'Famous last words' of the financial crisis - Economy in Turmoil- msnbc.com
I don't think the government ought to be involved in bailing out companies."
— President George W. Bush, July 15, 2008
'Famous last words' of the financial crisis - Economy in Turmoil- msnbc.com
The concert industry has so far bucked the recession, according to year-end data from trade magazine Pollstar, but promoters are bracing for a bumpy 2009.Concert Industry Bucks Recession - WSJ.com
Box-office receipts from North American concerts through December were $4.2 billion, up 7.8% from 2007. But the total number of tickets sold for the 100 top-grossing shows fell 3%, to 35.6 million, the second consecutive year of declines. The growth in revenue was the result of rising ticket prices. The average ticket to one of the 100 top-grossing shows cost $66.90, up $4.83, or 8%, from 2007 and more than double the average price in 1998.
That could spell trouble in 2009.
Neoliberalism is a term referring to a reemergence and redefinition of classical liberalism, coined 1938 at the Colloque Walter Lippmann by the German sociologist and economist Alexander Rüstow. The label is used pejoratively by numerous critics and opponents, and according to one study, "the concept itself has become an imprecise exhortation in much of the literature, often describing any tendency deemed to be undesirable". Neo-liberals advocate policies such as free markets, and free tradeNeoliberalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Spencer Ackerman asks whether this comparison is more insulting to Bush or to Palin. Matthew Yglesias says its no contest:Powell Aide Calls Bush "Sarah Palin-Like President"
I'm going to say "more insulting to Palin." Palin's something of a laughingstock, but Bush is a villain. I mean, he wrecked the world economy, he led to millions of Iraqis being forced to flee their homes, he's a total disaster and a disgrace. Palin gave bad answers in TV interviews. There's no real comparison.Steve Benen counters that Palin hasn't had her chance:
[I]f we put aside the question of corollaries and consider Bush's and Palin's characteristics as politicians and would-be leaders, the comparison isn't too far-fetched. Both were out of their depth seeking national office, both are strikingly uninformed, both suffer from an eerie misguided confidence, and both seem to consider policy details as minor annoyances to be ignored. Sure, Palin wasn't able to do serious national (and international) damage, but isn't it fair to say both she and Bush are cut from the same cloth?
The new document lists five "events" that were each potentially lethal to the crew: Loss of cabin pressure just before or as the cabin broke up; crew members, unconscious or already dead, crashing into objects in the module; being thrown from their seats and the module; exposure to a near vacuum at 100,000 feet; and hitting the ground.NASA Releases Columbia Report With Graphic Details Of Astronaut Deaths
The Czech education ministry has drawn up guidelines for teachers to halt the spread of cyber bullying in schools.BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Czech move to stop cyber bullying
Some Czech children have attempted to blackmail teachers or classmates by posting video clips of them on the internet, a ministry spokesman said.
BBC NEWS | Business | US new home sales at 17-year-low
US sales of new homes slowed to their lowest level in 17 years in November, while new home prices dropped by the biggest amount in eight months.
New home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 407,000 - down 2.9% from October, according to the US Commerce Department.
The figures are further evidence of the slump in the US housing market.
The market is unlikely to recover until prices fall far enough to reduce the large number of homes for sale.
November's new home sales figure was worse than economists had expected and was the slowest sales pace since January 1991.
