a plan by General Motors late on Sunday to sell its best assets to a new, government-backed company, a crucial step for the automaker to restructure and complete its trip through bankruptcy court." 07-09
- -07-05-09 Kissinger's View of World Politics Now (ABC News)
"Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 86, discusses the painful lessons of the Treaty of Versailles, idealism in politics and Obama's opportunity to forge a peaceful American foreign policy." 07-09
- -07-08-09 Editorial: Questions to Ask Prof. Alberto Gonzales (CBS News)
"This column is actually an open letter to the students of Texas Tech, who now will have the dubious privilege of taking courses from former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales. The disgraced former official finally landed a job outside of government—he resigned in 2007 — and now (for one year anyway) will teach political science - 'contemporary issues in the executive branch' - at a school most recently known for hosting basketball coach Bobby Knight."
"Ask him why he gave a heads up to Andy Card, then President Bush’s Chief of Staff, about the investigation that was to come? Is that the way the nation’s top lawyer, sworn to uphold the Constitution, is supposed to act?"
"You should ask him these things because one of the most important lessons you can learn in college is to hold people accountable for their own actions and decisions. You should ask him these things because young people in particular ought to always strive to discover the truth about the world, and the world of law and politics. Trust me, there will be plenty of time later in life to be cynical and skeptical and disbelieving." 07-09
- -07-09-09 G8 Summit to Tackle Food Supplies (BBC News)
"Leaders of developed G8 nations are to unveil new efforts to boost food supplies to the hungry, during the final day of their summit in Italy."
"They are expected to commit as much as $15bn (£9.2bn) to efforts to help poor nations develop their own agriculture."
"On Thursday, the second day of talks, the summit focused on climate change."
"Leaders from both developed and developing nations agreed that global temperatures should not rise more than 2C above 1900 levels."
"That is the level above which, the UN says, the Earth's climate system would become dangerously unstable." 07-09
- -07-19-09 Black Philadelphia Police Sue Over Message Board (CNN News)
"A group of black Philadelphia police officers filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against their department, alleging an online forum geared toward city police is 'infested with racist, white supremacist and anti-African-American content.' "
"The suit alleges white officers post on and moderate the privately operated site, Domelights.com, both on and off the job." 07-09
- -07-19-09 NASA Releases Clearest Videos of 1969 Moonwalk (CNN News)
"NASA released newly restored videos Thursday of two U.S. astronauts taking the world's first steps on the moon." 07-09
- -07-22-09 Obama Describes His Position on Health-Care Legislation (Timed.com)
"In his news conference Wednesday night, President Obama stuck to and defended a looming deadline for the House and Senate to pass their own versions of health care reform legislation — even though it is becoming increasingly apparent that the two chambers are not going to meet it." 07-09
- -07-22-09 Police Sergeant Enters African-American Home Uninvited (CNN News)
" 'It seems eerily ironic Mr. Gates was returning from China, where surveillance is so high and freedom of speech and ideas so curtailed,' Walker said. 'To see the mugshot of Skip was a blow to all of us who feel some sense of safety based on our work to try to mend all of these broken fences in America -- to make ourselves into people who refuse to be limited by race and class and gender and everything else.' "
" 'To end up, at the end of the day, treated like a criminal, unjustly stripped of our accomplishments and contributions even if only for a moment, is profoundly disturbing. We must ask ourselves what it means, and to allow ourselves to face various scenarios regarding power and freedom and how these will intersect in the coming years.' " 07-09
- -07-22-09 Police Sergeant Enters African-American Home Uninvited (The Boston Globe)
"Gates’s lawyer and Harvard colleague, Charles Ogletree, said what angered his client was that the police officer stepped inside Gates’s Ware Street house, uninvited, to demand identification and question him."
"Gates showed his Harvard identification and Massachusetts drivers license with his home address, Ogletree said, adding, 'Even after presentation of ID, the officer was still questioning his presence.' "
"Said Bobo: 'The whole interaction should have ended right there, but I guess that wasn’t enough. The officer felt he hadn’t been deferred to sufficiently.' " 07-09
- -07-23-09 Police Sergeant Refuses to Apologize (CNN News)
"The commissioner of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police department said Thursday he 'deeply regrets' the arrest of prominent black Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., but stands by the procedures followed by his department."
"Obama defended Gates Wednesday night, while acknowledging that he may be 'a little biased,' because Gates is a friend."
" 'But I think it's fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, No. 3 ... that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.' "
"The incident, Obama said, shows 'how race remains a factor in this society.' " 07-09
- -07-25-09 Officers Vary in Response to Heated Words (New York Times)
"Police departments issue their officers Kevlar vests to stop bullets, and thick helmets and even shields to protect them from bottles and bricks. But there is nothing in the equipment room to give an officer thicker skin."
"That tool — as vital to an officer’s safety and the public’s as anything clipped to his belt — is developed in training, and its strength differs from one officer to the next."
"The issue of tolerance, in fact, lies at the heart of the dispute surrounding the arrest of the Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. in Cambridge, Mass." 07-09
- -07-26-09 Anti-Trust Comes Up Against Other Departments (Newsweek.com)
" 'The struggles between the expert agencies and the Justice Department get to the heart and soul of exactly what the competition policy of the Obama administration will be,' said Mark Cooper, an antitrust expert and director of research at the Consumer Federation of America, an advocacy group."
"He added: 'Now you have an antitrust division that cares about competition, and it is running up against the expert agencies that haven’t changed their attitudes yet.' " 07-09
- -07-26-09 Contador Wins Tour de France (ESPN News)
"Alberto Contador emerged as the new dominant force in cycling Sunday when the Spaniard wrapped up his second Tour de France title on the Champs-Elysees on Lance Armstrong's return to the race." 07-09
- -07-26-09 Gates Wins Big on Defense Cuts (MSNBC News)
"Robert Gates is on a roll. Question is, how long will it last?"
"The politically savvy defense secretary scored big legislative wins when the Senate voted convincingly to end production of the high-priced F-22 jet fighter and killed an aircraft engine project that he says isn't needed." 07-09
- -07-26-09 Iraqi Commander Tries to Arrest GIs (MSNBC News)
"When insurgents attacked an American convoy with AK-47 rounds and a couple of grenades on a dusty highway in a Baghdad suburb this week, U.S. soldiers returned fire, chased the suspects through narrow alleyways and raided houses."
"Tuesday's clash killed two Iraqi adults and a 14-year-old and wounded four people, including two children."
"When the shooting subsided, another confrontation began. A senior Iraqi army commander who arrived at the scene concluded that the Americans had fired indiscriminately at civilians and ordered his men to take the U.S. soldiers into custody. The U.S. military said the soldiers had acted in self-defense and had sought to avoid civilian casualties; U.S. commanders at the scene persuaded the Iraqis to back down." 07-09
- -07-26-09 White House Beer Summit May Be On Tap (ABC News)
"As Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley prepare for beers with President Obama, some hope the toasting at the White House will be just the start of new, long-needed conversations about race in this country." 07-09
- -07-29-09 U.S. Postal Services in Trouble (Time.com)
"The Government Accountability Office on Tuesday added the Postal Service to its list of high-risk federal agencies in need of change." 07-09
- -07-30-09 Editorial: The Real Crime in the Gates Case (Time.com)
"There is no crime described in [police officer] Crowley's official version of the way Gates behaved. Crowley says explicitly that he arrested Gates for yelling."
"Unless you confess to a crime or threaten to commit a crime, there is nothing you can say to a cop that makes it legal for him to arrest you. You can tell him he is stupid, you can tell him he is ugly, you can call him racist, you can say anything you might feel like saying about his mother. He has taken an oath to listen to all of that and ignore it. That is the real teachable moment here: cops are paid to be professionals, but even the best of them are human and can make stupid mistakes."
"Everyone who is defending Crowley's arrest, including his union, needs to reread his report. There is a crime described in there. In fact, Crowley's report is a written confession of the crime of false arrest." 07-09
- -07-30-09 President to Try to Defuse Race Relations (ABC News)
"Two weeks ago, Cambridge Police Officer Sgt. James Crowley arrested Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. after a confrontation in Gates' own home. The resulting war of words escalated eight days ago when President Obama said the police acted 'stupidly.' Tonight, the president hopes to cool down the heated debated and turn it into what he called a 'teachable moment' -- over beer." 07-09
- -07-31-09 House OKs $2 Billion More for "Cash for Clunkers" (CBS News)
"The House of Representatives voted Friday to rush $2 billion into the popular but financially strapped "cash for clunkers" car purchase program, heeding calls from U.S. consumers who hope to keep taking advantage of the trade-in incentives." 07-09
- -08-04-09 Behind the Scenes on North Korea Deal (ABC News)
"All the diplomacy of the Obama administration failed to move North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to release two American journalists. In the end, it was the reclusive tyrant's desire to be seen with former president Bill Clinton that created a deal to let them go free."
"Ground rules were agreed upon at the White House and with North Korea: Clinton's trip would be described as a private mission and there would not be any negotiations about North Korea's nuclear weapons." 08-09
- -08-04-09 Bill Clinton Brings Jailed Journalists Home (ABC News)
"Former President Bill Clinton ended his surprise trip to North Korea today, bringing home the two Asian-American journalists who had been jailed in the secretive nation, after he helped negotiate their pardons." 08-09
- -08-04-09 Bill Clinton Makes Surprise Visit to North Korea (CBS News)
"Former U.S. President Bill Clinton made a surprise trip to North Korea on Tuesday amid an international standoff over the country's nuclear program and concerns about two U.S. reporters imprisoned in Pyongyang since March."
"The last high-ranking U.S. official to meet with Kim Jong Il was Madeleine Albright, then Clinton's secretary of State, who visited Pyongyang in 2000 at a time of warming relations. Ties turned cold when George W. Bush took office in the White House in 2001." 07-09
- -08-04-09 Top Cyber Threat Official Resigns (ABC News)
"ABC News' Jason Ryan reports: White House cybersecurity czar Melissa Hathaway decided to resign Monday from her post as the White House's top official overseeing computer security issues on the eve of a major global cybersecurity conference being sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service." 07-09
- -08-04-09 Why Google's Schmidt Resigned from Apple's Board (Time.com)
"Given a choice between using the browser and using native apps, for most iPhone users there was no choice. Native apps won, hands down. With more than 65,000 apps available for the iPhone today, some pundits speculate that apps use, rather than Web use, will be where all the action is within a decade."
