Obama signs the stimulus bill, talks about 'foreign dictators,' not the ones here at home

OBAMA DRAMAYou don't expect President Barack Obama to reveal the sharp split inside the White House between those who want to rescue Wall Street's bankers and those who want to smack 'em upside the head.

Americans just want a rescue from the onrushing Great Depression II, so the public's not clamoring in any organized way about specific methods on how to do it. That'll have to wait until the situation gets worse, which it will, and the bile bubbles over.

The arguing is apparently already heated inside the White House. Maybe the atmosphere in the Oval Office was too tense, and that's really why Obama fled to Denver to sign the bill, where he delivered his speech that mentioned "foreign dictators" while ignoring the bigger problem of the banking industry oligarchs on our own soil.

That sharp division in the Obama Administration exists, as papers have previously reported and as I noted earlier this morning in an item about Bill Moyers and economist Simon Johnson's provocative conversation last week about oligarchs.

But two of Obama's croniest cronies, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, apparently couldn't persuade their Chicago pal to take their advice and get tough with the banks. Instead, New Yorker Tim Geithner won the battle, at least for now.

For once, you wish that a president would listen to his cronies, not the "experts," no matter how "un-democratic" that typical pol behavior is.

Voices in the wilderness: Bill Moyers and Simon Johnson take on 'American oligarchs'

Lost in the babble about the Wall Street rubble was last week's provocative piece on Bill Moyers Journal. Beyond its hackneyed title, "Following the Money," it gets to the heart of the global financial meltdown (video, transcript).

Last night's Frontline episode, "Inside the Meltdown," was an interesting recap about last fall's crash, but it didn't make a point that we hadn't heard before, and it focused on the agony felt by Hank Paulson. Moyers's February 13 chat with economist Simon Johnson, also on PBS, got far less press but delivered much more meat.

Johnson's point: Bailing out the banks by yielding to ex-banker Paulson's pals, is actually bailing out America's oligarchs, and it's a bad idea. A better idea? Bust 'em up. >>MORE

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Dow is down; GM bankruptcy fear is up

Grim developments this morning on Wall Street. See, among other stories, the Journal's "Dow Flirts with November Low."

So what else is new? Actually, there is something: A reconstruction of this blog to focus on the continuing bad economic news. Watch this space.

Buffalo plane crash kills 49 on board, one on ground; cockpit audio tape

Cockpit tape from Buffalo plane crash.

PRESS CLIPS Plane horror this morning outside Buffalo. A Continental commuter plane from Newark smashed into a house, killing one person inside and all 49 on plane, according to reports. Additional info: One of the victims was a 9/11 widow. See earlier links.

Now, the rest of the stories on other stuff — the stimulus plan, the futile effort by same-sex couples to marry, more Madoff-related news, grim economic news from Europe, and so on...


Newsday: 'Hundreds of same-sex couples attempt to marry in NYC'

Wall Street Journal: '2 Madoff Employees Questioned '

N.Y. Daily News: 'President Obama turns attention to home foreclosures'

N.Y. Times: 'Stimulus Offers Glimpse of Obama's Battle Plan'

N.Y. Post: 'Brooklyn Brew-Haha Over "Barack" Beer'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Obama stimulus plan may mean huge infusion of funds to city for jobs, schools, Medicaid'

N.Y. Post: 'Mogul's $cam Is Dreck: Wife'

Wall Street Journal: 'Following Apple, Microsoft Plans Stores'


N.Y. Daily News: 'Brit says Bernie Madoff Ponzi scam led to father's suicide'

N.Y. Post: 'Anguish Of Drag Victim's Family'

Wall Street Journal: 'SEC Looks at Hedge Funds' Trades'


City taxpayers are supporting the pensions of 1,500 employees who don't even work for the city in 28 cultural institutions, as part of a little-known deal struck 47 years ago, officials said.