Vietnam has tightened restrictions on internet blogs, banning bloggers from raising subjects the government deems inappropriate.Blogs should follow Vietnamese law, and be written in "clean and wholesome" language, according to a government document seen by local media.BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Vietnam tightens rules on blogs
NEW YORK - The fallout from the horrific holiday season for retailers has begun, with the operator of an online toy seller filing for bankruptcy protection and more stores are expected to do the same — meaning more empty storefronts and fewer brands on store shelves.A rash of store closings, which some experts predict will be the most in 35 years, is likely to come across areas from electronics to apparel, shrinking the industry and leading to fewer niche players and suppliers.The most dramatic pullback in consumer spending in decades could transform the retail landscape, as thousands of stores and whole malls close down. And analysts expect prolonged woes in the industry as the dramatic changes in shopping behavior could linger for another two or three years amid worries about the deteriorating economy and rising layoffs.Fallout begins after dismal holiday season - Small business- msnbc.com
All of this stupidity, and hatred, is a symptom of the larger problem for the Republican Party: it is utterly unrepresentative of America in the 21st century. Its Congressional representation is nearly uniformly white, and overwhelmingly male. So much so, in fact, that there is not one single African-American GOP member of Congress (out of 219 or 220); nor, for that matter, are there any black GOP Governors (out of 22). There are just four Republican Latinos in Congress, all Florida Cuban-Americans; one of them, Senator Mel Martinez, has announced his retirement. He is the only non-white or Hispanic GOP Senator.Paul Jenkins: The GOP's White Supremacy
WASHINGTON — Hurricane Katrina not only pulverized the Gulf Coast in 2005, it knocked the bully pulpit out from under President George W. Bush, according to two former advisers who spoke candidly about the political impact of the government's poor handling of the natural disaster."Katrina to me was the tipping point," said Matthew Dowd, Bush's pollster and chief strategist for the 2004 presidential campaign. "The president broke his bond with the public. Once that bond was broken, he no longer had the capacity to talk to the American public. State of the Union addresses? It didn't matter. Legislative initiatives? It didn't matter. P.R.? It didn't matter. Travel? It didn't matter."Dan Bartlett, former White House communications director and later counselor to the president, said: "Politically, it was the final nail in the coffin."Ex-Aides: Bush Never Recovered From Katrina
Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that as a new president, Bush was like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee whom critics said lacked knowledge about foreign affairs. When Bush first came into office, he was surrounded by experienced advisers like Vice President Dick Cheney and Powell, who Wilkerson said ended up playing damage control for the president.Some of us knew this from the start. We [speaking collectively here] were ridiculed: liberals, out of touch elites looking down our noses at the 'plain spoken, man of the people' and his 'common sense' approach which we, as out of touch elites, could never grasp. Turns out we were dead on the money. Too bad these people who knew what was going on from the start waited till now to share their insight with us. Fat lot of good it does.
"It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin-like president _ because, let's face it, that's what he was _ was going to be protected by this national-security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire," Wilkerson said, adding that he considered Cheney probably the "most astute, bureaucratic entrepreneur" he'd ever met.
"He became vice president well before George Bush picked him," Wilkerson said of Cheney. "And he began to manipulate things from that point on, knowing that he was going to be able to convince this guy to pick him, knowing that he was then going to be able to wade into the vacuums that existed around George Bush _ personality vacuum, character vacuum, details vacuum, experience vacuum."
The sudden, chaotic bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September wiped out $75bn of value that could and should have been saved, if the bankruptcy filing had been more properly planned, according to the man administering the remains of what used to be the fourth-largest US investment bank.Chaotic end to Lehmans 'cost $75bn in value' - Business News, Business - The Independent
Bryan Marsal, of the financial advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal, says that creditors who are owed a total of $200bn (£138bn) might have got close to half their money back if "fundamental rules of crisis management" had been applied.
The Shah? He's as safe as houses ...The Shah? He's as safe as houses ... - This Britain, UK - The Independent
arstechnica.com — People who have followed the development of the Internet are probably well aware of the Pew Charitable Trust, which has tracked the growth of the web through its Internet & American Life Project. According to the group's latest survey, performed in early December, the use of Internet news sources has passed that of newspapers for the first time.Digg - Pew survey shows online news overtaking print in the US
Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released todaStudy: 'Virginity Pledges' Are Ineffective
A $70m lawsuit filed by Dan Rather, the veteran former newsreader for CBS Evening News, against his old network is reopening the debate over alleged favourable treatment that Bush received when he served in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war. Bush had hoped that this controversy had been dealt with once and for all during the 2004 election.CBS newsman's $70m lawsuit likely to deal Bush legacy a new blow | World news | The Observer
The New York Times > Business > Image > Rise and Fall
“[The WaMu CEO] has made over $100 million over his tenure based on the aggressiveness that sunk the company,” said Mr. Au, the money manager. “How does he justify taking that money?”