"That threatens to marginalize Google, limiting its growth. The mobile world is becoming bifurcated: On one side sits the Google-dominated, browser-based Web and its related Web apps. On the other sits native applications that you download to the iPhone (and other closed-platform phones), that keep the user occupied and contained in a world that's as cut off from Google as is Facebook, another Google bête noire." 07-09
- -08-06-09 Senate Approves Sonia Sotomayor as First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice (ABC News)
"The Senate voted to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court today, making her the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice and just the third woman to sit on the court." 08-09
- -08-07-09 Taliban Report Death of Chief, Baitullah Mehsud (CBS News)
"Pakistan's Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, said earlier this week there was a 'strong possibility' Mehsud died in the Aug. 5 strike - an assessment not disputed by a U.S. official speaking Thursday to CBS News."
"But U.S. authorities were also seeking DNA evidence to confirm whether Mehsud, who has led a violent campaign of suicide attacks and assassinations against Pakistan's government, was killed in the strike, reports CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier." 08-09
- -08-07-09 Unemployment Rate Drops to 9.4 Percent in July (MSNBC News)
"Employers sharply scaled back layoffs in July, and the unemployment rate dipped for the first time in 15 months, sending a strong signal that the worst recession since World War II is finally ending."
"A net total of 247,000 jobs were lost last month, the fewest in a year. That compares with 443,000 jobs that disappeared in June. And the unemployment rate for July declined to 9.4 percent from 9.5 percent in June." 08-09
- -08-08-09 What Is the White House Deal With PhRMA? (ABC News)
"In June, the Senate Finance Committee and the White House jubilantly announced that they'd come to a deal with the pharmaceutical industry. But as details of that deal have come out, the White House has issued mixed and conflicting messages as to what they knew and what they'd signed off on." 08-09
- -08-14-09 Editorial: "Death Panels" Revisited (Time.com)
"You would think that if Republicans wanted to totally mischaracterize a health care provision and demagogue it like nobody's business, they would at least pick something that the vast majority of them hadn't already voted for just a few years earlier. Because that's not just shameless, it's stupid." 08-09
- -08-20-09 Kids May Grow Up Fast When a Parent Goes to War (CNN News)
"When all military branches are taken into consideration, the American Psychological Association estimates about 700,000 children under the age of 18 have a parent deployed overseas for military duty."
"If military teens adjust well to deployment, they can be more adaptive and resilient than their peers, said Angela Huebner, associate professor of human development at Virginia Tech." 08-09
- -08-23-09 The Law: Can Atheists Be Parents? (Time.com)
"In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes' right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes' 'high moral and ethical standards,' he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that 'no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience.' Despite Eleanor Katherine's tender years, he continued, 'the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being.' "
"If they fail in their appeal, Eleanor Katherine may have to leave the only family she has ever known and await adoption by another couple whose religious convictions satisfy the State of New Jersey." 08-09
- -08-24-09 Did CIA Interrogators Violate Federal Law on Torture? CBS News)
"A 1994 federal law prohibits U.S. nationals from performing torture upon penalty of up to 20 years in prison. 'Torture' is defined as the threat of imminent death, the threat of someone else being killed, and acts 'specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering.' " 08-09
- -08-24-09 Justice Department Report Advises Pursuing C.I.A. Abuse Cases (New York Times)
"The Justice Department’s ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects, according to a person officially briefed on the matter." 08-09
- -08-28-09 Justice Department and CIA at Odds (New York Times)
"With the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate detainee abuses, long-simmering conflicts between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department burst into plain view this week, threatening relations between two critical players on President Obama’s national security team." 08-09
- -09-03-09 Study: Arctic Warming But Should Be Cooling (MSNBC News)
"The Arctic is warmer than it's been in 2,000 years, according to a new study, even though it should be cooling because of changes in the Earth's orbit that cause the region to get less direct sunlight." 09-09
- -09-05-09 Editorial: New Monopoly on Vote Counting Is Bad for Democracy (OpEdNews.com)
"The monopoly is but a part of the troubling equation.Consider the Government Accountability Office's (GOA) stunted investigation of Sarasota's 2006 District 13 with its 18,000 missing votes. While the investigation fizzled with inconclusive results and investigative paths not taken, the initial findings of the investigation revealed an end-to-end ES&S election process lacking good business practices and void of independent checks and balances. ES&S virtually owns the election process. ES&S manufactures the machines, produces test data, defines the testing process, counts the votes, determines the winner, and declares the election valid." 09-09
- -09-06-09 Editorial: Obama's Challenge on Health Reform (MSNBC News)
"The biggest challenge Obama faces in his prime-time address is to take ownership of health care legislation that until now has been shaped by political conflicts in Congress. Lawmakers return this week from a summer break that saw eroding public support for an overhaul and contentious town hall meetings in their districts." 09-09
- -09-07-09 Laura Bush Evaluates President Obama (CNN News)
"Former first lady Laura Bush praised the performance of her husband's successor Monday, breaking with many Republicans in telling CNN that she thinks President Obama is doing a good job under tough circumstances." 09-09
- -09-07-09 Over 70 Civilians Reported Killed by U.S. Airstrike in Afghanistan (CNN News)
"On Friday, a German ground commander called in a U.S. airstrike on two stolen fuel tankers in northern Afghanistan. Dozens of civilians had gathered around the tankers and Afghan officials say 70 or more were killed by the American bombs." 09-09
- -09-07-09 S.F.-Oakland Bridge Closed Because of a Crack (CBS News)
"A team of workers has received the blueprint and materials they needed to repair the crack in a steel link that holds up part of the span, said CalTrans spokesman Bart Ney." 09-09
- -09-09-09 Study: Majority Killed in Gaza War Were Civilians (Time.com)
"Well over half of nearly 1,400 Palestinians killed in Israel's Gaza war were civilians, including 252 children younger than 16, a leading Israeli human rights groups said Wednesday, challenging Israel's claim that most of the dead were militants."
"The Israeli rights group B'Tselem on Wednesday published figures it said were compiled in months of research, including visits to families of victims. It said 1,387 Gazans were killed, including 773 civilians and 330 combatants. Thirteen Israelis also died, including four civilians." 09-09
- -09-11-09 Editorial: Joe Wilson's Own Government-Run Health Insurance (CNN News)
"Military beneficiaries like Wilson-who, as a retiree, is eligible for lifetime coverage-never have to worry about an eye exam, a CT scan, a prolonged labor, or an open-heart surgery. They have access not only to the military's 133,500 uniformed health professionals, but cooperating private doctors as well-whose fees are paid by the Department of Defense. It's high-quality care, too: surveys from 2007 and 2008 list TRICARE among 'the best health insurer(s) in the nation' by customer satisfaction. Yet Wilson insists government-run health care is a problem."
" 'As a 31-year Army Guard and Reserve veteran, I know the importance of TRICARE,' he said in a press release. 'The number of individuals who choose to enroll in TRICARE continues to rise because TRICARE is a low cost, comprehensive health plan that is portable and available in some form world-wide.' He went on to call TRICARE 'world class health care,' concluding on a personal note. 'I am grateful to have four sons now serving in the military, and I know that their families appreciate the availability of TRICARE,' he said."
"What does that mean? Nothing-except that Joe Wilson was against government-run health care before he was for it. And now he's against it again. Just not when it comes to his own flesh and blood." 09-09
- -09-11-09 President Obama Speaks to Pentagon (CNN News)
"President Obama spoke at the Pentagon on Friday to those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001, telling them no words would heal their pain yet calling for a renewed resolve against the ones who attacked the country eight years ago." 09-09
- -09-12-09 City Water Pollution in the U.S. (MSNBC News)
"In the last five years alone, chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other workplaces have violated water pollution laws more than half a million times. The violations range from failing to report emissions to dumping toxins at concentrations regulators say might contribute to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses."
"However, the vast majority of those polluters have escaped punishment. State officials have repeatedly ignored obvious illegal dumping, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which can prosecute polluters when states fail to act, has often declined to intervene."
"But an estimated 19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from drinking water contaminated with parasites, bacteria or viruses, according to a study published last year in the scientific journal Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. That figure does not include illnesses caused by other chemicals and toxins." 09-09
- -09-12-09 Pat Tillman's Story (ABC News)
"U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman's first mission as an elite Army Ranger in Iraq was the rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch, a new book reveals." 09-09
- -09-12-09 President Obama: Illegal Immigrants Will Be Barred (ABC News)
" 'Undocumented immigrants would not be able to buy private insurance on the exchange. Those who are lawfully present in this country would be able to participate.' " 09-09
- -09-15-09 FDA Approves a Vaccine for Swine Flu, H1N1 (CBS News)
"The Food and Drug Administration approved the new swine flu vaccine Tuesday, a long-anticipated step as the government works to get vaccinations under way next month." 09-09
- -09-16-09 Carter: Bad Treatment of Obama Involves Racism (CNN News)
"Former President Jimmy Carter reiterated Wednesday that he believes racism is an issue for President Obama in trying to lead the country." 09-09
- -09-16-09 Doctors Urge Action to Avoid Catastrophic Health Consequences (Time.com)
"A weak response to climate change could be catastrophic for international health, leading doctors said in two British medical journals Wednesday."
"In a letter jointly published in The Lancet and BMJ, presidents from 18 medical organizations worldwide called on doctors to pressure politicians meeting in Copenhagen in December to take decisive action on global warming."
"In an accompanying editorial, Lord Michael Jay of the medical charity Merlin and Michael Marmot of University College London wrote that 'a successful outcome at Copenhagen is vital for our future as a species and for our civilization.' " 09-09
- -09-17-09 "Cap and Trade" Bill Looking Unlikely (Time.com)
"Despite hopes — and promises by the Democratic leadership — that the Senate would tackle cap-and-trade legislation this fall, it's looking increasingly as if the U.S. will go to Copenhagen with no national carbon caps in place. Senate majority leader Harry Reid told reporters on Sept. 15 that the Senate might have to wait to act on cap and trade until after tackling health care and banking reform." 09-09
- -09-17-09 President Obama Shelves U.S. Missile Shield (Time.com)
"President Obama's decision to shelve plans to station U.S. missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic is being portrayed as a pragmatic response to the threat of Iranian nuclear missiles. In confirming the move on Thursday, Obama said the U.S. wants to focus instead on deploying "technologies that are proven and cost-effective and that counter the current threat" — that is, Iran's medium-range missiles rather than any intercontinental ballistic missiles Iran could possibly develop."
