Oh then, I feel much better now

Olympia Snowe, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Kent Conrad, and John Sununu are now working for Fix The Debt. Four of the biggest conniving corporate whores around! (No offense meant to sex workers…)

Guess we’re in for some more pious platitudes about cutting Social Security so the elderly have “some skin in the game.” But don’t worry, they’re going to do it “in a balanced way.” The president said so.

Meteor explosion over Russia injures 700+

UPDATE: NASA scientists say this was unrelated to the other meteor fly-by expected today, since it’s traveling on a different trajectory.

And you complain about your morning commute? Jesus, if I saw that coming at me, I think I’d have a heart attack:

MOSCOW — Bright objects, apparently debris from a meteorite, streaked through the sky in western Siberia early on Friday, accompanied by a boom that damaged buildings across a vast area of territory. Hundreds of people were reported to have been injured, most from breaking glass.


Emergency officials had reported no deaths by Friday afternoon, but administrators in the city of Chelyabinsk said that more than 750 residents had sought medical care and 31 had been hospitalized.


Russian experts believe the blast was caused by a 10-ton meteor known as a bolide, which created a powerful shock wave when it reached the Earth’s atmosphere, the Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement. Scientists believe the bolide exploded and evaporated at a height of around 20 to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface, but that small fragments may have reached the ground, the statement said.


The governor of the Chelyabinsk district reported that a search team had found an impact crater on the outskirts of a city about 50 miles west of Chelyabinsk. An official from the Interior Ministry told the Russian news agency Interfax that three large pieces of meteorite debris had been retrieved in the area and that 10,000 police officers are searching for more.


A small asteroid, known as 2012 DA14, is expected to pass close to Earth later on Friday, NASA reported on its Web site. Aleksandr Y. Dudorov, a physicist at Chelyabinsk State University, said it was possible that the meteorite may have been flying alongside the asteroid.


“What we witnessed today may have been the precursor of that asteroid,” said Mr. Dudorov in a telephone interview. Video clips from the city of Chelyabinsk showed an early morning sky illuminated by a brilliant flash, followed by the sound of breaking glass and multiple car alarms. Meteorites typically cause sonic booms as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. On Friday, the force was powerful enough to shatter dishes and televisions in people’s homes.

We love you, Elizabeth

Yesterday Sen. Elizabeth Warren took part in her first Senate Banking Committee hearing — and it was everything we could hope for. We’re surrounded by these Wall St. bullies, and here comes Sen. Warren to set things right:

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — In her first hearing as a U.S. senator Thursday, Elizabeth Warren criticized federal regulators for settling civil cases with Wall Street banks instead of taking them to trial.


“I want to note that there are district attorneys and U.S. attorneys who are out there everyday squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds and taking them to trial to ‘make an example,’ as they put it,” she told bank regulators testifying at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. “I am really concerned that too-big-to-fail has become too-big-for-trial.”

It’s a double! Way to hit the ball, Madame Senator!

Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, has long been known as a stanch defender of consumers. She was a lone voice in the wilderness for the creation of an independent agency to write rules for mortgages and credit-card products. That agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is at the center of a firestorm of criticism from Republicans over its structure, funding and the appointment of its director. Before winning election as a senator, Warren oversaw a panel responsible for reviewing bank bailouts implemented to stem the financial crisis of 2008.


Warren acknowledged that trials are expensive but she insisted that if an agency is unwilling to go to trial it is because they are “too timid” or lack resources. She said that the consequence is that if large financial institutions can break the law and “drag in billions” in profits and settle, then they don’t have much incentive to follow the law.


“Every time there is a settlement and not a trial, it means we didn’t have the days and days and days of testimony about what those financial institutions were up to,” Warren said.

And she steals a base!

The Justice Department can take banks to trial on both criminal and civil charges, while bank regulators engage in civil enforcement actions, which can include trials. Bank regulators also can also make referrals to the Justice Department for criminal proceedings against banks or individuals.


Warren asked bank regulators how tough they are and raised the question about when was the last time any regulator took a Wall Street bank to trial.


“Anybody?” she asked. Warren’s comments received a smattering of applause.


Just a little dribbler, but it’s enough to get her on the scoreboard, and she has her first RBI in the big leagues. This woman has strong MVP potential.

Thomas Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks and thrifts, said the agency has not had to bring big banks to trial “as a practical matter” to achieve the regulator’s supervisory goals.

Curry added that the agency has had a fair number of consent orders “so we don’t have to bring people to a trial.” He said the primary motive of the agency’s enforcement actions is to identify the problem and demand a solution to it on an “on-going” basis.

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Elisse Walter said that she believes the agency has a “very vigorous enforcement program” and that the commission looks at the distinction between what could be achieved in trial vs. what the SEC could obtain without a trial.

An SEC spokesman said the agency is “fully prepared” to go to trial every time the commission files a lawsuit. However, he added that there is “no reason” under the SEC’s authority to delay justice and relief for investors when the agency can “get it all without a trial.”

And since there’s no trial and we don’t know what they were up to, they can keep right on doing it.

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