Friday, December 4, 2009

Senator Baucus Nominated mistress for U.S. Attorney

Why is the AP downplaying the fact that Baucus was having an affair with this woman who he then nominated for U.S. Attorney? Roll Call has the full story.

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus’ office confirmed late Friday night that the Montana Democrat was carrying on an affair with his state office director, Melodee Hanes, when he nominated her to be U.S. attorney in Montana.

According to a source familiar with their relationship, Hanes and Baucus began their relationship in the summer of 2008 – nearly a year before Baucus and his wife, Wanda, formally separated in April. The Senator has since divorced his wife.

Hanes ended her employment with Baucus in the spring of this year.

Hanes, who is divorced and now lives with Baucus in the Eastern Market neighborhood of Washington, D.C., ultimately withdrew her name from consideration for the U.S. attorney position in order to move to Washington, and she now works in the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention as a counselor to the administrator.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Obama staff order F-22 snubbing, pisses off military crew.

This was certainly petty but expected behavior from his staff.

When President Obama spoke to troops at Alaska's Elmendorf Air Force Base last month, the unit there parked a shiny new F-22 fighter plane in the hanger. But according to multiple sources, White House aides demanded the plane be changed to an older F-15 fighter because they didn't want Obama speaking in front of the F-22, a controversial program he fought hard to end.

"White House aides actually made them remove the F-22-said they would not allow POTUS to be pictured with the F-22 in any way, shape, or form," one source close to the unit relayed.

Stephen Lee, a public affairs officer at Elmendorf, confirmed to The Cable that the F-22 was parked in the hanger and then was replaced by an F-15 at the White House's behest.

The airmen there took offense to the Obama aides' demand, sources told The Cable, seeing it as a slight to the folks who are operating the F-22 proudly every day. They also expressed bewilderment that the White House staff would even care so much as to make an issue out of the fact that the F-22 was placed in the hanger with the president.

American Airlines looks into fat passenger photo

Look at this photo which appears to be legit and American Airlines is investigating. I am sorry but no way in hell should he be allowed on the plane unless he paid for at least two seats. Via FlightGlobal and Daily Telegraph.

The picture, posted on an aviation blog, was reportedly taken by a flight attendant to illustrate to airline managers the difficulty of dealing with passengers who cannot fit into seats.

It is unclear if the man was aware his picture was being taken or whether the flight, on US carrier American Airlines, took off with the passenger spilling out of his seat.

In a statement, American Airlines said: "At this time American Airlines is unable to confirm whether or not the image referred to was taken by a member of flight crew but will investigate the situation internally to determine if any of the airline's strict policies were not correctly applied.

"American Airlines’ primary concern is for the safety and comfort of its passengers and crews and consequently passengers are advised to book two seats if they are concerned that they will require them. If a flight is not full, however, passengers' needs would be accommodated without charge wherever possible."

Developing states reject Copenhagen climate plan

This climate summit is going down in flames.

China and other big developing nations rejected core targets for a climate deal such as halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 just five days before talks start in Copenhagen, diplomats said on Wednesday.

China, the world's top emitter, together with India, Brazil and South Africa demand that richer nations do more and have drawn "red lines" limiting what they themselves would accept, the diplomats told Reuters.

The four rejected key targets proposed by the Danish climate talks hosts in a draft text -- halving global greenhouse gases by 2050, setting a 2020 deadline for a peak in world emissions, and limiting global warming to a maximum 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, European diplomats said.

Developing nations want richer countries to do much more to cut their emissions now before they agree to global emissions targets which they fear may shift the burden of action to them, and crimp their economic growth.

"We cannot agree to the 50/50 (halving emissions by 2050) because it implies that ... the remaining (cuts) must be done by developing countries," South Africa's chief climate negotiator Alf Wills said, partly confirming the EU diplomats' comments.

Honduran congress votes against restoring Zelaya to office

What is Obama going to say now? The Honduran Congress is not legit?

The Honduran congress voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to reaffirm its June decision to fire President Manuel ``Mel'' Zelaya, leaving up in the air what will happen to the deposed leader who has been holed up in the Brazilian embassy for more than two months.

