- The Washington Times - Monday, August 3, 2009

FEDERAL RESERVE

Greenspan: Don’t raise interest rates

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says he doesn’t think the Fed should be considering raising interest rates to ward off inflation - at least not yet.

Mr. Greenspan says the Fed will have to rein in credit and raise rates at some point. For now, he says he is optimistic for the nation’s economy.

Mr. Greenspan cites many caveats for his short-term optimism, among them the huge government deficit and a concern that home prices may not have stabilized enough.

Mr. Greenspan, speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” says he is fairly sure that the economy has already hit bottom. He says promising indications include good news from weekly production figures for different industries.

ECONOMICS

Jobless benefits likely to extend

President Obama’s top economic advisers say the administration will work with Congress to extend unemployment benefits for millions of Americans.

The head of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, said Sunday that the administration is already looking ahead at an extension of benefits as that money runs out.

Rep. Charles E. Rangel, New York Democrat, says people who soon will lose their unemployment benefits deserve an extension. He says they are “the true victims” of the nation’s financial disaster.

Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican and a frequent conservative critic of big government, says he also supports an extension of benefits.

Ms. Romer appeared Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” while Mr. Rangel and Mr. DeMint spoke to “Fox News Sunday.”

JUDICIARY

McCain unsure on Sotomayor

Sen. John McCain says he is still on the fence when it comes to voting for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

Mr. McCain tells CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that he is examining Judge Sotomayor’s record as an appeals court judge to decide whether she understands the limits to judicial power. He voted against her when she was nominated to the appeals court.

The Arizona Republican says the prospect of Judge Sotomayor becoming the first Hispanic on the high court is part of the discussion and calls her a great American success story.

A Senate vote is expected this week.

TECHNOLOGY

‘Cookie’ ban under review

The White House wants to lift a George W. Bush administration ban on federal agencies depositing tracking “cookies” on our computers when we visit U.S. government sites, Scripps Howard News Service reports.

The purpose of cookies is to monitor who’s going to which sites and looking for what. Private industry has long used the software to customize offerings and fine-tune marketing, but the feds have largely prohibited cookies to protect the public’s privacy.

Only if a “compelling need” can be demonstrated are they allowed, and then only if the head of an agency approves their use.

Now, Obama Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra says a broad ban on cookies may stand in the way of making government sites more user-friendly, hamper “customer service” and obstruct “Web analytics.”

He’s invited the public to weigh in on the debate, and comments can be submitted at www.whitehouse.gov/open through Aug. 10.

REPUBLICANS

McCain says Palin will be GOP force

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, says he sees Sarah Palin continuing to play a major role in the future of the Republican Party.

Mr. McCain says he respects the decision that his 2008 vice presidential running mate made to resign as Alaska governor. The senator says people make decisions based on what’s best for them and for their families.

And he says he thinks Mrs. Palin “clearly” made the best decision. Mr. McCain, speaking in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” says he thinks she will continue to be “a force” within the Republican Party.

Mrs. Palin intends to write a book and try to build a right-of-center coalition. Her long-term political plans are unclear - and there’s speculation about a possible 2012 presidential bid.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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