Internet BirthdayIn today’s news we are linking to economic updates and a news article on the Internet’s 40th birthday!

Happy Birthday Internet!

New York, October 30 – Internet today has revolutionized lives but in the process it has traveled miles. As Internet turns 40, let’s take a walk down the memory lane to see how it all began.  Click above link for the full story.

Focus on the Economy

Good News on Economy Poses Challege for Obama: How to Keep it Going

Washington Bureau – The U.S. economy expanded at a faster-than-expected 3.5% rate in the third quarter, unofficially marking the end of the worst recession since World War II and boosting hopes for the strength of a long-awaited recovery.

But the growth surge, which ended four straight quarters of economic contraction, poses a challenge to Washington policy-makers: It was largely a result of a rebound in consumer spending which, in turn, was heavily influenced by federal stimulus spending.

Politics Today: The Battle Over the Stimulus

PRESIDENT OBAMA TODAY: The Recovery and Transparency Board will release its reports detailing how the economic stimulus plan’s funds have been spent through Sept. 30 and how effective the plan has been in terms of job creation, with the White House claiming the plan “has created and saved at least 1 million jobs.”

Oil prices traded down at just over $79 a barrel Friday as the strengthening U.S. dollar outweighed news that the U.S. economy had snapped four straight quarters of contraction, suggesting demand for crude will improve.

By midday in Europe, benchmark crude for December delivery was down 69 cents to $79.18 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.41 to settle at $79.87 on Thursday.

Photo Credit: http://jedsundwall.com/img/internet.jpg

WORLD NEWS

14 Americans Die in Afghan Helicopter Crash

Fourteen Americans were killed in Afghanistan on Monday in two separate incidents involving helicopters. Seven soldiers and three civilian employees of the United States embassy — all of them Americans — were killed in a helicopter crash in western Afghanistan, military officials said. And in southern Afghanistan, the midair collision of two coalition helicopters resulted in the deaths of four American soldiers. A spokeswoman said gunfire from insurgents was not to blame for the collision.

ECONOMY

Retail gas prices are spiking to levels last seen in the heat of summer driving season, raising fears that consumers could cut back on holiday spending.

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose for the 13th straight day, adding sixth-tenths of a cent overnight to $2.671, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service.

Cost Cutting CEO Slices ING in Two

Jan Hommen, the veteran cost-cutter who earlier this year took the reins at ING Group NV, the Dutch bancassurer bailed out by the government, has made the ultimate cut.

ING said on Monday it would split itself in two, disposing of its insurance operations over the next four years and raising 7.5 billion euros ($11.3 billion) in a rights issue.

Merkel Says Saving Won’t Pull German Out of the Slump

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that spending is necessary to pull Germany out of its worst recession in modern history, justifying her government’s focus on tax cuts to generate economic growth.

Merkel, in a speech to a convention of her Christian Democratic Union in Berlin today, stood by tax cuts worth 24 billions euros ($36 billion), more than the 15 billion euros she had pledged before the Sept. 27 elections. Delegates approved the coalition’s policy platform for the next four years, after the Free Democrats backed the program yesterday. The Christian Social Union, Merkel’s Bavarian ally, approved it at a meeting in Munich, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported.

Limited GovernmentIn McCuistion TV’s discussion on Limited Government, the panelists focus their discussion on the credit crisis, free markets and limited government.

Joining Host Dennis McCuistion are:

Doug Casey is not a fan of government as it is as he believes it coerces opinions. He feels entrepreneurs would be the better solution to many issues.

Dennis asks: Isn’t this anarchy?

In response, we find that Doug Casey believes that government’s role in a civil society is to protect us from force, inside and outside the bailiwick… and to adjudicate in a fair court system. He asserts that Government is a busy body and power monger and it does not serve a useful purpose

Thomas Woods believes that we need to return to the foundation of the US Constitution and 10th amendment. He believes that too many Think Tanks are chasing a unicorn with their asking for funding to curb spending, etc. and nothing happens. He says of Government that it has a monopoly to tax and that moral principles are abandoned when it comes to government. Government fails on absolute standards of society.

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1804 – 10.18.09

Considering how the story of the balloon boy was all over the news and the Twitter community yesterday, we are going to break from some of our traditional news reels and add a bonus link to the “balloon boy” story. Thankfully the six-year-old was at home and safe while the world feared the worst.

‘Balloon boy’ dad: It wasn’t a stunt

Upset that anyone would think he would stage a stunt involving his own son and a homemade flying-saucerlike balloon, and struggling with still-raw emotions, Richard Heene called Thursday’s riveting drama played out in the skies over northern Colorado a “horrible moment.”

ECONOMY

Bank of America Posts Third-Quarter Loss on Defaults (Update3)

Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. lender, posted its second quarterly loss in less than a year, unable to shake off effects of the economic contraction that drove the company to take two taxpayer bailouts.

