Declassified MISC 56
Posted 12 September 2008 - 01:14 AM
WELCOME to my newest DM topic!
I use WIKIPEDIA, Yahoo search, and Google search a lot these days, so here are links to them:
Friday September 12 2008
San Antonio Generating Gas from Sewage
AP Enterprise: Drugs affect more drinking water
Greece unearths treasures at Alexander's birthplace
Near-Death Experiences: What Really Happens?
Forecaster warns of 'certain death' as Ike looms
Good Morning, Los Angeles
CHECK OUT THIS EXCELLENT SHOT OF A SUNRISE!!
LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Yahoo Hurricane Ike Pictures
Ike whips up waves as it steams toward Texas
Texas holdouts urge Hurricane Ike to "bring it on!"
In Hurricane Ike, bumpy ride with bird's-eye view
Video of waves battering Galveston Island
9/11 survivors troubled by asthma, PTSD
Colossal Hurricane Ike bears down on Texas coast
Authorities: Many stayed behind on Texas coast
Some refuse to evacuate as Ike closes in on Texas
How to hunker down during Ike
Hurricane Ike Coverage by CNN
Texas officials: It's too late to get out, so stay put
NWS Lake Charles Office Web Log on Hurricane Ike
Sept 13 2008
Freighter crew safe after riding out Hurricane Ike
10 killed, 107 injured in LA train collision
Gas prices rise as Ike hits Texas
The average price of gas surged nearly 6 cents nationwide as Hurricane Ike hits Gulf Coast and analysts fear more increases, especially in Texas.
FEMA: We are ready with millions of supplies
Hurricane destroyed Galveston in 1900
'Hurricane chaser' filming Ike's landfall
With at least three video cameras trained on the Gulf of Mexico and floodwaters rising around him in Galveston, Texas, Mark Sudduth prepared Friday to ride out Hurricane Ike from a hotel room on the city's wind-whipped oceanfront.
Mark Sudduth's remote video camera captured this image of surging water during 2005's Hurricane Wilma.
"Most of the north end of Galveston near the bay is now going underwater," Sudduth told CNN Friday afternoon. "The island is filling up like a bathtub."
Despite that, and the fact that hundreds of thousands of anxious Texas residents have fled inland, Sudduth and partner Mike Watkins had no plans to leave Galveston. Their only concern was the safety of their Chevy Tahoe -- and the fate of their equipment that will stream live video of Ike's fury to Internet users around the world.
The two men are part of a small fraternity of storm chasers who plant themselves in the paths of hurricanes to gather photos, video and meteorological data they hope will help scientists better understand these natural disasters.
What sets Sudduth apart, however, is his pioneering use of remote, battery-powered video cameras, packed in watertight cases, to train unblinking eyes on lethal storm surges that are too hazardous to film by hand.
"The stronger the hurricane and the more [news] reporters have to leave, the more important these cameras become," said Sudduth, who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina. "There's absolutely zero risk to human life. Plus they can stay there for 15 hours and never have to go to the bathroom."
For decades, journalists with shaky video cameras have shot footage of approaching storms, only to retreat when the winds, and danger, grew too great. Thanks to his remote-camera system, developed around the time of 2005's Hurricane Katrina, Sudduth may be the first storm chaser to capture live streaming video from inside a hurricane as it blows ashore. His footage has appeared on CNN and numerous local TV broadcasts.
The 37-year-old traces his fascination with hurricanes to his childhood along the North Carolina coast, where big storms blow in from the ocean almost every summer and fall. By the time Hurricane Bertha struck in 1996, he had launched a business to raise awareness about the deadly storms.
Sudduth outfitted an Isuzu Rodeo with weather-measuring equipment and drove it into storms to collect data. But he and his partner began to question the wisdom of their operation in 2004 when Hurricane Charley abruptly shifted course and trapped them inside the vehicle as the Category 4 storm thundered ashore near Port Charlotte, Florida.
"It was just so violent. I thought there was a chance one of us could be killed," said Sudduth, who witnessed his Isuzu totaled by Hurricane Ivan a month later. "We thought, 'There's got to be a better way.' "
So the next year, Sudduth developed his remote-camera "storm cases," as he calls them. An unusual mix of high and low technology, each is equipped with two small, high-resolution cameras that extend from the case on a 60-foot cable and can be mounted on a building or a pole and aimed at the sea. Inside the case is a VCR filled with nine hours of videotape, because tape is less susceptible to saltwater than digital files.
One camera connects to the VCR, the other to a laptop that records about 18 hours of live video. The whole thing is powered by two 75-pound marine batteries, which also weigh down the case to help keep it from blowing away. The outfitted cases cost about $1,800 each and are not unlike the indestructible "black boxes" that record cockpit voices and other data on airplanes.
Sudduth's storm cases streamed their first live video from Gulfport, Mississippi, during Hurricane Katrina. Sudduth watched the video feed on a laptop from the safety of an inland motel room and saw footage of waves cresting the seawall before the storm surge washed away his equipment.
"We never found the cases," he said. "Everything was absolutely annihilated."
Sudduth has had more success with the cases since, capturing live streaming video of Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Wilma and other big storms. (There's no audio, because the swirling winds just create white noise.) He can compress hours of his remotely captured video footage into a minute or two, creating dramatic short films that show coastal areas being overwhelmed by surging floodwaters.
This year CNN bought two of Sudduth's storm cases and employed them for the first time on levees in New Orleans during recent Hurricane Gustav.
"We work closely with him to put them where we think we'll get maximum impact," said CNN planning director Greg Agvent, who mobilizes the network's breaking-news teams. For Agvent, the cases help keep his TV crews out of harm's way during major storms. "No picture is worth that risk," he says.
Sudduth also maintains a rolling weather station in his Tahoe, which measures wind speed, rainfall, barometric pressure and other data. He posts the streaming video -- available to subscribers only -- on his Web site, http://www.hurricanetrack.com/, and e-mails his data to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.
"It can be useful to us. We'll be interested to see his unique data from the storms to come," said Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the hurricane center. "But it's dangerous work. We don't recommend anybody going out and doing this."
Sudduth and Watkins set up three storm cases Friday along the Gulf in Galveston and were looking for another location -- possibly their hotel balcony -- to plant a fourth. The cases' cameras all were pointed at the churning ocean, offering real-time images of Ike's approach.
The two storm chasers planned to take shelter late Friday in their 11th-floor hotel room to eat crackers and peanut butter and watch their video feeds. Nightfall was expected to make their video images murky and hard to see, however.
Forecasters expect Hurricane Ike to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday, packing gusts of 100-plus mph.
"Ike will be a huge, huge event," Sudduth said. "It's going to push an enormous storm surge [of water] into Texas."
Filming hurricanes can be adventurous and exciting. But Sudduth also has been chastised by residents who feel he is capitalizing on others' misfortune. As someone who has traveled the country speaking about hurricane preparedness, he is sensitive to such criticism.
"We're not profiting from it any more than the fire hydrant company or the people who build ambulances," he says. "It's not just about the money shot. We can extract the science from these cameras. If we can match the visual record from the cameras to the meteorological record, we can help answer [scientific] questions."
Sept 15 2008
Ike: Why some people stay behind
Hurricane Ike slams Texas coast with major floods
Hurricane Ike floods Galveston's historic district
20 superfoods for weight loss
Nearly 2,000 brought to safety in Texas
Wall Street awakes to 2 storied firms falling
Stocks stumble amid new Wall Street landscape
Financial hurricane victim Lehman waited too long
Oil drops $4 on financial turmoil
Feds look into texting before deadly train crash
Wall Street landscape reshaped as US firms fall
Sept 16 2008
10 Ways to Protect Your Finances From the Crisis
Asian markets sink on Lehman, Merrill woes
Is Wall Street meltdown moment of truth in White House race?
