Monday, February 21, 2011

Obama Meets With Zuckerberg, Jobs

President Barack Obama recently convened with members of the U.S. tech elite to discuss how the industry can boost economic growth.

The President met with 12 of the most important tech company leaders, including Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, Apple founder Steve Jobs, Google head Eric Schmidt, Twitter founder Dick Costolo and Netflix chief Reed Hastings. The group convened at the home of John Doerr, a partner at venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins, just outside of San Francisco.

"The president specifically discussed his proposals to invest in research and development and expand incentives for companies to grow and hire," said Jay Carney, press secretary of the White House.

The dinner was part of a larger national discussion on how the tech and mobile industries can boost the economy with job growth and exports. The U.S. leader believes technology and innovation will help to develop economic competitiveness and create jobs. Earlier this week the White House released its budget, including billions of dollars for new R&D spending.

President Obama also revealed a measure that will allow companies to claim all business investing as an expense in 2011, which should encourage companies to innovate.

"I am convinced that if we out build, out innovate and out educate as well as out hustle the rest of the world the jobs and industries of our time will take root here in the U.S.," said the President earlier this week. "Our people will prosper and our country succeed."

Innovation and hustle has certainly helped the U.S. to gain the lead in mobile technology. Over the last year, Apple and Google seized the lead from European and Asian companies like Nokia and Sony Ericsson by pioneering smartphone ecosystems, which combine devices, online markets, apps, content and services as an integrated package.

The President also has focused recently on measures expanding broader aspects of technology in the U.S., including an initiative to expand wireless and broadband access to underserved rural areas in the country, as well as free up air spectrum by encouraging broadcasters to sell off their government-owned airwaves to wireless providers.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Woods upbeat after Dubai golf flop

Another week without a win for Tiger Woods, but the fallen star of world golf insists he is still on the right track and will redouble his efforts ahead of The Masters.

The 35-year-old American failed to find the vital spark he has been looking for on the final day of the Dubai Desert Classic, a tournament he won handsomely in 2006 and 2008.

Starting the day just one stroke off the lead and with realistic hopes of a first tournament win in 15 months, bogeys at two and three soon took the wind out of his sails.

Woods clawed his way back up the leaderboard with birdies at the sixth and the 11th, but with the gusting wind buffeting his remodelled swing, bogeys at the 12th and 14th effectively ended his challenge.

He came in with a three-over 75 and a tie for 20th place.

At least that was an improvement on his tie for 44th place at Torrey Pines, California two weeks ago when he opened up his season and Woods doggedly remained upbeat.

"There were quite a few positives this week. Also a couple of glaring examples of what I need to work on, which is good. I'll go to work next week," he said.

"It's just like anything, all of my old feels are out of the window when the wind blows, so that's the thing when you are making a change.

"I went through this with Butch (Harmon) and I went through this with Hank (Haney).

"It's fine when the wind is not blowing, but when I have to hit shots and the wind blows, the change of feels and the new swing patterns, they get exposed."

Woods undertook to drastically remodel his swing under the watchful eye of Canadian coach Sean Foley last year in the middle of the personal turmoil that beset his marriage and career.

It also followed the extensive knee surgery he underwent in 2008 following his dramatic US Open win at Torrey Pines which kept him sidelined for eight months.

Woods did briefly show glimpses of his old form in Dubai, notably with his eagle finish to the first round and his bogey-free 66 on Friday.

But when he needed to find another gear at the weekend to break free from a bunched leaderboard, the game just was not there.

Still, he said that things were improving.

"It was a step in the right direction, there's no doubt," he said.

"I improved a lot considering where I was at Torrey Pines a couple of weeks ago. That's a step in the right direction.

"It's progressing. It's progressing."

Woods heads back to the United States to continue his buildup to the Masters in early April and is expected to play next in the WCG Matchplay in Arizona at the end of this month.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tseng closing in on No. 1 in women's golf

Yani Tseng jumped three spots to No. 2 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings with her victory Sunday at the Australian Women’s Open.