Wall Street Journal: 'Markets Remain In a Rut'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Friends of fat cats? Suddenly, 3 Dem pols look like they may be protecting rich from taxes'

N.Y. Post: 'Master Of Our Own "Domain"'

Wall Street Journal: 'Next Challenge: Spending Money'

The Energy Department and other agencies key to Obama's stimulus may need an overhaul to handle the workload heading their way.

N.Y. Daily News: 'Intel czar sees new threats as Afghan situation worsens'


Wall Street Journal: 'Mexican Immigrants Look Homeward'


He IVF'd up again. Dr. Michael Kamrava, the in-vitro fertilization specialist responsible for Octomom, has over-impregnated another woman - this time with quadruplets. The 49-year-old patient of Kamrava's, a mother of three who is still pregnant, has been hospitalized as a result, according to the Los Angeles Times.

N.Y. Daily News: 'Church saves six schools, closes eight others in Brooklyn & Queens'

Wall Street Journal: 'On Street, Reluctance to Blow the Whistle'

A key question to emerge from the Madoff scandal is whether Wall Streeters should more-readily report concerns about possible fraud to regulators.

Wall Street Journal: 'States Recruit Worried Californians'

Jurist: 'Federal court rejects cases linking childhood vaccines to autism'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Con Ed must open books after $1M bribery scheme'

Wall Street Journal: 'Bharara Seen as U.S. Attorney Pick'

The Obama administration is expected to nominate Preet Bharara as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

N.Y. Daily News: 'Gotti enforcer Charles Carneglia ID'd as Queens teen's killer'

N.Y. Times: 'Ailing Banks May Require More Aid to Keep Solvent'

Reuters: 'Global stocks, commodities up on hopes of U.S. loan plan'

CNN: '35 women, children killed near Iraq festival'

Wall Street Journal: 'Toyota Offers Buyouts, Ends Bonuses'

Wall Street Journal: 'State: Madoff Wife Withdrew Funds'

International Herald Tribune: 'Europe's economic slump deeper than expected'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Judd Gregg withdraws as President Obama's Commerce Secretary nominee, after Richardson before him'

Wall Street Journal: 'Wave of Bad Debt Swamps Companies'

Wall Street Journal: 'Clinton Signals Asia Is U.S. Priority'

Dumped via Facebook? Probably. Hooked up by stimulus bill? Maybe.

This'll break you up: Revisiting the January 2007 Facebook parody from USC, directed by Mu Sun

PRESS CLIPS While you're waiting for the stimulus bill to hook you back up:

It's not you, it's my social-networking. Further confirmation in this morning's Daily News of something that thousands of you already know: Facebook's great for dumping a girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse. Catey Hill notes:

A new poll finds that 48 percent of people under 21 and 18 percent of people ages 22-30 dumped a loved one via a social networking site like Facebook, the Daily Mail reported.

Note the generation gap. If dumping via the net had been so popular with people over 21 back in 2004, maybe the electorate would have broken up with George W. Bush. One major problem: Facebook didn't even exist in 2004.

Need a car? Go to Dubai. From "Laid-Off Foreigners Flee as Dubai Spirals Down," in the Times:

With Dubai's economy in free fall, newspapers have reported that more than 3,000 cars sit abandoned in the parking lot at the Dubai Airport, left by fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners (who could in fact be imprisoned if they failed to pay their bills). Some are said to have maxed-out credit cards inside and notes of apology taped to the windshield.

The government says the real number is much lower. But the stories contain at least a grain of truth: jobless people here lose their work visas and then must leave the country within a month. That in turn reduces spending, creates housing vacancies and lowers real estate prices, in a downward spiral that has left parts of Dubai -- once hailed as the economic superpower of the Middle East -- looking like a ghost town.

Duh. Here's something that our government just can't admit. From the Wall Street Journal's "Latin American Panel Calls U.S. Drug War a Failure":

As drug violence engulfs Mexico, a blue-ribbon panel blasted the U.S.-led drug war as a failure that is pushing Latin America to the breaking point.

