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Whenever you’re on my mind

Marshall Crenshaw:

And the band played Waltzing Matilda

Eric Bogle:

Hull House closed

They’d announced last week that they would close in the spring, but instead shut down Friday. Of course, I’m sure Mayor Rahm would have done something to help if he’d known! (Not.) The settlement house model was a successful one, but a lot of people are invested in the idea that spending money on poor people is a waste:

CHICAGO (AP) — Hull House, the Chicago social services organization founded more than 120 years ago by the Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams, closed Friday after running out of money.
The agency said the poor economy resulted in more demand for its services but also made it harder to raise money to cover its costs. Hull House has been providing child care, job training, housing assistance and other services for 60,000 people a year in the Chicago area.

The agency had announced plans to close in the spring, but Friday’s shutdown was unexpected, striking some 300 employees with a devastating and unexpected blow. They received layoff notices and final paychecks and then spent the day packing their belongings and saying tearful good-byes. Many said they were startled to learn their insurance ended almost two weeks ago.

“It’s been my life,” said Dianne Turner, who spent 25 years teaching families in Chicago housing projects how to break the cycle of poverty. “It wasn’t about the pay. It was about seeing a family go from feeling hopeless to being hopeful and feeling like they can do things.”

Turner said she knows what it’s like to live in the projects and dream of something better. She got her first job as a teenager through Hull House and said the organization helped teach her the value of education, how to save money and how to be a leader.

Founded in 1889, Hull House was the best known of the 400 settlement houses in the United States in the early 1900s. The settlements were designed to provide services to immigrants and the poor while uplifting them through culture, education and recreation. At its peak, Hull House served more than 9,000 people a week, offering medical help, an art gallery, citizenship classes, a gardening club and a gym with sports programs.

Percy’s song

Fairport Convention:

Farther along

Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris:

Crazy in Alabama

Kate Campbell:


Ingrid Michaelson:


I’m beginning to wonder whether I have some nerve damage from the surgery. It sort of hurts all over (like a pinched nerve), and when I sit at the computer, it really hurts when I type with my right hand.

Oh well, I’ll see the surgeon in a few days and let him figure it out.

Obama’s new populism

Taibbi wonders if it’s real. Well, of course it’s not “real” – it’s a campaign strategy. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make him to follow through on it:

If as SEC enforcement chief Bob Khuzami has not investigated the vast corruption involved with the creation of mortgage backed securities (it’s called “securitization” – it should be policed by the SECURITIES and exchange commission), then why would he start now? Even leaving out his potential culpability from his Deutsche days, Khuzami has been part of the problem, if anything.

I would feel better about a committee that not only didn’t have a White House flack and a failed/compromised SEC enforcement chief sitting on it, but had nobody with any ties to Wall Street at all. The argument for them would be that we need someone with expertise on the committee, but I’m not buying it. I’d rather see Schneiderman hole up in an abandoned warehouse with ten vice detectives from someplace like Detroit or Miami. And Charles Martin Smith, if they can get him.

Seriously: despite what people think, the crimes we’re dealing with are not terribly complicated, and any veteran investigator would grasp the basic concept – taking worthless crap and selling it as high-end merchandise – within ten minutes. The most important element contributing to the success of a committee like this is a locked room full of clean hands. And Breuer and Khuzami are not a good start.

But it’s too early to say what is going on. Everything that I’ve heard about Schneiderman in the last year leads me to believe that he’s the genuine article. I haven’t heard a single thing suggesting otherwise. But there are certainly a lot of curious elements here. For one thing, as Yves Smith points out, Schneiderman really isn’t getting much extra authority by taking this post. As New York AG he could already have taken this investigation anywhere he wanted:

It’s clear what the Administration is getting from getting Schneiderman aligned with them. It is much less clear why Schneiderman is signing up. He can investigate and prosecute NOW. He has subpoena powers, staff, and the Martin Act. He doesn’t need to join a Federal committee to get permission to do his job. And this is true for ALL the others agencies represented on this committee. They have investigative and enforcement powers they have chosen not to use. So we are supposed to believe that a group, ex Schneiderman, that has been remarkably complacent, will suddenly get religion on the mortgage front because they are all in a room and Schneiderman is a co-chair?

One thing we do know: Obama’s decision to tap Schneiderman publicly, and dump Geithner, and whisper about a millionaire’s tax, signals a shift in its public attitude toward the Wall Street corruption issue. The administration is clearly listening to the Occupy movement. Whether it’s now acting on their complaints, or just trying to look like it’s doing something, is another question. It’s way too early to tell. But it’s certainly very interesting.

Sick of myself

Dedicated to me! Matthew Sweet:

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