sábado, abril 18, 2009

Chávez y Obama se dan la mano

Chávez y Obama se dan la mano
Carlos Chirinos Vásquez
BBC Mundo, enviado especial a Trinidad y Tobago

La imagen de la Cumbre ha sido el apretón de manos entre los presidentes Obama y Chávez.

Al inicio de la sesión de apertura de la V Cumbre de las Américas en Trinidad y Tobago, el presidente Barack Obama se acercó a saludar al venezolano Hugo Chávez en el primer encuentro -si bien informal- que se da entre ambos líderes.

Al responderle el saludo a Obama, el mandatario venezolano le dijo: "Con esta mano saludé a Bush hace ocho años. Yo quiero ser tu amigo", según la información ofrecida por el gobierno venezolano.Ojalá Obama sea el primer presidente de un nuevo Estados Unidos

Según un funcionario de la Casa Blanca -que estuvo presente en el momento en que ambos presidentes se encontraron- Obama se acerco a Chávez y le dijo: "Quisiera presentarme, yo soy Barack Obama".

Luego, el estadounidense habría respondido con una sonrisa a las palabras del venezolano.

Momento histórico

La fotografía del fugaz encuentro entre los dos líderes fue distribuida por el propio Ministerio de Información y Comunicaciones de Venezuela (MINCI) en su página de internet, que lo calificó como "histórico".

El presidente Obama también saludó al presidente de Boliva, Evo Morales.

Al finalizar el acto inaugural de la cumbre, el presidente Chávez ofreció unas breves declaraciones a la prensa en la puerta del hotel donde se realiza el evento:

"Nos dimos la mano como todo caballero y era previsible que así ocurriera y yo agradezco el gesto de haberse acercado (...) Creo que hay que tomar nota del gesto, de la palabra. Ojalá Obama sea el primer presidente de un nuevo Estados Unidos", agregó.

Las fotografías de Obama y Chávez sonrientes y distendidos han sido, hasta ahora, las imágenes más distribuidas desde el inicio de la reunión hemisférica.

Estas "postales" de Trinidad y Tobago disipan los temores de quiénes presagiaban una cumbre de enfrentamientos entre EE.UU. y la región, como sucedió en la reunión previa realizada en Mar del Plata, Argentina, en 2005.

Al inicio de la Cumbre de Trinidad y Tobago, Obama también tuvo gestos similares con los presidentes de Bolivia, Evo Morales, y de Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, dos países aliados de Venezuela que han tenido algunos roces diplomáticos con Washington.

BBC MUNDO y la Quita Cumbre de Las Américas

Un reportaje completo sobre todo lo que pasó y está pasando en la 5ta. Cumbre de las América en Trinidad y Tobago.

Learning the hard way

Learning the hard way
Mar 26th 2009
From The Economist print edition

Barack Obama may at last be getting a grip. But he still needs to show more leadership, at home and abroad

HILLARY CLINTON’S most effective quip, in her long struggle with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination last year, was that the Oval Office is no place for on-the-job training. It went to the heart of the nagging worry about the silver-tongued young senator from Illinois: that he lacked even the slightest executive experience, and that in his brief career he had never really stood up to powerful interests, whether in his home city of Chicago or in the wider world. Might Mrs Clinton have been right about her foe?

Not altogether. In foreign policy in particular Mr Obama has already done some commendable things. He has held out a sincere hand to Iran; he has ordered Guantánamo closed within a year; he has set himself firmly against torture. He has, as the world and this newspaper wanted, taken a less strident tone in dealing with friends and rivals alike.

But at home Mr Obama has had a difficult start. His performance has been weaker than those who endorsed his candidacy, including this newspaper, had hoped. Many of his strongest supporters—liberal columnists, prominent donors, Democratic Party stalwarts—have started to question him. As for those not so beholden, polls show that independent voters again prefer Republicans to Democrats, a startling reversal of fortune in just a few weeks. Mr Obama’s once-celestial approval ratings are about where George Bush’s were at this stage in his awful presidency. Despite his resounding electoral victory, his solid majorities in both chambers of Congress and the obvious goodwill of the bulk of the electorate, Mr Obama has seemed curiously feeble.