"The available evidence indicates that the war on drugs is a failed war," said former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, in a conference call with reporters from Rio de Janeiro. "We have to move from this approach to another one."

The commission, headed by Mr. Cardoso and former presidents Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and C├ęsar Gaviria of Colombia, says Latin American governments as well as the U.S. must break what they say is a policy "taboo" and re-examine U.S.-inspired antidrugs efforts. The panel recommends that governments consider measures including decriminalizing the use of marijuana....

The three former presidents who head the commission are political conservatives who have confronted in their home countries the violence and corruption that accompany drug trafficking.

Other stuff...


N.Y. Times: 'Obama's Battle on Stimulus Shows Threats to His Agenda'

Village Voice: 'Tolling Bridges, Taxing Rich, Chaining City Workers to Desks Among City's Budget Options'

Seeking Alpha: 'Another Round of Farcical Congressional Hearings'

CNET: 'Facebook valuation "shocker" another reason to be skeptical of media hype'

Wall Street Journal: 'Hints of Stability in Financial System'

Even as job losses mount and profits plunge, some glimmers of stabilization are emerging in global markets.

N.Y. Daily News: 'A-Rod mess gets Selig pumped up'

Seeking Alpha: 'What About Federal Gift Cards?'

Wall Street Journal: 'Homebuyers Go Green to Cut Bills'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Mother cries "tears of happiness" after baby's life-saving brain surgery'

Jewish Daily Forward: 'Israeli Uncertainty Buys Obama Time'

Wall Street Journal: 'Pakistan Admits Links to Mumbai Attacks'

Jewish Daily Forward: 'For Bashir Filmmaker Ari Folman, an Animated Catharsis'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Lupica: Time for Jets officials to follow lead and head for retirement'

Wall Street Journal: 'Sirius XM Seeks White Knight'

Seeking Alpha: 'Glimmers of Hope Amid Market Doom and Gloom'

Wall Street Journal: 'A Baby, Please. Blond, Freckles -- Hold the Colic: Laboratory Techniques That Screen for Diseases in Embryos Are Now Being Offered to Create Designer Children'


N.Y. Daily News: 'Mayor puts city unions on notice'

Wall Street Journal: 'Flood of Foreclosures Slows'

Seeking Alpha: 'Four Myths About the Obama-Geithner Plan'

N.Y. Daily News: 'How you can get financing for a car'

N.Y. Times: 'Pakistan Announces Arrests for Mumbai Attacks'

Wall Street Journal: 'China Won't Bid for AIG Unit'

N.Y. Daily News: 'It's Gilly & Mike and nary a gun fight in sight'

Wall Street Journal: 'Economy to Receive Less Support in Short Term'

Wall Street Journal: 'More Tech Start-Ups Call It Quits'


N.Y. Daily News: 'Dumped via Facebook?'

N.Y. Times: 'Crime Ring Accused of 82 Fraudulent Home Sales'

Wall Street Journal: 'Bharara Seen as U.S. Attorney Pick'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Another billion in N.Y. woe'

Wall Street Journal: 'Karl Rove: Obama's Legislative Victory Comes at High Cost -- Republicans did well to oppose the spending bill'


N.Y. Times: 'Analysis: Obama Faces Double Dilemmas in Mideast'


N.Y. Daily News: 'A-Rod crawls back to Cynthia, and Madonna's not happy'

N.Y. Times: 'A Hollywood Sequel for Michigan Workers'


N.Y. Times: 'Uncovering the Perks of Albany's Fallen G.O.P.'

N.Y. Times: 'The Recession Takes Down a Yacht Club'


N.Y. Times: 'Queens Driver Unknowingly Drags a Body Nearly 20 Miles'


N.Y. Times: 'An Officer Is Accused of Beating a Suspect'


N.Y. Times: 'Police Say Shooting of Brooklyn Man, 18, Was Justified'


N.Y. Times: 'Her Time Short, a Brooklyn Woman Exerts a Passion to Paint'

Wall Street Journal: "Fed Faces Constraints In Market-Revival Role"

Sneak attack: Stimulus bill, just passed, sparks fears of internet monitoring

The Senate just passed an $789 billion stimulus package, but parts of it are already scaring hell out of web users.

