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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

  • Outbushing Bush
  • Barack Obama invokes Jesus more than George W. Bush

    The references serve at once as an affirmation of his faith and a rebuke against a rumor that persists for some to this day.

    As president, Barack Obama has mentioned Jesus Christ in a number of high-profile public speeches — something his predecessor George W. Bush rarely did in such settings, even though Bush’s Christian faith was at the core of his political identity.

    Dismay over Obama’s Turnabout on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

    When Barack Obama sought the presidency, he pledged to reverse the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy preventing gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military. Yet on Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a gay Ohio soldier’s challenge to the law — with the legal backing of none other than the Obama Administration.

    CIA Urges Judge To Keep Bush-Era Documents Sealed

    The Obama administration objected yesterday to the release of certain Bush-era documents that detail the videotaped interrogations of CIA detainees at secret prisons, arguing to a federal judge that doing so would endanger national security and benefit al-Qaeda’s recruitment efforts.

  • North Korean Nightmare
  • Jailed journalists complicate Obama’s approach to N. Korea

    Monday’s conviction of two American journalists in a North Korean court and their sentencing to 12 years of hard labor for unspecified “grave crimes” will complicate President Obama’s pursuit of a tougher policy against the rogue nation.

    North Korean labor camps a ghastly prospect for U.S. journalists

    If their sentence is carried out, Laura Ling and Euna Lee face possible torture and even death in North Korea’s notorious gulag system, experts say.

  • Another Award
  • Clinton honored for ’18 million cracks’ in glass ceiling

    Yet again, Secretary Clinton receives an award. Today, she receives the Alice Award, presented annually to a woman who has made “an outstanding contribution in breaking barriers and setting new precedents for women.” Clinton is being honored for putting “eighteen million cracks” in the glass ceiling.

    Hillary Speaks!

    The most fascinating and important relationship in the Obama cabinet — between the president and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — also happens to be the one we know the least about.

  • Watch Out Newt, Mitt
  • Keynoter or Not, Palin Steals Spotlight at GOP Fundraiser

    “The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.” – H. L. Mencken
    A little empathy for the white males

    The poor guy can now add “no meaningful life story” to a list that includes sexist and clueless. I can see a third act for Defending the Caveman, the one-man show about a guy in love with a television set, in which he talks about growing up in a suburban cul-de-sac in an intact family.

  • Economy Watch
  • Barack Obama to increase stimulus spending

    America’s socialism for the rich: Corporate welfarism by Joe Stiglitz (via Mark Thoma)

    With all the talk of “green shoots” of economic recovery, America’s banks are pushing back on efforts to regulate them. While politicians talk about their commitment to regulatory reform to prevent a recurrence of the crisis, this is one area where the devil really is in the details – and the banks will muster what muscle they have left to ensure that they have ample room to continue as they have in the past.

    Nobel Winner Krugman Sees U.S. Recession Ending Soon

    The U.S. economy probably will emerge from the recession by September, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said.

    “I would not be surprised if the official end of the U.S. recession ends up being, in retrospect, dated sometime this summer,” he said in a lecture today at the London School of Economics. “Things seem to be getting worse more slowly. There’s some reason to think that we’re stabilizing.”

    Employers’ hiring plans stuck in negative territory

    Employers’ hiring plans for the third quarter didn’t budge from their record-low second-quarter outlook, according to Manpower’s latest Employment Outlook Survey.

    Industries Where Employers Expect To Be Hiring

    Economy Shows Cracks in European Union

    The European Union is an extraordinary experiment in shared sovereignty, creating a zone of peace that now stretches from Britain to the Balkans. The union of 27 countries is the world’s most formidable economic bloc, incorporating 491 million people in an integrated market that produces nearly a third more than the United States.

    Here’s for those following Ferguson v Krugman. It’s not looking good for Niall.
    David Takes On Goliath and Loses: The Ferguson – Krugman Exchange

  • Around The World
  • Shell pays out $15.5m over Saro-Wiwa killing

    The oil giant Shell has agreed to pay $15.5m (£9.6m) in settlement of a legal action in which it was accused of having ­collaborated in the execution of the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other leaders of the Ogoni tribe of southern Nigeria

    The corrupt nepotist who ruled Gabon for 40 years

    The death of President Omar Bongo in a Spanish hospital yesterday brings an era of African history to an end. Daniel Howden reports on a man who accumulated riches with the same determination as he held on to power

    All up for grabs in Iran vote

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was Iran’s first non-cleric president in 24 years when he was elected in 2005.

    Now, with his rivals blaming him for many problems ranging from Iran’s dwindling economy to the country’s pariah status in the world, he may be the first president since 1981 whose re-election is not guaranteed.

