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The Next Black Swan
By Doug Kass - TheStreet.com
"If the 1973 embargo experience repeats itself, the price of a barrel of oil could soar to $440 a barrel." -- Tehran Times, "Oil Prices Could Soar to $440 a Barrel if Strait of Hormuz Closed"
If the Tehran Times is correct, a quantum rise in the price of crude oil could be the next black swan event.
For now, let's characterize the Tehran Times column as extremely hyperbolic and, perhaps, bordering on the delusional.
Regardless, there is much debate today as to the precise price level of crude that will dent economic growth.
With crude oil at around $107 a barrel on Friday, many say that the economic tipping point is $120 to $135 a barrel.
What Happens if Iran Does Close
the Strait of Hormuz? $440 Oil?
By Paul Ausick - 247WallSt.com
As Iran continues its tough talk about US-led sanctions against the country’s oil and banks, the Islamic Republic’s threatened closure of the Strait of Hormuz remains the most potent weapon in the country’s arsenal. Should Iran manage to close the Strait, the impacts on both the world’s crude oil market and on Iran itself could be profound.
Gold: Buy on dips and wait for move above $1800/oz
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): Investor interest has been in the driver's seat for gold so far this year, with speculative positioning on Comex at its highest level since September and gold ETP holdings have scaled successive highs this year.
Gold still faces near-term hurdles such as bouts of dollar strength, broad risk reduction and profit-taking, but this is a healthy correction and the broader macro backdrop remains gold favourable, given the negative interest rate environment, longer-term inflationary concerns and lingering sovereign debt uncertainties.
Gold Market Update
By: Clive Maund - GoldSeek.com
Gold reversed violently to the downside last week, an event which has serious implications. It had been doing well up to that point and we did not see this reversal coming, so this is going to be "wise after the event" update - still it is considered to be better to be wise after the event than not wise at all, particularly if our interpretation of the meaning of this development proves to be correct.
Morgan Stanley: Gold supportive influences remain intact
LONDON (Commodity Online): Gold-supportive fundamentals remain intact, with last week’s decline largely a profit-taking pullback, said Morgan Stanley in a research note.
According to Morgan Stanley, gold lost 5.4% on Wednesday, the largest daily move in three years, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke failed to comment on the likelihood of another round of quantitative easing, leading investors to believe that the timeframe for expanding easing measures will be pushed out.
How much is Buffet priced in Gold?
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): Warren Buffet's distaste for gold is well known and even after a 10 year bull market, most investors are amazed when Buffet not only refuses to buy gold but goes on to thrash it.
And with gold being increasingly considered as a currency, what exactly is Buffet's worth in terms of gold? The below graphic shows Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway priced in gold (chart courtesy: www.azizonomics.com): [see chart]
US Dollar Takes Respite Ahead of Key Event Risk - RBA on Tap
By Michael Boutros, Currency Strategist - DailyFX.com
The greenback was fractionally weaker at the close of North American trade with the Dow Jones FXCM Dollar Index off by just 0.02% on the session. Equity markets spent the entire day paring early losses carried over from European trade with news that China had cut its 2012 growth forecast to 7.5% from 8.0% weighing on broader market sentiment. The move opens the door for further easing from the PBoC suggesting that the economy may ultimately face a ‘hard landing’. Stocks closed well off session lows but ended the lower on the day with the Dow, the S&P, and NASDAQ off by 0.11%, 0.39%, and 0.86% respectively.
Fed Up with the Fed
By: Dr. Ron Paul, U.S. Congressman - GoldSeek.com
While the Fed has recently released an unprecedented amount of information on its activities, there is still much that remains unknown. Predictably, every push towards transparency has been fought tooth and nail. It took disclosure requirements enacted within the Dodd-Frank Act to get the Fed to provide data on its emergency lending facilities. It took lawsuits filed by Bloomberg and Fox News to provide data on discount window lending during the worst parts of the financial crisis. And it will take further concerted action on the part of Congress, the media, and the public to keep up pressure on the Fed to become and remain transparent.
Will Greece Be Ruled by the Bankers or Its People?
