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29 Nov 2010 23:01


Politics, U.S.: TARP: Not as expensive as we’d thought it was

  • $109
    estimated losses of the TARP program, as of last March, according to CBO
  • $66 billion that same estimate, revised five months later by CBO
  • $25 billion the most recent estimate of TARP’s losses, as of today  source

29 Nov 2010 22:42


Biz, U.S.: Wikileaks’ next target: the financial sector

  • It could take down a bank or two.
  • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange • Discussing an upcoming “megaleak” to be released early next year. Assange is being characteristically tight-lipped about this, but he says it will expose both “the ecosystem of corruption” and “the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices.” The only precedent, he says, is the Enron emails.   source

29 Nov 2010 22:15


U.S.: Marinette, Wisconsin hostage situation ends; coverage still sucks

  • good The high school hostage crisis is over in Marinette, Wisconsin and only the gunman was hurt. The situation lasted about five hours.
  • bad The coverage was still very scarce for hours, though Green Bay finally has some photos. Can anyone explain why this happened? source
  • » There’s a lesson here: In the past few years, newspaper companies have cut their resources very thin, especially at companies like Gannett, which owns the nearby Green Bay Press-Gazette. It’s sad to think that when something genuinely bad happens in small-town America, there are no details because we’ve cut our resources that much. We’re sad for the town that trusts the local news; we’re also glad that things weren’t worse.

29 Nov 2010 21:50


Offbeat: The L.A. Times can’t get rid of their Bridge column quietly

  • 60 number of phone calls the paper’s reader’s representative got over removing the Bridge column, a stodgy tradition that predates everyone
  • 31 number of e-mails they got; who are these people and why do they actually play Bridge? And how do we get them to stop? source

29 Nov 2010 20:48


U.S.: Some more morsels from the Marinette, Wisconsin hostage situation

  • 24 people are being held hostage – 23 students and one teacher; noone has been injured
  • yes the situation started during the school day, but other students were unaware of the situation
  • no the student doesn’t have a criminal record, nor do any media sources have photos yet source

29 Nov 2010 20:40


Politics: George W. Bush invades Facebook; world stops dead in tracks

The two things that define the naughts more than anything else, together at last. Bush openly admitted he was there because he was “trying to sell books.” source

29 Nov 2010 20:31


Politics: Could Wikileaks’ collateral damage be Hillary Clinton?

  • She’s become the issue. She’ll never be an effective negotiator with diplomats who refuse to forgive her exuberances, and even foreign diplomats who do forgive her will still regard her as the symbol of an overreaching United States. Diplomacy is about face, and the only way for other nations to save face will be to give them Clinton’s scalp.
  • Slate’s Jack Shafer • Arguing that the Wikileaks report on the diplomatic cables may be enough to do her in as Secretary of State. Why? Because, according to Wikileaks documents, she ordered her diplomats to spy on the people they were talking to. Even if she did nothing illegal, it’s going to be tough for other countries to trust someone they think is spying on them. If it does kill her career as Secretary of State, though, we don’t think it kills her political career. She’s too good to go away that quickly. source

29 Nov 2010 19:48


U.S.: What happens if there’s a school hostage situation, but no media?

  • Well, that’s what appears to be happening in Marinette, Wisconsin. Granted, the town of around 11,000 isn’t big or anything, but it’s within shouting distance of Green Bay, and police have been on the scene for somewhere around three hours, yet this is all the coverage we appear to have. Small-town Wisconsin is small-town Wisconsin, but it’s weird that a hostage situation has been going on for somewhere in the neighborhood of three hours, yet all we seemingly have is the lead paragraph. (In the case of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, a reporter is driving out there now.) Have we gotten that lax about paying small-town reporters or having comprehensive coverage? source

29 Nov 2010 11:22


U.S.: A federal pay freeze might halt out-of-whack wage increases

  • 3% the yearly increase in pay rates above inflation for public-sector workers
  • 0.8% the increase of the same measure for private-sector workers source
  • » Also worth noting: As of 2010, 82,000 federal workers make over $150,000 – a huge leap from even five years earlier. And had Obama not ordered the pay freeze, federal pay would’ve gone up by 1.4 percent across the board. Federal workers are getting paid out of whack with the private sector as-is. To stop this now, as he’s getting hit on all sides, seems like a very smart move on Obama’s part, though we’ll see as the story develops.

29 Nov 2010 11:02


U.S.: RIAA lawsuits’ last stand: SCOTUS won’t hear downloader’s appeal

  • good The recording industry has moved away from suing the crap out of copyright infringers. About time; who did that help, anyway?
  • bad One of the people sued in such a fashion, Whitney Harper, lost her case – and the Supreme Court wouldn’t hear her appeal. source