Fluorescent-Red Glowing Fish Found
Sept 16 2008
German scientists discover 120 million year-old ant
Popovich leaves with 4 Paralympic golds
Feeling car sick? Blame the bacteria
Porn passed over as Web users become social: author'
Ike survivors may wait weeks for hot meals, baths
European markets slide on Lehman, Merrill woes
IMF chief says financial crisis 'unprecedented'
FTSE slides to three-year low
Fed pumps $70B into nation's financial system
A Gemini adaptive optics image of the star 1RSX J160929.1-210524
Possible First Photo of Planet Around Sun-Like Star
Nature's Wonders Ring
Snacks Overpower Our Best Intentions
GM unveils Volt on company's 100th anniversary
Palin supports $600 million 'other' bridge project
Officials order Ike-scarred residents to leave
Goldman posts worst quarter since going public
Stocks turn lower after Fed keeps rates stable
Yahoo search for 'stumbleupon tags'
Night of the Long Knives - Wikipedia
History of gay men in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust - Wikipedia
World War II - Wikipedia
Great Depression - Wikipedia
Online Communications Tools Map
Online Communications Tools Map - Digg
McCain, Obama joust over how to fix Wall Street
Barclays to buy Lehman banking divisions for $250M
Death toll rises in storm-hit Texas amid health hazard
House approves offshore drilling
Government bails out AIG with $85 billion loan
Venezuela's Chavez says US ambassador must leave
Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:59 PM
The financial crisis that began 13 months ago has entered a new, far more serious phase.
Lingering hopes that the damage could be contained to a handful of financial institutions that made bad bets on mortgages have evaporated. New fault lines are emerging beyond the original problem -- troubled subprime mortgages -- in areas like credit-default swaps, the credit insurance contracts sold by American International Group Inc. and others firms. There's also a growing sense of wariness about the health of trading partners.
The consequences for companies and chief executives who tarry -- hoping for better times in which to raise capital, sell assets or acknowledge losses -- are now clear and brutal, as falling share prices and fearful lenders send troubled companies into ever-deeper holes. This weekend, such a realization led John Thain to sell the century-old Merrill Lynch & Co. to Bank of America Corp. Each episode seems to bring intervention by the government that is more extensive and expensive than the previous one, and carries greater risk of unintended consequences.
Expectations for a quick end to the crisis are fading fast. "I think it's going to last a lot longer than perhaps we would have anticipated," Anne Mulcahy, chief executive of Xerox Corp., said Wednesday.
"This has been the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. There is no question about it," said Mark Gertler, a New York University economist who worked with fellow academic Ben Bernanke, now the Federal Reserve chairman, to explain how financial turmoil can infect the overall economy. "But at the same time we have the policy mechanisms in place fighting it, which is something we didn't have during the Great Depression."
The U.S. financial system resembles a patient in intensive care. The body is trying to fight off a disease that is spreading, and as it does so, the body convulses, settles for a time and then convulses again. The illness seems to be overwhelming the self-healing tendencies of markets. The doctors in charge are resorting to ever-more invasive treatment, and are now experimenting with remedies that have never before been applied. Fed Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, walking into a hastily arranged meeting with congressional leaders Tuesday night to brief them on the government's unprecedented rescue of AIG, looked like exhausted surgeons delivering grim news to the family.
Fed and Treasury officials have identified the disease. It's called deleveraging, or the unwinding of debt. During the credit boom, financial institutions and American households took on too much debt. Between 2002 and 2006, household borrowing grew at an average annual rate of 11%, far outpacing overall economic growth. Borrowing by financial institutions grew by a 10% annualized rate. Now many of those borrowers can't pay back the loans, a problem that is exacerbated by the collapse in housing prices. They need to reduce their dependence on borrowed money, a painful and drawn-out process that can choke off credit and economic growth.
At least three things need to happen to bring the deleveraging process to an end, and they're hard to do at once. Financial institutions and others need to fess up to their mistakes by selling or writing down the value of distressed assets they bought with borrowed money. They need to pay off debt. Finally, they need to rebuild their capital cushions, which have been eroded by losses on those distressed assets.
But many of the distressed assets are hard to value and there are few if any buyers. Deleveraging also feeds on itself in a way that can create a downward spiral: Trying to sell assets pushes down the assets' prices, which makes them harder to sell and leads firms to try to sell more assets. That, in turn, suppresses these firms' share prices and makes it harder for them to sell new shares to raise capital. Mr. Bernanke, as an academic, dubbed this self-feeding loop a "financial accelerator."
"Many of the CEO types weren't willing...to take these losses, and say, 'I accept the fact that I'm selling these way below fundamental value,'" says Anil Kashyap, a University of Chicago Business School economics professor. "The ones that had the biggest exposure, they've all died."
Deleveraging started with securities tied to subprime mortgages, where defaults started rising rapidly in 2006. But the deleveraging process has now spread well beyond, to commercial real estate and auto loans to the short-term commitments on which investment banks rely to fund themselves. In the first quarter, financial-sector borrowing slowed to a 5.1% growth rate, about half of the average from 2002 to 2007. Household borrowing has slowed even more, to a 3.5% pace.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economist Jan Hatzius estimates that in the past year, financial institutions around the world have already written down $408 billion worth of assets and raised $367 billion worth of capital.
But that doesn't appear to be enough. Every time financial firms and investors suggest that they've written assets down enough and raised enough new capital, a new wave of selling triggers a reevaluation, propelling the crisis into new territory. Residential mortgage losses alone could hit $636 billion by 2012, Goldman estimates, triggering widespread retrenchment in bank lending. That could shave 1.8 percentage points a year off economic growth in 2008 and 2009 -- the equivalent of $250 billion in lost goods and services each year.
"This is a deleveraging like nothing we've ever seen before," said Robert Glauber, now a professor of Harvard's government and law schools who came to the Washington in 1989 to help organize the savings and loan cleanup of the early 1990s. "The S&L losses to the government were small compared to this."
Hedge funds could be among the next problem areas. Many rely on borrowed money to amplify their returns. With banks under pressure, many hedge funds are less able to borrow this money now, pressuring returns. Meanwhile, there are growing indications that fewer investors are shifting into hedge funds while others are pulling out. Fund investors are dealing with their own problems: Many have taken out loans to make their investments and are finding it more difficult now to borrow.
That all makes it likely that more hedge funds will shutter in the months ahead, forcing them to sell their investments, further weighing on the market.
History of Trauma
Debt-driven financial traumas have a long history, from the Great Depression to the S&L crisis to the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. Neither economists nor policymakers has easy solutions. Cutting interest rates and writing stimulus checks to families can help -- and may have prevented or delayed a deep recession. But, at least in this instance, they don't suffice.
In such circumstances, governments almost invariably experiment with solutions with varying degrees of success. Franklin Delano Roosevelt unleashed an alphabet soup of new agencies and a host of new regulations in the aftermath of the market crash of 1929. In the 1990s, Japan embarked on a decade of often-wasteful government spending to counter the aftereffects of a bursting bubble. President George H.W. Bush and Congress created the Resolution Trust Corp. to take and sell the assets of failed thrifts. Hong Kong's free-market government went on a massive stock-buying spree in 1998, buying up shares of every company listed in the benchmark Hang Seng index. It ended up packaging them into an exchange-traded fund and making money.
Today, Mr. Bernanke is taking out his playbook, said NYU economist Mr. Gertler, "and rewriting it as we go."
Merrill Lynch & Co.'s emergency sale to Bank of America Corp. last weekend was an example of the perniciousness and unpredictability of deleveraging. In the past year, Merrill has hired a new chief executive, written off $41.4 billion in assets and raised $21 billion in equity capital.
But Merrill couldn't keep up. The more it raised, the more it was forced to write off. When Merrill CEO John Thain attended a meeting with the New York Fed and other Wall Street executives last week, he saw that Merrill was the next most vulnerable brokerage firm. "We watched Bear and Lehman. We knew we could be next," said one Merrill executive. Fearful that its lenders would shut the firm off, he sold to Bank of America.
This crisis is complicated by innovative financial instruments that Wall Street created and distributed. They're making it harder for officials and Wall Street executives to know where the next set of risks is hiding and also contributing to the crisis's spreading impact.
The latest trouble spot is an area called credit-default swaps, which are private contracts that let firms trade bets on whether a borrower is going to default. When a default occurs, one party pays off the other. The value of the swaps rise and fall as market reassesses the risk that a company won't be able to honor its obligations. Firms use these instruments both as insurance -- to hedge their exposures to risk -- and to wager on the health of other companies. There are now credit-default swaps on more than $62 trillion in debt, up from about $144 billion a decade ago.