Empty posts, weak policies

There are two main reasons for this. The first is Mr Obama’s failure to grapple as fast and as single-mindedly with the economy as he should have done. His stimulus package, though huge, was subcontracted to Congress, which did a mediocre job: too much of the money will arrive too late to be of help in the current crisis. His budget, though in some ways more honest than his predecessor’s, is wildly optimistic. And he has taken too long to produce his plan for dealing with the trillions of dollars of toxic assets which fester on banks’ balance-sheets.

The failure to staff the Treasury is a shocking illustration of administrative drift. There are 23 slots at the department that need confirmation by the Senate, and only two have been filled. This is not the Senate’s fault. Mr Obama has made a series of bad picks of people who have chosen or been forced to withdraw; and it was only this week that he announced his candidates for two of the department’s four most senior posts. Filling such jobs is always a tortuous business in America, but Mr Obama has made it harder by insisting on a level of scrutiny far beyond anything previously attempted. Getting the Treasury team in place ought to have been his first priority.

Second, Mr Obama has mishandled his relations with both sides in Congress. Though he campaigned as a centrist and promised an era of post-partisan government, that’s not how he has behaved. His stimulus bill attracted only three Republican votes in the Senate and none in the House. This bodes ill for the passage of more difficult projects, such as his big plans for carbon-emissions control and health-care reform. Keeping those promises will soon start to bedevil the administration. The Republicans must take their share of the blame for the breakdown. But if Mr Obama had done a better job of selling his package, and had worked harder at making sure that Republicans were included in drafting it, they would have found it more difficult to oppose his plans.

If Mr Obama cannot work with the Republicans, he needs to be certain that he controls his own party. Unfortunately, he seems unable to. Put bluntly, the Democrats are messing him around. They are pushing pro-trade-union legislation (notably a measure to get rid of secret ballots) even though he doesn’t want them to do so; they have been roughing up the bankers even though it makes his task of fixing the economy much harder; they have stuffed his stimulus package and his appropriations bill with pork, even though this damages him and his party in the eyes of the electorate. Worst of all, he is letting them get away with it.

Lead, dammit

There are some signs that Mr Obama’s administration is learning. This week the battered treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, has at last come up with a detailed plan to rescue the banks (see article and article). Its success is far from guaranteed, and the mood of Congress and the public has soured to the point where, should this plan fail, getting another one off the drawing-board will be exceedingly hard. But the plan at least demonstrates the administration’s acceptance that it must work with the bankers, instead of riding the wave of popular opinion against them, if it is to repair America’s economy. And it’s not just in the domestic arena that Mr Obama has demonstrated his willingness to learn: on Iraq, he has intelligently recalibrated his views, coming up with a plan for withdrawal that seeks to consolidate the gains in Iraq while limiting the costs to America.

But Mr Obama has a long way to travel if he is to serve his country—and the world—as he should. Take the G20 meeting in London, to which he will head at the end of next week. The most important task for this would-be institution is to set itself firmly against protectionism at a time when most of its members are engaged in a game of creeping beggar-thy-neighbour. Yet how can Mr Obama lead the fight when he has just pandered to America’s unions by sparking a minor trade war with Mexico? And how can he set a new course for NATO at its 60th-anniversary summit a few days later if he is appeasing his party with talk of leaving Afghanistan?

In an accomplished press conference this week, Mr Obama reminded the world what an impressive politician he can be. He has a capacity to inspire that is unmatched abroad or at home. He holds a strong hand when it comes to the Democrats, many of whom owe their seats to his popularity at last year’s election. Now he must play it.

Quique San Francisco (Los Pesimistas)

El Humor de Luis Piedrahita

martes, abril 14, 2009

WIND power (energía de viento)

The American Wind Energy Association released its annual industry report yesterday.

Jeff Siegel

According to the report, in 2008, the U.S. surpassed Germany as the country with the largest amount of installed wind power capacity. This, after more than 8,500 megawatts of new wind power increased the nation's cumulative total to more than 25,300 MW - representing a growth of about 50 percent.

Based on this growth rate, and assuming long-term policy support, this puts the U.S. on a trajectory to generate 20 percent of our electricity from wind energy by 2030. This is a massive jump, based on the 1.25 percent that was generated by installed wind projects at the end of 2008 - and a massive opportunity for investors.

This latest report shows GE continuing to run the turbine show, boasting 43 percent of newly installed capacity in 2008. Vestas (CO:VWS) came in second, Siemens (NYSE:SI) in third, and Suzlon (NSE:SUZLON) and Gamesa (MCE:GAM) rounding out fourth and fifth.