``We stand by our position that Zelaya can't be restored because he violated the constitution,'' Rodolfo Irias, the congressional president of the National Party, said during the debate.

With several congressional members still left to vote Wednesday night, 77 had already cast their vote to block Zelaya's return, providing the necessary majority.

Congress members debated his return for more than six hours in a daylong session that opened with a prayer asking guidance from God, who ``offers kings and takes them away.''

The odds for reinstatement seemed stacked against Zelaya from the start. His political fate rested with the same 128-member legislative body that voted overwhelmingly in June in favor of his removal on charges of treason and abuse of power.

And the session opened with a video that served to document Zelaya's errors and justify the congress' June 28 decision to replace him.

On Wednesday, more than 90 legislators signed the motion supporting his ouster, more than needed to keep Zelaya from returning to power.

The country's Human Rights Commission, attorney general and ombudsman offered legal opinions advising against Zelaya's restitution.

The attorney general said Zelaya was replaced because he was ``absent.''

Black Caucus gets special deal for Black Radio Company.

A couple of weeks back the Congressional Black Caucus held up financial regulation reform over the lack of help to minority businesses. We come to find out that one specific business the CBC wants to help is a radio company. The looks of it the CBC was successful in pressuring certain people to making sure the radio company got some special treatment.

One of most intriguing mysteries here in recent weeks is why members of the Congressional Black Caucus have chosen to buck their party and president in trying to stall financial regulation reform.

The answer lies at least in part with an aggressive lobbying campaign by a troubled New York City-based radio broadcasting company, Inner City Broadcasting, whose co-founder is a prominent New York politician and businessman, Percy Sutton.

In a rare break with President Obama, the caucus, made up of black members of Congress, is holding back support for the legislation because it wants the administration to help minority-owned businesses, including Inner City, whose financial plight has been specifically identified in meetings with top administration officials.

Inner City Broadcasting, which owns 17 commercial stations nationwide and was co-founded in 1971 by Mr. Sutton, faces a possible financial collapse because of pressure by Goldman Sachs and GE Capital to repay nearly $230 million in debt, Pierre Sutton, his son, said in an interview Wednesday.

Inner City has been battered by declines in advertising, as have many stations around the country, which have experienced drops of 10 percent or more in the last year because of the recession and the move of advertisers to the Internet.

While others are suffering, too, Black Caucus members and lobbyists for Inner City in a series of meetings have pressed the administration for special help for black-owned broadcasters like Inner City, participants in the meetings said.

Caucus members made their case about minority-owned businesses directly to the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, and the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, last month.

In pushing its cause, Inner City hired a prominent Washington lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, which assigned to the case a former senior aide to Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and a former executive director of the caucus.

Mr. Sutton, even today at age 89, remains a prominent African- American power broker in New York City. The father and son have been major campaign contributors to one of the leaders of the caucus, Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York, who is also a protégé of the senior Mr. Sutton.

Members of the caucus asked the administration to squeeze lenders like GE Capital and Goldman Sachs to renegotiate their loans with Inner City and other black-owned radio stations, arguing that these financial institutions themselves had already received federal assistance. Some caucus members even pushed to include black-owned radio stations in the bailout.

What is the result?

Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, confirmed Wednesday that the company has been involved in talks with Inner City Broadcasting about its debt. He would not say if it had received appeals from officials in Washington related to the matter.

But Pierre Sutton said Wednesday that this intervention by officials in Washington has already helped, as negotiations are under way with Goldman and GE Capital to refinance the loans.

“The awareness was certainly made more acute,” he said. “They got the message.”

So now we have too Black to fail as a reason for getting a bailout which is ridiculously racist and shows how out of control the bailout mentality has hit the Dems who see it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fund pet projects or in this case a prominent financial donor.

This is why the CBC is a joke.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Leading suggestions at Obama's Job Summit so far.

Smart power!

Some of the leading ideas under discussion include:

offering a payroll tax holiday, which would temporarily suspend the 12.4% tax on workers' first $106,800 of wages;

creating a new jobs hiring credit;

giving more money to states and localities to close budget deficits. These
shortfalls could cost 900,000 jobs in 2010 alone, according to one think tank;

and offering public-service employment.