By Peter Bratsis, Truthout - Truthdig.com
The most central and constant dilemma in modern politics has been the choice between the political desires and demands of citizens versus the policy expertise and prudence of bureaucrats and specialists. For the more democratically inclined, those like Machiavelli and Aristotle, the judgments of the many, as flawed as they often may be, are nonetheless more trustworthy than the commands of the elite. The few, no matter their credentials or honors, are never able to match the collective intelligence of the multitude.
For others, including those who drafted the US Constitution, the whims and desires of the many are a great threat to social order, and the special few must stand as a moderating force between them and the levers of government.
Dutch Freedom Party pushes euro exit
as €2.4 trillion rescue bill looms
The Dutch Freedom Party has called for a return to the Guilder, becoming the first political movement in the eurozone with a large popular base to opt for withdrawal from the single currency.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
"The euro is not in the interests of the Dutch people," said Geert Wilders, the leader of the right-wing populist party with a sixth of the seats in the Dutch parliament. "We want to be the master of our own house and our own country, so we say yes to the guilder. Bring it on."
Mr Wilders made his decision after receiving a report by London-based Lombard Street Research concluding that the Netherlands is badly handicapped by euro membership, and that it could cost EMU’s creditor core more than €2.4 trillion to hold monetary union together over the next four years. "If the politicians in The Hague disagree with our report, let them show the guts to hold a referendum. Let the Dutch people decide," he said.
The Mainstream Media
Still Doesn’t Get the ECB Greek Debt Swap
By Graham Summers - GoldSeek.com
First off, the details of the swap are as follows: the ECB simply exchanged 50€ billion worth of old Greek sovereign bonds (which were soon to be worth much less if not be outright worthless) for 50€ billion worth of new Greek sovereign bonds which would not be exposed to default risk or any kind of debt restructuring (unlike those bonds held by private Greek bond holders).
I want to mention here that the ECB only owned about 50€ billion worth of Greek sovereign bonds to begin with. So they exchanged roughly ALL of their exposure to Greece to new bonds that will not lose money during a restructuring or default.
What the Greek Rescue is Really About
By Dan Denning - DailyReckoning.com
03/05/12 Melbourne, Australia – In today’s Daily Reckoning, we’ll do something we can barely stand to do: we’re going to write one more time about Greece. If you can stand to read it, you may come to the same conclusion we reached.
That conclusion is simple: what’s going on Europe has nothing to do with solving a debt crisis and everything to do with preserving a corrupt system based on limitless debt and growing government power. The sooner you understand that fact, the sooner you’ll be able to prepare for what happens next. There are two options for what happens next, and we’ll get to those shortly.
How the IMF reasserted its power in Greece’s debt crisis
By Howard Schneider - WashingtonPost.com
On a crisp day last October, the prime minister of Greece, George Papandreou, strode along a red carpet into an emergency summit of European leaders in Brussels and boasted to reporters of his government’s "superhuman" response to its debt crisis.
But in the private reports flowing from Athens, the International Monetary Fund’s point person for Greece, Poul Thomsen, could see a different reality unfolding.
Greece bubbles towards a third bailout and boiling point
After my prognostications last Monday about the Greek deal, the markets took a decidedly more optimistic view. The catalyst was the announcement of a bumper amount of funding by the ECB to eurozone banks. Is the euro crisis now effectively over?
By Roger Bootle - Telegraph.co.uk
The sense of optimism in the markets derives partly from the contrast with the dire mood just before Christmas. At that point, many thought the New Year would usher in Armageddon. Yet we have been back at work for more than two months and still the roof hasn't fallen in. So that's all right then.
In truth, there were always more stages to go through before the crisis got to boiling point. Greece was likely to receive a second bailout. My doubts were based primarily on the unreality of the economic forecasts behind such a package, and the conviction that there would, before long, have to be a third bailout.
Private Investors Holding About 20%
of Greek Debt to Participate in Swap
By Fabio Benedetti-Valentini and Natalie Weeks - Bloomberg.com
The private investors that so far declared their participation in Greece’s debt restructuring hold about 20 percent of the bonds involved in a swap required for an international bailout.
The 12 members of the creditors’ steering committee that said yesterday they would join in the exchange have debt with a face value of at least 40 billion euros ($53 billion), compared with the 206 billion euros of Greek bonds in private hands, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from company reports.
