Wednesday, December 3, 2008



Diana B, Henriques, NY Times - The head of a new congressional panel set up to monitor the gigantic federal bailout says the government still does not seem to have a coherent strategy for easing the financial crisis, despite the billions it has already spent in that effort. Elizabeth Warren, the chairwoman of the oversight panel, said in an interview that the government instead seemed to be lurching from one tactic to the next without clarifying how each step fits into an overall plan.

"You can't just say, 'credit isn't moving through the system,' " she said in her first public comments since being named to the panel. "You have to ask why." If the answer is that banks do not have money to lend, it would make sense to push capital into their hands, as the Treasury has been doing over the last two months, she continued. But if the answer is that their potential borrowers are getting less creditworthy with each passing day, "pouring money into banks isn't going to fix that problem," she said.


History News Network - Everybody knows how president-elect Barack Obama's amazing campaign money machine was dominated by several million regular folks sending in hard-earned amounts under $200, a real sign of his broad based grassroots support. Except, it turns out, that's not really true. In fact, Obama's base of small donors was almost exactly the same percent as George W. Bush's in 2004 -- OBAMA had 26% and the great Republican Satan 25%. . . . But the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute just issued a detailed study of Obama's donor base and its giving. And that's what the institute found, to its own surprise. "The myth is that money from small donors dominated Barack Obama's finances," said CFI's executive director Michael Malbin, admitting that his organization also was fooled. "The reality of Obama's fundraising was impressive, but the reality does not match the myth."


Union City - After five years, former workers at CNN have finally gained justice. An administrative law judge ordered the network to rehire 110 workers who were fired because they were union members. CNN also was ordered to recognize the workers' unions, National Association Of Broadcast Employees And Technicians-CWA Locals 31 And 11. NLRB administrative law judge Arthur Amchan found that CNN engaged in "widespread and egregious misconduct, demonstrating a flagrant and general disregard" for employee rights. The board also issued a "cease and desist order" to prohibit CNN from infringing on workers' rights under labor law in the future.


Observer, UK
- Brain exercises, such as those taught to thousands of schoolchildren or advertised on television to adults as a way to prevent dementia, are a waste of time and money, a neuroscientist has claimed. An award-winning Scottish professor says measures such as breathing through the left nostril, drinking water to increase oxygen supply to the brain, drinking red wine to fend off dementia or listening to classical music to boost performance are little more than myths. Sergio della Sala has done more than 20 years' research on the brain.


NY Times headline:
"Recession Began Last December, Economists Say." Says reader Caleb Kleppner: "So they were one year behind the event, or if you consider a recession as two quarters of dropping GNP, six months behind when it was a measurable event."


That indictment against Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for involvement in prisons accused of abuse has been dismissed by a judge in Texas.


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