Obama Introduces First Budget, to Make Health Care More Affordable

Obama today announced his first federal long term 10-year budget. The budget calls for $3.6 trillion in total spending for 2010, while it believes it will receive $2.4 trillion in revenue.

Te budget forecasts the deficit will top $1.75 trillion (12.3% of U.S. GDP) in 2009 and hopes to slash that in half by 2013. The White House is forecasting unemployment to top 8.1% in 2009 and fall by about 5.5% by 2014. The budget also assumes real GDP to fall by 1.2% in 2009, but grow substantially by 3.2, 4, and 4.6% over the next three years respectively. Continue Reading

Microsoft to Bring Films on Xbox with new NBC Partnership, Announces New Xbox Features

xboxMicrosoft today has unveiled significant plans to extend its entertainment offerings on the Xbox 360 to new heights. The announcements were made by Microsoft UK Head Neil Thompson in London. The big announcement is Microsoft has reached an agreement with NBC Universal International Television Distribution to bring films produced by Universal Pictures to Xbox Live. People will be able to easily rent and watch the latest movie titles in high definition on the Xbox. Continue Reading

30+ Must Have WordPress Plugins

Here is the most comprehensive list of all the WordPress plugins you need as of today to maximize the potential of your own blog. For months, I’ve been able to bookmark hundreds of plugins, and now I’ve done all the work for you by sorting the best plugins you only need to truely leverage WordPress! In no particular order, here they are! Continue Reading

Obama Tax Cuts Coming April 1, 2009, Aims to Cut Deficit in Half by 2013

President Obama has now directed his U.S. Treasury Timothy Geithner to begin implementing tax cuts that will benefit 95% of all Americans by April 1st. The tax cuts come part of the recently passed $787 billion stimulus package, of which $282 billion has been earmarked for tax cuts. Obama just said in his weekly presidential radio address that “a typical family will begin taking home at least $65 more every month,” and went on to say, “Never before in our history has a tax cut…gone to so many hard-working Americans,”

Fixing the economy remains Obama’s top priority, which will be a very tuff task given he inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit from the Bush Administration and of course, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Obama recently pledged thousands of more troops to be assigned to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Canadians.

Obama also aims to cut the current $1.3 trillion (9.2% of GDP) U.S. deficit by half by 2013 as his administration is set to reduce spending on the Iraq war, cut unneeded public programs, and by increasing taxes on wealthier people.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Pledge $12.5M for Mobile Banking in Developing Nations

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced support for a new program partnered with the GSM Association that aims to bring affordable and reliable mobile banking to less developed nations. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has announced $12.5 million to kick-start the Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) Program.

There are over 1 billion people in emerging markets today who don’t have a bank account but do have a mobile phone,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA.

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GM Seeks More Aid, GM Says No More Jobs/Plant Closures in Canada

The Canadian government says from the Sheridan Hotel it looks forward to working with GM, and it is glad that no more GM layoffs, or plant closures will be made in Canada. GM says it is committed to keeping 17%-20% of its total production in Canada. GM is still seeking billions more in bailout loans from the U.S. and Canada. The company says the Canadian bailout loans should be proportional to the U.S. loans in terms of cars produced. GM is also seeking lower labor costs and will require capital to pay off legacy costs including pension plans, as the current pension reserve is bankrupt.

In related news, automaker Saab has went into bankruptcy credit protection, as the company continues to struggle. Saab had a $340 million 2008 annual loss. The court order has given the company three months to reorganization as the company struggles to raise capital. The Swedish government said it will not provide additional aid. GM says it intends to sell off the Saab brand soon. Saab employees about 4,500 people mainly in Sweden.

How to Install Facebook Connect Comments on WordPress

facebookFacebook has just introduced its first widget, the Facebook Comment box for Facebook Connect. Now, you can easily add the Facebook Comment system to your own site which offers a great opportunity for you to tap into the Facebook community as users have the option to make their comments appear in their news feed, potentially reaching thousands of people.

There are a number of other services online that offer advanced commenting such as Disqus and IntenseDebate (recently acquired by Automattic (the company the owns WordPress)). I’ve recently contacted IntenseDebate and they’ve told me there are no current plans to support Facebook Connect. They do currently support OpenID, but I do think the opportunity to tap into the Facebook community is a significant advantage, enough so to ditch all the other services…if you consider the other services such as IntenseDebate, all you are really getting is gravatars, reply to comments, and the comments karma feature which no one really uses anyway.

Now, if you would like to easily get Facebook Connect set up on your WordPress blog, you can easily do it with these simple steps. Continue Reading

IRS Seeks UBS AG Client List of Swedish Accounts for Tax Evasion

ubsThe IRS is asking a Miami district court to force UBS AG to disclose the names of account holders with Swiss Bank accounts who have avoided U.S. taxes. The IRS claims there are up to 52,000 accounts with positions totaling $15 billion+ UBS AG says it will fight the court order and says it shouldn’t have to disclose the information as it already has a current agreement with the U.S. government, and given Swedish financial and privacy laws. UBS has already agreed to pay $780 million in U.S. fines for aiding accounts in avoiding U.S. taxes. U.S. Justice Department acting attorney general John DiCicco said in a statement, “Americans are losing their jobs, their homes and their health care, it is appalling that more than 50,000 of the wealthiest among us have actively sought to evade their civic and legal duty to pay taxes,”

Facebook Backs Down From New TOS

facebookFacebook has just announced the company is reverting back to its previous legal agreements from the new and highly controlling caveats introduced a couple of days ago that would have allowed Facebook to indefinitely store and use your data in any way it pleased. Facebook has now also introduced “Facebook Bill of Rights” which is simply a group for people to provide feedback and suggestions concerning the Facebook TOS. The Electronic Privacy Information Center EPIC was also close to filing a U.S. federal complaint with the FTC. Facebook founder Zuckerberg wrote in a new blog posting, “We concluded that returning to our previous terms was the right thing for now.”

GM, Chrysler Seek $20B in New Aid, Announce Layoffs

Update: GM will terminate various brands over time including Saab and Saturn. GM also announced it will reduce dealers to 4,000 from 6,000 over the next 5 years. There are also concerns GM may leave Canada, but Canadian PM Stephan Harper said he’s confident that will not happen as his government has had close talks with GM. GM is also seeking help from Sweden and Germany.

GM and Chrysler are now asking the U.S. Fed for an additional $21.6 billion. GM says the company needs as much as $30 billion in new aid by 2011, and needs $9.1 billion right now. Chrysler said it needs $9 billion right now as well. Both companies have announced new cost cutting measures that include new massive job cuts. GM says it will cut 20,000-30,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2011, bringing the total job cots to about 30,000 with Chrysler over the next couple of years. GM says the new aid is required due to very weak sales. Continue Reading

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