Sun August 14, 2011

How Can Washington Boost Job Growth?

President Barack Obama's Midwestern bus tour will focus on job creation and restoring confidence, but the Federal Reserve doesn't seem very confident about the future.

Last week, the Fed committed to near-zero interest rates until 2013, indicating that the Fed board isn't anticipating much growth in the job market. That's a troubling prospect for Americans, and it leaves a big challenge looming over Washington about whether the government can push growth above the painfully low bar set by the Fed.

Read more


Sat August 13, 2011

Famine In Somalia Also Taking Toll On Al-Shabaab

Displaced Somalis waits in a queue for food-aid rations on August 11, 2011 at an IDP camp in Mogadishu. The United Nations has officially declared famine in Somalia for the first time this century.

How can you feed starving people without feeding an insurgency as well? That is one of the challenges the Obama administration faces in providing aid to Somalia.

As the U.S. and other donors scramble to help Somalis survive a famine, some experts see an opportunity of sorts. The drought, they say, seems to be starving the Islamist militia group al-Shabaab of resources, limiting its ability to wreak havoc in Somalia.

Read more


Sat August 13, 2011

Gas Prices, Retail Sales Offer Economic Bright Spots

Shoppers stroll through Sawgrass Mills Mall during the first day of the back-to-school sales tax holiday on Friday in Sunrise, Fla. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.5 percent in July.
Wilfredo Lee AP

It may seem hard to believe after such a tumultuous week on Wall Street, but economists do see a few bright spots.

For one, Americans with good credit scores can get some of the best housing bargains in decades. Freddie Mac's latest survey shows the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages has dropped to 4.32 percent. That's down to the half-century lows set during the fourth quarter of last year.

Read more


Sat August 13, 2011
It's All Politics

Rep. Michele Bachmann Wins Iowa Straw Poll

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 10:40 am

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her husband, Marcus, wave to the crowd after she speaks at the Iowa Republican Party's straw poll in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday. Bachmann won the poll with 4,823 votes.
Charles Dharapak AP

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Republican presidential straw poll on Saturday, edging out Ron Paul, the Libertarian Texas congressman and quadrennial White House hopeful.

Former two-term Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty finished a distant third, capturing less than half of the totals brought in by the top two finishers.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was not on the ballot, ended up in sixth place with 718 votes, besting Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Thaddeus McCotter.

Romney and Huntsman were on the ballot, but did not actively compete.

Read more


Sat August 13, 2011

The Chaos And Comedy Of Mexico's Cantinflas

Mexican Comedian Mario Moreno also known Cantinflas is seen in an undated photo in Mexico. (AP Photo/Proceso)

Last Friday would have been the 100th birthday of the Mexican comic legend Cantinflas. By the time of his death in 1993, Cantinflas had acted in 50 films, won a Golden Globe, and even inspired a new Spanish verb — cantinflear — in honor of his ability to play with the sounds of Spanish for comedic effect

Read more


Sat August 13, 2011

Aziz Ansari: From Business School to Hollywood

Colin Patrick Smith

When the creators of NBC's hit sitcom The Office approached Aziz Ansari about a new mockumentary style sitcom, Ansari said yes. Thing is, the then 25-year old stand up comedian had no clue what the show was going to be about.

Now three years later, the show that was a mystery to Ansari is a hit. It's called Parks and Recreation and Ansari plays the scene-stealing character Tom Haverford.

Read more


Sat August 13, 2011
It's All Politics

Perry Jumps Into Presidential Race Touting Texas Job Growth

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announces that he will run for the Republican presidential nomination, in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday.
Richard Ellis Getty Images

As the rest of the Republican field jockeyed for support in Iowa's straw poll Saturday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a feisty late entry into the presidential race before hundreds of conservative bloggers in South Carolina, encouraging voters to "give a pink slip to the current residents of the White House."

Perry launched his bid touting his home state's record of job creation as a central reason to elect him, but Texas' economic picture is more complex than what the governor shares on the stump.

Read more


Sat August 13, 2011

Week In News: Federal Budget, Supercommittee

This past week, Congress selected the 12 members of its "supercommittee" to slash the federal budget by the end of November. Host David Greene speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about the potential dangers of treating the federal budget the way families treat their own budgets.


Sat August 13, 2011

Historian: Tax Law A Turning Point For Reagan

Thirty years ago today, President Ronald Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act, the first major tax cut during his presidency. Guest host David Greene talks with Reagan historian Douglas Brinkley about the act's legacy and how it still affects American discourse on taxation.


Sat August 13, 2011
Election 2012

Gov. Perry Announces Run For President

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been quietly laying the groundwork for a run for the Republican presidential nomination. Last weekend, he headlined a prayer event in Houston that drew tens of thousands of worshippers. Saturday in Charleston, S.C., Perry announced that he is entering the race. Guest host David Greene talks with Julie Rose of member station WFAE.