Feed on

Haven’t met you yet

Yeah, yeah, whatever. I’m not a fucking hipster and I like this song!

Oh look

A Florida sheriff saves his county $1M by de-privatizing jail. Hmm…


Seems like someone should do something!

Beware of nature

Probably a good idea to keep kids away from petting zoos!

The obvious

Seems to elude this administration.

Harder, faster, longer

Frat-boy economics continues, with even more dismal results. Harder! Faster! Longer!

Oh, and what Dave Johnson says.

The America we want

Sign the petition here.

Just hold your breath

Of course, that might be hard for asthmatics, but hey, survival of the fittest!

President Obama abruptly pulled back proposed new national smog standards Friday morning, overruling the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to compel states and communities nationwide to reduce local air pollution in the coming years or face federal penalties.

The move represented a win for the business community, which had lobbied to postpone new restrictions on ground-level ozone—known as smog—until 2013 in light of the current economic downturn.

In a statement, Obama praised EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s effort to improve the nation’s air quality, but said he had asked her to withdraw the draft standards since they were scheduled to be reconsidered two years from now anyway.

I guess I should note here that it’s utter bullshit, and driven by the apparent decision of Obama’s campaign advisors not to allow anything to happen that might even theoretically be used against them by the Republicans. As if, you know, we won’t notice how many people don’t have jobs.

I missed this story

In Salon on Howard Dean, but I can’t say I’m surprised. That’s how it works, once you’re in advocacy politics. It’s really the only thing you can do, because no one else wants to hire a political figure.

And all of this goes back to a culture where voters always choose to financially support candidates over activists and organizers. I guarantee you that you’d have a whole different ball game if progressives donated in significant enough numbers to progressive bloggers and activists, thus funding the real left wing of the party. But they don’t.

While I admire Howard and think he’s got a certain amount of hard-core integrity, he’s not a leftist and he’s never been.

Anyway, here’s Howard’s rebuttal.

Times: Feds to file suit against banks

In order for me to feel truly optimistic, I’d have to believe that these lawsuits are intended to break up the banks and bankrupt them, and of course that’s not going to happen. (Plus, I can’t help but notice this isn’t the Justice Department and we’re not seeing criminal charges.) So is this a real come-to-Jesus moment for the bankers — or kabuki? Are the feds really going to recover enough of the money they stole? Of course it would be good if they did, but nothing but some high-profile perp walks will really make up for the devastation these bastards have left behind:

The federal agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble, and seeking billions of dollars in compensation.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency suits, which are expected to be filed in the coming days in federal court, are aimed at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, among others, according to three individuals briefed on the matter.

The suits stem from subpoenas the finance agency issued to banks a year ago. If the case is not filed Friday, they said, it will come Tuesday, shortly before a deadline expires for the housing agency to file claims.

The suits will argue the banks, which assembled the mortgages and marketed them as securities to investors, failed to perform the due diligence required under securities law and missed evidence that borrowers’ incomes were inflated or falsified. When many borrowers were unable to pay their mortgages, the securities backed by the mortgages quickly lost value.

Fannie and Freddie lost more than $30 billion, in part as a result of the deals, losses that were borne mostly by taxpayers.

In July, the agency filed suit against UBS, another major mortgage securitizer, seeking to recover at least $900 million, and the individuals with knowledge of the case said the new litigation would be similar in scope.

Private holders of mortgage securities are already trying to force the big banks to buy back tens of billions in soured mortgage-backed bonds, but this federal effort is a new chapter in a huge legal fight that has alarmed investors in bank shares. In this case, rather than demanding that the banks buy back the original loans, the finance agency is seeking reimbursement for losses on the securities held by Fannie and Freddie.

And my contention that the only suitable response is jail time is validated by this:

But privately, financial service industry executives argue that the losses on the mortgage-backed securities were caused by a broader downturn in the economy and the housing market, not by how the mortgages were originated or packaged into securities. In addition, they contend that investors like A.I.G. as well as Fannie and Freddie were sophisticated and knew the securities were not without risk.

If there is no punishment, there is no reason to think they won’t do this, or something just as bad, all over again. Because obviously, they have no reason to think they can’t B.S. their way out of it. After all, it’s worked so far!

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