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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 25,628

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Fed Officials Unite Behind Taper as Yellen Era Begins

By Joshua Zumbrun and Aki Ito - Jan 29, 2014

Federal Reserve policy makers cut the pace of bond buying for a second straight meeting, uniting behind a strategy of gradual withdrawal from Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented easing policy as Janet Yellen prepares to succeed him as chairman.

The Federal Open Market Committee said it will trim monthly purchases by $10 billion to $65 billion, citing labor-market indicators that “were mixed but on balance showed further improvement” and economic growth that has “picked up in recent quarters.”

It was the first meeting without a dissent since June 2011, showing the tapering strategy has brought together policy makers concerned the Fed’s record $4.1 trillion balance sheet risks causing asset price bubbles with those who, like Vice Chairman Yellen, say more needs to be done to reduce unemployment.

Related: Bernanke’s Unprecedented Rescue Unlikely to Be Repeated

“As we transition from Bernanke to Yellen, she’s in a pretty good place in terms of holding together the center of the committee,” said Stephen Stanley, the chief economist for Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “It should be relatively easy to hold together a pretty wide consensus.”

Policy makers pressed on with a reduction in the purchases, put in place to speed a recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression, even after payroll growth slowed in December and amid a rout in emerging-market currencies.



Putin Warns of ’Outside Interference’ in Ukraine in Merkel Call

Source: Bloomberg

By Patrick Donahue and Jason Corcoran - Jan 29, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin said “outside interference” in Ukraine is unacceptable as German Chancellor Angela Merkel exhorted the Russian leader to help stop violence in the neighboring nation.

The Russian and German leaders offered diverging views on addressing the unrest after speaking yesterday by phone, as Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych failed to quell nationwide street protests calling for his resignation.

“The unacceptability of any outside interference was stressed” by Putin in the call, according to the Kremlin’s website. The chancellor called on Putin “to help seek constructive and results-oriented dialog between the government and opposition,” according to a statement from the chancellery in Berlin.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-29/putin-warns-of-outside-interference-in-ukraine-in-merkel-call.html

The Russian response will be much more telling after the Olympics are done and over with, imo.

Senate to Vote Next Week to Revive Jobless Aid, Reid Says

Senate Democrats are close to gaining enough Republican votes to advance a three-month extension of emergency jobless benefits, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today.

The Nevada Democrat told reporters that the cost of the three-month extension would be covered by budgetary reductions elsewhere, meeting a major Republican demand.

“I hope we have something on the floor next week,” Reid said. “It’s paid for for three months. The Republicans said they wanted it paid for. We’ve figured out a way to pay for it.”

The revised plan would make changes to pension rules, known as “pension smoothing,” to cover the cost of extended benefits, said a Senate Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposal isn’t final.

Related: Obama’s Income-Gap Message Frames Race for Senate Control

Such a maneuver would give companies more time to make payments to their pension funds, meaning their short-term taxable income would increase because they could claim fewer deductions.



Winter Storm Slams South, Stranding Students, Snarling Traffic

Source: LA TIMES

An unusual blanket of snow across the South triggered epic traffic snarls and stranded hundreds of students at their schools Tuesday.

Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama struggled to cope with 2 to 4 inches of snow, while Atlanta’s 3 inches led to six-hour commutes -- at least for drivers who didn't abandon their cars on the slippery roads.

"I just decided to get ... out and walk home like the rest of the people. I didn't know where they were going, but now I get it. This is stupid," one driver said in a video posted to Instagram, which turned into a catalog of traffic jams and snowball fights for Georgians unused to snow.

"Georgia was not ready for this, y'all," another user posted in a video capturing a massive traffic jam in downtown Atlanta, at one point focusing on an emergency vehicle that had gotten bogged down in the lines of waiting cars. "The ambulance can't even get through."

As drivers burned through audio books and made unexpected friends in the endless traffic, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Georgia.


Read more: http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-winter-storm-hits-south-20140128,0,4157560.story#ixzz2rlYW6CEj

Watching a Roku stream out of Birmingham, AL and yeah, it is as bad as written...

No, Abe Foxman, America Is Not Out To Get The Jews

The U.S. Jewish establishment is starting to say publicly that anti-Semitism is the reason Jonathan Pollard is still in prison. This is sickening slander that reflects a deep-seated psychological problem.

By Larry Derfner |Published January 28, 2014

Abraham Foxman, long-time leader of the Anti-Defamation League, capo di tutti capi of the Israel lobby, scourge of all scourges of anti-Semitism (real or imagined), the U.S. Jewish establishment’s chief of language police, the J. Edgar Hoover of American Jewish macherdom, has flipped out completely this time. Earlier this month he said publicly that Jonathan Pollard’s continued incarceration for spying, now going on 29 years, is a “vendetta” against the entire American Jewish community. From Foxman’s statement on the ADL website:

Yes, I use that word because that’s what it seems like at this point. If it were only a vendetta against one individual it would be bad enough. But it has now become one against the American Jewish community.

In effect, the continuing imprisonment of this person long after he should have been paroled on humanitarian grounds can only be read as an effort to intimidate American Jews. And, it is an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community, one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years, the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States.