  • Ever Wondered
  • Why your brain just can’t remember that word

    Most of the time the brain works as it ought to: limbs move, memories are retrieved and experiences processed. But occasionally things go awry.

    Please DIGG!! & SHARE!

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    37 Responses

    1. I want to believe Krugman, I really do, but…
      meanwhile, Obama is in danger to be gummed to death by….liberals anti-war activists

      • I dunno about Krugman these days. Ever since meeting with His Holiness at the White House, Krgugman seems to have changed his tune on the economy. Nearly every econoblog I read talks about the green shoots having been withered at birth, just outright laughs at them.

        • Krugman hasn’t changed his tune at all.

          He has even predicted “things will get worse, but more slowly” and also wrote about the green shoots sometime ago.

          There’s no question that the leading economic index have improved.

          • Thanks to d’kat, I started reading Naked Capitalism and Market Ticker some time ago, and following the links on those sites. One thing I’ve learned is that the numbers are being regularly massaged and manipulated all over the place, for public consumption. Everything I’m reading points to the economy not having bottomed yet, with any “recovery” being way off in some unknown future.

            • I’m such a bad influence on everyone!!! Just think you can’t sleep in blissful ignorance about the economy any more!

            • My point is that the horizon is no longer as bleak as it was nad there are many facts to back that up. That’s actually why we should be careful and not curtail the reforms that were planned.

              But as Larry Summers (and say what you will about him) aptly put it, we do no longer have the feeling of a glass ball dropping off the table.

              It’s not that Krugman has been co-opted by the WH.

            • yes, but because the fourth derivative looks good, doesn’t mean the third, second, or first in the series has done an about face … we’re talking the difference between tumbling down the hill vs. falling of the precipice. It’s still going to hurt by the time you hit the bottom. Then you gotta get back up that slope again a LONG ways, because it’s been a LONG ways down.

              just sayin’

            • Sorry, MAB, but the sources I’m reading believe the horizon looks to be a sort of deep red. What manner of miracle is going to rescue us, given that a 70 percent consumer-driven economy has been shown to be a recipe for disaster, and we have nothing with which to replace it? Housing prices are still going down, foreclosures on prime residential loans are just beginning, with commercial RE crashes coming up next. Retail is hurting badly. We are producing practically nothing, Detroit is on its butt, the state of CA is going under with other states to follow, REAL unemployment is somewhere around 16 percent and rising….

              I’m all for reform and real regulation. But as far as Larry Summers goes, the crystal ball already hit the floor and shattered months ago. Wishful words of divination can’t save us.

            • Kat5:

              I read those sources too, in fact I link to them on a daily basis. Most economists to the left of the Obama’s NEC (I think Goolbee is a right of center economist anyway) are the one I agree with.

              Without wanting to sound like an apologist of the O-team, there’s no arguing that the sky is no longer falling as it was up until March.

              DK because things have improved, we will no longer crash to the bottom as we would have and the recovery will start much sooner than we would have predicted just 3 months ago.

            • I guess I’m mystified as to how “things have improved” if we are still falling but at a bit slower rate. It seems our destination is still the same, it’s just that the trip to the bottom is taking longer.

            • Kat5:

              It seems our destination is still the same, it’s just that the trip to the bottom is taking longer.

              To the contrary, the trip to the bottom is now shorter and the landing softer. Moreover, what looked to too long ago like a L-recession is turning out to be a U-recession (to use the econ lingo)

            • Apparently, we’re reading the same sources but coming to very different conclusions about what has been said. Far as I can tell, the best we’re gonna do is a long L. The runner-up would be a W.

            • The Media Fall for Phony ‘Jobs’ Claims
              The Obama Numbers Are Pure Fiction

              “Saved or created” has become the signature phrase for Barack Obama as he describes what his stimulus is doing for American jobs. His latest invocation came yesterday, when the president declared that the stimulus had already saved or created at least 150,000 American jobs — and announced he was ramping up some of the stimulus spending so he could “save or create” an additional 600,000 jobs this summer. These numbers come in the context of an earlier Obama promise that his recovery plan will “save or create three to four million jobs over the next two years.”

              Of course, the inability to measure Mr. Obama’s jobs formula is part of its attraction. Never mind that no one — not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics — actually measures “jobs saved.” As the New York Times delicately reports, Mr. Obama’s jobs claims are “based on macroeconomic estimates, not an actual counting of jobs.” Nice work if you can get away with it.

              It’s not only former Bush staffers such as Messrs. Fratto and Mankiw who have noted the political convenience here. During a March hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Chairman Max Baucus challenged Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the formula.

              “You created a situation where you cannot be wrong,” said the Montana Democrat. “If the economy loses two million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would’ve lost 5.5 million jobs. If we create a million jobs, you can say, well, it would have lost 2.5 million jobs. You’ve given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct.”

