Toward a Better Day
He, like Jim Bunning is atrocious. The "oxycotin" is alive and well in Florida.
That is when he leaves for his European visit, with the First Lady, the end of the month.
HE Queen is to give Barack Obama a private “getting-to-know-you” audience next month.
Her Majesty will meet the new US President in advance of an economic summit in London.
The private meeting is highly unusual because Mr Obama will not be on a State visit.
But advisers believe it is important the Queen — who opened an interchange in Hull yesterday — meets him before any official trip.
A source said: “There is a wish to do these things as discreetly as possible in the first instance.”
President Obama, famed for his Yes We Can slogan, will fly with wife Michelle on Air Force One to Stansted, Essex.
The private talks will be held the next day at Buckingham Palace.
Mr Obama will then join the G20 leaders for a Downing Street dinner on the eve of the summit on April 2.
The nation's unemployment rate bolted to 8.1 percent in February, the highest since late 1983, as cost-cutting employers slashed 651,000 jobs.
Both figures were worse than analysts expected and the Labor Department's report shows America's workers being clobbered by a relentless wave of layoffs.
The net loss of jobs in February came after even deeper payroll reductions in the prior two months, according to revised figures. The economy lost 681,000 jobs in December and another 655,000 in January.
Employers are shrinking their work forces at alarming clip and are turning to other ways to slash costs — including trimming workers' hours, freezing wages or cutting pay — because the recession has eaten into their sales and profits. Customers at home and abroad are cutting back as other countries cope with their own economic problems.
With employers showing no appetite to hire, the unemployment jumped to 8.1 percent from 7.6 percent in January. That was the highest since December 1983, when the jobless rate was 8.3 percent.
FLOTUS serves lunch at Miriams's Kitchen.
Obama went to Miriam's Kitchen yesterday, where she served about 50 homeless men and women. She stood at the end of a serving line and dished up risotto with mushrooms. She smiled. Asked how people were doing. Asked them what they would like. They smiled. Told her sure they would like the risotto, then moved down the line to get steamed broccoli, homemade apple-carrot muffins, wheat rolls and salad, made with fruit donated by the first lady's office.
Every weekday, rain or shine, Miriam's Kitchen, at 24th and G streets NW, serves breakfast to chronically homeless people, whom staff and volunteers refer to as "guests." Last year, Miriam's served 55,272 meals to more than 4,000 guests, a clientele that is overwhelmingly male, mostly African American and full of veterans.
Today, the guests were told to come in for a special lunch. That the chef was going to be making a special meal.
"It's unbelievable for our guests that the first lady will be here," Roccanti said. "It reaffirms the notion they matter. That people care about them. For the most part, people ignore them. But today, arguably the most popular person in America is coming and shaking their hands. We tell them every day how much they matter. But coming from the first lady of the United States, that is a powerful statement."
While the cable chatter, commentators, or as I call desk clerks continue to whine about Obama and spending, the stock market is chaotic.
One thing for sure, Citibank and Bank of America will be saved by the government. These banks are too large and too intertwined internationally for this government to let fail. Thus, purchasing their stock, right now, would be a shrewd investment.
Citigroup closed yesterday at $1.02; Bank of America at 3.17.
I know that much of the uncertainty with these bank stocks are raveled with the housing crisis, but if the government will not let these bank fail, if you have the cash, this stock would be a good purchase.
The banking giant Citigroup commanded a stock price of $55 just two years ago. But at one point Thursday, as markets hurtled to their lowest close in 12 years, the shares were worth less than an item at the Dollar Store.
A share of General Motors stock, which fell below $2 on Thursday as it warned of possible bankruptcy, is now not even enough to buy a gallon of gasoline for your Chevy.
A share of General Electric, battered this week to little more than $6, would not be sufficient to buy two of the company’s compact fluorescent light bulbs. And at its current price of 73 cents, it would take several shares of Office Depot stock to buy a box of paper clips.
For all you "Brangelina" followers......
President Barack Obama met on Thursday with Hollywood star Brad Pitt, the White House confirms. The actor also met that day with Democratic congressional leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to discuss his charity and reconstruction efforts in New Orleans.
