Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Last Call

So, does contributing 0.2% of a child's genetic content mean you're a parent in the future?
Researchers in the UK have developed a method of curing a class of genetic disorders by transplanting parts of embryonic cells from one mother to another, creating the possibility of babies with three biological parents.

Researchers at Newcastle University have transferred material from a healthy fertilized human egg into an unhealthy one, repairing the egg's genetic flaws, Nature magazine reported Wednesday.

The procedure is meant to fix problems with faulty mitochondria -- the "cellular batteries" that power human cells. By transferring the mitochondria from a female donor to another embryo, the researchers were able to turn a flawed egg into a healthy embryo.

"As mitochondria contain DNA, a child conceived this way would inherit genetic material from three parents," reports the Times of London. "The mother and father would supply 99.8 per cent of its DNA, but a small amount would come from a second woman, the mitochondrial donor."

That possibility has "profound medical and ethical implications," reports Brandon Kleim at "One issue involves the nature of parenthood: Would a mitochondrial donor be a parent?"
Frankly this is very cool if it works, I'm not sure how many eggs are infertile due to bad mitochondria, but that genetic flaw does exist, and it means some women can't have children, but if this procedure can turn infertile eggs into fertile ones, it's a good thing.  Wired's Brandon Kleim does have an excellent question however:  does this make you a third parent?  What sort of rights does the mitochondrial donor have?  While this procedure is a long way off from being viable in humans, it may well very be viable sooner than you think.

It's better to ask these questions now than discover the answers to them later in ugly legal battles, for instance. Still, score one for reproductive science.

Papers Please, Palestinians

There's no reasonable way you can say Israel is committed to peace after reading this.
A new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years.

When the order comes into effect, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.

Given the security authorities' actions over the past decade, the first Palestinians likely to be targeted under the new rules will be those whose ID cards bear home addresses in the Gaza Strip - people born in Gaza and their West Bank-born children - or those born in the West Bank or abroad who for various reasons lost their residency status. Also likely to be targeted are foreign-born spouses of Palestinians. 
Don't have a permit to be in Gaza?  IDF commanders can now deport or imprison you.  And this doesn't just apply to Palestinians in Gaza either.
Until now, Israeli civil courts have occasionally prevented the expulsion of these three groups from the West Bank. The new order, however, puts them under the sole jurisdiction of Israeli military courts.

The new order defines anyone who enters the West Bank illegally as an infiltrator, as well as "a person who is present in the area and does not lawfully hold a permit." The order takes the original 1969 definition of infiltrator to the extreme, as the term originally applied only to those illegally staying in Israel after having passed through countries then classified as enemy states - Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.

The order's language is both general and ambiguous, stipulating that the term infiltrator will also be applied to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, citizens of countries with which Israel has friendly ties (such as the United States) and Israeli citizens, whether Arab or Jewish. All this depends on the judgment of Israel Defense Forces commanders in the field. 
Now, who would be in the Gaza Strip who wasn't a Palestinian and didn't have a permit? Oh yes...reporters. At this point there's really nothing stopping the Israeli military from coming in and literally cleaning out thousands of people from Gaza.  Anyone they don't want around, and anyone they don't want around to witness it.  Pretty good plan if you have no intent of making peace.  And these guys are our allies.  How did Congress react this week to our ally's plan to enable mass deportations and arrests?
More than “three quarters of the U.S. Senate, including 38 Democrats, have signed on to a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implicitly rebuking the Obama Administration for its confrontational stance toward Israel,” Ben Smith reports.
More than three-quarters of the Senate stepped in to warn the President that he's not allowed to have a disagreement with Israel.  Lord knows we would ever have anything to disagree with Israel about...

Like maybe, deportation policies in the occupied territories. 

For more on how our relationship with Israel is just utterly broken and has been for decades, check this article from BooMan.

