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Tom Corbett’s cash cow

Gee, I wonder why he’s cutting education funding?

Quote of the day

David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists, at a Senate hearing:

“If the past three decades have demonstrated anything, it’s that the NRC will likely come up with a solid action plan to address problems revealed at Fukushima, but will be glacially slow in implementing those identified safety upgrades.”

Why they hate her

I can’t even bring myself to hope that mortgage companies will ever face significant consequences for the economic havoc they’ve wreaked. There have been rumors that the Obama administration has been leaning on the state AGs to get them to lighten up on their penalities; I hope they’re just rumors, but I suspect not:

NEW YORK — The nation’s five largest mortgage firms have saved more than $20 billion since the housing crisis began in 2007 by taking shortcuts in processing troubled borrowers’ home loans, according to a confidential presentation prepared for state attorneys general by the nascent consumer bureau inside the Treasury Department.

That estimate suggests large banks have reaped tremendous benefits from under-serving distressed homeowners, a complaint frequent enough among borrowers that federal regulators have begun to acknowledge the industry’s fundamental shortcomings.

The dollar figure also provides a basis for regulators’ internal discussions regarding how best to penalize Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial in a settlement of wide-ranging allegations of wrongful and occasionally illegal foreclosures. People involved in the talks say some regulators want to levy a $5 billion penalty on the five firms, while others seek as much as $30 billion, with most of the money going toward reducing troubled homeowners’ mortgage payments and lowering loan balances for underwater borrowers, those who owe more on their home than it’s worth.

Even the highest of those figures, however, pales in comparison to the likely cost of reducing mortgage principal for the three million homeowners some federal agencies hope to reach. Lowering loan balances for that many underwater borrowers who owe less than $1.15 for every dollar their home is worth would cost as much as $135 billion, according to the internal presentation, dated Feb. 14, obtained by The Huffington Post.

But perhaps most important to some lawmakers in Washington, the mere existence of the report suggests a much deeper link between the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, led by Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, and the 50 state attorneys general who are leading the nationwide probe into the five firms’ improper foreclosure practices, a development sure to anger Republicans in Congress and a banking industry intent on diminishing the fledgling CFPB’s legitimacy by questioning its authority to act before it’s officially launched in July.

Earlier this month, Warren told the House Financial Services Committee, under intense questioning, that her agency has provided limited assistance to the various state and federal agencies involved in the industry probes. At one point, she was asked whether she made any recommendations regarding proposed penalties. She replied that her agency has only provided “advice.”

The collapse of globalization

Chris Hedges:

The aim of the corporate state is not to feed, clothe or house the masses, but to shift all economic, social and political power and wealth into the hands of the tiny corporate elite. It is to create a world where the heads of corporations make $900,000 an hour and four-job families struggle to survive. The corporate elite achieves its aims of greater and greater profit by weakening and dismantling government agencies and taking over or destroying public institutions. Charter schools, mercenary armies, a for-profit health insurance industry and outsourcing every facet of government work, from clerical tasks to intelligence, feed the corporate beast at our expense. The decimation of labor unions, the twisting of education into mindless vocational training and the slashing of social services leave us ever more enslaved to the whims of corporations. The intrusion of corporations into the public sphere destroys the concept of the common good. It erases the lines between public and private interests. It creates a world that is defined exclusively by naked self-interest.

Hearts and bones

Why won’t you love me for who I am, where I am
You said, ‘Because that’s not the way the world is, baby.’

Paul Simon with perhaps his greatest song:

Breaking us in two

Joe Jackson from the still amazing “Night and Day” album:

Something

The boys:

Ivana’s bras

Pretty much sums up the Times mantra, doesn’t it?

Here comes the sun

It’s all right…

George and Eric:

Anonymous

I have to say, so far I’m rooting for these guys…

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