Nov 6th, 2008 by ravi
Meanwhile back in the White House…

The NYT documents the final days shennanigans of BushCo:

Editorial – So Little Time, So Much Damage – NYTimes.com

President Bush’s aides have been scrambling to change rules and regulations on the environment, civil liberties and abortion rights, among others — few for the good. Most presidents put on a last-minute policy stamp, but in Mr. Bush’s case it is more like a wrecking ball. We fear it could take months, or years, for the next president to identify and then undo all of the damage.

[…]

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Feb 19th, 2008 by bookie
Links and News [2008.02.19]
  • Wall St. Banks Confront a String of Write-Downs – NYT

    URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/19/business/19banks.html?ex=1361077200&en=fe688fa0499bb530&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

    In recent weeks one part of the debt market after another has buckled. High-risk loans used to finance corporate buyouts have plummeted in value. Securities backed by commercial real estate mortgages and student loans have fallen sharply. Even auction-rate securities, arcane investments usually considered as safe as cash, have stumbled.

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  • Clinton to fight for every delegate – msnbc.com

    URL: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/02/13/662535.aspx

    “Could we possibly have a nominee who hasn’t won any of the significant states — outside of Illinois?” Chief Strategist Mark Penn said. “That raises some serious questions about Sen. Obama.”

    Howard Wolfson, communications director, pointed out, “We do better the more voters vote. The largest turnout primaries, by in large, are the ones that have favored us. …The presidential election is not a caucus; it’s an election for the most people to get out and vote.”

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  • No Lull in Mortgage Pitches – NYT

    URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/18/business/media/18foreclosure.html?ex=1360990800&en=059e78b52d62f689&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

    Countrywide Financial brags in its ads that “No one can do what Countrywide can” and that “Countrywide can show you the way home.” Wachovia ads feature an “Approved” stamp prominently at the top, and Bank of America says, “Homeownership is the best medicine.”

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  • Obama mania’s got all sides screaming

    URL: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/02/18/2008-02-18_obama_manias_got_all_sides_screaming.html

    "If Hillary walked on water, she would be criticized for not swimming," Lehane said. "And if Obama swam, he would be lauded for being able to do what Hillary could not do."

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  • Pakistanis Deal Severe Defeat to Musharraf in Election – NYT

    URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/19/world/asia/19pstan.html?_r=1&ex=1361077200&en=0969be8e2ea4a8d9&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&oref=slogin

    Pakistanis dealt a crushing defeat to President Pervez Musharraf in parliamentary elections on Monday, in what government and opposition politicians said was a firm rejection of his policies since 2001 and those of his close ally, the United States.

    Almost all the leading figures in the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, the party that has governed for the last five years under Mr. Musharraf, lost their seats, including the leader of the party, the former speaker of Parliament and six ministers.

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  • The Afghanistan Conundrum: Germany Mulls Exit from Anti-Terror Mission – SPIEGEL

    URL: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,535925,00.html

    The German government is considering exiting the United States-led anti-terror operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and has already sent out feelers in Washington about the issue.

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  • Bleak New Batch of Data on Economy – NYT

    URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/15/business/15cnd-econ.html?_r=1&ex=1360818000&en=592a1e2b786204ee&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&oref=slogin

    With the price of oil near record levels, import costs grew in January at the highest annual rate in a quarter century, the Labor Department said. In New York, manufacturing activity fell to its lowest level in five years. And consumers, responding to a national survey, said they felt worse about the economy than any time since the recession era of the early 1990s.

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  • Black Leader, a Clinton Ally, Tilts to Obama – NYT

    URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/15/us/politics/15clinton.html?_r=2&ex=1360731600&en=adede1742201fbb8&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

    Representative John Lewis, an elder statesman from the civil rights era and one of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most prominent black supporters, said Thursday night that he planned to cast his vote as a superdelegate for Senator Barack Obama in hopes of preventing a fight at the Democratic convention.

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  • BBC | Weak rise in US industrial output

    URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7247093.stm

    US industrial production rose a meagre 0.1% in January, official figures have shown, the latest indication of weakness in the US economy.

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  • House Holds Bush Aides in Contempt – NYT

    URL: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-White-House-Contempt.html?_r=2&ex=1360731600&en=ccb27683df06e33e&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&oref=slogin&oref=login

    The House voted Thursday to hold two of President Bush’s confidants in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether a purge of federal prosecutors was politically motivated.

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Feb 14th, 2008 by bookie
Links and News [2008.02.14]
  • BBC | US retail sales in surprise rise

    URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7243029.stm

    US retail sales rose 0.3% in January official figures show, bolstered by sales of new cars and petrol.