Chris Dodd Takes Off The Gloves

Sen. Chris Dodd doesn't pull any punches in his response to Mitch McConnell's falsehoods on the bailout bill, and neither does McClatchy's Kevin Hall in reporting Dodd's powerful rebuttal.
The architect of sweeping legislation that would revamp financial regulation took the Senate floor on Wednesday to accuse the Senate Republican leader of lying about the bill and being in Wall Street's back pocket. 
My stars and garters, is that the word "lying" I see a Republican being accused of in an American newspaper?    Does Mitch have his Fainting Couch and Pearl-Clutching Kit available?
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Ct., delivered a blistering 20-minute speech that included the revelation of a political talking points memo from a Republican strategist that was virtually verbatim to the criticism voiced Tuesday by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

McConnell had accused Dodd of drafting partisan legislation, even though the Banking Committee chairman has worked for roughly half a year with key Senate Republicans and incorporated many of their ideas into his bill. McConnell also said the bill continues controversial bank bailouts, which it does not.

"It's a naked political strategy," thundered a visibly upset Dodd. He held up a leaked memo attributed to GOP strategist Frank Luntz that advises Republican lawmakers to accuse Dodd and other Democrats of perpetuating bailouts for giant banks.

"Nothing could be further from the truth. The bill as drafted ends bailouts," Dodd said, describing how regulators would get new powers to dissolve large financial institutions, even healthy ones if their size is deemed to threaten the broader financial system.

Additionally, the Dodd bill would require large institutions to present a plan for how to liquidate their company if necessary.
Nice to see ol' Chris find his spinal column, practically pregnant with fortitude no less.  Even better to see a reporter actually point out that Dodd has indeed spent a year plus on this bill, and that the Republicans have walked away from the table.  Gosh, why does that strategy sound familiar?

It's the same playbook as HCR.  Republicans delay and delay, trying to weaken the bill, then declare it horribly broken and partisan and they no longer want any part of it, daring the Democrats to try to pass the legislation.

Only this time, the GOP is going to learn that siding with the banks is less popular than siding against health care reform, and the Dems think they have a winning issue here.  They do.
Senate Democrats, guided by the White House, wasted little time responding to Republican opposition to their financial regulatory reform proposal. A day after GOP came out swinging against a bill authored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, Democrats had a simple message for the minority: your time is running out. This touches off a game of chicken over the first big issue Congress will address after health care reform. And the question of whether the two parties can reach agreement over a growing number of disagreements remains in serious doubt.

This morning, Dodd took the the Senate floor to sound the warning to the GOP. "My patience is running out," he bellowed after issuing a withering critique of Republican leaders for grounding their opposition to his reform bill in a political strategy memo authored by conservative strategist Frank Luntz. Dodd has been negotiating with his counterpart, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), but those talks may not last much longer.
Good.  Much, much more of this please, Democrats.  This is an issue that has even better support than health care reform.  Make the Republicans side with the banks.  Even better, let's take to heart the lesson here:  there's no such thing as a "good faith negotiation" with a Republican.  In the end, they will try to defeat any legislation that Obama can claim victory on.  By all means, let the GOP side with the banks wanting to go to the Supreme Court in order to hide the details of their $2 trillion bailout.

Trey Grayson, Meet The Hoffman Effect

If you're a Republican primary candidate and somebody asks you if Sarah Palin is qualified to be President, you really are put in a rough spot.  On one hand, saying that you believe Palin is qualified to be President right now is not a real good answer heading into a general election, given Moose Lady's falling popularity.

On the other hand, admitting she's not qualified to be President is bound to annoy those Republican primary voters.  Dave Weigel:

Does Grayson think Palin is qualified to be president? "Not today." Did he think she was in 2008? "She wasn't running for president. I think she had the position to be vice president, but she wasn't running for president. I thought Sen. McCain was the best candidate to be president in the last election."

Is this a fair thing to ask Grayson? Well, Palin has endorsed his opponent, Rand Paul. Grayson initially reacted to the endorsement by raising questions about whether Palin had actually issued it, then lumped Palin in with the "outsiders" supporting Paul. So Palin's been a presence in the race. Is it something that would hurt him? Certainly, "she's as qualified as Obama was" is a better answer for conservatives (if harder to spin with reporters), but there is a sense in the movement that Palin is better suited to a campaign role than to the presidency. Still, lots of Kentucky Republicans think she'd be just fine in the White House.
Here's my question, how long does it take for Grayson here to be attacked as a misogynist for thinking this? I believe that's that standard charge for anyone who doesn't believe Palin is 100% qualified for the Oval Office, yes?  And yes, let's keep in mind Sarah Palin made herself an issue in this race by endorsing Rand Paul.