"Meanwhile, Obama's decision will surely raise alarms in the corridors of power in Ukraine, Georgia and other NATO-inclined countries in the former Soviet bloc, who saw the battle over the missile shield as a litmus test of Obama's willingness to stand up to Russia's efforts to re-establish its hegemony in its post–World War II sphere of influence." 09-09
- -09-19-09 Russia Won't Deploy Missiles Either (CBS New)
"Russia will scrap a plan to deploy missiles near Poland because the U.S. no longer wants to place a missile-defense system in Eastern Europe, a Russian deputy defense minister said Saturday." 09-09
- -09-23-09 China, Not U.S., Stars at Climate Summit (MSNBC News)
"Although some 100 world leaders met Tuesday for a U.N. climate summit, most of the attention was on just two — President Barack Obama and China's Hu Jintao. Both vowed to take the threat of rising seas, drought and deforestation seriously, but only one had some momentum behind him and it wasn't Obama."
" 'China and India have announced very ambitious national climate change plans,' Yvo de Boer said. 'In the case of China, so ambitious that it could well become the front-runner in the fight to address climate change,' de Boer said. 'The big question mark is the U.S.' " 09-09
- -09-24-09 Is China the "Good Guy" on Climate Change? (Time.com)
"Now the world's fastest growing big economy is ready to move into one of the world's fastest growing financial markets: carbon-trading. The China-Beijing Environmental Exchange (CBEEX) and the French emissions exchange BlueNext announced on Sept. 23 that they were putting together a carbon market standard for China." 09-09
- -09-24-09 Kirk Replaces Kennedy (CNN News)
"Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick named Paul G. Kirk as the interim U.S. senator from Massachusetts on Thursday."
"Kirk will fill the U.S. Senate seat left empty by the death of former Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Patrick said Kirk will begin serving immediately." 09-09
- -09-25-09 Leaders Claim Iran Building a Secret Nuclear Facility (New York Times)
"President Obama and the leaders of Britain and France accused Iran on Friday of building a secret underground plant to manufacture nuclear fuel, saying the country has hidden the covert operation from international weapons inspectors for years." 09-09
- -09-26-09 Habeas Corpus Dead? (ABC News)
"The Obama administration reaffirmed its belief this week that it has the power to indefinitely detain prisoners at Guantanamo and said it would not reach out and ask Congress to craft legislation to give them the authority."
" 'The Obama administration has continued to polices of the Bush administration of holding people at Guantanamo, Bagram, and elsewhere, and not trying them,' Anders, [senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union] said. 'They should not be exercising that authority.' " Editor's Note: Habeas Corpus is the constitutional right to a speedy inquiry by a court to determine if a person is being held lawfully. 09-09
- -09-28-09 Joint Chiefs Chairman Seeks Brain-Injury Limit (USA Today)
"U.S. servicemembers who suffer up to three mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions during a deployment — typically from roadside bombs — could be pulled out of combat for the duration of their tour, according to a policy being pushed by Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff." 09-09
- -10-07-09 CBO Scores the Baucus Bill (Time.com)
"The good news/bad news seems to be that it reduces the deficit by $81 billion over 10 years, but leaves 25 million uninsured (one-third of them illegal immigrants)." 10-09
- -10-07-09 Editorial: Has Obama Been Keeping His Promises? (Politifact.com)
"Here at PolitiFact, however, we're tracking Obama's 515 promises with our Obameter, which rates them as Promise Kept, Promise Broken, Compromise, Stalled, In the Works and No Action." 10-09
- -10-07-09 Editorial: Will "SNL" Skit Hurt Obama? (CNN News)
"In the comedy skit, the president is asked about unrealized campaign promises, including closing Gitmo, combating global warming, allowing openly gay people to serve in the military, withdrawing from Iraq, improving the status of the fight in Afghanistan, reforming health care and several others. On screen the response on a check list was: that each item was 'not done.' " Video 10-09
- -10-08-09 Obama Focusing on al Qaeda, not Taliban (CBS News)
"White House officials say the focus of the President Barack Obama's war strategy will be on defeating al Qaeda in Pakistan, while downplaying the need to completely eliminate the Taliban in Afghanistan, reports CBS News chief White House correspondent Chip Reid." 10-09
- -10-08-09 Senate Health Reform Bill Set for Vote (PBS.org)
"The Senate Finance Committee will vote Tuesday on a sweeping revamp of the U.S. health care system as the debate over President Barack Obama's top domestic policy enters a new stage." 10-09
- -10-08-09 The White House Takes on the Press (Time.com)
"There was never a single moment when White House staff decided the major media outlets were falling down on the job. There were instead several such moments." 10-09
- -10-09-09 Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize (New York Times)
"President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his 'extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,' a stunning honor that came less than nine months after he made United States history by becoming the country’s first African-American president." 10-07
- -10-09-09 NASA Craft Crashes Into Moon (Time.com)
"NASA has successfully bulldozed two spacecraft into the moon's south pole in a search for hidden ice, but without the promised live photos." 10-09
- -10-12-09 Gay March of a New Generation (Time.com)
"The march on Washington that gays staged Sunday on the National Mall drew something like 200,000 people — that's a good guess based on conversations with many of the organizers and local authorities, although estimates of Mall crowds are notoriously unreliable. But one number you can take to the bank: the average age of those backstage who wore walkie-talkie headsets and staff badges, the men (and a few women) who were behind much of the organizing effort, wasn't over 30." 10-09
- -10-12-09 White House Views Fox News as Republican (ABC News)
"The animosity between this White House and Fox News seems to be ratcheting up. This Sunday the White House communications director Anita Dunn had this to say on CNN’s 'Reliable Sources': 'Let's not pretend they're a news network…Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.' " 10-09
- -10-13-09 Gaza's Tunnel Economy (Time.com)
" 'There is only one economy — there's a tunnel economy,' says John Ging, head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip. 'You have zero exports and zero commercial imports through the [Israeli-controlled] crossing points.' "
"Under the blockade, Gaza's unemployment rate has become the highest in the world."
" 'It's accurate to say that the economy has been destroyed. All aspects of the commercial sector are in tatters, including the physical infrastructure,' says the U.N.'s Ging. 'But what we have here is a phenomenal entrepreneurial spirit, and the only thing we need to revive the economy of Gaza is the creation of opportunity, which means lifting the siege.' " 10-09
- -10-14-09 U.S. and Chinese Interests in Afghanistan (MSNBC News)
"In making the case for converging U.S. and Chinese interests in Afghanistan, Robert Kaplan wrote last week in a New York Times opinion piece that, 'The problem is that while America is sacrificing its blood and treasure, the Chinese will reap the benefits. The whole direction of America’s military and diplomatic effort is toward an exit strategy, whereas the Chinese hope to stay and profit.' " 10-09
- -10-15-09 First Data on Impact of Stimulus (CBS News)
"Businesses receiving federal contracts under President Barack Obama's economic stimulus program reported creating or saving more than 30,000 jobs in the first months of the program, according to data released Thursday by a government oversight board. "
"The numbers, based on jobs linked to less than $16 billion in federal contracts, represent just a sliver of the $787 billion stimulus package. But they offer the first hard data on the early effects of the program." 10-09
- -10-16-09 Obama Faces Tough Decisions on Afghanistan (U.S. News)
"As President Obama considers whether to escalate in Afghanistan, he is facing a quandary familiar to many of his wartime predecessors—deciding whether to follow the advice of the military brass or impose his independent judgment on his commanders. Making it all the more difficult is the pressure he is getting from conservatives to back the request from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, for 40,000 more troops, which would increase the U.S. force level to 108,000." 10-09
- -10-20-09 First female commander of Army Drill Sgt. School (CNN News)
"Her name is Command Sergeant Major Teresa King and she’s the first woman commandant of this school. Incredibly fit, 48-years-old and a 29-year Army vet, King oversees 78 drill instructors and is responsible for training every Army drill sergeant. Nearly 2,000 sergeants graduate from the drill sergeant school each year." 10-09
- -10-22-09 Editorial: The Predator War (The New Yorker)
"Hina Shamsi, a human-rights lawyer at the New York University School of Law, was struck by the inconsistency of the public’s responses. She said of the Predator program, 'These are targeted international killings by the state.' The Predator program, as it happens, also uses private contractors for a variety of tasks, including 'flying' the drones. The U.S. government runs two drone programs. The military’s version, which is publicly acknowledged, operates in the recognized war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and targets combatants in support of U.S. troops stationed there. The C.I.A.’s program is aimed at terror suspects around the world, including in places where U.S. troops are not based. The program is classified as covert, and the C.I.A. declines to provide any information to the public about where it operates, how it selects targets, who is in charge, or how many people have been killed. Nevertheless, reports of fatal air strikes in Pakistan emerge every few days. According to a new study by the New America Foundation, the number of drone strikes has gone up dramatically since Obama became President." 10-09
- -10-22-09 Fed Proposes to Police Bank Pay (MSNBC News)
"The Federal Reserve for the first time would police banks' pay policies to ensure they don't encourage employees to take reckless gambles like those that contributed to the financial crisis, according to a proposal unveiled Thursday." 10-09
- -10-22-09 Poll: Fewer Now Believe in Global Warming (CBS News)
"Andrew Weaver, a professor of climate analysis at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, said politics could be drowning out scientific awareness."
" 'It's a combination of poor communication by scientists, a lousy summer in the Eastern United States, people mixing up weather and climate and a full-court press by public relations firms and lobby groups trying to instill a sense of uncertainty and confusion in the public,' he said."
