In the “most deadly incident” for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, nearly 24 members of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 perished when the Taliban shot down a helicopter Saturday, killing thirty. Responding to “the largest number of American troops killed in a single day in the war,” President Obama said we will “continue the work of securing our country and standing up for the values that they embodied.”
The Obama administration says it will grant states waivers to liberate them from the dysfunctional No Child Left Behind law signed by President George W. Bush. Calling the law a “slow-motion train wreck,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced he will override the law’s proficiency requirements for states that have adopted their own testing and accountability programs. Many consider the move “the most sweeping use of executive authority to rewrite federal education law since…the 1960s.”
The U.S.’s credit downgrade and fears of a “double-dip” recession spooked global markets, pushing Asian and European markets down 2 to 4 percent. Finance ministers and central bankers from the G-20 nations issued a joint statement promising to “cooperate as appropriate, ready to take action to ensure financial stability and liquidity in financial markets.”
Standard & Poor’s draft release of its downgrade of American debt Friday was fraught with errors, including a projection that overestimated U.S. debt by more than $2 trillion. The actual numbers, Treasury officials noted, put U.S. debt in line with other AAA-rated nations. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner responded, saying S&P “showed a stunning lack of knowledge about basic U.S. fiscal budget math.”
45,000 Verizon employees nationwide, represented by the Communications Workers of America, have gone on strike. The workers are striking following the rejection of over 100 concessions demanded by the company as talks taking place in Philadelphia and New York broke down.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has told President Obama he will stay at his post for the time being, the Department announced yesterday. Ending speculation that Geithner would soon leave the administration, a Treasury spokeswoman said in a written statement, “Secretary Geithner has let the president know that he plans to stay on in his position at Treasury.”
The “American International Group is planning to sue Bank of America over hundreds of mortgage-backed securities, to the surge of investors seeking compensation for the troubled mortgages that led to the financial crisis.” The “suit seeks to recover more than $10 billion in losses on $28 billion of investments.”
The European Central Bank intervened in bond markets Monday to support fledgling economies in Spain and Italy and avoid a financial meltdown in the euro zone. The ECB bought nearly a billion pounds worth of bonds, driving down borrowing costs for both nations. Bigger purchases are expected later today.
And finally: Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinders (R) got caught with pants down (almost literally) last week when the Riverfront Times posted a picture of the gubernatorial candidate posing with a former porn star at a bar that boasts nightly “pantless parties.” “Kinder’s spokesman inducts himself into the Hall of Fame for fumbled responses, saying he ‘doubts’ his boss is ‘going to a bar where they don’t wear pants on a night when they don’t wear pants,’” Politico notes. Still, the spokesperson didn’t deny it and a picture is worth a thousand words.