We’ve Got Issues: A Weekly News & Politics Column

HOPE ALL OF you enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday.  Although football is not my passion, I’m always game when it comes to beer, chip dip and sitting in a recliner.  And for a newspaper junkie like me, my absolute favorite part about Superbowl Sunday is that it provides a brief break from the constant barrage of news.  In a world where there are so many serious issues and problems to attend to, to read speculative reports about the President’s Super Bowl plans can be a relief.



“This too shall pass” seems a fitting motto for capitalism.  According to the U.S. government, the economy has picked up.  After enduring three years of recession, the national economy is showing positive signs.  Unemployment has dipped to 8.3% and 243,000 new jobs have been created.  Wall Street has quickly taken notice of the news: on Friday, the NASDAQ and DOW JONES stock indices reached their highest levels in 11 years and four years, respectively.  What impact this might have on the presidential election remains to be seen, but I would not be surprised if the improving economy works in Obama’s favor.


The economy may be improving, but Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is getting a pay cut.  The new measures are being taken because the company’s profit is down 58% from last year.  In 2009, Blankfein attracted the world’s ire, for claiming in an interview with London’s Sunday Times that he was doing “God’s work,” all the while receiving an $8 million bonus for whatever it is he does.  For someone who received a $42 million dollar bonus in 2007 and whose company brashly proceeded to receive over $5 billion in government funds the next year, a pay cut may not be such a bad thing after all.  But all of this is not meant to suggest that the CEO will be living in squalor: Blankfein will receive $7 million in bonus stock options for his work in 2011.



Earlier this week, an e-postcard attacking the Susan G. Komen foundation was shared all over the internet.  Sarcastically, it read, “Thank you for cutting off funding to cancer screening programs in order to prove that you are pro-life.”  In fact, this is exactly what happened: the organization cut $700,000 in funds to Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screening program.  As a result, the organization received a financial backlash from New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who promised Planned Parenthood $250,000, and from various donors, who helped raise $650,000 for Planned Parenthood in one day.  The good news?  As of Saturday, the foundation reversed its Tuesday decision and announced its intention to continue funding Planned Parenthood’s cancer screening program.


Last week, I and most of the people I know were sold to the tune of $5 billion: Facebook filed for an initial public offering.  The website, which has collected at least some of the personal information of over 800 million people – that’s more than 1 out of every 10 people on this planet — is preparing to go public later this year.  What upsets me is I do not think the website will be the same afterwards.  When any company goes public, its investors demand what anyone who buys stake in a company asks for: increasing profits.  Given that signing up on the website is completely free, a Facebook IPO could mean a greater emphasis by company execs on advertising profits, among other possible changes.

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