"Despite misgivings about the science, half the respondents still say they support limits on greenhouse gases, even if they could lead to higher energy prices, and a majority - 56 percent - feel the United States should join other countries in setting standards to address global climate change." 10-09
- -10-27-09 Moderate Democrats Balk at Public Option (MSNBC News)
"Democratic moderates who control the balance of power on health care legislation balked Tuesday at a government-run insurance option for millions of Americans, underscoring the enormity of the challenge confronting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid one day after he unveiled the plan as a consensus product." 10-09
- -10-28-09 House Health Reform Bill Ready for Vote (and Don't Do) List (ABC News)
"After weeks of intense, closed-door negotiations with House Democrats, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi plans to unveil her health care bill tomorrow. "
"It includes a public option, but it will not be the Medicare-like public option she wanted. The government-run insurance company created by her bill would negotiate payment rates with health care providers just like private insurance companies. Pelosi simply could not get the votes to pass the 'robust' version she prefers." 10-09
- -10-29-09 Edmunds.com Challenged on Clunkers Costs (USA Today)
"Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the country's largest new-car dealer chain, called Edmunds' study 'uncharacteristically shoddy.' "
"Added Jackson: 'Simply put, they've misrepresented the facts, and the White House is completely justified in calling them out on it. It would appear Edmunds political views have tainted their usual rigorous approach to research. I know from our sales at AutoNation just how significant the impact of the Cash for Clunkers promotion was in our dealerships, and our own internal figures indicate that the rate of increase was consistent with what other retailers, manufacturers and governmental agencies have been estimating.' " 10-09
- -10-29-09 Edmunds.com: The Real Cost for Clunkers (USA Today)
"Taxpayers ended up paying an average of $24,000 per vehicle for the Cash for Clunkers program over the summer when sales that would have happened anyway are taken into consideration, says car buying research site Edmunds.com." 10-09
- -10-29-09 House to Vote on Health Plan (MSNBC News.com)
"After months of struggle, House Democrats rolled out sweeping legislation Thursday to extend health care coverage to millions who lack it and create a new option of government-run insurance. A vote is likely next week on the plan largely tailored to President Barack Obama's liking." 10-09
- -10-31-09 Obama to Toss Wiretap Lawsuit (CBS News)
"Attorney General Eric Holder says a lawsuit in San Francisco over warrantless wiretapping threatens to expose ongoing intelligence work and must be thrown out."
"In making the argument, the Obama administration agreed with the Bush administration's position on the case but insists it came to the decision differently."
"A civil liberties group criticized the move Friday as a retreat from promises President Barack Obama made as a candidate." 10-09
- -11-01-09 Abdullah Pulls Out of Afghan Runoff (Time.com)
"Afghan opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah prepares to leave following a press conference on November 1, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Abdullah announced that he would pull out of this week's run-off presidential election in Afghanistan due to concerns over widespread fraud and abuse of power by the governmment." 10-09
- -11-04-09 Cuomo Files Federal Antitrust Suit Against Intel (New York Times)
"Following the lead of foreign regulators, New York’s attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit Wednesday against Intel, the world’s largest chip maker." 11-09
- -11-07-09 Munley Acts Quickly (ABC News)
"Chuck Medley, the director of emergency services at Fort Hood, said many more would have died if [Kim] Munley hadn't leaped into action."
" 'If she had not responded the way she had, we would have had an extremely high number of dead and injured,' Medley told ABC News on Friday. " 'The number of lives that this person saved ... we will probably never know. But there is a lot of ammunition left, a lot of magazines,' he said referring to what Hasan was allegedly carrying.' "
"Medley described a scenario worthy of a Hollywood script. He said Munley, who is a member of the base's SWAT team and a weapons expert, ran towards the gunfire and came upon Hasan when she rounded a corner and saw him pursuing a soldier who had already been wounded once."
" 'She fired on him twice and drew the attention toward her. He immediately spun around and charged her,' Medley said. 'She fired a couple more rounds and fell back, continuing to fire.' " 11-09
- -11-07-09 Munley Acts Quickly (Time.com)
"Chuck Medley, the director of emergency services at Fort Hood, said many more would have died if [Kim] Munley hadn't leaped into action."
" 'If she had not responded the way she had, we would have had an extremely high number of dead and injured,' Medley told ABC News on Friday. " 'The number of lives that this person saved ... we will probably never know. But there is a lot of ammunition left, a lot of magazines,' he said referring to what Hasan was allegedly carrying.' "
"Medley described a scenario worthy of a Hollywood script. He said Munley, who is a member of the base's SWAT team and a weapons expert, ran towards the gunfire and came upon Hasan when she rounded a corner and saw him pursuing a soldier who had already been wounded once."
" 'She fired on him twice and drew the attention toward her. He immediately spun around and charged her,' Medley said. 'She fired a couple more rounds and fell back, continuing to fire.' " 11-09
- -11-11-09 Lou Dobbs Resigns from CNN (USA Today)
"CNN news host Lou Dobbs signed off the network for good Wednesday." 11-09
- -11-13-09 Why Small Businesses Are Against the Health Bills (Time.com)
"When it comes to finding quality, affordable health insurance, few have it worse than small-business owners and their workers shopping for coverage on the open market. They are charged the most per person, have the least amount of choice and, as a result, are some of the most likely to be uninsured."
"Some 70% of the nation's estimated 50 million uninsured are full-time workers or their dependents, many of whom work for small businesses. Just 39% of workers in firms with three to 24 staff are covered by job-sponsored insurance, down from 50% in 1999."
"Business groups like the Chamber and the NFIB vehemently oppose the public option. The Chamber says it would pay below-cost reimbursement rates, leading doctors and hospitals to charge private insurers (and the employers who purchase coverage from them) more to make up the difference. But even if that were true — and there are many observers who say this fear is overblown — it's not clear that small-business owners would be the ones to suffer." 11-09
- -11-15-09 Obama Gets Bow Wrong (ABC News)
" 'Obama's handshake/forward lurch was so jarring and inappropriate it recalls Bush's back-rub of Merkel.' "
" 'Kyodo News is running his appropriate and reciprocated nod and shake with the Empress, certainly to show the president as dignified, and not in the form of a first year English teacher trying to impress with Karate Kid-level knowledge of Japanese customs.' " 11-09
- -11-15-09 World Leaders Agree to Delay Agreement on Climate Change (New York Times)
"President Obama and other world leaders have decided to put off the difficult task of reaching a climate change agreement at a global climate conference scheduled for next month, agreeing instead to make it the mission of the Copenhagen conference to reach a less specific 'politically binding' agreement that would punt the most difficult issues into the future." 11-09
- -11-18-09 CBO: Senate Health Plan to Reduce Deficit over 10 Years (MSNBC News)
"The Congressional Budget Office estimated it would cost $849 billion over 10 years, spread coverage to 31 million Americans who currently lack it while still reducing federal deficits by a total of $127 billion in that decade."
"An aide said the CBO also estimated that the bill would achieve cuts of $1 trillion over a decade in projected health care costs. The estimate of 94 percent coverage was less than the 96 percent estimated for legislation the House passed earlier this month, but no precise comparisons were possible without as-yet-unreleased CBO documentation." 11-09
- -11-21-09 Poll: Public Shifting Blame for Recession (CNN News)
"Nearly two years into the recession, opinion about which political party is responsible for the severe economic downturn is shifting, according to a new national poll." 11-09
- -11-22-08 Obama's Economic Plan (Time.com)
"President-elect Barack Obama promoted an economic plan Saturday he said would create 2.5 million jobs by rebuilding roads and bridges and modernizing schools while developing alternative energy sources and more efficient cars." 11-08
- -11-22-09 Fat Fees and Smoker Surcharges (Time.com)
"Companies have long promoted healthier behavior by subsidizing gym memberships and smoking-cessation classes. But several private and public employers have started tying financial incentives to their health-insurance plans." 11-09
- -11-22-09 Senate Agrees to Debate Health Care Reform Bill (CBS News)
"Invoking the name of Edward M. Kennedy, Democrats united Saturday night to push historic health care legislation past a key Senate hurdle over the opposition of Republicans eager to inflict a punishing defeat on President Barack Obama. They needed all 60 votes to avoid a filibuster which would have killed the bill, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Fuss." 11-09
- -11-25-09 U.S. to Set Climate Targets Before Summit (MSNBC News)
"President Barack Obama will attend the U.N. climate summit next month in Denmark, taking with him a target to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020, the White House said Wednesday." 11-09
- -11-27-09 China Proposes to Reduce Rate of Emissions (ABC News)
"The Chinese propose, by 2020, to reduce so-called carbon intensity — or the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic output — by 40 to 45 percent compared with 2005 levels. By that measure, emissions would still increase, though the rate would slow."
"In a sense, the Chinese offer is less ambitious than the American proposal because China is already well on the way to its target with existing energy efficiency initiatives, while the American offer would require changes in many government policies. American efforts, though, have been mired in Congressional infighting."
"Yet the offers by the United States and China both amount to politically safe opening bids in what is likely to be a long, tough process of negotiations on concrete steps that the two countries should take to address climate change."
Editor's Note: Neither the U.S. nor China are planning reductions in emissions in relationship to the actual dangers of emissions for the climate; rather, both are using political goals that have no relationship to the dangers. 11-09
- -11-28-08 Last Day to Claim Stimulus Check (ABC News)
"Nearly 280,000 Americans have a nice holiday surprise awaiting them, but if they don't act by the time the clock strikes midnight tonight, they might be kissing about $163 million goodbye. That's how much the Internal Revenue Service says it has remaining in returned economic stimulus payments, and it's looking for those people whose checks never reached them." 11-08
- -11-28-09 Lobbyists Lobby White House to Preserve Lobbyist Power (ABC News)
"Lobbyists have been furiously lobbying the Obama White House to oppose restrictions on their ability to lobby."
"The Washington Post says the system of these committees is 'so vast that federal officials don't have exact numbers for its size; the most recent estimates tally nearly 1,000 panels with total membership exceeding 60,000 people.' " 11-09
- -12-03-09 Comcast to Take Over NBC (USA Today)
"Comcast and General Electric said Thursday that they finally have a deal."
"They agreed to forge a joint venture that will give Comcast, the No. 1 cable operator, control of programming giant NBC Universal, creating the largest entertainment company in the United States."
"The deal, which values NBC Universal at $30 billion, will make Comcast (CMCSA) a major power in television and movie production, theme parks, and the Internet. NBC Universal's channels include the NBC TV network, Telemundo, USA Network, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, and Oxygen. The company also is a founder of Hulu, the No. 2 site for Web videos after Google's YouTube." 12-09
- -12-04-09 Unemployment Rate Falls to 10 Percent (MSNBC News)
"The U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 10 percent in November as employers cut the smallest number of jobs since the recession began. The better-than-expected job figures are a rare note of encouraging news for the labor market." 12-09
- -12-07-09 Major Storm Expected (CNN News)
"A major winter storm began walloping part of the Western United States on Monday, snarling morning commutes in some areas and dumping snow as far south as Arizona."
"The storm is expected to intensify as it strikes California and heads northeast toward the Rockies, bringing with it snow and extremely frigid temperatures."
" 'It's forecast to affect about 17 states, from California all the way to Michigan,' CNN meteorologist Sean Morris said." 12-09
- -12-08-09 Study: Millions in the U.S. Drink Dirty Water (MSNBC News)
"More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data."
"That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage."