One of the big new players in the swaps game was AIG, the world's largest insurer and a major seller of credit-default swaps to financial institutions and companies. When the credit markets were booming, many firms bought these instruments from AIG, believing the insurance giant's strong credit ratings and large balance sheet could provide a shield against bond and loan defaults. AIG believed the risk of default was low on many securities it insured.
As of June 30, an AIG unit had written credit-default swaps on more than $446 billion in credit assets, including mortgage securities, corporate loans and complex structured products. Last year, when rising subprime-mortgage delinquencies damaged the value of many securities AIG had insured, the firm was forced to book large write-downs on its derivative positions. That spooked investors, who reacted by dumping its shares, making it harder for AIG to raise the capital it increasingly needed.
Credit default swaps "didn't cause the problem, but they certainly exacerbated the financial crisis," says Leslie Rahl, president of Capital Market Risk Advisors, a consulting firm in New York. The sheer volumes of outstanding CDS contracts -- and the fact that they trade directly between institutions, without centralized clearing -- intertwined the fates of many large banks and brokerages.
Few financial crises have been sorted out in modern times without massive government intervention. Increasingly, officials are coming to the conclusion that even more might be needed. A big problem: The Fed can and has provided short-term money to sound, but struggling, institutions that are out of favor. It can, and has, reduced the interest rates it influences to attempt to reduce borrowing costs through the economy and encourage investment and spending.
But it is ill-equipped to provide the capital that financial institutions now desperately need to shore up their finances and expand lending.
Resolution Trust Scenario
In normal times, capital-starved companies usually can raise money on their own. In the current crisis, a number of big Wall Street firms, including Citigroup, have turned to sovereign wealth funds, the government-controlled pools of money.
But both on Wall Street and in Washington, there is increasing expectation that U.S. taxpayers will either take the bad assets off the hands of financial institutions so they can raise capital, or put taxpayer capital into the companies, as the Treasury has agreed to do with mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
One proposal was raised by Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services Committee. Rep. Frank is looking at whether to create an analog to the Resolution Trust Corp., which took assets from failed banks and thrifts and found buyers over several years.
"When you have a big loss in the marketplace, there are only three people that can take the loss -- the bondholders, the shareholders and the government," said William Seidman, who led the RTC from 1989 to 1991. "That's the dance we're seeing right now. Are we going to shove this loss into the hands of the taxpayers?"
The RTC seemed controversial and ambitious at the time. Any analog today would be even more complex. The RTC dispensed mostly of commercial real estate. Today's troubled assets are complex debt securities -- many of which include pieces of other instruments, which in turn include pieces of others, many steps removed from the actual mortgages or consumer loans on which they are based. Unraveling these strands will be tedious and getting at the underlying collateral, difficult.
In the early stages of this crisis, regulators saw that their rules didn't fit the rapidly changing financial system they were asked to oversee. Investment banks, at the core of the crisis, weren't as closely monitored by the Securities and Exchange Commission as commercial banks were by their regulators.
The government has a system to close failed banks, created after the Great Depression in part to avoid sudden runs by depositors. Now, runs happen in spheres regulators may not fully understand, such as the repurchase agreement, or repo, market, in which investment banks fund their day-to-day operations. And regulators have no process for handling the failure of an investment bank like Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Insurers like AIG aren't even federally regulated.
Regulators have all but promised that more banks will fail in the coming months. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is drawing up a plan to raise the premiums it charges banks so that it can rebuild the fund it uses to back deposits. Examiners are tightening their leash on banks across the country.
One pleasant mystery is why the crisis hasn't hit the economy harder -- at least so far. "This financial crisis hasn't yet translated into fewer...companies starting up, less research and development, less marketing," Ivan Seidenberg, chief executive of Verizon Communications, said Wednesday. "We haven't seen that yet. I'm sure every company is keeping their eyes on it."
At 6.1%, the unemployment rate remains well below the peak of 7.8% in 1992, amid the S&L crisis.
In part, that's because government has reacted aggressively. The Fed's classic mistake that led to the Great Depression was that it tightened monetary policy when it should have eased. Mr. Bernanke didn't repeat that error. And Congress moved more swiftly to approve fiscal stimulus than most Washington veterans thought possible.
In part, the broader economy has held mostly steady because exports have been so strong at just the right moment, a reminder of the global economy's importance to the U.S. And in part, it's because the U.S. economy is demonstrating impressive resilience, as information technology allows executives to react more quickly to emerging problems and -- to the discomfort of workers -- companies are quicker to adjust wages, hiring and work hours when the economy softens.
But the risk remains that Wall Street's woes will spread to Main Street, as credit tightens for consumers and business. Already, U.S. auto makers have been forced to tighten the terms on their leasing programs, or abandon writing leases themselves altogether, because of problems in their finance units. Goldman Sachs economists' optimistic scenario is a couple years of mild recession or painfully slow economy growth.
Asian markets tumble as financial fears deepen
On Wall Street, employees brace for next disaster
Some of Ike's missing may have just washed away
Sept 18 2008
Banking Brouhaha: Day 4
Wall Street Got You on Edge? Join the Club
5 Essential Weight Loss Foods
Euro stocks up, Asia's down as central banks act
Analysis: McCain leads a dual life as powerbroker
Marine praised by Bush won't get Medal of Honor
Happy 113th birthday for world's oldest man
Morgan Stanley in talks as fear grips financials
12-year-old Revolutionizes the Solar Cell
Possible financial crisis fix sends stocks soaring
McCain says he would fire SEC chairman
In hard times, tent cities rise across the country
Galveston still too bruised for residents' return
Some Ike victims may not be allowed to rebuild
Sept 20 2008
IOC considering pending Beijing doping cases
Anxiety-detecting machines could spot terrorists
Radical bailout plan has a jawdropping price tag
Pols ask Bush to review denied Medal of Honor
Ike helps uncover mystery vessel on Ala. coast
Kenya’s Jelimo feted with marriage proposals
$6 billion storm? Ike's economic impact felt
Rescue plan seeks $700B to buy bad mortgages
Battered Galveston ready to rebuild after Ike
McCain attends 50th class reunion at Naval Academy
Judge says Lehman can sell units to Barclays
Cities rethink wisdom of 50s-era parking standards
Doctor: Blaine might stumble blindly out of stunt
Scholar claims to find medieval Jewish capital
Divers reunite British war hero with lost medals
Arkansas compound raided in child porn case
Sept 22 2008
Paulson urges quick action on $700 billion bailout
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (PRINT VERSION: Print it!! Print it!!)
FBI Searches Apartment of Tennessee Student Suspected of Palin Hack
Book Review of 'An Unquiet Mind'
Markets volatile as investors await bailout plan
Galveston area remains dangerous in Ike's wake
With Wall Street in turmoil, some turn to religion
Hurricane Katrina Pics
Picture of huge diamond weighing nearly 500 carats
Diamond found in Lesotho among largest ever: company
UK experts say Stonehenge was place of healing
Morgan Stanley to sell 20 pct stake in itself
13 hurt by vehicle attack in Israel; driver killed
Markets remain on edge as investors seek safety
NYC Trade Center dig exposes Ice Age landscape
Sept 25 2008
Bush warns 'entire economy is in danger'
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Wednesday that lawmakers risk a cascade of wiped-out retirement savings, rising home foreclosures, lost jobs and closed businesses if they fail to act on a massive financial rescue plan. "Our entire economy is in danger," he said.
"Without immediate action by Congress, American could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold," Bush said in a 12-minute prime-time address delivered from the White House East Room that he hoped would help rescue his tough-sell bailout package. "Ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession."
Said Bush: "We must not let this happen."
The unprecedented $700 billion bailout, which the Bush administration asked Congress last weekend to approve before it adjourns, is meeting with deep skepticism, especially from conservatives in Bush's own Republican Party who are revolting at the high price tag and massive private-sector intervention by government. Though there is general agreement that something must be done to address the spiraling economic problems, Bush has been forced to accept changes almost daily, based on demands from the right and left.
Seeking to explain himself to conservatives, Bush stressed he was reluctant to put taxpayer money on the line to help businesses that had made bad decisions and that the rescue is not aimed at saving individual companies. He tried to address some of the major complaints from Democrats by promising that CEOs of failed companies won't be rewarded, while warning he would draw the line at regulations he determined would hamper economic growth.
