House Republican Leader John Boehner
And His “Alien” Economy
Must Be From Mars
Quiet Layoffs Sting Workers Without Notice
By STEVE LOHR
Published: March 5, 2009
With the economy weakening, chief executives want Wall Street to see them as tough cost-cutters who are not afraid to lay off workers. But plenty of job cuts are not trumpeted in news releases.
Big companies also routinely carry out scattered layoffs that are small enough to stay under the radar, contributing to an unemployment rate that keeps climbing, as Friday’s monthly jobs report is likely to show.
I.B.M. is one such company. It reported surprisingly strong quarterly profits in January, and in an e-mail message to employees, Samuel J. Palmisano, the chief executive, said that while other companies were cutting back, his would not. “Most importantly, we will invest in our people,” he wrote.
At the Heart of North Korea’s Troubles, an Intractable Hunger Crisis
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, March 6, 2009; Page A01
SEOUL — Behind the long-range missile it is preparing to launch and the stockpile of plutonium it claims to have “weaponized,” North Korea has an embarrassing and insoluble weakness.
Under the leadership of Kim Jong Il, the country cannot feed its people. Perennially dependent on food aid, North Korea has become a truculent ward of the wealthy countries it threatens. It is the world’s first nuclear-armed, missile-wielding beggar — a particularly intricate challenge for the Obama administration as it begins to formulate a foreign policy.
The “eating problem,” as it is often called in North Korea, has eroded Kim’s authority, damaged a decade of improved relations between the two Koreas and stunted the bodies and minds of millions of North Koreans.
Loudly and colorfully, opposing sides debate Proposition 8
Attorneys argue, demonstrators shout and entrepreneurs hawk as the debate over same-sex marriage fills the San Francisco Civic Center Plaza.
By Maria L. LaGanga
March 6, 2009
Reporting from San Francisco — God was in the eye of the beholder Thursday morning at the San Francisco Civic Center Plaza, where hundreds of spectators gathered to watch the California Supreme Court on a massive outdoor TV screen and wrangle over the sanctity of marriage.
The occasion: Attorneys from both sides of the gay-marriage debate were arguing the merits — or demerits — of Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in California. The dress code: dreadlocks, nose rings, rabbit costumes, clerical collars, wedding veils, hair colors not found in nature (and some that were), rainbow stripes, American flags, suits. The demeanor: loud.
“You’re bigger, God, much bigger than the small religious boxes that we put you in,” Bishop Yvette Flunder of San Francisco’s City of Refuge United Church of Christ declared at an al fresco, pre-hearing interfaith service. “We ask you for the freedom today . . . to have our relationships boldly without fear of reprisal.”
Across the broad, rain-damp plaza, Los Angeles contractor Ruben Israel held in his right hand a sign that declared “Homo-sex” a “threat to national security.” In his left hand was a bullhorn.