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To: carranza2 who wrote (65733)4/30/2012 10:49:40 PM
From: orkrious
   of 102760
 
Thanks, Carranza.

I've seen two shows this tour and he's been as good as I've ever seen him (and I've seen him a lot).

I've looked at the youtube videos posted of the NO show and there aren't any great videos (I'm sure because the open venue doesn't lend itself to videos the way the "smaller" basketball arenas do). It's too bad. That was a great review.

The next time he's in your neck of the woods I highly recommend him. He isn't going to be playing forever.


I already have tickets to Toronto in August and my friend, with whom I go to most of the shows, is bugging me to go to Wrigley Field in Chicago in Sept. For those that worship at the altar of Bruce, we know that life is short. Time is running out.

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From: saveslivesbyday5/1/2012 6:59:24 AM
1 Recommendation   of 102760
 
Tea Party Congressmen Accept Cash From Bailed-Out Bankers

bloomberg.com

($#@&ing hippocrites)

By Heidi Przybyla and Phil Mattingly - Apr 30, 2012

Tea Party favorites such as Stephen Fincher of Tennessee were swept into Congress on a wave of anger over government-funded bailouts of banks.

Now those incumbents are collecting thousands of dollars for re-election campaigns from the same Wall Street firms whose excesses they criticized. They have taken no significant steps to curb them or prevent future taxpayer-financed rescues.

Republican freshmen have made clear their disdain for expanding government, and openly opposed a financial regulatory overhaul enacted by Democrats in 2010 before the newcomers arrived in Washington. Their ranks include 10 Tea Party-backed freshmen on the House Financial Services Committee, part of a force that won election in a populist backlash to government spending that included emergency lending to major banks and bailout of firms including U.S. automakers.

Still, the lawmakers haven’t passed, considered or even introduced legislation to address concerns about “too-big-to- fail” banks voiced by members of both parties and such Federal Reserve bank presidents as Richard Fisher of Dallas and Jeffrey Lacker of Richmond, Virginia.

“I haven’t seen any of them putting forth legislation on breaking up the big banks or on other things that would genuinely prevent a bailout next time,” said Marcus Stanley, policy director of Americans for Financial Reform, a Washington- based umbrella group of organizations that supported the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and other financial regulations.

Freshman Power
Since arriving in Congress in January 2011, Tea Party- backed lawmakers have demonstrated their determination and muscle by forcing several rounds of government spending cuts through standoffs over raising the national debt ceiling with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and other Republican leaders, putting the government on the brink of a shutdown.

Yet the anti-bailout fervor that drove the messaging of Republican candidates during the campaign cycle of 2009 and 2010 has dissipated, and those same lawmakers are now collecting money from the firms bailed out by President George W. Bush’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Five banks -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. (C), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) - - held $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to central bankers at the Federal Reserve. Combined those institutions took $150 billion in bailout money in 2008 and repaid it by the end of the next year.

PAC Donations
The political action committees of those institutions have distributed $169,499 through March 31 to the campaign coffers of the 10 freshman Tea Party-backed lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee, according to an analysis of campaign finance disclosure records.

Fincher, who is among them, promised as a candidate to “Help Main Street” and ensure there would be “no more Wall Street bailouts” in an advertisement that ran 98 times in the Nashville market in the run-up to his victory in a district previously held by a Democrat since 1988, according to New York- based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising.

“There was a lot of visceral reaction” to federal intervention to save Wall Street, said Mark Skoda, founder of the Memphis Tea Party and a Fincher constituent and supporter. “Stephen was very much using the language that Wall Street was problematic here and we were not going to do any more bailouts.”

Fincher, through spokeswoman Jennifer Cook, declined an interview request. Several others receiving donations from the banking firms also have declined to comment.

Some Votes Cast Fincher did vote this month to repeal the mechanism included in Dodd-Frank to resolve the largest financial institutions -- a process House Republicans oppose and say put into law the federal government’s ability to bail out firms.

Dodd-Frank allows the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to use taxpayer dollars to maintain stability in the financial system as it dismantles a “too big to fail” firm. While the FDIC would then be required by law to impose assessments on the largest banks to recoup that money, Republicans argue that the authority allows the agency to make payouts with taxpayer dollars to creditors of a firm -- something that would feed risk-taking at Wall Street firms.

