Daily roundup


Avast ye maties! Thar be Spanish foreign agents off the port side! Or something like that. Covington and Burlington has registered as a foreign agent, representing the government of Spain as it seeks rights to treasure on sunken Spanish naval vessels that carried silver, pieces of eight, doubloons and other treasure from the New World to the Old, like the Mercedes, which has spawned an international legal battle every bit as exciting as the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

The Senate is scheduled to vote today on delaying rules to cap the fees that banks charge to merchants every time customers use debit cards to make a purchase. A fierce lobbying campaign has erupted around the measure, pitting retailers and their trade groups against community banks and credit unions. As usual in Washington, whatever policy is adopted, lobbyists–many of them former officials–on both sides of the issue will profit.

U.S. “nation building” in Afghanistan is unsustainable, says a new report (PDF download) by the Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Washington Post reports. Surprising item: “…foreign military and development spending that now provides 97 percent of [Afghanistan’s] gross domestic product.”

Shades of the Recovery Act: General Motors, in announcing that it’s investing $49 million in an engine factory in Indiana, says that 91 jobs will be created or retained.

Remember the lavish offices complete with expensive art collections, gold-leaf ceiling decorations and gold-plated toilet fixtures that seemed so extreme when the Savings and Loan industry came crashing down? I often think of them whenever the latest high tech campus being built by a tech company. Perhaps extra trees and the world’s largest piece of architectural glass are as crucial to tech as printing presses and wires are to the newspaper industry.