As far as developers are concerned, NextEra Energy (which used to be FPL Energy) owns the most wind energy assets, boasting a total of 6,290 MW - or about 25 percent of all installed capacity.

EL BLOG en Houston, Texas

Este es el BLOG de Askain en la ciudad de Houston (TEXAS), es decir el BLOG está ubicado en el principal periódico de esa ciudad texana.

lunes, abril 13, 2009

US eases Cuban travel, money restraints

US eases Cuban travel, money restraints
By ROBERT BURNS AP National Security Writer © 2009 The Associated Press
April 13, 2009, 7:52PM

WASHINGTON — In a measured break with a half-century of U.S. policy toward communist Cuba, the Obama administration lifted restrictions Monday on Cuban-Americans who want to travel and send money to their island homeland.
In a further gesture of openness, U.S. telecommunications firms were freed to seek business there, too. But the broader U.S. trade embargo remained in place.

The White House portrayed its changes, which fulfilled one of President Barack Obama's campaign promises, as a path to promoting personal freedom in one of the few remaining communist nations. They also marked another major step away from the foreign policy priorities of the Bush administration.

But the moves fell far short of the more drastic policy adjustments that some — including Republican Sen. Richard Lugar — have argued are required to promote U.S. interests in Latin America and to bring about change in Cuba. For most Americans, Cuba remains the only country in the world their government prohibits them from visiting — a barrier to potential travelers as well as to the Cuban tourist industry that would like to see them.

Cubans welcomed the changes but said more should be done.

"It's help that the people really need," Fermina Gonzalez, a 46-year-old housewife in the leafy Havana neighborhood of Vedado, said of the ending of limits on money sent by Cuban-Americans. "Right now, we have to work lots of jobs just to make ends meet."

But few Cubans expect Obama to end the trade embargo or allow American tourists to visit the island without limits.
"He should do more and lift travel restrictions for all Americans," said Alberto Sal, a 68-year-old retiree. "Until he does that, I don't think he's doing much."

Lifting or substantially easing the economic embargo, as set forth in the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and administered by the Treasury Department, would require legislative action by Congress. The White House made no mention of any intention to seek such changes; Obama said as a presidential candidate that the embargo was a form of leverage to press for democratic reforms in Cuba.
Julia Sweig, director of Latin studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, described Obama's changes as "teensy, weensy" and said they appear to be driven more by domestic political calculations that by foreign policy considerations.

"This is a cautious first step by a president whose political advisers are looking at the Florida electoral vote," she said in a telephone interview, "and who are not looking at this as a matter of foreign policy. That's the big problem with Cuba policy. We have a policy toward Miami and not toward Havana."

Sweig added, however, that Obama's decision to authorize more telecommunications links with Cuba was a "potentially significant opening," particularly if the Cuban government follows through and allows those connections.
Jose Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch welcomed the Cuba announcement but said more should be done.

"If President Obama is serious about promoting change in Cuba, this executive order must be part of a larger shift away from the U.S.'s unilateral approach toward the Cuban government," Vivanco said.

Taking the other side, three Democratic lawmakers wrote in a letter to Obama on Monday that his decisions would have "devastating consequences."

They said the Cuban government takes 30 cents of every dollar in U.S. remittances that enters the country as a usury fee.
"This income facilitates the regime's finance of its repressive state security apparatus," they wrote. The letter was signed by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Albio Sires and Robert Andrews of New Jersey. They recommended a more calibrated approach: doubling the amount of allowable money transfers to family members in Cuba rather than allowing unlimited transfers.

American policy toward Cuba has been frozen since 1962, when the Kennedy administration broadened a partial trade embargo imposed by the Eisenhower administration the previous year. The original aim was to bring down Fidel Castro's Marxist government at a time when U.S.-backed exiles mounted the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and Soviet missiles in Cuba pushed the world close to nuclear war.

Sporadic congressional efforts to end the embargo since then have failed, largely due to the political influence of powerful Cuban exiles, mostly in Florida, who are determined to isolate Cuba, strangle its economy and force Castro out.
Castro, now 82, ceded the presidency to his brother last year due to illness. Raul Castro, 77, shows no sign of making any fundamental changes.

