Friday, July 29, 2011

End of the week news tidbits: 1836 was a very good year; talks in the House and with North Korea go nowhere; Klinsmann named coach of U.S. National Men's Team

The media's attention will be on activities in the House and Senate this weekend as lawmakers work overtime to try and slow the economy even further by slashing spending in a recession. The President said he needs a debt ceiling bill on his desk to sign by Tuesday.
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National debt as a percentage
of GDP.  Original chart
courtesy of Wikipedia.


Everyone is talking about the debt, but here's a little history, though: the last time the U.S. had no debt was 1836. At no time since then has the debt been completely eliminated. Little events like the Civil War, WWI and WWII grew the debt – not to mention wars in Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan. Now, however, everyone in Washington seems to agree that the debt has to go away, along with jobs and economic growth, apparently.

Update: The House has just passed its debt ceiling bill, now on to the Senate. If it passes there, and it's not expected to, the Congress will be sending a Constitutional amendment to the states – when all that was necessary was a simple vote to raise the debt ceiling. Yes, the country has gone mad.



World:

Norway won't like this little revelation, but it appears that mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik got his ammo via U.S, mail order firms. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) criticized U.S. lax gun laws, according to The Hill website, which then allowed its readers to threaten the Congresswoman's life in its comments area.

The U.K.: Scotland Yard said it would formally open an investigation into claims that officers had their computers hacked by private investigators working for Murdoch's News of the World. Earlier today The Guardian reported that a senior police officer has voiced suspicions that his phone had been hacked by the paper. Detective Chief Inspector Martyn Underhill, who was involved in investigating the death of Sarah Payne, said he received a call from the paper threatening to print a story about his involvement with the Payne family where the information could only have originated from illegal hacking.

North Korea: did you know the US was holding talks with North Korea this week? Me neither. No surprise, nothing came out of the meetings. The hostilities between the two countries have still not been officially ended, meaning that the Korea War is on year 61.

Apps:

Zinio released an updated version of its iOS app today. The updated app offers lots of upgrades including bookmarks and a new interface. Interestingly, though, the company issued a press release through PR Newswire that was picked up by lots of PR friendly websites, then the released was pulled. TNM, which normally received information from Zinio, never received the release which may mean it was released prematurely. Well, in any case, the Zinio app update is available for download now.

National Football League: I don't know if I'm actually happy that the league and the players settled their contract dispute. I would have loved to have gone through a fall season without the NFL just to feel what it would be like. Besides, both Bay Areas will only end up sticking it up again this year, right? Well, since the meaningless preseason will start soon, the NFL has updated its NFL '11 for iPad app to reflect that fact.

Sports:

U.S. Soccer has named Juergen Klinsmann as coach of the U.S. Men's team. Klinsmann was a star player for many years, and was the coach of the German Men's team at the last World Cup. It's a start, I guess.

The Giants victory yesterday contained a few firsts: the victory ended the Phillies streak of winning every series played since some time in June, was the first time they lost two straight at home since April, and was the first game where Carlos Beltran played for the Giants since his trade from the Mets. Beltron went 0 for 4, which means he is already comfortable with the Giants's style of play.

Weather:

Tomorrow will be progressively brighter during the day until evening, when things will get darker.

Have a good weekend.

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