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  • BBC | Venezuela breaks ties with Exxon

    URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7242133.stm

    Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA has announced it is suspending sales of crude to Exxon Mobil, in response to legal action brought by the US firm.

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  • UK might be on verge of recession, says King | The Guardian

    URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/feb/14/bankofenglandgovernor.economics?gusrc=rss&feed=networkfront

    The Bank of England governor, Mervyn King, admitted yesterday that the economy might grind to a halt this year – but warned that the continuing risk of inflation made further interest rate cuts unlikely.

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  • BBC | Mortgage insurer reports big loss

    URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7243280.stm

    US mortgage insurer MGIC has reported quarterly losses of $1.47bn (£750m) after being hit by the housing slump and resulting high levels of bad debt.

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  • AlterNet: Obamanomics: Barack Talks Tough on Trade

    URL: http://www.alternet.org/workplace/76970/

    On Wednesday, the first full day of a Wisconsin primary campaign that he hopes will solidify his emerging lead over his once "inevitable" rival, the Illinois senator started in Janesville, where he delivered a rebuke to free-trade policies of the Bill Clinton and George Bush eras that sounded a little like a speech Feingold might have delivered.

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  • BBC | US annual trade deficit narrows

    URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7244993.stm

    The US trade deficit narrowed in 2007, official figures show, as a rise in exports offset the country’s large growth in oil imports.

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  • Fed Chief Hints at Further Rate Cuts – NYT

    URL: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Congress-Recession-Threat.html?_r=1&ex=1360731600&en=d07fc49ef28946e3&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&oref=slogin

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Thursday that the country’s economic outlook has deteriorated and signaled that the central bank is ready to keep on lowering a key interest rate — as needed — to shore things up.

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  • Think Progress » Bush Administration Hides More Data, Shuts Down Website Tracking U.S. Economic Indicators

    URL: http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/13/economic-indicators/

    The Bush administration’s latest move is to simply hide the data. Forbes has awarded EconomicIndicators.gov one of its “Best of the Web” awards. Yet the Bush administration has decided to shut down this site because of “budgetary constraints,” effective March 1.

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  • State Intervenes to Prevent Subprime Death: German Government Gives Bank Billion-Euro Bailout – SPIEGEL

    URL: http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,535245,00.html

    The German government is to bail out the troubled IKB bank to the tune of 1 billion euros. It is the second cash injection for IKB, one of the many German casualties of the US subprime crisis.

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  • Interview with ‘Lemon Tree’ Director Eran Riklis: ‘There Are So Many Mental Borders in the Middle East’ – SPIEGEL

    URL: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,535023,00.html

    The "Panorama" section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival opened with the world premiere of "Lemon Tree," the story of a Palestinian widow’s fight to save her family’s lemon orchard.

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  • Mortgage Crisis Spreads Past Subprime Loans – NYT

    URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/business/12credit.html?_r=1&ex=1360558800&en=e229cc27b728d99c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&oref=slogin

    Like subprime mortgages, many prime loans made in recent years allowed borrowers to pay less initially and face higher adjustable payments a few years later. As long as home prices were rising, these borrowers could refinance their loans or sell their properties to pay off their mortgages. But now, with prices falling and lenders clamping down, homeowners with solid credit are starting to come under the same financial stress as those with subprime credit.

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  • BBC | Buffett offers deal to insurers

    URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7241227.stm

    He offered to takeover the insurance of $800bn-worth (£408bn) of local government bonds, currently covered by MBIA, Ambac Financial and FGIC.

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  • The Comeback of the German Dinosaurs: Industry Returns as Economic Engine – SPIEGEL

    URL: http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,534811,00.html

    The comeback of German manufacturing contradicts the notion that the future belongs to the service industry. Manufacturing firms are currently the engines of growth in the German economy, even for the service sector.

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Feb 11th, 2008 by bookie
Links and News [2008.02.11]
  • Another Goldman Perk: Sex Changes — NYT

    URL: http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/08/another-goldman-perk-sex-changes/index.html?ex=1360213200&en=bffbcafca7c69f64&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

    Fortune.com reported Friday that Goldman added coverage of sex-reassignment surgery to its medical plan last year.

    Goldman employees can undergo the procedure, which normally costs anywhere from $5,000 to $150,000, and have it paid for entirely by their medical insurance.

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  • BBC | Venezuela denies oil asset freeze

    URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7235653.stm

    Venezuela’s state-run oil firm has denied that US oil giant Exxon Mobil had won a court order to freeze up to $12bn (£6bn) of its assets.