How about cutting the payroll taxes instead of temporarily suspending them which is stupid since you are not correcting the problem of high taxes. Then consider that since these taxes fund Social Security which needs fixing any drop would damage it further.

On the other hand that would get people off their butts to fix Social Security so there is that silver lining.

A new job hiring credit is useless because it again does not fix the problem that businesses of all sizes have with too much taxes on an already tightened business budget.

Giving more bailout money to the states to cover their budget shortfalls is like putting a band aid on a gaping wound that the states(American taxpayers) would be on the hook for to pay for the treatment later. States need to cut their budgets and get their finances under control from the out of control spending of the easy credit years.

As for the public service employment, you know that is a union idea that is to make more people dependent on taxpayers paying their salaries in jobs that have no defined purpose other than to boost numbers.

All in all, the job summit t is going to be what I thought it would be which is a bunch of leftist drool being paraded around as great ideas.

Iran plans to phase out subsidies. Public alarmed.

The subsidising of Iran economy has distorted to a point where it imports its more vital needs like food and energy. Now to get away from that so any sanctions(HA!) that might happen won't hurt as much, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is going to head the effort to do away with subsidies.

The bad news? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is going to head the effort to do away with subsidies.

There is widespread agreement that selling everyday goods at far below market prices, which costs the Iranian government an estimated $100 billion a year, makes little economic sense. It encourages overconsumption of gasoline and other products, discourages domestic production and makes Iran more dependent on imports, economists say. The subsidies are also regressive, because the rich pay the same artificially low prices as the poor and consume far more. And they encourage smuggling.

Previous governments tried to eliminate subsidies and build a more dynamic, market-oriented economy, but retreated in the face of popular pressure. President Ahmadinejad — who has long cast himself as a champion of the poor and a scourge of Iran’s privileged elite — has pushed hard on the issue, and last month Parliament gave him full authority to begin paring subsidies this year.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, not known in the past for favoring strong pro-market medicine for Iran’s ailing economy, has presented the measure as a matter of economic justice. He says half of the money the government saves by eliminating subsidies will go to helping poorer Iranians adjust to higher prices.

But the measure also has clear political motives. The changes would hit hardest at the urban middle class, which has tended to favor Mr. Ahmadinejad’s opponents. And the president clearly hopes to carry out an important policy change that two predecessors, Mohammad Khatami and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani — now leaders of the opposition — tried and failed to achieve.

New Haven and Bridgeport firefighters get promotions.

A battle all the way to the Supreme Court and they finally get their promotions.

New Haven’s Board of Fire Commissioners met Tuesday and officially promoted 14 firefighters. The men sued the city for those promotions and ended up taking their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Outside of the meeting, held in a conference room on the second floor of the Grand Avenue firehouse, two newly promoted captains embraced.

"We're captains," they sighed.

It took six years to get here - but only a few minutes for it to be over. All ten fire commissioners voted in favor of promoting the 14 men who make up a part of the New Haven 20. Six are now captains, eight are lieutenants.

Thanks to them, Bridgeport had to promote a group of firefighters that got sidelined as well.

A dozen white firefighters have prevailed in their reverse discrimination lawsuits against the city.

Settlement of the Bridgeport lawsuits filed was announced Tuesday, after lawyers representing the white firefighters said this summer that their position was bolstered by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that favored white firefighters in New Haven who had made similar arguments.

The 12 plaintiffs, including a Puerto Rican, filed suit in federal court in April, eight months after several of them were denied promotions to lieutenant when the city rescored a lieutenant promotional exam. The 2006 test was rescored and reranked after James Outtz, a nationally known test designer, found the results had been weighted unfavorably against minority candidates.

The city decided to change the original grading from 50 percent written, 45 percent oral and 5 percent seniority to 75 percent oral and 25 percent written, which allowed more minorities to pass. In doing so, the action prevented most of the 12 plaintiffs from being promoted to the higher grade and a larger salary.

"We got everything we wanted," said Richard L. Albrecht, a lawyer from the firm of Cohen and Wolf, who, with Courtney A. George, led the firm's representation of the white firefighters.

