Too big to jail

david Cay Johnston

David Cay Johnston really lets the Obama administration have it for refusing to prosecute bankers:

With a track record like that, you might think Black would have been the first person President Barack Obama called when he took office five years ago as the economy was being gutted because of reckless and rapacious banking practices that plundered profits through subprime mortgages and devilish derivatives. A second Great Depression was stalking America, as the stock market was tanking and businesses small and large were hemorrhaging jobs.

The economy is still recovering from those cynical depredations, and many people are still wondering why no one has gone to jail for pushing us all to the brink of ruin.

But to this, day no one in the White House or the Justice Department, no one in the banking regulatory agencies, will return Black’s calls. In 2012 he did get invited to brief Capitol Hill staffers on fraud by banks. He bought plane tickets to D.C. from Kansas City, Mo., where he teaches law and economics at the University of Missouri’s law school there. But before the plane took off his phone rang. “I was told not to come,” Black recalls. “The staff said they were afraid I would engage in too much bank bashing.”
Continue Reading →

Who’s doing what in Ukraine?


I get the feeling we’re about to be sucked into yet another war:

A flyer distributed in the eastern Ukrainian city Donestk is telling the city’s Jewish community that they need to “register” with the separatist government, but the head of the self-appointed new leadership in the region has denied involvement.

In a set of flyers handed out to Jewish Ukrainians leaving synagogue on Monday, members of the community over the age of 16 were allegedly ordered to register at the government’s main building, which is currently being occupied by pro-Russian gunmen and protesters. Additionally, they would be forced to pay a registration fee of $50 and list all pieces of property, including real estate and vehicles. “Evasion of registration will result in citizenship revoke and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property,” a translation of the flyer reads.

The original report from Novosti Donbassa said that the leaflet was passed out by “three unidentified men wearing balaclavas and carrying the flag of the Russian Federation” with the aim of causing a conflict, then “to blame the attack on separatists.” The flyers were distributed in the name of the “People’s Republic of Donetsk,” the title that the pro-Russian separatists in the region have given themselves. They also bear the signature of Denis Pushilin, who has been referred to in reports from the region as the “people’s governor.”

In an interview with Ukrainian press, Pushilin confirmed that the flyers, marked with the emblem of his organization, were really distributed in Donetsk. But unlike various English translations, in the original interview with Ukrainian media, Pushilin not only rejected the content of the flyers, but also denied that his organization was behind their printing. “Some idiots yesterday were giving out these flyers in targeted areas,” he said, claiming that he had never himself used the “people’s governor” title the flyer bestows on him. Pushilin did not suggest who else may have been handing out the anti-Semetic flyers, but went on to criticize the original site for posting it online.

It’s about damned time

Salvation Army Site

Mayor Michael Nutter should have stopped this regressive practice a long time ago:

Philadelphia police will no longer detain immigrants unless the federal government shows up with a warrant, Mayor Michael Nutter announced Wednesday morning. The mayor signed an executive order at a press conference that would limit cooperation between the Philadelphia Police Department and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to hold arrested immigrants for possible deportation.

Nutter’s executive order would prevent Philadelphia police from turning over immigrants with no criminal convictions to ICE agents. Similar restrictions are already enforced in “two states, the District of Columbia, at least eight cities and 12 counties,” including New York City,New Orleans, and statewide in California. The policies would mostly still allow law enforcement officials to continue to hold criminal immigrants, who were previously convicted of a first or second degree felonies involving violence. But immigration advocates from the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM) group are hailing Philadelphia’s action as a victory, because the city would additionally require ICE officials to secure judicial warrants to support their detainers.

NSM community organizer Nicole Kligerman said to ThinkProgress Wednesday that the provision is the “most progressive policy in the country” and would “in practice … end all deportation holds” since ICE doesn’t generally seek out judicial warrants to accompany detainer requests.

Judge boots NFL concussion settlement

American football
She says (and I agree) that the amount is nowhere near enough:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal judge in Philadelphia has declined to approve deals for another batch of retired players suing the NFL over concussion-linked claims.

