Please exploit these resources:
Please exploit these resources:
New pledges from the Fed, the Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. include $1 trillion for the Public-Private Investment Program, designed to help investors buy distressed loans and other assets from U.S. banks. The money works out to $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. and 14 times the $899.8 billion of currency in circulation. The nation’s gross domestic product was $14.2 trillion in 2008.
( Collapse )
Multimillion-dollar project will carry thousands of cultural treasuresLizzy Davies in Paris - Thursday 9 April 2009
Huexotzinco Codex, 1531, documenting in pictographic language part of the testimony in a legal case against representatives of the colonial government in Mexico, ten years after the Spanish conquest in 1521. Photograph: Library of Congress
Downing Street has apologised for e-mails sent by one of Gordon Brown's senior officials which reportedly discussed smearing top Conservatives.
The Daily Telegraph says the e-mails found their way to Paul Staines, writer of the Guido Fawkes blog, who described them as "obscene".
The offending e-mails were sent by Damian McBride, the prime minister's ex-political press officer.
A Number 10 spokesman said the messages were "juvenile and inappropriate".
The Tories said it was "absurd" that advisers were "plotting smear campaigns rather than focusing on how to help people affected by the downturn".
Their author was thought to have sent them to former government spin doctor Derek Draper, who runs a pro-Labour blog.
He branded the idea of an orchestrated Downing Street campaign as "ridiculous".
Mr Draper said he had been sent the comments after canvassing Labour supporters about the prospect of setting up another blog to combat "right wing tittle-tattle" posted on the web.
However, former home secretary Charles Clarke said Mr McBride's actions had brought "shame" to the Labour party and that he should be sacked.
The Daily Telegraph said the e-mails included unfounded allegations about Conservative leader David Cameron and shadow chancellor George Osborne.
"The e-mails are intended to be anonymous smears, they are obscene in cases, and would impossible for a newspaper to publish. They're libellous and they're untrue," Mr Staines told the BBC.
"In the e-mails, Damian McBride admits to using 'poetic licence'. He's a civil servant, he's exempt from the restrictions on being impartial and political, he's not exempt from telling the truth."
"The author of these emails has apologised for their juvenile and inappropriate nature and for the embarrassment caused.
"All staff will be reminded of the appropriate use of Number 10 resources."
Interesting blog on the Grauniad's website: www.guardian.co.uk/global/blog/2009/apr/1
What do people think about this? If rumours are to be believed, and the emails are bound to be leaked eventually, the "smears" transcend petty party politics and stray into personal allegations about the families of MPs. It all looks a little bit bad for the government: even if Damian McBride is the only head that rolls over this, his office is right next to the PM's in Number 10 and he has in the past proved himself to be one of Brown's closest and most loyal political allies. It may be hard for more senior members of the government to distance themselves from this one.
UPDATE: Damian Bride has resigned.
On the morning of April 4, Richard Poplawski had a quarrel with his mother. It was over a dog urinating on a carpet. Mom called the police to have her 22-year-old son evicted from her house, a brick ranch with a dirty aluminum awning in the Stanton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Two officers responded to the call, figuring it was a typical domestic dispute. Margaret Poplawski greeted them by saying, "Come and take his ass." But the younger Poplawski, who had been laid off from his job in a glass factory recently, had other plans. He went to a private arms cache in the house, retrieved his guns and strapped on a Kevlar bulletproof vest.
Poplawski shot officer Paul J. Sciullo II, 37, inside the house and hit 29-year-old Stephen Mayhle on the stoop. Both men fell dead. Poplawski calmly stood in the doorway and fired two or three more bullets into Mayhle's body, according to a police affidavit from a witness. Then he retreated into the house and fired hundreds of rounds, using an AK-47 assault rifle and other weapons to fend off a police SWAT team for four hours. He killed one other cop, 41-year-old Eric Kelly, and wounded yet another.
It was the deadliest day in the history of the Steel City's police department. When police finally apprehended and questioned Poplawski, he was without remorse. "He said he wishes he could have killed more Pittsburgh police officers," says a cop who was on the scene but asked not to be identified talking about an ongoing case. (Poplawski's lawyer did not respond to multiple requests for comment last week.)
There was a time when a creep like Poplawski would have become a potent symbol in the debate over gun control. He wasn't your run-of-the-mill malcontent. A white supremacist, he frequented the chat rooms of racist Web sites, where he posted screeds about a "Zionist occupation" bringing the country to economic ruin. But Keith Savage, manager of the Braverman Arms Co., where Poplawski got many of his guns (but not the AK-47, Savage claims), says nothing seemed amiss when he filled out Form 4473—the standard questionnaire for federally required background checks. The gun-shop staff had no way of knowing, for instance, about Poplawski's January 2005 discharge from the Marines for what Lt. Josh Diddams, a U.S. Marine Corps spokesman, tells NEWSWEEK was a "psychological disorder" (he had assaulted his drill sergeant during basic training, says Poplawski's mother). They probably also didn't know that Poplawski's former girlfriend had gotten a restraining order against him, later in 2005, after he grabbed her by the hair and threatened to kill her.
In the past, national political leaders might have raised troubling questions about how such an unstable character could obtain easy access to high-powered weapons. They might have been even more motivated given that Poplawski's cop-killing spree was part of a near epidemic of mass homicides that have left 58 people dead over the past month. Or given that Mexico's insanely violent drug cartels are arming themselves with high-powered assault weapons purchased at U.S. gun stores and later smuggled south of the border. Yet many past champions of stricter gun-control measures are silent. These include top Obama White House officials who have squelched any talk within the administration about pushing further gun-control measures."It's weird," says Peter Hamm, the communications director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "When you see people like [Attorney General] Eric Holder or Hillary Clinton or [White House chief of staff] Rahm Emanuel become muted on this issue, you feel like you want to call up a friend and say, 'What's up?' "