Taylor Swift Threatens To Sue Website Over Topless Photo

Taylor Swift has her legal team going after the gossip website Celebrity Jihad, who posted an alleged topless photo of the country star. Swift was [...]

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WASHINGTON ? Key proposals from the Republican presidential candidates might make for good campaign fodder. But independent analyses raise serious questions about those plans and their ability to cure the nation’s ills in two vital areas, the economy and housing.

Consider proposed cuts in taxes and regulation, which nearly every GOP candidate is pushing in the name of creating jobs. The initiatives seem to ignore surveys in which employers cite far bigger impediments to increased hiring, chiefly slack consumer demand.

“Republicans favor tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, but these had no stimulative effect during the George W. Bush administration, and there is no reason to believe that more of them will have any today,” writes Bruce Bartlett. He’s an economist who worked for Republican congressmen and in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

As for the idea that cutting regulations will lead to significant job growth, Bartlett said in an interview, “It’s just nonsense. It’s just made up.”

Government and industry studies support his view.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks companies’ reasons for large layoffs, found that 1,119 layoffs were attributed to government regulations in the first half of this year, while 144,746 were attributed to poor “business demand.”

Mainstream economic theory says governments can spur demand, at least somewhat, through stimulus spending. The Republican candidates, however, have labeled President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus efforts a failure. Instead, most are calling for tax cuts that would primarily benefit high-income people, who are seen as the likeliest job creators.

“I don’t care about that,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry told The New York Times and CNBC, referring to tax breaks for the rich. “What I care about is them having the dollars to invest in their companies.”

Many existing businesses, however, have plenty of unspent cash. The 500 companies that comprise the S&P index have about $800 billion in cash and cash equivalents, the most ever, according to the research firm Birinyi Associates.

The rating firm Moody’s says the roughly 1,600 companies it monitors had $1.2 trillion in cash at the end of 2010. That’s 11 percent more than a year earlier.

Small businesses rate “poor sales” as their biggest problem, with government regulations ranking second, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Of the small businesses saying this is not a good time to expand, half cited the poor economy as the chief reason. Thirteen percent named the “political climate.”

More small businesses complained about regulation during the administrations of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, according to an analysis of the federation’s data by the liberal Economic Policy Institute.

Such findings notwithstanding, further cuts in taxes and regulations remain popular with GOP voters. A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that most Democrats and about half of independents think “reducing environmental and other regulations on business” would do little or nothing to create jobs. But only one-third of Republicans felt that way.

The GOP’s presidential hopefuls are shaping their economic agendas along those lines.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says his 59-point plan “seeks to reduce taxes, spending, regulation and government programs.”

Businessman Herman Cain would significantly cut taxes for the wealthy with his 9 percent flat tax plan. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said in a recent debate, “It’s the regulatory burden that costs us $1.8 trillion every year. … It’s jobs that are lost.”

The candidates have said little about another national problem: depressed home prices, as well as the high numbers of foreclosures and borrowers who owe more than their houses are worth.

After the Oct. 18 GOP debate in Las Vegas, a center of foreclosure activity, editors of the AOL Real Estate site wrote, “We didn’t hear any meaningful solutions to the housing crisis. That’s no surprise, considering that housing has so far been a ghost issue in the campaign.”

To the degree the candidates addressed housing, they mainly took a hands-off approach. “We need to get government out of the way,” Cain said. “It starts with making sure that we can boost this economy and then reform Dodd-Frank,” which is a law that regulates Wall Street transactions.

Bachmann, in an answer that mentioned “moms” six times, said foreclosures fall most heavily on women who are “losing their nest for their children and for their family.” She said Obama “has failed you on this issue of housing and foreclosures. I will not fail you on this issue.” Bachmann offered no specific remedies.

Romney told editors of the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom. Allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up.”

Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the Texas governor’s “immediate remedy for housing is to get America working again. … Creating jobs will address the housing concerns that are impacting communities throughout America.”

Bartlett, whose books on tax policy include “The Benefit and the Burden,” recently wrote in the New York Times: “People are increasingly concerned about unemployment, but Republicans have nothing to offer them.”

The candidates and their supporters dispute this, of course. A series of scheduled debates may give them chances to explain why their proposals would hit the right targets.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/gop/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111030/ap_on_bi_ge/us_republicans_questionable_policies

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We just barely made it through the iPhone 5/iPhone 4S rumor mill alive, and we?ve already fallen into another bottomless pit of speculation, only this time it?s about a television.

That?s right, the so-far mythical ?iTV.? If you?ve been paying any attention at all over the past week, the tech press ? us included ? have begun salivating over what some believe is the last immaculate creation of late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs.

