I am writing to provide additional information regarding the extraordinary measures Treasury has undertaken in order to avoid default on the nation's obligations.
Treasury currently expects to exhaust these extraordinary measures between mid-February and early March of this year. We will provide a more narrow range with a more targeted estimate at a later date. Any estimate, however, will be subject to a significant amount of uncertainty because we are entering the tax filing season, when the amounts and timing of tax payments and refunds are unpredictable. For this reason, Congress should act as early as possible to extend normal borrowing authority in order to avoid the risk of default and any interruption in payments…
Bernanke: Get rid of the debt ceiling
By Annalyn Kurtz - Money.CNN.com
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is not a fan of the U.S. debt ceiling, an arbitrary borrowing limit set by Congress.
"I think it would be a good thing if we didn't have it," Bernanke said, speaking at the University of Michigan on Monday.
But he added that the chances seem slim that Congress would ever get rid of it. "I don't think that's going to happen," he said.
The United States officially hit its $16.394 trillion legal debt limit on Dec. 31. As a result, until the debt ceiling is raised, Treasury is not allowed to borrow new money to help it pay all the country's financial obligations.
At presser, Obama demands Congress raise $16.4T debt limit
By Peter Schroeder - TheHill.com
President Obama at a Monday press conference demanded that Congress raise the nation's $16.4 trillion debt ceiling.
Obama said raising the ceiling was about paying for bills the Congress has already rung up, and he argued it would be disastrous for the economy — which he said is showing signs of lifting off — to not raise the debt limit.
US Won't Sell Its GOLD Debt ceiling: Selling gold isn't the answer
By Emily Jane Fox - CNN.com
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
The idea of minting a $1 trillion platinum coin as a way to avoid the U.S. debt ceiling is officially off the table.
But what about selling the nation's deep gold reserves?
After all, the U.S. Treasury has 261.5 million ounces of the precious metal in Fort Knox, Kentucky. With gold selling at roughly $1,655 an ounce, the government has $432 billion worth of the shiny metal just collecting dust.
Sorry, middle class. The VAT may be inevitable. If the government fails to enact structural reforms in spending, an entirely new source of revenue will be needed. The most likely one is a value-added tax that would crush the middle class.
By Shawn Tully - CNN.com
FORTUNE -- You can't blame middle-income Americans for wondering whether the new "fiscal cliff" deal really protects them from big tax increases in the future. That's essentially what President Obama promised in championing the hike in rates for high-earners signed into law on January 2. Still, the politicians and pundits keep talking about how our steep deficits and mountainous debt will rise even after the new revenue is counted. So it's only natural for the folks to ask the obvious question: Now that the affluent are paying far more, where's the extra cash supposed to come from?
4 Ways to Avert the Debt Ceiling
(And the Most Likely Option Is the Scariest) Here's why Ben Bernanke killed the platinum coin,
and what it means for the debt-ceiling showdown
By Matthew O'Brien - TheAtlantic.com
The coin will not be minted.
At least, not in anything remotely close to 13-digit denominations. As Ezra Klein of the Washington Postreports, the Treasury and Federal Reserve have ruled out creating a trillion-dollar coin, which was a real possibility thanks to a crazy loophole, to stop us from defaulting on our obligations if the debt ceiling isn't raised. It's Congress or bust, when it comes to paying our bills on time.
Double trouble: House GOP eyes default, shutdown
By JIM VANDEHEI, MIKE ALLEN and JAKE SHERMAN - Politico.com
House Republicans are seriously entertaining dramatic steps, including default or shutting down the government, to force President Barack Obama to finally cut spending by the end of March.
The idea of allowing the country to default by refusing to increase the debt limit is getting more widespread and serious traction among House Republicans than people realize, though GOP leaders think shutting down the government is the much more likely outcome of the spending fights this winter.
Bernanke says raising the debt ceiling is critical
By Jonathan Spicer
ANN ARBOR, Michigan | Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:24pm EST
(Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday urged U.S. lawmakers to lift the country's borrowing limit to avoid a potentially disastrous debt default, warning that the economy was still at risk from political gridlock over the deficit.
