Friday, May 7, 2010

Obama: April job growth is encouraging, but more economic work remains to be done

Obama: April job growth encouraging, more to do
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is hailing April’s increase in jobs as further evidence of an improving economy.

Obama said Friday that controversial steps by his administration have helped the nation pull out of a serious recession. He was alluding to acts such as last year’s stimulus bill.

The nation added 290,000 jobs in April. The unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent because more people sought work. Obama said that was a sign of greater hope among unemployed people.

He said the nation still has a lot of work to do to get more people back to work.

Hugo Weaving Officially to Play Red Skull in Captain America

by Rupert Pupkin

Marvel Studios announced today that Australian star Hugo Weaving will be playing the nefarious Nazi The Red Skull in Joe Johnston's Captain America: The First Avenger. Weaving and Johnston most recently worked together on Universal's remake of The Wolfman.

Captain America: The First Avenger will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe, where Steve Rogers volunteers for an experimental program that transforms him into the super soldier Captain America, in order to combat the Nazi threat during World War II. At the same time in the MU, Johann Schmidt was drafted into service by Hitler's Third Reich and renamed "The Red Skull", who promptly became Captain America's nemesis.

So, it's Hugo Weaving vs. Chris Evans. Although we're still a little nervous about Johnston taking the reigns of a property like Captain America after seeing The Wolfman, the addition of Weaving to the cast is definitely a plus. Hugo was the best part of The Wolfman, and if you need any further confirmation that he'd be perfect as The Red Skull, just look at the above photo comparison!

Captain America is set to hit theater screens on July 22, 2011. Check back regularly for more updates!

Share Rise of the Apes coming June 2011

by Liam
Earlier this month we heard that the Planet of the Apes prequel would begin filming in July. Now 20th Century Fox has set an official release date for the film, which will be called Rise of the Apes, of June 24th 2011.

According to Variety Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) has been confirmed as the director, and Peter Jackson’s visual effects company WETA Digital will render photo-realistic apes rather than have actors in costume. Imagine the Na’vi from Avatar, but as apes.

Rise of the Apes is an origins story set in present-day San Francisco. The film is a reality-based cautionary tale, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

Earlier we heard that the film would follow a hyper-intelligent chimp raised by humans who incites a worldwide ape revolution and causes the downfall of humankind, which I like the sound of. I don’t hate humanity, I just think it’d be cool to see apes rising up and taking over the world, that’s all.

Rise of the Apes will be going up against Car 2, and will be released a week after Green Lantern.

Film: Review: Iron Man 2

by Alex Billington

Now that you've seen it, what did you think? It only took two years for Marvel Studios and director Jon Favreau to return with a sequel to the smash hit Iron Man, but it's here and it's time to talk Iron Man 2. How did it live up to the first movie? Was better or on par or much worse? How was Robert Downey Jr. as the always entertaining Tony Stark once again? Was Don Cheadle a worthy replacement as Rhodey and also a badass War Machine? What did you think of Mickey Rourke's villain? How was the storyline leading into The Avengers? If you've seen it, leave a comment below and let us know what you thought of Iron Man 2!

To fuel the fire, I enjoyed Iron Man 2, but I didn't actually think it was better than the first movie (which I don't totally love anyway) and overall I thought it was fun but not incredible. Why? Well, it's not a flawless movie and while I do think it's incredibly fun to watch, and visually spectacular, the story just didn't feel as exciting and inventive as the original. It becomes just a "filler" movie leading up to The Avengers, which is now all I care about (and Thor). Plus, I thought Downey Jr'.s Tony Stark bickering and that drunken scuffle with Rhodey were a little much this time. It's good, just not great, in my honest opinion. But that's just me!

What did you think of Iron Man 2? Another awesome Marvel movie another sequel let down?

Kelly Rowland Channels Diana Ross On “Commander” Single Cover

Rowland - Commander

Holy Diana Ross!

Kelly Rowland channels the supreme diva on the cover of her new single, “Commander,” written by Rico Love and produced by David Guetta.

Like any move Kelly makes in a post-Destiny’s Child world, fans are sure to find a way to compare the single’s artwork to something her former bandmate Beyonce has done. In this case, look no further than the Mighty B’s big-haired, bigger ego swinging Dreamgirls character Deena Jones.