In addition to the president, the White House aide said that Pitt met with Carol Browner, who is serving as the Obama's energy czar and was formerly Bill Clinton's EPA Director.
The Make It Right Foundation New Orleans, which Pitt founded in 2007, is helping to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward and other communities damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Here is the itinerary.
Visit by President Obama to Europe
President and Mrs. Obama will visit the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Czech Republic March 31-April 5, 2009. In the United Kingdom, the President will continue discussions on important bilateral and global issues with British leaders and work with other G-20 Leaders to address the global financial crisis at the London Summit. On April 3, the President will participate in bilateral programs with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The President then looks forward to participating in NATO Summit events in Strasbourg, France, and Kehl, Germany, April 3-4, where leaders will celebrate 60 years of providing peace and security culminating in a unified Europe, discuss challenges and strategies for success of NATO's mission in Afghanistan and other issues, and commit to preparing NATO to combat the new threats of the 21st century. The President will travel to Prague, Czech Republic, April 4-5 to meet with Czech officials and with leaders of European Union (EU) member states and the European Commission president to build a stronger partnership between the United States and the EU, one which will enable us to better confront our shared challenges together.
This is about Sanjay not making enough money being Surgeon General. Gupta has a wife and just had a third child, his issue was the money. He would have been good, if for anything, experience in talking about medical issues to the public on television and in person.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta has withdrawn his name from consideration for the job of surgeon general, senior administration officials told NBC News on Thursday.
Gupta had been offered the job but was weighing the financial considerations, including a pay cut, that it would entail, NBC's Chuck Todd reported. The Obama administration confirmed that Gupta, a neurosurgeon, had taken himself out of the running because he wants to focus on his medical career and spend more time with his family.
Gupta, 39, was seen as President Barack Obama's first pick for the job. He would have brought star power to the office of surgeon general, which has lacked visibility since the days of C. Everett Koop in the Reagan administration.
Gupta hosts "House Call" on CNN, contributes reports to CBS News and writes a column for Time magazine. He is a neurosurgeon and is on the faculty at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. During the Clinton administration, he was a White House fellow and special adviser to then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The surgeon general typically isn't heavily involved in shaping an administration's policy, but it can be a very effective bully pulpit. Past surgeons general have proved instrumental in battling tobacco and AIDS.
This video has all the basic information with contact information on who qualifies.
President Barack Obama said he wants Democrats and Republicans to realize they share many interests, an appeal for cooperation as congressional leaders sat down together to dine Wednesday evening at the White House.
Obama welcomed the Democratic chairmen of congressional committees and the ranking Republicans on those committees, along with their spouses, to a packed East Room for dinner. About 200 people joined Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their wives for the latest efffort in the administration's charm offensive, coming in the midst of congressional consideration of a $410 billion spending bill and future debate over Obama's $3.6 trillion budget proposal for the next year.
Obama, whose economic stimulus plan passed with only three Republican votes in the Senate, acknowledged it was not going to be an easy road.
"We are go to have some monumental debates taking place over the next several months and years," Obama said during his brief welcome.
"We also know that we're not always going to agree on everything, but given how hard so many of you are working on both sides of the aisle — day in, day out — we thought it was important for us to step back for a moment, remind ourselves that we have things in common — family, friends, laughter — and hopefully we'll have a chance to appreciate each other a little bit, take a time-out before we dive back into the game."
This is the real fight, healthcare.....
President Barack Obama takes on healthcare reform at a White House forum on Thursday, seeking to design an overhaul of a costly and inefficient system he believes is threatening the U.S. economy.
Obama, who has nominated Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as his health secretary, will gather about 120 people representing everyone from doctors and patients to health insurers and lawmakers to discuss how to fix U.S. health care.
It's a challenge that has defeated earlier presidents. But officials say the current U.S. economic crisis only makes it more imperative.
"Our healthcare costs are exploding our economy," said Melody Barnes, Obama's senior domestic policy adviser. "When he talks about getting spending under control ... one of the primary things he is focusing on is bringing our healthcare costs under control."
The United States spends approximately $2.5 trillion annually on healthcare but leaves some 46 million people uninsured and consistently ranks lower than other Western countries on indicators like infant mortality rates.