Lt. Shane Porter, president of the Firebird Society, an organization of black and Hispanic firefighters, said the settlement could have "a ripple effect" that could have an impact on the department's racial makeup all the way down to entry-level hiring and possibly influence fire and police department personnel policies in other communities.

"It's a disappointing decision that will have a long-term affect on how the fire service will look in the future," he said. "We need to be more diversified, and this kind of puts a damper on that. The fire, police departments should represent -- look like -- the communities they serve."

Fine, Pass the damn test. The fire and police departments are two services that should have the best qualified candidates based on merit not color. I keep saying that diversity without merit is useless and harmful in the long run for any company.

Putting people in positions of power based on color in these services is disservice to the public who depend them.

Somali Pirates set up stock exchange to manage their ransoms.

You can't stop capitalism, you can only hope to contain it. This story is awesomely mindblowing you can't help but laugh at it. They have a stock exchange on piracy...PIRACY!
Heavily armed pirates from the lawless Horn of Africa nation have terrorized shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean and strategic Gulf of Aden, which links Europe to Asia through the Red Sea.

The gangs have made tens of millions of dollars from ransoms and a deployment by foreign navies in the area has only appeared to drive the attackers to hunt further from shore.

It is a lucrative business that has drawn financiers from the Somali diaspora and other nations -- and now the gangs in Haradheere have set up an exchange to manage their investments.

....."Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 'maritime companies' and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking," Mohammed said.

"The shares are open to all and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful materials ... we've made piracy a community activity."

Haradheere, 400 km (250 miles) northeast of Mogadishu, used to be a small fishing village. Now it is a bustling town where luxury 4x4 cars owned by the pirates and those who bankroll them create honking traffic jams along its pot-holed, dusty streets.

They are some very happy investors.

Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel.

"I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation," she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony.

"I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the 'company'."

Seriously, that is my favorite line from any article this year for being so absurd but true. The last line sounds like it could be from a late night investment infomerical.

Google to limit free news access

In other news, websites will see significant drop off in their online readership.

Chris Matthews: West Point is the Enemy Camp.

Matthews is just saying what leftists think of military institutions in general. He was right that some of the cadets seemed resentful and skeptical about Obama. They are not stupid and they realized that first they are being used as a television prop, then hearing from Obama who did not look or sound like he believed anything he was saying from his speech.

Other words, they know a BSer when they see one.

As for calling them the enemy camp, just truth to power.

Obama's cold indifferent by the numbers afghanistan speech.

You can read the transcript but even reading it there is nothing that stands out from the speech that Obama really gives a damn about the outcome of Afghanistan. It was a typical speech that hit upon the talking points including blaming Bush but it was not inspiring. Whoever wrote it clearly did not believe what he/she was writing on paper.

Listening to Obama made the speech worse, he had no emotion and he did not seem pleased to be there giving it or believing the words coming out of his mouth. There was no hint of looking to be victorious in Afghanistan, just a long enough timetable with just enough troops where he can't win but at least get out of it in a political sense that doesn't harm him.

This was pure politics, not a President of the United States looking to win a war.

On the other hand, its nice to know there is one segment of spending he will take a very close look at and surprise! it would be the military where he finally gives a damn about the cost of something. Not his domestic programs or the bailouts, brilliant.

I wasn't expecting much and I did not get it from Obama.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Obama refusing to personally brief PM Harper on Afghanistan

Via CBC and Hot Air. Really?This is pathetic and petty even for him and another example of Obama treating allies like garbage. Embarrassing.

University of Minnesota teacher indoctrination teachings.

Via PowerlineBlog where they point out that the University of Minn future teacher training pretty much something out of a stereotypical multiculturalist thinking.

To say the least, the program contemplated by the initiative's Race, Culture, Class and Gender Task Group's report reveals an authoritarian mindset. Not only are future teachers required to subscribe to the prescribed ideology, so are the teachers who supervise their practice teaching in the public schools. (These teachers must endure "required training/worshop"[s] "around issues of race, class, culture, and gender.)