The White House portrayed the lifting of travel restrictions and money transfers to family members in Cuba — coupled with the telecommunications changes — as steps to bridge the gap among divided Cuban families.

"All who embrace core democratic values long for a Cuba that respects the basic human, political and economic rights of all of its citizens," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in announcing the decision. "President Obama believes the measure he has taken today will help make that goal a reality."

It had been known for more than a week that the White House would announce the Cuba changes in advance of Obama's attendance this weekend at a Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. Cuba is excluded from that gathering of 34 heads of government, but a number of participants are expected to use the session as an opportunity to press the U.S. to improve relations with Havana.

There has been a growing chorus of congressional advocates for change in U.S. policy toward Cuba. In February, Sen. Lugar, R-Ind., issued a report based on a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff visit to Havana that called for a repeal of the family travel and money transfer restrictions.

Lugar's report also urged congressional action to remove all U.S. travel restrictions, not just those for Cuban-Americans. Further, it advocated lifting travel restrictions on Cuban diplomats in Washington, who are not allowed to journey outside the capital area. It said this would encourage a reciprocal lifting of Cuban restrictions on U.S. diplomats, improving the U.S. government's ability to understand more fully the conditions that exist on the entire island.

Separately on Monday, a U.S. religious freedom watchdog group said it had been forced to call off a fact-finding trip after the Cuban government did not issue visas to its delegation. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said the visas had been applied for weeks earlier and it had received no explanation for why they were not granted.
Associated Press writer Will Weissert contributed from Cuba.

Obama travels aimed at re-engaging hemisphere

Obama travels aimed at re-engaging hemisphere
By BEN FELLER Associated Press Writer © 2009 The Associated Press
April 13, 2009, 9:16PM

WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday cast Barack Obama's first presidential trip south of the border as a chance to revitalize relations with an entire hemisphere of nations.

Obama on Thursday is traveling to Mexico City, a clear signal of support for President Felipe Calderon as the U.S. and Mexico grapple with the deadly flow of drugs and weapons. Obama is then spending Friday through Sunday in the twin-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago for the Summit of the Americas, a gathering of 34 Western Hemisphere nations.

"The perception coming up from the south (is) that in recent years the United States has turned its attention elsewhere, has neglected its relationships in this part of the world," said Jeffrey Davidow, Obama's principal adviser for the summit, told reporters Monday night.

"Whether one agrees with that perception or not, it certainly is a very strongly felt perception," he said. "And I think this summit will give him the opportunity to meet with all the heads of state, listen to them, exchange views, and come away with new ideas."

Cuba, as an undemocratic nation, is excluded from the summit. But its relationship with the United States and its role in the hemisphere are sure to be discussed. Obama on Monday lifted restrictions on Cuban-Americans who want to travel to and send money to relatives on the communist island, a move promised in his campaign and timed ahead of the summit to help set a productive tone.

In previewing the trip, White House aides said they could not yet provide details about which leaders Obama would be meeting with one-on-one while in Trinidad. They also said Obama would be heading to the summit with concrete proposals but declined to name what they were.

Instead, the White House spoke of priority themes: rallying support for bottom-up economic reforms, particularly those that help the "poorest of the poor;" working with other nations to expand renewable energy and reduce global warming; and improving public safety.

Shaking the global recession is the dominant topic on the agenda.

The timing comes as many nations in the hemisphere have felt the crushing effects of an economic swoon after years of relative growth. Analysts say the summit is unlikely to yield any big breakthroughs but could set a new tone to relations, particularly given Obama's popularity in the region and his promises of multilateralism.

The first and only country Obama will visit on his way to the summit is Mexico. His administration so far has made a notable, public show of diplomacy toward the country.

"It's a message of admiration for the courageous steps that President Calderon has undertaken," said Denis McDonough, one of Obama's senior foreign policy advisers. "It is meant to send a signal of respect, mutual respect with our Mexican neighbors."

As Mexico cracks down on organized crime, violence among the drug cartels, their rivals and soldiers have led to thousands of deaths and crime that has spilled across the border into the U.S.

Obama's administration has pledged more help, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said America's "insatiable" demand for drugs has helped fuel the problem.

Other tense bilateral issues loom.

Mexico has slapped tariffs on nearly 90 U.S. products in retaliation for a U.S. decision to cancel a cross-border program that gave Mexican truckers access north of the border.

