UNDERNEWS

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 13, 2009

CRASH TALK

NY Times - While unemployment rose steadily for white New Yorkers from the first quarter of 2008 through the first three months of this year, the number of unemployed blacks in the city rose four times as fast, according to a report by the city comptroller's office. . . Across the nation, the surge in unemployment has cut across all demographic lines, and the gap between blacks and whites has risen, but at a much slower rate than in New York. . . . Historically, the unemployment rate for blacks has always been higher than for whites. But since the start of the recession, in December 2007, the overall rate has risen by 4.6 percentage points - driving the black unemployment rate as high as 15 percent in April.

Guardian, UK - Arnold Schwarzenegger, California's governor, is trying to make up a $26bn budget shortfall, and has suggested that California can no longer afford to run its parks. . . The proposed shutdown of the parks would affect 80% of California's nature reserves, historic sites and recreation areas, and restrict access to 30% of the state's coastline. Affected areas would stretch from the mountains of the Sierra Nevadas to the beaches and wetlands of Big Sur, and to the deserts of San Diego, where some of the last peninsular bighorn sheep roam.

Wall Street Journal -
CIT Group Inc., a lender to almost a million mostly small and midsize businesses across the country, is preparing for a possible bankruptcy filing after so far failing to win a government guarantee to help it borrow, said people familiar with the matter. To prepare for a possible filing, CIT has retained the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, which has a prominent bankruptcy practice, these people said. The mere hiring of bankruptcy counsel doesn't mean a company will actually make a bankruptcy filing. CIT has been pressing its case "with increased urgency to the government,"

Pro Publica - Thermopolis, Wyoming advertises itself as the "home of the World's Largest Mineral Hot Spring." It is also now home of the first bank failure in the state since 1991. On Friday, the FIDC and state regulators shut down the Bank of Wyoming, located in Thermopolis. The failure is the 53rd of the year in the U.S. and will cost the FDIC's insurance fund about $27 million. Central Bank & Trust of Lander, Wyoming agreed to take on the deposits of the bank and approximately $55 million of its loans portfolio. The FDIC will dispose of the rest.

Roll Call - Freshman Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) lost $3 million in a stock swindle between 2000 and 2005, a Florida television station reported. . . According to Orlando's Local 6, Grayson was an investor in a Ponzi scheme run by the company Derivium Capital. The scheme allowed Grayson and other investors to turn over stock to Derivium in exchange for cash loans and redeem the value later if the stock prices increased. . . He is a member of the Financial Services Committee.

Boston Channel - The Franklin Park Zoo, the only Boston institution of its kind, may be forced to close and euthanize some of its animals, zoo officials said Friday. Without more state funding, zoo officials said that they will run out of money within months and have to close both Franklin Park and the Stone Zoo in Stoneham. Zoo officials estimated 20 percent of the animals would not find homes and could be euthanized.

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