News at Noon

From Reuters

Ex-AIG’s Cassano defends no-losses proclamation

By Steve Eder and Kim Dixon

June 30, 2010

(Reuters) – The former head of the American International Group unit that precipitated a $182 billion bailout pledge from taxpayers stood by a 2007 proclamation that the insurer would not lose even a dollar on a portfolio of securities that included subprime mortgages.

Joseph Cassano, the much-maligned ex-chief of AIG’s Financial Products division, told a congressionally appointed commission on Wednesday that he truly believed what he told an earnings call with analysts and investors.

“I meant exactly what I said in August 2007,” Cassano said, according to prepared testimony for the hearing held by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

From Yahoo Top News

Gulf beaches hit as distant hurricane pushes oil

By Mary Foster and Tom Breen

June 30, 2010

GRAND ISLE, La. – Rough seas generated by Hurricane Alex pushed more oil from the massive spill onto Gulf coast beaches as cleanup vessels were sidelined by the far-away storm’s ripple effects.

The hurricane was churning coastal waters across the oil-affected region on the Gulf of Mexico. Waves as high as 6 feet and winds over 25 mph were forecast through Thursday just off shore from the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

In Louisiana, the storm pushed an oil patch toward Grand Isle and uninhabited Elmer’s Island, dumping tar balls as big as apples on the beach.

Report: Harvard scholar’s arrest avoidable


June 30, 2010

BOSTON – An independent review of last year’s arrest of black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. by a white police sergeant says both men missed opportunities to “ratchet down” the situation and end things more calmly.

The review was released Wednesday. It says “misunderstandings and failed communications” and a “certain degree of fear” each man had for the other led to the confrontation.

It was compiled by a 12-member panel assembled in September.

Belgium: Is a Flanders-Wallonia Split Inevitable?

By Leo Cendrowicz (TIME)

June 30, 2010

Many Wimbledon spectators watching Belgium’s Kim Clijsters’ three-set, fourth-round victory over her compatriot Justine Henin on Monday would have thought of how lucky one small country could be to produce two stunningly successful tennis stars. But lucky is not what Belgium feels right now. And even that sports rivalry between the Belgian stars embodies the current political fracas that has exposed the division between the country’s Dutch and French speakers: Clijsters’ family is from the Dutch-speaking half, Henin’s from the French.

Indeed, this is a moment of truth for the country straddling the dividing line between Europe’s Germanic and Latin cultures. Wallonia, Belgium’s French-speaking southern region, has struggled to recover economically from a postwar industrial decline, and its proponents argue that Dutch-speaking Flanders should show more solidarity in helping it through. But the Flemish, who see themselves as more entrepreneurial and outward-looking, label Wallonia as sponging and feckless. (See Justine Henin’s decision to retire in 2008.)

The split personality of the country emerged in a befuddling election earlier this month, which left the country with no viable government. The biggest party in the Belgian Parliament is now the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), which seeks independence for Flanders, while the largest party in Wallonia is the Socialist Party (PS), which wants a stronger central government. Their respective leaders, the N-VA’s Bart De Wever and the PS’s Elio Di Rupo, are tentatively negotiating a coalition, but it is hard to see their common ground. A working coalition isn’t even likely until October, at the earliest.

Magnitude-6.2 quake hits southern Mexico


June 30, 2010

MEXICO CITY – A strong earthquake rattled southern Mexico on Wednesday, sending people fleeing into the streets in Pacific coast towns and in the nation’s capital.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-6.2 quake was centered in a sparsely populated, mountainous area of Oaxaca near the southern Pacific coast.

“It felt strong, very strong,” said Tomas Herrera Sanchez, a police officer on duty in the town of Santiago Pinotepa Nacional, the closest sizable town to the quake’s center. “There are people who got scared and left their houses,” but there were no immediate reports of damage, he said.

Some 70,000 turtle eggs to be whisked far from oil

By Brian Skoloff

June 30, 2010

PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. – An effort to save thousands of sea turtle hatchlings from dying in the oily Gulf of Mexico will begin in the coming weeks in a desperate attempt to keep an entire generation of threatened species from vanishing.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will coordinate the plan, which calls for collecting about 70,000 turtle eggs in up to 800 nests buried in the sand across Florida Panhandle and Alabama beaches.

It’s never been done on such a massive scale. But doing nothing, experts say, could lead to unprecedented deaths. There are fears the turtles would be coated in oil and poisoned by crude-soaked food.