"Regulators were informed of each of those violations as they occurred. But regulatory records show that fewer than 6 percent of the water systems that broke the law were ever fined or punished by state or federal officials, including those at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has ultimate responsibility for enforcing standards." 12-09
- -12-09-09 Is the Public Option Dead? (Time.com)
"The Associated Press and New York Times are reporting tonight that the 10 senators tapped to negotiate an alternative to or compromise on the Senate health reform bill's public option have dropped the idea of a government-run health insurance plan altogether." 12-09
- -12-09-09 Pros and Cons of Expanding Medicare (Time.com)
"How an expansion would or would not affect the Medicare trust fund depends on so-far-undisclosed details. Most observers believe that only Americans 55 to 64 without job-based large-group coverage would be allowed to buy into Medicare and that those people would be charged premiums much higher than the roughly $100 a month Medicare enrollees currently pay. If the program was part of Medicare but premiums and benefit payouts were segregated within the program, the trust fund might be unaffected." 12-09
- -12-09-09 Responses to Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Speech (PBS.org)
"The president walked into the city hall of Oslo a wartime leader on hand to accept the most prestigious prize bestowed on peacemakers. It was a paradox not lost on him." 12-09
- -12-11-08 The Obama Stimulus Package (U.S. News)
"At least this is the best guess of Alec Phillips at Goldman Sachs, who figures a $600 billion stimulus package over two years. These are numbers for the 2009, $350 billion installment:"
"1) Transport-related infrastructure (rail and highways): $45 billion"
"2) Traditional non-transports infrastructure (water, schools): $30 billion"
"3) Non-traditional infrastructure (broadband, green energy):$57 billion"
"4) Benefit programs (extended unemployment, food stamps): $29 billion"
"5) Aid to states (Medicaid, block grants): $60 billion"
"6) Tax-related stimulus (credits): $130 billion" 12-08
- -12-12-09 Editorial: Rep. Marsha Blackburn Claims that "Cap and Trade" Will Cost Jobs (MSNBC News)
"In the GOP's radio and Internet address, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., says, 'If President Obama has his way, the Copenhagen conference will produce mandatory emissions limits that would destroy millions of American jobs.' "
Editor's Note: Rep. Blackburn is on the House's Select Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee. The oil and gas industry is one of her top sources ofcampaign funds according to OpenSecrets.org. 12-09
- -12-12-09 Former British Prime Minister Stands Behind Invasion of Iraq (CNN News)
"Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he would have taken the decision to remove Saddam Hussein even without evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
""Britain has already held four hearings about the Iraq war. But because all were held before the end of 2004 -- so close to the start of the war -- they were hampered by limited information, political analyst Glen Rangwala of Cambridge University told CNN."
" 'They didn't manage to achieve anything like a comprehensive understanding of the paths that led the UK to support the United States in the invasion," he said. 'This will be the first to look at political decision-making that led to the British invasion of 2003, with the potential to tell a full story.' " 12-09
- -12-12-09 Senate Agrees to Pass Budget Bill (MSNBC News)
"The Democratic-controlled Senate on Saturday turned back a Republican effort to block a final vote on a huge end-of-year spending bill that rewards most federal agencies with generous budget boosts." 12-09
- -12-12-09 Ten Facts About the the Climate Summit in Copenhagen (U.S. News)
"The summit is the 15th annual meeting to review the effectiveness of the United Nations' climate change framework convention, which lays out a cooperative strategy for minimizing global greenhouse gas emissions." 12-09
- -12-12-09 Young Americans Arrested in Pakistan (CNN News)
"Five Americans arrested this week in Pakistan were "wholesome," devout young men who participated in a youth program at a community mosque in suburban Virginia, representatives of the congregation said Friday." 12-09
- -12-13-08 What Is an American Made Car? (CNN News)
"Fewer than half of the parts on some Big Three vehicles are made in the U.S."
"On the other hand, Toyota's Camry is comprised 80 percent of parts made in the United States, and 56 percent of Toyota's vehicles sold in the U.S. also are made here, according to Toyota spokeswoman Sona Iliffe-Moon."
"Foreign car manufacturers generate billions of dollars in jobs and community infrastructure in the U.S., but there is a difference between Detroit's economic footprint and that of its foreign rivals."
"Level Field found that every 1,000 vehicles sold by Detroit's Big Three in the U.S. support more than twice as many jobs as 1,000 vehicles sold by foreign nameplates." 12-08
- -12-13-09 Editorial: Healthcare Reform Includes Dangers (U.S. News)
"True health reform may well take a generation, as the nuts and bolts of a massive new system are sorted out and assembled. But it seems clear that a sea change is coming in the way Americans experience and pay for healthcare—one that will require us to develop a whole new set of muscles."
"A variety of models being tested as part of health reform draw from the Mayo design. In an 'accountable health organization,' a population of patients is cared for by an integrated system of hospitals, generalist and specialist doctors, and other health professionals, who track people's use of services and outcomes and are paid as a group based on performance." 12-09
- -12-14-09 Senator Lieberman Opposes Expanding Medicare (CNN News)
"Dashing the hopes of Democratic lawmakers Sunday, Sen. Joseph Lieberman signaled he would oppose a health care bill that includes a proposal to expand Medicare to people as young as 55."
"The fate of the health care bill could hinge on the votes of as few as one senator from each party. If Democrats can get 59 of their 60 caucus members to support the bill -- for example, by changing the abortion language to secure Nelson's vote -- they can focus on gaining the vote of moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who has signaled an openness to compromise." 12-09
- -12-15-09 Health Care Reform: What Happened to Cost Controls? (Time.com)
"Pretty much everyone agrees that the health care legislation now making its way through both houses of Congress would do some things well. It would cover almost all of the roughly 33 million legal residents of this country who now lack health insurance. And a vast expansion of Medicaid, coupled with billions of dollars in subsidies to help low- and middle-income Americans buy insurance, would help ensure that most people end up spending less on their health bills, according to a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Congress's independent scorekeepers."
"But what about President Obama's pledge to pass a measure that reins in the larger forces driving up health care costs? Or his vow that a reformed system would deliver more-efficient care, with better results for patients? That's where the legislation could fall well short of the promises."
"In a recent letter to Obama, 23 prominent economists identified four provisions that they said "can go a long way toward delivering better health care, and better value, to Americans." They are: ensuring that reform doesn't add to the federal deficit; creating an independent commission to bring Medicare costs under control; discouraging high-cost insurance plans by taxing them; and changing the incentives in medicine so that doctors and hospitals are paid not for how much treatment they give but for how well it works."
"Many of these economists — as well as other health experts — are watching in dismay as the legislation's reforms and cost-saving measures are whittled away by powerful special interests. 12-09
- -12-16-08 Madoff Pulls Off Possibly Largest Investment Fraud (The Wall Street Journal)
"A judge ordered the U.S. operations of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities to be liquidated, as fresh details emerged of trading discrepancies that offer clues as to how he may have run the epic scam alleged by authorities."
"WSJ reporter Amir Efrati says the Madoff scandal could go down as one of the biggest frauds in Wall Street history." 12-08
- -12-18-09 Charlie Gibson Ends Stay on ABC News (ABC News)
"After nearly 35 years at ABC News, Charlie Gibson signed off from “World News” this evening. He joined ABC News in 1975 and has served as the anchor of "World News" since May 2006." 12-09
- -12-20-08 California AG: Majority Cannot Strip Minority of Constitutional Rights (ABC News)
"ABC News' Teddy Davis Reports: California Attorney General Jerry Brown called on the state's Supreme Court on Friday to strike down a recently approved ballot measue [sic] which eliminated the state's court recognized right to same-sex marriage."
Brown "now believes that all the residents of California enjoy an inalienable right to liberty and privacy that includes a right to marry that cannot be stripped away by majority vote." 12-08
- -12-20-09 Agent Orange Poisons New Generations in Vietnam (Time.com)
"After years of meetings, signings and photo ops, the U.S. held another ceremony in Vietnam on Dec. 16 to sign yet another memorandum of understanding as part of the continuing effort to manage Agent Orange's dark legacy. Yet there are grumblings that little — if anything — has been done to clean up the most contaminated sites." 12-09
- -12-20-09 Senate Democrats Secured Enough Votes for Health Care Bill (U.S. News)
"Democratic leaders secured the support of Sen. Ben Nelson to provide the 60th and deciding vote for sweeping health care legislation in the Senate, capping a year of struggle and a final burst of deadline bargaining on President Barack Obama's top domestic priority."
"Nelson, D-Neb., said Saturday he made his decision after winning fresh concessions to limit the availability of abortions in insurance sold in newly created exchanges, as well as tens of million in federal Medicaid funds for his home state." 12-09
- -12-26-09 Terrorism Attempt Stopped on Plane (New York Times)
"A Nigerian man tried to ignite an explosive device aboard a trans-Atlantic Northwest Airlines flight as the plane prepared to land in Detroit on Friday, in an incident the United States believes was 'an attempted act of terrorism,' according to a White House official who declined to be identified."
"The device, described by officials as a mixture of powder and liquid, failed to fully detonate." 12-09
- -12-27-09 Passenger's Quick Action Saved Plane (New York Times)
" 'Without any hesitation, I just jumped over all the seats,' Mr. [Jasper] Schuringa said, in an account that other passengers confirmed. 'I was thinking, Oh, he’s trying to blow up the plane. I was trying to search his body for any explosive. I took some kind of object that was already melting and smoking, and I tried to put out the fire and when I did that I was also restraining the suspect.' " 12-09
- -12-27-09 Terrorist Showed No Signs of Radicalization in School (CBS News)
"Students at his prestigious university in London, where [Umar Farouk] Abdulmutallab lived in a smart white stone apartment block in an exclusive area of central London, said Abdulmutallab showed no signs of radicalization and painted him as a lax student with deep religious views." 12-09
- -12-29-08 Editorial: A Failure of Oversight and Madoff (Truthout.org)
"I think we've had a collapse of the markets caused by three different factors. The three factors all point to the failure of regulatory entities to carry out their missions. One area is the liquidity and capitalization of the major banks, which SEC was supposed to keep an eye on. We've had one bank fail after another. When you look at the scope of those failures, and the magnitude of those failures, you have to ask yourself, how could anybody miss the red flags that these banks were in deep trouble."
"The second factor is market manipulation and insider trading. It has been a colossal failure by the SEC. Its failure to investigate the big players gave them a sense they were invulnerable. So, they just got bolder."
