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What the world is reading

In 2008-09 America faced its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. While thousands of Americans struggled with salary and job cuts, the big American corporations shamelessly used up the money from federal bailout to pay bonuses to its top honchos. In his commentary 'Poor little CEOs', Daniel Gross says that little has changed in the corner rooms. The CEOs are now whining about Obama's new financial regulation plan. Gross writes that the recent "Jobs for America" summit organised by US Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the National Federation of Independent Business was like BP holding a deepwater drilling safety summit. "While President Obama met with CEOs, the summiteers called for cutting taxes for companies, extending tax cuts for the wealthy, and opening up federal areas for resource exploration. " The CEO-class exhibits an unseemly combination of myopia and ingratitude. Consider GE. The conglomerate's massive financing business, GE Capital, had relied on short-term borrowing in the credit markets for most of its funding - a business model that left it highly vulnerable in the fall of 2008. The Federal Reserve rode to the rescue by guaranteeing the vast commercial paper market, in which GE Capital was a significant participant. Today, GE Capital has $59 billion in such guaranteed debt outstanding. But the company is receiving a huge subsidy courtesy of the taxpayers. Like other large companies, GE has a portfolio of businesses that benefit from the stimulus package, new regulations, and taxpayer spending.

Early in the week, 62-year-old Shirley Sherrod, Georgia director of rural development, was asked to resign from her post by the US department of agriculture after a video that suggested that she had not helped a farmer because he was white. However, a closer and careful hearing revealed that she was not discriminating against the farmer but simply stating the spectrum of emotions that flooded in the context of her upbringing in the racially divided south. Eventually, the USDA offered her a new post and agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack apologised for her dismissal. Rhonda Cook and Marcus K. Garner in Atlanta Journal-Constitution track her roots to rural Georgia and how her life and ideology was shaped by her father's death. "Shirley Sherrod's 17th year probably did more to mould her personality and set her on a path that travelled through the dangerous, volatile world of race. That year, 1965, her father was shot and killed by a white man in a dispute over cows, the family says. That year, she was one of the first black students to integrate the high school in Baker County in rural southwest Georgia. " That year, she decided to become involved in the civil rights movement in that area of the state. She enrolled in Fort Valley State College. She later went on to receive a BA in sociology from Albany State University and an MA in community development from Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio. And in later years, like some of the farmers she helped when she worked for a non-profit organisation, Sherrod and her husband lost a group farm to bankruptcy.

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