Obama pledged during his election campaign that he would expand health insurance coverage to virtually all people and find a way to control costs, which businesses complain are making their products less competitive in the global markets.
The president has not presented a specific reform plan to Congress, seeking to avoid the problems that killed President Bill Clinton's healthcare effort in the 1990s when his administration presented a long, detailed plan to lawmakers.
"He isn't sending a bill up to the Hill," said Barnes. "He's articulated some of the principles that are important to him, but I think he also strongly believes that to get this done he's going to have to ... be open, pragmatic and listen and engage with Congress to get a bill done."
From Prime Minister Gordon Brown
He has no choice. His man is not in the White House any longer and Executive Privilege is OVER for him. Oh, Harriet Miers, too.
A deal has been reached whereby Karl Rove will finally testify, under oath, before the House Judiciary Committee, according to chairman John Conyers' office.
Rove has long avoided and ignored subpoenas in the past by claiming executive privilege -- his deference now comes as a big victory for many Bush administration critics.
Here is the press release:
In an agreement reached today between the former Bush Administration and Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers will testify before the House Judiciary Committee in transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury. The Committee has also reserved the right to have public testimony from Rove and Miers. It was agreed that invocations of official privileges would be significantly limited.
In addition, if the Committee uncovers information necessitating his testimony, the Committee will also have the right to depose William Kelley, a former White House lawyer who played a role in the U.S. Attorney firings.
The Committee will also receive Bush White House documents relevant to this inquiry. Under the agreement, the landmark ruling by Judge John Bates rejecting key Bush White House claims of executive immunity and privilege will be preserved. If the agreement is breached, the Committee can resume the litigation.
Chairman Conyers issued the following statement:
"I have long said that I would see this matter through to the end and am encouraged that we have finally broken through the Bush Administration's claims of absolute immunity. This is a victory for the separation of powers and congressional oversight. It is also a vindication of the search for truth. I am determined to have it known whether U.S. Attorneys in the Department of Justice were fired for political reasons, and if so, by whom."
A swing set, right outside of the Oval Office. You know times have changed, it is called little people in the White House.
First daughters Malia and Sasha Obama got a big surprise after school Wednesday: a brand-new swing set.
They squealed with delight upon seeing it, a spokeswoman for the first lady said.
President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, went to work while the girls were at school, arranging for the set to be installed on the south grounds of the White House within sight of the Oval Office, where their father spends plenty of time.
Late last year as the couple planned the family's move to Washington, they talked about ways to make the historic residence feel more like home for their girls, said Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama.
Malia and Sasha, ages 10 and 7, had never lived anywhere but Chicago.
"Many first families have made these sorts of changes to make the White House feel like home," McCormick Lelyveld said. "This one is like their little mark."
Man this meltdown of the GOP is something else.
Barack Obama is President of the United States and Rush Limbaugh is what? King of his microphone in Florida?
Please. Obama has already dusted that dirt off his shoulders, by laughing at King Rush and Company (the Republican Party) all the way to the bank.
But I have an idea. If these guys are so impressed with themselves, and if they are so sure of their correctness, why doesn't President Obama come on my show? We will do a one-on-one debate of ideas and policies. Now, his people in this Politico story, it's on the record. They're claiming they wanted me all along. They wanted me to be the focus of attention. So let's have the debate! I am offering President Obama to come on this program -- without staffers, without a TelePrompTer, without note cards -- to debate me on the issues.
GOP, I won't argue with you if you want to get rid of this punk.
Minority Leader Limbaugh.
Everyone has been talking about Rush Limbaugh being the fatcat that he is, and King Rush is loving the idea that he is the Republican Party Leader. It took Rahm Emanuel with his smooth, praising way on Sunday's Face the Nation to honor King Rush and call him the Republican Leader. It took the Republicans to take the bait, by their RNC Chairman Michael Steele in denouncing King Rush on CNNs D.L. Hughley's show which started a barn fire. It did not take Steele even 24 hours to kiss the ring of King Rush and apologize for forgiveness, this after King Rush slammed Steele from his bully pulpit in Florida, his radio microphone.