This is to be a comprehensive program, including the College of Education faculty -- mandatory "professional development" sessions are planned for them. According to the report: "Every faculty member at our university that [sic] trains our teachers must comprehend and commit to the centrality of race, class, culture, and gender issues in teaching and learning, and consequently, frame their teaching and course foci accordingly."

In addition, the College of Education plans to change criteria for admission in order to ensure that future teachers show the proper "attitudes" and "dispositions." A proposal seeking funding from the Bush Foundation states that, in January, the College of Education will be making "recommendations for assessing initial licensure candidates' professional commitments/dispositions as a criteria [sic] for admission."

Jean Quam is dean of the College of Education. On Friday the Star Tribune published Quam's vacuous if revealing nonresponse to Kersten's column. Quam avoids the points Kersten made. She neither attempts to refute them nor to address Kersten's evidence.

Among the straw men set up by Quam is her assertion that Kersten's "position is that discussion of [issues of race, class, culture and gender] equates to indoctrination." Those who read Kersten's column will easily see the falsity of this assertion, but we are grateful for Dean Quam's demonstration of the ethics she brings to the public discussion of the issues Kersten disputes, and for Quam's inadvertent corroboration of Kersten's indictment.

You can read the report here and it is amazing how much self loathing patronizing crap they can fit in one report especially when the patronizing attitude is directed toward minority students. But indoctrination of students towards a leftist attitude is considered a must.

One assessment activity reads as follows:

"Autoethnography should reflect appreciation for how dominant pedagogical styles, school curricula, behavioral expectations, personal prejudices of school personnel...often convey overt and covert messages that devalue the culture, heritage, and identity of minority students."

5. Students must not only demonstrate changed thinking -- they must become activists. They must learn that schools are "critical sites for social and cultural transformation." One outcome reads: "Future teachers create & fight for social justice even if it's just in their classroom"

Monday, November 30, 2009

(WSJ) Construction Job Cuts Loom as Stimulus Fades

The sugar rush is over now time for the crash...again.

Highway-construction companies around the country, having completed the mostly small projects paid for by the federal economic-stimulus package, are starting to see their business run aground, an ominous sign for the nation's weak employment picture.

Tim Word, vice president of Dean Word Co., a heavy-construction company in New Braunfels, Texas, said his income is now coming mostly from projects that are winding up. He said that in normal times he has about $100 million of signed contracts in hand. But that number has fallen to $30 million, and the pipeline is empty. In the past two years, his work force has shrunk nearly 40% to 260 from 420.

"Having something to bid on is the lifeblood of the industry, and it's running out," said Mr. Word. He isn't sure what will happen next year without new projects. "There's no pavement fairy that's going to help."

.....State officials and local contractors trace the industry's woes to the recession and the collapse of the residential and commercial real-estate markets. In addition, they cite the federal government's delayed plans to enact a transportation bill. In one version, the law would have provided $450 billion for highways and infrastructure projects over the next six years.

Congress is no longer actively considering the bill, which has been bumped aside by competing priorities such as the Obama administration's health-care overhaul and by growing support for reducing the federal budget deficit. Some lawmakers fear that continued stimulus spending could harm the economy down the road by saddling the nation with higher debt-servicing bills.

But high unemployment could revive the transportation-spending bill's prospects. Earlier this year the Obama administration was opposed to pushing a big highway bill, deterred in part by the prospect of raising gasoline taxes to pay for it. Faced with a 10.2% jobless rate, however, officials here are rethinking their stance. Thursday, the White House will hold a "jobs summit" to discuss ideas, which are likely to include shifting some spending to transportation projects.

Nothing says smart power than raising the gas tax to pay for projects paid for by debt that the public has to pay back at a higher rate. Its just a shell game people and we will be paying for it hard.

Illegals to get Obamacare

Given the enforcement of going after illegals who use a false identity to get a job is all but forgotten under Obama, this is a slick way to get illegals healthcare paid for by American taxpayers.

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants could receive health care coverage from their employers under the bills winding their way through Congress, despite President Obama's explicit pledge that illegal immigrants would not benefit.

