Can’t argue

Glenn Greenwald:

Along with others, I’ve spent the last four years documenting the extreme, often unprecedented, commitment to secrecy that this president has exhibited, including his vindictive war on whistleblowers, his refusal to disclose even the legal principles underpinning his claimed war powers of assassination, and his unrelenting, Bush-copying invocation of secrecy privileges to prevent courts even from deciding the legality of his conduct (as a 2009 headline on the Obama-friendly TPM site put it: “Expert Consensus: Obama Mimics Bush On State Secrets”). Just this week, the Associated Press conducted a study proving that last year, the Obama administration has rejected more FOIA requests on national security grounds than in any year since Obama became president, and quoted Alexander Abdo, an ACLU staff attorney for its national security project, as follows:

“We’ve seen a meteoric rise in the number of claims to protect secret law, the government’s interpretations of laws or its understanding of its own authority. In some ways, the Obama administration is actually even more aggressive on secrecy than the Bush administration.”

Re-read that last sentence in italics. Most of those policies have been covered here at length, and I won’t repeat them here. But what is remarkable is that this secrecy has become so oppressive and extreme that even the most faithful Democratic operatives are now angrily exploding with public denunciations.

SEPTA fare changes

I really wish they’d figure out a way to do this without hitting the working poor:

More subtly, the TransPasses will no longer be valid for in-city trips on regional rail, in two ways. One, the North Philadelphia and North Broad stations are shifting to Zone 1; and two, the passes will simply not be good any more for trips to Eastwick and the airport.

These changes are more significant than they seem. Eastwick is an important destination for city residents with blue-collar jobs, and for airport-area residents with Center City jobs. Come July, TransPass users will have to switch to the 36 trolley (or a long, 2-stage trip using the El to 69th Street and then a bus), since the shorter, direct trip via the Airport Line will cost more. And it used to be one of SEPTA’s best-kept open secrets that a TransPass gets you to the airport for free. The airport is a destination for workers, too, of course; but this change is irritating for bourgeois professionals like myself who go on trips for business or pleasure a few times per year, or want to meet an incoming visitor and help them save a few clams by taking the train rather than a taxi into town.

My point, and I do have one, is for houseguests after July: You’re on your own, kids!

The Zone 1 shift for the North Philadelphia and North Broad stations will work similarly. Residents and workers who need to use those stations will either switch to slower City Division ground transportation, or they’ll have to buy Zone 1 passes. And the math you’ve been waiting for. Currently, a TransPass is $83.00/mo. The proposed TransPass will be $91.00/mo. But people who need to use North Philadelphia, North Broad, Eastwick, or the Airport will have to get a Zone 1 TrailPass, which is now $91.00/mo. but will be $101.00/mo. While I’m whining about a price increase of $9.00/mo., there are others in the city who will have to find $18.00 more in their monthly budgets. And, as a social worker friend of mine put it, these changes will disproportionately affect people who can least afford the changes.

After ever after

So this guy does a video about what happens to the Disney princesses after their “happily ever after”:

Jamie Dimon lied to regulators

Jamie Dimon should be in jail and JPMorgan Chase should be broken up, but we already know why neither of those things are likely to happen. Eric Holder is a friend to Wall Street, as is the rest of the Obama administration. Hopefully some of our more progressive senators will turn up the heat over this latest news:

Washington dealt a double blow Thursday to JPMorgan Chase as a Senate report accused its iconic chief executive of hiding information about a massive loss from regulators while the Federal Reserve unexpectedly said it had found a “weakness” in the bank’s capital plans.

The twin announcements, both unveiled in the late afternoon, escalates the problems for JPMorgan, the nation’s largest bank and arguably its most prestigious. Once viewed as the strongest bank to emerge from the 2008 financial crisis, the firm on Thursday watched its weaker rivals, Bank of America and Citigroup, sail through the Fed’s examination.

Perhaps more pressing is a report from the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which plans to hold a hearing Friday to probe the behavior of current and former senior bank executives as they tried to contain the fallout from a series of damaging trades, initiated by a trader known as the “London Whale.” The bets ultimately cost the bank about $6.2 billion.

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