Connecticut Poised to Abolish Death Penalty

By: Thursday April 5, 2012 6:45 am

Almost imperceptibly, and despite nominal support nationally for capital punishment, states are, one by one, abolishing the death penalty, citing the risks of executing innocents, the inherent biases in the system, and the extreme costs. Legislatures in New Jersey, New Mexico and Illinois have abolished the death penalty in recent years, and the courts in New York found it in violation of the state Constitution. Now, Connecticut is poised to become the 17th state to ban the death penalty, after a successful vote last night in the state Senate.


Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Docs (I): Ally’s Side Deal

By: Tuesday March 13, 2012 8:00 am

I’ve read most of the foreclosure fraud settlement documents that were filed in federal court in DC yesterday. Let’s take a look at the penalties being paid to the states. It seems Ally plead “I’m too poor to pay” and got $100 million knocked off it’s fine, while others will get credit for doing what banks normally do.

Georgia Joins Other States in Diverting Foreclosure Fund Settlement Money for Non-Housing Purposes

By: Monday March 12, 2012 4:17 pm

When last I looked in on it, I counted $80.35 million in foreclosure fraud settlement funds earmarked for the states actually headed to purposes other than helping homeowners, its ostensible aim. This includes portions from Missouri, Wisconsin, Maine, Maryland and Vermont. Now we can probably add Georgia to the mix.

State and Local Austerity Creating Slow-Growth Economy

By: Monday March 5, 2012 11:55 am

Paul Krugman confirms today that if we had had the same public sector growth over the last few years that is customary during economic downturns, or just growth consistent with population growth,[the unemployment rate would be at least a full point lower. In fact, higher unemployment is a consequence of austerity, particularly at the state and local level. The economy has been given a shot of stimulus from a variety of sources, but much of that has been counteracted by this austerity.

As Eurozone Meets on Greek Bailout, More Evidence of Austerity’s Disastrous Impact

By: Monday February 20, 2012 7:15 am

I don’t know how many Eurozone finance meetings have been seen as consequential, but we’ve got another one today, with the Greek bailout as the main topic. Greek leaders hope that the finance ministers will approve the bailout, after they gave final assent to austerity measures. CNBC quotes officials saying the chances are “little higher than 50-50.” What we learned going into the meeting is more evidence that the ordered cure for Greece’s ills, austerity, is causing the disease:

Tammy Baldwin Attacks Scott Walker for Diverting Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Money to Fill Budget Hole

By: Wednesday February 15, 2012 7:15 pm

Al Franken has a video out informing borrowers that they may be contacted if they’re eligible for a cash payment from a wrongful foreclosure or the opportunity to refinance or get a principal reduction on their loans. It’s more of a public service announcement than anything. Meanwhile, Tammy Baldwin joined others in criticizing Wisc. Gov. Scott Walker for proposing to divert settlement funds to the state treasury.

Missouri – Under Democratic Governor and AG – Becomes Second State to Vow to Divert Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Money to Budget

By: Monday February 13, 2012 10:00 am

Lots of people were angered by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s announcement that he would use money gained from the foreclosure fraud settlement to plug his budget hole. I suspected that a lot of states with a budget gap would go this route. And that apparently includes Missouri, a state with a Democratic Governor and a Democratic Attorney General.

In US, Austerity Remains a Nagging Problem

By: Monday January 30, 2012 8:10 am

Austerity is a major issue abroad, particularly Europe, but it has more to do with the sclerotic economic pace in the US than most people realize. Republicans successfully got spending caps that will ratchet down the budget in years to come, and they’ve already effectively frozen it. But as Jared Bernstein and Krugman show, the bigger contribution to austerity comes from state and local budgets.

The Remarkable Public Sector Depression

By: Monday January 9, 2012 7:30 am

There is a depression going on in the public sector. When cops and firefighters and teachers and nurses lose their jobs, they lose purchasing power, the ability to hire private contractors or visit private businesses for the purchase of goods and services. Public employees don’t use a different currency; you cannot divorce them from the private sector.

California High Speed Rail Threatened by Peer Review Report

By: Thursday January 5, 2012 6:01 am

California’s ambitious high speed rail program hit a snag yesterday when a peer review group recommended a halt to continued bond funding of the project until a long-term funding source can be secured.

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