Production in U.S. Increases More Than Anticipated (Update2)

Industrial production in the U.S. rose more than three times as much as anticipated in September, putting manufacturing at the forefront of the emerging economic recovery.

THE WORLD

Pakistan faces new wave of Taliban attacks

Pakistan’s army chief briefed the country’s top leaders Friday on the tenuous security situation as the government combats a new wave of attacks believed to have been orchestrated by Taliban militants.

HEALTH

Local people, agencies prepare for H1N1 outbreak

It’s October and flu season’s here. But along with concerns about the seasonal flu that typically occur this time of year, health agencies are warning people about the H1N1 flu virus.

H1N1 was originally called “swine flu” because tests showed that many of the virus’ genes were similar to ones that normally occur in pigs in North America. But further study showed that the new virus is very different, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Columbus Day

N.Korea fires missiles, declares ‘no sail’ zone

SEOUL, Oct 12 (Reuters) – North Korea has fired five short-range missiles off its east coast and declared a ‘no sail’ zone in the area from Oct. 10-20, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a government source as saying on Monday.

South Korean government officials were not immediately available for comment.

US Celebrates Columbus Day

Americans are celebrating Columbus Day Monday.

Columbus Day is a federal holiday observed on the second Monday in October, marking the anniversary of arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.

Lobbyists Out in Full Force as Senate Prepares to Vote on Health Care Bill Tuesday

As the Senate Finance Committee prepares to vote Tuesday on its version of health care legislation, White House officials say they have momentum as the narrative shifts from whether a bill will pass to what it will contain.

But, even as conservative commentators admit that health care overhaul will happen, lobbyists are leading a final push to sidetrack the legislation.

A new report by health industry lobbyists at America’s Health Insurance Plans, prepared by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, concludes that health coverage costs for families would increase by 111 percent in the next 10 years under provisions proposed by the Senate Finance Committee. That means costs would jump, on average, to $25,900 for families by 2019, and to $9,700 for individuals.

US Stocks Slightly Higher As Busy Earnings Week Begins

U.S. stocks were trading slightly higher Monday after last week’s strong gains and as a busy week of earnings gets underway.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher by about 3 points. The Dow gained 4% last week, snapping a string of two straight weekly declines, ending trading on Friday at its highest level since Oct. 6, 2008. The S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 1075.06. The Nasdaq also rose 0.3% to 2147.81.

The dollar, which has been on a long-term slide, was slightly stronger against the euro and the yen. The Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of major currencies, is down 5.9% year-to-date.

Stephen Pope, chief global market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, said a weaker dollar is “allowing non-dollar based investors to acquire U.S. assets and ‘cheap valuations’ when reflected back into their base currency. The S&P 500 is on a price/earnings basis trading at a discount to the MSCI World Index of 23 developing countries.”

LibertarianismIn a conversation about the politics of freedom David Boaz and Dennis McCuistion answer the question: “What is a libertarian?” as well as discussing the societal fight over power and freedom since time immemorial.

Joining Dennis McCuistion is David Boaz. David Boaz is the Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute and author of Libertarianism: A Primer.

Dennis and David talk about the principles of libertarianism that are in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They discuss absolute free trade and the conflict between big government, the Federal Reserve and free markets.

As they continue to discuss all that surrounds the question, “What is a libertarian,” they address the query of individuals having the right and responsibility to make decisions over their own lives, yet today government makes many of these decisions. The classical liberal position of the 18th century is discussed and how parties function today.

They continue to discuss libertarianism by discussing Think Tanks and the differences between them.  The Cato Institute, for instance, is fiscally conservative but socially liberal. David Boaz addresses the ‘polling’ Cato has done regarding how people view politics and parties. He states that many poll libertarian on the fiscally conservative, socially liberal side, with less government interference.

As a Think Tank, Cato is skeptical of government interference in your personal life, from what Americans read to whom Americans marry.  They believe that the government has no right to dictate values. Cato is different from the Heritage Think Tank, which is more conservative. Brookings, for instance, is more sympathetic to government and is further to the left on economic policies.

Dennis and David both agree that ideas are important and many voters don’t seem to care and certainly government does not. Policies are made by special interest groups promoting their own agendas. Yet independence is bred into the bones of the United States. It is what makes us a great country and freer than others. We have free enterprise, private property, religious freedom, and separation of Church and State.

Join us as we answer the question, “What is a libertarian?” and discuss issues surrounding libertarianism and the politics of freedom.


1803 – 10.11.09

Barack Obama Nobel Peace Prize

Barack Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

LONDON — The surprise choice of President Barack Obama for the Nobel Peace Prize drew praise from much of the world Friday even as many pointed out the youthful leader has not yet accomplished much on the world stage.