In June, Mr. Au sent an e-mail message to the company asking executives to return some of their pay. He says he has not heard back.
Iceland is an extreme casualty of an era in which it became extraordinarily easy to borrow money. But it was more than that: An examination of the nation's banking system, which collapsed over about 10 days this autumn, reveals the degree to which Iceland was one of the international financial bubble's most enthusiastic players. Home to fewer people than Wichita, Kan., Iceland became so leveraged and so deeply intertwined with the global financial infrastructure that its collapse has rattled the world from Tokyo to California to the Middle East.Iceland's Fall: Isle Created a Vast Bubble, Leaving Wreckage Everywhere When It Popped - WSJ.com
Price-slashing failed to rescue a bleak holiday season for beleaguered retailers, as sales plunged across most categories on shrinking consumer spending, according to new data released Thursday.Despite a flurry of last-minute shoppers lured by the deep discounts, total retail sales, excluding automobiles, fell over the year-earlier period by 5.5% in November and 8% in December through Christmas Eve, according to MasterCard Inc.'s SpendingPulse unit.Retail Sales Plummet - WSJ.com
CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive - CNN Poll: Three out of four Americans glad to see Bush go « - Blogs from CNN.com
(CNN) — As President George W. Bush gets ready to leave the White House in three-and-a-half weeks, and a new national poll suggests that three out of four Americans feel his departure is coming not a moment too soon.
Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they're glad President Bush is going, with 23 percent indicating they'll miss him.
"Earlier this year, Bush scored some of the lowest presidential approval ratings we've seen in half a century, so it's understandable that the public is eager for a new president to step in," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
[W]hile Mr Zardari has proven himself to be shrewd at manoeuvring in domestic politics – he has kept control of his party and cobbled together a coalition government that helped elect him President – there are grave doubts about his abilities at statecraft. His inexperience has been demonstrated on repeated occasions during the post-Mumbai crisis, telling the US talk show host Larry King that the Second World War was started by a "non state actor"; embarrassingly caught off guard by a hoax phone call from a prankster claiming to be India's Foreign Minister and swiftly back-pedalling to register a formal protest about a technical airspace violation by India.From crisis to crisis: Zardari's Pakistan - Asia, World - The Independent
The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached into his bag for a small gift.I never thought I'd tag a single item with 'taliban' and 'viagara'.
Four blue pills. Viagra.
"Take one of these. You'll love it," the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.
The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception. The grinning chief offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes -- followed by a request for more pills.
Pakistan is moving some troops away from its western border with Afghanistan, where the United States has pressed it to combat Taliban militants, and stopping many soldiers from going on leave amid rising tensions with India, senior Pakistani officials said Friday.Pakistan Moves Forces as Tensions With India Rise - NYTimes.com
Such sexual symptoms have long been known side effects of the popular Prozac class of antidepressants, but a growing body of research suggests that they are far more common than previously thought, perhaps affecting half or more of patients.
And a handful of recent medical and psychological journal articles document a small number of cases in which sexual problems remain even after a patient goes off the drugs.
"This is such an upsetting issue," said Aline Zoldbrod, a Lexington psychologist and sex therapist. "There are people for whom SSRIs are really life-saving, I think, but the idea that someone would have to choose between getting out of the darkness of depression and having a good sex life is horrible."
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A Web page labeled "Ana Boot Camp" recently offered its members a seemingly irresistible proposition: a 30-day regimen designed to help them drop some serious pounds, no exercise needed. The catch was that the group's members were to vary their daily caloric intake from 500 (less than half the daily minimum requirement for women recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine) to zero. They were supposed to track their progress, fast to make up for the days they accidentally "overate" and support each other as they worked toward their common goal of radical weight loss.