"The SEC seemed to be doing its best job on investment fraud, but some of the fraud that has surfaced before Madoff raised some questions about the SEC. Madoff is on a new scale." 12-08
- -12-30-09 Dutch to Use Full Body Scans for U.S. Flights (CNN News)
"Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport will begin using body scanners on all passengers taking flights to the United States following the attempted terrorist attack on a U.S.-bound flight on Christmas Day, the Dutch interior minister said Wednesday."
"The millimeter-wave body scanners will be in place in about three weeks, Dutch Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst told a news conference at The Hague."
"Ter Horst said Dutch authorities did not know that AbdulMutallab had raised any security flags, and she called for a global watchlist for all suspect travelers in the future."
Editor's Note: Also see aviation safety. 12-09
- -12-30-09 Flight 253 Hero Recounts Bombing Attempt (CNN News)
"Jasper Schuringa, a Dutch filmmaker, appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" for a second time Tuesday night, recounting how he and others subdued an al Qaeda-linked suspect from detonating explosives that the man had attached to his underwear." 12-09
- -12-31-09 Missed Signals Allowed Suspect to Board Plane (CNN News)
"The president has ordered a top-to-bottom investigation of the failed terrorist attack on Christmas Day. The preliminary report is expected Thursday."
"One of the key questions is why wasn't the suspect's visa revoked."
"The suspect, a Nigerian national, was supposedly on the terrorist watch list. Six weeks ago, his father warned the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria that his son was becoming radicalized and had gone to Yemen."
"The father provided the embassy with his son's name, birth date and passport number. That information was sent in a routine, unclassified cable known as a visa VIPER to the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington." 12-09
- -Adversity Index (MSNBC News)
"The Adversity Index, from msnbc.com and Moody's Economy.com, measures the economic health of 381 metro areas and all 50 states. Each area is in recession, at risk, recovering or expanding." (Click the map.) 05-09
- -Health Care Lobbyists Rise to Power (CBS News)
"The pharmaceutical industry is putting its army of lobbyists into overdrive as Congress works to complete a health care reform bill."
"There are 3,000 registered health care lobbyists on Capitol Hill -- that's six for every single member of Congress. And in many cases, those lobbyists are former members of Congress who shaped laws that benefitted the industry they joined." 10-09
- -Seven Falsehoods About Health Care (Newsweek.com)
"Does the House bill call for mandatory counseling on how to end seniors' lives sooner? Absolutely not. Will the government be dictating to doctors how to treat their patients? No. Do the bills propose cutting Medicare benefit levels? No on that one, too."
"But on the other hand, has Congress figured out how to pay for this overhaul? Not yet. Or will it really save families $2,500 a year as the president keeps claiming? Good luck on that one, too." 08-09
- -Study: Reducing Emissions Not Enough (MSNBC News)
" 'People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years; that's not true,' lead author Susan Solomon told reporters."
"Instead, the team concluded, warming tied to higher CO2 'is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop.' "
"Before the industrial revolution the air contained about 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide. That has risen to 385 ppm today, and politicians and scientists have debated at what level it could be stabilized." 01-09
- -U.S. Companies Shut Out in Iraq's Oil Fields Auction (Time.com)
"Those who claim that the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 to get control of the country's giant oil reserves will be left scratching their heads by the results of last weekend's auction of Iraqi oil contracts: Not a single U.S. company secured a deal in the auction of contracts that will shape the Iraqi oil industry for the next couple of decades. Two of the most lucrative of the multi-billion-dollar oil contracts went to two countries which bitterly opposed the U.S. invasion — Russia and China — while even Total Oil of France, which led the charge to deny international approval for the war at the U.N. Security Council in 2003, won a bigger stake than the Americans in the most recent auction." 12-09
- -What Really Is in the Health Care Reform Bill? (CBS News)
" 'A lot of the misstatements have stuck with the public,' Jackson said. 'We're talking about one sixth of the economy and one bill more than 1,000 pages long, so it definitely lends itself to distortion and fear-mongering.' "
"In fact, section 1233 of the House bill would allow Medicare for the first time to cover patient-doctor consultations about end-of-life planning, including discussions about drawing up a living will or planning hospice treatment. Patients would, of course, seek out such advice on their own -- they would not be required to. The provision would limit Medicare coverage to one consultation every five years."
"The bill does not force private insurers out of business or force people onto the public plan."
"The CBO, in fact, estimates the House bill would result in a net increase of 3 million Americans with employer-provided care." President Obama said " 'If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance.' "
" 'Private health care providers are free to cover abortion, but not with federal funds,' reports Dan Gilgoff of U.S. News and World Report."
"...Americans will not face 'rationing' in health care any more than they do now. While a public plan would not be able to cover all procedures, private insurance plans do not either."
"However, significant provisions of the health care legislation under consideration -- including the federal health insurance exchange, the public option, subsidies and the employer mandate -- would not go into effect until 2013." 08-09
- -Zurich Tries to Cut Energy Use Drastically (CBS News)
"Zurich, Switzerland's largest city, has a radical goal: to reduce the amount of energy residents use by two-thirds and become a 2,000-watt society."
"If you take all the energy being consumed on earth and divide by the number of people it works out to about 2,000 watts per person, every second of every day. That's roughly the energy it takes to keep 20, 100-watt light bulbs burning. But how many of us are using more than our share?"
"Top of the list are Americans who use 12,000 watts each. Europeans use about half that much - 6,000 watts on average. Africans and Bangladeshis use less than 700." 12-09
- 02-11-09 Obama's Presidency Day By Day (CBS News)
"CBSNews.com is tracking the first 100 days of President Obama's administration." 02-09
- 04-30-09 Supreme Court Justice Souter's Legacy (ABC News)
" 'He wrote the part of the opinion [on Roe v. Wade] stressing how important it was for the court to respect prior decisions and not let major constitutional principles swing back and forth with every new appointment. Aside from the obvious importance of the opinion, it captures a fundamental part of his approach to judging.' "
"Experts say Souter will also be remembered for his opinions on freedom of religion cases. in 1992, in the first major school prayer case looked at by the Supreme Court, Souter voted against allowing prayer at a high school graduation ceremony."
" 'He's a deeply religious person himself, but has regularly voted to keep government out of religious matters,' Feder remembered."
"Many recall him as a justice for whom law triumphed over ideology, and say his open mindedness and lack of predictability will be missed." 04-09
- 05-03-09 Warning: Stimulus Spending Lacks Sufficient Oversight (ABC News)
"The GAO study asserts that officials from most of the states surveyed 'expressed concerns regarding the lack of Recovery Act funding provided for accountability and oversight. Due to fiscal constraints, many states reported significant declines in the number of oversight staff -- limiting their ability to ensure proper implementation and management of Recovery Act funds.' " 04-09
- 05-05-09 Flu Shots Locator and Flu Trends in the U.S. (Google.org)
"We've found that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity in your state up to two weeks faster than traditional systems." 04-09
- 05-05-09 Local Officials Scramble for Stimulus Cash (MSNBC News)
"For local officials around the country, big money is at stake as the federal stimulus money trickles down. According to the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s fiscal “watchdog,” about $280 billion of the Recovery Act’s total of $787 billion will be administered through state and local governments. Much of the money is doled out by formula, but for other stimulus funds, such as a subsidy to hire additional police officers, cities and counties must compete with one another." 05-09
- 05-06-09 Best and Worst Bailed-Out Banks (U.S. News)
"If the 'market-to-bailout ratio, as we call it, equals 1.0, for example, that means investors driving the stock price up or down have a dim view of the bank's inherent value. 'The government injections basically amount to the common stockholders' entire value,' says economist James Barth of the nonprofit Milken Institute, which provided some of the data. To pay back the government injections, such banks would probably have to sell assets, which could worsen the situation."
"Banks with a market-to-bailout ratio of less than 1 are in even worse shape, since investors are signaling that the banks' value is heavily dependent upon government aid."
"The healthiest banks are those with a market-to-bailout ratio well over 2.0." 05-09
- 05-08-09 Nurses Are a Key to Health Care Reform (Time.com)
"One of the few things that just about all sides agree upon in this health care debate is that we need more primary care providers -- lots more. And an already serious shortage will only get worse if we succeed in expanding coverage to some or all of the 47 million Americans who now lack it. That is one of the lessons of health care reform in Massachusetts, whose success in moving toward universal coverage has created what the Massachusetts Medical Society deems a 'critical' need for internal medicine and family practice physicians." 05-09
- 05-08-09 Obama Replaces Abstinence-Only Education (ABC News)
"Two $100 million programs from his predecessor's budget pushing abstinence only are casualties in President Obama's $3.55 trillion budget proposal."
"The President is replacing them with $110 million 'for teenage pregnancy prevention programs that have been proven effective through rigorous evaluation....'
"A recent study in the journal Pediatrics indicated that teenagers who make "virginity pledges" to remain chaste until marriage are no less likely to engage in premarital sex but significantly less likely to use birth control."
" 'Taking a pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior,' Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health told the Washington Post. 'But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking.' " 05-09
- 05-10-09 Economy Puts Families on the Streets (CNN News)
"Salinas has been working to help the homeless here for eight years now, driving the streets every day looking for people hiding under bridges and in abandoned properties. More and more of late, there are people in business clothes, heading off to work. More and more, they are women with young children." 05-09
- 05-10-09 George W. Bush Ranked Among Worst Presidents (U.S. News)
"President George W. Bush is near the bottom of the heap in the latest survey of historians on presidential leadership." 05-09
- 05-11-09 Budget Deficit to Surpass $1.8 Trillion (CBS News)
"The deficit for the current budget year will rise by $89 billion to above $1.8 trillion - about four times the record set just last year. The unprecedented red ink flows from the deep recession, the Wall Street bailout, the cost of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus bill, as well as a structural imbalance between what the government spends and what it takes in." 05-09
- 05-12-09 WHO: Swine Flu Is Likely a Pandemic (U.S. News)
"This may be just the first weeks of a three-to-five-year pandemic, with wave after wave of sickness and death."
"This virus causes 1.4 to 1.6 new cases of flu from each infected person, on average, which is similar to or lower than the pandemics of 1918, 1957, and 1968."
"These numbers mean that swine flu/H1N1 is acting like a pandemic flu, and that we should act as if it’s a pandemic, too."
