RSS
10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2012
Bernanke flirts with juicing the economy, Romney examines Isaac's devastation, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke walks out of a meeting at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium on Friday, where he hinted that the Fed will do more to boost the economy.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke walks out of a meeting at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium on Friday, where he hinted that the Fed will do more to boost the economy.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

1. FED SIGNALS READINESS TO HELP JUICE THE ECONOMY
In highly anticipated remarks at the Jackson Hole economic summit in Wyoming, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday that the central bank plans to be "forceful... in supporting a sustainable recovery" in the U.S. as the European financial crisis and looming budget cuts and tax hikes threaten to drag the economy down further. "We must not lose sight of the daunting economic challenges that confront our nation," Bernanke said. "The Federal Reserve has acted to support economic growth and foster job creation, and it is important to achieve further progress." Bernanke did not, however, hint that any specific action was imminent. [Washington Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. ROMNEY TOURS HURRICANE ISAAC DEVASTATION
On Friday, Mitt Romney landed in Louisiana to survey the damage wrought by Hurricane Isaac, which battered the state during the week. "I'm here to learn and obviously to draw some attention to what's going on here," Romney said in the town of Jean Lafitte, which had been inundated with floodwaters. "So that people around the country know that people down here need help." Romney accepted the nomination to be the GOP's presidential candidate the previous evening. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. N.J. SUPERMARKET SHOOTING LEAVES 3 DEAD
A 23-year-old employee of the Pathmark grocery store in Old Bridge, N.J., shot and killed two co-workers Friday morning, before killing himself. The victims, an 18-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, were working the night shift with the suspect, who, police say, got into an argument with one of his co-workers, before he allegedly left the store around 3:30 a.m., and retrieved an AK-47 and a handgun from his car. Employees were able to lock the doors when they saw the suspect approaching, but he shot through the glass and entered. Police say the suspect was a former Marine and may have had a history of depression and mental illness. [NBC News]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. BIG EARTHQUAKE RATTLES PHILIPPINES
A 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck off the Philippines' eastern coast on Friday, killing one person in a house collapse, knocking out power in several towns, and causing a tiny tsunami. Though the tremor's damage was limited, panic quickly spread after news of the earthquake broke, as people's minds raced with the memories of a 7.7-magnitude quake that struck in 1990, killing nearly 2,000 people in northern Luzon Island. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. OBAMA MAY NAME HAQQANI A TERRORIST GROUP
The Obama administration is weighing whether to officially designate the Haqqani network, an insurgent group that operates along the porous Afghan-Pakistani border, a terrorist entity, a move that could deepen tensions with the U.S.'s nominal ally Pakistan. Such a designation would impose sanctions on the group, which has been blamed for several bombing attacks in Afghanistan in recent years, including ones that targeted American installations. Analysts say the move could take the U.S. a step closer to naming Pakistan a sponsor of state terrorism, since the country has failed to crack down on the Haqqani network. There are also concerns that it would derail nascent peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, a process that Pakistan is deeply interested in. The White House has until September 9 to make a decision, as mandated by Congress. [The New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. FACEBOOK STOCK HITS NEW LOW
Due to investors' increasing concerns with a slowdown in spending on advertising, Facebook's stock hit a new low Friday, falling 5.4 percent to $18.06. The social networking site's stock has lost more than its half its value since debuting at $38 a share in May. [Los Angeles Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. AMERICAN, US AIRWAYS INCH TOWARD MERGER
The two airlines said Friday that they had signed legal documents allowing them to confidentially exchange financial information, a small step in what could be the latest merger between major U.S. airlines. If American and U.S. Airways combine, the company's size would be on par with the world's largest airline, United Continental Holdings, Inc., which is the result of last year's merger between United and Continental. US Airways CEO Doug Parker has been pushing for a merger since American's parent company, AMR Corp., entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2011. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. THOUSANDS WORRY ABOUT YOSEMITE VIRUS
Thousands of worried visitors to Yosemite National Park have been flooding the park's hotline with calls, asking questions about the mouse-borne virus that has infected six people and killed two of them this summer. While a park spokeswoman said some tourists are cancelling reservations as fears mount, people on waiting lists are apparently snatching up the hard-to-get reservations to take advantage of the prime tourist season. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. REPORT: RANDY JACKSON OUT AT AMERICAN IDOL
Randy Jackson has been ousted from his position as the longest-standing original judge on American Idolaccording to TMZ. Jackson will reportedly still work on Idol as a mentor, but insiders worry that he was better suited to be a judge. The show has already officially tapped diva songstress Mariah Carey for a position at the judge's table, and a deal with rapper Nicki Minaj is reportedly "99 percent done," though not officially announced. There are two positions still up in the air, as the show is apparently planning to add a fourth judge to the table next season. [TMZ]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. MICHIGAN MAN CLAIMS $337 MILLION JACKPOT
Michigan's Donald Lawson, 44, claimed his $337 million Powerball prize on Friday, after quitting his job as a railroad engineer when he realized he had won. Lawson has chosen to take the cash lump sum of $224.6 million. He said at a news conference that he normally buys Quick Pick tickets where the numbers are chosen for you, but this time he opted to choose the numbers — 6, 27, 46, 51, 56 and 21 for the Powerball — himself. "I didn't really pick them, my hand just went," he said. [ABC News]

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week