The Democrats are piling on. Let's face it, if it was the other way around the Republicans would do likewise. Let's also be honest that the Republican leadership is scared to cross King Rush, whether they are agree with King Rush or not, they are scared to cross him. That bully pulpit in Florida is pretty mighty. King Rush talks directly to that hardcore base that the Republicans must keep and maintain to try to build on. Even though this part of the Republican Party is out of step right now with the rest of America in their views of the Obama Administration, this is what the Republicans have to deal with right now. So, crossing King Rush is a definite no, no.
Here comes David Plouffe, the mastermind behind the Obama Campaign and he throws in his two cents on Minority Leader Limbaugh.
Watching the Republicans operate this past month, it would appear that they missed that unmistakable signal.
Instead, Rush Limbaugh has become their leader.
Limbaugh, of course, told his radio listeners that he's rooting for President Obama to fail -- and hoping the president's ideas for bolstering our economy fail with him. For many Americans, hungry for leadership and cooperation, this sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard. When Limbaugh reiterated the sentiment this weekend, hundreds of Republican conservatives cheered him on. But instead of rebuking the radio personality or charting their own course, Republican leaders in Washington are paralyzed with fear of crossing their leader. Less than 24 hours after committing the unforgivable sin of criticizing Limbaugh, RNC Chairman Michael Steele felt compelled to publicly apologize. He was not the first and will certainly not be the last.
The source of Obama's advantage is critical: independent voters, who give the president high marks on his handling of the economy and his job overall.
Obama won these voters, who famously recoil from what they see as overly partisan and shortsighted politics, by eight points in 2008 -- a dramatic improvement for the Democrats from 2004, when George Bush and John Kerry tied.
Thus far, Republican leaders have let their strategy be guided by their most conservative base, capturing perhaps a third of the nation's voters.
Coleman is doing ANYTHING to string this out. The sad part, for him, is that the totals have not changed for HIS FAVOR. NO REVOTE.....Seat Al Franken!!!!
"The people of Minnesota have spoken. It's time for Norm Coleman to accept the voters' decision, do what is best for his state and country and stop standing in the way of a Senator being seated. The stakes for our country are too high right now to suggest that the results of a democratic election, exhaustive recount, and legal proceedings be thrown out just because Norm Coleman doesn't like the results."
Poll, after poll, continues to show that the American Public is standing behind this president, while the Republicans are just spinning out of control. The public don't blame the mess of the economy on President Obama, they believe he inherited it and Michelle Obama has the best poll numbers of a First Lady. Some are comparing FLOTUS to Eleanor Roosevelt. As for the GOP? Their nasty rhetoric and divisive tricks have just turned the public off to them. No wonder King Rush is taking control.
In the survey, 68 percent have a favorable opinion of the president, including 47 percent whose opinion is "very positive" — both all-time highs for Obama in the poll. Moreover, 67 percent say they feel more hopeful about his leadership and 60 percent approve of his job in the White House.
Just 26 percent view the Republican Party positively, which is an all-time low for the party. That's compared with 49 percent who have a favorable view of the Democratic Party.
In addition, a combined 56 percent say the previous Bush administration deserved "almost all" of the blame or a "major part" of the blame for the partisanship in Washington, and a combined 41 percent say the same of congressional Republicans.
Also, the public overwhelmingly believes the GOP's opposition to Obama's policies and programs is based on politics: 56 percent say they're trying to gain political advantage, versus 30 percent who say they're standing up for their principles.
Finally, Americans don't seem to have confidence in the Republican Party when it comes to the economy. By a 48-20 percent margin, they think the Democratic Party would do a better job of getting the country out of the recession.
Republicans, Hart argues, "have been tone deaf to the results of the 2008 election... They never heard the message. They continue to preach the old-time religion."
McInturff, the GOP pollster, agrees. "These are difficult and problematic numbers."
This is on television, the ad by Americans United for Change.
No matter what you say, Tom DeLay can not admit that George W. Bush left a boatload of problems on the Oval Office desk when he left. And the public believes that too. Oh, and check out the new Rush Limbaugh ad.
This meeting will happen today. Brown is the first European to meet President Obama in Washington D.C.
he global economic crisis tops the agenda as President Barack Obama meets with Britain's prime minister Tuesday. Gordon Brown is the first European leader to visit the new president. Brown will also address Congress during his U.S. visit.