The new president was hailed for his willingness to reach out to the Islamic world, his commitment to curtailing the spread of nuclear weapons and his goal of bringing the Israelis and Palestinians into serious, fruitful negotiations.

Health Industry Concerned about Health Care Reform

The industry heavyweights President Obama neutralized through the summer are agitating that the health-care bills in Congress violate agreements they made with the White House, leave 25 million Americans uninsured and have the potential to increase medical costs.

GM Expected to Seal Hummer Sale

BEIJING – General Motors Co. is expected to seal a deal as early as Friday to sell its Hummer unit to China’s Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. for $150 million, according to people close to the talks

China’s central government could still balk at the acquisition because of Hummer’s reputation for gas-guzzling excess, although the people said Chinese regulators have been briefed on the talks frequently, and that support may be building for the deal.

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthNational Breast Cancer Awareness Month is upon us.  There is little doubt that most of us have known someone in our life that has been dramatically affected by this horrible disease.  According to Susan G. Komen’s research, the following are breast cancer facts regarding breast cancer:

  • The older a woman, the more likely she is to get breast cancer.
  • White women are more likely to get breast cancer than women of any other racial or ethnic group.
  • African American women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.
  • Men can get breast cancer, although it is rare.
    • Less than one of every 100 cases of breast cancer in the U.S. occurs in men.
    • In 2008, it was estimated that men accounted for 1,990 cases of breast cancer
  • In the U.S., only about 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers occur because of inherited mutations.
  • The 5-year survival rate for all women diagnosed with breast cancer is 89 percent.
    • This means that 89 out of every 100 women with breast cancer will survive for at least five years.
    • Most will live a full life and never have a recurrence.
    • Your chances of surviving are better if the cancer is detected early, before it spreads to other parts of your body.
    • In fact, when breast cancer is found early and confined to the breast, the 5-year survival rate is 98 percent.

If you have an opportunity to be a part of helping bring awareness and raise money for a cure for this horrible disease, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There is no better time than now to start being the change.  Below are some ways that you can get involved.

Primary Source: Susan G. Komen

news3 Americans win medicine Nobel for chromosome research

(CNN) — Three U.S. researchers were awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on how chromosomes are protected against degradation, the Nobel Foundation reported Monday.

BofA board fields CEO search team

The board of Bank of America Corp. has enlisted six directors to lead the search for the company’s next chief executive.

CEO Kenneth Lewis announced Wednesday he will retire by year end after a 40-year career with the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank (NYSE: BAC).

In Indonesia, a Shift From Rescue to Recovery

LUBUK LAWEK, Indonesia — Heavy machinery arrived here Monday, allowing search teams to reach deeper into villages devastated by a series of landslides caused by the earthquake last week. But after five days, hope of finding any more survivors had dimmed significantly. The delicate search for people gave way to large machines clawing away at wrecked buildings to find the dead.

Services index expands in September

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The service sectors of the United States expanded in September for the first time in a year, according to a survey of companies released Monday by the Institute for Supply Management.

The ISM non-manufacturing index rose to 50.9% from 48.4% in August. This is the highest level since May 2008 and the first time in a year that the index was above the break-even 50% mark.

Budget DeficitDuring this episode on government spending, touching on budget deficits, the United States debt and taxes, Dennis McCuistion is joined by:

During this engaging, high energy discussion on the role that government has played in the financial crisis of today, we are enlightened by the experts in causes, solutions, and cautions regarding budget deficits, United States debt and taxes.

Richard Rahn addresses supply side economics. Supply side economics is:

a school of macroeconomic thought that argues that economic growth can be most effectively created using incentives for people to produce (supply) goods and services, such as adjusting income tax and capital gains tax rates, and by allowing greater flexibility by reducing regulation.”

Taxes

Addressing the flat tax, Richard Rahn says that it is presently used in 26-28 countries. However, Iceland is getting rid of their flat tax, which was too high at 37%. Flat tax is supposed to be a low rate system as it is in Central and Eastern Europe. He says flat tax is not a silver bullet. More growth and more entrepreneurship is still needed.

Stephen Moore and Daniel Mitchell also address the tax situation and address the fair tax. The fair tax is a national consumption tax that is essentially a sales tax. This would eliminate the need for corporate and personal income tax. They assert that this would be a dream come true and of great benefit, saying that the world is passing us by.  They warn, the United States may have to raise taxes to pay for the new health care system.

Spending some time to discuss big government and 2010, they touch on tax cuts, government spending and predict that the death tax, capital gains and personal taxes will go up in 2010.  The offer warnings on the vat tax as well.

Wrapping up the conversation, they discuss the Laffer Curve, tax rates, taxable income and tax revenue and how tax is collected. Citing  history, they discuss the President Regan Administration and the current concern about a massive tax increase on the middle class.

This episode offers compelling inside into today’s economic times. We welcome your comments on the episode below.


1802 – 10.04.09