Friday, March 18, 2011

Breaking News Fri. March 18, 2011


As the Japanese struggle to cope with the tsunami's immediate impact, they are also living in dread of the nightmares that lie ahead. David McNeill reports
Radiation risk at Fukushima nuclear plant may be widespread, long-lasting.

Middle East Turmoil
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni doctors say at least 31 people have been killed by security forces who opened fire on an anti-government demonstration in the Yemeni capital and that dozens have been wounded.

Financial News
WSJ: Executive Bonuses Bounce Back
CEO bonuses at 50 major corporations jumped a median of 30.5% last year 
CSMonitor: Number of homes under construction continues to plunge
Last month, the number of single-family homes under construction dropped to 252,000 from 304,000 a year ago.
Analysis: The credit crunch showed that a confidence-crushing event in one part of the globe can rapidly be transmitted – and amplified – worldwide by volatile financial markets
Don't forget to check out Global Glass Onion for the Weekly RoundUp!
Bailout Still $123 Billion in the Red - The administration has been on a PR offensive1 [1] in recent months to tell the good news about the TARP. As the Treasury Department official in charge of the TARP is saying at a congressional hearing this morning2 [2], the bailout won't cost anywhere near the full $700 billion Congress authorized. In fact, many of its investments have turned a profit, and some of its most infamous bailouts -- such as the rescue of AIG -- won't end up being the tax dollar black holes3 [3] they once seemed sure to be.But the true picture isn't so rosy.At ProPublica, we've provided a comprehensive bailout database4 [4] since TARP's launch. It shows not only how much money has gone to each recipient5 [4], but how much each has paid in interest and dividend payments. With all this data, we're able to clearly show how deep in the hole the program remains6 [5]. And the answer as of today is $123 billion. (this news item is compliments of rj)

Peak oil and Energy News

these next two are from rj at Global Glass Onion
On Energy, GOP Doesn't Know What the Problem Is: "Capitalizing on instability in the Middle East, last week House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed high gas prices -- which have shot up in response to fears of prolonged disruptions in the supply of crude oil -- on President Barack Obama's supposed reluctance to 'drill, baby, drill.' 'Americans looking at the price of gas at the pump these days are justifiably upset,' McConnell said. 'What they may not realize is that some in the administration are actively working to prevent us from increasing our own oil production here at home.' Aside from the factual inaccuracies -- domestic oil production rose to its highest level since 2003 last year -- at the heart of Republicans' long-standing approach to energy and transportation issues is a basic logical flaw: Republicans assume we can resolve shortages -- and continue to rely on automobiles to the degree that we do -- by increasing supply."

- Here we go again. Every time gasoline prices spike, no matter the reason, Republican leaders and talk radio’s libertarian elite reach for the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) latest talking points and crank up the “drill, baby, drill” rhetoric. The current uptick in the price at the pump is not actually due to a supply crunch. It is due to market speculation that current turmoil in the Middle East will spread and lead to supply problems.The notion that the U.S., which sits atop less than 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, can drill enough oil to drive down prices if the flow is interrupted from a region with 64 percent of the world’s reserves is a pipedream. Over the past week a steady stream of Republicans, including Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (KY), House Speaker John Boehner, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (MI), have taken to the airwaves to complain that the Administration’s cautious approach to domestic oil drilling has caused this problem. They are calling on the Administration to tap our nation’s “vast” oil reserves. Vast?

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