U.S. District Judge Anita Brody’s preliminary ruling Wednesday follows a similar ruling in January on the proposed $765 million umbrella settlement. She is skeptical that the fund is large enough to cover up to 20,000 players for 65 years, as intended.

Brody’s latest ruling involves a group of plaintiffs led by Kevin Turner, a former Philadelphia Eagle now battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. The judge also denied the Turner group class-action status, at least for now.

Attorney Sol Weiss, representing the players, insists the deal is fair and sufficient to cover their needs. Weiss says he believes most players will sign on rather than spend years fighting the NFL in court.

The surprise settlement emerged last summer, after several months of closed-door meetings with a mediator.

Oklahoma wants to charge homeowners who install their own solar panels

How Harnessing Solar Power Can Slash Energy Bills

As they say, the only reason Texas doesn’t fall into the Gulf of Mexico is because Oklahoma sucks!

Oklahoma residents who produce their own energy through solar panels or small wind turbines on their property will now be charged an additional fee, the result of a new bill passed by the state legislature and expected to be signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

On Monday, S.B. 1456 passed the state House 83-5 after no debate. The measure creates a new class of customers: those who install distributed power generation systems like solar panels or small wind turbines on their property and sell the excess energy back to the grid. While those with systems already installed won’t be affected, the new class of customers will now be charged a monthly fee — a shift that happened quickly and caught many in the state off guard.

“We knew nothing about it and all of a sudden it’s attached to some other bill,” Ctaci Gary, owner of Sun City Oklahoma, told ThinkProgress. “It just appeared out of nowhere.”

Because the surcharge amount has not been determined, Gary is cautious about predicting the impact it will have on her business. She has already received multiple calls from people asking questions about the bill and wanting to have solar systems installed before the new fee takes effect. “We’re going to use it as a marketing tool,” Gary said. “People deserve to have an opportunity [to install their own solar panels] and not be charged.”

This is very possible

Election Day queue in Alexandria, Virginia

And I’m tired of people explaining to me how we can’t win. I actually see people paralyzing themselves into inaction and indifference. Look, I’m no happier with the Dems then you are — but getting a Democratic majority is the only way we have even a fighting chance:

In a poll released by McClatchy/Marist on Tuesday, 48% of registered voters stated that they’d vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress this November. This contrasts with 42% of registered voters who said they’d go for the Republican candidate. 4% claimed they’d vote for an independent or third party candidate while 6% said that they’re undecided.

Obviously, both Democrats and Republicans favored their own party heavily. 90% of Democrats said they’d vote for the Democratic candidate, while 94% of Republicans favored someone from the GOP. What the poll did reveal is that Democrats have a slight edge with independents, as 43% said they’d go for the Democratic candidate over 40% who would vote for a Republican. Also, Democrats have an 18-point advantage with moderates, with 53% favoring Democrats against 35% who favor the GOP.

Regionally, Democrats hold an edge everywhere but in the Midwest. Even in the South, Democrats are up by one point, 46-45. In the Northeast, Democrats hold a huge 20-point advantage, 56-36. Dems also have a pretty large lead in the West, as 49% prefer a Democratic candidate as opposed to 41% who like the GOP. Even in the Midwest, the GOP’s advantage isn’t large, as they hold a two-point lead with 13% either undecided or favoring neither party.

Now, this doesn’t say that the Democrats are primed to take over the House in November. As we all know, it isn’t one large national election, but rather hundreds of local and regional elections. On top of that, the vast majority of Congressional districts will not have competitive elections, as they are drawn up in such a way to favor one party heavily over the other. Still, there are roughly 25-30 truly competitive House races this year, with another 20 or so that could become interesting.

Democrats need to flip 17 seats to take over the House of Representatives in November. It will be tough, but not impossible. With this most recent poll, we see that there is an appetite among the electorate to get rid of the House Republicans that have gummed up the works since taking over the House after the 2010 midterms.

Site Meter