I just got off the phone with a source on Capitol Hill who has spent the past few days trying to convince Republicans to vote for a debt ceiling hike.
He told me that the biggest obstacle he faces has been "market complacency."
"Frankly, a bit of panic would be very helpful right now," he said.
As he explained it, lots of people in Washington, D.C. expected that this would be a week marked by panic in the markets. Stocks would tank. Bonds would get clobbered. The dollar would do something dramatic. And all of this would help convince reluctant lawmakers that they had to reach a compromise on the debt ceiling.
"We were following the script from 2008. When the market collapsed after TARP failed, that spooked everyone enough to get them to fall in line. We thought the same thing would happen this week," he said.
The House postponed a Thursday night vote on Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the federal borrowing limit after he failed to stem a revolt by conservative GOP members. The delay leaves the credit status of the U.S. government in jeopardy with five days remaining before it begins running out of money to pay all its bills
The development came after a two-hour debate on the bill was abruptly ended earlier in the evening. Mr. Boehner, knowing that a rejection could undermine his speakership, then joined other House GOP leaders in trying to pressure party members to reconsider their opposition.
Those efforts fell short and it wasn't clear if the vote would be rescheduled. But the development appeared to hand the initiative for the moment to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), who is pushing an alternative version of the debt bill.
House Republicans and Senate Democrats planned to meet Friday morning at 10 a.m. to plan strategy. Republicans will figure out whether, and how, they can move forward.
Is the Boehner legislation the best legislation possible? Of course not! You don’t get your heart’s desire when you control only one house of Congress and face a presidential veto.
The most basic fact of life is that we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available. It is not idealism to ignore the limits of one’s. Nor is it selling out one’s principles to recognize those limits at a given time and place, and get the best deal possible under those conditions.
That still leaves the option of working toward getting a better deal later, when the odds are more in your favor.
There would not be a United States of America today if George Washington’s army had not retreated and retreated and retreated, in the face of an overwhelmingly more British military force bent on annihilating Washington’s troops.
Later, when the conditions were right for attack, General Washington attacked. But he would have had nothing to attack with if he had wasted his troops in battles that would have wiped them out.
Similar principles apply in politics. As Edmund Burke said, more than two centuries ago: “Preserving my principles unshaken, I reserve my activity for rational endeavors.”
Goodwin Liu, the UC Berkeley law professor whose federal appeals court appointment was blocked by Republicans, emerged on a judicial forum of at least equal stature Tuesday when he became Gov. Jerry Brown's first nominee to the California Supreme Court.
Liu's appointment to the court comes two months after his nomination to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco was scuttled by Senate filibuster. He would succeed Carlos Moreno, who retired in February as the only Democratic appointee on the seven-member state court.
Liu has "the background, the intellect and the vision to really help our California Supreme Court again be one of the great courts in the nation," Brown said at a news conference. He said the only criticism of Liu has come from "some of the more fanatical Republicans ... the ideologues on the right."
The governor had widely been expected to name a Latino. The state high court has no Latino or African American justices.
The new appointment would fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Carlos R. Moreno, 62, the only Latino and only Democrat on the court. Moreno was appointed by former Gov. Gray Davis in 2001.
Some Latino bar leaders expressed anger and disappointment at Liu’s selection.
“It should have been a Latino and somebody who was native to Southern California,” said Victor Acevedo, president of the Mexican-American Bar Assn.
“We are almost the majority of the people of the state of California, and for the governor to say there isn’t one Latino who is qualified to serve on the court is extremely troubling,” he said. “That to me is like the governor turning a cold shoulder to the Latino community in Southern California.”
The court has no justices who currently reside in Southern California since the retirements of Moreno and Chief Justice Ronald M. George.
I saw another version of courage in President Bush. My time in the White House coincided with the worst times of the Iraq War. Each day seemed to bring news of good Americans dying for no appreciable gain, of Baghdad descending into hell, of some congressman or senator who had supported the effort in easier times now calling for America to cut and run.
More than once President Bush told me, "We are not going to lose our nerve and abandon the people of Iraq the way we did the people of Vietnam, from an embassy rooftop." It made for a lonely presidency. Rather than accept defeat, he ordered a surge that almost no one—including some around him—wanted: not the Pentagon, not a weary American public, certainly not Republicans or Democrats in Congress.
The night he gave that speech, Jan. 10, 2007, did not go well. The network gummed up the news feed. The president looked stiff and uncomfortable. Scarcely before he'd finished, the glib and gifted were on television declaring it a flop. The president expected as much. He did what he had to do anyway.
So successful was the surge that today we take it for granted. The progress we see in Iraq, and even the progress President Obama has made in Afghanistan, would not have been possible but for that surge. That surge would not have happened but for President Bush's will
While officials from the Obama Administration raised their rhetoric over the weekend about the possibility of a debt default if the debt ceiling isn't raised, they privately have been telling top executives at major U.S. banks that such an event won’t happen, FOX has learned.
In a series of phone calls, administration officials have told bankers that the administration will not allow a default to happen even if the debt cap isn't raised by the August 2 date Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the government will run out of money to pay all its bills, including obligations to bond holders. Geithner made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows saying a default is imminent if the debt ceiling isn't raised, and President Obama issued a similar warning during a Friday press conference after negotiations with House Republicans broke down.