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The Commerce Department said spending fell by 0.6 percent after falling even more steeply by 1 percent in October. Incomes contracted by 0.2 percent after a slight 0.1 percent gain in October, reflecting the strain that rising unemployment is putting on Americans' ability to spend.
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NEW YORK — After limping through a holiday season expected to be theworst in decades, the nation's stores made it to Christmas with littleto celebrate.
For many merchants, the winter and beyond are likely to get evenbleaker, because Americans are too worried about their jobs and therecession to do much shopping.
"We had to take a stepback and reorganize our priorities and realize that it's not all aboutmoney and gifts," said Michelle Leary, 31, a mother of four fromWakefield, Mass. Her husband, an office manager at a constructioncompany, was laid off three weeks ago.
"It made us take a look back and see what was really important to us," Leary said.
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Channel 4's decision to broadcast an alternative Christmas message from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been criticised by MPs.He will be shown telling British viewers "the general will of nations" is for a return to "human values".Labour MP Louise Ellman condemned the channel for giving a "platform" to a "dangerous fanatic."BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Ahmadinejad C4 speech condemned
There is a teaching in the Talmud that says an individual who comes before God after death will be asked a series of questions, the first one of which is, "Were you honest in your business dealings?" But it is the Ten Commandments that have weighed most heavily on the mind of Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles in light of the sins for which Bernard Madoff stands accused.In Madoff scandal, Jews feel an acute betrayal - International Herald Tribune
"You shouldn't steal," Rabbi Wolpe said. "And this is theft on a global scale."
The full scope of the misdeeds to which Madoff has confessed in swindling individuals and charitable groups has yet to be calculated, and he is far from being convicted. But Jews all over the country are already sending up something of a communal cry over a cost they say goes beyond the financial to the theological and the personal.
Here is a Jew accused of cheating Jewish organizations trying to help other Jews, they say, and of betraying the trust of Jews and violating the basic tenets of Jewish law. A Jew, they say, who seemed to exemplify the worst anti-Semitic stereotypes of the thieving Jewish banker.
The collapse of Communism as a political system sounded the death knell for Marxism as an ideology. But while laissez-faire capitalism has been a monumental failure in practice, and soundly defeated at the polls, the ideology is still alive and kicking.Arianna Huffington: Laissez-Faire Capitalism Should Be as Dead as Soviet Communism
The only place you can find an American Marxist these days is teaching a college linguistic theory class. But you can find all manner of free market fundamentalists still on the Senate floor or in Governor's mansions or showing up on TV trying to peddle the deregulation snake oil.
Take Sen. John Ensign, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who went on Face the Nation and, with a straight face, said of the economic meltdown: "Unfortunately, it was allowed to be portrayed that this was a result of deregulation, when in fact it was a result of overregulation."
Or Gov. Mark Sanford, who told Joe Scarborough he was against bailing out the auto industry because it would "threaten the very market-based system that has created the wealth that this country has enjoyed."
WASHINGTON – The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity lost more than 15 million dollars -- nearly all of its assets -- in the alleged fraud scheme run by Wall Street baron Bernard Madoff, the fund said Wednesday. "We are writing to inform you that the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity had 15.2 million dollars under management with Bernard Madoff Investment Securities," said the foundation, which aims to combat anti-Semitism, on its website.
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WASHINGTON — The United States has fallen deeper into recession, data showed on Wednesday, with the number of people filing unemployment claims reaching a 26-year high and consumers cutting spending for the fifth successive month.
Governments across the world have tried to boost expenditure to ease a recession ushered in by a credit crisis in the United States, with Japan and Germany becoming the two latest countries to unveil new spending programs.
Japan's government approved an 88.5 trillion yen ($980.6 billion) budget, its biggest-ever, to cover a 12 trillion yen fiscal stimulus program and Germany pegged its second spending package at 25 billion euros ($34.97 billion).