When in France, tax the rich
By Charles Riley - CNN.com
Raising taxes on the rich isn't just an election year issue in the United States -- it's also a big deal in France.
Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande last week proposed a 75% tax rate on income above 1 million euros, a move that has sparked debate, with some arguing that raising taxes to that level would result in an exodus of French citizens to other European countries with more favorable rates.
Hollande is expected to face off against Nicolas Sarkozy in a May election that has implications for both France, and the way the eurozone debt crisis will be handled.
Is Artificial Intelligence Taking Over the Stock Market?
BY CRIS SHERIDAN - FinancialSense.com
In case you weren't aware, machines are now reading the news. Actually, a few thousand machines—probably more—may have already read and scanned what you're about to read for any hint of tradable information. Of course, this isn't just limited to blogs or news disseminated on the web, but social media too.
Late last year, a company decided to launch "streams of data from Twitter and the securities discussion site StockTwits that are 'normalized' and ready to be fed to computers for analytical processing...designed for use by hedge funds and high-frequency traders."
Companies line up to sell debt; Treasurys slip
By Deborah Levine, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Companies continued to rush into the bond market Monday, with March debt sales looking likely to continue at a strong pace after record-setting issuance in February.
Even though companies are sitting on piles of cash, many continue to issue debt to take advantage of low, stable interest rates and a small premium over benchmark Treasury bonds, analysts at Informa Global Markets said.
Fed's Fisher: Wall Street May Be Addicted To Cheap Money
By Michael S. Derby and Rob Curran Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
DALLAS -(Dow Jones)- A key Federal Reserve official argued forcefully Monday against providing more monetary-policy stimulus to the economy, and accused Wall Street of getting addicted to cheap money from the Fed, though he noted that inflation seems to be under control for now.
Fisher said the Fed had done enough in terms of monetary policy, and the responsibility now lay with lawmakers and regulators to help the U.S. economy through fiscal means.
Fisher: Investors Should Prepare for Less Easing
By Aki Ito and Steve Matthews - Bloomberg.com
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said he opposes additional Fed purchases of securities and urged Wall Street to get ready to become less dependent on monetary easing.
"I would suggest to you that, if the data continue to improve, however gradually, the markets should begin preparing themselves for the good Dr. Fed to wean them from their dependency rather than administer further dosage," Fisher said today in a speech in Dallas. Financial markets "have become hooked on the monetary morphine we provided" after the 2008 financial crisis, he said.
Obama shifts location of G-8 summit
from hometown of Chicago to his Camp David retreat
AP - WashingtonPost.com
WASHINGTON — The White House abruptly announced Monday that it had scuttled plans to hold the upcoming G-8 economic summit in Chicago, and would instead host world leaders at the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland.
It was an unusually late location change for a large and highly scripted international summit and came with little explanation from the White House. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — the former White House chief of staff who personally lobbied President Barack Obama to hold the summit in Chicago — was informed only hours before the official announcement.
Credit Default Swap Fraud Exposed/Confirmed
by Jeff Nielson - BullionBullsCanada.com
One of the most poorly kept secrets in Wall Street’s empire of fraud was that credit default swaps were never anything but pretend-insurance. The credit default swap market is a $60+ trillion paper Ponzi-scheme. The Wall Street crime syndicate claiming to “back” this insurance have nothing more than a few $billion of liquidity apiece. It is a fact of arithmetic that these fraud-factories never intended to honour these contracts.
Wall Street, Fed face off over physical commodities
By David Sheppard, Jonathan Leff and Josephine Mason - Reuters.com
(Reuters) - Wall Street's biggest banks are locked in an increasingly frantic struggle with the Federal Reserve over the right to retain the jewels of their commodity trading empires: warehouses, storage tanks and other hard assets worth billions of dollars.
While the battle over proprietary trading and new derivatives regulations has taken place largely in public view since the 2008 financial crisis, the fight by JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to retain or expand their prized physical commodity operations - most acquired in only the past six years - has remained hidden.
Fed Takes a Break to Weigh Outlook
[Google title for free article pass]
By JON HILSENRATH - WSJ.com $$
The Federal Reserve is pausing after a six-month campaign to boost growth, while policy makers assess a puzzling economic outlook.