The devil may or may not be in the details, as broadbandreports.com explains:

Consumer advocate group Public Knowledge issued an alert saying that Democrat Dianne Feinstein was trying to sneak copyright filters into the bill (it's not clear if she was successful).

Consumer advocate group Free Press issued a statement applauding the fact that grant money in both bills [the House and Senate versions] still requires carriers to hold fast to network openness.

See Public Knowledge here, on this issue.

Anyway, the gigantic bill passed, 61-37. Roll call here.

SEC dumps chief 'enforcer' on Madoff scandal; Bernie reaches partial settlement with probers

MADOFF WATCHFrom HedgeFund.net:

The Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement chief is out as the agency faces anger over its handling of the Bernie Madoff alleged Ponzi scam.

The SEC said Monday that Linda Thomsen, its director of enforcement, was leaving to return to the private sector.

There have been reports that newly appointed SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro was talking to ex-federal prosecutor Robert Khuzami about replacing Thomsen. Khuzami is currently Deutsche Bank's chief counsel for the Americas.

Wall Street Journal: 'SEC Gets Permanent Madoff Injunction'

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday it obtained a partial settlement that will impose a permanent injunction against Bernard Madoff in its civil complaint for his alleged role in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

The judgment, submitted to a New York federal judge, makes permanent a temporary injunction imposed on Mr. Madoff in December that froze his assets and restrained him from violating the antifraud provisions of securities laws.

Mr. Madoff did not admit any wrongdoing under this partial settlement, but under its terms, he won't be able to challenge the allegations when it comes to determining fines and disgorgement.

Newsday: 'Alleged Madoff victims include 2,000 Long Islanders'

...Great Neck appears to be the hardest hit area here, with about 600 accounts invested with Madoff, who is out on $10 million bail and under house arrest at his Upper East Side apartment. The losses overall have had a myriad of effects, ranging from the devastation Adele and her husband face to not as worrisome ones faced by more moneyed investors.

ABC: 'Who Gets the Rest of Madoff's Money?'


Jewish Daily Forward: 'Madoff's Lawyer Not Part of "Madoff Diaspora," After All'

Even though his name and the names of his late parents appear on the 162-page list of purported Bernard Madoff investors, Ira Sorkin, Madoff's attorney, tells the Wall Street Journal: "I have never been an investor or customer of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. I'm not going to talk about my family members."


Wall Street Journal: 'Madoff Clients Exposed'

Nissan crashes; hedge funds lick chops; incoming Israel govt. may take 'harder line'


PRESS CLIPS Plans are moving apace to purposely set up a "toxic bank" full of poisonous assets to further bail out those banks that had greedily and recklessly accumulated them.

Call it Shitibank. And give it the naming rights to the new baseball stadium for the New York Mets, taking the moniker away from toxic Citibank.

No joke. As Ground Zero reminds us of 9/11, ShitiField would serve as a monument to the global financial meltdown caused by New Yorkers. ShitiField would remind us to burst any future Wall Street bubbles before they blow up in our faces.

And, once the toxic bank is up and running, we proles can move our non-existent pension money to it. But don't count on driving a new Nissan to the new bank: Even if you could afford to buy one, Nissan can't afford to keep its factories open to manufacture one.

What's really going to happen this week sounds just as far-fetched, but it's not: Many investors on Wall Street don't want the market to recover. They want it to hit bottom so they can start buying shares and companies again.

Bigwig Ray Dalio of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates tells Barron's:

"Buying equities and taking on those risks in late 2009, or more likely 2010, will be a great move because equities will be much cheaper than now. It is going to be a buying opportunity of the century."

