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THIS IS A COOL ARTICLE.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
The U.S. economy is in trouble, with financial institutions failing, millions of homes in foreclosure and unemployment rates rising steadily.
Some economists are calling the current downturn the worst since the Great Depression. Several of President Obama's closest economic advisers - including Christina Romer, chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank - are scholars of the Depression and are looking for ways to avert a repeat of that catastrophic worldwide economic slump.
Though California's 11.2 percent unemployment rate is still far below the 25 percent unemployment the country suffered in the 1930s, the state is beginning to see tent cities of homeless people, bringing to mind the Hoovervilles of the Depression.
Some things, though, are different today because of the Depression. The country now has a social safety net - including Social Security, unemployment insurance and federal deposit insurance for bank accounts - because of policies enacted under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
As we struggle to make sense of our own precarious economy, we don't need textbooks to understand that earlier time. We have an even more direct link: the people who lived through it. The Chronicle spoke with Bay Area residents who grew up during the 1930s to gain perspective on the loss of jobs, homes and savings in our own uncertain times.
READ THE REST HERE: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/04/19/MN0916O7G1.DTL
By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Defending his brand of world politics, President Barack Obama said Sunday that he "strengthens our hand" by reaching out to enemies of the United States and making sure that the nation is a leader, not a lecturer, of democracy.
Obama's foreign doctrine emerged across his four-day trip to Latin America, his first extended venture to a region of the world where resentment of U.S. power still lingers. He got a smile, handshakes and even a gift from incendiary leftist leader Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and embraced overtures of new relations from isolated Cuban President Raul Castro.
"The whole notion was that if we showed courtesy or opened up dialogue with governments that had previously been hostile to us, that that somehow would be a sign of weakness," Obama said, recalling his race for the White House and challenging his critics today.
READ THE REST HERE: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/04/18/international/i003028D24.DTL