McDonough said the administration is working with Congress and Mexico on a resolution, but added: "I think it's premature to anticipate a very specific announcement on that."

On comprehensive immigration reform, which collapsed in Congress during President George W. Bush's administration, White House aides say Obama remains committed to it. Obama, already dealing with an enormous agenda, is expected to try to begin an immigration effort this year.

Dan Restrepo, the senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs, said immigration and the treatment of immigrants is important to Obama and Calderon. He did not answer whether it would be on the agenda for the two leaders' meetings on Thursday in Mexico.

Las lineas de Chávez

Vamos a ver

El Perro de la Familia de OBAMA se llama BO

New York, NY [April 13, 2009] – The American Kennel Club congratulates the Obama family on the anticipated arrival of their 6-month-old, AKC registered Portuguese Water Dog, Amigo’s New Hope, affectionately known as "Bo." Bo was bred by Art and Martha Stern, long-time breeders who reside near Dallas, TX, and is a littermate of Senator Ted Kennedy’s pup Cappy. The first dog ever owned by the Obama family, as well the nation’s official "First Dog," this new presidential pup will not only leave a mark on the Obamas’ lives but shine a spotlight on dogs and the importance of responsible dog ownership around the world.

BOYD, Texas — The next resident of the White House has a Texas past.The 6-month-old Portuguese water dog that the Obama girls are naming Bo was bred in Texas.A statement today from the American Kennel Club says the group congratulates the Obama family on the anticipated arrival of Bo, whose registered name is Amigo's New Hope.

AKC says Bo was bred by Art and Martha Stern, who run Amigo Portuguese Water Dogs in Boyd, about 35 miles northwest of Fort Worth.President Barack Obama's two daughters have waited months for a dog promised to them by their parents.
Bo is a gift from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who has several Portuguese water dogs. AKC says Bo is a littermate of Kennedy's puppy, Cappy.

domingo, abril 12, 2009

Understanding economic growth

Understanding Economic Growth
[Analysis] The crisis and opportunities
Alfredo Ascanio (askain)
Published 2009-04-13 12:46 (KST)

In 1966, Robert S. Schultz developed ideas to deal with economic growth.

The factors to achieve this growth are multiple but the most important are summarized in this way.

It is important here to distinguish between problems of recovery and problems of growth in order to avoid the tendency to regard any increase in output as economic growth. For example, today inadequate demand may keep output below its potential level; when an increase in demand from this low point results in an increase in output from this low point, it is not "economic growth" but simply "recovery", to restore demand to the potential level of output.

Implicitly, economic growth refers to an increase in the potential level of output. We think of economic growth as a continuing process. Our concern is with having potential output continue to increase, year by year, decade by decade. (always with the assumption that demand will also continue to increase to absorb the potential output).

Against this background, let us consider various ways to increase potential output at this time of crisis.

Increasing the availability of labor and modify institutions so that a greater proportion of potential labor is actually available to the labor force (663,000 jobs were lost in March, for a total of about 5.1 million since the slump began) and labor productivity.

Increasing productivity by increased investment, rationalization of operations, education and technological change; but only technological change remains as a factor promoting a continuous increase in potential output.

It is accepted as axiomatic that increased investment promotes economic growth, but capital accumulation does not of itself contribute to a continuous increase in productivity, in any case the important factor is the rationalization of operations refers to improvement in the use of existing methods and equipment so that operations can be carried on most efficiently.

Education is another most important factor in raising productivity. Nevertheless, there is a limit to the extent to which increased education can increase productivity in a given technology.

Capital accumulation, rationalization of operations and education, all are important in economic growth; yet none is able by itself to provide a continuous increase in productivity in a given area of technology.

Technological change includes three more-or-less separate categories : (1) new production processes for producing established products; (2) improvements in existing processes made possible by changes in associated lines; and (3) new products. Technological change is, therefore, the key to the rising output of goods and services which we designate "economic growth."

Practicar taichi pueden mejorar su equilibrio

Eric Nagourney
The New York Times

NUEVA YORK.- Las personas que han sufrido un accidente cerebrovascular (ACV) que practican taichi pueden mejorar su equilibrio y reducir así el riesgo de caídas, según afirman los investigadores.

En un artículo publicado recientemente en la revista especializada Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, los investigadores reportan la mejoría en los voluntarios después de tan sólo unas seis semanas de entrenamiento en esta disciplina oriental.