"With the situation becoming more precarious by the day, I faced a choice: to step in with dramatic government action or to stand back and allow the irresponsible actions by some to undermine the financial security of all," Bush said.
The president turned himself into an economics professor for much of the address, tracing the origins of the problem back a decade.
But while generally acknowledging risky and poorly thought-out financial decisions at many levels of society, Bush never assigned blame to any specific entity, such as his administration, the quasi-independent mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or the Wall Street firms that built rising profits on increasingly speculative mortgage-backed securities. Instead, he spoke in terms of investment banks that "found themselves saddled with" the toxic assets the government is now proposing to buy and banks that "found themselves" with questionable balance sheets.
Intensive, personal lobbying of lawmakers is not usually Bush's style as president, unlike some predecessors. He does not often make calls or twist arms on behalf of a legislative priority.
But with the nation facing the biggest financial meltdown in decades, Bush took the unusual step of asking Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, one of whom will inherit the financial mess in four months, and key congressional leaders of both parties to a White House meeting on Thursday to work on a compromise.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the senator would attend the meeting scheduled for the afternoon, and senior McCain advisers said he would, too. The plans of the other invitees were unknown. The White House said that the idea for the joint meeting was McCain's and that aides went about setting it up after Bush and McCain spoke Wednesday afternoon.
In another move welcome at the White House, Obama and McCain issued a joint statement using their own dire language to urge lawmakers to act. The two candidates — bitterly fighting each other for the White House but coming together over this issue — said the situation offers a chance for politicians to prove Washington's worth.
"The plan that has been submitted to Congress by the Bush administration is flawed, but the effort to protect the American economy must not fail," they said. "This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe."
However, the Oval Office rivals were not putting politics aside entirely. McCain asked Obama to agree to delay their first debate, scheduled for Friday, while Obama said it should go ahead.
White House and administration officials have warned repeatedly in recent days of a coming "financial calamity."
But that has not closed the deal, which for many recalls previous warnings of grave threats from Bush — such as before the Iraq war — that did not materialize. So Bush's goal with his speech, his first prime-time address in 377 days, was to frame the debate in layman's terms to show the depths of the crisis, explain how it affects the people's daily lives and inspire the public to demand action from Washington.
He said that more banks could fail, the stock market could plummet and erase retirement accounts, businesses could find it hard to get credit and be forced to close, wiping out jobs for millions of Americans.
He ended on a positive note, predicting lawmakers would "rise to the occasion" and that the nation's economy will overcome "a moment of great challenge."
With so many crises hitting the United States at once, the presidential race has taken a back seat and so has Bush's involvement in politics. Bush canceled a campaign trip to Florida on Wednesday to deal with the problem, the third time in a week that he has scrapped his attendance at out-of-town fundraisers, either because of the market turmoil or Hurricane Ike.
The economic crisis also is almost certain to overshadow the rest of Bush's four months left in office and could hugely impact his legacy. It has been assumed that the long-term view of Bush's presidency was to be shaped largely by Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, the dire economic problems and the aftermath of the government's attempted solution will certainly be added to that list.
Lawmakers: Financial bailout agreement reached
Stocks rise on bailout hopes; credit remains tight
Gina Carano calls press to complain about fame
New home sales and factory orders fall in August
Gulf seafood industry crippled by Ike's damage
Sept 26 2008
Tropical Storm Kyle steams north in the Atlantic
Swiss man flies over Channel on jet wing
Gymnast blames slip of tongue for age discrepancy
Phelps returns home, picks up foundation donation
BALTIMORE (AP)—Michael Phelps’ long-awaited return home was little more than a stopover in a whirlwind journey that has been both tiring and exhilarating.
Returning to the pool where he honed his swimming skills, Phelps accepted a $250,000 donation Thursday from Kellogg’s for his charitable foundation.
“I wanted to come back to Baltimore. I missed it,” he said after accepting the grant. “This is the place where I grew up and I started everything. I wanted to be back here, close to my family and close to my friends.”
There may come a time soon when Phelps can spend time at home reminiscing about his incredible performance at the Beijing Olympics, where he won a record-setting eight gold medals. But after arriving from Atlanta on Wednesday, he spent the night at a neighbor’s house before preparing to leave again.
“Back on the road tonight or tomorrow,” he said.
Phelps has been to so many places and met so many people that he often wakes up without a clue if it’s a Friday or a Tuesday.
“I usually know where I am; I just don’t know the date or what day of the week it is. Those are the two things I have trouble with keeping track of,” he said.
In the aftermath of his trip to Beijing, Phelps has been to London, received a parade at Disney World in Florida, hosted Saturday Night Live and been a guest at the MTV Video Music Awards. He’s met politicians, movie stars and athletes in other sports.
Asking Phelps to identify the most memorable moment is like making him choose his favorite gold medal (he owns an Olympic-record 14).
“It’s weird. I can’t really pick one,” he said. “When you do SNL or go to the VMAs and introduce Lil Wayne, or meeting all these basketball players, actresses and actors, it’s something you never really realize what happened.
“It’s just a roller coaster ride and I’m enjoying it. I’ve never been on a ride like this. I’m having fun, though. That’s really all that matters.”
The news conference was held at Meadowbrook Aquatic Center, which he’s negotiating to buy. He began training there when he was 7 years old.
“We’re still in the process of seeing what’s going to happen. We’re playing it all my ear, taking it step by step,” Phelps said. “There’s probably going to be some change over the next few weeks.”
Perhaps then he can actually make himself comfortable in his new multimillion dollar home.
“I’m working on getting some stuff into my house, and hopefully I’m going to have some normality in my life over the next few weeks,” he said.
At the news conference, Kellogg Co. revealed that Phelps’ photo will be featured on Frosted Flakes, Corn Flakes, Club Crackers and Rice Krispies treats.
Phelps had not seen his image on the products before they were unveiled in a ceremony at the pool. Seeing them for the first time, he smiled broadly and exclaimed, “Awesome!”
He smiled again when presented the oversized check for The Michael Phelps Foundation, which promotes water safety and youth swimming. It got started with a $1 million bonus Phelps earned from another sponsor, Speedo, for his gold-medal haul.
Phelps intends to begin training for the 2012 Olympics in January or February. After he’s done swimming, then what?
“I have no idea. I have four more years in my career and then I’m going to retire,” he said. “After that, I couldn’t tell you.”
Market meltdown hindering funding for London 2012
5 Russian race walkers banned for doping
Olympic, Paralympic flags raised over London
Sept 28 2008
Towns That Could Be Hit Hardest by the Financial Crisis
Maine preps even as hurricane veers toward Canada
Recruiter Roundtable: The 'Weakness' Question
Tips for Handling One of the Worst Interview Questions
10 Things to Never Eat From Vending Machines
Sept 29 2008
Namibia: Race against time to save ancient Portuguese shipwreck
Renting Makes More Financial Sense Than Homeownership
Bush confident bailout bill will stabilize economy
Citigroup to buy Wachovia banking operations
Namibia: Race against time to save ancient Portuguese shipwreck
Stocks tumble as bailout plan fails in House
Afghanistan has seen 'spiral downwards': top US general
Rock drummer released from Ga. burn hospital
House defeats $700B financial markets bailout
Stocks jump after steep sell-off; Key rate rises
S&P: Home prices post 16 pct. annual drop in July
Sept 30 2008
Reports warn of problems at ground zero hub in NYC
Earth's Air Divided by Chemical Equator
Candidates, Bush urge reviving financial bailout
Publicist says Janet Jackson is hospitalized
Doctors: Shot Jacksonville lineman is paralyzed
Laura moving toward cold waters of north Atlantic
State rail projects get boost as driving declines
Senate to vote on rescue plan with added tax cut
The Bailout Defeat: A Political Credibility Crisis
Debate offers Palin, Biden high risks, big rewards
Oct 2 2008
The Karate Kid, Part III
Next president will reshape U.S. courts from top to bottom
Ike evacuees complain of violence at shelter
Bid of $1.75 on eBay gets abandoned Saginaw home
Oct 3 2008
Jury ready to begin deliberations in OJ trial
Somali pirates say they will fight commando raid
Illegal immigration declines as U.S. economy falters
Oil falls below $94 on falling global demand
Spike Lee film angers Italy's surviving partisans
TV pundits: Palin, Biden debate no game-changer
Advocates Protest 'Blindness'
America's Most Reliable Airlines
We ranked the dependability of the nation's 10 major airlines — and the results might surprise you
25 Piano Men (And Women)
Bailout bill gains momentum on House floor
Wells Fargo agrees to buy Wachovia, Citi objects
Stocks jump before financial rescue vote in House
California may seek Treasury financing
Astronaut's diary goes on display in Jerusalem
Bailout bill gains momentum on House floor
Big fossil found in Ike-ravaged home's front yard
Britain planned taped messages after nuclear war
LONDON - The doomsday script was never used by the British Broadcasting Corp., but decades later the message remains haunting.