Meanwhile, corporate welfare is humming along, as government's sudden socialists are coming to the rescue of capitalism. Heartwarming, especially for the likes of Nissan, which, as the Wall Street Journal reports, plans to "seek government assistance from Japan, the U.S. and elsewhere."

And now the rescue plan for America calls for a combination of the toxic bank and encouragement by the government for hedge funds to profit from the grief by expanding their investments (instead of the government's clawing back ill-gained profits from hedge funds). And don't worry about Wall Street's top execs: All the scoldings by President Barack Obama won't stop them from making their big bucks. See? The free-market system does work.

At least we know that defense contractors will make it through the depression in good shape. Bibi Netanyahu is about to reclaim control of Israel, and that will signal that, as the BBC reports, "Israel is shifting to the right" and, as the Daily News says, "a harder line is coming with Israel's Arab neighbors."

Could the line get any harder, you ask?

While you're investing in weapons makers or just waiting to pour your money back into the market or snap up some ailing companies, click on these...


Seeking Alpha: 'U.S. Government vs. the Stock Market'

This week we'll see a knock-down, drag-out battle between Obama, Geithner and the Senate who want to keep the market from falling, and the market itself which wants to drop precipitously.

Gawker: 'Top Five Kellogg's Recipes For Stoners'

As Seth Meyers pointed out on Saturday Night Live, Kellogg Company's image is closer to that of bong-smoking Olympian Michael Phelps than the cereal maker likes to admit.

Kellogg's Keebler Elves, after all, "live together in a treehouse and do nothing all day but think of new things to put cheese on."

N.Y. Times: 'U.S. Bank Bailout to Rely in Part on Private Money'

Wall Street helped produce the global financial and economic crisis. Now, as the Obama administration prepares to unveil a revised bailout plan for the banking system, policy makers hope Wall Street can be part of the solution.

Administration officials said the plan to be announced Tuesday was likely to depend in part on the willingness of private investors other than banks — like hedge funds, private equity funds and perhaps even insurance companies -- to buy the contaminating assets that wiped out the capital of many banks.

N.Y. Times: 'Applications Surge at Cooper Union'

For many high school seniors who are applying to college in the midst of an economic meltdown, Cooper Union's commitment to full scholarships -- regardless of need -- has given the institution an almost mythic allure....

While many of the nation's elite colleges underwrite the education of poor students, Cooper is among a handful of private colleges that are tuition-free for everyone (it does not, however, pay for room and board, though financial aid is available for living expenses).

Newsday: 'Explore LI: Pamper your pooch'

Wall Street Journal: 'Bailout Revamp Could Use Private Bank for Bad Assets'

Seeking Alpha: 'Investors Staying Away from Banks; Gold Attempts to Break Downtrend'

Another Bank Bailout: On Monday, Treasury Secretary Geithner is due to announce the next phase in a long series of government bailouts for banks. The leaks about the plan thus far have indicated a hybrid approach using elements of a "bad bank" and more government guarantees on bank assets. The price action of Bank of America and Citigroup does not inspire confidence in the market's reaction to previously announced government guarantees of toxic bank assets.

If the regulators hope to bring stability to the markets, they might want to consider leaving the rules unchanged for more than two weeks at a time.

N.Y. Times: 'Leader of Afghanistan Finds Himself Hero No More'

Fox: 'Australian PM: "It's Mass Murder"'

Officials believe arson may be behind nation's worst-ever wildfires as entire towns burn.

Wall Street Journal: 'Bank Bailout Plan Revamped'

Geithner is considering a plan to help purge banks of their bad bets by partnering with the private sector to buy troubled assets.


A 21-year-old autistic man perished and his grandmother was left fighting for her life as flames engulfed their 17th-floor East Harlem apartment yesterday morning, police said.

Forbes: 'Nissan To Ax 20,000 After Loss Warning'

Wall Street Journal: 'Saks Upended Luxury Market'

Saks' decision to cut prices by 70% on designer clothes in mid-November set off a domino effect in the luxury goods business.