La autora principal del estudio fue la doctora Stephanie S. Y. Au-Yeung, investigadora de la Universidad Politécnica de Hong Kong.

En estudios previos, una de las coautores del trabajo, la doctora Christina W. Y. Hui-Chan, había hallado que la práctica de taichi mejoraba el equilibrio en las personas mayores sanas.

Pero en este nuevo estudio, los investigadores quisieron ver si el mismo efecto que habían observado en personas sanas podía ser obtenido también en aquellas que habían sufrido un ACV.
Cómo fue el estudio

Los investigadores realizaron su estudio sobre 136 personas que habían sufrido un accidente cerebrovascular en los seis meses previos al inicio de la investigación, y las dividieron en dos grupos.

Durante doce semanas, un grupo realizó ejercicios comunes, mientras que el segundo grupo practicó una versión modificada del taichi.

Los participantes del grupo que realizaba taichi se juntaban una vez por semana durante una hora para practicarlo, pero se les pedía también que lo practicaran en sus hogares, durante por lo menos otras tres horas semanales.

Mientras que el grupo que realizaba ejercicios comunes mostró poca mejoría en el equilibrio, aquellos que participaron del grupo de taichi realizaron significativos avances cuando fueron sometidos a tests en los que debían cambiar el peso del cuerpo de un pie a otro.

Otro test en el que también obtuvieron mejores resultados se basaba en ejercicios en los que debían mantener la estabilidad mientras estaban parados sobre una plataforma que imitaba el movimiento de un colectivo.

El beneficio de practicar taichi, según dijeron los investigadores de la Universidad Politécnica de Hong Kong, es que una vez que las personas han aprendido los movimientos, pueden practicarlo sin necesidad de contar con el control de un profesor.

Aun así, agregaron los autores del estudio, algunos pacientes abandonaron su práctica una vez que el entrenamiento había terminado. Habría más posibilidades de que continuaran practicándolo, afirma el estudio, si el taichi estuviese disponible en lugares tales como centros comunitarios.

El taichi es una disciplina que toma las técnicas y los movimientos de un arte marcial chino llamado taichi chuan.

A Fusion of Capitalism and Socialism Could Solve America's Misery

A Fusion of Capitalism and Socialism Could Solve America's Misery
[Analysis] 663,000 jobs were lost in March, for a total of about 5.1 million since the slump began

Bhuwan Thapaliya (Bhuwan)
Published 2009-04-07 12:16 (KST)

In the form of Barack Obama, America got what it deserved the most -- a new president. According to latest polls, even those white conservatives, who were dubious about Obama in the beginning, are now happy at the thought of Obama playing a pivotal role to rescue America's faltering delineation all over the world and bail out America from the worst economic slump that has been haunting the American dreams.

Most Americans are saying that under Obama - everything is wonderful and anything is possible. Obama's most obvious handicap will be the economy but he will have the opportunity to shine as well in the next four years if he rescues America from its economic malaises. But to achieve that "the most powerful man on earth" will have to do restore the morale of the American public - the most difficult task on the Earth at the moment to execute.

Obama had the luck to proceed over a globally detested, out of favor president but this means that he will be constantly scrutinized and evaluated by unforgiving values and standards. Critics say because of Alan Greenspan's loose monetary and credit policy, initially Bush was able to give American's the chance to spend more than they earn but under Obama they will have to earn more than they spend. Considering so, there are strong possibilities that almost anything Obama does to strengthen the economy may back fire him.

Meanwhile, the man who ran one of the most thrilling and laborious election campaigns in modern times says he wants to build a prosperous, tolerant and happy America. But the economic indicators are shallow. Deteriorating American economy and the soaring unemployment rate has cut short Obama's post election honeymoon interlude and the road ahead is filled with economic uncertainties.

The financial crisis which began in August 2007 among subprime mortgages in the United States has spread to other markets and has inflated into a global recession. When will America's slowing economic pace come to a halt- and then go into reverse? The question ought to be bothering the whole world as their very economic future is linked with America, one way or the other.

World growth is projected to fall to its lowest level since World War II to just 0.5 percent in 2009, the International Monetary Fund said in its latest World Economic Outlook, released on Jan. 28. And to make the matter worse, American economy is deteriorating further and the Unemployment rate soared to 8.5 percent in March.

