Quick Hits

Here are some other stories making the rounds today:

As I reported last week the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was looking at altering how it awards its Electors. Today, the Massachusetts Legislature approved a new law intended to bypass the Electoral College system and ensure that the winner of the presidential election is determined by the national popular vote. The full story in the Boston Globe.

In the wake of the largest leak of military-related documentation in history, the Congress approved funding for the wars in South & Central Asia. To his credit House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, who had managed the $59 billion war funding bill, voted no in a final protest and helped to take another 101 Democrats with him but the bill still passed by a 308 to 114 margin. Twelve Republicans voted against the measure. As Politico reports "the scene was in stark contrast with just a year ago when but all but 32 Democrats supported a still larger $105.9 billion war funding measure for Afghanistan and Iraq operations." Still, the Obama Administration officials said the outcome showed that the classified leak had not jeopardized congressional support for the war and noted that the Senate had passed the money with no objection. The New York Times has more on the story.

The financial editor of The Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes on how British bankers are buying up rare copies of an obscure book on the mechanics of Weimar inflation published in 1974 looking for clues on financial behaviour and the velocity of money. The great fear is really a deflationary asset spiral but these are preceded by inflationary spikes.

Over at The New Republic, Noam Scheiber does the calculus and finds that it points to the confirmation of Elizabeth Warren as head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Yesterday, Matt Yglesias argued that nominating Elizabeth Warren would go a long way to breaching the gulf between many progressives and the Obama Administration.

Hail the size of golf balls fell across parts of South Dakota today. Pictures from the NOAA.

The Obama Race to the Top education program continues to move forward. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia were today named as finalists on Tuesday in the second round of a national competition for $3.4 billion in federal financing to support an overhaul of education policies. More from the New York Times.

Cigarette sales in California continue to plummet reports the Los Angeles Times. Californians bought 8.1% fewer cigarettes in fiscal 2009 — which ended June 30 — than in fiscal 2008.


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