The larger issue of course is the Hoffman Effect:  Grayson has to run increasingly to the right in order to beat Rand Paul, but the further to the right he runs, the more damage he takes in the general election.  And "to the right" in this case means trying to out-crazy Rand Paul here in Kentucky, no mean feat.  Paul continues to have a substantial lead, and it's clear Grayson is trying to present himself as the moderate alternative to Paul here in order to win the general.

It's just not helping him in the primary.  I'm not convinced however that given Palin the griftebrity's falling popularity that this was an entirely bad move.  After all, it can't get much worse for Grayson at this point.

[UPDATE 6:05 PM]  And Jim Bunning has just endorsed Rand Paul.  Somebody get a towel.  This is gonna get messy.

Epic Watch The Country Burn Fail

The Bachmanniac is back, still rooting for the economy and the country to fall apart just so it proves her point that Obama is wrong on the economy.  Think Progress:
HENNEN: I’m proudly accepting that label of rooting for failure for his policies, not for any one personal individual or anything else, but, I mean, should we, is that what Republicans are doing? Are we rooting for failure? Is David Axelrod right?
BACHMANN: We’re, we’re, we’re hoping that President Obama’s policies don’t succeed, exactly as you said. And of course, David Axelrod unfortunately seems to be wanting to smear people who disagree with the president. We’ve seen that over and over at Tea Party events, at gatherings where people say, “look, I don’t like this idea of out of control spending and accumulating deficits that our kids have no possibility of paying back.” And to think that those of us, we who disagree with that very ill-thought out idea are being smeared, I think that’s really wrong.

Really?  A sitting member of Congress is admitting that she wants to see the President's policies on the economy, job creation, financial reform, and health care reform fail?  And in the same paragraph she bemoans being smeared because she disagrees with Obama?

How does that work?  Most people would probably tell you there's a difference between "I disagree with how to fix this problem, I have a better solution" and "I want to see this attempt to fix the problem fail."  Or it would, if Bachmann had a better solution, which she does not.

Maybe she should be worried less about wanting to see the President's plan fail and the economic catastrophe that it would mean, and worry about how she's spending taxpayer money on Tea Party rallies instead.

Seems to me more than a little bit of EPIC FAIL going on here.

No Teaching Job Left Behind

Iowa Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin wants to see $23 billion spent to keep school districts across the nation from laying off teachers
The Senate's leading Democrat on education issues proposed a $23 billion bailout Wednesday to help public schools across the country avert widespread layoffs, a sequel to the economic stimulus law that has propped up teetering state budgets for the past year.

The Obama administration immediately expressed support for an education jobs bill to help states through fiscal crisis, hoping to build momentum for the proposal from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

In an appropriations hearing on Capitol Hill, Harkin noted that layoffs of teachers and other school personnel could exceed 100,000 before the next school year starts.

"We must act soon," Harkin said. "This is not something we can fix in August. We have to fix it now." Harkin has a pivotal role as chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on education.

The Democratic-led House late last year approved a measure of similar scope to help save education jobs, but it stalled in the Senate. Whether Harkin's proposal will gain traction remains to be seen. Senate Republicans, who have opposed the Democratic majority on most spending programs, can seek to block legislation through filibuster. 
However, I think it's going to be awfully tough to see Republicans filibuster100,000 teacher jobs in an election year.  On the other hand, this is the Republican party we're talking about, and if they're convinced that there's nothing they can do that will annoy voters more than Obamacare, they may very well tell Harkin to take a hike.

Most certainly Republicans are going to complain this isn't paid for and demand $23 billion be cut from somewhere else.  My suggestion is military spending, but then again, I'm not in Congress (thank God). We'll see how this pans out.  The reality is there's a lot more local/county government workers besides teachers who are going to lose their jobs in the next year or so due to massive budget cuts that will be necessary this year and next.

Teachers are only a small part.