Fueling the fire of this newfound favorite topic is the recently released Jobs biography, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. Jobs told Isaacson that he?d ?finally cracked? the problem of producing a successful Apple television. Not Apple TV, the fringe set-top box that continues to make much of a splash, but an actual TV set, screen and all. The conundrum, according to Jobs, wasn?t simply how to make a good-looking TV, but how to make a revolutionary one. His solution: Siri.?

The voice-controlled Siri artificial intelligence, which debuted this month as an exclusive feature of the iPhone 4S, allows users to perform much of the functionality of the iPhone 4S just by speaking naturally.?

According to The New York Times? Nick Bilton ? as trusted a tech reporter as you will find ? Siri was the final piece to Jobs? Apple television puzzle. With the help of Siri, Apple?s version of the television may make the remote control obsolete, replaced by superior voice-control technology. ?I want to watch Mythbusters,? we?ll all soon be saying. And Siri (or some iteration of Siri) will just make it happen.?

Bilton reports that Apple has been working on a television since 2007, and he says that we will see the first iTV unveiled late next year, or in early 2013. 

Of course, like all other unannounced Apple products, there?s no telling what could happen. Unnamed sources and trusted reporters and publications have a terrible track record, as of late, at getting the scoop on Apple?s plans. This time may be different. We just don?t know. What we do know, however, is that the chatter about an Apple television will continue for at least the next year; and that, until we actually hear from Apple on the matter, we?ll be taking these reports well salted.

This article was originally posted on Digital Trends

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Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/applecomputer/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/digitaltrends/20111028/tc_digitaltrends/getreadyfortheonslaughtofappleitvrumors

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Stacey Solomon & Boyfriend Aaron Barham Expecting!

Singer and model Stacey Solomon is pregnant with her second child! The 22-year-old star , who has a three-year-old son named Zac from a previous [...]

Stacey Solomon & Boyfriend Aaron Barham Expecting! Stupid Celebrities Gossip Stupid Celebrities Gossip News

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BIRMNGHAM, Ala. ? Presidential candidate Herman Cain is full of confidence about his 2012 prospects.

It’s been weeks since he’s set foot in first-voting Iowa or New Hampshire, yet he said Saturday he said expects to finish first or second in each state.

He’s also predicting victory in South Carolina, which will hold the South’s first presidential contest in 2012.

“And then, look out,” Cain said Saturday before plunging into a crowd of football tailgaters at Samford University, a Baptist-affiliated school in Alabama.

That win, he says, will set the stage for him to capture the GOP nomination.

Cain, however, said he plans to “dial back” his campaign and media appearances in order to avoid missteps. Since climbing in the polls, he has had a series of fumbles, forcing him to clarify comments on abortion, immigration and terrorism suspects.

Cain has chalked up the mistakes to a grueling campaign schedule jammed with media interviews. Such itineraries are standard fare on the presidential campaign trail and it is unclear how aggressively he will restrict his schedule.

A former pizza magnate who has never held elected office, Cain is adapting from a longshot candidate hustling for any media attention to a front-runner who must be more selective with his time and disciplined in his message.

“When you’re too tired you’re not on your `A game,’” the 65-year-old Georgia businessman told a throng of reporters who greeted the arrival of his bus on the Samford campus.

He said it was a mistake to schedule interviews immediately following debates. Cain maintained he did not flip-flop on issues, but simply did not hear questions properly.

The blunt-spoken Cain has been more cautious lately. At a campaign stop at the Alabama Republican Party headquarters on Friday, Cain paused then asked a reporter to repeat a complicated two-part question on immigration.

“I don’t want to have to clarify,” he said with a laugh.

Not everyone thinks walking back a misstatement is a sign of weakness.

“I like that if he says something, he’s not afraid to turn around and admit he’s wrong,” said Phil Andrews, of Birmingham, who tried without success to reach the candidate and have him sign his Cain t-shirt.

“He’s human and that’s just fine.”


Follow Shannon McCaffrey at http://www.twitter.com(backslash)smccaffrey13

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/topstories/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111029/ap_on_el_ge/us_cain

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Moscow 1963 (Powerlineblog)

October 31, 2011

Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics – Top Stories News, RSS and RSS Feed via Feedzilla.

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The current projections for U.S. government debt are grim. According to the Congressional Budget Office, national debt held by the public will hit $18 trillion in 2021, up from about $10 trillion today. As a percentage of GDP, public debt is forecast to go from 69% today to 84% by 2035.

Most Americans are all too aware of these numbers. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll earlier this year, eight in 10 said they were worried about the national debt. In July, a Gallup survey showed 42% of Americans were against raising the debt ceiling.