Below 7,000 since 1997.
Not good. But in all honesty the stock market has been over inflated anyway. Is this the market correcting itself? I think so. But it is also a strong indicator that folks have lost massive amounts of money in their 401Ks.
Is this Obama's fault? No, but Tim Geither has not been the best spokesman for the financial market either. In other words, he has not helped much.
A relentless sell-off in the stock market Monday blew through barriers that would have been unthinkable just weeks ago, and investors warned there was no reason to believe buyers will return anytime soon.
The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted below 7,000 at the opening bell and kept driving lower all day, finishing at 6,763 — a loss of nearly 300 points. Each of the 30 stocks in the index lost value for the day.
And the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, a much broader measure of the market’s health, dipped below the psychologically important 700 level before closing just above it. It hadn’t traded below 700 since October 1996.
These memos just confirms what everyone already thought and knew about the Bush Administration.
The Justice Department on Monday released a long-secret legal document from 2001 in which the Bush administration claimed the military could search and seize terror suspects in the United States without warrants.
The legal memo was written about a month after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It says constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure would not apply to terror suspects in the U.S., as long as the president or another high official authorized the action.
Even after the Bush administration rescinded that legal analysis, the Justice Department refused to release its contents, prompting a standoff with congressional Democrats.
The memo was one of nine released Monday by the Obama administration.
Another memo showed that, within two weeks of Sept. 11, the administration was contemplating ways to use wiretaps without getting warrants.
The author of the search and seizure memo, John Yoo, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
In that memo, Yoo wrote that the president could treat terrorist suspects in the United States like an invading foreign army. For instance, he said, the military would not have to get a warrant to storm a building to prevent terrorists from detonating a bomb.
Yoo also suggested that the government could put new restrictions on the press and speech, without spelling out what those might be. read more here....
President Obama sent a letter to President Medvedev stating he will back off deploying a new missile defense system if Moscow will stop Iran's development of long range weapons.
Let's see what this dialogue will lead to.
The letter to President Dmitri A. Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by top administration officials three weeks ago. It said the United States would not need to proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.
The officials who described the contents of the message requested anonymity because it has not been made public. While they said it did not offer a direct quid pro quo, the letter was intended to give Moscow an incentive to join the United States in a common front against Iran. Russia’s military, diplomatic and commercial ties to Tehran give it some influence there, but it has often resisted Washington’s hard line against Iran. read more here
When it rains, it pours.
It truly does.
The unfolding of the Republican Party is like watching a movie with your popcorn.
First, Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff to President Obama calls out Rush Limbaugh as the Leader of the Republican Party and honors him.
Then we have Steele on CNNs D.L. Hughley's Show stating that Rush Limbaugh is not the head of the Republican Party. That Steele is the de-facto leader of the Republican Party.
Rush Limbaugh closes out CPAC with a scurrilous speech, truly nasty verbal viagra.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs challenges Congressional Republicans, if they agree with Limbaugh in wanting this country to fail?
King Rush then hits Steele and puts him in his place, which made him run like a dog with his tail between his legs, following the King to apologize.
Now Governor Kaine, DNC Chairman comes swinging:
“I was briefly encouraged by the courageous comments made my counterpart in the Republican Party over the weekend challenging Rush Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican Party and referring to his show as ‘incendiary’ and ‘ugly.’ However, Chairman Steele’s reversal this evening and his apology to Limbaugh proves the unfortunate point that Limbaugh is the leading force behind the Republican Party, its politics and its obstruction of President Obama’s agenda in Washington. Just this weekend, Rush Limbaugh repeated his claim that he is rooting for the President to fail. The last time Rush Limbaugh said he wanted the President to fail, virtually every single Republican in Congress followed his lead and voted against the President’s plan to create or save 3.5 million jobs.
“As Congress works to pass the President’s budget, Republicans need to stop following divisive figures like Rush Limbaugh, stop apologizing to him and put aside the failed politics of the past so we can put our economy back on track, reform our health care system, break our dependence on foreign oil, improve our schools, and lay the foundation for long-term growth in the 21st Century.”