Bob McDonnell's Time Machine

You'd think after his massive gaffe belittling slavery's role in the Confederacy that Virginia's Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, would lie low, or at least have the grace to not go around bringing up images of disenfranchising the rights of his constituents.  Sadly, you would be wrong.
McDonnell wants to change the process by which non-violent felons apply to have their voting rights restored, the Washington Post reported over the weekend. Whereas before, applicants had had to fill out a one-page form, making the process almost automatic, they now will have to submit an essay outlining their contributions to society since their release.

Advocates for the poor say this will result in far fewer people having their rights restored. Kent Willis, an ACLU official in Virginia called the essay requirement "a nearly insurmountable obstacle'' for people with a limited education. And he added that many felons would be intimidated, reducing the number of applicants.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth, Janet Polarek, whose office handles the applications, told the Washington Post that the new system "gives all applicants the opportunity to have their cases heard and have their full stories told."

But the move has provoked an outcry. The Virginia Black Legislative Caucus called the move "a horrific step back towards the era of Jim Crow." One member of the caucus told the Post: "This is designed to suppress the rights of poor people." 
Only two states make felons who have served their time reapply for voting rights:  Virginia and Kentucky (Way to go, Bluegrass State.  Again.)  McDonnell is clearly making it more difficult for these folks to get those rights restored, when in virtually any other state, serving your time is enough.

But now, McDonnell's office is saying all of this is a big misunderstanding.
A spokesman for the governor, a Republican, told the Washington Post that letters sent to over 200 felons, telling them that they would now have to submit an essay as part of the application process -- a process that previously had been almost automatic -- were sent in error, and that the essay idea was just a "draft policy proposal."
The bigger point is this:  Only these two states add extra punishment.  Now Virginia is trying to make it even worse in a cynical and callous attempt to single out the uneducated and keep them off the voter rolls.

But hey Virginia, you elected the guy.  You said the Democrats just weren't good enough anymore.  You got the alternative.

Enjoy your time machine to the 19th century.

The Forty-Seven Percent Solution

NY Times econ reporter David Leonhardt does America a favor by putting to bed the "47% of Americans pay no Federal taxes" lie being cynically used by the Tea Party right to attack the current tax system.
All the attention being showered on “47 percent” is ultimately a distraction from that reality.

The 47 percent number is not wrong. The stimulus programs of the last two years — the first one signed by President George W. Bush, the second and larger one by President Obama — have increased the number of households that receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.

But the modifiers here — federal and income — are important. Income taxes aren’t the only kind of federal taxes that people pay. There are also payroll taxes and capital gains taxes, among others. And, of course, people pay state and local taxes, too.

Even if the discussion is restricted to federal taxes (for which the statistics are better), a vast majority of households end up paying federal taxes. Congressional Budget Office data suggests that, at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes. The number 10 is obviously a lot smaller than 47.

The reason is that poor families generally pay more in payroll taxes than they receive through benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit. It’s not just poor families for whom the payroll tax is a big deal, either. About three-quarters of all American households pay more in payroll taxes, which go toward Medicare and Social Security, than in income taxes. 
And at first blush, the 47% lie would seem to completely seem to undermine the argument of the Tea Party right.  After all, they keep telling us that TEA stands for "Taxed Enough Already".  If they're right, and 47% of Americans "owe no federal taxes" due to tax credits, you'd think that would be a fact the Tea party folks would not want to bring up at all.  Nearly half of Americans don't owe anything at tax time this month?  Kind of kills the momentum that we're overtaxed, right?

But you have to keep in mind the reality.  The reality is, as Leonhardt points out, only 10% of Americans pay no net federal taxes.  Which means there's a good 37% of Americans who owe nothing at tax time on income taxes, but do pay federal payroll or capital gains taxes anyway.  And these are the people who are going "Wait a minute, I don't owe income tax but I pay taxes, and you're telling me 47% of Americans don't?  Well why am I paying taxes then?  That's not fair!"

The lie is being told to foster the impression that 47% of America is being given a free ride when that's simply not true.  That lie is being compounded by suggestions that this mythical 47% is getting a free ride at the expense of the rest of us, and that the folks in that 47% must guessed it...minorities.  It's the Reagan Welfare Queens driving Cadillacs myth all over again, updated for 2010.