Fed officials meeting next week are unlikely to take any new actions to spur the recovery, and they are likely to emerge with a slightly more upbeat—but still very guarded—assessment of the economy's performance. This comes after a series of moves in recent months, including recasting its securities portfolio in January as a way to spur growth. Then the central bank signaled in January that short-term interest rates are likely to stay near zero through most of 2014.
Bernanke Leaks, Spoils the Punch
BY BRUCE KRASTING - FinancialSense.com
Jon Hilsenrath, at the WSJ, must have had a phone call with Ben Bernanke on Saturday. Accordingly, Jon put an article out just in time to influence the market on Monday morning. The headline says it all: [see graphic]
No doubt, Bernanke is watching the price of crude and the tape is telling him his inflation forecast is no good. The leak this evening is just Ben’s way of hinting to the market that he understands where we are on inflation, and he is not going to stir the pot anymore than he has.
Fed Would Focus Solely on Prices
Under Bill Proposed by Brady
Representative Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, will introduce legislation March 8 that would narrow the Federal Reserve’s focus to price stability and eliminate its full-employment mandate.
"The Federal Reserve’s monetary experimentation of the last decade must end," the Texas lawmaker said in remarks prepared for delivery today in Washington. "Congress should give the Federal Reserve a single mandate for price stability, and the Federal Reserve should return to a rules-based system of inflation targeting to achieve that mandate."
Washington's $5 trillion interest bill
By Jeanne Sahadi @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Interest rates on U.S. bonds may be ridiculously low, but that doesn't mean the country's future interest payments on the national debt will be.
Uncle Sam will shell out more than $5 trillion in interest payments over the next decade, according to the latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office.
That's more than half of the projected $11 trillion increase in debt held by the public during that period. Those figures assume that a host of expensive policies such as the Bush-era tax cuts are extended.
Giant, Safeway hiring as potential labor strike nears
Washington Business Journal by Gary Haber
Looking to pick up some temporary work? A job could be as close as your local supermarket.
As Safeway Inc. and Giant Food negotiate a new labor contract with theUnited Food & Commercial Workers Union, the two supermarket chains have taken out help wanted ads seeking temporary workers.
The ad for Safeway said applications are being accepted "due to a possible labor dispute." The current contract is set to expire March 31.
Birmingham judge clears way
for record bankruptcy by Alabama’s largest county
By AP - WashingtonPost.com
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A judge has cleared the way for an Alabama county to move forward with the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, overruling Wall Street claims that state law didn't allow the county to file the case.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Bennett issued his order late Sunday, allowing Jefferson County, the state’s largest county, to remain in bankruptcy as it attempts to sort out more than $4 billion debt linked to borrowing for the county's sewer system.
N.C. write offs total $3.5B
Triangle Business Journal by Lee Weisbecker
The state has a term for money that by all accounts should be flowing into state coffers but doesn't for a variety of reasons: "write offs." And North Carolina's total write off is a big number.
In the 12 months ending June 30, 2011, the dollar figure hit $3.5 billion, up 13 percent from the $3.1 billion that didn't come in during 2010, according to a new report by the state controller's office.
Bad News for Boomers
Demographic trends will depress portfolio returns,
this researcher warns
By KAREN DAMATO - WSJ.com
If you're a baby boomer, you've got a big problem when it comes to the investment returns you can expect in retirement: It's the sheer number of other boomers who are also getting ready to leave the workplace and rely on their portfolios to help pay the bills.
That's the depressing conclusion Robert D. Arnott, a portfolio manager, asset-management executive and inveterate researcher, has come to in more than 20 years of studying demographic trends and financial-market results.
Need a Reason to Question Obamacare?
Just Look to Louisiana
By Avik S. A. Roy - TheAtlantic.com
....Medicaid, America's government health-care program for the poor, is jointly funded by the states and the federal government. The federal government chips in at different levels to different states, using a formula called Federal Medical Assistance Percentages, or FMAP. FMAP is determined by several factors, such as a state's per-capita income, and the state's own Medicaid spending. (FMAP has come under a lot of criticism from policy types, who point out that its structure incentivizes state politicians to spend more on Medicaid, knowing that taxpayers in other states will foot most of the bill.) The Medicaid law specifies that the feds will contribute no less than 50 percent of a state's Medicaid costs; the national average prior to the Obama Administration was about 57 percent.