Likening Congress to a family arguing that it can improve its credit rating by deciding not to pay its credit card bill, Bernanke said that raising the legal borrowing limit was not the same as authorizing new government spending.
The Federal Reserve
Shows Barack Obama Who The Real Boss Is
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Barack Obama has greatly expanded the powers of the presidency during his time in the White House, but there is one institution that he simply will not mess with. There is one organization that is considered to be so sacred in Washington D.C. that Obama will not dare utter a single negative word against it. That organization is the Federal Reserve. Even though he has shown that he is unafraid to pick a fight with just about everyone else in Washington, Obama flat out refuses to criticize the Fed and he even reappointed Ben Bernanke for another term as Fed Chairman even though Bernanke has a track record of failure that would make the Chicago Cubs look good. Perhaps Obama is aware of what has happened to other presidents that have chosen to tangle with the Fed. In any event, it has become clear that Obama submits to anything that the Fed says without question, and the controversy over the "trillion dollar coin" is another perfect example of this. For weeks, there has been much speculation in the mainstream media about the possibility that the Obama administration may print up a one trillion dollar coin that it would use to keep paying the bills of the federal government if an agreement to raise the debt ceiling is not reached. But on Saturday the Federal Reserve killed that idea, and we shouldn't be surprised by that because under no circumstances will the Fed ever accept a threat to their monopoly over money creation in the United States. If the Federal Reserve had allowed Obama to print up a debt-free trillion dollar coin, that would have set a very dangerous precedent for the Fed.
Paul Krugman Schools Peggy Noonan,
Calls Debt Ceiling Negotiations 'Hostage Taking'
by Purple Priestess - DailyLos.com
This morning on "This Week" Paul Krugman refused to bow to the usual pundit-talk, telling fellow round table members that the GOP's tactic on the debt ceiling is "hostage taking" and should not be allowed. Krugman defended the President's position on the battle against complaints by columnist Peggy Noonan, who said that she thought Obama should be "sitting down and talking" to Republican Congressional leaders.
Ignoring the obvious retort – he HAS sat down with them and they won't cooperate –Krugman told Noonan:
"This is hostage taking, this is walking into a room and saying, 'I've got a bomb, give me what I want or I'll blow up this room.' This has never happened before and should not be allowed to happen."
Obama press conference:
No 'ransom' for raising debt ceiling
By JENNIFER EPSTEIN - Politico.com
President Barack Obama on Monday repeated his call for deficit reduction but warned against the potentially catastrophic effect on the economy by tying cuts to raising the debt ceiling.
"While I'm willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficit, America cannot afford another debate with this Congress over how to pay the bills they've already racked up," Obama said in the East Room of the White House at what aides have billed as the final news conference of his first term. "To even entertain the idea of this happening, of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It's absurd."
Bernanke downplays inflation risk of QE3 Worst thing Fed could do would be to hike rates prematurely
By Greg Robb, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday played down the fears of some more hawkish central bankers and investors that the Fed's aggressive bond-buying program will lead to higher inflation.
"I don't believe significant inflation is going to be the result of any of this," Bernanke said in a speech at the University of Michigan.
Obama Warns of 'Haywire' Markets If U.S. Debt Ceiling Hit
By Julianna Goldman & Margaret Talev - Bloomberg.com
President Barack Obama warned Congress against using the debt ceiling as leverage in the spending debate, saying "markets could go haywire" and government payments, from Social Security checks to military salaries, will be held up if the limit isn't raised.
Republican lawmakers "will not collect a ransom" if they delay increasing federal borrowing authority, Obama said today at a White House news conference. "There are no magic tricks here. There are no loopholes. There are no easy outs."
Treasury Yields Rise From Lowest in Week Amid Debt Debate
By Cordell Eddings & Susanne Walker - Bloomberg.com
Treasury 10-year yields rose from the lowest level in a week as President Barack Obama said the full faith and credit of the U.S. is not a "bargaining chip" as he called for debt-ceiling action by Congress.
