Friday, October 28, 2011

'Have pen will travel' reads the card of a man; fast gun for hire in a lawless land

Today, 10:50 AM

The Associated Press

Obama signs two more jobs-related orders
USA Today
President Obama signed two more executive memorandums today, saying they will help employment at a time when congressional Republicans are blocking his $447 billion jobs bill. "With too many families struggling and too many ...
Obama taking more steps on own to help businessesChicago Sun-Times
Obama takes more steps on own to help businessesAtlanta Journal Constitution
Factbox: Obama rolls out more executive office job measuresReuters
Huffington Post (blog) -BusinessWeek -Washington Post
all 1,182 news articles »
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Great writing talent

‘Blue Nights’ With Joan Didion

‘Blue Nights’ With Joan Didion

After years of writing some of the sharpest prose in literature, Joan Didion hardly needs an introduction. Watch this exclusive clip from an upcoming film where she shares glimpses of her life and reads from her memoir ‘Blue Nights.’

And that's just Dems

Poll: Obamacare support hits all-time low - TheDC

Obamacare Signing
Just 27 percent of Democrats say they will be better off under the president's health care reforms

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She's a feisty old broad

There's a reason they call the governing body "royal and ancient"

Golf Adjusts Penalties, and It Only Took Centuries
Webb Simpson with a rules official after his ball moved in a May event. Under a new rule, he would no longer be penalized.

Golf officials this week amended nine principal rules of the game, revisions that came with a whiff of the revolutionary.

Depends on what the definition of 'is' is -- sound familiar?

Obama Doesn't Mix With Lobbyists ... Technically

POWER PLAY: Obama tries to hold true to clean image by refusing donations from 'registered lobbyists'

I vote for the little girl in the bottom left of the photo

April 29, 2011: Their Royal Highnesses Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge kiss on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after their wedding.
View captionPeter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Women Given Equal Rights To Ascend British Throne

British kings and queens will no longer be banned from marrying Roman Catholics — though the rule barring a Catholic from becoming king or queen will remain.

U.S.S. Iowa heading to L.A.

This World War II-era battleship, whose speed, armor and 16-inch guns made its name as "The Big Stick" of the U.S. Navy, began the first leg of its final mission Thursday, departing a mothball mooring in Suisun Bay, Calif., toward a new home as a museum in Los Angeles.

Top Obama bundlers have close ties to lobbyists

Despite a pledge not to take money from lobbyists, President Obama has relied on prominent supporters who are active in the lobbying industry to raise millions of dollars for his re-election bid.

At least 15 of Mr. Obama’s “bundlers” — supporters who contribute their own money to his campaign and solicit it from others — are involved in lobbying for Washington consulting shops or private companies. They have raised more than $5 million so far for the campaign
Obama states that he dislikes lobbying, and then has lobbyists work as his most effective campaign cash bundlers.
Michael Walsh has an op-ed at NRO on Obama's pathological tendency to play both sides of almost every issue--he calls it the Alinsky Whipsaw:

"But the key to Alinskyism is the whipsaw, a constantly shifting “moral center” that can argue both sides of an issue at the same time. Thus Alinsky’s love child, Barack Obama, can boast of being rich and siding with the “99%” simultaneously; attack him as one and he’ll say he’s “really” the other. Just look what the Obama administration is doing now, claiming to suspend the “CLASS” act of Obamacare while the president swears to defend it. Intellectually absurd — but emotionally pitch-perfect: Barry as the eternal outsider, battling dark forces inimical. For Alinsky always needs a villain, even if the villain is Alinskyism itself. But what do you expect from a political philosophy that claims up is really down, in is really out, and black is really white?"

Samsung sells more smartphones than Apple in the 3rd quarter

Samsung Electronics Co. overtook Apple Inc. (AAPL) in the last quarter to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor amid a widening technology and legal battle between the two companies.

Samsung shipped 27.8 million smartphones in the last quarter, taking 23.8 percent of the market, Milton Keynes, U.K.- based Strategy Analytics said in an e-mailed statement today. Apple’s 17.1 million shipments, comprising 14.6 percent of the market, pushed the Cupertino, California-based company to second place. Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) maintained its third position, it said.

HP keeps PC business after all

Hewlett-Packard announced Thursday that, contrary to a plan championed by its former chief executive, it will keep its PC business. HP currently has the largest PC business in the world.

The announcement, made in a press release, comes a little over a month after HP replaced former head Leo Apotheker with Meg Whitman, former chief executive at eBay.

Noonan to OWS: critique government too.

Peggy Noonan writing in today's WSJ:

Occupy Wall Street makes an economic critique that echoes the president's, though more bluntly: the rich are bad, down with the elites. It's all ad hoc, more poetry slam than platform. Too bad it's not serious in its substance.

There's a lot to rebel against, to want to throw off. If they want to make a serious economic and political critique, they should make the one Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner make in "Reckless Endangerment": that real elites in Washington rigged the system for themselves and their friends, became rich and powerful, caused the great catering, and then "slipped quietly from the scene."

It is a blow-by-blow recounting of how politicians—Democrats and Republicans—passed the laws that encouraged the banks to make the loans that would never be repaid, and that would result in your lost job. Specifically it is the story of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage insurers, and how their politically connected CEOs, especially Fannie's Franklin Raines and James Johnson, took actions that tanked the American economy and walked away rich. It began in the early 1990s, in the Clinton administration, and continued under the Bush administration, with the help of an entrenched Congress that wanted only two things: to receive campaign contributions and to be re-elected.

Eurozone financial rescue: Samuelson's take one day later

Robert Samuelson writing in the WashPost:
There’s an Orwellian quality to Europe’s latest financial rescue. Words lose their ordinary meaning. Greece, for example, has clearly defaulted, but no one says so. In July, private lenders agreed “voluntarily” to accept an estimated 21 percent reduction in their loans to Greece. Now that’s been pushed to 50 percent, and private lenders’ consent is still described as “voluntary.” Well, it’s about as “voluntary as when one hands over one’s wallet in response to the choice of, ‘Your money or your life,’ ” notes Douglas Elliott of the Brookings Institution.

Initial reaction to the package was favorable. American stocks soared after the announcement. But details are murky (regarding the bond insurance and the SPVs, for starters), and skeptics abound. “I’m surprised that the markets are so relaxed,” says economist Desmond Lachman of the American Enterprise Institute. Two large problems loom.

The first is the specter of default. Greece crosses a line, because many European leaders long maintained that no euro-using country would be permitted to default. Now that this has happened, some investors may sell other weak European bonds and set up the feared chain reaction. The extra bank capital may not provide much protection. Elliott fears the added 100 billion euros is too small to be reassuring.

The second problem is austerity. Like Americans, Europeans face a contradiction: To reduce budget deficits, they need to cut spending and raise taxes; but more taxes and less spending may depress their economies, increasing budget deficits. Higher bank capital ratios pose a similar problem. One way to increase those ratios is to raise capital from private investors or governments. Another way is to cut lending; the size of the existing capital increases in relation to loans. But less lending would hurt the economy. “They’re setting themselves up for a credit crunch,” says Lachman.

What Europe really needs is a massive, though temporary, global bailout that would give it time to adjust. Lacking that, it’s unclear whether the latest package is a genuine solution or just a stopgap.