“Republicans on the committee, including the freshmen, stood strong against partisan attacks and voted to repeal this bailout authority,” Jeff Emerson, a spokesman for the Financial Services Committee, said in a statement. The vote sends “the message to ‘too big to fail’ firms and their creditors that they -- and not the taxpayers -- will bear the consequences of shoddy lending and undisciplined risk-taking.”

‘No Alternatives’
Democrats, all of whom voted against the measure in committee, said that the repeal would put the financial system in the same place it was four years ago -- and that Republicans have yet to produce an alternative proposal in the current Congress.

“What they want to do is go back to exactly where we were in 2008,” Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the committee, said in an interview. Frank isn’t seeking re-election. “They’ve presented no alternatives.”

Lawmakers collecting contributions from industries they oversee is a common practice in Congress, and both parties take advantage of it, according to Anthony Corrado, a political scientist at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

‘Money Culture’
“One of the reasons why financial services has become a particularly important committee in recent Congresses is that the parties know they can put individuals on that committee and they will be successful raising money,” Corrado said. “It shows how the money culture on Capitol Hill can affect even those who come to Washington hoping to fight against it.”

Fincher, a gospel musician from Frog Jump, Tennessee, has received $11,500 from the political action committees run by Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Citigroup’s political action committee had not contributed to the lawmaker through the end of March.

Two other members of the committee not listed as members of the Tea Party Caucus, yet who won election to the House with Tea Party support, are Representatives Steve Stivers of Ohio and David Schweikert of Arizona. Both ran ads attacking bailouts.

‘Taxpayer-Funded Bonuses’
One Stivers ad criticized former Representative Mary Jo Kilroy, a Democrat, for supporting “taxpayer-funded bonuses given to failed Wall Street executives.” A Schweikert ad ties the bailouts to the national debt, saying former Democratic Representative Harry Mitchell spent billions “to bail out Wall Street banks, leaving America deeply in debt.”

Stivers, a former banking lobbyist who was endorsed by the Tea Party-affiliated group FreedomWorks, has received $28,000 from the political action committees of the five largest banks; Schweikert has collected $11,500.

Courtney Whetstone, a spokeswoman for Stivers, declined to comment, as did Rachel Semmel, a spokeswoman for Schweikert.

To be sure, it’s not as if the freshmen haven’t been active on the panel.

The House newcomers took the lead on measures aimed at reducing the reach of government in financial markets, either through easing or repealing pieces of the Dodd-Frank Act or reducing the power of new government agencies.

Cutting Regulations
Fincher is the lead sponsor of a law signed this month by President Barack Obama that cuts back Securities and Exchange Commission regulations for newly public companies, a measure Schweikert played a lead role in drafting. Stivers sponsored a bill to ease Dodd-Frank’s swaps rules, which passed the House with bipartisan support, and New York Representatives Michael Grimm and Nan Hayworth have sponsored their own measures to reduce the reach of the derivatives regulations, each garnering bipartisan support, as well.

Hayworth and Grimm, who had the support of Tea Party groups in 2010, collected $27,500 and $15,000, respectively, from the five financial firms through the end of March, according to disclosure records. Grimm, who faces an investigation over improper campaign contributions from followers of a New York City rabbi, moved to distance himself from the Tea Party shortly after he came to Washington in 2011.

Edward Yap, a spokesman for Hayworth, didn’t return requests seeking comment. Grimm spokesman Carol Danko also didn’t respond to interview requests.

Protection Bureau Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, who has received $19,500 from the firms, sponsored a House-passed bill to overhaul the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one of the cornerstones of Obama’s regulatory overhaul. Republicans opposed its creation and have pushed the change the bureau, which they say has too much power.

John Gentzel, Duffy’s spokesman, declined to comment.

Still, proposals to prevent or help manage a systemic financial crisis like that which occurred in 2008 are non- existent. Republicans on the committee voted this month to repeal the resolution process put into place in Dodd-Frank -- a process House Republicans always opposed -- yet haven’t produced an alternative proposal in the current Congress.

Failed Measures
Lawmakers have tried to address the size of U.S. banks in recent years with little success. Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, proposed an amendment to Dodd-Frank that would have capped the size of financial institutions. That amendment failed in the Senate, even with the support of Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Banking Committee.

