S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Monday's business news is rich with possibilities for interesting reading.

Business is not always dull and boring.  When you depend on the best writers and resources it can be as engaging as political news is for the activist.

"The fight for financial reform,"
by Katrina Vanden Heuvel at The Nation Magazine (10/3/09) focuses on the big picture when it comes to reforming the regulations guiding the financial industry, particularly Elizabeth Warren's proposed new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.  Quoting this fine editor, pundit and writer:

The needed reforms are clear: affordable health care for all; a targeted jobs program and a humane, effective way to quell the tsunami of foreclosures; and a reorganized, re-regulated Wall Street that gets back to the essential business of investing in the real economy.

. . . One crucial debate is over the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA)--akin to the fight over the public option as part of health care reform. . . The need for a CFPA couldn't be more clear. . . Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law Professor who also chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel, first developed the idea for a CFPA. . . Warren describes the benefits of the CFPA as bringing "existing federal consumer regulation under one roof", and creating "a home in Washington for people who care about whether families are playing on a level field when they buy financial products.... It will focus on one, driving question: Are consumer financial products explained in a way that consumers can understand and that allows the market to work?"

. . . Even more threatening to reform efforts are the financial industries' deep pockets: McClatchy Newspapers reports, "The [US] Chamber [of Commerce] said it's spending about $2 million on ads, educational efforts and a grassroots campaign to kill the agency. It said that the grassroots effort has led to more than 23,000 letters sent to Congress to date."

"Inside the crisis: Larry Summers and the White House Economic team," is by Ryan Lizza at The New Yorker (10/12/09).  If you could only read one article to get the big picture of President Obama's fiscal approach, read this piece.  It is well worth the time.  The read is actually pretty effortless.  HT to Marc Ambinder for his tweet linking to this very important and terrifically readable article (even for us seriously non-economist types).  Lizza rightly concludes, "Obama and his team have pulled the economy back from the abyss, but they will get credit only when it has been rebuilt."

"A new Supreme Court term hints at views on regulating business," is by Adam Liptak from the New York Times (10/4/09). Remember also to watch C-SPAN's fine series all this week that focuses on the SCOTUS.  Last night's premier episode was just excellent. To quote Liptak:

The new Supreme Court term that begins Monday will be dominated by cases concerning corporations, compensation and the financial markets that could signal the justices’ attitude toward regulatory constraints at a time of extraordinary government intervention in the economy.

. . . By the time the justices left for their summer break in June, a majority of the cases they had agreed to hear — 24 of 45 — concerned business issues, according to a tally by the National Chamber Litigation Center of the United States Chamber of Commerce. The corresponding numbers last year were 16 of 42.

"Three Americans share the 2009 Nobel medicine prize," according to the New York Times (10/5/09). Selfishly, because I am a cancer survivor and a ripe old 72 years of age, I am pleased that their research has implications specifically for me. Quoting from the story, the winners are:

Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak were named winners of the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for research that has implications for cancer and aging research.

The trio solved a big problem in biology: how chromosomes can be ''copied in a complete way during cell divisions and how they are protected against degradation,'' the citation said.

"Is the Internet's next frontier news for your neighborhood?" asks Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica (10/2/09).  This is a timely article for those of us who watched a panel on the Knight Commission's work last evening.  Here is a summary: "The Internet has made it easy to connect with anyone anywhere—but it's still tough to know what's going on down the block, in local schools, or at City Hall. One foundation has a plan to change this." HT to Jay Rosen who tweets that "Ars Technica summarizes the big Knight Commission report on serving the news needs of local communities, with links to the PDF."

There is reason to celebrate this year's Nobel laureates, reason to credit the Obama administration for its bold and intelligent approach to the financial crisis, reason to be curious as the Supreme Court begins its current term, and reason to be worried about the future of print journalism as you read the lates stories of the demise of another paper or the firing of another bunch of reporters.  The nation cannot afford to lose a viable and professional Fourth Estate that is in the business of original reporting.

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