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What We Read Today 10 May 2017

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).

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Topics today include:

  • Common painkillers may raise risk of heart attack by 100%

  • Tesla’s Solar Roof Pricing Is Cheap Enough to Catch Fire

  • Apple's Market Value Passes $800 Billion After 33% Rally

  • White House says Trump wanted to fire Comey from first day in office

  • FBI chief aimed to expand Russia probe before Trump fired him

  • White House says no need for special prosecutor after Comey firing

  • What Wall Street Is Saying About FBI Director Comey's Ouster

  • U.S. government posts $182 billion surplus in April

  • Interior Secretary Zinke admires national monuments he’ll likely recommend removing

  • Trump meets Russia foreign minister amid Comey controversy

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

U.S.

  • White House says Trump wanted to fire Comey from first day in office (The Washington Times)  The White House went on the attack against fired FBI Director James B. Comey Wednesday, saying “most of America” had lost confidence in him and that President Trump had been considering firing him since his election.  The revelation of Mr. Trump’s longtime doubts about Mr. Comey belied previous White House statements, including as recently as last week, vouching for the president’s continued confidence in his FBI chief.  White House deputy press Sarah Sanders said that since taking officer there also had been an “erosion of confidence.”  She said:

“Frankly, he had been considering letting Director Comey go since the day he was elected.  Most of America had decided own their own that Director Comey was not the person who should be leading the FBI. And most importantly, the rank and file of the FBI lost confidence in their director.”

  • Republicans Close Ranks Behind Trump Amid Democrats' Comey Fury (Bloomberg)  Senior Senate Republicans closed ranks behind President Donald Trump Wednesday after his dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, rejecting calls for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s meddling in the election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.  Republican leaders insisted the turmoil shouldn’t harm their legislative agenda, including overhauls of health-care and tax laws. Still, there was an undercurrent of unease among some in the GOP about the timing and rationale given for the firing even as party leaders dismissed Democratic protests.

  • FBI chief aimed to expand Russia probe before Trump fired him: source (Reuters)  FBI Director James Comey sought to expand his agency's probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election days before President Donald Trump fired him on Tuesday, a congressional source said on Wednesday.  With the Republican president facing a storm of criticism from many Democrats and some lawmakers in his own party, the Trump administration accused Comey of "atrocities" on the job and denied his firing was related to the FBI investigation into the Trump 2016 presidential campaign's possible collusion with Moscow to sway the election.

The ouster stunned Washington and plunged Trump deeper into a controversy over his campaign's alleged ties with Russia that has dogged the early days of his presidency.

Democrats intensified accusations on Wednesday that Comey's removal was intended to undermine the FBI probe and demanded an independent investigation. Some of Trump's fellow Republicans called the action troubling.

Trump, who met Russia's foreign minister at the White House on Wednesday, defended his abrupt firing of Comey from a law-enforcement post he had held since 2013, saying he had not been doing a good job.

  • White House says no need for special prosecutor after Comey firing (The Washington Examiner)  In the wake of President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, the White House is rejecting lawmakers’ calls for a special prosecutor to take over the agency’s probe of possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.  In a late-night tweet, Mr. Trump also criticized Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York,  who is pushing for an independent prosecutor.

  • What Wall Street Is Saying About FBI Director Comey's Ouster (Bloomberg)   n the wake of President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, Wall Street is weighing whether the political fallout will kill any momentum the White House had for its economic agenda.  The abrupt decision has investors raising questions about whether the president’s pro-growth, tax-cutting reforms will stall as the focus shifts to why Comey was dismissed amid probes into possible Russian ties to Trump’s campaign.  This article presents a roundup of what different banks are saying.

  • U.S. government posts $182 billion surplus in April (Reuters)  The U.S. government had a $182 billion budget surplus in April, confounding market expectations for a deficit, according to Treasury Department data released on Wednesday.  The budget surplus was $106 billion in April 2016, according to Treasury's monthly budget statement.  The fiscal 2017 year-to-date deficit was $344 billion compared with $353 billion in the same period of fiscal 2016.

When accounting for calendar adjustments, the surplus last month was $145 billion compared with an adjusted surplus of $146 billion the prior year. The adjusted deficit for the fiscal year to date was $373 billion compared with $314 billion the prior fiscal year period.

Receipts last month totaled $456 billion, up 4 percent from April 2016, while outlays stood at $273 billion, a decrease of 18 percent from the same month a year earlier.

Mr. Zinke, tapped by President Trump to conduct a thorough review of more than two dozen national monuments, on Tuesday visited Bears Ears National Monument, a sprawling 1.35-million-acre stretch of land in Utah. It has become ground zero in the broader debate over whether the previous administration vastly overstepped its authority in cordoning off huge swaths of earth and sea as monuments to close them off from energy exploration and other human activities.

Critics of former President Barack Obama expect Mr. Zinke, after his detailed review, to determine that the designation of Bears Ears and other national monuments should be revoked, or at least reduced.

Russia

  • Trump meets Russia foreign minister amid Comey controversy (Reuters)   Russia's top diplomat met President Donald Trump on Wednesday and praised the U.S. administration as problem solvers, just as the White House drew criticism over the firing of the FBI director who was leading a probe into Moscow's alleged interference in U.S. politics.  The talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were the highest-level public contact between Trump and the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin since the Republican took office on Jan. 20.  While not unprecedented, it is a rare privilege for a foreign minister to be received by a U.S. president for a bilateral meeting in the White House.

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics, and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

They concluded that there was a greater than 90% probability that all the NSAIDs they studied were associated with a heightened risk of heart attack.

The overall odds of having a heart attack were about 20% to 50% greater if using NSAIDs compared with not using the drugs, although it varied for the individual drugs assessed, which also included naproxen, diclofenac, celecoxib and rofecoxib.

As it was an observational study, cause and effect could not be established conclusively.

  • Tesla’s Solar Roof Pricing Is Cheap Enough to Catch Fire (Bloomberg)  Tesla Inc. has begun taking orders for its remarkable solar roof tiles to be delivered by summer at a price point that could be transformative for the U.S. solar market. Tesla will begin with production of two of the four styles of tile unveiled in October: a smooth glass and a textured glass version. The Tuscan and French slate versions will be available by the end of this year, Elon Musk told reporters Wednesday. Roofing a 2,000 square-foot home in New York state—with 40 percent coverage of active solar tiles and battery backup for night-time use—would cost about $50,000 after federal tax credits and generate $64,000 in energy over 30 years, according to Tesla’s website calculator. 

  • Apple's Market Value Passes $800 Billion After 33% Rally (Bloomberg)  The rally in Apple Inc.’s shares that has accelerated in anticipation of an upgraded iPhone to be released later this year has pushed the company’s market capitalization past $800 billion for the first time. The shares, which have continued to gain even after Apple reported falling sales of its signature product last week, have jumped 33 percent this year, adding $185 billion in value. Drexel Hamilton this week raised its 12-month price target to a Street high $202, implying a market value of more than $1 trillion.  Econintersect:  Apple might already be over $1 trillion market cap without all the share buybacks.


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