Thursday Reads: Greece, Golf, and the Stanley CupPosted: June 16, 2011
Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in Greece to protest austerity measures being forced on them by the government, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Government leaders are so nervous that
Prime Minister George Papandreou of Greece said on Wednesday that he would reshuffle his cabinet and request a vote of confidence in Parliament after talks with the opposition about a unity government foundered.
Earlier in the day….Mr. Papandreou offered to step aside so that his Socialist party could form a coalition government with the center-right opposition, but only if the opposition would support a new bailout plan for the debt-ridden country.
Mr. Papandreou’s support has been plummeting, even within his party, and the Socialists appear to be lagging behind the center-right opposition for the first time since the current government was elected in 2009. With a five-seat majority in Parliament, Mr. Papandreou has been struggling to get his government fully behind the measures and to contain growing rifts within his party.
Antonis Samaras, the leader of the center-right New Democracy party, has opposed spending cuts. He has called instead for tax breaks and a renegotiation of the terms of Greece’s agreement with its foreign creditors.
The markets reacted negatively to the situation in Greece.
Greece’s financial and political crisis, compounded by new fears about the pace of the United States economic recovery, sent financial markets reeling on Wednesday….
Anxious investors feared the situation could spin out of control, igniting a series of crises in other heavily indebted euro zone countries, like Portugal, Ireland and Spain. That, in turn, could threaten Europe’s banks and even reach into the United States financial system.
“We are pretty much giving back everything we got yesterday and more,” said Lawrence R. Creatura, a portfolio manager at Federated Investors, noting the rise in the main American indexes of more than 1 percent Tuesday. “Today the market just can’t escape the undertow of deteriorating economic data and political events.”
Awwww…poor little rich men…just let me break out my tiny violin.
In just a few days, President Obama will be playing golf and schmoozing with John Boehner, supposedly to try to come to a “compromise” on the raising the debt ceiling. But according to The New York Times, voters don’t relish seeing privileged politicians playing and watching golf with the economy being so bad for the majority of Americans.
…with two wars, a tight economy and a high national unemployment rate, the prevailing belief is that constituents do not want to see their representatives having fun at the golf course.
“Right now, some constituents think that members of Congress playing golf is a big deal and they don’t like it,” Tate Sr., who lobbies for the PGA Tour, said. “There is so much less talk about politicians going fishing or hunting, because that supposedly makes those members of Congress seem more normal. How ambushing and slaughtering another living creature makes you more normal, I have no idea. But it’s all about perception.”
Do Obama and Boehner care? Apparently not.
The decision issued by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Donovan was prompted by a joint bankruptcy filing by a Los Angeles gay couple legally married in 2008. The U.S. trustee assigned to vet the filing by Gene Balas and Carlos Morales had asked Donovan to dismiss the Chapter 13 petition because the 15-year-old law, known as DOMA, restricts federal benefits like joint filings to marriages between a man and a woman. Donovan ruled that the law violated the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.
Legal analysts said the ruling could have broad implications for gay spouses seeking equal treatment from federal agencies because it adds weight to two other federal court rulings in Massachusetts last year making their way through the appeals process.
The rulings last July by U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro dealt only with the law as it affects Massachusetts residents, and Monday’s ruling by the Los Angeles bankruptcy court was likewise specific to the local case. But the rulings are seen as bellwethers for the possible extension of federal benefits to gay spouses in states where such marriages are legal, including the estimated 18,000 gay couples who wed in California in 2008.
Potential presidential candidate Rick Perry considers himself a “prophet.”
In his first national TV interview since presidential rumors surfaced, Perry answered Fox News’ Neil Cavuto question about why he’s so unpopular in his home state by suggesting he’s a “prophet”:
CAVUTO: You have kind of like the Chris Christie phenomenon: very popular outside your state, still popular but not nearly as popular within your state. There are even Tea Party groups within your state who like you but don’t love you. […] What do you say?
PERRY: I say that a prophet is generally not loved in their hometown. That’s both Biblical and practical.
You can watch the video at Think Progress.
An interesting trial will begin on Monday in New Hampshire. A woman who was raped by a member of her church and impregnated when she was only 15 years old may finally get a chance for justice.
Jury selection starts Monday at Merrimack Superior Court in New Hampshire in the case against Ernest Willis, who prosecutors charge raped Tina Anderson twice in her home in 1997, leaving her pregnant, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.
The then-teenager was then compelled by leaders of the Trinity Baptist Church to apologize for becoming pregnant with a married man’s child, the Concord Monitor reported.
Willis, now 52, has admitted to the sex, but claims it was consensual.
Anderson, now 29, who asked media outlets to publicly identify her to draw attention to the case, told police the church’s pastor, Charles Phelps, spirited her away to another church member in Colorado in an effort to muddle a police investigation back in 1997.
Finally, a little provincialism once again…The Boston Bruins are the Stanley Cup Champions!!!!