In other words, the underlying concept which fuels the ongoing Pollard incarceration is the notion that he is only the tip of the iceberg in the community. So Pollard stays in prison as a message to American Jews: don’t even think about doing what he did.

Foxman wrote the above in response to an editorial by the online Tablet magazine, the highest-quality Jewish publication in the United States and a fairly pluralistic one politically. Which is all the more weird, because Tablet’s editorial, written in response to a New York Times op-ed arguing that Pollard was getting what he deserved, was much crazier even than Foxman’s response to it. Tablet:



Frm. President Jimmy Carter Writing Book On Women's Rights

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jimmy Carter's next book will be a defense of women's rights and an attack against those who use religion to deny equality.

Simon & Shuster announced Tuesday that the former president's "A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power" will be published March 25. The publisher says Carter will draw upon personal observations from his worldwide travels as he condemns abuses of women and girls and the alleged distortions of religious texts cited as justification.

The 89-year-old has written a wide range of books since leaving office in 1981, from memoirs and poetry to a controversial work on the Middle East, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."


Number Implicated In Air Force Nuke Missile Cheating Probe Has Doubled

Source: Associated Press

By ROBERT BURNS | ASSOCIATED PRESS | 15 minutes ago in Politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — The cheating scandal inside the Air Force's nuclear missile corps is expanding, with the number of service members implicated by investigators now roughly double the 34 reported just a week ago, officials said Tuesday.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the additional 30-plus airmen suspected of being involved in cheating on proficiency tests are alleged to have participated in the cheating directly or were involved indirectly.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information by name while the investigation is ongoing.

The Air Force announced on Jan. 15 that while it was investigating possible criminal drug use by some airmen, it discovered that one missile officer at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., had shared test questions with 16 other officers. It said another 17 admitted to knowing about this cheating but did not report it.

Read more: http://www.newser.com/article/4510d25bb09d4d24b77b5eb43b6e46df/apnewsbreak-number-implicated-in-air-force-nuke-missile-cheating-probe-has-doubled.html

First Female CEO Of The Largest American Automaker GM To Join First Lady At Obama Speech

WASHINGTON–Ahead of President Barack Obama‘s State of the Union speech Tuesday, the White House said the guests who will be sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama include the chief executive of General Motors Co., as well as an immigrant brought to the country illegally when he was a child and a woman who helped stop a school shooter.

The State of the Union before Congress will give Mr. Obama his largest audience all year to highlight his agenda and the choice of guests reflects some of his priorities, such as immigration reform.

Mary Barra, the chief executive of General Motors Co., is among the guests. She is the first woman to lead a large U.S. auto makers.

The White House said Cristian Avila, a 23 year old from Phoenix, will also be sitting with the first lady. He is an All-American scholar but was brought to the U.S. illegally when he was nine years old.

Mr. Obama has been pushing to revamp the immigration system for several years, though no comprehensive effort has passed Congress, where some Republican remain deeply skeptical of the president’s plans. While the president has stepped-up deportations of illegal immigrants he has granted young people brought to the country illegal as children a reprieve from the law.



Texas Rep. Gohmert (R): Raise Taxes On Poor People Because They Can Pay With Welfare

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) has proposed raising taxes on the poorest Americans even if the only money they have to pay is money that they get from government programs like welfare.

At a Tea Party Patriots event in South Carolina earlier this month, Gohmert said that he had his own plan to address income inequality.

“There’s not a blessed thing this president has proposed that will change the situation of his buddy, Warren Buffet, paying a lower percentage than his secretary,” Gohmert told the crowd. “I know that folks that are big on the fair tax, I just want a simple tax. I think it would be easier to get to a flat tax. And then, maybe a fair tax someday.”

The Texas Republican recalled that he had enlisted his friend, publisher Steve Forbes, to convince the Republican Party that “fair share” really meant “flat tax.”

“You make more, you pay more; you make less, you pay less,” he said. “And everybody needs to have skin in the game, don’t they? Everybody does. You need to own a piece of this government so you’ll do something about it. Everybody should.”



Reid Says Vulnerable Democrats Should Not Run Away From Obama

Washington (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid embraced President Barack Obama's standing in an exclusive interview with CNN on Tuesday, stating that he encourages vulnerable Senate Democrats running for re-election in 2014 to invite the President to campaign with them even in states where he is unpopular.

Reid's exclusive comments to CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash come just hours ahead of the President's State of the Union address on Tuesday night and months ahead the 2014 midterm elections, where Democrats will fight to keep the majority in the Senate.

"Barack Obama is personally a very popular guy. And people love this man. They love his family," Reid told Bash. "Of course, with what the Republicans have been doing, trying to denigrate him with what's happened with the rollout of Obamacare, but things, even this week, his numbers are going up again."

"So you would encourage some of your most vulnerable Senate Democratic candidates to invite President Obama to appear with them," Bash asked.

"Yes, and they will," Reid said.

Reid also revealed to Bash that he will travel to the White House next week to meet with the President and Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado – the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – about how to best use the President in 2014.


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