"Why are my taxes paying for a free ride for those shiftless, lazy minorities!" the Tea Party screams.  The reality is not that taxes have gone up, either...on a massive majority of Americans those same federal payroll taxes went down.  It's who those tax dollars are spent on that the Tea Party has the problem with.  And when it comes to anyone more miserable or worse off, the Tea Party motto is "Cut them off."

Good for Leonhardt then to lance this particular boil.

I Love (And Leave) L.A.

Tim Rutten's piece in the LA Times is worth reading this morning as he explores the very real possibility that the City of Angels may end up being the City of Bankruptcy, and that filing it may be the only way out.
Former mayor Richard Riordan has been roiling the civic waters by arguing that the surest -- and perhaps the only -- way out of Los Angeles' fiscal crisis is a declaration of municipal bankruptcy, which he believes ought to come sooner rather than later.

In a conversation with The Times over the weekend, Riordan argued that bankruptcy may be the only way to attack the structural problem gnawing the heart out of the city budget: unsustainable public employee pension costs. Currently, Riordan says, the city is struggling to meet its pension obligations, and that's assuming it will receive 8% annually on the money invested on retirees' behalf. In fact, the average return over the past decade has been just 4%. Over the next few years, L.A. may be looking at $1.5 billion in pension obligations it can't meet. "We need some adults to come alive in the city and to talk through how to meet that liability," he said. "If that doesn't happen, we shouldn't rule out bankruptcy."

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's chief of staff, Jeff Carr, says categorically that "this mayor has made it clear that we are not going to declare bankruptcy." Moreover, while federal law lets bankruptcy judges reduce negotiated pension and health benefits in the private sector, it forbids changes in public employees' agreements.

Wherever you come down on the bankruptcy question, it's clear that anything approaching a genuine resolution of the civic financial troubles will have to involve a thorough overhaul of the pension system. Traditionally, public employment offered generous benefits because wages and salaries were lower than in the private sector for comparable work. More recently, public sector salaries have increased -- in part because the governmental workforce is the most significantly unionized in the American economy -- at the same time compensation in most of the private sector has been falling. When you narrow the focus of this national trend to labor-friendly L.A., the picture that emerges is fairly stunning.
When you throw in the fact that cities like Los Angeles invested pension fund money inthe same subprime schemes that the banks did, get the picture.  But in this case it's the employees of the city and county who are going to have to pay for it.  An 8% return is simply not sustainable in this economy anymore, and that means benefits are going to be cut.

The real problem of course is that the people who made the decisions to invest the city's pension fund aren't exactly going to be able to pay that $1.5 billion back.

Now multiply this by dozens of other large cities in the same boat, and you're getting a clearer picture of just how bad this economy still is, and how far it has yet to fall.

Democrat Wins House Election, World Ignores It

A big test of the GOP theories that "If the elections were held today, the Democrats would lose scores of seats in the House" and "Repealing Obamacare is a winning hand" both failed miserably last night, and nobody noticed.
Democrat Ted Deutch won a special election Tuesday for a Florida congressional seat in the nation's first federal election since the passage of the Democrats' health care plan.

Deutch held a sizable lead over Republican Ed Lynch late Tuesday night in the Palm Beach-area 19th District, prompting Lynch to concede.

Deutch had 62 percent of the vote compared to Lynch's 36 percent with 97 percent of the precincts counted, CNN affiliate WFOR reported. The election was to fill the seat of Democrat Robert Wexler, who resigned at the beginning of the year to head up the Center for Middle East Peace.
So, if the pundits were correct, Deutch should have lost.  And if he won, it should have been only by a few percentage points.  "No safe seats for the Dems in 2010!"   Instead he won by 26 points.

Ed Lynch should have won, according to everything the right has been telling us.  It was a special election, which should have favored the Republicans in a smaller, non-presidential contest.  Florida's a battleground state.  Deutsch supported Obamacare.  Lynch vowed to repeal it.  Indeed, this should have been a shocking upset if you believe the rhetoric on the right that the Dems are completely doomed.