Yields on benchmark notes rose after Obama said during a press conference in Washington that failure to lift the debt limit threatens to push the economy into recession. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said the Fed will need to keep buying assets "well into" the second half of the year to combat unemployment as the central bank purchased $1.47 billion of Treasuries in the first of daily buybacks this week.
Mortgage Bonds Slump as Fed's Buying Boost Fades:
By Jody Shenn - Bloomberg.com
After posting their worst returns since 1999, government-backed mortgage bonds are starting 2013 with losses on speculation the end of Federal Reserve purchases is in sight and as homeowner refinancing roils the market.
The slump spans from new low-coupon securities the U.S. central bank is targeting to bonds backed by higher-rate loans more damaged by refinancing, the biggest portion of the $5.3 trillion market. A Bank of America Merrill Lynch index has lost 0.19 percent this month after returning 2.59 percent in 2012.
Gold up 0.5%; platinum ends at three-month high Market awaits Fed hints on policy;
platinum nears parity with gold
By Myra P. Saefong and Sarah Turner, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Gold futures settled higher Monday, as the market looked to this week's speeches by Federal Reserve officials for hints on their next move regarding U.S. monetary policy.
Climbing platinum futures, meanwhile, moved near price parity with gold on supply concerns ahead of financial results and a review of operations from Anglo American Platinum Ltd.. The world's largest producer was beset by strikes last year at its South African mines.
Goldman Sachs And The Big Hedge Funds
Are Pushing Leverage To Ridiculous Extremes
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
As stocks have risen in recent years, the big hedge funds and the "too big to fail" banks have used borrowed money to make absolutely enormous profits. But when you use debt to potentially multiply your profits, you also create the possibility that your losses will be multiplied if the markets turn against you. When the next stock market crash happens, and the gigantic pyramid of risk, debt and leverage on Wall Street comes tumbling down, will highly leveraged banks such as Goldman Sachs ask the federal government to bail them out? The use of leverage is one of the greatest threats to our financial system, and yet most Americans do not even really understand what it is. The following is a basic definition of leverage from Investopedia: "The use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital, such as margin, to increase the potential return of an investment." Leverage allows firms to make much larger bets in the financial markets than they otherwise would be able to, and at this point Goldman Sachs and the big hedge funds are pushing leverage to ridiculous extremes. When the financial markets go up and they win on those bets, they can win very big. For example, revenues at Goldman Sachs increased by about 30 percent in 2012 and Goldman stock has soared by more than 40 percent over the past 12 months. Those are eye-popping numbers. But leverage is a double-edged sword. When the markets turn, Goldman Sachs and many of these large hedge funds could be facing astronomical losses.
Small Firms to Remain Missing Link in U.S. Expansion: Economy
By Alex Kowalski & Jeanna Smialek - Bloomberg.com
Small companies will probably remain a missing element of the current U.S. expansion as their role in driving growth continues to wane, according to economists at Citigroup Inc. (C)
Payrolls at firms with fewer than 500 employees accounted for less than 50 percent of the total workforce for the first time in 2008 during the recession and have barely recovered, according to their research. After hovering close to 50 percent, small businesses' share of gross domestic product began dropping in 2001 to reach about 45 percent in the latest available data.
We Are Witnessing The Slow, Tortuous Death
Of The American Worker
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
Once upon a time, the U.S. economy produced a seemingly unending supply of good paying jobs that enabled American workers to buy homes, raise families and live the American Dream. But now all of that has changed. Over the past several decades, there have been some fundamental shifts in our economy that have steadily eroded the value of the American worker. Thanks to incredible advances in robotics, computers and other fields of technology, many economic activities that once required a tremendous amount of manpower now require very little. Nothing is going to reverse those technological advances, so the jobs that have been lost as a result are now gone forever. But there are millions of other good jobs that we have lost that we could have done something about. Over the past couple of decades, millions upon millions of American jobs have been shipped overseas. Thanks to a whole host of "free trade" agreements that our politicians promised would be very good for our economy, U.S. workers have now been merged into a global labor pool with hundreds of millions of workers on the other side of the globe that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.
