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Side 2

A Phil Spector Christmas:

We laughed until we cried

Amy Kwon, a 13-year-old, does a great job with this song:

Slap on the hand

The Obama administration does its usual stellar job of protecting corporate interests while pretending otherwise. This settlement is a joke:

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the largest residential fair-lending settlement in history, saying that Bank of America had agreed to pay $335 million to settle allegations that its Countrywide Financial unit discriminated against black and Hispanic borrowers during the housing boom.

A department investigation concluded that Countrywide had charged higher fees and rates to more than 200,000 minority borrowers across the country than to white borrowers who posed the same credit risk. It also steered more than 10,000 minority borrowers into costly subprime mortgages when white borrowers with similar credit profiles received prime loans, the department said.

The pattern and practice covered the years 2004 to 2008, before Countrywide was acquired by Bank of America.

Here comes Santa Claus

Gene Autry:

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Frackin’ Scrooge of the Year

MoveOn.org was too kind in its assessment of Gov. Tom Corbett, who is generous only to the rich and powerful. More here.

Virtually Speaking Science

Wednesday, Dec 21 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific |Virtually Speaking Science | Host Tom Levenson 
talks with science writer Tim Ferris about The Science of Liberty: Democracy, Reason, and the Laws of Nature. Best known for his work in cosmlogy, including The Red LimitComing of Age in the Milky Way, and The Whole Shebang, Tim is also a filmmaker with three feature documentaries on PBS including, most recently, Seeing in the DarkListen live and later on BTR.

A science documentary filmmaker and blogger – Balloon Juice and Inverse Square – Tom is Director of MIT’s Graduate program in writing and humanistic studies. He hosts VS Science on the third Wednesday of the month to discuss history of science, economics, and some climate science.

Government, Enron style

Taibbi has an excellent piece on how Obama is lying when he covers up for the banks. It’s worth reading the whole thing, but here’s the conclusion:

But by taking a dive on fraud, and orchestrating mass cover-ups like the coming foreclosure settlement fiasco, what they’re doing instead is signaling to the world that not only are our financial markets corrupt, but our government is broken as well.

The problem with companies like Lehman and Enron is that their executives always think they can paper over illegalities by committing more crimes, when in fact all they’re usually doing is snowballing the problem so completely out of control that there’s no longer any chance of fixing things, thereby killing the only chance for survival they ever had.

This is exactly what Obama and Geithner are doing now. By continually lying about the extent of the country’s corruption problems, they’re adding fraud to fraud and raising such a great bonfire of lies that they probably won’t ever be able to fix the underlying mess.

If they looked at the world like public servants, and not like corporate executives, they’d understand that the only way out is to come clean. That they don’t look at things that way should tell people quite a lot.

Rich people less empathetic than the poor

Boy, that one’s a shocker, huh?

Accidents will happen

When a gun is involved, even minor accidents can kill people. And that’s the thing about guns, right? Someone else’s slip of the hand, carelessness or anger can result in the death of another human being. It doesn’t seem like it should be so controversial to have more common-sense rules in place. Unfortunately, the NRA believes that any rules are an affront to reason and they’ve bought enough politicians to block them.

I don’t know what it’s like in rural areas, but most cities have laws against firing guns in the air for this very reason. If you don’t understand that the bullet can still kill people, maybe you shouldn’t have a gun:

An Ohio sheriff says Rachel Yoder, 15, was shot in the head Thursday night while riding in her buggy after a Christmas party at a produce farm, the Associated Press reports.

She was heading to her home in Wayne County, between Columbus and Akron, when she was hit, according to Wayne County sheriff’s Capt. Douglas Hunter.

Hunter says his department had traced a trail of blood along the road for about three-eighths of a mile into Holmes County in an area of farms and rolling hills.

Holmes County Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly says investigators figured out what happened after the gun-cleaner’s family came forward and after his neighbors reported hearing a shot at about the time the girl was wounded.

The man had fired the gun in the air about 1.5 miles from where Yoder was shot, Zimmerly says. State investigators are checking the rifle for a ballistics match, he says.

“In all probability, it looks like an accidental shooting,” Zimmerly says. No charges have been filed.

Zimmerly said he informed the Yoder family that the shooting appeared to be accidental, the AP reports.

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

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