Tseng trails No. 1 Jiyai Shin, who was among the players Tseng beat in Australia. Shin tied for second.

Tseng, last year’s LPGA Rolex Player of the Year, is scheduled to tee it up again this week at the Ladies Masters in Australia, where she should have a chance to gain the No. 1 ranking for the first time in her career. The LPGA season begins next week in Thailand.

''It's always been my goal to be world No.1,'' Tseng told Australian media after her victory Sunday. ''I think I'm getting a little bit closer. I'll do my best and keep working hard. I just feel confident and relaxed. Before, I was thinking too much. I was trying to win. Now I know I have to stay focused on my swing, and play one shot at a time. I know I can win.''

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Can North Carolina Deliver Again?

President Obama signaled Tuesday that he would try to follow the same path to re-election that he charted in his first campaign, selecting Charlotte, N.C., to host the 2012 Democratic convention in a decision that instantly confirmed the state as a new presidential battleground.

In choosing Charlotte, Mr. Obama rejected bids from Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis. The selection was the White House’s first major strategic decision of the presidential race, and displayed the desire of Democrats to retain some of the states they carried in 2008 for the first time in a generation.

“We’re looking at an expanding map rather than shrinking back to husband our resources and play defense,” said Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “We were very excited about winning North Carolina in 2008. Putting our convention there is a very serious sign that we intend to compete there again.”

St. Louis was widely seen as the next choice to Charlotte. Though St. Louis has been host to four Democratic national conventions, and was recommended by the leading hotel workers’ union for having the most unionized facilities, there were broader concerns raised about Missouri. The state has slipped out of the Democratic Party’s reach in recent presidential elections and it is not expected to be among the top tier of places where Mr. Obama will compete in 2012.

One of the country’s most competitive Senate races is also taking place in Missouri, with Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, singled out by Republicans as she seeks a second term.

Ms. McCaskill, one of the president’s closest friends in the Senate, publicly supported having St. Louis host the convention, but she raised several concerns to the White House, according to party officials familiar with the selection process. She questioned whether her re-election would be complicated if the convention were held in St. Louis.

In a statement on Tuesday, Ms. McCaskill said she was “bitterly disappointed” that St. Louis had been passed over. She added, “I’m incredibly proud of the bid put forth by St. Louis and how bipartisan the support was.”

The selection of North Carolina also underscored the hope of Mr. Obama and his advisers that they have a better chance of organizing supporters — and finding new voters — in a conservative-leaning but demographically evolving Southern state than in a traditional battleground like Missouri. The advisers believe the advantages of North Carolina include a population that is 22 percent black, an influx of new residents because of research and banking jobs, and laws that allow last-minute voter registration.

In 2008, Mr. Obama won the state’s Democratic primary over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and became the first Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter to carry North Carolina in the general election by building a diverse coalition of voters.

With the Republican convention to be held in Tampa, Fla., the political gatherings will unfold in two Southern states, both of which could play outsize roles in the campaign. In addition to North Carolina, Mr. Obama carried Florida in 2008, but a strong showing by Republicans in last year’s midterm elections showed the volatility of the electoral votes from both states.

A key selling point for North Carolina, officials said, was its proximity to Virginia, which Mr. Obama also carried. Democratic leaders said they intended to make Virginia an integral part of the convention by busing in activists and volunteers.

The selection process was overseen by the president’s top political advisers. The finalist cities lobbied aggressively to be awarded the convention — and the multimillion-dollar rush of business that accompanies a winning bid — even as some state political figures raised questions about how they would be affected by a convention in their state.

The announcement of Charlotte was made by Michelle Obama in an e-mail to members of Organizing for America, the network of supporters from the 2008 campaign.

“We want this to be a grass-roots convention for the people,” Mrs. Obama wrote, adding, “This will be a different convention, for a different time.”