April 20, 2008

The races continues in Pennsylvania

As the Pennsylvania primary draws nearer, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have crossed the state to deliver their closing arguments, reported the New York Times.

Obama campaigned by train across the southeastern part of the state and waved to citizens who lined the tracks.
“Now it is our turn, Pennsylvania,� Obama said, speaking at his first stop in the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood. “This is a defining moment in our history. All of you are here because you can feel it.�
Clinton, on the other hand, drove and flew to her five event locations. According to the New York Times, a tone of urgency rang in Clinton’s voice. She delivered her speech as a faster speed, as if she was getting ready to travel to her next assembly.

While a bit stressed for time, Clinton pushed Pennsylvania voters.
“We have got to realize that our future really depends on who the next president is,� she said. “This is not a throw-away election. This is one of the most important elections we’ve ever faced.�
Only 10 primaries remain for the Democratic nomination. This makes Pennsylvania’s a critically important one.

April 12, 2008

Dropping G.E. earnings

General Electric shocked Wall Street on Friday when it reported disappointing first quarter results, reported the New York Times.

The report pushed the Dow Jones industrial average down about 2 percent. The company’s stock fell 13 percent, its biggest single-day lost in two decades.

The inability of General Electric to avoid current market forces emphasizes the global economic crisis. This is because the company has been viewed as a bellwether for the economy because of its varied operations.

The report has created concern for the outlook of other companies.

April 5, 2008

Job losses cause new aid package

Government officials reported Friday that tens of thousands of jobs have been lost for the third month in a row which caused top Democrats to call for new measures to help American workers, reported the New York Times.

The report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that 80,000 jobs had been eliminated in March. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said she would propose another economic stimulus package. This package would supplement the $150 billion in tax rebates which will be mailed to many Americans beginning next month.

Jobs and unemployment is a primary issue in the presidential election and candidates are already divided over ways to generate jobs and help the unemployed.

Both Democratic candidates, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, support the additional stimulus package. Republican candidate John McCain opposes the package and said that lower taxes and less regulation would generate jobs.

This year’s job losses are about equal to those that were lost in the last recession, in 2001. Acknowledging the waning employment rate, Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Wednesday that “a recession is possible.�

March 28, 2008

Ex-governor to be released from prison

Former governor of Alabama, Donald Siegelman, was ordered to be released from prison on Thursday, reported the New York Times.

The order was given by a federal appeals court. Siegelman will be released pending his appeal of a bribery conviction that Democrats say resulted from a politically driven prosecution.

The order said Siegelman raised substantial questions in his appeal of the case and could be released on bond from the federal prison in Oakdale, La where he has been serving his sentence. The questions were not confirmed but Siegelman’s lawyers have been arguing that the bribery charge on which he was convicted did not differ greatly from a political contribution.

“He should not have been manacled and taken off in the night,� said his lawyer, G. Robert Blakey, also a professor at the University of Notre Dame, citing the ex-governor’s immediate imprisonment after his conviction, a point of contention for his supporters.

It is not clear if the order to release Siegelman would limit his ability to travel outside Louisiana to testify in Washington.

March 15, 2008

Fake audits hid by G.O.P Committee Treasurer

Hundreds of thousands of dollars may have been stolen by the former treasurer of a Republican Congressional fund-raising committee, reported the New York Times.

Robert K. Kelner, a lawyer with Covington & Burling, was brought in to investigate the accounting irregularities that showed the National Republican Congressional Committee had $740,000 less than it believed.

Kelner said it was not clear if the money was siphoned off by the former treasurer, Christopher J. Ward. However, Kelner said Thursday that he suspected Ward had been draining the committee’s funds for five years by submitting forged audit reports.

Presently, Ward is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Kelner said.

March 7, 2008

Obama policy adviser resigns

After apologizing for referring to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as “a monster,� Samantha Power, senior foreign policy adviser and close friend of Senator Barack Obama, said the she was resigning from the campaign, reported the New York Times.

The comment was made during an interview in London with The Scotsman, a Scottish newspaper.

It is likely that Power resigned because the remark violated Obama’s pledge to run a hopeful political campaign; one that is free of unnecessary negativity and name-calling.

Power made another comment that has gained attention. During a BBC interview she said she was concerned that Obama might not be able to carry through with his plan to withdraw troops from Iraq within 16 months.

The transcript of the interview containing the comment was posted on the Clinton campaign’s Web site.