              If the “saved or created” formula looks brilliant, it’s only because Mr. Obama and his team are not being called on their claims. And don’t expect much to change. So long as the news continues to repeat the administration’s line that the stimulus has already “saved or created” 150,000 jobs over a time period when the U.S. economy suffered an overall job loss 10 times that number, the White House would be insane to give up a formula that allows them to spin job losses into jobs saved.


          • Also, see “Green Shoots Won’t Change The Numbers” – d’kat’s post just yesterday.

            • And how is this economy supposed to “improve” when the deficit has been quadrupled in one year? Where is this recovery supposed to come from–certainly not manufacturing.

    2. Tasty breakfast, mablue. I’ll return to follow the links.

    3. Bill was so right about Palin’s having good political instincts!

    4. ROFLMFAO:

      The problem with young people today is that they all have “disorders.”

      Back in my day, young people didn’t have “disorders.” When we got sick our illnesses were tangible damn it. Something you could see on an x-ray or confirm with a rectal thermometer. We got the grippe, scarlet fever or polio, not some airy-fairy pseudo-illness like “reactive attachment disorder” or “body dysmorphia.”

      They pretty much have all the bases covered. Learning disorders, mood disorders, eating, anxiety and personality disorders – anything the young people can think up as an excuse for their snotty attitudes, lazy behavior and to keep them from having to go out and look for work.

    5. Funny about the Jesus quotes…Another one who protests too much.
      In NY – a coup d-etat in state senate was probably motivated by stopping the gay marriage bill

      • I followed the story last night and I was infuriated.

        You can always count on Dems to disappoint.

    6. I skip pretty much everything David Brooks write about Obama.

      I’m very selective about the people I link to here in our prestigious News Page.

    7. A response to “white male” article:


      “White males thank you for your concern

      Dear Susan,

      Thank you so much for your column in Monday’s paper expressing empathy for white, middle-class men who, as you note, have had the richness of our life experiences truncated by our presumed access to lives of ease and privilege. On behalf of us all, I’d like to say how pleased we are that someone noticed this painful lack of institutionalized suffering from which we suffer. Until now, we’ve had merely to console ourselves with our, on average, higher wages and easy access to the corridors of power.

      But if it’s any comfort to you, I’d like to remind you that we are a resilient lot. In fact, our lack of compelling life stories has not stopped us from producing a signficant amount of art and literature. Where we have been unable to plumb the depths of our own life stories, we have, resourcefully, managed to make our very boringness the subject at hand, or, in a pinch, made something up.

      So, don’t cry for us, Susan Reimer. We’ll manage somehow. We always do.


      Middle-Class White Men”

    8. mablue2,

      “I skip pretty much everything David Brooks writes.”

      Fixed your typo for ya.

    9. Here’s a great analysis of Obama’s Cairo speech (bear with it, the snark develops slowly):


    10. LOL – comment found on NY Post article about 2 Dem senators involved in NY Senate Repub coup last night….

      Moops wrote:
      “I would hope that two wise Latino men with the richness of their experiences would, more often than not, reach better conclusions . . . ”
      6/9/2009 10:28 AM EDT


    11. I think I’ll link to this piece tomorrow. I can’t believe I missed it.

      Love or lust, Obama and the fawning press need to get a room

      • That’s hysterical!!! thx for linking to it. I have to admit, your morning reads are my latest addiction!!!

        • Thanks.

          Each time I link to some Econ & Finance stuff, I know that there’s at least other person who would be interested.

          • Oh, there are a lot of folks out there! Sometimes it’s a matter of reading but not really having much of a response!

    12. BILL MOYERS JOURNAL | Single Payer Health Insurance | PBS


    13. mablue-is that a family pic ?

    14. Thanks again for the news. For most of them, I can actually go to the article and share it on Facebook instead of having to post all of your news.

    15. You missed this one!!!

      Sweden Pirate Party gets Euro MP:

      Sweden’s Pirate Party, striking a chord with voters who want more free content on the Internet, won a seat in the European Parliament. The Pirate Party captured 7.1 per cent of votes in Sweden, enough to give it a single seat. The party wants to deregulate copyright, abolish the patent system and reduce surveillance on the Internet.

      “This is fantastic!” Christian Engstrom, the party’s top candidate, told Reuters. “This shows that there are a lot of people who think that personal integrity is important and that it matters that we deal with the Internet and the new information society in the right way.” Previously an obscure group of single-issue activists, the party enjoyed a jump in popularity after the conviction in April of four men behind The Pirate Bay, one of the world’s biggest free file-sharing website.

      The case cast a spotlight on the issue of Internet file sharing, a technique used to download movies, music and other content. The defendants have called for a retrial.


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