Program Note: Be sure to tune in to watch CNN Chief Business Correspondent Ali Velshi give us an update on today's economic news tonight on AC360° at 10pm ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/US/12/29/us.auto.bailout/art.cars.gi.jpg caption="The government said late Monday that it’s taking a $6 billion stake in GMAC, the financing arm of General Motors."]
CNN Financial News Producer
There’s an old saying in the car business: “actual sticker price may vary.” The same is holding true for the bailout of the auto industry. The government said late Monday that it’s taking a $6 billion stake in GMAC, the financing arm of General Motors. The Treasury Dept. is injecting $5 billion directly into GMAC in exchange for preferred equity shares. It will also lend $1 billion to GM that the automaker will invest in GMAC, which needs the funding to convert to a bank holding company - a necessary step to receiving the bailout money. GMAC is critical to the automaker's recovery. It’s the biggest lender to GM's 6,500 dealers nationwide, providing financing they need to operate and buy vehicle inventory. The failure of GMAC could spark widespread failures among GM's dealership network and cut even more deeply into auto sales.
More bad news on the housing front this morning… home prices posted another record decline in October, falling 18% compared with a year earlier. The 20-city S&P Case-Shiller Index has posted losses for a staggering 27 months in a row, with 14 of the 20 cities setting new price decline records in October. Sunbelt cities suffered the most, but most of the country is watching home values fall. In Phoenix prices have plunged 32.7% since October 2007, Las Vegas home values are down 31.7% year-over-year, while San Francisco prices fell 31%. Miami, Los Angeles, and San Diego recorded year-over-year declines of 29%, 27.9% and 26.7%, respectively.
The Jerusalem Post
In the midst of its Gaza operations, the IDF is entering yet another conflict zone: the Internet. The Israeli army announced yesterday the creation of its own YouTube channel, through which it will disseminate footage of precision bombing operations in the Gaza Strip, as well as aid distribution and other footage of interest to the international community.
"The blogosphere and new media are another war zone," said IDF Foreign Press Branch head Maj. Avital Leibovich. "We have to be relevant there."
Her sentiment reflects a growing awareness in the Israeli government that part of the failure of the 2006 Second Lebanon War was Israel's lack of readiness for the intense media debate surrounding its operations.
The Wall Street Journal
At Society Hill Loan, a pawnshop in a middle-class neighborhood here, a steady rain fell outside as a fashionably dressed young man parked his Cadillac Escalade outside. Looking around warily, he came in to speak with Nat Leonard, co-owner of the store.
The visitor was a 29-year-old engineer who was laid off earlier this year from one of the local chemical companies. Since then, he's been cleaning planes at the airport for less than half the salary he was earning a year ago.
Now he needs a $2,500 loan on his watch - a Movado Fiero with a diamond bezel - to pay his mortgage note.
Viewers wrote in about the RNC song, "Barack the Magic Negro" with the majority feeling that it is not acceptable. Viewers also enjoy seeing Ed Henry in Hawaii as he seems to have a "happier attitude." Some also wrote in with their comments and opinions on the bombing in Gaza.
Puff the magic Negro in reference to President Elect Obama is not acceptable dialogue. It is a paradox in reference to the children's song puff the magic dragon. This is not political satire.
The song about Obama is not an insult. Barack Obama IS a negro. A great many people voted for him because he is one. There is nothing wrong with the race or the word.
To compose and forward a little "innocent" ah-shucks song about President-Elect Obama shows Chip Saltsman as the crack head many of us believed all along. He and his friend Russ Limbaugh should start a band.
I'm getting a real kick out of that little impish grin on Ed Henry's face now that he is reporting in from his hardship post on a beach in Hawaii.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/meast/12/01/israel.gaza.aid.ship/art.vigil.gaza.afp.gi.jpg caption="Palestinian women hold candles during a vigil protesting the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip."]
How easy it is to snap off the history of the Palestinians, to delete the narrative of their tragedy, to avoid a grotesque irony about Gaza which – in any other conflict – journalists would be writing about in their first reports: that the original, legal owners of the Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza.
That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don't come from Gaza.
Jeffrey A. Miron
Special to CNN
When the Obama administration takes office in January, it will propose a fiscal stimulus consisting of increased government spending and lower taxes.
By all accounts, the package will be big - at least $700 billion, and possibly $1 trillion, over two years.
The goal will be to end or moderate the recession. According to the textbooks, government spending raises the demand for goods and services. Tax cuts also spur demand by putting more income in the hands of consumers or more after-tax profits in the hands of businesses.
Is a fiscal stimulus good policy? The answer is no if the stimulus consists of increased spending. The stimulus may be good policy, though, if it consists of lower taxes.
Consider first the increased spending.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/gaza.israel.airstrikes/art.gaza.children.afp.gi.jpg caption="Palestinian boys carry their belongings over the ruins of a house Tuesday after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah."]
The Washington Post
In its efforts to stop amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities, Israel appears to have given new life to the fledgling Islamic movement in Palestine.
For two years, the Islamic Resistance Movement (known by its Arabic acronym, Hamas) has been losing support internally and externally. This wasn't the case in the days after the party came to power democratically in early 2006; despite being unjustly ostracized by the international community for its anti-Israeli stance, Hamas enjoyed the backing of Palestinians and other Arabs. Having won a decisive parliamentary majority on an anti-corruption platform promising change and reform, Hamas worked hard to govern better than had Fatah, its rival and predecessor.