But some economists have said increased spending so far has failed to boost confidence among consumers, markets and investors.
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Vietnam has tightened restrictions on internet blogs, banning bloggers from raising subjects the government deems inappropriate.
Blogs should follow Vietnamese law, and be written in "clean and wholesome" language, according to a government document seen by local media.
Internet service providers will be held accountable for the content of blogs they host.More than 20 million Vietnamese use the internet - a quarter of the population.
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Google on Tuesday began handing out mobile smartphones rather than cash as a year-end present to its staff, in a move that reflects an effort by the company to pare the cost of its lavish employee perksFT.com / Companies / Technology - Google bonus is smartphone not cash
BBC NEWS | Magazine | Anxious Christmas on the High Street
The UK economy shrank more than was previously thought between July and September, according to revised figures.
And major retailers have also been feeling the pinch, slashing prices to encourage shoppers in the run-up to Christmas.
But what's the mood like in Shirley? As part of our ongoing series focusing on a typical High Street, we return to Southampton to find out.
BBC NEWS | UK | Cardinal concerned over distrust
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor spoke in London at what was expected to be his final Christmas Midnight Mass as Archbishop of Westminster.
He said market economies must have an underlying moral purpose.
Earlier, the Archbishop of Canterbury urged people to look after each other during the economic downturn.
In his homily at Westminster Cathedral, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said that thousands, maybe millions, of people in the UK felt let down by financial institutions and consequently were "deeply anxious" about their future.
NEW YORK (AP) - The founder of an investment fund that lost $1.4 billion with Bernard Madoff was discovered dead Tuesday after committing suicide at his Madison Avenue office, marking a grim turn in a scandal that has left investors around the world in financial ruin.Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, 65, was found sitting at his desk at about 8 a.m. with both wrists slashed, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said. A box cutter was found on the floor along with a bottle of sleeping pills on his desk. No suicide note was found.De la Villehuchet was one of several fund managers to be hit hard in Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Investment funds that lost big to Madoff are also facing backlash and investor lawsuits for not protecting their clients from the alleged fraud.My Way News - NYPD: Madoff investor commits suicide in office
We are left with slow-moving insincerity and conceit, summoned up in the flatulence of that title: Australia, a country reborn in terms of facetious Hollywood cliches. The film seems to mark the moment when the white man's burden of colonial condescension passed from Britain to the United States. All this Australia offers is a cringe, but not a very cultural one.Peter Bradshaw on Baz Luhrmann's Australia | Film | The Guardian
Picasa Web Albums - Robert - The Second Life Great Expedition The Cyber Trekker
ATHENS, Greece (CNN) -- Greece passed a belt-tightening budget Monday, despite weeks of nationwide protests over the economy and jobs enflamed by the fatal shooting of a teenager by police earlier this month.Riot police force protesters back in central Athens on December 20.Riot police force protesters back in central Athens on December 20.The center-right government is fighting to reduce the country's debt, which is among the highest in Europe.Opposition leader George Papandreou blasted the government during the marathon five-day debate on the budget, saying its economic program was part of the problem not a solution."This budget will not lead us out of the crisis. It is, rather, part of the problem and lack of credibility facing the government," said Papandreou of the Socialist PASOK party.Greece in belt-tightening budget despite protests - CNN.com
(Fortune) -- Should you be penalized if you were smart enough to pull your money out of Bernard Madoff Investment Securities before it imploded in what appears to have been a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme?Some Madoff investors may have to give back gains - Dec. 19, 2008
That's only one of the depressing issues facing investors who put their trust in Madoff.
For starters, simply trying to fathom the assets and liabilities of Madoff's firm will be a Herculean challenge. "I don't think the extent of the losses is going to be known for months," says Stephen Harbeck, CEO of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. "This is a completely different order of magnitude than anything that has gone before it, certainly in terms of brokerage firm failures or any other kind of financial institution fraud. This is a monster."