The 60th ObamaCare Vote
Opinion - WSJ.com
A soon-to-be released report shows how rogue prosecutors defeated Ted Stevens.
Mitt Romney recently argued that campaign rival Rick Santorum was responsible for ObamaCare because the former Pennsylvania Senator had, years before its passage, supported Arlen Specter, his homestate colleague and one of the 60 Senators who later voted for the bill. Mr. Romney's Massachusetts creation of the prototype for President Obama's signature law appears to be the greater sin against free health-care markets. But after March 15, even Mr. Romney may agree that the blame for the 60th vote really belongs to the U.S. Justice Department.
That's the day a federal court has ordered the release of an independent report on Justice's "systematic concealment" of evidence. Specifically, the report ordered by Judge Emmet Sullivan found that federal attorneys prosecuting the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska hid "significant exculpatory evidence which would have independently corroborated [his] defense and his testimony, and seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government's key witness."
What the Business Roundtable knows about U.S. health care
By Ezra Klein - WashingtonPost.com
On Sunday, I reported on new data from the International Federation of Health Plans showing that health-care prices are far higher in the United States than anywhere else. An MRI, for instance, costs $1,080 here, but only $280 in France. The main reason, I reported, was that in other countries, the government sets the price and providers take it or leave it.
But some readers thought I missed the boat with that explanation. So let’s go through some of the objections.
Next Pension Clash: Law Firms
Unfunded Retirement Plans Burden Younger Partners,
but Some Say It Builds Loyalty
By JENNIFER SMITH - WSJ.com
Retirement should be a happy time for a generation of baby boom-era lawyers near the end of their working lives. Less joy may await the partners they'll leave behind.
At some of the country's top firms, younger lawyers will foot the bill for deluxe pension plans that could drag down their own earnings for years to come.
These pensions are largely unfunded: there is no money saved to pay retirees. Instead, most law firms with such plans pay the benefits as they go, using a portion of their current profits.
IRS: The rich are getting richer...
Income goes up...especially for the rich
By Tami Luhby - Money.CNN.com
After two years of declines, Americans' income finally rose in 2010. The Internal Revenue Service provided a first peek at taxpayers' returns and it showed that adjusted gross income totaled $8 trillion, up 5.2% from 2009.
But a closer look at the data reveals that only the wealthiest Americans will be popping the Cristal.
Taxpayers earning more than $250,000 saw their total adjusted gross incomes rise by 13.8%, while those bringing home between $200K and $250K enjoyed a 6.7% increase, according to a CNNMoney analysis.
High price soured Chevy Volt sales
By Peter Valdes-Dapena - CNN.com
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Despite winning a trophy case worth of awards -- including Motor Trend Car of the Year and North American Car of the Year -- the Chevrolet Volt plug-in car has failed to meet GM's sales expectations.
The problem is simple: The car's price is simply too high for most customers to swallow, according to analysts.
GM had expected to sell 10,000 Volts by the end of last year, the car's first full year on the market. Actual sales tallied up to only about 7,600.
Illegal Mortgage Foreclosure,
JP Morgan and a Federal Injunction
By Chris Ryan - NewsWire.net
JP Morgan has a new liability from mortage foreclosures on its hand, thanks to the Lawfirm of Ken Eade who won a landmark federal injuction against Washington Mutual and JP Morgan. The economic crisis of 2008 had its roots in the mortgage crisis and collapse of the American housing market. Millions of homeowners were pushed into foreclosure due to the illegal predatory lending practices of mortgage lenders. As the real estate crisis deepened, mortgage lenders had little incentive to work with borrowers, as it was more economical to simply foreclose. A recent court decision, however, over the alleged predatory lending practices of Washington Mutual Bank and its successor, JP Morgan Chase, may allow millions of these homeowners to sue their mortgage lenders for compensation.