Representative Brad Sherman, a California Democrat, last week introduced legislation that would require the Treasury secretary and Congress to work in concert to break up financial firms that would threaten the health of the system in the event of their failure. The measure, which also was introduced during the last Congress with no success, has only one co-sponsor in the 435-member House.

While the freshmen on the committee represent an array of constituencies, they have a common need if they want to hold their places in Congress: money.

‘Team 2012’
With that in mind, the group established a fundraising committee, called “Team 2012,” in March 2011. While the committee has since disbanded, it provided a single destination for political action committees representing banks, law firms and lobbyists to donate money to be split among the lawmakers.

The committee included two lawmakers re-elected after spending time away from Congress, and another freshman, Representative Robert Hurt, who did not have major Tea Party backing in his 2010 race in Virginia. Bank of America was among the groups that took advantage of the arrangement, sending the lawmakers $4,000 in April 2011.

Of the 12 Financial Services committee members sharing cash from the committee, which raised $62,900 in its 10 months of existence, nine were Tea Party-backed freshmen. Fincher, who didn’t join the House panel until May 2011, wasn’t involved with the fundraising committee, according to filings.

“Candidates who run the first time on an aggressive platform trying to protect voters against special interests then have to change their tune to pay the piper and listen to those who fund their campaigns,” said David Donnelly, executive director of the Washington-based Public Campaign Action Fund, a nonpartisan group that advocates for tighter campaign finance rules.

To contact the reporters on this story: Heidi Przybyla in Washington at hprzybyla@bloomberg.net; Phil Mattingly in Washington at pmattingly@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net; Maura Reynolds at mreynolds34@bloomberg.net


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To: saveslivesbyday who wrote (65735)5/1/2012 7:35:58 AM
From: posthumousone
1 Recommendation   of 102760
 
keep the pump going!!

Sell in May and Go Away? Maybe Not This Year Another weak May? Don’t be so sure

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From: Travis_Bickle5/1/2012 8:02:31 AM
   of 102760
 
Chrysler US sales rise 20% ... wtf buys a Chrysler these days?

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From: Travis_Bickle5/1/2012 8:24:48 AM
2 Recommendations   of 102760
 
May Day ... consider this thread occupied on behalf of the oppressed workers of the world.


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To: Travis_Bickle who wrote (65737)5/1/2012 8:35:14 AM
From: posthumousone
2 Recommendations   of 102760
 
i'd like TH interpretation of sales....more 'channel stuffing'?
I actually love the dodge challenger
I'd take Chrysler over gm

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To: Travis_Bickle who wrote (65738)5/1/2012 8:35:44 AM
From: posthumousone
2 Recommendations   of 102760
 
30 hour work week???? lol really?

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To: Giordano Bruno who wrote (65731)5/1/2012 9:08:28 AM
From: Pogeu Mahone
   of 102760
 
Very timely.
Thank goodness we did not have to wait LONG for this news!
Stupid bastards for even bringing it up.-ng-

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To: koan who wrote (39960)5/1/2012 9:15:41 AM
From: Pogeu Mahone
1 Recommendation   of 102760
 
Koan
Elizabeth Warren is a COMPLETE WHORE!
What did you expect? She wants to be a politician!
LOL
Better smoke some more of the good stuff!


Elizabeth Warren had key role in asbestos court case Worked for insurer on fund for victims
By Noah Bierman| Globe Staff May 01, 2012





Six months after Elizabeth Warren arrived in Washington to work as an adviser to Congress, she experienced another career milestone in the nation’s capital, a seat at the US Supreme Court’s mahogany counsel table.

The 2009 appearance was the only time Warren helped represent a party before the nation’s highest court. And it provides a rare window into a less-heralded aspect of the Harvard Law professor’s career, her time as a working attorney in the courts.

The case - Travelers v. Bailey - was remarkable in many respects. It was sprawling and complicated, involving dozens of lawyers, thousands of asbestos victims, and nearly three decades of court battles that still have not ended. t was also notable because Warren, who has gained fame for defending consumers against big business, was in this case working on behalf of a big business. For her contribution, Warren was paid $212,000 over three years by Travelers, the nation’s largest insurer.