Meantime, company executives and workers here say this downturn feels different from the dot-com bust. Then, the downturn felt more specific to the region. Not just tech companies, but commercial and residential real estate brokers, restaurant owners, hairdressers — everyone in the region — felt the pain of the bust, directly or indirectly. As one tech industry worker told me the other day, “When the bubble burst in 2000, it felt very personal to those working in the Web world.”This time is less scary for some here because the pain is less concentrated and localized. On the other hand, there is a sense that this downturn has less of a simple explanation, and thus the factors behind it fell more out of control. The person I spoke to, a manager at a Web design firm, said: “It’s different because it’s everyone.Job Losses Hit the Tech Sector - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com
NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – India accused Pakistan on Monday of trying to shift blame for last month's Mumbai attacks and demanded it do more to dismantle militant networks.India and the United States have blamed Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for the attacks, which killed 179 people, leading to a sharp rise in angry rhetoric between the nuclear-armed countries which have fought three wars.Pakistan shifting blame over Mumbai, India says - Yahoo! News
The Bank of England did not understand the severity of economic problems before the current financial crisis, its deputy governor says.Sir John Gieve told the BBC that the Bank knew "crazy borrowing" was taking place and the price of houses and other assets was rising unsustainably.But the Bank thought this problem was less serious than it turned out to be, he said in an interview for Panorama.The Bank relies too much on interest rates to control the economy, he added.BBC NEWS | Business | Bank 'did not understand crisis'
Connell was deposed on November 3 of this year in the 2006 case which alleges that voter fraud helped steal Ohio votes and swing the 2004 election for President George W. Bush. Computer servers for Ohio on Election Night were run by one of Mr. Connell's companies. Connell had designed Blackwell's election websites along with the 2004 Election Night site for the Secretary of State which showed votes in real time, along with numerous sites for the GOP.Lisa Derrick: "He Was Frightened" -- Details in Rove's IT Guru Connell's Death Emerge
At the time, Ethiopian forces ousted a relatively diverse Islamic movement that had briefly gained control of the capital, Mogadishu. In its place, they installed a transitional government headed by a warlord who allowed the United States to launch counterterrorism operations in the moderate Muslim nation.But the policy backfired, inspiring a relentless insurgency of clan militias and Islamist fighters that has left Somalia's first central government since 1991 near collapse. On Sunday night, advisers and supporters of President Abdullahi Yusuf -- who has been accused of obstructing a possible political compromise to help end the insurgency -- said that he would resign Monday, although as with everything in Somalia, the situation remained fluid.The two-year insurgency has energized the most radical Islamist faction, the Shabab -- "youth" in Arabic -- which the United States has designated a terrorist organization.Somalis' choice: Join or flee - Washington Post- msnbc.com
Workers at some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies will find themselves spending an uncommonly long time with their families this Christmas as the technology industry responds to the downturn with office and factory closures and enforced holidays.Usually limited to traditional manufacturing industries such as the ailing carmakers, the year-end shut-down is this year sweeping through the office suites and research and development labs of information-age companies.FT.com / Companies / Technology - Christmas shut-down in Silicon Valley
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A 21-year-old woman accused of sending a vulgar text message to a 17-year-old girl is one of the first cases brought under a law against cyberbullying spurred by the suicide of a teenage girl following cruel messages on the Internet.The 2006 death of 13-year-old Megan Meier prompted Missouri lawmakers to update state harassment law earlier this year so that it now covers bullying and stalking done through electronic media, like e-mails or text messages.A handful of cases related to electronic communication have been filed statewide since the law took effect Aug. 28. Prosecutors do not track harassment cases based on the type of communication method used, so could not provide an exact count in recent days of how many people have been charged because of the new provisions.In one of the new cases, Nicole Williams is accused of using electronic communications to harass a teenager in a dispute over a boy. Williams is scheduled for arraignment on one count of harassment on Jan. 8.She allegedly sent the text message to the 17-year-old she had not previously met because she heard the girl had a physical encounter with her boyfriend. The two had just been talking, police said.My Way News - Mo. begins prosecuting under cyberbullying law