The House bill mandates, and the Senate bill strongly encourages, businesses to extend health care coverage to all employees. But the bills do not have exemptions to screen out illegal immigrants, who usually obtain jobs by using false identities and are indistinguishable from legal workers.

A rough estimate by the Center for Immigration Studies suggests that the practical effect of the mandates would be that about 1 million illegal immigrants could obtain health insurance coverage through their employers.

CBO: Senate bill increases individual insurance premiums

Via Hot Air.

To Democrats, the report affirms the bill offers affordable access to healthcare to tens of millions of people without insurance while offering modest relief to the nearly 160 million people who receive insurance through their jobs.

“Most Americans will see lower premiums as a direct result of reform,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement. “Today’s analysis confirms that millions of Americans who lack the necessary coverage to avoid potential financial ruin would have access to more coverage at an affordable price because of our proposal.”

Republicans contend that the findings prove the Senate legislation would result in higher premiums for millions of people compared to what it would cost them in today’s market.

“The bottom line is this: After 2,074 pages and trillions more in government spending, massive new taxes and a half-trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare for seniors, most people, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will end up paying more or seeing no significant savings,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement. The health insurance industry’s lobbying arms also proclaimed that the report confirmed their similar warnings.

.....The impact of the Senate bill on the individual market, which comprises a diverse array of people from the self-employed to those not offered coverage by their employers, is more complex to measure.

The direst finding for Democrats — and the figure most highlighted by Republicans — is health insurance premiums would be 10 percent to 13 percent higher for the 13.3 million people required to buy insurance under the bill, compared to what they would pay absent the legislation.

Premiums would actually increase by the same factor for all 31 million people who would buy insurance on the bill’s new exchanges, but 17.7 million of those people — or 57 percent — would be eligible for federal subsidies. Those would be offered on a sliding scale for individuals and families earning up to 400 percent of poverty. The bill does allow people to retain the policies they already have without change, however.

“Average premiums per policy in the nongroup market in 2016 would be roughly $5,800 for single policies and $15,200 for family policies under the proposal, compared with roughly $5,500 for single policies and $13,100 for family policies under current law,” the report says.

For those individuals receiving subsidies, however, insurance would actually cost them 56 percent to 59 percent less than coverage on the individual market under the current system. The subsidy would cover about two-thirds of their premiums on average.

One of the chief reasons insurance premiums would be higher for some people is that reform would require insurance companies to offer everyone in the individual and small-group market more generous and more stable coverage and increase competition among insurers, the report notes.

“Let’s be clear: Where the CBO does see premiums rising, it’s not because Americans are paying more for the same coverage — it’s that they’re making a choice to purchase better plans that weren’t previously available to them,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on his official blog.

According to a memo from the Senate Finance Committee, buying an equivalent policy today would cost 14 percent to 20 percent more than under reform.

This argument did not hold much water with Republicans.

“The Democrats’ bills will still require nearly 14 million Americans to purchase unsubsidized insurance that is more expensive than they could get under current law,” says a memo issued to GOP health aides by the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

Here is the CBO report. How can you claim people are going to pay less if subsidies are helping to pay for their costs which is going to come from higher income levels which increases the cost of that group. This is a shell game where the Dems and the White House are going to ignore that little fact to say their plan lowers costs when in reality it increases for everyone except those who are getting a welfare amount.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

List of guests at White House Job Summit.

Somehow I doubt these guys are going to come up with anything other than more government programs. There is no small business mom/pop representation. Just big multinational companies and liberal economists like Krugman who demand taxpayers pay more to subsidize programs.