Travelers was fighting to gain permanent immunity from asbestos-related lawsuits by establishing a $500 million trust. The trust would have been divided among current and future victims of asbestos poisoning who had claims against the nation’s largest asbestos manufacturer, Johns-Manville, which had been insured by Travelers before it went bankrupt.

Travelers won most of what it wanted from the Supreme Court, and in doing so Warren helped preserve an element of bankruptcy law that ensured that victims of large-scale corporate malfeasance would have a better chance of getting compensated, even when the responsible companies go bankrupt.

But after Warren left the case, it continued to twist and turn through the legal system, leaving a result that has been disastrous for asbestos victims. Travelers, in part because of its Supreme Court victory, has held onto its immunity from most lawsuits. But a ruling on Feb. 29 in a separate court has taken the company off the hook for paying out the $500 million settlement.

In the words of one judge who tried to preserve the settlement, Travelers received “something for nothing.’’

While Warren’s Republican opponent in the US Senate race, Scott Brown, has highlighted this business arrangement as an example of hypocrisy for a candidate who has portrayed herself as the champion of consumers, a Globe examination of the convoluted legal record paints a murkier picture.

It is clear that Warren received a substantial amount of money to help the company win immunity from all future lawsuits, with the expectation that the company would have to pay the settlement. But Warren’s work on the case may also have helped Travelers indirectly lay the groundwork for its current position, a position Warren and several other lawyers involved on both sides of the case say they did not foresee: where Travelers has immunity from most suits without having to pay the settlement.

“My heart goes out to the victims of this terrible, terrible disaster,’’ Warren said in a recent interview. “It’s heart-wrenching that there are new victims every year. . . . I think they should be compensated. That’s it for me. That’s what this is all about.’’

Warren, like many law professors, keeps her hand in the courts while she teaches and writes. But that aspect of her career is largely in the background as she runs for Senate, a Democrat seeking to unseat Republican Scott Brown.

The extent of her legal practice, and the clients she has represented, is unclear.

Her campaign would not release a full list of cases she has been involved in. And, while some representation appears in scattered court records, much of her consulting can be done without placing her name on dockets as an attorney of record.

Her campaign detailed six Supreme Court cases in which she has filed so-called friend of the court briefs. They include two briefs on behalf of the AARP: one of which supports protecting individual retirement accounts in the event of a bankruptcy and another that fights to allow judges to lower consumers’ credit card interest rates in the event of personal bankruptcies.

The campaign also provided a 2001-2003 case in which she testified in two trials as an expert working on behalf of asbestos victims, winning access to a $300 million trust, against insurance companies.

Warren’s campaign would not say how much she has earned for her outside work in these and other cases. The $212,000 she earned from Travelers from 2008 to 2010 was included in Warren’s government disclosure forms, required when she worked in Congress and the Obama administration, and when she declared as a Senate candidate. The forms also show that she earned $90,000 for serving as an expert witness for a Florida law firm suing credit card companies.

Four years of her tax returns released on Friday show that she received an average of about $150,000 a year in gross income from her home-based consulting business that includes her legal work, public speaking, writing, and investing.

Warren is considered a leading authority on bankruptcy, and the Travelers case was among a very few that reach the heights of the Supreme Court. She began writing and lecturing about bankruptcy trusts in the 1980s. The trust issue was also addressed in a 1,100-page congressional report on bankruptcy law, drafted in 1995 by Warren, the primary adviser for the National Bankruptcy Review Commission. An attorney who worked with Warren on that commission was heading Travelers’ legal team and called her when the issue boiled up to the highest court.

Travelers’ main attorneys handled the oral arguments in front of the court. Warren sat with them as one of three attorneys of record listed on their brief, the important written argument made to the court.

An attorney for Travelers, Andrew T. Frankel, declined to comment on the case or Warren’s role in it while it remains under appeal. Jennifer Wislocki, a Travelers spokeswoman, said the company believes the most recent ruling in the case is correct, but would not comment further.

Warren says she was fighting for an arcane but important principle in taking on the case: the constitutionality of allowing bankrupt companies facing a flood of lawsuits to form what are known as trusts. The trusts are large bank accounts that set aside money for current and future victims.