The economy lost 663,000 jobs in March, for a total of about 5.1 million since the slump began according to the Labor Department reports. But critics say that the current unemployment rate of 8.5 percent would hover around 15.6 percent if it included those workers who in their utter frustration have given up looking for new jobs or have to sneak in part-time jobs for their very survival as full job jobs are no where around the corner.

Moreover, the dust has far from settled in and the future looks ominous. Economists are predicting that one million additional auto industry jobs may be consumed by the greedy recession should General Motors Corp. be forced into bankruptcy. Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner was quoted as saying by the media last week that a $5 billion rescue package for auto-parts suppliers and a proposal to provide consumer car-buying incentives may spark a revival of the US auto market.

But President Obama and his team, who were lenient to the banking sectors by bailing several of them out, are being rigid to the proposal of the auto makers. Obama team believes in a negotiated bankruptcy for the GM to reshuffle it and metamorphosis it into a competitive automaker.

There are innumerable statistics to make the American mood gloomier and the work of Obama tougher. According to the Federal Reserve, the aggregate net worth of Americans has fallen by 23 percent largely due to declines in home values and investment portfolios. Recent statistical reports suggest that the aggregate net worth may further slide down.

American economy is in tatters. At this stage, confidence is lacking in Americans. Feelings of helplessness are reflected in speculation. Speculation is difficult to define even more so when the economy is faltering. But one thing is sure: America is trying and the Obama administration is doing all it could be done to curb the crisis.

Not only America is showering money by providing various stimulus packages. It is also taking preventive measures.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner proposed for a general risk watchdog to supervise big financial institutions to boost the morale of both - consumers and investors. "The new framework has four parts: containing systemic risks; protecting consumers and investors; streamlining the regulatory structure; and international co-ordination," according to the report published by The Economist.

President Obama is leading from the front and since taking the office in Jan. 20, he has endorsed various economic measures to curb the recession. The major being the Feb. 17, $787 billion stimulus plan that included spending on infrastructure projects to open more economic doors for those who are unemployed and boost the morale of the investors. Likewise, according to the reports, the Treasury Department is also working to mend the seriously maimed financial system and diminish the foreclosures. Meanwhile, the Fed is raising the velocity of the money in the market.

Yet, there are those who think the stimulus package won't work until the people's morale is lifted. One such scholar is world renowned economist and Yale University professor Robert Shiller.

"Governments should work more on raising people's morale rather than relying on stimulus packages. If people can be made to believe that there is an end to the current economic situation, rather than being overwhelmed by the magnitude of it, the communal psyche will improve and the economy will rebound," said Shiller during a weekend business lecture at Canada's University of Western Ontario.

Obama administration can't afford to turn deaf ear to Shiller but there are signs that the economic stimulus is already showing some results. The recession grappling the US throat may be receding as reports showed improvements in the areas hit hard by recession -- manufacturing and housing.

"The Institute for Supply Management's factory index climbed to 36.3 in March, a third consecutive increase that brought it closer to the breakeven point of 50. The number of contracts to buy existing homes in February rose 2.1 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors. The smallest drop in orders in seven months propelled the advance in manufacturing. Stocks reversed earlier losses after the reports as speculation grew that the worst of the economic slump may have passed," according to the report published by the Bloomberg.

Nonetheless, the mayhem of the financial crisis is very deep and some analysts fear the very future of capitalism -- the system which had made America the richest nation in the world but not without faults, as it has been reported that the top 0.1 percent of Americans earned 20 times the income of the bottom 90 percent in 1979 and 77 times in 2006. What a paradox? Critics of the Capitalism argue that the Capitalism is bankrupt and it cannot help the world to stand in its feet yet again.

However, no matter how hard they preach, pure socialism could not be the answer to the today's problem. Perhaps, a mixture of both could be the remedy. CASOLISM: a fusion of capitalism and socialism may be the answer to the American misery, if implemented properly. What you say?

Finally, President Obama's economics team, which includes top guns such as Larry Summers and Christina Romer are optimistic about solving the economic problem. The recession may waft off at the end of this year -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and many other analysts foresee that possibility.

Economy will certainly take some more time to revive given the gravity of the slump, but in the space of a year, America will be a different place. Consumers will be confident and so will be the producers and investors.