"This is the wartime broadcasting service," the announcement begins. "This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons."
The decades-old statement continues: Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. The announcer promises to bring further information as soon as possible and tells listeners to stay tuned.
A draft of the message was released by the National Archives on Friday, along with letters between government bureaucrats and BBC executives offering a rare glimpse at a Cold War secret plan to deal with a nuclear attack.
"This is chilling to read," said Mark Dunton, a contemporary history specialist at the National Archives.
At the same time, he said, the plan reveals the unique place the BBC holds in British life, with the correspondence stressing the need for the BBC to make the announcement.
Government officials planned to pre-record the message in 1974 so it could be used to communicate with the British public if nuclear war broke out.
"You see concern that any such announcements should be made by a BBC voice," Dunton said. "They feel a real need to reassure the public that in the event of a nuclear catastrophe the BBC is still there. This is seen as very, very important."
But some officials cautioned at the time that repeating the same taped announcement might lead people to believe the BBC had, in fact, been destroyed.
"If an unfamiliar voice repeats the same announcement hour after hour for 12 hours, listeners may begin to suspect that they are listening to a machine set to switch on every hour or perhaps even that it has got stuck and perhaps after all the BBC has been obliterated," T.C. Greenwood, an official at the Department of Industry, warned in a letter dated June 20, 1974.
"The reassurance that the BBC is still there would not be gleaned from a recorded announcement," the letter added.
It was eventually agreed that a taped announcement was not ideal but was better than nothing. However, it is not clear from the Home Office files released Friday whether tapes were ever made.
"It sort of peters out," Dunton said of the file dealing with the proposal, which was discussed in 1973-75, a time when tensions between the United States and Russia were high.
The draft script offered the public rudimentary instructions about how to try to stay clear of lethal radioactive fallout and advised people not to flee because they would be safer in their homes than anywhere else.
"You may die" if you go outside, the announcer was to say.
"Remember, there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away," the script reads. "By leaving your houses you could be exposing yourselves to greater danger. If you leave you may find yourself without food, without water, without accommodation and without protection."
The public is told to turn off all fuel and gas supplies and to ration food because no fresh food can be expected for two weeks or longer. Water is also to be rationed for essential drinking and cooking needs — people are told not to flush their toilets because water will be too precious for that use.
"Water means life," the announcement states. "Don't waste it."
Oct 5 2008
Pelican Bay State Prison
Dubai aims to top its own world's tallest tower
Credit crisis adds to pressures on auto dealers
AP Investigation: Ike environmental toll apparent
October 6 2008
Rescue plan disappointment contributes to sell-off
European, Asian markets plunge on crisis fears
I was so darned BORED tonight, that I read parts of these articles.....
Microchip implant (human)
6 die in family murder-suicide in upscale LA home
McCain revisiting Keating 5 banking scandal again
U.S. gasoline under $3.50 for first time in 6 months
Tropical Storm Marco closing in on Mexico's coast
Wall Street looks to recover after global rout
Astros pitcher arrested in wedding reception melee
Dow dips more than 500 on worries about financials
Retirement accounts have lost $2 trillion
Congress scolds former AIG executives over crisis
America in financial crisis
Spacecraft Reveals Stunning New Views of Mercury
Gene discovery may help hunt for blindness cure
Everything's changed now -- for the worse
Oct 7 2008
McCain, Obama clash over causes, cures of crisis
Half-ton Mexican man dies after pleading for help
Wall St sinks for fifth day as credit worries mount
Bernanke signals readiness to cut rates
Asia stocks drop for 5th day on unending crisis
Asian stocks tumble; UK readies bank rescue
Narcissists Tend to Become Leaders
Oct 10 2008
Will Fed's Moves Work? If Not, What Can It Do Next?
US stocks extend huge losses over credit concerns
European markets plunge again; Nikkei plummets
October 12 2008
Western ski resort link
Oct 14 2008
Wind-whipped LA wildfire doubles in size
5 Daily Brain Exercises
Oct 18 2008
College student swindler sentenced to 5 years
Man gets life in killing of Vt. college student
Spider-Man Returns, But Will Kirsten Dunst?
Oct 19 2008
Sparse plug-ins for electric cars spark creativity
Oct 22 2008
Longtime Mall Santa Out in the Cold
Tysons Corner Favorite Being Replaced This Year
Oct 22 2008
Palin says election result rests in God's hands
DENVER – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin describes herself as a "hard-core pro-lifer" and expresses confidence that in spite of disheartening polls, "putting this in God's hands, that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on Nov. 4."
In an interview with evangelical leader James Dobson that aired Wednesday, Palin said she thought Republican presidential candidate John McCain would implement the GOP platform if elected — "I do, from the bottom of my heart" — but McCain doesn't support the platform on three issues important to evangelicals: abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research.
The platform calls for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, an issue McCain says should be left to individual states. Similarly, the platform seeks a constitutional ban on all abortions; again, McCain supports allowing states to decide the question. McCain supports research using embryonic stem cells, which the platform opposes.
Palin called it a "strong platform" and told Dobson, "They are there, they are solid, we stand on them and, again, I believe that it is the right agenda for the country at this time."
The Alaska governor talked by phone with Dobson for about 20 minutes Monday while she was in Colorado campaigning. Dobson's Focus on the Family radio program aired the interview Wednesday.
Dobson asked whether Palin was discouraged by polls showing the GOP ticket behind.
"To me, it motivates us, makes us work that much harder," Palin said. "And it also strengthens my faith, because I'm going to know, at the end of the day, putting this in God's hands, that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on Nov. 4. So I'm not discouraged at all."
Palin has not focused on her faith on the campaign trail, but it clearly has energized evangelical leaders like Dobson, whose radio show reaches an estimated 1.5 million Americans daily.
Dobson has come around to supporting the McCain-Palin ticket after previously saying he could not in good conscience vote for McCain. He endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee late in the primaries.
Palin thanked Dobson and supporters for their prayers and — when Dobson inquired about the importance of faith in her life — said: "It is my foundation, yes, my Christian faith is."
She also used terms like "prayer warrior" and "intercession" — words that might be unknown to the average listener but are common vocabulary in Pentecostal Christianity. Palin spent 20 years in a Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church, but she usually refers to her faith generically as Christian, not even evangelical.
"It is that intercession that is so needed and so greatly appreciated," Palin told Dobson. "And I can feel it too, Dr. Dobson. I can feel the power of prayer, and that strength that is provided through our prayer warriors across this nation."
She continued: "When we hear along the rope lines that people are interceding for us and praying for us, it's our reminder to do the same, to put this all in God's hands, to seek his perfect will for this nation, and to of course seek his wisdom and guidance in putting this nation back on the right track."
Describing herself as a "hard-core pro-lifer," Palin said the birth of a son with Down syndrome was "this opportunity for me to really be walking the walk and not just talking the talk. There's purpose in this also and for a greater good to be met there."
Palin said the campaign had to have faith that its message will be heard "minus the filter of the mainstream media."
"That filter has to be erased," she said. "So we have to have faith in the wisdom of the people that they'll understand what our message is. But even bigger that then, I have to have that faith that God is going to help us get that message out there."
