Archive for December, 2011

The Federal Reserve last week announced its new “Enhanced Prudential Standards and Early Remediation Requirements” for big banks, as required by the Dodd-Frank law. You have to pity the poor Fed because it faces an impossible task.

The Fed’s proposal opens with an eloquent ode to the evils of too-big-to-fail and moral hazard. And then it spends 168 pages describing exactly how it’s going to stop any large financial institution from ever failing again.

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Protesters tied to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, angrily denouncing “corrupt” US politicians, descended Saturday on the Iowa headquarters of Republican presidential candidates.

Police arrested 10 of the demonstrators, including two teenage girls ages 14 and 16, outside Representative Michele Bachmann’s Urbandale base and charged them with trespassing, organizers said.

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New Year Brings E-Verify Laws in Several States

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) – Laws that require voters to present photo identification at the polls, recognize same-sex civil unions and aim to restrict illegal immigration are among the state measures taking effect on New Year’s Day.

Measures passed in 2011, which numbered nearly 40,000 across the country, often reflected the priorities of Republicans, who held majorities in most state legislative chambers and held the highest number of seats nationally by the party since 1928.

“When Republicans finally got in control in many states … they were able to put those things on the table and pass them pretty quickly,” said Barry Burden, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Immigration was a big issue in 2011. A number of states enacted crackdowns geared toward driving away illegal immigrants, only to see key parts of those efforts halted by federal courts.

But starting on Sunday, many businesses in Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia will be required to enroll in the federal E-Verify program to determine whether their employees are eligible to work in the United States.

On the flip side, a new law taking effect in California will prohibit private businesses from being required to use E-Verify except in cases where federal law mandates it.

The National Conference of State Legislatures said more states are expected to pursue curbs on illegal immigration in 2012, with lawmakers looking to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law in its upcoming term for guidance on how expansive state measures can be.

“They’re extremely frustrated by the lack of action by the federal government on this issue,” Conference spokesman Jon Kuhl said.


Kuhl said additional states were also likely to follow in the footsteps of Kansas and Tennessee, where voters will now have to show photo identification before casting a ballot, or Rhode Island, which will require a non-photo identification from voters.

Well over half of all states already require some form of identification from voters. Proponents say such measures help prevent voter fraud, while critics argue the laws disproportionately affect minorities’ ability to vote.

The Justice Department last week blocked South Carolina’s new voter photo identification law due to such concerns.

“With the presidential election coming up, it’s certainly not an issue that’s going to be going away,” Kuhl said.

New laws in Delaware and Hawaii will make same-sex couples eligible for civil unions in the new year and allow them the same legal rights and benefits as married couples, the NCSL said.

And a first-in-the-nation law in California will require public schools to teach students about the historical accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, as well as people with disabilities.

California will be the first state to bar teenagers under age 18 from using tanning beds, while North Dakota will prohibit drivers younger than 18 from using cell phones in their cars and all drivers from text messaging.

A Nevada law will also ban all drivers from texting and using handheld phone devices.

Low-wage workers will see their hourly pay increase on Sunday in the eight states that automatically adjust their minimum wage at the start of each year to keep up with inflation.

Wage increases will take effect in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Experts said 2012 is likely to bring more state budget cuts and legislative agendas that are easy on the wallet.

“The budget situations are just so tough in so many states that they are going to be looking for things that don’t cost a lot of money,” Burden said.

(Additional reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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Fox News on Thursday teamed up with a former Girl Scout to warn that the organization was conspiring to “promote a clear liberal ideology.”

Fifteen-year-old Sydney Volankski, who left the Girl Scouts in 2010 to write about their “pro-abortion mindset” on her blog, has now discovered that a guide published by Girl Scouts of the USA (GUSA) advises scouts to check media facts through a number of sites including Media Matters, which Fox News host Steve Doocy called “clearly a lefty blog.”

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Scott Brown, Wall Street’s favorite senator from Massachusetts, has said the media has been soft on Elizabeth Warren. What a load of bull. Senator Scott “One Percenter” Brown gets the softball treatment from the corporate media while the representative of the 99 percent Warren gets thrown under the bus.

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Latinos are both happy and sad with the Obama administration. They disapprove by a margin of more than two-to-one of the way the administration is handling deportations of unauthorized immigrants, according to a new national survey of Latino adults by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. The survey also reveals that heading into the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama and the Democratic Party continue to enjoy strong support from Latino registered voters, despite a decline in Obama’s job approval rating.

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BUTLER, Pa. — One day after his shift at the steel mill, Gary Myers drove home in his 10-year-old Pontiac and told his wife he was going to run for Congress.

The odds were long. At 34, ­Myers was the shift foreman at the “hot mill” of the Armco plant here. He had no political experience and little or no money, and he was a Republican in a district that tilted Democratic.

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A doctor says the US healthcare system is broken

Last Summer, I was sitting next to Dante at the Southwest Community Center of Portland, Oregon as we waited for the basketball game to end. We were going to play in the following game. Dante is a medical doctor.

I explained to Dante my ailments and all the times the doctors at Kaiser Permanente had told me I was hurting and nothing could be done about it.

“I got hit with a basketball right on the ear,” I said, “and I got a ringing in my ear and went to Kaiser for relief. The doctor looked in my ear and twenty seconds after he entered the room he said, “You got Tinnitus.”

“What’s that?”

“Ringing of the Ears.”

I scratched my ear and said, “I know that. Now what can we do about it?”

“Nothing, sorry.”

“If you can’t do anything, why don’t you send me to a specialist?”

“Sorry,” he said, “There’s nothing they can do.”

He turned and walked out the door.

It turns out it was all a lie. There were cures for Tinnitus and I found them.

Dante turned to me, smiled and said, “The US health care system is broken. That’s why they treat you like that.”

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Okay, Senator Useful Idiot Ron Wyden thinks that more competition will stifle the rise in health care costs. Some of the medical companies that benefit from those price increases probably paid the useful idiot a ton of money to utter such nonsense. Competition hasn’t worked to stifle price increases, or hasn’t anyone noticed? The story is below, but check out the video first. It begins as a comedy, but then moves into how broken the US medical system is.

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