But it’s easy to forget how different the outlook was just 10 years ago. Back then, the government was running record surpluses, and was forecast to repay all public debt by 2012. In his 2001 State of the Union speech, President George W. Bush minced no words: “I hope you will join me to pay down $2 trillion in debt during the next 10 years,” he said. “At the end of those 10 years, we will have paid down all the debt that is available to retire.”

That never happened, of course. But interestingly, the prospect created almost as much angst as today’s record deficits.

Planet Money, part of NPR, recently obtained “a secret government report” through the Freedom of Information Act. The report, titled “Life After Debt” (you can see it here) is dated November 2000, and goes through a list of problems the government anticipated it would face once it repaid all of its debts.

The Federal Reserve in particular worried how it would conduct monetary policy. The Fed normally buys and sells Treasury securities to influence interest rates. What would it do once there were no more Treasuries to buy?

One idea was that rather than using Treasuries, the Fed could buy and sell private assets like CDOs. The report writes:

The Fed, if granted authorization could use private securities to conduct monetary policy.Private institutions could provide a relatively sanitary solution to the Fed’ s problem of replacing Treasury securities in the conduct of monetary policy by creating new, very low-risk securities constructed from a pool of private debt securities. Such securities would be packaged in a way similar to mortgage-based securities currently issued by … Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae…

If you’re familiar with the genesis of the housing bubble, this should make you shudder. The housing market took a fatal turn when Wall Street began packaging “very low-risk securities” into collateralized-debt obligations, rating them triple-A, and selling them to global investors who had an insatiable appetite for the products. How much worse would the bubble have been if the Fed were a major buyer of private CDOs early in the decade? It’s almost incomprehensible to think.

The Fed didn’t have to stop at CDOs, of course. As the report notes, “In principle, the Fed can conduct open market operations on any number of assets including corporate bonds, agency debt, sovereign debt, and even equities.” More bubbles to be blown — particularly in stocks, since the report was issued in 2000, during the dot-com bubble.

And then there’s the federal government itself. Ten years ago, the government was on track to run budget surpluses as far as the eye could see. If those surpluses couldn’t be used to pay off debt, where would the money go?

One idea was for the government to start buying up private assets. The report calls this “accumulating a federal asset.” “Other governments have pursued a strategy of investing in equities and other financial market offerings, domestically and internationally,” it writes.

The obvious problem with this idea: Whose stock do you buy? If you thought the Solyndra scandal was bad, just wait. “Of course significant and legitimate concern revolves around governments’ ability to passively invest sizable sums in private ventures,” the report notes. In 2001, then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan argued against buying up private assets for the same reason. “It would be exceptionally difficult to insulate the government’s investment decisions from political pressures,” he said.

Ironically, the government did end up buying hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of private assets, but for a very different reason: The 2008 bailouts left taxpayers with huge stakes in General Motors (NYSE: GM – News), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC – News), Citigroup (NYSE: C – News), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM – News), and hundreds of other companies.

There’s one big lesson to take away from all of this: If we were so spectacularly unable to foresee the future of our public finances ten years ago, why do pretend like we can see it today? Today’s estimates of future deficits mentioned at the beginning of this article are based on the same methodology as the ones used ten years ago. Yet while we laugh at the dismal track record of pasts forecasts, we tend to take current ones very seriously.

That makes me wonder: What widely accepted forecasts are people making today that be will comically wrong 10 years from now? There’s no way of knowing — only that it’s bound to happen.

Fool contributor TMFHousel. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of General Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/personalfinance/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/fool/20111028/bs_fool_fool/rx158621

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SOFIA, Bulgaria ? Bulgarians on Sunday are choosing between a member of the ruling center-right party and a leftist ex-foreign minister in an election run-off for the presidency of the impoverished, corruption-plagued country.

Although most of the power in Bulgaria rests with the prime minister and Parliament, the president leads the armed forces and can veto legislation and sign international treaties.

Polls opened at 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Sunday and close at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT). Some 6.9 million people are eligible to vote.

A vote last Sunday yielded two top candidates, neither of whom achieved the 50 percent required for outright victory. Ruling conservative party candidate Rosen Plevneliev garnered just over 40 percent of votes, while Ivailo Kalfin ? who ran on the opposition Socialist party ticket ? got nearly 29 percent.

With the gap between the front-runners just over 375,000 votes, both candidates have tried to rally support outside their parties’ traditional voters.

Plevneliev, 47, a former entrepreneur, has been lauded for pushing through several large-scale infrastructure projects as regional development minister in the incumbent cabinet. He has pledged to reduce the budget deficit and pursue business-friendly policies in the economically struggling country.