Michael Steele was on CNNs D.L. Hughley's show Saturday Night and stated simply that Rush Limbaugh is not the head of the Republican Party that he is the defacto leader of the party. See Steele's comments below:
So, King Rush got behind his microphone today to set Steele straight. Here is his rant, part one:
Well, after Limbaugh's nasty verbal viagra at CPAC, he got pissed at Steele for going on Hughley's show and stating that King Rush is not the head of the Republican Party. Well, anyone who follows politics know that if you cross King Rush, you get called on the carpet and end up apologizing and kissing King Rush's ring for forgiveness. Enter Steele back peddling and kissing the ring, while asking for King Rush's forgiveness.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an “entertainer” whose show can be “incendiary.”
“My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.”
Comrade Steele dutifully apologizes to the Great Leader and offer his regrets to his fellow comrades in the movement. Re-education camp will follow shortly.This climb-down marks the end of establishment Republican resistance to the Poujadist pontificator. It's Rush's party now. So why shouldn't he run for president in 2012? Make Palin his veep - and be done with it.
The two most interesting characters that have popped up lately is yes, former Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) and Harry Markopolos, the whistle blower on Madoff and the SEC to an extent.
Both of these individuals are opposite of the spectrum, but are just a fascinating read. Blago has one of the most naughty, delicious, viagra mouths out there. Harry Markopolos have not been shy on blasting the SEC and Bernie Madoff.
So, it is not a surprise that Blago gets a book deal. In all reality, he needs it because he needs the money. What he is going to talk about is another issue because it can't be much since his indictment by Fitzy is inevitable, SOON. So he gets a six figure deal to write about the seedy side of politics. Well, he should know, he is as seedy as they come.
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich announced a "six figure" book deal with Phoenix Books this afternoon. It will be published in October.
As GalleyCat reported, the deal comes after weeks of speculation among publishing folks. Phoenix Books, publisher of books by rock star Gene Simmons and television host Larry King, is run by publisher Michael Viner. Agent Jarred Weisfeld brokered the deal.
Here's more from Glenn Selig, the former governor's publicist: "The governor chose to go with a large independent company because he wanted to tell his story without any restrictions over content that might've come with a major publishing house ... He simply did not want to accept constraints or conditions on what he could say in this book."
President Barack Obama turned to Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius Monday to help him overhaul a health care system whose cost has risen four times as fast as people's wages in recent years.
"Health care reform that reduces costs while expanding coverage is no longer just a dream we hope to achieve; it's a necessity we have to achieve," Obama said as he introduced Sebelius as his choice to be secretary of health and human services and Nancy-Ann DeParle, a health policy figure during the Clinton administration, to head the White House Office for Health Reform.
Don't understand what is going on and how the credit crisis happened? This breaks it down to simple terms. h/t jjp
There is no doubt or question that this country is in uncharted waters.
Many blame the housing-mortgage mess for derailing this country financially. This is true in some part, but the players in the game are the ones to really be blamed. First, the government for not installing or in many cases removing regulations for the mortgage industry. The banks for using any and all loop holes in getting consumers mortgages, AT ANY COST OR RISK. The consumer for knowingly over-extending themselves with a mortgage or mortgages that they knew they could not afford. This vicious circle during the boom era made in the billions of money for this circle and they became drunk with greed. Now the grim reaper is upon us and it is pay time, only the cupboard is bare with time running out.
AIG now needs more infusion to the tune of 30B. This is on top of the record 150B that the government has given this insurance giant, most under the Bush Administration.
In November, the U.S. government restructured previous loans provided to AIG, giving the company about $150 billion in total as part of a rescue package to help the insurer remain in business amid the worsening credit crisis. That package replaced earlier loans, including the original $85 billion lent in September, after it became apparent the insurer needed more funds.
Problems at AIG did not come from its traditional insurance operations, but instead from its financial services units, and primarily its business insuring mortgage-backed securities and other risky debt against default.
It's the third time in five months the government has announced a major bailout for Citi, which has been struggling under the weight of losses tied to bad bets on mortgages, and it may not be the last. The government will swap the $25 billion in preferred stock from its earlier bailout money into common stock. This will boost the taxpayers' stake in Citi from 8 percent to 36 percent.
Similar rescue plans could be used at other ailing banks like Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. But analysts are skeptical of how effective they would be in the face of a weakened economy that will further depress the value of loans on the banks' books.