The White House said there would be approximately 130 attendees at the jobs forum ranging from small business owners to academics. Below is a list of confirmed attendees:

Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google Inc (GOOG.O)

Randall Stephenson, CEO, AT&T Inc (T.N)

Surya Mohapatra, CEO, Quest Diagnostics Inc (DGX.N)

Frederick Smith, CEO, FedEx Corp (FDX.N)

Brian Roberts, CEO, Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O)

Bob Iger, CEO, Walt Disney Co (DIS.N)

W. James McNerney, CEO, Boeing (BA.N)

Andrew Liveris, CEO, Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N)

Peter Solmssen, Siemens (SIEGn.DE)

Stephanie Burns, CEO, Dow Corning DOWCR.UL

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO, Green for All

Reed Hundt, Co-Chair, Coalition for the Green Bank

Lawrence Mishel, President, Economic Policy Institute

Alan Blinder, Wall Street Journal columnist and professor, Princeton University

Paul Krugman, New York Times Columnist and professor, Princeton University
Joseph Stiglitz, professor, Columbia University

Bob Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Jeffrey Sachs, professor, Columbia University

Anna Burger, chair of labor federation Change to Win

Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers union

Joseph Hansen, president of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers

Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, Iowa

Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas

Ed Pawlowski, Mayor of Allentown, Penn.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey)

Shoppers spent less over Black Friday weekend

It felt like less spending down here where parking and lines felt like a busy weekend and not what you expect from black friday.

Consumers spent significantly less per person at the start of the holiday season this weekend, dimming hopes for a retail comeback that would help propel the economy early in 2010.

The lackluster spending could pressure retail stocks on Monday as some investors were looking for a stronger showing compared with a year earlier, when consumers were being hammered by the recession and credit crunch.

"There may be a bit of a pullback, a little disappointment," said Patricia Edwards, chief investment officer at Storehouse Partners.

While shoppers turned out in force as early as U.S. Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, many said they had zeroed in on highly discounted items, would buy only what they needed and would walk out of a store if they did not find a good deal.

"Shoppers proved this weekend that they were willing to open their wallets for a bargain," said National Retail Federation Chief Executive Tracy Mullin in a statement on Sunday. Retail chains "know they have their work cut out for them to keep people coming back through Christmas."

Climategate! East Anglia will publish all data to the public.

The damage has already been done cause mostly by the arrogance of the climate scientists. If the data is sound, publish it. You got the whole web as factcheckers and you can't pull one on people if the data is there for all to see if it is used wrong.

But the damage is done because more than enough of these emails have made it into the public that even if it is taken out of context the perception is someone manipulated and lied about the data trying to fit it in their worldview about climate change and people being the cause of it.

The initial response by the University and its supporters was pathetic as they tried to ignore the situation then getting dismissive. This move shows they now realize how big this has gotten.

The U-turn by the university follows a week of controversy after the emergence of hundreds of leaked emails, "stolen" by hackers and published online, triggered claims that the academics had massaged statistics.

In a statement welcomed by climate change sceptics, the university said it would make all the data accessible as soon as possible, once its Climatic Research Unit (CRU) had negotiated its release from a range of non-publication agreements.

The publication will be carried out in collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre. The full data, when disclosed, is certain to be scrutinised by both sides in the fierce debate.

A grandfather with a training in electrical engineering dating back more than 40 years emerged from the leaked emails as a leading climate sceptic trying to bring down the scientific establishment on global warming.

David Holland, who describes himself as a David taking on the Goliath that is the prevailing scientific consensus, is seeking prosecutions against some of Britain's most eminent academics for allegedly holding back information in breach of disclosure laws.

Sarkozy gets child rapist Polanski out of jail.

This has to be in part because of his wife, Carla Bruni which is a totally bitch move. It seems the French elites don't mind child rapists.

Roman Polanski’s family yesterday praised the role played by Nicolas Sarkozy in securing the film director’s release on bail after two months in a Swiss prison.

The French President “has been very effective” behind the scenes, according to the film director’s sister-in-law Mathilde Seigner, as Mr Polanski prepared to move from a cell to house arrest in his luxury chalet in the exclusive Alpine village of Gstaad.

Ms Seigner refused to elaborate on the nature of Mr Sarkozy’s assistance but the President may have been influenced by his wife Carla Bruni’s own connections with the chic Parisian artisic set to which Mr Polanski, his actress wife Emmanuelle Seigner and her sister all belong.

The Swiss authorities said that Mr Polanski would be allowed out once the agreed bail of 4.5 million Swiss Francs had been received. They have ordered that he should not leave his chalet - for fear that the first-rate skier might slip over the nearby border via a mountain pass into his adopted French homeland and escape US justice a second time.