Editor's Note: WHO is the World Health Organization. 05-09
- 05-13-09 Report: A Fourth of Overseas Votes Go Uncounted (Time.com)
"One out of every four ballots requested by military personnel and other Americans living overseas for the 2008 election may have gone uncounted, according to findings being released at a Senate hearing Wednesday." 05-09
- 05-14-09 Obama's Inner Circle (U.S. News)
"Presidents don't run the country alone. A host of cabinet officials and high-level appointees influence the president and policy each day. Here are the people who make up Barack Obama's inner circle." 05-09
- 05-15-09 World's Happiest Places (ABC News)
"According to a new report released by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based group of 30 countries with democratic governments that provides economic and social statistics and data, happiness levels are highest in northern European countries."
"Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands rated at the top of the list, ranking first, second and third, respectively. Outside Europe, New Zealand and Canada landed at Nos. 8 and 6, respectively. The U.S. did not crack the top 10. Switzerland placed seventh and Belgium placed tenth." 05-09
- 05-20-09 Credit-Card Bill: What It Does and Doesn't Do (Christian Science Monitor)
"Supporters and critics agree that it greatly empowers consumers and changes the credit-card industry." 05-09
- 05-22-09 Recession and Homeless Children (CBS News)
"If you want to understand what it means to be a homeless child in this recession, walk a day in Tristen's size 7 sneakers."
Provides an address for donations for homeless children in Tristen's school district. 05-09
- 06-14-09 True Power in Iran (Time.com)
"Despite the convulsions in Tehran's streets in the aftermath of a disputed presidential election, Iranians — and the smart folks in Washington — know that Iran's presidency is not the seat of executive power. Unelected mullahs hold veto power over the decisions of the elected government, and their Supreme Leader, currently Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, must approve all political policies and make the key foreign policy and security decisions. No one can run for president without the approval of the clerics, and they routinely narrow the field to those deemed acceptable within the parameters of the Islamic Revolution."
"Yet Khamenei has now done something extraordinary to the regime's democratic apparatus. Even though Iran's Electoral Commission allows three days to hear challenges before presenting results to Khamenei for approval, the Supreme Leader rushed to put his seal of approval on the outcome, and warned all political factions to refrain from challenging it." 06-09
- 06-17-09 More Massive Protests Planned in Iran (MSNBC News)
"Iranian protesters planned to flood the streets of Tehran in the tens of thousands Thursday after opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi defied a government crackdown and called for another day of demonstrations against what he has denounced as a rigged election." 06-09
- 06-17-09 Obama Signs Gay Benefits for Federal Employees (MSNBC News)
"President Barack Obama signaled to gay rights activists Wednesday that he's listening to their priorities by extending some benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. But he didn't give them even close to everything they want, bringing growing anger against the president to the surface."
"The president signed a memo giving the same-sex partners some benefits, but not not health care." 06-09
- 06-19-09 Chinese Mainstream Carries News of Iranian Protests (MSNBC News)
"So it comes as a surprise to see that China’s mainstream media coverage of the post-election crisis in Iran has been fairly thorough. The protests and resulting bloodshed were reported all week in newspapers and on Web sites, with vivid videos and pictures."
"The coverage included a healthy dose of analysis by Middle East experts, discussing the election results and the growing protests. But they did not say much about the events’ influence on China, despite the fact China is Iran’s biggest oil trading partner, as well as Iran’s biggest business partner in Asia." 06-09
- 06-19-09 Supreme Leader of Iran Warns of Violence (MSNBC News)
"Taking an unequivocal stand against days of mass protests, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sternly warned opposition supporters on Friday to stay off the streets and raised the prospect of violence if their defiant, vast demonstrations continued."
"Prime Minister Gordon Brown stepped up his public criticism."
" 'We are with others, including the whole of the European Union unanimously today, in condemning the use of violence, in condemning media suppression,' he told a news conference after a European Union summit in Brussels. He said it was up to Iran to show the world that the elections were fair and that 'the repression and the brutality that we have seen in these last few days is not something that is going to be repeated.' " 06-09
- 09-05-09 AmeriJet Jets Fail to Provide Lavatories (CNN News)
"None of the cargo carrier's eight Boeing 727s have lavatories, pilots say, forcing the pilots and crews to use plastic bags for all their elimination needs." 09-09
- 09-05-09 Editorial: Presidents, Students, and Controversy (CBS News)
"Calling President Obama's Executive Order on Ethics for Executive Branch personnel 'the strongest ethics standards in U.S. government history,' White House counsel Norm Eisen on Friday announced 10 more waivers for Obama administration officials."
The waivers will allow the officials to participate with persons with whom and entities with which 'the appointees formerly had a professional relationship,' Eisen wrote, 'because there was a compelling public interest in allowing it.' " 09-09
- 09-05-09 Editorial: Presidents, Students, and Controversy (CBS News)
"Conservative pundits have been raising objections over President Barack Obama's planned speech to the nation's students on Tuesday in which he will encourage children to stay and excel in school."
"White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the remarks reflected 'silly season' in Washington, and reminded reporters that two Republican presidents have likewise given speeches to students: Ronald Reagan in 1988 and George H.W. Bush in 1991."
"On November 14, 1988, the beginning of American Education Week, President Reagan gave a speech from the White House and answered questions from junior high school students from the Washington, D.C. area, in an appearance that was distributed to schools via an educational television network and also broadcast on C-Span." 09-09
- 09-05-09 White House Discloses Ethics Waivers for Officials (ABC News)
"Calling President Obama's Executive Order on Ethics for Executive Branch personnel 'the strongest ethics standards in U.S. government history,' White House counsel Norm Eisen on Friday announced 10 more waivers for Obama administration officials."
The waivers will allow the officials to participate with persons with whom and entities with which 'the appointees formerly had a professional relationship,' Eisen wrote, 'because there was a compelling public interest in allowing it.' " 09-09
- Academy Award Winners for 2009 (Oscar.com)
Slumdog Millionaire won for Best Picture, Sean Penn for Actor in a Leading Role, and Kate Winslet for Actress in a Leading Role. 02-09
- Editorial: The Peril of Positive Thinking (ABC News)
"Two years into the Great Recession, it's time to face the truth: optimism feels good, really good, but it turns out to be the methamphetamine of run-amok American capitalism. Meth induces a 'Superman syndrome.' Optimism fed into what Steve Eisman, a banking analyst who foresaw the crash, calls 'hedge-fund disease,' characterized by 'megalomania, plus narcissism, plus solipsism' and the belief that 'to think something is to make it happen.' The meth-head loses his teeth and his mind; the madcap optimists of Wall Street lost something like $10 trillion worth of pension funds, life savings and retirement accounts." 11-09
- GAO: Execs Gained Millions as Pension Funds Were Depleted (USA Today)
"Top executives at four companies that jettisoned their employee pension plans received $49.5 million in retirement and severance benefits in the years before the companies filed for bankruptcy, while retirees saw their benefits cut by as much as two thirds, congressional investigators conclude in a report to be released today." 11-09
- Iconic Anchorman Walter Cronkite Dies (PBS.org)
"Cronkite pioneered the airwaves as a trusted anchorman, raising CBS Evening News to a ratings rank yet to be reproduced by the network."
"But even before he was voted the 'most trusted man in America' by a nationwide survey in 1995, Cronkite had traveled the world, covering World War II battles and Nazi war crime trials for The United Press." 07-09
- Walter Cronkite Dies (ABC News)
"Cronkite, who was once voted the 'most trusted man in America,' was 92. At the end of his career in 1985, 84 percent in a Roper Poll said he'd done an excellent or good job as CBS' longstanding anchor."
" 'Walter was always more than just an anchor,' President Obama said Friday in a prepared statement. " 'He was someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world. He was family. He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down.' "
"Cronkite became best known on CBS News during the 1960s when he established the prominent role of the television news anchorman for the network's newly expanded evening news program." 07-09
- Walter Cronkite, the "Father" of Television News (ABC News)
" 'Walter was truly the father of television news. The trust that viewers placed in him was based on the recognition of his fairness, honesty and strict objectivity,' said '60 Minutes' correspondent Morley Safer in a statement."
Cronkite disliked the "corporatization of news."
" 'The nation whose population depends on the explosively compressed headline service of television news can expect to be exploited by the demagogues and dictators who prey upon the semi-informed,' he wrote in his 1996 memoir, 'A Reporter's Life.' "
"Mike Wallace, '60 Minutes' correspondent emeritus, said simply: 'We were proud to work with him -- for him -- we loved him.' " 07-09
- Where the 2009 Taxes Are Going (WallStats.com)
Provides a wall chart. Place your cursor on the chart and you will get the option of zooming into and out of areas with "+" and "-" buttons; you can also drag portions of the chart. 04-09
- "Power" Rankings of Members of Congress (Congress.org)
"We rated each current Member of Congress on various criteria that demonstrated power and the ability to be effective in Congress in 2007. This resulted in a Power Score that ranked members for overall power in each chamber of Congress in our Power Rankings."
"Power is often hard to define, but for Congress it boils down to how effective one is at advancing an agenda, whether it is a personal agenda, party agenda or district or state agenda. Much of the power in Congress derives from tenure or years in Congress, which drive assignment to key committees (and eventually status as chair or ranking member). But years of service in Congress does not automatically equate to power as some long term members have very little power while freshmen can sometimes be effective or powerful right out of the starting gate." 08-08
- -06-18-09 Paramedic: Officer in a "State of Rage" (CBS News)
"Bothered that an ambulance driver failed to yield to him as he raced to provide backup on a call -- and angered further when he thought the driver flipped him an obscene gesture -- Oklahoma state trooper Daniel Martin decided to stop the ambulance and give the driver a piece of his mind."
"What Martin didn’t know then, his lawyer said Monday, was that there was a patient in the back of the ambulance." 06-09
- -AIG Price Tag: $1,400 per Taxpayer Family (ABC News)
"How much will each American family pay, on average, to bail out beleaguered insurance giant American International Group? Try more than $1,400." 03-09
- -Alternative Plan for Bailout (Time.com)
"Rather than bailing out Wall Street, we propose that the government should buy up the actual mortgages in question and do nothing else. The government should not touch any derivatives; that is, claims that do not directly tie into the actual mortgages. If money becomes too tight, then the Fed can certainly increase its loans to financial institutions."
"Let the poorly managed, overly risk-taking financial institutions fail! Always remember that Wall Street and the real economy are not the same thing." 09-08
- -Alternatives to $700 Billion Bailout (NakedCapitalism.com)
"The first problem is resolved by removing the deposits insurance cap and support for money market funds -- now done."
"The second [problem] is to restore interbank lending by introducing now the interest on gross reserves (Bernanke has already requested this) and unifying the discount and Funds rate to have the Fed become guarantor of the market."