Geek in Review: The WFS Story, Part I
Wil Wheaton's Geek in Review: WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER, Part I
Classy Democrats Shoot Up McCain Supporter's Home
Posted 24 October 2008 - 11:51 AM
Stocks, oil, gold tank on growing recession fears
Stock market rout spreads around the world as recession worries turn to dismay
Friday October 24, 11:09 am ET
By Patrick Rizzo and Ellen Simon, Associated Press Writers
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock markets around the world plummeted Friday and oil prices plunged to their lowest in more than a year. Even gold, the traditional safe haven in times of panic, fell sharply.
The common denominator was growing fears that governments, central banks and finance ministers seem powerless to stop the deepening of a global recession that will slam corporate earnings and lead to deep job losses around the world.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 330 points in morning trading. Before the open of New York trading, Dow futures had dropped 550 points, triggering a temporary trading halt in stock futures contracts in an effort to slow the decline. If the Dow drops 1,100 points before 2 p.m. the New York Stock Exchange would be forced to use "circuit breakers" that could lead to temporarily shutting the market, something it hasn't done since 1997.
"This is beyond volatile: It is chaotic," Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics wrote in note to clients. "This is the kind of day when the central banks step into the market with an 'unexpected' interest rate move to calm things down."
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is monitoring the markets and staying in close touch with market participants, a spokeswoman said.
Oil fell sharply and traded near $63 a barrel amid weakening global demand for crude -- despite a decision by the OPEC cartel to cut production quotas by 1.5 million barrels a day from next month.
The dollar plunged below 93 yen, a 13-year low. Gold fell as low as $681 an ounce, its lowest since January last year.
It was already a black Friday overseas. Japan's Nikkei stock average dropped 9.6 percent. Germany's benchmark DAX index plunged as much as 10.8 percent, France's CAC40 slid 10 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 shed 8.7 percent.
"We are getting used to wild swings in the markets, but today's moves verge on the bizarre," said Julian Jessop, chief international economist at Capital Economics.
The only good news was the 5.5 percent increase in September existing home sales. Median home prices, however, dropped to $191,600, down 9 percent from a year ago.
The U.K.'s third quarter gross domestic product fell 0.5 percent, with the steepest decrease in 18 years putting the country on the brink of recession. Shares of Japan's Sony sank more than 14 percent when it slashed its earnings forecast for the fiscal year. In Germany, Daimler's stock dropped 11.4 percent in morning trading; it reported lower third-quarter earnings and abandoned its 2008 profit and revenue guidance.
Emerging market economies and currencies are coming under extreme pressure. Investors are pulling money out of countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia on fears vulnerable countries will not only be hit hard by the financial crisis but may also default on debt.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 8.3 percent and markets in India, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines were also down sharply.
Brazilian stocks slumped for the fourth straight day, with the Ibovespa index down 3.9 percent in midday trading. Mexico's benchmark index was down 6 percent.
"Periods of panic punctuated by occasional calm appears to be the manner of things for now," said Daragh Maher, a strategist at Calyon Corporate and Investment Bank in London.
Investors around the world seemingly have become more convinced the global economy is on the brink of a long and painful recession, if it's not already in one.
Over the past few weeks, governments have taken unprecedented steps to thaw frozen credit markets and avert the downturn. But while there are signs that credit markets are beginning to thaw -- rates banks charge each other for short-term loans have been falling in recent days -- the outlook from companies reporting earnings are almost universally cautious about their prospects going forward.
That means companies will be reluctant to buy new equipment or hire new workers. U.S. unemployment claims, already well into recession territory, are rising even faster than expected. Economists warn the worst is yet to come.
On Thursday, the government said new applications for unemployment insurance rose 15,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 478,000, above analysts' estimates of 470,000. Jobless claims above 400,000 are considered a sign of recession.
Goldman Sachs, Chrysler and Xerox all announced they were cutting workers by the thousands, adding to the woes of an economy beset by tighter credit and wobbly banks. Chrysler said it would cut about 5,000 salaried workers, one quarter of the company's 18,500-person white collar work force.
PNC Financial Services said it is acquiring National City bank for $5.8 billion and planned to receive $7.7 billion in capital from the federal government as part of its $700 billion financial rescue plan.
The White House, in unusually stark language, acknowledged Thursday the economy is going through what spokeswoman Dana Perino called a "rough ride."
"We expect our GDP (gross domestic product) number next week not to be a good one and the next quarter to be tough as well," Perino said.
The Commerce Department will release its first estimate of third-quarter economic performance Oct. 30, and Wall Street analysts project it will show the economy contracted by 0.5 percent, according to Thomson/IFR.
Many economists expect the decline to continue into the current quarter and the first three months of 2009, if not longer. The classic definition of a recession is at least two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, testifying before a House committee, said he could not see "how we can avoid a significant rise in layoffs and unemployment."
The apparently universal gloomy outlook was feeding the selling.
The Standard & Poor's 500 was down 33.29, or 3.6 percent, to 874.82. Sam Stovall, S&P's chief investment strategist, put a 700 target on the index, saying S&P's equity analysts expect operating results for the 500 large companies to decline 10 percent in 2008.
Stocks dive on belief global recession is at hand
The new superfruits
Weekend Reading: How Bad Will It Get?
Oct 28 2008
Runaway poodle delays flights at Boston
BOSTON – Choochy the poodle is a "runway runaway." Boston's Logan International Airport officials say Choochy escaped from her kennel as she was being unloaded after a flight from Detroit Saturday night and scampered across runways and taxiways.
Airport spokesman Phil Orlandella says the poodle evaded airport personnel for more than 17 hours and delayed at least eight flights.
About 15 state police, firefighters, operations personnel and even electricians chased Choochy late into the night, delaying flights for up 30 minutes.
Orlandella says the poodle was frightened, tired and hungry when she was finally lured to safety with food early Sunday afternoon.
The dog was treated for minor injuries at an animal hospital and returned to her family.
4 Surprising signs you'll live a long time
Financial crisis heralds era of "new seriousness"
Oct 29 2008
AirTran Baggage policies
Nov 5 2008
Obama to begin intelligence briefings
President-elect Obama inherits a world of troubles
Palin for Prez? She Eyes 2012 Prize
President Obama's First Step: Reset Expectations
Obama turns to building a presidency
Transcript: Obama's acceptance speech
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Nov 7 2008
GM, Ford losses worse than expected, burning cash
Jobless rate bolts to 14-year high of 6.5 percent
GM reports $2.5B 3Q loss, says running out of cash
My Chance Encounter With Obama in Hawaii
Cash found in Ohio house's walls becomes nightmare
CLEVELAND – A contractor who found $182,000 in Depression-era currency hidden in a bathroom wall has ended up with only a few thousand dollars, but he feels some vindication.
The windfall discovery amounted to little more than grief for contractor Bob Kitts, who couldn't agree on how to split the money with homeowner Amanda Reece.
It didn't help Reece much, either. She testified in a deposition that she was considering bankruptcy and that a bank recently foreclosed on one of her properties.
And 21 descendants of Patrick Dunne — the wealthy businessman who stashed the money that was minted in a time of bank collapses and joblessness — will each get a mere fraction of the find.
"If these two individuals had sat down and resolved their disputes and divided the money, the heirs would have had no knowledge of it," said attorney Gid Marcinkevicius, who represents the Dunne estate. "Because they were not able to sit down and divide it in a rational way, they both lost."
Kitts was tearing the bathroom walls out of an 83-year-old home near Lake Erie in 2006 when he discovered two green metal lockboxes suspended inside a wall below the medicine chest, hanging from a wire. Inside were white envelopes with the return address for "P. Dunne News Agency."
"I ripped the corner off of one," Kitts said during a deposition in a lawsuit filed by Dunne's estate. "I saw a 50 and got a little dizzy."
He called Reece, a former high school classmate who had hired him for a remodeling project.
They counted the cash and posed for photographs, both grinning like lottery jackpot winners.
But how to share? She offered 10 percent. He wanted 40 percent. From there things went sour.
A month after The Plain Dealer reported on the case in December 2007, Dunne's estate got involved, suing for the right to the money.
By then there was little left to claim.
Reece testified in a deposition that she spent about $14,000 on a trip to Hawaii and had sold some of the rare late 1920s bills. She said about $60,000 was stolen from a shoe box in her closet but testified that she never reported the theft to police.
Kitts said Reece accused him of stealing the money and began leaving him threatening phone messages. Marcinkevicius doesn't believe the money was stolen but said he couldn't prove otherwise.