Which Economies Are Set to Soar in 2013?
By Michele Lin - OilPrice.com
As the European Union mulls another year of economic stagnation and the United States a year of lack lustre and uncertain economic recovery, will emerging markets take the lead in global economic recovery?
The year 2012 ended on relatively flat note. The United States had the world on its toes as its leaders negotiated a crucial last minute budget deal, narrowly avoiding automatic budget cuts and tax hikes that had the potential to send the world's largest economy into recession. But even with that out of the way, failure to raise the debt ceiling and, on a large scale, rein in government spending, would keep another generation of Americans trapped in a vicious spiral of unsustainable debt and decline.
Drastic tax changes only way to save middle class 90% top rates, and no breaks for outsourcing jobs
By Marcus D. Pohlmann
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (MarketWatch) — The midnight hour deal struck in Washington raised taxes for the wealthiest Americans, amid conservative protests that it would discourage the wealthy from investments that could add badly needed jobs to the sagging American economy. The squabble ignores a much larger economic problem, however, and that problem is the steady demise of the American middle class over the past several decades.
The U.S. had a large and vibrant middle class as recently as the 1950s and 1960s, at a time when organized labor was at its strongest and there existed one of the most progressive tax structures in the nation's history.
New round of LBOs? Dell Said to Be in Buyout Talks With Private-Equity Firms
By Serena Saitto & Jeffrey McCracken - Bloomberg.com
Dell Inc. (DELL), the personal-computer maker that lost almost a third of its value last year, is in buyout talks with private-equity firms, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Round Rock, Texas-based Dell is discussing going private with at least two firms, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. The discussions are preliminary and could fall apart because the firms may not be able to line up the neededfinancing or resolve how to exit the investment in the future, the people said.
Dell Lifts on Buyout Rumor
By Olivia Oran - TheStreet.com
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of PC maker Dell(DELL_) rose by about 2.5% in mid-afternoon trading on revived rumors that CEO Michael Dell would make a bid to buy his company from shareholders.
Maverick Capital Management CEO Lee Ainsle said Tuesday during the Value Investing Conference that the CEO is frustrated with the company and could look to buy the computer maker, or issue a special dividend,Marketwatch reported.
Blackstone snaps up Dell M&A chief Dave Johnson
Dave Johnson, the head of M&A at Dell, is understood to be leaving the New York-listed technology giant to join the private equity operations of Blackstone.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the news, which was confirmed by Dell on Monday.
Johnson, who had been the senior vice president and head of corporate strategy at Dell, was labeled the "busiest man in tech" last year by an analyst after sealing three deals in as many days.
Dell's David Johnson takes senior post at Blackstone
By Jim Finkle
BOSTON | Mon Jan 7, 2013 5:26pm EST
(Reuters) - Michael Dell has lost of one of the key lieutenants he recruited to help him turn around his ailing computer company.
David Johnson, Dell Inc's senior vice president for corporate strategy, has left to take a senior position with investment company Blackstone Group LP, according to Dell spokesman David Frink.
Dell Shares Soar On Going Private Suggestion
BY David Zielenziger - IBTimes.com
Shares of Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), the No. 3 PC maker, soared nearly 9 percent Monday after an analyst suggested the company might tap its cash pile for a leveraged buyout. They rose another 2.5 percent on Tuesday.
At the Monday close, shares of Dell were at $10.06, up 42 cents, after touching $10.49 earlier, after Bill Shope, an analyst for Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), suggested the buyout option. On Tuesday, they rose another quarter to $10.31.
Why Dell won't go private The company needs to transform,
but here's why going private doesn't make sense.
By Shelley DuBois - Fortune.CNN.com
back in June when, at the Sanford C. Bernstein investor conference, CEO and founder Michael Dell, well, mentioned that he had considered that strategy.
Then earlier this month, CFO Brian Gladden poured some gas on the flames when he said the debate was still alive in Austin, sayingthat Dell (DELL) had spent "a whole lot of time thinking about this," but "it's not something we think is going to happen anytime soon." To listen to the message from Dell's C-Suite is to hear that privatizing is discussed and seriously considered. (But a few weeks after the talk, a spokesperson tried to temper the discussion, saying: "There is no ongoing plan, or exploration of taking the company private.")
