Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 16, 2010

FRIDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* Wow: "Goldman Sachs, which emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis, was accused of securities fraud in a civil suit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment that was secretly devised to fail. The move marks the first time that regulators have taken action against a Wall Street deal that helped investors capitalize on the collapse of the housing market. Goldman itself profited by betting against the very mortgage investments that it sold to its customers."

* Senate Dems would love to use Goldman to advance Wall Street reform, the way they used Anthem to advance health care reform.

* A new line in the sand: President Obama will veto financial regulatory reform if it fails to regulate the derivatives market.

* Blackwater: "The former president of Blackwater Worldwide and four other former officials at the embattled security firm were indicted Friday on federal weapons charges, partially the result of a raid two years ago by agents that rounded up 22 weapons, including AK-47s."

* Good: "President Obama called Friday for Congress to pass legislation giving voting representation to residents of the nation's capital. The House Democratic leader, Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, plans to bring the measure, called the D.C. Voting Rights Act, to the floor next week for a vote."

* Wise words from President Clinton on the consequences of angry, right-wing rhetoric.

* After the Senate passed an extension of unemployment benefits, the House did the same on a 289 to 112 vote. President Obama signed it into law last night.

* A long day of conservative badgering for appeals court nominee Goodwin Liu.

* Solicitor General Elena Kagan has come under some progressive criticism over her views on executive power, but the critiques are not universal.

* CATO makes Romney look pretty foolish. (thanks to D.D. for the tip)

* I was afraid no one would get my Venn Diagram reference.

* The Washington Post really shouldn't give platforms to bigots.

* Do you suppose the Teabaggers know Republicans voted against troop funding?

* Hoping to change the law when it comes to student loans and bankruptcy.

* I'm afraid Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) doesn't know the meaning of the word "own."

* Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) thinks the United States may be "reliant upon the Soviet Union" for future low-earth orbit access. He's not very bright.

* Jon Stewart offered some worthwhile guidance to Fox News last night.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (27)

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Comments

On voting in D.C., I'm with Prof. Turley: if you want a voting member in Congress, you need a constitutional amendment. See, 23rd Amendment.

I'd support it. There are many more people in Puerto Rico too, so they too should have such a vote. In both cases, they are not states, so equal representation in Congress -- including in the Senate -- would not be logical in my eyes.

The fact that Sen. Hatch is supporting this end around in part to benefit his state underlines that lack of principles on his side. No news there.

Posted by: Joe on April 16, 2010 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

From CBS News...

"The former president of Blackwater Worldwide was charged Friday with using straw purchases to stockpile automatic weapons at the security firm and filing false documents to cover up gifts given to the King of Jordan."

Here's the link

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/16/national/main6403670.shtml?tag=strip

Posted by: Mark on April 16, 2010 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

I liked the Venn diagram comment. It was the cleverest line Ive read this week.

Posted by: troglodyte on April 16, 2010 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Oops! I got excited and posted the above link before I noticed you've already covered the story above. So much for my scoop points; I guess cub reporter is still out of my league.

Posted by: Mark on April 16, 2010 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

"I was afraid no one would get my Venn Diagram reference."

I'm actually in a statistics class and only learned about Venn Diagrams last week. So, good timing Steve.

And yes, since the concept was fresh in my mind, the joke was hilarious.

Posted by: Chris on April 16, 2010 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Code Pink attempts citizen's arrest of Karl Rove at book signing: http://ow.ly/1zsR3

This after he was forced to leave a Beverly Hills book signing last month.

Posted by: FC on April 16, 2010 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

DC should be retroceded to Maryland -- as was done with the Virginia side of DC in the 19th century.

That way DC would become a Congressional district in Maryland, and would have its own regular member of the House as part of the Maryland delegation, and in addition its citizens would be represented in the Senate by Maryland's two Senators.

Problem solved.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 16, 2010 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

DC should be retroceded to Maryland -- as was done with the Virginia side of DC in the 19th century.

That way DC would become a Congressional district in Maryland, and would have its own regular member of the House as part of the Maryland delegation, and in addition its citizens would be represented in the Senate by Maryland's two Senators.

Problem solved.

That'll never happen. It makes way too much sense.

Posted by: Realist on April 16, 2010 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Goldman Sachs, which emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis, was accused of securities fraud in a civil suit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission

You mean there is somebody actually working at the SEC now ? That hasn’t happened since President Clinton left office almost a decade ago.

Posted by: Joe Friday on April 16, 2010 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

The Washington Post really shouldn't give platforms to bigots.

and

SPRIGG: I think that the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned the sodomy laws in this country, was wrongly decided. I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.

Any bets on how long before a Sprigg gay sex solicitation scandal emerges?

Posted by: DelCapslock on April 16, 2010 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Wise words from President Clinton on the consequences of angry, right-wing rhetoric.

And you can tell from the foaming at the mouth reaction from the American RightWing that his warnings were slam dunk dead on accurate.

Posted by: Joe Friday on April 16, 2010 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Jason Kottke reposts a passage he found on Redit so genuinely awesome that it cannot not be plagiarized:

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.