What has me worried is the idea that the Democrats ACTUALLY DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS IS THE END OF THE ROAD. What if they actually aren’t capable of recognizing when they’ve lost? Or when we’ve run out of other people’s money? None of these people work for a living. Their concept of where money comes from and how wealth is created (and destroyed) is completely divorced from reality because they live in a government bubble. And the very small minority among them that do understand this from previous jobs and experience are okay with Progressive policies aimed at leveling/equalizing/delivering-economic-justice because they just assume that the economy can handle some siphoning. And usually it can. But not at this volume or for this time scale.
At this point, we hear about "erratic" behavior that doesn't ostensibly involve sex. What exactly are the "new questions"? This is a cheap and ridiculous article in my view. A woman who is unhappy with her sexual relationship with Wu has called his office but has not called the police, and now we're supposed to review everything else we know about him in some new context? Is this the way we are to do politics in America now?
Note that the woman who has brought this chaos into Wu's career is shielded by the newspaper's policy not to "use the names of victims of sexual assault without their permission." That's convenient. I think if you are going to have a policy like that, you should not report at all unless the alleged victim has reported a crime to the police. It's not fair.
At least 32 people died when a high-speed train smashed into a stalled train in China's eastern Zhejiang province Saturday, state media said, raising new questions about the safety of the fast-growing rail network.
The accident occurred on a bridge near the city of Wenzhou after the first train lost power due to a lightning strike and a bullet train following behind crashed into it, state television said.
The total power failure rendered useless an electronic safety system designed to warn following trains of stalled trains on the tracks up ahead, and automatically halt them before a collision can occur, the report added.
It showed one or possibly two carriages on the ground under the bridge, with another hanging above it. Several other carriages derailed in the accident near Wenzhou, some 860 miles south of Beijing.
More than 200 people have been taken to hospital, the official Xinhua news agency added.
One train was heading from Beijing to the coastal city of Fuzhou, the other was running from Zhejiang provincial capital Hangzhou, also to Fuzhou.
"The train suddenly shook violently, casting luggage all around," Xinhua quoted survivor Liu Hongtao as saying.
"Passengers cried for help but no crew responded."
Cisco Systems Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp. and troubled bookstore chain Borders Group Inc. are among those that have recently announced hefty cuts, while recent government numbers underscore how companies have shifted toward cutting jobs.
The increase in layoffs is a key reason why the U.S. recorded an average of only 21,500 new jobs over the past two months, far below the level needed to bring down unemployment, which now stands at 9.2%.
The cuts also reflect the shifting outlook of employers, many of whom had expected the economy to gain speed as the year progressed. Instead, growth has faltered. If the pace continues to disappoint, more companies will feel pressure to pull back. "Layoffs have played a big role [in weak job growth] over the last few months," said Mike Montgomery, an economist at IHS Global Insight. "The soft patch is more layoffs and nothing else to pick up the slack."
San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr faced his first big test as the department's leader when he appeared before hundreds of people in the Bayview on Wednesday night to quell anger over Saturday's fatal shooting of a man by police officers.
But within 30 minutes, the forum fell apart.
More than 300 people packed into the Bayview Opera House to weigh in on the shooting Saturday, when Kenneth Wade Harding, a 19-year-old Washington state parolee, was shot and killed after he allegedly fired at two officers. But Wednesday, people in the opera house booed Suhr and repeatedly interrupted his address. Things didn't improve when the chief gave up and opened up the floor to questions: Those trying to question the officials could barely be heard above the crowd's cries of outrage.
Suhr stepped off to the side for a bit, then returned to the microphone to continue answering questions.
"I get how upset everyone is, but everyone came here to talk to me, and I came here to listen," he said. "I don't care if you disrespect me, but don't disrespect the people who came to talk."
Afterward, he said the reaction was what he expected.
"Everybody is upset. Everybody wants to vent," Suhr said. "They want to see me and have a conversation in their community. Here I am. I love this community, and I'm telling you right now, there are some hurting people in there, and they needed to hear us say, 'Here we are.'
"They shouted me down - that just means I've got to come back again," he added.
The 6-year-old son of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. founder and Chief Executive Jonah Shacknai has died from injuries suffered in an accident in his California home last week, two days before Mr. Shacknai's girlfriend was found dead at the same property.
The news came in a joint statement late Sunday from the 54-year-old Mr. Shacknai and his ex-wife, Dina, the mother of Max Shacknai. In the statement, they asked that the public respect the privacy of the families and expressed gratitude for "the tremendous outpouring of support provided during this very difficult time."
Medicis makes dermatological and aesthetic drugs, including acne treatment Solodyn as well as Dysport, which competes with Allergan Inc.'s Botox. The Scottsdale, Ariz., company had $700 million in revenue last year.
Max was severely injured after falling down the stairs at the Shacknais' California home last Monday. Two days later, his father's 32-year-old girlfriend, Rebecca Nalepa, was found dead in a case that authorities described as bizarre and unusual. Ms. Nalepa was discovered nude with a rope around her neck, hanging from a balcony off the main house, with her hands and feet bound.
Authorities have said there is no investigation into Max's fall in the house and there has been no connection made between the two incidents.