Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 22, 2009



Washington Post
- Freddie Mac named Charles E. Haldeman Jr. as its new chief executive, the fourth person in a year to hold the top job at the federally controlled mortgage finance giant. After a year of tumult at McLean-based Freddie Mac, Haldeman will oversee the direction of the company as Congress and the Obama administration mull how to restructure it and its larger rival, District-based Fannie Mae. The government seized both companies in September, installed new leadership and has since been using them to prop up the housing market

. . . According to a regulatory filing, Haldeman will be paid a base salary of $900,000. He may receive more than that, subject to government approval, in order to remain competitive with the level of compensation provided by Freddie Mac's major competitors, depending on what the company's regulator approves. He will also receive relocation benefits, nine months lodging in a local hotel or similar living arrangement and a limited number of flights between Washington and Pennsylvania.


NY Times
- Dan Rather won significant victories in his suit against his former network, CBS. He won access to more than 3,000 documents that his lawyer said were expected to reveal evidence that CBS had tried to influence the outcome of a panel that investigated his much-debated "60 Minutes" report about former President George W. Bush's military record.
Mr. Rather also won an appeal to restore a fraud charge against CBS that had been dismissed. Martin Gold, the lawyer representing the former anchor of the "CBS Evening News," called it "a very successful day for us; we got everything."


- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has launched a new program that calls on New York and Seattle residents to voluntarily tag their trash. Known as Trash Track, the program will distribute electronic garbage tags in order to track the journey of discarded products through the waste stream. The tags will be wireless location markers and will be attached at random to thousands of products in the two cities. The system will record not only the current location of a product, but it will also track how long it has been in the waste stream. In addition to analyzing the data, MIT will make the information available to the public in exhibits at the Architectural League in New York and the Seattle Public Library. These exhibits will begin in September.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration has reported findings of preliminary analysis from the agency's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina that shows global ocean surface temperatures for June broke the previous record set in 2005. The combined average global/land and ocean surface temperature for June was the second warmest on record, 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit (0.62 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average of 59.9 degrees F. Ocean surface temperatures for June '09 were the warmest on record, 1.06 degrees F (0.59 degrees C) above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F. The global land surface temperature for June was 1.26 degrees F above the 20th century average, and the sixth warmest June on record.


Economist - Over 730,000 counts of suspected financial wrongoing were recorded in America last year, according to recent data from the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Institutions such as banks, insurers and casinos are required by law to report suspicious activities to federal authorities under 20 categories. Financial institutions filed nearly 13% more reports of fraud compared with 2007, accounting for almost half of the increase in total filings. The number of mortgage frauds alone rose by 23% to almost 65,000. But not all categories saw an increase: incidents suspected terrorist financing fell. Just under half of all filings are related to money laundering, a proportion that is little changed in over a decade.


If you don't [stop Medicare] and I don't do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free. - Ronald Reagan


Nikolas Kozloff, Counterpunch
- The mainstream media has once again dropped the ball on a key aspect of the ongoing story in Honduras: the U.S. airbase at Soto Cano, also known as Palmerola. Prior to the recent military coup d'etat President Manuel Zelaya declared that he would turn the base into a civilian airport, a move opposed by the former U.S. ambassador. What's more Zelaya intended to carry out his project with Venezuelan financing. . .


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