"Given how bad the economy is, there's no way on earth they won't see more of those loans go bad," said Dean Baker, co-director for the Center for Economic Policy and Research, a liberal think tank.
Douglas Elliott, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said the government may take larger stakes in other troubled banks after regulators evaluate their balance sheets in coming weeks. Citigroup was in worse shape than its peers, he said, so the government will likely take smaller stakes in other banks.
Baker, of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, said the government's efforts to avoid a takeover amount to "a further handout to Citigroup."
"We really should own it outright," he said, given that taxpayers have provided the company $45 billion in assistance, several times its market value.
Katrina vanden Heuvel works for The Nation
Karl Rove has no business trying to prop up the failed policies that FAILED under he and his boss' leadership. Rove trying to talk fiscal responsibility is laughable. Just as the Republican Leadership in Washington, D.C. trying to grapple and take the high road on fiscal responsibility is laughable. If the Republican Party was so much a party of Lincoln, Reagan then why was it so hard to reel in their own who spent money like a drunken sailor? Why is it that they had to wait until Bush LEFT office to speak up? That is their main issue. They sat there and allowed it to happen, knew it was wrong, but decided to reap the benefits and deal with it later. Well it is pay up time and their till is empty. The public don't believe anything the Republican Party stands for, except being obstructionists in helping this President who was left with a shit load of problems by the Bush Administration.
From This Week with George Stephanopolous on ABC.
VANDEN HEUEVEL: But, Mr. Rove –
ROVE: Call me Karl.
VANDEN HEUVEL: It’s laughable for you to talk about fiscal responsibility from someone who helped plunge this nation into trillion dollars of debt, through tax cuts for the very rich and a war we never should have fought. And also starving the beast. Starving government has been a Republican role in terms of government. And, therefore, when George asks why government hasn’t functioned, people have not seen the role of government improving the conditions of their lives for decades.
Getting 30 Billion more.
When will it end. Really? When will it end?
The public is being patient, for now, but for how long? We can not continue to give these private companies money, we just can't. And who is paying for this? Yes, the taxpayers, but how? Remember, China is never far behind us, paying our debt, while shipping their goods here on the cheap. When is this going to stop?
The public is angry at all these private companies, pissed to high heaven. Obama, for now, is lucky to have the public sentiment on his side, but in the reality view even he can not continue to save these horribly run companies. Some will have to fall, just as one auto giant will.
Struggling insurer American International Group Inc. will receive up to $30 billion in additional federal assistance in the fourth government rescue of the company, people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The new infusion is intended to prop up AIG _ once the world's largest insurer _ as it is expected to announce $60 billion in quarterly losses early Monday, a person said on the condition of anonymity because the discussions are still ongoing.
The company, which is considered too large to be allowed to fail, previously received about $150 billion in loans from the government, which currently holds an 80 percent stake in the company.
Under the new deal, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve would provide about $30 billion in fresh capital to AIG from the government's Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP. The money would be provided as a standby line of equity that AIG could tap as its losses mount, the person said.
AIG has already received $40 billion from TARP.
The Bernie Madoff Story and interview with the Madoff Whistleblower, Harry Markopolos is pretty remarkable. And the drug cartel war against the Mexican government can easily spill over the U.S. borders, it is that bad.
Since we deal in realtime, this one is not only atrocious but sad to an extent.
An Ethiopian refugee from Chicago's North Side is in federal custody for allegedly mailing an envelope containing his own HIV-infected blood to then-President-elect Barack Obama, authorities said today.
Saad Hussein, 27, of the Edgewater area, is accused of sending "nonmailable articles" containing HIV-infected blood, according to a criminal complaint.
Two similar envelopes were sent with Hussein's name on them, including one to then-U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who now serves as Obama's chief of staff, according to federal court records. Hussein has denied sending the letters, the records stated.
The envelope to Obama was the second time the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has investigated a mailing containing HIV-infected blood, but the "two were isolated incidents," said Postal Inspector Pete Rendina. He said the previous case occurred in 2006 and did not involve a high-profile person.