Postal Delay in Congress Hastens Risk of Mail Stoppage
By Angela Greiling Keane & Kathleen Hunter - Bloomberg.com
The U.S. Postal Service, set to run out of operating cash in October, still can't get Congress to act with any urgency to help solve its problems.
Competing Senate and House proposals to help resolve Postal Service finances expired when the old Congress left Jan. 3, and two senators who've pushed for a postal overhaul retired. The post office now must persuade lawmakers focused on broader fights on the deficit and spending to pass a law to let the agency cut costs and plug losses.
Small Firms Gear Up for Obamacare How small firms are gearing up for health reform Legions of small and midsize businesses that don't offer health insurance have to quickly come up with a game plan. Here's what some are thinking.
By Elaine Pofeldt - Fortune.com
FORTUNE -- Lenny Verkhoglaz wishes he could provide health insurance to the nearly 300 home care aides he employs at Executive Care, based in Hackensack, N.J. No such luck.
Verkhoglaz hasn't been able to muster enough participation among his employees to qualify for the group plans he's considered so far. These plans require 75% of employees to participate. Many of his workers, who mainly assist clients with nonmedical tasks, earn a modest income ($10-14/hour) and aren't interested in contributing part of the premiums, he says.
American Express cuts signal end of era in travel
By ROBIN SIDEL And ANDREW R. JOHNSON
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The belt tightening in American corporations that made relics of pension plans, in-house cafeterias and even many holiday parties is squeezing another victim: American Express Co.'s travel business.
Responding to the rise of do-it-yourself policies that ask employees to book work trips online rather than calling an AmEx travel agent, the New York company is trimming its corporate-travel operation.
Microsoft keeps calm, issues emergency IE update 'Classic example of incident response,'
argues security professional
By Gregg Keizer - Computerworld.com
Computerworld - Microsoft today shipped an emergency update for Internet Explorer (IE) to stymie attacks that have been occurring since at least Dec. 7.
The "out-of-band" update -- the label for a security fix outside a vendor's normal schedule -- was expected by experts, who last week predicted Microsoft would issue a fix for the IE flaw before the next Patch Tuesday on Feb. 12.
Homeland Security warns Java still poses risks after security fix Summary: UPDATED: After a security fix to patch Java 7 from a massive security vulnerability, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has reiterated its warning that Java still poses risks.
By Zack Whittaker - ZDNet.com
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has reiterated its warning to Java users that the widely used Web plug-in still poses risks for Internet users, even after Oracle patched the software to prevent hackers from exploiting a zero-day vulnerability.
It comes as some security experts are warning that the new software -- Java 7 (Update 11), which was released on Sunday -- may not actually protect against hackers attempting to remotely execute code on user machines.
We're in a Post-PC world going mobile Tablets, smartphones and TVs upstage PCs at CES
PC makers made fewer product announcements than in past years
By Agam Shah - Computerworld.com
IDG News Service - PCs were upstaged by tablets, smartphones and TVs at this year's International CES show, with some companies maintaining a smaller presence or holding back product announcements for a later date.
There were fewer product announcements from PC makers compared to previous years, with some companies waiting for the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Feb. 25-28.
Why some websites
don't work properly in your favorite browser
By Marco Tabini - MacWorld.com
It never fails: No matter which browser you use, and how well you keep up with its updates, sooner or later you end up finding a website that doesn't quite work the right way. Even more frustratingly, bugs and defects always seem to crop up more often on sites that tend to push the limits of what can be done with a browser, with activities like printing, interactivity, and complex animations frequent targets of malfunctions and misfirings.
It's easy to blame Web developers for being lazy and allowing these problems to occur, but the reality is that the Web has become a complex, well, web of technologies and competing interests that are, sometimes, at odds with the goal of writing software that works across as many platforms as possible.