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  • BBC | Australia releases whaling photos

    URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7232239.stm

    Australia has released graphic pictures of minke whales caught by a Japanese hunt in the Antarctic.

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  • AlterNet: Meeting of Global Titans Tainted by Tanking Economy

    URL: http://www.alternet.org/workplace/76057/

    One of the world’s best-known CEOs, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, admitted to fellow participants that he had become skeptical of the very notion of capitalism.

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  • BBC | Indian economy set to decelerate

    URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7233135.stm

    India expects its economy to grow by 8.7% in the financial year ending March, the slowest rate of expansion in three years.

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  • Retailers Report Weak January Sales – NYT

    URL: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/business/AP-Retail-Sales.html?_r=1&ex=1360126800&en=66728f34a724d4e6&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&oref=slogin

    The nation’s retailers delivered more evidence of a stumbling economy Thursday, as merchants reported their weakest January performance in nearly four decades, extending a malaise that has deepened since the holiday shopping season.

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  • The recession watch can now end. It’s already here.

    URL: http://money.cnn.com/2008/02/05/news/economy/recession/index.htm

    A weak report about the services sector has caused some experts to declare that the economy has already entered downturn.

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  • BBC | CIA admits waterboarding inmates

    URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7229169.stm

    The CIA has for the first time publicly admitted using the controversial method of "waterboarding" on terror suspects.

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  • BBC | US judge reinstates sonar curbs

    URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7227708.stm

    A judge has ruled that the US Navy must adhere to a curb on the use of strong sonar in waters off California, amid concerns about its effect on whales.

    (categories: )

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Feb 4th, 2008 by bookie
Links and News [2008.02.04]
  • Democracy Now! | Ralph Nader Launches Presidential Exploratory Committee to Mull ’08 Run

    The same day John Edwards exited the race, longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader launched a presidential exploratory committee to decide whether to run as an independent candidate.

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  • Exxon Mobil Profit Sets Record Again – NYT

    The company reported Friday that it beat its own record for the highest profits ever recorded by any company, with net income rising 3 percent to $40.6 billion, thanks to surging oil prices. The company’s sales, more than $404 billion, exceeded the gross domestic product of 120 countries.

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  • Massachusetts Accuses Merrill of Fraud – NYT

    William Galvin, the Massachusetts secretary of state, filed a civil fraud complaint against Merrill a day after the firm took the unusual step of agreeing to reimburse Springfield for losses on the investments.

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  • AlterNet: Obama Is Sub-Prime on Lending Crisis

    As the subprime mortgage debacle drives a recession that threatens financial markets around the world, the Democratic presidential candidates are pushing plans to address the crisis. John Edwards and Hillary Clinton are pledging substantial federal resources to stabilize the mortgage market and intervene on behalf of borrowers. Barack Obama’s proposal is tepid by comparison, short on aggressive government involvement and infused with conservative rhetoric about fiscal responsibility. As he has done on domestic issues like healthcare, job creation and energy policy, Obama is staking out a position to the right of not only populist Edwards but Clinton as well.

    (tags: )

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Jan 31st, 2008 by bookie
Links and News [2008.01.31]
  • US tops world Connectivity Scorecard despite broadband ills

    When it comes to using information technology well, people power is as important as wires, chips, and radio signals. That’s one of the assumptions driving the new Connectivity Scorecard benchmark put together by Leonard Waverman of the London Business School. Waverman found that the US takes the worldwide lead on "connectivity" when measured in this way, but subpar broadband infrastructure holds the country back.

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  • Tipped over: social influence "tipping point" theory debunked

    Clive Thompson has been getting some well-deserved attention for his recent Fast Company piece, in which Columbia University sociologist Duncan Watts explodes the hierarchical theory of social influence and trend propagation popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in the bestselling book The Tipping Point.

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  • AlterNet: The Great Indian Gender Divide

    [B]eneath the spectacular "India Shining" story lurks an area of darkness — the unequal status of its women, who constitute more than half its demographic. The latest official document to highlight this inequity is the 2007 Gender-Gap Index Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF); it places India at the bottom of the global pyramid.

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  • Magistrate judge suggests sanctions against RIAA lawyers

    The RIAA’s habit of roping numerous unrelated defendants into a single "John Doe" lawsuit has drawn the attention of a federal magistrate—and not in a good way. In the case of Arista v. Does 1-27, a lawsuit targeting students at the University of Maine, Magistrate Judge Margaret J. Kravchuk suggests that the court look into imposing Rule 11 sanctions on the RIAA’s legal team.