BBC political correspondent Norman Smith said that a "long, simmering tension" between Mr Quick and the Conservatives, mainly stemming from the arrest of the senior Tory, had "exploded into the open"."The relationship between the Tory party and senior police officers now appears to be deteriorating really very rapidly indeed," our correspondent said.The arrest of Mr Green and search of his home and offices earlier this month prompted a political row.BBC NEWS | Politics | MP arrest officer accuses Tories
The pilot killed in a Lake Township plane crash Friday evening had connections to the White House and high-ranking Republican officials as an Internet consultant.Stark County Coroner P.S. Murthy conducted an autopsy Saturday on Michael L. Connell, 45, of Akron, as local, state and federal investigators continued to look for the cause of the Friday night plane crash in a Lake Township residential area.He was the only one killed in the crash. Investigators said he had no passengers in the Piper Saratoga.GOP Internet Strategist Dies In Plane Crash
More than 10 national or regional retail chains risk going bust next month, insolvency experts are warning.The warning comes from Nick Hood, a partner at Begbies Traynor."Not a lot of them are profitable because of the discounting at a time when they would normally generate all their profits for the year," he said.It comes as research from accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that 82% of retailers are discounting their merchandise this weekend.The figures are compiled from London's Oxford Street, where many of the country's top retailers have stores.One month ago, only 52% of them were cutting prices.BBC NEWS | Business | Ten chains 'face closure' in 2009
Possibly one of the clearest public statements ever uttered by the notoriously opaque Alan Greenspan came in late October, when he admitted he had "found a flaw" in the laissez-faire ideology he had promoted for decades. "I don't know how significant or permanent it is," he told a congressional committee, "but I've been very distressed by that fact." That this icon of the financial world should falter, even if only for a moment, will live to be one of the most enduring symbols of the 2008 economic and financial crisis. In more than 18 years as chairman of the Federal Reserve, he became the trustworthy face of global capitalism. "With Greenspan, we find comfort," Bob Woodward wrote in "Maestro," his 2000 biography of the central banker. "He helps breathe life into the vision of America as strong, the best, invincible."But as 2009 begins America no longer looks quite so invincible. The icons of capitalism have fallen around Greenspan with such bewildering speed it bears repeating: Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, the Big Three automakers—all have suffered enormously. Bernard Madoff, a pillar of his community and former NASDAQ chairman, stands accused of leading a $50 billion fraud. The victims: many of the world's most sophisticated investors. Alas, still more will fall in the months to come, names that are smaller and bigger. And in this twilight of the capitalism gods moment, the picture emerging is not one of greed, not of the Gordon Gekko variety, anyway. No, what is becoming clear is the astonishing trust the world put in a handful of gray-haired men and institutions. Even a fellow like Woodward, a dogged reporter famous in America for stories that helped bring down Richard Nixon in Watergate, seemed to believe that Greenspan, despite his lack of clarity, or perhaps because of it, was somehow omnipotent.But now, with Alan Greenspan caught in a moment of self-doubt—and pilloried by newly confident critics—it is hardly surprising if the rest of us are questioning the received wisdom about markets, too. The people in which the market put its faith—those like Greenspan, Robert Rubin, Hank Paulson and the CEOs of the world's biggest companies—demonstrated that even they had doubts or at least significant gaps in knowledge.Too Much Trust in Greenspan Led to Bad Economy | Newsweek International Edition | Newsweek.com
In the 2004 election cycle, mortgage bankers and brokers poured nearly $847,000 into Bush's re-election campaign, more than triple their contributions in 2000, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.White House philosophy stoked mortgage bonfire - International Herald Tribune