Florida lawmakers consider accelerating foreclosures
By Brady Dennis - WashingtonPost.com
Lawmakers in Florida are considering measures this week to accelerate foreclosures in the state, one of the hardest hit by the mortgage crisis, underscoring the tug-of-war over how to spur a housing recovery while protecting the rights of struggling homeowners.
It takes roughly two years to push a foreclosure through Florida’s clogged court system. In a state with a backlog of 368,000 cases and a quarter of the country’s foreclosures, that means a housing crisis with no end in sight.
Boom-Era Property Speculators
to Get Foreclosure Aid: Mortgages
By Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg.com
The Obama administration will extend mortgage assistance for the first time to investors who bought multiple homes before the market imploded, helping some speculators who drove up prices and inflated the housing bubble.
Landlords can qualify for up to four federally-subsidized loan workouts starting around May, as long as they rent out each house or have plans to fill them, under the revamped Home Affordable Modification Program, also known as HAMP, according to Timothy Massad, the Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial stability. The program pays banks to reduce monthly payments by cutting interest rates, stretching terms, and forgiving principal.
Super Tuesday: Missing the Primary Issue
By E.J. Dionne, Jr. - Truthdig.com
PARMA, Ohio—What happens in Ohio politics never stays in Ohio, and there are two story lines here on the eve of Super Tuesday.
There is, first, the Republican presidential primary fight. Rick Santorum has to win Ohio to keep his candidacy alive. A Mitt Romney triumph would, at last, turn him into the "inevitable" Republican nominee. The second narrative involves the struggle for a state that Republicans must take in November to have any chance of defeating President Obama.
The problem for Republicans is that the two story lines are not coming together.
In Alaska, a Showdown of Lawyers, Guns,
and Bush-Era Firearms Law
Was Ray Coxe, a Juneau firearms dealers, negligent when he sold a would-be murderer a rifle without a background check? Answering that question is no easy legal task.
By Andrew Cohen - TheAtlantic.com
Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Alaska heard argument in an extraordinary case about gun control, federalism, and so-called "tort reform." At the heart of Kim v. Coxe is the question of how state judges ought to apply a Bush-era law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was designed and enacted by Congress to protect gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits and liability for crimes committed with their weapons.
The State Is a Harsh Mistress
Mises Daily: by David Masten
When I mention that I believe that it is not the proper role of government to subsidize research in space technology, the looks I receive from my fellow aerospace engineering classmates seem to suggest that they want to send me to the dark side of the moon (on the taxpayers' dime).
If there's one libertarian position that is exceedingly difficult to argue, it is the notion that scientific research should not be the concern of the state. This essay will focus on outlining two possible approaches that may allow my dear reader to explain free-market space technology to an outsider without sounding like a green-eyed Martian. These are as follows:
Wednesday, March 7th, Apple to unveil new iPad3
Small-Biz iPad Use Explodes
by Michael del Castillo - Portfolio.com
With the debut of the iPad 3 this week, it's worth seeing just how much of an impact the tablet's two predecessors have had on entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Apple's game-changing device is rewriting how business gets done.
In the two years since the late Steve Jobs unleashed the iPad on the world, it hasn't just changed how we play games or watch TV shows and movies or read books and magazines. The iPad also has transformed how we do business—use of the Apple device has nearly quadrupled among small- and mid-sized business owners in the past year alone, according to a new survey by The Business Journals.
Why I'm learning to code
By Danielle Sucher @CNNMoneyTech
Tech companies say they can't find enough skilled programmers to hire, a gap that training programs like San Francisco's Dev Bootcampand Codecademy's "Code Year" aim to help fill. What's the immersive experience like -- and can a newbie come out a coder? Programming novice Danielle Sucher is keeping a running diary for CNNMoney of her experience at New York's Hacker School.
I left my law practice to do a three-month, full-time coding retreat called Hacker School this winter. Not entirely, I suppose -- I'm still in the middle of motion practice representing a few of the Occupy Wall Street arrestees -- but other than that, my career is on hiatus for the moment.
Angry Birds Boom Spurs U.S. Job Revival on Mobile Demand
A surge in technology-industry hiring is helping to spearhead a jobs-market revival as demand swells for computer-software applications and data.