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  • BBC | US economic growth drops sharply

    The US Department of Commerce says the economy grew at an annual rate of just 0.6% from October to December.

    In the previous three months, between July and September, the economy was growing at annual rate of 4.9%.

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  • Calculated Risk: Homeownership Rate: Cliff Diving

    The homeownership rate has plunged back to the levels of the summer of 2001.

    (tags: )

  • The future is bright: Mozilla revenues up 26 percent, Google deal is gold

    Mozilla published financial statements earlier this week showing that the organization made $66.8 million in revenue for 2006, a 26 percent increase from 2005. That’s some strong growth, and it shows that Mozilla has the potential for long-term fiscal sustainability.

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  • Looking Anew at Campaign Cash and Elected Judges – NYT

    In nearly half of the cases they reviewed, over a 14-year period ended in 2006, a litigant or lawyer had contributed to at least one justice, sometimes recently and sometimes long before. On average, justices voted in favor of their contributors 65 percent of the time, and two of the justices did so 80 percent of the time.

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  • BBC | FBI investigates sub-prime crisis

    The FBI is investigating 14 companies embroiled in the sub-prime mortgage crisis as part of a crackdown on improper lending.

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Jan 29th, 2008 by bookie
Links and News [2008.01.29]
  • Telco immunity stalled: Senate blocks key vote

    The increasingly tangled debate over federal surveillance powers reached a new milestone today when a Republican cloture motion failed to pass after receiving only 48 of the required 60 votes. If the cloture motion had passed, it would have blocked all further attempts to remove controversial telecom immunity provisions from a Senate intelligence committee surveillance bill by forcing an immediate vote on the bill itself.

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  • Are breathalyzers accurate? DWI defendant wants source code

    The "source code defense" has become a popular one, in part because the companies that make the devices are so reluctant to reveal their proprietary code that cases are often dropped instead.

    (tags: )

  • BBC | Chavez calls for anti-US alliance

    The vehemently anti-US leader says Nicaragua, Bolivia, Cuba and Dominica should create one united force.

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  • French rally behind rogue trader as fraud scandal spreads | The Observer

    For Isabelle Mercier, 44, queuing outside a Société Générale branch in Paris, the ‘rich and the powerful’ always find someone to blame: ‘Anyone who is a threat to them is eliminated one way or another.’ Mohammed Benali, a market trader at the nearby Marché d’Aligre, agreed. ‘It is time the bosses and the rich were taken down a peg,’ he said.

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  • Memo Details Objections to Command Center Site – NYT

    The memorandum, which has not been previously disclosed, cited a number of “significant points of vulnerability.” Those included: the building’s public access, the center’s location on the 23rd floor, a 1,200-gallon diesel fuel supply for its generator, a large garage and delivery bays, the building’s history as a terrorist target, and its placement above and adjacent to a Consolidated Edison substation that provided much of the power for Lower Manhattan.

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  • BBC | Banks ‘may need an extra $143bn’

    They say the banks will need extra money if bond insurers, who insure the products at the centre of the sub-prime crisis, lose their top credit ratings.

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  • BBC | Rogue trader scandal broadens out

    Analysts are trying to assess whether the trader’s actions contributed to the stock market turmoil and the Fed decision to cut interest rates.

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  • Next on the Worry List: Shaky Insurers of Bonds – NYT

    Even as stocks ended five days of losses with a surprising recovery on Wednesday, officials began moving to defuse another potential time bomb in the markets: the weakened condition of two large insurance companies that have guaranteed buyers against losses on more than $1 trillion of bonds.

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  • In Matters Big and Small, Crossing Giuliani Had Price – NYT

    In March 2000, an undercover officer killed Patrick Dorismond, a security guard, during a fight when the police mistook him for a drug dealer. The outcry infuriated the mayor, who released Mr. Dorismond’s juvenile record, a document that legally was supposed to remain sealed.

    The victim, Mr. Giuliani opined, was no “altar boy.” Actually, he was.

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  • Massive Fraud in France: Societe Generale Hit By €4.9 Billion Crime – SPIEGEL

    French bank Societe Generale has revealed that it has been hit by one of the biggest alleged cases of fraud in banking history. The bank discovered that fraud by one of its traders had led to losses of €4.9 billion.

    (tags: )

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Jan 23rd, 2008 by bookie
Links and News [2008.01.23]

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Jan 22nd, 2008 by bookie
Links and News [2008.01.22]

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Jan 18th, 2008 by bookie
Links and News [2008.01.18]

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