Department of Commerce

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US to Cede Its Control Over Internet

It will no longer have authority over domain names, Web addresses

(Newser) - The end of an Internet era is near: The US plans to give up its control over the group that manages domain names and Web addresses, reports the Washington Post . The long-planned move means that the Commerce Department does not plan to renew its contract with the Internet Corporation for... More »

FBI: Our Economic Data Is at Risk

Flaw in system could allow hackers to access 'black box'

(Newser) - The FBI has found "a number of operational vulnerabilities" in the system the government uses to protect sensitive economic information, the Wall Street Journal reports. As part of its long-running attempt to figure out what's behind the suspicious trading activity that often precedes major economic news, the bureau... More »

Housing Starts Soar to Highest Since 2008

Almost all of the growth comes in apartments, townhouses

(Newser) - The housing market might finally be coming around. The number of new homes that began construction last month took a surprise 3.6% leap to an 894,000 annual rate—the highest since July 2008, the Commerce Department announced today. That's well above the 840,000 economists surveyed by... More »

Obama Wants Power to Merge 6 Trade Agencies

Move aims to cut down on government bureaucracy

(Newser) - President Obama will today announce a plan to mash together six federal agencies—including the Commerce Department—in an effort to simplify the government's sprawling regulatory bureaucracy. Obama can't actually make the move without Congressional approval, however, so he intends to ask Congress for a special reorganizational power—... More »

Americans Buy $1.2T Worth of Stuff They Don’t Need

That's about 11% of total consumer spending

(Newser) - Ever wonder how much Americans spend on non-essential goodies such as jewelry, yachts, booze, and even candy? A lot, as in $1.2 trillion, or about 11% of total consumer spending, reports the Wall Street Journal . The percentage is up from 9.3% a decade ago and 4% in 1959,... More »

Multinationals Cut 2.9M US Jobs, Hired 2.4M Abroad

Skilled jobs oozed out of the States in the 2000s

(Newser) - The US Commerce Department released a report today throwing into sharp relief just how drastically US multinational corporations are shifting jobs overseas. During the 2000s, US companies cut 2.9 million jobs in the US, while hiring 2.4 million abroad—including an increasing number of highly-skilled workers, the Wall ... More »

White House Plans Internet Privacy Watchdog

New consumer protection laws to be drafted

(Newser) - The Obama administration is stepping up efforts to increase regulation of the Internet and protect users' privacy. New laws to bring protections in line with today's technology are being drafted, along with plans to create a new position to oversee the administration's efforts, sources tell the Wall Street Journa l.... More »

Q3 GDP Growth More Like 2.8% Than 3.5%

Spending and home prices are up, but not enough to help jobs

(Newser) - The government’s optimistic reading of GDP growth in the 3rd quarter was distorted by a pair of rose-tinted glasses, it now says. The Commerce Department has revised its estimate down to 2.8% from 3.5% on evidence that stimulus programs like Cash for Clunkers and the homebuyers' tax... More »

Are Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Junk?

Buyers complain that some eco-lights last hours, not years

(Newser) - Compact fluorescent light bulbs cost a little more than regular bulbs, but they’re supposed to last for 10,000 hours, cut your electric bill, and, incidentally, help save the planet. But buyers are finding a disturbing number of bulbs that last hours, not years, the New York Times reports.... More »

Obama's Agenda Dwarfs His Staff

President's team stretched thin despite flurry of appointments

(Newser) - President Obama is filling government jobs more quickly than his predecessors, but there's so much going on that his team is still stretched thin, the Wall Street Journal reports. Obama is juggling the economic crisis, stimulus package, and two wars, all with just 43 confirmed aides. "No one since... More »

Commerce Nom Locke a Rock Star in China

As Washington state governor, he cultivated deep trade ties

(Newser) - The third time was the charm for China—at least in terms of President Obama's picks to head the Commerce Department, reports the New York Times. Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, to be introduced today as the administration's latest nominee, brings a reputation for pragmatism, a scandal-free resume, and deep... More »

Gregg Flap Sheds Light on Perennial Census Battle

(Newser) - Judd Gregg’s flirtation with the top job at Commerce has brought the partisan battle over the US Census to the fore with just a year to go before before the official count, the New York Times reports. Most Americans may not think of the census as a political tool,... More »

Obama: Gregg's Withdrawal 'Something of a Surprise'

(Newser) - President Obama—now 0 for 2 on commerce nominations—said Judd Gregg's decision to back out today came as a "something of a surprise," the State Journal-Register of Springfield reports. "The truth, you know, Mr. Gregg approached us with interest and seemed enthusiastic," said Obama. The... More »

Deep-Red Gregg Is a Strange Fit for Obama

Commerce nom tried to get rid of agency, but is bridge to big business

(Newser) - Judd Gregg is a fairly bizarre choice for commerce secretary, Pete Engardio writes in BusinessWeek, considering the Republican senator once called for the elimination of the Commerce Department. Gregg is a true fiscal conservative, who’s voted against bills to tighten emission standards, raise taxes on gas producers, and negotiate... More »

Gregg to Take Commerce Job

NH governor will name new GOP senator

(Newser) - New Hampshire GOP Sen. Judd Gregg is accepting the post of commerce secretary, reports CNN. The state's Democratic governor has agreed to name another Republican to replace Gregg in the Senate, leaving the balance of power unchanged. If that deal hadn't been struck, Gregg would have turned down the commerce... More »

GOP Says It Will Keep Gregg's Senate Seat

Sources say Lynch would appoint interim GOP member

(Newser) - Republicans say they have a deal in place to make sure that if Barack Obama picks Judd Gregg to head the Commerce Department, they won't lose that 41st seat they need to mount a filibuster. Officials expect New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch to pick his former chief of staff Bonnie... More »

GOP Desperate to Keep Gregg in Senate

If he takes Commerce, they want NH governor to pick a Republican

(Newser) - Republicans are stepping up efforts to keep Judd Gregg from jumping to Barack Obama’s Cabinet, or, failing that, to convince New Hampshire’s Democratic governor to pick a Republican to replace him. Otherwise, Democrats would gain a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority. “It would be a loss to the Senate... More »

Caucus Pushes for Black Commerce Secretary

Obama considering Symantec CEO—and a GOP senator

(Newser) - The Congressional Black Caucus is lobbying President Obama to name a black commerce secretary. The caucus is pushing for technology executive John Thompson, CEO of software security company Symantec and an Obama contributor, to fill the post, reports the Hill. Obama has so far appointed only four African Americans to... More »

Mumbai Gets Back on Its Feet

The city returns to business as usual after terrorist attacks

(Newser) - For those who need proof of Mumbai's resilient spirit, look no further than Cafe Leopold, writes Saritha Rai of GlobalPost. It still bears bullet and grenade scars, but it is nevertheless jammed every day with tourists and local residents. "Leopold, the site of the first terrorist attack on the... More »

What Embargo? HP Printers Find Their Way to Iran

Company skirts US law with help from overseas distributor

(Newser) - HP printers have become top-sellers in Tehran, despite a 13-year embargo against US companies doing business with Iran, the Boston Globe reports. An Indian-owned distributor sells HP products in Iran, enabling it to skirt American law. But questions remain: If HP execs cut the deal with Redington Gulf knowing their... More »

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