Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What We’re Reading, 3/20/2012

Good morning, Tumblr! Every day, we round up the favorite morning reads of the Kiplinger staff. On the list this sunny Tuesday: Budget proposals, Madoff’s prison letters, and what your hair has to do with the economy.

"The GOP Budget and America’s Future," by Paul Ryan (The Wall Street Journal). Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan released the GOP budget proposal this morning to great fanfare. He also penned this hefty WSJ editorial, which lays out the Republicans’ “new Path to Prosperity.” The Washington Post sums it up here.

"U.S. War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran," by Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker (The New York Times). We’re all following the Iran/Israel conflict, but no one more closely than Ken Bazinet, who covers politics for the Letter. “This spells out the perils of an uncertain strike against Iran’s nuclear sites and why the Pentagon isn’t sure an attack will work,” he says. “But there is still a belief that Israel could launch a strike in the next year.”

"The Secret Madoff Prison Letters," by Diana Henriques (Forbes). Madoff’s best-known biographer drops several pages of emails Madoff sent her from jail — his attempt, she says, to rewrite his history.

"Vatican Bank Image Hurt as JP Morgan Closes Account," by Philip Pullella and Lisa Jucca (Reuters). Staff writer Lisa Gerstner sent this link with a note: “Apparently the Holy See is too opaque for JP Morgan Chase, which shut down one of the Vatican’s bank accounts for lack of transparency.” We’ll leave further puns to you.

"Breaking Down the Mortgage Settlement: How Far Does $26 Billion Go?" By Cora Currier (ProPublica). ProPublica lays out the numbers from last week’s settlement over mortgage servicing abuses, with some interesting results. For instance: Only five percent of underwater mortgages will qualify for modification.

"How Do Racial Attitudes Affect Opinions About the Health Care Overhaul?" By Shankar Vedantam (Morning Edition). A new paper by Brown University researcher Michael Tessler suggests that attitudes toward race and health care policy are linked.

And to end on a light note, as we often do: Disney’s John Carter may rank among Hollywood’s biggest flops of all time, costing the studio some $200 million. In better news, beauty salon sales are up, which indicates a growing economy. 

Did we miss anything? Tweet us your links!

Monday, March 19, 2012

What We’re Reading, 3/19/2012

It’s Monday again, for better or worse, but we’ve got some good reads to get you through it. On our collective radar this afternoon: Apple’s dividends, Ben Bernanke, and how the weather could be warming the economy.

"Apple to Pay Dividend, Plans $10 Billion Buyback," by Jessica Vascellaro and Mia Lamar (The Wall Street Journal). Apple’s on a bit of a news-making streak this month: After releasing the iPad3 last week, the company announced this morning that it plans to pay its first dividend since 1995.

"The Villain," by Roger Lowenstein (The Atlantic). Lowenstein’s lengthy profile of embattled Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke describes a man calmly — and successfully — striving to save the economy.

"Obama’s Evolution: Behind the Failed ‘Grand Bargain’ on Debt," by Peter Wallsten, Lori Montgomery and Scott Wilson (The Washington Post). Last summer’s debt talks, as seen from the White House back rooms where they began to fall apart. 

"Is the Weather Helping the Economy?" (All Things Considered). We all know the weather impacts our moods, but a University of Pennsylvania economist suspects it skews economic data, as well.

"Prime Time’s Class Warfare," by James Wolcott (Vanity Fair). "Wolcott argues that television today reflects changing income inequality — the really rich and the rest," writes reporter John Miley. John’s take: "Well, there’s certainly no more Sanford and Son.”

Read anything interesting this morning? As always, send us a tweet!