©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter
Bhuwan Thapaliya

El IDIOMA HTML y su poder comunicativo

HTML significa HyperText Markup Language. Es el lenguaje en que se escriben los millones de documentos que hoy existen en el World Wide Web. Una página web es un archivo de texto.

El principio esencial del lenguaje HTML (HyperText
Markup Language) es el uso de las etiquetas (tags).Por ejemplo: todo el documento HTML debe estar entre las etiquetas HTML y /HTML.Colocadas entre < y >

El documento en sí está dividido en dos zonas principales:

• El encabezamiento, comprendido entre las etiquetas HEAD y /HEAD
• El cuerpo, comprendido entre las etiquetas BODY y /BODY

Después viene el título del documento, comprendidos entre las etiquetas :TITLE y /TITLE.

Por tanto, la estructura queda de esta manera (siempre entre < y > )

TITLE Título de la página /TITLE

Para destacar alguna parte del texto se pueden usar: (siempre entre < y >)

B y /B para poner algo en negrita (bold).
I y /I para poner algo en cursiva (italic).

La etiqueta BLOCKQUOTE y /BLOCKQUOTE se utiliza para destacar una
cita textual dentro del texto general (siempre entre< y> ), como:

Lo primero es lo primero

En las fórmulas matemáticas puede interesar poder escribir índices y subíndices,
que se consiguen con las etiquetas SUP /SUP y SUB /SUB si es elevado al cuadrado o un subíndice respectivamente.

Así, por ejemplo:

m2 se consigue de la siguiente manera: m2
vx se consigue con: vx

Una lista numerda se realiza de esta manera: (entre < y >)


  1. Primera cosa
  2. Segunda cosa
  3. Tercera cosa

Los enlaces o link que ponemos incluso en un BLOG como este se realiaza de esta manera:

A HREF="xxx"> yyy /A>

Claro que existen por lo menos 4 tipos de enlaces:

lLI>Enlace dentro de una misma página
li>Enlace con otra página del texto
li>Enlace con otra página fuera del texto
li>Enlace con una dirección de correo electrónico

Si quiere volver al párrafo anterior donde dice "los enlaces", entonces:

A HREF="#losenlaces">pulsa para ir a los enlaces/A>

Si queremos ir a un link o enlace fuera de lo que estamos escribiendo, por ejemplo ir al BLOG de intercontacto, entonces tenemos que escribir: como este ejemplo: < HREF="// el enlace y / su nombre, cerrando con /A>


Si en un procesador de textos copiamos: (todo entre < y >)

TITLE> Mi pagina del Web /TITLE
H1 Mis paginas favoritas /H1

Si quiere poner : Estas son mis paginas favoritas:
P>aqui se pone A y HREF =" el enlace "< y el nombre que se cierra con /A>

Este es un ejemplo:




Guardamos el fichero del texto con un nombre y luego lo cargamos en el navegar, para obtener el resultado. Lo mismo haremos para todos los enlaces o para todo lo que queremos colocar en la Hoja Web, incluso existen los tags para hacer TABLAS y para colocar imagen y sonidos.

Recordando a Luis B. Prieto Figueroa

En su libro PETROLEO de FRUSTRACION (1976), Luis Bertran Prieto Figueroa publica sus discursos en el Senado de la República sobre el tema de la Nacionalización Petrolera. En resumen: sus ideas era primero: no más concesiones y la defensa de las ideas de Pérez Alfonso. En cuanto a las empresas mixtas en el campo petrolero con las grandes transnacionales, Prieto recuerda una frase de Simón Bolívar que decía : "el pacto con el fuerte eterniza la obligación del débil". También señala que la reversión petrolera y la nacionalización no son la misma cosa (no son términos sinónimos), pues puede haber reversión sin nacionalización.

Además señala que las compañías mixtas son el equivalente a ASOCIARSE y que esa modalidad de empresa era una concesion disfrazada. Además el petróleo pesado en la Faja petrolífera del ORINOCO afortunadamente está cargado de metales y de minerales que es otra riqueza. El azufre es un elemento fundamental en la actividad manufacturera y el vanadio es indispensable para procesar aceros especiales. Además la técnica de procesar los petróleos pesados en el Lago de Maracaibo es adecuada para aplicarla en la faja del Orinoco y en la Universidad Central de Venezuela se ha descubierto un procedimiento para la desmetalización del petróleo