Warren says that the trusts provide a fair system to distribute the money - rather than first come, first served. But companies only will agree to them if they receive protection from future lawsuits.

“The issue I was focused on like a laser was the constitutionality of preserving the trust, because the trust is a critical tool for making sure that people who’ve been hurt have a fair shot at compensation,’’ she said. “Without it, millions of people who’ve already been injured will get nothing, and millions more in the future will get nothing.’’

The legal saga began in 1986 when leading asbestos supplier and manufacturer, Johns-Manville, declared bankruptcy under a crush of asbestos-related lawsuits. Travelers insured Johns-Manville from 1947 through 1976.

As part of Johns-Manville’s bankruptcy proceedings, Travelers agreed to pay $80 million toward a larger $770 million trust fund that would pay off current and future asbestos victims who sued Johns-Manville.

In exchange for its contribution, Travelers won a court order protecting it against related future lawsuits.

Despite the order, the lawsuits kept coming, with some lawyers looking for ways around the protection order. Many made the new argument that Travelers conspired with other insurers and manufacturers to conceal the dangers of asbestos and failed in its own duty to warn the public about those dangers.

Travelers wanted to stop the suits. So the company entered into another settlement with asbestos victims in 2004, this one brokered by Mario Cuomo, a former governor of New York who works as a professional mediator. It clarified the 1986 order and it required Travelers to pay a sum now worth about $500 million into the settlement fund.

That Cuomo settlement was challenged by a smaller group of asbestos victims who did not want the company to gain immunity. It was also challenged by another insurance company, Chubb, which was being sued, along with Travelers and dozens of other insurers in multiple lawsuits, based on the theory that insurance companies conspired to hide the dangers of the substance. By suing to block the Travelers settlement, Chubb wanted to preserve its right to shift some of the financial blame back to Travelers in the event that it had to pay damages to asbestos victims.

Such conspiracy suits have not been successful, but neither insurance company wanted to take on what its attorneys considered additional risk or defense costs.

It was that issue that brought the case to the Supreme Court, where Travelers - with Warren’s help - crafted a case designed to allow the company to put this issue to rest: pay out the $500 million and win immunity from any future suits.

To do that, Travelers argued that the 2004 settlement was simply an extension of the 1986 agreement. Therefore, the case focused on the legality of that original agreement and the degree of protection it provided to Travelers against future lawsuits.

Though some asbestos victims still objected to the Travelers settlement, another larger group of victims was on the same side as the insurer - at least during this portion of the case - in seeking to have the settlement upheld.

The Supreme Court decision gave Travelers a victory, validating the legality of the 1986 agreement and the immunity it provided. But it left to the lower courts to decide whether Chubb had a right to challenge the 2004 settlement.

That triggered another series of legal arguments that ultimately unraveled the $500 million settlement, leaving Travelers with permanent immunity from most asbestos lawsuits without having to pay the victims.

The payment of the $500 million settlement was premised upon the company winning immunity from all lawsuits. But because an Appeals Court subsequently ruled that Chubb could still sue Travelers, still another judge ruled that the conditions had not been met to force Travelers to pay out the money.

In his Feb. 29 order, US District Judge John G. Koeltl cited the Supreme Court case, saying essentially that Travelers never needed the second settlement, the one that cost it $500 million, to protect itself from most asbestos suits.

Koeltl ruled that the 2004 settlement was simply a clarification to “obtain complete peace’’ against the likes of Chubb and other insurers. And because there was no peace from Chubb, there was no settlement.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers say they are not surprised Travelers would try not to pay the money. As a publicly traded company, it is obligated to serve its shareholders.

“It’s an insurance company,’’ said Michael P. Cascino, a Chicago attorney representing a group of asbestos victims. “Unless you believe a corporation’s a human being, how could it be sincere’’ in wanting to pay the settlement?

Bruce Carter, an Ohio attorney representing 19,000 plaintiffs, added that “like any company, they’d love to get something for nothing. And that’s really where they’re at now.’’

The case remains on appeal. In the meantime, Carter said, many of the families who have been waiting more than a decade for their settlement money have seen loved ones die.

Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.

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To: TH who wrote (65720)5/1/2012 9:42:13 AM
From: Amelia Carhartt
1 Recommendation   of 102760
 
Worse they gave one to that Gore Whore!

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