"To restore short term lending to business, restore real bills lending at the discount window, increase the insurance fund to allow FDIC to agressively resolve troubled insolvent banks, rather than fixing troubled assets."
"This should prevent the meltdown that Paulson is worried about." 09-08
- -Editorial: Oil Spill Not Just an Accident (CNN News)
"The federal government should nationalize major spills, avail itself of the best pooled talent in the oil industry, and send the offending company the people's bill. Once it's on our property, the offending oil company should not touch anything unless specifically directed to do so. As it is now, things are so insanely backward that at the end of June the Coast Guard made it a felony for boats to get within 70 feet of boom. We need to stop putting the murderer in charge of the crime scene."
"Larger lessons lurk. The mortgage bubble, banking collapse, taxpayer-funded bailouts and this blowout all stem from a three-decade assault on government effectiveness, the consequent deregulation Mardi Gras, and the unleashing of corporate greed and corporate 'personhood.' Corporate capture of government away from the public's interests is the basic poison. Campaign finance reform and publicly funded elections would be the antidote." 07-10
- -Editorial: Prosecute the Crimes of the Bush-Cheney Era (CNN News)
"The Bush presidency is thankfully over...but the damage he and Dick Cheney did continues to press on the nerve of the American people like an impacted wisdom tooth. And until the questions surrounding arguably the most arrogant and perhaps most corrupt administration in our history are addressed, the pain won't go away."
"It's too late for George W. Bush to resign the presidency. But it's not too late to put the people responsible for this national disgrace in prison." 05-09
- -Editorial: Republicans Need a Vision for Governing (MSNBC News)
"To truly succeed at governing, the party needs to create a foundation that has voters believing Republicans want to govern again, not just tear down Democrats or the government."
"It is time for Republicans to provide their own vision." 05-09
- -Editorial: Saturn Was Supposed to Save GM (Newsweek)
"More than just a car, it would be a stand-alone subsidiary—using innovative technology by workers and managers engaged in unprecedented joint decision making. 'Saturn is the key to GM's long-term competitiveness, survival and success,' Smith said. Its mission: 'to develop and produce an American-made small car that will be fully competitive with the best of the imports … [and] affirm that American ingenuity, American technology and American productivity can once again be the model and the inspiration for the rest of the world.' " 04-09
- -Editorial: Spying on Americans Without a Warrant Is Illegal (New York Times)
" 'Let me put it to you in Texan,' Mr. Bush drawled at the Grand Ole Opry House yesterday. 'If Al Qaeda is calling into the United States, we want to know.' "
"Yes, and so does every American. But that has nothing to do with Mr. Bush's decision to toss out the Constitution and judicial process by authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop without a warrant. Let's be clear: the president and his team had the ability to monitor calls by Qaeda operatives into and out of the United States before 9/11 and got even more authority to do it after the attacks. They never needed to resort to extralegal and probably unconstitutional methods."
"Mr. Bush said the warrantless spying was vetted by lawyers in the Justice Department, which is cold comfort. They also endorsed the abuse of prisoners and the indefinite detention of 'unlawful enemy combatants' without charges or trials."
"The president also said the spying is reviewed by N.S.A. lawyers. That's nice, but the law was written specifically to bring that agency, and the president, under control. And there already is a branch of government assigned to decide what's legal. It's called the judiciary. The law itself is clear: spying on Americans without a warrant is illegal." 02-06
- -Editorial: The Right Focus in Education Is Relationships and Rigor (New York Times)
"The Obama approach would make it more likely that young Americans grow up in relationships with teaching adults. It would expand nurse visits to disorganized homes. It would improve early education. It would extend the school year. Most important, it would increase merit pay for good teachers (the ones who develop emotional bonds with students) and dismiss bad teachers (the ones who treat students like cattle to be processed)."
Editor's Note: David Brooks, author of this article, is a conservative columnist for The New York Times and commentator for The Newshour with Jim Lehrer. 03-09
- -Obama Refuses to Ban Land Mines (CBS News)
"A leading human rights organization today harshly criticized President Obama for failing to sign on to the Mine Ban Treaty. The treaty, which has been signed by 156 countries, bans the use, stockpiling, production or transfer of land mines." 11-09
- -Outlook in Gaza Is Grim (Time.com)
"Until now, the U.S. has backed an economic blockade of Gaza in the hope of toppling Hamas. Now, the State Department is offering to pump something in the range of $900 million in humanitarian assistance into the enclave, but there is probably no way large amounts of aid money can be distributed in Gaza without, at least indirectly, helping Hamas. No other Palestinian organizations have the infrastructure to put that money to use, and the international agencies that operate there have often found themselves shaken down by Hamas. Given the Islamists' political control of Gaza, there's little prospect of any administrative authority functioning there without the consent of Hamas." 03-09
- -Soldiers sent to Iraq Despite Illness or Injury (ABC News)
"A recent Army inspector general's report says the process for deciding a soldier's fitness for combat is so confusing that it increases the chance of sending ailing troops to war." 03-09
- -Time's Top Ten News Stories of 2009 (Time.com)
Provides Time's selections. 12-09
- Cleaning Up After Bush (Time.com)
"But far more rules still remain on the books. They include regulations that allow mountaintop-removal mining projects to pollute streambeds with leftover dirt, and a Bush move to begin to permit oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. Worst of all, it also includes a drastic weakening of the Endangered Species Act, allowing federal agencies to bypass expert advice from federal scientists on whether proposed projects would have an impact on endangered species, essentially cutting the heart out of the act." 01-09
- Editorial by Ben Stein: Welcome to Nightmare America (CBS News)
"Start with the obvious: This great country is in a very severe recession."
"This mess was caused very largely by the inordinate greed, incompetence and duplicity of certain persons and firms on Wall Street."
"Just one huge investment bank called Goldman Sachs was bailed out in many lavish ways by both the Bush and Obama administrations. Now they plan to pay themselves bonuses of roughly $20 billion for the holidays."
"This is not a fantasy. This is really happening." 12-09
- Editorial: Four Prerequisites Needed Before Direct Talks With Iran (Time.com)
"Looks like Dennis Ross is about to become the U.S. envoy in charge of Iran. But I'm not sure that sending Ross directly into the fray is the best way to launch negotiations. " 01-09
- Editorial: Obama's First 100 Days (CBS News)
"Imagine that one hundred days or have passed, and you’re in the alcove of the White House awaiting your next mission."
"What, realistically, does President Obama hope to have gotten done by then?" 01-09
- Mercenaries for the U.S. Not Accountable for Crimes (MSNBC News)
"There is great confusion among legal experts and military officials about what laws — if any — apply to Americans in this [private military] force [in Iraq] of at least 48,000."
"They operate in a decidedly gray legal area. Unlike soldiers, they are not bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Under a special provision secured by American-occupying forces, they are exempt from prosecution by Iraqis for crimes committed there."
" 'I understand this is war,' said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., whose efforts for greater contractor accountability led to an amendment in next year’s Pentagon spending bill. 'But that’s absolutely no excuse for letting this very large force of armed private employees, dare I say mercenaries, run around without any accountability to anyone.' " 08-07
- Poll: Majority See Bush Presidency as a Failure (CNN News)
"As George W. Bush spends his final days in office, a national poll suggests that two-thirds of Americans see his presidency as a failure." 01-09
- Sotomayor Sworn in as Supreme Court Justice (MSNBC News)
"Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in Saturday as the Supreme Court's first Hispanic justice and only third female member in the top U.S. court's 220-year history." 08-09
- Survival Guide for Airports (ABC News)
"If you fly, you will get stuck. Unfortunately for many people, this is not an uncommon situation regardless of any airport's rating. We all get upset when our air travel plans are upended. That said, there are things you can do to make the best out of a bad airport situation." 02-09
- The Trillion-Dollar Solution to the Credit Shortage (New York Times)
"The result has been a drastic contraction of the amount of credit available throughout the economy. By one estimate, as much as $1.9 trillion of lending capacity — the rough equivalent of half of all the money borrowed by businesses and consumers in 2007, before the recession struck — has been sucked out of the system."
"Banking chiefs, who have come under sharp criticism for not making more loans even as they have accepted billions of taxpayer dollars to prop themselves up, say it is the markets, not the banks, that are squeezing American borrowers."
"The Obama administration hopes to jump-start this crucial machinery by effectively subsidizing the profits of big private investment firms in the bond markets. The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve plan to spend as much as $1 trillion to provide low-cost loans and guarantees to hedge funds and private equity firms that buy securities backed by consumer and business loans." 02-09
- Time's 100 Most Influential Persons (Time.com)
Starting with Barack Obama, list its choices for the 100 most influential persons for the United States. 04-09
- Time's 100 Most Influential Persons by Category (Time.com)
Time lists its choices for the 100 most influential persons by category. 05-09
- What Did the Banks Do With Your Cash? (ABC News)
"The heads of eight major banks that received $125 billion in taxpayer bailout funds were largely unapologetic for their role in helping to create the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression as they testified before Congress this morning." 02-09
- What Has the Stimulus Bill Done for Us? (Time.com)
"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — President Obama's $787 billion stimulus — has been marketed as a jobs bill, and that's how it's been judged. The White House says it has saved or created about 3 million jobs, helping avoid a depression and end a recession. Republicans mock it as a Big Government boondoggle that has failed to prevent rampant unemployment despite a massive expansion of the deficit. Liberals complain that it wasn't massive enough."
"Yes, the stimulus has cut taxes for 95% of working Americans, bailed out every state, hustled record amounts of unemployment benefits and other aid to struggling families and funded more than 100,000 projects to upgrade roads, subways, schools, airports, military bases and much more. But in the words of Vice President Joe Biden, Obama's effusive Recovery Act point man, 'Now the fun stuff starts!' The 'fun stuff,' about one-sixth of the total cost, is an all-out effort to exploit the crisis to make green energy, green building and green transportation real; launch green manufacturing industries; computerize a pen-and-paper health system; promote data-driven school reforms; and ramp up the research of the future. 'This is a chance to do something big, man!' Biden said during a 90-minute interview with TIME." 08-10
- Why AIG Stumbled and Taxpayers Own It (CBS News)
"Of all the corporate bailouts that have taken place over the past year, none has proved more costly or contentious than the rescue of American International Group (AIG). Its reckless bets on subprime mortgages threatened to bring down Wall Street and the world economy last fall until the U.S Treasury and the Federal Reserve stepped in to save it." 05-09