Obama trying to restore confidence in economy

By Julie Pace

June 30, 2010

WASHINGTON – A day after consumer concerns about the economy sent stocks sliding, President Barack Obama is trying to assure the American people that the economic recovery is headed in the right direction.

Obama is visiting Wisconsin on Wednesday to speak about the economy in Racine before taking questions in a town hall meeting.

The president is facing a public that is pessimistic about the economy. The latest Consumer Confidence Index, released Tuesday, showed its biggest drop since February and indicated Americans aren’t in the mood to spend. Those factors are worrying businesses and investors: The Dow Jones industrial average closed down nearly 270 points Tuesday.

Bank bill gets patched up, moves closer to passage

By Jim Kuhnhenn

June 30, 2010

WASHINGTON – Congressional Democrats are inching closer to passage of a major rewrite of financial industry regulations, making fixes as they go.

House and Senate negotiators hoped for a vote in the House on Wednesday and to secure the votes of three straying Republicans in the Senate. The Senate vote, however, is not likely until after Congress’ weeklong July 4 break.

The death of Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., this week and fresh objections from Republican Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine had threatened to derail the bill, already a year in the making.

Bucking GOP establishment in Colorado Senate race

By Kristen Wyatt

June 30, 2010

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. – In a dingy, wood-paneled restaurant with a $9 pizza buffet, Ken Buck is waging the latest fight with a Republican Party establishment that favors candidates with shinier political pedigrees.

A group of retirees has gathered to hear Buck, a prosecutor who had little name recognition until he became a hero to conservatives by targeting illegal immigrants in northeast Colorado’s Weld County. For the past year, the indefatigable Buck has pitched a hard-right conservatism to tea party followers and GOP clubs, turning the Republican Senate primary into a fiercely competitive race.

His rival, Jane Norton, is a former lieutenant governor backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and most Republican senators. She raised nearly $1 million her first few weeks in the race and once appeared to be a shoo-in. But she’s run into Republican resentment over the party’s failed choices in recent elections – and the denim-clad Buck’s tireless campaign and folksy charm.

High court nominee faces another day of questions

By Jesse J. Holland

June 30, 2010

WASHINGTON – Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, who has displayed a cool demeanor and a sense of humor during her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, was expected to move one step closer Wednesday to succeeding Justice John Paul Stevens, barring a major gaffe.

Republicans who oppose her nomination will need to resort to a filibuster to block a confirmation vote, a prospect that seems less and less likely.

A few uncomfortable exchanges with Republican senators about her treatment of the military and her political views didn’t slow down Kagan during Tuesday’s hearing. She tried to assure conservatives that her work as a Clinton White House aide and as President Barack Obama’s solicitor general wouldn’t make her a partisan justice.


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  1. … to me!

    • Edger on June 30, 2010 at 18:27

    happen in the world today?

    • Edger on June 30, 2010 at 18:32


    It seems that Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) would agree, perpetual war is making you poor.

    To begin rectifying the situation, he’s joined with Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) in co-sponsoring the “War is Making You Poor Act,” which would limit defense spending to $548.9 billion: the exact figure alloted in the fiscal year 2011 budget.

    The act also seeks to utilize an additional $159.3 billion set aside for “discretionary” operations abroad to relieve the full federal income tax burden on every American’s first $35,000 earned per year, or up to $70,000 per year for married couples.

    According to Detroit publication MLive, Conyers, who chairs the powerful House Committee on the Judiciary, is adding his name to the roster of support.

    “I believe that the thing we need to do is to take that $159 billion that the President has set aside – we’re not saying he has to stop the war, we’re not giving a cut-off date for the war – we’re simply saying you need to fund that out of the base budget of $549 billion,” Grayson said of his bill. “And we take 90 percent of that and give it back to the American people.”



    Published: Wed, June 30, 2010 – 9:26 am CST

    Last Updated: Wed, June 30, 2010 – 4:52 pm CST

    Rep. Edward Markey says BP’s disaster response plan for an oil spill doesn’t mention hurricanes or tropical storms.

    Markey says the omission is yet another example of what the oil giant was not prepared to handle.

    The Massachusetts Democrat’s comments came during a congressional hearing on a law to improve technology intended to prevent disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    Officials responding to the oil spill in the Gulf Coast are scrambling to prepare for Hurricane Alex, which is expected to hit the South Texas coast this week.

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