Morning Links: 2009-08-21
The purchasing managers’ index for Europe’s largest economy jumped to 54.2 in August, from 49.0 in July, signalling an unexpectedly brisk pace of expansion. The growth was driven by the service sector, where employment actually rose, but manufacturing also showed a further rebound.
"Google has just unveiled the latest addition to Google Labs, and it’s sure to crowd-pleaser for Android users. Dubbed Google Listen, the new project is an Android application that lets you quickly search through web audio content, which you can then directly download or stream to your phone. The app also acts as a podcast manager, allowing you to subscribe to audio feeds and download new content over the air."
"Mexico’s economy shrank by 10.3% between April and June as the global downturn hit demand for exports and swine flu drove tourist numbers down. The decline was blamed on slides in the industrial and services sectors, which are closely tied to the US and have felt the force of the economic crisis. The US recession has also led to a sharp drop in the amount of money sent home by migrant workers."
Hat tip Paul Kedrosky. "Taibbi breaks down the five steps Congress took to be sure no bill would pass — aiming low, gutting the public option, packing it with loopholes, providing no leadership and blowing the math — in his story, which is available on stands now. In a series of video interviews for RollingStone.com, Taibbi explores one of our system’s most severe flaws, explains how the government wedged itself into an awkwardly damning position, and looks at how the proposed bill would change the ordinary American’s life."
"Coffee chain Starbucks Corp , which for years raised prices without any customer pushback, said on Thursday that it is cutting prices for the first time on some drinks while boosting prices on others."
"Among the headlines promoted by publisher Thomas Dunne Books: Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was "blindsided" by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster ignored; and was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush’s re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over."
Can you take a bullish or bearish call on US equity markets at this point? Faber: Well, basically by looking at all the economic data coming out of the US, I think the economy has stabilised, but at much lower levels than it was two years ago … because of the stimulus packages, the economy is stabilising, but that doesn’t mean that it will grow a lot. I think there will still be some disappointments that will arise.
"Maybe next time I should just run the 200m or the 100m alone," he added. "My form was going backwards. I wasn’t running upright. It wasn’t a good race but it was a fast one."
More on the middle class recovery struggle. "Can the richest people spend enough to power a recovery in overall GDP? Perhaps, but is that really the kind of economy you want to live in?"
"Oak Bluffs, an integrated village on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, has been called the Black Hamptons, a place where for generations black people have owned cottages and pastel Victorian houses with wide porches and screen doors that slap in the wind."
"Azhar’s real-life journey — and those of the other child stars in "Slumdog," including his elfin co-star Rubina Ali, 9 — has been a roller coaster of personal tragedy and red-carpet glamour. In many ways, they are experiencing at warp speed the masala of euphoria and turmoil that India’s vast poor feel as they emerge from the iron bonds of caste and class to an era of genuine social mobility. "
“It’s never a contest when the interests of big business are pitted against the public interest. So if we manage to get health care “reform” this time around it will be the kind of reform that benefits the very people who have given us a failed system, and thus made reform so necessary. "
"The White House is currently seeking ways to continue the practice, which was widely employed by George W. Bush, under a different legal framework in a narrower set of circumstances. As Serwer explains, the reluctance to reject the Bush Administration policy outright has its roots in a division within the legal left."
"It’s one of the phenomena that sets sport apart from anything else in the culture. Every time I watch Bolt, even though I’ve covered athletic competition for nearly 30 years, I’m flush with excitement. And every time that thrill is tempered with the thought that seems to accompany almost every superhuman effort in recent years: Is he clean?"
I have said the opposite. Notice this: "Talking to Cortese this week, I heard two themes that cut to the heart of the debate. First, he thinks Obama has made a mistake in moving toward the narrower goal of "health insurance reform" when what the country truly needs is health system reform."
sounds like a tit for tat move. "China, the world’s largest steel producer and consumer, deepened its investigation into imported steel products from the United States, the Ministry of Commerce said late on Wednesday, in response to complaints from its steel makers."
"May was pulled over for an expired tag on his car. When the officer walked up to him, he noticed something white in May’s mouth. May said it was breath mints, but the officer thought it was crack cocaine."
Distraction of the Day: Usain Bolt (hat tip Paul Kedrosky)