The president also leaned on mortgage brokers and lenders to devise their own innovations. "Corporate America," he said, "has a responsibility to work to make America a compassionate place."And corporate America, eyeing a lucrative market, delivered in ways Bush might not have expected, with a proliferation of too-good-to-be-true teaser rates and interest-only loans that were sold to investors in a loosely regulated environment."This administration made decisions that allowed the free market to operate as a barroom brawl instead of a prize fight," said L. William Seidman, who advised Republican presidents and led the savings and loan bailout in the 1990s. "To make the market work well, you have to have a lot of rules."But Bush populated the financial system's alphabet soup of oversight agencies with people who, like him, wanted fewer rules, not more.White House philosophy stoked mortgage bonfire - International Herald Tribune
Lawrence Lindsay, Bush's first chief economics adviser, said there was little impetus to raise alarms about the proliferation of easy credit that was helping Bush meet housing goals."No one wanted to stop that bubble," Lindsay said. "It would have conflicted with the president's own policies."Today, millions of Americans are facing foreclosure, homeownership rates are virtually no higher than when Bush took office, Fannie and Freddie are in a government conservatorship, and the bailout cost to taxpayers could run in the trillions.White House philosophy stoked mortgage bonfire - International Herald Tribune
The level of debt in the UK is "disturbing," the head of the International Monetary Fund has said.But Dominique Strauss-Kahn told the BBC that given the severity of the economic downturn, more government borrowing was the lesser of two evils.He said 2009 would be "a really bad year" and more state spending was necessary to stimulate growth.Public debt has risen to £650bn, 44.2% of UK gross domestic product. Consumer debt is more than £1.4 trillion.BBC NEWS | UK | IMF warns of 'disturbing' UK debt
Most people imagine that slavery died in the 19th century. Since 1817, more than a dozen international conventions have been signed banning the slave trade. Yet, today there are more slaves than at any time in human history.Foreign Policy: A World Enslaved
The Wine development release 1.1.11 is now available.What's new in this release: * Numerous fixes for IE7 support. * Support for 64-bit cross-compile using Mingw64. * User interface support for crypto certificates. * Better support for MSI installation patches. * Various Direct3D optimizations. * Various bug fixes.The source is available now. Binary packages are in the process of being built, and will appear soon at their respective download locations.WineHQ - News
Here’s how economist Henry C. K. Liu sums it up in his “Open Letter to World Leaders attending the November 15 White House Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”: “Neoliberal economists in the last three decades have denied the possibility of a replay of the worldwide destructiveness of the Great Depression that followed the collapse of the speculative bubble created by unfettered US financial markets of the ‘Roaring Twenties.’ They fooled themselves into thinking that false prosperity built on debt could be sustainable with monetary indulgence. Now history is repeating itself, this time with a new, more lethal virus that has infested deregulated global financial markets with ‘innovative’ debt securitization, structured finance and maverick banking operations flooded with excess liquidity released by accommodative central banks. A massive structure of phantom wealth was built on the quicksand of debt manipulation. This debt bubble finally imploded in July 2007 and is now threatening to bring down the entire global financial system to cause an economic meltdown unless enlightened political leadership adopts coordinated corrective measures on a global scale.”It’s time to move on to ‘Plan B’
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said there had been "an outpouring of anti-Semitic comments on mainstream and extremist Web sites."
Madoff, 70, is Jewish and a prominent member of the powerful US Jewish community. He is alleged to have defrauded investors, including a number of Jewish-related charities, of some 50 billion dollars.
"Site users have posted comments ranging from deeply offensive stereotypical statements about Jews and money -- with some suggesting that only Jews could perpetrate a fraud on such a scale -- to conspiracy theories about Jews stealing money to benefit Israel," the ADL said in a statement.
"Jews are always a convenient scapegoat in times of crisis, but the Madoff scandal and the fact that so many of the defrauded investors are Jewish has created a perfect storm for the anti-Semites," said Abraham Foxman, ADL national director.
"Nowadays, the first place Jew-haters will go is to the Internet, where they can give voice to their hateful ideas without fear of repercussions."
BBC NEWS | In Pictures | In pictures: 'Shoe-thrower' support#