Fox: 'Stimulus Plan Includes Billions for Colleges and Students'

The stimulus plan emerging in Washington could offer an unprecedented, multibillion-dollar boost in financial help for college students trying to pursue a degree while they ride out the recession.

N.Y. Times: 'In Congress, Aides Start to Map Talks on Stimulus'

N.Y. Daily News: 'One BIG question remains: Who ratted out Alex Rodriguez?'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Netanyahu: the Golan Heights 'will remain in our hands'

Former Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, who is poised to be swept back into power Monday, declared Sunday he would not give up the strategic Golan Heights, signaling a harder line is coming with Israel's Arab neighbors.

Fox: 'Octuplets' Grandmother Calls Daughter's Actions 'Unconscionable"'


N.Y. Daily News: 'GOP's losses just might save party, says Lazio'

Bloomberg: 'MGM Doubles Down on Lobbying as U.S. Senators Work on Stimulus Measure'

Casino operator MGM Mirage says a tax break for forgiven debt is a good way for Congress to stimulate the U.S. economy; Granite Construction Inc. favors more money for roads and bridges; General Motors Corp. wants incentives for car buyers.

Jewish Daily Forward: 'Jewish Charities Look to Stimulus Bill To Stave Off Cuts'

Onion: 'Per Tradition, Ex-Presidents Watch Obamas Christen White House Bed'

Crain's New York Business: 'Parents question mayor's math'

Critics are skeptical of gains cited by school officials at an Assembly hearing Friday on whether mayoral control of the school system should continue.

Wall Street Journal: 'U.S. Weighs Fed Program to Loosen Lending'

The Obama administration is considering turning to a new program run by the Fed that depends heavily on hedge funds to jump-start the financial system.

N.Y. Daily News: 'Mike to GOP: Miss me, baby?'

Mayor Bloomberg came to a Queens banquet hall Sunday like a man looking to woo a lover he once spurned, sweet-talking a roomful of Republicans to take him back. It didn't work.

N.Y. Times: '2008 Taxes: Big changes may come in expanded tax breaks to the less wealthy'

CNN: 'Man, 47, marries girl, 8'

The debate over the controversial practice of child marriage in Saudi Arabia was pushed back into the spotlight this week, with the kingdom's top cleric saying that it's OK for girls as young as 10 to wed.

"It is incorrect to say that it's not permitted to marry off girls who are 15 and younger," Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the kingdom's grand mufti, said in remarks quoted Wednesday in the regional Al-Hayat newspaper. "A girl aged 10 or 12 can be married. Those who think she's too young are wrong and they are being unfair to her."...

Late last month, a Saudi judge refused to annul the marriage of an 8-year-old girl to a 47-year-old man.

The judge, Sheikh Habib Abdallah al-Habib, rejected a petition from the girl's mother, whose lawyer said the marriage was arranged by her father to settle a debt with "a close friend." The judge required the girl's husband to sign a pledge that he would not have sex with her until she reaches puberty.

Wall Street Journal: 'Pay Collars Won't Hold Back Wall Street's Big Dogs'

While a pay cap for financial executives punishes yesterday's fools, it may inadvertently create tomorrow's culprits.


More than 70 percent of firefighters who retired in the past five years did so on disabilities - hiking the cost of taxpayer-funded FDNY pensions to nearly $1 billion a year, a Post analysis shows. At the same time, a rise in final-year overtime racked up by firefighters - even those retiring on disabilities - has boosted pension costs...

N.Y. Daily News: 'Bloody mob chop shop could become school bus depot'


Wall Street Journal: 'Soaring Job Losses Drive Stimulus Deal'

Bloomberg: 'U.S. Said to Hire N.Y. Bankruptcy Lawyers to Advise on Automakers' Bailout'

A law firm with bankruptcy expertise, three capital-markets lawyers and an investment bank are advising the U.S. government on how to restructure General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, two people involved in the work said.

New Yorker: 'Can We Transform the Auto-Industrial Society?'