Biden: W.H. readies 19 executive actions on guns
By REID J. EPSTEIN - Politico.com
The White House has identified 19 executive actions for President Barack Obama to move unilaterally on gun control, Vice President Joe Biden told a group of House Democrats on Monday, the administration's first definitive statements about its response to last month's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Later this week, Obama will formally announce his proposals to reduce gun violence, which are expected to include renewal of the assault weapons ban, universal background checks and prohibition of high-capacity magazine clips. But Biden, who has been leading Obama's task force on the response, spent two hours briefing a small group of sympathetic House Democrats on the road ahead in the latest White House outreach to invested groups.
N.Y. Assembly Speaker Silver:
'We Are Going To Ban Assault Weapons' Among New Laws, Gun Owners
Would Have To Renew License Every 5 Years
ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The New York State Legislature was poised Monday night to pass the first gun control measure following the Newtown school massacre. This as the vice president was set to unveil federal proposals to end gun violence on Tuesday.
Albany lawmakers have reportedly ironed out the kinks, allowing them to enact new gun control measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. Assuming the new bill passes, it will turn into the toughest set of gun control laws in the country.
Kenyan Oil, Hot and Getting Hotter:
Interview with Taipan's Maxwell Birley
By James Stafford - OilPrice.com
Kenya has become the hottest oil and gas venue in East Africa since big discoveries were made in the country's virgin oilfields last April. All eyes are on Kenya in 2013 to see how quickly--and economically they can develop those discoveries into production.
Nairobi based Taipan Resources Inc. (TPN-TSXV; TAIPF-PINK) is the 4th largest acreage owner in Kenya, and is getting ready to carry out seismic on Block 2B. They recently attracted Maxwell Birley as CEO. Mr. Birley has been instrumental in discovering more than 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent in his 30-year career—much of it in Africa and Asia.
Why you should Ignore
any Long-Term Forecasts of Cheap Crude
By Kurt Cobb - OilPrice.com
Here's the short version of why forecasts of low long-term oil and natural gas prices are almost certainly wrong: It costs more than that to get the stuff out of the ground. Only two things could actually lead to low long-term prices: 1) Somebody could invent and deploy some genuinely brand new technology that makes it really cheap once again to get oil and gas out of the ground or 2) we could have a deep and grinding deflationary depression that brings demand for oil and natural gas down so much that prices collapse.
MIT Develop New Material
which can Generate Energy from Water Vapour
By James Burgess - OilPrice.com
MIT engineers have developed a new polymer film which can take advantage of the chemical energy in a water gradient and turn it into mechanical energy; which in turn can then be converted into electricity.
The film is made from an interlocking network of polypyrrole, which forms a hard but flexible matrix that provides structural support, and polyol-borate, which is a soft gel that swells when it absorbs water.
The End of Labor:
How to Protect Workers From the Rise of Robots Technology used to make us better at our jobs. Now it's making many of us obsolete, as the share of income going to workers is crashing, all over the world. What do we do now?
By Noah Smith - TheAtlantic.com
Here's a scene that will be familiar to anyone who's ever taken an introductory economics course. The professor has just finished explaining that in economics, "efficiency" means that there are no possible gains from trade. Then some loudmouth kid in the back raises his hand and asks: "Wait, so if one person has everything, and everyone else has nothing and just dies, is that an 'efficient' outcome?" The professor, looking a little chagrined, responds: "Well, yes, it is." And the whole class rolls their eyes and thinks: Economists.
I'm unemployed and hopeless
There's only so much rejection a person can take. Meet 5 unemployed Americans who want to work, but are beyond fed up with the weak job market and feel hopeless.
Press fear Obama private swearing in
By DYLAN BYERS - Politico.com
The White House Correspondents Association is strongly urging the Obama administration to allow press access to the president's official swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20, following indications from inauguration committee officials that the event could potentially be closed to the press.
"Mindful of the historic nature of this occasion, we expect the White House will continue the long tradition of opening the President's official swearing-in to full press access, and we as an organization are looking forward to working with the administration to make that happen," Ed Henry, the Fox News correspondent and president of the White House Correspondents Association, said in a statement.