But, gossip monger, please don’t forget that Deena was modeled after Miss Ross. Got it? Good.

“Commander” hits US iTunes on May 18.

The Biggest Losers: Fannie, Freddie, Greece, The Euro and the Markets

By Dr. Craig Pirrong
Freddie Mac (FRE) has just gone back to the Federal trough for $10.6 billion. And it and Fannie (FNM) will be back for more–lots more–in the months and years to come.

The F&F losses are the biggest suffered by any firms as the result of the real estate crash, dwarfing AIG’s losses, for instance.

The fact that F&F’s losses were bigger than anybody’s demonstrates, quite clearly, that their exposures were probably the biggest as well. Although many, including many liberal-leaning economists, defend the firms from charges that they were culpable for the real estate bubble and subsequent crash, their outsized losses indicate that they were certainly a major contributor, if not the sole cause.

They need to be put out of their misery. Razed, and the ground sown with salt. The entire model must be so discredited that no one ever even dreams of resurrecting it. It is the most classic example of how implicit guarantees reduce funding costs and permit leveraging up to massive size while taking on massive risks.

But Congress appears to have little appetite for putting the Biggest Losers on a path to extinction. There is a Republican bill floating around that would have that effect, but its prospects are dim at present. Outrageously, the Dodd bill, like the Frank bill before it, does absolutely nothing to rein in their Frankensteins. (Or would that be Frankendodds?)

Given what happened in the market yesterday, “Biggest Losers” has other meaning too.

First, the market crash and rebound. Too early to tell yet, although initial reporting suggests that huge moves in P&G (PG) and Accenture (ACN), perhaps due to mistaken trades or mistaken quotes or mistaken prints, touched off a panic; the market was already as jumpy as a cat on coke given the European tumult, and this was sufficient to set off a collapse. No doubt that computerized trading contributed to the precipitous drop, but I would also surmise that the near immediate rebound (which brought us back to a mere 4 percent loss on the day, up from 9 percent) was computer driven too. I am sure that the quant signals indicated that the market was mispriced and this triggered a flood of automated buy orders. We’ll see how this plays out.

Second, Greece. I personally think the Europeans are crazy to bail out the Greeks. It will not address the long term problems that Greece, and the other PIIGs face. Indeed, given asynchronous performance required–the Greeks get the money today, and have to promise to go on a really, really strict diet tomorrow–it is a recipe for a repeat performance in months or years. Yes, I understand that a Greek default or restructuring would impose serious hurt on French and German banks, but it is better for the governments of those countries to deal with that fallout directly rather than taking actions that will at best delay the reckoning, and make it worse when it comes.

Insofar as the euro is concerned–another Big Loser in the short run and the long. It is down to around $1.26 right now. (It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good: I’m short the euro because I’m traveling to euroland next month.) But the entire Greek fiasco, and the looming threat of similar problems in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, put the long run viability of the entire project in jeopardy. I don’t think it is salvageable, or worth saving.

Obama Expected to Name Solicitor Gen. Elena Kagan to Supreme Court, Politico Reports

Elena Kagan
By Allan Lengel

– President Obama is expected to name Justice Department Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, reporter Mike Allen of Politico is reporting.

“The pick isn’t official, but top White House aides will be shocked if it’s otherwise,” Allen Wrote.”Kagan’s relative youth (50) is a huge asset for the lifetime post. And President Obama considers her to be a persuasive, fearless advocate who would serve as an intellectual counterweight to Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia, and could lure swing Justice Kennedy into some coalitions.”

Kagan, the former Harvard Law School dean, has been Solicitor General since March 2009. She served in the Clinton White House, first as Associate Counsel to the President and then as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Read NY Times Story on What She Might Be Up Against During Confirmation

Who You Gonna Call?

The answer to that question is simple, the US of course. Some months ago I made a comment to Skip that the EU would be lucky to survive another ten years. It now looks like my estimate could have been generous. Greece is all but bankrupt, Portugal and Spain are teetering on the brink, Italy and Ireland are close behind. This week, Britain announced that it forecasts a budget deficit larger than that of Greece. All is not well in the New European Empire.

A Greek Police Officer Hit By A Molotov Cocktail.