March 2, 2008

Love hurts

A Texas Teen female has been charged in the killings of her mother and two young brothers, reported

Police suspect that the teen, whose name was not released due to being a juvenile, was angry at her parents because she was not allowed to date one of the three other suspects.

According to Rains Sheriff David Traylor, it became clear that the girl and one of the suspects were dating and were made to break up.
The three other suspects are Charlie James Wilkinson, 19, Charles Allen Wade, 20, and Bobbi Gale Johnson, 18, who is female.
According to Traylor, the mother, Penny Caffey, 37, was shot and stabbed. Tyler Caffey, 8, was stabbed and Mathew Caffey, 13, was shot and stabbed. The father, Terry Caffey, was shot in the head but survived and is aiding police.

February 24, 2008

Merger put on hold

Pilot conflicts have put the Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines merge on hold, reported the Star Tribune.

The merger was placed on hold because executives wanted the pilots to resolve their conflicts. The conflicts involve integrating their seniority lists.

Seniority defines a pilot’s career progression within an airline as well as determines who flies larger airplanes. It also determines the size of a pilot’s paycheck.

As of yet, spokespersons for the Northwest and Delta pilot groups have not commented on the status of the seniority talks.

Failure to integrate the seniority lists will likely kill the merger, Julius Maldutis, president of New York-based Aviation Dynamics, said.

Without a finalized, integrated list, the two companies will not sign a merger agreement.

February 12, 2008

I spy

The federal government may be spying on you.

On Tuesday, the White House was given a major victory when the Senate voted to broaden the government’s surveillance powers, reported the New York Times.

The bill was passed by the Senate after phone companies which cooperated in the warrantless surveillance program were given legal protection.

A proxy vote on the wireless tapping issue and other wartime authority issues was the result of the Senate debate. Essentially, the debate foreshadowed the issue of national security that will be a major topic throughout this election year.

The issue, according to Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, won the day in the Senate.

“Unfortunately, those who are advocating this notion that you have to give up liberties to be more secure are apparently prevailing,� Mr. Dodd said. “They’re convincing people that we’re at risk either politically, or at risk as a nation.�

Along with wiretapping, the bill would allow the National Security Agency to use broad orders, without acquiring court orders beforehand, to spy on groups overseas.

February 10, 2008

The end is near

The end of the writers’ strike may be in sight, reported the New York Times.

The strike, which has lasted three months thus far, might be over by Monday morning depending on if the governing boards of the two writers’ guilds approve the tentative three-year deal. The guilds were to have met by Sunday to discuss the proposition.

The end of the strike, according to the New York Times, would be good for both TV and movie producers as well as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which was planning the Oscars on Feb. 24 without writers or stars.

The writers’ strike was, in large part, due to the issue of compensation for work shown on the Internet and other new-media devices.

While many of the demands were edited or dropped, the negotiation resulted in the writers possibly having precise amounts of payments for the increasing digital distribution of shows during the next three years. This means that each time work is streamed on the Internet the writers, directors, actors and others will be paid a fixed quantity amounting to about $1,300.

Also, in the third and final year of their contract, the writers will receive payments of up to two percent of the distributor’s revenue.

According to Patric M. Verrone, president of the West Coast guild, his guild had achieved two of its three objectives by securing the Internet and new media deal.

January 29, 2008

Final address forgets the future

Tax rebates and the war in Iraq were the two major topics in President Bush’s final State of the Union address Monday night at Capitol Hill, reported the New York Times.

While the White House promised the speech would look forward, Bush instead used most of his 53 minutes to summarize the last seven years. His topic of choice was the war in Iraq.

“[Troop buildup] has achieved results few of us could have imagined just one year ago,� Bush said. He also reminded the country that within the year, 20,000 troops will have returned from Iraq. However, no date or potential agenda for a complete withdrawal was mentioned.

Aside from Iraq, the issue of foreign affair was not noticeable. Bush looked over North Korea and Iran even though he had plans to disclose their nuclear intentions by the end of 2007. Economic (in)stability, a primary concern during this election year, was also quickly skimmed over.

While most of the address focused on past issues, Bush did manage to look forward on one issue, domestic affairs. He pushed for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act and revealed an agenda to provide low-income students with $300 million in scholarship money.

Bush previously stated that he intended to “sprint to the finish.� However, with little steam left for his final year, it looks like his term will complete just short of the finish line.