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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
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Paul Krugman: "The Triumph of Bad Ideas"


The Big Fail
Published: January 6, 2013

- snip -

This isn’t how things were supposed to be. If you had polled the economists attending this meeting three years ago, most of them would surely have predicted that by now we’d be talking about how the great slump ended, not why it still continues.

So what went wrong? The answer, mainly, is the triumph of bad ideas.

- snip -

The story, at this point, is fairly straightforward. The financial crisis led, through several channels, to a sharp fall in private spending: residential investment plunged as the housing bubble burst; consumers began saving more as the illusory wealth created by the bubble vanished, while the mortgage debt remained. And this fall in private spending led, inevitably, to a global recession.

For an economy is not like a household. A family can decide to spend less and try to earn more. But in the economy as a whole, spending and earning go together: my spending is your income; your spending is my income. If everyone tries to slash spending at the same time, incomes will fall — and unemployment will soar.

- snip -

At that point governments needed to step in, spending to support their economies while the private sector regained its balance. And to some extent that did happen: revenue dropped sharply in the slump, but spending actually rose as programs like unemployment insurance expanded and temporary economic stimulus went into effect. Budget deficits rose, but this was actually a good thing, probably the most important reason we didn’t have a full replay of the Great Depression.

But it all went wrong in 2010. The crisis in Greece was taken, wrongly, as a sign that all governments had better slash spending and deficits right away. Austerity became the order of the day, and supposed experts who should have known better cheered the process on, while the warnings of some (but not enough) economists that austerity would derail recovery were ignored. For example, the president of the European Central Bank confidently asserted that “the idea that austerity measures could trigger stagnation is incorrect.”


Ohio Sheriff Confronts Protesters in Football Rape Case (Anonymous Rally)

Source: Reuters

Ohio sheriff confronts protesters in football rape case

STEUBENVILLE, OHIO | Sat Jan 5, 2013 4:30pm EST

By Drew Singer

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (Reuters) - A county sheriff under fire for how he has handled a high school rape investigation faced down a raucous crowd of protesters on Saturday and said no further suspects would be charged in a case that has rattled Ohio football country.

Ma'lik Richmond and Trenton Mays, both 16 and members of the Steubenville High School football team, are charged with raping a 16-year-old fellow student at a party last August, according to statements from their attorneys.

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, accused of shielding the popular football program from a more rigorous investigation, told reporters no one else would be charged in the case, just moments after he addressed about 1,000 protesters gathered in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

- snip -

The protest's masked leader, standing atop a set of stairs outside the courthouse doors, invited up to the makeshift stage anyone who was a victim of sexual assault. Protesters immediately flooded the platform, which was slightly smaller than a boxing ring.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE9040BP20130105

"She's Alive... Beautiful... Finite... Hurting... Worth Dying for."

Finding Benjamin...

NCAE Wins Challenge to Payroll Dues Ban

Source: WRAL

NCAE wins challenge to payroll dues ban

By Matthew Burns

Posted: 1:30 p.m. today

A Wake County judge has ruled a law prohibiting the North Carolina Association of Educators from using payroll deduction to collect dues from its members to be unconstitutional.

Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner said the dues-deduction ban "constitutes retaliatory viewpoint discrimination" against NCAE, which violates the group's free speech rights.

"We are extremely pleased with the court's decision in this important case, especially the court's recognition that our members have a constitutional right to express their views on issues important to the education community," NCAE President Rodney Ellis said in a statement. "Standing up for those views is the very reason NCAE initiated this lawsuit."

The Republican-led House used a late-night session a year ago to override Gov. Beverly Perdue's veto of the dues-collection bill, immediately drawing the ire of the NCAE, which traditionally supports Democratic candidates.

Read more: http://www.wral.com/ncae-wins-challenge-to-payroll-dues-ban/11938870

Appeals Court: Motorist Cannot be Stopped for Giving Police the Middle Finger

Source: Raw Story

Appeals court: Motorist cannot be stopped for giving police the middle finger

By Eric W. Dolan

Thursday, January 3, 2013 19:31 EST

A motorist cannot be stopped for “giving the finger” to a police officer, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

- snip -

The couple saw a police officer using a radar gun to catch speeding motorists at an intersection. John, who was a passenger in the car, stuck his arm outside the side window and “flipped the bird” over the car’s roof. The police officer then followed the couple to their son’s home and stopped them. John was arrested for disorderly conduct after other officers arrived as backup.

The officer who initially followed and stopped the couple said he did so because John appeared to be trying to get his attention by waving his middle finger. However, the court didn’t buy that argument.