In a one-size-fits-all economic arrangement there are bound to be casualties. The cap simply won’t, and can’t, fit some countries. Imagine the US joining an extended form of NAFTA, perhaps called AFTA, which includes all or most countries in Central and South America. To create a common currency with equal value in all member states would be disastrous, not to mention the fact that ‘free movement’ rules would have to be observed. So much for immigration controls!

These free movement rules are very much a one-way street. For example, compare the number of Polish and Latvian emigres in Britain with the number of Brits in former Eastern Bloc countries. During a recession it’s virtually impossible to provide jobs for the unemployed in your own country, without trying to cater for the requirements of ex-pats from another twenty six member states.

There is no doubt that the empire builders in Brussels have this vision of being the prime world superpower, economically at least. There are numerous reasons why this just won’t work. Many European nations are notoriously socialist in their outlook, indeed for some of them communism was the only system they knew until recent times. Socialism and free market principles together cannot work. That is why the current US administration can never work. Any system which is top-heavy with bureaucracy and regulation is doomed to failure. More time, money and resources are used in supervising the machine than in letting it do its stuff.

I hope that what is happening in Europe will be an example to Obama and Congress of how not to run an economy, although it will probably fall on deaf ears. It is a coincidence that Obama’s administration gave the International Monetary Fund another $100 billion recently, while this week it was announced that the IMF is to give $39 billion to Greece. So much for the European economic powerhouse, on top of the $106 billion they are giving from countries in the Euro-zone they have to run to the IMF for a top-up, some of it being American money.

A failed economic system can only shored up for so long, eventually the weight of flawed financial principles, bureaucracy and Euro-socialist ideals will bring the walls crashing down. Then, I wonder, who will they call?

The Conservative Blogs Central

Tiger Not Out Of The Woods Yet??

by ibidiwala
For Tiger Woods, second time may not be a charm either. The golfer, who has been immersed in one of the largest marriage scandals ever by having numerous affairs, has opened his second tournament at par and 4 shots back from the lead score of 66 which is shared by J.B. Holmes and Robert Allenby. Thirty-six of the golfers are shooting in the 60’s, the most since 1994, and are looking forward to doing even better beyond the first day. Tiger Woods score of 70 was a noble effort, but given how many golfers did so well on the course at The Players Championship, which is a public tournament held in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida every year.

Many people suspect that it’s the recent cloud of scandals that are affecting Tiger’s game and some are even suggesting that he make a change in his coaching choice of Hank Haney, who has coached Tiger through 31 PGA Tour titles and six major championships. Many sports analysts are saying that this is simply not the answer due to Tiger’s past performance, which has been stellar up until his lack luster performance last week where he missed the final cut at the Quail Hollow Championship. Many critics are attributing the poor performance to jitters and nerves. There are also rumors that are circulating that Ein Nordegren, Tiger’s wife of 5 ½ years, is sorting through details of a possible divorce from the golfer. The couple have two children together.

More Unmarried Educated Women Giving Birth To Babies

The New Demography of American Motherhood
Source: Pew Research Center

Results of a new study show that more single, educated older women are giving birth to babies than in previous years.

This trend is becoming more main stream in American society and is a direct result of women putting their careers first, establishing themselves before deciding to have children.

The study, “The New Demography of American Motherhood” was conducted by the Pew Research Center, who state that in 2008 a record 41% of babies born in America were to unwedd women.

This number is up from 28% from 1990, and proves that more and more women are putting off having kids until they have established themselves in their given careers.

When it comes to babies born to mothers over the age of 35, numbers show that one in seven births fit this statistic.

When it comes to babies born to mothers with some form of post high school education, this percentage is as high as 54 percent of all births.

Rapid response team to see if oil spill has reached Gulf islands

A rapid response team will investigate unconfirmed reports that oil from a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the Chandeleur Islands off Louisiana’s coast.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Erik Swanson says the response team will deploy Thursday to assess the situation.

Two satellite images taken Wednesday morning indicated oil has reached the Mississippi Delta and the Chandeleur Islands.

The news comes as a 100-ton concrete-and-steel contraption designed to siphon off the oil fouling the Gulf is being hauled to the spot in the sea where a blown-out well is spewing hundreds of thousands of gallons of petroleum a day.

Engineers hope it’ll be the best short-term solution to controlling the leak that has only worsened since it began two weeks ago.