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Facebook Likes Linked to Political Affiliation

Jul 11, 2012, 5:28 pm EDT

Researchers at Engage have crunched the data and found out something interesting about the web sites people “like” on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): knowing what sites a person likes gives them a clue about their political affiliation.

By using a special piece of software, Engage was able to track thousands of users’ Likes, political affiliation, and behavior — whether or not a person showed a high or low level of political engagement.

What are some of the things they’ve discovered? Read 

10 Companies Making the Biggest Political Donations

Jul 10, 2012, 3:00 pm EDT
10 Companies Making the Biggest Political Donations

With the U.S. presidential election heating up, 24/7 Wall St. has examined public companies’ political contributions in the current election cycle.  The donations include monies given to political parties, candidates and political action committees. The figures are staggering and have prompted many to ask whether money can buy a seat in the House, Senate or even the presidency itself.

The Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, the Romney Victory Fund and the Republican National Committee raised more than $76.8 million in May alone. This one month does not include what Romney and his supporters raised for the primaries or the growing amount he will need as the presidential election shifts into high gear. While President Obama has raised more overall, his campaign and the Democratic Party only raised $60 million for his re-election effort in May.

Political contributions, which used to go directly to candidates, now often flow to Super PACs, independent organizations that can raise money to either help or defeat a political candidate. Historically, traditional political action committees have been prohibited from accepting donations from unions and companies. However, following rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, Super PACs are now allowed to accept unlimited donations from unions and companies, provided the money does not go directly to the campaign. Read 

Study: Small Business Tax Break Could Create 1M Jobs

Jul 10, 2012, 1:11 pm EDT

In advance of a procedural vote today, Senate Democrats have released a study showing that their small-business tax break legislation would create nearly 1 million jobs.

According to a study commissioned by those Democrats from policy analysis firm Regional Economic Models, Inc., the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act would create 990,592 jobs and increase U.S. GDP by $87 billion.

The bill is comprised of two main parts. One would give a 10% tax break this year to businesses on payroll for new workers or increases in wages for current workers. This credit would be capped at $500,000. The second component would allow companies to write off the whole cost of major purchases made this year, to encourage further investment. Read 

ESPN Seeks Touchdown With Political Ads

Jul 9, 2012, 5:25 pm EDT
ESPN Seeks Touchdown With Political Ads

Commercial breaks on ESPN this fall may contain some unfamiliar people from outside the world of sports: politicians.

ESPN has announced plans to work with ad-sales company NCC Media LLC to sell a larger portion of its ad time to political campaigns. The ad time that ESPN is planning to sell to political campaigns would normally be sold to national advertisers. The ads are slated to air during ESPN’s college and pro football broadcasts.

This signals both a willingness by ESPN to explore new revenue sources, and cable television’s increasing cachet in political advertising. Because political advertising has generally been more local — and because broadcast television has been seen as being more locally aimed — campaign ads have aired far more frequently on broadcast networks than cable. Read 

Obama Proposes One-Year Bush Tax Cut Extension

Jul 9, 2012, 12:56 pm EDT
Obama Proposes One-Year Bush Tax Cut Extension

In an effort to undermine GOP opposition to letting the Bush tax cuts lapse at the end of this year, President Obama today called for the tax cuts to be extended, but only for families with incomes under $250,000.

Republicans have steadfastly argued that, with the economy apparently moribund, raising taxes on any income group by letting the cuts expire is a bad idea, Reuters noted.

The White House’s latest move puts pressure on the GOP to defend its position against charges it is protecting the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. It also provides a new distraction from last week’s extremely disappointing jobs data for June, a topic the administration would like to avoid. Read 

Obama Signs Transporation, Student Loan Bill

Jul 8, 2012, 5:42 pm EDT
Obama Signs Transporation, Student Loan Bill

In a rare show of election-year bipartisanship, Barack Obama signed a bill funding transportation projects and keeping student loan interest rates from doubling.

Earlier this year, there was serious concern that both of these important legislative priorities would go unfulfilled. Without action, the student loan rate was set to increase from 3.4% to 6.8% on June 30, and many important infrastructure projects like highway construction and bridge maintenance would go undone. The bill was passed by the House on June 29 by a 373-52 margin, and in the Senate by a 74-19 margin later that day. Obama signed the bill Friday.

Highlighting the bipartisan nature of the bill, members of Congress from both parties, as well as representatives from local and state governments, were on hand to witness Obama signing the bill. In the wake of bruising campaigning for the presidency and seats in Congress, it’s nice to see politicians play nice, if only for a little while. Read 

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