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Archive for December 21st, 2008

Bush Passes Bailout Buck to Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2008 5:38 am by HL

Bush Passes Bailout Buck to Obama

Bush with football

Although President Bush has kicked off the auto industry bailout process before leaving office, some would call Bush’s strategy more of a punt to his presidential successor, Barack Obama.



ABC News:

In a sternly worded radio address today, President Bush issued a dire warning to the Big Three automakers: Restructure—fast—or you’re on your own.

“The time to make the hard decisions to become viable is now – or the only option will be bankruptcy,” Bush said.

But he will be long gone before the March 31 deadline for General Motors and Chrysler to be in the black or pay back the $17 billion in loans, and it is Obama – along with a new and more Democratic Congress – who will have to make the decision about how to proceed then.

“Bush is punting this problem to the next administration,” said Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “Obama can catch it or let it bounce into the end zone and let the parties work it out.”

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Let Them Eat Caviar

Beluga caviar

Some needy denizens of Milan will be served a rare delicacy this holiday season, after Italian customs officials seized about 88 pounds of beluga caviar from smugglers trying to sneak it in from Poland. The loot—worth over half a million dollars—was donated to feed the Milanese poor.



BBC:

Beluga caviar is the most expensive variety of the delicacy.

Countries have tried to crack down on illegal trading of caviar after more than 600 tonnes of it were traded in the EU between 1998 and 2004.

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Milgram Experiment Revisited

Milgram

A new study mirroring the infamous 1963 Milgram experiment has suggested that humans will still follow authority’s beckon, even to the point of killing another person. The new report, timely considering the current debate around torture in the U.S., argues that it’s not that humans are bad, but that “a massive social influence [is] going on.”

The Milgram experiment, considered a monumental but notorious study in psychological research, showed that volunteers would shock, at supposedly lethal voltages, a subject (played by an actor) who had answered a question incorrectly—all at the behest of an authoritative “scientist.”


The BBC:

Decades after a notorious experiment, scientists have found test subjects are still willing to inflict pain on others – if told to by an authority figure.

US researchers repeated the famous “Milgram test”, with volunteers told to deliver electrical shocks to another volunteer – played by an actor.

Even after faked screams of pain, 70% were prepared to increase the voltage, the American Psychology study found.

Both may help explain why apparently ordinary people can commit atrocities.

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Stephen C. Rose: Blago Should Still Appoint Diane Nash

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2008 5:37 am by HL

Stephen C. Rose: Blago Should Still Appoint Diane Nash
By Stephen C. Rose It has been ten days since I posted Blago Should Appoint Diane Nash Today Today I posted the following on my…

Christine Pelosi: Prop 8 – Instead of Forced Divorce, Why Not Civil Marriages for All?
The news of the Proposition 8 lawsuits came last night as I was addressing my Christmas cards. You know the ritual – take a photo…

Lee Stranahan: My Congratulation Letter To Those Against Gay Marriage
People who voted against marriage equality didn’t think, “what’s the stupidest most hateful thing I can vote for today?” Some of their criteria is wrong in my opinion, but it’s better to look for agreement.


Former White House Aide Pleads Guilty To Bilking Government-Funded Group

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2008 5:36 am by HL

Former White House Aide Pleads Guilty To Bilking Government-Funded Group
Felipe Sixto — the former aide to President Bush charged with stealing from a government-funded agency that works for democracy and human rights in Cuba — pleaded guilty today to theft from a federally aided program, reports the Associated Press…

Safavian Jury Reaches Verdict
The jury in the corruption trial of Abramoff crony David Safavian has reached a verdict. We’ll learn later today what it is, reports the Associated Press. Safavian, who served as the White House’s chief procurement officer, is on trial for…






Asset Bubbles: Does Talk Matter?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2008 5:32 am by HL

Asset Bubbles: Does Talk Matter?
Now that economists have finally discovered that asset bubbles can be harmful (next week, they learn about the shape of the earth), we are getting a debate about how to deal with them. I’m sure that this debate can…

Roasting Nuts by an Open Fire
In the beloved Rotwang Xmas/Yule tradition, a medley of thoughts in the holiday spirit, with a big musical finish . . . All I want for Christmas is New York’s Senate seat. And I don’t mind telling you my father…


Bush E-Mails May Be Secret a Bit Longer

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2008 5:31 am by HL

Bush E-Mails May Be Secret a Bit Longer
The required transfer in four weeks of all of the Bush White House’s electronic mail messages and documents to the National Archives has been imperiled by a combination of technical glitches, lawsuits and lagging computer forensic work, according to government officials, historians and lawyers.

Obama Expands Stimulus Goals
President-elect Barack Obama has expanded his goals for a massive federal stimulus package to keep pace with the increasingly grim economic outlook, aiming to create or preserve at least 3 million jobs over the next two years.

Optimism High About Obama Policies, Poll Finds
Most Americans are optimistic about the policies that Barack Obama will pursue when he becomes the country’s 44th president next month, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, and there is a widespread public desire that he quickly expand his focus beyond the economy, the dominant issue…