The present and impending disorder of the automobile companies is a reminder, even more than the decline of the housing and banking industries, of the desolation of the Great Depression. It is a reminder, too, of economic history, or of the rise and decline of industrial destinies.

N.Y. Daily News: 'Final nails in coffin for city welfare burial fund'

Wall Street Journal: 'Railing Against the Rich: A Great American Tradition'

The Great Depression of the 1930s created hardship and suffering among millions of Americans. It also created populist resentment of elites. Among the many signs of this anger was the astonishing popularity of Huey P. Long, governor of Louisiana and then U.S. senator, a figure so dominant in his own state that his enemies called him a dictator. But to the ordinary people of Louisiana -- and later to millions of ordinary people across the U.S. -- Mr. Long was a heroic figure, fighting for the "common man" and challenging the right of elites to monopolize power and wealth....

Crain's New York Business: 'NYC, London vie for the bottom'

Bloomberg: 'Fed Calls Emergency Consultants to Triage and Treat AIG, Stricken Markets'

Every Sunday night, New York bankruptcy lawyer Marshall Huebner spends a 13-hour shift on call as an emergency medical technician. His day job involves work on another sort of rescue: The government's $152.5 billion bailout of American International Group Inc.

Wall Street Journal: 'Summers Crafts Broad Role in Reshaping Economy'

Onion: 'Liberals Horrified By Lack Of Inexperience Among Obama Appointees'

Bloomberg: 'Notre Dame Cathedral, Louis XIV Chateau Reap Bonanza From France's Crisis'

For Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral, the economic crisis is turning into manna from heaven.

Bloomberg: 'India Bucks Global Auto Trend After Rate Cuts Spur Record Sales at Suzuki'

After six months of deliberating whether to buy a car, Mumbai real-estate agent Abraham Mathew took out a 300,000 rupee ($6,200) loan to buy a Suzuki Motor Corp. sedan. The clincher: a 20 percent drop in interest rates.

IRIN: 'Homeless Gazans struggle to find shelter'

New York City's jobless rate soars; Toyota drives off a cliff; Sullenberger lands in limelight

Heaven can wait: Chesley Sullenberger live, in "US Airways Flight 1549 Full Cockpit Recording"


To try to counter the sickening economic news, remember another horror story that actually had a happy ending.

Sully Sullenberger knows what "sickening" feels like, although his voice in the above cockpit recording doesn't reveal it. Now, Sully is talking in detail about his astounding, life-saving jet landing on January 15 in the Hudson River, as the Post reports this morning:

First came the bird strike. Then everything went dead silent.

"It was the worst, sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling I've ever felt in my life," hero pilot Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III told CBS's 60 Minutes, according to excerpts released yesterday.

"I knew immediately it was very bad," he said in the interview, set to air Sunday at 7 p.m.

When asked if he wondered how he could get the crippled plane down safely, Sullenberger said he was just stunned. "My initial reaction was one of disbelief," he said.

And now for some bad news that only seems unbelievable...



N.Y. Daily News: 'Bronx teen missing for a month spent it misidentified in city morgue'

N.Y. Times: 'In the Red, Toyota Sees Loss Tripling'


N.Y. Daily News: 'N.Y.C. so costly you need to earn six figures to make middle class'

N.Y. Times: 'As Layoffs Surge, Women May Pass Men in Job Force'

N.Y. Daily News: 'More soldiers committed suicide in January than killed by Al Qaeda'

N.Y. Times: 'Violence and Abuse at City-Run Psychiatric Unit'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Butt-grabbing pervert strikes for 5th time in Gramercy Park'

N.Y. Times: 'U.N.'s Gaza Refugee Director Criticizes Israel and Hamas'

Wall Street Journal: 'Anti-Arab Israeli Party Surges'

Polls Show Avigdor Lieberman's Far-Right Platform Gaining Ahead of Vote

N.Y. Observer: 'New York's Stimulus Take: At Least $41 Billion'

Newsday: 'Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospitalized with pancreatic cancer'


N.Y. Times: 'Pakistani Nuclear Scientist Set Free'

A Pakistani court declared disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan free on Friday, ending five years of house arrest for the man at the center of the world's most serious proliferation scandal.