At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my national highway traffic safety administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issed by the federal reserve bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US postal service and drop the kids off at the public school.
After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to ny house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department.
I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on freerepublic.com and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.
Posted by: Glenn Beck's Chalkboard on April 16, 2010 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Re your Venn diagram comment: I got it! And I posted it at a BB I participate in.

It's a keeper. :)

Posted by: Lynn Dee on April 16, 2010 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Todd Akin is such an embarrassment to Missourians. He represents such a minute group of greedy misinformed elderly constituents who all want him to make them bucks. He does nothing for the state except open his mouth with such stupidity just to get noticed. Remember the "Davy Crockett blackberry" nonsense. The man really is dumb and proof that money can buy education. He only meets with republicans and doting reporters because he would fail any serious challenge to his ridiculous comments. An idiot elected by idiots who vote republican no matter who the candidate is. Bad enough we have to have Blunt and Bond but Akin is just ridiculous. Stupid is as stupid does especially when he does it just for attention...mouth opens and the fool shows his embarrassing talent.

Posted by: bjobotts on April 16, 2010 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

I love the timing of the SEC fraud filing against GS. It's like those old Roadrunner cartoons when Roadrunner moves a wooden plank spanning a chasm and Wylie Coyote steps into mid air, a dumbfound look on his face.

I'll give you one guess who's the SEC and who's the 41 Senators signing Mitch McConnell's anvil.

Posted by: JWK on April 16, 2010 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

To Steve B - I was laughing so hard when you wrote the Venn diagram comment. Love that reference to mathematical geek humor. I doubt the
Tebagging community knows they got dissed, despite their "high IQs", as Sen. Bachmann totes.

Posted by: Galileo on April 16, 2010 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting irony about Gold-man sacks: they say they want regulation, to reduce uncertainty:
Washington Examiner.
Actually that's not absurd or cause for the "if they like it, it must be bad" fallacy. Good regulation helps business be more efficient by reducing uncertainty and radical events, like GS says. I wonder why that didn't occur to more companies earlier.

Nevertheless, many progressive commenters say the proposals are compromised and don't go far enough.

Posted by: neil b on April 16, 2010 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

GS issued Abacus 2007-etc

wonder why those particular pieces of AIG's portfolio didn't fetch par when Timmy paid top dollar for everything else?

Posted by: some guy on April 16, 2010 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

With a bit of luck, the timing of the GS scandal will prove as serendipitous for the Financial regs as the health insurance rates hike was for the HCR.

Posted by: exlibra on April 16, 2010 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Quite pleased that the Obama version of the SEC decided not to look the other way any longer about Goldman Sach's criminal behavior. Hopefully, it is the beginning of a series of aggressive actions, coupled with "this time, we mean it" regulatory reform, to curb the reign of the financial terrorists. On the other hand, I suppose Michelle Bachmann thinks this is another instance of a "gangster government" in action.

BTW I can understand why it took the piTea Party, and not MB, to inspire your instant classic Venn diagram observation. I'm jealous, but I'll get over it.



Posted by: gone_west on April 17, 2010 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

McConnell has firmly maneuvered the Republican Senators onto Goldman's side. Brilliant.

Posted by: bob h on April 17, 2010 at 6:27 AM | PERMALINK

Bachmann the alleged welfare queen of farm subsidies, reportedly involved with the "private" Bachmann family farm in Wisconsin, recives USDA subsidies. YMMV

http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/1209/Antisocialist_Bachmann_got_250k_in_federal_farm_subsidies.html

The venerable often cited conservative Heritage Fund has their take on these subsidies, yet the wingnuts don't seem to cite this study. It's an older sturdy from 2002, but I would imagine it would be similar today, since republicans seem to enjoy subsidies to "private" businesses with the last one that I am aware of was created was in Medicare Part D that was "rammed" through congress using reconciliation. YMMV

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2004/05/Another-Year-at-the-Federal-Trough-Farm-Subsidies-for-the-Rich-Famous-and-Elected-Jumped-Again-in-2002

Posted by: flyonthewall on April 17, 2010 at 6:55 AM | PERMALINK

I'm glad others appreciated your Venn diagram reference. I posted it to my Facebook page as the quote of the day. If fact it's still my FB status.

Posted by: Eric Faulkner on April 17, 2010 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

The venerable often cited conservative Heritage Fund=Heritage Foundation. Coffee hadn't quite hit the spot.

Posted by: flyonthewall on April 17, 2010 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, when I described credit default swaps the other day as like buying insurance on your neighbor's home and then burning it down to collect on the policy, I only meant it as a metaphor. I had no idea Goldman Sachs would actually do it for real!

But remember: according to Republicans and the Wall Street Journal, the financial meltdown is all the fault of irresponsible poor people who got mortgages they could not afford and the liberals who enabled them. NOT!

Posted by: Ted Frier on April 17, 2010 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the Tea Party folks are more akin the Euler diagrams showing simple closed minds.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 17, 2010 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Move the capital of the country to the center of the country, 40 miles north of Belle Fourche, SD. It's basically uninhabited. Keep it that way. Make the legislature live in tents during legislative sessions, and return it all back to uninhabited grassland between each session. If no permanent structures can be erected in the ten-mile square, this problem will never happen again.

Posted by: citizenw on April 17, 2010 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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