by Kevin Flynn - Monday September 15 2008 08:03:42 AM
From the Associated Press:
When Wall Street woke up Monday morning, two more of its storied firms had fallen.
Lehman Brothers, burdened by $60 billion in soured real-estate holdings, said it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after attempts to rescue the 158-year-old firm failed.
Bank of America Corp. said it is snapping up Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. in a $50 billion all-stock transaction.
The demise of the independent Wall Street institutions came as shock waves from the 14-month-old credit crisis roiled the U.S. financial system six months after the collapse of Bear Stearns.
The world's largest insurance company, American International Group Inc., also was forced into a restructuring.
...The stunning weekend developments took place as voters, who rank the economy as their top concern, prepare to elect a new president in seven weeks.
... The common denominator of the financial crisis, analysts said, is the bursting of the housing bubble. Home prices have dropped on average 25 percent so far. Roubini predicted they could drop another 15 percent.
The crisis has begun to slow the broader economy as banks make fewer loans and consumers have begun cutting spending.
From the Winston-Salem Journal:
Sen. Joe Biden, Barack Obama's choice as running mate, made his first post-nomination visit to North Carolina yesterday, appealing to voters with a fiery speech on health care and the economy.
... His visit was also the first time any of the candidates have been to North Carolina since the parties' conventions.
... [Biden] focused on health insurance, gas prices, jobs and other kitchen-table issues. Both presidential campaigns in North Carolina have said that such issues are the chief concerns among voters in the state heading into the Nov. 4 election.
Biden spoke before about 1,000 people in a gymnasium at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, a magnet high school in Charlotte.
His visit is the latest sign of the intensity of the presidential race in North Carolina, an unusual phenomenon in a state that has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 32 years.
Obama said he believes that he can make North Carolina competitive. He has visited the state twice since June, he has advertised heavily on television here ... and has opened 34 offices across the state.
Sarah Cowans-Sparks came to the rally at Lorain County Community College with some doubts about Senator Hillary Clinton.
She left the Sunday afternoon rally as a believer and as a volunteer for Barack Obama.
"I have to admit I was a little bit hesitant, whether she was really going to be all out for Obama" Cowans-Sparks said. "After listening to (Senator Clinton), it gave me hope that she's really in his corner."
More than 500 people came to see and listen to the Senator from New York. The blue collar, blue jeans audience included dozens of African-Americans and Hispanic supporters.
"To those of you who supported me, I thank you," Senator Clinton said. "And I ask you to work as hard for Barack Obama as you worked for me."
During her 20-minute speech, Senator Clinton said that Democrats understand what concerns Ohioans the most in this election: jobs and healthcare. Senator Clinton predicted that a move to "green" energy alternatives could create up to five million jobs.
"We have to keep pushing the envelope. We have to keep inventing things and putting people to work making those things," Senator Clinton said. "See, I don't how you remain a strong economy and a strong country if you don't make things.
"If we don't do something about it, we will not recognize our country in the next 10 years," Senator Clinton said.
R. Chapman, an asphalt contractor from Elyria said that the rough economy has put potholes in his wallet.
"I am 36 years old. I've lived in Ohio my whole life," Chapman said. "And this is the worst it's ever been.
... Senator Clinton criticized the Republican ticket of McCain-Palin as "more of the same failed policies" of the Bush administration.
"I campaigned with (Barack Obama) for 16 months, criss-crossing our country and certainly one end of Ohio to the next," Senator Clinton said.
"So I have seen his passion and determination and his grace and grit."
From the Canton Rep:
Upon returning from Walt Disney World, Maria Jones and her son chose to wait another 45 minutes in line under a scorching sun for just one more attraction — a rally this afternoon featuring Sen. Hillary Clinton.
"I'm so excited," said Jones, 40, of Lake Township, as she waited for Clinton to speak in a blistering high school gym in Akron. "She's actually one of my heroes. I really think she's a wonderful example, role model for women, young and old."
But though she backed Clinton in the Ohio presidential primary in March, Jones, whose 16-year-old son, Eli, plays hockey for Hoover High School, is now firmly behind Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
"I'm a hockey mom for Obama," said Jones.
Clinton was in Ohio today to headline campaign rallies in Elyria and Akron in support of Barack Obama, who prevailed over Clinton in a contentious battle earlier this year for the Democratic presidential nomination. The campaign said more than 1,600 people crowded into the Ellet High School gymnasium in Akron before Clinton arrived around 3:30 p.m.
Judi Hederich, of Green was one of those people.
"I think (Clinton) was a wonderful candidate," she said. "She's a real party player. She'll do everything she can to get Obama elected. I think she wants what's best for our country, and that's not (Republican presidential nominee) John McCain and (Republican vice presidential nominee) Sarah Palin."
..."I know it's a little hot in here, but we need to remember that we've got to turn up the heat on the Republicans and elect a new president," Clinton said. "Barack Obama is my candidate, and I hope he is your candidate too."
The former first lady said America needs a president who will change the nation's direction, work on generating good ideas that will restore America's prosperity and establish universal health care.
...She talked about job creation.
"(Obama and his vice presidential running mate, Joe Biden) have the positive ideas that will make a difference in preventing our jobs from being shipped overseas. (Obama) will end the policies that give tax incentives to businesses that move jobs out of Ohio, instead of creating jobs in Ohio."
Clinton said Obama will cut taxes for the middle class, make college affordable, invest in clean job-creating energy initiatives, strengthen Social Security and help parents balance family and work.
"... Barack and I may have started out on two separate paths, but we are on one journey (now), and with your help, this journey will lead straight to the White House."