Obama Said to Consider Morgan Stanley's Porat at Treasury
By Hans Nichols - Bloomberg.com
President Barack Obama is considering two women for senior economic positions, weighing Ruth Porat, chief financial officer at Morgan Stanley (MS), for deputy Treasury secretary and Wal-Mart Foundation President Sylvia Mathews Burwell for budget director, according to people familiar with the matter.
For the number two position at Treasury, Porat would bring deeper market experience than Jack Lew, Obama's choice for Treasury secretary, according to two people. She would also provide gender balance on an economics team dominated by men, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss personnel matters that haven't been publicly announced.
Snares strewn on Obama's path
as he pushes second-term agenda
By Amie Parnes - TheHill.com
President Obama has been on the offensive since his reelection but landmines lie in his path that could detonate in the short and medium term, depleting his political capital and perhaps even undermining his legacy.
With memories of his November win over Mitt Romney still fresh, Obama routed Republicans in the fiscal-cliff deal just concluded. Democrats are now readying for battle on everything from the debt ceiling to gun control.
Gun Limits Sought in States in Defiance of Firearms Lobby
By William Selway - Bloomberg.com
Democratic governors and lawmakers in at least 10 U.S. states are seeking new restrictions on guns and ammunition after last month's school shooting in Connecticut, challenging the firearms lobby's political clout.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, last week called for making his state's gun laws the toughest in the nation with restrictions that include a ban on sales of high- capacity ammunition magazines. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, also a Democrat, wants background checks on private gun sales.
RUGER FIREARMS TO FEDS: 'DO NOT PASS MORE GUN LAWS'
by AWR HAWKINS - Breitbart.com
Not only does Ruger Firearms make some of the best weapons in the word, they are also leading in the fight to stop the asinine gun control push coming from Obama/Biden and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).
To to do this, Ruger has put up a website titled "Take Action Now," where gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters can easily sign and submit a letter to state and federal level government officials to tell them clearly: "Do NOT pass more gun laws."
ANTI-KYOTO HAGEL TO LEAD
OBAMA'S 'GREEN' DEFENSE DEPARTMENT?
by JOEL B. POLLAK - Breitbart.com
Chuck Hagel's nomination as Secretary of Defense has provoked opposition due to his perceived hostility towards Israel, his posture of appeasement towards Iran, and his objection to the successful Iraq surge. He supports global nuclear disarmament, having signed onto the "Global Zero" campaign. He has also been criticized for past comments on gays, remarks about a "Jewish lobby," and a no-exceptions policy on abortion.
Yet the most difficult position for Hagel to overcome might be climate change. In 1997, then-Sen. Hagel (R-NE) co-sponsored a resolution with Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV)against the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The resolution rejected any climate treaty, such as Kyoto, that did not include developing countries and that "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States." It passed unanimously (95-0).
Colorado Enacts Tough New Fracking Measures
By Daniel J. Graeber - OilPrice.com
The state government in Colorado announced that it enacted some of the most stringent laws related to oil and natural gas operations in the country. New regulations require energy companies to conduct before-and-after samples of groundwater wells in the state to determine what impact, if any, exploration has on water quality. The rules follow a decision by the U.S. government to wait another 8 months before it closes the comment period for a study on the possible contamination of water supplies from fracking operations in Wyoming. While Colorado officials cloaked their statements in cautious language, the regulations suggest lawmakers are starting to catch up with the debate over the U.S. oil and natural boom.
Egyptian President Calls Jews 'Sons of Apes and Pigs';
By Jeffrey Goldberg - TheAtlantic.com
Earlier this month, the Middle East Media Research Institute posted video taken in 2010 of Egypt's current president, Mohamed Morsi, calling Jews the "descendants of apes and pigs."
The Jerusalem Post provided this summary of his remarks:
"... Morsi denounced the Palestinian Authority as a creation of "the Zionist and American enemies for the sole purpose of opposing the will of the Palestinian people." Therefore, he stressed, "No reasonable person can expect any progress on this track."