Kalfin, 47, has pledged to safeguard democracy and the rule of law. The European Parliament member is one of the few top left-wing politicians seen as largely untainted by the Socialist party’s communist past. During his term as foreign minister, Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007.

The winner replaces Georgi Parvanov, a former leader of the Socialist Party who has often criticized the government and used his powers to veto legislation or key judicial office or diplomatic service appointments. Parvanov has served two five-year terms, the legal limit.

Former European Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, running as an independent, came in third in last Sunday’s vote. But Kuneva has refused to endorse Kalfin or Plevneliev for the second round, saying they both stand for things she cannot agree to.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/europe/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111030/ap_on_re_eu/eu_bulgaria_elections

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Buffalo Bills v Miami DolphinsGetty Images

Predictably, reports have surfaced that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has contacted former Steelers coach Bill Cowher.? Even more predictably, Ross denies that he has contacted Cowher.

?Not true,? Ross said Friday, via David Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.? ?I?m not going to reach out to anyone while Tony [Sparano] is the coach.? I hope he wins and stays the coach.? Neither I nor anyone involved with me has contacted [Cowher], his agent or anyone around him.?

It?s hard to accept that one at face value, for several reasons.? First, it?s hard to accept pretty much anything anyone connected to an NFL team says at face value.? When it comes to on-field and off-field football tactics, the truth often is told only when it happens to mesh with the strategically prudent explanation.? Second, Ross already has shown a willingness not only to contact ?anyone? (cough ? Jim Harbaugh ? cough) while Sparano is the coach, but to fly across the country with the team?s General Manager to meet with said ?anyone.?? Third, in this bizarre separation dance between Ross and Sparano, where Ross possibly has decided to stay the course (at least for now) in the hopes of racking up enough losses to get Andrew Luck and where Sparano possibly sees that and wants to get fired, admitting to conduct that undermines Sparano could give Sparano enough ammunition to claim that he has been constructively discharged, which would allow him to quit ? and also to pursue a buyout of his contract.

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, what else was Ross going to say?? ?Yep, I contacted Cowher.? And Gruden.? And I tried Vince Lombardi but they keep saying the number is disconnected or no longer in service.?

Despite these obvious reasons for Ross to deny, Hyde chooses to knock down the reports from guys like Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com (who reported that contact had occurred through intermediaries) and Albert Breer of NFL Network (a league employee with an impeccable reputation for accuracy who reported that Ross has contacted Cowher?s agent).? Hyde wonders why Ross would contact Cowher at this stage of the season, given that Ross isn?t competing with anyone for Cowher?s services ? and given that contacting Cowher now could offend him.? ?Make[s] no sense on a lot of levels,? Hyde writes.

Actually, it makes sense on every level.

It?s called gauging interest.? If Cowher, via his agent, says that he?s interested, Ross can put Cowher on the wish list and wait until Sparano is fired to make a move.? If Cowher, via his agent, says that he?d never be interested, Ross can remove Cowher?s name from the list.? If Cowher, via his agent, says that Cowher could be interested if X, Y, and/or Z were to happen, Ross can commence the process of deciding whether he can and will make X, Y, and/or Z happen.

Given the extremely clumsy manner in which the Dolphins pursued Harbaugh in January, it makes sense that the Dolphins would begin lining up potential candidates now, and that they would do so in a somewhat clumsy manner, allowing word of the courtship to make its way to the media.

Here?s what Ross should have done.? He should have limited the information regarding any contact with Cowher?s agent to only a handful of people ? ideally, only one person other than himself.? And the message to Cowher?s agent (or whomever has been contacted) should have been clear and direct:? If word of this gets out, we?ll deny it, and we?ll remove you from consideration.

But the Dolphins are both clumsy and desperate right now, so they won?t be doing things discreetly and they won?t be issuing the kinds of ultimatums that ensure complete discretion.? As Ross essentially admitted when the Harbaugh fiasco blew up in the Fins? faces, Ross isn?t schooled in these nuances of NFL teams.

And it shows.? On every level.

Source: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/10/29/cowboys-cut-tashard-choice/related/

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Power 25: October 29, 2011

October 31, 2011

WWE.com, in conjunction with the Academy of Wrestling Arts & Sciences (AWAS), ranks the Top 25 Superstars in?WWE each week with Power 25. The rankings are based on victories, quality of opponents, momentum and overall in-ring dominance, as well as intangibles. Be sure to check back every Saturday for the latest Power 25.?Here are the rankings for October 29.

Source: http://www.wwe.com/inside/power25/archive/2011-10-29

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