“(T)he nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult deprives such an interpretation of reasonableness,” Circuit Judge Jon O. Newman wrote in the ruling (PDF). “This ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity. Surely no passenger planning some wrongful conduct toward another occupant of an automobile would call attention to himself by giving the finger to a police officer.”

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/03/appeals-court-motorist-cannot-be-stopped-for-giving-police-the-middle-finger

Source: Geithner to Leave by Month's End

Source: Politico

Source: Geithner to leave by month's end

By Kate Davidson and Ben White - 1/3/13 @ 2:45 PM ET

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner plans to leave the administration by the end of the month — and he really means it this time.

Geithner intends to leave his post at the end of January, whether or not a deal is in place to raise the debt ceiling, according a source close to the Treasury secretary.

Geithner previously pushed back his departure plans to work on the resolution to the fiscal cliff at the request of President Barack Obama.

The source said Geithner will return to New York City and that he had long planned to leave Washington after the fiscal cliff fight was over.

Read more: http://m.politico.com/iphone/story/0113/85731.html

ACLU Condemns Court for Keeping Details of Obama’s Assassination Program Secret

Source: Raw Story

ACLU condemns court for keeping details of Obama’s assassination program secret

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, January 2, 2013 15:58 EST

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Wednesday that it was saddened by a New York’s judge’s decision to keep secret most details pertaining to an Obama administration program that has so far assassinated three American citizens, including one who was not accused of being involved with terrorism.

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the ACLU, seeking to determine the administration’s legal justification for killing American citizens without charge or trial, was shot down Wednesday (PDF) by the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York. The court ruled in favor of the administration’s motion for summary judgement on the basis that deliberations over the program were privileged communications, and the ACLU failed to show why they should be exposed to the public.

The three Americans killed by the military’s anti-terrorist strikes are Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, and Al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son Abdulrahman.

“This ruling denies the public access to crucial information about the government’s extrajudicial killing of U.S. citizens and also effectively green-lights its practice of making selective and self-serving disclosures,” ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer said in an advisory.

“As the judge acknowledges, the targeted killing program raises profound questions about the appropriate limits on government power in our constitutional democracy,” Jaffer added. “The public has a right to know more about the circumstances in which the government believes it can lawfully kill people, including U.S. citizens, who are far from any battlefield and have never been charged with a crime.”

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/02/aclu-condemns-court-for-keeping-details-of-obamas-assassination-program-secret

NY Times Loses Bid to Uncover Details on Drone Strikes

Source: Reuters

NY Times loses bid to uncover details on drone strikes

NEW YORK | Wed Jan 2, 2013 4:39pm EST

By Jonathan Stempel and Jennifer Saba

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday rejected The New York Times' bid to force the U.S. government to disclose more information about its targeted killing of people, including American citizens, who it believes have ties to terrorism.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan said the Obama administration did not violate the law by refusing the Times' request for the legal justifications for targeted killings, a strategy the Times said was first contemplated by the Bush administration soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

McMahon appeared reluctant to rule as she did, noting in her decision that disclosure could help the public understand the "vast and seemingly ever-growing exercise in which we have been engaged for well over a decade, at great cost in lives, treasure, and (at least in the minds of some) personal liberty."

Nonetheless, she said the government was not obligated to turn over materials the Times had sought under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), even though it had such materials in its possession. "The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me," McMahon said in her 68-page decision.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE9010OV20130102

Al Jazeera Said to Be Acquiring Current TV

Source: New York Times

January 2, 2013, 4:42 pm

Al Jazeera Said to Be Acquiring Current TV


Al Jazeera is finalizing a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore and his business partners seven years ago.

If the deal is completed, Current will provide the pan-Arab news giant with something it has sought for years: a pathway into American living rooms. Current is available in about 60 million of the 100 million homes in the United States with cable or satellite service.

Rather than simply use Current to distribute its existing English-language channel, called Al Jazeera English and based in Doha, Qatar, Al Jazeera will create a new channel based in New York, according to people with knowledge of the deal negotiations. Potentially called Al Jazeera America, roughly 60 percent of the programming will be produced in the United States while the remaining 40 percent will come from Al Jazeera English.

Al Jazeera may absorb some Current TV staff members, according to the people, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. But Current’s schedule of shows will most likely be dissolved in the spring.

Read more: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/02/al-jazeera-said-to-be-acquiring-current-tv

@brianstelter: If deal closes (and I think it will today), Current TV will remain on the air for about 3 months. Then Al Jazeera comes on.
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