On Dec. 29, a letter postmarked for Dec. 27 and addressed to Obama was received by an office in the Illinois Department of Revenue building in Springfield, according to federal documents, and was found to contain unknown substances. The letter, which contained Hussein's return address, prompted a hazardous materials response to the building, which was also put on lockdown for almost two hours.
That same day, Chicago police went to Hussein's residence on the North Side. After taking Hussein and his brother into custody, they were interviewed by FBI and U.S. Secret Service agents.
During the interview, in which his brother served as his interpreter, Hussein said "he had mailed the letter to [Barack] Obama, and he had placed inside the envelope a powder substance, his [HIV positive] blood, a photograph of himself taken in Bali, Ethiopia, an admission ticket to the election night celebration in Grant Park and other articles," according to court records.
Hussein confirmed to the agents that the photos they obtained from the envelope were the same ones he mailed, the records show.
Although Hussein claimed to be an admirer of Obama's and tried to obtain tickets to his Jan. 20 inauguration, he said he "purposely cut one of his fingers with a razor so he could bleed on the letter," the records show. They also show Hussein stated he has HIV-positive and "it was his way of seeking help from the government."
Many Republicans, if you listened to the Sunday Chatter, tried their hardest to denounce or distance themselves from the rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh.
Limbaugh was the closing speaker at CPAC this weekend. He was supposed to speak for 20 minutes but went on for over a hour. The movement of many Republicans to move against Limbaugh is quite simple, polling numbers. The Republican Party is being viewed as not wanting to work with Barack Obama, being shown to be the party of NO, and is being framed as following the rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh. You can view Rush Limbaugh's speech to CPAC here.
Bob Schieffer spoke to White House Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel about President Obama's bold budget proposal, the ailing auto industry and Obama's plan to withdraw troops from Iraq.
Rahm Emanuel praises Rush Limbaugh for being upfront with his statment for wanting Obama to fail. Fascinating interview.
Exclusive! Robert Gates joins us for his first television interview as President Bahama's Secretary of Defense. He'll discuss the administration's new Iraq withdrawal plans; troop levels in Afghanistan; U.S. defense spending; and our nation's military interests around the globe. Plus, a political roundtable with Fmr. Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN); GOP Strategist Mike Murphy; Vanity Fair's Dee Dee Myers; and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough.
The first Saturday presidential address on Jan. 24 was made available at the White House as a YouTube file.
But by the next week, on Jan. 31, an administration whose innovative use of YouTube videos had helped propel it into the White House quietly began offering video of President Obama through Vimeo, as well -- and in so doing began a low-key push back at the near-total dominance of Google-owned YouTube in the political video market.
A video-sharing social media site that offers standard and high-definition video options, Vimeo was founded before YouTube, in 2004. But a series of pointed editorial choices has kept the company small while YouTube, founded in 2005, exploded into national consciousness over the next few years. Instead of becoming a cultural byword for online video, Vimeo became a niche favorite among artists and other creative types, particularly in the New York area, where the company is based.
"Vimeo is not a sea of eyeballs that you must trick into increasing your view count," the company states in its declaration of principles cum user guide. "It is a vibrant community of intelligent and creative people."
It's also one of the online leaders in providing HD video online -- something increasingly valuable as HDTV signals and televisions gain prominence. Now the Obama administration is using Vimeo as one more tool in its efforts to reach supporters, wherever they may be -- and whatever software they may be using to get there.
"President Obama believes we need to open up government to its citizens," explained White House spokesman Nick Shapiro. "The weekly address is just one example of the Obama administration using cutting-edge technologies to create a new level of transparency, accountability, and participation for America's citizens."
She, as Obama, is known to broker bridges on both sides of the aisle, will be announced the next Secretary of Health and Human Services by President Obama tomorrow.
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius accepted President Obama's nomination to become Health and Human Services Secretary this afternoon, according to administration officials. Sebelius will replace former senator Thomas A. Daschle, who withdrew from consideration last month.
"This evening, the President asked Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to serve as his Secretary of Health and Human Services, and she accepted," one administration official said. "The President will formally announce the nomination on Monday afternoon at the White House."
Several Democratic sources said, however, that it is less likely the moderate Democrat will be offered the job of director of a new White House Office of Health Reform, a post Daschle had negotiated for himself as a way to increase his influence in the new administration.