Reece's phone number has been disconnected, and her attorney Robert Lazzaro did not return a call seeking comment. There were no court records showing that Reece had filed for bankruptcy.
Kitts said he lost a lot of business because media reports on the case portrayed him as greedy, but he feels vindicated by the court's decision to give him a share.
"I was not the bad guy that everybody made me out to be," Kitts said. "I didn't do anything wrong."
He's often asked why he didn't keep his mouth shut and pocket the money. He says he wasn't raised that way.
"It was a neat experience, something that won't happen again," Kitts said. "In that regard, it was pretty fascinating; seeing that amount of money in front of you was breathtaking. In that regard, I don't regret it.
"The threats and all — that's the part that makes you wish it never happened."
Nov 12 2008
Police: Woman slain as she tried to leave KKK rite
Oil falls below $56 on grim world economic outlook
Biden son headed to Iraq
Nov 14 2008
Biggest Selling Singles In The United States
Crude continues decline despite signals from OPEC
Obama has more threats than other presidents-elect
Bush wants $25B in loans released to carmakers
Posted 15 November 2008 - 02:34 AM
Obama win stirs hope in tough South Los Angeles
World leaders move toward tougher financial rules
Michael Jackson sued by Arab sheikh in UK court
Nov 22 2008
Nepal 'Buddha Boy' returns to jungle
Photos of the "Buddha Boy"
Musical at Iowa college acts out scary Bible tales
Looking Ahead: A Bad Recession or Something Worse?
Myanmar Sentences Comedian To 45-Year Sentence For Helping Cyclone Victims
Nov 28 2008
Court: Sarkozy Voodoo doll should not be stabbed
Nov 29 2008
Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down
Posted 03 December 2008 - 10:28 PM
Taking Control of the Digital World
Technology Has Let Us Reshape Our Lives, But With This Revolution Come Regrets
This is the final Real Time column, and I'd like to use it to consider what I see as a dominant theme of our digital age, one that's emerged again and again in this year's columns.
That theme is this: Wherever possible, we are taking control of our digital lives. When we see a new gadget or service that offers us greater control, we adopt it with disorienting speed, consigning old ways of doing things to oblivion and refusing to go back to the way things were. By taking control, we're becoming better organized, more efficient and better informed about what interests us. We have many more choices, and the kind of power over our time that was the stuff of dreams not so long ago.
But in taking control, we also enter a new world, one in which long-established business models have been rendered useless, and the old social interactions and rhythms of life have been replaced by new ones that aren't fully formed. That's an uneasy feeling, as if everything we took for granted turned out to be built on sand. Moreover, as with so many technological advances, the ability to take control is driving pressure to come along or get left behind.
You can see this change at work in the way we consume information and entertainment, how we shop, and increasingly how we communicate.
For years we bought albums and the occasional single. (And groused that albums increasingly seemed to be a couple of singles and a bunch of filler.) We built our social lives around network-TV schedules, making sure that we were home for "Seinfeld" or "The X-Files." We got our news from a daily newspaper (we were generally loyal to one, occasionally picking up another if a headline caught our eye) and an evening-news show of our choice.
For more and more people that's now a portrait of a vanished world.
Once the digital-music revolution gave us the ability to buy single songs (or, too often, to steal them), we took control of how we consume music, rejecting albums and upending the music industry. Once the DVR gave us the ability to find TV shows easily and record them without fussing with videocassettes, we started watching when we pleased, stopped caring which network a show belonged to and skipped through the ads that pay for free TV. (And if we missed something, we looked for a streaming clip online the next day.) Once the Web let us find and read news whenever we wanted to, we turned our back on print papers and the evening news, replacing them with a patchwork of stories derived from a dizzying number of sources, some of which didn't exist just a few years ago.
Many of us now listen to music, watch TV, and find news in radically new ways, and we aren't going back -- it increasingly strikes us as absurd to buy a CD to get one song, stay home at 9 on Thursday nights because that's when a show is first broadcast, or get our news from a single source. Do we care that our choices have thrown whole industries into chaos? Not in the least -- after years of doing things media companies' way, it's our turn. They'll do it our way, or get replaced.
It's not just entertainment. The mall, grocery store and bookstore now compete with Web versions of themselves, ones that let us shop in the middle of the night and have things sent posthaste to our door. We expect all these retailers to compete on price and customer service, to deliver quickly, to take returns, and to do whatever it takes to satisfy us.
And it's not just commerce. Once our friends and family knew our phone number and called us on our home phones -- but people who were neither could look us up and do the same. Now we increasingly carry cellphones instead of using landlines, and we don't want our new numbers listed. We don't see the need, because even though we have phones all the time, we're also reachable via text messages and email and social-networking sites -- and in many situations we're coming to prefer those communications methods to the insistent, one-size-fits-some summons of a ringing phone. Sometimes we don't need to communicate directly at all -- we drop by our friends' Web pages, Facebook profiles or MySpace outposts to get the latest, and update ours so they can do the same.
Soon enough we will take the next communications step, establishing a single link for those who want to get in touch with us. That will cement our control over our personal communications, and we'll decide to be findable again. Those we're close with will be able to reach us most anytime, with their communications funneled to wherever we are in whatever form we choose. Those we don't know will be able to send us a message, but we'll decide what to do with it, and what kind of access to grant.
We've taken control every time we've had a chance to, but not without regrets. We worry that our local paper will disappear, that our mom-and-pop businesses won't be able to compete with Web entities, and that withdrawing into online communities will undermine our real-world neighborhoods. In taking control, we wonder if we're also making a smaller world for ourselves, one in which serendipitous encounters are less likely and our opinions reverberate in online echo chambers of our own choosing.
And as has always been true with technological advances, the ability to take control drives the need to do so. Just as voice mail went from a curiosity to a must-have, cellphones and PDAs have made it so we're increasingly expected to be reachable -- on our own terms, perhaps, but reachable. Soon potential employers will find it odd, and perhaps even suspicious, if we don't have a Web page of our own -- and we'll feel compelled to have one, for fear that otherwise the information about us scattered across the Net will give the wrong impression. At least within the boundaries of mainstream tastes, those who sample only the TV governed by real-time schedules and the music available in physical stores will find themselves in an also-ran world of limited choices before too long. Add it all together, and those of us who haven't already opted to take control of our digital-era lives will increasingly feel compelled to do so.
To be sure, most of us will be perfectly happy in this new world and glad to have control of it, just as we've been pleased to find alternatives to solicitors' dinnertime phone calls and holiday-shopping crowds and unlabeled videotapes of uncertain age. We'll have regrets, but for the most part we'll be too busy to get caught up in them. And soon enough even those will be softened and erased. We'll be hurtling along to new wonders, and will struggle to remember that things were ever different.
Thank you to everyone who read and wrote over six years and 248 columns -- it's been a privilege to bounce ideas about technology off you, and I've learned an enormous amount from your questions, thoughts and criticisms. Share your thoughts with me and other Online Journal readers, or email me.
Posted 18 January 2009 - 08:01 PM
FXUS61 KRLX 182149
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHARLESTON WV
450 PM EST SUN JAN 18 2009
-- Changed Discussion --
COLD FRONT MOVES SLOWS DOWN OVER SOUTHERN COUNTIES LATE
TONIGHT..WAITING FOR UPPER AIR DISTURBANCE TO PASS EARLY MONDAY
MORNING. WEAKER UPPER WAVES STILL PASS THROUGH TUESDAY.
-- End Changed Discussion --
.NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
-- Changed Discussion --
BEEN KEEPING THE SEAT CONSTANTLY WARM TODAY...WITH ALL THE FEATURES
TO MONITOR. BUT STILL WAITING ON THE BIG PROLONG WINTER STORM FOR
THE FIRST VORT MAX PULLED EAST OF THE MTNS ARND 18Z SUNDAY...NEXT
MOVING INTO CNTRL KY AT 19Z WITH INCREASE IN PCPN EXPECTED FOR LATE
AFTN IN SRN COUNTIES SPCLY SRN COUNTIES.