Khan, lionized by many Pakistanis as the father of the country's atomic bomb, confessed to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya in 2004, but was immediately pardoned by the government, although his movements were restricted to effective house arrest.

N.Y. Daily News: 'Does New Jersey smell? Just ask the folks who live there...'


New uniforms for everyone!

The massive $900 billion stimulus bill making its way through Congress would require the feds to purchase up to 100,000 uniforms for the Transportation Security Administration and other Department of Homeland Security workers — a provision critics say won't do anything to spark the economy.

ChannelWeb: 'Privacy Group: Google Latitude Could Track Unsuspecting Users'


Wall Street Journal: 'When People Stop Moving, So Do Congressional Seats'

Seeking Alpha: 'The Next American Revolution: Main Street vs. Wall Street'

Wall Street Journal: 'Toyota Flags $3.84 Billion Full-Year Loss'

Seeking Alpha: 'Stimulus Watch: How the Devil Are They Going to Finance All of It?'

N.Y. Times: 'Sales Fall Sharply for Retailers Not Named Wal-Mart'


Wall Street Journal: 'Deutsche Bank Fallen Trader Left Behind $1.8 Billion Hole'

The fall of Boaz Weinstein, once one of Wall Street's hottest traders, speaks volumes about why financial firms still are reeling from the shattered global markets.

N.Y. Daily News: 'Octuplet mom Nadya Suleman released from hospital -- to what kind of future?'

N.Y. Times: 'In New York City, an Aromatic Mystery Solved'

N.Y. Daily News: 'Judge might toss damning evidence against Barry Bonds'


A Manhattan judge has thrown out a $50 million lawsuit against 50 Cent by the baby mama who said he'd promised to always take care of her.

Bloomberg: 'Fertility Drugs Don't Raise Ovarian Cancer Risk, Study Shows'

N.Y. Times: 'A Diverse Group of Senators at Center Stage in Economic Debate'

Seeking Alpha: 'Why Are the Fed and Treasury Working Against Each Other?'

Seeking Alpha: 'Sleepwalking to Economic Oblivion'

Wall Street Journal: 'Nations Rush to Establish New Barriers to Trade'


Wall Street Journal: 'Obama Turns Up Heat, Slams GOP Ideas'

Wall Street Journal: 'Panetta Hearing Focuses on Bush-Era CIA Challenges'

Pick to Run Agency Calls Waterboarding Torture, but Says Employees Following U.S. Lawyers' Opinions Shouldn't Be Prosecuted

Wall Street Journal: 'U.S. Presses Europe for Aid in Afghanistan Amid Political Chill With Russia'

Dow Jonesin': Rupert Murdoch reports big loss on 'Wall Street Journal'-related writedown

Rupert MurdochThe pot's calling the kettle black: The New York Times runs a Reuters story this afternoon about Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. posting an $8.4 billion writedown on the advertising-challenged Wall Street Journal and other properties.

The Times, as we know, is in even worse shape and has even reached out to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.

Nevertheless, the snooty paper of record neglected to mention its own troubles — while it saw fit to mention the woes of other media corpses:

News Corporation is the latest media conglomerate to report gloomy financial results as advertisers slash their budgets in the weak economy.

This week, Time Warner posted a $16 billion quarterly net loss because of a write-down, and the Walt Disney Company posted a sharply lower-than-expected profit in part because of poor TV ad and DVD sales.

The bad news for the Wall Street Journal — the best piece of Murdoch property other than The Simpsons — is that it's apparently dragging down the whole thing.

Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about the Times's own troubles, read this story from Murdoch's Post:

I told you last month that newspapers needed a bailout. But George W. Bush, whose presence on the scene provided mucho grist for the mill, has fled to Texas, and all he left us was this lousy meltdown.

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