Online help-wanted advertising for computer and mathematical occupations rose 2.1 percent in February from January to the second-highest since the Conference Board began compiling the data in 2005. Vacancies outnumbered job seekers by more than three to one, according to the New York-based research group. Postings on tech-career website Dice.com are 12 percent higher than a year ago, with openings for workers skilled in mobile applications up more than 100 percent.
Putin rounds up political opposition...
Hundreds of anti-Putin protesters detained in Russia
By Lidia Kelly and Alissa de Carbonnel
(Reuters) - Russian riot police detained more than 500 protesters including opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Monday at rallies challenging the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin's victory in the presidential election.
Putin, who secured almost 64 percent of the votes on Sunday, portrayed his return to the presidency as a triumph over opponents who were trying to usurp power, though international monitors said the vote was clearly skewed in his favour.
U.S. can lawfully target American citizens
By Peter Finn and Sari Horwitz - WashingtonPost.com
The U.S. government has the right to order the killing of American citizens overseas if they are senior al-Qaeda leaders who pose an imminent terrorist threat and cannot reasonably be captured, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Monday.
"Any decision to use lethal force against a United States citizen — even one intent on murdering Americans and who has become an operational leader of al-Qaeda in a foreign land — is among the gravest that government leaders can face," Holder said in a speech at Northwestern University’s law school in Chicago. "The American people can be — and deserve to be — assured that actions taken in their defense are consistent with their values and their laws."
EU criticizes shortcomings in Russian election
(Reuters) - The European Union shares the concerns of international monitors over "shortcomings" in Russia's presidential election and called on Moscow to address them, an EU spokeswoman said on Monday.
The EU broadly agrees with reports by the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) that highlighted problems with Sunday's election, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.
Japan Is Now Another Spinning Plate
in the Global Economy Circus
By Chris Martenson - GoldSeek.com
At the circus, you are sometimes treated to the spinning plate act where a performer tries to keep an improbable number of plates spinning at once, racing from one plate to the next as their wobbles indicate the need for another dose of momentum. Considering the number of spinning and wobbling plates that our central planners are managing, it's easy to be both amazed and anxious at the same time.
The difference between the spinning plate analogy and real-world economic and financial systems is that if a failure occurs out in the real world, it has a very high chance of spreading across and through the other elements of the system. Contagion is the fear, as if in finally toppling, one plate will crash into its neighbor and set off a chain reaction of falling plates.
U.K. Police Linked to Blacklisting of Workers
An investigation has found that British police or security forces supplied personal information to major construction companies looking to keep roughly 3,200 "left-wing or troublesome" workers off their payrolls. The blacklist provided records of "workers’ trade union activities and conduct at work" to more than 40 building firms, The Guardian reports.
David Clancy of the Information Commissioner’s Office—the agency responsible for the inquiry—said the relationship between the group that collected the information and the police and security forces dates back to a time when the government cooperated with building companies to keep an eye on Irish construction workers who may have been involved in IRA terrorism.
McCain seeks airstrikes on Syria; US presses Putin
By BRADLEY KLAPPER, AP - The Atlantic Journal-Constitution - AJC.com
WASHINGTON — Frustrated by a diplomatic logjam and a bloody Syrian offensive, Republican Sen. John McCain on Monday urged the United States to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad's regime to force him out of power — a call for dramatic military intervention that wasn't supported by the Obama administration or its European or Arab partners.
McCain's statement on the Senate floor came as the U.S. and European governments pleaded for Russia's Vladimir Putin to rethink his anti-interventionist stance on Syria, in what appeared to be an increasingly desperate effort for consensus among world powers to stop a crackdown that has killed more than 7,500 people. Hundreds fled to neighboring Lebanon on Monday fearing they'd be massacred in their homes.
Obama, Netanyahu give no sign of narrowing gap on Iran
By Jeffrey Heller and Matt Spetalnick
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama appealed to Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to give sanctions time to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, but the Israeli prime minister offered no sign of backing away from possible military action, saying his country must be the "master of its fate."
The two men, who have had a strained relationship, sought to present a united front in the Iranian nuclear standoff as they held White House talks. But their public statements revealed differences over how to prevent Iranfrom developing nuclear weapons.
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