THE FRONT IS BEGINNING TO BEND AS FIGURED THIS MRNG...PUSHING FASTER
E THRU NRN WV...BUT STRUGGLING TO PUSH INTO SRN WV. AT 18Z THE FRONT
WAS BETWEEN PKB AND CKB ON SW TO NR HTS. WILL TAKE A FINAL
LOOK AT TEMPERATURES AROUND 19Z...BUT WAS SLOWER IN DROPPING
TEMPERATURES IN THE SRN VALLEYS...MAY STILL BE SOME RAIN MIXED
IN...AROUND GRUNDY LATE THIS AFTN INTO ELY EVE.
THE THIRD AND MAIN UPPER AIR DISTURBANCE IN WISCONSIN AT 18Z.
THE WSW WAS STARTED EARLIER TODAY TO INCLUDE THE FIRST DISTURBANCE
DURING THE EARLY AFTERNOON FOR THE WV MOUNTAINS. WILL EXPAND WSW
FURTHER S DOWN THE MOUNTAIN COUNTIES TO VA IN THE LATE AFTN
RELEASE...TO ACCOUNT FOR 2ND AND 3RD DISTURBANCES. OF COURSE OUR JOB
WILL BE TO MONITOR DEVELOPMENTS OVERNIGHT. DID INCLUDE SOME OF THE
LOWLAND COUNTIES FOR MARGINAL ADVISORY CRITERIA...SINCE THOSE
COUNTIES ARE EXPECTED TO BE ALONG THE LOW LEVEL BAROCLINIC ZONE LATE
AS MENTIONED THIS MRNG...STILL FIGURING THE LOW LEVEL BOUNDARY WILL
STRUGGLE TO SINK S OF CRW OVERNIGHT.
-- End Changed Discussion --
.SHORT TERM /MONDAY THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT/...
-- Changed Discussion --
PERIOD STARTS WITH AXIS OF H500 SHORT/VORT MAX NEAR HTS. GFS/NAM
SIMILAR HANDLING THIS FEATURE AS IT SWINGS ACROSS DURING THE MORNING
AND EARLY AFTERNOON...ALTHOUGH GFS MAY BE A TOUCH QUICKER. FAIRLY
DEEP LAYER OF MOISTURE WILL COMBINE WITH CVA-INDUCED LIFT AND IDEAL
SNOW GROWTH TEMP PROFILE FOR CONTINUED SNOW ACCUMULATIONS.
EXPECTING AN ADDITIONAL 1-2 INCHES IN THE ADVISORY AREA THROUGH
18Z...LESS TO THE NORTH AND WEST. SNOW COVERAGE/INTENSITY WILL
BEGIN TO WANE THEREAFTER AS SHORT WAVE AXIS MOVES EAST OF MOUNTAINS.
STILL KEPT AT LEAST SCATTERED POPS IN MOST AREAS IN COLD NW FLOW.
EXPECTING FURTHER ACCUMULATIONS OF AN INCH OR SO IN THE MOUNTAINOUS
AREAS...AS AN UPSLOPE COMPONENT IS ABLE TO DEVELOP.
COLD NORTHWEST FLOW CONTINUES FOR MONDAY NIGHT/TUESDAY...WITH
VARIOUS WEAK RIPPLES DROPPING THROUGH THE FLOW. KEPT GENERAL CHANCY
POPS THROUGH THIS PERIOD AREAWIDE...HIGHER IN THE MOUNTAINS OF
COURSE. NOT MUCH SYNOPTIC FOCUSING TO WORK WITH...AS MOST OF THE
ENERGY GETS DUMPED INTO THE BASE OF THE MAIN TROUGH. THIS OCCURS
WELL OFF TO THE SOUTHWEST...ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI AND TENNESSEE
THIS ENERGY HELPS TO FINALLY KICK THE TROUGH EASTWARD...AND BROAD
ANTICYCLONIC FLOW APPROACHES BY 12Z WEDNESDAY. HAVE CONTINUED
DECREASING COVERAGE OF SNOW SHOWERS...AND SOME CLEARING SKIES IN THE
WESTERN COUNTIES BY SUNRISE.
GENERALLY LEANED TOWARDS THE COLDER SIDE OF MOS GUIDANCE THROUGH THE
-- End Changed Discussion --
.LONG TERM /WEDNESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY/...
-- Changed Discussion --
INITIALLY...MODELS HAVE GOOD AGREEMENT IN SHOWING A WARM FRONT
MOVING INTO THE REGION ON WEDNESDAY WITH LITTLE MOISTURE AS THE
UPPER TROUGH BEGINS TO EXIT THE REGION. THE GFS AND ECMWF BOTH SHOW
ONE LAST SHORTWAVE ENTERING THE BACK SIDE OF THE...BUT IT LOOKS LIKE
THIS ENERGY WILL CROSS TO THE NORTH. SO WITH SOME ISENTROPIC LIFT
DID ADD SOME SLIGHT CHANCE POPS ACROSS NRN WV AND OHIO WITH THE WARM
FRONT BUT AREAS FURTHER SOUTH THE MOISTURE DEPTH IS LACKING TO
SUPPORT SNOW SO LEFT IT DRY.
ON THURSDAY...HIGH PRESSURE FINALLY BUILDS IN WITH HEIGHTS ALOFT
BUILDING. THE FLOW ALOFT TURNS SWRLY AND PUSHES WARMER AIR IN SO
HAVE KEPT THE DRY FORECAST AND THE MILDER TEMPERATURES IN THE 40S
ACROSS THE REGION.
STARTING ON FRIDAY THE MODELS BEGIN TO DIVERGE HOWEVER AS BOTH SHOW
THE NEXT COLD FRONT AND UPPER LEVEL TROUGH DIVING SOUTHWARD ACROSS
THE GREAT LAKE STATES...WITH THE MOISTURE INITIALLY LACKING ALONG
THE FRONT. BUT HOW THINGS EVOLVE FROM THAT POINT FORWARD ARE IN
QUESTION. GFS BEGINS TO ALLOW SOME ENERGY TO CUT UNDER THE RIDGE
OFF THE WEST COAST AND THEN MERGES THIS ENERGY WITH THE FRONT AS IT
DROPS SE INTO THE OHIO VALLEY ON FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAY. THIS
WOULD PRODUCE AN APPRECIABLE PRECIPITATION EVENT IF IT EVOLVED THIS
WAY. BUT THE ECMWF ALLOWS NO ENERGY TO CUT UNDER THE RIDGE AND
KEEPS THE NRN STREAM DOMINANT. IT FORCES THE FRONT INTO THE SERN US
BY SATURDAY MORNING WITH ANOTHER STRONG POLAR HIGH PRESSURE BUILDING
IN FOR THE WEEKEND. AT THIS RANGE...BOTH MODELS HAVE BEEN
CONSISTENT WITH THEMSELVES SO THIS IS LEADING TO LOW CONFIDENCE
FCST. THUS HAVE ALLOWED FOR SOME LOW POPS ON SATURDAY WITH
TEMPERATURES IN THE 30S. ON SUNDAY HIGH PRESSURE IS OVERHEAD IN
BOTH MODELS SO HAVE GONE DRY AND COLDER.
-- End Changed Discussion --
.AVIATION /20Z SUNDAY THROUGH FRIDAY/...
SNOW SHOWERS OF VARYING INTENSITY AND DURATION THROUGH 18Z MONDAY.
SO HIGHLY VARIABLE IN VISIBILITY AND CEILINGS.
VSBY BLO 3 MILES AND CEILINGS 1 TO 2 THSD FT COMMON IN THE SNOW
SNOW SHOWERS MOST WIDESPREAD FROM CRW-CKB-EKN ON S. DRIER AIR
SHOULD HELP LIMIT SNOW SHOWER DURATION IN PKB VCNTY.
AVIATION OUTLOOK /BEYOND 18Z MONDAY/...OCCASIONAL IFR IN SNOW
SHOWERS THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT...BECOMING MORE LIMITED TO MOUNTAINS
AND EKN AND BKW CORRIDOR.
-- Changed Discussion --
WV...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY UNTIL 1 PM EST MONDAY FOR WVZ005-013-
KY...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY UNTIL 1 PM EST MONDAY FOR KYZ105.
VA...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY UNTIL 1 PM EST MONDAY FOR VAZ003-004.
-- End Changed Discussion --
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users