The Silent majority spoke alright.  They told the Republican to go screw himself.  I thought Scott Brown's win was an absolute assurance that a huge Tea Party wave was coming to annihilate the Democrats forever?  I thought Obamacare was so hated that Dems everywhere would be crushed?  I thought that repealing the law was this year's golden ticket?

Turns out America still hates the Republicans more.  Go figure.  Steve Benen has more.

Lost Her Carte Blanche, Part 2

Seeing has how she has a nasty battle to win re-election at best, Democrat Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is now going for broke on the question of financial reform in an effort to win populist cred with voters.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) surprised many observers today when she announced she'd introduce legislation to tightly regulate the derivatives market, as part of a broader financial regulatory reform bill. Lincoln's one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, and the White House had been pressuring her not to cede too much to the GOP on the issue. In the end she not only did as they asked, she took them to task for not going far enough to regulate banks.

"Proposals that I have seen from the administration have not gone far enough to prevent bailouts of 'too big to fail institutions' and could contain loopholes," Lincoln said. "If we pass reform, it needs to be real reform. My proposal will go further than any other congressional or administration proposal to prevent future bailouts."

And, faced with a primary challenge, and a tough general election campaign, she wasted no time positioning herself as a bold opponent of Wall Street. Just hours after the news broke, her campaign manager Steve Patterson blasted out an email to supporters. "Just this afternoon, news broke about Senator Lincoln's new proposal that would drastically change the way Wall Street does business," Patterson writes. 
Amazing how Blanche has her "come to Jesus" moment only when the polls show her down by double digits to basically any of her Republican primary foes.  Still, the New Blanche is taking a very hard line on financial reform, and it's entirely possible this will motivate Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, and even a few Republicans like Voinovich, Collins and Snowe to follow suit.

After all, the Republican tack on financial reform is that the Senate bill will enshrine a permanent taxpayer bailout culture.  Since Republicans are incapable of telling the truth, the reality is that the bill creates a fund for bailouts paid for by the banks, and that the government will have the ability to unwind a bank before it can get too big.

In other words, this is like Republicans complaining that firefighter axes used to save lives enshrine a permanent culture of property damage.  Having said that, the devil is still in the details, and while I know there's a 100% chance that any Republican reform plan will be ultimately useless, I still have about a 85% chance of anything the Dems do here with this bill of being just as worthless as far as preventing another financial meltdown.

Getting into that 15% range of actual efficacy however just took a small but important step thanks to the most unlikely of Democrats.  If there's anyone owned by corporate interests in the Donks' caucus, it's Lincoln (D-Wal-Mart).  It shows just how dire her own position is to see her go this route...

Home, Home I'm Deranged, Part 2

President Obama's foreclosure prevention program isn't preventing much of a damn thing.
Only 168,708 homeowners have received long-term mortgage modifications under the president's plan, as of February, a small fraction of the 6 million borrowers who are more than 60 days behind on their loans, according to the Congressional Oversight Panel's latest report, released Wednesday.

The president's foreclosure-prevention plan will likely assist only 1 million troubled borrowers, short of the administration's original goal of up to 4 million homeowners. The program is funded with $50 billion in Troubled Assets Relief, or TARP, funds, putting it under the panel's purview.

"For every borrower who avoided foreclosure through HAMP last year, another 10 families lost their homes," the panel said of the administration's Home Affordable Modification Program. "It now seems clear that Treasury's programs, even when they are fully operational, will not reach the overwhelming majority of homeowners in trouble."
Unlimited taxpayer funds to bail out the banks.  Millions of American homeowners got leftover TARP money at best, scraps from the table of our banking overlords, scraps that Republicans insisted be taken away from them.  On the other hand, Obama's vow to expand the program hasn't helped at all.  Yes, the program is better than the Republican alternative of absolutely nothing, but not by much.  Not by much at all.

Three million American homeowners are going to lose their homes still, and quite possibly a lot more.  That's going to continue to wreck the housing market, lowering housing prices, putting more homeowners underwater and killing property tax revenues for local and state governments well into the next several years.

The worst part of this is that while Obama has largely dropped the ball on financial reform, he's doing an even worse one on the foreclosure crisis.  It's going to continue to devastate our economy for a very long time to come.


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