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Monthly Archives: October 2008

Sarah Palin Offered Bristol For Babysitting : Watch video here

Tina Fey appeared on Conan Tuesday night and talked about 3-year-old daughter Alice, having Sarah Palin at SNL with her pregnant daughter Bristol and how great it was to hug Oprah on camera for “30 Rock.” (Hugging Oprah is “everything you want it to be… it’s like going to a spa for a week.”)

According to Fey, when Sarah Palin (“she was nice”) guested on “Saturday Night Live,” she asked Fey where Alice had gone as the show approached. Fey told Conan:

“Gov. Palin was like, ‘Oh did Alice go home? Oh, cause Bristol woulda babysat.’ She offered Bristol Palin to babysit Alice… And it was Bristol’s birthday, too. I was like yeah, that’s exactly what 17-year-old Bristol Palin wants to do at SNL is babysit the toddler of the lady that gooks on her mom… but they’re a nice family”

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Move over Carson Kressley. A new celebrity shopper has emerged!

The attention from Jeanne Cummings’s much-talked-about Politico story has naturally focused on the $150,000 in luxury clothing purchased for Sarah Palin at Neiman Marcus, Sak’s Fifth Avenue, and Barney’s. What hasn’t yet gotten any attention is who bought it for her. But buried in the same FEC disclosure form that revealed Palin’s taste for the fine life is the name of the man who appears to have been her personal shopper: Jeff Larson.

Under FEC regulations, the RNC must file what is called a “Schedule F form,” which lists “expenditures made by political committees or designated agents(s) on behalf of candidates for federal office.” This is presumably the same document from which Cummings drew for her story. Here’s a blow-up of the RNC’s most recent Schedule F. I’ve circled the controversial purchases—and the apparent purchaser—in red magic marker.

To read the full article: The Atlantic


Consumers Feel the Next Crisis: It’s Credit Cards
By ERIC DASH

First came the mortgage crisis. Now comes the credit card crisis.

After years of flooding Americans with credit card offers and sky-high credit lines, lenders are sharply curtailing both, just as an eroding economy squeezes consumers.

The pullback is affecting even creditworthy consumers and threatens an already beleaguered banking industry with another wave of heavy losses after an era in which it reaped near record gains from the business of easy credit that it helped create.

Lenders wrote off an estimated $21 billion in bad credit card loans in the first half of 2008 as more borrowers defaulted on their payments. With companies laying off tens of thousands of workers, the industry stands to lose at least another $55 billion over the next year and a half, analysts say. Currently, the total losses amount to 5.5 percent of credit card debt outstanding, and could surpass the 7.9 percent level reached after the technology bubble burst in 2001.

“If unemployment continues to increase, credit card net charge-offs could exceed historical norms,” Gary L. Crittenden, Citigroup’s chief financial officer, said.

Faced with sobering conditions, companies that issue MasterCard, Visa and other cards are rushing to stanch the bleeding, even as options once easily tapped by borrowers to pay off credit card obligations, like home equity lines or the ability to transfer balances to a new card, dry up.

To read the full article: The New York Times

Mourning Old Media’s Decline
By DAVID CARR

The news that Google settled two longstanding suits with book authors and publishers over its plans to digitize the world’s great libraries suggests that some level of détente could be reached between old media and new.

If true, it can’t come soon enough for the news business.

It’s been an especially rotten few days for people who type on deadline. On Tuesday, The Christian Science Monitor announced that, after a century, it would cease publishing a weekday paper. Time Inc., the Olympian home of Time magazine, Fortune, People and Sports Illustrated, announced that it was cutting 600 jobs and reorganizing its staff. And Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, compounded the grimness by announcing it was laying off 10 percent of its work force — up to 3,000 people.

Clearly, the sky is falling. The question now is how many people will be left to cover it.

To read the full article: New York Times

Poll, baby, poll!
But will polling accurately predict the outcome of November’s election?

IN LATE August, when most polls showed Barack Obama losing his lead over John McCain, Mr Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, pooh-poohed the reports. “We don’t pay attention to national polls,” he said. Today, the question on many Americans’ minds is whether they should either.

The volatility of polls give good cause to wonder. Each day, a slew of new ones hits the American press, but they very seldom agree. Polls this week, for instance, showed Mr Obama with a lead as great as 14 percentage points or as small as zero.

One way that polls can be wrong, some say, is because of the high percentage of young people without landlines. Polling organisations usually call landlines, because federal regulations targeting telemarketers makes it illegal to dial mobile numbers automatically. But after a recent study by the Pew Research Centre, a non-partisan opinion research group, found that the exclusion of “mobile-onlys” (who are mostly young and pro-Obama) could introduce a bias into survey data, many polling organisations now feel pressure to invest the money and time to have humans call more mobile phones. Still, only some of them do so, and to differing extents, which could help explain the wide variation in polls on any given day.

To read the full article: The Economist

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama now leads in four states won by President Bush in 2004 and is essentially tied with John McCain in two other Republican red states, according to new AP-GfK battleground polling.

The results help explain why the Democrat is pressing his money and manpower advantages in a slew of traditionally GOP states, hoping not just for a win but a transcendent victory that remakes the nation’s political map. McCain is scrambling to defend states where he wouldn’t even be campaigning if the race were closer.

Less than a week before Election Day, the AP-GfK polls show Obama winning among early voters, favored on almost every issue, benefiting from the country’s sour mood and widely viewed as the winning candidate by voters in eight crucial states — Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

“If you believe in miracles,” said GOP consultant Joe Gaylord of Arlington, Va., “you still believe in McCain.”

To read the full article: AP
BY RON FOURNIER and TREVOR TOMPSON, Associated Press Writers Ron Fournier And Trevor Tompson, Associated Press Writers

From the Economist

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